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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

17 January 2013

Digital Sketchbook

Heads up, this is going to be a very, very long post. The reason is that I'm about two and a half thousand miles away from the university and hence will have to submit everything digitally. This means I have to scan my entire sketchbook and post it here.

This sketchbook is from the very start of the year, and a lot of ideas were considered. So some of it might have little relevance to the final project, but it is concept development and pre-production never the less. It'll all be annotated anyway, so sit back, get yourself a cup of tea, and let's go.




The idea was initially to create an interactive drawing manual. A bit like the Young Lady's Primer from the Diamon Age. With fun and interesting missions that teach kids how to draw and be creative through a set of mission that get gradually more complex and difficult. Starting from basics and going into perspective and textures and such.





The child would eventually polish his skills up so much to defeat the X number of demons of Aesthetics.
Quite a lot of work was done on that, but then the idea was discarded due to time constraint and limited scope for research. In hind sight I think it would've been an adequately complex project but let's continue.

I then went to Morocco and was so inspired by the richness of architecture, textures, patterns and fashion that I a project started to form in my head. Something to do with cultural context and relevance in computer games and film. Here are some sketches.






These sketches range from interior to detail to exterior sketches. I was just trying to soak in the fantastic atmosphere of the place. Then I started thinking how this sense of place is affecting people who watch movies or play games. How this authenticity help immersion and general enjoyment.

I got quite absessed with abstract landscapes and jungles. Some sketches are for Make Something Unreal Live 2013 project where the setting was a bland landscape with no cultural context or character.







While I conducted my initial inquiry into various cultures I stumbled across illustrations of Ivan Bilibin, a famous Russian illustrator who drew inspiration from the Slavic folklore. I did some digging around and realised that Slavic folklore is not a widely explored topic in contemporary video games and film. So I started working more towards that art direction.

Comparison of various patterns and styles from different cultures.


Russian hunter. Based on the stereotypical village man image. Beards were popular throughout the ages in Russia.

A nordic church study: Original

A re-design of the Russian hunter in a different setting. Turned out to be more Swiss than anything, due to the slanted beret.

A more Scottish looking version with a bastard sword, fur cape and a kilt.



A Russian hunter in a post apocalyptic setting based on Russian red army uniform. Reference

I worked hard on giving more character to the drawings I'm making. Things like pupils usually help, for example. I gave some animals a shot. Giving character to animals is a difficult task because, well, they are not human.

Russian bear, a confused animal.

Derpy giraffe.

More experimentation followed with various things and topics. This example shows a design of a futuristic building that has elements of Slavic wooden aesthetic.

Initial silhuettes, from reference: traditional Russian wooden churches and Stalinist architecture


I deviated slightly from the final image. Having looked at more works of Jon Hodgson I realised that what creates appeal in a lot of concept art are the characters. So I tried making something with that.



With this painting I identified two major holes in my skill. Female faces and detailing. Yes, she does look like a tranny, and no, I didn't mean it to be that way. Also detailing, working at an image until it looks good.

The slavic influences are obviously there but I somehow failed to design a futuristic setting. More of a weird mix of steam punk and Kievan Rus.

Well, this is about ready to be submitted.

Peace.