Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
Recently I stumbled onto a video by Trent Kaniuga talking about artist burnout and how to refuel the fire. If you stuck somewhere along your creative journey / professional career, or maybe in the middle of recharging your batteries, I recommend you to check out Trent's thoughts. The basic idea is to reconnect with the kid inside of you. For the younger audience this probably wouldn't make much sence, but for grown-ups it should ring a bell:

Over the years I watched how my friends and colleagues have literally vanished. Technically some of them are still painting, but you don't hear of them much. Does it mean that our creativity fades out just like youth? I don't think so, more likely it's a shift of priorities when people put family, job security etc. onto first place. Sure, older dudes can turn back into kids while heavy drinking, playing games, watching movies etc., but in the end the adult side still prevails.

So what do you guys think? Is it possible to maintain both child's naïveté and adult's responsibility?
Haven't been around for months and you know what? Nobody even noticed! Guess I can safely retire now without any regrets. :D

This year would be my 20th anniversary in digital art and boy so much have changed since I picked up stylus for the first time. So many great tools and resources are available for you today! Basically all you need is drive and passion to fulfil your wildest dreams. :) You can nurture almost any hobby from collecting exotic bugs to crafting medieval armor. Even if you simply appreciate art you can feed your senses on a daily bases.

Anyway hope you guys (at least these who still there) have a happy and fun 2019! Cheers! :ahoy:
Dragon Quest is probably one of the oldest RPG series spanning over 30 years. With the first release in 1986 and the latest one in 2017 it's quite a mileage for the videogame franchise. That's really interesting is the lead development team is still the same - scenario writer and game designer Yuji Horii, character designer Akira Toriyama and music composer Koichi Sugiyama. Can you imagine working with the same guys for thirty years without stabbing each other? :D

On a serious note, I found this Dragon Quest XI prologue movie setting quite a vibe for the upcoming adventures. Love all these tiny details they put into this fantasy tale:

CDPR has recently released a gameplay video for Cyberpunk 2077, an upcoming RPG based on tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020. While fans already debating over the visual quality and gameplay features (though it's still work in progress, people either excited or upset), I'm basically gobsmacked by the sheer amount of work the devs put into making Night City alive. Somehow it reminds me of Ghost in the Shell manga by Masamune Shirow, with its insane body modifications, cybernetworks, mix of hi-tech society and underworld, all these bits and pieces.

It's exciting yet depressing at the same time, knowing that it's impossible to build such interactive worlds without a huge team.

Fortunately it doesn't stop fans from realising their own wild dreams, like the Chrono Break Trailer created by Im5on:

At glimpse it may look like a fantastic remake of the classic game, but it's completely unofficial fan work. :thumbsup:

On a final note, Streets of Rage 4 is an official remake of classic beat 'em up by Sega:

Love the retro style intro look and character design. Btw, these guys also did a remake of another classic game Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap. Check it out!

Cudos to all the  involved artists and devs! :)

Browsing through my old posts I've noticed a bunch of usernames with strikeout. These deviants either cancelled their accounts or have been shut down. I wonder how many of you guys survived over the years? My own counter will turn 10 years soon and it feels like an eternity. I saw many artists come here, rise (and sometimes fall), shift to other venues and finally disappear from the radar.

Kalen k04sk Chock recently brought an issue, that once you become a 'pro' you'll get more conscious about your own work and appearance. As a result you abandon such playgrounds as DA, because they doesn't suit your pro image anymore.

From my teaching experience I can say that in the beginning you are very concerned about your inexperience, you afraid to look foolish to your students. But somewhere along the way you realize that you can answer pretty much every question, and even if you don't, you just openly admit it without any fear. Can you imagine your professor saying to you: well I don't know, but if you try this or this... :) Because well, you aren't a computer and you can't know or remember everything. Does it hurt your image, your status quo? Depends on a person I believe, but I'm still getting a plenty of tricky questions. :)

Growing up both physically and professionally causes your life goal(s) shift anyway, but you shouldn't sacrifice your human side to some labels. Heck, there is an animated short from Pixar called Inner workings that illustrate this concept much better than words!
I expected they would hold these till the Last Jedi release...

Swd08 Praetorian-guard by agnidevi  Swd08 Captain-phasma by agnidevi
Check out this music video by DAOKO × Kenshi Yonezu from the upcoming Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom? anime. (Japanese title: 打ち上げ花火、下から見るか?横から見るか?). Beautiful mix of animation, music and lyrics.

Warning: the following text contains some NSFW images.

The original Black Sorceress piece was commissioned by the Japanese company for a mobile card game set in Bahamut series. These mobile games are extremely popular in Asia (and other countries too!) due to addictive gameplay and relatively low production cost. Because they focusing on playing/collecting cards mainly, there is an ever-growing demand for artists to do all those illustrations that players will see in-game. Each company has a certain set of rules on what they can and can't show on their cards. Asian developers are usually more flexible, so sometimes their titles have been toned down for western market release.

