Category Archives: Creature designs

Some more sculpting practice in Blender 2.78. I started this for the Sculpt January challenge, but unfortunately this is the only one I managed to get so far.  I’ll hopefully get a few more done throughout the next few weeks.

Sketch Dump #2

I’m not getting as much time as I’d like to get any finished drawings done these days, between one thing and another, but still I’m still managing to get a few sketches done here and there. Here’s a few randoms from my Moleskin.

Sketch dump #1

Bit of a random sketch dump this week, a couple of pics from my pub moleskin, and a couple of topical coloured pics where I was testing out various brushes, pens and paper and practicing my colouring in Photoshop. The Dredd pic was done with brush and Tikky pen on very thin paper which wrinkled quite a lot when I blocked ink with the brush, but I was able to save it in the scan. Fink is pretty much based on the classic Mike McMahon pic, thought it would be a great tryout for my Gpen on the bristol board. That’s all, really!

Colouring the Light – Part 3

Once you have the grayscale values done, it’s time to move on to the colouring. You still want to keep it flexible and loose at this stage, to make it easier for quick decisions-making.
Taking your grayscale from the previous stage, pull your blacks down to about 70% using Levels. Then create a new layer on top and set it to Multiply. When you start painting on this layer with colour it will darken what’s below, so pulling the blacks down in the previous step will counter this. Switch your brush to hard round with no pressure and start colouring. Just work in solid, flat colours for now, it will make them easier to change, since you’ll be able to Magic Wand a block of colour. This might take a bit of getting used to getting the colours right, but just play around and you’ll get the hang of it.


I’m not going to go into colour theory here, that’s a whole other set of blog posts and there’s plenty of them around. Work individually on each character and try not to let one influence the other, and play around with skin tones. Even if a colour isn’t working on one character, you can always try it on another. It also helps to keep some coordination within the colour palette for each character if you can.

Once you’re done with the basic colours, you can move on to the final stage of highlighting. Add another layer on top and switch the layer mode to Lighten. You should be able to colour pick beneath where you want to highlight, pull up the lightness and saturation of your picked colour and start painting. Work over the characters, you’ve already added the highlights at the value stage so this shouldn’t take too long. Try adding in a bit of complimentary light to the rim on one side to imply a secondary light source, just to punch the characters out a little more.
You could leave that as the final state but I’ve gone a little further and added a Normal layer and just painted over some areas to blend them in a little better and tidy it all up. I also added in a Colour layer to tweak some of the colours here and there, like the flames coming from the Sorceress’ hands. Then I added a Colour Dodge layer and lightly painted over some of the highlights to bring out more contrast. I also worked over some of the metal areas on that same layer, like the swords and armour, since the Colour Dodge method is great for adding sheen for these types of material.

Once you’re all done, hey presto! You should have a decent set of characters for your portfolio!

Later on, I’ll take two or three of these designs and work them up to a more polished character design with side and back views.

If you have any questions, or even any tips to add to this just pop them in the comments below.

Part One – Embrace the Shadow

Part Two – Lighting the Shadows

Lighting the Shadows – Part 2

Taking the silhouettes and scanning them into Photoshop, you can start working on adding some depth. It is more obvious on some of the silhouettes what type of character they will end up as, but you shouldn’t be afraid to completely change them if an idea comes up, just keep doodling and sculpting it into something you think works. What you shouldn’t do is use reference of any kind at this point, it all has to be loose and come straight from your head, just rely solely on your imagination.

The biggest advantage of working with silhouettes is that you haven’t invested too much time with them yet, so there’s no need to get precious about them. If you compare the original scan you can see I drastically changed the complete design of the sorceress while still keeping the same basic pose. What you also should do at this point though, is use the opportunity to fix any proportion issues.

I just used a round hard brush with pressure set to Opacity and switched back and forward between various sizes. Don’t worry about any textured brushes, just concentrate on filling out the characters and getting your values right. The other thing you should do at this stage is to pull the black of the image down to 50% gray, this will give you the scope to add both highlights and shadow to the figures.

PS POWERUSER TIPS:
d key – Switches the Foreground and Background to black and white respectively.
x key – Toggles the Foreground and Background colours.

Here’s a few stages with a couple of the figures to show you what I mean.

Sorceress silhouette: Click to enlarge

Cowboy silhouette: Click to enlarge

And here is the final set. I’ve given them all names to make them easier to identify, and also to help me remember what direction I want to push them to the finished stage. Next up is colouring.

Click to enlarge

Part One – Embrace the Shadow

Part Three – Colouring the Light

Embrace the Shadow – Part 1

I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff recently, and decided last week that I needed to have a bit of a doodle for myself to loosen up a bit. But, what to do.. what to do!

