Last time I wrote here I was saying goodbye to the year 2014 and now I`m almost saying goodbye to the year 2016.
For those who don`t know I live in Japan now and I`ve been working at PlatinumGames as concept artist for 20 months already. I work mainly as environment designer going from main concept pieces to detailed drawn props. Overall pretty happy, though sometimes I have to paint textures haha.
The variety of projects makes it fun and at the same time challenging because you need to adapt to the style of the project but some freedom for the technique is given. From the games released while I`ve been there, TMNT Mutants in Manhattan, Transformers Devastation and Starfox Zero I only worked on the first one.
From the other games currently in development, Scalebound, GranBlue Fantasy Re:link, Nier automata and Lost order I can`t say yet in which ones I`m working on.
Working on licensed games is kinda funny, because in the recent years I completely stopped painting any fanart because I already did enough in the past but then became a job. The good thing as environment artist is you have a little bit more freedom than with the characters when it comes to an existing IP.
I wouldn`t say I got much better at drawing, sometimes even feel I got worse because due to deadlines you do the job good enough for the people who require it but in that sense I became very productive in pipeline and learned a lot about the development of the game in other departments where they use the concept I made, or when the planners require you paintings for several uses.
Not being able to show the stuff produced there was one reason to almost disappear from the online art community for quite a long time. In my free time I wanted to do personal stuff, but after so many years pursuing the dream to come to live here I didn`t want to regret not going to see places or making more experiences if I ever have to leave. That happened when I was in the UK and still hurts. Even within Europe I wanted to go to see many places but just skipped the chance because work was priority and now I regret. I speak japanese and this country is quite safe so moving around is very satisfying, just sometimes I`m too tired to even go to the shop around the corner hehe
With all that I ended up not drawing any personal stuff in 19 months, which as an artist is pretty bad. To feel better I was telling myself if I like what I draw at work, personal stuff is not that necessary….but it is. The only artistic thing I did out of work was some life drawing sessions and photography.
(Images from my work environment)
(Images from my free time environment, nice contrast with the work environment)
(It`s been a few months since last session I attended, but I have hundreds of drawings like this, is always but, but a bit far from home)
That long period of time, plus seeing people I used to hang out with getting better, moving around workshops etc and other stuff filled the glass and I said enough. On August 1st I decided I would draw every day after or before work at home, calling it a sketch, wip or finished, to have 31 new paintings by August 31st, the day I turned 31.
Another reason why it was so tough to get back to personal stuff is thinking of it as portfolio pieces. Last time I drew for myself I was building my portfolio to apply for jobs, and those paintings are usually quite stressful because depend on their quality you get the job or you don`t. But finally I got rid of that thinking and aimed it as a way to experiment, to not work by request, to have fun and at the same time learn, to remember things I liked when I was a kid and not care about the number of likes etc. There is this speech from Alan Watts asking what would you like to do if money was no object. Well, what would you like to draw if only you cared about your art?
You can see the 31 paintings below in order. I`m not really happy with the result of a lot of them but made me think what could I do next to like them more, and the process was always fun. Some days I even felt I could have more fun with a specific painting and said I would continue it one day……but that is not likely going to happen. Now I aim for the 365 challenge, one year of one personal sketch every day. I didn`t want to think of it that way from the beginning because it sounded to heavy after so long without drawing for myself.
It`s interesting how working on personal stuff also gave me more confident at work, because sometimes depending on the feedback you get you might feel insecure. Also feels good to be back online and chat with some people on the SNS or streams after a long time, it even allowed me to get feedback from a couple of friends which is appreciated. As much as I love traveling and workshops now I spend my summer and winter holidays to go back home a few days so if I can`t meet people again in person for a while, at least need to stay alive online. By the way I even made a twitch account, I only tested it a couple of times but feel free to follow if you are interested.
Now I just need to find the right balance because August has been pretty exhausting, need to be faster, better and start defining my style.
Hopefully will answer some questions I`ve been getting in private and this way the get answered in public.
This is the last update of 2014. I hope everyone’s year’s been great, if it wasn’t, it’s over and let’s hope for a better one next. For me it had ups and downs (I guess it’s the same for most people) but we keep moving forward.
