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May 4th, 2008 #1
ALHs Creatures, Cartoon & Crypt Character Compendium
After a recent life-shattering portfolio review from a guy at Rare, it came to my attention that these past few years i've been lazy as heck and havent been pushing myself nearly as much as i should have, especially when it comes to producing something *finished*.
Stagnation in both drive and progress, fuelled by a course which doesnt really support those who arent beginners at drawing ( Game Art course,good if you've never touched 3D before, frustrating if you already know how to hold a pencil ) all kinda of crazy overworked 3D deadlines, and a slight obsession with study.
I've always avoided this place because it scares me, its full of people who are awesome and i never thought i was good enough to join in the fun. Wrong attitude!
My Rare encounter has told me one thing- If i ever want to get anywhere with my art, let alone employed, i need to start hanging round a place like this where people can rip me apart. The amount of drive that returned after i was told a lot of my stuff is meh was pretty huge, and inspired me to get off my ASS and force myself to do a creature-per day for 100 days- which will probably be extended to a human character or prop/vehicle per day once i'm finished uni.
Attached are numbers 4 and 5 of the creature collection. I cant actually put any colour onto these because i'm in the middle of an animation assignment and my PC is too old and shitty to render and run photoshop/painter at the same time.
The others, which i dont really like as much, are on my site/blog @ www.frenchbird.wordpress.com
Last edited by ALH; July 7th, 2009 at 06:24 PM.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberMay 4th, 2008 #2The Cat's Deputy (POW! Moderator)
donalfall (at) gmail.com
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Yeah, there's no better motivator than a bad review - it can also be a demotivator, but you've got the right idea.
I like the top one of these two, it flows along nicely, except for the hooves... I remember reading something - I think it was Guns, Germs & Steel (but it might have been elsewhere) that said that hooved animals aren't carnivores for a reason... so it's a "design flaw" of sorts in your creature.
But not a serious one.
The second is too patchy for my tastes - too ill-integrated in it's parts. It could work if all the parts are given the same treatment as the elephant/head part - a cartoon style, emphasising cuteness.
Your drawing skills are really good though, and you have no problem with executing concepts. Only really briefly browsed your wordpress page, I'll probably go back to it and give you some more feedback later. Thanks for sharing. The 100 creature deadline will be a tough one, but it's a good goal to have. Keep posting them!
May 5th, 2008 #3
>>"I like the top one of these two, it flows along nicely, except for the hooves... I remember reading something - I think it was Guns, Germs & Steel (but it might have been elsewhere) that said that hooved animals aren't carnivores for a reason... so it's a "design flaw" of sorts in your creature.
I agree- this was going to have dog/cheetah feet ( which are pretty much the carnivore version of hooves ) but i thought it would be interesting to see how hooves would work, part of the whole imagining a prey animal as a predator theme which i'm bound to come back to during this run.
As for the second creature- i'll be honest, i didnt put much thought into it. I spent the morning stressing out over my animation assignment for no reason and my concentration levels were pwnd. I hate making excuses, but i think its pretty obvious when i rush this kind of thing, because what i create i dont even end up liking myself. At times theres quite a large gulf of disconnect between what i actually like to look at and what i create, which bugs the heck out of me, something no doubt fostered by the whole stagnation/loss of drive thing.
The funny thing about the review was that it was a bit of a double edged sword- i didnt know wether to laugh or cry for an hour afterwards. The Rare guy loved some of my pages, and adored a couple of my dinobirds ( which isnt surprising considering that they're my favourite thing to draw ) and gave me some useful advice.
The things he hated were the things i really hated creating,had rushed to design due to unrealistic personal deadlines, and had to force myself to finish because i was so knackered physically and emotionally from forcing myself to work non-stop. It was a bit of a bummer to hear that the time spent on that work was 'wasted', but at the same time an absolutely overwhelming relief.
Since this could be seen as a bump and therefore breaking the rules, attatched is a creation i spent hours mucking about on last night while rendering. I was feeling quite drained and dizzy for certain reasons and couldnt really stand and concentrate at the same time. I was happy with it..then i went to take a photo.. and realised that in my worn out state, sitting at a flat desk with a low chair, i'd created an image which only actually looks good if viewed from a horizontal angle.
An angle my camera couldntcapture effectively because even though its pretty wide angle for a P&S bridge, its not as wide as the human eye.
I've lost count of the amount of times i've made this mistake. I'm smart enough to never draw for 'serious' when im that tired thankfully x_x.