Well, one way I’ve found if you’re not sure what you want to do, you don’t want to get into anything too long-term or intense, and you like having a go at character design, is to have a go at silhouette doodling. It’s a great way to take the pressure off and relax if you have a bit of artists block too, and it can’t hurt having a bit more character work in your portfolio.

I’m constantly trying to stay off the computer as much as I can, since I spend all day looking at one in work. So I got myself a Sharpie, and to take the roundness off the tip and give a bit of a chisel edge, I sliced the tip off with a scalpel. It wasn’t the cleanest of cuts, but that was a good thing since it made me think differently about what way to hold it to get the shapes I needed. Then I grabbed my sketch pad and started doodling and didn’t stop til I had these 12 little beauties to work with. You can, of course, do this process digitally if you prefer. More on this tomorrow…

Click to enlarge

Part Two – Lighting the Shadows

Part Three – Colouring the Light

Conflicting Kingdoms Set 6

Here’s the final set of cards for now, I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks from them while I get a few other things sorted out, and maybe work on a couple of other things. This set finishes the Konk themed, all five are location cards: a training dojo, a bridge over the waterfall, the air shrine, the Konk’s ‘canteen’, and finally the Konk’s treehouse market. The market was probably my most complicated and detailed card I’ve done, it was a tricky one to plan out.
I first did a couple of colour sketches to figure out the composition and settled on this:

After that I decided to go and build a rough primitive version in 3D, to help me both with the perspective and the lighting and shadows:

I’ve only tried this method once before, but it was a big help with getting the artwork finished quickly and on time, and I was really pleased with how it turned out.
Really looking forward to seeing these printed and part of the deck.

JUST ONE LAST NOTE: For anyone who has bookmarked or subscribed to this blog, please note that I’ve now changed the address from http://iluvpixels.co.uk to http://iluvpixels.co.uk. Now that I’ve got a bit more used to WordPress this seemed like a more sensible idea, so don’t forget to resubscribe or change your bookmarks if you want to keep receiving updates. Thanks for your continued support.

Conflicting Kingdoms Set 5

Well, my old G4 Mac’s been holding out up to now. God it’s slow, but it’s better than nothing, and the Conflict cards aren’t overly big images, so far so good. This is the next five cards for my themed ‘Konk’ deck. It includes a couple of cards for the deck’s Avatar, Master Hexumi, two creature attack cards, Brink Rats and Brink Bats, and one location card, the Konk’s live in the woods in an area called The Brink, and use the cover of the mists to attack and hunt. I have five more cards to finish for the themed deck, which I should have finished by the end of the week hopefully.
The game is being launched with the Starter Decks at the beginning of June at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham, and I’m hoping to pop over there for a couple of days. I’ve never been to a convention before so I’m quite looking forward to that, if I can make it. As always if you want to follow the games progress check out the Conflicting Kingdoms page on Facebook.

Conflicting Kingdoms Set 4

I’ve had a bit of a technical disaster since my home iMac gave up the ghost on me a couple of weeks ago. I ‘have a man’ (you know who you are), who’s hopefully gonna give it a going over with some serious soldering work so fingers crossed that the surgery will work. In the meantime, I’ve had to take a technological step backwards by about 10 years and get my old G4 desktop working again. So far so good, although it’s slow as hell, but it’ll do for now. Good job I had all my artwork backed up to an external, so no worries there. The only thing art-related I might have lost are all my custom Photoshop brushes, but they may be backed up somewhere too, that’s next on my list to do.

For now though, I’ve finished these four more cards for the Conflict game. The guys at Conflicting Kingdoms have now asked me to work on a themed deck for the game. You may have noticed I’ve done a lot of ‘Konk’ related cards so far, so that will be the theme of the deck containing my artwork exclusively, so I’m pretty excited about that. I still have about 10 or so more cards to do for that before May, so here’s hoping the G4 holds out til then!

On another note, I’ve just started another blog up called I Luv Voxels where I will be keeping any Blender 3d work, for anyone who doesn’t want to wade through all the 2d stuff here. I’ll probably double post it here too though, just in case! **Edit 28/5/2013 All 3D content has now been moved to this blog, I Luv Voxels no longer exists.

Conflicting Kingdoms Set 3

And the Conflict snowball rolls ever on gathering speed. My third set of cards for the TCG, Conflict. These four include a second Konk avatar Master Hexumi, another quite violent Konk ability called blinding, a Phoenix scout rising from a volcano, and a goblin avatar, Nuckle Sandrock the Goblin King.
The beta version of the first deck will be out soon, if you fancy being a beta tester, or if you want to have a go at a couple of the cards, go on over and sign up at the forums.
If you want to keep up on the game’s development, check out the Conflicting Kingdoms Facebook page