Tales of Chuckleberry Forest – THE RETURN and Other Fun News.

Tales of Chuckleberry Forest – THE RETURN and Other Fun News.

It’s been a while. I have been to America for a month so haven’t had a chance to catch up but now I’m back!

Many moons ago when I started to teach myself Toon Boom Harmony I decided I wanted to make animation short based on a webcomic I had made. For the animation I made 52 backgrounds on Adobe Illustrator and then designed and rigged 6 characters in Toon Boom as a way of learning the software. I had everything I needed pretty much. I had the art, the script and the voices but then I kind of just stopped…

One of the many backgrounds.

Now after probably a couple of years I have decided to get back into the animation and I completely redesigned the characters to make them easier to animate and at the same time make them more visually appealing. I remember getting in touch with one of my lecturers from University and I asked her about what makes a good pitch for an animated TV show. She had her criticisms such as the characters not looking great for kids TV. I think making them look cuter and increase the size of their heads was mentioned.

Looking back, I came to the realisation that these first character rigs that I made were not as ‘animatable’ as they could have been and I think that was one of the reasons progress stopped. Now after having more practice with Toon Boom I feel like I am in a much better place to start working on it again and I think that break was probably a good thing in the long run. Here are those old character turnarounds:

I am happy with the initial designs and I think they would make great cartoon characters, however, for a kids show they don’t need to be as complicated. Simplicity works well for kids shows and so I went in that direction. Not only was this a plus in terms of visual style but it would be more time efficient. Here are the new designs.

I kept 2 of the characters the same just because I liked them a lot but the main characters have had quite a drastic make-over. I got rid of the hands to give them almost a Power Puff Girls look but I think they are much more appealing to kids now too and they’re cute! :3 That sound track is from ‘Ori and the Blind Forest’ by the way. An awesome game if you’re into that sort of thang.

IN OTHER NEWS

I AM MAKING A VIDEO GAME. A friend of mine from America who is a programming wizz approached me last year and asked if I wanted to get on board and co create a video game and do the art. Over the last year we have been playing around with some ideas and experimenting with various softwares but we have finally settled on something and started designing. When I visited the US we took down a bunch of notes and went through the story and mechanics. I’m not going to give much away but it’s going to be a real cute looking top down 2D adventure fantasy role-playing game that involves transforming an island from polluted, hazardous and miserable into an energy efficient, self sufficient paradise! There will also be lots of fun creatures and quests. I will announce more updates as they come. SPEAK SOON BAI X.

Make your Illustrations MOVE on Instagram!

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Make your Illustrations MOVE on Instagram!

I watched this video the other day. The Bam Animation YouTube channel is really cool and super helpful for animators!

This particular one was about Instagram animation. If you love doing illustrations and animation why not make your work move! It’s so true. I have been doing lots of illustration but haven’t really thought about animating them until I saw this. Some illustrations might be best left alone but some always gets more attention that something not moving!

Adding motion to your drawings doesn’t have to anything complex if you don’t want it to be. Something maybe like a breathing and blinking motions or even a walk cycle or something (if it’s character animation).

I took this all on board and I wanted to start animating for instagram more. Let’s rewind a bit. A few weeks back I had the opportunity to do a 5 day animation course hosted by an animation studio local to me, Cloth Cat Studios. The animation course was specifically about a 2D animation software called Celaction that more and more studios are starting to use including Cloth Cat. You can’t get this software online or find any tutorial vids on it so I was delighted when I found out my application for the training course was accepted and it meant I could reinforce my CV.

Anywhos, where am I going with this? Ah yes during the course I got to try the Wacom Cintique which is a display tablet that I reeealllly wannnt and am saving up for. I did a little doodle with it just to test it out and came up with this design of a frog pulling around a toad because he had a broken leg. I liked it so saved it to a USB and took it home (wish I could have taken that Cintique home).

So after seeing that video above I thought it was a good idea to take that doodle and make it a fully fledged animated loop video that would be perfect for Instagram! I jumped on Toonboom and started rigging it up. I only had to rig the parts I wanted moving but the rig turned out to be a bit more complex than I originally thought, despite only being an Instagram animation!