I’m gonna drop here a bunch of personal works, a few illustrations I did for HEX, the usual collection of spitpaints and 12 drawings I did for inktober. As I previously mentioned, after 6 years since last time I finally went back to Japan, this time with the goal of landing a job there in a video game company of my like, which has been my biggest dream since I was a kid. I had to deal with all sorts of things that didn’t leave me much time to draw, for example going back to a school I used to go in 2005 and 2006 to learn the japanese language, but it’s been all fulfilling experiences. This month I’ve been back to Barcelona, but then, what happened there? You will have to wait till next year to know 🙂
It’s mandatory for me after every workshop to come to my blog and write about it and hopefully, convince a few people who don’t know about these sort of events or are skeptical about them to give them a try. Of course there might be some not so successful workshops out there but I’m glad so far all I attended were extremely inspiring and THU 2014 was not only that, but even more.
The location of the event is great, a little peninsula with a few hotels, houses restaurants and shops ideal to feel for a few days like being in a city exclusive to artists. Unfortunately this year we didn’t have the best weather, quite unusual in the area but still good enough. If you want to see everything in the schedule you don’t have time to go to the beach anyway.
I was lucky to arrive to Portugal with some friends a few days earlier. The first day, the main head behind the event Andre Lourenço gave us a warm welcome and invited us to join dinner with his team. From first moment you could see their dedication, I feel grateful to them for not only organizing the event but managing it so nicely and well.
2 days before the official start most people arrived to the peninsula and we were able to have dinner with some of the speakers. It was good time to introduce yourself to new people and exchange stories with them. The day after with even more people arriving to Troia the networking kept going, specially with the hour reserved in the evening with free beer and wine before watching “Gramma Wray” by Loic Zimmermann in premiere, a movie/documentary on the painter’s journey of William Wray.
And then the official 1st day of the workshop, as mentioned before, the schedule covered a time frame from 9am in the morning till 2am at night, when the party in the casino would start! In my case I was going to sleep at 4am every night and get up at 8am. I was extremely tired when I got back home but it was worth.
First thing in the mornings were the workshops. You had to sign up for those because there were limited seats and the difference with other lectures were the “interaction” since some of them required you to take your laptop or buy clay to sculpt! At the same time for those not interested or unlucky in the workshops Life drawing with suicide girls. I had to skip a couple of hours of my workshop to go and draw them. I miss the life drawing sessions I was attending early this year every week.
After that, for 2 hours before lunch a few lectures/demos/talks in parallel in 3 different rooms. You can still check the list of guests on the website
Overall the talks were very inspiring and went from the background of the artists to current situation of the industry, tips and many more subjects. There weren’t many demos but people already suggested that and I know the organizer took good note of that (get ready because next year might be even better).
After lunch another 2 hours on the same line and then happy hour! One hour to socialize with beer and wine. It was very funny how Andre kept encouraging us to drink. IT was a good hour to talk and hang out with old and new friends. Sometimes you could be just listening to fascinating stories.
Once the bar was closed time for the mentorship. Same as the morning workshops you had to sign up and wait to see if you were fortunate to be part of one. I personally think it was a good idea the way the mentorships worked, every mentor (over 10 in total) had 10 people around and would go wherever they wanted to sit for a bit and have a talk about the industry, experience, something else, portfolio review, anything. It was a friendly environment specially for those beginners who sometimes are shy to talk to the pros here you had no scape because the pro would ask you straight.
And then the legend’s time, with everyone in the theater (unless you decided to join a side private group somewhere else as I did during one of the sessions and was still greats) split in 2 sessions with a break for dinner in between.
With everyone fed of inspiration and being midnight, art battles! It was such fun and stressing thing. Also embarrassing to me for losing both days I took part of. Basically there were 2 cintiqs and 2 captains. 10 people from the audience would join each captain and the teams would have to paint or model something together, having 5 minutes each member, and 10 the captains. Aside from being fun, made me think of a few things when it comes to teamwork and time management.
All the people who survived to all said before were still hanging out in the casino till the close of it at 3am. I also must mention the accommodation options in the peninsula were great, near and comfortable, very convenient to get good sleep and recover energies for next day. Only issue in our hotel the wifi only worked at the lobby and was extremely slow.
