Thursday, December 22, 2011

When there's no one around to talk to...

... I go to my blog that hasn't had an update since October and type a new post. First semester of college senior year has come to an end and I've had a crap ton of time to do whatever I want. :D So I've been drawing so many concepts (finally) that I've had in my brain for forever, as well as making some plushies as Christmas gifts for some friends. :)

On another note, I've been having really strange dreams for the last 2 days. They seem to have some reoccurring themes, too, most notable something about me driving in hazardous conditions and feeling unsure of myself amidst the whole trip. Anyway, I'm just gonna break it down into bullet points of what I can remember:

Dream from 2 Days Ago
- My grandpa, my mom, my brother, my cousin, and I were in a car, but this car was literally just a flat piece of paper with creases where we sat. I was driving down a windy road that got windier and crazier as I drove on. I remember stopping at this really tall, steep hill - there was no way I was going to drive up that thing.

- My grandpa gets out of the car and I get concerned because he's out in the middle of the highway. But he casually walks about, waving at some people in the distance who turn out to be my extended family. We all get out of the car and suddenly the highway turns into what looks like a lobby area. The steep hill is now an escalator.

- My extended family walks up to greet us and we're all very happy. Some of my friends from high school and college are among my family members, too, for some reason. Then we all just kinda hang around the foot of the escalator, but I notice my family keeps looking up to the second floor as if waiting for someone to show up at the top of the escalator.

- After a few minutes of loitering, some close friends of mine from high school suddenly show up at the top of the escalator. They're all ecstatic, shouting that they just won a contest. They slide down the rails of the escalator and jump around excitedly amidst my family and I. We all greet them happily, too.

- I think someone else showed up after my friends at the top of the escalator - and it was the person my family and I were all supposedly waiting for - but I can't remember their face because I woke up.


Dream from Yesterday
- Dream begins with my brother, my cousin, and I just got out of a Pendulum concert and we're trying to get back home. Two of the band's members join us and we're all going to the same destination. We all get into a Prius (lol).

- My cousin tries driving us away but it's dark out and it just rained, so the roads were extremely slippery. He drives like a maniac and we're going nowhere so I decide to take over. I manage to make it safely out onto the highway, though the entire time I'm driving I'm extremely nervous.

- We end up in a suburban neighborhood that looked like it got snowed in. The roads are clear, but there's snow all over the houses and front lawns. Strange thing about this place: I'd been in this neighborhood before in a previous dream, or at least in the dream, I remembered this location. It's no longer apparent that the two other passengers in the car are members of Pendulum. They just kinda turn into faceless people that my brother, my cousin, and I seem to know.

- I can't remember this part, but along the way we stop because of two adorable, fluffy bunnies hopping in the snow. They look lost so we bring them into the car and try to help them find their home. We drive to the other end of the suburban neighborhood and drop them off in the snow. While we drive away,  I can't help but feel guilty for some reason. What if those bunnies weren't lost? I started feeling bad that we may have stolen away these two bunnies away from their home.

- Suddenly, the whole dream shifts into what looks like a movie. (This movie kinda felt like the beginning of Mulan, just to give a frame of reference.) I become this tomboy, princess character who looks like Zhang Ziyi. I have to go to this palace and pass an etiquette test in front of the royal family in order to become a full-fledged princess. My father takes me to the train station that takes me to the palace and wishes me luck.

- I arrive at the palace and I'm not looking forward to becoming a full-fledged princess. I hate being somebody I'm not, so the whole time the royal family's doing this test I'm being as rude and repulsive as I can be. I remember there being a bunch of princesses/sisters of the royal family who keep pestering me about not being proper and crap and I just ignore them and continue being rude.

- The family is not pleased and they force me to leave the palace at once. I don't mind it, but when I arrive at the train station to go back home, everyone in the station is humiliating me. The train conductor starts making rude remarks at me, then suddenly my father shows up and intervenes. He defends me, which surprises everyone at the station. The conductor asks why is he so adamant on protecting me. My father responds by listing everything a proper woman should be. (I can't remember specifically, but I remember the words "etiquette" and "subtle".) I remember him saying, "My daughter is none of these things, but that is why..."

