Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crash Nitro Kart - Road to Velo - part 1

Here's a publishing first. I've dug up the development sketches for Crash Nitro Kart. This was the ninth game in the series I believe. It was published in 2003. I worked on it the year before in 2002. Almost all of the design development was done through my school as I organized a crew for this when I was contacted by Vicarious Visions out of Albany, New York. They produced the game.

My first assignment was to nail the lead bad guy. His name was Emperor Velo who was in control of an alien planet. I did a lot of design work for the character and the game. Most of it has never been seen before. I'll be including it among the extensive archive of art that I'll be getting out to the public. This is the first installment of Emperor Velo's development art. It began with this sketch.

When I create concept designs that will be modeled in a computer I sometimes include a sketch of the character from the side so the studio artists can get an idea as to what it will look like in profile. This drawing was included in my initial impression of Velo.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Jak and Daxter history - The Road to Jak - Part 7

As I progressed on the central character for "Project Y" in 2000 I kept to the somewhat Native American theme for a while as it intrigued me. Here's a couple more drawings of the character along the path that would eventually lead to Jak.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

From sketch to line to color

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. In the three months I've been maintaining this blog I missed a day's entry. It was a good run none the less so let's pick it up again.

This is a class demonstration from 2002. Had a lot of fun with her as I attempted to portray a girl reminiscent of the 1970s. The concept drawing was followed by a line clean up. First in blue pencil to define the image and then the graphite. I made a photocopy of the line work and finished the subject with color markers.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Crash Bandicoot's first girlfriend

This weekend will mark the three month anniversary of my blog and I haven't missed a day so far. To celebrate I thought I'd surprise the Crash fans with something very special that you probably didn't know existed. Here's the very first development sketches of the character who became Crash Bandicoot's girlfriend way back in the Willy the Wombat days.

That's right. Crash's very first original girlfriend concept doodles. This is the character that eventually became Karmen which eventually became Tawna.

I tried a few different approaches to see what Naughty Dog would bite at. From the girl next door to street walker to dimwitted floozy to plain jane. It went on from there. Hope you enjoy this never before seen artwork from the original creation of Crash Bandicoot in January 1995.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Realistic serious determined human alien lady

This evening in class I asked my students for suggestions as to what I should draw. The consensus  developed into a female human type alien who was serious and determined and drawn realistically. This is what I came up with. Drawn with graphite, black line and ball point pens on 12 field animation paper.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Geek or Nerd?

That was the question posed to my students this evening as we considered the significance of each. How does a geek differ from a nerd? How is each defined? Had some fun sketching in class while the debate ensued.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Jak and Daxter history - The Road to Jak - Part 6

As "Project Y" progressed I would work on other aspects of it then return to tackling the challenge of the central character. I continued along the lines of a human / animalistic oriented design that had earthy traits. I also continued to draw in color using markers and color pencil to come up with these versions of the character that eventually would become Jak.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crash Bandicoot in the wilderness

Now for something a little different. The Crash fans out there will enjoy this. It's a true story. I was hiking in the wilderness north of Los Angeles in 2006. I passed close to this big tree in the middle of an open field. Sometimes I'd go to the tree to see what I could find. There's usually remnants that people who've hung out there before left behind.

As I got closer to the tree I noticed a brightly colored object on the ground. It was located in a clear area that surrounds the tree at its base.

Lo and behold look what I found! It was a little Crash Bandicoot game just lying there in the dirt! Someone had been there at one time playing it. Must have been a prize from a McDonalds happy meal or something like that.

Imagine the feeling I had seeing this in the middle of nowhere. Ten years after the first game was released there's Crash and Cortex battling it out in a little hand held video game lying about in the California countryside. It must have been my destiny to walk the path that day. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Illustrated rotation

My major accomplishment this week was an assignment I gave myself as I worked with my students in class at the Academy. I decided to try a new kind of character rotation. One that involved turning the design and illustrating it as well. I rendered each pose in Col-erase blue pencil and used only a line and cross hatching technique to blend my tones. I feel the character itself is a bit reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are. Didn't intend on it. Just came out that way. Sometimes it happens. It was fun none the less and a good challenge to keep me on my toes and help my students progress artistically through the example of a demonstration.

