Black and White

The Black Orchard

 

New Portfolio starting soon, honest.

As my current project at Curve Studios is nearing its end, I'm starting to think about what to do next. One thing I definitely need to do is put together a whole new portfolio. I've been too busy doing my day (and evening, and weekend) job to really do any new pieces towards it. The only thing I've got so far is this, which is half concept, half matte-painting.

Desert Tower 001

 

 

Spy Game

Some concept work I did for a tile-based spy game, just before my current project started in earnest.

Spy Game Concepts

Spy Game Concepts

Spy Game Concepts

Spy Game Concepts

 

ALL IMAGES © CURVE STUDIOS 2010 www.curve-studios.com

Terra Incognita

I'm not going to give away any info about the game, but here's a few pieces of concept art I did to illustrate the pitch document for my first proper game idea. Some of the compositions look a bit spacey, but that's just because there's meant to be a text box there.

Any games publishers out there who like want to find out more about the pitch, email me at gdenney@hotmail.co.uk or contact Curve Studios via hello@curve-studios.com.

Swamp Giraffes

Alien Plateau

Collecting Samples

Alien Peacocks

Vine Squid

Drill Mantis

Moving Platforms

Random plantlife sketch turned into an idea for giant winged tree-stumps for a platform game.

 

 

Forest of Ink

I was messing around making a selection of ink splats and dribble for a project at work the other day, when I accidentally made this cool-looking patetrn (below left). I thought it would be a good way to make alien foliage, so I combined it with a few other splats in Photoshop, painted in a few details, and Bob's yer auntie's long-term life-partner - alien fungus (below right).

 

 

 

Curve website

I did these almost 2 years ago now, but I thought it was time to put them up on my site. I made them for www.curve-studios.com.



About Us robot
(Flash)



Wheel O' Games
(Flash)



Design Jobs
(Flash)



Tech Jobs
(Flash)



Art Jobs - NB:
this movie has a play button because it's the only one you need to watch from the start. (Flash)



QA/Production Jobs
(Flash)



Contact Us
(Flash)

 

Explodemon! & Fluidity UI Work



Fluidity Intro Painting
(Photoshop)

Before I moved into games, I used to work as web/new media designer, so I'm perfectly at home using Flash for menu design and animation. With the arrival of Scaleform, a lot of game UI/menu work is now done in Flash, and since joining Curve, this has made me a prime candidate for a lot of the UI work.

I was involved in Fluidity from a fairly early stage, so I was able to develop both the look of the game and the look of the front-end (menus, title screen, etc.) at the same time.

The game is set in a magical book, and as much as time/technical issues allowed, I wanted to make everything from the opening intro animation to the in-game presentation to feel like it was all happening in and around this one book. So instead of just wiping between menus, I animated page turns. Save games became bookmarks. I tried to approach each screen as if it were a spread in a book. Inevitably there are breaks in this flow, but I think it was reasonably successful in maintaining a feeling of consistency between the front end and the game.



Fluidity Intro animation
(Flash & Photoshop)



Fluidity Intro animation
(Flash & Photoshop)



Save Game select
(Flash & Photoshop)



Playroom fold-out
(Flash & Photoshop)

 

After finishing Fluidity, I moved on to help out with Curve's next big project, Explodemon! I was mainly there to work on the cutscenes, but there were still a few things that needed finishing or improving in the UI/front end.

First came the opening logo animation and transition to the main menu. The Logo and menu had already been designed, and artwork produced. I took all the assets, recreating some as Flash vectors, and set about creating this:

There were also some issues with the in-game HUD interfering with gameplay and needing a little polish. Originally, every time you levelled up or down (which is quite often in this game), the whole screen would pause while a big notification popped up to give you the news. This was really disruptive, and kind of harmful to the gameplay. I made these notifications part of the explosion meter, which was much neater, and added various flash-animated sparks and puffs to bring it to life a bit.

 

One of the real pains in the arse - erm, I mean, challenges; one of the real challenges in the arse of menu design is localisation. The menus have to accomodate text in different languages, which requires using dynamic text, and leaving space for all those really long German words. This often means just using an ordinary font for your text, but from an art point of view this can look pretty dull and restricts you to single-colour lettering. Getting around this in Explodemon! meant a bit of simple actionscripting, and a lot of manual labour.

