FMP EVALUATION

PROPOSAL –

How well does your proposal relate to what you actually did?

I had redrafted my proposal multiple times during the project – using it as an anchor to keep my work grounded and up to speed, though also allowing myself to develop my ideas and project accordingly.

Did your proposal help give your project direction? How so?

Writing my proposal helped me a lot when I was still trying to pinpoint what exactly I would be basing my project on, and narrowed down how I would explain it in a few sentences, which I needed a lot, since I struggled to explain my project to my tutors and peers once asked.

What changes did you make to your proposal and why?

At different points I had to adjust my proposal (and overall project) based on time limitations and having to scrap elements of my final work. Though I’m a little disappointed because I was not able to complete as much work as I wanted, I’m still happy with my final product as I felt I had generated enough fair work as a whole.

RESEARCH & CONTEXT

What ideas and inspiration did you get from your research?

I got many ideas concerning colour schemes, general aesthetics, and mood/tone – I was given many opportunities and choices from my research, and led me to the final results that I am greatly proud of.

How did your research influence the development of your project work?

My project was originally quite narratively heavy, but as I progressed with my research I found that I wanted to focus a lot more on the visual aspect of my concepts as well as their use – rather than their relevance to game mechanics and plot changes.

Do you think you researched widely enough or in enough depth?

In areas like choosing my media and creating my actual designs, yes. I feel like I’ve especially developed enough artist research and watercolour research for continuous work/learning/inspiration/etc, however maybe my original proposed research into dystopian/utopian societies and their portrayal in popular media.

CONCEPT

What is your work about?

My project was a concept art project, based on the idea of a possible future 80 years from now (Hence the name ‘2100’).  I also used this project to further develop my skills in creating concept art and some general drawing and watercolour skills.

How did your ideas develop and change?

Originally my project was quite big, as I hoped to make multiple environment, object, and character designs, that would link together through a narrative.  Over time, and as I found I was only able to fully illustrate and complete only a fraction of what I hoped I would create, my project became less of a video game design project, and more of a world-building themed project.

How well did the work you produced communicate the ideas behind your project?

I feel that my ‘final works’ (a series of illustrations that were displayed alongside my sketchbooks in our summer show) communicated my designs and their purpose clearly, both through text and visual context.  My research and concepts aren’t the best they could have been as I am still learning, but in the timeframe of FMP I think I made good progress, especially considering the development of my work since the first project of GIGA less than a year ago.

PLANNING

How well did you plan and evidence your planning for the project?

I’d say that my planning was well evidenced through my sketchbook and blog, as they show my thought project alongside my skills development and gathered research.

How did this help you prepare and manage your time?

I normally struggle with keeping time and working quickly, however I found that my performance and completion time for my work was much faster, which, although I still need to improve, was a great addition to my confidence about the results of FMP as a whole.

CORE SKILLS

What English and Maths skills did you use/improve with your project work or photography skills?

My creative-writing skills have somewhat grown, as well as my interest in it.  FMP also gave me a great opportunity to leap forward with writing professionally, with our proposals, research examples, and of course, this evaluation.

PRODUCTION AND TECHNIQUES

What new techniques (eg. Camera work or photoshop) did you learn/experiment with?

I experimented a lot with media – such as watercolour – for my project, as I wanted to involve colour in my work as an important feature (as I usually work monochrome).

Did you push yourself to try new things?

Working with colour is an area I’m not really experienced in, so working on it over my FMP was fun and actually really eye-opening. I’m making plans to continue working with colour and specific materials such as watercolours and acrylic inks.

Did you learn anything from your peers?

I talked with a few of my peers about colour theory and using water-based media on multiple occasions, and we had traded information we could use to further our skills together. During this time I wish I had asked my peers for feedback on my work more, as I hadn’t received an awful lot of feedback that I felt was very helpful or useful.

EVALUATION

How consistently did you evaluate throughout your project?

There were a few periods of time where I went back over my work quite late.  This has happened with previous projects, but my FMP seemed to go a bit more evenly and smoothly in terms of the timing of my blog posts. I also wrote short evaluations throughout my sketchbooks’ annotations.

What forms of evaluation did you use?

