2017 Review; 2018 Plans

Hi all, hope everyone is having a great festive period, whatever celebrations it might entail.

I’m just taking a little time to do an ultra quick review & set a few art goals for 2018.

2017

  • My digital painting skills improved a lot; as did my understanding of things like values, how to use colour, general technical abilities/knowledge within Photoshop
  • I learned more about the requirements for being a concept artist in terms of skill and also how to approach and structure projects – thanks to the mentorship and also feedback I got from IW
  • I vastly improved my etsy shop but it still has a long way to go
  • I got a basic understanding of zbrush which I need to build on in the next year
  • I started a commission that was out of my comfort zone (still working on it, deadline is around new year ish) but still achievable
  • I completed some portfolio projects
  • I drew pretty much every day in some shape or form

2018

  • I want to finish my current portfolio WIP – a character design – female
  • I want to complete a male character design and a creature design project
  • I hope to do one or more courses either through Schoolism, Skillshare, Lynda (3D tutorials here), AJ’s mentorship again or some other platform
  • I am working on rebuilding my sketching confidence in traditional media and I want to continue to do this – this ties in with the sketching every day mentioned above
  • I would like to further diversify my work (within the loose bounds of concept art) – for example to design some weapons, maybe some form of vehicle (not necessarily sci fi but could be a fantasy vehicle which would be cool), different types of people and so on

I also want to be more focused and determined but since that’s not as tangible a goal as the above I’m not including it in that list, more keeping it in mind when I can. Non art related, personal and craft related goals of mine include setting up an occasional art/craft night, buying less plastic-bottled drinks and eating a bit more fruit and veg (not surprising to be featured in resolutions).

This is all I can think of at the moment but I think I’ll probably come back and add more to 2018!

Have a happy new year all, let me know your resolutions or share your blog posts here if you like 🙂

Elysia

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Autumn Review

I thought I’d provide a short update post on what’s been happening since Spring ☺️

  • Robotpencil mentorship: I took the plunge and took Anthony Jones’ character design class in August. It was a month long course with a fairly hefty amount of homework (which was a good thing but a bit difficult with various summer social goings-on occurring as well). I struggled a lot in the beginning trying to work out what I wanted to do, and what the best workflow would be, but after two weeks things started to make sense. I learned so much, had great guidance from AJ and awesome classmates. At the end of the mentorship I had a fairly finished project for my portfolio. I could also push it further and beef my portfolio more (this will probably happen)… Anyway, it was so useful and I definitely needed some guidance. I’d do it again, I hope I can; but first I need use all the valuable feedback I received and work on that. 
  • Industry workshops: With a couple of friends, I headed down to London for this event. It’s a three day event with demonstrations and talks from artists of many different disciplines (concept art, animation, 3D modelling, etc) within the games/entertainment industry. There were a ton of great talks, some of my favourites were a demo on procreate (iPad drawing app), an anatomy workshop by Scott Eaton, a talk on Marvellous Designer, Even Mehl Amundsen’s eye opening talk on armour design and more. On top of these things I also got some helpful portfolio feedback from Sumo Digital, Sam Hogg (artist at Playground Games and also alumni from the Robotpencil mentorship) and a bunch of friendly and extremely helpful artists from Creative Assembley. Thanks to these people I now have a ton of actionable feedback to work on; and a way better understanding of how to structure a better portfolio. 

These have been my two main events of the Summer, and as we move into Autumn and Winter I will be using what I’ve learned to study and produce some portfolio work. I’m currently working on another character design project based on the structure of the mentorship homework and adding in the tips I got specifically from CA.

Aside from this, in June I transitioned to a better part time job with more convenient working days and hours. It’s been better but I’m still going to start applying to art jobs more regularly once I have a couple more portfolio projects complete. I’m also keeping up with Japanese classes in the hope that I will achieve JLPT level 2 before I am thirty! In between all this I also do a bit of crafting but I try to make sure I don’t do too much and neglect my art. 

Spring Review

Instead of doing year long resolutions, I decided that I want to just keep reviewing my progress and setting new goals every few months. So, here’s a spring review! I wanted to do quarterly reviews, but I was abroad, so it’s late, and I don’t know the equivalent word for every ‘third’ of the year… (later: the word is tertiary!) Anyway, I’m still working on a lot of the things I posted in my most recent blog entry, so this shouldn’t be a super long post.

Side note which most of you probably know already: my blog is generally just me rambling, psyching myself up for art and giving myself to do lists, which is probably not of interest to many, but if anyone does enjoy it, I am glad 🙂

Since the end of last year I had been finding it a bit difficult to feel okay about painting/working on art skills, possibly because I put too much pressure on myself to do so, perhaps that caused my brain to associate it all with negative feelings?