For my personal version I didn't want to replicate the existing piece, as it leads only to a technical exercise. Therefore, my first challenge was to find an idea for the new look and feel for the sorceress. Well, sometimes I do have a clear picture in my mind right off the bat, but sometimes it's just a vague feeling. I knew I need a strong, grown-up woman with feminine charm. I feel I need to portray her sexy and seductive appearance in a subtle way. This means no weird, twisted poses you see in today’s game illustrations and fan arts. But besides these thoughts I didn't have any picture(s) in my mind.

To kickstart my imagination I flip through the collection of reference images until something hooks me in. It could be anything from the facial expression of some random character up to the abstract bits and pieces. And by reference images I mean all kind of images: from Kill la Kill anime stills to Renaissance paintings. Comparing to smoking weeds and consuming alcohol (I believe this is how some people came up with their crazy ideas :D), this wouldn't ruin your health and affect your productivity in the long run.

Note, if you found something (a photo or a painting) that looks just like you think what you need - use it. Put it right next to your drawing, paint over it or even trace it. Unless you're doing studies, chances are that your work will need further modifications anyway. And by using the existing sources you're saving time, quickly checking if this idea works or not. By the way, this is where photobashing came from - you don't want to spend half a week painting rocks or trees for your concepts. Here people would debate if it's legit or not, but consider this -- If you rely too much on tracing or photobashing, at some point it will limit the way you think, draw and paint. Instead of choosing breathtaking angles or interesting composition, you'll stick to familiar shapes and angles over and over. This may not be an issue if you're happy with your stuff and it helps to pay the bills. But when a creative crisis hits you, you'll need to overcome these habits in order to reach new heights.

Once I’m tuned in I start sketching, trying to express what I saw in the references and what I have in my mind. Usually I don't worry about quality at this stage, because nobody will see these scribbles anyway. This is how my first approach look like:

Sorc Step01 by agnidevi

If you paint all the time, your scribbles would be much better and precise, but if you had a long break or work irregularly don’t expect miracles. It takes a while to brush up your rusted skills.

I sketch over the white canvas with simple round/angular brushes and light blues. You can use whatever colors and brushes you like and feel comfortable with. There are many brush sets available online, so try what works for you. Usually I'm sketching in a separate layer, adding new layers on top of each other for every major step or revision. This is a non-destructive way of working, where you add a new pose or element without erasing your previous steps. Just knock down the opacity for previous layers and work in a new one. Of course, I use eraser if something isn't right. In my previous example you can see two passes done in a similar fashion.

In a few more steps, the sorceress' pose and look starting to take shape. As you can see, it's relatively simple, as I don't want her body to literally scream with sexiness:

Sorc Step02 by agnidevi

I really like her top but her legs were still questionable. If I'm not sure about something, I usually use big brushes with broad strokes to lay out volumes and masses first. I knew the shape and position of her legs would play a major role for her overall look and character appearance. Surprisingly I couldn't find anything usable in my reference library or online. Only old pin-ups (see Gil Elvgren for example) and photos (check Betty Page) were close but not close enough. Fortunately, these days you have many tools available if the reference library fails you.

I didn't have a wooden doll, so I used digital one to set up the pose. There are Poser, DAZ Studio, DesignDoll, XNALara and other software allowing you to experiment with digital characters. Of course you can model your own characters and do your own rigging in Max, Maya etc. if you have enough time and proper skills. Comparing to physical objects, virtual dolls have tricky controls that may drive you nuts, even if you're familiar with character rigging. Therefore, I didn't bother about perfect match and just focus on blocking the basic body parts. All I need is joints and body parts position. Keep in mind that these tools will only give you a foundation instead of accurate reference. So just like in the photo reference's case - use it, but be aware of its limitations.

For the sorceress' hand I quickly snap a reference using bathroom’s mirror and my smartphone (see, these aren’t for naughty selfies only! :D). I didn't send photo to my workstation, instead I look at smartphone screen while painting. Very handy actually! Another way is to put a mirror near your workplace and look at it while painting. Animators do it all the time to study facial expressions as well as some illustrators.

Using these methods I created a clean pass of the sorceress, fixing anatomy and refining details. This isn't a lineart you see in comics, just a more refined version done with the same rounded brushes. Simultaneously using soft brushes I put a bit of shading here and there to define the forms:

Sorc Step03 by agnidevi

At this point I've got an idea that it could be a pinup cover for Sorceress swimsuit special (Fairy Tail anyone?) fictional magazine. Her pose and gesture suggests she's sitting on the beach, brushing her wet hair or doing something else. I quickly put some sort of swimsuit and consider my preliminary work complete.

A few days later I realized that her legs aren't good enough in terms of posing. I need more expressive and playful curves, so I repaint her lower body completely. I also fixed additional issues like head size or belly button position and added more hair strands behind her back. At this point the body structure is refined and the next step is to design an outfit and add some environment.