I think with that I pretty much covered everything, I met friends I’ve been talking to for years online, I made new friends, I met some professionals I’ve been following for long, got an important job offer, got inspired by all the talks, and bought a super cool hoodie I’m gonna be wearing this winter.
If I get a job in Japan I’m not sure if I’ll make it to the next edition, but will definitely ask because I wouldn’t like to miss it!!
Tomorrow I’m flying to Portugal to attend The Trojan Horse was a Unicorn workshop, but before that, I wanted to write a post here about the other workshop I attended a couple of weeks back in London but couldn’t before because I’ve been enjoying my time in Romania.
With an impressive list of instructors (Levi Petterfy, Jon McCoy, Emrah Elmasli, Bjorn Hürri, Jama Jurabaev, Jonas de Ro, etc.) working for some of the top companies in the video game and film industry the event was speaking by itself but the organization and the environment felt being there is what pushed the success. The price of the ticket was 180GBP for the early bird (if I’m not wrong because I purchased it later) and 250GBP for the normal ticket. In my opinion, it was absolutely worth.
There were 2 venues for the lectures, quite wide rooms but the amount of people attending (I would say over 200) made them quite cozy sometimes. There was also a cafe with free coffee, tea and water all the day and we were getting a delicious and heavy breakfast every morning. At the end of the day most people to head to a pub nearby to keep hanging out with all the lovely people around. There were also a few restaurants, bars, supermarkets in the area but a tight schedule didn’t allow you to spend much time on that if you didn’t want to miss anything.
The lectures were about 2 hours with a Q&A round at the end and on the side a silent demo by another artist. You could approach the instructors at any moment and I saw many people getting portfolio reviews though that wasn’t included in the schedule.It was interesting to see the work of some instructors I wasn’t familiar with, but after their lectures and hanging out with them for a bit I’m going to keep an eye on them from now because what they do is truly inspiring.
We also had a couple of life drawings sessions directed by Kan Muftic like I’ve never seen before (and I’ve been to many in different places). He really made us think about how we approach life drawing and at the same time was really fun.
Every day ended with a 1h Q&A session with all the instructors while free beer was being provided, really friendly environment and interesting to get a variety of answers from all those years of experience in the industry.
I would have loved to speak to every single person in there but, while I made some new contacts, the nicest thing to me was to be able to see again some friends in the community, some I never met before in person and others I haven’t seen in years. At my first workshop was all about making new contacts, and though I still do that of course and I’ll continue, it makes you very happy to feel part of the community by having friends there and being able to hug them in these events.
I’m pretty sure (or at least I hope!) there will be another one next year, so I encourage everyone to attend, and to keep an eye on the news related and show your interest. You can get an idea of the environment seen by looking at this collection of pictures I took.
As usual, here I am posting a long update on how things are going.
I’d like to start this post mentioning early in June I went to b’Ars, an international VFX fair aimed for both professionals and students, with special focus on the artistic side of the film-making process and cloud VFX production. An event full of master classes, conferences, job-fair, etc. located in a beautiful Area of Barcelona. It’s funny how I always keep an eye on international events overseas and if it wasn’t because a friend of mine from Germany told me about this I would have probably never known about it. The list of guests was great and the conferences very interesting. Nikolai Lockertsen painting an environment piece on his iPad, Jonathan Opgenhaffen showing his Matte painting process at Double negative, Marco di Lucca and his self portrait, Nico Scapel from Framestore showing making of Gravity, Virginie Bourdin talking about successful creative decisions and many others. But there was one artist invited who I could easily say was the main reason I attended the event, and that was Ryan Church who came to first talk about design to previs with Daniel Gregoire and the next day about film design. He has been a big inspiration for me on environment design since first I saw his concepts for the Star Wars movies and then watched his GNOMON videos, it was very nice talking to him.
Since last update I’ve been busy with some freelance stuff, illustrations for card games and environment designs for a theme park, which was a very interesting experience giving for the first time a different use to my concept art. Unfortunately I can’t show any of that.
Another thing that kept me busy was a little personal project for N0DEWORLD, I started it as part of a challenge a friend of mine was running on concept art.org where you had to work on a personal project for 100 days posting every single day an update and with the goal of having 10 finished pieces at the end, but tight deadlines made me drop after a month there. I still want to continue working on this but might get a little bit more delayed.
