Feb 28, 2006
These were close to what my final designs of the characters would have been. Strong geometric shapes versus strong colors. Warm versus cool. I've often felt that design in nature is a force in itself. And each force has an equal and opposite quality. So do our natural tendencies towards things. Of course I'm making wild assumptions here, based clearly on my own life.
Living in a constant state of contradictory as I do, I see that pattern crop up time and again. One day I feel emotinally strong, and yet I'll feel physically complacent. Or I'll have a great day of drawing, and my superpowers are in check, but for some reason I'm forgetful that day.
Naturally we're all seeking balance, seeking a pattern to fit in and mold around ourselves if not to become a part of. The same goes for design. Good versus Evil should be opposing forces, from the basics of the character's ideologies to the clothes they wear. That's rivalry. That's conflict. And conflict is story...which reminds me...I've got a screenplay to get back to.
Feb 25, 2006
Feb 24, 2006
Seriously though, I can tell if I don't go that I slip into patterns of weakness and shortcuts. Eventually the work takes on this exaggerated stylized approach lending itself to stiffer forms. Often times I'll find in the drawing sessions those moments of "AHA" the wrist doesn't work that way or the foot in perspective is more of a solid shape than a hunk of flesh with little digits.
It's to keep me in check and make sure I'm not cheating myself out of creating good art. Keeps me honest. And honesty is the best policy in my book. You can never live down cheating or lying, especially to yourself.
Feb 23, 2006
Feb 20, 2006
I enjoy architecture and industrial design. It's a whole other discipline but one that should never be foreign to the concept artist.
How can you not love it? It speaks to us in volumes and forms, and compositional mass. I don't know a lot about it, I don't have the background or education, but I can certainly deduce a lot just by looking. That's half the battle really. I walk around a lot of the times asking myself questions: "Why would they have done it that way?" "Was it because of the materials available at the time? The designer's personal style? Was it the era in which the thing was built, a direct reflection of the times? Or was it an engineering choice based upon necessary function?
And while I'm talking to myself in public, I also answer in third person.
I once read a couple of books from Dover Press The Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry. For someone who wants to understand the basis for many of our more complex processes in manufacturing and industry, I'd check them out. The simplicistic nature of the birth of machination and industrial design during the Age of Enlightment helped me to understand how many things work. Even if I don't get the details right, it's enough to push me to create convincing machines and environs.
Because really half the job of designing is to make something look believably functional. Otherwise you get nothing but cool fluff...and really who needs more of that?
Feb 17, 2006
Feb 16, 2006
Feb 15, 2006
The painting surprisingly turned out well, but I fell out of love with it's simplicity and painted over it.
I even had my sister sit for a couple hours on a warmer day. The painting was okay, but in the failing light and increasing cold she was starting to turn a blue that I was afraid to mix.
This here is the only other painting I decided to keep from that outing back home.
I really enjoyed painting in those elements because the finish seems unattainable and odd. You might question how that painting was produced and realize there was some bit of discomfort and elation giving rise to it's final rendering. I'm not sure I can do it now though. My hands freeze just running them under tap water. I've yet to find mittens warm enough to do the job, but the search goes on.
Feb 13, 2006
In stories a character is in most cases a reflection of the world they live in. Unless of course it's an alien and they're trying to make their way in unfamiliar territory. Still though, the audience has to find a way to connect with it, while it's finding ways to connect with it's environment. Even it's human, everyone at some point or another is finding their way.
That's why for me it's easier to come up with a character when I know what their mindset is. It usually gives me a frame of reference and starts me thinking down the path:"How did they get to this point? What was the biggest influence on their life?" When you start with the questions and can find the answers in the characters history, and the environment around them, then their personality starts to grow as they react to situations.
Maybe it's most helpful to writers this way, but as an artist it's integral to know what and why you're designing what you're designing. "Cool-looking" should be the by-product of everything else. If it doesn't look like your character can move in 2 tons of armor within reason, then it's not cool...it's just dumb. If a female character is basically a stripper with clothing obstacles in a dangerous hand-to-hand combat environment, then it's not "cool" so much as it's male-driven design. Which frankly as of late looks unimaginitive and pointless.
