Finally after nearly a year, I have completed Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo's Schoolism course. The amount of improvement I've made since starting the 9-lesson course has been tremendous. While the concepts they touch upon aren't necessarily ground-breaking, the course is structured in an interesting and accessible manner. It definitely helps that the two lecturers are really engaging and their banter is very entertaining to listen to.
But the most important thing the course did to me was that it forced me to actually practice the techniques for the assignments. Again, a lot of what's been covered are not new knowledge, at least for me. Using the lasso tool to define crisp edges, using textured brushes, using layer masks and blending modes to speed up the painting process are all methods that are made known to me prior to this course. However, being a lazy artist that I am, I like to stay within my comfort zones when I make my art. I have been painting alla prima for a while now, often scoffing at the idea of layers and using "mechanical tools" like the lasso tool and custom textured brushes. I've always convinced myself that those are gimmicks, but deep down I know that I feared it because I didn't understood how they work.
Doing the still life assignments offered me a "risk-free" environment to try out these methods. I no longer need to be concerned about the design of the objects - I just draw from life; I no longer need to be concerned about the lighting and color choices - I just draw from life; I no longer need to crack my head and figure out the perspective - I just draw from life. In fact, I don't even need to be afraid of the final result looking like crap (in which the first few attempts of executing these techniques were). It was an absolutely liberating experience and I grew to incorporate this process into my daily work and fan-art.
The only criticism about the class I can think of is that Dice and Robert are the kind of artists who make their decisions based upon feelings. Therefore they can be a little vague on certain issues and sometimes lack a logical/methodical explanation on certain issues. Personally I affiliate myself with this mode of working (with feelings) so I didn't see it as too big of a problem, but I understand that some people may not prefer it.
All in all, I will highly recommend this course to anyone with at least a beginner level of understanding to Photoshop. This course is also really suitable for intermediate artists looking to improve on their observation and color skills.
Week 7 Assignment
Week 7 was the same still-life exercises with a twist. We are supposed to pick one drawing and come out with 4 different lighting set-ups. For this assignment, I once again cheated by using photos from my travels. I have officially ran out of things to draw in my home.
Week 8 Assignment
For Week 8, we had to do 3 still-life paintings and add the Pig character into one of them. Then, we have to do 3 different lighting set-ups to convey 3 different moods within the same scene.
Week 9 Assignment
For the final assignment, there were no still-life exercises. We are finally let out into the wild and it is time to combine all that we've learned into this final set of paintings. We were given a short storyboard reel in which we can pick a sequence of 3-6 boards and try to create a color script that brings across a change of mood and feeling.
Circle of Life
OK, so maybe Beast Druid hasn't exactly taken the ladder by storm just yet. What did saw a revival in popularity were Hunter and Priest. This week, I want to highlight a typical match with a Hunter player.
Turn 4 Barnes into baby Highmane.
Turn 6 Highmane.
Turn 7 Highmane.
Turn 8 Call of the Wild.
Turn 9 Call of the Wild.
Turn 10 N'Zoth, reviving all 3 Highmanes.
This is the new Hearthstone circle of life. And while the order doesn't usually go as smoothly, "Turn 4 Barnes into baby Highmane" is still extremely devastating for the opponent.
Enough of the Hearthstone banter, let's talk process. I initially wanted to paint a piece about Purify, Priest's new card in the expansion. But I experienced a lot of difficulty getting Anduin's facial expression right. I ditched the piece after laying down the basic color scheme... hopefully I can return to it someday.
This piece was executed pretty smoothly from concept to final. I had a pretty clear idea of the final image before I began. It definitely helped that it was a parody of the famous scene from The Lion King. The composition, Barne's pose and environment setting were directly inspired from the movie. I really loved the Call of the Wild card art, and decided to go with a similar whimsical style for this piece as compared to the original, more serious, Animal Companion artwork.
It's been a while since I updated the Soul of the Cards fan art series. I've been busy finishing up the game I'm working on and also slowly adapting back to the Singapore lifestyle. Oh, and I probably spent too much time playing Hearthstone.
The release of Whisper of the Old Gods brought about a lot of renewed excitement to the game for me. I had a lot of fun climbing the ladder with Zoolock (yes, I'm one of those jerks) and experimenting with fun decks like N'Zoth/Reno Paladin and Totem Shaman.
One Night in Karazhan, the latest Hearthstone expansion has a lot to live up to, after the success of WotOG, but I'm optimistic that it'll push some of the obscure decks, like Beast Druid and Discard-Warlock to the forefront. In particular, I had a lot of fun playing Beast Druid, even with just the addition of 2 cards from the first wing - Enchanted Raven and Arcane Anomaly. I just want to state, as a player who prefers playing aggro decks, how awesome Arcane Anomaly is. It feels good to pull off the dream opener of going second and summoning Anomaly, throwing the Coin, Innervate into Living Roots and Power of the Wild. I can't wait for the release of Menagerie Warden and see how it can improve upon this deck.
What decks do you think is going to dominate the new meta?
Catch 'Em ALL
Decided to do a quick painting of a random Pokemon Go-related gag I thought of. To cut down on the time investment on this one, I relied on the techniques that I've learned from Dice and Robert's Schoolism class, coupled with the generous use of custom brushes.
For anyone who's waiting for updates with regards to the Soul of the Cards (Hearthstone) fanart series: a new artwork/video should be coming up right around the corner. Thanks for the patience.
The Pokemon Go servers finally went up in Singapore last Saturday. Needless to say everyone went gaga over the game. Everywhere you go, you could see groups of people walking around aimlessly. People were outside more, often sitting near Pokestops, waiting for the signals to pop back up so that they can collect the freebies.
Yesterday I went for an evening run in Chinese Garden and saw people from all walks of life playing Pokemon Go. I thought it was quite funny how they resembled the NPCs from the original game and decided to do some sketches of them. Do you identify yourself as any of these trainer types?