Thursday, 17 October 2013

Speed drawing, is there a perfect method?

I have been exploring various methods recently of producing speed art. I suppose the outcome of speed art should be the best looking outcome in the least space of time.

The images above are blind contour (top row) and speed sketches bottom row. They are a quick visual storyboard of Leicester market, Quick minute sketches. Reference used real life.

more blind contour/speed sketches of Leicester city centre

 This is a speed sketch in a thicker black pen of my dream wedding dress. Notice  how I have quickly used line to show a sense of form in the image. 10 minutes. Reference used various photographic images.


This is a gestural line drawing from life. Time taken about 7 minutes. A quick wash was added to show lighting. Reference used:- Life model.



I really like the above, sketches, ink pen on watercolour paper really gives a nice drag to your sketches. I love the  feel of a pen or pencil on paper. Reference used:- books.

This ink drawing was done in life drawing ages ago but it deserves a place here. It was 5 minutes of confidence. and that was it.  I used big confident marks. One of my favourite pieces of art I have ever produced. Also one of the quickest.


Finally, digital speed painting, I was trying to develop a new "quick" painting technique and I do like the outcome. Time taken 30 minutes, Reference used: books

Honestly I think there are many methods of speed sketching. It depends what kind of artist you want to be and what is an appropriate style. I really want to explore different methods. I do not think I can do that on this course though. Nor do I think it is appropriate for game art

Sketching on the straight and narrow.

Sketching on the straight and narrow.

I thought it was time to reflect over the past few weeks and talk about some of the work I have done and the progress I have made.
I have not uploaded every single piece because I find that trying to scan and present my artwork takes longer than doing a final piece. Time is precious.

 We were studying colour theory this week. as with any project though I find it is essential to capture the essence of a particular place.
I chose mount St Bernard's Abbey.

I have tried a different approach to drawing this year and have attempted straight lines.
That may sound like a ridiculous thing to say but before I was using a technique called feathering.
Personally I think feathering gives drawing character but our new visual design teacher has informed us that if an artist uses this technique it looks like they don't know what there doing.
So I followed his direction. Reluctantly at first but with good results.

I have done a few sketches of parts of a lobster as an example of the "FEATHERING" technique.
The purpose of this was really to compare my new sketches to these.
 The wannabe game artist in me wants to do things right. The rebel illustrator in me wants to continue feathering and drawing like this and hopes the wannabe game artist will listen.

The visual storyboard

 I think that a visual storyboard is a great way to capture the essence of an environment as I have
previously stated.
There are many ways an artist can use mark making to do this. Quick lines to show the
outline of an object in a scene a bit like a gestural drawing where the viewers eye can fill in the detail.
These are the first sketches I did that day and honestly I think they are lacking in many ways.
The values in the ink sketches are all over the place. I didn't really know a lot about value till after I did these sketches.

The second visual storyboard I produced has improved on the last. My values are more accurate and my line looks better.

As far as perspective goes I have learnt that sketches of uphill paths should be avoided like the plague and that it is up to me as an artist to put down on paper my own interpretation of the environment. Sometimes that means using a bit of artistic license and including things that maybe are not there and getting rid of some things that are there.

This is my favourite page of sketches I think they are more atmospheric in many ways and I believe that is directly related to my choice of line thickness and value.

I have experimented with different mark making techniques for the foliage and I think it has worked quite well in areas.
I have been taught new ways of rendering tree bark this week after some criticism from one of my lecturers. I look forward to applying it to my next project. I will have a go anyway you cant say fairer than that can you?

These sketches were mainly experimenting with different compositions of the same scene.

I really like the majority of them for the composition I have chosen.

I'm not happy with the archway leading up the
stairs sketch. The lighting is inaccurate and it doesn't capture what I wanted to capture which was atmosphere.
I wish I 'd have drawn more of the archway because in real life it looked amazing.

All in good time though Victoria. Keep going and one day you may be able to capture everything you see.

I have done other sketches in different styles this day but I think that's enough for this post.
 These sketches only capture the atmosphere in most cases and in there self were not enough.
 I went on to do some colour sketches to help with the progression to a final piece.

I think my main goal in the future will be to capture as much information as I can in a single image.

So all in all I did get quite a lot out of this new technique which is the most important thing and the outcome was fairly successful.
I made loads of mistakes which drive me mad, but I know that's how you learn and I am constantly reminded that is how you learn.  I would give myself 6 out of 10. Good but needs work.

Taking a wonder away from game art.

I'll be honest I have been having some doubts for a long time on whether or not I am going in the right direction.

