Category Archives: Concept & Visual Dev.

Lorenzo Lanfranconi

Lorenzo Lanfranconi, illustration and concept art
Lorenzo Lanfranconi is a freelance illustrator, concept artist and colorist based in Como, Italy.

In many of the examples on his Artstation portfolio, he take on naturalistic subjects, but renders them with an appealing blend of texture and areas of flat color.

There are usually small details that add interest and scale when you view the images larger.

 
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Pablo Carpio

Pablo Carpio, concept art and illustration
Pablo Carpio is a freelance concept artist and illustrator based in Madrid, Spain. He has worked for Ubisoft Montreal and MPC and his work has been featured in publications like ImagineFX and 2DArtist.

A number of the pieces on his online portfolio are Star Wars themed and were apparently done as part of an ILM Art Department challenge.

I like his sense of scale and the way he utilizes texture and atmosphere to give his work a tactile feeling.

 
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Lines and Colors is on strike today, January 20, 2017

Lines and Colors is on strike today, January 20, 2017

There will be no new posts today on Lines and Colors about art or artists, no lovely images of art to inspire or amuse you. This is perhaps a portent of things to come, but today it’s just a protest.

Lines and Colors is on strike today in support of the J20 Art Strike, calling for arts organizations and institutions to not do business as usual as a symbolic act of resistance to the looming shift in government power, and the potentially disastrous effect it will have on the arts, humanities and creative endeavor and discourse in general.

Yes, it’s a small, mostly symbolic gesture, but so are the recently announced plans by the incoming administration to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

It would cut $296 million from the federal government’s almost $4,000,000,000,000.00 federal budget as a “cost saving” measure.

Even ignoring the fact that it’s been demonstrated that every Federal dollar spent on arts funding brings back nine or ten times that amount to the treasury in the form of increased economic activity and tax revenue, the amount of “savings” represents less than two tenths of one percent of the federal budget – for all practical purposes, statistically insignificant.

So this is really a gesture, a raised middle finger to the arts community to let us know how much they despise us.

Given the avowed intentions and previous actions of many of the legislators now taking control of the congress, this is likely just the first in a series of ongoing actions that will make the creation of art and the free exchange of ideas more difficult in the coming years.

In the past, I’ve tried to keep my political views in check when writing Lines and Colors, and have only expressed them in subtle ways.

That ends today.

These people have declared themselves the enemy of much that I care about, and are therefore my enemies.

Little acts like this, and anything I may say, are also likely statistically insignificant, but I have to make some kind of symbolic statement of resistance to avowed enemies of the arts, even if just for my own sense of self respect.

In writing for Lines and Colors, I’ll keep my expressions of concern related to the arts, but I’ll state them clearly. If you don’t like them, you’re welcome to comment, but I won’t tolerate flame wars, and I reserve the right to control what does or doesn’t appear on my own blog.

Lines and Colors is, after all, my opinions about art and artists — what I find valuable or of interest and consider worth sharing with others. If the expression of my political opinions as they relate to the health of the arts community in this country offends you, you’re welcome to seek inspiration elsewhere.

If you think I’m overreacting, you’re welcome to your opinion. Bookmark this post and put a reminder in your calendar to stop back in four years to see if I was wrong. (I desperately hope I’m wrong.)

That is, of course, if Lines and Colors is still here in four years.

One of the other announced initiatives of the incoming wave of big business uber alles is the elimination of Net Neutrality — from which control of the internet will be ceded to the telecoms and big entertainment companies.

This will happen so gradually you won’t notice at first, but it will change inexorably until the web becomes more like TV — a one-way flow of content and information from corporate producer to consumer, and a one-way flow of money in the other direction.

Oh, you’ll still be able to use Facebook and Twitter, but big content sites from the corporate providers will download like lightning (if you pay for them), and independent sites like Lines and Colors will start to load slower and slower and slower until they’re too painful to use.

If you don’t know what Net Neutrality is, or why it matters, see this handy explanation in comics form from Economix.

For more on the strike, see the J20 Art Strike page.

More to the point, if you want to know why I feel this way, see my plea to Lines and Colors readers prior to the election to vote in defense of the arts: “Vote like the future of the arts in the US depends on it“, in which I go into more detail on why I think this administration and the accompanying shift in power in the congress bode ill for the arts community in this country.

They’re just this day assuming office, and — sadly — I already have to say “I told you so.”

 
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Framed Perspective, Marcos Mateu-Mestre

Framed Perspective,  Marcos Mateu-Mestre
Just to put things in… context, the history of graphical perspective goes back further, but the system of geometric perspective we use today can be traced to an important point in the beginning of the 15th century, when Filippo Brunelleschi — the brilliant Renaissance architect and designer who solved the seemingly intractable problem of spanning the world’s largest cathedral dome space with an ingenious solution — codified a system of graphical persepctive that was immediately adopted by almost every artist who was made aware of it, and most artists since.

