Welcome back to another update. This week we will let you see some process images on how to find concepts through randomness.
Throwing the net
So you’re trying to figure something out. A concept.
It doesn’t have to be concept art that is the ultimate goal. Perhaps you are exploring charachters, creatures or any form of machinery as part of a larger illustration you are doing.
How do you actually get from “I have no idea” to a complete concept?
A long time ago, when we started doing this as a sidejob, Andrew Jones said “You throw out a net and reel in the concept“.
Let’s see if we can show you an example of it.
The small fish
David Started this by using Alchemy.org, a free program for getting random shapes. You can use any number of random shape-generating programmes, ranging from fractal programmes to zbrush and even specific randomizing brushes in Photoshopp or Painter.
The beauty of this particular programme is that you do not have to know how to paint or illustrate to get somewhere, you only need to try to get random shapes that resemble something. The artistic part comes when you start putting together more complex pieces. Here are some of the first shapes.
These are just random shapes that came out after playing around with Alchemy for a while. Though there are six on this particular sheet, David came up with closer to fifty different shapes that he collected into one file.
Catching the medium-sized fish
So now we take these shapes into Photoshop (or any photo-editing/illustration programme of your choice) and start putting them together in interesting ways. In Photoshop, David cut and paste the shapes on top of one another. Moving things around, turning and flipping and sometimes even erasing to get more interesting shapes.
The idea is to get a silhouette of that looks robotic, but what exactly is not certain at this stage, so David is going for various things, ranging from quadroped robots, to biped robots. Tall and slender to short and robust. The key is the silhouette. The details inside the silhouette are bonuses for later, when we detail the concept.
The addition of colour can help make parts stand out; This doesn’t neccesarily mean these parts will have that colour in a final illustration. The colours can represent anything from actual coloured panels, to lightsources, beams, special areas of some sort that will look vastly different on the final concept/illustration but that for now just need to be marked out as “special”.
So the sky is really the limit here, these above are the first groups David put together. He then made a couple of more, and started combining them together.
The bigger fish
After putting the first few shapes together, David have some basic robotic shapes. It is very easy to stop at this point and be happy, and some of the best concepts can be done at this stage, but it feels a little stale, so David combine this group of ten simpler silhouettes into some more complex ones. Not all work out, and it is important to be selective about the silhouette at this point. If two look the same, look at which one feels the most interesting as far as details go. Discard the other, or save it in a separate file for usage another day. Eventually, we havet six variations that can be used for illustrations.
Here is one of these simple bases:
And from there we can make an illustrated concept, or go straight to illustration, if it feels like everything needed is there.
The big fish
So here is a sneak-peek of something that will come out of this particular fish-net (not based on the above image, but something else).
This is meant for the project David and Aaron Debski-Bowden is putting together and we are hoping to be able to show you much more before the end of the year.
Hopefully this introduction to concepting gave you guys some ideas and motivation to go out and practice. We would love to see links to your own concepts, practice or otherwise!
If you are interested in private commissions we have three slots open this week.
For more info and contact, go to the bottom of the About page and send us a message through the contact form.
Tell us what you think about todays blogpost. Use the form on the about page (link in sentence just above this) or through our Facebook page. or Twitter Page (hashtag #dontfeartheclown) We’d love to hear your input!
Life is getting back to it’s normal routine after vacation. Mails have been piling up and some sorting needed to be done. Amidst all the junk and commercial mail we encountered a message from a certain Nigerian prince indicating we are his only relatives and we can inherit a fortune if only we give our bank-details…wow :)
First reaction was one of amazement: that mail is still doing the rounds? That felt rather comforting, almost like meeting an old acquaintance, like somethings never die and the internet, despite it’s fleeting character, has some consistency to it. Next conclusion: wow, they must’ve finally ran out of e-mail-addies and doing the rounds again in case they missed some the first time around :)
With this mail and the following S. Adams quote (yeah the Dilbert guy :) ) we came to the conclusion that we have gotten some pretty bizarre requests during the years and thought we might share some gems with you. We shall call this category:
I get mail; therefore I am. (S.Adams)
Here are a few questions received by David:
- “I have a loose idea: essentially I want you to paint me violated.” We respectfully declined this one.
