Thursday, November 28, 2013

I won't take this sitting down!

I once heard a great piece of advice; never skimp on shoes or beds, because if you're not in one then you're in the other. Great, but for a large amount of us, not very accurate.


Ergonomic Orthopaedic (Systematic Hyyyyyydromatic, why, it's Greased Lightning) chairs are all the rage. Expensive, at times uncomfortable but proven to be GOOD for you, especially if you're in the business of sitting down and drawing for a million hours.
But what if you don't have 500 quid to shell out on a fancy chair? Are backaches and sores the only port of call, or is there something you can do about it?

First, you could start by getting up and walking around more. Good for the head, and good for the muscles. Usually I'm up and down every 40 minutes or so for a minute or two; either a natural break or a break called by nature. Tea, the cause and solution to all of life's problems.

Secondly, you can be careful of your posture. You should be sitting up straight while you work, and not some extreme of slouched under your desk or clambered over your Wacom like it's your 'precioussss'
To help with this, check the height of your monitor. The top of your monitor should be in line with your eye level when you're sitting correctly. This is where phone books can still come in handy on a daily basis.

But something I've been wanting to try is working at a standing station, so I've begun today. I instantly felt more alert, and being able to look away or move about much freer felt significantly less constricting than I realised I'd been using a standard setup. I had a large box to elevate my intuos and keyboard, and while it wasn't quite big enough, it didn't put me off. My shoes were definitely not comfortable enough, but it's absolutely something I'm going to keep trying out.

I looked online for rising/sinking workstations, but I'm not paying 500 quid when I can juse take my monitor off my tower and keep a box beside my desk. Right now though, I'm sitting down, and not-sure-if-related, ready for some sleep.

But first, I have some colouring to do.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekly Roundup

I was really not feeling it last week when it came to me painting, so I set myself some exercises.
The first was to paint 3 things in the same file, on top of each other. The first three are the result of this. It's a great way to vent your brain; if you see a pattern or theme you can work with it, or if not you can ditch it and move on. I was in Paris last weekend, so cue urban spaces and airports :D 

I did miss my stream last week, so I did a quick pic up later in the week. Was really unhappy with how it turned out, and after two hours of hammering away I realised that using photo textures in my work changes the feel SIGNIFICANTLY, and not necessarily in a way I can comfortably control. The version below is before I got stuck in with photobanging galore, and to be honest I'm happier with it at this point.

In search of comparison, I looked at some of my favourite artists, and they didn't seem to use it all that much, so I decided for this week to shelf that tool and just paint something straight off the bat. I did some playing with design first out, and then knocked this one out for fun.

Oh , and if you're interested in catching these fresh off the presses, check out my twitter account @ciaranlucas :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013


So, every year I do a Ratchet and Clank pic, and with Into the Nexus fresh off the presses and big spacewalky adventures in the trailer I couldn't resist giving this a shot. FUN.

Last year's offering can be found here (and there's links to all the older ones from there, if you'd like an embarrassing look at my fanarts through the years ;)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gonna be Streaming ;)

So I'm gonna be streaming while I work on my annual Ratchet and Clank picture in about 2 hours over at 
Feel free to drop in and say 'hi' or other words; I'm cool with the english language ;)
 photo ratchet2013b_zps7593d595.jpg

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weekly Roundup

Wow, that week really flew in!

This one took up a _lot_ of my time, but I wanted to bring out some of the stuff I'd learned over the past months and put it into a personal painting and finish it to a level where I was happy with it. 

In sort of a flipside to the earlier one, I'm really not all that happy with how this turned out. Anthro characters can either be cute or creepy, and I hadn't tried to draw a Chow before. In the heel of the hunt, it ended up on the creepy side of the fence. Boo. Learn and move on. I was playing with a new technique too, and SOME of it worked.

The time I'd burned on that chow picture was bothering me, so I did one or two spitpaints to bring the speed back up. Warden and War Ghost. Warden was fun because I wanted to play on expressions more than anything else, and am happy with the result. 

 It's November, which means it's time to start work on my Ratchet pic for this year. For those of you that don't know, I have done a Ratchet and Clank fanart every year since 2004, and use it as a metric for whether or not I've improved. So, every year I realllllly try and push the boat out, and with Into the Nexus coming out I get to play around in SPACE. Hopefully next year I'll be on a buzz from the movie.
 I might hold off on colouring this one until next week's stream.

If not, I'll find something else fun for ye to watch. If you want to make any suggestions for stuff you'd like to see, hit me up here or on twitter @ciaranlucas 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Unusual Visitor

So here's a breakdown of the picture I did for the stream last night for any of you that missed it.
Originally this was gonna be a 30 minute spitpaint, but after about 25 mins in I thought 'well, I could fix that pose, or play up the old lady's design and go to town on the whole thing' I did! 
I spent a bit of time on the linework; I wanted to have a bit more of a solid environment than some of the other work I've been doing lately, as well as play with the design of the old lady.

I started using a thinner line for my inking, which has thrown my scripts out of whack so there was a LOT of painting back into the flats. Next time I'll just work A3 and double up my brush if my computer can handle it. At least that's the boring bit over!

I did some quick lighting studies; originally I wanted to have the strong downlight with the lamp providing some rimlight but folks in the stream liked this version. Reallllly fast and loose, and definitely my favourite bit of the whole thing.

LOTTTTTS of rendering. The bug was fun; I haven't really painted that many insects before so it was a fun challenge.

 Some  texturing to finish it off...was a lot of fun to use floral patterns I'd usually balk at. But yeah, a lot of fun. Hope you like it!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Week the Second!

A couple of years ago, I was having a bad day and I doodled a baby panda. A couple of days ago, I was having a bad day and I drew a this. Much like the panda, it's innacurate, doodley and just a bit of a vent. 

I didn't get to do many spitpaints this week, but I did do one or two. So some forests and firetemples, capped at 30 mins.
The speed of the spitpaints has really come in handy for quick colour thumbs and colour scripting. It's pushed me down more of a select-it-and-go mentality, and pushed a blockier Mary Blair inspired approach. I've been hesitant of going that route for years, but I'm finding it very freeing and totally something I'm gonna play more with in the future.

I was trying a few different things in the stream, and after playing a bit of Skyrim decided to draw this fellow. Only when I was finishing did I think that sword looked a bit familiar. Oh well, I like it anyway.

 Last up is some games work for Brindysoft that I'm allowed to show. Chris Brind  is a joy to work with and I had a lot of fun mixing up different approaches for this one :D

 I've also been doing some Gallery of Mo Mo'traits  and if you'd like one of my very limited number of portraits get in touch through the site. All in aid of Movember!