In Flash, I made about 5 or six sets of extended latin character sets (A-Z, 0-9 and beyond), chunky lettering, each with a different colour gradient. I then went through constructing translated versions of all the headline text - the main titles, and stuff we wanted to pop out - and hardcoded them into all the menus and UI elements. It was an extra mile of work, butI think it really brought some extra colour and life into the screens, and helped direct the eye to the important stuff.

 

ALL IMAGES © CURVE STUDIOS 2010 www.curve-studios.com

 

Explodemon! Cutscenes (Video Update)

I posted some stills from the cutscenes earlier, but now via the magic of YouTube, someone's posted HD video captures from the game. I reckon the first one is my least favourite, so watch them in order but stick with it.

*****SPOILERS BELOW!!! *****

 

 

1. (Game Intro) The evil Vortex invade the planet Nibia, and Explodemon is accidentally released from cryogenic prison.

 

 

2. (End of World One) Having been defeated by Explodemon, the traitorous Absorbemon makes his escape.

 

 

3.(End of World Two) Absorbemon's evil plan is revealed.

 

 

4.(End of Game) Absorbemon is released from the Vortex's evil mind-control, but is it too late to save Nibia from impending doom?

 

 

Explodemon! Cutscenes

None of the concept art I did below really made it into the game, so apart from some UI stuff, my main contribution to Explodemon! (out on PSN, buy it.) was the writing/animating of the cutscenes. For info on the game visit www.explodemon.com and there's a great a blog about the project's long development history at www.onebitbeyond.com.

Here are a few stills, hopefully nothing too spoiler-ish.

Speed Painting

Speed Painting

Speed Painting

Speed Painting

Speed Painting

ALL IMAGES © CURVE STUDIOS 2010 www.curve-studios.com

Misc Art

Fluidity (or Hydroventure if you're in Europe)

I'll need to collect together some artwork, and figure out what I'm allowed to show, but the thing I worked on most in 2009/10 was Fluidity for Nintendo/Curve Studios. It's a great wiiware game, with a very healthy Metacritic. I did a huge amount of art & animation for it, and a little bit of level design too.

Here's a trailer:

 

And there's some of my concept art (and me too, briefly) in this We Are Wiiware video:

Misc Painting : Fort Doublerock

Speed Painting

Sci-fi Environment concept

A little test video I did for a lunchtime project:

Speed Painting : Ragged Convoy

Took just over an hour. Might have been quicker, but I hadn't really set myself a brief. I had a nice sunset landscape after about 20 mins, and then I spent the best part of an hour faffing around trying various buildings, giant tripods etc.

Speed Painting

 

Curve Studios

I'm currently working on contract as a concept artist for Curve Studios, so I don't know if I'll be updating quite so often, at least for a while. I'm working on a few projects here at the moment.

I can't show much of what I'm working on, but you can visit the Curve website at www.curve-studios.com. I created all of the flash animations at the top of each section and subpage, plus there's a couple of my bits in the 'In The Pipeline' section.

A couple of projects I can show:

Explodemon

I had a brief stint on this sci-fi platform game, currently in production at Curve Studios. I came up with a few rough concepts, but unfortunately I had to move on to another project, so it's not much.

There's more info about the game (including a trailer) at www.curve-studios.com and a blog at www.onebitbeyond.com.

ALL IMAGES © CURVE STUDIOS 2010 www.curve-studios.com

COlour ProgressionStory Colour Progression, thumbnails exploring different light & colour palettes for the game.

 

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010 © CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010 © CURVE STUDIOS 2010

Above, a couple of 'spot the hidden message' propaganda posters, done for fun while discussing the game's story (The Guardians are genetically engineered super-warriors, who actually turn out to be a bit useless).

WarHeads

This is a selection of art created for the concept doc for a game called Warheads, a proposed online twin-stick shooter. Shown below is some of the art stripped from the document layouts (hence the strange blank panels on some images), plus a few random concept pieces I did during the process.