- I woke up.

So yeah, there's my two crazy dreams I remember recently. There were some other small sections in these dreams I can't remember clearly, so I left them out but the main gist of the dream's here. Just felt like sharing some dream stories.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Custom Clothing

Hey everyone! Thought I might start posting some images of some custom clothing I like to do. Firstly, it's been real cold lately...

Gary's got the right idea. Fluffy blankets FTW!

Anyway, here are some designs that I painted onto some clothes. These were done with Golden Acrylic paints:

Pendulum logo

Pendulum is my favorite band. They are awesome. And they also have the most complicated logo I've ever seen for a band (thus far). The reason I made this is because I've never seen any Pendulum related clothing in the states, so I was like, "why not just make it yourself?" 
To paint this logo, I cut a stencil out for it, and that took a painfully long time. But it was worth it. Pendulum's name is also painted white on the right sleeve of this jacket. 

Dead Space 2 rig

This one's design is directly taken from the official t-shirt design in the Dead Space store. I felt like it would be cheaper to paint the design onto something rather than buying it...
Unlike the Pendulum design in which a stencil was used, this one was sketched directly onto the fabric with a white charcoal pencil and then painted. Funny, this jacket was originally a Blood Brothers jacket I got at Hot Topic, but I ended up changing it and covered the Blood Brothers name with a small CEC logo. :'D
I also chose to make it low health in dedication for all the times I struggled to stay alive in the game's hard mode. :''''''D

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Photoshop Sketchstuff

Haven't updated in a while, so here's a bunch of sketches I did in Photoshop. Why not a sketchbook? These sketches happen because I try to think of something to paint on the computer, but then nothing cool comes up or I end up sitting in front of a blank screen for hours until I get so fed up with myself that I decide to draw anything and whatever comes to mind. Here's a slice of what happens when I get hit with art block:

I love drawing gestures, so this one came up and was going to be a painting. Ended up this far. :'D But I took this opportunity to use a radial blur for the blood, just to experiment with some effects.

At first, I just drew lineart of Mewtwo, then I blacked the whole thing out to test its silhouette and kept it this way because it turned out kinda cool.

More fun, exaggerated gestures of Pokemon!

I love Okami, and drawing gestures for Ammy was very fun. I'm sure all of these poses are anatomically incorrect as I have little to no knowledge of wolf anatomy. :'D This was more of an exploration of motion and pose.

Some sketches of my friend's and my own hand from observation. Hands are always a fun challenge for me.

This one first started with Faith (on the left, Mirror's Edge character for those that aren't familiar), and it was going to be a Mirror's Edge painting, but then my mind trailed off and I started drawing the pink lolita girl on a new layer. Then the green one happened. When my mind is fresh out of ideas I end up drawing really scribbly, curvy things, mostly colorful outfits or stereotypical anime characters. I hate it when this happens, but the process of drawing such fluid and fun shapes is a good stress reliever. Sometimes the end product looks kinda cool, too I suppose.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Random Sketchbook Sketchstuff

Yo, just some drawings from my sketchbook:

I don't know what this is supposed to be. The head and ball torso thingy were drawn out since early July and the arms weren't added until late August. With sudden inspiration and need to draw something, this Miasma demon thing was born. (Colored with Faber-Castell colored pencils and markers.)

Yeah... this... is Agent 9. I don't know why he/she/it is called Agent 9. I don't know why it has a lizard head or why it's blue... or why it wears purple fish nets with pink high heels. Apparently this was a popular character I came up with and drew many times wayyyyy back in the day, and after cleaning out a certain cabinet filled with old papers, I found it and decided to revamp it. I wish I had the original drawing - the muscle anatomy was beautiful. :'D (Colored with Prismacolor colored pencils.)