I released blog posts on my GIGA blog, and through annotations in my sketchbooks. I think that they are relatively well written, and much more clear and professional than my annotations in my work from previous projects.

How did you use peer and tutor feedback on your work to help you evaluate your progress?

I didn’t receive a lot of feedback from my tutors, which disappoints me to a degree, as I was hoping to use their advice over my project.  However, my peers and I exchanged advice and constructive criticism at least once per working week, and while we were working at home.

How did this change your ideas/work? Give examples.

I used some of the advice given to me to alter my designs and project purpose – one example that I can clearly think of was to pay more attention to “the little things” in my designs, both in visual detail and in their everyday uses/purposes.  As this was given to me fairly early on in the project, I managed to use it as a big part of my project, leading me to veer away from a narrative project, which I think was a good turn to take.

FINAL SUMMARY

Overall, I’d say that my FMP was a huge success in terms of advancing my skills and gathering research that would be helpful to me in the future, as well as a leap forward in my time management and idea generation. However, I think maybe gathering feedback and research was better in previous projects than in this one, as (although artist research did help me with my ‘final pieces’ a lot) I don’t think I did enough for the rest of my project.  I am considering either choosing a similar project idea for my next year at college after strengthening my skills a bit more, or choosing something that may be more within my comfort zone, as to create a final collection of pieces, research, and more that is more impressive and that I would be content with – although, despite only achieving a fraction of what I had initially hoped, I am massively happy with my work and proud of myself for pulling through.

SHOW EVALUATION

I’m so happy to have been part of the summer show for year 1 Pre-Degree students, and I’m honoured to have the public come in and look at all of our work together. However, something that I’m not very pleased about is the organisation and presentation of our work, as everyone was quite cramped up and space between peers wasn’t fairly allocated. At one point, I had to reorganise my display as I had noticed no-one was looking through my sketchbooks and folders, as I couldn’t open anything or spread anything out due to being squished up into a small space.

In our next year, when we have the opportunity to share our work again to the public, I hope that we are able to fully utilise the classroom space, enable us all to display as much work as possible, and create an amazing show of our progress and skills.

 

Advertisements

Final Pieces – Final designs and chosen media

For my FMP, I will be making 6 different pieces of artwork to show my final concept designs, and how they fit into my world concept.

As I have to split my time between revising for GCSE exams and having my work ready for the FMP deadline, I have had to decide on a few different parts of my images in order to start work quickly.

MEDIA

My chosen media is a mix of acrylic inks (Magic Color inks) and watercolours (Windsor and Newton: Cotman watercolours). I will be using these on Daler Rowney “Langton” watercolour paper (300gsm, Hot Pressed).  Before starting my final pieces, I’ve had to practice with these materials and get used to how they feel and mix (some of this has been covered in earlier blog posts).

20180602_112419
Coloured environment concept design layout. I did this so I could test using the watercolours and ink together, and find what colours I wanted to use for the image

COLOUR SCHEME

I have made a variety of different colour harmonies (a collection of similarly shaded/hued colours in order to create specific moods/aesthetics) to choose my colour scheme for my final pieces, to help them match the same tones.

CCI02062018
Colour harmonies (page 1)
CCI02062018_2
Colour harmonies (page 2)

My final choice (far right, page 2) is a light, playful palette, with pale, bright colours that are easy and fresh to look at. These specific tones require a great deal of watering down, which allows me to create varying shades and tints by glazing (a type of layering with watercolours), however meaning I will have to be careful to try not to overload the paper with water.

PAGE NUMBER AND LAYOUTS

After narrowing down what I think are the most important and best developed of my visual concepts, I have chosen five different designs. I will leave an extra sixth page to write an introduction and explanation of the project.

Before starting my illustrations, I have had to decide on layouts for my images:

20180602_112308
Concept 1 – Food items (inside of/outside of packaging)
20180602_112330
Concept 2 – Fuel blocks (made from waste unsuitable for recycling)
20180602_112317
Concept 3 – Food re-hydrator (with “instructions”)
20180602_112336
Concept 4 – Clothing items (and varied outfits)

Though the drawings are somewhat crude, I only really need these pages to remind me of the content and placement of the imagery.

