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April 30, 2012

I like the robot man with the sweet mullet – I used a very skinny ink pen (.005) that almost immediately started leaking all over the place when I sat down to wait for Citizen Kane to start at our local historical theatre. Also it was brand new, I have no backup, and so I’ll be drawing with graphite tomorrow to see if I can capture a similar look. ~ 60 minutes


Some moleskine sketchup I started earlier this month. ~ 80 minutes


March 30, 2012

Graphite and Photoshop ~ 250 minutes


March 17, 2012

Fancy! ~ 80 minutes


March 8, 2012

Decided to follow through and actually color this one. Graphite and Photoshop ~ 200 minutes


March 6, 2012

Just some hands. ~ 40 minutes


Dead Space

As has elsewear been mentioned on this blog, I’m playing through my older games with the goal of either beating or getting rid of the ‘back inventory’ before I actually purchase any new games. Currently I’m tackling the Dead Space series, having purchased the entire available catalog en masse sometime last year;

Dead Space (one) has now been tackled, and I’m damned glad about it.

ON WHY DEAD SPACE (ONE) IS FRIGHTENING AND I'M GLAD I FINALLY BEAT IT

As was also previously mentioned, I’m arriving very late to the series. I see this as beneficial because (similar to watching television show’s released on DVD) I now get to play through the complete series (to date) without having to wait 18 months at a time for new games to be released.  And since the Dead Space series has bounced around a bit timeline-wise, I also get to experience the story in a linear fashion, which is cool.  I beat the ‘first game’ in the narrative last year (brief review here); Dead Space: Extraction was a shooter on rails that turned out to be pretty fantastic. As a prequel to 2008’s Dead Space (which I’ll refer to as Dead Space 1), it gave a great deal of background on a few of the events that had occurred in the narrative. It’s storyline concluded with the arrival of the spaceship USH Kellion, and aboard it the main protagonist of the series; engineer Isaac Clarke.

You control Isaac throughout Dead Space 1 as he winds his way through a nightmarish death-ship called the USG Ishimura, battling monsters called necromorphs. They come in a number of gruesome shape’s and sizes, and are prone to leap out at you from dark corners, around shadowy bends in a hallway, or from flimsy ceiling tiles. All told the game was very good at making me jump, which is something that’s new to me in gaming. I usually stray away from your typical ‘survival horror’ game on account of the fact that they usually make your character extremely slow and cumbersome. This is by design; they want you to creep slowly down hallways waiting for things to leap at you from shadows. But Dead Space 1 struck that balance where I felt I could get around, and I only slowed down when I was already really freaked out, gun drawn, unblinking and holding my breath. Honestly I’m kind of glad I’ve beat the game and it’s over with.  Full disclosure though; a huge part of why I was even able to beat the game is because I chose to play on the easiest setting. Besides the fact that I’ve never really been that skilled at playing video games, the ‘going easy’ choice had a lot to do with the lack of man-hours a week I have to commit to playing my backlog of games. If I play every game at ‘Normal’ or ‘Hard’ as I usually do, this project would take forever, and I wouldn’t be able to purchase BioSock Infinite the second it comes out (as I fully intend to do).

All told I really like the Dead Space series so far, and I started the ‘second’ game in the series, Dead Space 2, this evening. Despite my efforts to remain fully ignorent of anything to do with story or design for the second game, I did hear lott’s of good things about the opening. My first impression, which is actually my crystal-solid, for-all-time impression, is that the beginning is kind of neat, but I hate the voice actors, and I really don’t like it when you have to race through a level and don’t get to play ‘video game archeologist’. Which is what I am – I crawl over every inch of a level, looking in corners, studying the posters on the wall and the small squarish books on the shelf, becuase I want to know 1) everything there is to know about the narrative I’m experiencing, and 2) how the level designers and environment artists spent their many hours while putting the game together. So when at the start of the game I had to blindly run through a medical bay, compeltely ignoring entire ROOMS of beautifully rendered stuff, it kind of broke my heart. Ah well. ALSO the game is really, really shiny. I liked the supremely grimy look of Dead Space 1, but I’m only about a half hour in and so shouldn’t cast judgment on the overall look of The Sprawl just yet.


March 4, 2012


February 22, 2012


January 18, 2012

TOO. MANY. GAMES.

APPARENTLY, I buy a lot more video games then I can play, so I’ve foolishly decided to take each of my games and either 1) beat it, or 2) sell it BEFORE I purchase any additional games. I’m limiting this to solo campaign’s on my PS3 and XBox360 titles, or I would never buy another game again.

 

HERE'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT...

Xbox 360:
* Gears of War 2 – looking forward to this
* Gears of War 3 – I put this down as soon as I realized I hadn’t beat the second one
* Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – I’m about halfway through the solo campaign
* Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – same here
* Saints Row – Hah yeah I stopped playing when I began working on the sequel
* Saints Row 2 – Embarrassing. I never beat the one AAA title I actually worked on.
* Saints Row 3 – This is going to rule – best in the series by a mile
* Red Faction: Guerrilla – I think I will actually beat this one
* Red Faction: Armageddon – I will almost certainly sell this one back. Jumping aliens freak me out.
* Rayman: Raving Rabbids – I will likely sell this one
* Kinect Adventures – Is there a solo campaign? I just got this and it’s kind of awesome.
* Red Dead Redemption – This is great – I think I’m halfway through (in Mexico!)
* Dead Space: Extraction – this is an on-rails prequel. I’m looking forward to wrapping this up so I can move onto the original title. Beaten February 4th, 2012
* Dead Space – Can’t wait Beaten March 1st, 2012
* Dead Space 2 – Assuming I like the first one as much as I think I will, I can’t wait
* Rainbow Six Vegas 2 – Loved the first in the series. Looking forward to it.
* Halo3 – I hate The Flood so damned much. I hope they’re not in this.

