Sunday, 4 November 2018

Art Dump - Rock Studies Continued

Continuing with the rock studies, I'm working from a ref board full of some interesting rock formations gathered from Pinterest and marking each one off as I draw.

Feels really good working this way as the satisfaction of having another image ticked off the board really pushes me into the next drawing. One more page of rocks should do it, and then I will move onto tree roots!

I'm probably going to write a list down of further studies I want to do past the subject matter Feng Zhu mentioned, as I want to paint some crystals and mushrooms and other cool things later on but in colour, and I think that would be a good continuation of this.

Until next time! :)


Art Dump - Rock Studies

Started some rock studies after watching this video by Feng Zhu: 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

James Broderick Design - Test Stream! Guiding Sprites Optimization

Just doing a little test stream showing off some Guiding Sprites optimization... after I have fixed a load of blueprints that have broken due to migrating the project to 4.19

Click the video below to view the stream. :)

Monday, 7 May 2018

Old UE4 Grid-Based Tile Movement Project Download!


Over the last couple of years I have got a lot of emails and comments asking about how I did my top down grid movement in this video:

Just to save some of the questions I thought it would be a good idea to upload the old project to the site so people can break it apart and see how it functions. I should warn you, this code is trash in this current form as it is really old and I made this back when I was figuring out how to do all of this scripting stuff properly. There are probably a million better ways to do this! It should make for good learning though.

Please, if you have any questions about the project still or want to show off how you have used it, email me. I would like to hear from you, and if you have made anything interesting using something you have learnt from this then I would like to see it.

Some time in the future I may come back to this demo, and make a proper tutorial on how to create it (in a way that isn't stupid), subscribe to my Youtube channel so you can see my new tutorials when they come out. (Hopefully should be around late summer time if everything goes well!)

Download Project Here

Just as an additional note about the contents of the project:

  • A lot of this code is duplicated, disconnected and just generally messy. Old unused code should be deleted.
  • A lot of the code is in weird disjointed places, some of the Pawn and Controller script is mixed up and is in the wrong place, like the actual movement script being on the Controller, this should probably be implemented onto the pawn. The controller should mainly be responsible for handling the input.
  • A lot of the events I have set up could and should probably be set up as functions instead.
  • There is quite a bit of duplicate code, using the functions like I've mentioned above could help cut some of that out.
  • Basically, be smart in what you take from this code, use knowledge gained from other sources to improve it and make it better.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Inspiration - Hang Sơn Đoòng - THE LARGEST CAVE ON EARTH

I love looking at places like this, would very much like to visit one day. The concept of super-giant caves fascinates me and is one of the major inspirations behind one of my ongoing personal projects, this video demonstrates just how wonderful a place like this can be.

Hang Sơn Đoòng - THE LARGEST CAVE ON EARTH from Georgy Tarasov on Vimeo.
Short Movie about Incredible journey through Son Doong — largest cave on Earth.

For all questions and proposals -

More info —

Camera: Sony a7s2 and mavic
Drone: DJI Mavic

At over 5km long, with sections reaching up to 200m tall and 150m wide, Hang Son Doong is large enough to house an entire New York City block, complete with 40 story skyscrapers. With a total measured volume of 38.5 million cubic metres, this comfortably surpasses Deer Cave in Malaysia, which was considered to be the previous record holder. Stalagmites up to 80m high have also been surveyed, the tallest ever encountered.

Less people have seen the inside of Hang Son Doong than have stood on the summit of Mount Everest.

Hovard Shoe - Song of the Lonely Mountain

DIRECTOR — Georgy Tarasov
VFX ARTIST — Sergey Mykhailov
VOICEOVER — Ernest Rudyak
SOUND EDITOR — Nikita Bochkov
MOTION DESIGNER — Alexey Fedorov


Andrew Ilitchev
Artem Yunusov
Ernest Rudyak
Dmitry Dyldin

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Added Resource Links to sidebar


Been making a couple of small changes to the website, mainly some minor edits to the about page... but also I have added a list of links to Game Development, Traditional Art and CG Art Resources on the right sidebar.

Have a look through! Some are pretty well known, others less so... all of them can be pretty useful for artists/developers of any skill level.


