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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series)

It's no secret that I think the animated series Avatar: the Last Airbender is one of the most epic and amazing animated series of all time, so it's safe to say that I'm a bit biased in this review.  I picked this book up as a concept art study tool, but it's so much more than that.

This book is a record of the passion of the team behind it, an homage to all of the hard-working artists, animators, and creators.  It's not just a compilation of pretty pictures, but also features a fair amount of commentary from the creators about what inspired the series, a glimpse into the production schedule, as well as a sobering view of what hard work it is to be in animation and the challenges they met (and surmounted) along the way.

For starters, this book is oversized allowing for as many character models, expressions, and commentary as possible to be crammed in.  It was fascinating to see how characters looked in their early phases of development for the pilot of the show and just how many iterations went into getting character and setting looking just right.  Artists had to tone down detailed designs so that they would fit into a production budget.  This a great example of what I might have to work with on a project, since budget and art are such a hazy thing without solid examples of what you might have to cut from your designs to work in game/movie/animation/etc. production.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gaps of Knowledge

It's been nothing but work-work-work for me these days while I focus on getting my Etsy shop set up as my main outlet. I seem to have taken an unannounced hiatus from conventions this year, with book signings, Faerie Escape, and DragonCon being the only things on the schedule thus far. It's been a much needed step back to figure out where I want to go, how I want to survive in the meantime, and what exactly I need to learn to make myself more viable in my chosen field. While I'm pretty confident in my traditional media, I feel like I still have so much to learn as far as digital rendering goes.

Slowly but surely, I'm completing new digital pieces and learning so much with each one, but still there is always more to learn when it comes to using such expansive programs as Photoshop, Painter, and Illustrator (haven't touched the last one much, but I feel I should at least know the basics of it for my own good and to make my list of skills that much more appealing). I'm hoping at some point in the future I can take some of the courses at the Computer Graphics Master Academy, but that will have to wait till I have the extra funds. Wow, what a class list, though! I could just spend half my life in there learning it all.

So here's me, feeling daunted by all the skills I need to brush up on (figure drawing, digital coloring, conceptualizing, lighting, etc. etc. etc.) and it begs the question do artists and creative professionals in general ever stop learning? I suppose that's what makes our field so interesting (and challenging) to be in. 

For now, I am simply self-teaching and gradually clawing through the reading list of study sources I compiled earlier and a host of The Art Department videos I caught on sale. So much to learn, so little time! Baby steps, Angela, baby steps. Hoping all this knowledge sticks at some point or another. Just have to keep up the repetition till it does!

Till then, I'm afraid I don't have much interesting to post or share here while I'm in Learning Mode, beyond some studies.  You all like studies, yes?  Prepare for the LEARNING!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Critique Corner - Persephone by Maria

For today's Critique Corner, we have an image by Maria Arnt.  Check out some of Maria's other work before we get started!

 



The image up for critique is "Persephone". Maria's main concerns were on the use of line width and anatomy, specifically the eyes.

The paintover.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sketch Diary: Persephone Queen of the Underworld

Recent days of self-critique have had me determined to push my fundamental skills even more this year.  To that effect, CGhub's CharacterForge challenges have proved a really fun and loose way to play around with a predetermined concept for my own whims (while also giving me the incentive of a deadline).  The latest CharacterForge challenge was to design Persephone Queen of the Underworld.

There was just enough physical description given that I had a few concrete elements to work with while the rest was left up to my imagination.  The kidnapping of Persephone and the turning of the seasons has always been a myth near and dear to my heart, so I couldn't resist trying this out!  It began with thumbnailing to work in the Challenge's requirement that the image be laid out as a book cover.



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