Monday, September 9, 2013

New speed environments

I got back from PAX last week and I've been exhausted since. I didn't get PAX pox, but 4 days is a lot and that trip really took it out of me. Still, I got to see a lot of good friends as well as meet some new ones! Overall, it was a blast.

Here are some new speed paints. The first one was done before I left and is in the more cartoony style of the previous entry on this blog:

This next one was just to blow off some steam when I got back. I think I was going through drawing withdrawl after a week + of travel:

And this one is for a short series of travel posters I'm doing, inspired by my friend Shirong. The posters are going to be for Star Wars planets:

"Hoth: come for the scenary, stay because your tauntaun froze before the first checkpoint."
...And just because I've been listening to it on loop for 3 days, here is Short Change Hero by The Heavy:

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I'm resurfacing for air. What a couple of months it's been - new job, new car, new apartment, cats... Things have been nuts. In between working and moving and side projects, I've done a few doodles, so I'll just upload those for now. I'll be at PAX next week if anyone is going. Definitely excited for some of the talks, I love that show.

This started off as a one hour, but turned more into a 2 hour, since I decided to add textures and punch it up a bit. I've been playing with more overt texture use as a stylistic thing (not to mention speed thing) as well as using stamping and the custom shape tool.

This one is a similar story - speed painting, but pushing textures and saturation.

I have a side project going where I'm doing a deck of cards - each suit is a fairy tale and takes place in a season, so that's 10 cards to tell the story and the face cards for the characters. I initially wanted to do it for APE since I'm tabling with some friends this year, but that will definitely not happen in time. Still, it's a fun project. Here are some of the cards:

The last one isn't for my project, it was a gift for a friend's car-building project. Anyway, I like the style, so it should be a fun little side project.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Just a little note - I started a new job with TellTale Games this month and my personal update schedule has been blown out the window! Once I get my bearings I'll be back to posting doodles and drivel.

Monday, May 20, 2013

This and That

It's been a really hectic few weeks! We're gearing up for our spring show at the Palace of Fine Arts here in San Francisco - the opening is this Wednesday. Because of that I've been very busy  fine-tuning work, helping other others get things together, layout/ formatting of pieces... all sorts of random (and often unexpected) stuff in preparation for the show. We also wrapped another semester and it was my birthday!

So, here are a few weird things I've been working on on the side lately -

Above is a piece I started for fun while observing a class in the cintiq lab and I was enjoying it so I brought it home to finish. Nothing terribly original about it, but it came out nicely.

A giraffe-legged femme fatale pinup. I've been told my characters are kind of stumpy sometimes, so I pushed her legs and they got... well... very long. Maybe she is standing on a bucket under there. You don't know!

This is a speed paint, but it was done almost entirely with the custom shape tool. I've been reading about Sparth's custom shape technique from a few years back. I've tried it before, but only in passing. Now that I have a few weeks to myself I want to really get it down, it seems like a very useful technique. The above painting was a test of how I could use some of the custom shapes I came up with this afternoon, then I applied a quick color balance mask so it wasn't in black and white.

And what would an update be without some more one hour cinematics?

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Good And Evil Palace

A couple new things! First, the more or less finished version of the good palace from last week:

And then, the evil version of it ten years after the warring faction invaded and made some architectural modifications:

I'm still not perfectly happy with them, but they have come a long way and I like the over all concept.

I wasn't tired last night so I did a silly self portrait doodle:

I don't usually have a lot of time for light stuff like this, it was fun to do it. :)

And then here are some new one hour paints:

Iron Man 3
Django Unchained
The Hobbit

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New things.

Sorry for the lack of updates, it's been very busy the past week or two. We're gearing up for our big spring show and I'm prepping a lot of pieces for submission. Apart from that I've had some pretty intense freelance projects that have been taking up time. Here are a couple new things I can show from the last week:

New gun! It's for the same project that the Prince and Blue Guardian are for. The project has a name now, it's called the Empire of Shadows project, and I've been having a great time working on it. This is an enemy beam weapon - the concept is that the plasma it fires is highly volatile. If you get even grazed by it, the wound must be lanced because the plasma will continue to burn into you and cannot be put out, like the embers of a fire. So regardless of how critical the injury would normally be, the wound will continue to burn deeper into the flesh until it kills you and cannot be "put out." This makes it extremely lethal, as injuries that would not normally be life threatening become fatal if they cannot be lanced or amputated. I also imagine it hurts like hell, having live plasma fires burning through you.

Here is my first view of the Palace Seat in the capital city for Empire of Shadows, before it is consumed by evil:

It's not 100% done yet, but I like the concept for it. I posted thumbnails earlier and this is where I decided to go with it. This city is the largest on the continent, and during the peaceful era it was the heart of a cultural and scientific renaissance. The next step is to evil it up this week and show its altered appearance once the warlords take it over.

Here are some one hour cinematic speed paints from this week:

Captain America
The Big Lewbowski

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blue Guardian Finish

I've been down pretty hard for the past week and a half with bronchitis, but I'm starting to feel better now. Thanks to everyone who offered to bring me food, I'm lucky to have such good friends.

