Thursday 21 May 2015

Bordering Fishes + Live Demos Trent Kaniuga

Long time no read. I have been pretty busy with a lot of things that happen in my life right now and kinda paused my artistic growth for a while. With only a few weeks left to work and major life changes coming up soon I now start to look for new plans and challenges for the rest of 2015. 

The motivation to write this blog post today came from some very cool seminars at work these days and I'd really like to share this experience and sum up what I personally took away from them.

We had two 4 hour live demos with Trent Kaniuga. Trent is a freelance concept artist for the games industries where he has been working for over a decade now. Originally he started out as a comic book artist (the Creed), later he worked with Blizzard on titles like World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade and Diablo 3. He also worked for Riot games on League of Legends. He definitely knows a thing or two about arts in the industries and was nice enough to share some of his wisdom with us. 

So on Tuesday we had an introduction presentation where he showed us what he did in his career so far. It was really nice to see, lots of eye candy. I especially enjoyed the artwork for Diablo 3, especially the designs of the Caverns of Araneae, which was one of my favorite levels in the game. It was crazy to see/hear how many iterations of the same thing are done by one single artist. I am not sure I could do 30 designs of the heavenly gates and still be motivated. 

There were two live demos in total, one about environment and one about character design. I won't get into detail since he has awesome tutorials online, so if you want to know what we saw there you can check out this video (there is a total of four videos)

Things I took away from the two days of workshop were more motivational/perspective changing than really learning techniques (although I did pick up a few new approaches on things, i.e. really liked the Gradiant Map adjustment layer --> Tutorial Painting with Gradient Maps)
- It is beneficial to combine whatever you are designing with something unexpected to make it stand out more 
- If you see pixels on your screen you zoomed in too much (or your resolution is to small)
- Plan your personal projects like you would plan in time for a client to get things done
- Learn about what you are interested in and find a way to combine your interests and things that excite you with your jobs
- "I wanna work on things people get excited about" - a simple sentence that expresses what I have been feeling subconsciously all my career long
- Albert Einstein said: “The most important question a person can ask is, "Is the Universe a friendly place?” Trents interpretation on that was very good and a philosophy I also already live by, but again, put in word really well. Basically it is to assume that there is good in people and don't hold grudges. If you think the universe is a friendly place you will be open, hopeful and trustful. If you think it isn't, you might be shut off and distrustful. People will pick up on that. The first option will open a lot more doors for you.

Funny enough I am really motivated to start on the Unity 3D course on Udemy I bought a while ago now ( For forever I felt bad doing other things and not improving artwise and after hearing that Trent is just  pursuing things he is interested in I got the push. He was talking about enjoying talking to other departments, learning about game design and liking psychology and for the first time I had the feeling that I am not the only artist thinking that way. Often I have the feeling that artists like to be shut themselves out a bit, are often a bit introverted and are hanging around with other artists, but for me, although I do enjoy being with artists, I always found it best to talk to game balancing, game design, community management and code to learn about the whys and how of the project and the thoughts on all these aspects. It is nice to know that I can still become a very good artist with enough sweat and tears and don't have to change my interests and my way of being. I guess that is the biggest bit I took from the two days of workshops and I am truly thankful for that. 

Trent has a lot of cool tutorials on his channel, make sure to check it out Trent Kaniuga on Youtube
You can also find some tutorials plus files and some of his graphic novel Twilight Monk here Trent Kaniuga on Gumroad
And he has a nice blog as well which you can see clicking here Trent Kaniuga on Blogspot

Wednesday 12 November 2014

bordering cars + online mentor chris oatley

Since Trojan Unicorn my views changed quite a lot. It was highly inspiring to talk to all these sucessful artists, learning about their path and seeing them not only as the great artist you admire, but meeting them as a person, as someone who was once where you are now.

Another realisation was that almost all of them not only are willing to give you advice and help you evolve, but that they really want to and seem happy to help. For the longest time I was really shy approaching professionals with the thought in the back of my head that I don't want to steal their time with my silly questions. That has always been a problem of mine, but mostly it's okay nowadays. But after thinking about it for a while, it suddenly made a lot of sense.

We are all one big community. We do help each other out, passing forward knowledge and providing others with the tools they need to succeed and grow as an artist. Why? Cause at some point there was someone who helped you out, the mentor you needed, the critique that was really helpful, the technique that really made you step up. You want to pay back for that. And also, it is a really nice feeling to help. Since I came to that realization I have been talking to so many amazing people simply because I wrote to thank them for youtube videos and tutorials or to ask follow up questions.

Also, I decided to pick my mentors from all the nice people that share their wisdom online. These are amazing people that help me on the way of improvement, give me hope to suceed, provide me with tips and tricks to all kind of topics and sometimes just keep me company while working.

One of them being Chris Oatley. If this is the first time you hear about him, I'd highly recommend checking out his website There is so much knowledge there for free, I learned more listening to interviews and watching his tutorial than in 2 semster of uni.

Last month I enrolled for the "magic box" course at the Chris Oatley Academy. It's an introduction to Chris' style and approach to digital painting. The best thing about it though is the forums, which are very active and full of very helpful people which give awesome critique on the assignments or even personal work.

It is very affordable and the amount of content provided is huge. You can learn more about it here On the bottom there is a link to a sample lesson.

Thursday 6 November 2014

bordering birds

Since I am doing a lot of sketchbook pages in that style I had to name it, not sure about it 100%, but for now, I call them bordering things. So here is the first of a few, bordering birds.

After being to the Trojan Horse was a Unicorn Convention in Portugal I finally got back into the game, got motivated and am back on track. I really forgot over the years why I started out as an artist in the first place... I was filling up folder after folder with life drawings. I started and finished many sketchbooks that I don't care much about. I had the feeling I need to practice and improve. That did happen, but very very slowly. I wasn't in there with all my heart.

THU2014 got me back to the right mindset, reminded me of what it was like when I wasn't doing things for my portfolio or only touched a pen to improve and practice but to paint, draw and sketch cause that is what I love. For a while now I will be crawling back into my comfort zone and produce nice things out of the happiness and  joy of creation itself.

Also: Colours!! :D

Friday 30 November 2012

Life Drawing

Drawn from life tonight @ Akthof. Same model and pose as last week. Was really relaxing and fun but do have to practice foreshortening and volume more... 

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Life Drawing

I abandoned my blog... again. I have been busy meanwhile though. I hope  I do have some spare time soon to post a few things the next days. Meanwhile the drawing from life drawing last week. We had a great time and the model is just so patient and awesome to draw.

Friday 30 March 2012

Life Drawing

Here are the sketches from mondays Life Drawing. I really loved the model, she did such a good job and had so much fun posing for us. I think I never had such a motivated model before.

I actually planned to upload the Dr. Sketchy sketches today, but my pics are so bad that I have to retake them and will do the update on the weekend. Then finally the blog is back on track and I can update scheduled again. YAY me! =)

Thursday 29 March 2012

Life Drawing

Really Quick update. These are the drawings from last weeks life drawing class. Blogposts got a bit messed up since Berlin.

Drawing her was quite a challange since everything on her was so long and elegant. But I guess I learned some from it and next time I will approach it differently.

This one is quite different since we had about 1,5 h drawing him. We went to the moddeling class and planned moving around, sketching from different angles and all but ended up sitting there totally fascinated getting more and more detail in the drawing. It was super relaxing and I really liked how it came out in the end. Thanks to Jannos who can lie still so nicely for hours!