ALL IMAGES © CURVE STUDIOS 2010 www.curve-studios.com

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

© CURVE STUDIOS 2010

 

Aggro

This was a spare-time idea, worked on very briefly with a couple of the other guys at Curve. Just kind of fell by the wayside, I suppose, but I enjoyed painting the backgrounds. The idea was to make something clean and straight-edged, but I couldn't resist trying something more painterly by the end.

Drop Off at Smuggler's Cave

Drop Off at Smuggler's Cave

Drop Off at Smuggler's Cave

Art Style variations , concept paintings showing different 'lighting' styles for the game - (Flash & Photoshop)

Drop Off at Smuggler's Cave

Game enemy ideas (Flash & Photoshop)

 

Drop Off at Smuggler's Cave

Test level background painting. I call it 'Octopus Rock' because the rock at the bottom looks a bit like an octopus.

Click to enlarge.

 

Work In Progress: Beast Head

This is the Shadow of the Beast head maquette I started on my Maya course. I've taken it into ZBrush for detailing.

Beast Head in ZBrush

 

Drop-Off at Smugglers' Cave

This is a background I did a while back (somewhere further down the page) and I always knew it needed something in the foreground. After a sketch or two, I modelled up a rudimentary ship-shape in Maya, brought the render into the composition and painted in the details in Photoshop.

Drop Off at Smuggler's Cave

Drop Off At Smugglers' Cave, concept painting - (Maya & Photoshop)

 

Escape Under Fire

Never finished, just abandoned. I'm going to step away from this one now, see how it sits.

Escape ship

 

Merc Girl Sketch

Casual catalogue mercenary

I did this to no real brief. Just a quick painting, kind of in the same world as the other mercenaries below, but not in 'war' mode. More casual wear for everyday street violence. I don't have a character bio yet, but this might work as a design for the 'sister' character who's running away in the background of the escape scene I'm working on below. We'll see.

I like this picture because it didn't take very long.

 

 

Old Stuff Corner - Dixy Chicken

Cartoon interlude here; a few years back, I worked on a re-brand for nationwide KFC erm.. homage, 'Dixy Chicken'. The re-brand wasn't a huge success because most of the franchise holders seemed unwilling or uninterested in falling in line with head office, and those that did took all sorts of liberties with the logo, menus etc. I built the UK website (or what was, about five years ago, to be the first phase of an updated site) and there was going to be a kids club section called 'Dixy Kids'. We spent hours coming up with that one...

Anyway, these are some of the designs I came up with for a cartoon chicken mascot.

Dixy Chicken Sketches
Dixy 1 Dixy 2

 

Mercenaries (continued from below)

I've come up with a rescue ship, a combination of helicopter, pick-up truck, and D-Day landing boat. It's a very simple answer to the question of how to pick up and drop off troops. They disembark from the ramp at the back, get back in over the sides. I gave it crenellations like I castle wall because it makes it easier for people to get in, whilst still providing cover from fire. I actually found a pic of a German troop truck that had a similar design, so it must make some sense. Although they did lose the war.

It's a merc ship, so I've made the rear section a different colour from the front, so as to make it look slightly less professional military-built, as if it's been chopped together from two or three different vehicles. I think the design might also benefit from some custom decals, personal touches - a name, perhaps. I'll give it some thought. 21-c was a just a random number, but since '2's look like 'Z's, maybe they call it Zeke.

Yeah, I'll keep thinking.

Escape ship

After making a rough 3D model and dropping it in the scene, the WIP of the painting looked like this (below left).

I know it's a bit early in the day for dust and light FX, but I wanted to try them on a layer, to get a feel for the finished pic, and where I need to spend time detailing.

I wasn't sure I liked the pose of the foreground guy as much as I did in the earlier thumbnail. He looked a bit static, so I amended that and carried on detailing (below right)

Escape WIP

version 5b

 

 

Old Stuff Corner - Leaffish & Stab Machine

A double-bill of old stuff here, circa 2000/2001.

Leaffish is, excluding tweening boxes from left to right etc., the first 3D animation I ever did. Leapt straight in there with creature modelling, bones, water, using the wonder that was Inspire 3D. The program had no IK, which was a pain, but I was nothing if not persevering. Nice easy-to-spot tiling texture on the rock at the end there.

This is about 7 years old now. Bless.


