Tag Archives: drawing

Christmas Sketching (from Life)

Christmas is gone. I am sad. I don’t know how it happened. ūüė¶

Back to life and reality and eugh.

Over the course of my Christmas I made every effort to power through my new sketchbook, since it took me almost 2 years to finish my previous one. I’m about a third of the way through it now, and considering¬†I bought it in November I’m pretty happy with that. The sketches, doodles, and drawings I have produced in that time are a mixed bag of failures and successes. Though I’ve shared many of them on my social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I thought I’d show them here and talk through my process (or lack thereof) and what I’ve learned.

 

Firstly for this post, major comfortzone-ing; I’ll talk about working from life. Since I have zero confidence in my ability to work imaginatively, I will almost always opt to draw what’s infront of me over that cool idea floating in my head. In fact, I’ll often sit there for up to an hour at a time trying to find a cool item or place to draw, only to decide that today is not a good day for art and eating copious amounts of biscuits is¬†a much better idea.

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Bad drawings

I’ll usually find that my ability to draw what is infront of me comes and goes with seemingly little to no pattern. Sometimes I try to be fluid and relaxed, and what I draw is just an awful over-flamboyant mess with no form or decency of line or accuracy. Other times I just tense up and what I draw is at the other end of the spectrum; I overthink every line and the drawing just begins to look like something I would have drawn years ago. The lines become feathery, I overthink line weight, and again I lose sight of what I’m trying to draw- perspective becomes totally off and the drawing just doesn’t¬†feel right (see above).

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I was happy with this one, but felt really tense before starting it

Less often, but I feel it’s becoming more common as I improve, I get it¬†just right. I’m not sure what the secret formula is. Sometimes I feel really excited to draw and I’m like YEAH LET’S DRAW, and it all goes to shit. Or it all goes right. Sometimes I’m really tense and nervous about creating another failure, and again it can go either way. Most likely I’ll start off a drawing pretty well, get a little over-zealous, and then go in with a bit too much line-weight or get a bit carried away with shading and ruin it. Such is life.

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Before and after I got carried away. I liked how it was, but felt I could take it further with caution. I took a photo beforehand because I was worried about ruining it…

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A mixed bag

This selection of bird drawings, all done in one sitting, is a good example of both failed and successful sketches. The top left sketch¬†was done without expectation and went really well, and then the following ones were a real mix. At the bottom of the image you can see where I’ve cut off even more pretty awful sketches. In all the drawings I would consider ‘failed’, I can see that my lines become soft, unconfident, and scribbly. The image doesn’t look like the subject matter and they are abandoned. Perhaps the subject (in this case) moves, or I just can’t enjoy the drawing when I know it’s all gone wrong already.

Here’s a few more sketches from life. I wouldn’t say I’m happy with them, but they’re ok.

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I did this one in the grounds outside my¬†flat. I’d just abandoned another piece which I had wanted to be a longer piece and I was cold and annoyed, but it was good to finish on a positive note before I went indoors. I did a lot of simplifying what was in front of me; there were many more trees in the background and leaves on the grass. I feel like I’m beginning to get the hang of simplifying what I see for the sake of creating a nicer piece of art. I used to draw word-for-word what I saw, but unfortunately real life is never perfectly composed and you have to learn how to modify it, within reason.

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Some flowers in a vase were the least-intensive¬†option for me when I was feeling a bit meh about sketching. For this one, I found that taking the time to shade in a darker background made a crap drawing look less crap even though I altered nothing else. The dark shading makes the flowers pop more and appear more three dimensional. Doesn’t change the fact that drawing cylindrical objects is ridiculously difficult though. Part of the reason I found this sketch so difficult was that there was no particularly directional lighting falling on the subject. This makes it very hard to give the sketch dimensionality; the subject as a still image lacks it in the first place, particularly a complex and colourful subject like flowers. It’s hard to not just make your ‘shading’ match the value of the hues you see (in this case I think it was bright yellow and dark red), rather than the lighting.

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I decided to draw my whole view of the room I was in here, since I’ve not done that in a while. I didn’t really dedicate myself to trying to get the perspective correct or anything, hence why it’s a little wonky. That curved radiator at the back was a pain. Mostly when I’m drawing full rooms like this, especially when items of furniture are places at different angles, I realise just how different angles will appear from first glance. Trying to translate the angles of the walls and furniture from around you in 3D space to a small 2D rectangle is much harder than it would seem. It’s one of the few instances in which I’ll use my pen held up in front of me as a horizontal line of comparison. I move the pen around myself in an arc (with myself as the centre of the circle), and make an effort not to move my head far from looking straight ahead at the centre of my image to avoid messing up the perspective. That’s my method anyway, but I’m sure there are loads of better ways of doing it.

