Monday, May 13, 2013
Back in late 2012, I had the pleasure of working with McGraw-Hill Education to help develop a series of iOS. Ultimately, the development team took the games in a different direction, meaning most (if not all) of my art was left on the editing floor. Sadface. However, I received the greenlight to share my work, so the post below walks you though some of my process behind the project.
The interface was supplied by the client. I supplied that realistic tiger.
The majority of my responsibilities were to design a series of sprites/characters for each game, as well as background scenes that would fit around an existing interface. The image above shows an example of a finished scene, with the character and controls in place. A scene, like the one our tiger friend is in, can take weeks (even months) of concepts and redesigns. Patience (and coffee) is key.
Workflow from Illustrator. How did people research before the internets?
Whenever I started with a new scene, I always worked on the easiest, or most comfortable portion first, then worked my way out of that. I also pull a lot of reference images, especially when drawing animals. The shot above shows an example of what my Illustrator screen looks like while constructing a scene. I'll usually have tons of reference photos and color swatches and whatever construction lines are needed. In this case, I had a template of what the final interface would look like (see the pink lines) which helped me design the scene around where the buttons would go.
A sample of some final animal designs.
Originally, I wanted the characters to have a lot of detail and roundness (as shown in the chickens above), but due to the volume of animals/props needed throughout the entire series of games, coupled with the production schedule, a simpler execution was needed, so the final designs took on more blocky shapes.
Some key frames for the animals' movements.
I am NO animator. I don't have any animation background and it's a service I don't offer, but sometimes I still have to give the real animators some sort of concept to go on. For each animal, I did a few key frames that gave my idea on how I thought each animal should move.
What's that Van Halen song?
The chicken and the mouse above show my ideas on how I thought they should jump. This is pretty much the extent of my animation ability. So… if you know of someone who's looking to make a major motion picture starring a jumping chicken and a jumping mouse, send them my way.
I'm faxing these designs to NASA as we speak.
That might be the worst-looking robot ever.
Designing animals can be time consuming, so it's nice when a project also has in-organic objects that need to be illustrated. Part of the assignment was to draw space ships, trees, cactuses, robots, musical instruments, and so on and on and on. The images above give an example of some of the objects I produced to exist within the games.
Several final scene designs. Leaving room for various interfaces was tough.
The last part of my responsibilities was to stage my animals/objects in a way that would match the style and also give room for the game buttons/controls. Most of the games needed space above and below, so scenes were designed accordingly (which explains why most of these have big spaces on the top and bottom). It's always a challenge to design a stage that has the same amount of personality as the characters, but also lets those characters stand out.
A couple of examples of scenes with final characters in place.
Designing games is always rewarding, but there's always a tremendous amount of editing, re-working and changing concepts to match the production methods. Even then, there's always the chance that final art won't get produced. But that's the biz, yo!
You can see more examples (and larger images) of my work on this project by visiting my portfolio site. Thanks for reading!
Friday, April 19, 2013
I'm excited to announce a new personal project: Beastly Badges!
Beastly Badges are the best pet monster money can buy! Beastly Badges don't require food, water, shelter or any attention whatsoever! They can fit in your pocket, decorate your book bag, take up room in your hoarder house... whatever you need them for!
Series 1 and 2 contain 10 Beastly Badges. They do not bite. Well, a few of them do.
Beastly Badges Series 1 and 2 each contain 5, 1.5" buttons that are individually named and numbered. Once each series is sold out, they will NOT be reprinted, so be sure to grab them while you can!
Early sketch of Muck Mouth. He's so handsome.
The size and shape of the Beastly Badges allow me to come up with lots of ideas. "Aren't you just drawing monster faces on circles?" OH, YOU. There are no plans to produce a certain number of these. I'll keep making them as long as people keep buying them. When people stop buying them, I'll collapse into a heap of depression!
"Urpp" is actually short for "Urpphaldudelphiuserton".