One of the more recent sketches I did, this one happened during the flight from home to school in Sarasota. It started out as Kerrigan, then I forgot what Kerrigan's details and anatomy were so then it changed into a Kerrigan android. Didn't really turn out the way I wanted it to, but the pose I really liked. Not sure whether to go back and fix the sketch or paint it.

Process Log 5: Amarok

Amarok is a character I came up with a few years back. He/it came from a story idea that revolved around a guy who was an experiment gone wrong (woo original). The first time I drew it was in a side profile view, and it was also the first time I sketched and referenced proper muscle anatomy. Over the summer, I dug up this old sketch again and revamped it with an adjusted pose and design. (Once I find the scan of the sketch somewhere I'll upload it here.)
I documented this one all the way through this time! :'D Here we go:

Started with a pencil sketch and then scanned it in. Layed out a base background color to help get started with the character's overall color scheme. Commenced painting the head.

Continued painting more of the muscles and shading them. I also tweaked the overall color of the painting using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. (The previous color palette was too magenta. I wanted the colors to look more sickly so that's why I changed it.)

Darker tones and highlights. Began some spikey bone segments and cartilage.

Painted in high spec on the muscles and started shading in the bones.

With the character finally done, moved onto the background. Didn't really know what to do, but I knew I wanted a smokey, greenish backdrop (green to contrast with the redish hues on the character). Kinda messed around with the cloud filter and masking here.

Then I had no idea what I was doing with the lighting. I messed around with several ideas and then this one with the rim lighting looked the coolest. The shadow on the character blocked out too much of the detail, so I was having a hard time figuring out how to balance the back and front lights.

Got some help from Kez ( on the front lighting. She copied the dark shadow layer over the character onto a Multiply and Soft Light layer. I really liked the sharp values that turned up from these two layers, plus the increase in saturation.

Touched up Kez's help and tried to figure out what more I could add to the background. Swingy tube things over the back light seemed cool I suppose. Added a metal grate for a floor (got the texture from CGtextures). Also did a black and white pass on the whole painting to adjust the lights and darks.

Added a few blur spots here and there (for depth) and yay! Final piece! :D

This painting took a while to complete - a lot longer than I expected. The most useful technique I learned through this project was overlaying the painting with a black and white layer to test values. I've used this technique before, but not as much (or as well) as I did with this painting. I found myself having to turn that layer on and off constantly, just to make small adjustments that overall fixed the whole piece. In the end, I was really satisfied with the end result. More stuff I learned from this project:

- drawing and painting muscles
- back and front lighting with different layer types

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Process Log 4: Overlord Plushie

Here are the WIP shots of the Overlord plushie. Not too many pics, and I apologize for the poor photo quality: I had taken the shots with my phone.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spawn More Overlords!!

A couple months ago I had painted this picture of a chibi-nized Overlord, one of the Zerg units in StarCraft II:

It got some positive reception on the interwebs but among the comments there were suggestions asking for a plushie version of him. I thought about it and decided: "Hey! Why not?"

Out of all the plushies I've made over the years, this guy turned out to be the largest and most cumbersome to make. He's massive: travel-wise, he takes up an entire check-in bag. It took about 2 weeks to complete him. My chibi drawing of him was the primary reference guide, although I did look back at Blizzard's original concept and artist, Mr. Jack's, version several times just to make sure the design was accurate. The design was simplified over the course of the project, but otherwise the sewing pattern was improvised the whole way through. Here are the turnaround shots:

The head turned out crooked but I kinda liked it that way because it looked like he was thinking. :'D

He's even got a zipper on the bottom... so he can creep...

... or store your StarCraft II art book. :'D

Overall, even though he was a pain to make, I was very happy with the end result. Trying to make an Overlord squishable worked out, thanks to the brown ultra cuddle fabric I used. He is a bit difficult to hug... (he's too round and my arms can't wrap around him), but nevertheless he makes for an excellent pillow.