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My mum’s dog Charlie is a gangly lurcher who gets himself into the weirdest and most awesome positions to draw. He never seems to be comfy though, so he moves a lot and I have to draw him fast. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll usually start with the feet/legs or back line first and work out from there. Foreshortening is usually the hardest thing to deal with when drawing him but it’s a fun challenge.

That covers all of my life drawing for the Christmas period. I forced myself to do a few imaginative sketches recently, and I was going to bring those up in this post too but this got way longer than I thought. I’ll write up a separate post for those and share soon. I’ll also see about trying to make a sort-of reflection on the year, and my art over that time. ūüôā

Laterzzzz.

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Where did all that time go.

In mid July I was like woooo I’m going to start blogging again, I am so organised! Then it was the end of September and I was like WHAT YEAR IS IT and I haven’t written any blogs. But look, I’m here again and about to give it another go.

Honestly I’ve avoided writing blogs because way too much is going on, and then obviously as more and more happens in my life the prospect of writing about it becomes ever more alarming. It does, however, force me to write a much more condensed retelling which I think for your sake is probably much easier to handle. Nevertheless I’ll endeavor to write a little more regularly in the future despite time constraints. In fact, I reckon I’ll break this blog into a couple of bits so I don’t go too crazy-overboard. I’ll revise that idea if I suddenly realise that actually my life was way less action-packed than I originally thought (which is always the case).

So. From the beginning. I have my last blog open so I can see where I left off last time.

I graduated! Look at this sickening photo of my face. Try-hard.

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Ugh.

Got my degree and stuff. And then I had a busy busy summer (of absolutely no art, before you get excited). I went to the Maldives. Ah man, it was so pretty.

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In true adult-female style, I avoided swimming in the sea mostly, because it made me feel gross and ruined my make-up. However I gave up my poncy bullshit to jump in and go snorkeling here and there which was just insane and dreamlike. When you swim to the ‘drop-off’ point and the seabed just falls away into darkness… it’s incredible.

Then you see a shark appear from the shadowy depths and you remember that to your horror humans¬†have explored more of the moon than the sea bed and nope nope nope I want out. I suffer¬†from a bit of thallassophobia and submechanophobia (probably a made up word from the internet¬†but it’s totally a thing), and even the sight of the anchor point for the buoyancy ring where you could hang out and rest made me uncomfortable. It’s hard to explain. But it here’s a photo. Does this make you uncomfortable?¬†It’s not meant to be there, man.

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I still regularly visit the submechanophobia subReddit to look at pictures to scare myself though *shrug*. And I love the idea of shipwrecks and all that jazz. But I think I’d die¬†if I was thrown in the sea with one.

But yeah. Snorkelling. It’s all well and good until one of these chases you;

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Triggerfish!

The teeth are the first thing you notice as it comes up from the seabed to take a chunk out of your leg. You flee in your mammalian, flailing grace, and then spend the rest of your trip on high alert for these guys who just wanna ruin your day.

Snorkelling is fun, I swear.

Aaaanyway I loved it all, up until that bit where you have to get on a tube with wings and fly home. We went via Dubai, and it just so happened that we were in Dubai airport when this happened;

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Oh.

So there I was, chilling out at the gate, and suddenly alllll the planes are cancelled or delayed by like 6 hours. Cue me looking out the window to see A PLANE ON FIRE OUTSIDE. I’m not the happiest flier on the planet. I wasn’t impressed. But I spent the delay time befriending fellow Redditors who were also trapped in Dubai airport. It’s a small world!

We got home. We didn’t die. Mum and I drove to Devon in my new car (yaaaaay) to see my boyfriend Jonah and his family. It was nice. I learned to shoot an air rifle. We ‘camped’ in a fancy yurt. We went for a walk in the nicest wood I’ve ever seen. Lots of inspiration!

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This photo is actually a test to see if mum really reads my blog or not. It’ll make her really angry if she knows I posted a picture of her online. It’s funny.

There’s definitely been a lot of inspiration on my travels this summer. Lincoln antiques fair where I went with my dad was packed with amazing oddities¬†to look at… things I wouldn’t even dream of, and Totnes town in Devon just has so much weird and wonderful stuff going on.

