Digital Painting Workflows

I recently finished this illustration for DeviantART’s Cosmic Corsair Original Character Contest.

Not to talk my own work down, but I believe I could do better if I had planned more time for this. Nevertheless, I am happy with what I produced in the time given. Even more, I liked the workflow I discovered while working on this.

This illustration was the first finished piece that I tried to paint almost solely in Procreate. I bought my Ipad Pro a month ago, but I had only used it for study paintings and sketches so far. In the end I did switch to Photoshop, as I really missed some colour editing tools and layer modes. Switching between the programs was pretty easy though using Airdrop and I’ll definitely will create more illustrations this way!

Loish’s Workshop

I was lucky to attend the Intuitive Digital Workflow workshop by Loish in the beginning of October, as a part of the Playgrounds Festival. Loish showed how she approaches digital painting by creating a rough sketch, adding colour and effects with layer styles and finishes her illustrations by just adding details and corrections on top.

GlitchedPuppet

Loish’ workflow reminded me actually of another illustrator I followed for years: Melanie Herring, also known as GlitchedPuppet (Glip) or formerly PurpleKeckleon. Similarly, Melanie starts with a very rough sketch, and adds a rough colour blockout underneath. They then add colour variety using various layers modes. The full walkthrough can be read on her blog.

Both Glip and Loish work with what they have during the proces, building upon their sketch rather than figuring everything out at the start of the painting.

What does it say when two artists I look up to use similar approaches to digital painting? Something in their way of working resonates with me!

I have been following Glip’s work for more than ten years now and her approach has influenced my early digital works a lot. Learning that Loish works in a similar way makes me realize I should experiment with these techniques again. I never liked doing line-art and my sketches are usually quite rough too, which may be why my Inktober drawings tend to take so much time. I’m not the kind of person to make a detailed drawing before diving into colour, I want to sculpt and carve the painting toward a finished design.

The end result of Loish’ workshop: two portraits in different light conditions.

I hope the mobility of the Ipad helps me experiment more on the road with these techniques!

Starting An Etsy Shop

Ever since I started selling prints and other products at conventions, I played with the idea of opening an online shop. After all, why deny all my followers that aren’t able to visit me at conventions the possibility to buy my work? I first intended to host a website here on saskle.com for that, but after talking with some fellow convention goers, I decided to use Etsy instead.

Why Etsy? Being such a well-known shopping platform, customers just use the search bar to look for whatever products they’d like – if I had opened a shop on this website my traffic would depend completely on my own marketing and following on social media.

And I reaped the fruits of Etsy’s popularity quite quickly – I already sold one product, my shop being barely online for one month!

This illustration has proved to be very popular on Tumblr, so I’m more than happy that someone wanted to buy it too!

I do like to move the Etsy shop here to my own website in the future – simply because I don’t like to depend too much on third-party platforms. But for now all my prints, zines and other merchandise can be bought at my Etsy shop!

Two months in! A review of my freelance experience up to now

It’s been two months that I made my freelance position official and actively started looking for opportunities.

I haven’t found any yet.

One part of me feels a bit ashamed for that. It’s not that I didn’t try, I send my portfolio to a handful of studios. And I did get replies, though, most studios wrote me back that while they like my work, they don’t have any jobs for me at the moment. One studio was actively interested and even send me the game design document of their upcoming project, but they could only offer me a share of the project’s revenue – for a project expected to last at least two years, I didn’t want to make that plunge.

I gotta say, though, the last few weeks I haven’t been on the search at all. I’ve had it busy enough with other projects: the Character Design Challenge I’d like to participate with, the MerMay zine I’d like to sell at AnimeCon next week, as well as the graduation show that is in two months. Things that cost me a lot of time, which I don’t spend on acquisition now. And it’ll probably stay like that for the rest of June too, with AnimeCon happening and my graduation show in the beginning of July.

At one hand, I consider myself extremely lucky. I am able to make enough money by working two days per week in a restaurant to pay my rent, the other five days I can fully use for my art practice. Though, at times I worry if I wouldn’t be better of working at a studio instead. A place to go to each day, fellow colleagues to chat with and a steady income.. Only to slap myself in the face and say that I wanted this and shouldn’t complain! Thing is, being alone the whole day, every day, is more lonely than I thought it would be, in a way. I never had qualms with being alone for long periods of time, but now it seems I do miss some human contact.

