View Full Version : Updates a plenty [Nudity]

02 February 2010, 05:51 AM

I'm new here. 21 years old, finishing up my Film Production degree (why? I dunno) at NYU. Trying to branch out, so I'm gonna document some of my progress for you guys. Hopefully I can keep up daily updates. C&C always much appreciated.

Anatomy practice from the head:

02 February 2010, 06:32 PM
Past two days' work. I also do a lot of sketching in my physical sketchbookie, but I don't feel like scanning :S.

Posemaniacs 1 min each:
Poses from imagination ~2 hours total:
Hogarth studies ~1 hour total:

02 February 2010, 12:07 AM
Please enjoy these and if you are so inclined, tell me what is wrong with the female face. Thanks!

Imagination 10 mins:
Posemaniacs 1mins::
I'm not exactly sure:

And now, Life drawing:

02 February 2010, 02:56 AM
Finally finished my "sketch." I started this exactly a month ago and spent about 5 hours on it ironing out the composition and rendering. I believe it's the first painting where the colours online actually look better than the original. Anyway, I've learned a ton, main point being not to jump into colour right away. Even Cole didn't do that. And I probably should have used reference too...

And the Hoe-Girth studies for today. Trying out different brushes. Soft/hard combination seems to work much better than just hard. I've learned so much from doing these digitally, it's not even funny.

02 February 2010, 04:56 AM
I'm a firm believer in updating, even if it's small so here's another portrait of my roommate. Self portrait coming tomorrow.... get ready.

02 February 2010, 11:20 PM
It's either my face or my painting skills. Either way, I'm not pleased with the results.
Self-Portrait ~ 1 hour.

The following pages of the Hogarth Dynamic Anatomy book are taken up by Hogarth's own prtraits in various mediums, which I don't really see the point of copying. So I'm just gonna do portraits of my own:
The first one was way over-rendered, which I think I fixed in the second one. #2 took like 30 minutes.

Imagination face for the win:

02 February 2010, 05:16 PM
Nice sb start!
You've got a good value range overall. Your forms tend to become flat within the shadow areas though (eg the last SP is a good examle).

Great gestures!

02 February 2010, 04:00 AM
NR43: Thanks dude! You're right, I really need to work on reflect light in my form shadows.

It's been really tough the past couple of days. Demon's Souls grabbed a hold of me and wouldn't let go. I don't know if I'll be able to quit altogether but I'll try. As a result, I have a bunch of drawings backed up, but I will hopefully use this congestion to gain momentum and update every day for the remainder of the week.

Also I started a bunch of grayscale imagination paintings, which I think you will like.

More heads. I think the problem with these studies is that I forget to zoom out when I do em. USE YOUR ZOOM TOOL, KIDS!

02 February 2010, 04:38 AM
I decided to be a good person from now on. It's the more efficient thing to do. This is why my life drawing has improved so much. Unfortunately I couldn't make the wednesday because of the snow day, in honour of which I decided to visit my good friend Stephen Colbert and ask him a question before the show. Watch for me when the camera pans in the beginning of last wednesday's show. I'm in the top left section of the audience.

02 February 2010, 04:50 PM
W wow Im loving your stuff, you capture so much with seemingly little effort, keep it up and keep posting!!

02 February 2010, 01:02 AM
Outlawstar8489: Thanks man! That's what I'm trying to learn how to do.

Wow, I really failed at that updating every day. Sorry everyone.
Sometimes when I update I feel like Jon from Garfield Minus Garfield. I guess most people do.

I was gonna upload all my recent studies and a new SP, but it turns out I don't have all of them here. Thus you just get the life drawings from wednesday. I forgot that I was supposed to focus on the face, so you get the whole body. Please like them. They need your support.

02 February 2010, 05:45 AM
The imagination faces got better (or maybe just different) from my two trips to the MET. I think they did me well.

Also came up with a definitive schedule for myself, that I will probably fail to follow anyway. Two pages of Hograth a day, and one imagination sketch per page. Still life on mondays (with the exception of today). Self-portraits on Fridays. Who knows what on the weekend. If I have time from all the parties. WOOOOO!

Going back to the Hoe-girth. Imagination sketch on the side.


And self-portrait #5, Woot:

Also I got a little commission to do the cover of the esteemed Dalhousie University Historical Society Journal. Pencils were requested, and were very time-consuming. On the other hand, I've got great line art now, so I may colour it later. ENJOY!

02 February 2010, 06:00 AM
Digital life drawing... how do you do that? On a laptop+ wacom?
Man if I would do such a thing at my life drawing class, everyone's eyes would pop out LOL

Really enjoying your updates and your determinations is really motivating!
So thanks for sharing and keep doing that! :D

02 February 2010, 10:15 AM
Wow, you really have a knack for getting across a sense of light, it really feels like your characters are subject to a lightlource, and you portraits here are wonderful, considering they are from your imagination too, great stuff!!

02 February 2010, 07:32 PM
NR43: Yeah, man. I get a lot of attention at my life drawing class for doing that. Can't complain. :D

Outlawstar8489: Thanks man! I'm trying really hard to bridge the gap between my studies and imagination work.

More Hogarth on the neck. Torso is next. Going for two days in a row of updates. wooo!
(The more rendered ones are from imagination)

It's funny, usually some artist gets good, displays a lot of finished work and gathers up a following who want to see his process, so he/she starts a sketchbook. I'm doing the opposite of that.

02 February 2010, 08:54 PM
Pretty self-explanatory really. School was closed today, so I'm gonna update. Moving on to the torso with Hogarth, while staying on the head in life drawing. Which happened yesterday.

In other news I got a Gnomon sub yesterday, and although I haven't tried it yet, I recommend it to everyone! It's been incredibly useful.

Life drawings were 10, 10, 20, 20, 20. (minutes)

02 February 2010, 12:20 AM




03 March 2010, 02:29 AM
I didn't actually do any drawing over spring break. These are the remnants of what I did before and what I did just this morning, which is just a hogarth study.

I've been watching the Gnomon workshops sporadically and I highly, highly recommend it. Or at least get the videos with Scott Robertson. He taught me crazy things about value, things that I would have probably learned if I went to real art school.

Before he left my apartment for Ireland, I painted a portrait of my dear friend and world traveller, Travis. I'm gonna start doing a lot more friend portraits. If you recognize him on the street or anywhere else, (as I'm sure you would seeing as how he has hoes in different area codes) tell him I said hello.

I think I had a little under an hour so I didn't have time to fill out all the necessary information.

These are more or less chronological. Toward the end I began to try to achieve more and more realistic lighting, with things like atmospheric perspective and decay. I know it's too early for that, but it's still fun. The latest study may seem like a step back, but that's because I forgot to put down the full value range. Also I don't know where to put speculars. Gotta still life some shiny surfaces, damn it! Anyways, tomorrow's study will be better.

03 March 2010, 04:13 AM
I know I didn't do a study today, but there are some things that I forgot to post from yesterday. These are some more value practices from the things I've learned from Gnomon.

Also, random sketches that I started in class. Shows you that despite all of my silly claims about how my drawing is okay for now and I need to focus on value and colour are false. Drawing is the key to everything. And I can't do it very well.

03 March 2010, 03:37 AM
Still trying to figure out values. Gonna try and refrain from disparaging comments. The bottom thing is from life. I was trying to figure out how white objects are lit by a window. Anyway I'm learning a lot. I'm gonna start approaching hogarth in a new way. I will look at a picture, draw how I think the anatomy would look without looking back at it, and then adjust when I'm done. After that, I will light it and try to get values right. But it won't work. Wish me luck.

03 March 2010, 04:20 AM
I can't believe only 2 people commented on your thread after seeing all the good work being done here. Just keep going buddy. Practice is the best guide you can get so hang on to that.

Be careful with drawing hogarth too much, because it is a very distinguishable style and it will remain visible in your own drawings long afterwards. Maybe you're ok with it, but if you're not, think about it. The words in his books are pure gold though.

04 April 2010, 11:12 PM
NR43: Thanks for stopping by again! Yeah I was starting to get worried about that, so now I'm just using the book for reference.

Alright. I know that every time I update I say that I'm gonna start updating regularly and then forget about it for a week. Well this time I'm not beating around the bush. I'm quitting studies and focusing on my film's storyboards until the deadline for a secret Dreamworks story training program. Which is in a week or so. The deadline, that is. Anyway, Hopefully by that point I won't forget everything I know about values, and, since I'll be drawing constantly, maybe I'll even get better. Wish me luck.

These guys are both from imagination, but I used a little Hogarth for reference on muscle position and pose, which is what I plan on doing from now on. After I return to doing studies, that is.

04 April 2010, 01:03 AM
My thirst for life drawing has been quelched...for now. I don't think I'll be able to resist going on tuesday. I gotta get better at values. Now let's see what my work ethic can do..


04 April 2010, 02:00 AM
I've got a few things piled up so let me get to it. I've been really busy with internship applications but now is my time to shine. Graduation is gonna be depressing, especially since I have an exam that morning and no job prospects. Maybe I'll just make my film instead.


04 April 2010, 03:35 AM
Well apparently I have trouble life drawing attractive women. The problem is either lack of practice or simply the fact that seeing an attractive female body makes me lose focus. Uh oh.

Also we tried a longer pose and I realized I had no idea what to do. My rendering skills need a lot of work. What else is new.

04 April 2010, 03:41 AM
I really need to do more still life and longer studies. These guys kinda fail. All based on Hogarth poses. Figuring out values. Mostly practicing toplight, but I dont think it always comes out that way. Oh well. Life drawing tomorrow. Will be good.

05 May 2010, 02:14 AM
I've got time for a breather until the final plunge. If you know what I mean -

Here's a few hogerths. I really need to catch up before I'm forced to return this book to the library.

I'm really putting time into these guys now. I need to learn how form works, maybe even more so than where the muscles are. But I would imagine this will only do me good later on. Also I really badly need to do a still life, because I still don't have an efficient technique for rendering.

05 May 2010, 06:10 AM
cool study.

05 May 2010, 02:29 AM
First comes the hogarth dump. I started to put twice as much time into these, hoping to render them realistically. However, this is not all that useful without still life practice, which I'm going to do tonight or tomorrow.

So.. I graduated. Everyone's been congraduating me but I don't really feel that accomplished. All I did was not quit school, which, admittedly, would have been a more rational choice if I chose to pursue live action. Anyway I have a lot of paintings on the backlog. I'm starting work on my film tomorrow and returning to daily studies. Finally schoolwork is out of the way. I'm pumped.

05 May 2010, 10:17 PM
This is my first round of hogarths with cs5 on my new laptop. It's so much more pleasant to draw on this thing, I can't even describe it. But actually I just started using the same method I do for life drawing in my studies, which is, starting with brushes and not lines.

These dudes are positioned roughly in the same poses as the guys from the book, and I occasionally glance at it for reference, however they are lit from imagination. They are in chronological order, done today and yesterday. By the end I started to experiment with different brushes and I think I kinda like it. Got inspired by LINRAN's post on I have a lot more stuff on the backlog, but sometimes I just forget to update. Most of the time, actually. Still life tonight. Finally.

05 May 2010, 03:14 AM
Real short today. Ran errands for most of the day, so had no time to draw. Dipping into my backlog of new art, this is probably my last portrait of roomie Will. He's moving out and I'm never gonna see him again. Unless I go and find him in Kansas. Which I probably will.
Roughly an hour and half.

05 May 2010, 03:18 AM
I don't know about you, but I'm obsessed with Justin Timberlake recently. That new song of his is rocking my brain.

Now I don't usually do this, but since I've been too busy to draw I'm gonna show you some character sketches for my film that I'll be working on this summer. Studies coming once I pick a roommate.

05 May 2010, 02:22 AM
Finally got to my still life, and it looks like butt. Rendering is not something I like to do, so I stopped after an hour. Maybe in the future I will get better? I will do at least two more B&W studies before I move into colour, depending on how quickly I improve.

05 May 2010, 02:33 AM
These were done two weeks ago. I've been working on my film so no time for studies right now. Especially since I'm in no hurry to finish the anatomy book. I can apparently keep renewing it forever AHAHAHAHAH.

