Monthly Archives: December 2013

Inspiration: XpRnz Art

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Image by XpRnz, made with oils. Head over to his sketch book for more amazing art! Click HERE.

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Lovely shading by XpRnz! Gonna try and learn how to do this!

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Digital environment concept art by XpRnz.

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Another awesome study by XpRnz < 3

Found this sweet sketch book by the user called XpRnz. Totally dig his style! Sometimes you come across people who paint or draw in a way you wish you could. I guess is one of those times!

I haven’t been drawing that much past weeks. Done some studies, but mostly a lot of thinking about art and what is my purpose in all of this, if any. It feels a bit like going to the gym and get a fit body that you then never use outside of the gym (which is funny cuz that’s also something I’m doing haha!). Maybe everything don’t need to have a super clear goal to it all the time. Sometimes the pieces just may fit together at some point in the future, when you least expect it?

Snapshots

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Release party at Tarsier Studios! We celebrate that our new premium Little Big Planet DLC pack is now released! The pack features a brand new adventure with DC heroes like Batman and Superman and the Joker. Everyone at the office were super proud and happy upon finally completing this Little Big Planet pack! Click here to watch the awesome trailer we did with Sony.

 

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Sony joined us for a streaming event last week, at our offices. Lead community manager Sarah May did a splendid job moderating the discussion. We had the opportunity to answer questions from the Little Big Planet community and explain how we had worked with the DC comics heroes. At the end the the event me and Ola (Junebud alumni and now Tarsier’s CEO) joined the stream and eat a mince pie live. Looking back, this might have been the pinnacle of my career in video games. Heh, just kidding.

 

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Our office dog Nino! He is very shy and always guarding the office. Now after almost 4 months I have finally managed to be able to give him a brief pat. Progress!

 

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Found this photo in my phone. From November and the Halloween party in Göteborg. Haha, riding the bus like this was awesome!

 

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Party to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The bartender was a friend of ours, so he tried to make us the most fantastic drinks. We had a bottle of Moët waiting when we arrived. My dink was chili and ginger mixed with strawberries. I rarely dink alcohol anymore since it interferes with my workouts.

We had a great Christmas party last week, and the traditional Christmas dinner. Afterwards me and some colleagues stayed in the office until midnight, talking about important things, like how do you use a toilet in space, and how scary the Muppet Show was to watch as a kid (like fucking super scary!). During Friday we went out for a last thankyouandmerrychristmasandhappynewyear-beers. I really like the people at Tarsier. They are laid back and don’t have much of a need to brag or show off. It’s nice to just hang out and talk, to listen to each other. Everyone has a story to tell, you just need to listen and be patient.

Speaking about talking and listening. The whole office was on a team build last week. We divided the company into two groups based on current project and languages (a lot of us speak English and are not born in Sweden). The two teams got two days each to do personality tests, complete group assignments and enjoy some nice cooking. I felt like I learned a lot about both myself and the other creators at Tarsier. We did the Mayers-Briggs type indicator personality test. It helps you understand how to better communicate with others and to better understand why you sometimes get annoyed with others or how to improve on your communication skills. A remarkable fining was that the big majority of those working at Tarsier were introverts. In a normal distribution 70% are usually somewhere along the extrovert scale and 30% rated introverts. This could explain why I sometimes feel a bit different when hanging out with game developers or working on video game studios. I’m a moderate extrovert and used to adapting to having a majority of colleagues who are introverts. Interesting! If you are interested in these kinds of things, I suggest you learn Ola Holmdahl’s post about how introverts and extroverts sometime clash here.

Sketch Book Pages

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Some sketchbook pages. I almost never do any storytelling with my images, so while I was riding the train last weekend I decided to dream up some childhood scenarios and try to draw them. Storytelling is so hard! It’s much easier to just do studies of fruit or draw some cool monsters or pretty faces, haha! But I think that in the end I need to learn how to apply all the stuff I learn. My project should also be about learning to put together what I learn, not only grind for the sake of grinding.

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Image by Andreas, one of the skilled people who work at Tariser. I really like the feeling and atmosphere in this one!

If you got a few extra minutes, go check out the blog/portfolio by one of my colleagues. He made three amazing pieces using a lot of masks and selections. I really like this style!

