I spent much more time focusing on my traditional media work this week than my digital media work.

I’ve been practicing drawing crystals. They are some of my favorite assets in videogames and I wanted to get better at designing my own. I have also been working with a few mechanical items.


I spent a good deal of time working in ink and tea wash. This is a galena crystal. It is used in crystal radios to receive radio signals.


This is a close up on a pair of headphones that were commonly used with crystal radios around the 1910s and 1920s.


This is the cat’s whisker detector. It uses a thin piece of wire to transmit the signal received by the galena crystal to the headphones.


This is a simplified diagram of a crystal radio, showing the crystal diode/cat’s whisker detector in the top right, the headphones at the bottom, the ground, the copper coil used to tune the radio, and the antenna.


These are graphs showing an audio-frequency signal, a modulated signal, and a demodulated signal.


This was a study of a quartz crystal where I used different colors for the different faces while examining the detail of the interior structure.


This is a rose quartz point drawn with red ink.


This is the same rose quartz point done in ink wash.

I ran into a crazy amount of technical difficulties that made it so my photos would not load to my computer. It took a while to get all these photos onto my laptop and then to my blog.

To be perfectly honest…

… I forgot what I was doing. Well, what I was SUPPOSED to be doing. Catering to all the feedback I’ve been receiving in class, I’ve be completely derailed from my original plan. So, about that plan…

These are the concepts that I wanted to complete this semester:

  • Spider and its bowl web
  • Several trees
  • Several plants, flowers, and parasites
  • One or two fish
  • Flying and ground insects
  • One or two small mammals
  • One or two birds
  • A map of the forest
  • 3 environment concept drawings

We are halfway through the semester and I am not halfway through this list. I have a spiderit’s web, several plants (12), and a rough sketch of a map.

So, it’s time to rethink my schedule and my deadlines. I have a blog post for this project due on October 16th, 23rd, and 30th; November  6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th; and December 4th, 11th, and possibly 18th.

What if I cut out doing all those individual assets that I’ve not been getting constructive feedback on and instead focus on the environment? Practice my digital painting of scenes for the rest of the semester and come back to assets if I have some solid pieces and time left over.

This week, after a lengthy conversation and good advice from my friend, Kat Dorland, I’ve decided to scale back to first following a photo reference closely to get the basic idea down. From there, I’m going to tweak it how I need to in order for it to more fully fit my concept. To start, however, I’m using this photo as a base just to get the idea down.


I played around with different strokes and techniques so that I could better understand how to create the different lighting effects to be more photo-realistic (you need to know the rules in order to properly break them for a stylized concept). Next week I’m going to finish off the digital painting so that it’s 100% my own painting and has the composition modified to fit my concept, then I will try another.

I’m also finding that working strictly in digital for this project may not be the best route, so I’m toying around with the idea of doing more traditional media sketches just to get SOMETHING down; keeping what I like to finish it in digital, filing away what I don’t. I’ll do a few sketches for that next week.

Running into Problems

During my last presentation/critique, I found that no one in the class really “got it” in terms of the direction I’m going with my work. Based on what I’ve been presenting since the semester started and the feedback I was given, my concept also isn’t  super memorable as to what I’m trying to accomplish. This was very disheartening.

After consulting with my art/game design friends, though (most of whom “got it” immediately), I figured out that most of this had to do with how I was framing the work. Most of the people in the class are assuming that I’m trying to do something that is extremely realistic and grungy. What I’m actually working toward is highly saturated and a little bit cartoon-ish. Here are a few examples (work belongs to other people; pictures link to sources):

Another issue I ran into is that people didn’t understand my process; probably because I work backwards. I start with assets, fit them into the big picture, then edit. For whatever crazy reason, this works better for me. Not so much for others, I have found out. Painful as it is, I’m chucking my schedule out the window and doing speed paints, per instructor’s request.

Speed painting and I have an almost identical relationship as my cousin and I do. Speed painting mocks me and shows me just how inferior I am and I usually end up crying and avoiding it as much as possible. After years and years of maturing, it’s not as bad, but it still laughs at me when I fail.

Oh, also. Adobe CC kept bugging out and crashing on me, so I kept losing all my work. The files that did save wouldn’t open correctly. This is what I ended up with at the end of all that:


This is a very basic idea of what the area of the forest with the spiders is going to look like. It’s much darker and less saturated than the rest. The spiders don’t take up the whole of the forest, though.


This is a rough idea of a topographical map of the forest as a whole, where the darker greens show forest density, the light green shows more valley/grasslands areas, and the blue is waterways.

I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped due to the mentioned problems and time crunches in other areas, but this is what I have this week.