SERIES ONE: 01: Toofy 02: Grimey Slimey 03: Muck Mouth 04: Lord Barfington 05: Nervous Nerdly SERIES TWO: 06: Snort 07: Glurp the Indifferent 08: Urpp 09: Caveface 10: Picklenose
Each series comes individually packaged in a monster-safe pouch.
I'M BURIED UNDER THESE
I've had a lot of fun creating these, and I look forward to making many more. The folks at Pure Buttons did a great job of producing all of them, and the quality is top notch. I think you'll be pleased!
Head on over to my Big Cartel store and order Beastly Badges today!
Buy Beastly Badges Series 1 ($4.00 +$3.00 s&h)
Buy Beastly Badges Series 2 ($4.00 +$3.00 s&h)
Buy Beastly Badges Series 1 & 2 ($7.00 +$3.00 s&h)
Good luck and happy collecting!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I have now entered the lucrative world of t-shirt design. Yes. I'm finally able to share the best t-shirt I've ever made (since it's the first, it's the best), and for just $20, (the price of 20 $1 bills) you can own one. The "Monstercycle" is a very limited run, since it's my first shirt and it's only available in mens XL and L. Sorry ladies, childs, and Hulk Hogan. If this shirt sells well, many more will be on the way with many more fitting options and such.
Me, starting off in to space, pretending to laugh at something.
The shirt is American Apparel heather black super soft something or other and has been printed with water-based inks for that lived-in feel. My wife is like "ooh, that's soft" so, that's a ringing endorsement.
If you like monsters, motorcycles, shirts, sleeves, neck holes, fabric, gray or impulse buys, then this is the shirt for you.
Head on over to my internetz store and buy yourself a great new t-shirt to impress your friends and business associates!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with Diane Gibbs on the Design Recharge Show. It was the first time I've ever spoken live about illustration, so I had a lot of fun, and did my best not to ramble (although, once a rambler, always a rambler). She and I talked about topics such as my studio space, where I draw inspiration, business practices and lots of other things. I've included the video here so you can watch it at your leisure.
There were a few areas where I misspoke (it happens when idiots do live shows), and wanted to clear a few things up:
• I mention buying a mailing list from Constant Contact. I actually used Agency Access.
• I discussed the cost of my postcard promo as being between $3-5k to produce. This included printing, list buying and postage. This did not include design time. I believe (knowing what I know now) I could have produced this much cheaper, but wanted to be honest about what I spent.
• There's a part where Diane asks me who my favorite artists are (or who inspires me). I drew a blank, but wanted to pull out a section from my earlier Design Inspiration Blog interview:
Chris Sanders, Adam Koford, Alex Deligiannis, Peter DeSéve, Melanie Matthews, Invisible Creature, Laura Park, Chris Lee, Matt Kaufenberg, Scott Campbell, Scott Chantler, Eddie Pittman, Robot Johnny, Todd Bright, Dustin Harbin... I’m just going to keep naming names until my computer battery dies.... these are just a FEW folks I really dig. I admire people that can flat out draw. Jared Chapman is great. He makes me laugh. No one makes me laugh. His work is great too. I’m lucky enough to have a brother-in-arms, Matt Stevens who is also a brilliant designer/illustrator. I think everyone needs a close friend in the industry that you can commiserate with.
ANYWAY! I had a blast talking with Diane. She has produced an entire series of worthwhile interviews that are available online, so please check that out. Thanks to everyone who tuned it and for all the kind words and great feedback!
Friday, March 1, 2013
The fine folks at CASIS brought me on to work on some character designs for their new CASIS Academy website. I did NOT get to go aboard the space station, but that's cool. Next time, you guys. Anyway, I was tasked with designing a host character, along with a series of characters and assets for their animated, educational videos featured on the site.
Anyone else make robot noises when they draw robots? I can't help it.
The first order of business was to design a host robot character for their educational videos. Above shows some of the early drawings, with the finished design below. I then handed a plan view of the robot off to be 3D modeled into magic.