May 5th, 2008 #4
im still not used to this sketchbook, the loss of the couple of inches it doesnt have over the last one i've been using is irritating. The claw of this guy needs to be rotated to properly carry its weight, but it wouldnt fit on the page.
im not so sure about this whole pencil shading business, i love me some clean linework, and putting shading on always feels like murder, smudging up perfectly lovely flatness. Until i can start to add some sexy colour to these itll do as a placeholder.
May 5th, 2008 #5
Wow, I really like your stuff. I'd like to see more ^-^
May 5th, 2008 #6
Wow, I really like your stuff. I'd like to see more ^-^
May 6th, 2008 #7
thanks . I put gallery links in my sig if you want to see more, not sure if its actually working or not though..
Its a wonderful day outside, and i have 24 full hours of rendertime to do as i please. How am i spending it? cooped up with no energy, a sore throat and a splitting headache.
Still the creatures must flow, heres #7.
May 7th, 2008 #8
May 8th, 2008 #9
May 9th, 2008 #10
I'm finding it harder to flit between work mode and draw mod that i expected for this 100 creatures thing, the two are SO different and going from writing an essay to painting is like OH GOD MINDHAX. Going from painting to writing is less mindboggling, but i certainly would not want to do an essay in the jumbled style of writing i have at the moment having just finished todays creature.
I have the feeling that isnt making much sense, but my head is running loops round itself at the moment. People often ask me if i do drugs to get my ideas, i've never touched em, because my god my mind does a pretty good job of messing itself up and today is an example of that.
Also, dinobird. fish.
ok, materials were watercolours, coloured fineliner and acrylic. I messed up a little in some areas with the watercolour ( its been a while ) so had to go over with the acrylic. The actual version of this is way more vibrant, but in a bit of an eye-assaulting way. As the pink is acrylic, it GLOWS, which is a bit too much on the legs. The room i'm in has kinda rubbish lighting, which is partially to blame for my earlier mistakes since its hard to see the washes, but luckily photoshop is a nifty little lifesaver.
Also, my scanner sucks. it must be warped or something, it randomly scans parts in all out of focus for no reason, even though this page was flat.
Last edited by ALH; May 9th, 2008 at 05:35 PM. Reason: butts
May 10th, 2008 #11
#11 was late for various reasons.
Its been a bad day.
Because i forgot to point this out elsewhere first- this is one of those creatures which is somewhat of a self portrait, although in this instance its a bit of a proxy because what its describing has muted off somewhat. I dont really explore this side of things as much as i used to, guess it freaked me out. also kinda comes off as pretentious since i can make a million excuses for things i usually wouldnt let myself get away with anatomically.
Last edited by ALH; May 10th, 2008 at 08:46 PM. Reason: clarification
May 11th, 2008 #12
I really dont like this one, its boring. Working too big for the page too, which is compromising flow. My handin is soon, so i'll be able to get back into a real rythm.
Gotta say, im not really enjoying this as much as i thought i would, but i think thats probably more about my current state of mind in general, not just about art.
May 12th, 2008 #13
thats cool dude! wanna see more ! by the way... i made a sketch book.. but i dont know if people can see it? can u try to see my sketchbook? and, by the way, coment and say what u think
May 12th, 2008 #14
i dont really know if the sketchbook section is the right place to ask any kind of question, so i guess ill make a thread somewhere else too, who knows.
I'm playing about with painting styles today, and im finding it..fiddly i guess, because i dont really know what i'm aiming for. When i presented my work to the Rare guy he said my style of painting was old fashioned, which looking at the wild stylised yummyness in places like this is not really that hard to disbelieve- it doesnt help that a lot of my stuff is worked on really close up so the brushstrokes vanish once anythings printed.
God im such a spaz, these arent in the right order at all.
The bottom left with sensible colour is how i would usually work. it looks wonky as heck here because i more concerned about the colour and loosening up strokes than defining form, plus i guess i was looking at in bits instead of as a whole. I'm gonna go and blame warm up mistakes for that, because making excuses is lulz.
The horrible one at the top right was me messing about with photoshop, just to see if i could tolerate it. me and photoshop dont really get along, we have an agreement- ill only use it for tweaking, textures and layouts and it will not crash on me. I went back on our agreement today and it did the ' no tools work sucka' thing, so i guess i get what i deserve. Anyways, i wanted to see if custom brushes would be handy. They were in one way, but this example is kind of haphazard due to my meh status with photoshop. I shouldnt have included it really.
The top left is my messing around with kind of automatic stroke, my arm spazzed and i went with it. I did greyscale so i could add colour over the top, but found it baffling to get my head round once i got to adding the colour, which doesnt make much sense since i've scanned greyscale work before and found putting colour on no bother whatsoever. The bottom right is the colour overlay. Added in photoshop, which decided it didnt want to work when i tried to erase the messy bits. because it is made of fail.
