Happy new years to everyone!
I wanted to "start off" the new year with a substantial update to my website. It's been quite a long time since I last uploaded a finished image, so I've uploaded 12 new pieces that I've been working on for the past two months along with all the speedpaintings I've posted here on my blog.
The 12 new pieces are part of a package I wanted to create. What I mean by "package" is I wanted to basically show my development cycle for concept art and illustrations. This includes character and creature creation, mood paintings, environment studies, orthographs/turnarounds, and the final illustration. Doing this also served as a basis/template for the stories I intend to develop. I think it's important for artists to be consistent with their work and to be able to know what steps should be taken in order to enforce that level of consistency. I'm sure there might be a few minor inconsistencies found within these pieces, but what I wanted to make clear was that the characters and the setting were recognizable throughout.
Working on the package also allowed me the opportunity to try doing some fantasy work. I think that's one genre that I wish I was more active in, and I'm certainly glad I did all these pieces. Especially with the immense amount of inspiration I've been exposing myself to recently. My mind has recently been flooded with fantasy exposure: the Lord of the Rings trilogy was on during the Thanksgiving weekend, I picked up Hellboy 2 on Blu-Ray (along with the artbook), watching the trailers for Diablo 3, WoW: Wrath of the Lich King, and Final Fnatasy XIII, playing through God of War 2 in anticipation for the God of War 3 gameplay trailer, and just seeing all the fantasy-ish work people have been posting on art forums lately. It's been a lot of fun!
Well, here's a bit of a breakdown as far as my inspirations for this package were. It's a bit of a read, but I hope it'll be somewhat entertaining to read.
Playing God of War 2 was a real lesson/treat for me. Just the level of dynamism and intensity in Kratos' attacks and fatalities really was a joy to watch. I had seen gameplay footage of it before, but I guess actually playing it brought it to another level for me. I checked out Charlie Wen's (the lead concept artist on God of War 2) blog and I wasn't too surprised to find that his work was just as dynamic and beautiful as the game. So having seen all that, I really tried to push the dynamic in my main illustration for the package. I wanted to also explore a different color palette. I think a lot of people are too familiar with my over-saturated colors. I don't think anything's wrong with that, but I wanted to try creating something that had a different mood. So I set out to do something a bit monochromatic and de-saturated.
Watching through Blizzard's cutscenes is something artists just love to do (myself included, of course). They really know how to create a short, but entertaining movie that pushes, supports and emphasizes the epic-ness of their games. What I really enjoyed about their recent Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 and Wrath of the Lich King cutscenes were that they all had a lot of shots with an excellent sense of atmosphere and mood. I think things like dust, rays of light, depth of field, and motion blur really helped and careful lighting really helps sell the atmosphere and mood.
I think overall, I was greatly inspired by Blizzard's designs for their Diablo and Warcraft franchises and also the design work from Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy 2. God of War and the Lord of the Rings movies served as inspiration, too, but I think I spent more time looking back at the others as far as my designs went. For the Demonork creature, I wanted to create something that was massive, muscular, and savage. A creature that didn't need armor and sure as hell didn't care for it. Funny enough, I found Wink from Hellboy 2 to be the perfect inspiration for the Demonork. He pretty much had the same characteristics I was looking for. As for the Elf Warrior, I wanted a character that was agile, intimidating, lean, and brutal. Sadly, the elf warrior was built off the idea of a typical elf, but I wanted this elf to be more than just an archer or a being that just relied on magic. I think the Elf Prince character from Hellboy 2 was a pretty close match. As with my other designs, my intention wasn't to rip off the character, but to look at what made them such good designs and study those elements.
One thing I did exclude was designs for the weapons. They're sort of ambiguous at the moment. But I think the thing that really bugged me about this whole thing was that I couldn't finish it as quickly as I had hoped. All the images were worked on outside of work and right when I started working on it, we were beginning a two-month period of crunch mode at work. So I'd end up spending up to 80 hours at work a week. Regardless, I am very much looking forward to using this sort of template for my stories, but before I get to that, I do want to be able to complement this Fantasy-centric package. So the next thing I'll be moving onto will be sci-fi-based. I hope you're just as excited to see how that comes out as I am!
Thanks to those of you who took the time to give me some input on some of these pieces. I picked up a lot of knowledge along the way thanks to you guys.
Jaime Jones, Kevin Dalton, Mitchell Mohrhauser, Julia, Tom Scholes, Jon McCoy, Dan Blomberg, Sunder, Stephen Hetrick and Ed Tadem.