Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kooki Kotaku

These are the notes I took from Kekai's demo at the Gnomon Live Workshop. I recommend all the people to go next year, I learned a lot. I'm trying to translate them into normal speak the best that I can, so I apologize if they're hard to understand.
*disclaimer: He didn't say most of this, it's just a summary of my personal revelations.

It's all about values.

Start with big brushes, and put most of your brush strokes in areas of focus. You don't need that much anywhere else.

Smudge shit together.

It's all about finding cool shapes. Have your own library of details and designs that you can pull out on any piece to add that little bit of coolness.

Minimal colour. Add it later.

When in doubt, do a portfolio piece. Don't explore at work.

Always be aware of your strokes. There's a lot that goes into every stroke.

Turn on scatter for your smudge tool in the brush presets.

Transform ->Warp gradients

To add dynamism, draw your figures like athletes. They're in the middle of action and always off balance.

Learn how to draw horses, and riders.

Be a curious human and act on your curiosity.

Develop your shapes by building up your brush strokes. Choose what to exaggerate and what to play down. Keep in mind the flows and ratios. Choose your implied lines and commit to them. In the end, it's all about making cool shapes.

 Getting faster is about skipping steps and doing several different things with as few brushstrokes as possible. Decide what the important shit is, and "merge down" your process.

Modify your overlay or colour layers with colour balance. Easier than doing gradient maps.

Pure black adds more punch and contrast. Makes your illustrations more impressive from afar.

In brush presets, check the texture box, but make sure your texture is in "subtract" mode.

Filter - Polar coordinates. Makes shit round.

When you know an idea is good, but nobody else can see what's good about it, draw it again. If they still can't see it, draw it until they do. You will probably come up with your best ideas that way.

When your eye flows around the image, it should be like Morse code: _._._._.  (dots are details and underscores are areas of rest)

Concentrate your effort on the focal points only. You actually don't need to render everything else.

Build up the design of your focal points organically, the same way you do values, colour balance, detail spread etc. Your design should get more refined as it approaches areas of focus, and more loose as it moves away from them.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Holding Simple Ideas in Concert

First day of Gnomon Live Workshop complete. Probably some of the best tips and knowledge I've ever gotten. This was inspired by Laurel Austin's demo today. Man, that girl knows form. Hopefully someday I will too.

It's kind of funny how artists have to rely on clients for sustenance, even though the clients' goal clashes with the ultimate goal of any artist. The client wants you for a job, he/she wants you to adapt and more or less forsake your sensibilities in exchange for money. A lot of people think they've made it once they get paid for their skills, but that's actually where the real struggle begins. You must work twice as hard in order to fight away any kind of bland or boring from your day job with your personal work. Then, as you ascend in your career and personal development simultaneously, the client's grip will loosen and you will finally get to get paid to do what you want.

(Disclaimer: I'm speaking broadly. It's not about me or anyone in particular.)

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Convince yourself that every passing minute is an opportunity to get better (at art, music, cooking, whatever your passion is). Doing things that aren't directly related to your goals will eventually leave you with more time to pursue your passions. Prioritize what you need to get better at, and focus all your energy on those things.

Book recommendations:
Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg
Eat that frog! - Brian Tracy
Brain Storm - Don Hahn

Saturday, July 21, 2012


New Saturday nights.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oh Shit, I'm a Professional Now

That means I should probably get good.

Tired of not failing at work, gotta fail at home, because that's how you learn. I'm punching all my friends in the face, and chaining myself to my wacom. Fuck complacency. Hello blogger. My new best friend.

Sketch from tonight's drink n' draw. Thank you all who attended!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Alright, finally!

Couldn't hold these in anymore. Really needed to see how far I could get in 20 minutes. Concepting actually helps with this too, strangely enough. I'm able to better prioritize the visual information in the image, and achieve a more finished look in 20 minutes. Though they do tend to get worse because my brain gets tired of that.

I have pages and pages of information to share since February, but I don't have time right now. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I guess two weeks is the most often that I can get myself to update this thing. Can't really compete with real artists this way, heh. This is more of a braindump anyway. Next time I'm uploading Riven concept art though, so tell your friends.

I've been focusing on my interpersonal skills rather than art lately, and a lot of what I have written down is more personal and irrelevant for this blog. In the meantime, though:

Don't waste time. Going on the internet is not being spontaneous. Cut that out of the equation. Limit social networks to once a day. After work? Find and identify distractions.

Every time you're heading in a new artistic direction and actually growing, you need to make sure you spend more time refining your work, because exploring takes more brainpower, and processes that you take for granted (like brush work or something) will take away your concentration.

You have an idea, you try it and it looks bad. Doesn't mean it can't work.

You're 7. You have a frame. Then you break it down when you grow up so that you can fit in. Then you have to rebuild it in order to be different. It probably doesn't apply to everyone, though. Only the sexy people.

You become a better person by practicing and failing until the things you want to learn become part of the subconscious.

I like how American capitalism is based on convincing people to make irrational decisions with their money. The airlines split the demand for reasonable seats with plenty of leg room and a decently expensive price into two tickets that nobody wants: overpriced business class and cheap but shitty coach. Similarly, instead of having a high school system that actually educates kids, we have them waste their time in classrooms that teach the equivalent of European 4th grade material, then need to collect student loans to get real knowledge.

Nothing beats a positive, self-aware attitude.

Focus on knowing what you want, and being able to communicate it. That comes from self-esteem.

·        In order to figure out the value for any plane in ambient lighting, look at the environment from the point of view of the plane and figure out what’s around it. The closer things are to it, the darker the value will be.

Just get it done. Be passionate. If it's not in the game, then make it. Care about the product.

·        Step back and evaluate where you are often. Shift between views. Make sure you know your high-level goals.

Almost everyone in the industry wants to meet you. You're a cool person, and you're interested in them. That's flattering. The only thing you can do is fuck it up by thinking about it.

And now for some Crimson Elite Riven Splash:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Felt like Selfing

Haven't updated in way too long. Gotta compile my notes and upload some Riot art. Will do on weekend.

It's really hard to hold your head still for an hour while trying to be precise, so the drawing is off. I was focusing on form though. The value range could have been better.