I should have drawn the guy character with elbows. Oops
These were the characters featured in the CASIS Academy videos. They were designed to be very quick to animate and re-illustrate. The space station waits for no one.
I could make a career drawing beat up clunkers.
These show a sample of some of the spot illustrations used in the videos. The entire series was a lot of fun to work on.
Lots of space stuff!
Check out CASIS Academy now!
Special thanks to Chris Trausch, Demetre Gionis, Jen Meier, and Bruce Nofsinger!
Today marks one year since I've become a full-time, self-employed, nacho-cheesed illustrator. Here's what I've learned:
• You need a workspace. Big or small, you need a stable, consistent place for you to hide and work in.
• If you want to draw storybooks, but your portfolio is full of doorbell packaging, you will continue to do doorbell packaging.
• Under promise and over deliver. Always.
• Get organized, or hire someone who will do the organizing for you. Uncle Sam is effing needy.
• Watch out for people who want to waste your time. Anyone who can't clearly (and briefly) explain their project is wasting your time.
• Find a buddy in a similar situation and commiserate. You'll want someone to share good and bad news with.
• There's always something to work on. If you have nothing to work on, you're doing it wrong.
• Continue to work on personal projects. Have big ones and little ones. Make it your passion, and you'll always have time for them.
• When building relationships, don't always make the conversation/topic about you seeking work. Take time to get to know people.
• Be yourself.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I recently gave an interview with Jeff Andrews for his Design Inspiration site. I talk a lot about my schooling, favorite artists and Honey Boo Boo. There are a lot of other great illustrators and designers on that site, so it's worth your time to surf through and read about some REAL professionals. Peace out, you guys.
Check out Design Inspiration here, and read my interview over yonder!
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
48 PAGES OF THINGS AND SUCH. ON SALE NOW!
I draw a lot of silly things. Silly things that aren't really tied to any project or any one idea. If you're like me, after a while you end up with a stack of silly drawings that get stuffed into a drawer and never get seen again.
I have lots of silly drawings that just lay around collecting Cheetos dust.
I try and post images on Instagram and Twitter but other than that, these drawings don't exist anywhere else. SO, I decided to gather up some of the better drawings from the past year or so, and put them into a book.
Drawing monsters is fun. You can't screw up a monster drawing.
This book won't have any kind of a narrative or storytelling. I'm certainly interested in doing books like that, but never having produced a real book before I felt I needed to start with a much smaller production, just to get the ball rolling. Gotta crawl before you can kickbox a panda bear.
I draw myself a lot. It's an ego thing, but making fun of myself is my favorite thing to do.
I spent some time going through my archives (a pile of papers in the corner with a dirty sock mixed in) and selected drawings that I really liked, scanned them, and edited them together with other drawings that I felt worked well together.
I decided to work in black and white because that helped to add consistency to the entire book. Plus, some drawings were done on different colors of paper, and I wanted everything to appear on the same background. I did leave most of the drawings in their original state, that is to say, they are drawings and not finished art. There are smudges and poorly drawn areas that were erased and other imperfections... but it's a sketchbook, so it's cool. Right?
I like drawing in red and black. Red for thinking lines. Black for finishing lines.
Occasionally, I'm asked why I draw in black and red, and what kind of pencils I use. I am not some pencil connoisseur. I just draw with what I like to draw with. I draw with Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. I also use standard bristol paper for most drawings. Basic stuff to be honest.
The reason I use red lines and black lines is that red lines, for me, mean exploration. Ever done a drawing that you know you made a mistake in, but hate to erase the line, because it's so final? Well, drawing in red lines helps me avoid that mental mistake. A red line is not final and therefore can be changed again and again. Once I'm done drawing in red, I go back with black and clean things up. The result is a really warm drawing that I find appealing. So, that's why I use red and black pencils.
Shot of some of the book dummies I made. Dummies makin' dummies, yo!