This was part of a series of drawings I did in college; bizarre Heath Robinson style contraptions for faking things on screen. There were sex-scene puppets, mice, smoking monkeys, terriers, trolleys and pulleys.

This is a machine for faking a stabbing. Bringing down the knife simultaneously pumps fake blood. A coupleof years later when I learnt Flash, it seemed like a natural idea to animate.

 

Old Stuff Corner - Rocket Wrench

In another exciting episode of old stuff corner, I give you the Rocket Wrench. I used to work for the MOD, creating graphics to help teach bomb disposal. This is one of the tools they use. Modelled, animated and textured in Lightwave.

Obviously the smoke is made using a particle system, but the rope-pull and the wrench clattering on the ground is hand-animated. I remember I tried using a physics system, but it never quite looked right. Apologies for the small size, but I don't have the source files anymore, and this is the only render I could find.

 

Mercenaries

I posted a couple of these pics earlier, but I'm working on them in a more official capacity now, so I'll show a bit more. It's concept art for an independent game project I'm involved in. At the time of posting, I'm halfway through a preliminary concept painting. That's below, along with all the various sketches I've done on the way.

So to start with, the mercenary character(s). There will be corporate/pmc soldiers in the game, as well as rebels. Visually the mercenaries need to be neither one nor the other. they are perhaps ex-military, with stolen/scavenged hardware. More seasoned and battle-hardened than the rebels, but less disciplined and advanced than the PMC troops. So while some of their armour and equipment will be military, it will be old and customised. As a group, they will not share a look. The piece is set in the future, but I was given Saving Private Ryan as a tonal cue, so the costume has a slight WWII frame of reference to it.

Mercenary concept 1 Mercenary concept 2

Merc sketches

Merc colour sketch

How Am I Killing?

Next, I'm working on a concept painting based on some script pages I've been sent. Two mercenaries have been sent to rescue a girl. Narrowly escaping PMC forces, they are picked up by a rescue craft.

I started with some thumbnails:

Escape thumb 1

I did the above thumb first, but when I was researching picture reference for low angle shots of people running away, I found a few cool angles of people running up hill, and I thought it was a good idea. If they're being picked up, high ground would be good, and it looks more dramatic.

Escape thumb 2

WIP

Problem is, I'm still not happy with the rescue craft design, so while I have a quite nice background plate (above right) without it, I'm still sketching aircraft. Hard not to do something that looks like a typical Aliens, Halo etc. dropship.

Dropship ideas

Excuse the lined paper, but I did these in a notebook on the train:

door train sketch

train sketch train sketch

 

More Beast

A sketch to paint up. This one's a bit more in keeping with the original game character. His loincloth will even be blue.

Shadow Of The Beast - concept art

Beast vs beast , concept sketch - (3B & Photoshop)

Shadow Of The Beast - concept art

Beast vs beast , colour rough - (Photoshop)

 

Shadow Of The Beast: The Re-Beasting HD Remix Alpha

Had an idea for a project to set myself; In my younger, Amiga-hugging days, one game stood out as the pinnacle of graphical beauty. One game had more layers of parallax-scrolling than previously imagined possible. One game had a lovely new-age electro-panpipe soundtrack to keep you from smashing your keyboard in frustration when you died again becouse you slightly mistimed something in a sequence of three hundred ducks and punches. That game was Shadow Of The Beast, from Psygnosis.

wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_of_the_Beast

youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHU2guYH7Og

It's good to have a brief sometimes, instead of just random drawings and ideas, so in the spirit of recent HD revamps like Bionic Commando Rearmed, Streetfighter 2 HD remix, etc. I thought it migt be a good exercise for me to rework SOTB for a hypothetical XBLA/Wiiware type re-release. Come up with some character designs, backgrounds, title screens etc. Get some nice parallax scrolling going on in Flash, maybe. The cover art was by Roger Dean, and it'd be nice to maybe bring some of that style into the actual game graphics.

Anyway, very rough quick start below, with temp BG & logo, etc. Imagine it approximately 60% cooler, with a nice scrolling landscape behind.

