Saturday, 31 December 2011

Photostudy - +/- 40 mins

First painting and first post of 2012! Speedpainting, took about 40 minutes. Exploring these kinds of palettes and liking them. 2012 is going to rock.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Last painting of 2011 - city in the sky and environment

Very last painting of 2011, just finished minutes ago (excluding edits, i'll probably want to do later). Now, I'm gonna kick up my legs and chill with my fam for New Years. Happy new year and see you next year ;) .

Original done for Concept Art test, this is a concept of a city in the sky with surrounding environment. My own musings and ideas on it are that the city is a kind of entertainment hub for city slickers, corrupt officials, celebs and so on. A kind of floating city of vices. Damn just remembered wanted to add some steam emitting from the city vents. Will have to do that later. (updated)


edited version - updated 5th jan 2012

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

SciFi Environment - WORK IN PROGRESS part 2

Merry Christmas All! It was an awesome Christmas this year but now its back to work. This is part two of  the 'work in progress' mentioned in the previous post. Much to do still. I'll probably post the completed image next. Hoping to find time to post other work as well.
Below: WIP 5
Below: WIP 6 (updated 30th dec)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

SciFi Environment - WORK IN PROGRESS

I recently did a concept art test and this was one of my submissions done in a 'rough-in painting style'. (waiting in anticipation). I liked the rough so much that I decided to take it further. I'll be posting up some of the other submissions as well, rework them etc... So here is the first of the work in progress images for what I'm doing with this. These are really low res. Will post more in this thread as I find time.

Above: WIP 1

Above: WIP 2

Below: WIP3 (updated)

Below: The original rough. I had to portion my time over three images, and ended up doing as much as time permitted. I thought the image had potential. So, I'm taking it further. 

Here are some of my original thumbs for the image.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


This is a very low res work in progress post on my 'catgirl' painting. I've sorted out the color palette and I'm working from back to front. Laying down forms and shapes and keeping to my plans. Ultimately I want the girl to be the key point of interest with foils  pulling your eye about the image so I don't want to overwork the background. Been quite busy of late, will have more posts up soon.  

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011

'Catgirl' Compositional re-sketch v2 screen-capture PART 2

Here's the link to Part 1:Compositional re-sketch Part 1 . At the moment I'm sketching over the previous sketch but as I progress I redo the sketch completely at times. My main aim in these re-sketches is to fine tune compositional elements and to finalize the design. From here I could go anywhere I choose. I could redraw it and clean it up as a line sketch... or turn it into a watercolor painting or fully render it. It is always a temptation to settle for the first sketch you do. I'll always remember hearing Iain McCaigh say that if he enjoyed drawing it the first time he'd enjoy drawing it again. He was commenting on redoing something you've done. It is all too easy for us to settle for the first sketch we do, re-sketching and thumb-nailing stops that very human tendency to stop at status quo and push onward for a better design or sketch.

Below: 2nd re-sketch

Below is the final version of this rough compositional sketch - ready for painting or another re-sketch

Below: This is the 2nd rough thumb-sketch. I expanded it a little from the thumb. This is the first iteration. 

Below: 2nd version of thumb 2. Loads of problems with figure still but those I'll fix later as I am mainly looking at composition here and as I progress with my sketches.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Compositional Re-sketch screen capture

This is work I'm currently doing. I'm still in the planning stages. I have three compositions I very much like and have decided to do multiple re-sketches on each one; because it is a good discipline to develop and keep as part of your practice. Notice how I have used my reference material. This is my usual mehtod for using reference, when I use it. I keep it in front of me as a reminder as to what I'm drawing. In that manner I easily visualize the subject from any angle. Saves me time really.

above: two of the three composition thumbs
below: The thumb I re-sketched on this post.

below: First re-sketch, I'm sketching over these but others I'll redo from scratch.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Another blog - for crits and learnt stuff

So I want to post things that I learn and crits on my own work or links to other sites with great information... and so on. I don't want to do it here though, so I started another blog to do that. It would be great if blogger had the facility to makje pages function as your main blog page but they don't so this is the next best thing. I posted up a crit on one of my own images. If you care too, go to

