Wander

It’s a misty quiet Sunday and I have spent a good portion of time working on bits and pieces; chores, cooking, Calamity (our game), artwork, Japanese…

Calamity is being wrapped up at the moment – for the moment – we are hoping to get it to a playable demo state, we will release it and then see… if there is any interest in it or if we feel some more rush of motivation for it, we will build on it. There isn’t too much art to be done on it, except for tweaking here and there. I wanted to have different characters with different hairstyles and face textures running around, but that may be quite a bit of work for the coders, and it will turn out to be quite a lot of work for me too, so for now we will leave that. I have started working on the different hair styles however. I’ll post on here when Calamity is done, anyway!

Recently I set for myself the project of finishing up a few bits for my updated portfolio. I don’t have any aims for sending it out anywhere, but I did notice that it was quite outdated and I wanted it to reflect my more recent game-focused work. So that’s done; I definitely want to improve it, though, so I am working towards that from now onwards.

Another project of mine has been to do some visual development for a possible future project with the Dirty Casuals, our game group. I am doing game design and concept art for Wander, which is essentially a wizard dating simulator. I will reveal more about it when it has been developed a bit more! I just want to get all the basic art style, characters, story, etc. solidified before I actually write about the game full on. But, I can share these pictures I have been working on!

1 point 5

Initial sketches for Wander. During June there was a game jam called ilujam on itch.io, which was for romance themed games. So I worked on Wander designs for ilujam. I didn’t get as much as I wanted done and will continue working on it! These are some of the characters. They are awaiting further development!

2

Here’s some more work on one of the characters. Having listened to some concept artists talking about their work, and reading articles on the way items, characters, worlds, etc. are designed, I think I can keep pushing these characters further. For example, this is only an initial impression of Bruna. Some questions that have just surfaced in my mind – how does her belt work? At the moment it’s just a band of leather. And how does her chain fit around her waist and stay there? How does her hair work – does she shave the rest of her scalp apart from a small amount that she puts into pigtails? Or does her hair just not grow in certain places, because she is undead? Perhaps she actually just attaches some hair onto her head for aesthetic purposes.

Depending on the level of detail I want our game to be, perhaps these things will need to be further developed, or perhaps simply the original impression of Bruna will be enough for a relatively small game. If anyone has any thoughts, please let me know!

3

Here’s another character who I have been thinking about. In the top left corner is the original scribble in which I tried to identify the character. Bottom left corner is the second bit of work I did for him. But after having completed that sketch I realised that again I was kind of taking shortcuts like with Bruna’s design. So I tried to force myself to think about other avenues I could take the character, from what his horn shape would be like and his hairstyle. I also got feedback from my team mates about which bits they preferred. I have started working on his outfits in a separate photoshop file, and will test out a few different costumes for him. I also want to define how his face looks as well since in the iterative sketches, the base face I’ve used is a bit more youthful, I think, than the original sketch. Once those bits are cleared up I will start sketching for his character portrait. Since it’s a 2D visual novel, and quite a small game, I will probably just have 1 or 2 full paintings of him in game.

wands

Taking a little side step, here, to mix things up for myself I decided to think about what each wizard’s wand would look like. It was a nice and productive diversion to working on Billy (the character above). These are again just initial sketches. I will colour them in again and then probably work on each one’s design a little more extensively – again, it depends on the level of detail the game will take as to whether I should spend a load of time on these bits or not.

Where am I going next with this? Well, I’m going to continue to develop the characters, their props and the school to. I have also started to write some of the dialogue. If you’re interested in following the project, you can do so through my tagged posts on my tumblr or through the dirty casuals twitter feed.

This was a pretty useful post for me as I felt like I needed to write down some of my process and the questions arising from the character designs (especially Bruna). I hope that it can be of some interest to others. I am trying to push myself to thinking more about the DESIGN of things more as well as trying to improve my fundamentals, 3D work and so on. There’s a long way to go.

Anyway, thanks for reading xx

self manifesto

It’s been a year since I started working in the games industry, and during this time I’ve started to look at my work more critically. I want to improve my fundamental drawing skills and I hope that in a few more years I can specialise in visual development/concept art. So, a month ago or so I started to think about creating a little manifesto for myself – after talking with a coworker who wanted to clone himself for productivity and make a manifesto for his clones.

I’m generally wary of things like new year’s resolutions and drastic measures so my manifesto is a little gentler and pretty flexible. I’m still working on it as I know I need to factor in my job and also time to ‘relax’ (ha ha ha).

At present I already make a point of drawing almost every day (usually every day unless there’s some giant social commitments like weddings to attend… actually I drew at the last wedding I went to) and have managed to keep up with some Japanese. If I have a weekend free I will spend at least a day working on digital art related things (illustrations, masters study, photo study, artwork for our games) and I feel like I learn a lot during these days. Still, there’s a colossal amount more to learn and there always will be!

