Another challenge in developing the artwork for Constellations are the eyes. Being that the constellations should appear to be glowing in the night sky, the color I'm adding is actually the light, not the shadow. This is a huge departure in the way I normally work. Usually when you work with pencil on paper, you're shading in the darkest parts of the image, and leaving the brightest parts of the image the color of the paper. This is the opposite.
This means that when drawing the eyes, my instinct was to go in and lay the most color down on the pupil( the darkest part of the eye) and leave the color of the background for the glint of light bouncing off the eye. But when using inverted shades, this makes the eye appear to be blind!
With 36 unique star patterns included in the upcoming game Constellations, I've had to come up with a way to streamline my illustration process. Creating a glowing, monochromatic design is something I had never approached before in my drawings, and it's something I foolishly believed would be like any other drawing. But without color to help break up the image, each figure is defined solely based on shading and linework. This forced met o come up with some unique designs that rely heavily on the silhouette (a word I still have trouble spelling and always will) of the subject.
An instantly recognizable silhouette helps me get away with keeping the detail work limited to one color. Bearing in mind the final artwork will be printed on 3 1/2 inch cards meant to be viewed from a table's distance away, it's vital to communicate as much to the viewer as possible at a glance!
After a bit of reworking to fit the design into a square orientation for the card, I'm able to finalize my linework and start adding the shading.
Places on the drawings where I would normally use color to break up the character, I had to rely on shading and value shifts to get the point across. For instance, where Cetus's top and underbelly meet, I would normally use a color shift from a light greyish-yellow to a deep blue-black. For Constellations, I approached this color shift by always shading one side of the linework more than the other. This gives the edges dimension and weight when they would otherwise feel empty.
If you want to see the entire process of shading in Cetus from sketch to final, you can check out the process video here:
One fast-n-dirty trick I use to give my drawings added interest is overlaying hand-made textures in the design. Once I have a drawing finished and the colors figured out, I spend a bit of time integrating textures from my personal texture bank in the image. The difference can be subtle, but I think it helps give my work a more traditional feel, which can sometimes get lost when I'm working exclusively digitally.
While there are lots of great resources for textures out there (Lost and Taken is one of my favorites, CG Textures can be great as well), when I'm making a big piece that really showcases the textures, I like to make my own. There are a bunch of different ways to do this and many involve raiding your basement for garbage and papers you forgot about. One of my favorite effects can be achieved by grabbing some wood stain and card stock of the shelf and taking them to a *well ventilated* area.
I used a paper towel to spread the stain over card stock and plain old construction paper (I like construction paper because it already has a soft, pulpy look to it). I take a saturated piece of paper towel and sweep over the card stock in small circles. Since wood stain is generally made for wood the paper absorbs it very quickly, so it's best to try to cover as much ground as you can before re-dunking your paper towel. I find that patting off the excess stain before touching your working paper helps keep the stain even over the paper.
Small circles keep the whole paper looking cohesive and prevents long streaks in the pattern. I start in the corners and pull the stain out from there, that way the edges are the darkest point. This helps give the texture a more naturally-weathered look.
I find that using lighter papers work best when you're using multiple shades of stain; the different colors in the stain tend to get lost on a darker construction paper or card stock. Darker paper works when you're using only one shade of dark stain like walnut, and the darker paper also takes well to flecking.
I'll be putting together a more detailed tutorial in the coming weeks, along with a set of textures to download, so keep an eye out!
I have been *super* busy as of late working on the upcoming Constellations game from Xtronaut, which means I have been rudely neglecting my own blog. However, I DID manage to find time to squeeze in a demo for a children's book for an author in my neighborhood.
Prince Peter Ponce is a children's book from author Maria Sundy. I had an opportunity to work with her ideas and pull together some illustrations for the project. It was a great experience as I grow my body of work and build a consistent portfolio for future clients.
There are a lot of steps that go into building a children's book; from outlining the basic structure of the book, providing sketches for layout and content, and adding color to really bring the pieces to life. While I have developed outlines for books of my own, Maria's story gave me the opportunity to approach the design with an end-client in mind.
I experimented with two different coloring techniques; a flat version and a shaded version. By providing to tiers of coloring levels, I can better manage my time when tackling a big project like an illustrated book. I know what level of detail to deliver, and the client knows exactly what to expect from me.
I have been very eager to introduce my latest project, and this week we've finally reached a point that I can start to share some of the awesome work I've been doing lately!
For the past few weeks I've been diving into the world of Board Game development with the project Constellations. The game is from a company called Xtronaut; an education-oriented company whose mission is to teach real space science and inspire kids to pursue careers as rocket scientists and astronauts, and many other amazing opportunities in space science. And how do they inspire such ambitious goals? Through games, of course!
I've already learned so much more about stars - from spectral types and magnitudes to mythology. I expect it won't be too long until I can navigate home when I'm lost at sea simply by looking up on a cloudless night. My goal is to pass this seafaring talent onto you once you pick up your own copy of the game (just kidding I can't sail, don't pick me for your post-apocalypse team based on my ability to sail).
