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Pete's art dump page 4 (locked)

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Well, hit me up when you’re on an idea. We can talk about it.

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Originally posted by petesahooligan:

No. I think I worked on four of them.

First one I received the enthusiastic direction of the scripter/designer. I created a handful of sprites, (maybe 15), the avatar, stage background, and menu items. He ended up creating a very unplayable prototype with placeholder graphics. We discussed how they would fit together, and what need to happen with gameplay to make it work. Then he disappeared and didn’t return any emails.

Second one was for a balance or teeter-totter game. I created all the graphics and menu items then I never heard from the guy. He promised royalties and name in credits and everything, but I don’t think he ever finished it.

Third one was a TD. I did the tower states and sketched out some stage backdrops and level motifs, and the developer/scripter was all hot for it. I handed off enough for him to make a prototype, then I never heard from him.

The final one was a puzzle game, kind of like a Rubiks cube or lock-picking deal. It looked like a cool concept and easy to create graphics for. About three-quarters through the project I realized where I recognized the guy from; it was the same dude from the FIRST collab. I called his bullshit disappearing act and he apologized profusely and said there was some family emergency or personal illness or something, then he disappeared. I don’t think he ever finished it.

All said, probably 8 or 12 hours per collab. Not a huge waste, and it’s an opportunity to really think about UI, learnability, and playability…so I get something out of it. However, for the most part I’ve found Kong collab enthusiasts to be all talk, no do. (I’m sure there are exceptions, I just haven’t met them… and I don’t know anyone that has done a collab to completion.) has a good forum for people looking to collab if you really want to work on a game. You have great art so I’m sure some experienced devs would be happy to give you a shot.
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Well, I have about 20 or so published games behind me, almost all are print. (A few online.) It’s a lot of work for not a lot of return, so I’m not super eager to get into anything… but if the right person, with the right idea, and the right kind of attitude wanted to do something creative, I would be interested.

Frankly, I’m much more interested in creative collaborations than game productions.

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What type of collaborations?

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Collaborations that focus on a creative exploration rather than simply trying to make a game or learn actionscript or whatever.

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Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it.

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Deriaz was interested in seeing a drawing I made that I consider a failure. Here’s a set:

First, I wanted to interpret a portrait of Steve McQueen. I projected the image onto the sheet of paper to get my basic proportions down in pencil. Then I went in with Sharpie to start filling in the values. This was as far as I got before I realized it wasn’t going where I wanted it to:

The issues with this drawing are myriad. The biggest problem is the values in the left eye. (Steve’s right eye.) I simply lost my way in how to treat it and the more I worked on it, the darker it got. At one point I stepped back and said, “it’s dead, Jim.” I cut if off and pulled a new sheet.

I repeated the process, but this time I tried ONLY delineating the blacks and whites. Parts of this I like a lot, like the hair, and parts basically sink the whole thing, like the lips. I might have been able to save this but I just didn’t feel like it was worth it. So I cut it down and pulled a new sheet.

While I was working on the THIRD Steve McQueen portrait, the first two were on the floor next to me so I could quickly glance at what I liked and what I didn’t. This is the first portrait again, on the ground. I really liked what was going on in the next… that loose, fast treatment. As I was working on the third one, I kept looking down at the first one.

Finally, I just grabbed my big Sharpie and started mashing wild lines into the first one. It was a throw-away anyway, so I could at least use it to experiment with. This is how it finally came out.

Although his nose came out too bulbous, (which I may be able to fix if I feel up to it), I liked it enough overall to call my Steve McQueen portrait done.

I also did Harvey Keitel in the same, loose style.

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cross hatch much.

really nice. I never use cross hatching to do my shadows, well honestly because I never really learnt how.

In the first it kind’ve looks like he just got a black eye.

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Well, the first and the last are the same. But, yeah, one of the first things I like to do is establish my darkest darks. That was the eye area, so it was going to build out from there… but it never worked out.

I forgot to throw these two images in there.

This first one is the second attempt.

And this last one is the very beginning of the third attempt, before I jumped back on the first one.

