All posts by dmcropley

Digital Producer | Artist | Animator

Life Drawing 26th Feb

Tried watercolours, brush pen and some nice safe weird tonight.

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Just need to learn how to watercolour now. 2 mins of reading 9 tips on beginners watercolours at break isn’t going to cut it.

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Aaron mentioned in jest that I should try some animation at life drawing. Challenge accepted. Just have to work out how. Flip books or laptop Flash. Haven’t made a flip book since school…

Life Drawing Feb 12th 2015

I haven’t been able to make it to the last couple of classes, but I’m back again tonight.

I spent the entire session using a calligraphy brush and Sumi-e ink on A2 cartridge paper. *note to self read up about history of sumi-e http://www.drue.net/sumi-e-history.htm *

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This is only the second week I’ve tried this, so lots to learn. Such as – how the hell do you stop the pooling of ink into blotchy areas? How am I meant to transport wet, inky paintings at the end of the session? Just how chronic was Jan-Michael Vincent’s cocaine habit during the filming of popular 80’s TV series ‘Airwolf’?

Chatting to one of the models after the session, she mentioned water colour artists face just the same problems. I’ve just inherited a bunch of watercolour kit and I’ve always been scared of watercolours. Perhaps now is the time to learn.

 

Life Drawing 22nd Jan 2015

Here’s the pics from tonights session. Last year was the year of painting, this year is the year of plaything. I’m going to try loads of different stuff and see where it takes me.

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Really enjoyed the Sumi-e ink and calligraphy brush stuff tonight. Its the first time I’ve tried using this technique. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but that’s kind of the point – its all good fun. Shame the photos don’t show how deep the blacks are due to the flash reflecting. I will do photos better at some point but its always so damn late when I get back on these long thursdays that I just need to get this stuff posted and done.

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Trolling Animated Wedding Invite Illustrations

This was meant to be a Konami code easter egg for Adam and Cerys’s wedding website. We got busted. But I thought I’d finish it off anyway. Adam found the blood splat, so that’s not mine, but no-one is ever going to see this so I edited it slightly and used it anyway. I would probably have gone the whole hog with blood and chunky bits spattering against the camera if it was me, but, y’know.

Trolling

For the icing on the cake I added some simple sound FX and an atmos track from Freesound.com

Happy trolling! :D

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Welcome to 2015

Welcome to 2015. Year of… doing stuff.

Last year I did a little animated .gif for Simpleweb. We were giving away free websites to our clients. Yep, websites. For free. To our clients. Because Simpleweb are ace.

All I needed was the seed of an idea to pick up and run with… I got: “something to do with gifts maybe?”

But that was enough to kick off the train of thought: Gifts, presents, opening… whoOOosh – sparkles! This particular little animation was nice. I just shut my eyes in the kitchen (it was important the idea came in the kitchen. They usually happen in the shower or on the loo. Ideas, funny little buggers.) and I could see the animation play through.

So I drew a quick version of what I saw in my head:

Roughs

I can’t remember what the numbers were in the top right. Must be important. Really important.

It only took a couple of hours to artwork, build and animate in Flash. Dead quick. Then it took another two hours to work out why the FLA corrupted so badly that it entirely locked me out of my computer. Once I’d gone in through a different user account and somehow re-activated my login, I re-built a new FLA from scratch and rendered the gif through Photoshop. The nerdy animator in me wanted to do a nice ribbon falling down into shot and settling, but I’d spent too much time fighting with Win7 and it was better off keeping it simple anyway. Job done.

Simpleweb_Xmas_2014_Loop_BobbyWomack

Finally, life drawing starts again next week so its business as usual in blog town. I’m going to approach this year with 97% more experimentation. I want to do some quicker poses again in different media. Maybe some Big Sumi-e ink sketches on A2 paper, perhaps some outline work with ink pens or brush pens (thanks Mike) and colour them in later. Not really sure. Definitely want to try new things though. 2014 was the year of painting. I want more fun in 2015. Yes. Maybe I’ll go back to drawing more “spooky” twisted stuff as Imogen described it as. Yeah. More weird = more better. Push the boundaries of taste and acceptability a bit.