Like his solution for the dome of the Florence cathedral, the model of geometric perspective Brunelleschi demonstrated solved problems that had previously seemed impossibly difficult.

Artists and art students have either been thanking or cursing him ever since, depending on whether they see graphical perspective construction as an an incredibly powerful tool or as a burdensome learning process akin to school studies of math or chemistry.

Linear perspective study can seem difficult when ill-presented, but when taught properly, it can be a golden key to drawing and painting with a strength, solidity, accuracy and realism impossible to achieve without it.

Short of taking a course with a good instructor, those interested in mastering perspective are left to find their own way with books that are too often poorly presented, overly obtuse and almost as boring to look at as a mathematics textbook.

While there are some pretty good perspective books out there, I’ve just received review copies of a new two-volume set on perspective that has shot to the top of my personal list of best books on the subject.

Framed Perspective Vol #1 and Vol #2, are new books from Marcos Mateu-Mestre, a concept artist and illustrator who I have written about previously and whose drawing style I have always found particularly appealing.

As in his previous book: Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers (link to my review), he tackles the the subject within the framework of real world use and practical application.

Also like that book, Mateau-Mestre has not only used real-world type examples to illustrate the concepts, he has also used them to make his books something that perspective books rarely are: visually appealing and entertaining.

Framed Perspective Vol. 1 is subtitled: “Technical Perspective and Visual Storytelling”. In it Mateau-Mestre starts at the ground floor (so to speak) and takes you from the basic concepts through solutions for some reasonably complex challenges, including multiple vanishing points, staircases, three-point perspective, arches and domes, and the application of perspective to freehand sketching.

At over 200 pages, it’s packed with information and techniques and a reality-based approach that stays focused on what’s really useful.

Framed Perspective Vol. 2 is subtitled “Technical Drawing for Shadows, Volume, and Characters”, and deals with the too often neglected subjects of applying shadows in perspective and applying perspective to the human figure, including the representation of clothing and folds, and the application of shadows to figures.

Though not as extensive as Volume 1, this one still weighs in at over 120 pages, and is jammed with useful information, as well as Mateu-Mestre’s wonderful drawings and illustrations.

Throughout both volumes, the illustrations, diagrams, text and book design are clear, concise and well thought out.

Any artist with an interest in comics, graphic storytelling, concept art or illustration — as well as painting and drawing of any kind that involves linear perspective — should look into these superb volumes.

If you’ve found books on perspective daunting and/or boring, Framed Perspective may open your eyes to a world of possibilities for understanding and using one of an artist’s most powerful tools.

 
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Piotr Jabłoński

Piotr Jablonski, concept art, digital painting
Piotr Jabłoński, who also goes by the handle “nicponim”, is a Polish concept artist from Bialystok. His clients include Applibot, Inc., Cloud Share Inc., Evermotionvfx, Platige Image and VFX workshops.

Jabłoński works digitally in Photoshop, but achieves nicely painterly look of natural media in his application of color.

His subjects are often dark and moody, and his restrained palette follows suit. He utilizes atmosphere and texture to give his compositions a simultaneous feeling of dream-like fantasy and visceral reality.

There is an interview with Jabłoński on Evermotion.org that includes a step through of his digital painting process.

He is represented in the U.S. by Richard Solomon Artists Representative, and their page for his work also includes a process step-through.

For a more thorough process tutorial, there is an extended video of his process on the painting shown above, bottom, available through Gumroad.

[Via ArtStation]

 
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X-Story, Vitaliy Shushko

X-Story, Vitaliy Shushko, animation
X-Story is an animated short (roughly 12 minutes) by Vitaliy Shushko.

At first, I thought this was a promo or incorporated animation for a game from a major company. Given the production values, length and level of accomplishment, I was surprised to find that this was an independent animation project.

I checked Shushko’s blog and found this described as his first animated short, and that it was two years in the making.

For an indy project like this, even though he had assistance (please see the Vimeo link for credits), I’m not surprised it took that long.

The story (which can be slightly gruesome in places) is not the point of this for me; it’s the level of storytelling, production, design and realization.

I’ve seen indy animation projects at a high level before, but they’re usually much shorter.

This is done in an anime-influenced style (particularly with reference to Otomo’s classic Akira), but it doesn’t succumb to the stylistic excesses that sometimes plague that genre. The design feels fresh and direct.

I hope somebody throws lots of money at Shushko, so he can keep producing animations like this.

View the video at full screen; my small screen captures don’t do the visuals justice.

[Via digg]

 
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