My Year in Review for 2012

Game Business Games Life

Time Flies

Time Flies:

It’s time for my year end summary! Yeah, I know we’re half way through February but what can I say? I guess I haven’t been doing a great job at keeping folks up to date on what I’ve been working on. I am aiming to get back on the blogging horse (is that a thing?) in 2013, but I better start off with reviewing what has transpired already: Continue reading

Daily Drawing Week 1

Art

This past week I spent about an hour each morning doing a different drawing. I had read a tutorial by Marcus Hadlock that provided some good tips on how to draw in Flash and was further inspired by encountering his Daily Doodle project where he made a different drawing each day for a year. I thought this sounded like an interesting idea and while I may not do it every single day I do want to try it for a while and see how it goes.

Now I do use a Wacom tablet and I normally do all of my drawing in Photoshop because for whatever reason I’ve never really enjoyed drawing in Flash. I felt I spent most of my time fighting with it in fact. Well it turns out a lot of the problem was just some basic misunderstandings of the brush tool along with also learning some nice simple coloring, shading, and highlighting tricks using a few basic layers.

I corresponded a bit with Marcus over G+ to ask him some further questions about things I saw in his tutorials but then it was time to put my learning into action!

Below are the results of my first week. Six drawings in total since I started on Tuesday. I figure I’ll post the montage once a week on Sunday with the week’s drawings. I do post the daily drawings over on Twitter and G+ though.

You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

Banjo Farmer
“Banjo Farmer” – Oct 4th, 2011
Loquacious Mime
“Loquacious Mime” – Oct 5th, 2011
Focused Frog
“Focused Frog” – Oct 6th, 2011
Red Robot
“Red Robot” – Oct 7th, 2011
The Loneliest Puppeteer
“The Loneliest Puppeteer” – Oct 8th, 2011
Tree Beast
“Tree Beast” – Oct 9th, 2011 

Some of these drawings just came from my subconscious when I sat down with my coffee in the morning and tried to imagine something to draw. A few of them though came from friends when I asked on Facebook for some random character prompts to do some improv. My friends suggested both “Loquacious Mime” and “The Loneliest Puppeteer” and I’m pretty happy with how they came out.  The other interesting fact is that “Banjo Farmer” came from a creativity exercise that Marcus posted about where you draw a random squiggly line and attempt to build a face out of it.

There was another creativity exercise Marcus posted a few days ago where you draw five squiggly lines and attempt to build an entire composition using them. I think as a challenge this week I will be using the same squiggly lines all week long but drawing a different drawing from the same lines each day. I’m excited about this challenge and we’ll see how it turns out!

Have Banjo Will Travel

Art Life Music

I recently got my banjo repaired and have been playing it again.  I had taken a break of about 8 months from playing it though and it is interesting how much music has sort of queued up in me that is now trying to escape.  I’m back to playing with a bunch of regular folks around my area which has been fun as well as learning a whole bunch of new tunes. I play claw hammer style banjo primarily because I love the kinetic feel, control, and tempo you can achieve.

Continuing with my recent drawing streak I decided to pay tribute to my love of banjo by setting up a nice still life in my family room with my banjo and case.  I drew for two hours and captured a screenshot automatically every 5 seconds to create a time lapse video.  The music playing with the video is an old classic piece called Arkansas Traveler. Enjoy!

Drawing with a Tablet

Art

Self portrait from mirror

Yesterday I took an hour and sat down with my drawing tablet and a small hand mirror which I propped up on my desk.

I have been feeling like I wanted to do more drawing lately from real life things since it has been too many years since I used to regularly do that. I’ve felt some of my illustration skills slipping a little and I am going to try to draw at least one hour a day.

For fun I took a time lapse of the drawing. I took shots every 30 seconds and turned them into the following video:

I’m continually amazed at the both the flexibility that my drawing tablet offers as well as the way it lets me get every pen effect I used to be able to get with an actual pen and paper.  I use a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet and it has really changed the way I approach drawing.  Instead of having to labor over storing and scanning my drawings in order to post them or use them in a game I can now work directly in a digital environment.  Plus I have become accustomed to the nice tweaks you can do when roughing out the initial drawing’s form.

If you watch the time lapse video you will see where a few times in the beginning I am able to resize the initial shape and size of my head.  It is a pretty common thing when drawing to get some of the proportions a bit wrong. In my case I often tend to make things elongate too much vertically.  I was able to squash the vertical dimension down and then later resize my facial features to more accurately represent what I was seeing in the mirror.

Once the proportions were right I was able to start defining the shape by laying down the shading.  Another nice benefit of digital drawing is I can use the pen set to a white color to come back in and hatch light areas. In a traditional drawing I would do this by erasing an area if I was using pencil or by carefully laying out pen over pencil guides so that I would leave the area white to begin with.  Being able to just come back over with white pen and flip to black pen again and again can really let me focus on getting all the form and feel right without worrying about the logistics of meticulous planning and allows me to flow along with the drawing in a way I enjoy a lot more.

I was trained classically as an illustrator way before things like tablets existed. I was initially quite worried when I bought my tablet if I would be able to adjust to looking at the screen while my pen hand drew on a different surface. What was striking was how quickly I did adjust until it became like second nature to draw while looking at the screen. I didn’t need to watch my hand anymore. I think a lot of that has to do with getting a tablet that is large enough and in the right proportion to your screen’s aspect ratio.  I have a fairly large landscape tablet and the pen is mapped from the relative position on the tablet to the same relative position on the screen.  I think this helps with the transition and learning curve a lot.  The pen has so much sensitivity and angle sensing that I can pretty much get every effect I could out of a traditional pen or pencil.

Anyone else out there have thoughts or experiences to share on drawing with a tablet?

Expect the Unexpected

Art Games

unexpected

Just a little drawing I did tonight while I was taking a break from a game project I’m working on.

I’ve been drawing a lot of variant image styles and slice types to use with the new puzzle game I came up with last weekend during the mini LudumDare #7 friendly competition.  I’m trying to explore the potential space of the game mechanic I created since it seems fairly original so far from what I can tell. It was also pretty well received by most people who have played it so far.

As opposed to a lot of the other image puzzles out there this one seems more rare.  I have searched around and I have found jigsaw piece image puzzles, find the difference image puzzles, and spin the 3d object till it matches a silohette type puzzles.  I have not found any slice based image puzzles yet.  I would guess they are out there but who knows?  My searching has yielded nothing so far. Perhaps one reason they are not as popular are they take a lot of work.  For the current version of the puzzle I have to first draw an overall image in Photoshop.  Then I use four more layers to break that image down into different image slices that will eventually interlock to form the original image again.

I am currently exploring all the ways I can vary the styles of the art before moving onto more slices than four.  I have been listing possible image genres as well for helping to inspire various drawings.  So far I have listed things like food, animals, people, places, scenes, machines, and architecture. It is a lot of fun to create these sliced images and then see them come together as people play the puzzle.