GOING DEEP

Whatever that title means… So here’s the latest background I did at Plain Joe Studios for the Go Kids ‘worlds’ program. Like the last two, I enjoyed illustrating this one.

I always thought if I had a chance to do an underwater scene, I’d get to do something whimsical and fun like the underwater scenes in Disney’s Pinocchio or the Silly Symphony, Merbabies (I think that’s what it’s called). I enjoyed those vastly more than the underwater backgrounds in Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo. Those newer films just don’t come off as whimsical and charming. Maybe it’s because they’re striving for too much realism or something, I’m not sure.

In any case, I didn’t really get to do the kind of thing I would have liked, probably because the focus of the image was looking up at the structure and not focused down on all the cool underwater stuff. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this or the end result  — I did — but it would have been fun doing all sorts of colorful, cartoon characters and plants. In fact, I wish I’d at least made those two fish in the coral a lot more caricatured and whimsical. Either way, I hope you enjoy it.

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Yet Another Background Illustration

Here’s the latest background I did at Plain Joe Studios for River Valley’s Go Kids program. This is by far my favorite background I’ve done for them. Or maybe it was just the most fun to illustrate. I think I just have a dark side to me that I enjoy something a little more spooky in a fun, Saturday-morning-cartoon sort of way (though I don’t at all care for ‘horror’ as a genre).

River Valley Go Kids “Valley of Shadows”

To be entirely frank (because, like Groot, “I am Frank”), I’m lazy about geometric precision. Give me a jungle to draw any day over a city scene with skyscrapers and bazillions of windows and everything needing to be in perfect perspective — forget about it. The fun thing about a cartoon ghost-town like this is that I can get all wonky with the structures, which is really fun. Throw in a hint of swamp and a giant skull rock and you’ve got the makings of a Scooby-doo episode. Now this is my cup of tea!

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It’s A Jungle Out There

Here’s the final installment of background illustrations done for Plain Joe Studios‘ client, for their Go Kids cast of characters. I prefer illustrating organic backgrounds to artificial structures because, well, because I’m lazy and it’s easier to draw a jungle than to draw a giant city in perfect perspective.

Actually, creating organic forms is just so much more fun, what with all the wild foliage, vines, and such. Plus I like drawing gnarly tree limbs, twisting trunks, and tangled roots. If I had my druthers (I keep using that word without really knowing what a “druther” is), I’d be illustrating little fantasy stories that take place in all sorts of forests and wacky worlds. Honestly, I love creating charming artwork for children. My preference for the innocence of children’s media is probably why I prefer the fantasy wonderland of Disneyland to a “fast-ride” theme-park like Magic Mountain.

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Hot Stuff

This lava city is another Go Kids “worlds” illustration done for Plain Joe Studios‘ client, River Valley Church. The smaller inset rough shows just how far I go on the roughs to convey the concept to the client before doing a final rendering. I probably could get away with doing a far more crude rough, but I’m always afraid that if I don’t convey enough information in the rough, the client may think the final art strayed too far from what they imagined.

I’ll post one final Go Kids “worlds” illustration next week, at which time we’ll move back above ground.

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Going Underground

The creativity never stops at Plain Joe Studios. If I could post everything we did, I’d be posting every day, but then I’d never get anything else done. In any case, I only have a couple more of these I want to post in upcoming weeks and then I think I’ll start posting more Procreate “doodle” videos.

This week’s Go Kids background follows last week’s illustration, which was the exterior of the underground part of the Go Kids’ “world”. Each of the larger world areas are themselves made of of a few smaller cities or districts. This is one of three underground locations.

The smaller inset image in this case is not a rough of the larger image but is a previous variant done in a simplified, flat, graphic style that we initially tried. While I like the look of a flat, graphic style, I don’t go to that style naturally when I decide to do something for myself.

Which style do you prefer?

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More “Go Kids” Background Art

Here is yet another illustration I did at Plain Joe Studios to serve as a background for one of our client’s Go Kids characters. The character below is Adi Mole, so this rendering is an exterior of an underground “world” which this character inhabits.  I enjoy creating these wonky sort of perspectives sometimes for backgrounds. I just think it makes them a little more interesting, especially when doing any kind of continuity storytelling, like when I create storyboards or comics. In those latter two situations, things would get stale if every shot was from a straight-on POV.

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Progress Doodle #7 – Random Sketches

Before getting the Cintiq, I used to sit at my drawing board with a large stack of copy paper next to me and doodle away, tossing those drawings into the trash as I created them. I didn’t throw them away because they were bad. I threw them away because I created so much of it that it wasn’t feasible to keep and store a lot of nonsense sketches which served no purpose beyond my having some fun doodling.

After getting the Cintiq, however, I would do the same thing digitally. So basically, I’d create a Photoshop document, create a new layer, start doodling, delete the drawing, sketch something else, delete that, and so on. It just didn’t make sense to keep so many sketches, even digitally.

Then I decided I could keep the files if I just created one file, create a layer, sketch on it, lock the layer and turn it off, then start a new sketch on another layer, lock that and turn it off, and sketch again on yet another layer and so forth. This way I could have one layered document with 20 or 30 doodles on it. The problem, of course, is that the file thumbnail only shows the visible layers, so if I want to find a sketch among so many files, there’s no way to tell which file has the layer with the sketch I want. This really isn’t such a problem, because if I ever liked a sketch enough to go back to it, I’ll usually save a separate jpeg of it anyway.

These days, if I want to doodle digitally, I’ll create a Procreate file and just do different sketches on different layers. The nice thing about Procreate is the video feature, so instead of having to open a file and look through so many layers, I can just create a video of my sketch sessions and going through that video will show me what’s on a particular file.

So how do you doodle for fun?

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Illustrative Storytelling 3.0

Here’s yet another sampling of an illustration done at Plain Joe Studios as a supplement to the spacial story characters created for River Valley Church’s Go Kids ministry. The smaller versions show the different ideas before arriving at the final rendering.

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Progress Doodle #6

This’ll be the last progress doodle post for the year. Even though these sketches are rough, I hope you enjoy seeing the process. Let me know if you have any requests and I’ll try to do a progress sketch on my down time. … and have a happy new year!

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Spacial Storytelling Characters

When Plain Joe Studios does spacial storytelling, that often involves creating characters to aid in telling the client’s story. One of the characters we created as part of the Go Kids cast was a squirrel named Tom E. Over the years I’ve had to create different iterations of this character for different applications. Justyn Smith of River Valley Church took the various renderings I did and assembled this for a side-by-side comparison.

 

That one on the bottom-left was supposed to look like TomE. if he were in the world of Minecraft. You might think it should be easy to copy a character made up of blocks, but it was actually more difficult than doing something organic; it was very time-consuming to get all the angles and shading precise enough to fake a character made of blocks in a 3D digital space (I hope to learn SketchUp and/or some 3D program in the future to streamline these kinds of tasks). In a future post, I’ll share the entire image with the faked Minecraft background illustration.

That iteration on the bottom-right was a sketch I did when asked to imagine the character in the wacky style of Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy. It was never used because, well, I guess after seeing how goofy the character looked when adapted into that style, they decided it wasn’t a direction that suited the character.

How about that version of Tom E. on the blue stand; can you guess what that was done for?

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