Thursday, 17 December 2015

Circuits and Shields

This character was a commission for an indie game currently in development. My brief was to create a cocky cyberpunk girl who had the ability to summon knifes of all sizes. I initially drew several sketches to try and get the essence of her character:

Once we picked a pose that best suited her, it was time to start choosing what kind of expression she would have. She needed to be happy and enjoying herself with her newfound powers.

We cut out one of the blades, and I quickly mocked up a sketch of the kind of clothes she might wear to make sure I was heading down the right direction.

 Next I started creating more detailed versions of each outfit, sometimes just mixing and matching parts to try and get as many effective combinations down. Making sure there wasn't one I'd missed in case it proved to be a useful design idea.

 To create the back version of this image I merely flipped the original over and painted on top. However considering the front pose has some element of perspective in it, I rectified this mistake later and made it look more natural.

It was at this stage I also created a more detailed painting of the face, as this would be the focal point of the image.

The issue we currently had with this version of the character was she appeared to be older than we were hoping. The aim was late teens, early twenties. so I softened up some of her features, made her face rounder, and adjusted her proportions accordingly.


Originally the brief was that Inks would have either a robotic arm or glowing tattoos that she used to summon these knives. All sketches up to this point had included a robotic arm, and I made a quick mock up of the tattooed arm. We eventually decided to go with the tattoos, but with a more circuit-like design.

Now it was time to create a clean turnaround to start colouring and adding details onto.


The tattoo went through several variations, whilst detailed circuits might've worked, they cluttered up the design, and considering this model was designed to go low poly in a game it would render it unreadable.

Another issue we had was one arm was mostly concealed, and we didn't have a real 'face' for the modeller to work off. I quickly mocked up a sketch of both and found it worked well enough to work with.

And just a bit of tidying up and we have 'Inks'.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Final Fantasy's 'Bahamut' Redesign's forums often hold a Creature of the Week contest. Many of my older posts from a few years ago were typically revolved around these contests and I can certainly see how much I've developed from my posts back in 2012... It's been a couple years since I last entered though, and with the latest contest sounding as fun as it did I couldn't resist trying to see what I came up with.

This weeks topic was to redesign the Elder Dragon 'Bahamut' from the Final Fantasy series. Bahamut is typically shown as an almost anthropomorphized dragon, with an upright body and large wings. However, I wanted to try spending this time designing a more feral creature.

I started by trying to draw some very strange dragon shapes, adjusting proportions and wing spans. I had an image of a lumbering creature with huge wings and small arms originally.

Eventually I settled on the more typical draconian design, trying to keep the wings the main focus of this silhouette. However I seem realized that this was more wyrm-like, and not as large and bulky as I would have liked.

This design felt much more in line with what I had wanted. A nice reptiallian design, with a solid silhouette and line of action following through the body. The one issue I was worried about detailing however, was the wings. I had a rough copy but this was far from a nice version I could work details and perspective from.

I ended up building a very quick set of wings in Maya and taking several screen shots to make sure I had the angles right. With that down it was time to decide what the face of the dragon would be.

I tried your usual dragon style heads, as well as the more horror types, with beady eyes, or even not any eyes at all.

Now I had my sketch down, and my head designed I threw down some quick values to assign where the focus would be. From here on out it was simply tidying up and making this beast presentable.

And there we have it. A final finished Bahamut Redesign.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Portrait Progression

I've recently been doing a self directed course from One of the tasks was to spend 3 hours trying to paint a self portrait so you could observe all the light effectively.

I'm happy with how the portrait came out, but recently a hashtag on Twitter called '#anyonecanimproveatdrawing' has been floating about, and it reminded me of a portrait I had painted of myself a few years back. I thought it might be interesting to show the improvement so here you go:

Friday, 27 November 2015

Sketchbook Vol #1

Since I've moved to London I've made the choice of practicing sketching as often as I can. I've just finished my first book. Here are a few of my favourite sketches, but if you're interested you can download the entire PDF of it for free here:

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Cyberpunk Smuggler

It had been a month or so since I really made a character of my own. I had spent some time travelling around, and during these travels I saw some rather unsavoury characters in a bus station. This made me think about what lead them to this point and sparked an idea for a character.

A smuggler in the not too distant future, someone who's not evil, but not good either. He only defies the law because he can, he's talented, knows it, and doesn't care what's in his way or what his package is.

And so I began sketching.

I wanted to really get this guys character in his pose. I wanted him to feel powerful, and maybe dismissive. After drawing all of these I needed to whittle them down. and make more defined sketches.

These 10 sketches felt like they were going somewhere. Eventually I chose sketch three, as I felt it had the right kind of power and stance that I wanted him to have. So now it's time to detail him.

I may have a thing for robotic arms, I realised as I sketched this. But some of these felt too slim, too 'normal'. I had wanted this guy to be almost parkour like with his attire, form fitting. But it didn't give him the kind of character I was looking for. And so I bulked him up with clothing and items.

Design chosen, now to tidy up and add a back angle for his turnaround.

And at last, colour goes on top. (What my partner had told me at this point however, was how this future tech item he was carrying looked like a pok├ęball... that had to go).

And so we have our final character!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Underwater Ship Station

Another illustration for Numenera.

I was tasked to paint an underwater ship docking station, full of all manner of strange machines, creatures etc. This one certainly had me worrying.

My issue here was that I hadn't done any underwater images before this, the light diffusion was something I was unsure about, and the variety of spaceships, with various angles could very easily resort to unrefined chaos.

As usual though; I did my studies, collected my reference, and pushed on to the thumbnailing.

I personally really liked Number 3. I felt like it had some really nice sweeping motions in it, and the light gave you a prime focus. However it was decided to proceed with Number 1. I felt like I wanted to take some of the factors of the third image into this chosen sketch though, and so I copied the sweeping 'floor' complete with character onto the chosen image.

However, drawing these ships was proving difficult, just as I had feared. Their strange shapes were interfering with my angles. And so to make the process easier, I began quickly sculpting ships in Maya.

I created a more easily readable version of the sketch with the rough linework to show the client. I wanted them to know that the ships were all built and readable as this rough may have proven a bit unreadable otherwise.

The client was pleased with what I had created so far, and I was happy with how the values were coming out. The lights on the ship were really selling the underwater diffusion.

And so I went to tidy up the greyscale:

Next it was time for the colour. Luckily this proved to be quite a simple choice.

It was still a bit messy, but before you knew it, after some tidying up we had a final image:

Friday, 13 November 2015


This was created for another tabletop RPG. The brief was to paint a brilliant white mountainous iceberg with some strange machinery frozen into it. Complete with strange dragon-sized bird monsters around it.

I sent in the following 4 roughs first.

I wanted the design to focus mostly on the iceberg and the machinery. I was afraid that otherwise it would have been too busy a composition. However I was asked to increase the birds size and to go with image 4. And so I created this:

Happy with the current design I proceeded to refine this image, I wanted the machinery to look alien, but not break up the composition too much.

I had flipped the image and worked in the greyscale as a way to make sure the image worked correctly. I've found flipping an image can reset the eyes and really make any issues stand out. With this I proceeded to add the colour, to what I hoped would be a finished product.

However, there was an issue. We now needed to have this machinery literally frozen inside this glacier. Luckily, because I had already designed most of the machinery and it was all digital, this could be rectified very quickly.

What I didn't know however was just how covered up they wanted this object to be. Too little and it might not look frozen at all, too much and it might not be visible at all.

I proposed the following images:

With the selection made I pushed on to the final image:

Thanks for taking a look at my process!