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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.

11 January 2013

Meeting with Ryan

Today I had a meeting with Ryan. With the latest posts about Stalker and WarZ I was afraid I was going a little bit off track. However after the meeting it was all sorted out and there is a clear plan in my head of where to go with this.

His pointers were to use more reference, to show where my ideas are coming from and to show what value this piece or that has, for my project or in general.

Acting on his direction I gathered some more reference images I will print out and stick into the sketchbook.

I also spent the last three days solidifying the idea and creating an art bible.

The story I am going to adapt is the story of Ivan, the Witch and the Sun's sister. This is a story about the travels of a young prince and his revenge. I will change things a little bit to make it more interesting and relevant to a modern audience. I also decided that this is going to be a video game.

Thus I "froze" these details, so I am not tempted to come back and tinker with them anymore. This will mean that I am concentrating more on the production.

I am currently in the process of compiling an art bible, which will have guidance for look and feel of the game as well as moodboards and a list of characters, props and environments that are needed. It is a long (9 pages!) document filled with information an artist would find useful. This is a first art/style guide I've done so I feel a little bit like the proverbial dog that has no idea what it's doing. The basic elements are all there: moodboards and sample concept art.

Here is the concept painting I created for this.

It isn't the most successful painting that I've ever done but it was a quick, 3-4 hour, job to convey the idea. I also cheated a little bit and used a tree custom brush to add noise to the background. The values are sometimes muddy and the colour is a little bit too monochromatic for my liking. I guess more planning is needed to make an image a success. The empty space on the right is not helping as well as the monochromatic colours. The image overall seems static and uninteresting. On the other hand the perspective is correct, the composition is solid and the lighting onditions are dealt with fairly well. Not my best, but also far from the worst.

Here are some comments I recieved online in this thread.

I think you're just getting ahead of yourself a little bit, rushing to add finishing elements when you should be focusing more on the structure of the image. For example, you've added some stampy trees in the background which are a detail that could be saved for later after you've nailed the overall value hierarchy and color scheme. The foreground and background are too similar - you need to push the background back and emphasize your subject. Similarly, you're adding highlights on the horse's tack and a pattern on the red blanket while you still have a lot of rough anatomy on both the horse and rider. Slow down and focus on what's important at this stage in the process

That is true, I did rush quite a lot. This happens when there is no planning to an image. As mentioned before, good planning results in a good picture. Bad planning results in a rushed, and generally bad painting.

Another small detail that will help you is to take the browband of the bridle and snug it up just underneath the ear. That is where the browband goes, always. Round out the eye and straighten the roman profile of the skull/nose a bit and you have a much more believable picture. It's nice that your rider is in the right place on the horse's back; I usually see people put them way too far back. You could, however, bring the girth a bit more forward as in the photo and define some semblance of a saddle instead of just a blanket on the horse's back. Overall, I think this is better than most horse drawings I've seen from people who do not deal with them on a daily basis

Another excellent comment here, pointing out some of the more practical ways to improve the painting. I will be dealing with horses a great deal over the next few months, so these practical tips are extremely valuable to me.

do more thumbnails and gather more reference before starting.
the composition is awkward, the proportions of man and horse wrong. you should gather 20 pictures of horses galloping and jumping, and do sketchy studies, before commiting to one in your image. etc. same for people riding. same for forest environments in autumn. etc

A long way of saying, "go draw more". It's hard not to agree with this comment. Perhaps one of the first things I should do when I get back to Scotland is to reword this image.

Hope this evaluation is useful to anyone who is reading.