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Great work, and nicely detailed walk through your process, likes, dislikes and what you wanted to improve upon. I think all your attempts are really well done. I really like the lines in the first attempt, the more artistic revision of it and the heavy, thick shadows in the second attempt. The hair is great, I can never do hair when I do a very rare portrait drawing.

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Awww, I really like the second version, too. I think that may be my favorite out of all of them. (I mean, that said, they’re all really good to me. The hatching in them is amazing!) Really like how you “saved” the first one, too. Bulbous nose or not, that one’s definitely got the most energy. I like that about it. Glad you went back to it, too — the third one looks like it’s got a nice start, but it all feels really rigid. But maybe that’s not my place to say.

Thanks for sharing these, pete. They’re awesome to get to hear about. I might have to steal your idea about taking big sharpies or pens to things that I start to dislike, maybe couple it with the tracing idea you gave me for saving my own project right now or in another project.

Thanks again! I love seeing this sort of stuff, these thought processes. More people across the net need to do it.

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Yeah, the third one is pretty tight. I figured that with enough time it would build up a nice stack of layers. I started with a blue Tombo brush pen, and a Faber-Castell sepia brush pen. Eventually I was planning on laying in gray and white and some red… I had a pretty clear vision of it and knew how to get there. What you’re looking at in that third one is the VERY early stages.

There’s a point in every drawing when the thing that’s worth saving in it emerges. Of these three drawings, the third one hadn’t crossed that point yet, so I tossed it. The other two I’ve kept.

The second version… the one with the rounded shapes and high threshold… is how I generally do my digital portraits. It’s the same approach but with marker. I’ll probably pull that drawing down and work on the mouth, shoulders, and left side of the forehead some more. It’s growing on me.

Or maybe I’ll just draw a picture of Daniel Craig instead.

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Hey Pete, I’m really trying to emerse myself into the more real and professional graphic blogs and sites, dunno if you have any recommendations? But that’s not the reason for my post. I have been reading on and the problems with ‘crowdsourcing’ or Spec. work, I never really saw how it was actually a bad decision for a long time and only saw them as opportunities to be recognized as a artist / designer. From what I have read so far about it, it seems rather almost evil for companies to practice this…um what was my point…oh yea! I just wanted to know what you think about Spec. work? Do you think companies are doing it for the sake of a cheap but fairly well done design? Or do you view it as more of just a company trying to engage it’s consumer base? Or anything thoughts on it really.

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Man, what a heavy question. I could write a whole manifesto on how much bullshit speculative work is.

Here, man. Mow my lawn. If you do a good job, I’ll tell my neighbors and maybe they’ll pay you to mow their lawn. Does that sound like a good deal? Awesome. Oh, and you should bring your own mower and pay for your own gas. Did I mention I have lots of neighbors?

If you want to do spec work, do it for a charitable nonprofit or political campaign. Or do it for your friend’s business. Or do it for a small business that you truly believe it. Do NOT do spec work for some jackass company on the internet.

Here’s another take on it. Anyone that thinks their design skills aren’t to a professional level to be paid (even nominally) for it shouldn’t be giving it away. The “client” doesn’t need crappy work; they need good work. If the person thinks they’re good enough and they just want to build their portfolio, they’re not going to do it through clients that don’t understand good work. They don’t think it’s worth paying for. (They’ll pay their electric bill because they appreciate electricity, but they won’t pay the person that is designing the face of their company.)

These clients don’t appreciate visual communication and their “project” is going to be bunk. They won’t know how to communicate their needs and the designer will come up with something very pretty and completely off target. The client will be unhappy and won’t use the work because they can’t tell good work from bad. They’ll base their idea of good work on their personal tastes. They like red, so they need a red logo. (Plus they read somewhere that that color is good for logos.) So that’s what they tell the designer to do.

The designer will be unhappy because the experience was awful and humiliating. In the end, the designer doesn’t get a printed piece and the client goes back to recruit the next naive designer. The designer has essentially pimped themselves out for nothing… they didn’t get the work, they didn’t get a portfolio piece, and they didn’t get any practical experience. All they got was stress and humiliation, like the world’s worst prostitute.

