Sort your life out

It’s been a while since my last post and I have come to the decision that I need to play less computer games and spend more time dedicated to art. I also nearly wrote… and languages, but I think for the most part I have been spending an OK amount of time studying Japanese and occasionally revising French vocabulary (need to revise grammar though too). If my parents are reading this they’ll probably give a small cheer of victory that I won’t be playing as much, although since I’ve been working extra hours at the takeaway I’ve not really played much anyway.

I need to do more art and be a bit more dedicated to at least trying to somehow sell my work. I have very little confidence however and am afraid of dedicating myself to making work because I worry people will not ever be interested. Also I’m not really sure of what to draw and that worries me too. I am afraid.

One of my great friends started working towards selling her work, and seeing her progress made me realise how I’ve barely made any efforts in this and it is definitely something I would like to do. I just feel clueless and aimless and I don’t know who I am half the time. I definitely don’t know what I want either. So anyway I’m writing this blog post so that I can give myself a list of small achievable goals which can build towards a career in art, as well as helping me to enjoy artwork again. I want to enjoy it more than video games, I want to make it so I’d rather be painting and turning away from my work is a chore. Is that something that is possible or do you have to feel like that already? I was like that before.

  1. Create some new artwork for portfolio – perhaps a series of illustrations – character illustrations, work for my friend’s music project. I could make a list of types of work to feature in portfolio.
  2. Do some lino prints, smaller ones for cards and little prints and larger more complicated ones. I want to make some ramen bowl prints. To achieve this I may want to buy a bench hook to prevent cutting off bits of my fingers while carving blocks.
  3. Be in some sort of artist collective in order to have peers to turn to, group projects to work towards, etc.
  4. Learn some more useful skills through skillshare – like how to use Illustrator and InDesign.
  5. Actually make my website… I’ve started coding it although I need to sort out the CSS bit.
  6. Create a better working environment/deskspace.
  7. I would like to start oil painting too.

Maybe the next list here should be all the things I think I should include in the portfolio. I hope you all don’t mind that this is a personal post. If there are any people who are in a similar situation, any advice? Or people who have already been able to start making a living in art..?

Learning new things for game design

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of game design stuff. The poetry book has been mostly completed, and I have put it aside for the time being until I can arrange with Amy to meet her for a proper discussion of layout. Then I can finalise the images.

Anyway I thought I’d just write a little about the stuff I’ve been working on for the game. This week we have been considering what we want the story to be and what should be the driving purpose for the player to continue playing. We got stuck for a while, but thanks to some Skype meetings and now the addition of a writer it feels like we’re rolling again. So perhaps I should say… welcome Felix!

I can write a little bit about our plans… Originally it started out as a pet game and it has morphed into an adventure game… both are pretty exciting genres for me I think and I would still like to do a pet focused game in the future! I mentioned before about the game being about using different kinds of monsters to get about the world. We’re also trying to flesh out more of a background story as well to explain what’s going on.

Ooh, we might even have some humans involved in the story... draft design for initial animation tests.

Ooh, we might even have some humans involved in the story… draft design for initial animation tests.

Art-wise, it looks like I’m going to be both indoor and outdoor scenes for the game. My secret is that I’m someone who has avoided drawing backgrounds in personal art for a very long time. Now I’m just going to have to do it, and that means I will be working hard to learn a lot of new things. The outdoor scenes are probably going to be dominated by nature, so they are probably not too intimidating for me to work on. In particular I’ve been feeling pretty nervous about the indoor scenes, because I haven’t learned enough about perspective.

So, over the past week or so I have been trying to gain a better understanding of perspective in order to make some nice backgrounds. Our group really admire the mobile game The Silent Age, and the art is really nice in that too… since our game is probably going to have a similar viewpoint I did take some inspiration from their background setups.

The Silent Age

The Silent Age

To start off learning about perspective grids and such, I first looked at some Adobe Illustrator CS6 specific videos, which I’ll link below. There are a couple of good ones which explain perspective in a really simple way which helped me get a basic understanding of perspective… For example, learning that the horizon line = eye level.

I really like the lady’s voice in this video.

After looking at the CS6 tutorials I still didn’t have that much of a grounding in perspective, but I found a really handy link, it’s here. It’s like a mini ms paint style (although I don’t think it was going for a retro MS paint look – I have a feeling it was just made absolutely ages ago) tutorial which you can go through, showing how different objects were created in a one point perspective room. It can be a bit tedious but you can skip through it if you want. Just thought I would share it because it was really surprisingly helpful for me!

