This blog is a platform where I like to share my inner world of illustration. Here’s a post about something different. It’s about what I do as a 3D concept artist. I thought it might be interesting to share the process. How a commercial project unfolds.
I was brought on by Virtual Point LTD to art direct a spot for VISUfarma’s eye care product. And we dove into the strange world of the iris surface. This is the dramatic tale of what occurs when our eye get’s dry. Ta da dam.
First thing’s first. I read the script and sketched a storyboard (Photoshop).
The longer answer is this. An art piece’s completion is completely subjective. It could potentially be done when I cock my head to the right squint my eyes and dim the lights. It can be done, when I’m tired. It can be done when I’m hungry. It can be done if there is a deadline. But wait…What if there is no dead line? What if the piece is a personal project. Is there an inner deadline?
Yes there is.
It is when you die!
I’m sure dead artists wouldn’t agree.
I don’t think I ever really complete a drawing. Sometimes it just clicks with that final line. Sometimes it’s missing something edgy and then I go to sleep and wake up with an idea, like adding a creepy insect. At times I begin a drawing and put my wacom pen down knowing I need to give it some final touches the day after. Sometimes it feels like I worked on it for too long. I sucked most of the juice out of it. I ate it up and enjoyed it like a fresh luscious apple and now I want to take the final bite and relax.
I may come back to it after a few days and realize to my surprise that the apple had a few more bites to it after all. But by then, like an old apple. It just needs to be left alone. There are plenty of new apples waiting for me.
This is an illustration based roughly on a picture of yours truly…rockin’ the crow!
I remember my first yoga class. It was an Ashtanga practice. I didn’t know what it meant, but I tip toed in…and with as little noise as possible lay down my mattress. The instructor was a strict elderly lady. Dressed in black. She recited the poses in a flat voice with an exotic accent I couldn’t place. I did my best to get it right without making a fool of my self. I looked at the other students who knew the poses by heart. They giggled and danced from one pose to the other in elegance, while my muscles screamed and shook. They were more flexible than I was. They were stronger than I was. But I kept coming back. I saw it as an opportunity to get in shape. It fit my time schedule. But the thing I remember most about the experience was that after the class. I could do one particular human task better than I could before.
I could breath.
The practice was about breath driving motion and it was the first time I was conscious of how flat my everyday breathing was. I spent a whole day at work in the doing and fussing and stressing and did very little breathing and very little being.
Being? what are you talking about?
I’m talking about taking a pause to notice where I am. I’m talking about listening to birds. Looking at a tree. Feeling the wind. I’m talking about paying attention to the current moment instead of hurrying off to the next moment or thinking back on a moment which is already gone. Eckhart Tolley explains it better than I do.
Fast forward to ten years later. After a mini midlife crisis, I signed up to a course to become…drums please. A yoga teacher. Specializing in Ashtanga.
Well It grew on me. I haven’t been a diligent yogi for years. I did other stuff.
I ran. I walked. I jogged. I swam. I did Pilates. I even indulged in Aerobics. On occasion I randevued with yoga. And I tried them all. Almost!
Hata yoga. Power yoga. Iyengar yoga. I met a fit muscular male instructor who demonstrated impossible poses in beginner classes in front of a drooling group of girls. I met a loving female teacher who talked for an hour about femininity before beginning a short ten minute practice. I met a serious Igenger teacher who made me use any and every prop in the storage room to reach the perfect pose. They were all good. But I always came back to Ashtanga. The fast paced yoga worked best for me. It was centered on breath and when ever I came out of an Ashtanga yoga class I was in awe at how light I felt afterward. I thought I came for the workout but I stayed for the air. And It dawned on me that there was something about Yoga, There was something about it I needed desperately in my life.
I loved the year long course and it gave me a few new aspects to ponder, which were previously missing from my life.
1. Could I actually become a yoga teacher?
I gave it a try and it felt amazing. I volunteered to teach an adult special needs class. I taught children’s yoga at a center for troubled teens. There was great energy and uplifting in it, but the enthusiasm which was sparked like a flame died out very quickly. I decided it wasn’t for me just yet. Maybe later.
2. Is yoga more than a breathing hack for me?
Yoga is so much more than a “how to”. Yoga is a way to be in touch with the physical machine which is my body. It’s a way to become completely present at the current moment, if I allowed it. I put my feet flat on the mattress and placed my mind aside for the hour and a half of the practice. I used breathing to bring my attention to center, and if my mind found it’s way back to me. And it always did. I just tried again by utilizing my breathing. Or in yogi tongue – ujjayi breath. (It’s a deep loud focusing inhale and exhale to get you back on track(. Two main things happen if you keep doing that. One – you get focused on the NOW and calm down. The day goes away. You and your trouble goes away. The second thing that happens is that you oxygenise your whole system in the process. There are many more things which occur and I’m not even talking about reprogramming your nervous system. But These two were key for me.
