Category Archives: Design

Inspiration: Dope Characters

Here’s some random cool characters I found in my “Art Resources & Ref” folder when digging around last night. I’m not sure about who owns the images or where they are picked from (mostly floating around the web), but I do not own any copyrights for the following content. If you know where these images come from, please let me know : )

tumblr_n1q9z8q3Ar1qer56zo1_1280

tumblr_n1q65zDwZo1qer56zo1_1280

tumblr_n7q6pxbrJJ1qer56zo1_400

tumblr_n4jz3rzQkU1qer56zo1_1280

a8bfec1248a4e6101e1355e119a20efb

For more images like these, hit follow on the Tumblr of Deaux Ex: Human Revolution’s art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête. He posts some very nice things now and then. No zombies, post-apocalypse or high-fantasy stuff : D Refreshing!

I Designed Some Phone Skins

10983961_8363148-caseiphone5_l

 

10914458_2225321-iphone5a_l

 

10956372_13021559-iphone5a_l

 

10933363_12899223-iphone5a_l

 

Hey guys! I took a little break from blogging and my Art Project, and things feel much better now. Thanks for all the support! I even designed some smart phone/iPad cases for you, out of pure inspiration. They are now for sale over at my page at Society6. The smart phone skins, which are soft, are 15€ and the hard, protective cases are 35€. Much of my art is also available as iPad skins, cards, prints and framed art if you are interested. Right now, if you order before Saturday you get free shipping on your products. Neat, huh!? Just make sure to select the correct version of iPhone/iPad or Samsung phone when ordering.

I’ve gotten some questions about how this works, and here’s how: I have a page on Society6, where I submit designs and art. S6 provides items and does the printing (over in the US), and they ship the items to the costumers. The payment is done to S6 by credit card or PayPal, and I get paid 10% of the original price for the item when all the fees for shipping, printing etc are paid. If you buy an iPhone skin for 15$, I get 1,5$ when all my fees are paid and done. Simple and easy! I will be posting more stuff for sale when I have the time and think I made something worthy. Hope you like it! Also, I can’t see the name of who ordered what, so I you feel like you want to buy something and still be a secret stalker, go ahead (LOL)!

Personal Art Direction

photo (1)

I finally assembled the courage today to buy a pair of electric yellow shoes! I like electric colors and things that makes me think of French DJs.

I would be lying if I told anyone I like shopping. Usually I notice there’s something I need, like a new jacket or my shoes are totally worn out. That’s when force myself to go to the stores to get some new clothes. And when I get back home I throw the bags of clothes in some corner of my room, where they are left until I discover them some days later and actually start wearing the stuff…That’s my passion for passion right there!

The weird thing is that I almost got a bad conscious for not buying clothes and stuff, like one should do according to all the mags for young women. As someone put it “given enough time all fashion choices are essentially the wrong ones”. That’s how I feel. I don’t follow trends. I love visual information and designing stuff when I draw, but I really don’t have that much interest when it comes to designing my own art direction, haha!

IMG_0649

I feel most “me” wearing some kind of nerdy shirt and a pair of tight jeans.

However, I’ve now found a strategy to deal with this. I really need functional clothes that don’t fall apart if I wear them outdoors or when I ride my bike. I need pieces that can handle some rough love. The solution has been to buy a bit more expensive clothes & shoes, not just H&M crap that will be torn apart after the first wash. If I know the clothes are worth a lot of money I appreciate them more, I take better care of them and I buy less items. It’s fun to mix n’ match, to only have a few things to play around with. This way, by restricting myself  I get more creative and it makes fashion more fun! I’ve identified some key items I really love to wear, and try to build upon them, like my black leather jacket, my black army boots, my collection of bracelets, good quality tees and nice watches. Actually, it has become some kind of tradition over the past years, that my sis buys me all the watches I need as birthday or Christmas gifts.

guss

I only buy bracelets that don’t get in the way when working with a computer key-board, and they need to be easy to remove when taking a shower. I know, I’m very practical when thinking about styling.

Still, the very situation, where I feel bad for not buying all the stuff society tells me to buy, is really insane.

