I am cheating again, and posting old art. Sorry about that. It's just that I have been so busy lately that my personal drawing time has taken a bit of a hit. Well, that and Skyrim came out. (youch... so good) I thought it might be cool however to post a few more pieces from my time at CN Games Studio. The entire Exonaut project was such a blast to work on, and it did allow me to draw all sorts of cool stuff.
At some point in December, I will post Christmas art. I promise.
Also, thank you so much to the extremely cool people that continue to visit this blog. I know I have been slacking with posts, but I greatly appreciate you stopping by.
Since I have been so busy lately, the blog hasn't gotten any love. I keep promising to return to form and start slinging sketches willy-nilly once again... but it certainly hasn't panned out yet. Instead, I thought I would post some older work from my time at CN.
This first piece was literally the very first concept drawing for the game "Project Exonaut" (which didn't even have that title yet) and served as a proof of concept for the team. Looking back, it is pretty dreadful. It did however serve it's purpose in messaging that putting kids in big battle suits might be cool. (They paid me to tell them that. :) It was quick. It was messy. But it was effective.
This was done immediately the next day, and served as a more polished look at how we might treat the battle suit design. At this point in the game's evolution, there was discussion about basing the suit tech on the core omnitrix technology. Looking at the final game, it is easy to see how far the individual suit designs evolved.
I hope you guys enjoy this look back as much as I did working on this game. If everything works out, I will continue to post concepts and art from this project as time goes on.
This morning was just an exercise to re-find my tools in my new version of Painter. So frustrating! I had tools in the last version that I used every day, and now I feel like I am fighting with the program every step of the way. I will eventually get there. Until then, you may get a few more scribbles...
I eluded to the fact that there were big changes heading my way, and I wasn't kidding. Over the last few weeks, I have transitioned from my job at Cartoon Network in Atlanta, to a new position at Row Sham Bow in Orlando. This is a new studio, packed with unbelievable talent, and it feels like a great fit already. Our first game is in beta right now, and I am very excited about my future here. I will share more about the new digs here on the blog very soon.
Many people have asked why I chose to leave Cartoon Network. I wish I could tell you that it was because I found out my boss was really a pirate, or that I got into a fist fight with both Finn and Jake. Maybe management decided to rent my office out, and then asked me to work on the parking garage. But no, there wasn't anything like that.
Don't get me wrong. Working at Cartoon Network was fantastic. I will cherish my years there as the Art Director of the Games Studio. My team was second to none and worked amazingly well together. I was given so many opportunities and was able to work on many great projects. I made many lifelong friends. I learned more than I ever thought that I could. My family and I enjoyed our time in the Atlanta area.
So why did I leave? I just decided to take a chance. To keep moving. To go where I thought I could be the most creative. To follow my gut. Below are two quotes from Steve Job's 2005 Stanford commencement speech. They have stuck with me since hearing them for the first time several years ago. They really explain it all.
"You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart - even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference."
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other
people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out
your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow
your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want
to become. Everything else is secondary."
The last few years have been great, and I am looking forward to making the next few even greater. I hope to grow both as a person and as an artist. I always dream big, and so far, my life has supported that style of optimism. Once I get fully settled into this new chapter, I will return to this blog and start making a creative mess once again.
I am going to have to start paying Aidan soon, since he now art directs almost all of my work. Here he was instructing me on everything that a "cool" robot should have when it goes into battle. To be honest, he was a little miffed that I didn't add another cobra.
When I started working on the "Project Exonaut" project, I knew that I wanted two distinct styles of art in the game. We had our cool 3D models, but I wanted to develop a 2D style to go along with them. I also knew that I didn't want this "2D look" to be an over-polished, airbrushed, marketing driven, snooze fest.
Ben Caldwell (his awesome blog) is one of my favorite artists working today, and an all around cool guy. His style is very unique, and he is such a talented draftsman that he can pretty much draw anything well. He was my first choice to bring something awesome to the game, and thankfully he agreed to join up. He was able to take my suit designs and turn them into truly spectacular animated characters. (He also ended up designing several suits in the game. Thanks Ben!) Full of style, yet never lacking in form. Fun, yet menacing. I handed him a very tough task, and he blew me out of the water.
When it came time to paint a few of the larger scenes, I had a wish list of studios... and Massive Black was at the top. They do amazing work on so many projects. (check them out here) We ended up signing them to paint two large scenes and they brought the awesome. (Kemp Remillard is the artist from MB who rocked this scene out.)
I am happy to share the above image with you. As you can see, I have a few of the suits blacked out. That is only because we haven't released them into the game yet.
Ben did a lot of art for the game, and I am hopeful that it will all be released over time.
Cartoon Network's latest online multi-player game "Project Exonaut" is now live and speeding along. My team did a fantastic job putting the visuals together, and I think the players are going to be pleased with the updates that we have planned for the rest of the year.
Along with the internal team, I was able to work with some extremely talented artists from the outside... like Paul Conrad, who designed all of the faction identity as well as the main game logo. These faction logos are but a tiny taste of the awesomeness created by Mr. Conrad, and hopefully he will talk about it himself over on his blog at some point.
In the near future, I will talk more about the art that went into the game, and also discuss some of the other super talented artists that helped bring things to life.
Quickly scribbling. An idea, caught before it ran away. If I am able to re-visit, I will try to find a better, less static pose for old Burt. Poor guy.
I just want to say thank you to everyone who keeps checking the blog even though I have been slacking lately. Your comments and kind words are my greatest fuel. I have been very tired lately due to work hours, but I am not going anywhere. Look for more work soon.
I have been going through an old hard drive, and cleaning out files. I found these rough story scribbles that I did a long time ago for my "Chikin Pickin" story. Very loose, but I like how much I was able to show amongst the mess.
It's true. I have been working some long hours here at the day job. My current project has just been born, and it still a bit wobbly on it's young legs. It will be fine, but right now it needs a bit of extra love.
Next week, I will re-start my regular blog posts. No really! I will. But for today, I just wanted to share something with you that I thought was pretty cool.
My son Aidan, who just turned five, loves to draw. When I get home late in the evening, I find sketches waiting for me on the kitchen counter. Fantastical drawings, featuring some of the coolest robot designs I have ever seen. He is better than I was at five years old, and his understanding of advanced robotics is really quite extraordinary.
Over the weekend, Aidan received a pad of tracing paper. While tracing paper might be frowned on later in your career, as a very young artist I frequently traced over some of my favorite artist's work just to get familiar with their lines. I couldn't have been prouder when Aidan asked me to sketch up a robot for him to trace.
As someone who tries to post to my blog as often as I possibly can, I get a bit stressed when days slip by with no updates. However, there are times when life just asks that you focus on other things. I am in "crunch" here at the studio on a project that is set to launch in March, and I have been tackling a bit of freelance in my evening hours.
For now, my posts will be limited, but I promise you that I am still cooking up many things. I'm not going anywhere and still have plenty to share. I thank you for your patience.