I did actually do one drawing in Devon. Jonah’s dad lives in a shepherd’s hut. They’re gorgeous, very cosy. And great to draw!

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I wasn’t very happy with the drawing and I had to rush as it got dark, but I felt at least a little bit productive for doing it.

Most recently, I went to Industry Workshops 2016, an art event in London which brings together concept and 3D artists mostly for networking, socialising, and lectures. It’s a relatively local event compared to things like THU and also affordable, so I make an effort to go so I can meet all my favourite artists and make new friends. I didn’t watch a huge number of lectures this year. Mostly I felt inclined to talk to people and also¬†feel sad about being too scared to talk to people. Overall I enjoyed the event and I’ll probably go again next year. I love meeting people and seeing all their art.

IW got me back onto drawing again a little bit, so I started playing about on my iPad Pro here and there. But I think¬†I’ll share that stuff on my next blog post because this one is getting too long and boring. My next post will be much more exciting, I just needed to get all that summer stuff out my system before talking about more recent¬†events.

Cool, bye. Sorry for being boring. Until next time!

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It’s all good.

I haven’t been particularly busy since my last post. In fact I’ve been very, very lazy. I suppose it’s good to be lazy sometimes but it doesn’t stop the guilt plaguing me! I’ve been trying to do at least a little bit of sketching or whatever each day, to varying degrees of success. I’m trying to force myself to post every little piece of crap or gold I produce, so feast your eyes on this mixed bag.

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Beverley Bandstand (Abandoned)

I really enjoyed where the linework was going with the above piece. I worked on an A5 piece of thick watercolour paper, and the unyielding nature of the paper meant I got the finest line possible with my pen. However, I got the scale wrong on the page, meaning the decorative roof is falling off the top and I ended up squashing the overall image to try and fit it on the paper. Also, I forgot how to perspective.

This piece came about because I was trying to create some art for an art shop in Beverley which had asked to potentially stock my work (woo hoo!). But when this went wrong I decided to leave it for a bit and try again another time (a time which is yet to come up). I’m even tempted to work at home from photos to save myself the time and stress of always getting things wrong on location.

I’ve lost my confidence a little as a result of too many consecutive failures and I’m not sure whether I’ll get in contact with the shop any time soon¬†because I don’t think I’m consistent enough yet to sell. I think my work is pretty good. But only when it is good! And that’s not often. Consistence is key.

On the bright side, I ended up going for coffee with a complete stranger who approached me as I was working (you can do that in non-murdery places like Beverley), and it was lovely and refreshing to meet a new interesting person with uncannily similar interests to my mother and I. I’m not much of a believer in fate, but this was as close as any experience I’ve had.

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Caffe Nero on location

The following day I retired to the relative safety of a cafe after my blunder in town. I’m finding over time I’m getting more and more nervous of people approaching me to see my work. It’s mainly for 2 reasons; 1) my work is always going wrong and it’s embarassing, and 2) when people ask what I do, I can’t hide behind the title of student anymore! I hate it! When I say I’m an artist, people expect you’re a professional. And then we’re both disappointed with what we see on the page in my hands.

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Sad doodles.

Over the course of the week I’ve been getting more and more unsettled and angry about my art ability. So I went and sat on my own in the garden to be angry and angrily draw a wheelbarrow and plants. You can tell I was angry because I didn’t try very hard and they suck. Angry angry.

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Charlie

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Charlie

Mum’s 8-year-old lurcher Charlie has the most hilarious and adorable proportions and is really fun to draw. It’s both a blessing and a curse that he shuffles around as much as he does. Sometimes when I catch him still for a few minutes though, I can get a decently rendered sketch. Feel free to laugh at the more failed sketches.

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And finally… OIL PAINTING BLEUGH.

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Flowers in the garden (failure/rain not permitting edition).

It is one of my greatest goals in life to become an accomplished oil painter outside of becoming a respectable artist in the game industry. I have boundless levels of respect and awe for painters. As such, I’ve been reading Alla Prima by Richard Schmid. It’s absolutely brilliant (and I may be slightly regretting¬†loaning it to an artist friend for two weeks haha). It also makes me feel suitably useless at life, especially when I don’t understand what I’m reading (often).