One way or another, there will be a post tomorrow. I've got another stash of life drawing, and one of the them is in COLOUR! Just what you've been waiting for.

05 May 2010, 02:43 AM
I have nothing to say. I was trying to experiment with new brushes. I think I got that poop texture just right.

06 June 2010, 01:34 AM
I woke up at 8 am today, which is an hour earlier than I was supposed to. So here's an arm. I may post some designs for my movie if I ever get to them, but until June 14th all I'll be doing is watching my free netflix. And life drawing.

06 June 2010, 11:16 PM
There are never enough hours in a day. Or maybe there is just too much internet and errands. I should either get a secretary or become a monk. I'll make the choice when I start my own animation company.

I took two days to pick my monitor, and then several more hours to pick a calibrator. I probably made the wrong choice, but it probably won't make any difference at all. For the record, it's the HP ZR24W with Spyder3Elite. Next week will be a good week.

Life drawings from last saturday. The model was fantastic. It's my life painting anniversary soon, so I'm trying to ease my way back into colour. Maybe we shall see some improvement? Question mark?

06 June 2010, 01:25 AM
Every day from now till the end of the summer, I rock the studies. And since the Crimson Daggers aren't really going, I'm gonna start my own cheap knock-off stream - the Red Knives. Please watch and participate, every weekday at 8 am EST.

These are from the last two days, roughly an hour each. I'm still trying to render accurately and failing a little.

06 June 2010, 05:21 PM
Now I have half an hour and now you get all the studies I've done since the last post. Roughly chronological. Roughly 1 hr each. Roughly every day. Tonight I'm going to life drawing and doing a portfolio piece afterwards. Since I can't finish my film by the end of the summer, I'm just going to dedicate one day a week for a character or environment, which will benefit from all the daily studies and animation I will be doing. Life is good.

06 June 2010, 12:16 AM
Okay so first weekend is up and my first piece is below. Took me about 9 hours. It's a drawing I started over a year ago. I'm gonna tie up all my loose ends like this first, as a way of getting into doing finished renderings.

Additionally, I've got life drawing from saturday (decided to do my 20 mins in colour from now on) and studies from this morning. I decided to revisit my Scott Robertson DVD's and render some planar shapes from imagination. The second one is a work in progress that was too complicated for me to figure out today. By the end of the week, I think i'll move to curved surfaces.

07 July 2010, 03:39 PM
I guess if I want to build up any sort of readership, I should deliver more on promises. Well, this week I decided to focus on my movie, and still did not manage to finish the animatic. I blame errands, food and sleep. Now, I'm taking a break to celebrate the birth of this nation instead of doing my weekly portfolio piece. Allow me to leave with you a parting gift.

I will probably do one more of these before I move on to curved surfaces. This took me about two hours, because I had to figure out how to cast the shadows and they still don't look right.

07 July 2010, 01:28 AM
Well, Nate Wragg told me to keep my blog, so that's what I'll do. Sorry I couldn't enter the contest, Bobby Chiu. I had to spend all day yesterday and today wrestling with After Effects CS5. I ended up rendering each shot one by one, shutting down my computer and putting it in the fridge to cool in between. I had so many colourful ideas to scribble into this post, but this battle sucked all the life out of me. Nah, that's not the way to write.

I'm still trying to find what I'm capable of. Still playing as an adult, and afraid of losing. Let's try and make this more personal.

I meant to do so much more.

07 July 2010, 03:36 AM
Well, Scott Robertson, you were right. Diagonal lighting is harder to do than top or side lighting by a factor of four. What the hell was I thinking when I was trying to diagonally light arms. It's okay though, it's roughly right if light was coming from that angle. It would just be a silly decision to light it from there..

Over the three hours we spent together, I've grown very attached to these three cylinders. I will remember this saturday night forever, guys. Even you, diagonal.

Artists are retarded. They train their brain to evaluate superfluous information about reality that is really meant to go straight to subconsciousness. That's the trick. Anyone can do it. Now I just have to figure out my favorite kind of information to deconstruct.

07 July 2010, 03:23 AM
Definitely gonna do another sphere before moving onto curves. Probably local light. I decided to include a "process sketch" this time. Guess which one it is.

Sometimes doing nothing is the most productive way to spend your time.

07 July 2010, 02:56 AM
DAME! I used the sphere from yesterday and it STILL took me one hour to do local lighting. My my. The values are a little off because my web storage facilities increase the contrast for effect, but you get the picture. Of course, I could keep rendering this for hours with marginal improvement, but that would be pointless until I get an actual sphere and light it.

What a productive night it was! You exercise your brain before going to sleep and this is what you get. It gets so excited that it can't stop thinking. Gift and curse. As is everything. Maybe it was the sugar? We will find out tonight.

Anton, you don't understand what you are capable of. You can't see the movie from the other side. If only you knew!

Now, onto new horizons and new curved surfaces!!!

07 July 2010, 02:57 AM
Seven out of eight done. Five more tomorrow. Something tells me I went too fast to learn as much as I could have.

I've been re-listening to this podcast ( and added two more heroes to my altar. Although I'm nowhere near as skilled as them, I can definitely relate to Glen Keane's passion for drawing form and James Baxter's passion for.. movement..

Mr. Keane was incredibly inspiring because he did exactly what I'm doing now when he was younger (only he was maybe 12). His dad gave him Hogarth's dynamic anatomy, and he had no idea what animation was when he went to Calarts.

Mr. Baxter's draw to animation was copying and studying action. He was fascinated by ballet, professional sports and other disciplines where efficient motion is honed. I don't want to jump to conclusions here because I could probably extrapolate myself to any famous animator just as easily, but - animation is really the bomb. It's so much more complex, challenging and (therefore) rewarding than any other medium I've had the pleasure of dabbling in.

I came to film school because I did not know of a better way to combine my two passions: drawing and music. Animation is definitely the road of me.

07 July 2010, 03:52 AM
I went to the Society of Illustrators for life drawing yesterday. I believe it was the classiest Thursday evening I've ever had. Definitely gonna get in on the 10th class free card.

I'm falling more and more in love with animation and life. I feel like Theoden ( after he's been awakened. Too bad I forget to write down my ideas, otherwise I could have a better metaphor.
5 min

07 July 2010, 11:18 PM
Boy are you gonna be impressed with my posts tomorrow!

In Entertainment you do business by regurgitating ideas that have succeeded in the past. In Art you suffer to create something new. However art is just a type of entertainment for people with high brows.

Check out my walk cycle ( ! Also comment if you wish.

07 July 2010, 02:06 AM
Honesty is a luxury. Think of any person outside your family with whom you can really be honest. Of course, you're not one of them either. Enjoy.

07 July 2010, 01:04 AM
I'm not ready for recognition yet, even if I were good enough to attain it. Achievement and fame ruins artists, even the ones who don't crave it. So why am I making this movie? It's not what you do, it's how you do it.

07 July 2010, 03:10 AM
Jarhead is a terrible movie.
And I got a white "wheat" sandwich. What kind of a day is that?

Oh, the portfolio piece #2.

07 July 2010, 07:10 AM
That is a nice rendering over there Isso09 :D

08 August 2010, 01:00 AM
Itken84: Thanks a bunch, man! That means a lot to me because people don't comment as often on here.

Starcraft II ( has been out for a week and so have I. Time to get back to work, because I feel very much inspired. Expecting a portfolio piece tomorrow and IT WILL BE GOOD.

08 August 2010, 03:31 AM
And I only put 2 hours into my portfolio piece. I've got lines and loose values down. I will probably finish it on Saturday. Oh right, I have things to say.

From all the dubbed American movies and the songs that I heard as a child I don't remember the words, because I didn't speak the language, but I remember the RHYTHM.

08 August 2010, 01:31 AM
Live like you have nothing to do and you will get everything done.

Picking dust up from the floor, waiting for the F train and cutting your fingernails are as much a part of life as painting, eating peanut butter ice cream sandwiches and playing Starcraft II.

08 August 2010, 02:23 AM
Just some studies for now. What are the for? I don't know.... Maybe you'll see tomorrow. I nailed my all-star brush line-up today. I can pretty much do anything with the ones I picked. But we'll see.

Trying to stop looking forward and regretting the past.

08 August 2010, 02:43 AM
My first plein-air painting, inspired by Dice Tsutsumi. More to come. For some reason the models didn't have skin on their faces today... It's that kind of Wednesday. ugh.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the life drawing i've been doing though. I'm just too lazy to scan it in.

08 August 2010, 01:38 AM
Finally when I close my eyes I see pencil lines and not video game characters. I really can't stop drawing because I'm riding such an unexpected wave of getting better. Finally I understand how people can spend so much time doing this. If I weren't going down south on Sunday, I would have probably become the next Michelangelo.

Do your life drawing, kids. Grayscale = tens, Colours = twenties.

08 August 2010, 08:52 PM
hey isso09 (, these are wonderful figure drawings! All so good : light, shapes, proportions, weight transfer. My only hint for you is try not to use black for your shadows. Find something more suitable for the given light source (maybe cooler brown). But generally try to avoid going as far with your darks as the color of your background is (in case you have light figure on the dark background). The figure keep its whole shape together and everything will read better.
Keep posting, these are really great!

08 August 2010, 12:41 AM
siiilon: Wow thanks for your post dude! I never get replies on cgtalk so I cherish all the people who do post here dearly. I'm rarely going all the way to pure black on these, and the only reason I am is because it's easy to mix instead of trying to figure out the shadow colour. When I am a colour master, I will definitely pick my shadows, but for now it's difficult enough to balance values and colours.

Should I keep going with concept art and get better at drawing or make a story portfolio and apply to animation studios for a job? I think the choice is clear..

08 August 2010, 10:00 PM
There is nothing remarkable about it, but I was learning until I got tired.

08 August 2010, 02:00 AM
I don't want to rise to the top badly enough. My drive is still in infancy. At this stage I still need external influences such as life drawing classes, contests, web activities and such to continue pushing and improving. It'll be tough to start the machine again once I get back from vacation.

When you get mad at things not going right, or somebody being a dumbass, you're really getting mad at yourself for reacting to external forces in a certain way.

Your organs, especially your brain could sure use a rest, albeit every once in a while.

It sure is a little funny how all the terrible content that Disney releases are in part what allows Pixar movies to exist.

...Daily Sketches?....Question Mark?

08 August 2010, 03:39 AM

Hey, great job here with the sketch book man. I am really impressed. I have really enjoyed looking at your life and light studies and am inspired by them to get off my lazy butt and start doing some more daily sketches. You are intense dude.

I attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh online, so it is hard for me to focus on what I want to do. The good thing about school though is that they force you to focus on things that you do not want to do and push you to past your previously conceived limits.

I hope that we can look forward to seeing more from you in your daily sketches.

Keep the faith man!

Ben Lilley

08 August 2010, 02:50 AM
benjaminl: I'll leave my reply in your sketchy.

I'm still afraid of actually rendering and I don't know how to simplify plants and objects...Which is pretty necessary for environments. Stay tuned. Two hours.

08 August 2010, 02:25 AM
I wanna be the very best... like no one ever was. But first I need to get values right.

I'm trying to use too many brushes instead of focusing on the values. I need to stop that.

08 August 2010, 05:05 AM
Very nice drawings.

08 August 2010, 03:30 AM
sebastian___: Thanks!

Clinton Street Baking Company impression. 40 mins = unfinished. Had to eat breakfast while doing it. Forgive me if these look dark. My monitor done uncalibrated himself.

It doesn't matter what method you use, what brushes or what tricks you try to pull to draw things that look pretty. It's all about how your brain sees the things in front of you. That's why a great artist will be great in any medium.

Last one is technically a 45, but it was done in 40. I just kept pushing values around for no reason.

08 August 2010, 11:03 AM
hey isso09, great updates again! The only note, that is actually the same as my firts : don't use black from the beginning. Suppose you find something darker, where farther from black would you go then? :)
Limit yourself let say to 20 and 80 percent grey (instead of white and black). When you establish your form, you can use white for highlights and black for few spots where it is actually really darkest dark. But again, this looks very good dude, post more!

