Long Time, No See

Yo it’s been a bit. I’ve been busy working on school stuff and while I have been posting things, I seem to have neglected this blog. Let me catch you up (if you still follow me, that is).

First and foremost, I changed my logo recently after feedback that it looked “straight out of the ’70s” and “I wonder if this business card is current or if it’s ancient and I should toss it”.

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I also redesigned my Sachtberg characters, as I am working on redoing an animated storyboard (animatic) for a potential short film.

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I experimented with a new painting process which involves using a “Digital Maquette”. I use Blender Cycles to make a 3D render of the subject with lighting and materials. I then use this as reference for painting. It’s the same as making a maquette (miniature posed sculpture) out of clay. The results are good, but rendering the maquette takes almost as long to do as it takes to paint the final picture.

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Here is a sample of one of my render trials for a painting. I used spheres to gauge the lighting from all directions as well.

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Both of these paintings were completed using digital maquettes for perspective, lighting, and material reference. Yes I know it’s obnoxious that I continue to paint these characters but whatever. Read on to find out my thoughts on this subject.

I have made the decision to focus my character design work on creatures, animals, and humanoid animals. Personally I feel more interest in designing such characters as I believe humans are “boring”. Not to say I won’t design human characters any more, but they won’t be my “preferred area of work”. Humans are still artistically “beautiful”, and the human figure is a wonder of nature. However, I find it more entertaining to apply these human characteristics to something non-human, and to invent new species through all kinds of “Genetic combinations” and biological research and what not. My drive as an artist is to create a new world. I apply algorithms and research and extensive effort into new cultures, new histories, new ways of life. Perhaps a mockery of this world, or a reflection of what could be possible out there in the mess of universes. It may be my personal opinion, but I find animal characters fundamentally more interesting to look at- especially if human qualities are cleverly applied. In addition to creating sentient animal-people characters, I also think Artificial Intelligence a fascinating subject rich with designs to explore.

An interesting perspective to the question, “What is it to be human?”

FROM GREATNESS TO DUST update: My comic isn’t over, I’m just pulling back and reconsidering my approach to delivering the content. The comic page format looks nice, but it takes a long time to produce. The rule of comics is “show, don’t tell”, and I find this rule disappointing because it makes describing things deeply a challenge. I am aiming for a more “mixed media” approach- including comic formats, novel-like text with illustrations, and even animations. Keep your eyes out for the next release.

Comic: Part 2, Page 1 released

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After delays with the holidays and getting my drawing tablet working, I’ve decided to post what I have finished of part 2 so far. Check it out at http://greatness-to-dust.tumblr.com/post/107403052062

It appears the process of going from rough sketch to inked/painted page takes quite longer than I had expected. This page took me a combined total of about 12 hours. I’m hoping it’s just because I haven’t developed a rhythm yet.

From Greatness to Dust and Back Again: Chapter 1 (introduction)

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I just completed the first issue of my comic series, “From Greatness to Dust and Back Again”.

Check it out on tumblr!

Summary: “What is it to be human?” A science-fiction and philosophical exploration into what constitutes as a sentient being. Life, love, death, terror, and everything in between. Follow a young Lisovyek man named Aleks as he finds his place in the world- an alternate universe populated by species of genetically modified animals.

Keep an eye out for the next issue in a few weeks. If you like it, be sure to follow the blog so you’ll never miss an update.

BEHIND THE SCENES:

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(a final draft board for one of the pages in my first issue)

Since this is my artist dev blog, I’d like to explain a little behind my process. After putting together my plot outline for the entire series, I started by fleshing out each issue with more elaborate detail. For this issue in particular, I started with the text, “What is it to be human? … ” and then sketched out rough ideas for each board. I then consulted my friend who is much more familiar with comic panels and composition with help on how to refine each board’s layout. I moved to the final “draft” pass, and then a completed paintover. The entire process ranges from a week to two weeks for a single issue.

Final Render of Marija K.

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I spent way too long on this because of a few reasons: I was figuring out how to use Cycles shaders better, I was limited to slow computers with bad render time, and I had to learn a lot about fur systems in 3D. At least I’m done with it now.

Rendered with Blender’s Cycles engine and cleaned up in Photoshop.

Sketchbook: Week 1

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Pages from my “From Greatness to Dust and Back Again” story sketchbook over the past week. Character studies, inventing a new tribal-clan culture idea, cosmonauts, sketches of a few inspirations, personal criticism on mistakes in drawings, and making fun of myself and my characters being “furries” (all in good spirits, of course). I intend to upload weekly with my sketchbook work to keep things alive around here while school is going on.

(artist who drew the mech I referenced: Simon Stålenhag)