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Friday, 9 October 2015

1 All Saints Green, Norwich

In anticipation of 'Paint Out 15' Norwich, I am trying to get a in a few studies in an effort to get back up to speed on the traditional front.

This is a 90 minute study using markers and fine liners on a mid tone pad with watercolour wash and chalk hi light.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Life Class_8thOct

Snuck into one of the BA life class sessions at NUA today, captured several 2 minute gesture studies with a slightly longer 10 min portrait / profile sketch / felt great to dust off the traditional skills again

Space suit perfection

Great article on The space suit for Ridley Scotts 'The Martian'


Words from the master 'Moebius'

As one of my main inspirations I wanted to share Moebius's 18 observations for artists, thanks to the below blog post for reminding me! 


1) When you draw, you must first cleanse yourself of deep feelings, like hate, happiness, ambition, etc.
2) It’s very important to educate your hand. Make it achieve a level of high obedience so that it will be able to properly and fully express your ideas. But be very careful of trying to obtain too much perfection, as well as too much speed as an artist. Perfection and speed are dangerous — as are their opposites. When you produce drawings that are too quick or too loose, besides making mistakes, you run the risk of creating an entity without soul or spirit.
3) Knowledge of perspective is of supreme importance. Its laws provide a good, positive way to manipulate or hypnotize your readers.
4) Another thing to embrace with affection is the study of [the] human body — it’s anatomy, positions, body types, expressions, construction, and the differences between people.
Drawing a man is very different from drawing a woman. With males, you can be looser and less precise in their depiction; small imperfections can often add character. Your drawing of a woman, however, must be perfect; a single ill-placed line can dramatically age her or make her seem annoying or ugly. Then, no one buys your comic!
For the reader to believe your story, your characters must feel as if they have a life and personality of their own.
Their physical gestures should seem to emanate from their character’s strengths, weaknesses and infirmities. The body becomes transformed when it is brought to life; there is a message in its structure, in the distribution of its fat, in each muscle and in every wrinkle, crease or fold of the face and body. It becomes a study of life.
5) When you create a story, you can begin it without knowing everything, but you should make notes as you go along regarding the particulars of the world depicted in your story. Such detail will provide your readers with recognizable characteristics that will pique their interest.
When a character dies in a story, unless the character has had his personal story expressed some way in the drawing of his face, body and attire, the reader will not care; your reader won’t have any emotional connection.
Your publisher might say, “Your story has no value; there’s only one dead guy — I need twenty or thirty dead guys for this to work.” But that is not true; if the reader feels the dead guy or wounded guys or hurt guys or whomever you have in trouble have a real personality resulting from your own deep studies of human nature — with an artist’s capacity for such observation — emotions will surge.
By such studies you will develop and gain attention from others, as well as a compassion and a love for humanity.
This is very important for the development of an artist. If he wants to function as a mirror of society and humanity, this mirror of his must contain the consciousness of the entire world; it must be a mirror that sees everything.
6) Alejandro Jodorowsky says I don’t like drawing dead horses. Well, it is very difficult.
It’s also very difficult to draw a sleeping body or someone who has been abandoned, because in most comics it’s always action that is being studied. It’s much easier to draw people fighting — that’s why Americans nearly always draw superheroes. It’s much more difficult to draw people that are talking, because that’s a series of very small movements — small, yet with real significance.
His counts for more because of our human need for love or the attention of others. It’s these little things that speak of personality, of life. Most superheroes don’t have any personality; they all use the same gestures and movements.
7) Equally important is the clothing of your characters and the state of the material from which it was made.
These textures create a vision of your characters’ experiences, their lives, and their role in your adventure in a way where much can be said without words. In a dress there are a thousand folds; you need to choose just two or three — don’t draw them all. Just make sure you choose the two or three good ones.
8) The style, stylistic continuity of an artist and its public presentation are full of symbols; they can be read just like a Tarot deck. I chose my name “Moebius” as a joke when I was twenty-two years old — but, in truth, the name came to resonate with meaning. If you arrive wearing a T-shirt of Don Quixote, that tells me who you are. In my case, making a drawing of relative simplicity and subtle indications is important to me.
9) When an artist, a real working artist, goes out on the street, he does not see things the same way as “normal” people. His unique vision is crucial to documenting a way of life and the people who live it.
10) Another important element is composition. The compositions in our stories should be studied because a page or a painting or a panel is a face that looks at the reader and speaks to him. A page is not just a succession of insignificant panels. There are panels that are full. Some that are empty. Others are vertical. Some horizontal. All are indications of the artist’s intentions. Vertical panels excite the reader. Horizontals calm him. For us in the Western world, motion in a panel that goes from left to right represents action heading toward the future. Moving from right to left directs action toward the past. The directions we indicate represent a dispersion of energy. An object or character placed in the center of a panel focuses and concentrates energy and attention. These are basic reading symbols and forms that evoke in the reader a fascination, a kind of hypnosis. You must be conscious of rhythm and set traps for the reader to fall into so that, when he falls, he gets lost, allowing you to manipulate and move him inside your world with greater ease and pleasure. That’s because what you have created is a sense of life. You must study the great painters, especially those who speak with their paintings. Their individual painting schools or genres or time periods should not matter. Their preoccupation with physical as well as emotional composition must be studied so that you learn how their combination of lines works to touch us directly within our hearts.
11) The narration must harmonize with the drawings. There must be a visual rhythm created by the placement of your text. The rhythm of your plot should be reflected in your visual cadence and the way you compress or expand time. Like a filmmaker, you must be very careful in how you cast your characters and in how you direct them. Use your characters or “actors” like a director, studying and then selecting from all of your characters’ different takes.
12) Beware of the devastating influence of North American comic books. The artists in Mexico seem to only study their surface effects: a little bit of anatomy mixed with dynamic compositions, monsters, fights, screaming and teeth. I like some of that stuff too, but there are many other possibilities and expressions that are also worthy of exploration.
13) There is a connection between music and drawing. The size of that connection depends upon your personality and what’s going on at that moment. For the last ten years I’ve been working in silence; for me, there is music in the rhythm of my lines. Drawing at times is a search for discoveries. A precise, beautifully executed line is like an orgasm!
14) Color is a language that the graphic artist uses to manipulate his reader’s attention as well as to create beauty. There is objective and subjective color. The emotional states of the characters can change or influence the color from one panel to the next, as can place and time of day. Special study and attention must be paid to the language of color.
15) At the beginning of an artist’s career, he should principally involve himself in the creation of very high quality short stories. He has a better chance (than with long format stories) of successfully completing them, while maintaining a high standard of quality. It will also be easier to place them in a book or sell them to a publisher.
16) There are times when we knowingly head down a path of failure, choosing the wrong theme or subject for our capabilities, or choosing a project that is too large, or an unsuitable technique. If this happens, you must not complain later.
17) When new work has been sent to an editor and it receives a rejection, you should always ask for and try to discover the reasons for the rejection. By studying the reasons for our failure, only then can we begin to learn. It is not about struggle with our limitations, with the public or with the publishers. One should treat it with more of an aikido approach. It is the very strength and power of our adversary that is used as the key to his defeat.
18) Now it is possible to expose our works to readers in every part of the planet. We must always keep aware of this. To begin with, drawing is a form of personal communication — but this does not mean that the artist should close himself off inside a bubble. His communication should be for those aesthetically, philosophically and geographically close to him, as well as for himself — but also for complete strangers. Drawing is a medium of communication for the great family we have not met, for the public and for the world.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Norwich Castle Keep_Pre Vis project 2015