I thought I would do a post on the finish for the blue guardian character I've been working on. I'll probably let this sit for a day or two and tweak a few things then - if I make any major changes I'll post an update. Over the the past month off and on I've posted sketches and thumbnails relating to her, if you sift backwards through this blog you'll find a few. I designed her in tandem with the prince character, who I finished off a couple weeks ago. I hadn't had time to bring her to finish, but I got the urge to do a character yesterday so I decided to finally bring her to life. Here is the rendered front view, with the rough back view (with and without her wrap).

And here she is next to the prince character from a little while ago:

There is a complex background for these two, but the quick gist is he is a prince who's spent the last ten years hiding out in a tribal community. She is an exiled royal guard, who has spent the last ten years wandering. In their design I want them to feel like they belong to the same universe, but while he has more or less gone full-on tribal, she is a regal character who left her old life unwillingly and there are bits and pieces of her old uniform mashed up with costume elements she's picked up along the way. Even though current circumstances have brought her low, inside she is still a proud warrior.

Personally I'm proud of the wrap design - I myself haven't seen anything quite like it and I'm always pleased when I can create a costume element that is a) something you can make out of real materials, b) reflects the culture of the world it is a part of, and c) is something I haven't seen before. Those successes are why I absolutely love what I do.

Some people have expressed curiosity about my rendering process. I've played with taking videos but it often hinders my photoshop from running smoothly. This time I took jpegs along the way, maybe you'll find them interesting:

The process is pretty simple. I do the line, then block in flat color. Then I add highlights, then shadows, then slowly start removing the line by painting over it. Last I add texture elements, sometimes with photo textures, sometimes with spatter brushes. And yes, I use photo references for faces. I'm sure there are geniuses who can invent perfectly photo-realistic human faces from their imagination, but I am not such a one.

Here are a few new one hour paints:

Army of Shadows
Star Wars Episode 5
The Incredibles

Monday, April 8, 2013

Post GDC Recovery

Well another GDC come and gone. I had a really nice time and met a lot of interesting people. I can't wait for the vault to come online so I can catch up on all the talks I missed! However, since the end of GDC I've been completely destroyed by some sort of virus I picked up. You know that sort of cold where you can't stop coughing to save your life? I hardly ever get sick so this has hit me like a ton of bricks. As such, the past week or so hasn't been very eventful, but here are a few things I've been working on:

^ New environment, just felt like inventing an interesting place after a week of talking to people all day.

^Thumbnails for a palace I'm designing.

And below, some recent one hour paints:

Blade Runner
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Getting Ready for GDC

Just a short update today, I've been pretty much consumed with getting my portfolio and materials ready for the Game Devlelopers Conference this week. If you're in San Francisco and want to say hi, I'll be the girl with the short hair running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But seriously, if you see me you should come say hi!

Here's a painting I started while at the lab sitting in on a class Friday, I liked it so I brought it home and put some more effort into it:

And here are a few recent one hour paints:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Warhorse one went 10 minutes over, two faces and two hands was a bit more than I could chew in an hour.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Guns, Swords, and Men with no Shirts On

Wrapping up a few odds and ends today. I did a final polish on my sword design from earlier, reverting to a different design that I felt was more successful but with the same ivory color scheme:

I designed a new sniper rifle:

And I've been pushing to finish the male character from last week. He has some crazy hereditary tattoos that glow cyan when he's enraged. Somehow I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that:

The little jacket thing is what he wears to cover them in populated areas. I also did a back version in flat colors.

Here are a couple of one hour paints from the the latest batch that I like:

Gangs of New York
Doing them every day, I've noticed that some days it's just easier than others. I think it depends on my disposition. Also perhaps the amount of coffee I've had.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pointy Things

Since my last posting I've been working on a variety of things, but my most interesting project has been to come up with a pair of blades for the female protagonist of one of my projects, the Blue Guardian. In the story she's a wanderer, and her bloodline possesses some pretty fantastical properties. As such, I needed to design a pair of swords that "activate" when held by her, kind of like how James Bond is the only one who can use his particular pistol in Skyfall. (Man, wasn't Skyfall awesome?)

It was decided that the metal the swords were forged with would have some sort of reactive qualities based on the user and this metal would also have a semi-transparent look. The setting for this project is a fantasy one, but more a Star Wars technological fantasy than a Lord of the Rings style fantasy. I came up with the idea that she would use twin blades (kind of samurai style, she's a warrior class) and those blades would have the option of being fused into a greatsword. Here are the process drawings:

First I did some hasty thumbnails, then I mirrored them and played with the shapes to see how best they might fuse together to make a fantastical greatsword. I picked the three I thought were most successful and did some variants on possible detailing.

I thought of the three, the top most one felt a) the most "real" and b) had the most practical and identifiable greatsword shape, so that is the style I went with. I used a lot of reference when coming up with the swords, but ended up being drawn to Persian style blades the most - they feel exotic with their embellishing and interesting curves, and I felt the elegance of those weapons suited the regal qualities for this character.

Here are three skins I came up with:

And here is my favorite of the three, showcasing as well the merged look for the greatsword:

 I named them Erryl and Entis and invented a legend from which the names for the blades were taken. Overall it was a lot of fun. I might end up polishing them a little more, but I've stared at them for so long now that I need to leave them be for a bit.

Here is the Prince character from the same project:

Not your typical prince, that's for sure. I'm leaning toward the right-most one as far as costume color.

And a few more cinematics from the last couple days:

Ben Hur
Tron: Legacy