Another challenge I have going on with some friends is, I think I already mentioned it before, to draw 100 line drawings. I’ve done 85 so far, very close to the goal, and while we try to keep it private for now because we might give them a very special use here are a few I already put in public for some reason.
Another habit I keep is the spit paints, it’s been over a year since I joined this group and I have over 260 done already, it’s a good daily reminder of things to improve or a challenge to paint thing otherwise I would never do.
LAst year on one of my blog updates I mentioned the project substrata, a dark fantasy art book including artworks from over 80 professional artists. The book has finally been released and I just got my copy a few days ago, I’m very happy to be included in such book with so many great artists, some of them friends.
Last thing but not less important, studies, some done for personal/professional pieces and some others done for this Facebook group called virtual plain air where you paint a study using google maps. It was really fun and learned a lot.
And not virtual but real plain air studies
And speaking of studies, in all this time I could only go to one more life drawing session with model, I miss it when I can’t go, but anyway here are the drawings.
To close this post, I have to mention once again the upcoming workshops in London and Troia, it’s less than a month left before I fly, it’s going to be very inspiring and fun. Between the workshops I’m going to Romania and after them I’m moving to Japan for 3 months to look for a job there.
Next blog update will probably be after the workshops, with lots of pictures as usually, until then, keep it up! Thanks for reading
here’s another massive update showing what I’ve been working on since last update.
First of all a couple of environments with Japan as the main theme though not connected because the first one is in the feudal time and the second one some sort of post apocalyptic scenario in a very near future inspired by, The last of us and the backgrounds you see in some anime movies. I painted the second one after the studies I posted in the last update and that allowed me to learn a lot.
In the previous update I mentioned I was working on something for my friend Jonathan’s IP ‘RAIJIN’. For several reasons I had to put eat over and over again on stand by but I was able to finally finish and I can’t be happier with the result. Remember to check his stuff on his page.
These are the thumbnails I painted to establish the shot.
And another personal piece for the portfolio, painting a spaceship for a spitpaint I realized it’s a subject I didn’t cover in a long time so I decided to take some time to paint one properly.
This is some freelance work I’ve done for IHMAN 3D School, a couple of set of designs for their courses. They are a spanish online school and I might be teaching there in the future, which is quite exciting, but right now I have other priorities since I’d like to get more concept art freelance work or even moving for another in-house position. Wouldn’t mind going back to the UK for the summer.
I promised my friend Emerson a few months back I would be drawing more mechs “soon” but for some reason or another it took me quite longer. Inspired by his drawings, or all the ones I see in the many japanese books I have I started drawing some and adding this quick shading first thinking because it was cool and made them easy to read but I was actually hiding some weak points.
I then drew a few more and even not just mechs and I started what I’m happy now to say it’s a habit of drawing one line sketch everyday. Here are some I already showed, but there are many more, thought you will have to be patient because I’m thinking of something special for them.
Another collection of spitpaints and failures, they are still fun, because it’s a constant reminder of several points I want to improve in my work.
And all the drawings done in the life drawing sessions with model since last update. Still having lots of fun with them, unfortunately they have been cancelled this month for not enough attendants, guess people prefer the outside in Spring.
Some drawings from cafe sketch meetings.
April 23rd, Sant Jordi, is one of the most important days of the year in Catalonia, but I almost forgot. Fortunately as soon as I heard of it I decided to go for a walk around the center of the Barcelona city. Roses for women and books for men, the place was overflown by people, weather was good but still wanted to go the same cafe I always go to draw though alone this time. For my surprise, I found this old library open to the public due to the special day, and I felt I had to draw there, just some sort of study yeah, but motivating to do it in such beautiful place. It wasn’t easy with people taking pictures of me (they might have thought I was part of the visit), children breathing on my ears and other people telling me “good job, you’re so talented!” and getting angry whenever I said “you know, it’s just practice” It was a nice day anyway!
Finally, if in the previous update I was announcing I would be attending The Trojan Horse was a Unicorn workshop in Portugal, now I’m very happy to announce I will be in London too by the end of August for the Industry Workshops.