Some Color Studies

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Latest stuff, practicing colors. It’s not easy to see what color an object really has. Its surrounding colors pretty much affect how we perceive the color of anything. Hard, but fun! Did some thinking today and I realize I’ve spent too much energy focusing on bad stiff lately. I read all kinds of shit online and get all angry about the world and all the misery in it. Yesterday I decided to stop doing that. It’s not like I’m gonna turn into some kinda cold hearted bitch, but I feel like I want to focus on my own opportunities and all good stuff. I can’t change the world, only try, and reading all kinds of crap about horrible stuff won’t make me happy in the long run. It just makes me feel like I’m in the midle of a war or something. Like the world is fucked up and it’s up to me to save it. Draining, huh? So from now on I will focus more on my art and my friends, and get as much time as possible off screen. I don’t feel bad about sitting in front of a computer while I’m at work, but when I get home I want to do other things. I want to do things that are meaningful and don’t involve to much misery or isolation, haha!

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Images belong to http://zoonoid.cghub.com/. Go check out his stuff!

Speaking of color, I’m totally in love with Konstantin Maystrenko’s works! He uses color, character design and forms in a way that just blows my mind. I loooove it!

Attended Malmö Sketch Jam this week. A lot of fun was had. It’s like speed dating, but when I say dating I mean “befriending”. To sad the weekly croquis is over for 2013 and will continue in January next year : /

Drawing And Inner Mental Representations

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Some croquis from this week. I’ve tried to use less messy lines, to draw with a purpose instead. Maybe exaggerate the forms a bit more rather than go easy on everything. As soon as the model takes a pose I try to create a mini narrative around her. I see her as a gangster boss, a mother waiting for her child, someone sitting by the sea watching the ocean. It’s easier this way, to try to set her into some kind of meaning and setting. I look at the model for a couple of seconds, trying to see and feel the forms, plan my lines before I start. I do this even when I only got 60 seconds to draw her. I look, I see a story, I try to feel the forms and then I start drawing her hips or spine. My process has changed quite a lot since I started attending model drawing lessons this year.

 

Inner mental representations

When I first started studying the human body and drawing it, I usually started with the head, then making plenty of messy lines, kinda guessing where the other body parts should be. This is natural since humans focus most of their attention to other humans faces (heads) and hands. By looking at these we get clues to what others around us think and feel. This is good from an evolutionary standpoint as we are social creatures.

When starting to draw croquis I didn’t look enough at the model, instead I sketched what I believed the human body looked like. There’s a huge difference! Your brain works like this; to be able to quickly recognize and identify all zillions objects around you from all possible and impossible points of view your brain makes inner mental pictures of what objects look like. These inner representations are not necessarily correct, but they are quick to index and search. We all have millions of inner visual representations of objects: our visual library. The human brain is by far the best object identificator known to man. Better than any computer. Exactly how this happens inside the brain is not know, but when you draw you need to hax this system, and this is hard. You need to rewire your brain in a way (if you were born with a “normal” brain just like me).

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To explain what I’m trying to say I’ve put together this awesome image. Try googeling for “cat”. You will find thousands of pictures of cats, shots from all different angles you can think of (and some you believe to be impossible). But still, in some way your brain is able to identify the object as a “cat”! This is awesome! Your inner representation of a cat is almost like an simplified, average version of all cats you’ve ever seen. Another way to understand this is to ask people to quickly name a tool or a color. Surprisingly many people will answer “hammer” or “blue/red”. This is because many of us make a “hammer” the inner representation for the category “tools”. Depending on your culture and your heritage these inner mental representations will of course differ.

So, where am I going with all this cognitive psychology? When you draw you need to see the object in front of you, and not just look at it, but to see it, almost feel it.  You need look beyond your inner models of what a cat or the human body looks like. You need to see what’s in front of you and then to draw or paint it like it really is. You will be surprised how hard this is (takes years of practice)! I’m still struggling and learning abut this. I make the best life drawings or still life studies when I’m stressed as fuck and don’t have time to think, or when I’m in flow. Both of those states have in common that they make you think less. When you think less you don’t go check with your inner representations every five seconds, you just draw the model as she is, in front of you. You see reality as it really is, which makes a great artist!

Some people have special brains with Aspbergers or other “disorders” that makes them perceive reality in a different way than most of us. These people sometimes make the most wonderful art or novels because their brains don’t sort or make inner representations like a “normal” brain does. This is both a blessing and a curse for those affected of course. The only “special” about my own brain is that it suffers from dyslexia. I have used it as an advantage for my drawing. When all the other kids at school wrote stories in text I painted my stories or made comics since I was struggling with spelling and grammar. I drew my day in my diary instead of writing about it, as a child. I’m pretty sure this gave me a head start with drawing and helped develop my visual abilities early on. Happy for that!

