Sketchblog

The giant

07.08.2017       0

 

The final Character design. Notice the little taylor standing on his arm.

Rough sketch over the silhouette

In the course «The Spark» at the Oatley Academy, we designed characters for an adaptation of a classic fairy tale. I chose «the brave little taylor», and designed the Giant from the story. More images in the projects entry.

Giant – Character Design

 

New Work: «Danger Chopper: Hoofs of Glory»

07.08.2017       0

At Edorex, we had one week each year to spend on our own projects. Two of these «Lab weeks», I spent along with one and two developers respectively on creating a 2D-Game. Since I only worked there four days a week, my Lab week also consisted of four days. So we created this 2D-Game with 9 or 7 levels respectively in 8 days. It’s buggy, there’s not really a menu or a decent tutorial but it works and it’s (at least for us) fun to play. What do you think of the idea? Would you like to see more stuff like this? Let me know in the comments.

In-Game screenshot from a bonuslevel «Alpine football»

Style exploration for the game: No-Outlines vs. Outlines.

More Pictures and information in the Portfolio entry for the Danger Chopper Game.

Danger Chopper

Book recommendation: Steal like an artist

07.08.2017       0

This is one of my favorite books of all time: «Steal like an Artist» – or «Alles nur geklaut« in german – by Author Austin Kleon. I must have bought and gave to friends as a gift at least five times already, it’s that good. Basically, it’s a short and readable Guide to creativity. The author explains Creativity in such a fun and entertaining way, you read through the 160 pages really quick.

© steallikeanartist.com

A lot of my views about being creative stem from this book or are described therein at least. Some examples:

I deeply believe that creativity can’t occur in a vacuum. New ideas stem from mashing up other ideas, or applying a familiar idea in a new context. This is also the message in the popular video series «Everything is a remix» by Kirby Ferguson. The first of the 10 concepts in the book revolves around this. Austin Kleon explains how new ideas derive from the old, how you can find what inspired the things which inspire you, and what the difference is between «stealing» in the books sense and blatant plagiarism.

© steallikeanartist.com

Another of the 10 ideas is about «Fake it till you make it». If your dream is to become a professional musician, then «fake» your life as a professional musician. This probably means practicing every day, playing concerts and writing songs. If at some point you’re good enough to make a living from it, then the only difference to the «faked life» is the commercial aspect. Also, if you recognize after doing this for a while that you don’t want to spend that much time practicing, playing concerts and writing songs, then that dream of yours is probably not a dream but a nice fantasy. That’s the difference between wanting to be a professional musician with all the effort that goes into it or just wanting to stand in front of a crowd and be famous.

The book is about 13 CHF or 11 $, get in on buch.ch, Amazon (no affiliate link) or preferably at your local book store.

 

Fantasy Basel Review

07.08.2017       0

At the beginning of the month was the Fantasy Basel, where for the first time I had my own artist table at a convention. The Fantasy Basel is the swiss version of the Comic Cons happening all over the world. This means, there’s a lot of comic Fans, gamers, Cosplayers and generally nerds of all kinds meeting in one place for a weekend. Next to boothes from big Companies from the Game industry, there were lots of booths dedicated to Cosplay and Costumes in general. You could even buy proper Bows or Swords. There was also a Steampunk Café, different Star Wars Sets recreated entirely with Lego and generally a ton of pretty impressive Costumes. And next to all of this there was, of course, the ‘Artist Alley’, where Artists can set up a booth to exhibit their work during the convention.

After going full freelance beginning of this year, Fantasy Basel was a big goal to work towards. I did not know what to expect, especially since I heard they were expecting over 50’000 people over those thee days.

I invested in some prints, decoration for the booth and created new artwork to show and sell. Next to original art, I had prints in A5 and A4, Postcards and a Poster for sale. Every day we had a small giveaway for all the people who registered themselves for my new newsletter. I also designed a big rollup, which is 100 by 200 cm, (or roughly 40 by 80 inch, if you’re more into the imperial system). It was pretty exciting to finally see it live. The rollup was printed by printzessin.ch, which I really recommend.