Possibly my biggest project to date, been working on this in the background over the last few months thanks to David R Allan for providing the models for the King, Bishop, Earl and table assets, also thanks to Sarah Steed and Catherine Hill at NUA, not forgetting John, Angela, Paris, Daniel and The Norfolk Museum Services Team.

The following key frames show the CG shots that are integrated in the Norwich Castle Museums 2015 bid for regeneration, link to final film to follow.

The first shot is broken down beneath to show the compositing of the 3D renders mixed with matte painting techniques to achieve the final look, ongoing techniques that I am developing as part of my evolving studio pipeline.

Something Different

Here are some composition sketch studies for a pitch, the characters were provided in a manga style and I was asked to create some mock up visuals to show how they could go together in dynamic poses for cover art options.

It was a nice break from my recent technical compositing work and get back to some sketching:

Thursday, 1 October 2015

MA Final Year, Award Specific Unit_Initial Notes

For the 1st unit of my final MA year, I have the opportunity to set up and plan my final Masters project for 2016. I have taken the opportunity to sign up for a CGMA course in 'Colour and Light for production' (http://2d.cgmasteracademy.com/tyler-carter.html) taken by Tyler Carter, visual development artist at Blue Sky Studios. This will give me a head start on the structure for the ASU as I can tailor my production of studio work around the course outline.

For my Master project I am planning on producing an animatic showing the developed work from this ASU project, as I would love to work on science fiction franchises such as Star Wars and Alien I will create content that will aim to match the look and feel of those productions.

The choice of content to create at this stage ranges from Character, environment and prop (vehicle).  I will initially pursue concept ideation for all 3 directions and fine tune my direction as I work through thumb nailing to concept development.

After a group critique discussing the potential direction for our project it was emphasised that I should aim to produce a short animatic conveying a scene from the imagined world, setting up an immersive scene by looking to capture accurate and compelling lighting and atmospherics, this was reassuring as it re emphasised my intended direction, also confirming a good match up with the Colour and Light course I will be taking alongside. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Pixologic Z Brush Summit 2015

The '3D/Sculpting' theory basis for my final year Master of Arts Degree written work ;D

Neville Page presentation link:



Linking contemporary Peer Artists working in Production art & design, emulating and referencing there practice to influence and enhance my own working pipeline...

