Friday, December 30, 2011

A Psychochronography in Blue

Really, I had to use that title, how can you ever pass up the chance to use a word like "Psychochronography"? Why I have the chance to use such an insane title is the entire point of this post, so hang tight and I'll explain.

You may recall that I'm fond of a show called Doctor Who? Well, I'm not the only one, it's a rather popular show. One of the other fans out there is a guy called Philip Sandifer, and he likes it so much that he's decided to watch every (existing) episode and write a blog about them. Then, he compiles the blog, cleans it up, updates it and publishes it as a book. It's a very in-depth blog, I rather like it.

Anyway, when it came to the book he needed a cover and asked for people who would be interested in doing it. I contacted him and he said "Hey, that's cool, but you couldn't do anything that could get me into legal trouble, like a portrait of William Hartnell" (the subject of the first book). So I decided I'd do a spec cover to show I can do more than just portraits - but I was in the UK at the time, so I did it when I got back to the States.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Best (Not Worst) Sketching of November

Merry Christmas! Yeah, so it's a day late - well, I'm not going to actually post on Christmas day am I? So it's a day late, whatever, Boxing Day still counts*. Some of you probably don't even celebrate Christmas, and that's fine too I hope you have (or had) a wonderful whatever you observe this holiday season. I do observe it though, so as an added bonus for what would otherwise be a very short post I'll throw in a speed paint I finished at 11:50PM on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bearing Gifts

So I clearly lied about getting the November sketching up ASAP. In fact this post isn't about the November sketching either; I still have to scan it in in fact (It's only 6 pages or so - I'm hoping to get it scanned tonight). In the mean time you get to see the only other thing I did in November, but first a little background.
I finally joined Deviant Art, which I had always assumed was, well, y'know, for deviants? Well, turns out that's not it at all (though some of the stuff on there is a little twisted), and it's full of artists of all types sharing their work. One thing that happens a lot is that people share "stock", which is stuff you can use for free as reference or whatever. So this is based on Stock, and you can see that original, by AimeeStock, here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Best (Not Worst) Sketching of October

I think by this point we've all acknowledged that I can be pretty tardy when it comes to updating the blog, especially when there are other shiny things I could be looking at/reading/playing/watching etc.  This was definitely the case last month as you'll note the new record low of 1 solitary post.  Bah.  If October felt like an eternity then November offset it by going in a flash.
"Oh look, it's Guy Fawks Nigh*VOOF*t...  I mean Thanksgiving."
Partly this was down to the excitement of having shipped another game, and it being reviewed very well, and also being really really fun to play.  Yes, I've played rather a lot of Saints Row: The Third recently.  I only spent six months of so working on it, but it's hard to miss what I did.
Pretty much every ship in the game is something I built, as are a couple of vehicles. They all got touched by other people after I was done (and quite a few people when I was still making them, for technical aid and so on), but they're still enough of mine that I can point and say "I made that ship!".  Anyway, enough excuses and prattling, I'm a month behind, we stuff to catch up on...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Daddy, Can You...?" Episode One

In what is likely to be a very occasional ongoing series I bring you some of the wild and crazy things my Son has asked for that I have needed to build, draw or otherwise create. Usually at the drop of a hat.
Yes, I could be posting some badass Halloween picture I drew last night or something, but I didn't do one. What I did instead is right there to the left of this paragraph. And yes, I think that's the first photograph to ever appear as a thumbnail for the blog, and I didn't take it (my wife did). But more on that later...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Work and No Play... (RFA Part 3)

Wow, what a long month! It seems like an age since I last posted, though it was only 19 days ago. Madness! (No, Sparta!). It's been a strange month too; usually I fill maybe 5 pages or so of my sketchbook and then condense that down to share the best and the worst with you lot (all three of you). This month - 13 pages. 13! Madness! (No, increasingly annoying tendency to shout Sparta!). But I can go on about that more next time. This time It's the grand finale of the work I'm going to share with you from Red Faction: Armageddon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Best and Worst Sketching of September

You may be wondering why it's more than a third of the way through October and I'm only now posting about September.  For once it's not because of the effort involved in getting all the images together nicely - nope, finished that on the 2nd.  It's because I was monumental depressed (as you may have gathered in the last post) and just couldn't be bothered.  Couldn't be bothered to speedpaint either, or paint anything else for that matter.  I did sketch a lot though - most of it was dreadful, but you'll get to see that next month.
Odd thing though, today I feel much better.  I felt much better when I got up, I felt even better when the thing I've been working on at work started to come together, and pretty awesome when I won a raffle for a set of snazzy Saints Row the Third headphones (oh, that's the Saints Row the Third I worked on by the way - check it out next month when it hits the stores... if you're old enough).  So, here we are all happy and jolly; better write a blog post while it lasts - hey, I'm placing you lot above painting again, be thankful! ;)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Social Profiling № 6: Four's a Crowd