At the very least it’s inspired me to start painting again, but every stroke I paint¬†often leaves me more frustrated than the last. I just can’t articulate the amazing things I want to paint onto paper. That won’t stop me though. I’m hoping when I move down south to my new job to get involved as much as possible in whatever art community is down there, and perhaps look into seeking someone to mentor me in painting when I’m not working. In my dreams, I fantasise about¬†studying at SARA. *sigh* But that will never happen, I can’t afford it. ūüė¶ So I’ll have to find the next best thing. I’ve already started stockpiling plein-air equipment and more oil painting things ready for my weekends to practise.

If anyone has oil painting advice and critique as I share more oil stuff in the future, whoever you may be, then please impart your wisdom!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s edition of Anya’s Moaning. In happier news;

I will be graduating with a first class degree! It appears from my grade sheet online that I got a 95% mark on my Final Major Project, which is insane. I’m still waiting to see if this is an incorrect assumption, but I’ve been reassured it’s not and I see no evidence stating otherwise¬†(it only says ’95’ on my sheet, but not what the 95 is out of).

I also found out today that on top of my first I will be receiving the DMU Media Production Best Final Year Student award! This made me so happy, and made me feel like my hard work and tears and just crazy hard work ethic had been recognised. It really made my day.

I’m feeling guilty for writing this blog at my computer now, so I should probably go draw to make myself feel better. Maybe I have a problem?

Art is hard, and it makes me want to cry and stomp and throttle people like a large toddler.

But it’s all good.

 

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All my plans have changed!

Oh hey.

I’m back. I’m going to try and continue blogging regularly again, like I used to. I find that it encourages me to create art much more than if I’m just keeping it to myself. Now that I have too much time to handle (at least temporarily), I thought I’d put an update about my life since university to get the ball rolling.

Where have I been?

I’ve been lost in the world of final-year university. It’s been pretty absorbing. I see I haven’t posted here since January, but I haven’t completely forgotten¬†to blog. I’ve been working on my university Final Major Project, and you can get caught up with what I’ve been up to here¬†in a separate blog I created.

Basically, I made this;

So that project pretty much took over my life since January. But it’s done now! My deadline was at the end of May, and since then I’ve been winding down from university work, moving away from Leicester, and just trying to take my life back a little.

I certainly feel like I’ve got the worst of my laze-around-do-nothing urges out of my system. Now I’m back in Beverley, I’m feeling the need to get back into a routine and create art again. Which is why I’m here.

I don’t really know where to start after abandoning this blog for so long.

Um.

I have a job?

Yeah. I’ll start there.

I have a job!

I have a position at UK studio The Creative Assembly as a Trainee Campaign Map Artist. I’ll be working on Total War: Warhammer and learning the tricks of the trade as I go. I start September 1st and will be moving all the way down south to Horsham. It’s a long way from home!

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So yeah, there goes my plan of ‘taking time off’ out the window…

It’s great though, because there already quite a few DMU alumni working at CA, so it won’t be a completely unknown group of people. Also Horsham seems to be very close by to other big towns for game development. I’m hoping to be able to attend some meet-ups.

Almost unbelievably fortunately, my boyfriend landed a job in the same area, and we’ll be living together down south. We got crazy lucky there. Since he starts a month earlier than me, he’s having to deal with things like flat viewings and stuff while I just sit here. I’ll waltz over when it’s time to start my new job.

So that’s good. I also get my results for university tomorrow… ha… I know it literally affects nothing in my life, since I’ve already got somewhere to go, but I’m still a bit nervous. I’d like to achieve the grade I’ve been aiming for. We shall see. My graduation ceremony is on the 21st, so Jonah and I are combining our birthdays and graduation as an excuse to meet in Leicester and also go to visit London together before we reconvene at our new home in the south.

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Drawing in the garden.

Between now and starting at Creative Assembly, I have quite a lot of holiday plans and such to get excited about. I also get a new car on Thursday so I imagine I’ll be driving around to try and get used to driving and not crashing again. But between all that stuff, and hopefully during as well (not the driving bit), I want to get back into creating art. I’ve started out slow with some pen work in my sketchbook, but I intend on getting back into oil painting with some commissions for my mum, digital painting, and eventually 3D work.

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Drawing in the garden.

As I start creating art again, I will of course share it all here. ūüôā Pictures are much more exciting than all these words I’m throwing at you.

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Drawing my uncle’s car.

Hopefully each new blog post will have some pretty pictures to look at. I’m excited to start producing new art again, even if it’s a bit less than I used to make, what with working around a job and all. I hope my blog proves as interesting as it was in its university heyday. I’ll try not to be too boring…

Thanks for reading!