Shadow Of The Beast - rough title page

Shadow Of The Beast title screen, rough pass - (Photoshop)

SOTB controls page

Shadow Of The Beast, Work In Progress - (Photoshop)

Quick work in progess sketch on the main character himself, the Beast. The original game started off in quite a lush environment - dusky skies, trees, fields and stone walls - but I think I want to start off exploring a more twilight approach, somewhere rocky, more desolate, with distant rain storms. The Beast's journey towards his father's killer would take him to gradually more civilized areas, reflecting his journey back towards humanity, if that doesn't sound too corny. (Hey, this is a game about a man called Aarbron seeking out revenge on the evil beast lord Maletoth; corny doesn't even come into it.)

So rocks for the first few levels, then the daylight woodlands would come next. The original then went underground, and I've visited a few caves in the Yorkshire Dales recently, so I've got some reference there.

The Beast himself was, according to the original storyline, once human and has been corrupted by magic. With this first sketch I'm thinking of someone who's literally had most of himself stripped away; I want to really see the muscles and tendons, as if there were no skin between the flesh and the hair. I've lost the original Beast's blue loin-cloth, but kept his big bat ears.

I need to work on the rock formations in the background. Roger Dean's artwork for SOTB2 showed some odd spindly rock formations, which it could be cool to bring back in.

 

Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead!

Not that I'm giving away the ending there or anything, but I've completed the first draft of The Bargain Witch, to a length of 50,277w. It got a bit vague in places, but at least I've reached an end now. Which I believe were the Queen Mum's last words.

So now - small break, re-read it, make notes, pick three good sample chapters for agents/publishers, knock up some sample illustrations, and work on a second draft while I wait for the rejection letters to pile in. All the fun ahead of me.

 

Old Stuff Corner - Dog Skeletons

When I worked for the MOD, as well as using Lightwave, they bought me 3D Studio Max. I played around with it a bit; it was very different to Lightwave, and when I found out you could render bones, I set up these quadraped IK skeletons and animated them. Saved me having to skin and texture the things. It was part of the same 'walk-cycle' phase I mentioned with the Flash animations at the bottom of the page.

Quadraped animation tests - (3D Studio Max)

 

Old Stuff Corner Redux

This guy was an evil henchman in something I was fiddling around with about 10 years ago (same story as Henry Shade, Leaffish, the Guillotines...). His name's Prompt, and the basic description of him would be a piranha in a HAZMAT suit. I drew a sketch of him back then, and now I've scanned it and painted it in. I'm probably going to do another full body concept too.

To get some reference for the materials in his costume, I typed in 'rubber suit' and 'leather mask' into Google image search. Just in case anyone were to use my laptop and wonder why those phrases were coming up on auto-fill...

Also, my godson has a Spiderman costume with rubber gloves. They must be far too big for him because I was able to get my hand in one and pose in the mirror for the painting. Again, in case anyone was wondering.

Prompt - concept art

Prompt , concept painting - (Photoshop)

Prompt - concept art

Prompt , concept sketch - (3B)

 

 

Salamander Rainhat

Very old versions of Henry Shade, before he became a dirty old man and starred in his own story, had a kind of hood that folded down from his head to become two flippers. I may very well dig some stuff out for an old stuff corner soon. Anyway, the reason I mention it is that I was thinking about Henry's hood when I sketched this; It's Carlos Huante inspired salamander-man, with his tail wrapped over his head to protect himself from the rain.

Doesn't make all that much sense, as I'm sure most amphibians aren't that fussed about rain. My defence is that his head is human not amphibian, so shut your yap.

If I have a child, I'm going to name it Salamander Rainhat.

Salamander Rainhat - concept art

Salamander Rainhat , concept painting - (Photoshop)

 

Old Stuff Corner - Burrow Entrance

Unfortunately, the pencil work hasn't scanned in as well as I'd hoped here, but still. Back in one of the many drafts of The Black Orchard, someone had a home underground, and one of the entrances was through a burrow at the base of a tree. There're a lot of appetite-related shenanigans in the plot of the story, so when I sketched it, I made the burrow look subtly like a mouth, with flagstones for teeth.

Burrow Entrance - concept art

Burrow Entrance , concept sketch - (2B pencil)

 

Bargain Witch - Illustration Test

Lady Blackhands

Annette - if you're reading this, don't click the link or look at the fiction page. The illustration will spoil a bit of the next chapter.

