Character Design Quarterly Magazine Kickstarter by 3DTotal

Posted on Apr 21, 2017

I found out about 3DTotal’s Kickstarter just a couple of hours before it ended (04/19/17). How could I have missed that?! Especially when it is for a new magazine, Character Design Quarterly: “A new magazine bringing expert insights and leading techniques to illustrators, artists and character enthusiasts worldwide”!

Character Design Quarterly (CDQ) is an exciting new print magazine for illustrators, artists, animators and character art enthusiasts. Releasing four times a year, the magazine will offer inspirational and educational articles, tutorials and interviews from top industry professionals specifically geared to helping artists hone their character design skills. This unique, engaging magazine will provide a regular stream of insider knowledge and illuminating advice from experienced professionals and freelancers to help artists of all skill levels improve their workflow and designs.

The first issue is already in production so we can proudly announce that it will feature instructive tutorials by Max Grecke, Shaun Bryant, Simone Grünewald, and Brett Bean. We also have interviews with the creative people behind the multi-award-winning animation studio Blue Zoo, and up-and-coming character designer Amanda Jolly who talks about her exciting career working for companies including Warner Animation Group and Disney TVA. Get top tips from the likes of Loish, Randy Bishop and many more besides, plus learn about the creation of the first issue’s amazing cover image by CreatureBox!

QuietYell_Ad-CDQ-Kickstarter_17-0419

Here are the links:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1906838062/character-design-quarterly

shop.3DTotal.com
3DTotal.com
Instagram.com/3DTotal/
Twitter.com/3DTotal/

Character Design Quarterly to feature:

Randy Bishop
Randybishopart.com
Instagram.com/randybishopart/

Brett Bean
Drawntoitstudios.com
Instagram.com/brett2dbean/

Loish (Lois Van Baarle)
Loish.net
Instagram.com/loisvb/

CreatureBox
Creaturebox.com
Instagram.com/creaturebox/

Max Grecke
Maxgrecke.artstation.com
Instagram.com/maxgrecke/

Shaun Bryant
Art-bomb.com
Instagram.com/shaun_bryant/

Simone Grünewald
Schmoesi.tumblr.com/
Instagram.com/schmoedraws/

And more…


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio

Zac Retz Videos on Gumroad

Posted on Jan 5, 2017

Zac Retz does wonderful work and just Tweeted that he has added 5 videos with voiceover as well as a brush to his Gumroad for download. Just $5 too! What a deal! [Note: The downloaded zip gives links to private Youtube videos, not actual videos to download]

https://gumroad.com/zacretz (Links to Zac’s sites & profiles below image)

© 2017 Zac Retz

© 2017 Zac Retz

Follow Zac Retz here:

zacretz.blogspot.com | twitter.com/zacdretz | instagram.com/zacretz

artstation.com/artist/zacretz | zacretz.deviantart.com/ | behance.net/zacretz | pinterest.com/zacretz/


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio
 

2016 Postmortem

Posted on Dec 31, 2016

This post has additional information & links at the bottom (Article Also Posted Here


quietyell_scott-monaco_2016postmortemThis year has been a pretty big year for me. It actually started slightly before 2016.

In October 2015, I had come to the long-wrestled with conclusion that rather than all of the things I had been doing these many years, my heart was really for illustration and particularly children’s oriented illustration. Additionally, I had a deep-rooted desire to contribute to the minds, hearts, & wellbeing of children; thus, leading to the pursuit of children’s book development.

This meant I would need to be spending a lot of time trying to get back up to speed in illustration as well as children’s book development while simultaneously pushing away anything that didn’t fit into this focus.

So, when I got back from Taiwan (Oct 2015) I joined SCBWI.org (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) and jumped right into creating and drinking from a waterfall of information & such.

My 2016 has been about redeveloping myself and building a foundation.

This included:

Education:

• Attending SCBWI chapter meet ups and educational webinars & conferences
• Reading art & publishing industry related books & variety of online articles
• Going through almost all of SVSLearn videos and some Schoolism videos
• Seeking advice & guidance from industry professionals
• Familiarizing myself with names of people, companies & resources, various terminologies, relevant business processes & technology, various techniques, etc.
• Research & consumption of many picture books, middle grade books, movies, etc.

Expansion: 

• Getting back online into social media & connecting with industry people/organizations and populating with content (I had used social media a TON personally but then pulled all of my content & activity back in 2009)
• Actively engaging with others online (like in the SVS Forum, Facebook Groups, other social media)
• Meeting with other illustrators in person

Exploration: 

• Created a variety of paintings & attempted new things with each (whether process, style, content, etc.)
• Sketched a lot, also attempting new things with each
• Moving from exclusively digital back into including traditional media

I suppose there are more points that could be added here, but even with the points listed it is quite a bit that has been done, yet, this hardly expresses just how many sub-points and specifics each entails, which is an enormous amount! Truly this past year has been drinking from a waterfall.