I_DO_TRI Studio Website, Twitter and Official Discord Links and new portfolio website link

If you have been following my stuff for a while you may have noticed that I have been trying to kickstart an Indie Games Studio with my friend Amber Jamieson. We are currently in the midst of planning things for it (we have something lined up for later in the year) Anyways, we have an official site, community discord and a twitter page that was created for our previous demo projects. I have linked them too under 'Official Sites' in the sidebar, but here are the links below for you, feel free to join the discord and say hi!

Also I have updated my portfolio link in the sidebar... for some reason I hadn't changed it to the new portfolio site:

I will continue to update the links in the sidebar over time to keep them relevant and interesting. Also, if you feel like it comment if you have any suggestions about anything else I could add!

See you next time,
James. :)

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Art Dump - Gouache Life Drawings + Plein Air

Just a collection of Gouache Paintings done over the last few weeks, in order of painting. The first couple are from Life Drawing and the last one I did a few days ago when the we had our first bit of sun all year. 

Painting done at the bottom of my street. I really want to do a lot more of these! I have a little Moleskine book I want to fill up. :)


Rusty Springs progress! - Environment Art Process

Hi again!

I've been busy tinkering away on the springs environment inside Unreal Engine. I have some other paintings from Life Drawing too and some other random things but I will cover all of those in another post. :)

For the environment, progress has been steady. I can only really work on it on certain days during the week but I'm gradually figuring out how I'm actually going to construct it.

Setting up the scene

The last update I provided was a basic introduction to the concept for the scene, I have since fleshed out the design, working specifically on developing the mood of the overall scene. For this I created a 3d blockout (greybox, whitebox, blockmesh, whatever you want to call it) which I then painted over the top of in Photoshop.

Blockout of the scene, created some simple placeholder meshes just to establish all the key forms. 

As you can see above I also got distracted and created some basic water/waterfall shaders... I really like making water materials ok!  It helped anyway, since I would have a good idea where the water in the scene would be and how it would react to light.

I also added some volumetric fog. For context: in a cave with a spring (and lots of water) there would be a lot of moisture in the air, the volumetric fog helps to simulate this. The values of the fog had to be tweaked quite a bit (and it's still being tweaked now) It really helped to add a lot of depth to the scene as without it the scene lacks the atmosphere an environment like this should have. 

Figuring out the best composition

From this point onwards it was a process of going back and forth between 2d and 3d, figuring out the details of the composition and what shots I wanted to focus on. 

I taken the shot above into Photoshop and analysed it's composition so I could make some changes to improve it. The main thing that the image needed was string guiding lines, which could be exaggerated with the flowing water. I also doodled in some pipes in the top right corner of the image to reinforce some of those guiding lines, making the composition even stronger.

I received a piece of feedback about the figure being a bit too hard to see, so I reduced the fog a tad and changed some of the background values to compensate for this.

After doing this however, I happened upon a more zoomed in shot of the figure which I liked quite a lot; the main reason I thought it was better was because I could create a lot more detail for a more zoomed in scene. I could focus on the more zoomed in shot and then later if I feel like it, I could expand the scope of the project to include the shot above.

Closer, zoomed in shot of the statue/figure. I prefer this a lot to start with, as I can potentially spend a lot more time adding details upon details to this smaller area.
Another shot from a slightly lower angle. Concerning the water materials: I will go into those properly in their own post at some point, when they are closer to being done, as otherwise this post might stretch on a bit too far. :)

Main 'Mood' Concept

Before actually moving onto painting over the shot straightaway, I first created another little reference board containing some more style references for different things I would like to include. This was more for the actual style of the painting rather than then content as much, although I did have a few references for how I could like the metal and rocks to look and such.

Some notes about what I wanted from the scene at this point:
  • The rocks need to look quite chunky, yet sort of soft, this would be natural anyway because of water erosion and the like.
  • Moss and layers of foliage would be extremely important, especially close to the water.
  • The image in the bottom left of the reference board seems to glisten because of the water, the moss and rocks also blend in quite nicely with the water and everything else. It just feels natural and pleasant, a feeling that should be conveyed as much as possible.
Anyway, here was my first work-in-progress on the painting: 

I started this by replicating the process used for some Gouache paintings (the medium used for the background paintings in the Studio Ghiblio animations) This process was to lay down a wash of a warm, saturated colour, that could bleed through subsequent overpaints, using this technique allowed me to paint blues and greens (which can look sickly if done wrong) that still appear to have some warmth and glow due to some increased colour contrast.

