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Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Figure Drawing Tuesdays"

To keep this blog alive, I wanted to share some sketches from the last two weeks of figure drawing sessions I've been attending in this new studio me and my friend found. I haven't been to many studios, but seems like we were very lucky to find this one - it is big, with very high ceilings and a lot of air, pleasant music playing and professional light. Now it's also decorated for the upcoming Christmas and New Years, so it looks super pretty. Anyways, what I am trying to say is that the atmosphere there is amazing (also cheers to the models!), so it's a general pleasure to spend a couple of hours on Tuesday night quietly drawing in a company of fellow artists. I like forming new habits, and "Figure drawing Tuesdays" seems like a good one to have :)

P.S. Now, even though I shared my Utopia boiler room on artstatation already (and got to Artstation Picks with it yay!), I wanted to post it again for the sake of showing details, cause adding those details was the most fun but also the hardest part.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Llamas and more!

And so, just like that, the 9 weeks of the environment design class with Nathan Fowkes I was taking from Schoolism are over. I had a lot of fun with it, and had learned a lot during these 2,5 months. My final illustration is presented below, as well as colour studies and thumbnails. I really wanted to incorporate my knowledge from all three classes from Nathan I took since last spring (light and colour, as well as composition) into this one and I am fairly happy with how it turned out! Please zoom in to look at the picture properly in in full size.

Three weeks ago when I posted my previous entry in this blog, me and Seb were in Amsterdam, and we had an absolutely wonderful time there. In one of the days I had a chance to visit ARTIS, the Amsterdam zoo, which was a great thing to do! I like zoos in general, some more than others. and ARTIS for now is at the top of my personal rating - I liked the zoning, the landscape design of the premises and the souvenir shop was amazing (even if it might not be the first thing you look for in the zoo!). Here are some quick sketches I did there, practicing sketching with the brush pen (until I ran out of ink for it and had to switch to good old pencil). 
Sometimes in all the business of trying to work, study and in general being better artists, we loose sight of the other things we enjoy doing. Yesterday I finished a cross-stitch and it reminded me that hobbies are awesome! I think it is great when people find something they are passionate about and have different interests, and they do not necessarily have to overlap with their profession. I am always very excited to find out that the people surrounding me have the most interesting hobbies - collecting books and figurines, sculpting, hiking, free diving, scuba diving, singing, knitting, and even binge watching shows from Netflix. Happy people are very inspiring! On this note, I wanted to share my biggest cross-stitch project so far, a Harley Davidson I gave Seb for Christmas a couple of years ago :)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Schoolism Environment Design class. Week 1-6 overview.

We're in Amsterdam now, it's 9am and it's quite chilly and rainy outside. I just woke up, and before we run off to do the usual things you do when you explore a new city, I thought it's a good time to post the works and studies I've done so far for Nathan Fowkes's Environment Design class. It has been wonderful 6 weeks, and I have 3 more to go to develop a final piece starting from value comps and going through colour comps into final, which I will start planning and executing on Monday.

Since I started my journey to becoming a concept artist 1,5 years ago, environments have always been hard for me. Maybe it's because I've never drawn them for fun when I was little (can't say that about people!), and have almost zero experience with planning out places on paper, but I am determined to push myself to get better at it. As I already mentioned before here, and in private conversations with some people curious about the courses I'm taking online, I absolutely loved Nathan's Colour and Light and Composition classes on Schoolism. And as in those classes, in Environment Design, he introduces some very helpful ideas and interesting twists to something you even might have already known. Here, most of the assignments have been labeled with an emotional quality, as in this class the focus is on designing experiences rather than just designing places. Now, to some quick descriptions of the pieces.

This piece is week6 assignment on architecture design. I've gone a bit further than the homework outlines suggested, because I got really inspired with the theme. I really like history, and folklore is something that makes my imagination flourish, and here I wanted to design a sanctuary of a slavic pagan water spirit that would look like it came from a fairy-tale. I enjoyed doing this so much, listening to the Russian folk-band while drawing, and seems Nathan also appreciated it quite a bit. I've got the best critique on this assignment I've received from him so far, and it makes me motivated to keep going, and, well, a little bit proud :)

This here is a series of 2 weeks worth of assignments - first, doing value comps for a particular emotional label (top to bottom: inviting, uneasy, questionable, sacred, eerie), and then roughing out props for each of them that would convey the emotional quality in itself (meaning, looking only at the prop you should get the feeling you were going for in an environment). The second week was about exploring the chosen comp and prop, and developing them further. The funny thing I noted doing this one is that people seem to perceive environments differently depending on what they had around all their lives - Nathan didn't particularly feel that the winter comp is warm or inviting (he suggested it would be easier to convey the feeling using colour, but was quite surprised I went with winter thinking of warmth at all). I've checked this with some people growing up in places with rougher climates (like, well, Siberia), and they all seemed to get what I was going for - the warmth of the houses, the freshness of the air, a very nice, inviting atmosphere. So yes, think about your TA when you design your environments!

And here are some usual studies - 3 value composition studies as well as colour studies from the works of artists that I admire. The 3 value comps definitely turned out more successful than the last time I was doing them, and I think I finally got the gist of this exercise - designing shapes and values rather than roughly copying the value structure you see. Colour reversing objects, changing shapes and leaving things completely out can be helpful.

