Friday, May 31, 2013

Cheer up!

I don't know why or what I was thinking of at the time I came up with this. It's a class demo created at my school in 2004. Painted with acrylic on watercolor board over a pencil sketch.

The year before I created this in class using watercolors over a black line doodle. Seemed to put everyone in a good mood. Hope it does the same with you!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jak and Daxter girls - Part 2

More of some of the girl designs I came up with while working on Jak and Daxter in 2000 while it was still referred to as Project Y. This was among my most favorite phases of concept development. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 5

As the character of Nefarious Tropy continued to emerge his body gear time machine started to become more industrialized. Here's the next group of drawings that shows him evolving into this phase. The sketches are dated January 22 1998 and are photocopies of the originals.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Year of blogging

Hi everyone. It's been a year to the day that I started posting entries. Here we are on May 27 2013 and I'd like to extend a big THANK YOU to all the people who visit. I'm surprised at the level of traffic that's built up and grateful for the many folks that make my art blog a part of their online experience. I hope it's been as enjoyable for you as it has for me. In honor of the first anniversary I'd like to re-post the first sketch that I used to welcome visitors. Thanks again everybody and looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring! Charles Zembillas

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Last chance for signed Crash & Spyro prints

The Worthing Boys' Club in the UK is auctioning the last copies of signed Crash and Spyro prints in their possession. You have just under three days to place your bid! The Ebay auction wraps up on May 29. Support the Boys' Club and get yourself some highly collectible Crash and Spyro art. This is the last of them!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Little wolfman guy - process

In 2010 while teaching at California State University Northridge I created a demonstration using Photoshop on a Cintiq while projecting onto a screen. I had fun teaching at CSUN using this system. Here's something I came up with at the time. 

It started with a line sketch...

Then I added grayscale shadow and tone...

Next step was some pattern markings on the fur...

Finished off with a color tint...

But wait! I had the layers wrong! I actually started with the color tint...

Then added grayscale tone and shadow...

And ended up with pattern on the fur...

However the creation of the work went down it was an enjoyable experience and I got a good demo that everyone learned from and an intriguing character out of it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bunny clan

I drew these sketches in ball point pen back in 2007 as class demonstrations. Recently I placed the images in a booklet I published to assist my students with their free form drawing and concept development. This is the page that features these characters. A simple and fun way to create.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jak and Daxter girls

One of the highlights of working on "Project Y" aka Jak and Daxter was the part where I had the opportunity to develop female characters. I came up with lots of different variations. Everything from school girls to housewives and potential girlfriends for the main character who was as yet unnamed at the time in 2000. Here are a few of my favorite concept sketches from back then. They're drawn in blue pencil with black line.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 4

Here's a couple more development images of N Tropy from Crash Bandicoot 3. Dated January 22 1998 which was the first design pass on the character. Two more sessions would follow a little later. These drawings are among the initial material created for the character.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Smile and be happy

This is something I drew in class about a year ago. Sometimes it takes a while to appreciate a sketch. She reminds me of a friend. I was subconsciously influenced by her I'm sure. Later I did some faint tinting in Photoshop. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Gin

For the Crash fans. This is the only drawing of N Gin that I could find in my collection so far. It's a xerox copy of the original. Not dated. I do believe this is the very first concept development sketch of the character. There are more drawings of N Gin online but I don't think they include this one. The character first appeared in Crash 2. He was a scientist / engineer who had an accident and one of his rockets embedded into his head. Thus he lived with it and it became the central trait of his personality. Fun character. I had a good time with this guy. He didn't change much as he was all there design wise from the beginning.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A different Mona Lisa - 2

Last January 5 of this year I had an entry about how in 2006 I was experimenting with images from Nat King Cole's song "Mona Lisa" from 1950. Here's something I came up with around that time. This is from my early days with Photoshop.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


A year ago at this time while drawing in class I worked up a few concept sketches of the king of the Greek pantheon Zeus. This evening one of my students noticed the first image below in a pile of demonstrations I've got stacked up. He was enthusiastic about it and suggested I post it on my blog. So here it is along with two other concepts I created at that time exploring design variation for the character.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 3

Here we go with the next installment of how Nefarious Tropy came into being. Drawings dated from January 22 1998. I continued with the idea of a time travelling device that would be worn on the body. Eventually this evolved into something that would encase the character. The direction was a good one but in the first sketch below it looked as if he were pregnant. 

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Spyro love - Part 2

About a month ago on April 13 I posted a few drawings of what Spyro the Dragon looked like during a phase of the development of the character. Here's another version from the process of exploration in early 1997. These samples are from a booklet I recently published involving free form sketching and concept development. The black line running down the middle of the graphics depicts where the page fold is.