Other materials I used:
- pink fleece
- purple, velvety kind of fabric (found it in the scrap bin at Jo-Ann's)
- yellow linen (found in the scrap bin, too)
- white cotton t-shirt (for the spikes)
- green t-shirt (for the pouch in his belly)
- Poly-fil
- polyester batting (to fill the armor plates)
- green puffy fabric paint (for the drool dripping down his mouth)

I took WIP shots but they're all on my phone. I'll have to find a way to upload them here if I can.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Process Log 3: Victreebel Redesign

This redesign of one of the original 150 Pokemon came about because of the Pokemon Redesign competition on CGHub. Here's the original Pokemon design:

(property of Nintendo, GameFreak)

The goal of the competition was to redesign a Pokemon so that it would fit in a live action movie, so anatomical accuracy was a key point in this contest. I didn't take too many process shots for this one but here we go:

This was the initial sketch I had in mind. As I mentioned in the Process Log 2: Sean, I'm still not comfortable painting in semi-realism, so the best way for me to start laying out the anatomy and form is to draw the line art and paint the colors on a separate layer on top of the lines.
Also, I want the point of most interest to occur around Victreebel's mouth area. The little bug that's hanging onto Victreebel's mouth is a Venonat (another Pokemon) who's colors would add a nice contrast to the rest of the composition I had in mind.

The initial sketch looked too stiff so I changed the whole composition and pose of the character to add more fluidity to the whole piece. Started painting the colors over the line art (you can see the line art under the colors here).

Painting in the detail on the main body. I looked up a bunch of reference pics of pitcher plants and the ones I found most interest in had these red veins branching out on their top leaves. I added that to Victreebel's leaf and main body, a little twist I gave it to differ from the original design. Plus, the red veins trailing down from the mouth seemed like a good way for the eye to travel across the composition. For the eye, I looked up alligator and crocodile eyes as reference.

Now moving onto painting in the lighting. I'm not too familiar with painting foliage, so getting the transparency of the leaves and even the main body was tricky. I looked up so many reference images, too, studying how the light travels through leaves. I also talked to a great friend of mine, Kez, for advice and a critique to get past this road block - she's a beast at painting foliage and creatures! Check her out:

And here is the final image. Through Kez's crit, the top leaf's "pose" changed to make it look more readable, the spec on the lips were adjusted to match the placement of the light's source, and the shadows of the light traveling through the main body were enhanced.
The process of painting this piece was a lot of fun not only because I got to practice semi-realism more, but because the subject was a Pokemon. :'D I love Pokemon. My Charmander doll and Pokemon cards I have since I was 7 proves it. Victreebel isn't my favorite Pokemon, but the reason I chose it was to paint a realistic Pokemon you don't normally see on the Internet. When I search for "realistic Pokemon", I get a lot of the badass ones like Mewtwo, Pinsir, Kabutops, Charizard, etc., so as I was thinking of which Pokemon to paint I was like, "Hey, grass type Pokemon don't get a lot of recognition. Let's paint Victreebel cuz he's pretty cool." And then after that, Victreebel became one of my favorite grass types.

What I learned from this painting:
- painting light through foliage (understanding how light travels through leaves and transparent forms, nailing the spec on the surface of leaves and the lips of pitcher plants)
- practice painting points of interest, in this case, the mouth region

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Scrap Pile: Jeid

There are so many paintings I start and finish, but some of them just don't live up to the vision that was in my head when I began the painting process. It sucks when this happens because you put all this time and effort into a potential piece of awesome work and you end up with a product that doesn't satisfy you. It hurts even more when you dig up these almost forgotten paintings and you remember all that hard work gone to waste.
So in light of all that effort, I'm starting a new series of posts called "The Scrap Pile". These posts will be of some works that were either never completed or completed but kinda sucked.

