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 🙂
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.
it’s been exactly two months since last update and many might be wondering what I’ve been up to. Unfortunately this is not all the exciting post I’d like to be writing, but a good one to write in my humble opinion for keeping moving forward after bad times.
First of all I’d like to mention something I forgot in my last update, as you know I left Rare in December and got back to Barcelona to get better and chase other opportunities probably giving freelance a try. In order to kinda clean and start over I also left the project I was working on with some buddies, ‘Isis’, but I’d like to show the last few pieces of work I was producing thought they are not finished, and will probably never be.
The last couple of years since the Massive Black workshop in 2011 have been pretty intense with a lot of things going on and a lot of hard work, so after the last workshop in LA I thought I was ready to keep pushing, improve get new jobs and all that but in reality it’s been 2 months mostly charging batteries. I guess I burned up myself, I even made a pretty hardcore schedule called “10 daily goals” but didn’t help.
First thing to care about was health because I started feeling quite weak. I started working out every second day and it’s been 6 weeks already. I also put down the amount of caffeine (last year had too many energy drinks and that’s not good at all) and sweets. I feel much better now but just yesterday coincidence or not was my most productive day in a while having 3 coffees and a good amount of chocolate. I guess the perfect balance of health and extreme productivity is a utopia for me.
In all this time another thing I’ve been skipping was watching movies so early this year I ordered quite a few to catch up, after all, it’s another part of the industry I’d like to work at. It’s been good to feed myself with more stories, inspiration, visuals and others. I also finally watched game of thrones! I was happy waiting till that day in the future when the whole series were over but with the new season coming out soon and my fear for spoilers I got the 3 seasons pack and Oh Lord such a good show. All of this have been motivating me to ellaborate a bit more the story for my IP ‘Space Lotus’, can’t wait to start defining more the characters and their connections and all the locations.
It’s been very interesting to watch different genres to open my mind a bit more, but also got to check again some japanese animation and get a little bit of nostalgia because it’s the stuff I grew up with. After watching movies like ‘A letter to Momo’ or ‘Summer wars’, bringing me memories from my trips to Japan years ago I painted these studies and soon should be able to finish a similar painting I started after them to apply the studies.
Nostalgia is a powerful but dangerous feeling. I’ve been trying to remove the dust on my japanese because I might apply to some japanese companies in the future.
Speaking of missing things, probably the thing I missed the most in the UK was my library, I’ve been adding a few more books and organizing it, its very likely that, unless I find a good studio offer I’ll be freelancing for a while, and my library is an important part of my workflow for inspiration and references.
Blocks are never good, and I know some artists who never suffered one, which is great, but I wanted to write this here for those who might be going through one, it’s alright, you will get out of it with the right attitude and not giving up, might take longer or shorter but just find the right motivation, inspiration or rest required to put your batteries to the max again and recover the eye of the tiger (yeah the whole Rocky collection pumped me up quite a bit too :D).
Back from the UK my friend Jaume organized a sketch meeting and it was so good to be able to draw again while hanging out in a cafe or the street with other people
He me if I’d like to join again the life drawing sessions with model I used to go a year ago and didn’t need more than a second to say yes. I was missing it, more than because I learn or practice I just have fun drawing the human body from life, it’s so relaxing. Here’s the result of the 5 session’s done so far. We draw poses in 5 or 10 minutes after a few one minute gestures.
Another habit I somehow managed to keep going is the daily spitpaints. Though I’m not very proud of them, here’s a compilation of all done since last compilation.
As concept artist I like working on different subject matter but it’s hard to find time to paint a bit of everything. Creatures/characters is one of the subjects I didn’t work on much recently so here are a few of them.
My friend Jonathan’s been working on his own personal IP ‘Raijin’ and I asked him if I could design an environment for it. I started it and here are some early sketches in perspective but had to put it in stand by for a bit, going to get back to it soon tho.
I had a conversation with him about mechs and how important the joints are. Inspired by an exercise recommended by John Park on his workshop at Concept Design Academy I grabbed a bunch of friends and we’ve been doing a weekly session of joint designs. These are mostly from imagination and a few studies, need to study more to make more interesting and functional designs but the practice’s been fun and useful so far.
And here are a couple more perspective drawings tho not related to that. The ‘How to draw’ book by Scott Robertson made me want to get back to this sort of drawings.
The scorpion was a study for another design I have work in progress but hopefully will continue at some point.
In September last year I designed a big dark fantasy statue for a book project called Substrata. The book’s been finally announced and will be published later this year, it’s very exciting because the book contains a lot of great artworks. I already pre-ordered my copy of such an inspiring book, take a look
I’d like to mention is in September I’m going to the Trojan Horse was a Unicorn workshop in Portugal. I’m really excited about it from my experience at the workshops, because the one last year seemed to be awesome and because the list of people going keep growing and sounds great so far.
Can’t wait to get inspired by the instructors, see some friends and any of you there, it’s going to be a lot of fun!
I think that’s all for now, this update is very important because puts end to two months I’d probably like to forget, but since I can’t I’ll just take the very few good things they had and will keep moving forward. I’m going to be more active again online, and will check what everyone’s been up to too, been a bit disconnected.
The place I keep updated the most is my facebook page and then this blog, but I’ll keep updating the other places as well as much as possible, stay tuned, hope I can keep feeding you with more and more artworks from now 🙂 Oh and by the way, many people keep asking why I don’t stream anymore, well my computer is very limited and when I stream it uses the max of the specs so I’m trying to take care of this laptop to not have to update the machine for now.
Thanks for reading and let’s keep rocking! :
Environment design for the Alien World Contest, some thumbnails, sketches and Xmas drawing.