When AnimeCon is behind me, I can fully focus on contacting people again: I should try to use my graduation show as a networking opportunity. Even though game studios aren’t too eager to look for talent at a grad show of an art academy, I should at least try to invite some people, right? I’m sure my teachers would expect me to!

Plans for the near future

Now that I’ve graduated from WdkA and I’m back from my vacation, I can put all my energy in getting illustration jobs! I’m excited to start this new adventure, though a bit nervous juggling all the tasks that come with being a freelancer. Though I plan to do mostly commissioned work for studios, I also try to keep up with the comic conventions I’ve been doing.

Two weeks ago I shared a stand with Tosca Hamel at the Netherlands’ largest comic convention, Dutch Comic Con. It went pretty good, actually! We’ve made enough to pay for the table, met a lot of new people and had generally a good time. I sold the merchandise I still had from previous conventions, but I also had a few new prints made:

Contact me if you’re interested in any of them! The Zelda prints are A3 in size, Gabite and Grovyle both A5. I plan to open an Etsy shop in the near future, so all things I have for sale can be found easily together.

In other news, I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram at the moment, ending April 16th! You can win three signed prints and a sketch drawing, please check it out if you’re interested!

I did it, I graduated!

I did it, I graduated! I have officially a Bachelor in Design now! 😀

And here it is at last: the final lineup of harpy characters from my graduation project. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to iterate on colours too, perhaps I will still do that later on. 🙂

Retrospective #5: Looking back on 2018

Happy new year everyone! 😀

In keeping up with the tradition, a list of memorable things happening last year!

  • I did an internship at Abbey Games! One part of my contributions are out, the last DLC of Renowned Explorers released 12 December, so I should be able to share stuff soon. :3
  • 2018 was also the year I started seriously trying to sell prints and merchandise. I did my first two conventions, and both were extremely fun! I already have plans to attend the largest Dutch convention in March, excited how that’ll turn out!
  • Back to living on my own! I became good friends with the girl that lived in the space before me, she goes to the same art school as me and we discovered we have quite some mutual friends. She introduced me to a local draw club and lots of other people too. 🙂
  • Human characters! For a long time I felt very uncomfortable drawing them, but I feel I have reached a point that I can draw a person and think, yeah, that looks like an anatomically correct human being XD Due playing pen & paper RPG’s I also made up human characters, I never really did before.
  • Started working on my graduation project in September, which revolves around the mythological harpy and character design. If everything goes well, I’m done with school by February! :O I’m really excited and a little scared at the same time, as I won’t be able to call myself a student anymore, I’ll be part of the workforce!
  • I joined my first Original Character Tournament! Though, can I really say I joined when it has not started yet? The deadline for auditions has been extended twice and I’m still far from finishing my audition comic. 🙁 I greatly underestimated the time it takes to make a comic, and with graduating and other projects I kept procastinating on it. Though as a spectator, my deadline is not the same as for competitors, so I aim for the end of Round 1 instead of January 13th.
  • Did Inktober every other day, and it was much more relaxed that way. Best way to be part of the challenge without taking too much work on my plate!
  • First year I was able to somewhat keep my Instagram updated – still forgetting to post art every now and then. Last spring I wasn’t online much on DeviantArt too, previously my most active social media account. I really want to change that, though it won’t be easy: most people I follow are less online as they start to work professionally. Still, it’s not impossible, is it? :/

What kind of great things happened to you in 2018? 🙂

About my graduation project

Almost three months in, I am high due telling you guys more about my graduation project, don’t you think? I like sharing my progress, especially my thoughts behind the creative decisions I make. The problem is that writing blogs like these take time, time I rather use to actually work on the project. :/

Luckily, I found a way to deal with this!

Normally fourth year students start on their graduation project in February and finish around the end of June. Then there is a degree show in the first week of July and the school closes for the summer. I decided last year I didn’t want to graduate yet and do an internship instead (best decision ever), and start graduating in September. There are many cons to this: you still have to pay tuition for a full academic year, teachers have less time for you and you have a few weeks less time in general. There is no degree show in February, but you have the opportunity to join in July. Fortunately, there are pros too, and one of them is that you actually have time promoting and preparing your degree show! Instead of stressing until the end of June about making the deadline and putting all ends together, I will have time to plan this thing months ahead!

