Saturday, March 24, 2012

Of man and machine

When I was 15 i came up with a character that stuck. He is kind of my comic alter ego. I did 1 issue back then, and ever since he's just been in sketches and in my mind. The development of this story has come along way since he was just out to rob banks for the fun of it, pulp fiction had just come out, and the image of bruce willis fleeing for his life played heavily into his early makeup. Now Mr machine is a metaphor for the nature of life itself. What is alive? What is the next step of evolution? What will it take to bring equilibrium back to our civilization? Theses are the topics I want to explore in this series. Set to the back drop of a civil war in America, the poor (les miserables) versus a corporate government bent on absolute control.

 I don't want to give it all away, but I want to give a little teaser. I've put this off for along time, waiting until my skills were to the level i wanted. I'm getting closer and getting a little excited I guess.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A little bit better, a little bit faster...

Sometimes "aw-hah!" moments feel more like "duuuuhhh" moments. This was the case when i recently increased the active drawing area on my wacom. I had turned it down because i thought i preferred it that way, and at one time i know i did. I had used it that way so long, i think i partially forgot i could even change it. Recently though the lack of control had been really bothering me, and suddenly it hit me. The change was instant, the sensitivity is so much higher now, its great.

I finished this drawing in around 12 hours I think. Which is pretty good for me right now, considering how much i repaint, plan and struggle. This went pretty smoothly though, and mostly its because of the new larger working area. Glad I've got this out of the way! :P

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Da Vinci Dino Racer

Well, I haven't posted much these past two weeks, I've still been working on value, But I've been thinking more about line quality lately. I have a few ideas on how to fix the problem digitally, and if all else fails I'm going back to sharpe fine points and paper.

This week i finally entered an "of the Week" contest at, I've wanted to for awhile, but I usually give up at some point and never submit anything, knowing the competition will be amazing. The industrial design contest does seem to struggle for entries though and I had a good idea this week, only problem was I didn't check the forum until 2 days before the deadline.

Premise-  Renaissance Dinosaur Wagon
This week we are traveling to an alternate Renaissance in a world where dinosaurs never went extinct. This is the golden era of man's discoveries- the transfer of knowledge of art, science and philosophy from east and west has been sparked by the crusades, and the great thinkers of the time are moving forwards in great leaps and bounds. During the dark ages, dinosaurs experienced a surge of population growth as stock owners died, their herds and flocks went feral. As the people expired of plague, they increased carnivore food supplies, as well as decreasing territorial, foraging and hunting competition. However, society by this point has largely rebounded and moved onward. Some dinosaurs continue to be stock animals, some continue to run feral.

1) Clearly state the type of dinosaur we are dealing with. Pick a specific variety- T-rex for lack of something more imaginative.

2) State how the dinosaur fits in the human social realm. Is it a rich noblewoman's lapdog equivalent? A rampaging terror on the peasants? This should direct what type of wagon this is.

3) Remember- this will not be the rough and unsophisticated item that would be created in Medieval times. This should be a wagon in keeping with the new, "modern" times.

So here's what i did...

1st sketch-
2nd iteration-
final submission-

 Commissioned by the Pope to make the treacherous passage between Rome and Florence in less than a day, The Da Vinci dino racer was the fastest vehicle of its time. Powered by three Ornithomimus', the racer was capable of a constant speed of around 70 Mph, and a top speed of over a 100 mph, easily outpacing the fastest predators of the day.

 So we'll see what happens, so far there's only one other entry, and the deadline is any time now. The next one is a special contest, being its the 200th one they've had. We get a month for this and I'm going to really spend some time on this, I have a cool idea, and an entire month to make a decent painting...wish me luck, lol! (there's actual prizes this time too, so the competition will will be fierce!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

To many ideas, The Devil's DOR, and a random Mr. Machine sketch

I have more decent ideas then time. I'm sure most people are that way. If we all had machines we could plug into our brains that would instantly materialize our ideas into reality, we would all be really productive I'm sure. But, we don't have those awesome machines, and I'm glad we don't in a way. Its part of an art or trade to master the tools of that trade. But back on point, I have a lot of ideas, all mostly undeveloped, which is the hard part.