Our Kickstarter is launching March 24th!
Follow the Facebook page here.
I've been reall getting into the habit of recording my drawings; paintings and doodles alike. Sometimes I delete them right after I make them because they're lame, sometimes I completely forget about them and they just sit there taking up space on my hard drive, but *sometimes* when the planets align in just the right way, I actually like them and remember to upload them to YouTube.
I've been pretty busy these past few weeks with holidays and an upcoming project I'll surely tell you about in the coming weeks. Luckily, I remembered to hit record while I was drawing this weird little abstract dragon thing, so I still ahve something to share this week.
In case you haven't noticed, I've been building a bit of a navigation system over on the right of this blog. I figured it's getting to be high time that I establish a list of my social network pages, and other places I post content. If you're so inclined, you can check out additional timelapse drawings on my Youtube channel, and even subscribe so you can get 'em as I make 'em.
Here's a close-up of the finished dude. I went into this sketch with no idea at all as to what I was going to draw, so the video is showing my whole thought process for a "blowing-off-steam" type of sketch. Hilariously, I don't think I saved the actual final product of this pic for some reason, so in order to get the picture below, I actually had to screenshot the recording of my drawing. You can essentially get the same effect by pausing the video above.
Happy New Year! It's January now so I'm back from break and feeling hopeful about 2017! The new year has me in an optimistic mood about being more organized, practical and task-oriented. I even went so far as to make a fun little weekly calendar for keeping track of lists. If you too are feeling the "fresh-start-get-organized" 2017 vibes, you're welcome to use this print-out on your fridge/classroom/lair:
But making over-the-top calendar stationary to write lists on isn't all I've been up to! I'm currently working on a *top secret* Kickstarter project with an Out-Of-This-World team of game makers. You can expect to see some new illustrations trickling into this page in the coming weeks, but until the campgin is released I'll ahve to keep you in suspense!
Heads up! If you're looking for my Christmas Process Video, the link to the Youtube Upload is over on the right sidebar thingy! And you can scroll down a post to see more info about the card.
But this week I'm not talking about that.
Here is a Lizard City side project I've been working on! I've been focusing a lot lately on brushing up on my 3D modelling skills using the Lizard City world as my testing ground. So for this project, I took on the (yet to be named) llizard character's ever-important generator wagon. Above is the concept sketch I used to base my model.
To start, I made a collection of lightbulbs. This was to get a feel for the hand-painted textures I am using for the model, and also because The lightbulbs on the generator really help give it the character I'm looking for, so I wasnted to make sure they were right.
The wireframe below shows you how the final model came together. I had to make some adjustments to the original sketch, some for practical reasons (the stem of the lamp going up through the lamp shade... it turns out lamps don't really work like that) and some for aesthetic reasons (I exaggerated the lip of the generator body to hold more lightbulbs and make the silhouette a bit more funky).
I had a bunch of different diffuse (color) maps for this one... I haven't really worked out if it's better to have one giant diffuse map, or a bunch of smaller ones? The wires are just flat panels with the detail painted on the front on a transparent PNG.
And finally, here is the 3D model turntable. It is turning way too fast. And it' also spinning the wrong way. But I will wait to re-upload it because it takes too long to render:
I got my Moo Christmas Cards in the mail yesterday and I am SO THRILLED. Now I just need to round up addresses and I'll be sending them out! Designing this year's card took a lot of sketching, rejecting, resketching, and re-rejecting until I finally came up with a solid idea. I felt it would be a shame to just throw all those rejects away, so I'm going to share them with you.
If you were linked here from the back of my Christmas Card, you're probably looking for the process video coloring of the final card. Here's the video below:
I recently snatched up a "Learn Unity" online course from Udemy on a Black Friday Sale, and I've really been diving into it. For the second section of the course, we were asked to create our own text adventure game. It's just a basic choose-your-own-adventure type story with a black background and no graphics (I'm sure it sounds thrilling), but it helped me understand some fundamentals in Unity that I'll be using in the future to build my own more complex project down the road.
You can view this little crazy text adventure here, BUT: this game will only be like for 30 days! Udemy provides a temporary host service for Unity projects to share with students/the world. I have yet to uncover a permanent solution to hosting Unity projects on the web, the best I've come up with is to link to a download page.
I was excited to try out a writing-based challenge because it gave me a chance to start fleshing out the world and mood of lizard city a bit more. It also got me thinking about making a small-scale Lizard City game in Unity! What I found intriguing about the text adventure was that the player was really compelled by their own curiosity. There isn't a set goal, expect vaguely to "get to Lizard City" But the player doesn't know anything about this place or why they want to go there, and that means it's very easy to get distracted from that goal. I would like to explore the concept of distracting the player for a fuller Lizard City game in the future.
Also: Ah! Sorry I missed last week! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, I drew a creepy turkey to celebrate: