Monthly Archives: March 2014

Blade Dancer Done!

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(The original brief). The world of entertainment is a vast one. Everything from dare devils to magicians, there is an almost endless stream of entertainers. But for the most part, these are all simple or just a trick or illusion. There is one entertainer who uses the art of a beautiful, seductive dance mixed with the use of deadly blades. This dance of the blades has a symbolic of beauty and danger. The blades range from all kinds of different sizes and styles. Swords, daggers, axes, you name it. But each blade represents a theme of the dance.

I think I’m calling it a day on this one now. I’ve worked on it very long, and really done what I could. I guess this is my own bench mark for now. I personally think that the end result is quite crappy, but I learned very much doing it, so it still feels like it was a nice ride. I scrapped quite much from the latest image and redid the coloring and rendering of her dress. First I applied a gradient, then I blocked in the second layers of color, then the third, and always working with masks so that I stay in place and won’t have to worry about drawing outside of the forms. I raised the contrast of the colors since I’ve noticed I need to be a bit more bold with contrast, and then just did what I could for the final rendering. Tried to have a look at Zoonoid‘s art to see what fully rendered characters look like, heh (despite just looking at his stuff makes you wanna give up on art, haha).

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What I’ve learned from doing this piece is mainly the following:

  1. Explore the design with quick and dirty sketches.
  2. Mix and match the designs you like the best. Form follows fucking function. Have a purpose with the design.
  3. Make a nice line drawing. This will serve as a foundation, needs to be done carefully. NO CHEATING.
  4. Block in the colors. Think about complimentary and contrast colors. Use gradient for some areas, it helps to bring them to life.
  5. Make sure things are divided into proper layers. Don’t draw everything on one or two layers.
  6. Work with masks and use big brushes.
  7. Think about the light. Where does it come from? What kind of light fits this character?
  8. Add the details and sharp edges later on.
  9. Extra awesome sauce like rim light is added on late in the process.
  10. Tweak values and choose background. Gray is usually nice as background.
  11. Feet and hands HOW DO YOU EVEN DRAW THEM?

Yeah, I think that is it. If you got any feedback or comments just hurl them at me, I’m all ears!

Work In Progress: Blade Dancer 2

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dancer_final_04Alright, had some time working on this today. I decided to make some changes to her outfit and hair. Since I liked the big hair much better than the mohawk, I simply used that hair do instead. The changes I made to the outfit are to better represent the dancers ability to entertain. The original outfit looked a bit too much like a warrior queen, not a performer. I also tried out some different poses for her, but ended up using the first one since I want to display her whole outfit, and if she is mid-air dancing it’s very hard to get a good look at the outfit. Next step will be to render, and that I totally suck at, have no idea how to make it look good : D

 

Work In Progress: Blade Dancer

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So I’m participating in this event where we are given a brief to design a character! It’s good, since I get a deadline, a brief (not written by myself) and some other artists to perhaps give me feedback! Basically I pretend I have a project; a goal. This time the brief asks for a “Blade Dancer” that bases his/her dance of a blade or an ax. Each kind of weapon have its own dance. The dancer communicates the thin line between danger and beauty, sometimes moving “seductively”.

I figured that a lot of the other artists might be designing half naked women, since that’s unfortunately usually the character design over at the forum where I’m doing this, as soon as the brief says something about beauty, dance or seductively. The rules even specify that “naked is not a character design, so please don’t submit naked characters”. LOL. So I’m aiming to achieve something different! I’ve been following this awesome character design blog for a while, and got tons of inspiration from them (they focus on making women look badass and not half naked!) (Of course you can be both badass and naked, but that’s another topic).

So here’s my thoughts: the first image is just an exploration thing. I try to just go with the flow, have fun and make some quick sketches of different women (tried some males as well, but decided this time I want to paint a woman). I then dig deeper on my two favorite designs. My inspiration for this are tribal dancers from African countries and bush men. I’m thinking about some kind of a dance that can be performed late at night, around a camp fire, with a lot of wild rhythms, to make people excited. Maybe a war dance, a fierce dance with big movements and dangerous blades, performed by a highly skilled athlete, but with a touch of mystery and dangerous beauty. Something like that. Like raw, and wild.

So the last image is where I modified my two best designs and added some small details, making sure the dancer’s visual design is easily readable from afar. Next step will be to find a correct pose that shows here in movement, but still displays the outfit fully. And then add the right kind of blade to her! And all the small details to her outfit!

Random About Art

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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather these past days, like I’m never getting rid of this frikking cold. I’m sure it will go away eventually, but it just seems to linger forever. Anyways, I spent some time on trains, ferries and buses the other week, and got some time to think about this art thing. Creating and drawing has always been part of what I do an who I am, so it’s not like I’m ONLY creating because I have some fixated idea that I need to lever up and acquire skills. That part, the learning part, is just a natural consequence of me feeling the need to get better at doing what I like and love; draw and paint. So there’s that.

I’ve just been thinking about HOW to get better at achieving my goal; to create better art. So just quick notes before I go to bed;

1. I need to constantly challenge myself. If it’s easy then I’m walking down the same path over and over again, and this way I won’t get anywhere new and exciting.

2. I want to paint 80% studies and 20% from imagination. Doing stuff only from imagination makes me draw the same stuff over and over again, and as stated this is not the way forward.

