Friday, January 26, 2007

Trash day can be a very dangerous day ...

Here's a little star wars sketch because this week Rockstar joined Blue Sky for their weekly themed sketch challenge. A good time was had by all. At least I had a good time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pixel Days

My graphic design background landed me my first job in the game industry. I worked on mobile games creating the HUDs and menu interfaces. It was super fun but it still wasn't fulfilling my passion to draw and paint. This was for the Kingdom Hearts 3D mobile adventure, a rare chance to illustrate back then. It was used as a loading screen before the 'Alice in Wonderland' level. Painted at the size you see for pixel crispness.

These are the HUD and menu interface designs and animations I did for The Incredibles 3D game. The thing about cell phone games is that they have to work on a variety of phones with a variety of screen dimensions so I always had to come up with designs that were scalable. The first image demonstrated how that screen would scale because it was made up of four corner pieces and tileable pieces between the larger graphics. I'd have to show you for it to make sense unless you've done that sort of thing.

This was a design for the main menu of a snowboarding game. I was provided with a temp background image and told to create a menu on top of it. The title was to come later but I left the company before we came back to this game.

Lastly we have a nice baja desert racing game. Initially I was asked to create the HUD and an example of how to go about creating a tileable isometric graphic background (example above). Another team was going to be doing the graphics. When that wasn't working out so well I took over all the graphic responsibilities from the tiled background to the car animations. The top two images show both the entire range of car states I created for the animations as well as the full set of tiles layed out in a possible track shape. If you've never worked on pixel games and haven't had to create a rich world from something like fifty tiles I'd recommend it. It's incredibly challenging and satisfying. Or maybe I'm just funny that way. I wish I were given the opportunity to design and layout the tracks but the designers in Moscow were given that privelige. In the end I got producer credits on the game and learned a whole lot about making a sprite based racing game and managing a team located in Moscow while I sat in an office in southern california. Those were really fun days but like I said earlier, not as fun as now.

Actually I lied. Here's one very last background I did for the village level in Van Helsing. This entire level was limited to seventeen tiles so there wasn't too much to work with. You know, these probably suck and a real pixel artist is probably laughing at them right now but boy were they fun to figure out. For an artist I'm incredibly left brained.

Wisdom's Council

Something I doodled about two weeks ago. I think I'll paint it later this week if I get some time.

Monday, January 15, 2007


A little over a year ago the company I was at was in the process of folding and I ended up needing to find work fast. So, like every artist looking for work I put together a web page. Now, making a web page wasn't a new thing for me. Before I was a concept artist I was a graphic designer for the first two years out of school and in those two years I redesigned my web site five times and each time I spent lots and lots of time designing it. I always saw my web page as something very personal and it took a while to find the design I was happy with. Part of my transition to becoming a full time illustrator/concept artist was having to push the graphic design work out of my life because I just didn't have the time to do both. I knew that if I wanted to get good at drawing I was going to have to really really focus on it. I still have my last designed portfolio site up on my domain but it's been stuck up in the attic (old portfolio). I guess I keep it live as a sort of last testament to that old life. Nobody ever sees it but taking it down just feels sad to me. While sites like this got me more graphic design work there was no end to the illustrators complaining that they wanted bigger images and were sick of fancy sites that were hard to navigate. So, when I found myself in need of work again and needing a new web page that marketed myself as a concept artist I decided to keep it simple this time. Very simple. The idea was to just get my illustrations in front of art directors and show them off as big as I could on the web without being disgusting about it. The only other thing I needed on the site was a way to contact me since every time I sent this site out to an art director it was accompanied by my resume which told them everything they needed to know about me. It came to my attention recently that a small group of people outside of the industry I work in are looking at my work and are confused by what they see, since I offer no explanation on my webpage. So for anybody outside of the entertainment industry or just unfamiliar with this type of work, my portfolio is an odd assortment of concept designs I've done for the video game and film industries. Someone in my position is expected to quickly generate things like character designs, environment designs, creature designs etc. I do a lot of sketching and most of the work I do you would never call 'finished' as far as illustration goes. But that's my job. It's more about the idea, the design, the mood, the color, the light. Once that's there it is finished as far as concept design goes. It's a fun field to work in and suits me perfectly. At least for now. It was the perfect way to marry my desire to illustrate and design. So anyway, that's what you're seeing on my site.

These sketches up top were done about a year ago when I was playing around with an Alice and Wonderland concept in my spare time.