The iteration of the image above needed some work, primarily on the figure. The original intention was to use a rusted metal on the figure (The rusted horse sculpture from the reference board was being used as the inspiration) but using this made the figure look way too orange. A different look was needed.

Process of the painting - roughly shows the buildup of layers from the initial blockout, to the colour underpainting, to the background paint and then finally the figure and image correction.

The image was posted online to get critique: to arty friends, to non-arty friends and to some discord art critique threads. Everybody I talked to agreed with me in saying that the figure was too orange. I was recommended to look more at how metals and rust are done in the Ghibli work's themselves. Here is a list of some of the other feedback I received:

  • Rust is too even, try to vary the density of it and localise it more to the areas where it will be more likely to appear. (Around joints, closer to water surfaces. Also rust depends on the minerals present in the water and the type of metal, so more research would have to be done to make it look correct.
  • Maybe mix stone and metal for the statue, would give it more defined look.
  • Was encouraged to look at the environment design for the Anime film: Origin - Spirits of the Past, was pretty interesting and has some very lovely painted metal in the backgrounds.
  • Increase the canvas size at the bottom to give the image a bit more breathing room.
  • The figure doesn't have too much of a purpose, the 'story' of the figure needs to be thought about so I can work out the design better. 
The last one is probably the most important of all the points, as otherwise the entire image does not have a point. I had a rough idea of what I wanted when I started the project but more needs to be done to make sense everything. 

To contextualize the Figure I created some notes on the backstory, the whole environment plan is in the Evernote link but essentially I want the statue to act as sort of guardian of a water temple below, keeping an eye on the environment incase anybody uninvited try and break in.

Evernote environment planning: Linky Link

'Final' Painting - this is as much as I'm willing to do with the painting at this stage, as I want to alter the design of the figure quite a bit. It would be easier to iterate on the figure in it's own series of images, rather than get distracted by the rest of the mood painting.

3D Work

After this I began the concept of fleshing out some of the background assets and blocking in some of the main rock forms in more detail. For this I used Zbrush to sculpt, XNormal for baking and 3d coat for texturing (Which I just bought properly) 

PLUS! I got some awesome links to tutorials for rock sculpting from my friends: Zhane James-Marshall and Dan Burgess which helped a lot hammer down my process. Listed them below for peoples convenience:

Below is the sculpted rock, baked out in Xnormal along with a screenshot of the rocks placed into the scene.

Rock Sculpt, baked out and displayed in Unreal Engine.
Rocks placed in scene, some extra mesh work has also been done on the base. But all the rocks in this scene now are the sculpted ones.
At this stage some different/smaller rocks need to be added to break up some of these shapes, because some parts of the image are starting to look a bit too chunky. First though, I wanted to try some texturing and another lighting pass, so I can bring the general feel of the environment closer to what it is in my concept image. 

It's all about the broad strokes! :D

Then I painted the rock in 3d coat as a bit of a texturing test. Will probably go back and cover the texturing process in another post. But I ended up with this to start with:

Current Stage!

And this is the current state of the scene! I recorded it in OBS because I added some basic environmental sounds nicked from the Effects Cave and the Reflections example projects created by Epic Games to just make it feel a bit more immersive.

It's starting to come together quite well now, just need to keep chugging along! :D

Feel free to leave feedback/ask me any questions about my work in the blog comments or you can email me. :) (Email is in my contact page.)


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

New 3d project - Rusty Springs UE4 Environment

Hi people!

At the start of the week I had a massive urge to start a new 3d project, this came after a discussion with a student about a project idea of theirs based around some ruins. She is doing a level based around some roman ruins, with a tree focal point, with the scene illuminated in moonlight. It sounded pretty interesting, and I managed to get her flicking through the library books in order to make the idea even better. Teaching things!

Anyway, the idea sounded cool, and it made me want to create a similar kind of environment involving ruins, moss and an excuse to include some sparkly, super-jazzy water shaders. So I'm creating a small scene based around some springs.