I’ve never—and I mean not one single time—gotten a job based only on the merits of my portfolio. I’ve also never gotten a job based on an application or my resume. It’s always, always, always been because I know the person, or was referred by a person. You end up working in industries, not for companies. The more work you do… good work that the client respects… the more you become known for that. I’m known, in my small world, for being very thoughtful and investigative, but I’m not a very good designer. I develop clever ideas, but implement them poorly. That’s just who I am, and it works for me, and people hire me when that’s what they need. You build your professional reputation by being someone that people respect.

Again, if you feel like giving your time and resources away for free is going to jump-start your career, AT LEAST look for a good, small nonprofit, school, church, coffee shop, or whatever. Do it for your friends and family.

When a company needs great design, they don’t look for the person that charges the least. They look for the person that performs the best. Cost is merely a point of negotiation; it’s NOT the driver.

I was running a program that gave away skateboarding helmets for free. We figured if we just gave them away, kids would grab them whether they needed them or not, then we’d be picking them up from the parking lot at the end of the day. We decided to sell them for $1 each. We didn’t have to pick up a single helmet. See what I’m saying?

If you want to donate design work, I’ll give you a project. If you want to work for free, paint my house.

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I was just reading some of As explained to the potential client, “Post up your design brief and sit back while the designs come flooding in.”


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Wow, you really hate the idea of it with fury! :o I understand though…maybe as I develop more I may develop a more intense hatred haha. I may disagree with you on you not being a very good designer. I think you’re quite awesome. :) I know I need to start networking, I’m a bit of a shy guy and intimidated by other designers, hopefully I can break out of that this year and make some connections. Just had our college orientation today, there are only about 20 people in our program :s but we are clumped together with some other branches of Graphic Design programs so there’s a lot of people I can meet and get to know…wow I feel awkward…ANYWAYS, thank you for the insight. You’re very insightful.

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Haha, I feel you. I actually hate graphic designers. I would go to industry functions, drink a lot, and pick fights with people. Seriously. Most designers are self-righteous blowhards that need to be punched right in their turtlenecks.

You know why? Because graphic design isn’t important. I mean, it CAN be important… but it usually isn’t. Graphic design is usually making something pretty. It’s not often about making that information more useful, more efficient, or more intense. Those jobs are rare.

I should clarify. I feel very passionate about the power of graphic design. I believe in it, and think that far too many people don’t value it enough. That’s the core of the problem.

Because people don’t appreciate good design, bad design continues to flourish and be passed off as “good.” We simply aren’t picky about graphic design and routinely accept bad design as “good enough for what it’s supposed to do.”

What if we collectively quit buying products with bad logos, awful packaging, or mangled industrial form?

Some people would read these ideas and try to protect bad design. “Well, Pete, isn’t design appreciation subjective?” No, it’s not. Bad design is just bad.

We accept bad design, and that allows sites like to flourish.

When I say I’m not a very good designer, I actually mean it. I have some tricks, and I can make something look good enough, but I’m not “good.” What I am, instead, is smart. I can detect smart design, and I can make smart design, but I don’t rise beyond that level. Few people do, and those few are celebrated within the design world. The rest of us are filling the world with forgettable designs and products. There can only be one fastest cheetah in the pride.

There’s lots of work for passable designers. My career in the arts proves that. There’s lots of MONEY for excellent designers, (and lots of work). I’m not that guy, and odds are that you’re not either. But you might be if you put in the time working on your skills.

All that to say, don’t worry about networking. Worry about building a sensitivity toward type. Work on spotting shitty kerning at a glance. Critique the hell out of everything you see… not just designed elements, but spaces, architecture, people. What do they do well, and not well? How can they be improved? What takes that turn signal lens to the next level, (for example)? Being on that line of thinking 24/7 is what separates good from excellent… and I’m just too interested in other things to push myself to that level of commitment.

Being good at design is WAY harder than finding design work.

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Case in point. Ask the average person to name their 5 favorite musicians and they’ll easily rattle off 10. Now ask them to name their 3 favorite designers… the people that make the products they use… and they’ll be stumped to name a single one.