More Tea Art

I made a pencil sketch whilst having a tea session. It took slightly longer than I anticipated, maybe 4-5 hours. 0.5mm propelling pencil with a B lead, on good quality rag paper.

Tea-16th-Dec_Edit

The tea was an aged High Roast Luanze Oolong from Nantou (700m), Taiwan, Harvested in Spring 1999. Brewed over two sittings first in a zisha, then zhuni teapot (I found the zhuni a better fit in this case). The tea (as ever…) was courtesy of Stephane at teamasters blog

When Tea is Art

I’ve been wanting to paint a Cha Xi for ages. I grew up drawing still life and studied 17th century Dutch Masters before I started my animation career. A few years ago I was introduced to Stephane and the lovely Teamasters Blog. Since then I’ve been slowly cultivating a fascination with Gong fu cha.

So I sat down and made tea. A particularly good spring 2011 hung shui oolong from shan lin shi, bought from Stephane and aged in a little ceramic ching hua jar.

BG1

Originally I thought I’d do a massive, ambitious A1 canvas in fine detail. But I’d never finish it. So I thought about doing modular little pieces and hanging them together. Turns out sitting down with a pencil and paper has put pay to that. I consulted the oracle (Clem). She thinks I should do one painting, in as much crazy anal detail as I want, just not A1. She’s right. Again. Probably.

sketch

I knocked up a super quick test to see how a blurred BG would look (so I have less to paint…)

BG2

Not sure about that. The biggest challenge is lighting the thing. I should do it in natural daylight, but I don’t know how I can pull that off without painting from photographs – which I am fundamentally opposed to. The other challenge is finding the time and space when there is a 2 year old hammering about the place, seemingly hell bent on mass destruction.

But these are the challenges that make it interesting. The next steps are to do some studies and go from there.

Incidentally, I love my tetsubin (traditional iron tea kettle). Its a lovely thing. If (whatever you believe in) forbid that the house burnt down, its about the only thing that would survive. I love the fact it was made for me by a skilled craftsman out of molten metal in a workshop very far away. It is a beautiful, modest thing that will last a lifetime if I treat it well.

Life Drawing 2014 Compendium

2014 was the year of paint, colour and canvas. Hard work, but bloody good fun. I’m mostly pleased with just about everything from this year. Which is high praise indeed from me.

DMCropley-Life-Drawing-Compendium-2014_2

DMCropley-Life-Drawing-Compendium-2014_3

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The tentative plan for next year is to play. I want to stick to paint (or colour at least) but try out lots of different surfaces, sizes and techniques to see what happens. I fancy some big chinese Sumi-e ink work which will be a real challenge, and its not colour, but I should be able to work with tone. Maybe dabble in watercolours, but most of all I want to try acrylics on a bunch of different media – wood, home stretched canvas, metal even… who knows. Will be fun finding out.

 

The Simpleweb Challenge

I work for Simpleweb. It is nice.

Simpleweb holds hack days called the Simpleweb Challenge.  Hack days are opportunities for developers to have fun, network and win prizes.

Simpleweb Challenge_Logo_v2

The theme of this hack night was WebRTC video.

Tokbox – a webRTC streaming and archiving service kindly sponsored the event, which you can read all about here.

Tok Box Simpleweb Challenge

I helped out by putting together a couple of images and animated gifs to help promote the event.

I started out by brainstorming anything I could think of around streaming video with pen and paper. Scanned that in and applied SW brand colours

Tokbox Simpleweb Challenge_Surround_1_CS3

I cherry picked the best bits, cut them into a new composition and started rigging it for animation in Flash (*heart* Flash). I kept it as simple and short as possible – a 12 frame loop.

Simpleweb-Challenge-All-Animated_800x650gif

Its amazing what you can do with not very much… and a pimped version of Flash.

That’s the problem with animation though. No bugger ever sees it.

Adam and Cerys Wedding Invite Illustration

I’ve been doing a couple of little digital things in my spare time recently (spare time – pah!), so I thought I’d post them up here.

A friend at work needed an illustration to finish the invite (and website) he’d designed so I agreed to help.

I don’t do this stuff professionally any more but I dig the process, so this is how it goes:

The Brief

The design so far

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The illustration brief

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Read on to see how the final Illustration was created and delivered…

Continue reading Adam and Cerys Wedding Invite Illustration