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.
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or how to function in 30°C heat with a cold and runny nose…yay
First of all: One week left on our contest Ars Scribendi! We have some smashing entries already, so if you think you have what it takes to win: One week left! Final entries need to be in at midnight GMT August 1st 2014. May the muses kick-start the overdrive of your imagination and provide you with ample flow in your pen.
And fevers or not, the show that contains no clowns needs to continue. We have some goodies to show you.
The first is a work in progress and a source of both frustration and inspiration. It gives an idea on how concepts can evolve over time.
During a dull moment the challenge was uttered: Why not paint a Centaur fighting a Minotaur, it’ll be fun and different she said :)
These three versions give an indication on how much a concept changes, and in it’s current form it is still being tweaked. The first one is the version from 2008/2009, the last ones are a new edition from 2013-2014. It is in an in between project, when commissions are leaving you with a space.
And those following David on Facebook, will have seen mentions about a super secret project pass by. The following bit is NOT it (a rotten thing to do, but keep checking out this blog and all shall be revealed :) )
Currently we have a remake of the known Sanguinius painting in the pipeline. The first piece, known and epic, took about 55 hours to complete. The pose is epic, but not really dynamic so the sketch is slowly being transformed into a painting. The rough colourcomp is done here, but still loads of tweaking to do.
The video shows you how the details on the shoulderpad were created, Händel our good friend will keep you company.
Another week, another update.
Yes, I return to dispell some orkiness from the blog and bring you a new update.
As summer rages on, the studio finds itself at a good pace. Commercial work, as well as commissions, are coming in and are being completed at a steady pace.
We are picking up the pace with these sketches, but they represent quick studies, moodsketches and will possibly also be more elaborate sketches in the future. It’s a good opportunity to see what some of our works start out as, and what we do for practice, fun and research. For example
If you’re interested in following our Tumblr the link is here:
We will show our contribution next Tuesday, after the event, but the tribute comes in the form of a comicbook-sized artbooklet. The blurb and the cover can be found below:
EXCELSIOR: Steve Rude, Mark Buckingham, Alan Davis, Jose Delbo, Bryan Talbot, Mike Perkins, Chris Weston and Gary Frank are among the horde of artists from around the world paying tribute to Stan Lee on the occasion of his last European public appearance. Running to 68 pages in colour and black and white, Excelsior is a limited edition of 250 copies. It is available exclusively at the London Film and Comic Con, priced £10. If you can’t make it to the show, copies can be sent to you for £15 each (unsigned) or £80 (signed by Lee) within the UK. Email Mike Conroy at email@example.com for full details, to enquire about price if you live elsewhere in the world and to obtain details of the originals that will be auctioned over the weekend as well as how to bid on them.
If you want the chance to win an illustration of your own narrative then our Ars Scribendi-competition is the place to be. We are receiving some stellar entries. The deadline is the first of August and the information can be found here: Ars Scribendi
How about a new private commission that just cleared for being viewed by the public?
This is called “Out of the Dust”
This week we have two new slots open for commissions. So if you have an idea, or want a new piece to hang on your wall, do not hesitate to contact us!
What can we offer you this week for your Colrouphobic fix?
Perhaps an insight in what inspires us. Last week, our city got mentioned. Since summer is an excellent time to go out and do some photography, it might be of interest to show you where we get visual cues and ideas from. So expect some photographs and how we use them the following weeks.
We also take heed to music: the right soundtrack can make painting and sketching so much easier. For those who dare we can recommend the following playlist over on youtube: Wardruna. This is music based upon Nordic and Viking spiritualism and musical traditions. For the observant ones amongst you: this music got also used in the TV-series Vikings. You do not have to be as extreme as we and have a background in Nordic languages and old Norse, however the mood in this music is extremely helpful when painting i.e. Space Marines (not just Space Wolves but in general). It is easy to envision a Black Templar emerging from the mist of battle on some far away planet when you hear the droning sound of the vocal work of Wardruna.
To be honest, we do diversify our choice of music immensely i.e. baroque music does wonders when working on a bombastic piece, and when an ork needs to be painted a good dose of metal provides the mental kick needed, the voice of Enya has accompanied us when finishing up details on a dragon’s scales…
It works for us, if you have any other tips. Feel free to share them,we welcome new artists and new music.
Yes we also mentioned the fabulous and magical O-word: Ork. In the 40k community this has been the topic of the week since the new Ork codex got released.
In a house where Orks are played and a studio where 50% of the artists devote their time on this faction, we cannot let this pass unnoticed, hence a small teaser and progress GIF to celebrate the rise of the Green tide:
…bring on da dakka!
Ahem…anyways we still have a good month left on our Ars Scribendi contest and we have some brilliant entries already. It looks like competition is going to be tough and some very interesting narratives have been posted. It is going to be difficult to beat the ones we already have, but we are certain more folks are up to the challenge. It is open for everyone who has 500 words to spare. So let summertime inspire you.
The question of the week is indeed: Who is watching the watchers?
This week we present you a proud son of Caliban, this character was created by Joshua Zanello and more information can be found on the character’s wiki here.
Living in a house with at least one other Dark Angel fanatic we can say this illustration was appreciated by more than just the artists of the studio.
Our kind meceanas was quite clear in what he wanted on his illustration so not much needs to be explained.
We provided the sketch a few weeks back and looking back upon the advancements made, it never seizes to amaze us what a difference some layers of colours bring in regards to depth and life. These little moments of revelation are one of the perks of working in this business. Our customers are happy when we manage to bring their vision alive, but in all honesty: it is still a rush to see that image that is locked up in your brain, slowly starting to form on the screen or on the canvas. Living in this city, where an eclectic mix of medieval, Gothic, baroque and modern can be found everywhere, it would almost be blasphemous to not be able to do anything creative in this environment. If we need reference of some sorts, we just need to take a trip with a camera down to the city centre and we usually find what we need. So hopefully we can provide some own non-commissioned works soon, it has been a while since we posted anything like that.
On a different note: our first contributions to the Ars Scribendi contest are coming in on the blog here. The entries already look promising, we cannot wait to see what more we shall receive, after all the deadline is still more than a month away.
Looks like summer is going to be bearable after all…