I made sure the animation could fit into a square ratio because I wanted to use Instagram’s default square format. I finally finished and am pretty happy with it! here is the finished piece:

This was also a good opportunity to continue practicing animating and animating in Toon Boom. Playing with weight, momentum and speed was also fun to get involved with.

I had no idea how originally how I would go about animating the wheels and thought I’d cross that bridge when I got there. I had a look online though and Stylus Rumble had a dedicated video on animating wheels in Toon Boom and it’s great! Check it out below.

So there we have it! You can check out the loop cycle on my Instagram. Do more little animations on Instagram folks! It’s fun! 😀

Lighting and Environment

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Lighting and Environment

I’ve been wanting to do a new blog post based on my latest illustration for a while but I have had life things to do like a wedding and an animation course but now I have time. Hooraaay!

I have had this illustration idea in my head for a while. A fairytale fantasy setting with 2 mystical creatures walking through a forest. One was a parent holding hand with their child. It was only when I started to actually draw it out that I add a bit more to it.

I wanted the image to tell a story and have the viewer get a warm fuzzy feeling in their tummy when they looked at it. Instead of having the creatures just walking I wanted the child character to be tugging on their parent’s hand as they look at the mystical flying creatures in the background. I wanted questions to be raised in the viewers mind like ‘where are they going?’, ‘is that their house?’, ‘what are those creatures doing in the background?’.

I made the expression on the parent’s face to read as kind and loving as they peered back at their child who is being curious and excitable as a typical child would be. Something that most parents can relate to I’m sure.

For the palette I went for subtle pastel colours with lots of greens and browns but not with too much contrast and instead easy on the eye. I made the characters a unique yellow that doesn’t appear anywhere else in the image so that they stand out a bit more.

I spent quite a lot of time developing the environment just because I haven’t had a huge amount of experience creating environments. Another aspect I wanted to improve upon was lighting. The main focus of this piece are the creatures in the background so I made them more central and made them glow. I adds an element of mystery because you can’t see the details of their faces but their silhouette is clear. I like to think they are taking part in a mating ritual. I had the light source come mainly from this point and had rays of sunlight emerge from the canopy above as if it were a spotlight drawing attention to the focus of the illustration.

I still have a long way to go in terms of designing backgrounds and lighting techniques but not a bad start. I also wanted it to look like light was coming through the leaves of the trees and landing on the characters.

There is this amazing website I want to mention quickly which is ctrlpaint.com. It has a huge and amazing free library of videos based on painting in Photoshop and more. I went through some of those to improve my painting. I also decided not to do heavy ink line like my last drawing of the dragon. The only ink lines are the thin coloured ones on the character.

I really had fun with this piece. Will have to do another like it again soon. GOODBYE!

 

Riggy Riggy Rigging Rig

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Riggy Riggy Rigging Rig

I have been quite busy over the last few weeks so I thought why not do a blog post! It’s been a wee while.

I wanted to put together a 2D rigging show-reel just to show off some of the rigging I have done recently. First of all, what is rigging? If you are not familiar with what rigging is, it’s essentially setting up the character or puppet for animation. The role normally exists between character concept and animation and this applies for both 2D and 3D. This can include drawing and setting up various body parts, setting them up in a hierarchy, setting up the deformers (essentially bones) and a bunch of other stuff that makes the character as easy to manipulate as possible so that when it is passed over to the animator they can do their job as efficiently as possible.

I have rigged a few characters in the past, mainly for the animation I am currently working on. These characters were pretty much for practice just so I could get used to the rigging process. You can see an example of this rigged characters below.