It's funny, it's been three weeks since I've posted anything, yet it seems much, much longer.  3 weeks isn't bad going in the grand scheme of things, right?  Truth is I don't know what I've been up to to fill those three weeks so full that it seems like a lot longer, but it has.  One thing I know is I've been unusually negative about my stuff of late (and if you know me much you'll know that that's pretty darn negative).  I've not been happy with much I've produced (with the exception of two sketches you'll see soon), and this is stuff I've been openly complimented on.  I take the compliment ('thanks!' I say) but I don't fully understand why I deserve to receive them. This is at work as well as at home.  But you didn't come here to read my moaning, you came here to look at pictures (I hope), so we'll pick this up later...  If you want to get up to speed on the Social Profiling story so far you can start here and work backwards.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Incredibly Slow Speed Paint Show!

In all honesty I ran out of great titles for speed paint posts some considerable time ago, we'll just have to live with lame ones from now on. It's been a whopping three months since the last one, surely I've managed to crank some out in that time, right?
Well, fortunately I have, or this would be a really short post; more than I thought in fact as I really though I'd posted a bunch right before I went to the UK - turns out I was merely delusional. Let's go see what we've got then shall we.

I should warn you, more experimental stuff than usual lies ahead.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Best and Worst Sketching of August

Sometimes nothing goes according to plan. Take this last weekend for example. It was a long weekend, so plenty of time to do plenty of things, right? Wrong.
I had plans. I planned to speak to a friend in the UK, paint a couple of speed paints, paint with some real paint, finish the book I was reading, play video games and some traditional games with my son, make burgers on the grill/barbecue, go for pizza as a treat for the kid and so on. Almost none of this came to pass. It wasn't that anything major went wrong, but a few little things did, like my Son had a tantrum and injured my thumb with an unintentionally well aimed kick, reducing my gaming time (it hurt) and sketching/painting time (it hurt) and so on. It wasn't a bad weekend, just unproductive. I did get everything setup for a blog post though, but it hurt too much to type for long, so here it is today.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Conglomeration of Ineptly Placed Lines

I've been putting of writing this post for far to long. I would blame the rather excellent new Deus Ex game, but that's rather like patting my large Budai like stomach and saying "but it was entirely the fault of the pastry chef!" Clearly the truth is I'm just a lazy schlub. The odd thing is that despite my putting it off I've had the post "prepped" for a while, and prepping is by far the most time consuming thing about making one of these posts. It's not like the writing has any time spent on it (as I'm sure you'll have noticed). Well, let's go and see what all that preparation has to show for itself (and more on what goes into it a little later).

Friday, August 19, 2011

All Work and No Play... (RFA Part 2)

Since my last post I've done depressingly little art outside of work, a handful of mediocre sketches (and almost all the sketches were of heads and faces rather than figures) and a rough mockup of a book cover that you won't get to see for a while in case it becomes the cover to an actual book. Other than that I'm sick today, which meant I didn't go to work - this is a shame because I'm rather enjoying what I'm doing at work right now. Since I'm stuck in the house though I'll write a blog post instead.  Lucky you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sketches on a plane (and elsewhere)

And I'm back. Normal programming will resume shortly, but until then some short messages.

I don't have any short messages of course, but I do have some sketches I did while in the UK; which is where I've been for the last three weeks. I didn't sketch as much as I may have liked, mostly because I was either too busy running around with the family or I was drunk with friends (or of course recovering from being drunk with friends before running around with the family...). So, I'll post most of what I did and divide it up into relevant topics - From Life, From Photos, From Memory and Free Sketching; with a little write up after each. Ok,let's do this.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All Work and No Play... (RFA Part1)

So as some of you may have ascertained by now I work in the games industry for a company called Volition. It's a fairly well known company, predominantly for the Saints Row games these days, but also for the Red Faction games and some other stuff you may or may not have heard of. I've worked on a few titles there at this point, predominantly as a vehicle artist. I've asked if it's OK to show some of my work from shipped titles (shipped means "finished" basically), and this is apparently fine as long as I don't slip you any source art (the actual files that end up in the game). I'll be starting with some of my work from Red Faction: Armageddon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Getting Past its Use By Date

I'm such a slacker. The deadline I thought would hold up the next post (now the current one) was on Saturday, and here I am not having posted yet. Tsk. Worse still, I have some more things to post before I head off on a three week trip starting next week, so I should probably pull my thumb out, yes?

