“Their Pride & Joy…” – Exploration and Development of a Simple Brief – Pt. 1
I have developed and continue to develop a range of mini-briefs for my students as part of my current position as a lecturer on the BA’s in Games Design and Animation at the Hull School of Art & Design as well as my fundamental belief in the above assertion. Mini-briefs allow for a sliding scale of commitment from the participant based on their current work loads, time availability and or confidence.
They can in many cases be extended and expanded upon to fulfill a range of potential outcomes and portfolio pieces, but they can also, just as invaluably, be limited in scope to protect the student/beginner from themselves and their runaway (and eventually debilitating) ambition.
One such mini-brief is the very simple “Their Pride and Joy…”, the full brief can be found >HERE<, which looks at the idea that images of clean pristine spaces and assets are never as visually interesting as those that deal with abandonment, decay, dishevelment, or objects in a state of assembly or being disassembled.
“any concept image (or model) of an object or scenario can be made more engaging by showing it in a state of repair, half-built, half-disassembled, chaos and disarray, or abandonment (in particular to scavengers or time and nature).”
This brief is also ideal for recapping and showing the students the value of earlier sessions looking at perspective drawing and the use of basic primitive shapes as the basis for more complex objects and visualisation.
The work below was created during the two week Yuletide period, 2013.
The brief asks:
…develop a Visual (or set of visuals), A Concept Illustration perhaps leading to a 3D Digital Model, a Physical Model, including Rough Sketches and Final Image (full colour or line work) of one of the following 3 scenarios:
- Exercise A – Water-borne (some sort of boat or water based vehicle)
- Exercise B – Wheels (a car or other wheeled vehicle)
- Exercise C – Wings (aircraft or flying vehicle)
Consider this as a pre-visualization (PreViz) for a scene/environment in a digital animation/game.
The side door of a dwelling, with a door/entrance open and partial view of the interior. Outside the door is YOUR CHOSEN VEHICLE, the vehicle is under repair, or being loaded for a trip and is surrounded by parts/items/boxes/kit etc.
A pet sits in/on the vehicle waiting for its owner to return. Preliminary sketches/screenshots/and final image/render to be produced in sketchbook/or digitally. For you illustrators/concept artists – Any colour should be digital, worked over a scan of the sketchbook & posted to your blog.
So, which subject to choose?
Well, I thought maybe it would be best to explore a little of each area before settling on a final project, this way I won’t be eliminating a potentially great solution too early in my process.
I started with rough thumbnails and doodles in my sketchbook.
Those original doodles and a the great gift of the Dave Stevens Stories & Covers monograph led me to explore something akin to those crazy racing plane shapes (GeeBee Racing Planes) that I loved from “The Rocketeer” movie. Albeit in a more cartoon-y style…
Immediately the addition of boxes and other bits of kit, tools, hanging pulleys etc began to create a sort of implied narrative…
With the idea of flying machines it would have been remiss of me not to include a basement/barn built rocket ship.
…and then a little more exploration of other flyers (airships, micro-lights, flying-wings etc.) before getting back to the idea of a racing plane being lovingly restored.
Next up PART 2, Boats:
I’ve always been a fan of that “crazy hobby boat builder”, maybe there is some kind of hang over from school and stories of Noah etc. Later reinforced by my interest in mythology (Utanapishtim, Naglfar), and watching too much TV (NCIS/Gibbs) and Movies (Ghost Dog)…
So yeah, boats.
Here are a few other designs and shapes for possible scenarios of boats being built in a basement or garage.
I feel that perhaps this page was a little half-hearted, regarding my commitment/engagement, which probably has less to do with not enjoying doing the boat drawings and more to do with the fact I developed a boat drawing with a similar remit earlier in the year.
So with that, I started to think about wheeled vehicles instead of water-borne ones.
Again, before settling on a particular type of vehicle, I thought it might be fun to explore a range of wheeled vehicle types. From space buggy/trikes like the one below…
…to flying trucks, mopeds/scooters, food vendor style vehicles, and mini-military types…
…fictional military types (again watching Indiana Jones helped with this), in the guise of a “king of the geeks” collectors centre piece (note the other additions – i the truck from Indiana Jones, ii the tablet from Last Crusade, iii a Millennium Falcon toy, iv a Boba Fett helmet, v a TIE Fighter model, and finally vi the crate that contained the Arc from ROTLA).
Above I tried a few more expanded compositions looking at more kit being placed around the vans and trikes and bikes… (I really quite liked the VW van idea and it might be something I expand on at a later date).
…and finally a few more extreme vehicles, a tram, a Segway, a kids trike (along with the kids other prized possessions)
All of which finally led me into those racing types, partly inspired by watching and doodling along with the opening sequence to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
SketchUp can be a great way to throw some ideas together quickly from a spacial and scale perspective.
Mock ups like the one below can be used as the basis for a drawing or a set of thumbnails… or simply as an experiment in placement.
Images like the one above can be printed out (at a reduced opacity) and drawn over to get a rough feel for the additional objects and props to be added to the scene… you could even do this on multiple tracing sheets, one sheet looking at the larger props and objects, one for medium sized props and objects and one for small detail items. These would then help organise your time during your 3D build phase.
(in this instance, the car was the creation of Gabor on SketchUp’s 3D warehouse, you can find the link to their model >HERE<)
So, after deciding that this was the type of thing I wanted to take through to the finished image I started this pencil version…
Building the image up gradually using the perspective and crating techniques discussed in previous sessions on drawing for 3D.
And then again in a slightly alternative composition…
Leading to this slightly more finished visual…
…and though ultimately it was perhaps a fairly pedestrian composition, it still developed the image and helped add a bunch of useful narrative detail.
So, I thought a couple more thumbnails might help to nail the final image…
I particularly like the aerial version (top right above), though it’s more likely that I will look at another detailed sketch of the bottom right view, before producing the final image.
In part 2 I’ll look at a simple 3D sketch of the scene and more it through to a finished colour version.
As a bonus, This: These sketches below where based on a couple of models I built out of LEGO…
…It might not have been the most successful of experiments or added much to the final composition, but I had a lot of fun with it.