Monthly Archives: January 2015

Trains

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This week has been totally crazy and a tiny bit exhausting, to say the least! I went to Göteborg and back on Tuseday, Karlshamn and back on Wednesday and Ädelfors and home again on Thursday. Friday was spent catching up with all the needed paperwork, sending 1000 emails and the monthly breakfast with all the other teams sharing my office space. I always prefer to have too much to do over having nothing to do, but spending 17 hours on trains across Sweden takes its toll. Especially when I was planning on working those hours as normal on the train, but realized my 3G and the Wi Fi was of very poor quality at times…hehe.

Anyways, stuff is getting done and I met some very exciting people this week, especially when attending the meetings up in Ädelfors. I’m part of a board helping the Ädelfors’s school of game design improve their education. The education caters to young people with some kind of autism, and is meant to prepare and boost them for higher education.

I really feel like its super valuable all talent in a society gets the chance it deserves, not matter if you need special care or special attention or don’t fit into norms. All human brains are valuable. It may sound a bit strange, but I’m always thinking that if everyone gets the chance to participate we can all move towards a better place together, that we can’t afford to lose out on talent and individuals due to stuff like race, sexual orientation or special needs.

The next breakthrough in fighting cancer, or the next Picasso or the next stellar game developer could be out there right now, fighting to even get the chance to go to school or fit into society. If I can help kids with autism get into the games industry we might get some cool games we would otherwise have missed out on. To improve the state of video games we need to tell more different stories, and the only way to do so is to get different kinds of people into making games. I’m also pretty sure that game development in many cases could be a very nice fit for some of these kids over at Ädelfors. A lot of them are extremely creative and already super skilled with computers : )

Looking Forward

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My painting “Last Chance” is now up for sale as a high quality print over at Society6! Click here to head over to my page! I’ll love to hear your feedback on the delivery time, quality etc if you decide to get anything from the site.

I’m still a bit blown away by the reception this image got when I uploaded it to my Twitter and Facebook < 3 I want to extend a big, warm “thank you” to all my friends, followers, peers, Sketch Jam Group, former colleagues and Internet strangers who have cheered and supported my during my Art Project! You guys have been such a huge part of this. If there’s anything I’ve learned since I embarked on my quest to paint a little less sucky 2,5 years ago, it must be that it’s almost impossible to do anything like this alone. To really grow and learn something you need to be able to share ideas and learn from other, more skilled people. This goes for art as well as all other kinds of skills or hobbies. You absolutely need to put your stuff out there to get proper feedback in order to move forward. Find a way to make it work. The Internet is just packed with knowledge and communities, you just need to look for them. Take your time and don’t give up. If you really want something you’ll get it. And sometimes you don’t know what you want and you feel like everything you craft is the worst ever and you feel like giving up.

If you feel like that, then take a nap. Take a brake, go outside for a walk. Be easy on yourself sometimes. But even slow progress is progress. Sharing my stuff with my friends and other artists have often given me that boost I’ve needed to carry on, one image at a time, towards learning the basics of Photoshop and image making.

I do feel like I have a long way to go still, and that makes me happy! I realize how much there is to learn about light and color and form and shape etc, and instead of feeling overwhelmed I’m happy for the journey I have ahead of me : )

It feels like I’ve entered a new part of my Art Project. It’s no longer about grinding stuff, it’s about taking my time with each piece and also trying to put some emotion into it. It’s no longer about “getting better at it”. There’s something more to it now. Something deeper. Joined a Skype group of artists as well, some former students from a computer graphic school, and it helps to battle the loneliness I feel in front of my computer when drawing sometimes.

Other than that I’ve finally revamped my “Art” section here on the blog. Over the years I’ve tried different kinds of gallery plugins to display my images, and none of them has really been a perfect fit, so now I’m just going along with the standard WordPress gallery solution. Here’s a preview of what the “Art” page looks like after the update, I like it much better!

new_artThe images I’ve included are stuff that really means a lot to me, or that I’m particularly happy about. They are images that reminds me of my victories, insights and what I strive to include in my coming pictures. I know you should never feed your ego too much, but I think there’s a big difference between using your previous accomplishments to boost your motivation and help you stay on the road of progress VS settling down inside your comfort zone and feed your ego all day long (hint: settling down and feeding your ego is not the way to go). To finish of my ramblings, here’s a really old attempt I did at painting a landscape in 2011, hehe!

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Last Chance

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Last chance.

Click to enlarge. Spent 6-7 hours in Photoshop today, painting this. The perspective was so hard to get right, had to relay heavily on some refs for that part.

I wanted to create something that tell a story, perhaps sets a mood, not just another study. This image is partly based on some reference photos I shot trough the window when going home from Karlshamn by train last week. I just keep snapping all these low quality images with my phone, there’s something beautiful about the cold Swedish landscapes. I never liked the winter before so not quite sure what’s going on. I blame Simon Stålenhag.

I hope you enjoy this. If you feel like owning it, click here to view my high quality prints.

Bananama!

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Some study of real life fruit, sitting on my desk. Real life studies are great since it forces me to LOOK at the color, I can’t cheat by using the color picker. It’s hard, but I feel like I’m learning a lot, and it’s very meditative to paint fruit LOL. Too bad I got the worst light ever at my table or I would try to light my study materials from another angel sometimes. Might get some decent lamps next month however, crossing my fingers!