NOW, GOING BACK TO THE BOOK...
Sketchbookery Volume 1 is a collection of silly drawings, doodles and other nonsense that are found in my sketchbooks, scraps of paper, and what have you. Over 100 original pieces of original art that will make you question my professionalism. The book is 48 pages long, just long enough to enjoy a cup of coffee over. Trust me. I timed it.
Below are some examples of Sketchbookery pages:
The book measures 8.5 x 5.5 folded, and is jam-packed with as many drawings as I could fit. More drawings equals a better book, right? Sigh. ANYWAY...
Sketchbookery Volume 1 is now on sale. I hope you'll enjoy it and I appreciate you reading this post! I mean, seriously, aren't you impressed that I could talk up a lame sketchbook? Indeed!
Monday, January 14, 2013
Back in October of 2012, Drew Carson over at Help Ink asked if I'd like to participate in creating a poster for the Help Ink store. Several talented and notable artists have already participated, and so I felt it was a good opportunity to be counted among them (like inviting the weird, nerdy kid to the cool kid lunch table). Drew said I was able to create anything I wanted to, so I decided to draw monsters.
I love big creepy vehicles like these. The Ford "Murder Wagon".
This past summer, I helped move my sister and brother-in-law to Rochester, NY. When we got to their new neighborhood, I spotted this beauty. It's a 1974 Ford Econoline E-300 Camper Special. I'm sure it's filled with cats. I thought it would be great for use in an illustration, so I took a picture of it. Filed it away in my basement of dreams.
Red lines are my "thinking" lines. Black lines are my "finished" lines.
The thumbnail in the upper-left shows the original sketch that I put together to get the idea down. I wanted a camper full of monsters, as if they were going on vacation or something. After the initial comp, I did more monster studies to help finalize the design for each creature. The final drawing on the right shows the finished concept.
Once I was pleased with the pencil drawing, I wanted to "ink" it in Illustrator. This was a pretty large illustration (11 x 17-ish) so instead of scanning in the art piece by piece, I was lazy and just used my iPhone. It's actually high-enough resolution to where it works, especially if you're just tracing something. I've also used my iSight camera in the past, when I was SUPER lazy... and made it work.
Color can be really tricky to get right. I always feel like an idiot when selecting colors.
While I redrew the art in vector, I also took time to explore a range of color studies. I originally wanted something super-colorful (that's a technical term) but wanted to stay true to the 1970s and landed on orange, brown and blue. Not a sophisticated palette by any means, but then again, it's a camper full of monsters. Eat it Pacosso DaVinchy.
That gray line around the bottom two images is my Illustrator window. Oops..
These show some details of the finished illustration, completed using Illustrator. I worked to make my lines a bit inconsistent, so the final drawing wouldn't be so clean, so to speak.
MEEP MEEP. WE'RE COMING TO EAT YOU.
I think traveling is important for anyone, even if it's just a day trip somewhere. Things and stuff are cool for sure, but for me, traveling and experiencing things with my family is the ultimate investment. So, for my Help Ink poster, I chose the theme of "See the World" and I recommend you do the same!
You can buy your own copy of my "See the World" poster at Help Ink NOW. A portion of each sale goes to a charity of your choosing, so it's a really neat idea. Junk up your walls with my art and do something good for someone at the same time! This is the future, folks!
Get your "See the World" poster now!
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I like changing my avatar. Here's my Halloween 2012 collection. Not sure what to do for November. Pilgrims? Robot pilgrims? Pilgrim robots? Hmmmm.
I've got a series of these new avatars collecting over on Flickr. There's no plan to keep this up... just when I get bored. You can see the 2009 series over on Flickr too.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I had a great time at yesterday's CPCC Character Design Workshop. Thanks to everyone who participated. It's always cool when people ask you to talk about what you're passionate about. Special thanks to Megan for the invite, Nalee for the photo and to Jen for the brownies.