3. What’s the connection between yoga and spirituality?
Well heck. I came to deepen my understanding of the practice, not indulge in Buddhism. But as the days went by I was hooked. I studied Indian philosophy and meditation techniques. Introducing meditation to my mornings coated my life in a shield of calmness. I read books and listened to lectures and talks about Oneness, Ananda, Brahaman and deep consciousness. I listened in fascination to the story of Prakriti and Porusha and coming out of suffering through yoga. I read Patanjali and the eight Sutra’s. And more and more and more. I’m still learning. I begin almost every morning with standing yoga asanas and a ten minute meditation. Not every practice is perfect. I’m not always focused enough, or strong enough or flexible enough. Sometimes I miss a day or two or even a week around the holidays. But I always come back, Like a stubborn salesman. I know It’s a never ending practice. I know I’ll never get it all done.
It’s 21:55. She reads them five books. Fetches two glasses of water. Walks the big one to the bathroom and stroks the little one’s back. She soothes and sings and plays and cooes and begs and chants and prays and finally…Finally.
They fall asleep. Children are so adorable. And even more so when they are sleeping. She sits herself down in front of the TV or a book or a blank wall and chills for a moment.
It has been a looooong day.
a subtle noise alerts her attention. It comes from the upper bedroom. Tiny, swooshing, hardly even there, brushing against the carpet, tiptoeing of two pairs of naughty naughty feet?!
I made a portrait for my great and talented Friend . She’s an amazing, super creative, talented and funny mother of two similarly amazing daughters. Her name’s Avital and she has a great blog and a beautiful collection of illustrations.
All I wanted to do on a lazy autumn Saturday was to draw like old times . It’s been awhile and my sketch book had a few last pages. My daughter was kind enough to play on her own for a few minutes at a time. Between a batch of minutes here and there I sketched Eve. A character on my work in progress novel.
Last night I painted her in Photoshop and became so engaged in the process, I ended up staying up until 2 AM.
Putting her on paper in color or rather in monochrome was so helpful. Imagine getting a description of what someone ate for dinner. Then imagine being served that dinner. Two different experiences. That’s how it felt for me. Describing vs illustrating. I know her better now.
I’ll write her better now, which means I must draw all the characters in my book as soon as possible. There are a few more and more coming.
I want to illustrate all the creatures for that matter.
Around 21:30 the house fell silent. Nothing is more pleasing to me lately than those quiet hours. I used to be so tired in the past. I guess I slept enough for a while. these days I’m vibrant as a vampire when the city rests.
It was time for some fun, but not in the bloody sense. Just geeky stuff.
Beginnings are so exciting. Aren’t they?. The middle is a bit muddled. So this post is refreshing for me in the sense that I found it so pleasing to quickly illustrate this character. To enjoy the beginning of the creative process which depicts the actual contrast of what it represents.
I’m in the midpoint of a novel I’m working on. half done and half more to go. The main character is Aora. She is a work in progress. It’s so fun to describe a character in words, when I’m so used to describing in color and form.
This girl is inspired by the looks of the beautiful Marina Nery. I sketched her in pencil first, just to get the feel of her. Color was done in Photoshop. The process began in a speed painting in my standards. by 23:30, 2 hours later I was happy to put my Wacom pen down and complete a “wip” version of my main character’s face. A few weeks later I came back and sat down to give her more attention and more detail.
This is a little sneak preview of my inner world. I love books. I love getting wrapped in a good story. I love science fiction. I love fantasy. I love dystopia. I love evolving with new ideas. I love a good journey. i’m on a journey here, venturing into a whole new realm.
There will be more work in progress art of this yet to be completed book as it comes along.
Designing character Mascots is a long winding process. The race to the finish line is full of sketching and going back and forth.
The brief can be an endless list of character traits , style, properties or what ever the client has a vision for. The end result is symbolizing the brand successfully. The process is the incubation period and the result is a cute little baby mascot. All shiny and new, ready to represent and reflect what it’s company stands for.
Sketching the first shapes and colors, the inspiration was from water creatures and balloons.
And then after a bit more exploring and doodling. It looks like we found her.
And then we get more specific and add variations, expressions and poses.