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Christmas Woes.

Handed all my work in a week ago, and since have proceeded to blissfully do bugger all, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, inhaling much food, and playing The Witcher 3.

This is all I’ve done all week unfortunately.

On Monday, I headed in to uni to present ¬†my Final Major Project idea to the a couple of tutors and see if I would get the formal yes/no to go ahead. I got a yes! After some consideration we agreed that I could create 3 dioramas, rather than the initial 4-5 I had wanted to do. I decided that spending 3 weeks on each of 5 dioramas would stress me out, and probably leave me frustrated because I wouldn’t be able to reach my full potential with each. 4 dioramas was the next conclusion, but I later asked to have it whittled down to just 3 so that I could spend time making them a) gorgeous, b) super atmospheric, and c) lively with moving water, grass, sound effects etc.

Quality over quantity. I want something that hits hard in my portfolio and is super pretty!

If anyone has read Robin Hobb’s Fitz/Fool books, you probably know there are a whole load of weird and wonderful locations I could potentially turn into dioramas. I’ve chosen 3 that I think I am happy with;

  • Fool’s¬†tent.

In the dimming light, the Fool’s colorful [tent]¬†was like a blossom cast on the snow. Illuminated from within, the bright panels gleamed like stained-glass windows. What had seemed random designs suddenly resolved into dragons and serpents cavorting. …¬†The glow had come from a tiny brazier, set in a small pit dug in the floor of the chamber. The silk walls caught the heat it generated and held it well, while the light seemed multiplied by the sheen of the fabric. Even so, it was not bright inside the tent: rather it was lit warmly and intimately. A thin rug covered the rest of the floor, and a simple sleeping pallet of wool blankets was in one corner.

  • Fool’s Buckkeep tower room.

Here was light, and flowers, and colors in profusion. There was a loom in the corner, and baskets of fine, thin thread in bright, bright colors. The woven coverlet on the bed and the drapings on the open windows were unlike anything I had ever seen, woven in geometric patterns that somehow suggested fields of flowers beneath a blue sky. A wide pottery bowl held floating flowers and a slim silver fingerling swam about the stems and above the bright pebbles that floored it. I tried to imagine the colorless, cynical Fool in the midst of all this color and art.

  • Stone dragon garden.

I glimpsed the green-beaded, trailing branches of willows coming into leaf and the rose-tinged trunks of paper birches presiding over a deeply grassed meadow. Beyond I saw the brown standing husks of last year’s cattails deeper in the vale. The lush rankness of the grasses and ferns foretold swampland as surely as the green smell of standing water did. ‚Ķ Before long we came to where an energetic stream had long ago washed out a bridge and devoured the road to either side of it. Now it trickled shining and silver in a gravelly bed, but the fallen trees on either bank attested to its flood time fury. A chorus of frogs stilled suddenly at our approach. ‚Ķ Blackbirds called and early insects hummed. ‚Ķ words seemed to hang in the still sweet air. Then I saw the dragon. ‚Ķ We stared at it, as unmoving as it was. Golden and green, he sprawled under the trees in their dappled shade.

I’ve chosen these places because I think they sound beautiful and all have very different atmospheres in my mind which will make each one stand apart from the others.

I can imagine them being incredibly surreal, and want to be able to pull off an enchanting mysticism through colours, sound, texture, composition, and perhaps most importantly lighting. I think this will be a real challenge to achieve in a tiny, enclosed diorama where you can’t have incredible vistas outside the windows and such. But I think the sense of intimacy I want to portray will hopefully overcome this.

I’m really excited to get going. My first task will be to work out a style through creating a set of very small style tests to work out how I want to model and texture my scenes. I’d really like to do this over Christmas, but with no computer back in Beverley that’ll be impossible. So… I’m hauling my oil paints and such home with me, to get some traditional art therapy instead. It’ll do me good, even if I’m guilting hard right now.

In the mean time I guess I’ll just… think about styles.

I’m a little stressed. I should just accept that I can’t work and chill out. *sigh*

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Halp.

Hur durrr I’ve been so busy this weeeeeek. So here’s a quick update about how my project went and what’s next! If you’re interested in all the technical mish mashery, go here. Go!

First, you may have noticed I changed my blog again. It’s mostly so I can keep my third year official submission blog things separate from my ramblings, and the tutors can find them easily/you casual readers can avoid it. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Anyway.

