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The Untold Story of Bartek, the Wawel Dragon

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The evolution of a story idea. 

In late August, I had the good fortune to work with a game company in Cyprus, Avokiddo. I got to do the environmental design for the game's final reward level and a minor bird animation. (it launches soon and then I can talk about it more) Their work really inspired me. So, inspired by their style, I created this dragon design. Thank you, Vagelis!

Shortly after, I get an email, a call for entries for Jon Schindehette's Art Order. A new book project,
Tiny Dragons. I had a slight AHA! moment and immediately submitted my new dragon. Today, I checked the site and my submission was there. Woohoo! So cool. Wish me luck, I hope he makes the cut and gets published in the book. Thank you, Jon!

Also today, I saw an update from Polish Illustrator, Robert Romanowicz I really admire and had the privilege of a short chat with him about publishing in Poland. He was most gracious with his time and advice. He also gave me the names of two publishers that produce incredible books. Thank you, Robert!
Our dog, Blueberry Muffin

That got me thinking and led me to a chat with my girlfriend and she said, "Make a story about the dragon." I said, "hmm... okay." I promptly took Blueberry (our French Bulldog) for an extra long walk for a good think on it. A story was born. Thank you, Renata and Blueberry!

I then made this new design of the dragon as a book cover for The Untold Story of Bartek, the Wawel Dragon. I think the title actually needs some more work. I wrote the recommended publishers in a query for illustration work and included this as a sample. Thank you, Bartek!

So there you go, the evolution of a story idea. I want to wish Bartek well on his new journey to become a real story and maybe, one day, a real book. Wish us luck! Thank you, nice person reading this blog post at this very moment!

Enchanted Fairy Princess Salon and Spa - Game Development at Tutotoons

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

So... I have some exciting news, I few months back, late November I think, I got an email from a game company called Tutotoons based in Barcelona. After seeing my work on, they were interested in working with me. I was over over the moon.... after passing a character design test (below image), I began training on the game development platform. It's been a dream come true and an opportunity I am very grateful for.

I just wanted to share some of the art I've created so far, they are all still a work in progress. I have just completed storyboarding the entire game. Stuff I will share soon, have to make some final edits to those today. Shortly, I will beginning the prototype phase, then the final art and publishing on iTunes and Google Play as tablet and phone apps. (woohoo). Below are the initial sketch for the main menu (map), the initial character designs for the fairy princesses and finally a color rendering of the map which is still a work in progress. I hope you enjoy them and would love to hear from you.



Game of Thrones Fan Art

Thursday, November 17, 2016

After a month and a half of solid freelance work (graphic design), I am back. I thought it would be cool to try some fan art and as a giant fan of Game of Thrones, I decided to give Bran Stark a try. Here are the steps I went through.

Open Photoshop, scan in the sketch - Set that layer to "Multiply" above a neutral gray background layer.

There are many ways to keep an eye on your values as you paint. I prefer to create an additional layer with a default black fill set the layer to "Color." I just switch it on when I feel the need to check the values. Another habit I have picked up is to keep you Navigator window open at all times, it helps to see what you are doing at a thumbnail size level. If it works at that level, it works, period. Here I am just blocking in  my local color.

Let the rendering begin. I think my favorite brushes so far, are from Kyle's Megapack. Definitely recommend them. Not much to say at this stage other than I like the idea of leaving some of the original drawing present in the image. Tried defining my light source and generally cleaning up the line work.

Getting closer to the final sketch. I played around with and a Levels adjustment layer to give the image a little more pop. I went to CG Textures site and found a leather texture I liked and used a Layer mMask to "paint" in some of it to give Bran's tunic a nice feel. Also did it with his sleeves a bit. While I could take this further, I liked the loose feel of it.

That just left me with the background to paint it. I pulled a desaturated blue from my HSB bar and created a Color Fill layer set to "Color" at about 33% opacity to cool the whole image. Added some cloud-like brushwork and then a Motion Blur to it. As a final touch I added some snowflake with an additional Motion Blur. Hope you enjoyed this and see you next time! Questions or comments are always welcome.



More Environmental Design

Friday, November 4, 2016

Most recent work - NOV 3, 2016

These were all done with Shushnya in mind. And as I mentioned in my last post (a whopping 10 minutes ago) my brush set. I found a few I think will be all-time favs. They are from Kyle's Megapack Brush Set. These brushes in particular:

Kyle's FX Box - Bristle Blender 2
JW- hair and grass - This I renamed for my own easy reference (sorry, don't recall the original name)
Kyle's Inkbox - Brayer Boss

Note: These are all actually Tool Presets, not brushes.

I will make a post about brushes in more detail once I have my set complete but after watching many tutorials, the standard default Photoshop ones are all you ever really need.

Dzień Dobry: Environment Design

I have been practicing and working on environments of late. Watching a lot of Color Theory tutorials by Ty Carter (of Blue Sky Studios) which I highly recommend. CLICK HERE to check them out.

Just sharing a few steps of my process I am working to improve upon. I am pretty happy with this one. I like working loosely and still trying to create a brush set of just a few brushes so I will paint consistently as a style of my own hopefully emerges. Any feedback is always appreciated.



Character Design: Babcia | Dzień Dobry

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


This design just kind of came out in one fell swoop. One pass and I felt really good about it. I am sure she can be improved but I just love her. It really has been some time that I've concentrated on my own work. It feels great. Inspiring even.

There are two people I want to mention, (don't know them personally) Ty Carter and Kyle of Kyle's Brushes fame. So first, you can fine them both on Gumroad. If you are a digital artist, you need to check out Gumroad.

I have been going nuts using all kinds of Photoshop brushes. There are so many good sets put out by other artists. I found myself getting lost in them. In an effort to get more consistent with my approach. I settled in Kyle's Ultimate Megapack for Photoshop. You cannot go wrong with these.

It was working ion this piece that I started whittling down the Megapack. I still have more to cut. I want to get to the point where I have about 10 to 15 brushes as my go-to set.

Now onto to Ty Carter, a super talented Viz Dev Artist who has done a lot great work for Blue Sky Studios (Epic, Peanuts, Ice Age and more). His tutorials on color and digital painting are awesome. It really helped me with my color. Highly recommend them. Can't say enough. Here's the link to his site and his Gumroad page.

That's all for now.



Dzień Dobry Character Design Progress - Updated

Sunday, October 9, 2016
Just a quick update to her hair :)

After posting the initial design (see previous post) on several Facebook groups, I got some great feedback on one group in particular, Draw or Die. It's not a group for getting LIKEs or anything promotional but since I've started posting my work on these pages, it has given me the best critiques and useful feedback. If you are looking to improve your own work, definitely check them out.

So the first thing was creating a more dynamic pose. This one wasn't cutting it. The original was created solely in Photoshop and I switched to Illustrator for the edits. I collected the best comments from Facebook so I could have them handy.

I tried something new (for me), I used simple shape to maintain the proportions I created.

Next, I worked out a new pose.

And finally, adjusted the figure, colors, values and composition. I think it's improved. I could keep tweaking forever, the hardest thing sometimes is knowing when to stop, right?

Here's a list for some great Facebook groups for digital art, character design and concept artists:
Level Up
Character Design
The Grind
Digital Artists Group

Hope they help!



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