Illustration Friday – ‘Faded’

I’ve always had a soft spot for chameleons, with their multi-directional eyes and their awesome colour changing ability they have always seemed one of the world’s stranger inhabitants. So, when I saw this week’s Illustration Friday topic, Faded, my mind drifted towards the chameleon and the type of situation where blending in to the background might not help things!!!

So, may I present, Crispin, your friendly neighbourhood chameleon… okay, so there’s a chance he’s also a small time crook but if that’s the case then his colour changing stills aren’t going to help in a police identity parade!!!

'Unusual Suspect' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

‘Unusual Suspect’ by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

This unusual suspect was created in Photoshop, though unlike last week he was based on several sketches of chameleons as I wanted to capture his chameleon-ness.

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"Rare Sight" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Sight

For last weeks Illustration Friday I wanted to do a science fiction illustration – something that was darker than my normal subject matter and maybe hinted at adventure – this week I’m diving in to another genre for Illustration Friday… a genre very, very dear to my heart – fantasy.

So here it is, a rare sighting of the very shy and rarely seen Snarkleblaster but careful he doesn’t catch sight of you… you never know what a startled Snarkleblaster might do!

"Rare Sight" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

“Rare Sight” by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

This technique, of combining illustration with photography, is something I’ve seen several times before and is something I’ve wanted to try and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it was created using Photoshop. I actually used the photo as the starting point for this and created the Snarkleblaster straight on to the computer, without any preliminary sketches, using my much-loved Wacom graphics tablet (not sure how I ever created anything without one!). Obviously the photo I chose dictated much of how the scene would look and, to be honest, other than that I had no clear idea for the details of the character’s look, instead just following my nose and seeing where the character took me, making the end result quite a surprise!

Illustration Friday - Kernel - "Star Seeds" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – ‘Kernel’

I was told recently that my style was very ‘cute’ and, though I don’t have a problem with that as such, I wanted to try something different for this weeks IF something that was far from cute! Besides, when I saw the topic of ‘Kernel’ for Illustration Friday this week nothing immediately leapt to mind so I decided it would be a good time to let my imagination show me the way…

"Star Seeds" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

The design of the creature actually came to me as I was staring at the irregular, blotchy pattern on a piece of linoleum – some people see faces, I see hideous mutant plant monsters from outer space, I guess thems the breaks! When I started creating the beasty, first as a pencil sketch and then in Photoshop, I actually had no idea about the story surrounding it or if it would tie in to the theme. However, as the little critter took shape he started to tell me his story and I discovered that this extra terrestrial piece of sentient flora was no pot plant!!

Now the art is done and posted I’m going to pen a story to go with him and perhaps see about posting that here too.

Until then my friends, look to the skies and think twice before mowing your lawn this summer… because one day your lawn may want revenge… mwa-ha-ha!!

'Ugly Joe' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Getting My Head Around Adobe After Effects

Whilst lamenting the problems I was having recently animating in Flash someone suggested a better program to try would be After Effects. So yesterday I decided to give it a go!

After Effects has been languishing on my PC for quite a while now as, like Adobe Bridge and Soundbooth, it was part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Despite the fact that I had heard great things about the program, I have never been sure quite what to do with After Effects. Part of this dilemma came from being slightly unsure what it did! I had originally been introduced to it as a motion graphics package but quickly discovered that it was equally, if not better, known as a VFX tool. However, since neither VFX or motion graphics were my immediate concern when I got the Suite my attentions strayed to Photoshop and Flash and After Effects was put to one side.

A much more significant part of the problem I had with After Effects was, since I had never had need of it, I had never learnt it and thus hadn’t the foggiest how to use it! But yesterday, with an intimidatingly hefty tome on the subject beside me and a screen full of free video tutorial, I started to find out what dark magic I had to master to master After Effects and today I tried to implement what I had learnt on a completely new project.

Here’s the result…

Ugly Joe himself was created in Photoshop and the sequences were put together and titles added in Premiere Pro, but all the animating was done in After Effects… possibly proving that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ;P

"Read to make the jump to hyperspace" by A.R. Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Jump

Captain, the core is at capacity, we are ready to make the jump to hyperspace now.

You may conclude that I’ve been watching too much sci-fi at the moment, but the first place my brain went when I saw the word ‘Jump’, the topic of this weeks Illustration Friday, was space travel. This space-ship, which is about to make the jump to hyper-space, was inspired by a tutorial from Practical Photoshop magazine. I say inspired because I once i got the general gist of the thing I quickly abandoned the tut and went my own way!

