I don't usually do a lot of fan art, but this has been going around and wanted to give it a try. There's a list of characters, and you're supposed to do 1 a day as a countdown to the Star Wars Ep.7 release. I'm just doing them when I get the chance, more as a morning warm-up type thing. So it'll be like mid-Feb to get them all done. Here is the first batch...
A lot of people ask 'What does a Concept-Artist do?' They look around online and see the amazing fully rendered paintings and they think that's the ticket. Well not quite, those images are 1:100 of what we do day-in and day-out. For the most part those images are created for marketing, or early on when no one has a cohesive vision of what the heck we're building. So, we iterate: that is we come up with a variety of ways to visualize and implement an idea, gag, or concept.
So this post is going to show examples of that from EA's Minions Paradise.
The funnest and most difficult aspect of working on a recognizable brand is that you need to come up with stuff that feels like it belongs to the aesthetic and fiction of the world, but doesn't exist yet. Its all about getting the feel right, about expanding the variety within some very narrow parameters.
A casual/social media game typically known as a 'content furnace.' There is tons and tons of crap you can get, from costumes to props, specific buildings, decorations, etc. Everything you see in the store, that endless scroll of items, needs to be designed by someone. Even in AAA games, every crate, doorway, lightswitch, valve needs to be addressed. There are only so many heroes and bosses in any game. And the specialists that tackle them are VERY good. The rest of the concept team fills in the gaps.
Which can be hard when suits want to see what the game will look like... when the game doesn't exist. Often at the very beginning, at the figuring-out stage, you have to design a facsimile of the whole game from thin air, just so a simple decision can be made, like: "yeah, on a beach might be nice."
Images like this might look pretty, they're designed to sell the idea to internal decision makers, but that is the only purpose they serve. Selling something nice off like a piece of art is only secondary. What we do is help decisions get made. That means the art is disposable to that end. For the majority of the time we prove what bad ideas look like, to prove that they're bad. And we whittle away at a pile of bad ideas until we've got a few good ones. All that art goes in the can along with.
The rub is that even good ideas can be executed poorly, and be mistaken for bad ideas. Sometimes it takes a lot of polish to get at the gem. And for artists under a deadline its easy to throw something at it and move on. But the first idea is usually the worst, most cliche' option! So you've got to get it out of the way and move on, force yourself to look at things differently and put something more on paper than a knee-jerk reaction.
Iterating on banana carts...
As you can see, these aren't nice finished drawings. They're just enough for someone to recognize what it is and be able to so, "I like it," or not.
Iterating on stationary bikes...
And some early exploration of what a Minions Lab/Lair would look like.
See? Almost non of this went into the game as is. Even an approved concept gets altered substantially in the translation to 3D and workable game play. All in a days work.
It will be a while before/if I can show anything from Disney Infinity 3, but in the meantime I found this oldie.
Back at EA I did a bunch of pitch-art for various projects. This, from about 2 years back, was for a StarWars mobile RTS project. EA was super excited about doing things with the brand, and teams all over the place were throwing their dream projects into the ring for consideration. Ultimately I don't think this had any part with the mobile game they eventually did, but it was fun and my first venture into such a rich world.
The last project I worked on while at EA was Minions Paradise, which is now finally out!
I was only involved at the very beginning for a couple months before I left; but it was definitely a great brand to work on and dream up the world of. Our initial direction was heavily inspired by the amazing concept art of Eric Guillon, that guy is so talented! It was really fun to try to ape him and all the character he puts into his designs.
Congrats to all the amazing artists, code/3D/design and otherwise, that finally got this out the door!
There are lots of fun gadgets that you get to build/collect with lots of gags and giggles thrown in.
Stay tuned for more!
It's that time of year again, pumpkin spice everything, ink getting slung, and seeing all the great work people crank out for 31 days. The thing I like most about Inktober is the opportunity to address something I'm not very good at and to crank on with quantity. Usually by about the 10th version of the same thing I start to figure out the bugs, so I don't mind being repetitive. Here goes!
Salt Lake Comic Con is coming up soon. Unfortunately I won't be there this time. I do still have a few of last years sketchbooks if anyone is interesting, just email me.
But what I'm getting at is, I love going to Comic-Con. Not for the merch or celeb spotting, but for the fans! That is what makes the whole thing possible. (*Yes, the fans could have their very own convention sans artists, writers, etc. As much as it pains me to confess.)
It's the endless parade of fanaticism that makes the Con great! The infinite variety of creation, appropriation, and interpretation is astounding. Every brand is richer for it. It never ceases to amaze me. I have loved every minute I get to sit behind a table and watch and watch. I sit in awe with respect, and a good laugh, but with respect, for anyone who steps into the shoes of their heroes to any degree.
So I've started this ongoing series that I'm calling the "Heroes of Comic Con." Fan art is a staple of Artist Alley, homages to our favorite characters. But this is my fan art of the fans. These aren't specific individuals, any likeness to anyone living or dead is pure coincidence. Let's just call them 'archetypes,' or amalgamations of an experience at large.