This is an idea i came up with a year ago or so, I was trying to bounce around and develop the whole idea into something marketable. I've never really made any of this public, but considering this is my sketchbook, and nothing here needs to be finished, I think its worth posting. This shows in some ways what I feel our my strongest skills, visualizing an entire world, seeing the big picture and being able to be a jack of all trades when i need to be. The art's not that great, but even there, i think it shows more of what i really want to be doing, a digital comic style that blends 2d/3d/textures etc in an interesting way.

Here's the Link to read the scriptment, It's short and to the point, but it gives a good feel for what this is about..

Read the script-
The Devil's Dor (c)2011 CmChapman

Here's the unfinished model I'm building for the main set, if you read the script, this should make some sense.

These are some of the character sketches I did, These all could use redesign, I did them all pretty fast and am not entirely happy with them. I do like using 2d textures in this style though, i like playing with flatness, I hope to come up with some cool styles playing with this in my comics.

So, Its still in very early stage of development, but its a fun idea I think. If i had time and could maintain interest in ideas longer i would come back to this, but the thing is, I have better ideas, that excite me more and its a constant struggle where to direct my energy. Hopefully this gets easier at some point.

And last but not least, This is a random Mr machine sketch i did last year. I just found it. I'll post more info on this guy later.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The matte painting that became a mood sketch...

So, the past year has been kinda rough, I was i a car accident and hurt my neck. I was already struggling with my self education (not learning flash animation really frustrated me) and that really threw a wrench into the works. But, I am starting to recover and find ways to work comfortably, etc. When i picked up the wacom tablet a couple months ago i didn't know i would start making so much head way. I also just moved and the new environment is really helping. All in all, things are really coming together, the journey has began...

  Anyway, when I posted this picture on in the critique forum, i didn't know what would happen. I think when you get the kind of critiques i got, though they were not very positive, that's the point, to point out the flaws in the image. So I'm taking the advice I got and it really helped. The biggest thing I got from it was a change in perspective, sometimes a little slap in the face can open your eyes. When you don't work with peers around you you can build false assumptions about yourself and your abilities. Its important to have other peoples perspective on things, You gotta keep it real.

 So, when i finished this picture, i knew what it was for, it was just to get the idea out. Its a pretty cool, semi original idea for a video game, and this image was seared in my brain. I know now this is what people call a mood sketch. That's really all i wanted out of it, to give people a feel for what i had in mind. We hope to take this into Cryengine 3 and maybe make a little demo. I still really don't know how this works, selling an idea to a company, and getting it fully developed. So, We'll see what happens.

I'm going to go back to this and really design the ship, build a model, make some alien plants, and play around with Cryengine. After that, I'd like to retry this composition, using the models, and make a really nice matte painting.

Another thing I should address about this, is this isn't what I normally do. I was trying some different techniques, mostly photo editing. This pic is mostly all cut and paste, some people see it obviously, others may not see the different layers. But any way, I still think its pretty cool, i just need to improve it several ways. I love the education of this, that's the best part, very exciting stuff.

Remember to click on the images to enlarge, thanks!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The value of... value!?

This will be the first of many posts on this subject I'm sure. Learning to understand lighting and value is my main goal right now. I'm enjoying the challenge, though i still get "stuck" sometimes. Lighting can be tricky for me especially.

So first I'll show some of the oldest of what I've done the past couple weeks, keep in mind these are all still sketches.

This is something i tried before watching a video on drawing cubes. At this point I still wasn't using a value scale, which really shows.

This robot is pretty cool i think, i wanna come back to this soon, though this is still before using a value chart, I was thinking more about lighting in this, but still struggling with certain problems.
A couple more early sketches with value and lighting.

This drawing kinda sucks, but its around when i really started using a value scale hard core.

This is the original line sketch, i like it better, the face just lost the original personality in the painting.

This is something I'm still noodling around in actively, It's starting to come out nice, it's just been a slow process. I didn't start from line art, and that seems to really slow me down at this point.

These two are studies of the same picture, on the 1st, I quit because i didn't do any construction on his face and it sucked. The other one isn't really done either, but its coming out ok i think.

And this is my current project, working from line art, painting under, tweaking line art, tweaking painting, then over paint to finish I'm thinking. This is my work flow in theory, so far on this pic, i'm sticking to that and the time isn't to bad so far, 2-3 hours. Some video i watched talked about lighting from the front being the easiest strategy, so this is what I'm doing till i semi master it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Older stuff

This is all random stuff from the past few years.