Hardcore / Casual

After reading some posts about different kind of games and different ways to play games, I remembered I actually wrote a piece on that subject in 2010. I’ve grown a bit tired of people accusing some gamers for not being “real games”, or some games (mostly played by girls) no to be “real games”. The original blog post can found here [link], on MilMo’s dev blog. Below, my thoughts on casual/hardcore gamers back when I worked with the game MilMo:

Some of you might know me as the community manager at Junebud. That means I also work on the event design team. I play a big part in arranging events that take place inside the game, like the Halloween 2010 event. Each month will bring you a mix of screen shot/art contests and new in-game events, offering some kind of item or ability as a reward. These rewards are unique, so each event is a great opportunity to collect rare and special stuff. The Haunted Stone you can get this month is really cool, since it lets you summon a bunch of small, eerie ghosts!

An event should be easy to understand and fun to take part in, but the deeper you dig, the harder it should become. Events often consist of several steps that have to be completed in order to move on to the next part, or to get the desired reward. The hard thing for me lies in designing a good difficulty curve. It’s not supposed to get too hard too fast, but then again, if it’s too easy some players will get bored (or frustrated) and ignore the event. On top of those things, MilMo is a game aimed mainly at a casual audience. That means the players usually get irritated if they have to grind for a certain thing for hours. So the question is, how do you make something that’s difficult enough? There’s no perfect answer here. Remember, you can’t please everyone or design something that’s going to fit every single player who plays your game.

The Haunted Stone

If you are a good designer you manage to make something the majority of your target audience will appreciate. Some hardcore gamers will accuse you for being a sell-out if you aim for the casual gamers out there. This is something that I find very interesting: casual vs hardcore game(er)s. In the past many “casual” games would lack the quality that made some of the hardcore games stand out. Nowadays you can find plenty of casual games with both good graphics and great gameplay that could easily get you hooked. A casual game is a game you don´t have to sink a lot of time into, before you start going anywhere – or least least stop sucking. Casual games are often played on a lunch break, or when you’ve got some extra time on your hands, or maybe at a party. These are games like The SimsSuper MarioSnakeBejeweledFarmvilleSolitaireFrontiervillePlants vs Zombies,Tetris etc.

Plants vs Zombies by Popcap Games

 Wikipedia defines a ‘casual game’ as, “A casual game is a video game or online game targeted at or used by a mass audience of casual gamers. Casual games can have any type of gameplay, and fit in any genre. They are typically distinguished by their simple rules and lack of commitment required in contrast to more complex hardcore games.[1] They require no long-term time commitment or special skills to play, and there are comparatively low production and distribution costs for the producer.” But this is just another one definition of ‘casual games’. There are many others, I recommend you look some up.

Let’s take a look at Farmville. It´s a game with over 62 million monthly active users. That would be like every single person in the United Kingdom played Farmville at least once every month. No mater what city you went to, every person you met would know about Farmville! That’s crazy! So let’s say Farmville is a casual game. It’s easy to access, you play it online, it’s targeted at a big audience, it’s fairly easy to start planting your crops. You can log on for a few minutes and play, and the original game itself was developed in five weeks by a small team, according to Zynga.

Creativity in Farmville

When we look back at the early days of video game advertisement, the game companies usually targeted families, and games were (and sometimes still are) considered an activity for the whole family. Advertisement has become more complex over time, with so many different games and target audiences, and sub-target-audiences. Games today are aimed at children, families, teenagers, adults, hardcore, casual, girls, boys, FPS gamers who only like space marines, etc. You name it, they made it! What’s more, you can play a hardcore game like Starcraft casually. And the same person could be a heavy player of Farmville, like level 90. There really is no clear line between hardcore and casual, it depends more on the style of the player.

But what do casual gamers think of hardcore gamers? And how are you greeted in the company of hardcore gamers if you are a Farmville or Habbo player? From what I learned in my three years at a computer development University in Sweden, many hardcore gamers tend to look down at casual gamers, and consider them a “lower form” of player.

The explanation for this could be found in what Wikipedia said about casual games; “They are typically distinguished by their simple rules and lack of commitment required in contrast to more complex hardcore games. They require no long-term time commitment or special skills to play (…)”. If you are a hardcore gamers and play video games several hours a day, guard your rank within a special game, practice your skills and are very competitive, it’s no wonder you can’t take a person who plays Plants vs Zombies a few hours a week seriously. But this elitism is a bit strange to me. For instance, since when do professional athletes look down on someone who only goes to the gym once or twice a week? None of the athletes I know act that way.