Last weekend I was deciding whether or not I wanted to withdraw from the course and from education completely. I seriously doubted that I would be able to cope. The thought of a peaceful life were dusting the house would be my biggest concern.

It has taken me 2 weeks to get into the flow of things at uni.

I have gotten into the flow now and I will probably be ok as long as I keep my stress levels down. I will do what I can and I believe it is not the end of the world if things don't get done.

I took a little wonder into the queens building to check out what they were doing in graphic design and illustration. That building is huge! You could get lost in there.

I was brave though. Brave enough to a least consider my options. For that reason I am proud of myself.

There is absolutely no reason why I cannot have other interests outside of game art design. Illustration is something I do enjoy doing but I need to give it some more thought.

When deciding on what I wanted to study at university I considered 3 things:-
Game art

The reason I signed up for this particular course was because I wanted to do something different and learn skills.

I have learnt so much that will help me to improve in a few short weeks here.

I think Game art design has given me knowledge that I can take with me elsewhere.

Some inspirational song lyrics..

"You see the world in black and white,

No colour or line.

You think you'll never get it right

but your wrong, you might"

Concept art vs illustration

Curiosity did get the better of me this week and I took a little wonder into the queens building were illustration lives to see exactly what they do there, more on the outcome of that later in this blog.

I have been doing some research of late on concept art and illustration. A lot of people who hope to become concept artists go and study illustration. I was curious to find out exactly how the two differ.

Concept art VS Illustration

I think it would be fair to say that most people have a warped view of exactly what concept art is.

When I say concept art what is the first thing you think of? epic images with awesome composition and lighting. Hang on a minute that's not concept art... there is nothing epic or final about concept art.
At least the way I see it there shouldn't be.

When we think of concept art in this way we are probably thinking of video game promo art.

Artwork that has been made to promote lets say a video game is very final just like illustration

because the two have a similar function.

So what is the difference between concept art and illustration?

In lamens terms....

An illustration is final, concept art is part of a process.

The answer in metaphorical terms.....

Concept art is the plain Jane who is getting ready for a night on the town, doing her hair and makeup , deciding what to wear...etc...etc

Illustration is the sexy woman who steps into the nightclub turning heads.

As with the plain Jane the final audience is never going to see the woman getting ready they will only see the outcome of the process involved whilst getting ready.

The final audience is never going to see a piece of concept art. They are only going to see the result of the communication between the concept artist and the development team. The final outcome. The game. The difference between Concept art and illustration is in intent. What's it for? and more importantly who is it for?

The audience.
The audience for a piece of concept art will be the development team that will use it as an aid to finalise there ideas leading to a final outcome or your boss that will tell you what needs changing.

The audience for an illustration, will see the final outcome.

Does concept art need to look attractive? No it's just a concept.

Does illustration need to look attractive? Yes

What do employers want?

During my research I have read that some employers don't even know what concept art is.

Its a good thing to think about that if it is the case that some employers are not even sure about what concept art is then surely as an artist you should be prepared to do more give that little bit extra isn't that what they like to see?

Who does the video game promo art? or the art they want to show off? I'd say from talking to actual concept artists that it is probably the concept artist.

So is it better to be a jack of all trades or a master of one? A master of many? that would be ideal.

So illustrator or concept artist? I'd say both.

Final words

I think this post was only the tip of the iceberg as far as the subject is concerned. I will investigate further. Honestly Id rather be the sexy woman than the plain Jane.

Links and references

Personal reflection.-The past.

I have been reflecting recently on the work I have produced for this course in the past, also on the criticism I have received. The reason I feel this is relevant now is because I have had a chance to step back and see things for what they are in actual reality and not from my own warped and sometimes narcissistic perception.

The fact is that everyone likes praise, it makes you feel good about yourself and the things you do, but praise is something you have to earn. Praise can’t be expected when one achieves little or nothing, It is not something you are entitled to, you need to do something worthy in order to receive it.

The way we are taught these days implies that everyone is special and unique, everyone’s a winner. It leads you into a false way of thinking. A way of thinking that creates the illusion that you are special and unique and that the world, society or some greater force owes you something.

Step back and see things for what they truly are, the world, society or some greater force has no debt with you. There are things for the taking though and you have to be prepared to go out and get those things, work for them they will not be handed to you on a silver platter.

That leads me back to my reflection of my own academic achievement over the last several years. When I was a naïve first year I thought the marking was hawk-like and that I deserved better than what I had achieved, after all I felt I understood what I was doing. Right now I realize that the marks I received were the marks I deserved and were a direct result of the understanding of the subject that I demonstrated in my work. Most importantly I realized that the marking was fair and accurate.