I plan to include some mechanical elements (because you know I love that shit) which I imagined would end up being the focal point in some way. My thoughts were that I could tie these elements in quite nicely by having them all overgrown and covered in rust. These extra elements would add a nice layer of uniqueness to the level; meaning that it doesn't end up as just an environment with ruins and has a bit more interest and intrigue.

Why am I starting this project now, despite the fact that I had 20 million other projects I have mentioned I am working on?

Good question. I had the art urge so I had to obey it.

No, seriously though, I felt like the little 'mini-projects' I was working on wasn't really working for me. I was having a go at modelling and texturing random assets but I never end up finishing them, I realized that the main reason for this is that there was no artistic drive or want to finish them. I prefer working on actual scenes that give off a nice feeling, that is something I don't think I could communicate by working on little stylized lanterns.

My plan is to fold some of my side projects into this one as part of the process, then it would feel like I am actually doing them for a reason: To develop these processes as part of my style.

This includes things like:

  •  Cel shading (which I was doing a bit on last week or so) This could be good for animated parts of the environment, sort of like old animations where the animated cels can be easily separated from the background. I have seen this called the Scooby Doo effect before, would be a really great thing to capture the feel of traditional animation.
  • Bone driven material animation - could be useful for certain animation effects on the focal point, not sure yet. 
  • Character modelling - Need to relearn a bit for the focal point, which I will go into detail about in a minute. Might need to learn how to pose a character model correctly too, hopefully it shouldn't be too difficult.
  • Handpainted textures - I am trying to work on developing a hand-painted style that is as close to animation quality as possible, might take quite a bit of work to be up to my standard, but this project gives a lot of scope for adding really nice details like one could find in a Studio Ghibli background painting.
  • Water Shader - This is something i have come back to now and again, I love making them, probably one of the things I enjoy tinkering with just so I can get it perfect, in this scene it will be a major focus. The water should look so good that someone would just want to drink it when seeing it. :D
  • Foliage - This will probably take around the most work in the level, and it will be a large part of the scene, I want the foliage to tie into the rest of the scene as seamlessly as possible whilst still retaining the handpainted look. The foliage should flow straight into the forms it is covering, making it feel like the machinery and the nature of the scene are in unison. Using 3dcoat to texture unique pieces of foliage will be key to making this environment seem real.
Overall the plan is to capture the feeling of a Studio Ghibli background painting, but to create a final environment full of life. So by the end I should have a nicely composed final scene, with lighting, FX, sounds and probably a little sequencer animation. :)

Ideas and Research

The process on this project just started by looking through Pinterest, Google and my hard drives to find cool stuff to feed my brain. I gathered a from a lot of different sources; images of rusted old machinery, roman ruins, gardens, pond designs, water animations, master paintings (for colour and style reference) and photography.

I will still continue to research over the course of the project, so I can refine the look even more, this just gives me a good base to work from for initial drawings.

Below is my Pinterest board I created:


My first moodboard included key images which I have been looking at and key things I need to consider whilst creating the scene, like lighting, architecture, focal point, nature, and style reference. I also listed the key things I am looking for in the scene so I can keep checking to see if I am staying focused on the right theme over the course of the project. When I create the 3d blockout I will refine the art direction even more, being more strict with the design decisions I make.

First concepts

The first concepting stage taken the form of just doodling around in my sketchbook, trying out compositions and weird mechanical forms. I wanted a mechanical piece as my focus of the scene, but as I kept drawing I realised I wanted to evoke the feeling of some of the statues on my mood-board, so I gave it a face, before I knew it then centrepiece was more like a statue or monument than a strictly functional piece of machinery. 

Original sketch of focal point statue-monument-thing. The idea with it as the statue 'cries' into a little pool which is collected around the head, this little pool of water spills into the one below, creating a tiny little waterfall. Also, this little pool could also act as a bird bath or something, with plenty of plants growing in it. The staute should appear to be the source of the life in the scene, I think that could be really interesting. This page was great for figuring out the kind of features the focal point should include, and identifying what things I really like. <3
The main catalyst for this design was this image of a crying statue above, which I thought I could utilise quite well within the context of this environment, the fountain could be fed by mechanical pipes going into the statue's head.