After the emotions are approved, comes the time to bring in the big guns. Maya and Photoshop combined. There you have it. A new Mascot is born!
I hope you like the process of my bubble girl. I sure had a blast.
Do you know that feeling. When your tummy twists in painful excitement. When your tongue is dry and it’s a nuisance to swallow…I’m talking about the torments of trying something new.
Now imagine being a designer and working a certain way for ages. Imagine having a comforting professional routine. Then imagine turning your world upside down and working differently. Different hours. Different design projects. Different deadlines and most importantly different clients. Some of you may have a boss. So now imagine having loads of different bosses, and now the catch! You may or may not get payed for your hard work.
No, I’m not talking about freelancing with bad contracts and cheeky clients, although it may sound the same. That’s a post i’ll write some other day.
I’m talking about 99d – 99 designs. Yes I have been testing this thing. love it and hate it. What is 99 designs? I like to think of it an international design bidding platform.
I first heard of it when I was still employed full time and daydreaming about freelancing. I thought to my self. “Here’s a seductive concept. I just log in. Look for a cool project and submit my design/ illustration/ sketch and get payed”
There may be over 300,000 happy customers. But there are even more designers and the playground is a jungle of hungry predictors circling a juicy brief.
Why do they do it? Why do I do it?
It’s not the pay. The money is not guaranteed and you may find your self working hours and hours and the client tosses your beloved piece of art out the window.
What?! You put your heart and soul into your creation and someone has the nerve to say they don’t like it and won’t pay for it?!
Yes. And it’s Horrible. But it is also awesome. It’s all about accountability. How many times have you vowed to yourself to start a personal project. How many times do you have an itch to boost a certain aspect of your portfolio. I think most of us have the “want it” part but not the “work it” part. Not all of us are type A people who put our mind to a project and just give it our all even though it’s off hours and totally unpaid for. It’s hard to work for yourself when you don’t have accountability. You lack the motivation. You suffer from procrastination. “Shall I design a cool retro poster?…oh..look…Back to the future trilogy”
As a designer & an illustrator I log on to 99d to look for cool briefs to enhance my portfolio and shake the dust off my wacom. I essentially go into a deadline and critique simulation of the real world. Iv’e been submitting projects on and off for about two months. Iv’e been a finalist a few times. Which means the client likes what I did but wants to choose between me and a few other designers after eliminating tens of others. The first time I was chosen as a finalist I felt great, I did a little victory dance in my office/ bedroom. The joy was short lived. I pulled an all nighter . I remember sitting red eyed from fatigue and looking at the clock closing in on the deadline for all finalists. Submitted my final final final design at the last minute only to be informed in the morning that the client went with another designer. “Thanks for all the hard work, but no thanks.”
It was discouraging, I admit. But the sooner I tried again the pain got a bit more bearable with the second rejection. The pain of failing and getting a bad critique is hard on any designer. It is also a school of life. It taught me something I forgot. The real world has many opinions and many tastes. I might not be the right taste for those clients. It also taught me not to get too attached to my baby. Yes I gave birth to it. But as soon as I put it out there, it’s on it’s own. Elizabeth Gillbert said it and I concur.
And as soon as it’s out there, In the words of the very wise Seth Godin “it might not work”.
Up until this very moment I have been trying and designing and working against the clock. Each attempt makes me stronger in some ways and discourages in others. I feel like a student again. I have a few years of experience behind me and yet I feel like i’m at square one. To be perfectly frank. The internet is a much more vicious arena than the university. No one is nice and they don’t always give a hoot about the right critique etiquette. Even in my fully employed days I have been given softer sugar coated comments and remarks about my work. People on the internet don’t see me. They don’t see my gender, my religion or my country if I choose not to show it. They see my stuff. They are less sensitive to my efforts and in some ways I’m sure they feel the same. They are the client and they are not seen. All they are to me is a message. I don’t try to please them with my personality, but rather with my ideas | designs | illustration. It’s a whole new way of working.
They might be in the US or somewhere in Dubai. I don’t care who they are. I just care about the project. I don’t even care that much about the price they’re offering. I see designers working just as hard on low paying projects.
There are other ways of finding good briefs, sure. Pro Bono projects, charity, Online challenges. But 99d is another way. It may not work for most, it may be a bloodsucking creativity monster. But for now…it brought something alive in me. I was reminded why I love the field. I have yet to see the fruits, but I’ll keep harvesting just a little tiny bit longer. Winter is coming.
What about you? Have you tried it yet? I dare you. I double dare you!