In this example these are called ‘cut-out character rigs’ where each body piece is separate and set up in a hierarchy chain. For example the foot is the child of the lower leg and the lower leg is the child of the thigh. Then there are the bones, or deformers, that can be set up inside certain body parts that act like a skeleton. In the 2D software I use (Toon Boom Harmony Premium) there are 3 types of deformers. Bone deformers, which act as…you’ve guessed it. Bones! There are curve deformers which allow the body shape to be bent like a curve rather than a rigid bone. An example of this would be Jake’s arms from Adventure Time which never look like the are made of 2 biological bones but more like a wiggly tube! Then there is the envelope deformer that goes around a shape instead of inside it. This allows the animator to change and morph the shape to suit their needs. For example if a character had a big protruding belly from a profile view and they turned to face the camera, the belly would not be visible and the animator can change the shape of the body using this deformer instead of drawing out a new shape.

I used deformers in a few of my initial characters but not that extensively. I then went on to create a character animation for a game I am working on where the character had both bone and curve deformers in the torso and limbs. The run cycle of this character can be seen here:

Because I planned on making a rigging showreel I decided to rig an additional character that I designed with a more detailed and in-depth rig using different deformers for a variety of different body parts such as different parts of the hair, facial feature, limbs, torso and clothing to really show off some rigging skills.

The rigging showreel essentially shows the rigging process in action being used inside the software, rather than a rendered and exported sequence. Here is what I ended up with:

This was a 2 minute version but I also did an extended version with my previous character rigs as seen here:

I had the drawings from my character turnaround sheet that shows the various angles that I referred to when building the character so I wanted to do a full illustration of the three quarter pose. The original design was simplified so it was more animation friendly so I went back and added more details, changed his expression and did full colour and shade on him and here is the finished result of that piece:
I added a more detailed pattern on the kilt, added the scarf, added the bag pipes on his back and threw a pipe in his mouth. I’ve added this to my illustration portfolio on the front page too and on my instagram.

I actually streamed the whole rigging process and illustration on Twitch which I am still in the process of developing. I haven’t a lot of followers but it’s good fun. Until next time. BWAY!

Farewell Ink Lines..

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Farewell Ink Lines…

I have been away for a while mainly because I have just moved and had to wait for the internet to be set up but I am back now. Huzzah!

I was watching some paint tutorials online and this inspired me to make a picture without using bold ink lines like I normally do. I am not saying there is anything wrong with using ink lines but I think practising using just colour will improve my skills as an artist. I will still use ink lines but I want to do more without them as well.

Here is the illustration I am talking about:

The Knight and Dragon are besties!

I kept the highlights and shading soft without going into too much detail so that it’s easier on the eye but also it’s my first time! I am pretty pleased with it! I don’t think I have ever spent this much time creating an illustration. Normally I could just use a line to separate out the different parts of the image but here I had to use just colour and tone and it was rrrrather tricky but definitely worth it!

Here is a progression video of the creation process from my Instagram page.

Out with the Old and in with the New

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Out with the Old and in with the New

I had a look at my current art portfolio and noticed some illustrations were getting a bit stale, meaning I knew I could improve on a few. For some of them I got rid completely and for one I decided to just do again because I knew I could do better 😀

The image I am referring to is this one of ‘Bird Kid’.

It’s been a few years since I did this piece and looking at it now the errors have become slightly more obvious to me. I had a look at the proportions and posture and revised them so that they looked more appealing to the eye and less flat.

I had another go at it and here is how it turned out.


I have improved the posture and proportions so he has a bit more depth. I have made the face more expressive so that he comes across as sneaky and mischievous. I did new hand gestures and I updated his costume a bit. I spent a little more time on the headphones so that they don’t look they have been added in as an afterthought. I made the lines thinner this time and they are much smoother, mainly down to the plugin I use in Photoshop but also because I have had more practice now.  I am happy with how it turned out  and who knows, maybe I will do another revision in a few years time! Huzzah!

Bird man is off to fight crime now. See YA!

Meet the Doodlets…and some Twitch Stuff

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Meet the Doodlets…and some Twitch Stuff

Oh hello. We are finally getting some really nice weather here in the UK so a perfect opportunity to stay inside and write this blog post!