I guess my question would be how to approach a new method of painting. My traditional skills lie mainly with watercolours, which is probably why a lot of my digital work is flat as a fart since the two are rather different in terms how how colour is added etc.
I guess i could look at some pictures by artists i like and try to emulate it, as much as that feels like cheating. Check me out answering my own questions, oh god. I hate my brain.
The really irritating thing about this problem is that i know if i had a tablet screen i'd find it a doddle to enter artmode and some up with something, but the disconnect between tablet and screen is such a kicker to how i work with a pen, which is frustrating.
May 13th, 2008 #15
I'm now convinced the fat sketchbook was effecting my work in a negative way, i felt guilty for wasting great paper on the more rubbish ideas, which didnt really encourage much freedom. Moved back to my old one, will probably end up just doing these on A4 soon because i dont want to clutter my study sketchbook with creatures.
My animation work is all handed in, and as of wednesday i'm officially finished uni- resits be damned. Planning on chilling out, boosting my portfolio, then sending it out for jobs and sucess.
Last edited by ALH; May 13th, 2008 at 05:36 AM. Reason: hurrrr
May 13th, 2008 #16
May 13th, 2008 #17
I dont know what to think about this, i've lost a lot of scale about whats actually good digitally. It bothers me that this would take next to nothing to do in watercolours but its taken hours ( ok..an hour and a bit) just to get this far, and even then i've been tempted to just delete it all.
I was on the edge of deleting it all just now, but lowering the opacity helped a lot since things were way too heavy, which didnt feel right.
I dont know what to aim for, i mean ideally i would want a similar 10 minute timeframe, but my confidence being what it is at the moment i dont feel at all right laying down most of my strokes. It bothers the hell out of me, especially since i felt so good about myself while doing my big project in march.
Having someone say all of that is old fashioned has been a bigger kicker than i thought it would be.
May 15th, 2008 #18
Been busy the past couple of days, getting some things done which i neglected during term time etc. Kind of fallen behind with the creatures- i owe 2- but its awwight.
bloody knackered tonight, my sleeps been messed up lately. excuse for wobbly lines is excuuussee.
May 17th, 2008 #19
the last creature in the 100 was crappy, rubbish excuse times lulz.
Using the dino heads for some technique experimentation. Today was the turn of loose and speedy, which was fun, after a morning of tweaking the slightly less loose and speedy one i did the other day.
for some reason i work well with green, better than other colours, pretty odd.
May 17th, 2008 #20
May 17th, 2008 #21
If I might suggest something, it would be to utilize a bit of line variation in your work. For instance, determine a light source before you start to throw lines down on the paper. Then, work from light to dark, shading as you construct. Find the volumes and structures *within* those outlines and keep building on top of those. I find your paintings very appealing. Keep drawing mate, the more you do it, the better you'll get
PS: I feel you on the game art course man. Im working on my computer animation bachelor and its very hard for me to find time to paint. I have panel reviews in less than 1 year and Im sure to get a swift kick in the rump if I don't buckle down.
May 17th, 2008 #22
My linework suffers from a similar bad habit- im really glad it was brought up actually. My past excuse was 'all of that gets lost when its painted on anyways', which is pretty diabolical really. I work with a mech pencil, and have pretty much since i started to get serious about drawing, just because its less messy. The downside of never having to sharpen your pencil is that the only time you get any kind of lovely line variation is when you draw something TINY.
For example, the attached image, which is about an inch high, if that. SO much more energy comes out in the strokes of something like that compared to bigger images!
I think i'm going to have to look into buying a fatter mech or..god forbid..make like a real artist and use a REAL PENCIL
My mind keeps changing from 'my course is to blame for all of this!' to ' i should really be ashamed of myself' when i consider the impact of having to concentrate on 3D and animation. Learning 3D has REALLY helped my 2d spacial skills, even if the 3D itself took away time from drawing - its just a shame i lost my old 'i must do my best and perhaps this will get me a DD on deviantArt!' drive to make 'finished' pieces. But deviantArt is not really the place to get any kind of accurate judge on your own skills.
..Actually getting 2 DDs didnt really help either, oh man, theres getting complacent, then theres having hundreds of people say 'THIS IS AWESOME OMG' to something you didnt really like yourself before it was featured. TWICE. Ego = KABLOOEY.
I'm glad my confidence was shattered by the rare guy because i had turned into such a prick.
