Thursday, 30 June 2011

Where the Bloody Hell Was This Hiding?!

By a complete fluke I found this in one of the old posts on the group blog. I've never seen anything like this in animation, the only thing that's close is Echo Bazaar's still images, but I really need to!

Absolutely fascinating! I can't wait to see it!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

For Future Reference: John Avon...

So much lovely use of colour and atmosphere in these pictures! Also, his use of perspective is gorgeous in the images with buildings in, it's really something to aspire to! Love them!

For Future Reference: Steven Belledin...

Another illustrator of Magic cards but I really like the different approaches he has to the subject matter, from the very traditional fantasy to soft and painterly. I'm a sucker for a soft glow though, and there's some really lovely uses of it in his work :P

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A Few More Faces for Ursula...

There would've been a bit more but I got distracted by horrible histories while I was working :P

I drew a few establishing skulls again so I had something to refer back to, I find it much easier if I can keep looking back at something or else I'll draw something completely undesirable and unrealistic.  I started with something a bit extreme shape wise and then gradually extended the forehead and got something pretty close to what I wanted.  The fifth and final face is sharp and deer-like but it's still quite beautiful, when I start working on the details, such as the 'antlers' she'll have and perfecting the eye shape, I think I can actually start moving on to the body shape. That skeleton will be an interesting one to work out! :D

P.S. Sorry the picture isn't great, for some reason it won't load any bigger than that, but the shapes are there to see anyway.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Character Development (So Far)...

After Phil linked me a really great source for organising your character development I started thinking about what it is that I want from my characters, what I want the audience to see as soon as they look at them and what their traits should be.  The character I want to work on first is my 'noble plant-woman', but for now I'm renaming her Ursula, because, well, it's a mostly unpleasant name and I can't be bothered to type a triple barrel title every time I mention her :).

My first stop were the traits I wanted to visually portray.  She's bitter, spiteful and jealous so I want her to look physically sharp and pointed, as if she's made from thorns. Much like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, I want her to look as if she would be very beautiful but her personality has twisted her looks so she appears merciless and cold. To do this she'll have quite an angular face and big black emotionless eyes that appear endless when looked into and elegant but small lips that seem permanently creased. I want her to be 'crowned' with thorned horns that grow from her head as if she's become royalty through sheer will rather than through her blood line.  I want her to be a visual contrast, her features kept elegant and deer like but her frame is sharp and thin like a decrepit twisted tree.

Here are the first few sketches I did before research:

Here is where I thought I should look into face shapes and skeletal structure so she can actually look more believable. First off, as I want her to quite angular with deer like features, I looked into the skulls of deer and elks. Here are the images I worked from:

The elk skull (the bottom two drawings) was the most attractive I think, because I love the way the antlers really dominate the skull.

The next step was to have a look at a human skull so I have something to reference from:

Though it isn't the best drawing of a skull it definitely made me more aware of the dominant shapes and bones in the human face, so I can better morph the two skulls together. My first attempt (bottom right) is a little bit too much like the guy from the Dungeon Keeper games but for the first general shape it's pretty useful.

This is the first face I've come up with so far using the research above. There's a lot more I want to try, such as going from super sharp and pointed to maybe a more subtle coldness, centred in the eyes and later the posture.  I'm feeling really positive now though, I think she's going to look pretty awesome once I work my way around the body and then roll on the other characters! :D

Friday, 24 June 2011

Decisions and an Influence Map...

I've decided that I'm going to continue with the characters I've designed, after all, it's only early days! They're barely near finished so it'd be a shame to abandon them now, especially when I like some of them so much!
SO! To get started I have an influence map for my spiteful plant woman:

(I had to shrink it a little so sorry if it's not the best quality)

There's still a lot of indecision at the moment towards how she'll actually end up looking. I plan to create many different versions of her before I decide how she should finally look and I'm already working on the head shape in my sketch book, so expect the scans soon!

This is the general plan for all the characters I want to continue with, and any others I come up with later. Experiments, tweaking, defining and then polishing (maybe followed by a bit more tweaking). Roll on experimentation! :D

For Future Reference: Jung Park...

Really nice environment design here! I love the use of lighting to highlight certain areas with a fiery or magical glow. The use of atmosphere and emptiness in the scenes really makes them much more atmospheric too. Really nice! :D

For Future Reference: Aleksi Briclot...