08 August 2010, 03:01 AM
siiilon: You're totally right. Everyone says that's the way to do it, but for some reason I still go for black. The thing is, I hope that maybe i'll use pen pressure to not end up all the way to black or while. I guess I overdo it. Thanks for dropping by again, dude!

I've developed a perfect program for concept artists. Behold:

1. Scott Robertson to learn rendering from imagination and inner workings of light. Also trains your brain to see values.

2. Burne Hogarth's butt men to practice rendering complex forms from imagination.

Step one. Cut a hole in the box:

Step two. Put your junk in that box:
(it's like he's got two different lights on him. and neither of them works like a real light.)

3. Copying Charles Bargue's drawing course to practice rendering, and train your eye for classical design.[I/MG]
(really messed this one up. the foot is way too tall. It should really take more than 40 mins)

4. Life drawing. Duh.


If your aim is characters, then this course is for you. If you want a more wholesome experience, throw in some still life, plein air and master studies interchanged with the bargues and life drawing respectively. These are all fresh from today.

Now give me money.

08 August 2010, 01:53 AM
Does anyone want to buy a full size Ikea loft bed?

You're drawing life. Your drawings need to be alive.

08 August 2010, 12:46 AM
Your satisfaction with your art, and happiness in your life depends on your expectations. Sometimes, high expectations actually impede your progress, so you must learn to find balance and be like water (
Omg bleeding

08 August 2010, 01:33 AM
I call it General Tranny Elf. Collab Between me and my friend Nora. Should win at least one contest somewhere.

09 September 2010, 10:28 PM
Paper's nice, but you need to scan it and its bad for the environment. Now I will only use my sketchbook for sketching. All life drawing will be wacom'd.

Forgot to post yesterday. My uber week of life drawing was pretty much useless, because I'm only now starting to come back to where I was at the end of it. Simplify and use hard round. Does it ever get easier?

Every time I do something well, I can't repeat it. Maybe I shouldn't even try.

09 September 2010, 01:54 AM
Design is directing the eye. When you are drawing (especially at the sketching stage) you are directing the attention of the viewer with line. That's why it's called disegno.

Quick sketching is basically making notes on where you want shapes and weight to go. You do this by way of exaggerating certain lines instead of copying the them from the form. That's how people develop a style. It's simplification. It's your understanding of the structure of your object, which deepens the more you study it, until eventually your shorthand come close to being as subtle as life itself.

I don't know if the line drawings are actually worth posting at this stage. I'm not very good at drawing on my tablet. Though maybe they are worth posting just to overwhelm whoever is looking at this with the amount of drawing I do.

09 September 2010, 02:51 PM
Good studies, it looks like you are coming along nicely. I just posted a bunch of new stuff in my SB too.

On your life studies, are you using a time limit with them?

09 September 2010, 03:03 AM
BenjaminL: thanks dude. Yeah B&W's are 10 mins. Colour are 20s or 40s.

It's a lot easier to find motivation when your life sucks. But it may be just as easy to find it if things are going extremely well.

Fighting Demons:
Stupidity and Incompetence
Art for art's sake vs. art with a purpose. Job art vs. personal pieces.

Do one thing at a time and do it well.

Anime is basically storyboards with transition frames. Budget constraints limit acting and boil the animation down to the bare essentials necessary for filmmaking and storytelling.

Loving yourself is the first step to being gay.

Her water broke during the first 10 min pose:



09 September 2010, 07:27 AM
Very nice dude, good lighting & composition!

09 September 2010, 01:41 AM
Siiion: Thanks dude! I don't even know what to think of it. I've been staring at it for a while.

Website/new blog coming soon. Here, have my card.

Also, man do I need to calibrate my monitor (

09 September 2010, 04:44 AM
Set phasors to render.

09 September 2010, 02:02 AM
Back to the studies.

09 September 2010, 02:28 AM
Been dueling and hanging out with friends too much. I've got a job to do. After I construct my bed.

What's dueling, you might ask? You're about to find out. This saturday.

09 September 2010, 03:34 AM
Aside from your jeans, the only reason you're smarter than other people is the fact that when you were a kid you asked more "why" questions than necessary. Don't ask too many questions. If you look far enough ahead, nothing is worth doing because you deprive yourself of the journey and get to the end result, the effect of which will shortly wear off.

Also, empty your mind and be like water. Last one messed up by my laptop monitor.

09 September 2010, 02:52 AM
If you work on a problem long enough, the solution will present itself.

We are choosing to enjoy two or three experiences at a time. As I am writing this, I am also eating a salad. Plus I may remember to text somebody or to vacuum the floor, and as we all know it takes five minutes to get back to any task after being interrupted. The more things you choose to do at once, the more shallow your experiences will be, let alone how tasking it is on your mind. It might seem like you get more done, but personally I've noticed that the stupid mistakes I make because of multitasking eat up all the time I might have saved. I prefer to live a fulfilling life, in which you use your full attention to experience the now, however I can't bring myself to live that way. Efficiency is too deeply ingrained in my brain.

You can also gather unrelated reference for shape language ideas.

Exaggeration in drawing is just another trick for seeing form. Once you amass enough of those tricks, you can keep your brain away from relaxing into "regular" seeing mode for long enough to complete the image.

These are from the past two days. The reason my updates have been slacking...will be unveiled soon.

For your benefit, the previous Hogarth (9 days ago):

And now, colour keys from your favorite motion picture. I blame all errors on poor DVD quality and screen glare.

09 September 2010, 01:37 AM
I should really be doing these at night, since there is too much glare on both screens to read values correctly. But I liked how they turned out like zombies in #6.

Another interesting thing about these is that sometimes simplifying to this degree limits the value scale. If you are doing longer studies, for example, you would leave room for white and black until the very end. Here, if you put in that kind of contrast, you would miss out on some key saturation in between.

09 September 2010, 12:46 AM
I can't put it off any longer. Today is the last doing of doing studies. Starting tomorrow, the bulk of my work will be developing my portfolio.

09 September 2010, 04:01 AM
I think the fact that people are asking which brushes i'm using means i'm getting better.

I'm back to loving life. Maybe it has something to do with the moon cycles?

Values are a little dark on these. I guess my laptop monitor has less of a range or isn't calibrated well.

John Schindehette.

09 September 2010, 03:24 AM
Thought I'd post some line art today since the model was such a baller. Hopefully the poses come through. He gave me a glimpse at how much I don't know about the figure.

Also, I think I finally came up with a technique for quick rendering. It doesn't really change how much information I convey, but it looks nicer and lays down a better groundwork for finishing. It works in B&W so far. The colour sketch sort of failed this time.

09 September 2010, 12:45 AM
Just use circles.

Progression of Asian Boy to Black Woman:

09 September 2010, 01:57 AM
I like digital paintings that resemble traditional mediums because you can see the artist's skill through how much information is transmitted in each stroke. Anyone can sit there and render until it looks like the model they used for 'reference.'

This took about an hour, mostly because of drawing issues. If only I did these every day.

09 September 2010, 07:08 PM
Wow. Lots of things to cover.

First, I've been thinking.

Your degree of understanding of anatomy, lighting, composition etc varies, however 'polishing' a piece allows you to make it seem like you know how all the parts of your painting work without actually bestowing you with that knowledge. As such, it is more advisable to use reference and studies to avoid ever having to 'polish' a piece.

I want to able to say "I worked my ass off for Comic Con and now I have this awesome job." But who can seriously call painting work?

Tutorials or process videos are very fascinating, but it's very unlikely that they will help you draw better. You will never think like Bobby Chiu ( or break down values like Hannes ( . Though being exposed to a style like Sam Nielson ( has certainly made me tear apart my old way of rendering and search for a new one. There are no shortcuts.

There's a difference between neglecting to render something and leaving in only the strokes that are necessary for the beholder to see the form in three dimensions the same way he/she views life. I want to learn how to do the latter.

Learning design is just a matter of getting loose, I think. You develop a couple of tools over the course of learning how to draw (oval, straight line, curve, scribble, etc) which let you lay down the ground work for your picture as quickly as possible. As Matisse pointed out, this is where design starts, so pretty much anyone can do it. The problem is, afterwards you need to have a foundation in representation to pull your work into reality.

And now the work:

This still life is supposed to teach me cloth for an illustration I've been working on this week. It's gonna blow everyone away.

In honour of post #100 let's go back in time and throw in what I was doing exactly one year ago:

Those are twenties, except for the last one which is a forty. Did I get better?

And now the big reveal.

If you think of making a picture as a process that takes a certain amount of time with different stages (thumbnail, rough comp, colour comp, etc), then you should practice every part of the pipeline in order to be able to make a fully rendered painting. However, for the same reason that serving is more important than forehand or backhand in tennis, the beginning stages of the painting should be practiced the most. Furthermore, as you get better and quicker with the prep work and sketches by spending the same amount of time (1-3 hours) on a new piece daily, later stages of the pipeline get bumped down. After a month, instead of taking 2 hours to do line art, you may be able to have a simple finished piece in 3. This, among other reasons, is why my roommate ( and I started Daily Duels ( . I won't upload all the 18 pieces we've done so far, but here's something to bait your interest.

10 October 2010, 01:22 AM

10 October 2010, 09:32 PM
Alright, it's about time to start posting these. My version of today's duel is an embarrassment to dueling, but you gotta start somewhere. Check out the site (!

10 October 2010, 04:33 PM
Lightning Machete. Two variations on a theme.

10 October 2010, 08:18 PM
This is a piece I'm planning to take to finish to show companies how I handle monster anatomy, instead of polishing up my bogeyman. Which I don't think I ever uploaded, so you can have him today too. I'm really excited about the watery colour scheme for this one because green is something I haven't really explored, and in general it was always a hard colour for me to see.

10 October 2010, 06:11 AM
Really great stuff man.
I hope you'll keep posting here despite the scandalously few reactions :)

I like that dinner duel painting a few posts back, but the guy on the right his left arm is way too long imho.

Do you use traditional media as well?

Edit: I was going back a while in your thread and noticed this question you posed "Who can honestly call painting work?"

I think that everyone who knows what it is to paint will call it work, it requires getting up early to work, concentration, skill, experience, craftmanship and so many other things.

My initial reaction to your question was: "Who can call managing a real job?" A manager doesn't work, he delegates, reports to his boss and cashes in big bonusses when "his" targets are achieved. That's a lot less working than what a painter has to do to become appreciated by society imo ;)

10 October 2010, 11:24 PM
NR43: Thanks for posting, man! I appreciate the "scandalously few replies" remark, my marketing team needs people like you. I thought putting [nudity] in the title would make it more appealing. Painting is just more fun than most things, especially once you become aware of your progress. If you view it as work, that's what it will become...

Update of the last two daily duels I did: "In the Valley of Kings" and "Autistic Ogre from the North." I apologize for making the latter rather jellylike. I actually thought I was gonna be disqualified today. Only had an hour to do it.

10 October 2010, 04:46 AM
Painting is just more fun than most things, especially once you become aware of your progress. If you view it as work, that's what it will become...

Ah but ofcourse it is fun. It better be!
There is this factor stress though when one is making art for someone else; will they like my work?, etc. Those things can spoil the fun sometimes for some people.
But if it's no fun, then why do it? There are easier ways of making money.

Here's to more comments and constructive critique :beer:

10 October 2010, 08:33 PM
NR43: Agreed.

Returned to life drawing yesterday and just couldn't handle my bowels. And on that note, let me throw in the last two duels. Go to the website ( Because Justin finally uploaded his portfolio.

10 October 2010, 01:56 AM
I must be getting better, because I keep failing. Still life turned out a lot worse than expected. Gotta do more.

11 November 2010, 02:40 PM
This is a little belated and overall most of my duels over the course of next two weeks won't be worth posting because I have to make two portfolios for IlluXcon. But I'll post any still life drawings if I got em.

11 November 2010, 06:31 PM
Hey Anton these latest sketches from life are really nice!
The knife came out just fine ;)

11 November 2010, 10:25 PM
NR43: YOO thanks dude! I'm gonna try to do more indoor lighting to practice that.

Got my new portfolio up on Daily Duels ( so go check it out! It was done in preparation for IlluXcon, and I'm not planning on losing my momentum now.

