Saturday, August 15, 2009


Just posted some updates to tidy things up here. Looks like I will be starting a new blog for my new course in CG Arts and Animation. You can find it at


Monday, May 18, 2009


Its over! Exhibition time.

My display at the exhibition. I also had a mac set up running each video of all the pieces made.

Final Pieces (wasn't enough room for them all)

I am greatly pleased with the project feeling that I have achieved what I aspired to do, producing a range of characters and environments that culminate to providing a unique vision of a Brothers’ Grimm tale in my own unique visual way.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Environment Concepts

With characters established, I wanted to create some environments where they would breathe in.

This piece captures a scene with Sister and Brother in deer form amidst the forest. The characters demonstrate a connection with each other with a rope leash providing a storytelling element to the piece.

This city concept captures a peaceful setting as the King gazes out over his Kingdom.

Some other environment concept sketches

Soldier Huntsmen concepts

The King, along with his huntsmen, initially hunt the deer form of the character 'Brother' before discovering Sister and the truth of events. I explored a range of concepts for the King's huntsmen but unfortunately ran out of time to fully realise and final design.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Daughter character concept

Daughter character concept

As the Stepmother's only daughter, she shares her wickedness and selfish desires. Described as 'ugly as night' with only one eye, I opted for a skinny bony posture with a rather prominent eye piece. With a hooded cloak, I imagine she would place the hood up to hide her face. Similarities in hair and clothing hair once more help establish a connection with the Stepmother.


Stepmother character concept

Stepmother character concept

The Stepmother stands as the champion of evil in this Brothers' Grimm tale, using her tyranny to inflict misery on the two characters Brother and Sister, and vile magic transforming Brother into a deer. Using of purples and fine details help symbolise her sense of power and wealth in contrast to that of Brother and Sister.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Queen character concept

Queen character concept

Similarly to her brother, the character 'Sister' also undergoes a transformation becoming a Queen in her triumph against the wicked Stepmother. Thus, her clothes reflect that of the King while sporting a more mature and refined look from her former self.


King character concept

King character concept

With my own interpretation of the tale, I have made the 'King' a symbol of Good to contrast that of the wicked Stepmother. I have designed the clothing to best reflect the character of the King with qualities such as heroism, determination and wisdom. A dominate use of white, royal blues and golden yellows help distinguish the character from the rest being both noble in rule and a pillar of hope.

I almost lost the video (and the final design) as my computer decided to crash half-way in this piece, but thankfully I managed to recover most of it.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brother/Deer character concept

Brother/Deer metamorphosis concept

As characteristic of a Brothers' Grimm Tale, misfortune is ever present with the character 'Brother' being transformed in a deer by the wicked 'Stepmother'. For this interesting concept, I attempted to create a horrific mutation combining both man and deer as one, a sort of metamorphosis of the two as inspired by Kafka's novel.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brother charcter concept

Brother character concept

I felt that the second character 'Brother' would act as guardian to his sister when they set out on their own. Thus, I made sure clothing and colours matched that of 'Sister' to establish a visual connection between the two, along with facial features.


Sister character concept

Sister character concept

From the original tale, I believed the character 'Sister' to be a warm-hearted individual struggling under the oppression of those above her, demonstrated by the worn style of clothing. Unfortunately, there is no video for this piece.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I'm afraid I haven't been able to maintain my blog as of late having plenty to do. It's a shame but necessary for me to focus on the important tasks at hand.

With most of my character designs, I have recorded the entire process when working with each piece. As such, the videos are available to watch here on my blog.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More blogs!

More people are blogging about their final major project, its great to see. I've made a quick link menu down the left side for easy access. Be sure to check them out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week Evaluation #3

This week has been an absolute mess. Sorting out UCAS forms and making my final decision on university courses has been very stressful, taking up a lot of time and putting me in a discouraged position when working. Thus, I am disheartened to find I am behind by my own standards once more. I still have some bits to wrap up in my research, but really I need to get drawing working out initial ideas and developing them. Perhaps it seems I have done too much research as noticed by colleagues, by this should pay its benefits keeping me well informed when developing my ideas.