PRESENTATION

To present my work at the end of year show, I have had to think about some way of collecting my pieces together while simultaneously keeping them safe. Placing my images in a portfolio wallet could be best, but as the pages of the watercolour paper are large (and slightly different from a regular A3 sheet) I have to find one that will fit.

Watercolour Artists

For my FMP, I have chosen to use water-based media (such as watercolours, inks, and gouache) to make my artwork.

For inspiration on which style I would like to follow or draw from, I’ve gathered research on a few different artists who use watercolours (or similar media) in their work, and what techniques they use.

Felix Scheinberger

Felix_Purple_small.jpg
Two pages from Felix’s book Urban Watercolour Sketching

Scheinberger is a German illustrator/designer who has illustrated children’s books and wrote his own books on using watercolours, urban sketching, and illustration.

I have one of his books (Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color) and have been practicing the techniques and methods that he recommends in my own sketchbooks. His style is extremely expressive and utilises the method of using a minimal amount of colour and control to add life to a piece.

bottles
An example of minimal colour use. The lineart-only sketch of the bottle (far-left) is still a good drawing, but even with the seemingly blotted on colour the other two sketches are much more attractive and lively, even without seeming massively realistic

As I mentioned earlier, I have been using his book to learn new techniques that I may use when it comes to painting my artwork, so I am taking inspiration from this specific artist.  The actual visual style of my work may be more similar to the next few artists, depending on what I choose to do.  A plus to using a style influenced/similar to Scheinberger’s artwork would be that colouring my work may be much easier and take less time, allowing me to focus on finishing the rest of my work.  However, as I am doing a concept art project I feel like I want to (and should) focus more time on making a vibrant, clear portrayal of my proposed world.

Lucinda Rogers

lucinda-rogers-Houston-Street-from-Lafayette-Street.jpg
“Houston Street from Lafayette Street” – Observational sketch in New York. This one reminds me the most of graffiti art due to the intense colours and exaggerated, not quite realistic angles of the buildings and objects.

Lucinda Rogers is an illustrator who specialises in observational and urban sketching. She has a somewhat similar colouring style to Scheinberger, but her personal linework and sketching style is much more dynamic and reminiscent of typical graffiti art styles.

I’m fascinated by how she uses different line widths and perspective changes to make artwork with lots of interest, and the colour palettes she chooses may be limited and only take up a part of each piece, but really add a defining sense of life and emotion.

Spitalfields-looking-west.jpg
“View over Spitalfields looking west” – One of my personal favourite pieces made by Rogers. My favourite element of this image is the unusual yet attractive perspective, and the eerie (I presume) cloud.

I will be trying to take up urban sketching over the summer break from college, so I’ll be looking to Lucinda for more inspiration during that time.  In the meantime, I may introduce elements of diverse line weights in my final pieces and concept sketches.

Hayao Miyazaki

miyazakimanga_003
Panels from his most popular manga, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Miyazaki is a Japanese film director/producer, animator, and manga artist responsible for many of the popular Studio Ghibli animated films, such as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.  I have loved Ghibli movies since I was small, and will always be an artistic and narrative inspiration to me as they have played a significant part in my life.

His style of watercolour involves a lot more detail in the colouring than the two previous artists I have listed, whereas his lineart is very minimal, and focuses on defining texture in objects/etc.

In 2003, he created a fully illustrated guide that comes as part of a watercolour and sketching set. He explains (with adorable tiny comic frames) how he uses watercolours and what methods he recommends, as well as what to avoid and take advantage of.

Miyazaki_Watercolor_Advice
A page from Miyazaki’s watercolour usage guide. A translation can be found here

Using a colouring style similar to the one that Miyazaki uses would take more effort, but I think it would suit my concept art a lot more, as it would show more of the details using shade and colour rather than pen and pencil, which is the look I would rather have.  As his colour palettes are quite bright yet mild, which reflect the tones of natural life (a big influence in Miyazaki’s narratives and artwork) I would have to explore different palettes to see what would suit my work the most.

Hopefully, using these artists as inspirations, I will be able to pinpoint and develop my own watercolour (or ink, gouache, etc,) style, and start creating more art that uses colour.

Light and Shadow

I have been doing a lot of youtube tutorials on shading, here is a list of some of the ones I have found most useful.