Special thanks to Ian Joyner and Neville Paige for providing ongoing inspiration of my current practice.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Queen test Print

I wanted to see my Queen model in the flesh and printed its current stage, also showing a render composite for comparison.  The print was small at 69mm tall, this meant the crown details were to small to come out, but apart from that its always great to get a physical copy of a 3D model!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Lady in waiting WIP

Test render 02, last stage before adding clothing and detail:

The Tamarind Tree

Final Logo for 'The Tamarind Tree' Thai Restaurant with design development process:

MA Self Negotiated Unit_Hand in Documentation

Here are scrolling design development images showing the work in progress aspects in order of production, from early designs and sculpt stages.  Also showing render tests including BPR renders of poly painted UV's in Z Brush and material / lighting testing in rendering software.

Queen Development to Date:

Lady in Waiting Development to Date:

Castle Keep, Pre Vis Key Frames:

Sci Fi Project, Mining Truck Concept:

Sci Fi Project, Robot Companion Concept:

Sci Fi Project, Character Concept:

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Lady In Waiting_Work In Progress

Lady In Waiting Wip 03 BPR test render composite in Photoshop:

Comparison of Lady in Waiting (Wip 01) and Queen print:

Queen_Test Render for presentation 02

Work in progress, testing the lighting and values for compositing, trying out render combinations for the final mix.

I will create a poly paint as a UV base and render AO, Depth and SSS passes for montaging / Matte painting.

The final shot renders will have a painted pass to match the levels and pick out the focal details.

Critique, Self Critique & test renders...

Queen BPR PS

'Best Render Pass' producing the render, Alpha, Shadow, Ambient Occlusion, Depth and Sub Surface Scattering components. These are imported into photoshop and all elements are then imported as separate layers into the PBR render file, creating a layered psd file for post production.

All Layers are set independently with the exception of the Alpha render pass, this is added into a new 'Channel' layer and allows me to crop the layers to the edge of the model, creating a clean silhouette which makes for ease when importing the composite into another scene. Although the edge will have 'Aliasing'  when its compressed and will need a final clean up with a blur or eraser depending on the required edge hardness.

Queen screen grab zbrush

A still screen grab taken from the sculpting programme z brush, this shows the Poly Paint test which was fairly successful in bringing the character to life.

Queen Render keyshot test W notes / crit...

This work in progress shows the Queen in a basic / test render within Key Shot

The model was broken down into relevant components such as the eyes, face, hair and costume and basic materials were applied.  I used the shot to review and critique the nearly complete character, a few minor tweaks and She will be ready for compositing into the main shots. The next stage would be to create a UV map in order to export and import the Poly Painted face which would carry along the hand painted face texture into the rendering software.

Dave Feedback sk sheet / overview

Leading to my self critique / evaluation / render pass test,
Show Dave crit jpeg +

My queen test renders...

Fully explain each step and process!!!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Something I am thinking about in my practice is 'Innovation', this has stemmed from my further education / ongoing masters degree and the recurring question of 'how' is your practice Innovative? 

One thing that has kept cropping up is how I have evolved my process 'work in progress / WIPS!..

This example of a current branding project for an upcoming restaurant shows how I combine my traditional sketch, digital development and referencing to develop my designs.

Overlaying all components in various iterations to fully explore all the options from the produced content:

07; Line work clean up / Design development #02_Inverse Test: 

07; Line work clean up / Design development #02:

06; Line work clean up / Design development #01:

05: Initial line work clean up:

04: Sketch studies / design development:

03: Traditional Thai style Artwork inspiration:

02: Specific reference:

01: Brief!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Fibre mesh test 01

My 1st exploration of the fibre mesh  feature in Z Brush 4R7 with my Current female character bust;

Going in with the Eyebrows & lashes. Following the Gnomon tutorial from Madeleine Scott -Spencer, Scott-Spencer refers to experience in 'Real' props for film where the layering of hair was arranged from the lowest point upwards, repeating this in Z Brush gives more accurate and manageable results.  I am also referencing to an amazing artist; Hossein Diba:


Beginning by masking the relevant area and blurring the edge of the mask in a lower subdivision, which then tells Fibre mesh to generate smaller / shorter hairs in the blurred area! Using the grooming brushes and sculpting tools to finalise the overall shapes.

This is a pretty straight forward entry point as I am just sticking to the eye lashes and brows, If I was to create the head of hair I would have to produce several sub tools to build up the hair accurately to suit the desired style. The working screen shot shows the varied modifiers which adjust every aspect of the 'fibres' which are then transformed into subtools and can be further manipulated with the programmes standard sculpting tools.

My next task will be to poly paint the face, although I may end up UV unwrapping to create a UV map I can paint and texture in