Additionally, this Wednesday a group of friends and made a trip to London for an open day, afterwards going to a few shops for tools and equipment such as the London Graphics Centre. We also tried to visit The Cartoon Museum where I thought the style of drawings may provide some inspiration in envisioning a tale of Grimms’ works in a unique way. Unfortunately, the museum was closed for a private viewing so we couldn’t even step through the front door.

Overall, it has been a tough week but it should be over now. Either way, its time to take things a step up a gear and begin envisioning a Brothers’ Grimm tale in earnest.

Jack Duplock + Waltz with Bashir

I had the opportunity to talk to practicing fine artist Jack Duplock for advice on my project. Although I did not find his work entirely inspirational, some intriguing ideas ere raised. He responded well with my intended approach in the designing process believing it has potential, while recommending that I present my work in a narrative graphic way with dynamic compositing, reminiscent to comic books and film cinematography. Films such as 'Waltz with Bashir' and 'Akira' was suggested for inspiration and interesting concepts, which I may look into at some point. Notably, Duplock did not entirely understand the concept of digital art with digital painting, and could only refer to animation sources.

Upon further research, I found 'Waltz with Bashir' is an animated documentary film, where live action was drawn directly from. The unique vector style is most intriguing being visually captivating. I hope to watch this movie sometime soon.

Overall, this tutorial session provided some insight in further ideas and inspiration.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


With a talk with Sue, I was recommended to read the book Metamorphosis, which tells the story of a salesman who finds himself transformed into a creature of sorts. His remaining family have to learn to cope with Gregor Samsa’s transformation while struggling through financial difficulties.

The narrative is most intriguing being perceptive of many quirks and observations, particularly of Gregor’s own awareness and actions. At times, one questions Gregor’s transformation and whether perhaps he is simply succumbing to a break down from his busy job and family’s financial difficulties, making for some interesting interpretations if one believes the latter.

I found the story intriguing as my curiosity got the better of me to find out the end. The presentation of narrative was rather long winded at times with a paragraph spanning across a page and a half, making for a difficult yet interesting read at times as it is most probably reflective of Gregor’s condition. Although, I did not find the ending entirely satisfying, concluding in a hollow and unfulfilling way.

Overall, Metamorphosis provides an intriguing way to interpret a story which may provide some inspiration in envisioning a Grimms’ tale. Notably, it recognises some of the psychological aspects of character

Kafka, Franz. (1996). The Metamorphosis and Other Stories. New York. Dover Publications.


Art Spiegelman captures his father's experience during the holocaust, with an intriguing twist as Nazis are represented as Cats and Jews as Mice. Not only does it provide some relief to such a sensitive subject, the style and presentation becomes unique in a visual and narrative way. Thus, a similar type of conditioning may provide a visually unique way to envision a Grimm tale - similarly as animals or a condition that all characters are blind as a as a wacky example.

Overall, Maus makes for a good read providing a unique account of the holocaust, which I hope to finish reading soon enough.

Spiegelman, Art. (1987). Maus. Harmondsworth. Penguin.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekly Evaluation #2

This week, I have completed the majority of my research as intended in my SOI, from John Watkiss, Nicolas ‘Sparth’ Bouvier, Marek Okon and Kekai Kotaki, as well as reference to Imagine FX magazine articles and Skillful Huntsman book.

However, there are some still outstanding points that I have yet to record and reflect in my journal and blog. Ideally, I aimed to have completed the research this week to start developing initial ideas. Although it seems that things took longer than expected overrunning slightly in my timetable. Thus, I have made amendments to my timetable to keep on top of things.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Christian Bravery

Looking into silhouette design furthermore, I found an article in Imagine FX issue 40 covering this in a workshop. here the artist Christian Bravery takes inspiration of a dragonfly to design a futuristic helicopter. With a silhouette, Bravery works in line to define further details before colouring with reference photos.