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I want to be the next designer, but realistically I think I’ll just be average. But we’ll see I have A LOT to learn still and even more experiences to be had. Since I finished my design intro-ish program last year I look at every sign I see, logos, color schemes, websites, designs, art work etc. and I try to critic them. What is good about it? What is bad? How could it be better? What was the message that was trying to be conveyed? and Is it successful? I’ve always analyze things as a child and now I’m trying to focus it. When I enter a room I have never been in I look at everything, walls, roofs, ceilings, the flooring. I look for patterns, the general layout of the room, and how I feel in it.

I gotta say that your forum has actually made me go “Wow I need to step up my game.” I procrastinate a lot and often on many tasks, but I’m slowly improving on that. Before I started reading your forum, I hadn’t drawn all summer break (I know, terrible), but now I have drawn almost every night, some drawings from my head and others from real life. I realized I am severely weak in photoshop and illustrator and just this week have gone through about almost a dozen tutorials, to try and learn basics and learn my way around the software. You may not be the best but man have you influenced me a lot already…ok enough of that weirdness.

I really can’t name 3 designers off the top of my head. I’m totally ignorant to the best designers in the business, past and present. The only one I could name is Paul Rand, but I know nothing of him, but I’m going to change that!

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Paul Rand is awesome and a good one to know, especially if you know only one. Others you should know: Milton Glaser, Michael Beirut, Art Chantry, Chip Kidd, Sheppard Fairey. (Some people claim you should know David Carson, but I think he’s a bit of a quack.) The studios are probably more important to know… the Landors, Modern Dogs, Pentagrams, and so on. Learning their processes is useful. One thing you’ll soon find out, if you haven’t already, is that great design is the result of massive collaboration and iteration. Nothing comes out of your ass perfect except for the unrefined idea.

(Rand did the IBM striped typemark. He probably did a shit-ton of other things too, but he’s before my generation. I’ve never been a huge fan of his.)

You might enjoy reading Imagination, by… ummm… it’ll come to me. It’s a newish book that talks about creativity, what it is, why it is, and how to be better at it. It’s real interesting.

If you want to get better at seeing, draw. If you want to be a flexible and lateral thinker, do EVERYTHING with a passion.

Incidentally, this isn’t my forum. I’m just a regular schmoe here, just like you… but I love sharing and tearing apart creative ideas, so that’s why I’m on here so much. (Plus, it’s a great distraction from work.)

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To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit; it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse.

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I haven’t read Imagination yet (or heard of it) but it looks pretty cool.

Speaking of creativity, this talk by John Cleese is pretty fantastic. It didn’t really show anything mindblowing to me that I didn’t already know or think about creativity, but he packages it together really well.

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Well, apparently the author of Imagine, Jonah Lehrer, fabricated some quotes in the book. He’d also been called out for recycling his own earlier work for WIRED, Wall Street Journal, and other dignified publications during his tenure at the NY Post. I guess he resigned from the Post late last month. Now you can’t buy the book; it’s been recalled.

So much for that. You’ll have to trust me. It was an excellent book.

I don’t really agree with Cleese’s premise, e.g., that creativity cannot be fully understood. On the contrary, I believe that it can. But he goes on to explain that creativity is not a talent, and that I fully agree with. Creativity is a skill… it is learnable and can (and should) be practiced and exercised.

Creativity is, in its simplest form, the combination of two or more things whose new relationship is not familiar to most people.

Let’s design the theme of a game currently under development. We can start with this easy and fun “creative” MadLibs exercise.

The game is about _____A_____ in/on ______B_______.

A. Choose or roll a die:
1. Cowboys
2. Ninjas
3. Pirates
4. Bounty Hunters
5. Anthropomorphic Animals
6. Athletes

B. Choose or roll a die:
1. Post-apocalyptic America
2. Zombie Epidemic
3. Space Station
4. Wild West
5. Roman Gladiator Arena
6. World War 2

Those are all very common game motifs, but you can replace them with very specific and abstract things.

The point is, this is creativity. It’s the mind’s ability to combine ideas, objects, things, thoughts, people, places, that don’t immediately lend themselves to each other.


And so on…

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Here’s a portrait of Jack Kerouac, author of On The Road and voice of the beat generation.

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As usual some very insightful thoughts. Ever think about teaching? haha