I think that I have successfully reoriented my focus; something I am quite excited about.

Because of that, I think that I have made substantial progress on redeveloping myself and giving myself a pretty good initial foundation.

From this, I see 2017 as being a continuation of the education, expansion, & exploration of 2016 but with heightened focus, benefiting from all of the work done already.

Now that I have something to show, I can begin “stepping-up my game” with the quality of my drawing, painting, concept & narrative, etc. of my work, including developing specific types of work absent from but necessary for my portfolio. (No pressure, right?)

I’m still looking for my “breakthrough” illustration(s), but given the growth from pre-2016 to 2016 and within 2016 itself, I think that I have a good chance of achieving that first, seemingly elusive, breakthrough piece soon.

While I will definitely pursue learning, networking, exploring, & creating, I would also certainly like to grow the business side this year.

I am quite appreciative for SCBWI, SVSLearn, and the various individuals & groups I’ve gotten the opportunity to grow from this past year.

In particular, I have gained a tremendous amount from Will Terry, Lee White & Jake Parker and those in the SVSLearn Forums for which I have the most sincere gratitude for.

As I had the opportunity to say to Will: “It is my hope that I can implement and excel from this guidance, and that I may make you, the SVSLearn team & members, and my wife, family & friends proud & encouraged by such growth.”

May it be so this 2017!


Below are some more specifics and links:

This list is IN NO WAY exhaustive by any means. There are so many other websites, people, organizations/companies, tools, books/articles, media, webinars & conferences, etc. that aren’t listed. I just wanted to capture some of my 2016 below:

Websites Important in my 2016:

While there are countless websites that I’ve visited (often too), these were some of the most important and frequently visited.

SCBWI.org
SCBWI North Texas Chapter
SVSLearn.com
Forum.SVSLearn.com
Schoolism.com

Inspirations in 2016:

In one way or another, these people educated & influenced me, giving me inspiration and aspiration by the great work they do (some preceding 2016 but remaining highly influential still and for quite some time to come I believe).

Will Terry
Lee White
Jake Parker
Andy Estra
Giuseppe Castellano
Denis Zilber
Sam Nielson
Dan Santat
Kevin Keele
Aaron Blaise

Special Thanks To:

Lauren Panepinto, Creative Director for Orbit Books and Yen Press and artist, Marc Scheff, both of DrawnAndDrafted.com for the insights they gave in a Schoolism Webinar on Monday 10am ET April 4, 2016, hosted by Bobby Chiu and Masae Seki. It is because of your words that I broke out of my impassioned resistance to getting back into on social media. I think that this will have been one of the most crucial aspects of my 2016 and future, for I have gotten to become aware of, meet & befriend, and learn & be inspired from so many people that I may not have known otherwise. Thank you!

New Friends:

There are so many new people added into my life this year; some I have engaged with and some I merely follow. I have gotten to have great conversations with, advice & instruction from, and be inspired by the following. There are others not mentioned—please don’t be offended. My hope is to create an extended list of the wonderful people brought into my life sometime with commentary and even articles dedicated to each. All of you are dearly appreciated!

Chris Schechner
Simona Ceccarelli
Rich Green
Christina Brown
Kristine Tague
Andy Jewett

A little more needs to be said on these two:

Kent Robbins
Kent is actually a long time friend, but now that he’s moved back to Dallas, I get to see him often!

Jeff Haynie
Jeff was actually my illustration mentor back in 1995-1997 before he took art director positions at Dreamworks Interactive, EA, Big Fish Games, etc. So glad to get new insights from him this year with my new journey!

New Tools Used & Other Great “Finds”:

Probably too many tools & other resources to count, but here are some that have been of nearly daily importance in my 2016.

Kyle’s Brushes
BrushBox
Airbrush Notebooks : “Premium Sketchbook”
Copic Multiliner SP: 0.1, 0.3, 0.5
Copic Sketch Markers – Sketching Gray Set

Some Books Read:

These are some industry related books I read (Including concept, presentation, writing/storytelling, art views, etc.) (Also, I did not include other types of books here nor any industry related articles). The first five are strictly secular books and the following are from a Christian worldview:

Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up! And Own the Room, by Timothy J. Koegel

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull

Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative: Principles and Practices From the Legendary Cartoonist, by Will Eisner

Art and the Bible, by Francis A. Schaeffer

Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts, by Philip Graham Ryken

Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, by H.R. Rookmaaker

Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films With Wisdom & Discernment (Updated & Expanded, 2009), by Brian Godawa
hollywoodworldviews

Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story & Imagination, by Brian Godawa

God Against the Gods: Storytelling, Imagination, and Apologetics in the Bible, by Brian Godawa

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, by John Piper & Justin Taylor

The God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith, by J.P. Moreland & Tim Muehlhoff


Again, while a long post, there was so much more in my 2016 both professionally and personally that simply cannot be captured. Many more people, events, organizations, tools, insights, struggles, successes, etc. It’s been a fun ride. Now on to 2017!