Crying Statue Fountain - Second Life -
The main design in my sketchbook I liked enough that I decided to move it forward into the next stage: just plotting some colour onto it. I scanned the page (taken a photo in my case) and painted under the lines in Photoshop, just to show what the piece would look like with some basic colour dropped onto it. I wanted to have the oranges and reds of the rust blend quite nicely with the colours of the foliage, so I tried to work around the colour wheel harmonising the colours with each other where I could. This was a little tricky because of my colour blindness, but I think I'm getting slightly better at it.

WIP Colour pass of the previous sketch, I will be defining this painting a bit more, but the design will change a bit when it comes to blocking it out in 3d and then creating another paintover. This was more to get an idea on how it might look.
More work will be done on this concept before moving to the next stage, which will be a simple 3d blockout so I can then create a more detailed concept image of the scene.

Project Process

For this project I aim to jump between 2d And 3d a lot as I refine the image and make it as visually pleasing as possible. Basically, a lot of paintovers and feedback sessions! This will extend to the texturing stage too, which will involve using 3dcoat to texture the scene, this will feel like more of a natural progression of all the 2d art I have created before, so the concepts should end up translating into 3d quite well. 

  • Sketchbook Doodles
  • Colour image of focal point design
  • 3d blockout of scene
  • Main scene concepting
  • Style Refinement - Defining what the water, mist and other effects look like in the scene
  • Main scene building
  • Base light and colour pass
  • Define major silohuettes
  • Model focal point
  • Rocks
  • Base Water and Foliage
  • Other assets
  • Model and texture polish pass
  • FX - Drips, trickling water, light beams, mist, birds.
  • Colour Correction and detail Post Process Pass
  • OPTIONAL Sounds and ambience
  • OPTIONAL Short Cutscene made in sequencer

Anyway, that is all for now, more in the week after I have done more stuff! Should be a 3d blockout in the next post. :)

See you next time, 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Life Drawing - How I started painting with Gouache!

Hey peeps, I have still been busy marking over the last couple of weeks so haven't had a load of time to write. Now though I have been advised to not do any more work at home, so I have now a little more free time to make stuff.

Last week I brought a new Gouache paint set made by Caran D'Ache, what is great about this set is that it is pans instead of tubes. So it makes it very easy for carrying about and doing some paints outside! This set is really great, and the colours a very high quality and have a silky smooth texture to them.

Caran D'Ache Gouache Pan Set of 15 - comes with a tube of white Gouache and a brush.:)
Set opened up, also some little mini-paintings that I was messing around with. I ADORE the matte finish that you get with Gouache, it's just the best. 

As soon as the set arrived I had to do some colour charts, so I had a little go in my large PaintOn pad!

Some quick colour swatches I worked on, I forgot to do the red to yellow blend though so I need to go back and finish that section. Thinning out the Gouache doesn't really look amazing, I think the better option is to mix with white for thinning, problem with that is the colour will loose it's vibrancy even more.

I used the set last week to do some Gouache paintings for life drawing. This time the focus of my practise was on developing colour and mixing skills, so I spent the whole session working on developing longer pieces rather than doing quick sketches.

Here is one of the pieces I worked on:

I started with a thin wash of orange (I don't know what the actual pigment is for these colours, I couldn't find any information on it and I'm not an experienced enough painter to guess.) Anyways, this wash acted as a good base to paint onto, as when I start putting cooler shades of colour in, some of the warm background tones should peek through a little. 

I kept my palette fairly simple: I only used an orange, a pinkish-red colour, a bit of yellow and a white, which I added more of as I continued the painting, making more opaque layers. This meant that I could focus on seeing what I could get from just those colours, this also helped keep the painting from going muddy too. 

Also limiting the palette helped my distinguish the colours better for my colourblindness, if I had too much going on, then I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between all the blues and purples and browns and dark greens. :S

One thing I need to sort out if I do more of these kinds of paintings is to get more white Gouache, the set I have comes with a little tube but mine seems to be running out really quick. I'm going to have to stock up on that a lot in order to get anywhere with doing a load of these paintings.