I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking about starting a Twitch art stream so that I can improve my art work while chatting to people, and to help me stay motivated to draw. For those who don’t know, Twitch is a streaming site which was originally designed for gamers who want to stream their gaming to viewers using screen capture software. These days it is used for a lot more than just games and people also use it to record their creative projects such as drawing, painting, sculpting etc. and much more!

I am pretty new to Twitch so have been nosing about and checking out other art streams and game streams to see what features they include to help them interact with their community and make it appeal to viewers.

The main software people use to stream is OBS which links with your Twitch account and records what is ever on your screen but there is a lot more things it can do like have your webcam in the corner, display latest followers or donations and have an attractive overlay that goes over the top to contain all these features. It’s probably better if  I just show you my overlay that I made in Photoshop.

Obviously this overlay isn’t featuring any content but the purple areas will be replaced with Photoshop where I will be illustrating characters or whatever that people can watch live. The bottom left will have my webcam pointing at my face and above it will show an overview of the drawing area so people can see what I am drawing more easily when I am zoomed in working on the finer details. Then you have the social links at the bottom, including what I am listening to on Spotify at the time and at the top shows latest followers etc. Top left has some past portfolio work so people can just see what I have worked on in the past.

There are a good number of creative streamers on Twitch so I have no idea if people would actually show up to the party but hey worth a try to see what happens! I think it would be fun to chat with people who have an interest in art!

Apart from the on-screen features there is also a description section underneath showing streaming schedule, social media links, donation links, about me etc. It’s nuts to think some people stream full-time for a living and make good money off it. That’s not my intention however, I just want to get my art out there but making money doing it? Well who wouldn’t want that really!

In this description section you can have nice little title images so I came up with some simple little characters that would go alongside them just to make the page more attractive and appealing. I am calling them ‘The Doodlets ‘..ya know because of doodling. Let me introduce you to them.

 

Ghas

This guy is called Ghas. He is pretty strange. Some people think that he is farting in this image. Well … they are right. He is. It’s pretty vulgar but he does suffer from a lot of built up wind and releases it frequently, but to be fair, it works in his favour because he can use it to fly AND it doesn’t smell because Doodlets farts don’t smell. FACT. Out of all of the Doodlets he is probably the angriest one but he is not that bad really, mostly just a bit impatient and irritable but I mean who wouldn’t be with all that excessive wind?

 

Flumps

This is Flumps. She is just great in every way. She is always happy and smiling and just wants to help others in any way she can. It’s flippin’ adorable. Doodlets can’t speak they just grunt and Flumps has these high pitched squeaks she lets out, especially when she is excited. The only thing she likes more than receiving gifts is giving gifts. She’s a big hugger too. If you ever want to feel better just hang around Flumps and you’re all good. Ghas is still learning to be a hugger.

 

Slicky

Maan Slicky is one cooool dude. He can make anything look cool. I mean, look at him. That tash with those sun glasses, and look at that hair. He keeps his comb in his top hat but rarely needs it because his hair has this amazing ability to keep its shape even after being under a hat for a long period of time. He has a large collection of scarves but they are all the same colour. He is constantly suggesting new costume ideas to the other Doodlets but generally they like to stay unclothed. He is actually responsible for Flump’s bear costume and she loves it! I want to be this guy!

 

Skits

Skits is…different. He is extremely hyper and most of the time just confused. You don’t really want to leave Skits with any tasks that require responsibility because it won’t end well. You may recognise him from the overlay graphic I designed above. He goes well with the colour scheme. His favourite thing is going fast and he is very squishy so it’s almost impossible for him to get hurt which is nice!

 

Bryan

Bryan is gender neutral. They are extremely shy and bashful, but slowly coming out of their shell. One of the reasons Bryan is so shy is probably because they are covered in spikes and this isolates them slightly (I think Bryan is related to cacti). Flumps is actually working on a method that help her hug Barry without getting hurt by their spikes so Slicky may have to upgrade her bear suit. I think this would help Barry a lot. Despite Barry’s bashfulness they are actually the strongest in the group so if they find themselves in a fight (which they try to avoid) then Barry is the one to deal with the situation. Falling on the enemy normaly resolves the situation.