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio
 

What art supply would you give your 9 year old self?

Posted on Dec 23, 2016

Another artist posed the question:

What art supply would you give your 9 year old self?

Here’s my response:

stuartngbooksAt the moment, I am thinking about the “Art of [Some Favorite Animation/Film]” kinds of books (like “Art of Zootopia” or “Designing The Secret of Kells” or “Art of Spirited Away” or “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens“, etc.). I didn’t have those back then, but I think that it would have been inspirational & aspirational for me [also showing me how these were created, which would have set me off on the right foot early on]. A place to start for perusing them (or buying) might be http://stuartngbooks.com/; though, you won’t likely be able to get an order by Christmas, unless you live or are traveling in/near Torrence, California!

prismacolorsAlso, a lot of my inspiration and initial development came from comic books & copying the art there…

As far as art supplies… I probably would have benefited from a Prismacolor set and decent paper. I think it would make a good compliment to the watercolors that Simona mentioned, allowing her to explore wet & dry media and consider mixed media.


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio
 

New to SVSLearn? Start Here

Posted on Oct 10, 2016

svslearnSomeone joined SVSLearn.com and in the SVSLearn Forum, asked for recommendations of where to start on the courses:

First, the forum is a great place to start!

But regarding the courses, I think it depends upon where one’s needs are.

I might suggest Jake Parker’s class: How to Draw Everything Fundamentals Series as a good starting point.

I started with Lee White’s classes on the business side of things: How To Make Money in Illustration Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Still, there are many other good courses. I’ll put up thoughts on some of my favorites in the future.


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio
 

SVSLearn Course Spreadsheet

Posted on Oct 5, 2016

Regarding SVSLearn.com courses, I didn’t see any way to keep track of which videos I’ve watched, mark as wanting to re-watch or make a note on, know how many hours I’d commit to for the set of videos, etc., so I had created a spreadsheet that I’ve been using for such. Thought I’d share it with everyone.

[SVSLearn has added some new courses since when I had uploaded this. I think just the Fall Critique, Loosening Up in Watercolor, and Stylizing Human Characters (and any new ones that follow in the future). You should be able to edit the file you download and add them (and others) or make any other modifications you want!]

https://www.dropbox.com/s/p416nxmadpprnj9/SVSLearn_Course-Breakdown_16-0919.zip?dl=0

Inside the zip are:
• SVSLearn_Course-Breakdown_16-0919.xlsx
• SVSLearn_Course-Breakdown_16-0919.numbers
• SVSLearn_Course-Breakdown_16-0919.pdf

Note: I will probably leave this up in Dropbox for quite some time, but eventually it will get pulled.


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio
 

Do you add texture to your drawings?

Posted on Sep 30, 2016

A question was posed by another artist regarding a painting of a dog they were working on (they were particularly asking in regards to fur):

svslearn_therese-larsson_painting-furDo you add texture to your drawings?

Here were my thoughts:

Painterly vs. Textured is really a personal stylistic choice.

I tend towards highly rendered & textured work (or totally graphical too actually).

SVSLearn.com has a great video on “Painting Fur & Hair with Therese Larsson” that may be helpful for you in making a decision.

I tend to paint like she showed, but I also learned a lot & adopted a lot from how Aaron Blaise paints (overall, but also fur). In fact, it was this video of his (“Speed Painting – Photoshop Rajah from “Aladdin””) that prompted me to purchase some of his tutorials, brushes & such a year or 2 ago: https://youtu.be/LuaMG0_-xWw

Note: Aaron has Fur & Hair brushes for sale on his site: CreatureArtTeacher.com However, I only tend to use these for things like facial hair or small hair areas (like the snout of an animal) and often it serves just as a quick underlay or as a texture enhancement overlay. The bulk of the hair/fur is done by volume shaping first then getting more detailed with each pass (Like you’ll see in the video by Therese, Aaron, and the examples below)

I grabbed other tutorial images & videos from my Pinterest board “Technique

pinterest-badge-144px

Video watching fox fur being painted:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918929122459/

Step-By-Step Image with text:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918923237455/

3 Step Image:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918929381585/

More detailed series of images with instructions:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918919695683/

Image of Step-By-Step Instructions for Human Hair:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918919695613/

Image of Human Hair Instructions Part 1 (I think):
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918919695615/

Image of Human Hair Instructions Part 2:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/129548926753710468/

Image of Human Hair Instructions Part 3:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918919695617/

Image of Human Hair Instructions Part 4:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918919695620/

Image of Hair References:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/299770918919663720/

Hope all of this helps!