Things I want to do:

  • draw every day
  • try to work on 3DS Max tutorials a little each week
  • work on video game projects with the dirty casuals every weekend during which I’m not travelling around the UK
  • keep up with Japanese revision
  • Japanese grammar study either in class or at home when I have no class

Things to play around with sometime:

  • mech
  • male characters
  • architecture
  • material studies (feather, honey, skin, etc.)
  • facial features studies
  • knitting
  • find the motivation to do drawabox.com in its entirety (cannot put this in the above list yet because I do not yet trust myself to fight on with this project!)
  • zbrush
  • water in landscapes
  • interiors – 3d space – perspective

enter title here

This post has been a long time coming. Well, four months later here we are… I have a lot of stuff to update you all on so as is custom it’ll be another bunch of headers with writing about things that may interest approximately two people (parents).

Calamity

Our indie game dev project went on hold for a little while because my programmer teammate Boomer was working on a separate project (one which I did some commissioned work for anyhow!), but luckily last weekend we were able to spend the whole time game jamming. Our group of 3 also grew to 4 when we successfully coerced my landlord/coworker programmer into joining the project. We made quite a lot of progress during the weekend and you can see it in the youtube video below… we plan to game jam again soon too!

Regarding all the art assets for the game, I’m slowly trawling through them; there is a ton of work so I need to reassess the situation and work out all my priorities. The main things that really should be done are the player and monster models, with animation. I have been putting it off for a while though, since for a long time my modelling skills weren’t up to the task. Now I think I could probably pull it off, but have been postponing beginning since it’s such a daunting task. Tonight I’ll probably stick to some little jobs for Cala.

Work

Since starting at my work place I have learned a whole load of new things… and recently I’ve become a lot more confident with 3D modelling. I feel able to model and texture regular assets for our game when needed, and I also started helping out with character modelling. I’m still learning how to be more efficient in my working methods – but I’m enjoying the process of making things. Today I finally learned about cloth simulations in Blender3D and it was a bunch of fun.

Soap

Since my last post I have made two batches of soap – one peppermint and one strange concoction in which I ended up not following a recipe… it ended up smelling like cake? I used honey, vanilla and chamomile. My friends have been testing out the soap and it’s gone well! The 2nd batch is just about ready for testing. Once I’ve used up more of it I’ll start on a 3rd batch!

Band

I’m in a band with my friend Stu. I’m super rusty at saxophone and I have no keyboard at home so I can’t practice the keys so much… I will hopefully be able to buy a keyboard soon so I can be better!

 

That’s all for now – just a quick update on my projects! Hope you are all well!

Updates, Christmas, Artists to look at

Hi friends, as usual it’s been a while. I thought I’d share some updates on my projects, plus some sketches I did today, and a list of artists who were recommended by Audrey Kawasaki on some instagram account (an online art gallery? I can’t remember which) – I wanted to list them to share the awesomeness of these artists, but also I want to make sure I don’t lose their names!

Updates

  • CalamityNow that I have an OK level command of 3D modelling and texturing, I’m starting to go through the old models that I made while learning 3D, and I am remodelling and texturing them. I am also building up a test level as I go. We are hoping to apply to show our game at indie games development conventions so I will let you all know more as time progresses. I’m also updating our game’s redbubble shop with stickers and other bits.
  • Music: I finally picked up my saxophone after a long time (years) of not playing. I am going to attempt to be in a band. We had our first meeting yesterday, so I will need to work out pieces to play for each song, and I must get back up to speed with playing and sounding OK at least. More information about this as it develops!
  • Job: Work’s going well, we’re currently making a rally style racing game which will be released in March 2016!
  • Craft: I’m hoping to start crafting again. I would like to give my little shop a renewal at some point, so that I can get sewing again. I’m feeling really inspired by thebeastpeddler on tumblr, I have bought myself one of their plushies! Please check them out if you like cute, dark plushies.
  • Painting: In my spare time I have been trying to keep up with digital painting. I have been working on more finished pieces, as I usually end up just sketching stuff quickly so that I can post it faster. I must be more patient! You can see my latest painting below!

digitally created painting of a male character with 2 horns and purple skin, with a background of flowers (possibly carnations)

Christmas Sketches

I wasn’t going to send Christmas cards, but then I got a few, so I made these quick cards to give out. I made some spares in case, too:)

Artist List

CALAMITY

Hey friends,

As you may have already read, I’ve been wading through blender3D, learning how to make 3D models. I’m still a beginner of course, and if you want you can always follow my progress on tumblr:)

I started learning 3D both for my job and also because I wanted to work on an indie game dev project with my friends. Now, it’s underway! So I want to introduce you to Calamity. If I had to describe it shortly I would say something along these lines: Low poly 3d hide and seek multiplayer with monsters. Be the last one standing. It’s set in a boarding school and you play a student. We’re making it using the game engine called Unity, which is also what I use back at work.

Here's a little Calamity-related sketch that I made recently, just while I was thinking of what kind of 2D art I want to put in the game - e.g. for menus, logos, etc.

Here’s a little Calamity-related sketch that I made recently, just while I was thinking of what kind of 2D art I want to put in the game – e.g. for menus, logos, etc. I actually played with making a mini redbubble shop for stickers and fun Calamity related things.