Anyway progress at the moment is… Since we haven’t got the entire story down, I’ve been spending my time making little mockups in Illustrator using a one point perspective grid. I won’t add much more to the rooms though until we know more!

This is the first proper practice I had while reading the one point perspective tutorial I just linked.

This is the first proper practice I had while reading the one point perspective tutorial I just linked. Might look a bit too 3D for our flat, 2D characters to wander around in however so we will need to find a more suitable background style.

I also wanted to make a wider room, but here the horizon line/eye level is a bit high. I think for the next go I’ll try to keep up with a wider room but see how it looks with a much lower eye level.

As you all may notice from my two above attempts, I am very much a newbie when it comes to interior backgrounds. I think I learned a lot just from the tutorials on simple perspective though, and will keep studying and practising more. I’ll probably share my progress and findings too, for other people who happen to be new to stuff like this too.

I tried to publish this post about 3 times, having lost paragraphs and segments each time! Finally, let’s hope this time will work out so I can finish with this task and go do actual game design related things!

It’s been a while…

Wow, I didn’t realise – it’s been just over a month since my last post… I’ll try to think what’s happened since then. I’ve been working on both the game design and the poetry book still… and I am happy to say that I’ve made loads of progress on the book project. Below is an unfinished drawing for the book. Most of the images for the book are inked and coloured, although they are mostly unfinished as I like to keep piling on more watercolour and more shading over time, so they all progress as a set. This is similar to what I did for my first masters exhibition piece.

If you would like to read some of my friend Amy’s work, you can find her website by clicking here. I’m going to meet Amy soon to go over layout and such… looking forward to it =)

As for the game design, I have done a fair amount of drawing, but it is mostly sketches working out the story and world design, but here’s a little picture of a background I tried making.

It was nice to try out a new style of art! And I think it was a good learning experience as I do not have very much experience at all with backgrounds or anything at all involving depth! By the way, our game dev website is here if you’re interested.

Apart from all this … hmm… I’ve been applying to a few gallery jobs and illustrator jobs. Nothing yet, of course. I don’t mind taking my time though as I build up a bit of work experience through game dev stuff, work experience at the local gallery and more. I also had my first driving lesson (since over a year ago or so) on Friday, which was quite scary as the instructor just told me to drive to see what I remembered. But I slowly became more relaxed and enjoyed it. I guess I could say I am looking forward to Tuesdays lesson, although I am nervous too. I worry I don’t break enough at junctions and so on.

Anyway hope you all don’t mind the rather short post, I hope I can finish off the book project soon, and get more progress down on the game development so that I can share more images. Also I look forward to the projects of the future!

Thanks, Elysia.

projects update

Hi all,

I started to write a blog post on my phone while at work, but I lost all the text! So I’m rewriting this again. I can’t really remember all that I wrote however. Just an update. Usually while I’m at work at the takeaway, it’s quiet. So I end up reading books, studying Japanese and drawing in my sketchbook. It’s a good place to get things done, although not a job I would like to stay in forever. I’ve been applying for other jobs in art and less exciting places (supermarkets), but without too much success. I still need more experience to get a job in the arts… Maybe one day I will be able to just be an artist full time! I’d love for this game designing project that I’m working on to take off…

Anyway, as for my recent projects… I’ve been working more on the poetry book project. After stagnating for several weeks I decided I would get something more substantial done. I got some bigger, nicer paper and started working with an ink dip pen. I’ve done quite a lot of drawings now so I’m looking forward to sharing the images once I can. I’ll check with my poet friend!

My other big project is continuing with the game design work – along with 2 programmers and a sound guy (not sure what the actual term for a sound person would be). I spent several weeks drawing character sketches to try and work out what kind of monsters to include, and we had regular skype sessions as a group. Now we’re at the prototyping stage – I think – and this week I’m trying to make a full character with some animations so that we can test with it. Here’s a little sketch of a monster pet.

petI’m learning how to use adobe Illustrator at the same time as trying to create these characters… which makes me feel doubly out of my depth. I always feel out of my depth while working on these game design projects, but I guess that means that I am constantly learning new things. Regardless, I hope that I can feel a little bit more comfortable doing this stuff at some point.

