29 April 2010

Punk, Steam and Robo

For the AIB Jumble. I try to make my entries for that blog a way for me to experiment and try different techniques and approaches. Something I dont want to do is find a single method or style that I make my one strength and become a one-trick pony. It helps me to evolve a bit and think about things in different perspectives and I think these kind of experimentation help me to grow.
It is coming up to the end of the school year and people might be starting to look for work. I just want to share a bit of my experience having graduated last year and managing to get a job as a concept artist as I wanted. Well, it can be tough but very doable. There is no secret, actually your grade doesnt matter (for art based work anyway) nor does it matter if you are the best in your class as your competition when you step out of the classroom is the world! Students from all around the place as well as industry veterans. This might sound scary but in the end all that matters is your portfolio, that does ALL the talking. So this is what I focused on in the end.
Sorry for the long story but hopefully it is useful and someone can learn from my mistakes. Sooo... this time last year I was about to graduate and I sent an application to a big games studio in the UK. They got back to me expressing interest in hiring me and sounded keen and gave me a test to do. Im going to be honest here and say that I was complacent and lazy! And I didnt give it my all as I should have and blew the chance. Having then graduated I couldnt find much success with my applications since. I spent time to research and send work to as many places as I could find but to no avail. It can be quite tough mentally but this is natural, not everyone is hiring every single time so it can be down to just bad timing but you want to be prepared fully when an opportunity comes up so you should always try and improve your folio.
Anyway... what was I doing immediately after university? Not much. I was sitting on my ass waiting for an opportunity but then (thanks to some wise words from Bobby Chiu's videos) I changed my attitude and realized that if I want to compete against the big guns I will have to work like them and probably work twice as much so I could catch up to them. When I adopted this mentality of "screw it, Im tired of waiting for an opportunity Im going to get it myself" I spent every day painting and drawing and after 2 months I got my first interview. From that I got my current job as a concept artist. Did I stop working and trying to improve? Heck no! Not after how I let the earlier opportunity slip by because of complacency when I had a chance. I have beaten myself up for slipping up then and ever since I have made complacency my enemy hehe :P Its hard when your future looks uncertain but I managed to stop wasting time worrying about it and just do it and trust that that will get me to my goals. That is also why I strongly believe in hard work over talent (which is a silly word because talent comes from hard work). In a way I was pleased to have been knocked down otherwise I would have got my goal a lot easier and would not appreciate it. I would probably still be complacent about my work but now that I have gotten somewhere through hard work I am beginning to imagine what else I can achieve if I continued and so there are new goals set up and more reasons to kill off complacency! Its a hard road but if you are the one who dares to walk it then you are on the right path for sure.
Good luck everyone!

OK some PLUG for my friend and colleague Martin Johnson's work. Awesome guy and no nonsense XD He uploaded some of the art he created for Dead To Rights: Retribution. Check it out here.

25 April 2010

Sammo Reloaded

More repainting and theres more to come :P Work is getting a bit busy so Im going to spend a bit of my spare time into it. But Im sure I will get time to continue more of my own work.

Sketchbook Update

Some selection of sketchbook pages. Hahaha I omitted the really crap stuff out! But it is there somewhere in my real sketchbook. Its been a while since I drew in good ole pencils and getting back into it was scary when all that came out of my pencil was crud. It was a bit of a heartache to think that Ive taken a few step back after neglecting my pencils but now Im feeling Im on the track again to regain some form. There is a mixture of studies of other artists, scribbly thumbnails (you can see the first page is for the Oz character contest) theyre usually messy yeah :P Its just meant to be seen by me, you can also find some imagination drawings and observationals like the pen gesture drawings.
Dead to Rights: Retribution was released on Friday. We enjoyed reading the press, what the media wrote about it and seeing the game in store was great. Its quite an odd feeling really, I saw how the box art was painted on the computer right next to me, seen the artwork for it before playing it, and to see familiar names in the credits takes some getting used to :P Im actually genuinely enjoying the game too. Its scary fun and satisfying to brutally melee a guy, disarm them and shoot them in the face slow-mo style with their own gun and curse them before they hit the floor :P Here is some promotional material (This is the only copy I could find. Its been banned):

And... Good luck to all the animation students at Bournemouth who are pitching this week!