More life drawing this Thursday, I will be doing more paintings so I will upload those when they are done. :)


Friday, 16 February 2018

Quick 3d art dump

Been doing a tiny bit of 3d, I have been doing some sketching too but I'll scan at the start of next week.

This isn't a complete model, just me mucking about. I decided to model a room design from the Ikea Ideas page

More specifically, this one:

Photo of Ikea ideas room. 
I wanted to pick something that I could just focus on modelling, I'm trying to focus on developing my speed and efficiency whilst modelling, as usually I am... slow and inefficient. Heheheh.

I seem to learn a lot faster when I put a little pressure on myself and put out a large quantity of work, so I'm hoping that churning out a vast amount of 3d models will help my process.

This was actually one of the pieces of advice that was mentioned in the Steal Like An Artist book; to improve the quality of ones art, they must produce a massive amount of it.

However, this won't be aimless practise, I am particularly focusing on improving my modelling currently and searching out for new techniques.

Anyway, enough rambling, here is the rubbish model I made in an evening.

Quick mental ray render, I'll probably present these in unreal engine instead from this point. It's just a bit more difficult to make the lighting look nice without doing spending ages tweaking lightmaps.

I would finish it tonight but I've been the victim of a wheezing cough all day so all I want to do now is nap.

More stuff in the week. :)


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Ending a large project

I have been working on a large project called Phaneron since last february (ish), this project was the final major project on the Master's Degree I completed, a complex puzzle game with a lot of moving parts.

Development has stalled since before Christmas, and after doing a bit of talking with Amber and Dom we have decided to stop continuing the project.

A lot has been going on in the past few months or so: I have been dealing with a new job, had some personal issues to sort and I have been trying to sort out another place to live. The other guys also have their own thing going on which has meant it has been hard to plan a larger project around everybody's time.

Phaneron - Development Screenshot

Additionally, I was feeling like after a while that working on the game became a bit of a chore for myself, I was struggling to design the game in a way I liked. I didn't want to continue working on a project that in which my heart and soul wasn't in it 100%, this needs to be the case for these indie projects, otherwise they won't have the amount of effort put into it that they need to be successful.

So instead I am going to be focusing on myself for the foreseeable future. Focusing on my job, moving out, setting up a proper workstation, developing the Youtube channel and working on my own skills so I can develop an IP. Then I should be able to build larger more complex things with more confidence if I want to. With all of this in place then I should be free to go on to bigger and better things.

I have written up a more extensive of everything about the project in my blog post on the I_DO_TRI development blog, if you wish to take a look:

Phaneron Development Screenshot

My Portfolio

Since I am going to be focusing on my own work more I thought it might be a good idea to redo my portfolio website. I was gradually hating the old site more and more because it looked a bit dated. The new design is more minimal and sets me up more for expansion later down the road when I produce more work. I personally think the design is a lot better in it's current version, it's just so simple and clean.

Expect a lot more work uploaded on here soon, my output has increased a lot in the last month, and I have some plans for personal projects which I will share later in the week. :)

The new website is made on Portfolio Box, which you can get here: 

Portfolio Website Screen

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Life Drawing Art Dump! Week 2 - Biro doodles.

This is little art dump containing all the sketches I did in week 2 of my life drawing classes at the Bristol Figure Drawing Group. In this session I wanted to get into some serious practise, to hone my skills. 

One thing I think is lacking in my work is confidence in my lines, I notice I tend to chicken step a lot which can lead to broken up drawings. 

I also want to improve the overall accuracy of my drawings. This means getting the anatomy and general form correct, which is in turn done by looking and observing the model more, and checking the spacial relationships between different parts of the body to make sure everything is in the right place.

I stuck to a very simple medium for the whole session, just so I can focus on the one skill of improving my line quality. It was actually rather nice using the biro, I normally hate using them but I actually had a lot of fun using it. It feels like I could get the 'sketchiness' that one might bet if they use a pencil, but with that added permanent effect which forces me to try and not make mistakes!

Anyway, here are all the images below. It started from slightly longer pose times (15 minutes) before going onto quicker poses (5 minutes) before getting slightly longer again. (10 minutes)

Also, in other news, I'm getting a new pair of glasses Monday to flourish everywhere, which means NO MORE DAMN HEADACHES! 