A really great variety of styles here, which I find fantastic. I especially love the almost dream-like glow that some of the Spawn panels and concept art has. Really strong, powerful silhouettes and figures, nice! :D

For Future Reference: Veronique Meignaud...

I really love this artist's use of colour in everything from character design to landscapes and it's all so painterly but detailed at the same time. I love it! Really something to aim for in my work (eventually) :)

For Future Reference: Omar Rayyan...

I love theeeessee!! They're a lovely mix of ridiculousness and magic, I just love them, like something John Bauer would've made if he'd been feeling a bit silly, I think. Lovely, lovely, lovely! :D

For Future Reference: Rob Alexander...

I got one of my friends to look through the Magic cards we have and list at any interesting artists I could use and there were lots, so prepare for the best ones, there'll be quite a few :P

Very soft and ethereal! I think I most enjoy the pencil-like drawings of characters and the gorgeous landscapes too.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

@Phil, Question on Summer Project...

I've given myself a bit of a mental block for some reason and I thought I'd just ask your opinion quick.
Do you think I should continue developing the characters I have at the moment and see where that goes or take a different route? My confidence has gone a bit so any advice and/or direction pointing would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance! :)

Friday, 17 June 2011

For Future Reference: Bao Pham...

Now if you don't think these images are beautiful then you must be crazy! I fell in love with these as soon as I saw one. I'm not normally one for soft, sort of photo-realistic, sort of faerie-like portraits but I LOVE these. I think it's the mixture of amazing colours and gorgeous eyes that got me, I'm not sure, but I'm glad it did!

Lovely lighting, amazing use of colour and beautiful faces, is there much more you could want? Well, maybe, but as far as portraits go I think these are the loveliest I've seen! So soft and elegant, I think there are just enough differences in the faces to keep them from being repetitive and every face, for some reason or another, is really striking. If I can get this kind of natural softness in my images, as well as that control of colour, then I will be so set it's ridiculous :P

For Future Reference: Raymond Swanland...

This artist is especially lovely when it comes to the use of depth and movement in his work:

I think what stands out in these images is the use of light and how it draws the eye to certain areas of the picture. the use of light also allows him to suggest shapes in the distance that the viewer can't quite see, perhaps because they're obscured by smoke or atmosphere, creating greater depth and menace too.  The detail in these images are fantastic too, in the image above on the character's head alone there's a plethora of detailed engravings that, combined with the soft light, make her seem ethereal. Lovely, lovely stuff to come back to for inspiration :D

For Future Reference: Marko Djurdjevic...

Another artist with lovely soft work! A gorgeous mix of character design, landscapes and visual naratives too, I love that he not only has the ability to paint photo-realistic images but he can also created much more gestural images, especially in landscapes.

I especially love how his creature design seems to flow, all the creatures look as if they could easily live in the same area because of their matching colours and patterns. I also think that some of the black and white work is more powerful than the coloured pieces, such as his series of masks and the stern looking lady of justice. Also, the way his characters and their costumes are layed out, with the clarity of labelling too. I just love it all really :D

For Future Reference: Glen Angus...

I was going to do a tutorial but I got distracted and ended up looking at lots more artists. Glen Angus was the first and sadly I discovered he died a couple of years ago at only 37 so it was very sad. I'm just glad his work is still available to see!

The sketches that look aged are great example of character design. All of them have great silhouettes due to their poses and it shows how important that is. Also, I love his use of colour adds to the softness of the image, the green image of Loki up above is a really nice example of it and one of my favourites.  I was drawn to the planes with their female counterparts because it reminded me of what Sucker Punch wanted to be (but failed miserably) as well as the lovely figureheads that boats used to have too. Really nice stuff!

Playing a Little in Maya...

I keep getting myself stuck when it comes to drawing so I thought I'd have a go at making my rodent-man in maya. I don't have much so far but I just want to jump in and do a bit at a time really. The last thing I want is to start disliking it this early in the project! :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Playing with Textures in Photoshop...

 Just because it look quite cool.

 Final image above.
 Slightly softer version above.

It's not particularly amazing but I just wanted to see what I could do before I follow a tutorial and make a big improvement. I do like the idea of using textures to add a bit more detail to my work, and it's a really good way to help you visualise what something might look like, but it may not be something I use yet, we shall see. It's pretty funky though :P