Originally I had been using a spreadsheet to note down how long I spent on drawing/learning 3d etc. to get an idea of how much time I was dedicating to art. After about three months it began to feel a bit too much like a chore – this could have been due to work/life situation rather than the actual task itself – so I switched to a simple ‘did you draw today? Y/N’ spreadsheet. I made sure to keep drawing every day even when I felt really bad about it… but I decided to transition off of using the spreadsheet for the time being. Maybe the spreadsheet will make a comeback in future.

I think through continuing to draw every day and allowing myself to sometimes just noodle and explore, without any worry of what the finished image will look like, has helped me to overcome the weird anxiety I felt earlier in the year about art.

In August I took up learning to knit, which I think was because I felt bad about art. I used to knit more than I drew (ashamedly – not because knitting is bad, but because I should focus on art). Fortunately I have managed to shift the balance so that I can become much more engrossed in art and reluctant to stop painting.

I’m not sure if this experience constitutes art block, what do you think? Has anyone else had trouble with this? I hope I don’t struggle like this again although I’m sure it will happen again during my art life! In order to try make this blog post not totally self serving and navel-gazing, what are some solutions that you’ve come across?

I think the solutions I’ll be employing (should it happen again) are:

  • Putting less pressure on yourself
  • Experimenting with new media
  • Drawing things you’ve not tried before and not worrying about the results
  • Listening to gently motivating art (and non art) speakers on youtube (e.g. Bobby Chiu, Chris Oatley and Anthony Jones)
  • Just start drawing – even if it’s just one line, and seeing where you go from there
  • Even if you’re feeling like you are not doing well drawing, or don’t want to, during non-drawing life, observe the world around you and consider how light hits things, how different shapes/forms interact, how certain materials work with light differently, etc. and consider how this could be incorporated into your art
  • Learn about how other artists approach problems – e.g. through gumroad tutorials and free art stream videos on youtube – robot pencil have a bunch of videos on there offering loads of tips, also Sara Tepes shares a lot of info

Well, “art block”/art anxieties aside, things have been improving, and so let’s get on with the review of Jan-Apr 2017!

  • I started working part time and painting (and resting/organising/crafting) part time
  • I took on a new commission which is in the field of work I want to do and will hopefully work nicely for my portfolio
  • I decided that I do actually want to be a concept artist and that I should focus and stay determined no matter what (although to be fair I spend about 50% of my time having crises of faith – I will still keep drawing and pushing forward centimetre by centimetre)
  • I worked on some ambitious pieces which I feel pushed my skills further – still a long way to go, but progress has been made and I have learned from most if not all longer pieces that I’ve been working on
  • My friends at dirty casuals and I worked on the Odyssey Jam, a game jam based on Homer’s Odyssey. We made a 2D visual novel style game using the free engine Renpy, and I spent most of the time frantically sketching out backgrounds and messy looking characters. I had to leave the jam early due to my trip abroad but I feel like I learned a good deal and got to do stuff I don’t normally do (read: environments)
  • I went to Japan for two weeks which was inspiring art-wise, I drew almost every day (some days were a bit difficult – I’ll try keep up the every day thing though!) although a lot of my sketchbook bits were a real mess! Just playing around scribbling really
  • A couple of friends and I are thinking of going to the Industry Workshops in London this year – in September. My friend went last year and said it was amazing so I would really like to go and see what I can learn from it, and I’m sure it will motivate me further. If you’re going too, let us know!

I know this is a pretty wordy blog post and for an artist there are suspiciously NO images here – haha. If you’re interested you can actually see what I’ve been getting on with through my tumblr, which is the most up to date social media of mine. I’ve been meaning to update my Instagram and keep that up to date too, so that’ll come soon I hope! I also have my artstation portfolio, which admittedly has an assortment of generalist stuff on it since that was what my previous job entailed, but through the projects mentioned here and in the previous blog post, I’m working to update and replace a lot of the bits on there.

Well! I’m going to go after writing this mammoth post. I hope there was something of interest or use to you all at least somewhere peppered in this text! If not, well, it was a good exercise for me to write. I have work 4-6pm and then the cinema; I’m happy to say that part of me is sad I won’t be drawing during the time I’m at the cinema, but I am also looking forward to seeing my friends; and the film might be inspiring!

2016 review / 2017 intentions

Hi friends, this is a non-image post! Hope everyone had a great holiday period, celebrating Christmas, another festival, or just enjoying the cold weather and hot drinks… Today I just wanted to note down my thoughts on 2016 and set my main intentions/priorities for the new year. To all who visit my blog, thank you very much and have a Happy New Year!

