Monthly Archives: November 2013

Malmö Sketch Jam

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Hi there! I’ve attended the weekly Malmö sketch jam tonight, and it was awesome! When I got home I decided to close down my thread (or at least abandon it and make one last post) on CA. I don’t feel like that place is where I wanna be, or that it’s affecting me in a good way whatsoever. It just feels hollow and elitistic. I don’t wanna spend any time there when I have the opportunity to hang out at sketch jams IRL or attend the croquis class every week. So FUCK THAT SHIT, yeah!

Also, work is nice atm. I’ve been on this game studio for almost three months now, and I’ve finally starting to feel like things are not as chaotic as when you start a new job. I really like my team and our project, and I can’t wait until I can tell you about it ^_^/

Nude People!

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2nd Oct

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9th Oct

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25th Oct

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6th Nov

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20th Nov

I may not have painted and drawn in front of the computer like I used to, the past two months, but I’ve attended a night class of croquis, ha! I’ve spent ten hours drawing naked models now, and it finally seems like I’m making some well deserved progress. It’s great fun and time just flies when I’m there. The models don’t hold a pose for more than five minutes at a time, and it’s nice they have such different body types. I just wish there would be a male model to paint every now and then.

Feels awesome to have some IRL drawing going on. I don’t feel like I’m trapped like when I’m in front of the computer, painting in Photoshop. Next week I’m also gonna start attend a weekly sketch jam here in Malmö! Apparently the concept artists from Massive (a game studio) and some art students get together at Starbucks and draw a couple of hours every Tuesday. Everyone’s welcome. Asked the artists on my game studio this week, and they said they felt like joining me for the sketch jams. Looking forward to next week!

Some New Art

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Just some more art for my “learning to draw” project. The truth is I haven’t had that much time and energy to draw lately, as some of you might have noticed (according to my blog statistics there’s a bunch out there following what I post). Reasons are I’m busy with my new job, and I’ve had 4 flues in two or three months. Also, my Internet connection has been really crappy so I can’t draw and listen to music and documentaries at the same time, like I used to.

But one of the main reasons I haven’t drawn so much is that to be honest I’ve grown kinda tired of places like Conceptart.org and Deviantart. They seem like elitistic small group where you have to praise certain individuals or paint in a specific style. If you (like me) have a full time job on the side you are “not devoting yourself to art” and is sometimes considered lazy, which I find depressing. Art is my hobby, and that’s how I want it to be right now. I actually worked as a stand-in artist two weeks ago at the game studio. Fun, but very very challenging to texture 3D objects and paint interface and icons. I learned a lot, and it was an interesting insight to what the day to day life as a video game artist is like. But right now I don’t wanna work with my hobby, or have my hobby as work.

But the thing that has stopped me from creating like before is that each time I sit down in front of the computer and open up Photoshop and stare at the screen and try to paint I feel trapped. I feel like I’m in some sort of mental prison. Like I don’t wanna spend my life sitting here, in front of my desk, doing 2D that only lives inside the computer. Hard to explain, but that’s how I feel right now. Been like this for two months now.

About Creativity Part 1

“When we are kids, we have lots of amazing experiences all the time, but we want stuff. When we are grown up we have plenty of stuff, but we crave new and exciting experiences.”

 

Candy for Breakfast

I don’t remember who said this, or if it’s even written down the right way, but I remember once reading something like this on Twitter, ironically enough. It really hit me close to home. I remembered how I as a kid had all these super cool moments where I experienced things that were new and almost magical. Going on a field trip could be full of awe and joy. Fishing with my family was a wonderland of fun. Visiting a super market was super exciting! It was like everything was new and shiny and I lived very much in the moment. This was nice and all, but as a kid what I really wanted and what I valued was stuff like candy and toys. Christmas and birthday were truly the two best days every year, and I fantasized of the day when I was a grown up and could buy all the candy in the world. I would have candy as lunch and breakfast, every day for the rest of my life. Here I am, 15 years later, not eating candy for breakfast or spending all my hard earned money on radio controlled cars (well, to be honest I do got a small helicopter, but that’s another story). So what happened, and when do our dreams and what we appreciate change?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. To be fair I have been trying to put down this in text or a drawing so many times lately. All this is like a big mess of thoughts and reasoning, tangled into a lot of stuff. I can’t guarantee this post won’t be a bit messy or hairy, but I’ll try to share something that’s been very important to me lately.