This one's going to be short, and sweet, and a bit dull.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Social Profiling № 5: Three's Company

If you're unfamiliar with the "Social Profiling" facebook experiment you can scroll down to the tags at the bottom of the post to catch up properly. I did the four initial profile pics as promised, but I still had a good number of people who wanted one, but didn't get one. As a compromise I decided more or less right off the bat that I would paint them anyway, but more directly from an existing picture, rather than inventing a new scenario to place them in as I did with the initial group. Then I got busy and didn't get a chance to do any. Time to catch up.

Unlike the initial four, these new portraits will all be done on a whim, with various things inspiring me to do them rather than saying "OK, I have 4 to do and 5 weeks to do them" as I did on the first set. This is nice if I'm not finding anything inspirational until a suitable picture or idea turns up.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Impossible Amy Pond

Y'see, I'm back again? That month away was an aberration. One that's likely to be repeated from time to time, sure (as I said in my last post, it comes with the job). I've fallen behind though, my skills were atrophying while I was away, it was time to stretch some muscles. I never learn in some ways though, and the piece I'll be presenting today was a mistake. I pleasant and enlightening mistake to be sure (and how many of us would not be here today if it wasn't for pleasant and enlightening mistakes I wonder), but a mistake all the same. As usual I'll bore you all to death with a blow by blow account, but lets see the finished piece first shall we.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Musing 4: Stress and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I've been away for a while. Had you noticed? Poor May, no love for May. Poor blog, missed it's first birthday. Why? Well, therein lies a tale, and I'm limited in how much I can tell you. But it does lead to this current blog entry, and I'll post some speed paints and such in with it as examples, but, as the title may lead you to believe, it's all due to stress. Nothing to do with Motorcycles though - but a more meaningful title would get me in trouble at work...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More Speed Paints, Less Exciting Titles.

Given how busy I've been of late I didn't think I'd actually get another post done until next month, but here I am tapping away at my keyboard once again. As you may have gathered from the title of the post this one is another round up of speed paints, this time with an emphasis on "Speed."

You may recall some of the the Christmas Paints I did back in December that strayed over the self imposed line I had designated for Speed Painting, taking longer than an hour. Since then I've posted one more set of speed paints which varied wildly in the time taken, but did seem to hover around the 45 minute mark. Well, this time around I decided to deliberately step on the gas, and with a couple of exceptions these were knocked out intentionally faster than usual with a limit of 30 minutes. How were the results? Well, have a look and see for yourself...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Facing the Future

And here we are again with the third attempt at capturing the likeness of the woman known as Nephania.

If you're a relative newcomer to the blog you can see the previous attempts here and here. You may want to go read them for a refresher even if you've been around a while. Since you won't have bothered doing that, here's a refresher. Found a photo of Nephania and chose it to be my litmus test for how my illustration is coming along. I picked this particular image for four reasons:
It's a difficult angle to get right at the best of times.
I was previously unfamiliar with her, which removes preconceived notions of how she should look.
She's got a very distinctive profile, making it easy to judge how well I'm doing.
She's ridiculously pretty, which is harder to capture than the looks of someone like Me, or Jeremy Clarkson say.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Midweek Madsanity

It's not usual for me to post on a Tuesday, but it just so happens that tonight I came home at a reasonable time, had a Son that went straight to sleep at bed time, had practically nothing to watch on TV (watched one shortish show), and I don't fancy playing a game. This means it's not even 9PM and I find myself in front of my PC. I can't remember the last time that happened when it wasn't a weekend!

With all those stars aligning you'd expect I'd have something fantastic to show right? Sorry, out of luck today - Just some sketches from the last few weeks. I actually prepped these over the weekend (scanned, laid out uploaded etc.), but didn't get time to write the related post, so here it is.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fireman Sack's Big Birthday Adventure

Before we begin I may as well point out that if you visit the blog for the art (You poor fools) then you might want to skip this post because there's no art in it. Well, some sort of art, but not the type you usually get. I'm not really sure why I'm even making this post - it doesn't really belong on here, but I guess it does explain part of the reduction of art output over the last two months. The rest of the reduction I've gone into before; and I've mentioned this too in passing, so you may as well see it.

