bless this people
It’s funny that you ask this, because I’ve recently been playing around with this idea of “how can I make myself more disciplined.” Here’s what’s working for me.
I randomly stumbled across a time-management system (?) called the Pomodoro technique awhile ago, and decided to try it out. Normally, I’d roll my eyes at any “technique” that has a trademark after it, but this one was simple enough that it didn’t seem too affected. The basic idea is as follows:
- Give yourself 25 minutes of uninterrupted work time.
- After 25 mins, take a short break to stretch, do other tasks, assess.
- Every 4x 25min blocs, take a longer 15-30 minute break.
- Track all metrics, including: start times, tasks completed, times interrupted, break times, stop times.
Here’s an example of my absolutely incomprehensible metric tracking:
Every 25 min bloc, I make a line, eventually creating a box. So every Box on my chart is 4x 25min blocs (or 4 Pomodoros, I guess).
So what does this chart say: first off, I start off really late. 10:30 AM! I tend to wake up really slow, and do other things like run, eat too much breakfast, and dick around on the net.
Second, my peak productive hours are between 10:30AM-5PM, as I was actually increasing my rate of productivity (I started off taking 4x Pomodoros per piece, or two hours, but then as I worked, I cut it down to 3x, and even 2x right before dinner.)
Thirdly, right after my peak productive hours, I get distracted. Hence the one interruption, then failing to complete a Box and going straight to dinner. My productivity drops as well (I’m back to 4x Pomodoros per piece).
And this is just one day’s worth of data! I can compare this to other days to see if my assumptions really are patterns, AND most importantly, if I’m making progress.
The biggest thing for me though is the 25 minutes of uninterrupted work time. I got that timer above to solidify that as opposed to using a digital timer— I found that the tactile sensation of setting it and hearing it tick makes my brain go into “OK it’s work time” mode much easier. Make this time sacred: hide your phone, close your browser, pick music/podcasts ahead of time, gather all your supplies around you. Physically minimize your distractions when possible.
As far as time per day goes, I consider myself a full-time illustrator, so I put in at least a full days worth of work: 8 hours minimum. But as noted above, it’s not uncommon to put in 12. I think it is important to have designated START and STOP time though, just to help put boundaries on your life. Too much work is unhealthy. Health, family, and friends always come before work in my book.
Hope this helps! I think everyone probably has their own ways of doing things, but this is really working for me lately.
I had a nice chat with Mathew from FORGE mag about illustration, life in HK vs NY and many more! Now you can watch part 1 here!
Back in November, FORGE. met up with New York based editorial illustrator Victo Ngai at her Manhattan apartment. We first noticed Victo’s incredibly detailed and intricate illustrations through her work for The New York Times and The New Yorker, and she quickly became one of the first artists we sought out to interview as we were planning our 1st issue. Although it took us about a year to get into the same room as each other, the wait was definitely worth it. Victo talked about her experience going to RISD, how she approaches developing a style, and how she ended up leaving Hong Kong to study art in the U.S. Victo was incredibly kind and easy to talk to, and gave us some great advice about art school and finding work afterwords.
You’ll be able to read the entire interview in Issue 3 of FORGE. magazine (coming out March 2014)
For more of Victo’s work visit
Music contributions by
THE BILINDA BUTCHERS
This is something I constantly refer people to use when I hear people complaining about not being able to draw backgrounds, especially man made backgrounds.
It’s a free software, simple to use and quick to learn!
I spent a day messing around in google sketch up a few years ago and ended up creating this
And then I drew this
THIS WAS MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT GOOGLE SKETCHUP FROM THE GROUND UP
My second attempt had a lot more detail
This is why my background’s are becoming much stronger because I spend time creating a quick set in google sketchup
It helps with perspective, layout, figuring out where the character’s live and where things are in correlation to them.
The only person stopping you from learning how to use Google SketchUp (which is still free) is yourself.
Deleted tourist from photos
I have to keep this in mind.
This still looks like a before and after shot of Armageddon or something where humanity is wiped out.
I have nO idea if I explained this well haha
if I made no sense feel free to ask me questions
anyway I JUST
i see an awful lot of this
AND IT’S SUCH A SHAME
I mean theres nothing wrONg with the hair thing
it’s just that more often than not that’s aLL people do, when you could do so much more
I just did a real quick tutorial about character design. It’s focused on pokémon (cause im a dweeb), but the same concepts apply to any critters; pokemon, human or otherwise!