"Ready to jump to hyperspace" by A.R. Vincent, copyright 2012

"Ready to jump to hyperspace" by A.R. Vincent, copyright 2012

I’ve become over recent years and many Illustration Friay’s an increasing fan of Photoshop which, so far anyway, has become the stand out member of the Creative Suite family and yet I have never really done much with photo manipulation, montage and compositing. So this, as I seem to say so often in these posts, was a learning curve and an eye opener to one more facet of Photoshop.

Illustration Friday – Vocal

Well, with my work deadline this close and a week beset with technical trauma, I didn’t expect to have something for this weeks Illustration Friday!! But sometimes it comes down to stepping away from the computer… or throwing it out the window… and at times like these there’s time to do some drawing, take your imagination for a walk and try and remember why it is you wanted to work in the creative industry. So after a little sketching and, with a cat purring on my lap, I sat and spent some happy Photoshop time putting this together and fell in love again with illustration and the arts.

Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be a post about me getting vocal, this is about a post about a little guy who gets vocal because its part of who he is… please put your paws together for Guido the Trumpet Chicken!!!

"Trumpet Chicken" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"Trumpet Chicken" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

'Swamp' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Swamp

I guess I should accept it, characters are what I do or perhaps I will do other things… I just shouldn’t go cold turkey on the character design!

As I mentioned at the end of my last IF post I wanted to try to do something that was less focused on character design and this weeks topic, ‘swamp’ seemed just perfect. So I started thinking about it and doing some doodles and suddenly there they were, looking up at me from my sketch pad, three gooey characters that had literally grown up out of the swamp! Not only did they stare up at me with the distinct expression of “this is our swamp and we’re not leaving” but they came complete with an entire short story for me to pen about them!

Well, after a little initial outrage at having my best efforts at creating a landscape scene hijacked by sentient gloop, I decided that I should just roll with it. So I have, with a fully Photoshopped illustration and a scribbled outline for a short story which, once I’ve eventually finished it, I will see about posting up as a podcast! 

And here they are, the Swampies…

'Swamp' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

'Swamp' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"Shades" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Shades

I must confess, I would have been happier if this weeks Illustration Friday topic had been ‘shade’ rather then ‘shades’. That little ‘s’ changed, in my mind at least, a nice broad topic to a choice of blinds, sun glasses or paint squatches, all of which I found about as inspiring as quadratic equations or filling out a tax return. To be fair, there are weeks when I’d have been happy to embrace the challenge, think outside the box and break new ground but, with a midweek deadline and a dying computer causing me both literal and metaphorical headaches, its not been that sort of week!

However, I have been reading 2 truly awesome books “The Perfect Bait” by Bobby Chui, whose online tutorials I’ve also been following, and “Masters Collection 1: Digital Painting” by those talented chappies at Focal Press.  So, inspired by the former and interested in testing the techniques shown by the latter, I freestyled an illustration in Photoshop – no plan, no sketches! I’m not displeased with the results but have to say it was way out of my comfort zone… especially as I had to use a mouse rather then a graphics tablet!

Introducing… Shades

Timid and shy, Shades lives in the dark and shadowy places in the world. Despite his huge orange eyes he sees only shades of grey.

"Shades" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

“Shades” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

In terms of inspiration I think he has a look similar to a lemur or, more specifically, an aye-aye and, as usual, I think there is a kitten-like quality to him too. I feel I should also mention here that I was obviously heavily influenced by the illustration work of Imaginism team as well as the character of Gollum from Ralph Bakshi’s animated adaptation of ‘Lord Of The Rings’.

Oh… and I know that my Illustration Friday offerings of late have been sort of charcter-design-tastic so I will try in the next few weeks to do something a little different…. depending on the topic of course!

Illustration Friday - Yeild - A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Yield

I found this weeks IF topic, yield, a really tough one. Everyone I mentioned it to seemed to instantly think crop yield and suggested pictures of corn, wheat or maize, but I just didn’t feel inspired by grain crops! I did have a bunch of ideas that I didn’t really have the time to do justice to (so I’ve put aside for later) and one sci-fi idea that I actually finished working on before I binned because I didn’t like it.

 But then, whilst trying to find a blank page in the sketch book, I found a doodle I did ages ago and thus Sparky the dragon was born.

Here he is guarding his treasure, it is the yield from plundering dwarf mines and rich elvish cities… or so he claims. Personally, I think he looks a little to cute to do a whole lot of plundering but perhaps, with dragons, it’s the cute ones you have to look out for!

"Rich Pickings" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"Rich Pickings" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

It did take quite a while to change dragon doodle in to fully Photoshopped illustration and I confess, as I was trying to do this in my spare time, that I did rush a little towards the end. Still, though he’s not perfect, I’m pretty pleased the result.