Anyone else - I'm not far off the end of a first draft of my novel, The Bargain Witch. I'm starting to think about illustration styles, and I did this and the one to the left as a test. Bit Scooby Doo, maybe.

 

 

Sea Shaman

Photo Story

I bought a new set of sketching pencils today, and a nice new carry case that folds over and stands up. Magic.

Anyway, I did one sketch, just to test out the graphite blocks and charcoal pencils and ended up drawing... a rocky cave with not much in it. It was quite Lord Of The Rings-ish, I suppose - if Peter Jackson had left the camera running by accident when nothing was happening. Pointing in the wrong direction.

The second sketch I did was this - a big monster wearing a weird mask. The mask is based on a Tsimishian shaman's mask depicting a sea spirit. The big monster is based on big monsters. And horseshoe crabs.

I didn't draw it, but in my imagination he's holding a big pole with sea weed and fish skulls on it.

Actually, I'm glad I didn't draw that, that's rubbish.

Sea Shaman, concept sketch - (3B & 6B on 300gsm )

 

Treasured Photos

With the recent launch of Wii Software, I've been thinking about good old 2D games a bit lately. I probably played games more than I ever have since back in the 8 & 16-bit eras. I even learned to use computer imaging software (Deluxe Paint 2 on my Amiga) inventing and animating my own sprites and parallax-scrolling backgrounds. Ah, halcyon days (*cough*- nerd).

Anyway, it prompted me to do this below. It's a fictitious game screen for a 2d puzzle-platformer. It's set in a photo album. You start with an empty page and a bunch of photos, and you have to lay out the photos in the right way and then command one of your magically/scientifically two-dimensionalised laboratory mice to solve the puzzle. (Yes, I made up a background story about a scientist trying to find the lost treasure of a forgetful - and deceased - explorer by miniaturising white mice and sending them into the explorer's only surviving posession, his photo album, to retreive clues, blah, blah...)

In this one, there's a key in a block of ice in the arctic photo and a locked diary in a photo of the explorer's desk. You put the lava craters photo next to the ice photo, get the mouse to push the ice block across into the lava crater. The ice melts and the water and the key slide down the rocky chute and land in the neighbouring photo of the explorer's desk (below-screen here, but you get the idea). the mouse can then jump down the hole in the ice to his left, scamper across the desk, pick up the key and unlock the diary. Simple.

Angle changes between the photos would mean the mouse would probably have to be a 3D character, so it's not entirely 16-bit era gaming, but still.

Photo Story

Treasured Photos , concept painting - (Photoshop)

 

Man Smites Bug

You know, there must be better ways to spend your time. When you've just spent several hours drawing a picture of a topless man in a sci-fi engine room about to twat a half-maggot, half-rat creature on the head with a big metal pipe, you've got to wonder how you ended up here. I mean, why? I need to go for a walk. Maybe round the lake. Be amongst people, families, trees, sunlight. Really.

Pest Control

Pest Control , concept painting - (Photoshop)

 

Armour Sketches

There's a work in progress a few entries down that I kind of abandoned. I lost my way a bit becuase I'd gone too far without planning what the rider's armour would actually look like. Always do a sketch first, kids. So... here's a couple of pencil sketches to figure out some of the elements of the rider's armour.

FYI, her mail is made from armadillo scales. Saw it in a museum. They were individually hand-painted too. Not that I'm condoning killing armadillos, but it did look cool.

Helmet & Headgear forearm

Rider Armour, concept sketches - (3B on 130gsm)

 

Bomber Sketch

This started out as a doodle (presumably half thinking about the mountain base matte painting below), and since I so rarely draw vehicles, I thought I'd flesh it out a bit more. Has a kind of B-Movie quality that I like, although that might be partly to do with the fact that it's in black and white.

Bomber design

B-Movie Bomber, concept painting - (Photoshop)

 

Old Stuff Corner - Leaffish

This is very old. I drew this about eight or nine years ago, at a guess. It was from a story I was outlining and never wrote. It's a giant fish-lizard that lives in an ocean of leaves in a forest floor. It has rakes for fins to help claw through the leaves. Its eyesight is next to useless, so it uses tendrils and its extended barbels to hunt for prey. I've got loads of different sketches for this thing, some sleeker and more menacing, but I always kind of liked this one.