Other than that, I have a lot of work to show and a lot of things to say... But I'm not going to because that would take time away from painting more.

11 November 2010, 01:07 AM
Gotta get to uploading these on Deviantart, otherwise I'll never make the money. Watch out.

11 November 2010, 05:35 AM
Good stuff!
One thing I notice with the last portrait, the far eye (her right) is too small. Yes, perspective is doing it's job on human heads as well, but don't make it too obvious (that's a common mistake).
In reality, the distance is too small to notice such a big difference in size between both eyes.
Think about it ;)

Keep going, doing great!
(Sorry I can't go on that Daily Duels website here at work, it's blocked somehow by our local big brother)

11 November 2010, 05:37 AM
NR43: Thanks for your support, man! Also, you're totally right. I tried to leave the eyes as loose as possible since they're so hard to get right.

Finally I returned to studies. It felt so good. I've improved so much since the last time I did them. They're gonna be so useful. Amazing. But for now, I have to stop. Here's why (

11 November 2010, 10:29 PM
Shout out to all my new followers! I don't know how you found me, but you did the right thing.

I collected some thoughts here. They may be outdated, but worth sharing I think.

First of all, I uploaded my IlluXcon portfolio on my DeviantArt ( . I'm finally painting how I thought I could paint.

The only way to stop yourself from procrastinating is to have no choice in the matter. Instead of forcing yourself to do something you need to do, you eliminate urges to do anything else. Which is hard, because we're all just apes. And apes are very impulsive.

Procrastinating happens when you take breaks. If you keep working, nothing can stop you. Or me at least..

Really it's the people that do go out on the weekend that are the losers. They're wasting their time drinking when they could be getting ahead with work.

Every time you deny yourself something, next time it will be easier. Every time you give in to vice, next time giving in will be easier as well.

Always set deadlines that are near-impossible to meet. (But don't get frustrated if you don't meet them) As soon as you know you will make a deadline, you become complacent.

12 December 2010, 03:10 AM
Guess that pokemon!

For some reason they all came out desaturated. I blame sunlight.

12 December 2010, 03:02 AM
Back to regular updates. Sorry everyone for lack of Bargue. I'm still working on managing my time to squeeze in as many hours of drawing a day as I can. Maybe once I completely cut myself off from society... Until then, a man can dream.

Also, if you haven't found him yet, visit Ryan Yee's Blog (http://)! Met him at IlluxCon. That dude is a baller.

Sorry that the colours looks like poo. I realized once I was done that the entire time I was doing my studies, my monitor was turned down to half way brightness. Super lame, but you can still guess that movie.

12 December 2010, 03:07 AM
Bobby Chiu is right. It's all about how much information you're putting down with each stroke. The more cartoony your style is, the less information you have to think about. Since cartoons are a simplification of reality.

The more you "see" before you put the stroke down, the more efficiently you can paint, and your ability to "see" comes from studies.

Painting is a reflection of your thought process and as such it doesn't matter how many strokes you can put down in a minute. You can't make your brain think any faster.

Finally got back to life drawing today. Monsieur Bargue, I salute you for teaching me the way to draw. Learning fundamentals is like collecting a jigsaw puzzle, and I just got another piece. JENGA!!

Guess which ones are from imagination. If you guess right, I will draw you. For serial.

And then some DUELS!!

12 December 2010, 01:39 AM
If someone is being an asshole to you, you should be a bigger asshole to them, because that will make them feel better about it. It's really the kind thing to do.

Tried to do a long pose today, and was disappointed because the model kept moving. I don't know how they do it at the Academy. Overall, abour 30 mins. The model is actually the same dude from the David Kassan Ipad Demo ( . Apparently he's better at posing for portraits.

12 December 2010, 09:24 AM
Maybe he just had a bad day :)

Perhaps you should think about working some of your Daily Duel stuff up to full illustrations.
Just a thought...

12 December 2010, 12:51 AM
NR43: You're right, and that's what I've been doing with the ones that I liked. The ultimate goal is to have each duel be a finished piece, and I think by then end of the month I'm gonna figure out a pipeline where I could do it.

If people said things the way they were, there would be no humour. That's not only because we can very rarely (if ever) be honest with ourselves and other, but also because it's impossible to view things outside of your own bias. So the best you can hope for is staying as true to yourself as you can. Of course, how you define yourself changes every day, and there's no way your brain can actually formulate a wholesome definition of yourself (partially because it's not smart enough, partially because you're fickle and random).

There should really be a holiday where people only tell you the truth about you or about themselves, and you're not allowed to judge, criticize or get upset at them. Maybe I should make a short about it...

2 hr portrait + process + 20 min portrait + whole foods impression + duels. Preparing for my next class at the GC academy. Painted portrait sketch with Rick Piloco.

12 December 2010, 05:43 PM
So yeah I started updating with regularity but then girlfriend happened again. Anyway here are some leftovers for you. Mostly studies for duels. Movie stills are from Terry Jones' Barbarians documentary.

If you want to succeed, you should always be behind schedule until the deadline.

12 December 2010, 06:13 PM
looking good :)

12 December 2010, 05:32 PM
creeto: You too ;)

God I hate the discrepancies between the colours on my monitors. I draw my plein air and movie studies on my laptop monitor, so they come out with a poop filter applied. Good thing the Spyder3Elite fixes the problem! not..

12 December 2010, 08:01 PM
excellent work and an even better approach. you are well on your way.

12 December 2010, 01:58 AM
thejeff: Thank you, man! I haven't done duels like these in a while actually, but that's all about to change.

Things have gone astray. All I have to say is that people who say money can't buy you happiness are missing the point.

All the words you hear, like values, edges, temperature etc take at least a month to learn to be aware of. Certain ones, (like form) take years. Mastery comes after a lifetime.

I'm staying at this kid ('s house in Colorado for two weeks, and we're gonna paint ourselves to death. I will come out of this with a nice portfolio piece showing what I've learned over the last two months (if anything), and many many life studies.

These are my last Bargues because I let my lady borrow the book. Finally, here are the much coveted casts that I've been doing for the past two weeks. I've learned so much from them, and if I had another month perhaps I would actually learn form. But maybe I'll buy one of my own and study it to death instead.

I've got some life drawing too, but I'll post that later along with the awesome duels I'll be doing here. PEACE.

12 December 2010, 12:17 AM
The most valuable things in life are positive changes. Even if you are in a really nice place for a while, you will get sick of it eventually.

12 December 2010, 03:36 AM
I've been in an art rut recently, and just now seem to be getting out of it. This is today's duel. I'm gonna focus a lot more on lines and values for the next couple of duels, because those are the things that make a picture. Colour is sort of like icing, and a cheap way of making something read. Or, I guess, in really complicated scenes you need colour to tell things apart, but I'm not old enough to do big complicated paintings anyway.

Or am I? There's a new personal piece in the works, and it's gonna negate everything I've done up to this point.

12 December 2010, 06:03 AM
You're never too old to try something new ;)

But them some will say it's better not to start running before you can walk...

And so there is a fitting answer to every question.
I think you'll find your own answers most satisfying in the end. They are hidden on your experience path.

Just keep going no matter what obstacles cross it...
Those that follow your thread along with me will agree that you are doing just fine :)

01 January 2011, 01:56 AM
This inspirational message brought to you by NR43! Thanks a lot! I don't get comments like that every day. You're the awesome.

As Bobby Chiu ( put it, it's very important to figure out a strategy for 2011. In my efforts to do so, I've been trying to figure out a lot of introspective questions. Sort of like the influence map on DA, but broader.

Chasing that perfect studio is like chasing a perfect girl - if she actually wants you start to wonder if perhaps you can do better. The drama of uncertainty is what keeps the pursuit going.

I'm getting close to the point where my art will need more than just foundation to be good. Things I've been working on recently:


Making things read
Form rendering


Double foreshortening
Twisting forms
Big shape relationships
Grasping the air

Continuing with these themes, here are some duels, and prep sketches for upcoming personal illustrations.

01 January 2011, 04:22 PM
incredible work

01 January 2011, 07:07 PM
ManDay: You better believe it! Thanks man!

Ladies and gents, I decided to pursue my long-time high school dream. This is my last post until six weeks from now, at which point I will have hopefully achieved it. I'm gonna join the race for that most coveted of the gaming holy grails ( : concept art job at Blizzard. You can keep up with my progress on ( as I will be pouring my heart and soul into every illustration, catering to the Blizzard aesthetic and, eventually, quality. The best of these will be submitted to their Fan Art Program, aiming to get posted for 5 weeks in a row. Basically, I'm going to paint until it wouldn't make sense for them not to hire me. Hopefully, six weeks will be enough for that.

Why six weeks? GDC ( .

In the meantime, let me share some parting thoughts with you. Drawing, like any art, is just another magic trick. If the mind of the beholder cannot bridge the gap between his ability and the picture (or art work) he sees before him, he finds it impressive and amusing. The wider the gap is, the more impressed the viewer is (another obvious factor affecting the effect of the work is the viewer's prior experience with art works of the same kind). If the viewer has the ability to create a picture of comparable quality, he/she knows the secret to your magic trick, and no longer finds your work impressive.

The nature of drawing and painting makes us very susceptible to self-inflicted physical damage. Drawing requires a lot of focus in order to make something of merit. This kind of mental commitment often makes it difficult to be aware of your physical state, i.e. posture and possible pain you may experience. Since it requires a lot of time also, you may mess yourself up pretty bad without noticing it. Heed the warning, kids! Stop drawing while you still have the limbs.

01 January 2011, 01:53 PM
Best sketchbook I've seen on here in a LONG time. Very impressed with your sense of colour and really like your giants. Keep up the good work.

03 March 2011, 06:14 PM
I'm back from GDC now and my mind is still trying to straighten itself out. I feel a little empty from having the deadline for such a significant goal pass, and I dearly miss the three days I spent hanging out with professionals. They flew by so fast, and I can't help but feel like I didn't make the most out of the experience. That said, even though 6 weeks was not enough to accomplish my dream, GDC was the best place to spend my birthday week. The questions that have built up over the weeks finally got answered, I met tons of badasses and got a lot of feedback on my portfolio (which you will find below); and most importantly, I know exactly what I need to do to get to where I want to be.

In addition to the emptiness, I feel a lot more freedom. I'm free from the time pressure, and free from my ignorance of how the industry works.

I've been keeping a diary of the things I learned over the last 6 weeks, and I think once I actually accomplish my goal, I will post a very extensive "how to." In the meantime, I'm gonna regroup, clean my room, my body and mind and my "to do" list; and prepare for the next round.

The 6 weeks actually turned out to be quite different from what I expected. I spent the first two weeks on the spider piece below, and a piece that's not shown. The following 2 were spent entirely on duel concepts, and the best displayed. The fifth week was taken up largely by 3D, and I spent significantly less time on painting, and I spent all of the last week on my 3D. Ultimately, I only spent 2 weeks focused on solid drawing, so imagine what kind of progress could have been made if I dedicated the entire 6 weeks to it like I said I would. Anyway, enjoy!

03 March 2011, 10:35 AM
Being surrounded by creative souls really boosts your skills and your spirit.

It certainly shows in your work, which is pretty strong!
Keep us posted of your progress please :)

03 March 2011, 08:25 PM
Nr43: Thanks man! Sure will :D

Well, it's time to get back to work, and I figure the only WEI I'm gonna beat Wei Wang at art is to paint from life. That's the wei everyone seems to learn how light works and how to create believable form. So, until Daily Duels gets back on its feet, here come the daily still lives!

Still need to work on values and texture. It's pretty tough, but I figure these will get much easier in about a week.

Then there are these guys:

The trouble with that portfolio below is that I'm a lot better than it, both because the 2D works are now almost a month old, and because I did each one in a day. But nevermind that, the project I'm working on right now is gonna kick so much ass, you have no idea. I hope to finish it by Monday.

03 March 2011, 11:13 PM
I'm a firm believer in number of updates over having things to say so here. It's the sunset out my window. Or it tried to be.