Aside from those two main projects I am still studying driving theory and Japanese, and yesterday I sold a commissioned drawing – a reproduction of an old piece of art. Turns out the customer would also like to buy the original, so he’ll be buying that too tomorrow. This is all pretty good for me since I have been struggling for money this week.

I’m not sure which of these I prefer. I spent a lot of time on the original one, and spent less time drawing the second, because otherwise I would have had to charge a lot more. I’m glad that he loved both of them, though! I will have to draw another one however to give to my mother.

I’m going to stop writing now, because I am watching Ghost in the Shell anime, first season, and I have work again from 5-11pm. Hope that everyone had a good new year and ate lots of good food.

Elysia

post-Christmas

Hi everyone,

hope you all had a good Christmas. Hope everyone got to eat nice food and catch up with friends and relatives. On Christmas day we went to my aunt’s house for lunch and socialising, then on Boxing day my mum cooked a big feast of East Asian food for some family and her one of her friends too. Now I’m visiting J so I thought while it is quiet and there’s not much going on I could write a quick post just to say hi.

ink drawing

Today we are not sure what to do. J would like to relax for the day, I’m happy to do this but I think I need to give myself some tasks or things to do… I need to feel at least a bit productive, or I’ll feel restless. So that is why I decided to do a little blog update. It’s hard to think what to write or do really, I didn’t think to bring a proper sketchbook or my Japanese text book. I do however have several books to read and a mini sketchbook, so looks like my day might be spent trying to: study at least a tiny bit of Japanese, draw from reference perhaps, maybe finish the book I’m reading, etc.

As for my current art projects, I am still working on game design and also the collaborative book project I started with my friend. As I have had some deadlines for the game, I was a bit more lazy with the book project. Once I get back home on the 30th December, I hope to put a lot more effort into all my projects. I want to start again on the book project. What I am doing is illustrating, or rather, creating some art based on my friend’s poetry (although I’m not 100% certain what the response will result in). At first I was quite anxious on how to interpret them. But my friend has since written a little bit on the background of each poem, which I think will help me make something more relevant. I hope that she doesn’t mind that it has taken me a while to get going… and I hope that she will be happy with the resulting artwork.

With the game design group stuff, it’s progressing slowly but well, I will have a huge challenge creating the artwork as there’s so much to do and several new things to learn. We’ve decided to make a game for android devices, a pet game! I will give more information and pictures soon once I have actually made some more presentable art. I feel quite shy about the work that I’m producing for this game design thing, because I feel like the ideas that I am scribbling out at the moment are nowhere near the sophistication of actual game concept artists. Although I should be kinder to myself because I didn’t spend very long at all on the sketches and the main reason I created them was for the purpose of communicating my ideas quickly to my friends – they weren’t really made for an audience larger than maybe three people.

Oh well, that’s a quick update! I hope everyone is having a good holiday season… and hope all artistic, creative and other endeavours are going well. Thank you for reading!

Two weeks later

Oho… it’s been a while … Well, just two weeks, so I thought I’d update a little bit. I can’t remember if I mentioned it in my previous post, but a few weeks ago I was with my friend in the town centre. There’s a giant new library and culture centre of some sort which opened perhaps two months ago. I thought that since I’m looking for an arts job I could volunteer to get some experience. I asked them and they took my name down. They later emailed me with a list of events and a schedule, and I am now working there every Friday from 10-1pm. I also managed to sign up for a day’s paid work, packaging some books for a local artist. The pay was £7.90 an hour which is more than my usual job, so I hope they have more opportunities again soon.

book pile

There were 1000 books and we had to put plastic covers on them and slip index and interview booklets into the inside covers. We didn’t manage to do all of them.

Yesterday while I was at the gallery, they asked me to research contacts for the local Portuguese community, as well as researching two bands, which will be playing at a future exhibition. The bands were hard to find as they seem to be independent. There were no fan-run websites for them or anything. I did manage to find an interview for one of the bands, but it is in Portuguese with only French subtitles. So one of my tasks next week may be to translate the subtitles (I know French to a reasonable level, but not fluent) to try to glean more information for the gallery. It’ll probably be a difficult task, but hopefully they will be happy with me if I succeed!

In other news, I finished the illustration I was working on for my friend’s fantasy writing. It took a while because I felt pretty clueless on how to create the work. My friend sent me a file which had several different short stories in it. I picked one and tried my best to illustrate it.