May 17th, 2008 #23
I'd really like to see you take those pencils of yours, and do a simple B/W image with the help of the pencilwork. Anyway, keep it up, I really like the way you handle pencils!
May 18th, 2008 #24
Got a new 0.7 mech this morning to compliment my usual 0.5. The art shop isnt actually open so i cant go get me some appropriate leads (delicious 2H) and had to work with what i was given...B.
Not even an H in there, just B! oh god.
I dont like soft pencils, they attract mess and they leave streaks when they erase, nasty nasty. They do have a wonderful range in darkness compared to harder pencils though.
So i'm playing about with it and heres the somewhat chaotic result- creature 17- FASHIONAPE. A far more accurate version is forthcoming, this creature has potential for much lulz ( and more accurate anatomy )
May 18th, 2008 #25
Alright, now thats what Im talking about man. Force yourself to keep working in the method you just demonstrated. The goal is to show the full light spectrum in your drawings (completely dark to completely light). Where the above piece falls short is in your midtones and line directon.
Lets start with this - when you are shading, force your pencil strokes to follow the contour/shape of the muscle or ligament you are shading. In the above piece, your strokes are either diagonal from the top left or top right. Explore loosening up, staying lighter longer, and enclosing each form with your shading strokes.
Everyone's work flow differs here, but what I like to do is throw down my midtones first, then hit those midtones with my lightsource, and finally nail in the darks.
Let me know if any of this is making sense. Keep up the hard work. Let me link you to a thread on here that was an inspiration to me for some time. Start at the first page and look at how this gentlemen grows over about a year or so, making sure to post some work on a nearly daily basis. Its amazing how far you can go if you just stick with it.
May 18th, 2008 #26
Haha, oh wow, that sketchbook is both terrifying and awesome at the same time. Very inspiring
I think the scanner might have knocked back the midtones a little, which is a horrible excuse, i wasnt really paying attention to the levels as much as i should have. Partially through lazyness, partially through excitement at the thought of uploading. It gets addictive .
I agree on the pencil line direction issue. I was more concerned about getting it done fast than getting it done correctly, which is not the right approach.
I'm convinced that need a sadistic kung fu mentor whipping my back and forcing me to do mindless tasks so i break all of my awful excusey habits.
Procrastinatey habits are pretty nasty too, i've spent the day cleaning out my flat instead of further testing out my new pencil, but to be fair that was something that drastically needed doing since i've let things gradually build up since march, which was insane major crunch month, followed by another 2 months of grind. It smelt funny and things were sticking to my feet- when it gets that bad you know you need to spend a day cleaning :|
May 18th, 2008 #27
Updated version. I think i should have spent a bit more time today figuring out what i wanted from the torso anatomy before i shaded this,i went in there blind like a fool and forgot that the B pencil really is a bugger to shift. Some bits are way darker than i'd have wanted them to be too, but i thats more getting to grips with the softer pencil than anything else, the range is so different to what im used to.
This can be saved with a bit of digital post though, which i'll fire up in the morning. Tired as heck right now though. Hurrah for not eating much over the day.
May 18th, 2008 #28
Allways keep your motivation ups!. You know what is good for killing procrastrination? EFT, its a weird thing, but i use it and its good, search for youtube videos on it.
A critique, forget about digital for a while, stay with real mediums, otherwise your making things harder for yourself, your are not killing two birds with one stone, you are just making things harder for you. I have my wacom stored in a safe place, and it was certainly been easier since learning to color is hard, why to make it harder by trying to learn digital mediums?.
www.fineart.sk read andrew loomis book called "succesfull drawing" to learn how to light and shade your drawings.
Keep it up and youll reach your dreams!.
Jesus bless you.
May 19th, 2008 #29
I usually flit between digital and traditional, the two help each other along nicely, been a bit busy in recent months though.
Creature 18. it looks REALLY light scanned in, a load of the subtle lines are just not there, which has me fuming a bit, especially since i didnt tweak it much. My scanner picks up smudges which i cant even see, but bleaches out fine detail >O Gonna have to rescan or take a photo or something later. Day three of 'clean up everything' needs to start in the meantime, my kitchen is a health hazard.
May 19th, 2008 #30
Rescanned. My scanner can barely pick up the faint lines on the tail etc, i dont know if i have to scan at crazyXcrazy DPI to pick those up, or if theyre just too faint fullstop. either way, i prefer this version anyways. Adding more subtle highlights in photoshop works nicely with pencil.
totally aware of the missing set of teeth on the other side of the mouth, forgot to put them in, wondering if i can get away with not having those there as they will kinda ruin the cool silhouette of the current teeth