I would say that we’re still in the early stages of development, but I thought I’d like to share with you all a few bits and pieces. I’m working on it with Boomer and Mikey. Boomer’s the programmer, Mikey’s our music man and I’m the artist. I’ll be dealing with all 3D stuff and 2D artwork too.

So far, I’ve made some sketches and a handful of 3D models to put in the game, e.g. a desk, chair, book, etc. which you can see below.

book

For some reason this book took me ages to work out. I just couldn’t think of a smart way to make a simple book object. I thought about it a lot overnight and then I realised how easy it would be after all. 

desk

A school desk for our students. Perhaps we should give the high school a name?

I’ve intentionally kept them simple, since I’m still learning! I’ve started the model for the player character, but of course it’s taking a little longer to do since it is more complex and will need to be animated in the future. I am using this tutorial series on youtube to learn how to do it.

Calamity Player Character Work in Progress

Our student protagonist – well, there will be a number of students to choose from hopefully – a base body, which I will next unwrap and texture. Then, we will have custom heads with different hairstyles, I hope ^_^

Not all of my models and bits have been implemented in the game, but I will still try get some videos and screenshots to share with you on my next Calamity related post!

I feel excited about it all and want to spend tons of time on it, even though I do find it difficult since I am learning so much new stuff… I’m trying to make sure however that I balance my free time well so that I don’t burn out since work’s pretty busy until March or beyond. My plan is to get lots of bits done that I can eventually improve when I know more.

I’ll keep working at it slowly but surely, and I hope to share my progress with you all. If anyone has any questions though feel free to ask!

Annihilation

Hi friends,

I’ve been reading a book called Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. I don’t know how to define it by genre, but it seems to be sort of scifi and ‘spec fic’… I’m really enjoying it and I want to recommend it!

“The book describes a team of four (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) who set out into an area known as Area X. The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest of civilization. They are the 12th expedition. The other expeditions have been fraught with disappearances, suicides, aggressive cancers, and mental trauma.” – Wikipedia

You might know that I struggle with my art because I have lots of ideas yet end up just drawing my generic figures and portraits. But with this book, I can imagine all kinds of scenes/compositions and I want to draw them! So, I started.

fan art drawing in sketchbook from a book by jeff vandermeer, annihilation. sketch of woman standing in the middle of a campsite

colour fanart of book by jeff vandermeer called annihilation. woman standing in the dark in the rain, in a campsite, looking upwards

Also, I listened to Florence + the Machine’s song Landscape which also reminded me of the scenery and personality of the main character. There’s also a lighthouse featured in the book.

Well, today’s is a short post, hope you like the wip. I want to paint it more. Just wanted to get the composition down this evening. See you soon and if you’re interested please definitely read the book and let me know what you think! Or recommend some books to me:)

Elysia

my 3d journey

Hi friends,

It’s been a while, as always! I have been thinking for the past couple of weeks that it is probably time to check back in again over here…

I’ve always been a 2d artist, and my drawings have also looked very 2d – I avoided using perspective in my work because it was daunting and all very organised, unlike my messy sketches.

But, if I didn’t already mention, I need to get a handle on (of?) 3d art for my new job. I also have been wanting to learn how to make 3d models for a while! So perhaps since a month or more ago, I’ve been doing short tutorials on blender. All of them are free on youtube! Mostly I followed a tutorial series by Jacob Lewis to learn the basics of the UI and then I did lots of little tutorials by Manuel Graphics. If you want to learn and are a bit nervous about it, I really recommend downloading Blender 3D (it’s free) and doing some of these tutorials to get started.

image of a 3d model hot air balloon above the sea with a blue sky

I’ve been putting my 3d stuff on a new tumblr I made – also I’ve been reblogging on to my main tumblr too – to keep track of my progress. If you have any suggestions, or perhaps even any questions, please let me know.

So far I haven’t done that much 3d stuff in my actual job, as I have been mostly doing visual development and game design for upcoming games and then working on environments for another more developed game in Unity (a free game engine – you can build games using it), which I am also learning to use… but, I think as I learn more I will be able to become more useful at my job.

image of a 3d model nintendo ads game console in pink with a grey background

AND, if you want to do art related things in the games industry, I would recommend both learning 3d modelling in Blender (or another program like 3DSMax) and getting acquainted with Unity.

In other news…

Some of my 3d stuff I’m making is for a small indie game project which I will give more information on soon! That is, when I’ve gotten my act together and produced more assets…

I have a giveaway at my tumblr! Please join in by reblogging/following if you would like and are on tumblr… Or, if you are on wordpress and want to join, please leave a comment telling me about a new skill you want to learn – make sure you enter your email or a way for me to contact you when you do comment, though.  I would really appreciate it, otherwise it may end up me just having a prize draw among my real life friends! The prize is an item from my shop, whatever you like.

artist giveaway of 1 item from the shop, ending sept 7th 2015

I will try to do more giveaways in the future.