Monthly Archives: February 2016

Going Live: Room Concept Art

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Going Live: Room Concept

The room concept is finally finished after quite a lot of frustration and false starts. I tried with drawing line art and painting over. But the visual direction I wanted to pursue was more in live with the work that Dice Tsutsumi did for Toy Story 3 and Monster’s University. His painting style favours strong lighting direction and realistic colours composition. I just do not have his level of skill and understanding at this time but I am please that I had at least tried. Tutorials, practice and practice. That is the only way to go forward.

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Room Concept (The Do I Continue Or Throw In The Towel Bit)

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Room Concept First Attempt

Oh! The organisers for Parallax Art Fair released a video from the exhibition that I took part in a fortnight ago. It’s quite well made (ok it’s a wee cheesy) I think and I’m so thankful that I was in the ladies room when the videographer came to film my work. It’s a little unreal because everything looks incredible on screen and it doesn’t seem that me and my paintings had really been there.

Parallax Art Fair Promotional Video (February 2016)

Little Guardian (Possible-Pighead-Statue In Z-Brush)

I spent a few hours playing in Z-Brush today. I thought that I could play it loose and create a concept of the statue design for the spirit character in my (tentatively titled) Little Guardian animation. It was fun to spontaneously go back into Z-Brush, I was limited by my computer’s processing speed today for some reason unfortunately. After a few misses (the program kept stalling or crashing) I did manage to complete a concept sculpt of the head of the statue. The statue is meant to represent the spirit’s ‘anchor’ and connection to the physical realm as well as it’s home so I wanted the design  to have more weight (literally). I thought a heavier look for the statue would give a bigger visual contrast when compared to the design of the character’s spirit form. I think I succeeded in sculpting a heavy design but I ended up with something more vague and pig-like than what I was aiming for.

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Spirit Statue Concept Head (Profile)

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Spirit Statue Concept Head (Front)

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Spirit Statue Concept Head (Three Quarter View)

I had the urge today to zone out and sketch something that didn’t require me to think too much about what I am doing or why. So I settled on spending an hour sketching quick life drawing/anatomy poses from artist training videos on Youtube. I enjoy working with a purpose but I think I also need regular sessions where I just draw from observation as well.

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Life Drawing Sketches

Going Live (He-Man Head Turnaround)

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He-Man Head Turnaround

I have been struggling with painting a concept art image for our Going Live project. I know it should not be taking so long and I am trying to get passed the parts I am having difficulty with. Since Aimi needed a head turnaround for our He-Man/Jeremy Kyle character I took a step away from the concept art painting that is infuriating me to do it. Aimi said that it is fine but I’m worried now that its a little too feminine. Like many other people who like to draw I’m fascinated with capturing the female form. I hadn’t really been interested in drawing men although I understand the male figure enough to sculpt my Primordial character. That male figure was slender however and not hyper masculine like He-Man is. I think even with figure drawing practice I will need to come out of my comfort zone. Rather ironically I began this blog post with the intention of also showing the sketches I did last night of figure drawing class I took part in. As evident in the image below, the model was nubile and female. I think I will look online for other figure drawing sources that I can use to practice drawing more muscular male figures.

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More Female Figure Drawing Sketches

Parallax Art Fair

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Parallax Art Fair!

It happened! The big weekend came and went, it was incredible fun and quite a success. Daniel and I travelled to London on the night bus on Thursday and arrived early Friday in plenty of time for my hanging slot at 5pm. With all the other artists scrambling to put up their work it was hectic, crowded and stiflingly hot. We did manage to get the frames, name card holders and stickers up before the opening ceremony and I had a few minutes to explore and admire the rest of exhibition before the crowds arrived. I have to admit I was felt nervous about how my work would be received, not only by the visitors but by the other artists at the fair. However, I still felt pride in my work and of my space which looked well put together and presented. No regrets at all.

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Constellation Owl & Cheeky Fox

Since the space that I had was about 150cm in width I decided to feature only the best of my smoke paintings; The Fox & The Crane, Red Stag, Qilin, Chinese Dragon, Constellation Owl and Cheeky Fox Face (everybody seems to adore the painted fox’s sweet face as much as I do). All of the paintings are Gicleé prints on Awagami’s Washi paper that I bought online from Japan. I wanted the prints to appear as if they were printed traditionally and the combination of Gicleé and washi paper worked.

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Qilin & Chinese Dragon

I spent most of the next two days standing by my work, greeting and talking to anyone who stopped by. Everyone who came forward to chat with me were very kind and seemed genuinely interested to know about me and what I did. I had lost count of the number of people who asked how I painted them and to be honest, this is a question that I do not like to answer. Most of the illustrations are at least finished digitally and most people still have this notion that digital work is considered a ‘cheat’ when compared to traditional paintings. My opinions about people who assume this are not exactly positive but I always try to explain that for me digital work requires as much consideration as traditional does and that each artist will find their own work pattern when utilising either medium. I can’t say that I enjoyed having to defend how I paint to practically every person I spoke to But I understand that if I want to continue showing and selling my smoke paintings publicly that I will have to. For the time being I can accept this.