PS3:
* Little Big Planet – this game is infuriating. I will sell this game long before I beat it.
* Metal Gear Solid 4 – this game is also difficult but still really, really pretty
* Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 – I will almost certainly sell this
* Crysis 2 – Same here – this game is pretty but drives me nuts
* The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena – Looking forward to this (the Dark Athena side, I beat Butcher Bay when it was an XBox title)
* Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time – Almost done with it
* Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One – This will be dependent on whether or not I can get Gussie to play this with me.

 


January 17, 2012


January 15, 2012

There’s a certain angle that makes it difficult for me to not make ears look Elfin. So… I ran with it. ~ 100 minutes


January 14, 2012

Ink studies for a series of paintings I completed last summer ~ 45 minutes


This is from a watercolor sketchpad I keep. I’m not sure why I didn’t scan this when I drew it back in May; maybe because the sketchpad is a bit bigger then my flatbed scanner and I have to scan the image in two seperate pieces, then stitch it together in Photoshop, and that’s kind of a pain. This is brush and india ink, with some nib work thrown in. ~ 45 minutes


A watercolor study for a painting ~ 10 minutes


January 12, 2012

Which get’s me thinking…

Overall I like the SciFi genre more then I do the Fantasy genre.  I used to think it was because Fantasy genre writes had it so easy, what with their near total freedom to create mystical problems and solutions at whim. They can, for instance, introduce an enchanted cloak that makes it’s wearer invisible. THAT certainly moves the story along, and you don’t even have to explain how the cloak makes one invisible, because it’s magic.  Don’t worry about it, it’s chock full of unicorn hair or something. Whatever.

But if I’m honest, a lazy SciFi writer can pull the same stunt. In an old dusty locker one can find a local optical disruption field generator. Just pin it to your lapel and bingo-bango, nobody can see you. Total bullshit.

What I really don’t like about Fantasy is that much of it revolves around this mystical version of Europe in the Middle Ages. I totally don’t care. I’ll swallow a lot of nonsense, but unless you’re talking about the black death, I don’t want to see some knights on horseback. That’s just super dorky.


Observatating

I’ve chosen to start re-watching the Harry Potter films in order to cull their creative secrets. I should be reading the books instead, and have indeed started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (cause philosopher’s aint american), but watching movies is a bit quicker. Since I’m trying to design a solid SciFi story with an adult protagonist, you might ask why I would be taking notes from a *shudder* coming of age fantasy series.

 

SO WHY HARRY POTTER?

Simply put I’m trying to learn how JK Rowling handled a multi-book, 7 year story arc. Seeing the characters evolutionary path transitioned-out over a long period of time makes it easier for me to pick apart all the steps involved. So far it’s been fruitful, research-wise, and I’m only through the second film. In my little notebook I jot down stuff like this;

– capture a moment where the protagonist consciously decides to begin the journey; a no going-back moment.

I realize this is a pretty common transitionary tool, but I’m making an effort to teach myself how stories are actually built. Nuts and bolts stuff. And besides having read a great deal in my life, I have no formal training when it comes to the art of story-smithing. So on top of evaluating books and movies for their tricks and revealing tips, I’m also reading about how authors work, which has been good. For instance I was very heartened to hear that JK Rowling planned out the   { S E V E N } books of the Harry Potter series over a { F I V E } year period before she sat down to write the first book. And that she wrote the last chapter of the final book before she even finished the first novel. For a non-writer this is heartening, because it pulls back the curtain a bit. My assumption has always been that if you’ve got ‘what it takes’ to be a writer then you sit down, type ‘Chapter 1’ and then write a logical, interesting, linear story from start to finish. But the more I read about how people actually write, the better I feel about the process being messy, plagued with fits and starts, and generally difficult to execute.

PLUS I learned what ‘ trope ‘ means. Now I know what my English-major friends have been talking about.

 


January 4, 2012

Hah! I found this in an older sketchpad today – this must be from around 2008. I really like the direction it was headed in, and don’t have any idea why I didn’t work on it a bit more. The idea was that the woman had escaped from a horde of elderly zombies, and still had their dentures clinging to her clothing. Also she has adult braces (click the image for a closer look), which sorta tied into the whole dentures thing… ~ 50 minutes


December 27, 2011

I typically stick to line art, but am slowly trying to branch out and find ways to draw in a more painterly fashion, if that makes any sense.  Subject-wise, I drew most of this while re-watching a few of the Harry Potter films, so drawing a naked cauldron lady was an obvious choice. ~ 180 minutes


December 10, 2011

I really don’t like this one. I don’t think the drawing itself is particularly awful, but that hair? And the sweatband thing? Terrible fashion sense. ~ 75 minutes