Totally exhausted today and feeling a bit under the weather so had to cancel my workout, which sucks big time. But tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities!

Art Sale!

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If you ever wanted some of my art in high quality decorating your lovely walls or as a phone case, then I got some good news for you! Right now there’s free shipping world wide on my signed stuff over at Society6! Click on this link to get the free shipping! I’m tremendously happy some of my friends and followers have already ordered a print or a phone case! < 3 Here’s some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Society6 are printing the prints and manufacturing the items. I’m not printing these at home.
  • Since Society6 are based in US it might take a week or two before you get your items if you are ordering from Europe.
  • Make sure to choose “case” if you prefer a hard case for your smartphone. “Skins” are thin, vinyl stickers for smartphones.
  • I can’t see the name or address of who’s ordering what, only what items I’ve sold. Society6 are responsible for all shipping and delivery.
  • About pricing: Society6 sets a base price on all items, I then add “my” price on top of that, which together makes the price you pay. Example: Society6 has a “base price” on small prints set to 12$. I then add my profit to that (5,31$) so the final price will be 18$ for a small print. I can only set the price for prints, all other items have fixated prices set by Society6. There’s a transaction fee of 4% included in the final price.

Just write me a comment if you got any questions! Thank you < 3 Don’t forget to click here to claim that free shipping!

Bye Bye 2014!

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First post of 2015! Had a great New Year’s with a bunch of friends, celebrating, eating good food and just goofing around. It was all fun and games until half of us decided to go outside at midnight to watch the fireworks. Literally three seconds after they stepped out on the street a gang of teens aimed fireworks into the crowd and sparks and explosions were everywhere. Then someone started throwing beer bottles at my friends from a balcony. Fun times when you live in Sweden’s Gangsta City #1! I had a very nice silver dress I purchased the day before (thanks for that bunch of money Santa!). Did get some photos of the dress but out of respect to my friends I’m not gonna post them here, since everyone’s looking really wild and drunk in those photos, heh! Speaking about images, here’s a sweet Christmas card I got from Tarsier!

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Looking back at 2014 it has been a very exciting year, but also one of the most stressful in a long time. I didn’t get to keep my job at Tarsier, and went unemployed for two months before I started my very own business; Casen Crowd. Running my own thing has pushed me miles away from my Comfort Zone™ more times than I can remember, which is awesome in some aspects but also extremely scary and tiring at times. I’ve learned that the Comfort Zone™ is a place where you should be able to rest and recharge. If you are always outside of it, you don’t really get to recharge your batteries or rest. This past year sets some kind of record in exhaustion for me. I’ve done almost everything to try to battle the sleepiness, and it’s working so-so. I’ve made sure to keep a steady exercise routine, eat my D-vitamin, fill my fridge with healthy foods and lately I’ve tried to determine the best time to go to bed and get up with this cool sleep-analyzing app (it’s showing me my body almost always tries to wake me up at 07-08 no matter when I went to sleep, guess I should take a hint from my body on this one).

I’ve done a lot of interesting work this past year: researched a big report about the state of the video games industry for Game City, helped Mediocre with their social media, made sure VisionPunk got some extra support for their awesome Unity Asset and accepted an upcoming gig as a project manager for a festival in 2015! I did lectures for The Game Assembly and at my old university! I worked the 2014’s Nordic Game Conference and got to the chance to meet so many cool developers < 3 I’ve also got something super cool coming up in 2015, but won’t be able to talk bout it in months (if ever).

Among all this I’ve learned some about how to run a small company, how to design logos, to build web pages, how the tax-system in Sweden works and soooo much more. Having my own thing has taught me more in 10 months than I’ve believed to be possible ^_^ Of course I’ve failed and had sleepless nights, but I kinda knew beforehand that comes with the package. One of the coolest things during 2014 was to get the offer for an interview as community manager for Riot Games in Ireland! For 2015: need to work on how to reduce the stress.

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When it comes to my Art Project I feel a bit confused. On one hand I feel like I should do something with my skills…like have a plan for where this is going, but on the other hand I’ve come to learn that the best things in life are often created out of random and coincidents. In August this year it will be three years since I started The Art Project.

I look at the leading concept artists in the games industry and feel that working as an artist with games really isn’t my cup of tea. I honestly don’t enjoy drawing tanks or Star Wars stuffs, I just feel like all I see is beeews and mechs all the time. Nothing wrong with that, but it just doesn’t float my boat. The stuff that gets me excited seems to be landscapes with down to earth, kinda quiet settings. I totally love the art by Simon Stålenhag! I’ve also noticed that I don’t feel so happy while drawing anymore, I feel like it’s all just for the sake of learning some technique or doing a study. I almost feel like I can’t draw for the fun of it right now. Not sure what to do about this. I feel very alone in front of the computer. I can’t sink into my own world while drawing since I miss human interaction too much I guess. One of the drawbacks on starting my own thing has been to not have a stead team to work with everyday. I meet all these cool developers, but I really feel that I need a team for perform my best.

To close this post with something positive 2014 marks the year when I moved to a very nice apartment, I traveled to a lot of countries, celebrated an awesome Midsummer, got to hang out with some of my favorite people in the world and attended a beautiful wedding for some of my best friends. Also, here’s an drawing from 2002 (when I was 14 or 15 year old) I dug up during Christmas when I finally cleaned away all my old stuff from my room at my parent’s place in Finland. A poster for a made up movie. Enjoy!

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