- “She should look like she is in agony, not having an orgasm.” Alterations to the piece were made. Up to this day we still cannot see what the client saw :)
- “If you paint it in gray-scale, I can colour it in later.”
And here a few from the canvas scene as reported by Natasja:
- “If you paint on paper and use watercolour, instead of oil on canvas. Will it cost less?” No, it is the amount of time spent that makes up the lion-part of the cost of a painting, not so much the materials.
- “Does it have to be this yellow?” (Was a desert scene, oil-painting photo referenced)
- “Do you paint nudes and can I pose? Photo’s do not do me justice.” Person was slightly to eager and overzealous to pose nude. Received naked images for quite a while there, each one captioned “this does not do me justice.” :) Eventually no portrait was made due to clients financial situation.
Now these are just 0.01% of the mails we have received over the years as a studio. It is however remarkable how much more educated our clientele has become, the majority of our customers whether private or corporate are very clear and professional. Most communication really helps us in furthering our artwork. Of course we have grown into this as well, but recently we have not received odd requests and comments. But who knows, perhaps like the Nigerian Prince they will reoccur once and a while.
Anyways, what has the studio been up to the past days?
We can give another glimpse of the super secret Aaron & David project:
More details will follow, this is just an initial concept. Loads of concepts in the pipeline atm.
And number two we can share is the initial sketch for our Ars Scribendi contest winner (yay!) When this piece is finished we will dedicate an entire post to it. So stay tuned.
For our private customers, last week we had no takers for our discount commissions (mostly due to our vacation° so the last two discount slots are still open. They will vanish after this week, so be fast or they be gone :)
And now to quote Tigger: TTFN!
So another week, another post.
On Friday, we posted an extra update to let you know that the competition-deadline had past.
We had an amazing turn-up and so decided that the competition will return next year, albeit perhaps with a couple of more prizes, judges and other tidbits. We will be working for almost a year to be able to get the final format out for next years edition of Ars Scribendi. So thank you all!!!
We hope to announce the winner before our vacation break, so stay tuned. You peeps did not make it easy on us by entering so many awesome narratives!
If you have followed us for a while, you know by now that there is a studio Youtube channel, where you can see some of our processes. We have plans to evolve this to a little more then what it is right now, but it involves a bit of upgrades to programs and hardware, so if you can be a little patient with us there are some good things on the way.
Speaking of good ways on the way, here is a current low resolution view of the new Sanguinius that David is painting at the moment in his rare spare time:
And here is anothe little bit of good news.
We have had an exceptional year. Truly, this year has been a gamechanger for us in many ways. Most of the things are still under NDA (such is the fate of freelance illustrators) but quite some private commissions we have been able to show. In fact, we have had to limit the ammount of slots for private commissions this year, to be able to do proffessional work for companies.
We have a few things coming up that are absolutely brilliant, and David has a secret project that, once it get revealed, probably will get quite some attention. It will be new, it will be grand and the other persons involved are probably known by most of our followers, if not all.
So to celebrate our year, and to give some back to the community, we have decided to give a quite substantial discount for the five next private commissions we do.
The discount will be 100 Euro off of the normal price.
As pricing is a tricky business in the artists world, you will not often see prices displayed in public. There are many reasons for this, not least of all being the fact that supply and demand, as well as the level of skill of the artist in question, set the prices and therefore they can and usually will change as an artist get more famous, skilled or both.
So we will make an exception to this right here and now, and let you know our fares, just to give you an idea of how large our discount really is!
These rates are broad estimates, an usually end up being what we go for, but please keep in mind that what you want to commission can have an effect on the final pricing.
For one character, in a pose of your choice, with a simple (blurred or one colour, simple figures or structures of no real detail) background – 300 Euro
For one main character with supporting characters (up to three) with a simple, blurred background (as per above) – 400 Euro
For a more complex illustration, for example a battlescene with multiple focuspoints an a complex background – 600-800 Euro, depending on complexity
On the above prices, we will offer a 100 Euro discount, straight off.