Some inspirations for tonight:
Jason Chan - Back in 2006 when my buddy Harry first introduced me to digital art I found this guy's work and it became one of my first and biggest inspiration for digital painting.
Creative Uncut - Good source for game art.
Richard Schmid - Author of Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting. Good book, afraid I havent finished it yet :P Borrowed it to a colleague who went out to get his own copy straight away! But his work just speaks for itself no?
Alvin Lee - Awesome comic book artist. You might recognize some of my studies in the post was off his work :P

20 April 2010


One day I looked through some old work.... they made me wince! So here are some repaints. There might be more on the way but I am leaving them to rest for now. There is a space of about 4 months between the repaints and the originals. In the repaints I got rid of some indecision from the first ones. Often colours are muddy, too hastily rendered, too random and without thought in the attention to clothing creases, messiness and general "what the heck was I doing?"
My hope is that I can continue to make improvements. The art journey continues on and on! Actually lately Ive been doubting myself again and so I hope to work more into some weak areas I am finding. More to come soon!

Inspirations: The Art Center - Awesome awesome awesome AWESOME blog! Very useful talks and tips. I made a thing of reading something off there every day. Gold! Read this post especially. I completely agree with whats been said in that post and it was a good reminder for me to read that. It is something I havent done enough of late.

How to Train Your Watercolours

Im backkkkkk!!!!! My internet at home died for a few days... it may have been a week! It was horrible!!!!!!! But Im back now and have quite a lot to tell. First off, this is a watercolour piece for the AIB Jumble inspired by the film How To Train your Dragon (the film I currently cant stop talking about)! OK... now theres a few news.
I have passed my probation period and am now permanently working at Blitz. That is until I get kicked out! I still remember a couple months ago when I was fresh out of university and looking for work. I didnt know what would happen, where I would end up or when something will happen! But after wasting time worrying about it I realized there was no good waiting for it to happen to me and I adopted an attitude that I will have to work everyday as if I am employed so that I can keep improving like the people who are in a job already. Most likely I would have to work double the amount they are so that I could level up quicker. It was a tough journey for sure and there are definitely more to come. I had some failures and made mistakes that cost me but as long as I bounced back they dont matter anymore. Actually, the failures helped me to respond in a more positive way and so I try to see a good sign in any failures I make from now on :P I also remember a few years back my ambition of being a concept artist in a computer games studio. At the time it might have seemed beyond me so it is slightly surreal to have ticked that box off and that has given me a bit of encouragement to go set myself more goals and ambitions to meet.
Anyways I should move on to the next couple of news. We are soon to release our latest game Dead to Rights: Retribution this Friday. I didnt work on this but if you want to see what my colleagues have been busying themselves with please check it out and support us :D
Lastly... Me and a few other people from ConceptArt.Org had work featured on IO9 and Super Punch recently for our participation in the CHOW. Here are the links: IO9, Super Punch. There might be another announcement soonish too XD!

11 April 2010

Fellowship of Oz

ConcepArt.Org's Character of the Week (Chow) topic: Wizard of Oz.
Got some time to finish this off earlier than I normally do :P Usually at work everyone has to create the artwork in a tight deadline and so we have to work faster and utilize Photoshop trickeries to speed up the process. Its good to churn out the work but for my most of my personal pieces I like to take my time on it to balance the method I use at work. Having said that, I still think I should speed up my whole process and will try doing some quicker stuff and try not to fall into the trap of finishing everything. The beginnings of a piece is where most of the problem solving takes place and after that everything should be straight forward. So the plan is to produce more initial sketches in a bid to learn more from the problem solving stages. Rendering an image takes a lot of time and I dont think I am learning as much from it as I can off sketches atm. Stay tuned to see how it goes :P

10 April 2010

Chiustream topic: Insane Turtle Man

Took part in the Chiustream contest tonight. Thanks to my buddy Owen Williams for reminding me about the event and encouraging my ass to get this done by coming close to winning the previous contest :P
It was a bit tricky cause I normally want to finish pieces off and this forces me to do more quick stuff which is something I need to focus on. More to come soon.

9 April 2010

7 April 2010


Was scanning in some thumbnails from my sketchbook to paint over so I thought I scan in a few pages to show here too. The sketchbook pages are mostly studies from the Vagabond manga. Accuracy was crud :P The digi was my first stab at the new Chow topic but I hated where it was going so I am now working on a new one. Sometimes failure is good, it keeps me on my toes and encourages me to keep pushing on. Theres been a lot of crap drawings along my journey that I now try to think of them more positively as a sign that a better one will come out of my frustration. Got to go back to some studies and also focus on quick speedy pieces. I think I labor and noodle too much into my work too often.
Inspiration: How to Train Your Dragon! Go see the film! Nooooooowwwwww!!!!