On shading with pencils:

Zoe Hong ‘Basics of Shading – this is a simple method for shading.

Zyra Banez ‘Tutorial – Shading’ – this covers shading contours by using thirds.

On using watercolours:

The Mind Of Watercolour ‘Controlling Water/Pigment Ratio’ – this covers how much water to get on your brush to get the wanted amount of pigment.

The Mind Of Watercolour ‘Watercolour Glazing and Layering’ – this explains how to use glazing to do various things with watercolour:

  1. Layering.
  2. Control values (shading, adjusting, deepening).
  3. Subtle colour changes.
  4. Mixing – e.g. layering a blue glaze over a (dry) yellow glaze base will mix to create green. Using a complementary colour of glaze over the top of a base will mix but also neutralise (make less intense) the lower colour.
  5. Luminosity – glazing in layers carefully will let your painting glow.

And gives tips:

  1. Paint from light to dark. Use a fairly dry brush if glazing over a darker pigmented base.
  2. Try and use paints with transparent pigments.
  3. Protect your light values and build gradually.
  4. Test on swatches.
  5. Glazing with complementary colours will dull your base.
  6. Use a small synthetic brush for easier control because they hold less water.
  7. Glaze wet paint over dry paint.

The Mind Of Watercolour ‘How to paint intense shadow with watercolour’ – this explains how to glaze layers over a base to create shadows.

  • For neutral or deeper colours shading can be done with glazes of the same colour, or cooler/warmer glazes can be used depending on whether the base is cool or warm.
  • For vibrant colours shading with analogous colours maintains colouring intensity.

 

 

 

Experimenting with Watercolour Paper

The paper in my college sketchbooks is 140gsm cartridge paper and in my everyday sketchbooks is 160gsm cartridge paper. I use pencil and pen on these usually and I have got into the habit in my everyday sketchbook of using the back page to try out different pens and other media, to see if they come through to the other side of the paper or bleed etc.

20180506_144447
My everyday sketchbook is portrait style and ringbound, my college sketchbook is landscape style and stapled. I also have these cold pressed (not) watercolour paper postcards.

I have been experimenting on the cartridge paper with watercolours and inks and have found that the paper doesn’t take a lot of water but the white does show colour well.  The paper works okay for small amounts of not too dilute paint in glazes, but washes and multiple layers make it buckle easily.

I decided to try working on watercolour paper to see the difference in how it works. First I had to research the different types of paper available to choose one that suits my style.

Hot pressed paper has the smoothest surface and is good for ink, watercolour glazes and highly detailed work. It can take some light washes.

Cold pressed paper (which is also called “Not“) has some texture (or “tooth”) and is the most popular surface for watercolour painters. It takes washes better than hot pressed and takes glazes too, however the work cannot be as detailed.

Rough paper has a lot of texture and is really good for washes and expressive painting, but is not really suitable for detailed work.

20180506_134527
I chose hot pressed paper and also bought some gummed tape

I decided that my style of working at the moment would probably suit hot pressed paper best as I want to use pen and ink for detailed work and add colour with watercolour or acrylic inks and brushes. I haven’t tried using watercolour paper before so I will be experimenting with different techniques on stretched paper and on unstretched paper, to see how they react. The paper I have chosen is 300gsm hot pressed paper.

Today, I’ve stretched some of my paper and have left it to dry, while following this tutorial. First, I let my pieces of paper soak for 5-10 minutes each, then stuck them to a wet surface on my boards using gummed paper around the edges.

20180506_134717
My piece of paper soaking in the bath
20180506_141244
The paper stuck to a board with gummed tape

I have to wait a day or so for these to dry before I can start working on them, and I’m not even sure I did this properly! I think I will learn the best way to do stretching paper through practice but I will update this blog when I try this paper, and see how well the process worked and what it is like to use.

Meanwhile I am going to do some experiments on unstretched hot pressed paper so that I can compare the difference between that and the stretched paper, and see how different techniques work on both. I also have some cold pressed (not) paper postcards to experiment with.

 

E.T.A:

My boards bent! I don’t think that they’re thick enough or made of the right material, I’m wetting them to try and bend them back so I can use them for drawing again. I guess I’ll have to look for something else to stretch paper on..

