Small Projects

I’ve also done some small, one-off images recently.  I’ve been trying to work with the methods discussed in the Magic Box, just so I get some more experience with it.  It had some pretty mixed results but I think at this point I’ve finally figured it out.  None of these are particularly interesting compositionally, however, as I was focusing more on the actual technique.  Hopefully in whatever my next set of smallish projects end up being, that’ll be more of a factor.

Golden Lerk Avatar


The first thing I did  was to do a a quick avatar of a lerk, one of the aliens from Natural Selection 2.  I did this for one of the competitive players I like pestering, Golden, who plays lerk for Titus Gaming.

At this stage, things were probably a bit too sharp.  I wasn’t using the lasso/gradients effectively and at a certain point just ended up just painting like I normally did.  Probably too much too fast, or something.

Asimov Doodle


I also of course had to draw more budgies because budgies are awesome.  I wanted to update an avatar or two of my own, so I made this, but I didn’t end up using it as much as I’d been thinking.  One of the things I noted about it was though I liked the style, but probably should have left it as a sketch and redrawn something more interesting for a better actual avatar.  I learned a bit more on how to effectively draw the little wing markings for budgies, though.

Risk - James Voulge

This might have actually been done before the drawing of Asimov, but it was within a couple of days of it, at the very least, hence similar styling.  Anyway.  Needed (yet another) avatar for a character I’m playing in a friend’s game.

Either way, these two middle drawings were probably too much the other direction — too soft, too flat.  The colors, also, are pretty weak.

Bryndel Badge - 2014

One of my long time friends from the great realm of the internet goes to one convention each year and so I try to make her a badge for it of her character.  It’s a bit large for a badge but it definitely allowed me to put in some more detail there.  Maybe I should have made the whole thing a bit smaller but oh well, too late now — I sent it off in the mail today.

This one, however, I’m much happier with.  I feel like it’s not hideously soft and not super sharp.  Sure, it could do with a bit more refinement, I’m sure, but it was a small item with a due date so I couldn’t do much more than that!


Magic Box Progress

For the magic box one of the assignments was to do a pseudo-master copy of a painting with a person in it..  Aaaaand turn them into an animal.

Fancy Animals - Rembrandt - Saskia Fancy Animals - Sketches Fancy Animals - Sketch Fancy Animals - Greyscale

I used a Rembrandt painting as a base and a harpy eagle as my chosen animal.  I had some pictures from the LA zoo to use as reference.

Anyway, I did 4 different color comps based on the colors of some other pictures I had and refined the one I liked the most, which happened to be based off the original image.  Guess you couldn’t go too wrong with that.

Fancy Animals - Progress 1 Fancy Animals - Progress 2

Anyway, here’s the current state it’s in.

Fancy Animals - Progress 3

This hooded guy

I’ve been trying to expand my portfolio, mostly along the lines of character doodles, which I’ve run a bit short on, comparatively.

This guy was bouncing around in my head for a few days.  I don’t have a name for him yet, or even an idea for where he’d fit.  He’s just some random hooded dude with a long tail, mole/sloth claws and emu feet.  Go figure.  He’s fun to draw though.

The Greater Mittar

Of course, I can’t forget to show how I did my other Imaginatomy project.

It was kind of neat that I was able to go and do another project that was associated with Zikkihuru.  Hopefully in the next couple of months I’ll be able to go do a few more pieces with it.  I think I know what I’ll be doing, so we’ll see how it goes between any work I might have.

Of course, I had to start somewhere. So the first step was to go and build the wire skeleton.  I decided I wanted it to be slightly more dynamic, so I started working with one of the feet off the ground.  To balance this, I curved down two of the rear toes so that it’d stick into the foam base I was going to build this on.

Then came the clay.  It was a lot easier working on this one than it was the hyena, mostly because the bones were broader, comparatively.  The main issue I kept having was that the head was pretty heavy, even with the majority of it made out of tinfoil.  Keeping it attached and not crooked in some way was troublesome.  Once it was baked it was less of an issue — though I was afraid that it’d crack right around where it stuck onto the neck.

I set to work on the base next, which was, of course, a total mess.  Since I had experience with it from last time, I sort of knew what I could get away with and how to more efficiently use the materials.  Because of this, it was pretty easy to sculpt out a little creek bed sort of shape and make it look more natural.

I painted it, then added some real dirt to blend it in better.  I left the part where the fake water would be a slight more blue tone to compensate for the yellow cast the fake water had.  I used some white glue and duct tape to create a barrier which would keep the fake water from running off and making a huge mess, and it seemed to work okay.  I really liked the result as well.

I bought a garland of fake plants and trimmed them down to be more of the right scale for the piece.   Combined with some moss and some random cheap herbs from the grocery store to be leaf litter, it blended in really well and made a much better presentation than the one I did last time.  I kept the background fairly simple, and after a few rough prints, finally got one that worked.  I got that attached, painted the front of the model, and added the very compact information card and the whole thing was ready to go.

