Thursday, December 27, 2012

Deviant Art Creations - Round Three

My Pop used to say, "If it's important, you make time" and although nowadays that statement sounds like, "Oh crap, you mean now I've gotta build a time machine, on top of my deadlines?" when I was young, and had all the time in the World, it was simply a statement meaning, "Make this important enough to actually plan for it".  So in that spirit of giving propers, and making time for the folks who have been finding Fantasy Genesis an outright blast to flip their wigs with; I give you Round Three of the Fantasy Genesis contributions from the Deviant Art page!

Space Crab by Belthazubel - Meant to get this one in on the
last round, but what a nice digital piece!

A couple weeks ago, after finishing a series of Magic the Gathering paintings, I flipped through what folks might be up to, and was blown away with how many great pieces, and brilliant creations had been  brought to Light!  This first piece, Space Crab especially stood out with all that contrast and cool color. I tell my students, Insects and Deep Sealife is the model for so many great ships and Mechs.  There's a history of our brains associating Insects and Sea Creatures with that of Alien life to begin with, so when you use bits and bobs from them in your Spacecraft and Space Alien design, even if it's just the simple replacement of limbs, it always works well! =)

Dew Rat by Nythrant - Very nice subtle color in the
background!  Really one of my favorites with a
Mineral/Element based Creature from FG!
Companion by Nythrant - JadePlant, Bear
seen here, in another great creation!
A great spotted Frog Shaman Humanoid
by jm665 - Way to go, designing the limbs!
SanchaySquirrel rolled a Flytrap Scarab Duck, and did a
brilliant job with the extra head view!  Difficult thing,
to make a duck look sinister, great job!
Eelan by MythDragon - This piece makes me want to try
my hand at an Eel based Humanoid.  Very nice, indeed!
Creature Thing by MythDragon
Looking like another duck creature,
but this time with deep sea fish lure
and tail, excellent work!

Hope to see more soon from these Lightpushers, and hope to
be back teaching in the next school year at the PNCA.

So until then, have a Prune Faced
and a brilliantly creative
2  0  1  3
Stay tuned !!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Subtle Epiphanies

It will never cease to amaze me, the ways in which we monkeys are inspired?  What makes us, "get it" or go that next level.  What is the combination of Content & Technique, if there is one?  Word association (although Fantasy Genesis has driven me for decades), quite often takes a seat to historical influence, or rather if I see what makes a great design, or texture, or series of marks behind a Cornwell, or Robinson, or Wyeth, I'll attempt to make a mash-up of those parameters in the next painting.  There's Comedy, Theatre, and facial expression, Mathematics and Natural geometries, all out one-up Hunger Games with other illustrators, and even hitting absolute bottom again and again can inspire me to go the distance and create something different and new.  Then sometimes it's an email from a fan, or a simple note telling you that you've changed someone's perspective with your work.. =)  They've reminded you of the things that have always been there, and perhaps you've momentarily forgotten?  This has been the case with the last couple of emails, and messages from the FaceBook page, and a nice note from Haley Johnson, who sent this wicked Fantasy Genesis creation; an Australian Frilled Lizard!  This chap reminds me a bit of my Auntie Rooster, but I can't say I've ever seen reptilian features on a rooster, which is saying something. =)  Thanks Haley, let all those creations spill out of that brilliant mind of yours, and thanks to ayebody for all the subtle epiphanies, keep em coming !!

I think comedy would had to have played a roll, when I rolled up Mudskipper : Plasma : Pinecone.. Could've made a cute creature, but I took the harder path.. They're kind of like Ducks, or Pandas or Frogs, hard to make menacing, but found a vid for Mudskippers and spent about 5 hours on a digital painting.. I dunno.. I was headed for a Leviathan, but the scene turned almost Lovecraftian in the end, with villagers blowing him oop and all.. =)  In any case, I hadn't done one of my own exercises for so long, I'd almost forgotten how fun it is !!  =)

If you're not already on it, please take a minute to sign up for my Mailing List.  What, what.. Free prizes are involved!?!  Indeed!  I straight up pick a raffle winner from my list every quarter, you pick one of my four charities that I give to, and I give away Magic the Gathering or Fantasy Genesis collectibles and swag.. =)  Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grimm Pilot - take two

Life goes by so quickly sometimes, I shiver with the thought of it.?  This small bit of work I did for the pilot of Grimm unfortunately didn't see too much screen time, but here's the rest of the story..  The show's been through a whole season, and picked up for another, but I've been so busy with teaching and freelance, moving my studio again, and acclimating to a new work flow, I've been completely delinquent in watching it..  Perhaps I can have a marathon when the new season starts and catch up on all the episodes missed?