One of the first models I  built in sketchup. Rendered with the old hypershot.

This model became a project for awhile. you can see the torso stay basically the same, but i was trying to kit bash the legs together. This was a great learning experience, but looking back on it, I dislike the results, I want to refine the legs still.
This is the last version of the model i did. The weapons systems are kinda cool, The futuristic "Taser" on his left arm works using a Nano-particulate. So for crowd control, if you have hostiles mixed with peaceful protesters, nano particles would float out and adhere to a the hostiles, a charge would then be shot from the gun, traveling in a chain effect from one nano particulate to the other, thus taking the hostile with them in the process.
This is the second model i ever made.

Idea for a logo.
Nanotree #1

Old drawing of Mr. Machine. This is one of the first things i ever tried to paint digitally. I started with a scan from a sketchbook, then, at the time i had some super cheap drawing tablet i had paid $20 for, it was terrible. But, it was a start.
Another old attempt with a bad tablet.
This is a vinyl wrap design I did for pro bass fisherman Bill Rae's boat. This paid for my Intuos4 L and art pen, cha-ching! :) Thanks again Bill!
Another really old model, this guy was actually rigged for sketchyphysics, so it could move and rotate at selected joints.
And a redesign, kit bashing old and new together, this should have 4

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Painting over a computer rendering

One of my goals with this is to present what I'm doing in a way that family and friends can get. I want to show what i'm doing and the progress I'm making in a way everyone can see. So I know to people in the Art community some of my explanations will be obvious, Sorry about that.. lol.

About two years ago I started using a free 3d modeling program called sketchup. Its used for many purposes, but one is for concept art. Its good at blocking things in, then doing a paint over to finish the drawing off. I've done a few drawings like these, but I always end up giving up in the painting stage. This is another reason it has become clear to me I need to back up and work on my basics.

This is a computer render of a model I designed in sketchup. It started as a 2d drawing in photoshop, then was modeled, rendered, and I started to over paint. This is an example of where I was getting stuck. My next post will show some of the value sketches and stuff I've been doing recently to try and overcome these problems.

first sketch-
 Current work in progress, partially painted-
 Showing a after and before of painted area-

 And last but should be second, straight out of the renderer, before any photoshop-

1st post

Welcome to my Sketchbook! My name is C.M. Chapman, and i am an artist. I feel the act of creation is an amazing thing, a divine pursuit that can take any form. I Have drawn since i was very small, my earliest robot in my baby book is dated to age 3. I made my first comic around the same age, 4 or 5. The combination of storytelling and the visual medium have been the course of my life, that is, when i was on course! I have had many turns in my life, I have always had a need to understand.. everything. I think this is the way of a good artist, to stir emotion and to change reality, and to do that, one needs to understand some pretty abstract concepts about the human condition and the universe. I feel a strong dedication to do good with my life, to change things for the better anyway i can. I hope to create science fiction that is positive and helps bring us to the next step in our journey in this galaxy. I get pretty deep bout this kind of stuff.

The past several years i have been attempting to bring an ambition to reality, learning to paint digitally and model in 3d have been my goals. Recently I have began to focus more on painting and getting back to the basics. I have always used line art, comic style, and i have always made excuses about improving my talents, because "i didn't need to know that for my style". I have realized that understanding lighting and color are just as important as learning new programs. This epiphany has really brought things together for me, I want to draw and sketch constantly now, where as before, i felt a massive creative block holding me back.

So, this brings me to where I am now, I want to improve my art anyway i can,  I want to spend the next couple years preparing myself for art school. I am really interested in The Art Department. I could earn a degree in 2 years working with some of the best artists in the world, this excites the hell out of me. I hope that would eventually lead to some nice freelance work and i could hopefully get some of my ideas published.

I have a lot of high hopes, and i think this blog marks the beginning of the next phase in my evolution, There's a lot of work ahead, i need to draw any chance i get, and learn like its going out of style, but right now it feels great, i have shed a lot of fear and self doubt and i am ready to do the diligence.

I'll be posting a lot of drawings so please stop by often, thanks!