That is, if I graduate at all! XD

So this is the plan: I am gonna share visual progress, sketches and finished drawings, and photos of the finished project when it’s done. From February onwards, I will write a series of blogposts about the more theoretical part of my project, the why’s and how’s basically.  It’s a bit like the postmortem articles about game design found on Gamasutra: reflecting on the progress of creating something while the project is already round up.

Or perhaps I’m so devastately tired that I just sleep until half March.

On another note, I am slightly ashamed to admit I’m hardly making any progress on the CenturyARkStorm-OCT audition comic. During Autumn Break I made around as much progress as the rest of October and November combined! The deadline being postponed January 12th is nice, though I think it would be best if I tried not to make it. Sounds weird, but as a spectator I can still join in during Round 1, and the final deadline for my graduation project will be around January 21th. So I better not try to get my graduation project in the best shape possible and try to finish these bloody ten pages I have unfinished on my desktop for three months already.  I have said from the beginning that it’s gonna be hard to juggle, but it’s just too much fun to give up, especially when I’m so far into this already!

But, let’s end this blog on a happy note! There’s the new gameplay trailer of Godhood, the game I worked on during my internship! It was published a few days ago already but I’m terrible with keeping up with those things! I’m glad to see my trees are still in the game, as well as the shrine I worked on at 0:16-0:25! I made the leopard statue at 0:48 in the battle too!

Some life updates

Long time since I wrote an actual blogpost here! I thought it would be nice to tell about the things I’m working on and so.

At school I’m working on my graduation project, which consists of a research paper and a ‘practical’ art project. For my research paper I’m researching the harpy and what this mythological creature can mean to us nowadays, perhaps as a symbol. Yes, more harpies! I wasn’t sure if this subject would be a good fit at first, but seeing how this creature has nestled in my mind for the last year, I know it won’t be something I get bored of quickly.

About the practical part, I haven’t got a clue what kind of product this will lead to. I’d love to make a bunch of harpy characters and tell a story, either through a comic or illustrations, but it has of course to build upon the research paper. And you can’t really say anything about a harpy without saying something about the fact that all harpies are female, right? Do I want to make a feminist statement? I’m not sure..

What else? Like I said earlier, I’m preparing to participate in CenturyARkStorm-OCT at DeviantART! I almost got my character application finished, that means, the art is finished, but writing about my character’s personality and backstory is such a hard thing to do XD Especially when it’s set in a world I know very little of; I’m absolutely not familiar with the ZOIDS universe even though I tried to read up as much as I can, so I hope my ideas make sense! ^^

The deadline for auditions is November 1st by the way, and we could use any extra competitor to make this happen!

Comic Con Amsterdam Recap

Last weekend my friend and I tried selling stuff at another con! The con itself was fun, though saleswise… it didn’t went as good. I actually made a loss at this con: I sold only one print and a few buttons. I do think I know why this happened, though. Firstly, almost all the things I sell are Zelda themed, and after talking with other artists, Zelda things just didn’t sell that well on this con. Perhaps there were just less people visiting this con who would like to have Zelda merchandise? It’s a thing I can’t control so I shouldn’t blame myself too much for it.. Except I better have not only Zelda prints with me next time! 

Another thing is the fact that my friend had actually printed quite some extra A5 and A3 prints for this con. I didn’t print anything extra as I still had so much stock from last con. Why spend another 50-60 euros on printing when I still have so much left? But that meant that there was more art of my friend on our table than there was mine. So perhaps we were unknowingly competing with each other for the attention of potential customers? Ultimately my friend sold wayyy more prints of her work than I did, and actually made a good profit. 

 This could be just because she sold quite some Overwatch fanart which was wildly popular during this con, and probably too because she offered prints in smaller sizes than just A2. A2 prints are maybe a little daunting for people to buy, they’re not really cheap and quite big, people might not have the space for such a print?

It makes me think whenever we should try to get two tables instead of one, so we both have our own. Everyone I talked to agrees that having your own table lets you sell much more than if you share a table with others.. Though of course the costs for standing at a con doubles, so you need to make more money to break even. :/

Or maybe I’m just too impatient, I mean: this is my second convention as a dealer and I already expect to make money out of this. 

If you’re interested in the products I sold, check out my Etsy shop!