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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.

22 December 2013

Cosmic Egg Project

This is a breakdown of the Cosmic Egg commission I did for Rhakeem Garner on DreamUp.

It was a very interesting project from the very beginning mainly due to the fact that the brief was an abstract idea that the client wanted to turn into reality. There wasn't a starting point, just a collection of images that closely resembled what he had in mind. I started with a page of mindless doodles, thumbnails and sometimes completely unrelated sketches. This page unfortunately got lost somewhere in my room. The gist of it was that I was exploring shapes and trying to figure out a way to fit all 10 layers onto a page in an aesthetically pleasing way. During this time I also snooped around the internet for images that inspire me. By a complete accident I stumbled upon polymer journal covers and got inspired by the abstract way shapes were laid out on the page. Here is an example I showed to the client:

I thought that it looked absolutely perfect for what we wanted to do with the design. It was just abstract enough and just interesting enough. Upon this finding I did 2 sketches.

We went with the one on the right in the end because it resembled that journal cover a bit more. The challenge was to make it AWESOME though.

This is a pretty good effort, but we realised that it looks a bit too much like a handicraft journal cover. The client wanted to go a bit more sci-fi, a bit more sleek and futuristic looking. So I tried that.

With the client's permission I went ahead to create the final black and white version. I realised obviously that the image above is way too boring. After a lot of coffee, cigarettes and internet research I finally had something that I felt I could show the client. I had it all in it, the different layers represented by different minerals, the tree of life in the middle and so on.

The next bit was a pain in the ass. The problem was now adding interesting elements like circuitry and energy vents. I had no idea how to approach the problem, because the egg looked so smooth and finished that adding anything would ruin it. I became too precious about my work and was afraid to do anything to ruin it - a classic mistake. So at one point I decided, fuck it, I'm going to experiment with 3D to add texture and detail to the image, and to make the circuitry follow the curvature of the egg.

I never said it was a good idea. But it got me to think outside the box and not be so precious about my work. In the end I just used a brush and tried to make it as tidy as possible.

I got rid of colour because with the textures there it looked like I blatantly just dropped textures into shapes, which is exactly what I did but you can't let people know that! In any case, what an improvement from the previous couple of sketches!

Introducing colour was surprisingly easy. I expected that I'll have to re-paint everything from scratch but in the end I got away with some overlay layers and textures set to soft light. The client was happy, I got paid and therefore I'm happy.

I will remember this project for a long time. It taught me to get out of my comfort zone and experiment with different approaches when something doesn't work. I'm also making the original PSD available so people can have a look at what's inside this image.