Webs and Plants

So, you all may remember the little buddy I posted last week? Yeah, well, he was a she and her babies exploded into the corner of my room. One peppermint-y rampage of death and destruction later, I am again without spiders because I don’t need any more stress.

Back to school stuff.

Finished spider needed a finished web. I’m sticking with very ground-based rather than suspended structures. It’s still connected to a tree, but mostly around the roots.

spider_bowlweb

I was also able to get in some ferns so I would have a few more ideas for plants, ground cover, and maybe a few hanging vine-like ferns for fun.

fern1 fern2 fern3

Next week should be more critters and such, then back to greenery because forests aren’t really forests without plants. Hope you all have a good week!

Fixes and Flourish

Last week was my presentation and critique with the Portfolio class. One of the big problems that kept coming up was “how is that ginormous butt being supported by those little legs?”. So, first I’ll address that. It was suggested that I drop the abdomen and lengthen the back legs to accommodate for gravity (since it’s not something we can just ignore). Then I ALSO discovered that the leg layers had somehow gotten mixed up so that the back legs were moved to the front and the front legs to the back when I was drawing them. So, that was totally messed up.

I kept as much of the previous spider as I could, but it still required a few hours worth of work and coloring almost all of it over again. Since I was doing so much anyways, I went back and added some design to the abdomen. Anyways, it’s all fixed now.

Better_Spider1

Speaking of spiders, since staring this project, this little guy moved into the corner between my desk and the wall. I don’t know where he’s getting his food from, but that probably means he’s doing a good job at pest-control, so I won’t move him until I need to.

image

Next, there was also the mention last week of using Autodesk Sketchbook for character creation because it has a symmetry tool that makes it so you would only need to draw one side and mirror it. I’m going to look more into that when I get back into more of the creature creation.

For now, organic matter. This week was pretty research-intensive again in regards to figuring out how to draw grasses and plants, then demonstrate ground cover. One thing I learned from my garden-obsessive mother is that different plants require different spacing.

I also looked at a few tutorials. If you’re interested, here’s a list:

After looking up some references of ornamental grasses, I came up with 25 silhouette thumbnails to work from.

grass_silhouettes

(I realized after the fact that it might have been useful to number them.)

Of these, I picked out four silhouettes that I liked, color-picked from reference images, and put together these rough ideas.

grasses_color

I think I am going to need to start putting in more hours into this project if I’m to meet my objectives. Still, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve learned and accomplished thus far.

Finally have a Spider

After less than five minutes of looking up spider reference photos, I started getting the impression that I may have chosen a project that involves a lot of jump-scares.

Twenty-four pictures of different kinds of spiders later, I felt I had a good idea of how to connect the legs to the body; this was a surprising hang-up for me. For something people associate with legs, how the legs actually connect with the body and how the joints of the exoskeleton move were not something I had been thinking very hard about before now.

I didn’t anticipate just how long it would take to research, draw, and edit this piece. Figuring out just how long each concept would take was part of why I chose this project, though, so now it’s just a matter of figuring out how to more effectively use my time.

The spider turned out pretty cute, though, for being a spider.

spider_color

I do think that one of the reasons this piece too longer than I expected was because this is the focal point of the project. This is the spider I’ve been trying to work out into a fleshed out idea for over a month and this is the spider that is at the heart of the project. Due to this heightened importance, I think I psyched myself out and spent more time than I actually needed to in getting it right the first time. Next time, I will try to just get as many ideas down as possible and figure it out from there. I think that will make the next project much less daunting.

Week One in Spiderland

I will admit, I spent a lot more time on research and shooting some (unfortunately low quality) reference photos than I intended to. I also found myself in situations where there were excellent photos to be taken, but I was without a quality camera to take said photos with.

bowlwebREF

This is the image that first gave me the idea for the project. While hiking in Colfax, CA, I found this lovely spider web on my way out of the canyon. I didn’t know what kind of spider had created it and its owner was hiding. After some research, I found out that it belonged to a bowl and doily spider. Here’s a quick summary I found on Wikipedia:

The bowl and doily spider, Frontinella communis, is a species of sheet weaver found in North and Central America. It is a small spider, about 4 mm (0.16 in) long, that weaves a fairly complex sheet web system consisting of an inverted dome shaped web, or “bowl”, suspended above a horizontal sheet web, or “doily”, hence its common name. The spider hangs from the underside of the “bowl”, and bites through the web small flies, gnats and other small insects that fall down into the non-sticky webbing. The webs are commonly seen in weedy fields and in shrubs, and may often contain both a male and a female spider in late summer – like many linyphiids, Frontinella may cohabitate for some time.

For reference, here is a picture (not taken by me) of a female bowl and doily spider:

(Image found here)

Of course, my ideas for a fantasy kind of spider look different. I was really inspired by the landscape in which I found this spider.

ColfaxcaveREF
ColfaxmountainREF

ColfaxrivertrailREF

The Sierra Nevadas were formed by volcanic activity, which is why there is so much granite. The crystallization of different kinds of minerals created the quartz (which will also likely come into play in the final designs of this project). Taking these things into consideration, I wanted to use a conical volcano-like shape for the body of the spider, as seen in the quick sketch below.

spidersketchIDEA

I also wanted to use a granite-like texture.

spidertextureIDEA

I still have a ways to go on the spider design, but these are my sketches thus far. I am still working out how I want the head to look and the legs to connect the the spider. So far, I am only really sure of the silhouette and that I want to scale them up to at least four inches.

Another important part about my inspiration was the tree. I liked how a ground spider had made its home in the knot of a tree. I want that to be linked to my spider’s habitat, but haven’t decided if I want it to remain a more ground-based insect or if I want to have it suspended between trees. Some more reference images for some ideas:

erodedtreerootREF

mossytreeREF

This coming week, I will have more sketches to show! Thank you for taking the time to view my project!

Doing this for class…

As part of today’s class, Frank (our instructor) asked that we post to our blog a few job board listings for jobs that we would be interested in after we graduated. Well, always go big and scale back to reality, SO…

Also, for future reference, gamedevmap.com is a map and catalog of game dev organizations.

So, there you go. I will be posting my week’s work later today!