In any case, my students love the show, and every episode I've seen has been proper acting, and fast but extraordinarily creative effects and props.  Before I went into the Grimm lot studio to work, Elisabeth had me do a couple treatments of the directors chair logo (shown previously), and a couple sketches for pages what would appear in the book.  I was super geeked about this potential, as being the "guy who sketched the Grimm book" would've been the newest height of this thing I call a career?  Not having seen the graphics for any monsters, and going off the ideas of the show that were given to me,  I sketched these two characterizations; one of Rumpelstiltskin, and one of the Old Crone of Hansel & Gretel fame.  
 The Crone character was actually in the pilot script and described to me a bit, but the Rumpelstiltskin was basically me spit-balling some ideas of how the mythos could be delivered in a new horrible way.  Then after my first day, I got a look at the script, a better idea of what they wanted, and they had me sketch up a couple mock ups of what the pages of the book might look like.. The script at the time said the book should be a sketched archive of the 2-3 monsters that would appear in the pilot; Wolf, Snake Guy, and Crone, wherein one page would be a likeness of the person in human form with something like a police form attached; stats, criminal encounters, notes, etc., and the other would be a likeness of the beast within, and what they look like to the Grimm. At first I thought this was something that, over the ages the Grimm Family would've developed, or perhaps a universal system of documenting in some way, where pages from 100 years ago, might look something like they did for the grandmother Grimm, but this changed, and a couple times. The nature of television perhaps.. =)

The book was a massive tome, so I did my samples actual size but in graphite at first. These two samples, with all the different "hands" of nonsense filler script I could think of, were shown to the director, and although the smoking guy was closer to what they wanted, the direction quickly started to change into a scrawled "untrained" hand and more primitive skills, rather than my "too illustrated" "too good" work.. So that day I tried my best to dumb down my skills, and perform on command, with the already "aged" paper they'd ordered for the book.  Bringing in thicker tools; pens, brush markers, graphite sticks, charcoal, conte' and fixative, I sketched about 6-10 sheets of characters, scrawled script and in every different way possible.

I remember a beaked character with hooks, that turned out looking quite 40's nazi-ish, an orge, also this Blutbad in conte' that looked older, matching the paper quite nicely, but also the two portraits of a Blutbad, and Crone straight from the 3D models the design team had done at that point.  Neither made their way on to the screen, even after limiting myself to 10min. sketches, and really working at aping a less skilled approach.  Alas, I've not seen any of them appear in the pilot or show so far, and didn't get phone pics of them either.

Funny thing, being inadequate for anything you're truly geeked about, jobs, relationships, or otherwise.. but when what's needed is, loosing your skills and not developing new ones, it's especially odd?  I was basically trying to reverse my skill set, desperately scrawling to give them what I was used to doing when I was 12?  Hell, I probably didn't do an "untrained" look when I was 12?  I even tried sketching with my opposite hand, in a balled fist, and I couldn't imagine having my name attached to it, even if it was what they wanted? So, could be a blessing, could be a curse.?  I've a pretty impressive new client on my client list, and with some luck this won't be the last television has seen on this Lightpusher.. =)  Stay tuned !!

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Three Mentorships

I've found in the brief time I've been teaching, that the best stuff comes from individualized one-on-one tutoring.. When I can get straight to clearing a pathway to where that particular student wants to tread, and see almost instantaneous success in the areas they want to work on, I know I've done a decent job of it.. There are few things more awesome and striking than these wonderful instances, and I had the rare opportunity to serve in this way to three great 4th year thesis students this semester; Ven LocklearLey Hazard, and Addison Rankin.  I'm extraordinarily proud of all these young illustrators, and would encourage Editors and Art Directors to take a look at their work to see if they might fit any projects or internships on the horizon..

Ven (with a Fae picking his ear), myself, and Addison (with tiny staffs and arms protruding from our heads)

Addison Rankin is a digital painter, with about the most pleasant and agreeable personality that you're going to find, and with a skill set that's far outside his age.  His digital work holds an almost Flemish feel to the lighting and contrast, and his B&W ink drawings are brilliantly alive, filled with spastic movement, intriguing costumes and characterizations..  Addison's thesis was based on creating eight portfolio pieces for a Sword & Sorcery themed Tarot deck, and his presentation followed Uncle Joe Campbell's Hero's journey from the Fool card's perspective..  After seeing all the traditional and digital painting from the school recently, I can say the work done for his cards, stands as some of the best figurative work out of every department of the school, and is at a state of finish to begin competing in the SF&F market.. Definitely keep an eye out for Addison Rankin on your journeys, and give him a holler at his website if an opportunity or two arise..

Ley Hazard is a conciliatory, but wickedly skilled digital illustrator/comic artist.  Filled with articulate surprises, and gravitating toward serendipitous creative spurts, her work is quite meticulous and shows brilliant promise in being very tight in it's line quality, and expressive in it's characterizations and metaphor..  When she brings her work to the Light, it shines with a thoughtful polish that's well worth the wait..  Hazard's thesis was a pitch for a graphic novel series called, The Catastrophe Quartet..  The stage is set here in Portland, in a simultaneously real and fantasy world, that follows the heroine through personal tragedies, her redemption through compassion, and eventual elevation from it..  Do yourself a favor, bookmark and stay tuned to her Catastrophe Quartet Blog to see how the story and illustrations develop into the first book in this emotionally and socially charged series!

