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!

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SS17 Project List

Well, I have a bunch of projects I’m working on, plus some upcoming ones, plus some dreams of future challenges and portfolio developments. So, I’m going to make a little list for myself and anyone else who happens to be interested! I’ll divide them up into sections; since my desired project list is pretty long!

My motivation from last summer, which kept at a low simmer throughout autumn and winter (thanks to burn out, I think?), has reignited somewhat; so I want to take advantage of that and push myself more once again to learn and improve on my artwork.

Before the new year I had lower levels of motivation. I made sure to draw pretty much every day and tried to work on some projects, so that was good; but now I’m back to normal I want to make better use of my free time and put in more hours – hopefully consistently from now on.

In progress list updated 26th May 2017 – progressing well!

In Progress

  1. Character Design – Portfolio work – designing an elf bard healer. So far the general costume is done. To do; some hair/facial sketches, expressions, prop design, additional details added to further customise her character and of course some notes and development of her story which should affect all aforementioned bits.
  2. Character Design – Practice/Portfolio – Design creature body (blue skin) – finish shade and highlight, create some variants on hold while I work on more pressing projects
  3. Character Illustration – Practice/Portfolio – finishing off a painting adapted from a character sketch. Background needs finishing. Potentially can develop character from this illustration on hold, potentially to repaint!
  4. Logo Project – working for a logo for a friend, non-portfolio – short term task finished!
  5. Character design commission – turnaround style design – commission for a friend, currently over halfway complete, highest priority finished!
  6. Sketch cleanup – I started painting an alien for fun, it turned out to go well since I was enjoying myself, I’m gonna clean him up a bit and put him in my portfolio 🙂 finished!

 

2D Art – Priority – Character work

  1. Expressions Challenge
  2. Pose Challenge – 50 sketches
  3. Foreshortened/Action Pose Challenge – 50 sketches
  4. Couple/Group Pose Challenge – 25 sketches
  5. 14 Animals in 14 Days Challenge
  6. Design characters for the dusty library project – Started, but probably want to go back and do more iterative sketches of the characters as I did not do that enough.
  7. Draw a box – Started working on it again! Finally completed the exercise that scared me, and felt like I made progress! Doing a little bit each day.
  8. Art Improvement Hell Challenge – I got to #7 or #8!
  9. Design characters from a book – perhaps Annihilation (Jeff Vandermeer)?

Game Dev

  1. Odyssey Jam – March ish, 2D story game jam with my friends at Dirty Casuals. As it’s a jam, and a fairly short period of time, I’ll unlikely come up with super polished pieces, but it will be a good exercise in sharpening my skills, experimenting and probably painting a ton of things I wouldn’t normally paint! Done! Find it here.
  2. Zbrush Lessons – I want to make a point of making a concerted effort to learn Zbrush within 2017. I will do this! And it will be fun! – Started working little by little in Zbrush and feel a bit more comfortable using the controls and understanding how sculpting works!

 


I was going to have a section on craft, but I’ve decided now that I want to keep this art focused – as that’s where I want to direct most of my learning energy. I will use crafting (knitting etc.) when I need to take breaks from artwork. I’m also trying to work on taking my sketchbook out with me (rather than my knitting) and using that during my free time instead.

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!

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!

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.