To make sure we can keep to this and still work on everything we have, the discount will only apply for the next five commissions, so get in touch through our contact form and lets see how we can help you. It’s at the bottom of the “About” Page.
Please keep in mind that slots open this week are only two. This means that if there already are two commissions this week, yours will be pushed forward to start next week. Completion of a commission is usually 4-6 weeks on something simple and 6-8 weeks on more complex pieces. We will inform you of your deadline in the contract.
Follow us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Tumblr.
Friends and followers of Studio Colrouphobia: This week we see the deadline of the Ars Scribendi competition approaching. By Friday, at midnight GMT August 1st 2014, final entries need to be in. We have some really good entries already, so if you want to get a chance to have your narrative turned into an illustrated piece, printed and signed, to hang on your wall; this is the final week to enter!
Since this competition was such a success, we are looking into doing this next year as well, possibly with more prices, famous (or infamous) judges and more. We hope you liked writing the entries this year, and if you didn’t write, we hope you enjoyed reading the entries as much as we do.
We would also like to post a little something for you who wish to know more about painting and sketching. Below are two videos that illustrate the possibilities of the digital media and using photographs. It is quite commonly thought that all any illustrators do with photographs are to use them for paint-overs, cut and paste or using layerstyles to make patterns appear. But this is not all that is done. Mostly, photographs are just used as plain reference, so here David has used a photograph of a model dinosaur to first sketch the same dinosaur, and then to take it further by painting over the sketch and turning it into a dragon.
Note how not a single colourpick, nor paintover from/of the photo was done.
So what do you think? Have you got your own experiences in regards to using photos as reference?
This week we have two slots open for private commissions. You can make any inquiries at the bottom of the “about” page.
Written By David.
In the second installment of this series, let’s talk about decisions and computercrashes.
So last time, we left with a fairly decent pose, as well as good set-up for the painting of Mortarion around the time of the Horus heresy.
A few decisions had been made in regards to how he would look:
-Similar to Curze (“siblings”)
-Gaunt/ Deathly posture and features
– Details to keep in mind are: censers, no greenor white colours of armour, smoke coming out of the high collar, smoking pipes coming out of his back.
This is the image we had/
At this point, I do “the google rounds”.
Essentially, I look through google for images that I can use as reference for various items.
Items like hoods (monk-robes), roman shoulder-guards, freaky scythes, censers, smoke, fumes from burning oil-fields etc.
These things are ten stored for references. I will not se them straight off, but more as guides to how something is shaped.
If I need to create something unique for a character, I might “kit-bash” some of the images together to create interesting shapes (using various layerstyles in a similar fascion to how I started this illustration, see part 1 , but for this illustration that was not needed. (An example of an item that could have been made thusly, is the scythe, but I made a decision to paint that from scratch, based on pre-existing art.)
Examples of art that fell under references vary from Scythes from Darksiders 2, to conceptart for the Angels in Diablo to exhaust-pipes from Trucks and Holocaust-victims.
During this time, I also refine the previous image a little to get to the point where I like it a bit more. Not much is done beyond adding some backlighting, a few placeholder-censers and painting in the face a little.
So let’s stop here for a while and talk about catastrophical crashes.
I have made it a habit to constantly save iterations of my illustrations.
This way I can go back and copy-paste something that might have been better from a previous version, but I also make sure I do not loose hours of work if Photoshop crashes.
I have, to date, never had a version of Photoshop that did not crash on me at the worst possible opportunities.
Lately, I have also made it a habit to use a cloud-saving source to save my most recent works/files, simply because in case the computer crashes and files are lost, atleast some of my work is saved.
Better be safe then sorry.
So I worked on Mortarion for a long while. Each iteration of the illustration moving towards a goal.
The face was altered to focus more on his skeletal look, whilst maintaining a somewhat proxiation to my illustrations of Curze and Angron. I also used references of men from the Carpatian region as reference, to hint at the origins of the Legionaires (who are supposed to mainly have been recruited from this region on Terra, before recruitment from Mortarions homeplanet began).
Some alterations to the colours happened. The reds/oranges moved towards gray/blue/greenish to reflect this sensation of the sick and poisonous.
