Saturday, July 22, 2017

The once lush jungle of doodles is now a parched desert

Here are some doodles and illustrations since my last art post. Not all finished, but I figured I'd include some abandoned pieces and whatnot to compensate for the fact that I haven't been drawing nearly as much as I should.

Also, in the whole damn year, I managed to do just one new comic for drawabox.


Man, I am pooped. The last two months have been rough in a variety of ways, all of them work related. Around mid-May, I had a new project dropped in my lap, which required me to fill a role that was well outside of both my comfort zone, and my area of expertise. For context's sake, I was hired on as a concept artist a few years back, although I've filled a variety of roles for the benefit of the company itself. That's really how small studios work, people wear a lot of different hats when they can. So, I've done a lot of programming (due to my previous employment in that field), GUI design, puzzle design, web development, level design, etc.

I wouldn't say I was overwhelmingly pleased to do these things, but I was certainly willing. Illustration and concept design for games is of course what I wanted to focus on, but things don't always go the way you want. On the other hand, I love the people I work for and with, so I was willing to tough it out.

This time, things were definitely more contentious. We took a contract to create a movie, intended for a 360 degree dome theatre venue. The movie, which was to be at least 15 minutes in length, was to be created within Unity (a game engine I am quite familiar with). All that's well and good, but the task that fell to me was to build out the scenes (combining the models we have, using fog, particle systems, etc. to create a believable atmosphere, and so on) and to choreograph the animation. I say choreograph because I wasn't actually animating the rigs myself, but rather establishing the paths things followed, and determining which animations should play where and how. There's definitely a lot of overlap in what I did and actual 3D animation.

Let me tell you - I loathe animation. The beauty of illustration is that you're set within a frame, and you capture a single instant in time. You don't have to worry about how things get to a specific location, or what they're going to look like in the next or previous moment. You don't have to worry about things outside of this one slice of space and time. It can be quite difficult to tell a story within a single shot, but that's a challenge I've always loved to tackle.

The challenges introduced in having to deal with here were a nightmare, especially for the first month. Over time I started to get used to how things worked, and other members of the team developed some interesting tools that allowed us to rely more on procedural animations which freed me up in a lot of ways (although they introduced their own issues). Overall, things got better, but the underlying fact that I should not have been filling that role served as a continual weight on my shoulders. The unfortunate truth was, of course, that I was still the most appropriate person for the task on the team.

So, we compensated for my shortcomings with overtime. Oh, so much overtime.

We ramped up slow. The first few weeks, I was doing a couple of late nights, totaling to 8-12 extra hours per week. Not bad. Then a Sunday. Then a whole work-week of late nights. And finally, my last "week" of work consisted of 26 consecutive days, over which I worked about 280 hours. Overall, the project demanded about 200 hours of overtime, over the course of a month and a half.

Thankfully, that's done now. The result's not too shabby either, and people seem to have a lot of good things to say about it. Sadly the dome theatre itself doesn't do justice to all of our hard work, as despite our best colour-correction efforts, there's only so much you can do to combat the light that leaks in on a sunny day to wash out your colours, and the generally meh-quality projectors.

Despite that, I certainly impressed myself. I don't ever want to do anything like this again, but I'm proud to have stuck through it. We should be getting some well deserved time off soon, but we still have another small project to polish off for that same dome theatre. At least I've got my weekends back now.

Here's a trailer for the show (though it was made from older footage, while we were still scrambling to iron out a lot of animation kinks. A Whale Story: Surviving Against the Odds

Saturday, June 18, 2016


This week's been rough, and I fear that's far from over. I can't speak much about why it was rough exactly, but I can say that the next couple months are very uncertain for me. At least I can take solace that in general, I'm in a good enough position to weather any storm. The stress is a killer, though.

Anyway, here's what I've painted in the last little while. They're primarily reddit gets drawn stuff, but there was one illustration in there (that didn't really turn out as well as I'd hoped - serves me right for diving right in, rather than doing my due diligence in thumbnailing and general preparation).

I also drew another comic for

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

February 2015 - May 2016, Big Update Dump

It's been a ridiculously long time since I last posted here. More than a year. And while it's been an eventful year, I haven't really done that much art-wise. I've done a handful of paintings, I've gotten into doing RedditGetsDrawn portraits, and I've done some doodles, but overall my time has been devoured by /r/ArtFundamentals, which since the time of my last post has evolved into a proper website, It eats up a lot of my time, but I've been able to monetize it reasonably well, with both ad revenue and a patreon campaign.

Before I get into all of it, I'm gonna warn you - this is a really, REALLY long post and if you want to get to the art, jump all the way to the end.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Haaappy New Year, folks.

My past month's been pretty good. Moved to Halifax to work with a great team of people at Silverback Games. Generally it's not like you're going to speak ill of your coworkers in a public forum, but these people really are fantastic to work with, my bosses included.

Aside from that, the subreddit I started back in mid-August has really taken off. /r/ArtFundamentals now has just shy of 3000 subscribers (we should clear that mark by early next week, if not sooner), and I've been receiving five to ten homework submissions for critique daily. It's a hell of a lot of work to keep up with, especially while finding my way around a new job, but the feeling I get from seeing so many people improve from my suggestions, and put so much of their own effort into completing these exercises is without equal. I only worry that its growth is not sustainable in the long-term.

I'm contemplating different ways to approach changing its structure. Most of my options involve building a dedicated website for it, and if I do that, I'm inclined to take it all the way - pay proper designers, take the time to properly develop and test it, and also implement a business model that at the very least breaks even, and doesn't become a drain on my own bank account. I love teaching, but perhaps not so much that I'd go into the red over it. That said, I have no intention of ever charging for the lessons that I write, so I'd likely attempt to monetize the core service I've been offering - my (supposedly insightful) critiques.