*     *     *

This first post is of a character I came up with after going through a Prince of Persia phase and watching that PoP movie :P The movie was... meh... but it did have some pretty cool, inspirational parts. This image had a lot more than effort in painting - it had a whole backstory behind it, too! T^T

The character, Jeid, is of a race of outlaws known as the Resh-Anen. Resh-Anen people are notorious for their barbaric nature and passion for battle, and they are greatly feared throughout the desert lands ruled by the peaceful Holy Cities. People born outside the Holy Cities or banished from these cities are labeled as Resh-Anen.

Jeid is unique, however, in that he was born from a short-lived relationship between a Holy City priestess and a Resh-Anen bandit lord. He doesn't remember anything about his parents apart from a jade leaf hair accessory that he always wears - a rare piece of jewelry that only Holy temple monks and priestesses adorn. As an infant, he was abandoned at Ckessa, also known as the Trader's City and largest settlement in the land. There, he grew up fending for himself and thriving off of stolen food and goods. When he was 16, he met a small group of Resh-Anen thieves that prided themselves in raiding Holy City temples. By that time, Jeid had developed considerable skill in the art of freerunning and close combat, therefore he was enlisted into the group.

So is the backstory of the character known as Jeid. There even was a main storyline but I might save that for later, just in case I ever want to pick it up again...

The Painting Itself:
What I wanted to accomplish in this painting was lighting. I was thinking about the art style in the 4th PoP game as well as the atmosphere and colors from Aladdin as inspiration to painting this piece. I really wanted to get that cool contrast between the cold moonlight and warm torch light. I also wanted the transition of contrasting colors to happen on the character, so I got to play around with painting cool shadows and warm highlights. I really enjoyed painting the lighting on the character and I was satisfied with the end result. What killed me most from this painting was the background.

I suck at painting environments. It's always been a letdown for me and it's an area I'm trying to practice on. With such rich lighting, this painting demanded an environment for the character to stand in. I thought of a temple or a tomb at first - that's why that random column behind Jeid is there - but it didn't give me that sense of cool, mysterious moonlight. So I changed that idea into the open desert. I kept the column because it was suppose to reflect the warm light coming from an unseen torch. I tried to portray that by putting a torch in the distance, indicating that Jeid may be standing by an outpost or something...

What am I saying? I really don't know. All that was an example of me trying to make sense of the background I was struggling to portray. In the end, I rushed the backdrop and didn't put as much effort and detail into it as I did the character. Therefore, in my eyes, this painting failed.

Process Log 2: Sean

Here are the images I took while painting "Sean". WARNING: The order of these images may be a bit confusing, so I apologize in advance.

Started out by laying out basic colors and shading. I have yet to be comfortable with painting in semi-realism - I'm so used to drawing line art and laying out the map of the subject as opposed to going straight to coloring the forms.

Worked on defining the forms by emphasizing the lighting - usually the first thing I do is darken the shadows. Then for some reason I decided to start adding detail on the lips - probably because I wasn't so sure how to paint the details of the scars yet. You can see the first steps of the experimental progress of painting the scars.

I felt like the guy needed more indications of gore... so I put this huge bruise/gash on the corner of his mouth. Added a texture to the skin to make the surface more interesting. Also painting in more small details and adjusting skin specularity.

Trailing up the scar now. I knew at the start the giant scar was from a burn and it was inflicted somewhat recently. I did some research on burn scar classifications and the type I wanted to paint was called "hypertrophic" (where the scar looks puffy).
I started laying out the details of the scars by painting in the shadows first. Then I painted in a more saturated pinkish hue from the base scar color to make the scar pop. Spec was added and lastly that pink stroke around the scar's form to make it look like it's blending into the skin.

...and finally the completed painting! I spent so much time and effort in this painting - it was difficult but nonetheless very exciting. What I learned from this painting:

- different types of burn scars
- painting scars, especially getting the spec right
- more practice painting in semi-realism (getting skin spec right, painting shadows on face and neck)
- careful attention to detail

I love to paint small detail, so I got to geek out all over this painting. It's important to paint the big, broad shapes first so that the subject reads from a distance. Without those big brushstrokes, small detail is useless.