Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cartographer

Sweet Discovery Store globe.
A lot of you might know about my personal project Hayling, and might even be following the blog I have set up to log my progress. I announced it in late 2009 and I've been slowly putting it together since then, and it's only recently started to kick into high gear.

Anyway, before I had Hayling, there was another project floating around in my mind about a year prior in 2008, something I titled Cartographer. I had all sorts of ideas floating around for that, but it wasn't until recently that they started to congeal. One night I went to sleep and as I lay there, the pieces simply started to fit together.

I've had an unfinished painting for it sitting on my hard drive for over 2 years now, and although it might be a while before I can pursue the story, it's the only painting I've left incomplete that's actually bothered me. To me it feels like it needs to be completed, it almost has an emotional resonance with me.

Anyway, where Hayling is more of a localized sci-fi thriller, Cartographer is an outer space epic. Two completely different ends of the sci-fi spectrum and I've gotta say it excites me to have two different unique projects like that to work on. If I ever get frustrated or worn out on one, I've got the other.

I want to complete that painting soon, and it might end up getting done before I have even have a painting to show for Hayling. I guess it makes sense, it was here first...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

S.K. Omega Illustrations

Here's a dump of images I've done for Molten Monkey International on their S.K. Omega action figure line over the past 6 months or so. It's nice to illustrate someone else's designs on occasion and just have fun with it. I've released a number of the illustrations on my deviantART, but none of these ones yet. Some of these probably won't make it there, to be honest. 

I'm happy with all of them, but after sitting on them for so long, I do see a lot of things I could have done better. I've revised my process a lot lately and done a lot of practicing and I hope to bring that into the newer images I do for them.

Anyway, enjoy!




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Galactic Tour Test

Andree Wallin and I have been discussing the idea that in films, we never get to spend enough time just gawking at planets. The establishing shot lasts a few moments, and then it's gone. We're always left feeling like we should have spent more time up there in orbit.

Anyway, we're kicking around ideas for putting together a sort of galactic tour using matte painting, 3D, and animation techniques. It's a way to put together a journey that shows us what some of the places in our galaxy might look like, both from orbit and down on the surface.



This video is just a small test for the project, recycling some of the Hayling tests into a whole new thing. It really captures the mood and level of 'epicness' I hope to achieve, largely in part to Armand Amar's music. And speaking of music, we hope to get something original composed for it as well.

I've also gotta give credit to nvseal on dA for the title planet, and freelancah on dA for the star stock.
-

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Essential Books for the Artist

Below, I've compiled a list of books that I've collected over the years that I find to be worthwhile, if not essential, additions to the collections of those looking to improve their artistic skills. It's not by any means a be-all, end-all list, but they are resources I personally consider invaluable.

In other words, if you're tired of dealing with books that just aren't quite giving you what you need, or don't have enough information, this list is for you. 

COLOR THEORY

Color and Light by James Gurney 

This book was instantly my new favorite art book when I received it. If you need an amazing, comprehensive book on how to paint and understand color, light, and form in a realistic manner, you'll find no better or easier to understand resource. It's only $16 on Amazon, and I'd have gladly paid $60+.





PERSPECTIVE

Basic Perspective Drawing by John Montague

I find that a lot of perspective books attempt to do what this one does, but in a much more complicated, and labor intensive fashion. Basic Perspective Drawing is easy to understand and follow, even to those with no prior perspective training. In other words, if you want to learn to draw in perspective, this is the book to have. 


Perspective Drawing Handbook by Joseph D'Amelio

This book is also quite informative, and it was my first book in college introducing me to perspective. It has a lot of valuable information in it, but it's better suited to someone who's already had some sort of introduction, which should probably be in the form of the book above. 





ANATOMY & FIGURE DRAWING


This was the required textbook for my college anatomy class. It tackles anatomy from an artist's perspective, but includes many technical details you might expect from something like a medical textbook. It's comprehensive, and easy to follow with great drawings, and gives you relatable ways of viewing and drawing anatomy. A must have in my opinion.




Cyclopedia Anatomicae by Gyorgy Feher

This book is nearly impossible to find new, but it's over 500 pages, with 1,500+ illustrations of anatomical reference and explanation for both humans and animals. It really lives up to its title, and even used, it would be worth your money. This, in conjunction with the atlas above, are more than enough to get you drawing and understanding anatomy extremely well.





The boxed set includes 3 books: Bridgman's Life Drawing, The Book of a Hundred Hands, and Heads, Features and Faces. Constructive Anatomy is another book entirely. I only list these ones because they happen to be the only ones I own, but you owe it to yourself to buy a set of George Bridgman's books. He's a master and you absolutely can't go wrong with any of his titles.





This book is amazing at breaking down how not only to draw facial expressions, but explaining how the muscles work, so even when you don't necessarily have the proper reference, you can work things out on your own still. Amazing, well illustrated book, worth every penny. 






TECHNIQUE & IDEATION

Imaginative Realism by James Gurney

This is a book I haven't had much time to delve into yet, but if it's anything like Gurney's other book Color and Light, it's a winner. It details how to paint what doesn't exist, coming up with ideas and ways to make your work convincing, as well as giving all sorts of other input and instruction. 5 solid stars on Amazon out of 64 reviews, I don't think you can go wrong. 



DESIGN


I don't have much of an industrial design or technical background, so I don't have many books on the subject, but I recently found this one, and it's absolutely fantastic. It details how to draw and design products, but you can apply that sense to anything you need to design and draw in perspective. So, for designing and populating an environment with unique objects, this book is awesome.  



TYPOGRAPHY

Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton

As with industrial design, I don't have a huge background with typography, so sometimes I need a little help when it comes to that aspect in design. This is a book that I find breaks down all the basics in a really great, easy to understand way and has plenty of do's and don'ts. So, if you're like me and need a solid book to help you understand and use type, this is it.




I hope these books are able to bring you as much help as they have for me. I don't know what I'd do without some of them, and I know you'll feel the same way if you decide to get your hands on a few. Good luck!