Shape and silhouette is another great tool to help design characters. It's based in part to the environment, personality and context of the story at hand. If you're designing more than one character it's important to keep their uniqueness in shape and silhouette to distinguish them at a glance. Much as it's important to not name characters with the same sounding name or same first consonant. Again something to think about.
Feb 12, 2006
More than being satisfied, I think I've succeeded in not sucking.
I did this alla prima which tends to put a lot of pressure on oneself to get it right. I certainly could have gone back into it again, but would the inspiration be the same or would I be overly concerned about destroying it? The bottom line, knock it out do another, and mark this as a good fence post in my growth as a painter.
Feb 11, 2006
The bad thing about painting from a color photo is the limited palette that cameras record. They, for all their ability do not see as many colors as the eye, not by a longshot. So you're left with a flattened interpretation of the color that might have existed. That's why it's always best to paint from life first. If you can at the very least knock out a color study, then shoot a black and white photo (or change it in a photo editing program to black and white) and use that as a value study.
If you want truer color look in the mirror and study the colors of your face under similar light.
In the end there are benefits to painting from a photo. One, your model doesn't move. Two, you can always adapt it and make it better.
But the camera lies some time. It tends to stretch and distort real anatomy. That's why having a strong foundation in life drawing is essential before considering photographic reference.
Still need to experiment more...but I need to paint more from life, lest I develop poor lazy habits.
Feb 10, 2006
Not being entirely satisfied with my first efforts and being just a little enthused by Scott's proposition of a Conan story, I belted this sketches out. There's something about doing Conan up a little more cartoony, like Batman animation style that intrigues me.
Bruce Timm did a wicked set of Conan sketches when he heard they were starting up the comic again. Somehow he got passed over, so what chance do I have?
Anyway...it's fun and we'll see what happens.
Feb 9, 2006
Same with the last one. Though...this second piece is even less drawn. I believe I just did one amorphous shape and filled in the details as such.
Weird how little information I really need to get the results I want. Leads me to believe that I'll thumbnail the whole book and from there go to finished ink by just looking at the thumbnail.
Next I'll try a sequential page to see if I'm full of it or not.
Feb 8, 2006
Everyone else just doesn't quite get it. It's my belief that such power and humanity imbued upon the barbarian by these two artists has set the bar all too high for the rest of us. Therefore a very narrow line exists in getting him just right. It's easier in fact to say someone has failed in their attempts because most if not all do!
You may disagree. I mean for all my sweat and man-hours I've failed just as much as the next guy. All I can work towards are levels of acceptibility. In my opinion three things need to be executed to even come close to acceptibility:
A) Conan is ugly. He's not a pretty man nor should ever be. But...he has to have loads of charisma. Enough to be a leader...a king.
B) Conan is a brute. He lives on the edge of animal instinct. He fights, kills and has sex within a narrow field of emotion.
C) Ultimately he's a man's man. He takes care of business outside of the norm and somehow pulls through. We'd love to be the marauder that he is, and should be able to identify with his prowess. We all wish we could be as strong and powerful as Conan...face it it's a fact.
These last two are old sketches from a few years back. The painted one feels closest to me. Closer to Buscema and Joe Jusko than anything. Joe's another good artist whose Conan is pretty good...with the emphasis on "pretty".
Feb 7, 2006
I'm not a big fan of driving but I really enjoy the sexiness of car design. I use to thumb through all the Muscle Car magazines and go to the Auto-rama in my hometown at the hockey arena. I just loved old cars.
The detailing and craftsmanship falls in line with that instinctual thinking for many, that curves are pretty to look at. They rile an animal instinct from within.
I could have benefitted by getting a better handling on vehicle illustration and design. Fortunately and unfortunately I had more of a passion to draw everything, rather than just one thing. Like fashion illustration, architectural rendering and comic books I figured I could work towards those specialties later.
Luckily drawing comics forces you to draw a little bit of everything.
This was something most Art Teachers did not see and overall thought it was a waste of my time. On some level they're right. I've spent more money on comics, and going to comic conventions than actually making money doing comics.
When do you fold and realize the pursuits are futile? When do you buckle down and decide to work harder believing that it's just a matter of time? I wish I knew the answer. But the bottom line is I have to keep doing what I enjoy the most. Whatever I'm drawing I try to give it everything I've got, even if I don't know what the heck I'm doing.