03 March 2011, 03:17 AM
Thought I wouldn't post today did you? Well you're WRONG.

This is a lot better than the last "night still life" I did. I think back then i couldn't see green. On this one I tried to achieve a realistic look with the highlights, but failed again. Oh well. Some value areas need a bit of work as well. Now that I see it in thumbnail, mistakes become more apparent. Gotta remember to step back!

Can't wait to see what my paintings will look like when I get back to them!

03 March 2011, 03:26 AM
For the past three still lives I've used pretty much completely different methods of starting. First one was an amalgamation of brushes, just getting warmed up. Next, I tried to block everything in with a hard brush and exact colours. Now I tried blocking in with a soft round airbrush and approximate everything, then refine colours, edges, values and drawing as you go along. I think this is the method that saves you the most time in the end. You can leave most of your painting with soft edges and "averaged" colour, but then tighten up the areas of focus, and find a way to guide the eye creatively. The danger here is it's very easy to make the entire painting swim in mud.

I've also been thinking a lot about colour transitions, and trying to make them as efficiently as possible. Highlights, for example, take at least two tones (usually a saturated soft one first, then a dull, bright, hard stroke on top) to pull off. I think ideally you want to simplify the picture down to as few colours as possible, and still retain all the information in the picture. That's where the "skill" comes in.

Gettin my still life mojo back, though. Feels good.

03 March 2011, 03:27 AM
For the past three still lives I've used pretty much completely different methods of starting. First one was an amalgamation of brushes, just getting warmed up. Next, I tried to block everything in with a hard brush and exact colours. Now I tried blocking in with a soft round airbrush and approximate everything, then refine colours, edges, values and drawing as you go along. I think this is the method that saves you the most time in the end. You can leave most of your painting with soft edges and "averaged" colour, but then tighten up the areas of focus, and find a way to guide the eye creatively. The danger here is it's very easy to make the entire painting swim in mud.

I've also been thinking a lot about colour transitions, and trying to make them as efficiently as possible. Highlights, for example, take at least two tones (usually a saturated soft one first, then a dull, bright, hard stroke on top) to pull off. I think ideally you want to simplify the picture down to as few colours as possible, and still retain all the information in the picture. That's where the "skill" comes in.

Gettin my still life mojo back, though. Feels good.

03 March 2011, 10:32 AM
About mud:
Mud is nothing more than colors that do not match their surrounding colors as well as you want them to.

My painting teacher taught me this simple yet amazing trick to see what color I'm looking at when painting from life: isolate it.

I use a small cardboard card in a neutral grey (the back of a cereal box), with a small hole in it I made with a perforator. When looking at the spot in my scene I wish to know the color of, I hold the card in front of me and look through the hole. It's much easier to see the real hue AND value of a particular spot this way.

When using oil paints, you can easily mix your paint, put a dab next to the hole on the card and compare it with the color in your scene. Any differences in hue or value are instantly spotted.

You can't do this with digital painting, obviously, but isolating the part you are interested in will do wonders, try it.

03 March 2011, 11:40 PM
Nr43: Thanks for the tip, dude. I've heard of james gourney using that technique also. Digital is good because you always know the colour/value relationships on your canvas, just not in front of you. But generally, starting out with 3 main values/colours seems to do the trick of getting rid of mud. I'm sure I'll get an eye for it eventually, especially when I start doing studies from photos.


Been thinking a lot about form in my still lives. Having less and less time to do them these days... How long can I keep it up?

Also, I'm often on the phone with my girlfriend as I do these, so I wonder how that affects their quality. During the last one she read me Sailor Moon lore from the wiki.

Some thoughts I've collected over the past couple of days:

When you are drawing line art, doesn't matter that much how you arrange your shapes, as long as there is a semblance of going big to small. The eye can be guided with line weight.

Size should dictate the amount of detail you put on an object. If it's big, it's usually important.

I think that ideally every company wants their concept artists to produce the quality of work they would produce for themselves (for fun), but do it for the company and before its deadlines.

If you want to become good, you have to modify your process for painting so that you are rewarded appropriately as you paint. In a way, it's like a video game. It's only fun if you have enough success, otherwise you don't want to play anymore. Since making a detailed illustration or concept takes a long time, there must be points in your process where you look at your work, become proud of your progress and get inspired to continue working. For me, there is always a dip that happens at about 40% when your expectations for the painting are underwhelmed by what it actually looks like as you start to refine the sketch.

There is always a positive and a negative way to react to your situation, so ALWAYS react positively. When you are striving towards a goal, you are only harming yourself by letting negativity get into your brain, even if its only for analysis of your situation.

I started taking 5-minute "motivation breaks." When I feel tired, bored or uncomfortable from sitting in one place for a while, I go into the living room and look outside for a couple of minutes. Then I flex my muscles, yell and do whatever it takes to get myself pumped up to go back to work. It works much better than taking breaks by checking your email.

Instant colour scheme tip #1:
- Take your entire image or area with muddy colours and lower the saturation.
- Go into "Color Balance" and raise or lower any colour you want. Boom.

I still haven't figured out a good way to mix colours digitally, because there is no way to preview the colour you find with RGB sliders other than trial and error. Also, PS eats your saturation when you use opacity to blend your colours, which gets in the way of everything. Maybe I should just permanently use my brush on overlay? Gonna try it on my still life tonight.

When you set out on a big project, it's important to lay down some key elements and main goals at the beginning, so that you don't lose track of them as you are working.

If you are using a soft brush, you are limiting your value range, because your capabilities for contrast are limited. This is why it also makes sense to use a soft brush to begin your paintings. However, as you progress through it, you must use a harder-edged brush for the fine value/colour transitions.

Contrary to the unpopular belief, it IS actually about the brushes. The shapes you make, the hardness /softness of edges, and how the brush puts down the colour are all qualities that are essential in achieving a workflow that makes every stroke count.

The MOST IMPORTANT THING I LEARNED: It doesn't matter how good or bad you are objectively. If you can constantly convince yourself that you're just within reach of greatness, you will become objectively great sooner than you think.

Oh yeah, I also think I'm gonna reveal that project I've been talking about. Check it out!

And some thumbs:

Just sent that off to the blizzard guys I met. Hopefully they'll find these worthy of a crit.

Based on the work you see above, things I need to work on are:
- Scale
- Depth in Z-space by the use of colour, saturation, edges and shape. i.e. more scale.
So I gotta get back to work!

03 March 2011, 03:17 AM
Time to get back to work. I'm making some robots next. Will probably upload by Sunday.

In concept art, three things guide your decisions when making shapes: appeal, functionality and gameplay implications.

A lot of hard surface and architecture design is about adjusting angles to make straight lines flow in a nice way.

In the same way that you want to distribute polycount and texture space, you want to put your detail on the part that is most exposed to the camera, or position your concept so that the biggest area of importance is seen.

The way you usually tell a professional from a student is by spotting shortcuts in brushwork. A student, while perhaps having the same skill as a professional, will not have had enough experience to simplify his painting process into something efficient and effortless.

When you don't want to design new shapes, guide the eye with dust, scratches and other texture details.

I heard this new rumour that Diablo III is actually set in Mexico.

03 March 2011, 09:42 PM
Today is a very important day because I failed harder than I have in the recent past, and it was difficult to get over it.
I stopped working on this guy and decided to start on a new one. Where this guy failed:

Detail distribution
Silhouette read
Value read

I've sunk two days into this robot, expected to get a portfolio piece, but had to settle for the knowledge of how much I need to work on vehicles. But out of the bad comes the good, out of the plague came the renaissance, and at some point soon I'm gonna embark on a new challenge that will teach me the ways.

Starcraft struck gold by imitating the Alien with zerg, and adding an exciting horror element into their game, on top of the sci-fi run-of-the-mill conspiracy/rebellion plot lines and themes that go along with the Terran campaign. Protoss are probably the race with the least character, and I was never really invested in what they had to say when I played the campaign, though their visual and gameplay design was solid. Their biggest thematic achievement is probably being the indians to the Terran cowboys. My guess is they were trying too hard to conceptualize a real alien race, which felt too foreign and weird.

Blizzard is the game industry Valhalla. You go there once you have proven your worth in battle.

I realized recently why a few of my pieces were ions beyond anything else I was doing at the time (see the Samurai). It's that "artistic" aspect of concept art shining through, coming from your subconscious. When people are hit with "inspiration" or whatever you want to call it, your brain produces better work, and that's what happened. However there's still no way to logically predict when it will happen again, or how to cause it to do so.

Ideally, all the pieces that go in your portfolio are ones that were made with inspiration.

Oh yeah, I also did some studies hoping they would help me with materials etc. They did. But it didn't save me in the end.

04 April 2011, 04:47 AM
Some of your previous drawings are much better than the robot. And of course I like robots :)
I'm not sure but I think there are multiple problems.
The robot shape maybe is not the most inspired one. Also the camera angle and lens could be better.
Right now I have the feeling it's a transforming robot and the pose caught him in an ambiguous shape, while transforming from a shape to another.

The previous robot also. Something doesn't work there. Not sure what though :)

04 April 2011, 01:52 PM
Seb: Thanks for the crits, man. I'm not sure what you mean by previous robot, but what you said about my bot was very useful to hear.

It's such an ordeal to update this sketchbook, but you know what? Someday, when I'm really good, some kid who's just starting to draw will want to scroll back all the way to now to see how I got to where I will be.

This thing calibrates my monitaur ( , but it does a terrible job so I've been putting off making a still life out of it. Unfortunately, I'm running out of interesting objects to draw so there.

And then I did some fan art for Riot Games. It's their latest champion ( . That company is going far, because they're actually innovating within the DotA genre, and their business model is very clever. That is, until Valve gets on the scene with DotA 2 ( . Then all those companies (all two of them) are getting hit by a freight train, unless Riot makes some really bold moves.

Some things I learned:

You compose with gradations, not flat colour. Always know where your gradations are going, and how intensely.

The most efficient way to make something better is to erase it. So do that as often as you can manage. Ideally, if you have the time and are willing to 'scrap' hours of work, you should do your illustration 3 times before the deadline. Good product is made by having smarter than average people iterate on an idea more than the competition.

Sometimes seeking shortcuts for processes actually takes longer than doing it the "stupid" way.

Next time you listen to a pop song, in your head replace all the "baby" lyrics with "hitler." It's the way it was meant to be heard.

I'm beginning to understand that more and more things in life depend on what you believe rather than logical analysis. There are many things you couldn't possibly figure out the reason for, so you have to rationalize it with your own belief. Fill in the gap in knowledge, in a way. So what you put in that gap is entirely up to you and sometimes it's very important to your attitude and work output. Please, always believe the most positive thing. If a big shot artist doesn't respond to your e-mail, don't blame the fact that your art isn't good, or that you came on too strong. Analyze what you can, then rationalize it with "he would have loved to answer if he wasn't so busy."

That said, in any past circumstance, there is always a more positive outcome that you could have achieved. You have to question how you could have gotten there, without regretting that you didn't.

I heard that the final boss of Diablo 3 is, in fact, Lady Gaga, and not the lord of terror.

Edges are gestalt psychology ( at work. When you draw from life, you find out how your brain makes sense of your scene, by analyzing which edges in it seem hard and which seem soft. The fast your eyes skim over the edge as you're looking at the scene, the softer that edge will be in your painting.

When doing something artistic, you gotta genuinely love what you do, so that you get some creativity help from your subconscious. When doing other tasks, like programming, you just have to have a passion for problem solving.

There are really 3 types of edges in digital painting. Hard, soft and textured. You can use a texture brush to softer things, instead of the boring old airbrush.

I also heard that in the Diablo movie the monk will be played by Vin Diesel (

05 May 2011, 02:32 AM
I've been silent for way too long. I just moved out of New York City. It's been a hell of a five years, and I'm happy to move on. I just don't know where to yet.

More on that later. For now, let's compile everything I've learned over the last three weeks.

You gotta let a story write itself, same way you gotta let a picture draw itself. You can't force creativity.

You can never accomplish something great without believing that you're special, or better than other people, because other people and circumstances will always lead you to believe that it can't be done, and you have to be able to ignore them. The first step to greatness is believing in yourself: "other people failed here, but I can succeed."