Little Big Planet 2 may be the greatest time suck ever invented by man. It's a game, but unlike other time sucks such as RPG's or MMO's the actual game is really quite short. It has that in common with those FPS games with a focus on Multiplayer like Call of Duty or Homefront (Which you should totally buy...), but it's online experience isn't really the focus either, although it has 4 player co-op and verses portions. No, Little Big Planet 2 is a time suck because it allows you to make your own levels. The original LBP allowed this too, but LBP2 takes it to another level entirely (Har-Har).  My son loves the game proper, and I'm addicted to making (mostly dreadful) things.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

If You Can't Draw Just Scribble

ScribblerToo is one of those web based doodling programs. It's not unique in this regard, there are rather a lot of them around. Usually the process will go something like this: Friend links to sketch program, I take a look, sketch something dreadful, decide I'd rather be doing it using something else (such as a pencil, or Artrage, or my elbow dunked in poo - which would still be preferable to some of these packages), close webpage, forget all about it.
ScribblerToo has a hook though - it does something that I'm not sure I can do in any other package. The best way to describe it is as "Painting with Cobwebs". Every time you draw a line it works out how close it is to another line you've already drawn, the closer the line the more likely it will be that it forms a "web" connection to it. The easiest way to understand is to try it yourself - Don't fret if you can't draw because it works just as well on abstract stuff. It's called ScribblerToo for a reason y'know? Well, two reasons, I'll get to the other in a moment.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

And Then Two Come Along At Once!

It's been ages since I've done a speedpaint, but it's been even longer since I actually posted any. Time to make amends.

In fact I have far more to post than I thought I would. In my addled brain I was under the impression that I'd posted some at the end of January, but I didn't. Given this, and the similar comments I've made in the last two posts I have to assume I had a particularly vivid dream where I went on a posting frenzy. You know, the sort where you wake up and think it actually happened? Happened to me yesterday in fact; I dreamed it was Monday, woke up, panicked because I was late for work and then realised it was Saturday. Typical.

You Wait All Day for a Bus...

Aaaaand I'm sick again. This time it's more of an extended yuckiness than an all out explosive fluid explosion like a cold or the trots, but still. I joked with my wife about a month ago that it would be great to go a whole week without someone in the household being sick. It was a joke at the time, but now it's not so funny. Here's a rundown of the last few weeks (This isn't all about sickness by the way, just showing how events like to pile up - but feel free to skip over if you just want to see pictures).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sketchy Von Sketcherson

I've been putting off updating the past few weeks because I didn't feel I had enough to warrant a post. Eventually, yesterday, I thought I should probably just gather what I could so it didn't look like I'd gone to Bermuda and been lost in the Triangle. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a huge amount of stuff to post. Well, alright, not huge, but far more than I've happily posted alone in the past.

A further surprise was discovering that very little of it was all out bad - this is funny because while drawing it I thought most of it was dreadful, and bemoaned losing my mojo to sickness. Perhaps I just lost my perspective... Or perhaps I've lost it now because I'm sick, again (I know, this winter's been crazy for teh sikcies). Either way, there's no good or bad this time, just "Not so bad" and "Not so good".  I'll start with some portrait sketches.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Social Profiling № 4: Annette

Up until last week I knew bugger all about She-ra. Actually, that's not entirely true; I knew that she existed (in a not existing because she's fictional kind of way), I knew roughly what she looked like, and I knew she was the Princess of Power (and Eternia) and sister of He-Man. How I knew even this is a mystery to me as I've never seen an episode of the cartoon, or seen one of the action figures (as far as I can recall). I have to wonder if she made guest appearances on He-Man and I know her from those, in much the same way as Dora the (bloody) Explorer and Go Diego Go (hell of a name that) turn up on each others shows and yell at each other for half an hour at a time while solving simple issues in the most complicated way imaginable*.

Anyway, I knew very little about her, but this is no longer the case thanks to Annette, as you will see...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Social Profiling № 3: Larry

If you've strolled into this post you can see what it's all about, and the previous related entries here (for Owain) and here (for Steve). OK, so hopefully everyone's now on the same page. Good.

I was hoping to get this posted about an hour ago, so it would count as an extra post for January, but sadly poor old January is now going to miss out on it due to a series of cockups. Actually only one cockup was responsible for the post's delay, the other two probably saved it from being even later (one was the loss of over an hours progress in New Vegas. Most upset about that I was).