Here at Junebud we welcome both hardcore and casual players. MilMo is the perfect game for playing a few hours a week when you have some extra time, or you can go all out and grind it in order to get all the awesome medals and weapons!

The Epic Sword

Well, these are some of the things I think about when I design events. I hope you’ll like the Halloween 2010 event!

In My Head

Trying to shoot a photo capturing “creative”, on my desk. I’m sorry stuff is blurred out, but that’s because it’s still kinda secret.

Lately I’ve been trying to write something about feeling creative, but every time I’ve written down a few words I feel stuck, like I still can’t make any sense of what I’m trying to tell you. In the past I wrote this post about why so many artists choose to live in chaos, but what I’m trying to tell you this time is something different. I’ve been feeling very happy to create, imagine and picture things over the past weeks, some nights I’ve even got a hard time falling asleep because I come up with new ideas to paint and tell (and also I have been very stressed for the past two week. So stressed I haven’t almost drawn anything new for my “Learning To Draw”-project. What a paradox!).

Sorry for the Swedish. This is a Facebook update I wrote last week. I walked into the smallest sushi restaurant in the world, had a fun discussion with a 9 year old about squids, while the rain pored down outside. I really wanted to describe this little scene in words and share it with others, and that’s what I did when I got home the same night.

Right now it feels like I come up with new ideas a ll the time. I have started to take notes in a small note book, on charters and stories I want to tell and craft. I see all these small details in everyday life, and get so inspired. It can be a face of a stranger on the subway, a nice piece of music in my headphones or a photo on a web site. Most of my inspiration comes from people in the real world or music. The make me feel stuff, and those feelings are what I essentially want to put down in a picture or a written story. I use words and brushes as vehicles to try to do that, to share my stories or feelings.

I often doodle when I think or listen. This is the final iteration of some robots I’ve been playing with for the last two weeks. Hope I get around to paint them in Photoshop some day.

To me it feels like I’m collecting gems, small treasures I find everywhere.  I unwrap a story in my own consciousness, by paying attention to the real word and get inspired. I don’t know if what I’m saying makes any sens to someone other me, but this is how I feel. I wonder, does anyone else out there lay awake trying to figure out how to translate all that stuff in your head & heart into something meaningful to share with others? Is this something that happens all artists or creative people?

I wrote a small book when I was 15. It’s about love, hate, death, friendship and vampires (before all this Twilight nonsense, mind you!). It was called “The Ring”. Handed it to my teacher at school, she read it and helped my to improve my language, along with a note telling me “never stop writing stories, Sara!”. Gave it to my sister who loves to read. The story made her cry. Not because it was bad, but because it made her feel something. I did write a couple of novels after that, but none of them just felt as important as the first one. I sometimes feel like I knew more about life when I was 15 than I do now.

Rovio Party Comin’ Up!

Creating my own business cards. My old ones say I still work at Junebud.

The result! This is just an experiment. I wouldn’t feel comfortable at ta mingle party without at least some kind of cards. Got precious 22 of them now!

On another note, tried to clean my key board yesterday. Big mistake…but I guess it’s OK, I wasn’t using that key that much anyway…

Tomorrow I’ll be traveling to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. I’m looking forward to plenty of nice cups of coffee/tea with interesting people, lunches and seeing some old friends again. But my main reason for the trip is to visit my family in Finland, and as it happens to be, Stockholm is the gateway for ferries Finland!

Autumn is just around the corner, the sun sets earlier each night, the shadows are becoming cold and you can smell the soil and wet leafs on the ground. Went for a swim in the ocean this Monday, maybe one of the last ones this year. The water was around 16 degrees Celsius, lovely! See you at the Rovio game beer tomorrow in Stockholm?

New Page: “My Videos”

Screenshot from "Happy Part 1". Click it to watch the video.

Hi all! I updated the tab “My Videos” (or more like created it). It’s not like I have plenty of videos to show you (some just get stuck in the computer and I never seem to finish them), but there’s two of them if you are interested. As you can tell the link in the videos to my old blog, is no longer active. Enjoy!