Seriously, any and all screens have been giving my massive headaches ever since I have stopped wearing my glasses. 

For clarity: My backpack was stolen last September whilst I was staying at my girlfriend's house in Nottingham, a guy actually broke in the house around 8 in the morning! Lost my passport and a hard drive with a lot of data, the glasses were included in the loot. Basically, if you see a guy in Nottingham use a laptop with a portable hard-drive in a black cushioned case plugged into it, who doesn't have any issues looking at his laptop screen to see his large collection of Gumroad game-art tutorials because of his fine as fuuuuck glasses, then could you get in touch with me? Would appreciate. ;)

So yeah, I'm happy to get another pair, it has been causing me a lot of pain over the last two weeks with all the student marking I am doing. White excel documents are my Kryptonite at the moment.

More life drawings will be on here after Thursday the 22nd as next week is half term and the classes aren't running. Although I may do my own stuff in the meantime. :)


I created a subreddit for sharing artist blogs! /r/artistblogs

A bit of a quick one. I was looking through Reddit for places to share art blogs (so I can show this place off) and I was a little bit disappointed to find that there isn't much in the way of a place where people can share their art blogs or where people can share other blogs they find interesting/cool.

There is an artblog subreddit but it's private and I thought that was weird and goes against the point of seeing all of the shared blogs, so I created my own alternative subreddit!

Subscribe and contribute to /r/artistblogs !

It's still a WIP, I need to add a proper rule system and other little reddit-y things, but as a basis this works quite well. 

If you are a painter, sculptor, game designer, photographer, film-maker, architect, graphic designer or you are involved in any other creative profession, then upload your blog onto here and we can exchange critique, feedback and nice comments about all the cool stuff we make. :D


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Art Dump! Return to Bristol Life Drawing!

Hey. I didn't realize it's been just over 2 weeks since I've updated the blog, I have been a little busy marking student work recently so I haven't had a lot of time available.

This is just a quick update showing some things I have been up to. In my last post I mentioned that I want to improve my art skills, so that is what I have been working on!

I have been pretty hardcore in trying to force myself to do practise, so I have signed back up to my old life drawing classes that I attended before the start of uni. Bristol Figure Drawing Group takes place at the Bristol Grammar School on Thursdays, and it's packed full of artists! When I last attended around 4 years ago we were in a smaller venue and there was only about 20 people and a couple of models. In my first session this time there must have been upwards of 80 people all doodling away!

A sample of some old life drawings I created at this class before I went off to uni.

This class was great for me before as I used it to learn my way around the basics and get a good amount of practise in to ease me into a routine of creating a lot of art. (Without doing the class before uni I would have sucked even more than I did.) Attending the class this time was a really nice experience, I got to meet my old art instructor again Will Stevens and I even got some nice feedback about my work, just like I did all those years ago!

It's creatively refreshing to return to a class which has helped me in the past, as the positive association is already there from when I attended before uni, now I can use it prove how much I have learnt in the past 4 years or so.

Another sample of old, rubbish life drawings. I wasn't very good at proportion back then.

New Life Drawing

I have been for two weeks now and have produced a range of work in different mediums. 

The first session I saw as a bit of warmup to get me back into things, so I just did what I thought felt best as opposed to actively picking techniques to practise with. I started off with something comfortable that I was using a lot of at the time: The Promarkers. These were great for just warming up with some value-based sketching.

I did a sketch using a 7b pencil I found at the bottom of my pencil case and sharpened it all nice using my craft knife so I had a wide tip.

Then I wanted to do something a bit more experimental, so I decided to dive into my little art box and found a little pot of black ink. I had some old brushes on me so I had some fun, they weren't the most accurate of sketches but it's nice to do something a little bit out of my comfort zone.

Ink drawings, I didn't like these as much as some of the proportions are truly fucked, it was nice being able to try something different though. I will come back to inks at some point.

During this first session I realised how out of practise I actually am. Proportions and anatomy just sort of blipped out of my head and it resulted in some drawings that are a little out of whack, also my confidence has went down a little as evident by some of the chicken stepping with my lines. This is one key area I want to focus on; improving the quality of my mark making as well as making sure the accuracy of my drawings are on point.