I had two friends, Räffu and Simu, helping me out at the booth. This was not only helpful in busier times of the day, but also a lot more fun. In general I met a lot of interesting people at Fantasy Basel, and to me that’s really what conventions like these are about: Connecting with people and getting inspired by them. It was a great experience and I can only recommend to go and get a booth yourself, it’s a great opportunity to get your art in front of a lot of eyeballs and grow as an artist.

 

A fresh start

07.08.2017       0

Finally the new version of this website is online. As car mechanics mostly have pretty rundown cars, a lot of people working in the digital industry have a crappy website. You spend so much working on digital products through regular jobs that you don’t want to take care of another one in your spare time. But every once in a while the planets align and you get to update your website.

About & Services

 

A lot of thought also went behind the Services and About section. What do I want my Business to be about? Through the last decade (just writing down the word decade made me feel rather old) I went through the transition from being a Programmer to a (self-taught) Designer in different disciplines and Companies until finally starting my own Company. Determining my professional identity exactly was no simple task, which is why I spent a lot of thinking about how to best describe my services.

I used to go with the tagline «Illustration & Graphic Design». My issue with this was, that the Graphic Design part suggests a focus in the traditional Graphic Design business. That industry went through quite some changes since the Web replaced a lot of traditional media. Clients need less traditional print communication than they used to, while a whole new industry formed around design for digital products, where Disciplines include Interaction Design and User Experience Design among a gazillion of other buzzwords. As a result, Graphic Designers who didn’t learn the skills for digital design have a hard time.

Do emphasize more on the digital side, I changed the tagline to «Illustration & Visual Design». Visual Design represent both the visual aspect of digital products as well as Graphic Design in traditional media.

Research

A big help was the little survey I did a while back. The feedback helped me a ton in determining what to prioritize and how to structure the content. For example, I learned that people cared way more about the story behind a project and how it was done than I would have gessed.

Work

As with everyone who works in a creative industry, the portfolio is the most important thing for a new client or employer to determine what you’re able to do. Also it’s always a ton of work not only selecting which pieces to include, (and more importantly, which pieces to not include) but also presenting in the best way possible.

The work is split into Projects and Personal Work. This separation helps a lot in that I can just upload personal drawings and sketches in a simple manner without mixing them up with commercial work I did.

Technicalities

This website runs wordpress, as does over 25 % of the entire web. For anybody who cares about the technical details, I designed my own theme using Timber, which is a Plugin to use the Templating-Language Twig in WordPress-Themes. In more simpler terms, it’s just a way to write your WordPress-Theme a lot clearer and reduce the amount of headaches doing it significantly. You still need to write HTML and CSS yourself but you can do so with very little knowledge about WordPress or even PHP.

I used the Timber Starter Theme as a base, which is a very good starting point for Timber. A gulp setup including browsersync sped up things like finetuning the Theme a lot. I even managed to get Webfonts for Open Sans and FontAwesome as npm-packages and get it to compile into the target directory, which sounds easy but was ridiculously difficult at first. Bootstrap was a great boilerplate for standard design elements and the responsive menu, and using the SASS-version with custom variables made sure I could keep messy overwrites to a minimum.

And of course using git with a (free) BitBucket Account made sure I could not only revert back after messing up something but also that pushing changes to the live Site (the one you are reading right now) way easier.

As with all the things that you build yourself instead of picking from the shelve, I learned a ton and even had a little bit of fun.

Feedback

Since this is just another iteration of a product, I need to get feedback in order to improve it. What do you think of the new website? Is it better than the old one? Is something missing? Let me know in the comments.

Boardtest 17

07.08.2017       0

In two weeks there’s the Boardtest in Adelboden, Switzerland, where you get to test next seasons Snowboards from a ton of different brands. This year I was asked to illustrate the visual for the event communication again.

Of course we kept the bear from last year’s illustration. This time he’s sitting in the chairlift, while his buddy is doing a Backside 720° over the jump below.

The composition is built this way so there is some room for the big event typo at the top, some room for the date next to the bear and a lot of whitespace for the logos and text at the bottom. I tried to balance the different elements on the poster so the information is conveyed without getting overbearing (haha).

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