People who draw realistically often don't have the graphic design sensibilities of people who draw in their own style, and stylized art usually lacks the fundamentals of realism.

You have to know which parts of your painting are gonna POP with value contrast and edges. It's less about the shapes themselves, but more about the connections and relationships between them: edges.

Don't max out on saturation. Sneak up on it.

Warp a painting to get rid of tangents and make the drawing more interesting.

Frequency of detail brings objects forward.

Let accidents fill the gaps in information that exist outside the focal points. Your painting is a web.

Studies make you aware of how much information you can leave out in order to have something read. Painting from imagination is about arranging that information in a pleasing manner.

Learning new things gives me a high.

The more you iterate, the more ideas present themselves. Accidents make innovation.

Never bring in a new colour or material unless you can use it in more than one place on your piece.

Hard shadows and highlights define form more efficiently than careful shading in the light.

You can make anything you want read with just reflected and ambient light, however you should strive to do so with key light and shadow.

All ideas that you throw away should be good. The reason you're throwing them away is that they don't fit your project.

There are three crucial things to having the fire:
- Deadlines
- Feedback loop of achievement and satisfaction with your work
- Truly believing that you will achieve your goal

Your "skill" as a painter never really improves. Your perception of the world, though, does.

The importance of surfaces is prioritized by the angle at which they face the light. Thus, surfaces that are more important will be brightest.

You can often raise or lower your values by changing hue. Likewise, you can change the colours of the paint on the canvas by putting down colours outside of that hue family.

You cannot create in abstraction. You need constraints. Rules are prompts. Prompts make you think.

The motivations for the actions of your characters will determine the moral of your story.

When you're young, usually you are focused on the social aspects of life, which is funny, because very few people have achieved anything of merit. Then, when you're older and meet people that have gotten somewhere, you have no time to hang out with them, because you're too busy getting somewhere yourself.

What you're doing with lines is creating the silhouettes of things. Same with brushstrokes, but less prominently.

Iterations allow you to re-formalize your ideas, kind of like defragging an HD.

The worst enemy of the creative process is the illusion of completion. That is why iterations are so hard, but so necessary.

In the same way that every painting is an opportunity to find "truth," you have to follow your drawing to whatever you start "seeing." You search for lines that make you see what you're drawing, and follow those to the end project. You can't force your drawing to become what you originally intended it to be.

Thumbnailing characters is iterating graphical patterns on your "skeleton," the body.

Evaluate what qualities make it a crab. How long does it take to read as a crab and what information are you looking at to make the judgment? Reddish pale colours, intricate symmetrical patterns. Shapes - claw + legs. Think how much information you can leave out before it is no longer a crab!

Evaluate the hierarchy of information you take in.

Kenneth Branagh meditates at the beginning and end of each day. True fact.

Anything can be accomplished at a cost. When you're low on time, you can sacrifice other things.

And now, the work.

I did some fan TF2 concepts. Hopefully you can read the text. Eric Wolfpaw is coming to NYU, but they didn't book a room large enough (or I didn't rsvp quickly enough) so I can't go. Bummer.

Latest still life. Need to stop being lazy about these and actually flesh them out.

Old man still life. Did this at Frank Stockton ( 's meetup. Guy's got mad skills and really good advice. If you live in NYC, you should find him on and attend.

Think that's all for now. Will update more once I figure out what's going on with my life.

05 May 2011, 05:55 PM
isso09- wonderul insights with this last post, really good reading! Wish you the best luck in your new ventures whatever and wherever they may be.

One crit- those iterations you talk of...would love to see a few of your still-life images pushed further, they have so much potential.

05 May 2011, 06:59 PM
Rabid1: Thanks man! I'm glad people are out there reading these. And yes, I do need to take my still lives to more polish. I would probably learn a ton. Soon I'm going to make a mega-still life with a bunch of objects, and work on it for several nights. But that's after I get a place to live ^^.

The waiting game is hard, but there are some exciting news on the horizon, I'm sure. All will be decided tomorrow or the day after, I think.

Didn't even realize it's been so long since my last update. I apologize for you loyal 12 followers... I've have very little time for art over the last 18 days.

People have the illusion of free will because they're conscious of their body making decisions for them. If you were unconscious (say, sleepwalking) your body would make similar decisions and behave in a similar way to your conscious state. The only difference is that you would not able to perceive your own behavior and remember it. Listen to radiolab.

No one person is better than another unless they are older (to a point). If two people are the same age, they have both done interesting things with their time, in their own way. Next time you try to criticize someone, chances are, you have something to learn from them too.

I may be repeating myself, or rephrasing old statements, but it's not like you read those anyway, so:
Design is about enforcing hierarchy in all elements of the picture: shape, value, texture, colour, etc. (Same with polycount and texture res in 3D) The better the hierarchy, the less effort the brain has to go through to make one while you look at the picture, and therefore the more pleasing you find it. At the same time, you have to retain an element of chaos to make the image interesting.

EXERCISE: Try simplifying the edge spectrum. For example: have only super hard and super soft edges in a picture, and nothing in between. See how that affects your colour pickins.

Fixing something isn't nearly a hard as starting it from scratch. Same goes for iterating. It may not be as exciting, because you already know what you're gonna get, but at least it's easy, and it will make your piece look better. SO DO IT!!!

You can't draw for fun until you have the FUNdamentals ingrained in your brain.

On my intuos4, no matter how much you change the sensitivity, applying the full amount of pressure will always require the same force, which I thought was stupid, because the whole reason I wanted to make it more sensitive was so that it was easier on my hand. I recently discovered that this actually helps me when I'm using the round, pressure-sensitive brush, because whatever colour you pick will stay in harmony with the rest of the canvas as long as it's close to what you need and the opacity of your stroke is at ~80-90%. You don't hurt your hand, and the colour stays in harmony. It's sort of a failsafe device for choosing colour, because you can never get the right one purely by sliding RGB values around.

Also, I spoke about this before, but you can "overshoot" your target colour in saturation and value, but lower the opacity with the pressure on the stylus in order to get to the right place. This is how I usually pick my colours. More often than not, I move my RGB sliders wayy out of whack, and try to put down as much of the crazy colour I mixed as I can, without it looking jarring. Takes a lot of practice.

Anyway, the good news is: Daily Duels is coming back online! Soon. Probably within the month, but we gotta upgrade the website, introduce the voting system and do all sorts of polishing for the graphics. They are going to be tight.

Also I did this pantheon skin from League of Legends. It's not official.


05 May 2011, 03:17 PM
Damn man, This stuff is amazing. Who do you work for?

05 May 2011, 03:59 AM
GaryBedell: Thanks man! Working for myself right now, but I've been interviewing at some places, so that's gonna change very soon.

Been feeling all sorts of weird negative emotions lately, so it's about damn time to return to drawing. Especially since my set up here in Canadia is finally complete! Too bad I'm going back to New York, where I can't draw that much. But at least I can play Log of Leaders (!

05 May 2011, 04:23 AM
Faces.. I'm still bad at them, but I blame the resolution. As for the plein air, you really can't do that when the sun is out.. I couldn't see anything on my monitor, so I gave up on it. Maybe I oughta start finishing my studies...

When you reach a point where you don't know whether what you're doing can be achieved is when miracles start to happen.

06 June 2011, 04:19 AM
Dark objects have less value variation in light. I expected more insights from all the studies I've been doing. I guess my life is too stressful for insights right now.

Delving into textures again. It's hard. I'm trying to make a decision about how much information I can convey with just the hard and soft round brushes, and how fast.

06 June 2011, 03:53 AM
I'm finally alive and online, and man, did I miss the boat of getting good! About two years ago tons of people on CA got good, posted in each others' sketchies and got awesome jobs, including Dave Rapoza, Algenpfleger, Danielc, Miles etc etc. Too bad I had to go to film school and learn about nothing that had to do with painting for another year. Oh well. Maybe the boat will come again...

06 June 2011, 05:09 AM
Running out of things to say. Not running out of things to draw. Guess I should get faster.

06 June 2011, 04:22 AM
Some studies fail. Some studies succeed. Life goes on.

06 June 2011, 04:45 AM
Good studies over there mate. Love how you paint the stuff realistically yet illustration like. Keep posting :)

06 June 2011, 03:49 PM
Great updates, love the way you handle those women and their shiny leather! Film school?? Sounds like a great time to didn't need some fancy illustration degree've developed the talent yourself (as most do). I'm still paying loans for an animation degree...had to teach myself the illustration part (and i'm not at your level). Anyway, I think the story telling aspect your work comes through. CA is full of talent, landing the job is a mix of luck, skill and connections. Anyway, stay the work bud

06 June 2011, 11:36 PM
Itken84: Thanks, dude! I'm gonna keep it up. Gotta get golden boy of the month!

Rabid1: Shiny latex is good, because it teaches you where the highlights go on the female form, which is important to know. Sorry to hear about your loans, dude. I'll be it gets you motivated anyway! Thanks for the kind words!

For various reasons, I've abandoned certain studies you'll see below. Most of them because of my environment, i.e. lighting changed or it was too hot to continue. The woes of painting. Anyway.

When you use RGB sliders you choose your ultimate hue based on ratios of the 3 colours, not the individual values of them. Thus, the hue shifts mure more drastically amidst desaturated colours, because there is less of it to go about. That's why the colour wheel is smaller in the middle, where the saturation is less.

The colour of the shadow depends on what's bouncing light into it!! It's amazing how long it took me to get this.

Hardness or softness of the edge of your brush will affect your colour choices. You can be a lot more radical with your colour picking with an airbrush. Hard-edged strokes need to adhere very closely to the colour scheme and to the adjacent colours.

Drawing is, in a way, a release of aggression. All the things we suppress in civilized society find their way out onto a piece of paper.

New technique here. Picked all the colours myself and used a hard brush. Didn't mix anything. Really good practice!

06 June 2011, 09:12 PM
Almost there, gotta stay on target. I'm gonna switch to Loomis studies from now on. If I decide to do them digitally, you'll be seeing them.

Every final stroke you leave on the canvas should be hand-mixed, not picked from the canvas.

You have to observe the hierarchy between the most important colours/values when doing a study. Put the most important ones down first.

If you mix the wrong value of a colour and you need to "transpose" it higher or lower, don't forget to adjust the saturation accordingly. It rarely stays the same when you make a colour lighter or darker.

When you can't quite mix the right colour, make a light stroke erring on one side of that colour, then make another light stroke erring on the other side. As in, if the colour you pick first is too blue, move the slider a tiny bit towards yellow, and make another light stroke. Mix on the canvas.

When you're nervous, you try to prevent your brain from analyzing yourself into oblivion. You talk fast, make a lot of random movements, eyes dart around, breathe quickly etc. So the way to not be nervous is to stop the analysis. Somehow. That's hard.

As artists get bigger, more and more people compete for getting in touch with them. How do you win?
- Start early
- Have something to offer
- Never think that you're beneath somebody, but be humble instead.

Always find a positive justification for what you're doing, even if it's not entirely true. Then make it true. If you can't do that, then don't do it.

Let it be. Do your own thing. Be tolerant and respectful of others, even if you can't find anything to respect them for.

Only after you have experienced the horror of the worst case scenario are you able to judge things rationally.

If there is enough information, reasoning will be productive. Otherwise it will be emotional and negative.

Assuming your aim is to get better, every time you give yourself to something and it looks like crap, you have done the right thing. The trouble is, if your work looks like crap all the time, you don't want to do it at all. But you have to keep going.

Everyone is too busy playing their own game to notice how you're playing yours.

When blocking in, don't try to put down exactly the colour you see from the start. Put down the jumping off colour, i.e. what you're gonna mix all the hues and variations from.

06 June 2011, 10:22 PM
wow. theres some very cool stuff in this thread. Im digging the mechanical/futuristic stuff as well as the fantasy stuff alot.

Being more of a 3d guy myself i usually dont check the 2d section very often, but i have to admit i was missing out big time.

well im off to chekc out all 11 pages of your thread.