Photo Story

Leaffish, concept painting - (Photoshop)

 

Mountain Base

This is a matte painting concept for some kind of mountain base. I based it on photographs of Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Canyonlands Needles in North America. It took about 15 hours cloning and painting, on and off over a few days. Click for larger 720p version. It probably needs more work, but I might leave it here for a while and come back to it if I think of a good vehicle or something to put in it.

Mountain Base stage 2

Mountain Base, matte painting - (Photoshop)

 

... Beside the Sea

I've spent a bit longer on this one. I wanted to do something a bit more presentable, maybe halfway between a concept painting and a matte painting. I went to the seaside Bank Holiday weekend, so I suppose I had it in mind to do something coastal. I ended up with a kind of Victorian mega-pier. With stained glass windows. And wrought iron railings, stalls, benches, a carousel, an observation deck, tourists, boats... nothing complicated then.

Victorian Pier

Victorian pier, concept painting - (Photoshop)

 

Speed Paintings

Not sure there's alot to say about these. I just kind of sat down one afternoon and did them, because I knew I needed to practice. I tried to keep them quick and not be too fussy, originality of idea not a priority. It's really about how finding the right colour and composition can be more important than good drawing. I suppose I've been looking at people like Eric Tiemens or Dylan Cole and just wanted to sketch something out. They're quick and fun, so I'll see what else comes out.

Forest Landing Platform.

Forest Landing Platform, speed painting - (Photoshop)

Lava Mounds

Lava Termites, speed painting - (Photoshop)

Moonlit hillside village

Moonlit village, speed painting - (Photoshop & Painter)

This one took a bit longer than the others, about 3 hours or so, not including thumbnails. Markedly videogame-like in content - stairs, chambers, gun emplacements, crates. Not sure I like it yet, but I'm putting it up because it was a pain in the arse to do, and I feel I should at least give it an airing. I don't really know why it was so awkward, either. Bad day, I suppose.

Temple Entrance

Welcome Party , concept painting - (Photoshop)

 

A History of the Guillotine

For years I've had this design floating round for a creature with a single big tooth like a guillotine blade and a driving arm in the back of its skull that slams the bite down onto some poor creature. It started off very cartoony, for a possible picture book (Oooh! - feed him a biscuit here!), but has evolved over the years into something more muscular and dinosaur-like.

Guillotine monster concept drawing


Guillotine in progress

Guillotine monster bite action, concept sketches

 

Return to the Valley Of Gwangi!

You know, I learnt to draw copying dinosaurs out of books. I know sections of One Million Years BC and John Noakes' Dinosaur Trail like memories from the womb, but I haven't really drawn any dinosaurs at all since I got all growed up. Sketched out this one sitting in an airport waiting lounge, much to the fascination of the old man sitting next to me. (Hello, by the way. Sorry I can't remember your name. Like you're reading this.)

It's some kind of insectivore I think. Probably eats nuts too. Hence the beak and the long hooking fingers, for getting tough-shelled things out of hard to reach places.

Short tailed dinosaur

Dinosaur, insectivore concept painting v1 - (Photoshop)

 

Somebody pointed out to me that in the image above the dinosaur is unevenly weighted and would probably fall over. I always imagined it might walk using its hands for support, and/or maybe stand a little more upright. Don't know if that would be enough to successfully redistribute the weight, but I'm not passing this on for anyone to animate, so I won't lose sleep. Anyway, I decided it was best just to extend and bulk up the tail.

I still kind of like the short stubby one; It's more unusual (gravity schmavity). I'll let you make up your own mind.

Dinosaur with long tail

Dinosaur, insectivore concept painting v2 - (Photoshop)

 

The Magic Aquarium

Working on Signs Of Life, I did a certain amount of sky painting, ground textures, scenery extension, etc and thought I should have a bash at a matte painting.

This is my starting plate - a photo of an empty snowy cliff edge that my girlfriend took on her mobile phone (ok, not the best quality). I want to add some kind of ruins and stone steps, maybe a portal to somewhere unexpected.

