Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thursday 28th November 2013 - Working with Illnesses

A totally boring post today, as this is something I've had to deal with a fair bit in the past couple of weeks: Working whilst ill.

I had the joys of getting food poisoning from an undisclosed location, which put me down for about 3 days, then, thanks to been immuno-compromised, I got some horrible flu/cold illness to follow this up. If I had an actual job, I'd have probably been sent home. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury, so I had the choice - sleep it off, or just work through it.

I chose to work through them, as best I could. I still required two days solely focused on the improvement of my health (mostly sleeping), however, even when feeling quite under the weather, I endeavored to work through it - deadlines aren't forgiving, and being such a noobie in the industry, I don't really have the weight or reputation to be able to, well, have an unnecessary day off basically.

This did have its bad aspects - It was harder to paint, methods I generally use weren't as effective, tricks were falling through, generally the task of painting took longer, which was incredibly annoying.

However, it did have its good aspects - even a half finished painting is better than a painting not even started, and working digitally means it's no problem (other than the aspect of time) to improve it, overpaint areas, and so on.

I can't show the paintings I was working on while ill - they're for clients and so forth,but I was also working on this personal piece - still to be finished.

A lot of this basically had to be painted twice, the initial pass was okay, but not great. This is basically the summary of my past couple of weeks - paint a painting, then come back to it the day after, or the week after, and have to spend a considerable amount of hours fixing what was already there. The frustration was as bad as the actual illness.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday 27th November 2013 - A Late Halloween

I do have a backlog of things I think I could/should/maybe might post here, so in an attempt to atone for my lack of posting, I'll try to work through them.

This was the pic I devoted a couple of days to over Halloween, as I always try to do some image for various holidays, but I generally seem to find myself without time. As a freelance illustrator with no university work to do, I think I ran out of excuses not to do anything. So yeah, this is it.

Quick walkthrough of how I went about it.

I started out as all of my images start out, with a super rough, 2 minute thumbnail in my Moleskine.

I then done something which I'm doing more and more recently - I scanned the image in, blew it up to the desired size, lowered the opacity in Photoshop and started sketching/blocking in over it. This I then printed out onto Bristol Board for fine detailing:

As you can see, there are some differences in the pencils to how the final appears. That's just the way things go at the moment, and is the reason I'm spending less and less time on the pencils - I often change them dramatically in the painting phase.

I wanted to keep the background white and simplistic, so using abstract brushes I blocked in contrasting colours - Pink and Green, such spooky colours. Yeah.

Out for trying something new, I decided to paint the butt and legs with a super smooth airbrush, a brush I practically never use, as I hate the real smooth digital look, but I thought it would suit this, and contrast nicely with what I had in mind for the focal points.

As it turned out, this was awesome, and I now have a standard soft airbrush which I use to paint smooth skin.

Next stage was adding in the tears in the flesh, not the easiest thing to find reference for, but I knew if I combined dark reds and greens, with white speculars, I'd get a dark gore-laden look, combined with a wet appearance; good enough!

Adding in the rest of the gore, it's time to start on the zombie! I thought this would be easy, and almost quick... I'd painted some before and found it quite fun. I forgot I painted those small, and this was a focal point.

I knew I wanted a blue rim light coming from the side, I honestly think that looks better here than it did at any stage from here on out. Over rendering the zombie perhaps?

I think compared to the previous stage, I've evenly rendered the zombie too much, so there's little sense of depth. But I still kind of like him, and the image is close to finished, just the hand to go!

And adding in the hand, it's more or less finished! The painting as a whole was just an exercise in patience and repetition - Paint skin, soften, erase, repeat - paint a tear in the skin, repeat x3 - and so on. The lingerie wasn't exactly easy or entertaining either, just monotony and carefully omitting details.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Tuesday 26th November 2013 - ImagineFX feature!

This is so totally late in terms of posting. I really need to get better at this.

Story time: Waaaaay way way way back in about 2004/2005 I was browsing in the local newsagents and saw Issue 5 of ImagineFX, picking it up was my first introduction to good fantasy art, and the medium of Digital Art. At the time I could barely think in a straight line, let alone draw one, so it didn't get much further on than that.

Shooting forward to the academic year of 2009/2010, I actually bought my first Wacom - the one I'm still faithfully using! - and, in an attempt to better myself, I subscribed to ImagineFX - to give me access to tutorials, walkthroughs, brushes, and so on. Once I got into Uni, actually got my arse into gear and discovered the potential importance of being a published illustrator, the monthly portfolio section of IFX suddenly became a shining beacon of hope, and a couple of consecutive new years resolutions - to be featured in the magazine - really spurned my discipline forward.

Well, this month it has actually happened! Woo! Issue #102, 97 issues on from when I was a bright, blue eyed, optimistic pre-pubescent schoolchild, I'm at the stage where I may well be having my work seen by some other kid who is silly enough to consider chasing after a career in art.

So yes! It can be done. Takes a lot of willpower, discipline, and dauntless application of academic principles and imagination, but one can hope it will all pay off, and it can lead to a life of super fun work painting dragons and half naked barbarians!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tuesday 5th November 2013 - Declining jobs

Quick post today as I realized I've spent the last month... well... not updating this.

When I was in uni I considered the biggest milestone possible was getting paid work - which arguably is the biggest and most important milestone. However, recently I had to decline some work, which looking back, I think can be considered another milestone.

Not giving out any details at all, the general principle was that I was approached with a job offer which required 6-8 hours a day of work, for an undisclosed length of time, with remuneration only being forthcoming once the project was complete. Now, when I was in uni I took some low paying jobs, because I had money in the form of a part time job and my student loan, and the experience was almost worth as much as the money, so 7 or 8 months ago I may have asked for more details and considered taking the task onboard.

However, as it stands at the moment, I have a lot on my plate - working 5 days a week with my other freelance contracts, and my part time job on the weekend. Without the safety net of a student loan, I've found myself having to prioritize, and, as is expected with real life, landlords and bills come first.

So, I had to turn the job down. It's simply unaffordable, and damaging to the industry, to work on promises of money to come. Especially, when the expectation is to work 8 hours a day with no recompense - Plumbers won't fix all the pipes in your house and accept a handshake and a smile, with a note saying the payment will be sent over when the pipes have worked for 6 months, so illustrators shouldn't have to expect to wait for the product to finish/sell to get paid.

So yep, some naive introspection and reflection on something which happened to me recently.