2016 Review

  1. Improved in art – I think – learned a bunch of stuff about perspective (but need to implement this more within my work), I still have to keep pushing myself. I lost some momentum recently, initially I may have put too much pressure on myself to improve. I started keeping a time sheet since August to note down how much drawing I’ve been doing and what kind of drawing I did. Since August there have been 3 days where I haven’t drawn. I think I need to increase the amount of time I spend drawing, and try and aim towards spending more time working on fundamentals. Ideally, I’d love to have a mentor… I know there are friends and people online that I can ask. I should do that!
  2. Made 2 batches of soap
  3. Made 1 batch of body butter/moisturiser
  4. Learned to knit and made many hats, scarves and shawls, mainly as gifts
  5. Learned 3D modelling in Blender, and then quickly learned 3D modelling (and other bits like skinning and animating) in 3DS Max as it was required by my job
  6. Started to reboot my etsy shop – still a work in progress!
  7. Redid my portfolio – also a work in progress, I need to create some more specific and relevant pieces but it’s a lot better than it was!

2017 Intentions

  1. Art – Continue to draw every day, BUT also try where possible (not when exhausted from work etc.) to study something every time that I have a drawing session – e.g. noses, a type of animal, a material. Share with peers, ask advice, give other people feedback.
  2. Portfolio – work on specific projects to bolster my portfolio
  3. 3D – Learn zbrush and get to a level where I’m more comfortable in using it
  4. Japanese – catch up on my wanikani reviews and keep up
  5. Shop – continue to reboot my shop
  6. Knitting – Continue to progress and do so with a laid back, low pressure attitude.

All the business

Hey friends, it’s time for my quarterly (perhaps?) blog post, and here we go with all of my updates on all the things that have happened since my last post:

  1. I learned to knit, after I saw Vera’s post on her blog linking to a great knitting tutorial. I have knitted a handful of scarves, hats, and one cardigan. I’ve started a sock, but it was too advanced for me! So I will do a few more projects before I move on to the sock. I hope to make a sweater next, along with some Christmas presents. Right now I’m finishing off a chunky snood which I hope to complete within the next hour or so, so I can wear it in the increasingly cold outdoors of Wales! I’m excited to make some more colourful and complex projects in the future when I have a bit more experience and confidence.
  2. While knitting and drawing, I’ve been listening to a lot of HP Lovecraft audiobooks on youtube, along with other writers of a similar style and/or time period. They’re really inspiring and I’m trying to write bits and pieces for our game dev projects (such as the Wander universe) inspired by the stories. I am also interested in re opening my etsy store at some point and would love to make it semi-themed upon Lovecraft styled things.
  3. My colleagues and I worked really hard this past month on a VR demo which I hope I can share with you all at some point! I worked mainly on environment assets and putting the scenes together in Unity. I also tweaked character textures.
  4. This week I finally got a chance to try out Zbrush! I had already watched a little guide tutorial on it but had not yet entered the program. Once I eventually got round to it, the UI was initially confusing, with controls being very different to anything I’d experienced before, but it was fun and I hope to spend some more time on it, and bit by bit I hope I can build my skills. I set up my own Zbrush challenge to work on, once inktober is out of the way.
  5. I’m working on a couple smaller game dev projects with Dirty Casuals so I will aim to create a blog post about them once we have some more bits to show – I need to create some more art assets for those. One of the projects needs to be completely open source, so I will be sharpening up my Blender3D skills again to get the models done for that one!
  6. Artwise – I feel like I definitely made some big improvements in my work during the first half of 2016. In the past 2 months or so, perhaps due to having to crunch at work and being tired after all that, I feel like I have plateaued for a while. I was feeling demotivated and anxious about drawing. I forced myself to get into inktober more and try out different things while working on inktober pieces, and then somehow I found myself enjoying it again. I feel like through my inktober pieces, while I notice a lot of mistakes, I have improved again. I can identify where I went wrong in these short, casual drawings, and then I feel like if I want to make these into more polished pieces, I know what actions I would need to take in order to improve them. It feels great to not feel bad about my art again and I will push myself to keep drawing and experimenting. I will also try to continue with Draw A Box lessons, I recently completed the 250 Cylinder challenge so I need to press on with my next exercise, drawing a variety of shapes in perspective, intersecting one another. It’s a little daunting but I’ll try and break it down into smaller and more simple tasks until I’ve become accustomed to it.

Well, those are my super quick updates, I’ll get back to you all soon as I continue trying to do lots of art!

Elysia

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!

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.