Snow Temple Matte Painting

Start Plate , Snow Temple matte painting

Here's the finished piece. I modelled some architecture in Lightwave, bashed it up in ZBrush and comped and painted it in Photoshop.

The Magic Aquarium Matte Painting

The Magic Aquarium , matte painting - (Lightwave, ZBrush, Photoshop)

 

Colour Of Magic

I recently read Terry Pratchett's Colour Of Magic and afterwards painted this rough comcept for the Wyrmberg - kind of a big cone-shaped dragon hive. I did a drawing project at college on termite mounds, and I think some of that filtered through to this. In fact, if I did a revised concept for this, I'd probably play that up even more. Particularly the mushroom-shaped mounds that some species make, that have rain roofs.

The Wyrmberg

Colour Of Magic, The Wyrmberg - (Photoshop)

 

The Black Orchard

Ah, the reason behind the website's name. It's a novel that I've been writing on and off for a good few years now. I might post a few excerpts in the fiction section at some point, but the main character is a teenage boy called Edgar, who turns into a large nasty beastie.

It's more interesting than it sounds.

Edgar Beast

The Black Orchard, Edgar Beast - (Painter, Photoshop)

 

Man Flesh

Borne out of the same desire to do something fantasy-ish for my portfolio that made me paint that robot thing below (see Wooden Army), I give you... a muscly man in his pants, bearing sharp weapons.

Assassin

At the Cave Mouth, concept painting - (Photoshop, Painter)

 

Signs Of Life

This was a big project for me. I worked on it for about 18 months, all told. It's an online interactive drama for BBC/Endemol and is online here. I did a lot of concept art, storyboarding, and previz, made game assets, did some post-production effects work... loads of stuff. I even did the animated logo for the TV & web spots.

There was talk of a Making Of website, but that never materialised. I've made a separate section of the site to show some of my stuff.

 

Stone circle pulse effects concept

Signs Of Life, Stone circle pulse concept art (detail) - (Photoshop)

 

Turn Back Time concept art #3

Signs Of Life, Poison Chase concept art - (Photoshop)

 

Storyboard 1 Storyboard 2

Signs Of Life, storyboards - (Photoshop)

 

Wake Up Daisy, Signs Of Life Concept

Signs Of Life, 'Wake Up Daisy' concept art - (Photoshop)

 

Wooden Army

Generally, I'm not very good at doing all this sci-fi/fantasy art stuff that you see everywhere. It doesn't quite thrill me without any kind of good narrative context. Nonetheless, I thought it a good idea to try and draw a robot, like you see in people's portfolios. Then I saw a weird bit of driftwood in a shop window in Sydney and drew this on the train. Coloured it in when I got back to England.

Wooden Army

Wooden Army - (Photoshop, Painter)

 

Bad Bad Badger

I had it in mind for a while to create a few cartoon characters, maybe do some animations. I did some designs and expression tests for a story that would be something along the lines of Who Killed Cock Robin meets Twin Peaks with woodland animals. Badger would be the lead character, moon and sun partner with a congenitally lying pine marten. There's a chinchilla here too, for some reason, and he looks far too much like Pikachu.

Anyway, it never really went anywhere but I made myself a desktop, which was seen by one of my clients and I ended up drawing a desk calendar of woodland animals for the LSC. They had a selection of corporate mantras they wanted illustrated via the medium of comedy mammals.

Bad Bad Badger

Bad Bad Badger , expression tests - (Photoshop)

 

Bad Bad Badger - 'Springtime' storyboard

Bad Bad Badger , 'Springtime' storyboard - (Photoshop)

 

LSC desktop calendar, August & May

LSC desktop calendar, August & May - (Photoshop)

 

Old Stuff Corner - Cel Shaded Terror!

I made these years ago (about seven, I reckon), back when I was obsessed with making loops and walk cycles in Flash 5. They're based on H.P. Lovecraft's Shadow Over innsmouth, which is about people turning into fish monsters, or something. I think it was for a game art sample brief, but I never bothered submitting it.

You know, I thought Old Stuff Corner might be more interesting and informative than this. Oh well.

 

All text and images © Graham Denney 2011