Character Studies

I’m trying to get into the habit of doing a character study everyday if I can. Typically I’ll have a look on Pinterest and find a candid photo of someone and work from that, so it’s a little similar to sketching in a coffee shop or doing life drawing. The study on the left is a little bit too real for my taste and lacks interesting shape, line and gesture. I was a little looser with the guy on the right exaggerating the proportions and pose which lends a lot more character.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ll be better.



Life’s a Beach

UK lockdown feels a bit like this. There’s an awful lot of just waiting around while you’re stranded on a desert island. You have a means of getting off the island, but there’s nowhere to go when you do, so you just come back. You can meet up with another person which helps keep you sane, but all you talk about is how great it’ll be when you’re finally rescued. And so you wait. And wait. And wait some more. And just like that a year has passed since the first lockdown began. Hopefully there’s a ship going to appear any day now… hopefully.

Limping into Port

This took waaaay longer than it should have. Annoyingly I kind of got lost in drawing and redrawing the lines, and then deciding not to use lines, and then going back on that. It was frustrating to the point I almost abandoned it all together. I surmise that I am my own worst enemy.

If I’m honest I feel like this piece is missing something but I can’t work out what?! I do however really love the smoke coming out of the tug boat.

I moved away from using a perspective grid for this (for anyone not in the know, a perspective grid helps you to draw in perspective). I made the decision to do this because I often feel like it gets in the way when I draw and I end up focusing so much on the grid, and getting everything perfect, that I lose what makes an illustration interesting. Using the grid also makes things too rigid and lacking in character in my opinion.



Making a House a Home

Some basic house designs here for my visual development portfolio. The images are in order (top to bottom) of how the work flow tends to happen in visdev, starting with multiple thumbnail sketches, refining an idea, and then fleshing it out. I’ll do a more refined colour version of this tomorrow.



Visual Development

The above pieces were made by drawing some rough abstract shapes and then trying to create a simple landscape from the shapes. This type of exercise can make for some interesting compositions and stops me from starting my work the same way over and over. Doing this also made me notice that I tend to draw things like rocks and trees the same way, so I wanted to expand my visual language. Below are the results of this.

Thank You Carson Wentz

I couldn’t not say something. As of yesterday this man was traded away to Indianapolis from an organisation that failed him. He was, in my opinion, our greatest asset, and due to mismanagement and poor decision making the Eagles betrayed and alienated the best quarterback we’ve had in years. Carson Wentz was a foundational piece of the Philadelphia Eagles and had we built the team appropriately around him we would have been contenders, not only in the East, but around the entire league. Alas, not everyone thinks the same as me (though I strongly believe most of the Philly fans do). Wentz wasn’t perfect by any means – this last season there was a visible decline in his play – but these issues were, and have always been, mechanical and easy to correct with good coaching. It didn’t help that we had significant injuries on the offensive line (leading to a record number of sacks given up) and a perennially weak receiving corps, the former a constant problem with the Eagles and the latter due to poor drafting. I could go on about the drafting of Jalen Hurts, the poor coaching, lack of a run game, uninspired play calling, playing with practice squad players, roster mismanagement, the list goes on.

I’m glad Carson got out. He deserves to do well and I believe he will do great things in Indy. I do not have high hopes for the Eagles future while Howie Roseman remains our GM, however I do look forward to seeing what Nick Siriani can bring to the table with his youth and the young coaches he has brought in around him.

All the best Carson. I’ll still wear your jersey with pride.

Fly Eagles Fly

An Incredibly Time Consuming Background

Annoyingly most of this background will be cropped out when I add the animation, but it felt stupid not to illustrate the whole room. However, I may end up reusing the scene for a wider shot later down the line.

The original design was literally going to be a bed, a chair, and some stacked boxes. I drew this idea out and it looked horrendously garbage, not to mention lazily designed, so I went back to the drawing board. This is the main living area inside the tree that we see the mouse character run into, which is why the room is curved. Also, look at all those books! The chair closest has a hole in the back for the mouse’s tail to fit through. I didn’t want to overdo it in terms of reverse engineering everything for a mouse, mostly because I’m not that smart, but also because I wanted to keep things recognisable. In terms of adding the animation, the character will enter frame from the right, pause uncertainly, and then move towards the lit area in the middle (there’s going to another scene before this one which I’m working on now).



Test Animation pt.2

I severely underestimated how long it would take to complete this! Firstly, the previous animation came in at 1.5 seconds, was 12 frames long, and it took me about a day to complete. This one is 3.8 seconds, almost 40 frames, and there’s a lot more going on, so I’ve no idea what made me think I could do it in a day.

I felt a bit more comfortable navigation the process this time so that helped speed things up. The original idea (and the reason I probably thought I could complete it so quickly) was that the mouse would run in and slide to a stop in the middle of the scene, but it occurred to me that I wouldn’t learn all that much about how animate the character in different poses and facial expressions do that, so I changed direction (literally). It’s still not as smooth as I’d like it to be and frame to frame I can see I’m consistent in drawing the proportions, but I’m getting there I think.

The major challenge here (apart from… well… all of it) was the “fall and get up”, as I’ve never drawn those poses before I don’t think. I found myself having to act it out and think about what limbs I was moving and then translate that to the character in a different 3D plane. In hindsight I should just video myself from the angle I want and draw that. The other challenge here was adding the light, which for this test was direct light and a bit of bounce light. I’ll maybe start getting a tad more adventurous with the rendering of light and shadow as I progress, but really the focus will be on getting the movement right as a before I attempt to get too fancy.



Interior Background Art

The top image is the next background for the animation. This next scene will probably last a little longer than the previous one – perhaps five seconds or so. The colours are fairly muted/desaturated because I want to keep the focus on the character who will be running in from the left.

This background previously would have been pretty quick to draw, but I’m now trying to visually develop everything, insomuch as I’m drawing multiple designs of all the props until I settle on what I think looks appropriate. The pictures in the frames on the wall are of cheese FYI.

I’ll try and pump out the next part of the animation tomorrow or Thursday!