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To finish things off, here’s my mental representation of an owl!

Learning To Draw: Post #67

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Malmö Sketch Jam again tonight! Met a bunch of nice people, some of which knew about my previous (art) colleagues from my time at Junebud. So cool to talk about drawing with real world people, ha ha! I think I’m done with my drawing pause now. I feel like I’m ready to start painting and drawing again. As I concluded before, when you do something a lot, sometimes you reach “platforms” when stuff feels pointless or hard or like you don’t even know how to improve anymore. Usually you hit these platforms when you are about to make a big leap of knowledge or technique. I guess I’m past my latest platform!

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Winter

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Malmö’s coast with a view over the majestic Öresund’s bridge. Sunny days you can see Denmark on the other side.

Winter is coming here in Sweden. The days are much shorter and the sun sets in early afternoon. Darkness is on its way now. I can’t say winter is my favorite time of the year, but at least I’m in the “Florida of Sweden” now; Skåne. It’s a tremendous difference in weather and nature, compared to the freezing winter I’ve spent up North, on Åland. Some years we had snow from October to April. Tons and tons of it, sometimes -25°C when walking to school. So cold the trees could crack. Here in Skåne and Malmö the weather is much warmer and we still haven’t got any snow. Winter sucks because you can’t go swimming and surfing. What’s nice with winter is that you can spend more time indoors with your friends and family. I really miss my family in Finland, really looking forward to spend Christmas with them this year! The Christmas traditions differ a bit between Finland and Sweden. In Finland we celebrate “mini Christmas” on the last Saturday before December, giving each other one small gift and bringing in a mini Christmas tree on that day.

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Hired a cabin in the woods with my friends last month, played board games and went for walks in the rain. Made a fire, cooked dinner and just chilled out. Was super nice!

I honestly feel happy about leaving 2013 behind me and head for new adventures in 2014. This year has been both very fun and exciting, but also very, very challenging and a bit draining. I had the constant headaches cuz of my eyes going bad, the tumor investigation and made the difficult decision to quit and awesome job at Paradox. I went without a job for three months and that kinda pushed me into a bad spiral of stress and having nothing to do, just idling in some kind of waiting room, nor sure about where my life was heading. I still battle some of those feelings when I’m home for a day or two with a cold. I traveled a lot on my own during this time. I visited Norway and went to the movies all by myself. I spent time alone in Finland, in the town where I grew up, and I traveled back to Stockholm all by myself to see some friends, just drifting around the city when they were working. I have spent maybe too much time thinking about stuff this year. Having the police raid my block a couple of times and drunk guys threatening to punch the shit out of me. This have made me have some difficulties with sleep, but helpfully I can get some professional help with this. I’m not scared of the dark anymore, but I do wake up and prepare to fight for my life if I even hear the smallest sound. It’s not like I’m afraid, but I expect the worst at all times. That people will attack me physically or something.

I had some very nice moments this year as well. I moved back to the city I feel is my home now; Malmö. I’ve got a new apartment . Like one of those really, really nice ones I still can’t believe is mine! I went to Monaco with my friends at Mojang. Cruising the riviera of France in a yacht, sitting in a swimming pool with a glass of champagne, flying helicopters and private jets. Partying and dancing on the chairs at some club, talking to Röyksopp. It was nice! I went surfing in Skåne for a week. Remember that one moment I sat on my surf board, feet dangling in the cold water, soft summer rain on my face. Body exhausted from three hours of fighting with the winds. Just me, the rain and the Ocean. Hearing the sound of the waves rocking my board. Damn I miss it. Friends that came all the way to Åland to visit me for some days, climbing to the top of a cherry tree, eating all the cherries I wanted. Kayak hiking in the Finish archipelago and sea weed fights with my cousin and best friends. 2013 had a lot of awesome moments as well. Late night parties on the first of May with the gang from my days at University. A warm summer day in June at the lake with my friend Anders.

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Finally got my batch of protein powder I ordered a while ago. Since I moved to Malmö I have had much more time to exercise. I love hanging out at the gym. Many of my best ideas ever have come to me while lifting heavy stuff there. Unfortunately I’ve had like 8 colds/flues during 2013 which has made exercising difficult.