3. I need “bosses” to defeat and clear challenges where I can measure my success and maybe see a progress. This is why I have decided to participate in the challenges over at CA. It’s a great way of pretending to have a deadline, someone else decides the topic and to create a full piece I need to tackle a lot of issues at the same time: perspective, color, anatomy etc.

All this was realized while playing the excellent game Duet on my iPhone over the past two weeks. I started out like a real noob cake sucking soooo hard, and bit by bit I learned to play what I at first believed was an impossible game. NOW: sleeptime!

“Art” Page Updated

Hi there! I decided to update the “Art” page on my blog. So now things are a bit more in order, staring  fancy image gallery and everything. The images are divided between “digital painting” and “sketchbook scribbles”. I may or may not decided to rework the gallery soon again, just trying out some stuff and learning about WordPress. Hope you like it!

Lecture At The Game Assembly School

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Hello there selfie! I snapped a photo of my oh so serious outfit today, before giving a lecture at The Game Assembly school here in Malmö. I was invited to share my humble knowledge about how to work with metrics guided game development. The event lasted for about one hour, and I had prepared a slideshow with different case studies where we used data to help make successful decisions about the development of MilMo (the MMO made by Junebud, where I worked a few years ago). I talked a bit about the metrics system at Paradox that I helped put in place, and answered some questions from the students. It was so nice to meet with both the students and the teachers, very inspiring! The slideshow I showed contained a lot of images from MilMo, and I got a bit nostalgic. Working with MilMo was my first “real” employment in the industry, and I got to know so many interesting and awesome people. It was a shame really that the game never got as big as it deserved to be, but I’m super happy that it’s still around for the players who really loved it! Maybe it still have a shot at becoming something more? I will always hope so!

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monopoly_milmo_by_1100ross-d5jfnhaGoogling for images of MilMo to fill my presentation with I stumbled across these lovely fan-made collages of images from MilMo. The first one is a deck of cards, the other one the MilMo version of monopoly. How cute! Creativity like this always makes me smile! The creator of these are a gut who calls himself 1100Ross.

I haven’t drawn that much this week, mostly went shopping for new furniture to the apartment, hunting for a new job and hanging out with friends. Tomorrow I’ll be traveling by train to Stockholm to meet up with my friend C who has just returned from 1,5 years abroad in Japan and Australia! She now works as a programmer in Stockholm, and we’re gonna spend the weekend together just relaxing and having fun. She is a wonderful person, one of my closest and best friends. We get to know each other six years ago in Skövde, and since the first time we spoke I knew I had found a person I wanted to hang out with and experience adventures together with <3 I’ll end this blog post by showing something I made this week. It’s a perspective drawing. Not too cool or fancy, but I. AM. MAKING. PROGRESS. I still struggle a lot, but I seem to understand how to use a grid and the concepts of vanishing points. But yeah, it looks like poop : D

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Shooting Reference Photos In Malmö!

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Yesterday was the first real day of spring here in Malmö, kinda warm and you could hear the blackbird sing when the sun had set and the darkness fell at around 7 pm. Spring flowers are peaking trough the dirt and the air feels clear and breezy. I snatched my phone and run around in my new hoods, trying to shoot some photos of the awesome light. It’s this soft, clear light that makes everything seem so hopeful and bright, warm and filled with gradients. I know my crappy phone camera won’t do this justice, but above you have some of the photos I shot. The first one is shot around 5:30 am and the last one 6:45 when the sun was gone and the sky became filled with stars. Obviously this time of the day is called “the golden hours” for a reason. These lighting condition lasts for only a few minutes or half an hour, so I hope I can use these reference photos later on when I wanna add some magic to my own painted images!

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On another note I feel utterly lost tackling one-point and two-point perspective, vanishing points and horizon lines. All these stiff rules (and rulers) just drain all the fun out of painting. So many rules and just one tiny mistake messes up the whole image. But I try to think that since my brain is able to grasp real world perspective without almost any effort I must be able to learn how to draw in on a 2D surface sooner or later. It’s just a question about reverse-engineering!

Life Drawing (or drawing for life?)

kroki_casen_4_mar_13The batch of croquis from this week. I felt kinda rusty and was fighting this super cold at the same time, but I think I’m making some progress? I wish our models would hold a pose for longer than the maximum of 5 minutes. The teacher is refusing to let us draw a pose for longer than five, and I kinda get her point since it’s a “croquis” class, and the word literally means “sketch”, not study. But I think it would be awesome to get to study the body for a longer time than that. To really take your time and see how the muscles connect and identify the bones. Now I’m just kinda rushing to get anything at all down on paper before the model shifts her pose, hehe.

Besides from the croquis I’ve hit some kind of mental wall when it comes to drawing and painting. I guess sometimes you just lose confidence you are ever gonna learn something. For me I think it’s this perspective thing. I just don’t get it, it seems like rocket science…But as always I guess it’s just about one step at a time. Rome wasn’t built on a day. Sometimes when I feel like I’m chasing my own tail, never getting anywhere with this drawing business I just think about my step mum’s father who holds the 7th dan of the black belt in karate (!). He has been training karate for most of his life, it has taken him more than 50 years to get where he is today. Also, THIS awesome small comic kinda sums up many of my thoughts on this topic.