OH. And colour, I would very much love to get a lot better at painting in colour, this would free me up to design stuff better when it comes to concepting 3d scenes. (Another longer term goal that stems from improving my art skill.)

I will cover next sessions life drawings in another post. Just so I can section it up more neatly and give an excuse to add more to my post count. ;)

Sorry about the image quality, it's unfortunately the best I can do at the moment with my little iPhone cam and lack of good quality lighting (or lack of a scanner) I will try to remedy this when I get my new place. :)

Next time people.


Saturday, 27 January 2018

Some doodles, desk ideas and graduation!

This week has been a bit of a busy one, so I haven't had a lot of time to work on any art stuff really: It's hand-in week for the students so that's one reason.

Also Thursday it was my Masters Graduation! I am officially now a Master of The Arts! :D

So yeah it's all been going on. But despite that I still got some little bits done.

New Promarkers and some arting.

I was in Ryman's earlier in the week for the purpose of buying a new note bookbut I thought I would treat myself even more, so I bought some new Promarkers. They were 3 for 2 so I got a pack of neutral tones, a pack of pastel colours and a vibrant pack. Click this link if you want your own!

So whilst all the students were handing in their engine work on Wednesday I thought I would have a go at doing a sketch for the pixel art project. Just something random as a test. I love Promarkers for quick doodles like these, but I find they don't last long after I have done a few of these images, usually my packs of neutral tones only last a month or so, but that might just be how I use them. (I use the greys A LOT for building up tone in quick doodles)

Marker Sketch - Sorry about the bad quality! :S

It's been a while since I have done any marker art, just doing this little piece makes me really want to jump back in and do a lot more. I miss doing lots of art, I think the last time I did a large amount of it was back in my second year of uni. (It says on Game Art on my Master's Degree but it was mainly technical stuff inside Unreal Engine.)

I think I might see what I can do in regards to producing a lot more traditional artwork to support my pixel art and gamedev stuff, I always doodle in my sketchbooks so it hasn't died completely, but it has been a while since I have really pushed my traditional skills by doing colour work or anything painterly. All of my recent doodles (over the past year or so) have been in fineliner.

My Desk Plan

I think the reason I have sort of left it is because since my third year of uni I have been in the position of the 'engine guy' on the projects, which is cool but it doesn't give me a lot of room for manoeuvre when it comes to wanting to produce art.

It was a similar situation with the MA, also combined with not having the desk space or having much of the equipment left for doing artwork. I probably could have done something though, but for whatever reason I just didn't try hard enough.

Now seems like a good time to try and add a bit of art back into my routine, just putting some markers into usual fine liner work might help to shake it up a bit.

But I have a bigger plan! When I move out later this year I'm looking into putting together a proper personal workspace. I want plenty of space for inspiration, all my books, art equipment and my digital things. So I've been looking at putting together my own desks and such.

'Steal Like An Artist' by Austin Kleon - A brilliant book. Short, simple and sweet. I happened to buy this at a time I needed it and it has been a great motivator, if you are struggling with creative block or are feeling a little frustrated by slow artistic progress then read this book. It helped kick my ass into gear a bit.

I actually got an idea Tuesday when I went out and bought a book called 'Steal Like An Artist' by Austin Kleon.' (By the way this book is awesome and I recommend it to anybody looking to get into anything creative) 

Inside was a tip about having a separate desk for digital work and analog work, this is done to encourage more creative thinking, whilst the actual production work and refinements done on the computer. It actually reminded me that I had a similar setup in my second and third year of uni, and that was when I feeling most creatively fulfilled.

So when I love out, I want to have one desk area for any traditional stuff, I can set up my drawing board, a nice lamp, have a cutting board and a big pile of sketchbooks and paper. (Oh and a little place for all my lego, I do get some cool ideas from building stuff out of Lego.)

Then opposite that I can have my space for my PCs and a more typical office setup, with some little flourishes so it isn't completely bland.

I have been adding some inspirational images and things for what I want in Pinterest. It's general house ideas but a lot of it is focused around the desk area. I will probably do another post at some point showing my current setup and the reasons I want to upgrade.

See you next time! Hopefully you should be seeing a lot more sketches on here along with the UE4 stuff. -James