Selected Works

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Whale Sub, or A Little Sprezzatura

Sprezzatura is the fine art of making a difficult thing look effortless. Although I'm more of an expert in making easy tasks more difficult, I'm finding that illustration is an excercise in sprezzatura.

This piece, creatively titled "Whale Sub" was a careful study of putting just enough information to imply that this is a complex piece of machinery. I went through several iterations where I discovered that just one extra pipe or detail made it look labored and over worked. The same with the decking, where I initially tried laying in individual planks to convey the feel of the hull. In the end, it was far more more important to get the gloss from the wetness of the deck and the water dripping down the deck. I'd post up some of the in progress stuff but it's generally a horrible mess of trial and error.

And besides I wouldnt want to ruin the sprezzatura...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"The Pilgrim", or "1 day Painting Step by Step"

Done for the card: The Pilgrim, creation time: roughly 8 hours including thumbs and reference

step 1: create a quick thumbnail with color and value compostion worked out and some detail represented. Light is very important at this stage.

Step 2: Realize that the client is talking about the middle eastern religious type of pilgrim, not the thanksgiving type. Repeat step 1.

Step 3: After approval, continue to refine the color palette, starting with some photo elements if necessary.( note: the use of photos is sometimes a necessary compromise when working under tight deadlines. It can be thought of similarly to underwear: effective when used properly, but don't let anyone see it)

Steps 4-6: refine the things you can, kick out the fancy-dancy stuff you can't get to.

Step 7: exhale.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Double Agent

So I've recently been working on some illustrations for an online card game called The Far Wilds and they've been kind enough to let me post my work so I'll put up some of my more exciting ones in the coming weeks.

These paintings have been a bit of a departure for me for a couple reasons. First, when shown in game they are reduced to 250x250 pixels, which is really forcing me to think and compose in a very efficient way-when you only have 62k pixels to grab someone's attention, you really have to hit them over the head on first sight and draw them in. Also the turnover on these is really high..I'm generally spending 6-8 hours per painting, including reference gathering. This is a bit of a departure for me as I generally like to spend a bit more time to really work things out.

One thing I really like about these assignments is the illustrative nature. Often I get not much more than a card title or a brief description of the concept, and I've basically got one moment in time to capture it- in this case, the card was 'the double agent'. I used the theatrical conept of an 'aside' where an actor will communicate directly with the audience to relay information that is not known to the other characters. Here, the foreground character is giving us a wink to let us know the other guy is about to get the ol' shank.

Finally,here's some in progress stuff which i've been promising to save more of, now in glorious GIF format. one thing to note is that i think i lost a bit of the original expression of the foreground guy as I went from sketch to completion...rats.

on a side note, special thanks to a certain A. Lluch for technical support in the crazy world of blogger.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Volcanic Refinery and Custom Brushes

A Fairly quick ( 6 hours ) piece intended to be the basis of a matte painting sometime in the future..
The huge advantage of PS these days is being able to create and modify custom brushes so quickly and easily. Back in the day if you wanted high frequency detail you needed to select it out of a photo and sort of stamp that around. Now with the magical brush creator, it's become an essential tool for me. I am constantly making brushes and also trying out other people's brushes to get new interesting textures and marks.

here's an early stage shot where you can see alot of raw splooshy marks just being put down...many of these splooshes are nice enough ( in the cloud areas for example) that I can leave them as is in the final. Of course when I take it to a finished matte then alot of photo material will be mixed in, and even then the organic edges of the custom brushes help to transition into the photo material.

If you haven't explored the brush engine much, just do a google search..well worth your time.