If you are not familiar with Steven Zapata, I would strongly recommend his videos as he is one of the few artists/instructors who talks openly and eloquently about the kind of problems you are describing. This video addresses some of what you expressed but his channel is a gold mine for other insights on topics ranging from artist block to overcoming insecurities in the art practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UJuQ0Ma1L4 Additionally, he often speaks about the problem with pursuing "the fundamentals", wherein many artists become so overwhelmed with "getting good" that they become paralyzed and burnt out because trying to learn "everything" is not sustainable nor is it actually something that most professionals do. Instead, he advocates for simply creating the thing you want to make, whatever brings you the most joy, regardless of your perceived lack of skill. Making the things you want to make will reveal your strengths and weaknesses as an artist. It is also the only true form of practice that will get you closer to your goal. Doing a million gesture drawings won't help you make a finished painting. Making a finished painting will help you make finished paintings. I also want to congratulate you on creating a tattoo portfolio. You did a big thing and unfortunately other people didn't recognize it for the undertaking that it was. That is OK. But their reaction DOES NOT mean that you are unworthy of doing that project again. It does not mean that you MUST improve your skill before you can earn the right to make what you love. You have that right as your human inheritance and no one can take it from you. In fact, I might go so far as to say fuck the fundamentals. Fuck the syllabus. You don't need it. And if you do need some piece of that skills-based practice, the best way to find out where to focus your time and energy is to make a project of your choice that speaks to your passions and see where along the way that you need help. Anyway, I stole most of this stuff from Steven so just go watch his channel, listen to him as he draws, draw with him as he draws. He's great. I hope this helps even just a little tiny bit because the art journey is hard and we need every scrap of good, true, honest advice and encouragement that we can get. Cheers.
Dulces Princeps - The "Sweet Little" Prince of the Nine Hells - At 5036 years old he is the youngest of infernal royalty and prophesied to be the warrior who will smash the gates of heaven and tread their legions underfoot. For now, however, the principle terror he visits is upon his lesser cousins' larders, for his appetite knows no bounds, and his mother's watchful eye is ever present to ensure he is fed his full measure. Many a Duke and Duchess of Hell have been eaten out of house and home by the "little" prince (who still towers over many of his brethren). His devilish "nanny," a many armed construct of demonic flesh and bone, trudges into their dining halls, arms outstretched awaiting a rich feast as offering... The final in color and one of a few initial sketches in pencil accompany it.
Hi Scott and all the rest! I hope I am not to late for the assignment! I only had one and a half days due to work and travel so I tried to give it my best shot within the time I had. There were many ups and downs during the development (with a lot of garbage) and there are (definitely) parts I really would like to research and explore in more depth. But for now... let me introduce: The Pumpkin Brigade! A ruthless band of mercenaries who does all the dirty work you are not willing to do. Checkered Leader - takes care of the contract and coin Warlock - freaks the shit out of people and calls for supernatural backup Tank - hits things with his big hammer Shadow - gets into places and creates confusing with his pumpkin spice grenades Tinker - has the right tool and trick for every situation They might be a bit icky and carry an unpleasant smell, but they get the job done. I copied them together and added a few colors, just to get a better idea of the size and proportions. Good day to everybody, Andre
So in keeping with the goal of developing characters based on archetypes and creating a lineup, I ended up deviating quite a bit from my initial sketches. A lot of my Potato Famine ideation sketches, while cool, felt more like minions than main lineup. That said, I still took plenty of ideas from those sketches into this next phase. Rather than doing a lineup of 5 totally different archetypes, I did 3 and repeated them on each side of the conflict. The side of good being those who are fighting the minions of the blight and the side of evil being those who have succumbed to its power and now do its bidding. The three archetypes are basically Leader (doubling as DPS + Rogue/Dual Wield Ranger), Tank (doubling as Outsider) and Wizard + Summon. Notes on each with some more backstory are in the images. Also included are some exploration sketches I did to get to each of these characters. One thing I struggled with a bit was presentation, especially of the Blight side because they have a lot of strips of goop and flesh that don't lend themselves well to strong shape definition. Also in general I had a hard time lining up the characters in an aesthetically pleasing way because I did most of the drawings individually or as pairs, so I didn't feel their pose or orientation was as strong in a lineup.
What's the most bizarre/unexpected place or subject matter that you've drawn from to inspire a monster design? Or - Just thought of this one, are there any monster designs from pop culture that you think are really cool but you feel just don't fit in the piece of media in which they appear? An example for me is the white orc in the Hobbit movies, kinda neat design, looks like a sweet shark dude but feels more at home in a modern RPG video game than a Tolkien story.
Any suggestions for building a creature/monster design portfolio for games from scratch? And even if creature design is your goal, what other kinds of subjects/projects would it be beneficial to include?
The working concept here is "Harvest", as in harvest time on a farm and also organ harvesting. Besides a peach orchard, the farm is home to several dozen rabbits. The farmer, in order to make more money, had allowed an enterprising yet twisted biochemistry student to perform experiments on the rabbits. One of his experiments starved the rabbits in order to find the biochemical markers of cannibalism. The rabbits suffered greatly until one broke out and discovered a holy revelation - a can opener. The rabbits gorge themselves on canned peaches and plot revenge - to harvest and sell their enemies' organs. I started with some shapes I found interesting and hope to keep it simple, elegant, and sinister.