A shhoulderpad was begun on and the robes and scythe was worked out.
I had 8 preview-images to show on the blog. And they all vanished in a severe computercrash, loosing several folders worth of illustrations and references.
Luckily I had saved the ast two iterations of the image on my dropbox-account.
So here is where we come back to the image. It is not done yet, and there will be a part three, but you need to know why there was a jump in the look.
And a caution- save often. USe external harddrives or cloud-saving if needed, but make sure your work is safe.
Luckily, everything for my proffessional work was saved on an external harddrive except a new sketch, which means nothing suffered for commissions and proffessional works, but it could have been much worse, so keep this in mind!
Now the astute viewer will notice a few things:
1) The pose is slightly altered.
This mainly comes down to the fact that the lower body is in shadow and the shoulderpad has to face a certain direction for him to be able to hold the scythe.
2) the collar looks completely different.
I went away from the crude stove-collar and moved towards a more knightly one.
3) Alot of the ornaments vanished from the previous image, including the censers.
During research, I found that Mortarion didnt fancy ornamentation, so I stripped it down. The censers where only really placeholders. They will return once I paint them in proper.
4) He is kind of stout/heavy set.
This, is fixed. Namely in the next preview image-
Following this I will be painting in the lower body, the scythe will be completed and the censers will appear After this I will start adding the gasses in an around the collar and finally there will be some colourcorrections and post-process work to make the illustration complete.
Let me know what you guys think.
Oh, and here is something Orky to end the day. Wprk in Progress:
Studio Colrouphobia also has a twitter account: https://twitter.com/Colrouphobia
Studio Colrouphobia also has a Facebook-page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Studio-Colrouphobia-Concepts-and-Illustrations/20588351315
So this is a dual post. It will start by making a point about posting other peoples artwork around the Internet without referring to the artist.
It will end with a couple of new artworks from the studio.
In a couple of days, there will be a new post with process on the Mortarion-piece, but today’s post is important.
So recently, it came to the attention of a couple of artists that I keep close contact with, that a certain Facebook-page is posting images.
Nothing bad about this, however, the page is notoriously bad at referring to the artist.
So the second comment sais it is Karl Richardson, which is helpful, however, the comments are really not where such a reference should be, they should be where the artwork is posted, in the description.
This is a quite serious problem, usually brushed aside by fans as not being a problem at all.
So let’s try and give a little insight in this part of being an Artist.
FANS, this is for You! Take a good look and try understanding why this is important!
Let’s post this as an image. There will be a “free to use” disclaimer in the bottom of the image(s).
Please take your time to consider what each point say.
So what does this mean?
It means that whoever made the art you found cool and wanted to repost- tell us who made it! In the description of the art.
If you don’t know, the write that. That way, if someone let you know, you can alter it.
Does it mean that you will never be able to show any of Studio Colrouphobias works online?
No, it doesn’t. Of course you will.
But we would appreciate being asked. Sometimes our works are actually not for show everywhere. Some commissioners pay for more exclusive views. And we would demand a reference on the artwork, back to us, our website or facebook-page would be preferable.
It means that whoever made the art you found cool and wanted to repost- tell the viewer who made it! In the description of the art.
If you don’t know, then write that you don’t know. That way people can help you find out and, if someone let you know who the artist is, you can alter it.
You see, if we don’t get referred to then nobody will commission us, which also mean we will need to stop doing what we do.
And then there will be no art from us.
And now to stop on a more light note.
Being the more traditional painter of the studio, she is working mainly in Artrage, using some techniques She “learnt in the age of the dinosaurs, only now applying them on a digital canvas.” Images used for reference comes, amongst others, from National Geographics.
We hope to be able to show more of Natasjas work shortly.
Until next time!
So Halloween passed, thank you all for making it special by participating in ourcompetition.
Starting this week, there will be a new series of posts.
These posts are about following the creation of an illustration from concept to finish.
For the beginning illustration, I chose to use one of my personal Primarch illustrations.
I will go through wwhat ideas I have, how to flesh out the image, what thoughts and knowledge must be sought. Sketching, colour composition, painting roughs, using reference, when to use texturess and not and any number of other topics that come up along the way.
So let’s begin with the start, shall we?
For this particular illustration, I knew I wanted to tackle another Primarch.
But which one?
I have a list of Primarchs I am completing, where I have saved some general ideas and cool stuff to inspire.
Her’s what the folder look like:
You will notice that some are missing, which does not meant that they are completed, but rather that I haven’t ound anything yet to make me feel it is suitable to save as reference or inspiration for that particular Primarch.
So let’s choose one-
It is, after-all, the season to be dreary.
Not that much, but we can work with it.
So I do a quick sketch, without looking at my ref/inspiration images, but after I have looked at them/
So, its loose, crappy and not much to see. But it gives an indication, a hint at where I wan to take this piece.
Let me explain it to you.
Mortarion, for me, was always a riddle.
He grew up as a son of an alien (or a mutant, it seem to have shifted over the years). Taking control over the planet of Barbarus, a lethal place for humans to live and so poisons and poisonous gases are a part of his culture.
Likewise, the figure of Mortarion has this “Angel of Death” over it. A hooded figure, slender and agile, with hints of wings and a scythe.
The above is the way I think about Mortarion in passing, without investing any real tought to the character.
So the next step, is to look at the sheer physical aspects of Mortarion.
I did a Google-search, and ended up with a few images. I show them here to give you an idea, but I am in no means taking any credit fore these:
– John Blanche
– Alex Boyd
– Adrian Smith
-Ibrahim Swaid ( http://holypixels.blogspot.be/2011/08/mortarion-work-in-progress-1.html )
So that’s the four first ones I got..
Now comes the choosing.
What do I like, what don’t I like.
I like the general features, the hood, the gaunt look of Alex Boyd’s version. The plain-ness of the armour. In fact, even though I usually really like Adrian Smith’s work, in this case, I find it completely out of tune with what I want to portray.
So I make a list of things to add in the illustrration-
Scythe (obviously, I even drew that in the sketch, before thinkking about it).
Slender – like in the Alex Boyd image. – usually PlagueMarines are bloated, which is fine, but I want him to look like death/ This is not neccesarily going to be after he joined chaos.
Censer- holding poisonous gasses.
Things to concider-
Colours, not sure about wite, or even green. I need to do some research.
Shoulderpads. I sketched something like the Angron or Curze shoulderpads, not sure if I will keep that or go with something else.
Smoke- I want poisonous gases to come out at the collar and from the Censers. Need to make them visible without looking lame.
Things to not take-
No Green, no White. Not on Armour in any case. I want him to be dull in armour/clothing. He will be pale, so he need to stand out a bit.
Chest from Hulk- I really need him to look like death, he cannot have the most powerful look, not bodywise in any case.
Perhaps the fumes will cover some of his face, but I want his face to show mostly.
After writing these things down, I do a new sketch. And i failed (I lost the file). So I decide to do a tested methood when I need ideas.
I use an older image and duplicate layers, moving, reshaping, twisting and turning them around, using layer-effects to get “happy accidents”.
In this case, I used my Angron Painting.
This is the “sketch”:
So I add some brushstrokes to give a hint at my figure (using the same pose as before)
It still doesnt do it, so I do a little altering and adding a coloursplash, followed by a proper silouhete (next two images)
And after moving the arm and scythe, I am getting happy about the pose.
I know I said no facemask, but at this time, I am unsure how to make him look, so I have left the lower part of the face.
I will most likely make him look similar to curze, as I use roughly the same features for all the Primarchs, just changing them ever so slightly, to show they are siblings, rather then the same characer (or, indeed, completely different from one another).
That thing above his head?
Yeah, I dont know, perhaps I will keep it, perhaps not.
I thought I saw something like that in the back of Ibrahim Swaids Mortarion… it has potential. Maybe some sort of machinery, part of his exhausts…
Till next time.
Studio Colrouphobia also has a twitter account: https://twitter.com/Colrouphobia
Studio Colrouphobia also has a Facebook-page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Studio-Colrouphobia-Concepts-and-Illustrations/20588351315