Unfortunately, the concept art is always way cooler than the final product
Interestingly enough this is a great lesson for people looking to get into concept art
*concept art tip*
When creating units like this there are NUMEROUS reasons as to why the concept art is not followed, and in all honesty, you can’t be too hard on the modelers or the art director for choosing to go in another direction. Things many people don’t think about when concepting are;
-how common is this unit? if you see it a lot you can’t make them too special or too asymmetrical. Doing so makes them stand out awkwardly most of the time and can be very jarring to the player. Try designing a “common” C or B level monster that still has a richness without too much to make it stand out! (harder than you think!)
-asymmetry takes up more texture space! (which is very very valuable in order to get the game running the way it should!) Maybe think of ways that a texture can be reused from a monster; ie: multiple arms that are the same texture, monster variants that use a color overlay system instead of brand new textures!
-asymmetry requires unique animation rigs, which means more time, which means a heavier load on the rest of the teams and can really put them behind. Try designing 3 totally different monsters that use the same rig and look as though they come from three totally different biomes, and have different abilities! A good challenge and great for your portfolio!
So the next time you sigh and wonder why the concept art is so cool and the model isn’t, pause and think about the problems that the concept could cause for the in game piece, what errors do you see, and from there make your own concept!
How could you improve the work but still have it within the parameters for the game? This is a great trick and practice piece for all aspiring concept artists to give a shot! Modify previous pieces, do redesigns and re-envision them in a just as powerful way, that is more efficient and see what you learn through the process.
Game development has many parts to it :) more than just making cool stuff (though we like to do that too!)
and try out some of these assignments!
Secret to cohesive color schemes: pick a bunch of colors you want to do (purple, blue, etc like you did here), then pick an overall color (let’s say orange, for playfulness) that you want to tint everything towards… Overlay the “overall color” (or soft light, or whatever blending mode depending on if you want darker or lighter colors) and play with the opacity till you get something you can work with.
I did #FF9C00 set to Overlay and opacity set to 25% over your original choices to get this scheme.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s now a video tutorial going a little bit more in-depth on this technique on Method & Craft! Check it out here.
(via My Secret for Color Schemes by Erica Schoonmaker)
This is similar to a a gamut mask. I like it! I’ll definitely keep this method in mind in the future.
So, let me tell you a quick story:
My grandpa on my dad’s side came over from China when he was pretty young— grew up in Chicago. He was in high school when World War 2 broke out; he joined up, and was put in the 407th Air Service Squadron. It was part of the famed Flying Tigers fighter group, and one of the first all Chinese-American units in the military. He fixed planes. He also shot at them when they strafed the airfield. With a pistol.
He was there when the Japanese officially signed the surrender, and was honorably discharged soon after. The very first thing that he bought with his stashed up pay was a sterling silver bracelet with his serial number on it.
I keep it within sight of my desk at all times.
After the war, he went back to Chicago, but his father was already housing too many Chinese immigrant workers (up to this point, most Chinese immigrants were single men because of strict immigration laws and quotas), so he had to move to Detroit to live with an uncle and finish high school.
One of his high school teachers noted his artistic abilities, and recommended that he use his GI Bill to go to art school. Of course, his dad wouldn’t have it. So, he worked in laundromats, owned his own grocery, and later worked as an insurance salesman instead.
70 years later, I’m the graduate of an art school, and I’m taking a break from drawing to write this out.
I guess my point is this: the time that you use to pursue art has to come from somewhere. At some point, a sacrifice was made by you, or others, to allow you to have that time. Illustrators try to make a living in that intersection of art and commerce in an effort to lessen that sacrifice. There are some that are doing quite well at that. There are many, many more that are not.
Even those artists who we view as extremely successful have to sacrifice time. It just comes from other places: relationships, health, or family, etc. The real struggle then, is to find that balance on how you are spending your time.
If you know that a life spent making art is your ultimate goal, then doing things you don’t like aren’t really frustrations. They are necessities that must be done to give yourself time.
I think this is why I cringe every time I hear someone say that self-righteous creed of the “creative class”: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That statement discounts all the hard work and sacrifices that you or others have made to be in that situation—what on Earth would entitle us to only work jobs that we love?
I don’t do this because I love it. I do it because I must.
It’s in my bones.