Well that’s the Doodlets. I am sure there will be more in the future so get subscribed! On the next post I will be talking about recreating versions of past art to make them look bettereererr with a visual example. Cheerio!

 

Time to make some changes…

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Time to make some changes…

You may have noticed that I have made some adjustments to the DrawnSean website. It was a bit out of date and looking a bit… well amateurish and in need of some improvements.

I asked some successful artists for some advice and they pointed a few things out to me regarding my website and my art.

Sometimes I forget how important it is to get advice from others and to take that advice as fuel to improve rather than receive in a negative way. When you work on something for a long period of time it’s crucial to get some fresh eyes that something, whatever you may be working on, whether it’s a piece of art or a website. Now I look back at some of my work and think ‘Wow. That’s really rubbish’, or at least compared to what I am doing now. I acknowledge I am by no means the best artist in the world but if you want to be good at something you have to keep on practicing and just keep going.

This leads me onto my next point. My art. When I look at some of my images I genuinely think they are pretty good and worthy of my portfolio and worthy of a good children’s book, however, I know that I thought a similar thing when I put together a portfolio website 10 years ago. I have understood that it’s good to be positive about your own work yet realistic, and that’s where the critique of others really help, especially from those who are better than you. Don’t take it harshly but instead embrace it and let that information help you to improve moving forward.

One of the illustrators I mentioned works in a similar style to mine. Bright, cartoony illustrations aimed at children. He was indeed better than me but I felt like his skill level wasn’t a million miles away from mine and reaching it was deffinitely achievable. Anyway, I was speaking to him over email after getting in touch through Instaflam and he made some really good points. Those kind of points that you never really think are points at all until somebody makes a point ..of those points. Points. What I am trying to say is other people’s advice really wakes you up in terms of direction and where to improve. I think I can be stubborn sometimes when taking critique but I am learning more and more to take it in a much more positive light.

So, what are those points that he made, or rather, what was his critique? I will talk about my art first. The main thing he mentioned was to try and make my images less 2D looking and by that I think he means work on perspective and gesture (this is referring to organic shaped characters) to make them look more visually appealing, like the image is giving you the ingredients to create this fully animated scene in your brain . I completely agree with that point that he made and that’s something I will really keep in mind from now on. It’s just all about practice, practice, practice and everyone knows it but knowing it is something far far away from actually doing it. I have been drawing all my life (well until I could hold a drawing impliment). I am 31 now so that’s quite a long time. So if I have been drawing for 31 years, why isn’t my work astounding? It’s because I haven’t been practising enough in those 31 years. I don’t want to be too harsh on myself but drawing every day is going to get you a lot further than drawing once a week. At the moment I am drawing about once a week, sometimes less and this is something that really needs to change. Staying motivated is tough, or for me it is any way, which is why I am trying out different ways to stay motivated, which I shall go into more detail in a wee bit but basically I need to draw more and I love doing it so what’s stopping me from doing it moooaaar.

For the website, I was just going to update  the logo on the banner above and changed the background. They were looking a bit poo. Instead I gave the website a complete overhaul and made it cleaner looking with a fresh paint job. I have now started blogging on my actual wordpress site rather than on my tumbler and using a widget to show my tumblr stuff on my blog page which makes my old intergrated Tumblr blog is gone, which is a shame but the change will allow this blog to be more discoverable through Google search engine. You can check out my past blog entries here on my Tumblr. The gallery on my front page is now neater and more organized and I got rid of a few illustrations that don’t really strengthen my portfolio.

Over the next few weeks after I move I am going to be throwing some tutorial videos on my Youtube channel and starting an art Twitch stream so watch out for that. This will help me stay motivated and draw more. I also want to be more active on my blog and not just post an image every now and then. I want to develop my story not just through images but also words, which is why you are reading this large post.

Well that’s all for now. Speak soon, if anybody is actually reading this!