The style and professionalism in approach and design is very inspiring, something that i hope to similarly achieve in my own work.

Howlett, Claire. (2009). Making Fantastic Flying Machines. Imagine FX. 40. February. p. 72-76.

Kekai Kotaki

‘Start with an idea, and do your best to bring it to life’
Featured in a recent interview in Imagine FX Issue #41, Kotaki talks about his career and method of approach. He works as a lead concept artist in AreaNet, developing conceptual designs for the mass multiplayer game ‘Guildwars’. Initially working in black and white before adding colour, Kotaki often begins with a single keyword or description as his inspiration to create his concepts. Resolving initial elements is key as Kotaki describes his paintings as a continuous process where ‘nothing is safe’ as elements are continuously refined and reworked.

Kotaki also featured in a workshop ‘Painting a Heroic male’ where he demonstrates his process in more detail, beginning with a rough sketch that is continuously reworked and refined to completion.

Initial shapes are blocked in to define the form and composition. Layer by layer, more details are added to start to bring definition to the piece. Flipping an image can help reveal any flaws in a piece. A subtle use of colour is added, adding a cold overlay to 'cool' the warm tones and rework the piece.

Finally, full colour is reworked with final touches and details.

I am most fond of Kotaki’s style creating bold character designs with the implication of detail and deliberate colour palettes. These serve as striking images capturing the essence of the subject portrayed. The high standard in forming concepts and digital painting in something which I most aspire to and hope to achieve with my own concept designs in this project.

Howlett, Claire. (2009). The Art of Kekai Kotaki. Imagine FX. 41. March. p. 44-49.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Imagine FX

I’ve been an avid reader of Imagine FX magazine since Issue 1, where it covers a broad range of fantasy and sci-fi digital art with featured news, workshops and interviews of renowned artists. It’s a fantastic magazine that I recommend to anyone interested in digital art or those with a passion to create imaginative images.

With my project focused towards the development of concept designs digitally, it became a natural choice to include in my research being host to wealth of resources and inspiration.

Check their website out here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Marek Okon

Marek Okon is a great believer in the narrative of art following the notion that, as artist, we are also storytellers. Communicating a narrative through visual imagery is essential as it is perhaps the first way in which stories were told before language. One should be able to determine the narrative of the image without explanation as Okon himself states:

“If you have to explain to people what the image is all about then the image fails, as it should speak for itself. That’s why I never describe my images, nor answer any story-related questions. What you see is what you get and if you don’t see what I wanted to show you, then it’s my fault as my visual messages obviously weren’t clear enough.”

An important message that all artists should be aware of – this is something that I will defiantly be keeping in mind with my own conceptual designs for Brothers Grimms’ tale.

Imagery with a narrative can have a much greater impact to the audience stirring emotions with an extra layer of depth. A prime example is Okon’s piece ‘Rain’, a powerful piece capturing a dramatic scene of a woman pushed to extreme. Not only are the fine details exceptional with intricate folds of the raincoat, to rain distorted light with a distinct cinematic approach; it also entices the audience to discover more as to ‘what pushed her to this point in life, ready to risk everything…’. Thus, I found myself looking in much greater depth and detail to find further narrative cues to the image with elements such as the contents bag or the pulled pin of the grenade.

This became particularly true with Okon’s ‘Hide and Seek’, where Okon has added finer details to convey the possible full narrative of the piece. Details such as the reflection on the icicle reflecting both the mutant and woman suggests that they both see each other, to the bioharzard container and mutilated hand perhaps suggesting a outbreak of mutated humans – the cape both the woman and masked mutant wear appear to be the same suggesting they were once human. Thus, the attention to detail provides much more depth contributing to the narrative of piece, rewarding those who take the time to analyse the image. Issue 038 February 2009 Marek Okon Interview