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This comic is so smart, on so many levels. Borrowed from Explosm.net

People tell you that when you grow up, it’s part of the process to realize you are not in fact immortal. You also have to deal with realizing that you won’t be a famous rock star or super model or an astronaut or something else you unrealistically dreamed of when you were a kid. We change, and so do our dreams with us. I think that was we grow older and are able to think of our lives as a series of moments in time, we are able to more quickly start feeling like not all experiences are equally fun and fantastic. I’ve been spending a lot of time together with a 1,5 year old boy this summer, and it’s very fascinating to see how he is truly living in the present. He doesn’t really have any grasp of the future beyond a few hours and is able to entertain himself for hours on end by shaking a box of crayons. He is having more fun and exciting moments every day than I have in a week. And I believe this is the way it should be. His brain is still growing and trying to make sense of the chaos that is the everyday world around him. If you have only existed a year on this planet almost everything is guarantied to be new and exciting! Watching him made me think about how I spend my own time. It made me think, like, a lot. I have grown older I have kinda become used to the wonders and amazement of life and this world.

Because I do think that only the fact we are alive on this planet, orbiting a nuclear star in the middle of nowhere in the Universe, is some kind of fucking wonder. The fact that all my ancestors from amoebas to fish to monkeys managed to stay alive for long enough to breed and finally create me is a miracle. I think it’s so creepy is fucking epic that the atoms in my brain ever had the chance to assemble right here, right now, and could write you this post on a computer running on energy created out of nothing in a big explosion billions and billions of years ago! To be alive and breathing is a miracle, maybe the odds are so small for this it’s never possible for my tiny human brain to understand it. I’m not sure about what sounds more creepy; what if are totally alone in the Universe, or if there’s billions like us out there? We just haven’t made contact yet. The price you pay for existing is to die. One day we will all die, and that’s part of life. But I think it’s better to die than to never exist at all. But let’s not make this a depressing one!

 

I Have A Problem

“We are the first species in history to become ghosts before we die” as a commentator on the TED talk “Life In The Digital Now” writes. He is referring to how people today are more and more like zombies when we are connected to the Internet at all times. When people sit at the bus, they look at their smart phones. When you go to a party where you don’t know most of the people and you become nervous a lot of people start playing with their phone instead of seeking contact. When you are on a vacation you might be so busy updating your Instagram with “feet in front of the pool” photos you might not even have the time to be in the moment, actually enjoying your vacation. Did that photo you posted n FB “only get” five likes, and suddenly you might feel like your great night out maybe wasn’t so great after all?

I’m not saying that technology is always bad and that things were better “back in the days”. The brain has a funny way of making us forget about most of the bad or boring stuff that happened and only let us remember the best parts (or the truly awful traumatic experiences we had). That’s nice, but it also makes us more prone to nostalgia.

I have a problem with how some things seem to be designed and made up just to keep your mental bandwidth occupied. Not to add something to your life, but to keep you just enough entertained or distracted from doing all the things you dream of doing, or helping you procrastinate. As I see it, Internet and the way we are able to access it today is the perfect enabler of procastrinating. It never runs out of content, it’s always there for you and you never have to leave your house to get hold of all that material, it just flows to your fingertips and into your head.

The excellent blog “Wait But Why” have written two great articles on why people procrastinate and what you could do about it. 

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If you have a difficult and murky task at hand, it’s very easy to start doing other “more important” things if you are a procrastinator. Like surfing FB or reading news online or hanging out on Reddit. Image belongs to Wait But Why.

Information Overload/Filter Failing

One of my friends once said “there is no such thing as information overload, it’s called filter failing”. I think there is an important difference between too much information and not being able to sort out what’s relevant for you, and how you should digest and process it. I believe it’s a bit like today’s problem with junk food. The human body has adopted to a scarcity of food over thousands of years. Now we suddenly have too much food, but our instinct is still to eat all we can, and especially fat and sugary food since it’s packed with energy. But our lifestyles have changed, we (most of us in the Western world) don’t need to fight for food or spend the majority of your time finding something to eat. It’s almost the same thing with information. The brain is almost addicted to information, since being able to process and understand and notice the world around us have made us understand and predict our world. Our brains want information just as our bodies wants as much calories as possible. So how do we know what’s enough, when both food and information is available at all times?

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Mind map when trying to grasp what it is that I’m really trying to say about this topic. Had to sensor some work related secret stuff, sry.

I know this is a very complex topic, and I’m not even sure I could make some clear point with this, but hopefully I will be able to follow my train of tough sooner or later. Feel free to comment or discuss if you ever think about this stuff. I have previously tried to summarize some of my thoughts around “always online” and “wasting time online” here & here. I’m not saying technology is bad in itself, but I’m struggling on how to find a good way to use some of it. Too much and it feels like I’m not living a real life, and too little and I feel isolated. Went without FB and Twitter for a week this month, and after a while I almost forgot they even existed.

Anyways, back to thinking more about this in my man-cave, see ya!

