Thursday, February 26, 2009

character designs

I thought maybe some of you would enjoy seeing the initial sketches for the characters I have designed for variouse projects over the past few years. A great book on character design is "Creating Characters with Personality" by. Tom Bancroft. Some of these are influences by the clients and others are influenced by other artists and objects. For example, some of these robots were inspired by a cd player I had.
This hippo character was my own design but the guidlines put forth that he had to be a hip hop hippo, a male, an adult figure, not necisarily dressed, kid friendly.

My initial Rudy sketches were my own design with very little input from the client. They needed an anthropomorphic saftey dog who loved donuts. These are a couple of the sketches I did. This is basically the first character I ever designed for a client. I used to draw stuff like this all the time in grade school, mostly aliens though.

Then with more guidance and sketches Rudy eventually evolved into this little guy. The clients were fairly specific about what they wanted but getting it right took tons of work.

Clara was a cartoon character but not quite as anthropomorphic as Rudy. She stay on all fours and talks to other animals. She does have a bit more facial expressions than a typical pug though.
This starfish actually took me a bit of time to develope as my original sketches were fairly stiff. Now he's one of the first things people comment on in the final images.

These are princesses from variouse lands of different times in history. It was a bit of a challenge for me to develope there costumes and facial features to make them easily recognizable as having a particular land of origin. They needed to be very distinct from one another and yet all have a sense of beauty about them.

And last are some seasonal characters I sketched for variouse projects. The witch was for a pumpkin carving design contest with "Pumkin Masters" which took second place in the faces category 2008. I don't typically draw characters that are meant to look evil. I have noticed in the past though that evil characters seem a lot easier to draw. I think it has to do with there imperfections. Sometimes when I draw children I have a hard time making there smiles look real. They often look angry. The Santa Clause is just a sketch I did for my sketch book. Maybe I'll develope him more next Christmas. I suppose I will probably go for more of a Saint Nicholas feel than a mere santa clause. The snowman was designed for a Christmas card. This character really humbled me because it was one of the first few I designed with no one elses ideas. I thought how hard could it be to draw a snowman? Really really hard. But for me it was mostly tough because I wanted to get an original feel. I also wanted him to have a spark of life to him. I tried variouse size snowballs, a pot for a hat, vest, variouse eyes, with and without ear muffs, etc. A detail as small as adding or leaving out eyebrows makes the biggest difference.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Graduate Pinball Painting Tutorial/process

Today I finished an illustration that I worked on for a month. Overall it took 120hrs to get from initial thought process to the final painting found at the end of this post. Click on the images to see larger views. I made sure the last image/finished painting shows up large enough to see everything. The illustration was inspired by an ealier comic I drew below which won a competition.
Whenever I'm really stumped I tend to hang around until the ideas start flowing.

There are far too many sketches to post for all of the ideas and roughs to achieve this final sketch. Below is the final sketch with text laid in with photoshop.
From here I did a few variations on the overall value relations throughout the image. I basically printed off a couple pages of the image and tried different renditions. I chose this sketch and adjusted the contrast in photoshop to get it darker.

Then comes the color comps. Below are a few samples I did at about the size of a postage stamp. You can also see I tested the colors for the word "pinball" to see if I wanted the words lighter or darker than the background.

Next I tried a new technique I learned from combining the techniques of two amazing artists. From James Gurney I learned to protect the drawing on the canvas with spray fixitive which is later painted over with a thin coat of acrylic matte medium. This keeps the drawing from being pushed around by the oil paints and it gives a great surface for the oils. Next I laid in a transparent wash of paint in the complementary color of the finished painting. By nature oils are transparent, so the complementary color makes the finished painting pop even more. Dan Dos Santos does this but he paints in the lines of his underpainting rather than using pencil like I did.

Below is another new technique I tried. I premixed all the colors beforehand to ensure an overall color harmony throughout the painting. As you can see, I used blue as the dominant color with an overall cool color scheme. I also placed a midle value brown paper under a plexiglass pallete to help me see the values as I mixed paint.

The beginning brush strokes are laid in loose and playfull. I intermingled colors so the final result wouldn't be too flat. I learned this technique from Wendon Blake who does this when painting skies.

up to this point I only spent a couple of hours to mix the colors and lay down the background on the canvas.

I start to blend strokes of color and block in the focal area.

I leave the outer edges bare until the end so I have a place to lean my mahl stick. A tool I've never used before because I usually paint on smaller canvas than this. 24"x36"
A close up!

The finished illustration. I may do some more small tid bits and still have to sign it.