I FINISHED MY SHOOOOOP! (Sketchfab-ulousnes)

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Pretty happy with how it turned out. I’m not going to go into obscene amounts of retrospective evaluation rubbish because that would be the third evaluation I’ve written about this (hand-in blog and then a Word document too). Instead, have an overpaint I did to show some of the things I’d alter if I had some time;

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Learned a lot for this project, in particular points about creating interesting forms and colour proportions. Thanks to regular feedback twice a week on this project I managed to target areas of weakness on my model or design before it was too late, and any mistakes that managed to escape that net have been noted so it doesn’t happen again (there were quite a few I want to target). A big thing I learned during this project is just how flexible you can be with making changes to a model throughout the pipeline. A big part of me has always felt tied down to my final concept as soon as I closed the Photoshop file, but for this project I have been encouraged to constantly overpaint my model, even in the depths of texturing, and make improvements here… change a colour there etc. I was still feeling a bit uncomfortable doing it for this project, as I felt a little guilty. But for future projects I am very ready and open to making constant edits and overpaints, and keeping a record of them to show the development of my work for hand-in.

For my next project I am going to be doing the Partially Stylised Epic City Project. This is a pure concept art project, and my main reasons for choosing this are to establish whether I would enjoy doing just concept art for a large amount of time (in case I choose to for my FMP), and also to work out a realistic, productive concept art workflow for future reference. This is an extreeeeemely intense project, because I have to produce;

  • Quick concept ideas for multiple potential cities.
  • Choose 4 cities that are geographically distinct, all in the same era, with more developed design ideas.
  • A number of sketchy shots for each city, eg. birds eye view, gate view, street view, tower view, etc. to quickly convey design/mood.
  • Tidier street scene sketches with hero buildings/props/life in the city.
  • A few typical inhabitants of each city.

So… no definite ideas for cities or anything like that yet, but I’ll be starting a Pinterest board very soon to start quickly throwing together some visual inspiration before I start really actively concepting ideas. Assuming I create 3-4 sketchy views of the cities, 4 tidier street scenes/hero building sketches, and perhaps some drawings of inhabitants on top of that, not to mention the original iterations and concepts to decide on my 4 final cities…. I could be extremely under pressure for the next 3 weeks! Not that this little guy cares;

‘Quit yo’ whining and hold me, lady.’

I’m not much of a concept artist/illustrator so my final outcomes for this project could be totally hilarious. Ah well, I’m sure it’ll all work out just fine in the end. Lol I haven’t painted for weeks hahahah I’m doomed. I stress a lot about my work, but deep down a part of me knows that I’m mostly competent enough to pull through with a good outcome in the end (with a few exceptions, this project potentially being one). I’m so screwed.¬†I’m going away next weekend for a day or two so hopefully that little break will stop me getting too wound up. Send help.¬†Besides, I should reclaim my weekends.

I guess I’ll post next weekend with how it’s going. Thanks for reading!

Please help me.

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More Doing.

Hello Reader! You may have noticed my blog format is different! I hope it isn’t too sore on the eye. I like some aspects and dislike others, however I’m limited to certain design aspects without a premium account. Let me know what you think of it so I can act on some feedback.

I came back from visiting home a few days ago, and have since been doing various little life tasks, being social, and spending time with Jonah before he goes to visit home and I’m left to fend for myself for a week. Home was lovely, but I admit I feel a little guilty for the lack of art I did. A bit of sketching, but it’s next to nothing. Since OTM I have been lazyyyyy.

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Last year I spent a lot of time outside doing pen drawings of Leicester. I’m hoping to do some of that again, but with pencil. The realisation that I really¬†really can’t draw with pencil made me sad, so it’s time to improve! ūüôā And maybe get a less grainy sketchbook to make it easier for myself. I’ll see what I can do around my diorama.

While I was home, I also bit the bullet and bought myself an iPad Air! I’d been considering a tablet for a while, and I decided to go Apple when they unexpectedly replaced my breaking iPhone for free. Initially I was going to go all Android. I figured I had better stick with what I know, and the free iPhone made me hate Apple less.

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I also bought Procreate and a Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 1. This was sort of an on the spot decision- I didn’t buy an iPad to draw on… the technology is still a bit too dodgy for a seamless painting experience. However, I’d still highly recommend one. The stylus is currently ¬£20 on Amazon due to a recent updated version (which has worse reviews), and it is pressure sensitive with Procreate. And Procreate itself… it’s amazing. I love it. It’s so satisfying to work on, though obviously it would never replace my beloved Photoshop and Intuos Pro.