06 June 2011, 08:42 AM
wow. theres some very cool stuff in this thread. Im digging the mechanical/futuristic stuff as well as the fantasy stuff alot.
well im off to chekc out all 11 pages of your thread.
+1 on what he said. Good job, keep it up!

08 August 2011, 04:18 AM
TwoOneOne: Thanks a lot, dude. It's really good to hear that someone's benefitting from my work.

Alice: Thanks a lot!

Sorry I've been away, everyone. Things are getting progressively busier and busier, but it's all good because I'm happily employed at Riot Games as an associate concept artist! I'm living with my friend in fumy downtown Los Angeles trying to find a place to live in sunny Santa Monica, where my beloved studio is.

Consider this a rough step-by-step tutorial of how to break into the industry based on my experience, the mistakes I made and the things I learned along the way - while they are fresh in my mind. Anyone listening to my story should know that since it already happened, by repeating the same process you won't be able to get the same results. You will need to work harder, because I just took your spot.

Now, the big dogs out there will have much more information about the industry, how it works and what they like to see. I'm simply attempting to sum up how I would approach it if I had 5 years to do it over.

Step 1:

Don't go to college. I make less in a year than my tuition was for one semester, which is enough to live decently in Santa Monica, one of the most desirable areas in Los Angeles. While the place I got educated was a lot of fun, a fulfilling life experience, and got me a piece of paper that helped me get the job and stay in the States (I'm Canadian), it didn't do me much good as far as furthering my drawing skills. In fact, it took away time that I could have spent getting better.

Step 2:

Move in with an ambitious art buddy. It is very hard to motivate yourself when you are living on your own, or with your parents. It is even harder when all your roommates want to do is kick back and have fun. If you're serious about drawing for a living, you don't have time for fun right now. Get rid of friends, girlfriends, family, drugs, video games and whatever other distractions may stand in your way. Your ambitious art buddy will satisfy all your social needs and motivate you. Get someone around your skill level, where neither of you may feel superior to the other, so you will both take each others' criticism.
I lived with Neolight ( from last September to May. He is now going through an art internship at Insomniac Games.

Step 3:

Use the money you saved from not going to college to sustain yourself. Join a gym. Eat healthy. Sleep well. I can't emphasize this enough. If you don't exercise every day, you raise the risk of getting carpal tunnel or other RSI's. Alternatively, if you don't run into physical problems from drawing, you're not drawing enough. When you run into wrist/back problems, you'll need to carefully analyze your posture and drawing methods. Leading a healthy lifestyle outside of drawing will help you, but you'll also need to take frequent stretch breaks, have an ergonomic set-up for drawing, and do anything you can to adjust the physical act of drawing so that you don't get put out of commission by RSI. When I go to life drawing, I don't do bold strokes that carve the form out of the page anymore, because I only have about 400 of those in me before my thumb begins to hurt. Instead I draw lightly, bringing the form out with gentle strokes that I can do all day.

Step 4:

Communicate with other artists. You're not going to learn enough about the industry or about art from the internet alone. Reach out to as many people as you can and try your best to soak up everything they tell you. E-mailing people and going to conventions has countless benefits. It raises the industry's awareness of you, it gets you super inspired, builds up your social network (which increases opportunities), gets you tons of new information - anecdotes like this one, critiques on your work, etc etc. Face time with other artists is key. It puts you in the right mindset and reminds you that you're not alone on this journey.

Note: The only way you can increase the chances of people responding to your e-mails is by being yourself and being honest. If they still don't respond, then they're either way too busy to read them, or you shouldn't hear their feedback anyway.

Step 5:

Have something that separates you from hundreds of other kids at your skill level or better, trying to get your job . Concept artists are a dime a dozen. Even if you're not at a skill level comparable to the big stars of the industry, being able to do one thing exceptionally well will really increase your chances of getting hired (especially if that thing is in demand). This could be a tangible skill, a style that you have developed, subject matter you specialize in, or just a je-ne-sais-quoi about your work that makes other people remember it. I am good at turnarounds.

Step 6:

Get lucky. I did a turnaround to cover my bases, and 6 months later I happened to show it to Riot at precisely the right time when they needed someone with this skill. At this point, Riot's sky-rocketing reputation has turned the heads of badasses way beyond my level and I highly doubt I'd be able to get in if I were to apply now. Be at the right place at the right time, and seize any opportunity that comes your way. I had no idea how awesome Riot was when I was showing my portfolio to them. They were just across the way from the Blizzard booth at GDC.

Step 7:

Have a loftier goal that getting a job in the industry. It's a good place to start, but once you do achieve it, you'll need a new place to get to. Only recently did I understand that the journey is more fun than the destination, so I have to come up with a new goal fast, because I've trained my mind to focus on the task at hand and give it my all. At the moment, my brain is very confused as to what to focus on, and you don't want that to happen.

I'm attaching some life drawing for good measure. I haven't done it in a while, but I was sitting behind a dude who was just so good, that I had a really easy time simplifying the figure after looking at his drawings. 2-25's.

08 August 2011, 04:52 AM
Unlike most other artists who get full time gigs and drop off the face of the earth, I'm gonna keep sharing my thoughts, studies and personal work with you here. The reason I haven't been is because I still don't have a place to live, which puts a hard cap on how much work I can do outside of Riot. It's been emotionally tasking not to be able to pursue your goals for a month, so I'm a little shaken up. Now it's time to review all the things I've written in my journal from a month and a half ago.

You are always right. Any decision you have made in the past was the choice that you needed to make. Even if it seemed like a mistake, it was the best thing that could have happened.

Trying to change your habits as a test of willpower is immature and rarely works. You need to internalize a shift in priorities in order to succeed at that.

Becoming an adult happens in 3 steps:
1. Learn who you are.
2. There will be things you won't like (or you have to re-do step 1), so change them
3. There will be things you can't change, so learn to love them. It is illogical to hate yourself for things you can't change. Your past mistakes count.

Los Angeles is deceptively spacious. There is actually very little space, because people are always moving. You always have to wait your turn to enjoy things. I guess it's the same in New York, but there you just expect everything to be crowded.

Here is how karma works: you put in the time, and you get rewarded. Fair? Yes. Why does it work? Because everyone else gave up before you. Certain kinds of risks often pay off, because very few people take them.

It doesn't matter how you apply brush strokes as long as you put the right value in the right place.

We spend so long hiding our true intentions that all you have to do to make a connection with another human being is to reveal them.

It's infinitely harder to make compelling and precise brush strokes on the computer, so do them in three steps: put the marks down on a separate layer, then adjust them, then merge down.

You can save a lot of time by plotting down your hard edges first, because they're the most important.

By trying too hard you make it harder for yourself to succeed. You start thinking about the effort rather than the thing you're doing. Or maybe that's just me.

Picking the base tone is more important than subsequent colours, because it heavily affects how your colour mixing curves will look. Make sure you have enough saturation!

Oddly enough, growing up is about relaxing more than proving or achieving anything.

Commit to lines right away. Without committing, you can't design.

You can change skintone by changing the colour of the clothes.

You learn how to react to things from the people around you. And other people learn from you what kind of behavior you approve of or not. Pick the right reactions and approve of the right kind of behavior.

The more you think about something, the bigger it becomes. Be careful of this power.

Your subconscious limits you. Negative thoughts limit your subconscious. DON'T HAVE THEM.

I was told I'd have a hard time working after work. But in actuality, I need to work on my own stuff to stay sane.

Don't use straight lines with shift-click. Do them with your own hand - put personality into them.

Successful people are not the ones who take action when something is wrong, but the ones who keep achieving when everything is great.

Doesn't matter what you do, it's all about how you do it.

If you have time or brainpower to think about how well you're doing your task, you're not doing it well enough.

When you are presenting a bunch of your designs, pick the worst one and work on it until it is awesome, (or start it over) then rinse and repeat until you can't tell which one is the worst.

Design is changing the patterns of elements in a picture to draw attention to certain points in it. The cleverness and simplicity of distribution of the viewers' attention is what makes the design appealing.

Anticipation is more interesting than the climax. IMHO.

Figure out what else will be in the illustration besides the focus. You gotta have room for your eye to travel, not just points of interest everywhere.

10's, 15's and a 25:

08 August 2011, 05:20 PM
Nice life drawings...and as always, I really enjoy reading the various insights. Congrats on the new job, I hope you find a little breathing room out there =)

08 August 2011, 04:51 AM
Rabid1: Thanks, man! I really appreciate it. Just found my apartment too, so that means Duels will be starting up again soon.

Finally started doing morning warmups. Saw this cool thing on one of the designers' desks. I'm trying to figure out a new way of doing studies without just airbrushing the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, soft edges are good and all, but you can put down way more information with hard-edged brushes. Also, this will actually get me to practice drawing and measure while I study.

A neat little trick for checking values: Put a saturate layer over your image and fill it with black. When you turn it on, your image will become grayscale. Thanks Maokai!

Today I really learned the value of iteration. If you can spare the time, draw the same character/object/environment least 3 times (same pose/angle and everything) before moving to final. You learn so many things about your object as you draw it repeatedly that your final composition and design just become that much better.

For those not in the know, I finally joined twitter (!/manlymanton).. It's okay, I have some things I have to share with the world, not just what I ate for lunch.

08 August 2011, 05:12 AM
Don't forget (!/manlymanton) !

Man.. No life drawing for way too long. Finally found a place to life. So even better things will begin very soon.

Mixing your strokes in Multiply and Colour Dodge modes give you completely different colour curves, so USE THEM.

If you want to get faster, do the best job you can, and take a long time on each piece. Speed comes from knowledge.

If you can help it, adjust your brush pressure to make the application of value resemble the application of actual light. Usually this involves softening the tip feel, because the value of your surface will be proportional to the cosine of the angle the light is hitting it at. see this ( . Roughly if the plane being hit by light perpendicularly is at value 10 (and the shadow is at value 0), at light angle of 60 relative to the surface plane the value will be around 8.6, at 45 it will be 7, at 30 it will be 5, at 15 it will be 2.6 and at 0 it will be 0.

Never settle for your first pass at a drawing or a concept, but it will always have some crucial elements that you have to catch and take with you into your next iterations.

Use pure black sparsely. Create atmosphere with almost black instead.

Have a lot of interesting things along the line of sight of your characters. Viewers' eye will always follow it.

Use the Histogram to check your values and make sure your picture is coming out in the key you intended.

When taking feedback, try to interpret what the person is saying and where they're coming from, instead of taking what they say at face value. Try your best to understand why you're getting such a response and what it really means, because words are never enough to communicate visual ideas. More often than not, the critique is hitting some crucial truth, but it's up to you to discover what that is.

Design and visual language mean completely new things to me now. The best designs use symbolic shapes and allude to various objects we see daily in order to elicit an emotional response, much like metaphors in writing. Except design is more like music, since the language of shapes is about as abstract as the language of notes (though much more complex).

You will always have a tougher time making things read in shadow, so make sure that in your compositions important shape-defining edges aren't in shadow. Makes sense, right?

To get unexpected colour schemes, you can't rely on your own knowledge of colour. So experiment with as many tricks as you can. Or do tons of weird colour studies.

Always know which hue you're going towards and max out saturation and value when laying down your painting fundament. You want as many hues and as much contrast as you can manage. You can always tone it all down later by colour picking and mixing edges.

MIX GOD-DAMN COMPLEMENTS, BATMAN! And saturate the shit out of them while you're at it.

Actually, mixing in small bits of complements makes your colours sparkle much more than picking the "right" colours. This is because your eyes are mixing the colour instead of photoshop.

Take colours that aren't working and shift them towards colours that are already on the canvas. As in, take a pink skin tone and put it on a green leather belt that's looking muddy. It will work, trust me.

You can extend your colour range by adding little accents of random saturated hues here and there, but ratios of all the hues in your colour gamut must be preserved.

Every colours fits! Because they all get mixed in the eyes anyway. Try to extract bright saturated tints from your boring paintings so that the eye could mix them and make your picture look more realistic.

Have as many hues on your canvas as you can! Push shit all the way around the colour wheel! You just need to blend them at the right spots.