… Actually, I just went on my tumblr to get a copy of the finished image and then saw that a couple of people have offered me constructive criticism on the work in progress shots. The suggestions are useful and now I wish I had seen them sooner. I already announced to my friend that the image is finished… Below is the illustration in its current form.

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 12.05.33

In screenshot form as if to say… “I can still change!”

I feel undecided as to whether to continue to work on it or to just leave it as it is. On one hand I agreed to do this illustration for a small amount of money so I am not sure I want to pour more hours into perfection, and on the other I am afraid that I will be labelled a sloppy or bad illustrator because I won’t push everything to perfection.I am still learning, so maybe I will experiment more with this picture to see how it can be improved. I feel embarrassed to post a ‘final’ image of it… Now I wonder, have I written too much about my drawing worries? No, I think it’s probably good that I’ve written about them. I like to write about my challenges and confusions. Any advice is appreciated, although preferably written politely.

Well, this is a long post so far… and lastly, I am still working on the zine (if you’d like to join in just comment and I’ll give you more information) I mentioned, as well as the collaborative book project AND the game design project. While playing a few hours too many of video games… Over the next few days I will try to push to get my to do list completed!

zine cover image

Thought Bubble Convention

I am sorry to say this but my camera wasn’t charged enough so I did not get good pictures of the convention! I will however supplement my photos with stuff off the internet and apologies mixed in. Oh, and I can take photos of the things I bought!

leeds thought bubble convention

Photo from The Guardian.

Where to start… so last Friday (22nd) I headed on the train to Leeds, for the convention beginning 10am the next day. I prepared most of my ‘wares’ the week earlier so all I had to do was price the felt badges after checking with people about what price would be appropriate. As usual, I probably underpriced my work. I sold the Jake (from Adventure Time) badges for £4 and the other badges were mostly the same or lower… apart from the wolf badge which I sold quite quickly for £6. Perhaps a sign to produce more! I’d decided not to price them very expensive as I am really new to crafting. When I’ve made more maybe I can price them up a bit more for putting on the etsy shop, once that’s set up. Not much higher though…

On the morning of the convention, I arrived at 9.30am with my friends Corinthia and Luke. We set up really quickly ’cause we accidentally arrived later than most others. I felt pretty embarrassed with my stock, as I felt like I hadn’t given myself enough time to create relevant items… and I was unhappy with the quality of the work – no change from usual then :)

badges

The giraffe badge was for me by my friend Vera, and the Espeon badge I bought from Amai Studio’s stall in Thought Bubble.

 

The first day was good, it mostly involved sitting at our shared table, talking to the occasional customer who walked by and browsed. Actually getting to walk around the convention was really exciting because there were so many stalls. There were three halls to explore, and lots of friendly artists. I bought a few presents for Christmas, comics, badges and stickers to send to people by post… I also bought a lot of stickers for myself.

cute sticker

I don’t normally buy lots of cute stuff, but I really like the way the hair was drawn :)

cute sticker

The colours are really nice too. I don’t want to stick these on anything though, I want to keep them…

I met a nice couple of people running a stall in another area, they had feminist slogans and quotes from TV shows on their items. I hope I can see them again! Not sure whether I appeared to be a crazy enthusiastic desperate person looking for companionship or just a nice artist person. Hopefully the latter.

lsp card

Here is one of their cards for sale… you can find more on their facebook page.

 

The second day was pretty much the same, with more meeting of nice people. Gemma Correll was selling at a table, but I was too shy to go up and tell her how great she is, maybe next time! I also was fortunate to get to meet Fiona of Fiona Creates, a cool illustrator who also put work in to Ladyquest zine. It was great to hear about her experiences setting herself up as a freelancer and I hope that with the motivation she gave me, I can work a little harder and progress too.

By the end of Sunday I had made about the same as my train fare in cash. Taking back £60+ from a shared table at a comic convention without actually having any comics to sell seems fairly good to me. I’m sure more established and better prepared people would make a lot more money, but I will try to prepare more next time and hopefully at the next opportunity my work will fit in better.

Hope you all don’t mind that this was quite a wordy post, I just thought I should document the weekend for myself and anyone who happens to be interested (I’m sure that reading this journal isn’t for everyone though, and that’s fine too).