Anyway, enough about all that rubbish. Hold on to your hats, it's time for Larry.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Social Profiling № 2: Steve

Quick recap: Painting four profile pics for four of my Facebook friends.  You can see the first here; along with a better explanation. This is the second.

Since that first post I've managed to crank out the third in the series, but I'm still only at the point of writing up the second.  Will I get the third written up tonight? Unlikely, but possibly tomorrow (more likely next week).  But what of the second? The one of Steve? The one I'm supposed to be talking writing about now?   Well, if you'll stop interrupting we'll get to see it.

Okay? All done with the fidgeting? Good, let's get to the pic.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social Profiling № 1: Owain

Back at the start of the month there was a thing going around on Facebook. People would post something along the lines of "Paying it forward 2011. I will give something handmade by me to the first 4 people who reply, on condition that they repeat this message and do the same for their first 4 respondents." This popped up all over the place like a rather smelly chain letter, and struck me as being a bit, well, naff.

So I did my own which read "Who wants me to paint them a profile picture? I'll do four, two for the UK, two for the States if anyone wants one. There's a catch though - I get to pick the picture, and I can't guarantee it'll be any good. ;)
Anyone game? I'll do them over the next week or two (and unlike that paying it forward thing you don't have to do anything, not even use the picture if you hate it)."

I got 16 responses out of 140 friends. I don't know if that's good or not. Anyway, it's taken more than a couple of weeks, and I've only got two finished. I was going to speed paint them, but they ended up taking a bit longer each, and as a result they each get a post of their own. I randomly picked 4 of the respondents to do profile pics for (and it really was as random as I could make it) and started from the top of the resulting list of 4; my old chum Owain.

Cold in the Lazy Bones

By my reckoning it has been about three weeks since I posted anything. This isn't very good at all. In my pathetic defense there was a week in there where the entire household got sick, but this is sort of offset by much of my time being taken up with playing video games. Fallout: New Vegas and Little Big Planet 2 are both sink-holes for time, and it's easy to lose track until you realise it's too late to do what you actually mean to do, such as draw, or update the blog.  All that still leaves a week unaccounted for... perhaps I dropped it down the back of the couch...

As a result I've not only not posted, but I haven't done much in the way or art either. Oh, I've done a little sketching, which I'll cover here, and I've done two ArtRage paintings that I'll cover shortly, and some speed paints, but not a lot in comparison to previous months, and very little in the way of actually improving. I really need to get on with it or I'll never be any good. Anyway, on to the feeble number of sketches done this month.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why so Blue?

I've been meaning to paint a picture of my son for quite some time, and I'm really not sure why it took me so long to get around to it. I have lots of photos of him, some of them adorable, and I've done some sketches of him (of dubious quality) that you can see throughout the sketch posts of the blog. So why now? I really don't know, but I took a photo of him while we were out sledding that I just needed to paint. Terrible Father that I am; he was sad because the snow sprayed all over him when we came to a stop, and I snapped a picture; I did give him a big hug afterward though.

So I had my picture, but now how to do it. I could do a pencil illustration, or charcoal (because that worked so well last time right?), or pen and ink, but this one needed to be painted as it was partly the colour that drew me to it. Not a speed paint either (though still in ArtRage), something a little more challenging. You can see the results, and my challenges, after you click more (assuming you're not already reading the expanded post).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blart #12: Harley Sees the Year Out With a Bang

Happy new year!  Here's hoping that it's a lot better than last year.  Not that there was much wrong with last year, but there wasn't much right with it either.  Ultimately, for a year with as cool a number as 2010 it was pretty bland and forgettable.  I had a close friend lose their job, a close friend of the family died, and we discovered that the majority of the windows in the house need replacing as they're rotten through and through (There were other things, but you don't get to hear them) On the plus side we got a new fridge, my wife found a hobby she's pretty good at (again - she's good at everything), and my best friend had a son (well, he didn't, but his fiancĂ©e is pretty wonderful too) .  I drew a bit.  OK, I drew a lot.

It seemed to me that I should finish the year where I write 2010; or 2k10 as was also done; after my signature with a piece of work that was started, but up until now not finished.  It was the next Blart along from Wolverine; Harley Quinn of Batman infamy.  I should point out at this point that the name I use on this blog has nothing to do with her, and my use of it predates the character by 3 years.  One day I'll cover where the moniker came from, but today is not that day.  Right now we're discussing Harley Quinn: