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!
Hi there, and welcome to this weeks blogpost.
This week we’d like to take the time to discuss something that might seem far away, but that you should start thinking about, should you want to use an artist’s services for it.
We’re talking about Christmas.
Yes, it might seem a bit over the top to talk about Christmas and Christmas presents when we just turned our calendar over to September, but to be able to make it the merriest of hollidays, we really need to bring this up.
So you want to give away art for Christmas?
Let’s say you want to surprise someone with a piece of art for their Christmas. There are many ways you can do this, depending on what you want. There are fantastic galleries out there where you can find the right piece for just about anyone. Usually, a gallery-piece will not be that problematic to acquire in time for Christmas.
There are also multiple shops, artists, and other establishments, that carry posters and prints of artwork. If you acquire something like this, we hope you take the time to make sure the right person(s) get paid. Usually an artist will charge less for a better quality poster/print then a counterfeit. Might be worth noting.
So you want to commission an original piece of art for Christmas?
But what we wanted to discuss was the commissioning of an original artpiece, whether painted with brush on canvas, pencil on paper, digital and printed, or other.
For these sort gifts, you need to be out in time. Know your artist. Learn what sort of deadlines he/she works with. Find out if they are specifically busy for Christmas, if they have any special deals that might come up, for hollidays before Christmas maybe even.
Alot of artists that work traditionally will have a lot of orders for artwork coming in before Christmas. You need to consider that artists like Dan Dos Santos take about three to six weeks to complete their traditional oilpaintings, and that they might want to dry their paintings for a certain ammount of time before shipping them. If they have a lot of commissions, they might have waitingtimes until November-December already.
At the other end, where you find artists like Noah Bradley, the digital artists will probably not need such a long time to paint for you, though it varies. The problem for a digital illustrator is rather going to be at the printing-end. The closer you get to Christmas, the longer in advance you will need to contact printers about printing things. Some printers specialize in art-prints, some are multiprinting businesses and will have a lot to do with Christmas cards, brochures an everything Christmassy.
What about Studio Colrouphobia?
So, you might ask yourself, where do we find Studio Colrouphobia in this? Well, we do both traditional and digital. It all depends on what it is you are looking for. So if you are interested in commissioning us for Christmas, you should first figure out what it is you would like to get, then contact us relatively soon, so we can discuss around making sure that your gift becomes the thing it should be- a joy for the person who will receive it.
For some eyecandy, since we try our best to include something every blogpost, here is a private commission David just finished for a Shadowrun player
And how about another small sneak-peek at something from the secret project Aaron and David are working on?
If you are interested in private commissions we have two slots open this week. Last week the two last slots with discounts where taken, but keep an eye out for other drives in the future.
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. 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!
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.
…this week no Kessel run, but a lovely, sith-y image made for the illustrious and suave Mr. Dembski-Bowden.
The full res-image is reserved for Aaron, however since we are quite happy with how she turned out, bragging rights are in order and a smaller version will be on display on the blog here.
Now a piece like this does take quite some time to make and generally goes through different stages. We tend to work with mixed media and for those who follow our sketches on TUMBLR may have seen the rough pencil sketch pass.
As the image underneath illustrates, we tweak our images quite a lot. Those who have followed the posts we made here over the past weeks, will have noticed something similar with the Kaiju sketches. Nothing is written in stone and quite a few of our sketches never move on past the sketch phase, those who do are usually transformed into something quite different.
In the case of this Sith, the original sketch was flipped, several renderings were made and discarded, but we stayed rather close to the original design.
Our blog also serves as an information platform towards our clients and those who are interested in our services, and somewhere last week we received a question as to why we sometimes post we have slots open for private commissions. It might be a good moment to explain this one briefly.
We do take in corporate assignments, these are projects that usually falls under NDA, take quite some time and submerge us into a specific world for quite a while. These projects give Studio Colrouphobia the steady means of survival, however we did start off all these years ago, thanks to several private commissions and quite often, in between larger projects, these private commissions have kept us afloat.
We owe our private clients a great deal, and for that we made the decision to always have one to three slots open at all times for private commissions. We owe these types of commission so much, we do not felt like removing them completely, we did however had to lessen the amount we could take in.
Private commissions tend to be fun, short projects done for people who are passionate about their hobbies, games, books, and more. They are still, grateful breaks that quite often open up new terrains and subjects for us. Finally it is our homage to those first commissions who got us started.
So thank you to all our private commissioners!
Check back next week for some 40k updates.
A quick update in the wacky world of Studio Colrouphobia, providing you with you weekly fix of all things Colrouphobic.
Firstly, we have slots open for commissions, if you are interested drop us a message on Facebook or send an e-mail to: email@example.com. We’re having a slightly more calm period at the moment, which after the hectic months feels like quite a relief. It provides us with time to work on personal projects and open up for private commissions, so if you have this idea that has been spooking around for months, now is the moment to apply since we most likely will be taking in larger orders soon again and the commission slots will lessen.
The past week we have both been working to meet deadlines; only to have the one for the Helpful Bear Productions: Kaiju Beast contest be postponed to July. Quite a rarity since we are used to deadlines being moved closer, not delayed and it left us with an unexpected gap and breather.
Feels rather silly to have stressed now, but at least it will give us a chance to tweak the image even more. Understandably we will be releasing the final image after we submitted it. But the concept sketch looks like this:
Last week we also mentioned we did some work for the peeps over at Prodos Games. The background was a Warzone/Mutant Chronicles setting for the Imperial Rulebook, tabletop miniature game.
And since we are not shy of boasting, we would like to share some images with you. For those who like Warzone, enjoy. For those who do not like Warzone, enjoy as well, as we know you will.
And last, thanks to all who have left us with various comments and feedback as to what you want to see changed on our blog. We will be taking these things in consideration and will start fiddling with some lay-out. However, we sadly have to decline the XXX’s (name removed for safety purposes :) , but yes, you know who you are ) suggestion we received on Facebook, to perhaps have more fuchsia pink on our blog. You may insert a mental eye roll here, fellow artists can such delightful pains sometimes.
Anyways, keep the feedback coming, we always like to stay in touch and are open for suggestions. Until next time: Stay Colrouphobic!
Written by Natasja
It has been ages since our blog had a proper update; our sincere apologies for this. Many things have been happening lately and these updates were more or less put on the backburner.
So yes, my official post, well the first one with my signature, not per se the first post by me… I wanted to give you all an insight into the belly of the beast, a nice one to start off with no?
First of all, the artists: you all know David, of course. David specialises in more commercial work and is known to dabble around in the oeuvre of Warhammer for inspiration. David is also full-time operational for all things Studio Colrouphobia-related and quite often can post his works online.
I, on the other hand, do still keep a day-job at hand. We shall not mention anything about the corporate world I work in, but I can only contribute part-time to the studio. The difference between David’s work and mine (and so are the commissions and clientele) lies mostly in the mediums we use. I paint oils on canvas, a process which I am quite fond of, however a very painstaking slow one. I hardly use any retarders or accelerant when I paint with oils, hence the drying time for a canvas takes quite a while. I also tend to have way larger deadlines than David so as a result I perhaps produce only 2 to 3 large pieces a year. Given that this is my part-time occupation, I can hardly complain.
I do however once in a while provide sketches that David finishes up and generally deal with most things admin for the studio. On top of that one we can both be lucky to have some form of synergy that enables us to comment on each other’s work, pointing out errors and compositional issues etc…and still maintain a marriage that is amicable.
Our current standing discussion deals with Spacemarines (am an Ork player so automatically have issues with beakies..) and their anatomy. In my humble opinion, a suit of power armor, as depicted on models and most illustrations, does not add up anatomically and this peeves me beyond all, and has done so the past 7 years. Seriously those shoulderpads and …anyways this is the human part of our studio. Add Khan the Cat, Balor our French bulldog, and most of all our two Hellspawn ages 8 and 10 and you can imagine the Studio to be a lively place at times.
This brings me to the second part of this post. Since we have moved last August, we actually had the opportunity to install a proper studio in our new house. Our old apartment just was not that suited all these activities and alas oil-painting with pets and children running around proved to not always be the best of combinations. Since August we have been refurbishing the studio, making sure one space is properly dedicated to all things artsy and booksy. We moved our rather extensive library into the same studio-space. We take quite some inspiration from books and comics, so it made sense to have them close at hand. However one shelf is solely dedicated to all things art.
In this shelf you will find:
1) Paper, sketchbooks, stamps, and prints
2) Reference books. Oh yes these we like, ranging from books about sculpture, Da Vinci sketches to books about the rainforest, books with vintage cards, books about WW2, books made by artists we like and respect (Paul Bonner, Alan Lee, you name it…)
3) RPG books. Yes, we both play RPG, tabletop and miniature (LARP we leave for the experts). These books provide us with insight so our illustrations and paintings actually make sense in the universe they are supposed to take place.
4) More RPG books and our contributor copies. On this shelf I also keep a model of a 1967 Ford Cobra 427 and we have some bugs in resin as reference. We use almost anything.
5) Here we keep our signed copies of books that we received from colleagues. It is always nice to swap artwork with fellow artists after a convention is over. We also keep magazines for reference here. You would be surprised how much help you can get from i.e. a Vogue magazine, or Motorsports Europe.
6) Models here. From dinosaurs, to sketch-dummies to manta-rays…we keep most of our models on the top shelf. (albeit a bit empty now, since some models are still in one of those elusive “last-box-after-move-which-will-stand-taunting-me-for-months-more-to-come”-mode.)
7) …and coffee. No proper studio functions without a jolt of caffeine (no number added, I assume a thermos is quite visible and noticeable…and perhaps draws less attention to my caffeine addiction)
This is of course all in a nutshell. The studio as a workspace is far from complete. We still need to exchange the desk and install the drawing table. We hope to provide an update soon and show you all a nice image of an organised studio. Which will last about 5 minutes before two artists are let loose in it and Chaos will reign supreme again…
Next update by me will provide you with a start to finish painting on canvas, until then I am quite sure my partner-in-art will keep you all in awe with his illustrations.