Thursday, April 24, 2014

'Lost Treasure Hunt' Kickstarter

As of this writing I'm officially back to work! I'm sad to lose all that art studying time, and the working-from-home routine which I had settled into very nicely, but I'm excited to be back at a company where I have a lot of friends (including Dave... fiancé carpooling FTW), and the show I'm on should be an interesting editing challenge. Also money. Money never hurts. As soon as I get my first paycheck I'm finally going to buy... drumroll... NEW GLASSES. Get excited. God I'm getting old.

Today I just wanted to share another kickstarter project that I came across that really touched my heart... a children's animated series called Lost Treasure Hunt.

Direct link to Lost Treasure Hunt on Kickstarter

The reason I'm sharing is because this looks like exactly the type of project I'd love to be involved in someday. I think pretty much everyone has fond memories of the media they absorbed as a child, whether it was Howdy Doody or Dora the Explorer. So it's incredibly important, in my opinion, to be producing high quality children's entertainment, and especially educational entertainment. Children are extraordinary learners, but they won't pay attention to anything that presents the facts in a dry, boring way - the education has to inspire their built-in sense of wonder. When we produce films, TV programs, and other media for children that gets them excited, appeals to their imagination and gets them to learn at the same time, we're actively investing in their future - which is our future too.

Getting off the soapbox now. Anyway, 'Lost Treasure Hunt' has all the right ideas behind it, and all the right personnel too (the credits are a who's-who of animated TV and films). I encourage you to go check it out!

© Gina Florio 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Not Now"

This is an image I've had in my head for a while... finally got a chance to paint it up recently... although in retrospect I kind of wish I had left it as more of a simple drawing and didn't fully paint it.

I want to use it in my portfolio to show my character drawing and storytelling abilities, but I'm a little wary because of the verging-on-gross content. At least it's memorable...

© Gina Florio 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More Advice for a Successful Portfolio

In my last post I provided a few links to podcasts and articles with advice for building your portfolio. Here are some more!

Blue Sky visual development artist Ty Carter has a really well-written, in-depth blog post about concept art portfolios. Read parts II - V here on his blog.

Dutch concept artist and illustrator Dick Grinwis, AKA Grinwise also has an insightful, point-by-point article on the subject. Read it here.

And I linked to this a long time ago, but Pascal Campion has a really good writeup on what makes a portfolio truly stand out to him. (Pssst... it's not technique!)

Feel free to leave a comment if you guys know of any other related articles!

© Gina Florio 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Studies, Still Lifes, and Semester Review

How to pluralize "Still Life"... Still lives? Still lifes? Livfeszzs?!? I'm gonna go with the second one since the first sounds like I'm proclaiming the status of a dying monarch.

Here's some of my work from the tail end of Digital Painting class.

In-class exercise - costumed model

In-class exercise - still life with different colored lights

Homework still life.
I call this piece "I'm never painting a football helmet again"

I had my FINAL class session this week! So sad. I owe a big thanks to all of my teachers, Jason Scheier, Toby Shelton, and Louie del Carmen for giving me such great feedback and guidance, and also to all of my classmates for helping me to learn and grow as well.

From start to finish, I think I have had 12 weeks total off of work to concentrate on art. (I go back to reality TV editing work full-time next Wednesday, although right now it's only for a month-long gig.) I started this 'semester' very unsure about what I was doing, worried that I was wasting time and money, still very insecure about my own skills, but the way I feel finishing out these classes is almost completely the opposite. I feel like I've broken through some huge artistic and personal barriers. I know I'm not making great art yet, but I feel... on the verge. Like I've just got to keep pushing and grinding and learning and it'll happen. I don't beat myself up for my shortcomings anymore. I just push on. I've come so far that there's really nothing else to do but move forward and make more art.

When I originally started the semester, I was thinking I'd attempt to break into storyboarding, but after having had two storyboard-centric classes and one more design-centric class, I've discovered my real passion lies in concept design for characters, props and environments. I don't know why I wasn't aiming for this from the start - I guess I just figured it'd be too hard or I wasn't good enough - but it truly is what I love. I love thinking about the different types of plant in a particular environment. I love swapping out noses on a face. And I plan to do a lot more of it from here on out. 

In my final review for Digital Painting class, Jason said that I clearly understand the mechanics of drawing and painting, but what I need to work on is my design - and he's right. Way back when I first started taking classes, I SO BADLY just wanted to skip ahead and take the character design class first - but I knew I wasn't ready yet. So I took Viscom, and Perspective, and Figure Drawing, etc. etc. I have gotten to a point where I feel like my foundational drawing and painting is on somewhat solid footing. So now! On to educating myself about design.