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Looking Awkward & Terrified In Front Of My Work

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My Assistant For The Weekend

I am very happy to have gotten through this weekend in one piece. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would not have been able to get through this weekend without help from Daniel. For one thing, I wasn’t tall enough to attach the top picture frames and the organisers did not provide chairs nor ladders. Or tools. I knew that it will take a lot of effort and heavy lifting to get everything from Dundee to London, set everything up and haul it back to Dundee but first hand experience is the best teacher as usual. I do not know if I will take part in Parallax Art Fair again as it is quite an expensive endeavour but I am not ruling it out entirely as they have another show in July and one in New York as well. At the tail end of my adventure I can state with confidence that it has been a very rewarding weekend in all aspects. I always enjoy visiting London because it makes me feel so grateful that my home is Dundee. Whether I stay in Dundee is up to fate (and a lot of handwork on my part) but I wouldn’t trade the first fresh breath of Scottish air I get when I come back from this journey for anything.

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I Managed To Sell Something!

Constellation Owl


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Constellation Owl

This week has been very busy as in a few days I will be heading off to London for the Parallax Art Fair (!!). Exciting times and I still have plenty more to do. During the weekend I completed another smoke illustration of Zeus the owl. Zeus is a wee screech owl living at the Wildlife Learning Center in California. They’re not sure how he became blind and theorised that it was through an attack from a larger bird. In any case, a combination of blood clots and cataracts have now made his eyes look as if they are windows into the galactic universe. I can’t remember where it was that I first saw a picture of Zeus, but I was so smitten with his sweet face and incredible eyes that I got to work immediately.

I have to admit I did have another incentive for painting Zeus. Actually two incentives. The first was that I need to complete one more original illustration to feature at Parallax Art Fair London. I was also motivated by my own project Little Guardian which has hit a temporary creative rut. I am still sketching and researching different designs for the spirit character so this illustration is in part also a concept experiment. Since the spirit character is supernatural, it would be interesting to design it with constellation eyes that are similar to Zeus’s.

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Zeus The Owl (Wildlife Learning Center)

I’ve also been running around getting prepared for Parallax Art Fair this weekend as I’ll be leaving Thursday night. Thanks to the guys at DJCad Make I had a vinyl sticker of my name logo made and ready to go in an hour. I think it will give my exhibition space a clean, professional look and I’m pretty chuffed about it!

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Logo Vector Art For The Vinyl

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The Finished Vinyl

I had trouble finding good name card holders in store or online and rather than spend more time searching for one it occurred to me that I had plenty of MDF wood left over from when I made the Chinese Zodiac Lantern Lamp. I used Adobe Illustrator to prepare the name card holder design and the laser cut file was ready in time for my booking hour with the laser cutter machine. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working with the machines at DJCad make and the guys there are incredibly helpful and accommodating. I couldn’t complete all of my work within the first hour because I ran into other problems with the picture frames that I ordered and I had to improvise a quick solution for them. I do have a time slot with the laser cutter booked tomorrow so I’m confident everything that needs to be cut will be completed by then. The name card holders will need to be glued and painted after wards.

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Lasercut MDF Pieces For My Namecard Holders

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Incomplete Namecard Holder

The frames that I ordered for the large prints had inside mounts that were for the original size of the paper which was 483mm by 329mm. As the paper is imported from Japan their size of A3+ didn’t match UK standards which is 350mm by 320mm (in case you were wondering, yes I am putting the exact measurements on this post as a permanent way to make sure I don’t forget or lose them). So the first attempt the printer made with the original paper this morning ended in a sad crumpled print. He offered to cut the remaining paper to SRA3 size and print again. This time the prints came out perfectly but now I had a gap between the mount and the frame in the print. The best solution I could think of involved buying black mount board and using the laser cutter to cut it to size so it can fill in that gap.

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Printed Qilin Image On Washi Paper (Paper Was Crumpled By The Printer)

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First Dragon Print (Success!)

When I went back to printers at the end of the day to collect the rest of the prints I just had to try out the inner black mount that I had just cut. The part of me that wants perfection is a little bothered that the black edge at the top and bottom is thicker than the sides but I’m happy with how the entire frame looks with everything put together. The difference between the black and cream mount gave the overall look of the frame an interesting presentation so I’m not disappointed. Oh, I have not yet removed the safety cover for the frame yet which is why it is still tinted blue in the image. In summation, I was productive today!

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Framed Qilin Painting

Little Guardian (Concept Illustration)

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Spirit Character Concept Illustration (Qilin Version)

I revisited my personal project this week with two concept illustration of the spirit character. Both concepts are based on Chinese mythological creatures; a Qilin and Long (Chinese dragon). Chinese legendary beasts are described to be chimeric and they take on different physical attributes from different animals such as deer, carp, tiger or fish. Both Dragon and Qilin are symbols of benevolence, prosperity and luck, but they also represent judgement and righteous behaviour. The spirit character in my project is presented by its physical form (it house statue) and it’s immaterial form that better represents its personal character which is innocent and pure. The statue the spirit lives in by contrast should visually represent the spirit’s duty and resembles a fierce protective statue that Oriental cultures used to place in their homes to guard them from harm. I was toying with the idea of making each design a complete opposite in appearance. The gentler, immaterial aspect of the spirit manifests itself as a peaceful looking Qilin while its physical housing is presented as a powerful and strong Dragon. But now that I have completed a concept illustration of each creature…. I don’t think it would work. Back to the drawing board.

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Spirit Character Concept Illustration (Dragon Version)