I learned a lot from the hyena project last time I took the class, and it’s really obvious how I was able to apply that to this one.  Sculpting is definitely fun and I’ll hopefully have time to do it, if only for myself, in the future.  I’m sure that if I hadn’t graduated this term that I’d be TAing the class again and making a third — but hey, I can always do it on my own.  Just got to say thank you to Rey Bustos for teaching such an awesome class, and letting me TA for him these past four semesters.  Definitely going to miss it.

The Turaco Rider

There was this big green bird that hopped a lot in the pet store in the town my parents lived in.  Turns out, that bird was a turaco.  They’re pretty neat birds, so you should totally read about them.  For this, I picked the red-crested turaco, because it wasn’t too extravagantly colored, but wasn’t just the basic green bird I had seen in the pet store.

Most of the development for this piece was spent just working on the Turaco itself. The stylization was proving to be somewhat of a problem at first — there were so many potential ways to do it.

Though I could have likely pushed it more, once I decided I had enough potential variations, I went through and started the composition.

Mice or rats seemed to be a fairly logical choice for a rider just because of  their size.  Somewhere between the two would be the right steed-to-rider ratio.  Combining them with the turaco drawings I did, I was able to figure out just how much I did want to stylize them, and went forward from there.

There were a few fun influences in this one, I think.  Take a little bit of Final Fantasy‘s chocobos, combine with Bill Peet’s Cowardly Clyde, and a splash of Brian Jacques’s Redwall.  All things considered, I’m pretty happy with the result, considering it was a goofy, random idea.

The Toy

Budgies are great little birds — and quite silly, which lends itself well to one-off images.

For those who don’t have parrots, understand that they can be scared of the most bizarre things, including their own toys. I picked a normal green budgie and an English violet crested budgie, and went from there.

The toy is based off of one that we actually had and attempted to convince our birds to play with.  I don’t think they ever really got used to it, let alone used it in the intended way.

The Aquarium

This was technically the third of my new pieces from this last semester.

After pretty much being told that there was a huge difference between my new and old work in my portfolio, I figuratively trashed the old stuff and started work on some new things.  Of course, I had to draw at least some (non-avian) creature.

The initial thumbnail for this piece looked nothing like what the final became. I had started off with a Broker & Son story point (if you follow my blog, you’ll eventually hear about that project, once I get around to it) involving a basement and a critter in a giant tank there.  However, in this case I wanted to shy away from the wider shots I seem to have gravitated towards, as well as showing off the creature — after all, I do prefer designing creatures over tweaking the perspective of a staircase.  I still might use this thumbnail for an actual B&S image, but for now, it’s just going to sit there as my initial thought for the image.

From that thumbnail, I thought of my trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific last semester for Dynamic Sketching, and worked from there.  I initially wanted the creature to be more crocodilian but decided that a smoother creature would be more likely to be in an ocean, so went for a fat, newtlike shape instead.  Except with pointy teeth and gills.

Zikkihuru : Friends, continued

And now for the final Zikkihuru piece (for the moment), Friends.

Of all the images for this project, this is still the one that I am the most happy with.  It pretty much lived up to what I had been hoping (again, unless I went and redid the whole thing now).

This piece had considerably less development work — I pretty much just worked straight through and ended up where I did.  Not everything could work that way, but if I recall, I had a pretty clear image of what I’d wanted in my head before I even started messing with the values.

However, I do have some prototype doodles of various Zikkihuru critters to make up for it!

Zikkihuru : The Fog, continued

So the final version of the Fog is below. The main change that I dealt with on this one was just going through and painting the water so it looked more like water.  All things considered, I’m pretty happy with how this came out.  Of course, as with everything, I’m sure there’s more that could be revised, but at this point I think I just want to let it go and if I do want to revise things, just start over from scratch with this as my rough.

In my original sketches, the image was flipped the other way.  I find it interesting that it and the Lava piece both started off facing in different directions.

Zikkihuru : Village, continued

Again, running through the stuff for another piece!  This time, it’s the Village.

So not as many obvious changes to this one, I think.  The main changes were to add some dappled light and objects to the other huts.

Of course, this piece shared the same plant development as the Lava did, but it also added in the idea of the treetop villages.  I think the biggest influence behind them was from the original Myst game, specifically the Channelwood Age,  which was pretty much the only Age I could reliably get to back when I was 5-12 or whenever it was I first got the game.  I should go play it again.  Maybe after graduation.

Anyway, whether or not to have walkways was always quite debatable to me; on the one hand, it would be convenient within the same tree, but on the other the critters can fly and not only that but it wouldn’t make sense to go between the massive main trunks of different trees.

I kept the background really loose because I really did not want to have to render 6.022×1023 individual leaves. Not only would be far more work than necessary, but it would be amazingly distracting for the viewer.  If I go through and redo the piece entirely I think I will end up doing the tall vertical that I had originally planned, along with some detail shots.  This project really showed I am partial to really tall vertical things a lot more than horizontal spreads.