Here's the rotation as a line up. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Future Cars

A few months ago I was joining the fun with my students in Background Design. The assignment was on props and we decided to get into futuristic car concepts. This is what I contributed to the session. Sketched with Prismacolor black pencil. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jak and Daxter color lesson

Something I rediscovered recently. This design was created during the Jak and Daxter development process in 2000. It was originally a line drawing. I made a photocopy and used it to give a demonstration in gray scale rendering with markers. Afterwards to underscore how effective this method is in tandem with Photoshop I added a color tint to the gray marker drawing. The method can be so effective it's hard to tell whether the color was done digitally or whether the illustration was rendered that way with a traditional medium.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Positives and negatives

A few years ago in 2005 I had the opportunity to teach at a place called the Burbank Adult School which specialized in vocational education in a series of different career areas. I briefly worked as an illustration teacher in a small class once a week that was a lot of fun for me. During that time I created a few unusual demonstrations. These compositions are among them. The top two were done with magic markers after an initial red line sketch. The bottom two in watercolors. I was attempting to communicate the significance of a concept called positive and negative shapes and how an illusion can be achieved by leaving out key visual information while playing up other aspects of the design. Positive shapes are those areas of the image where you see something. Negative areas are what's left blank.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where ya heading Crash?

That's what I admire about the Bandicoot. Even in the worst of times he's always got a smile.

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Monday, August 13, 2012

Express yourself

One of the assignments expected of students in the character design course at my school is completing a set of facial expressions for what they come up with. This was a demonstration I did earlier this year. The character is based upon the design that the student I was working with had created.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hominid ascent

A few months ago while teaching in class at the Academy I was discussing with my students the nature of ancient hominid species. I began to sketch a few impressions of our evolutionary cousins starting with Neanderthal followed up by Homo Erectus and lastly Australopithecus. When I was finished one of my students asked my I made Homo Erectus look angry and intense while Australopithecus looked frightened and worried. I answered that Erectus was a hunter of animals while Australopithecus was hunted by animals. These drawings were done with Col-erase Blue pencil on 12 field animation paper.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jak and Daxter history - The Road to Jak - Part 5

At this point in the development of the character that would be Jak I took it upon myself to dabble in color as well as design. Going along with the animal human or human animal theme while also keeping in mind something of a martial arts aspect to the character I ventured into areas that would suggest he had something of an earthy natural feel while adding a few accouterments and costume details. Here are three concepts I came up with at this point of the path in 2000. I used color markers and black line pen over a blue pencil sketch.

This was still early in the development process. I was exploring possibilities based upon the feedback I was receiving from Naughty Dog and feeling pretty good about the direction the project was going in. The artwork I was creating was driving the production process and engaging the studio on a daily basis as everyone became increasingly immersed in the emergence of the game. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quick lesson in Character Design

During the week I was assisting a student in my beginning Character Design 1 class at the Academy. He was doing pretty well with his initial design but it lacked interest and appeal. The artwork below shows the progressive direction I gave him.

Figure A is my reworking of his original design. Getting the basic form of the concept in order and making sure that the drawing is solid. Figure B is my push on the design. Figure C is an alternative approach involving the merger of the head and body into a unified overall shape. There are many other ways to approach variation in character design even if you're working on a single idea. Fully explore the look instead of settling on the first version you do. You'll be surprised at what you discover.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Drawing inspiration

Back in 1996 and 1997 before I started my own school I was teaching at a friend's place. It was called Associates In Art and located in Sherman Oaks, California. At the time it was probably the most happening art school in all of America thriving off the animation boom that was in full gear in LA. This was a demonstration in the Visual Development class I instructed. It was painted in watercolors. She was based on a girl I knew who liked to dance at local clubs I attended and I used her as a model of sorts dressing her in an exotic way.  

Today's class in VisDev at the Academy offered me an opportunity to draw with my students. Some of the concepts they were working on were fashion oriented and reminded me of this composition above so I though I'd pick up on the theme and sketch out a few more ideas.

Another fun day creating with a great group of talented individuals who help make the educational experience an exceptionally good time.  

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Photoshop sketch

Doodling in Photoshop is easy and fast and efficient and rewarding. That was the lesson behind this class demonstration from Cal State Northridge in 2007.

Monday, August 06, 2012

From line to gray tone to color

This is one of the earliest designs I ever worked on that was intended to be digitally modeled in a CG program. The original Crash Bandicoot game was the first. This was something I did the following year in 1996. It was a project that involved some sexy girls. I'm not sure if it was ever produced. The concept drawing below was initially created as a black line sketch on the left. Later on in class at my school I went over a copy of the sketch with gray markers to teach my students the importance of tone. Afterwards I scanned the gray marker rendition and used Photoshop to add color to the design by tinting the image. Turned out nice.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Jak and Daxter history - The Road to Jak - Part 4

The next phase for the character that would become Jak involved moving in a new direction. Mainly incorporating animalistic aspects into the hero / lead character that had yet to be named. I also went along a path that handled the character as some sort of martial arts expert. You can see some elements of Jak's costume emerging in these early sketches.