Friday, September 26, 2014

Expectation vs. Reality

Concept artist Matt Kohr's free digital painting resource is a site I go back to again and again when I'm using Photoshop artistically. His instructional videos are clear, concise and entertaining, and extremely well categorized by topic. However, he also makes videos with advice about the less concrete aspects of being an artist; the psychological side. This recent post was a video I really could've used when I was first getting back into studying art again.

Please note: this is not the video. Clicking on this picture will not do anything. Sorry.

Right now it seems like he's not allowing people to embed this video which is a real bummer BUT I encourage you all to click this link and read his original post where you can also see the video.

Until recently, I was constantly beating myself up over my art not turning out how I wanted or expected it to. But at some junction I just got really tired of it. What's the point? I'd rather be happy with the competence I've already attained and comfortable in the knowledge that I'll continue to level up my skill as long as I keep at it. I still work hard but I've been giving myself a bit more of a break instead of persistently driving myself crazy with negative thoughts. Negative thoughts cause stress and stress uses up energy and I need that energy to get shit done! So be good to yourselves. :)

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm going apple and pumpkin picking this weekend which I am very excited for. Here's a Happy Fall sketch!

© Gina Florio 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

On Fear

(Why yes, I did just finish 'Dune' for the first time, how did you know?)

© Gina Florio 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

People Watching

James Gurney has a great series of posts about plein-air painting going on his blog, Gurney Journey. The more popular posts deal with the people who come up to you while you're drawing in public.

Image credit: James Gurney

Curious Spectators Part 1: The Problem
Top Ten Ways to Deal with Curious Spectators

I'm always friendly, but I'll admit, I really hate people watching me draw or paint. My least favorite experience was with a 12-year-old girl who made me reconsider my condemnation of violence against children. Watercolors apparently come really easy to her and she made it her life's duty - for a full half hour! - to tell me how to mix my paints. There was also a guy who complemented me on the houses in my painting. There were no houses in the painting.

Aside from these two encounters, everyone who's ever come up to me has been overwhelmingly thoughtful and respectful. But it just takes me out of the zone completely when I know someone's watching. And I have to admit that the question "Are you painting?" is hilarious the first time and less hilarious the next 300 times.

Someone responded to the post with this quote which I decided I'd share. I think it sums me up better than any other quote I've ever heard.

© Gina Florio 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Character Design - misc exercise drawings

One of my favorite parts of the character design class that I've been taking (which I wrote about yesterday) has been the in-class exercises. They've been one of the ways I can tell I'm more cut out for design than storyboarding. When my Story Development teacher would say "time for an in-class exercise," I would immediately break out in a cold sweat. When Jose calls for one, I get excited. I really like challenging my brain to do a design in under 10 minutes. It's just plain fun.

The first exercise we did was to just call out random words. Jose would put 2 words together and we'd have to design something to that effect.

"Pirate Batman"

"Octopus Lawyer"

"Alcoholic Clown"

"Rocket Girl"

I really wish I could show you some of my classmates' design solutions for these - there were some seriously brilliant ones. I remember my favorite alcoholic clown having whisky coming out of a squirty flower pin on his lapel. The fun of it was really seeing all the different designs together after we were done. 

The second exercise was to design a character from a shape that the teacher drew up on the board. We could add to the shape, but ultimately it had to be the prominent mass of a character.

Finally, something I drew in class during the lecture. I used to draw in my notebooks all the time when I was in grade school. It got me in trouble because I never paid attention. Not at art school...

P.S.: Dawn of Planet of the Apes was really, really good.

© Gina Florio 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Character Design with Jose Lopez

My latest class at the Concept Design Academy is Character Design with Jose Lopez. We're about halfway through the class.

I've been working towards taking this class for two years. When I first got interested in concept art, I wanted to jump immediately to character design, but I knew I wasn't ready - I had to study the fundamentals first. This is a complete list of the classes I have taken so far, in this order:

VisCom 1
Landscape Painting
Analytical Figure Drawing
Intro to Digital Painting
Intro to Story Development
Figure Invention for Animation

I took Story Dev and Fig Invention during the spring semester because I was thinking about pursuing a track as a storyboard artist. I subsequently realized that I did not enjoy storyboarding at all - but I don't regret taking those classes. 

Even if most of these classes weren't directly related to character design, I've learned something and made artistic progress in every single one. I don't miss struggling with oil paints in the hot sun. But the landscape painting class made me a much better artist because I learned to pay attention to the big picture, the broader statement of the image. I don't miss calculating precisely at which angle a generic box is casting a shadow. But learning perspective paid off greatly during my character design homework this week when I had to do turnarounds and calculate precisely where my characters' feet would be on the ground.

I would have taken more classes before character design if I had had more time - I particularly would have loved to take Animal Anatomy, and the more advanced Head / Figure Drawing class. But I've been studying those things on my own on the side as I go along. And I knew my fundamental drawing skills were getting strong, but I was sorely lacking in my design skills. I felt ready to tackle a design course.

For Character Design, we were supposed to come up with a story (or choose a classic fairytale) and do designs for 4 characters of our choosing - a hero, a love interest, a villain, and a sidekick. We started off with LOTS of thumbnails, and finally it came down to doing a final design and turnaround for 2 of them.

My characters are Riva, a scrappy cartographer's daughter, Altus, the forest prince, Unnamed Villain, the mayor of Riva's town, and Altus's steed, a creature of the forest.

I did turnarounds for Riva and Altus. I finalized their designs more during the turnaround phase, after receiving a critique on the final design from the teacher.

Overall I have been really, really enjoying this class and I feel like I've learned so much. I already cringe when looking back at my earlier design process!

© Gina Florio 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chinese Animated Feature Trailer - 'Master Jiang and the Six Kingdoms'

I don't know if you could call this a 'trailer' since it's 5 minutes long, mostly wordless and I have no idea what's going on... but I love it.

Beautiful animation / imagery / characters / environments. I'm down anytime there's a reindeer looking thing with 90's-era Ribbon Dancer stuff flowing off of him while he runs through the sky and then transforms into the cutest chubby little cat-reindeer-creature you've ever seen.

© Gina Florio 2014