 

Experimenting with Perspective

One of the ideas I have had for my FMP which I really liked was the idea that in the future to save energy, resources and space people would all get their food from public vending machines, instead of cooking at home in kitchens.

CCI27042018_11
Moodboard and some text describing my idea
CCI27042018_12
Some quick sketches for my idea

I thought that this concept would make a good image for one of my final illustrations but I don’t have a lot of experience of drawing environments so I thought I should find out more about this.

Something which I noticed when I was researching concept artists is that several of the most highly renowned concept artists (for example Ralph McQuarrie and Syd Mead) came from technical drawing backgrounds. I haven’t really worked with technical drawing so I thought it would be a good idea to learn some of the fundamentals to help me with my environment design.

I started by following these tutorials on ‘Technical Drawing for Beginners’ from Contrastblack Studio:

An Introduction To Perspective

One Point Perspective

Two Point Perspective

Three Point Perspective

CCI27042018_15
Working through the tutorial on One Point Perspective by Contrastblack Studio
CCI27042018_16
Sketching a bank of vending machines using one point perspective

I quite liked the idea of this layout but I felt like I wasn’t getting the proportions and angle quite right. I moved on to another set of tutorial videos, this time by Dan Beardshaw.

CCI06052018
Moving the horizon line

Here are some of my sketches trying out different viewpoints by moving the horizon line, which I learned about in Dan’s video Perspective Drawing 01.

CCI06052018_2
Practicing multiplication and foreshortening

Foreshortening is the effect of making objects smaller as they gradually become further away. In Dan’s video Perspective Drawing 02 he covers constructing shapes into 3d objects using two point perspective, then using specific points on those objects along with the vanishing point of the image to multiply the objects and create the foreshortening effect.

These tutorials and sketches have been really useful in helping me to understand perspective and foreshortening and hopefully will help me make my final illustrations look more realistic and believable.

Experimenting with media and colour

One of my goals with my FMP is to experiment with colour and different media. Every time I try a new medium I make colour charts to help me see what I can do and test the feel of them and how they react and work with the cartridge paper in my sketchbook.

These are the colour charts for my Sakura Koi watercolour palette.

CCI27042018_13

On the left here I drew a circle then painted a thick layer of each colour on the outside ring, and watered it down in gradations on the inner rings to see how the shades look in different transparencies.

On the right I experimented with glazing and washes on dry and wet paper to see how the paints mix using these techniques. I have been learning about how watercolours work from the book Urban Watercolour Sketching by Felix Scheinberger (there is a review here).

From experimenting I found out that the way I was holding the brush didn’t work very well, so to use the tip instead for more control and consistency.  I also learned that with watercolours I should work quickly and not keep going over the same area in one sweep but to come back when the paint is dry and add another layer.

CCI27042018_14

I made this chart because I wanted to see the range of colours I could get from mixing the paint colours I have in the palette (there are twelve altogether).  Each square is a mixture of the colour at the top of that column and the colour at the very left of that row. Each of these mixed colours could be watered down to different transparencies.

I found that by adding more or less of one of the two original colours (for each square) gives me a range of colours, for example mixing lemon yellow and vermillion gives me a range of different yellows and oranges. I chose the ones I liked best for this grid but I could make a much bigger grid if I wanted by altering the quantities of each paint.

So far for this project I have made charts using watercolours, gansai paints (Japanese watercolours), watercolour pencils, ink pencils, acrylic inks, and gouache paints. They all have different properties and some are more vibrant than others. I need to do some more tests but I think for this project I am most drawn to using either watercolours or inks. My next step is to try them on watercolour paper.

Concept Artists

For my project, I have chosen to create a game concept based on a possible future (in the year 2100), if our environment degrades even further and if technology surged forward to help combat the destruction we had caused.  Since I need to research into game concept design and the designers themselves, I have chosen several concept artists’ whose work I find dynamic, diverse, and effective.

Donglu Yu

Donglu_Yu_13a
Concept art for Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Donglu Yu is a concept artist who creates environmental art for various EA games, such as Assassin’s Creed.  She also contributes and writes for concept and design magazines to pass on information, tips, and advice in working in the game arts field, as well as her own blog.  Her work looks like it may use photobashing techniques alongside digital painting and filters.