So now I should be able to use my iPad to replace my 5 year old laptop that I traveled with. It has Microsoft Office, Procreate for if I fancy a doodle/digital plein air, I can tether to my phone for internet, and finally I don’t have to carry around a calendar to keep my dates in check. I’m serious, I liked carrying a full sized calendar in my bag, and I still defend my decision! Nothing beats it. Except maybe an iPad.

One of the main reasons I made the decision to buy a tablet was for a portable, light way to showcase my work on the go. I currently run my portfolio on Behance, and it means that I can download an app on my tablet which syncs my portfolio, and then I can show it to people without internet to load the images. Though Behance is an ugly format for my work to be shown on the web, and I will doubtlessly invest in a proper portfolio next year, it actually looks really nice on the iPad app.

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Unfortunately any videos and Sketchfab links do not load without internet.

It’s time for me to relax back into a routine and spend my last month in Leicester doing some proper work again. My work ethic has gone down the drain, and guilt is snapping at my heels every step of the way. Now I’m going to make myself feel better again by painting, and working on my diorama. I did a lot of thinking about it on my train back to Leicester;

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Less thinking, more doing!

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Hello, Leicester. Hello, University. Hello, Reality.

I’m baaaaaaaack!

It’s time to get back on with my life, but first, here’s what I got up to this Christmas…

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Heading home for 10 days of what turned out to be pure laziness.

Animal Crossing, sleeping, sitting, complaining about my bottom hurting from sitting too much, sitting some more, eating, present opening, familying, sleeping, Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing. I seem to have gone on a hardcore nostalgia binge with my hours of Animal Crossing, playing Colin Mcrae Rally 04 on my original Xbox, and pom pom making.

That’s right, I made pom poms. Many, many pom poms.

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I really like poms poms, as you can see from these completely bizarre and very awesome slippers I got as a Christmas gift… If anyone knows what animal they are supposed to be, please enlighten me.

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In between¬†hogging sofas and watching TV, I managed to do like one page of drawings. One. And a commission, but that doesn’t count.

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So, having arrived home this evening and adorned¬†my room with all my new pom poms and pretties, I’m ready to face reality again. I haven’t come up with new year’s resolutions or any of that crap, but I’m setting myself up for a super productive year of waking up early and just¬†doing stuff. I want to understand the game industry better. I want to know the software better. I want to know art better. I want to be better, and damn it I’m going to try!

Come at me¬†world, I’m ready for you.

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Turret Turret Turret Turret Turret TURRET

My life this week has compromised of sentry guns. All day. Every day. Sentry gun turrets.

No art. Nothing. Turret turret turret turret turret.

So on that note, here’s all the work I’ve done on my… turret. Turret turret turret.

I’m not going to lie; my sentry gun looks pretty cool. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come in the last week. I’ve learned tonnes about using Zbrush and baking in 3dsMax to the best of my ability, and about using Unreal Engine 4 blueprints.

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This is pretty much the first project I’ve ever done where my final product looks exactly how I envisioned it, and I can definitely thank my use of Zbrush and blueprints for that;

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It almost looks like I knew what I was doing.

Blueprints were a new concept to me, as in UDK I had never tried Matinee or anything like that, and I’m still really new to UE4. We were provided with blueprints that made our turrets track us and fire at us when we were in range, but any adjustments we made to the basic framework of the turret were on our own heads; we had to edit the blueprints. I mean, I at the start of the project I was like ‘yeah, I’m a boss, I can totally do this’, and by the end of the project I was like ‘that doesn’t work and that doesn’t work but I don’t care, ’cause blueprints’. It was a fun challenge, but oh my did it wind me up. Initially I had wanted to make the barrel spin like a Gatling gun, but after trying to work off someone else’s framework (thanks Josh!) and having no success I decided to concede defeat and leave it stationary. I have my whole life to learn how to do that… right?

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. For instance, that laser? I was going to make it using a long tiny mesh with an emissive texture on it, but no. I went hard and decided to make it entirely using blueprints (following a tutorial I didn’t understand, obviously).

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Eh?