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Quick photo study - landscape

Here is another quick photo study. I used to have dreams as a child with these kinds of landscapes, in the dreams gravity was somehow different. I could leap across the terrain easily. Immediately attracted to this photo, so I did a study of it. Growing skills.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Rough Pencil Sketches

Rough sketches from my sketchbook:

Mejuthaarge the messenger - Character Illustration

I'm hoping to put up two more of this character soon. Mejuthaarge was, and still kind of is, a god; but he made the others angry by tricking them and trying to eat up the earth so they demoted him to being their messenger. They changed his form, I'm going to post up his original form later, to having one of his original heads and a body of a man. I son doing forcing him to feel the limits of humanity. As the messenger of the gods he still comes up with mischief and even though his power is limited compared to what he had he is still very much capable of creating chaos. 

 So this is one of my Ideation methods I call 'populating'. I use populating when I first get a brief and have no visual language to readily apply to the idea.  I begin by furnishing myself with the basic language I'll be using, quick ideas and sketches. This stage can take on the form of various exercises. Line ups and variations are one of them. Of course if I have a visual language already the process will usually go straight to thumbs. 

Below I included the rough idea I took to the level of the sketch above. 

Updated: 20 November 2011 - The God Mejuthaarge

Before his fall.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Mr. Casau - Character sketch

So I'm trying out different styles and trying to show versatility. I know I can do anything, but my portfolio has to show it or no one else will know. Just wish I had the time do all the things I want in one fell sweep! I'm planning to post some 'machines' soon. More characters - not so stylized - serious villains and more technical stuff. I love painting fantasy and sci-fi subject matter but that's not all I can do.

 The original rough sketch - doodle mode :) 

Line drawing complete:

Alternate 1:

Alternate 2 (shadow added):

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Photo studies and exploring new approaches

These are two photo studies I did recently. The aims I set for these studies were very specific. I didn't want to just create copies, as valuable an exercise that might be at times. I recently got Donald W. Graham's book 'Composing Pictures' (birthday present) and I have been undergoing paradigm shifts at the presuppositional level. Earthquakes. The changes in viewpoint are subtle but things I have been searching for for a long time. They eluded me for a while but I have finally been able to make progress on this level. I remember reading something that Sparth said and thinking how that was something I was trying to get a grip on. He said that going digital gave him a sense of the canvas, that he had discovered it in a sense (paraphrasing, from what I remember). Well, this is what I'm discovering: a sense of the dimensionality of the canvas - the picture surface. My views are shifting radically and I have discovered something I've been looking for for a while. I think for an artist sometimes the Gnostic idea of hidden truths is really applicable. You study, you paint and experiment, you know something but one day suddenly those things you know transform and you relearn them from a deeper point of view. It's time to level up babe and I'm going to ride this monster wave right in to the shore this time.

These were speed painted studies:

The figure study: I chose a photograph with nice light and my purpose was to be super aware of the surface whilst painting, being aware of the symbols, lines, shapes and areas I was creating. Further I have come up with a concept of hidden light and color that has surprised me because I think I might be right. I held these ideas in my head with the aim of creating representational art but not thinking of the subject matter as representational. Strange? I am pleased with the end result of the study because I captured an essence beyond that of the photo and all along I was in this abstract mode of creation.

The landscape: I want to do more of these. Again, the same as above. I struggled a little at times but managed to pull myself away from mere reproduction most of the time. It has been an interesting experience. These images are obviously not completed but they contain more than enough information to convey a meaningful message. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Dwyn the bear - Character Sketch

 Sometimes when 'thumb-nailing' I go through a 'progression' where I choose a particular pose or aspect and re-sketch it as much as I can. I find that the iterations get better as I go and I come up with great ideas as I go. Above is one such progression - looking for what I wanted the character to be. Below is the finished sketch, done in a simplified cartoonish style.
Doughy and shlumphy - Dwyn the bear

Saturday, 22 October 2011

'The New World' environment

Involuntary settlers on a New World, like their forbearers arriving on the shores of the continent of North America. These new settlers carve the mark of the familiar and comforting on a cliff face near the crash site. I wanted the light and colors to be super vivid like the light on a planet that had two suns and some different conditions to the ones on earth.