Knowing that is a great thing because now I can see that if I want to get a certain grade I need to not only be able to understand but to show my understanding creatively. I need to demonstrate it in my work. Just knowing is not enough.

Looking back I see what I could have done and what I didn’t do, I have gone over the work again with much greater results. The most important thing is that I realize what I need to do in the future and feel more than a little dumb that I wasn’t able to do this earlier.

I want to earn respect as an artist; I want people to come to me to ask for help with things. I want to be able to talk about things, share my experience and knowledge, and earn friendships and valuable contacts.

The time to do is now! there is too much time to just let it go to waste. I have learned that sometimes you need to stop to rejuvenate and find inspiration. The level I need to be at and the things I want to achieve are not even close to what I am doing now but every day I spend working on it, the things I want to achieve get closer and closer.

They are still however very far away, it’s an uphill slog, but I know in the end every step towards that goal will all be well worth it.

In truth reality is a bitch, life however, doesn’t have to be. I am not owed anything by anyone, I do however owe it to myself to be realistic and push myself when I need to be pushed and stop when I need to stop. Balance is the key in theory and in reality.

Remember me?

As with any new start a little trip into the world of the author is needed, Its more for my readers benefit than mine.

Rest assured though, You will be reading the balanced thoughts of a sane aspiring artist not a nut job with a Google account.

Feel slightly more comfortable now?, Well I guess that backfired.

Here's a few Q and A's

What is your name?
Victoria Kate Cichocki (pronounced Chick - hod - ski) People tend to call me Vic, I prefer Victoria as Vic is a blokes name and I would very much like to preserve my femininity.

Do people often mispronounce my name?


Which is understandable because it is a difficult name to pronounce.

It comes from Poland where my grandfather is from, the other side of my family comes from wales hence the dark eyes and hair (I think) Generally I wouldn't associate Welsh folk with fair hair and freckled faces.

How old are you?
I am and will be until the 29th of December 2013 (my next birthday*) a whopping 30 years old! Do I feel any different than when I was 29 years old? No.

Do I ever lie about my age? No, I don't need to I look fab for 30.

Where are you from?
I was born in Leicester but I have spent the majority of my life moving back and forth from Leicestershire and Lancashire.

I left home when I was seventeen determined to stand on my own two feet. I actually met my first love in Lancashire. Are we still together? No.

What is your educational background?
A level art, Gnvq art and design, btec nat dip performance arts, btec nat dip interactive media. Year one game art design. other random qualifications...

What else have you done since you left school?
Loads! Tried and failed at being a freelance illustrator/graphic designer. It really isn't that glamorous!

Why? Because there is only one Neville Brody!

Its not like the fancy stuff you see at degree shows, jobs are usually really boring like colour coding a timetable.

Any advice?
Yes, be careful who you take advice from!

I had someone tell me that you DE saturate photographs for specular maps in year one, Which is codswallop.

Looking forward to the future?


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Day 1 Groundhog day

Every single person will come to a point where there first attempt at something doesn’t work and they have to start over. I'm sure you’ve seen the movie groundhog day. In the end Bill Murray uses the fact that he relives every day to his advantage.

That seems like an excellent way to roll. Mitch did mention today that making mistakes is vital for learning and I cannot agree more. I feel prepared for when things might go wrong and experience has taught me that I need to get things wrong in order to get things right.

I am glad I have another chance and am very grateful for everyone that has helped me.

Fortunately the groundhog day feeling only lasted about 5 seconds as everything is brand new and shiny.

New timetable.

I like the fact that all lectures are in a row with no days in-between. We have the whole weekend for self-directed study. This will help so much with my self organization.

New digital painting sessions.

I think the new visual design with its extra digital painting sessions is a very good addition to the course and I believe it will benefit us all. I am an advocate of self-teaching but I do like to be pushed in a different direction and be taught by someone else every once in a while. Its a nice balanced way of learning.

I even asked for extra homework and it was given to me. I could quite happily just go home and paint anything but I wanted a brief to stick to for now just to build myself up again.

20 greyscale renders of alien environments for next week. I plan on starting directly after this post.

New building

It definitely has better feng shui. But anything would be better than that rotting corpse of a building we were in last year. The atmosphere is better too. It smells nice. All of these things make me more relaxed about being here.

New cohort.

Everyone seems friendly enough. I have not really had a chance to chat with them yet. There is plenty of time for that though.