09 September 2011, 06:44 AM
Focus has become somewhat of a luxury in the internet age.

Retweet (!/manlymanton) : Somewhere inside you, your imagination is conjuring up visions more elaborate, more beautiful than anything you have ever seen in your life. It's up to you to learn to harvest these images and reproduce them as authentically as you can learn to do in a lifetime.

I'm almost done moving to LA. Once I get my chair and my desk, I will have run out of excuses not to focus on my art. So many good things happening, though, it is distracting. Randomly got to meet Anthony Jones ( . Dude is really chill and super smart. You really should go to his page now. Don't read the rest of this.

When trying to calculate the shift of a coloured surface under a different-coloured light, decrease the saturation of the colour you're putting down (the one in the different light) and make sure that the new colour stays in the correct relative hue. Eg. Red surface under a green light: decrease the saturation of the red, and shift the hue into something cooler. Play until looks right. Also, i believe the value of a red surface under green light will be darker than the one under white light. Correct me if I'm wrong.

So.. when you have an area of high saturation on your canvas, desaturating your brush stroke and shifting the hue slightly goes a long way to introducing new colours into the area. I need to do a tutorial about this. Right now these are just notes for myself from the future. There is a tut on form coming next weekend, though. Watch ( out.

You can either mix colours by trying to get as close to your desired colour as you can, or by using wildly outrageous saturated combinations of colours. Which one do you think yields in more happy accidents?

The easiest opportunity to introduce wild colours into your pictures is in hard edges and fresnel reflections.

It's harder to get grays to look correct together, because the more desaturated a colour is, the more precise you need to be with your RGB slider ratios to get the right hues.

Design isn't about the shapes as much as the relationships between them.

Painting environments isn't about which brushes you use, but how you choose to blend your shapes and how you make them interesting.

Close your eyes and try to visualize it if you can't get it right.

Make everything in your picture cool to look at, but make the focus more prominent.

Find interesting flows in the outline of your design.

If you aren't absolutely certain that your drawing kicks ass, you should make it better, because it likely won't impress anyone else.

Sometimes you have to let yourself do what you want. Satisfy your curiosity for things other than art before you end up watching ponies for two hours instead of reading about space travel.

These are from two weeks ago. Went to life drawing with f'ing Katie DeSousa (! Was probably too self conscious so the drawings are meh. Go to her page now. Last chance.


09 September 2011, 05:20 AM
Dunno man, twilight is a pretty good movie to watch. It sorta takes you back to those good old high school times, when life was a lot simpler. Instead of your friends, it's really really attractive people having the same problems you had, with a twist. In the end, it just makes you feel good about yourself because you realize how much of a better person you've become since then, albeit you look different. Maybe it's more compelling for me right now because I'm currently coping with being a grown-up.

Never forget the importance of the colour you're mixing on top of, and it's temperature. The key to raising values in colour-harmonious style is establishing proper jumping off points.

When picking colours, max out your RGB slider values. You'll always be safe. You can tone down saturation/value with your brush opacity. It's the only way of mixing in photoshop without losing saturation, plus you make sure that your colour stays in key (I set my brush sensitivity to very low, so it's very hard for me to fully apply any colour I pick. As a consiquence, most colours I apply will have some of the under colour in them, which will them harmonize with it).

The more steps a task involves, the less likely you are to do it right now. Often the number of steps/time commitment of any given task takes priority over its importance, which is why we the young tend to get lost in the internet for hours at a time. Tabs is the worst invention. So, don't rack the disciprine: Have your sketchbook, pencil, eraser and sharpener out and open at all times. Have music playing if you need it to draw. Get rid of as many obstacles as you can, because you're only a split second away from deviantart.
Sorry 'bout the colours. Will try harder to calibrate.

So as you can see, for a long time i've been experimenting with using mostly a soft airbrush to start out my studies and only coming in with the hard round at the end. You don't commit to a drawing right away, you leave soft edges in areas out of focus and it looks very realistic/painterly. Then, after I started doing concepts, I realized that you can establish values and planes much quicker with the hard round, albeit it's harder to give the object polish and take it all the way to realism. The style of our game sort of forced me to commit to hard edges everywhere, because that's how textures work in 3D. (Though imagine if you could have soft edges in the same way your eye works!!!)

TLDR, a combination of the two is what I decided to pursue. You start off with the soft airbrush and lay in your values and colours, then search for the hardest edges that define your image and put them in with a hard round. Rinse, repeat: Establish the general values/colours with airbrush, tighten with hard round or texture brush. Ultimately it doesn't matter what you use. Just put down as much information as quickly as you can.

09 September 2011, 06:06 AM
I wanna get back to the age when I updated my blog so often that I ran out of titles. Unfortunately since then I've both slowed down in work I can show and expanded my title repertoire.

Because the game industry is so competitive, you have to be a genuinely good and nice person to get in. As a result, once you are in, you're surrounded by the brightest, nicest and quirkiest people you'll ever meet. I noticed when I moved to Riot that overall people seemed nicer, friendlier and smarter than most of the people I've met up to that point.

I already mentioned this on twitter (!/manlymanton) , but it's very important so I'll reiterate: If you don't know what's wrong with your picture/design, use the process of elimination. Paint out every element, one by one, and eventually you'll know what doesn't belong. The hard part is trying to figure out something to replace it. Picked that up from Maokai Xiao.

Interrupt yourself frequently when not doing art. Do not interrupt yourself when doing it.

Separate silhouette from content.

The first difficulty with designing is making cool shapes. The next difficult is making them for a reason. You have to find a way to make shapes cool AND relate to the character/environment.

Here's my process for warming up. Hope it helps:
1. Draw randomly, let your pencil fly and don't even think about what it is. Just explore new things and try to make them look good.
2. Try to make cool shapes. Modify your lines, combine things and make a conscious effort to make things look cool.
3. Design. Draw things in perspective, and know what you're drawing.

There's two ways to expand your shape vocabulary: conscious and unconscious. Unconscious means trying to extract shapes you've seen before by letting your pencil go and seeing what comes out. Conscious means going out and drawing new things! Go on the internet, do a still life, etc. You internalize it for later use.

Since design is all about ratios, any design can be fixed. Usually it's pretty easy to do that by slightly adjusting scales of things and their positions.

Compartmentalize your knowledge. Break it down into small chunks that make sense. Then post them on a blog :D.

To get good at interesting shapes, switch between looking at positive and negative space.

Start out with a simple 3-dimensional primitive, then put your designs on it. Or draw perspective lines. But that usually makes my drawings stiff.

Rely on feeling. After a while you just can't measure certain things and you have to rely on the "feeling" of your drawing in order to make it look correct. Focus on relationships between the main shapes, feel the weight of the object.

Just after you've made a breakthrough, forget that you di. You still need to internalize the information before you can apply it reliably.

Exaggerate your shapes when you design. You can't draw a tank with two strokes, but you need to be able to, in order to generate ideas faster. Thumbnailing is stream of consciousness splurging on the page. Don't let the act of drawing slow it down. Concept/ideas is what's important.

Good design is symbolism. Put shapes of things you want to allude to into your design. Example: you're designing an owl monster. What kind of feeling would putting a horseshoe on him evoke?

Take a bunch of things you've seen before that caused you to have an emotional response and them together in an appealing way.

You can use colour for symbolism as well.

Three important things any design:
1. Distribution of detail
2. Flow
3. Emphasis.

We are subconsciously attributing meaning to certain shapes all our lives (any design that looks skeletal, for example, will seem frail, cold, deathly etc.) Our job as concept artists is to take advantage of that and invoke the right combination of feelings for a cohesive character/environment.

Get your point across as quickly as possible. Make it look compelling with the least amount of detail.

Shape language is as much in the details as the big defining shapes.

It's important to define the theme in your thumbnails. Prototypes for designs should have a similar shape language. e.g. Sharp vs. curved. Often times you only need to design the primary focal point, then it informs the rest of your design. Once you go deep enough into one direction, you'll find everything you need to make a compelling character.

Do not confuse motif with interest. Your thumbnails should have both.

Lock on to your gut feeling. Somewhere inside you know what's wrong with your picture, but your brain keeps covering it up because it doesn't want to fix it.

A fresh set of eyes is infinitely useful for an artist, because I've found that the more time you spend solving a problem, more likely your brain is to say "ok that's good enough, there's no problem there anymore, it's not important." Another person will tell you right away that you haven't solved it, and that is important.

There are two ways to approach design. What looks real and what looks good. Your job is to merge the two. Translate a well-executed two-dimentional contour drawing into a 3-dimentional shape and you will win.

Design saturation and hue in addition to shape!

"Each line in your design tells a story" - Eduardo Gonzalez.


10 October 2011, 07:01 AM
Didn't get into the Marquee club because I didn't bring a dress shirt to vegas, so decided to blog instead. **** that shit anyway, the wait was getting up to an hour.

Yet another tutorial that I will need to do. For now, just analyze the wikipedia page for the Golden Ratio. If you want to learn the rules of design fast, make your distribution of detail, value, saturation and colour should adhere to the golden ratio. Essentially, if the information in your image were to be measured in bytes, as your eye travels around the picture the flow of information should increase and decrease according to the fibonacci sequence. At least at first.

Do what you love, but be careful. If a bunch of other people love doing it too, you'll need to work harder than them to succeed.

If you're not starving, share your food.

Break down value the same way you break down shape. Put down the big value changes, then take it down to less significant ones.

Use each brush stroke as a piece of clay that you add or chisel away to sculpt your form.

As you increase the values of your sliders, remember that your distance between them needs to increase too, because you have a lot more of a range of saturation.

When working in colour, you need to think 2-3 steps ahead, because it is relative.

Money gives you access to things that are desired by people.

By the time success or acclaim reaches a person or a group of people, they have already changed, for better or for worse. Those zen people had some good ideas, man.

If you think you're ahead on a project, you will almost certainly fall behind.

10 October 2011, 03:37 AM
I got a whole bunch of work backed up now, which means I'm going to start posting more frequently. Maybe I'll get some of my street cred back.

Find a process for isolating elements of reality that leaves the prettiest artifacts. As in, the areas that aren't finished should look finished as quickly as possible. Constant time pressure helps you get better faster, because you begin to get rid of inefficiencies and you prioritize visual information so that the important stuff goes in first.

It's all about the bear necessities. Don't ask how many strokes it will take you, but ask how few. How few colours/values will it take to render a human body? What's important for you? Form? Pigment variation? Gesture? There are many ways to portray reality and none of them are "realistic" so choose to focus on a combination of visual elements that fits your brain.

Analyze the structure of what you're drawing. That way your drawings will instinctively have more power, and you will learn more about your subject.

In entertainment design you can't stray too far from the zeitgeist. Your audience has to know and get what you're drawing right away.

When taking crits, always say "yes, and ..." If you don't understand, ask why.

Always keep in mind what the most important element in your design/painting is. ALWAYS. Before making any stroke, ask what is the important element. I can't stress this enough.

Gradients give you more information that flat colours, however it's a lot harder to manage them to describe form.

Concept artists are basically prostitutes. You are hired to draw things without getting attached to any of them. I will probably return to this parallel.

The tighter the gradient, the harder edges you can use on your brush.

I repeat myself a lot, but that's only because these things are important. The easiest way to resist temptation is to give yourself no choice.

Life drawings from last night. 10s, 15, and 20s.

12 December 2011, 06:53 AM
Man it's been a while, eh? I started Extra Still Life ( to force myself to do personal work on the side, and so far the only sketch that didn't have to do with Riot is this.

Not to worry. This is the beginning of a new era. I've got a ton of Riot work backed up and ready to show, some of which I'll be uploading on DA ( and CGhub ( . Don't have too much written down these days, because most of it is short enough to fit in a tweet (!/manlymanton) !

Anything you want is just a matter of time. Be patient and opportunities will present themselves.

Everyone loves to be sincerely flattered.

You know your own flaws, but you're afraid to admit them.

Stop yourself from ruminating. Recognize when you're having negative thoughts and get rid of them. The more you think the less you do.

Don't introduce new values into your painting unless you know that all the present ones are in the right place.

It should be more about shapes of value than strokes.

There are things that will fall in your lap, and there are things that you're too young for. Doesn't mean you won't get them ever. Be patient.

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