It’s easy to argue that I would learn nothing from this, but I actually did learn way more than I was expecting. I had to alter the blueprint to make it work with my turret, and fiddle with various things and break links that I didn’t understand. It also made me understand the principle of Event Ticks so much better, and now I get those and feel like I could use them myself to make a sequence of events, which I didn’t before trying to make the laser.

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This glowy bit here, I was initially going to make using an emissive (emissives are the best). However, because UE4 works differently to UDK, you now can’t make emissives act as scene lights (no longer the best), which I have relied on heavily in the past. It looked just… awful, so I did some more fiddling. I made a simple normal map to add some surface variation, and tried playing with glass/refraction and finally the subsurface scattering shader. It looked much, much better but only looked how I wanted it to when I was looking at it with a light behind. I left it as it was and then got on with the laser tutorial. A happy accident happened, where I was trying to create a point light in my blueprint components to make a glow from the laser, and I tried setting it inside the crystal dome. BOOM! Awesome glowy effect. I was very pleased. It’s definitely something I’ll be using in the future.

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I stuck some subsurface scattering on the marble itself too, because even though you don’t expect marble to exhibit it as much as my model does, it really added some life to the turret. Artistic license, yo.

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Mmmmmmm.

So, in conclusion to this project, I pretty much couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone. There are still some annoying things that I will take into consideration next time, such as placement of seams and how much I use mirroring in my UVs as it was quite limiting sometimes. The mirroring textures was particularly annoying because it was painfully obvious which bits were mirrored when I started adding albedo detail to the rock, and some some areas are left virtually blank to hide the mirroring. I also would like to work on my metal texturing, as I feel that the barrel looks too new in comparison to the rest of the gun. Overall though, despite the fact that I ran into a whole lot of problems, I learned a lot from them even if I didn’t have enough knowledge to fix them (laser, I will fix you one day). It’s a project that has given me more confidence for future projects that involve blueprints, so I’m looking forward to developing my knowledge further.

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Laser, why are you pointing over there?

Now I have to get on with the cardboard model and some more nature documentaries, and also make a start on our new project which was set yesterday (project overload, panic). This is a character project, where we have to make a ‘dichotomous duo’ (think Sully and Mike, Mario and Luigi) which are from the same world and work together well but also have respective contrasts. It should be fun, since all I seem to do when I have time is draw characters.

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Doodle.

So this weekend marks the end of my turret project and the start of a character one. I’m more than happy to move on from my current work, and I’m sure I’ll have lots to show in my new post next week. This has been a really successful week and I’m pleased with what I’ve done, but I’ve missed painting so much! Time to do some art.

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Unreal 4 makes things nice.

Since last week I don’t feel like I’ve done a great deal with my life. Reflecting on the week in my blog kinda makes me go ‘ah, crap’. I’ve done a lot less than I liked to think I had. We did, however, finish our physical bathroom model, which is better than nothing.

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Yeah. We made the mirrors from foil. Hardcore model making right there. We’re going to light it as we see it in our film still and take some proper photos hopefully. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Except for the sinks. They suck. Isn’t it adorable though?

On top of that, I’ve been doing some texturing and sticking stuff in Unreal to see how it looks. I was pleasantly surprised. I love how materials look in the new fancy Unreal Engine 4. Even the crappest textures look yummy, as I demonstrate. I like it.

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We did another ‘Dragon’s Den’ this week, as everyone has taken to calling it, where each group presents their work so far to the tutors. Every time we do this I feel weirdly nervous. I think it’s because everyone else’s projects are really cool too, and I feel like a zircon in a sea of diamonds and other zircons. Despite this, though, our presentation went pretty well and I think everyone was happy with our progress so far. There was also great appreciation for¬†Lewis’ use of every existing Powerpoint animation under the sun. We totally got more points for it. We have our final presentation next Thursday, so we have to have everything done in Unreal and a final render ready to go. Scary! ūüė¶ We’re doing good though. We’ll be fine.

On the art side of things I attempted to do some painting this week and a lot of it has just left me feeling irritated. I abandoned a still life half way through, despite my long-time cravings to get on and do one, and I ended up getting stressed and started doodling instead. I should do more doodling. It works wonders to make me happy.

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I started another sketchbook too, since I’ve been neglecting my traditional work. This sketchbook is going to be a pencil one, as my last was pen. Though I’m far from cracking it, I feel like I’m comfortable with pen now. Maybe my next sketchbook will go back to pen, and I’ll experiment with a new style for fun. For now, I really need to practise pencil.

 

Have a good weekend ūüôā

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