There were a couple of works I did for this class I didn't post here, but that's because I want to work on them a little more and bring them to a desirable finish.
Thanks for checking in, and have a wonderful weekend ahead everyone!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sketches dump

So it's been 3 months we are in Moscow and we are all settled now! It's nice to be back in Russia, but also quite challenging starting a life in a new (although familiar) place all over again. I haven't posted in a while, but thought it's time to gather and post a portion of sketches and studies I've done lately. 
In the past weeks for the first time in my life I had a chance to visit life figure drawing sessions held at a studio of a Russian artist I've been following for a couple of years now. It's been a great experience sketching from life using different materials, as well as getting to know people from the Russian art community (the models were absolutely gorgeous as well - cosplaying game and animation characters and viking shield maidens). I've also been digging into analytical studies of the head, following Michael Hampton's tips.

A month ago we traveled to Canada for our friends' wedding, and after the wedding events were over we had some time to walk around Ottawa museums, including Canada Aviation and Space Museum and an exhibit on the history of horse carriages in Canada, which I absolutely loved. I took lots of photos and done some quick sketches of planes for the first time after fzd! Overall it was an amazing and inspiring time in Canada.. and those beavertails, they are to die for!

It's been 4 weeks now since the start of the Environment Design class with Nathan Fowkes I'm taking, and I will share what I've done for my this course so far in the next post. Have a wonderful weekend ahead everyone!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Schoolism finals, and the road ahead

So it's been almost a month since my last post, and I've been doing work on my finals for Nathan's courses, as well as some other important non art-related stuff. And just like that, the 9 weeks of the courses are over, and I'm very happy with the results, and looking forward to studying with Nathan again in August (I am taking his Environment Design class). It's been an incredible journey, it's been tough at times but very rewarding! I received some questions about the classes I've been taking, and I just want to say that I would advise Nathan's classes to anyone who is interested in introducing better feel of colour, light and composition in their work. I've always been interested in making my pictures look appealing not just through their content and thought put behind, but also through their illustrative qualities, and I think what I've learned in the last 9 weeks will definitely help me understand the life around me better, and hopefully become a bit better artist.

So here are my final illustrations, and below are colour keys for them, and some exploratory thumbnails.

And here is my first ever quick sculpt at ZBrush. It was a lot of fun, though getting through the interface was a challenge, and sometimes I still find myself pressing random keys and having to restart the program, cause I don't know how to get back... but I'm excited to have more time to dig into 3d now. The big goal for the next 2-3 months, while we are traveling from Singapore to New Zealand, and then to Russia, is to create a portfolio project (or a couple of them) that would let me apply for a job back in Moscow. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hero's Journey

With out big move back to Moscow getting closer, there's a lot to do, and the time is flying by. There's just 3 weeks left on my courses with Nathan, and they are going to be devoted to 2 final portfolio works (one for each class).
This is a piece based on a story I might use for my portfolio project (as well as the picture itself) - a hero journey of a teenage boy in a magical world. It is a remake of a thumbnail I did for Kalen Chock's Environment Design class I took during winter term. As it was done for my composition class assignment, I focused more on compositional side of things, and tried to keep in mind all the new info on colour and lighting. 

*The zoomed in version looks nicer 

So just to compare - the left thumbnail was done in the end of November, and even though the point of assignment was different - creating a composition with simple shapes, limited tools and clean statements - it was around the top of what I could do in terms of colour, composition and painting environments. It is simple and nice, and I still like it, but I'm very happy to see improvement 2,5 months later. It means the progress is there, and I'm on the right track!

Here's a painting done on a base of a Dreamworks layout done traditionally for their Prince of Egypt (? I might actually be wrong with this one). This week, creating a strong sense of atmosphere in the environment was out main goal, and it was a lot of fun. 

Another topic we worked through on our composition class was introducing a sense of balance and rhythm into a composition. A very useful exercise I got to know from Nathan is trying to find visual and psychological balance between any 2 objects or images. There's so many nuances to take into account, and it seems confusing in the beginning, but it gets easier with practice.

P.S. I noticed this week that working in a complete darkness with curtains closed affects the contrast and colour balance of my works a lot, hope keeping the room lighter would help going further. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Cat in a Hat

Here's my homework for this week's Light and Colour class. We had to create an illustration and go a bit further with it than a colour script painting. I think I am at the point now where I got so much amazing useful information, my whole understanding of how colour and light work changed, but in practice my old habits still persist, and some important stuff just slips away. If you are learning, like me, you must know the feeling when you know something's not right about the work you've just done, but you can't quite figure our what exactly. Sometimes tweaking adjustment layers can suddenly make things better, but sometimes you just let it be. And later, when someone points out this little detail that you overlooked, you feel like it's so simple, you just don't understand how you didn't notice it before. Well, I find it really, really exciting to be at this stage :) Every week there's something new I'm trying to focus on, and hopefully with time it will just all come together. 

This week's challenge topic was dynamic anatomy sketching, which I thought was great, so I went back to Michael Hampton's lectures and his book. I started with more sketches, and some construction drawings, before I'd go on to more detailed body parts and muscle studies. This was a lot of fun! For me quick timed gesture sketches are a great way to relax.

P. S. After watching a video from my lovely FZD ex-groupmates' graduation ceremony, I decided to go back and look at my FZD entry test, and the works I've submitted as my "portfolio" to get into the school a year ago. It made me see the progress I've made in a year, and I'm ready to jump into some more work!