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio
 

How long does it take you to finish a piece?

Posted on Sep 10, 2016

Another artist posed the question:

How long does it take you to finish a piece? Do you plan your drawings before hand?

Here’s my response:

I use Toggl.com to track my time (though there are other options).

toggl_service_logo

I have noticed 3 or 4 tier levels:

  1. DAY (1-10 hours) : Simple work, like a character headshot (note: I don’t do portraits, but I would assume that those take much longer) Though, I’ve seen just absolutely amazing work by Artgerm (Stanley Lau) and Aaron Blaise that only took them a couple hours or so (I cry just thinking about it!), and concept artists tend to have to work very, very fast too. Lee White references this and other timing in the first part of his “How to Make Money in Illustration” series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
  2. HALF-WEEK (15-20 hours) : Just slightly more complex than above.
  3. WEEK-ish (30-50 hours) : One or two characters with a relatively basic background (by “basic”, I don’t mean a gradient. I mean that there are background elements but not as involved as #4)
  4. 2-WEEKS-Beyond (60-80+) : These could have just 1 character with an elaborate background or 3+ characters with a basic-to-heavy background. The more complex each character & the background, the more time it will take.

(Note: This is per the current highly-rendered-and-textured style I’ve been doing, not my line art, vector art, or other simpler styles. Also, this is where I am roughly at right now, as it seems that I can now do work in half the time as to what it use to take, and the work is even of higher quality than before.)

These numbers are a little deceptive though. They can be just in-development drawing & rendering time; not included in the timing would be research, brainstorming, studies, etc.

As Simona discussed, the front work is really quite important.

For instance, gathering ample visual & educational reference on the elements of the piece is of immense help in designing/rendering and bringing narrative & emotional richness to the work. That research covers everything from a wide range of several photos of the particular element in different angles, lighting, texture details, etc. to use as reference to a range of illustrations done by others of that particular element seeing how they handled it to education about that element’s background or way of “operation”, etc. (i.e. the history, science, culture, etc. around that element)

Undoubtedly, this alone could take “endless hours” if you allowed it to. And similarly, doing character/element sketches from different structures, angles, poses, etc. along with value studies, color studies, etc. can add in more “endless hours.”

If you don’t have deadlines, have flexible ones or simply a lot of time allocated to a piece, then you can allow yourself to take as long as you feel you need “right now”. Get a feel for how long it takes to do each portion (research, studies/prep, “final” drawing, rendering, and don’t forget about all the admin stuff: phone/emails/meetings, quoting & invoicing, formatting files, file-folder maintenance, etc.). This will allow you to reverse-engineer the time you have for each portion for when you do have a deadline, because if it takes you a long time to render, you may have to cut down on the amount of studies you really want to do even though it may not be ideal.

Also, per my little note just below the tier-breakdown: How long it takes to paint a piece is quite dependent upon the style you pursue. I’m sure a Dutch/Flemish layered oil painting technique takes insane amounts of time while a highly painterly digital art piece can be pretty quick or a whimsical line-art with simple watercolor wash can be even quicker. Plus, how long it takes can change as you grow more experienced and/or learn new time-saving techniques.

Thank you for this topic! I’m always evaluating my time too!


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio
 

Do you draw on both sides of your sketchbook paper?

Posted on Sep 8, 2016

Another artist posed the question:

Do you draw on both sides of the paper?

My response:

If you are using pencil or some similar dry media and do on both sides, there is a potential for images to rub against one another when the book is closed, thus causing smudging & such. Also, it might make scans and/or photos of the page show a hint of the sketch on the underside (if done dark enough and the paper isn’t thick enough).

Though I tend to just use “white” paper since my sketches are more for “play”, I have loved the sketching work of Kevin Keele, who does on browns & grays. On one of his Instagram posts, he said, “The process I take when sketching an image: I start by doing a rough, light drawing with a ball point pen ( zebra f-301s are my favorites). Then I fill in the shadows with a 50% grey Prismacolor marker. Next I go back to the ball point, fill in all the dark details. Last, I use a white gellyroll pen to add the highlights.”

A couple of links on Keele:
https://www.instagram.com/kkeeleart/
http://beawesome.blogspot.com/

Oh also, Jake Parker has a list of his tools on his site:
http://mrjakeparker.com/tools


See more articles at QuietYell.com/Ramblings and see the work of Scott Monaco at QuietYell.com/Portfolio