The graphic element in the back is much more appropriate and subtle, does a good job of drawing attention to the point of action which is the head and weapon. The detailing in the boot is great but I think it does dominate too much of the picture frame and distracts from the action above because it is brighter and shinier than the helmet. Reducing the thickness of the boot and darkening the values in that area might address this. Other than that very nice work!
I think that ideation is one of my weak points, I usually end up drawing my first or second sketch, so I am glad this assignment forced me to work some more on it 🙂 I managed to finish only two pages for now, as I am rather slow with drawing. I will continue to work on it, but I am posting it now in case I will not have enough time in the next few days 😅 I will add some more sheets when I will finish them. Also, maybe someone will have some critique which will help me with my next pages 🤞 While working on these pages I have written a short blurb for the concept: Every year the harvest spirits gather under the full moon to celebrate a harvest festival. But what happens when the family of spirits discovers an old spell letting them possess all living things? Yep, you guessed it! It’s a full-blown pumpkin infestation! 🎃🎃🎃 Hope you like it!
One thing that I have been told I need to work on are my shape and value hierarchies, basically, organizing shapes such that there is an appealing and balanced variety of big, medium and small shapes. I think you would benefit from that as well. On my first read of the character, I don't really know where to focus my attention. There is a lot of cool detail work in the chest piece, but the large, brightly lit diagonal armor plates in the skirt distract from those intricate elements. You could try varying the sizes of these areas and lighting of the different armor sections based on an established light source (reducing detail in some places by placing them in shadow, while brightening values in others to increase detail and draw the viewer's eye). Additionally, When graphic shapes are used in the backdrop on a character sketch, they are usually there to direct focus to a particular area on the character. Because the diamond shape behind the character is so large and mimics the diagonal lines in the skirt, it does not create a lot of contrast and the character feels a bit lost in the shape behind them. This can be resolved by placing a shape of contrasting design (for example organic vs. mechanical) and/or value and positioning it more off center so the character breaks the plane of the shape, hence creating contrast which focuses attention.
What kind of revisions are asked for on a project like this and how do you approach them? PS. Appreciate the inclusion of how much time it took to produce this piece. Creates a realistic expectation for those of us starting out vs. all those fancy time lapse paintings!
I’d first like to say I’m a huge fan of your work! I started out with the idea of a rotting food/garbage sort of creature and eventually found myself really liking the idea of chunks of earth being carried around by roots. While I did my initial “note” drawings small I found myself getting carried away with the idea! This has been a really fun creative exercise, and I can see where this concept stage of your workflow can help lead ultimately to a better idea through the process of elimination, or “kit-bashing” in a sense. I’m looking forward to future lessons!
This was great! The subject was kinda tricky to me because the, let's say, popular harvest elements, is something I only have seen in movies and games. That season is different in my country, and the word "harvest" evokes something different than pumpkins, scarecrows and cold weather; is more like sweet bread, hard work, family reunions, oranges, tangerines, and the Día de Muertos (the Day of the Dead). So I tried my best to mix and match what I've seen in pop culture and what I've experience.
Hey guys, I did go with the harvestman "theme" here. When I signed up for the course I planned on doing a monster I currently need for a story, but found during the first lesson that it wouldn't go well with the harvest/farming/halloween theme. With my visual brainstorming, I tried to go in a different direction that Scott did. I used this method before during my graphic design courses, but it was never nearly as much fun as it is with monsters :) I will do another sheet with follow up ideas. Can't wait to continue. I have some rpg troupes in my mind, some mythical monster concepts and some more machine/plant (cyberpunk) hybrids. I had little peeks into Sonjas, Teds, Gracielas and Nates work, because I was too curious. I will comment and try to give feedback but want to wait with my follow-up sheet. Otherwise I get too distracted and just feel jealous of all the great ideas and themes! Amazing start guys, looking forward to see the progress through the course. If you guys have any hints for me, feel free to hit me! All the best, Andre
Duuude, this looks so cool! I really like art that sparks my imagination and I’m already imagining so many cool ideas of what’s going on and where they’re going. As far as lighting goes (and keep in mind I’m new so you can totally ignore this if you disagree), I think it might help give it more depth if you consider the lighting for larger sections of the form. So for example, if we look at the ribs area, each rib has lighting and shading on it and it looks cool, but if you look at the whole rib cage area from the clavicle to the bottom of the rib cage, the light value doesn’t really change, so as a whole it can seem a bit flat, even though individually, the ribs have light and shadow. Again, I might be totally off with this, but either way, I reeeeeally enjoy your style and I find your work inspiring so thanks for sharing it!
Hey, David! I'm wondering what ways has your work changed in recent years as you've gotten more involved with YouTube, streaming and social media? Both in terms of business and how you approach drawings (for example when drawing while streaming). What are the biggest benefits and drawbacks of working as an artist in the social media age that you have experienced?