I'm in the process of putting together a portfolio (which you can see the beginning makings of on the new tab above, My Work), but will need to create a lot more concept-design-centric art in order to do it (as opposed to filling it with still lifes and Viscom sketches). I'll continue to post stuff here as I do! For anyone reading who is also putting together a concept art portfolio, I've gotten a TON of great advice from the various internet outpourings of Chris Oatley
- Just to name a few! Good luck to us all...

© Gina Florio 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nomad Art Satchel Kickstarter: 1 Week Left

Hey everyone, quick note - somehow I had not heard of this project yet, but I'm so glad I did before the Kickstarter ended! Check it out!

Direct link to Kickstarter page

Like I've said before, I have a tendency to hole up in my apartment and not go anywhere to paint or draw - which is silly! I live in Los Angeles where there are so many good places to sketch! I always WANT to go out sketching, but I definitely don't do it enough, and "I hate having to hold up my sketchbook while fumbling for my materials" is way high on the list of excuses I make for myself. This looks like it solves all those problems in one fell swoop.

For me, the real ingenuity of the bag is in the configurable strap that allows you to carry it like a messenger bag, then switch to the sling-supported sketching mode. You essentially become your own drawing table, keeping the pad stable while experiencing little to no arm fatigue.

It's $150 AUD for one, plus $35 AUD for shipping outside of Australia (comes to about $175 USD total). That's a steep price... but the bag looks incredibly well-designed and high quality. For me, anything that gets me sketching outside more easily and more often is worth it.

© Gina Florio 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Red-Haired Explorer Chick

Character design concept for Digital Painting class. I LOVED doing this!

Someone on my instagram commented simply "Dora Croft" which amused me to no end.

© Gina Florio 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pirate Sketches

One of our homework assignments from Figure Invention class was to take thumbnail gesture sketches done from a model in class and clean them up while maintaining the energy of the gesture. I felt like these two cleanups were the most successful. I included my thumbnail sketch in the upper left (sorry for the photo quality).

The original sketches were done in 30-60 seconds. I had NEVER done life sketching that fast before and it was a bit overwhelming - but after I got into the swing of it, I realized I was doing a much better job at capturing the line of action and the overall graphic read of the pose - something I tend to lack in my longer life drawings. I'm resolving to do quick studies like this a lot more.

© Gina Florio 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Material Spheres

Whoops - forgot to post this! Material Spheres for Intro to Digital Painting class. Apparently this is generally regarded as a tedious assignment in art schools, but I actually really loved doing it. Painting is fun, you guys.

Classes are almost done now - I wrapped up Intro to Story Development and Figure Invention class this past week, and I only have one more session left of Digital Painting next Monday! It's gone so fast...

© Gina Florio 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Good Painting Music

A short collection of stuff I've been listening to lately while I paint.

It's funny - depending on what I'm working on (and what stage it's in), the type of music I like to listen to changes. For the beginning stages of a piece when I'm having to do a lot of active thinking about what I want, I really need something orchestral, no lyrics. I listen to a TON of soundtracks, but I also like jazz (Glen Miller anyone?) and classical. If I'm in a more mindless stage of the piece, like finalizing linework, or just doing warmups, I can listen to stuff with lyrics or even podcasts (Radiolab is my perpetual favorite). And of course it varies by the content of the piece. What do you guys like to listen to when you draw/paint?

© Gina Florio 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Treehouse Magic

No April Fools' pranks here - just a quick art update!

Here's a digital painting I did a few weeks ago. (You may also recognize it from the new banner at the top of the blog.)

I know this isn't the best painting in the world, but when I finished it, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. It was almost exactly two years ago when I saw some random guy's blog post with a digital painting he'd done and said to myself, "I have to learn how to do that." It wasn't like one of those offhand thoughts you have when you look at a singer or a dancer and think "Wow, I wish I could do that..." It was a life-changing shift in my mindset and goals: I must learn this.

Of course, the farther I come, the more I realize how far I have to go, as is always the case with learning any craft. But I let myself feel good about it for an hour or two.

Here's my Digital Painting teacher's paintover.

This might be sacrilege to say, but I actually don't like one thing about it - the change of the light from within the cabin from purple to red. I really liked the contrast of the purple light to the green forest. But the composition is obviously much stronger, and the other changes to color and light are spot on. Much to learn still...

© Gina Florio 2014