Ven Locklear, out of all my first mentorships this semester, has landed a gig in his chosen field, straight out of the gate!  I needn't really go on beyond that success so few folks in this business attain, but I will.. =)  I had Ven for an Independent Studies student a semester before last, guided him through some figurative struggles, and when chosen to be his mentor, tried to impart all the knowledge I've accumulated in terms of design and color, but also characterization and creature design..  Quite early on, he was asking the same questions I'd been long ago, curious and driven by our common genre', visually progressing from week to week, which is an amazing thing to behold with any student.. When he pitched his idea for a SciFi horror themed vid game called GLOOM, I thought; this work would make a great portfolio to pitch around conventions, enter into contests, and really grab a heads-up in terms of a freelance career, but little did I know it would be a bit more.. About 3/4 the way through the semester and his thesis project, Ven found a job opportunity online, and put together 2-3 art test pieces for a vid game company in TX, on top of the work done for his thesis..  Ven, amongst pretty rigid industry competition, and in an international arena, nailed the job down before his presentation day, and knocked the actual thesis presentation out of the park. So check out this new concept artist's work in upcoming games, but until then check out all the work done for GLOOM in the mean time..

Stay tuned.. =)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dig Infinity !!

Fellow LightPusher from Portland, Jay Longfellow recently posted on AO about drawing games of the Surrealists, and it sparked up some thoughts on games and Creativity that, oddly enough I'd not really written about here on the FG Blog yet? Here's the awesome DeepSea Palm Fish Jay created, the bit on Infinity that he spurred, along with this semesters brilliant student contribution!!

"Whether it's a reliance on Serendipity, or drive to stay Creative no matter the cost, or stubborn pig-ignorance to avoid things done the "normal" way, I've always been fascinated with game "rules", breaking them, building them anew, breaking them again.. What's become apparent in the last couple years, after publishing a drawing game of my own, is the simplicity amongst complexity.. Like Jay said, "creativity within the constraints of the game’s rules".. Simplifying the Infinite, makes the "rules" of any game, make sense to me? When I graduated school, I was left with no rules, no more assignments.. I could do Anything.. Yet, that Anything shortly became daunting, and since no professional work was coming in at the time, (life-long struggle in fact) there was a need to have something external to me, to drive content.. So that I could create more effectively within boundaries of the Infinite.. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.. So, I started to play with my first couple creative games.. Like the Surrealist's games utilized free association, and the ever expanding, collaborative visual device to drive the works' content, we played with games in school as well.. Mine was a fairly complex free association word game created after seeing a performance of John Zorn's COBRA, wherein teams of musicians battle with complex musical variables to perform one off compositions.. Genius, I thought.. This could be done visually, in a very similar way.. My game was also influenced by, Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies, which was used by the Talking Heads, and later became a sort of Hitchhiker's Guide or Magic 8 ball to Eno for awhile.. Musicians, Poets, Writers, Illustrators, Physicists, Sea-side Sand Castlers.. We all create in different materials and techniques, but most of us are awestruck by the Infinite in a way that we want to capture it in our Content. I love to talk about Creativity and the Brain, the reasons why we monkeys perceive the way we do, and how to work inside that Science.. Games are perfectly suited to both subjects, so forgive me the rant.. "

Here's the wicked creation one of my students contributed to the Fantasy Genesis docket this year.  Molly is a wonderfully skilled illustration major, that has some brilliant animation and cartooning chops as well..  I believe it was an Attacking Rodent Gator, but look at all of that movement!!  Great job as per usual Molly, and a scaly new addition to the FG mythology !!

Stay tuned, Folks!!  and don't forget to sign up to the mailing list!! It's about that time to choose who will pick my quarterly Charity give away!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Next Volley of Fantasy Genesis Creations

For the time I've been teaching, I'll have my students play around with Fantasy Genesis for fun or extra-credit, and last term I was graced with a couple more funky creations from Alex Carmon, and Aimee Flom at FlomDrawn.

Both excellent young illustrators.. Aimee has a brilliant sense of design and detail, and Alex has a wonderful knack for textures and the anthropomorphic. 

There was also this awesome Parrot/Mantis from Lucas Puryear, teaching in Texas.  I really want to try this combo out!!  I mean, Parrot/Mantis is about as intriguing and idea as was Spider/Ducks..  That's a team I'd bet on.. =)

We all knew it.. from the stomping grounds of Illuxcon, great things were bound to be created!  A couple weeks back the young team of Zejan & Eric, from Altoona, PA of all places, asked if they could use some of my illustrations for their new Illustration Blog Sketch Round-Up.

Well, they not only used the illos I sent, but did a rather spectacular review and contribution to Fantasy Genesis as well!!  Zejan sketched these two rather cretinous looking Insectile and Reptile creatures, which are just 15 million kinds of awesome!!  So glad you enjoy creating with the game, guys!!

I'm sure there's some great things to come from these two, and I can't wait to see more as their blog progresses..  Stay tuned !!  =)