And speaking of Spyro there's still time to participate in the Ebay art auction sponsored by the Worthing Boys' Club in the UK. This is a second chance to pick up a highly collectible signed print of both Spyro and Crash. The auction's deadline is this coming Sunday May 12.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Crash and Spyro for Cash Ebay - Worthing Boys' Club - UK

If you missed out on the Ebay auction for Crash and Spyro color prints created and signed by yours truly here's your chance to take another crack at it. This is a continuing fund raiser for the Worthing Boy's Club in the UK. Spread the wealth and the cheer and the goodwill by supporting this endeavor through the Crash and Spyro art auction on Ebay. 

Follow this link to Crash and this link to Spyro. Here's what's being offered. The auction wraps up this Sunday on May 12 2013 which is Mothers Day in the US. What a great gift these will make for her!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Ogre and Axe

This was something I did spontaneously back in 1998 as a class demonstration in concept design with watercolor over a black line sketch. It's odd how at the time I didn't think that much of the work but as I look at it today I feel better about the art. In any case it was fun to create and of course enjoyable to share with others as well.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 2

Here's a couple more early concept sketches of Nefarious Tropy from the development of Crash 3. I'm not exactly sure as to the sequence of the drawings so I'm breaking down the presentation in terms of how the character evolved design wise. Early on I gave him a device that would allow him to travel in time. Something that he would wear. My first idea was to give him a belt like contraption with a readout as to the year he intended to travel to. The drawings are dated January 22 1998.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Looking for your input

Hi everybody. I'd like to take a momentary break in the posting of art on my blog to pose a question and ask for your insight and suggestions. What I have in mind is this...

It's a project I've been working on for a long time. You may recall my mentioning this before in terms of an online project I was developing. Early in the year I completed enough content to launch it. Since then I've been trying to adapt the project's dedicated website to something that would be suitable for public viewing. Unfortunately progress is very slow. My webmaster is busy and I can only work with him on a part time basis. I don't think we'll be ready any time soon to get it going with what I have in mind.

Instead I'm thinking about launching it here as a weekly feature. I have enough chapters ready to go that it will take 2 1/2 months to post one per week. Incidentally this is the project that inspired the direction that Willy the Wombat / Crash Bandicoot would take. It predates Crash and has a long and extremely interesting and profound history. I feel very strongly about it and believe that its time has come. There's a lot of content ready to go and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Would you be up for something like this? Something different on the blog? Launching a new character based property?

Feel free to leave your comments. I'd appreciate your input and thank you!

Friday, May 03, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 1

Here's something special for Crash fans. This has been sitting around and not seen by human eyes since the development of Crash 3. They're dated January 22, 1998. Right before the creation of Dingodile.

These are the very first concept sketches for the time manipulating N Tropy. The first sketch is original art. The doodle that I created as Naughty Dog described what they were looking for. The ones after that are photo copies. There's plenty more to follow and I think you'll really enjoy the art. My further contribution to the archiving of the visual history of Crash Bandicoot...

Thursday, May 02, 2013

He-Man History - Part 1

I was looking through some of my old sketchbooks from way back when. This was the first time I've opened them in many years. I was quite amazed at what I found. Some of the drawings showed just how much I yet had to learn and some of what was in there was surprisingly good. Better than I realized when I created them. 

Among the treasure trove of ancient images I discovered are two drawings of He-Man from my days working on the original TV series. They dated from early 1983 which was the very beginning of production. Later on I must cut them down to tape in my sketchbook which in hindsight was a foolish thing to do. I don't know what I was thinking. In any case I still have them so I'm grateful for that. There's also concept drawings of other characters from He-Man that I'll publish later.

Here's what I found. The first image is a drawing of He-Man in blue pencil. I drew him in my own way. As I recall I was working on the character adapted from the action figure doll and sketching him in my own way. The second is a drawing of He-Man from the finalized look of the character based upon what a senior artist at Filmation Studios had done. This was the design of He-Man that had been approved. I'm not sure if the drawing was practice or from an episode I was working on. Either way it's the real deal.

You can see some of the taped edges as they appear in my sketchbook. The pages are not as yellowed as they appear here. I haven't adjusted the color of the paper for accuracy but you can still make out what's there none the less. Hope all the He-Man fans out there will enjoy this.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Pen doodle

A lot of the art I've been creating lately has been straight ahead drawing with a black line pen. It's a very challenging way of working as there is no recourse for making an error or fixing things. Simply out you don;t have the option of an eraser. That's the theme of a series of ashcan books I'm publishing so I've been practicing this method a little more than usual.

Here's the original line drawing from last evening in class followed by a pass in Photoshop to shore up some tone and shadow and local color.