Work In Progress for 'The New World'

Involuntary settlers in the New World. This post has a selection of images from my work in progress for this environment concept. This is the image before final color and other adjustments - an alternate version.

Part of the brief was to create an image of a crash site where the survivors have taken salvage from the wreck and created makeshift dwellings in the surrounding cliffs and  in the hot and dry desert conditions. In the brainstorming and ideation phase I had the idea that some of the survivors, longing for Earth and their culture managed to carve a representation of the Statue of Liberty into one of the cliff faces. This was of course after they finally accepted that this was going to be their new home. This was not in my original thumb but I felt it carried the spirit of the brief into a higher level. The piece is finished but not finely worked off, as I tried to keep it in the conceptual art zone. I think I'll revisit this theme. I have a series of other images planned, 'in the great hall'... 'the view from the statue of liberty'. I was throwing ideas around about the city that had resulted from the crash site, what they might have called it perhaps 'New New York' but thought that that might have been to obvious. It might be more likely that they didn't give it a name at all, hoping for rescue someday.

thumb sketch:

before change in perspective:

The image shows the valley and scene of the crash a few decades on. The survivors have had children and some have moved out of the valley. A few remain 'in the valley of origin'. One of them stares up to what seems to be a craft or two of some sort breaking through the atmosphere. Rescue?

Below I've added a screen capture of some of the painting and sketching process:

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Strange Skies

Over these last few weeks I've really focused on pushing skills further, pushing past boundaries and doing different things. This is a rough, 'speed' painting/sketch, forcing myself to use a very limited palette range that I'm unaccustomed in using. I was tempted every step of the way to put more color into it but I wanted that 'realism' aspect of a cold morbid landscape in the image. The subject matter is from one of my current projects. It shows the strange contrast of a medieval time period and alien visitation. I guess what I like about the image is that feeling of 'out of placeness' whilst being seemingly normal. Looking at the image I see tons of things I want to change but I want it to stay loose and to just convey the concept rather than be polished into a fully developed illustration. Hopefully I'll have time to post up a few environment concepts and some more character concepts next.

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Magician's Daughter - process

I've had the idea for this painting for a while now. During the planning stage I had a few thumbs that I really liked, so much so that I have decided to repaint the idea from the perspective of the other thumbs I haven't used. I'm going to use other brushes and methods and do this as an experiment, see what kind of outcomes I get. This version came about by combining 'The Magician's Daughter' idea with a desire to pay tribute to one of my favorite painters. There are Echoes of J.W. Waterhouse's painting 'Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses' I am busy doing a master copy study of it at present and thought it would be cool to apply what I am learning from the process into this painting. In NO WAY do I want to copy so I'm hoping that you see that it is a tribute and that it stands on its own. There are things that are very different in style, etc. So, this is not just 'fan art' but, I am hoping you agree, a painting to be taken seriously on its own.

Here are some of the 'WORK IN PROGRESS' shots. The first one is just the initial 20 min sketch. The ADHD part of me just wanted to start painting already but lately i've been working on discipline and adding value to my process so I continued the rough sketch into a clearer sketched out picture of what was in my head. Greater detail in the sketch phase makes sense, since clients and supervisors can't see what is in your head or make sense of extremely rough lines. This is a personal piece so If I were doing it for review or approval I would have taken it a lot further and refined more but by the time I got to this point I was just itching to get it done already! So I wanted composition clear, some sense of the values in the painting, approximately accurate sketch of the final.

The next image shows the image after blocking out color areas and having begun painting in areas after I decided on the color palette. I wanted the palette to be similar to Waterhouse's painting in my study.

The third image is just before I begin polishing some of the surfaces (mainly focal points) and adding in edges, etc.

I just recently received some good feedback from a fellow artist on WIPNation about composition and some individual elements, which I appreciate. I will probably tune the image at a later date after a short break. In the meanwhile here is an alternate cooler color version.