Forest Guardian

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The forest guardian. It walks the forests at dusk and dawn, driven by its very own reasons. It is nor good or evil, it has its own mysterious will. It’s also called the “keeper of keys”. 

This was inspired by all that time I spent in the forests as a child, playing and exploring. I used to make tree houses and catch frogs and lizards from dark ponds so deep you could not see the bottom. All those times I walked over thousand year old rocks sleeping under layers of lush bryophyte. The time I spent walking under giant, silent pine trees, barefoot, feeling the dirt and roots under my feet. The sunny days when rays of sunlight found its way down to the ground, trough the branches, painting everything golden yellow. Hearing the bats in the dark, seeing the shadows the the form of nameless monsters hiding between trees and bushes.

I haven’t been as active as I used to be, painting and drawing lately. It has to some extent been a result of starting my new job at Tarsier as an associate producer, but there’s more to the story. I’m trying to find a good way to tell you what I feel and all the stuff that’s been on my mind, but it just can’t seem to give words to my thoughts. Until I figure out a way to do that, here’s some steps for my “Forest Guardian” image.

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Quick and dirty pencil sketch I made when the idea hit, just to get the concept down on paper and work with it later.

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Exploring the composition and gray scale. It’s good to play around a bit with your idea and not settle for the first sketch. Sometimes you find obvious design ideas when you re-draw your subject a few times.

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Made a thumbnail and experimented with the colors. When I felt like I’ve decided what I wanted to do I copied it over onto a big canvas and used it as a sort of a blueprint and started to paint the real thing on top of this. I googled some reference photos of Nordic forests and deers to get things right.

The Game That Made Me Cry

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This post contains spoilers for the video game Journey.

It’s interesting. Ever since I started to make games, I seem to have less and less will and time to actually play games. I heard that as you know all the smoke and mirrors behind creating a game, you easily become bored while playing a game, or you start to pick it apart, analyzing it piece by piece, instead of just relaxing and letting yourself become immersed by the game itself. I guess you lose your childlike curiosity in a way, you expect more from a game when you know how much hard work that goes into making it. You build your own presumptions on how games should work, and it’s easy to say “I saw this trick a million times before”.

With all this in mind I started to play Journey at work yesterday. I borrowed our gaming room at Tarsier and turned down the lights, thinking I would give it 30 minutes or something, before I had to run home and get to my drawing lesson.

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Two hours later I finished the game and sat staring at the white screen in front of me, moved in a way no video game has ever moved me before. I quickly wiped away my tears and hoped no one had seen them. I guess you can’t explain a video game in words, just as little as you can explain architecture with a dance, or a painting with music.

For two hours I had been the visitor in a strange world, full of wonders. A place I didn’t understand, but that accepted me as a temporary tourist. I had met a complete stranger in the desert, and together we had traveled this world without a word. The game contains no text or voice, and you can’t chat with the random player that you are paired with. When my co-op partner showed up I was suspicious at first, but as the game progressed she helped me, showed me how to play, how to fly and guided me in the blizzard. I had the most emotional moment in my gaming life together with a complete stranger. And I guess that’s really the reason it impacted me so much. When we don’t have all the facts or can’t get the whole picture we project our own feelings and story onto it. To me the other player really was another traveler in Journey, because there was nothing there to break the immersion. Nothing like a voice over Skype screaming LOL or a chat log full of derp. She truly was a creature in this hot and sun-drenched world, not another human.

There was only us, trying to find our way trough the desert, climbing up the elusive mountain, struggling in the freezing blizzard. Together.

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As we entered the bright light together I stood still for a while, turned around and looked back at this strange world, my anonymous co-player pushing into the light before me. I instinctively knew we had probably reached the end of our journey and the game. Together we had experienced this strange and amazing world, without words traveling, playing and dancing. I knew that it would never be the same again. I could always play this game again, but you only get one chance to experience something for the first time. And as humans we have a tendency to compare all experiences of something to that very special first one. I don’t want to do that. I want my experience with Journey to be this one and only one. When I started playing a video game a late afternoon having no expectations, and ending up with strange tears in my eyes, almost forgetting about my drawing lesson, truly immersed for the first time in years. I want that impression to be what I took away from playing Journey.

I had almost forgot video games are able to craft something like this. Something that moves you this much. That makes you forget about the real world. That brings long forgotten memories to life and lets you for a few hours step into a completely different time and space.

If someone ever tells me video games can’t be art I will punch them in the face (then I’ll make them play Journey).

Halloween

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Halloween this weekend. Went to this awesome club, celebrated the Day of The Dead. Saw the first professional strip tease of my life and enough ghost busters and corsets for a lifetime.