I have noticed a trend that runs through her work: Clouds of mist and dirt decorate the images, and her lines are ruthlessly sharp, creating a beautiful juxtaposition of soft and sharp edges to help make the environments feel alive and buzzing. Though this may not be effective for a clear final representation for the other artists on the team (e.g. 3D designers and sculptors) it would give an effective view into what mood the area or character is supposed to invoke in the game’s player/viewer, and help them to convey the correct mood intended for the different scenes, characters, ETC.

ACBF_rooftop_village
Concept art for Far Cry 4

 

Ralph McQuarrie

08-MosEisley-400x195
Concept art of a character overlooking Mos Eisley, a city on the desert planet Tatooine

McQuarrie was an illustrator and concept artist, responsible for bringing the original Star Wars trilogy to life, and designing some of the most memorable and treasured fictional places and characters of all time.

His form of concept design is slightly different, as it was for a film rather than interactive media, such as a videogame.  This means his work is focused less on the world as a whole but more on significant areas and lands important to the narrative of the film.

His artwork is quite blockly and colourful, and reminds me a lot of old 50s movie posters.  He used colour excellently to carry across a strong mood, and the placement of objects and camera angles help to create attractive and dynamic images.  Using a style similar to this could be good for creating simple images that carry across a strong concept, though if I want to practice and try to experiment with my colouring/lineart, a more experimental, perhaps even exaggerated style would be better.

star-wars-ralph-mcquarrie-700x300.png
Concept art for the attack on the Death Star. The unusual red used for the highlighting on the pilot’s armour and the bottom of the TIE fighter add an eerie tone that lets you know that these are “the bad guys”.

 

Adam Adamowicz

Related image
Vault suit designs for Fallout 3

Adam Adamowicz was a concept artist who worked on several of Bethesda’s games, including Fallout and Elder Scrolls. He covered all sorts of concepts: outfit and character design, creature design, and environment and world design. His designs communicate the moods of the games and their stories really well, and shows lots and lots of detail and care put into his designs.  The sketchy, rough nature of his artwork is quite typical of a concept artist, but his final designs are extremely clean and detailed, as if they were the in-game 3D models themselves.

From this, I’m going to try to practice my concept art and design skills by designing (or re-designing) objects and characters that I love and am passionate about, while simutaniously getting used to illustrating or designing something that may not be very important to me, but important to other people – I could do this in the form of commissioned artwork.

Image result for adam adamowicz skyrim
Environmental concept art for Skyrim

Gathering from these three concept artists has been quite eye-opening into how much work goes into concept design.  I am ready and willing to learn every technique and take all the advice I can get when it comes to drawing my own concept art, as I am massively passionate about designing worlds and the people and creatures living in them, but I am also fully aware that it will take a lot of work, meaning that my project choice may be a bit extreme, given my current skillset and timeframe.  However, even if I don’t produce any final work, I hope that I will grow alongside my proposed world design.

Generating ideas for my FMP

The first stage of my FMP was to generate ideas.  I chose to do this in a sketchbook, so that I can easily add to my ideas and research, and to keep my work together.

CCI03042018

I wanted to come up with ideas I could use for a comic or a videogame concept, as these are areas I want to work in in the future.  I made mind maps on two themes: issues with social media, and issues with the environment and health.  I then tried to think of different ways to cover these, including making thumbnails, and concept sketches.

CCI03042018_2

I was drawn to two main ideas.  The first was a to make a collection of autobiographical comic strips, covering real events and conversations in my life.  I liked this because it would give me a way to explain and help me process my thoughts and feelings, however I was worried about what people might think after reading the comics, especially if it included them in some way.

CCI03042018_3

My second idea was to create conceptual art of a possible future for our world, including landscapes/environment, artefacts, and characters.  I feel like this will be a better choice for my FMP, because it will give me the opportunity to advance my skills in using colour and colouring media, and my ability to draw realistic and believable objects and structures, which is an area I want to make improvements in.

CCI03042018_4

I am now updating my proposal, having reflected on the work that I produced during this first stage.  I’m glad I chose to use a sketchbook format, and I plan to continue documenting my work in this way throughout the FMP.