Sorc Step04 by agnidevi

A quick note on nudity. Actually, you don’t need such refined body structure if your character will wear layers of clothing or armor pieces. It just not practical. All you need is correct joints positions and body parts length (unless you’re doing cartoon/deformed character, but that’s another story). In my case, I knew it would be either a swimsuit piece or some equally sensual outfit, so I spent more time on her anatomy.

Well this is the conclusion of part 1 on preliminary drawing. Hope it was fun and maybe you learned a thing or two. :)

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
I thought to give a crack on Black Sorceress piece, painting another...

Edit: 4 hours later...
Duh! I forgot it's summer time and this place is dead quiet. :sun: :relax:

Nevermind guys, nothing to see here, move along... *waves hand*

PS. Anyway, if you're curious, I'm thinking to paint a similar piece and I thought I could make you guys involved. The simpliest way would be adding your DA profile names onto magic tomes, various props etc., put some gags and cameos here and there just for fun. Dunno how viable this idea is, but you'd never know until you try.
Update: Here is a pre alpha footage of The Last Night's gameplay if you're curious. From the in-game menus to pixelated crowds and moody surroundings it almost looks like a cyberpunk movie.

Quite a lot of games have been announced on E3' 2017 and I just stumbled into this lil gem. Pixel art is nothing new and used in many indie and '8-bit' game projects but The Last Night's art direction is truly special. This is how you blend old school with modern technology. Absolutely stunning piece of work!

First, listen to this:

And then watch this:

What really hooks me there is a combination of hand drawn animation, atmosphere and vision. The guys (a relatively small team) did an amazing job creating this dark fantasy world that you can experience first hand in Ash of Gods game.
Recently I've been working on a cover for sci-fi tabletop RPG FAITH. The guys are now on Kickstarter and if you're into sci-fi and tabletop gaming you may want to check out their campaign.

Faith Ks Logo by agnidevi

Originally I planned a very classy flying car, a mix between 50-60's classic and modern concepts like FFZERO1 or Toyota FT-1. There is something in those classic lines and futuristic carbon panels. Here you can see my attempt prior to detailing pass:

Car Pass 01 by agnidevi

Eventually the car was cut for a open, bike-like vehicle which allows more crazy action and dynamics the devs were looking for. The background was also both fun and challenging to do, with lots of neon signs and kilometer tall skyscrapers.
So nowadays you can just take other people's work and get your own services up and running... cool!

Perhaps I too, should start selling ponies instead of painting... or try sewing plush baby Groot toys!

Fiverr by agnidevi
Sometimes I’ve got notes with questions that potentially could benefit more people besides the person looking for advice. Though I always reply privately, this time I decided to answer here (with permission of course).

ILLABT asked:

I would like to learn how to draw comics for fun and maybe for sale, but I have a lot of learning to do.

I love the style of this series:…

Can you direct me to get started? My hope is to use 3D drawings as my base and turn them into an art style that looks like the referenced page. Is that possible?

Absolutely. You can use whatever tools you like to do your stories. Some artists like to work digitally, some prefer traditional approach and some just combine the strength of both worlds.

When drawing comics you should remember that story comes first. Great art helps to attract reader’s attention but it won’t last long if your story is boring. A great deal of modern cinema suffers from it. Lots of money spend on effects and technology while stories are often clichéd or just plain dull resulting in poor box office performance.

However there is a specific genre that doesn’t require any storytelling at all. You know what I’m talking about. If you decide to go that way, well that’s fine just keep in mind that many 2D/3D adult comics are just poorly done. 3D allows you to quickly slam any kind of characters into crazy poses and actions and that’s it. Some creators walk an extra mile and study lighting & composition so their renders doesn’t look generic.  But they are still miles away from, let’s say Paolo Serpieri’s Druuna. Another thing to note is that many modern hentai and ecchi manga have a very specific framing, focusing mainly on various body parts. Like 20+ pages of butts and tits. Again, study masterpieces like City Hunter by Hojo Tsukasa. Adult works could be both fun and entertaining if done properly.

If you are into ‘normal’ stories, then pick something that resonates with you and study it. Literally frame by frame. Don’t just drool over the pages, try to understand the story rhytm and beats, the decisions behind each panel. In order to get started you need to feed you visual library first.

Remember, there would be a huge resistance in the beginning. Everything will break, fall apart, looks bad and so forth. In the other words, your resolution will be constantly tested. Are you that serious or just fooling around? How much it will take to knock you out? One punch? Two? Three more? I've seen young artists giving up, falling back or go easy, comfy road instead of fighting back.

On a technical side, 3D could be used ‘as is’ or as a base for further rendering. I usually block out a scene to test camera angles and lighting in some cases. Then I can trace it down, paint over it or use like a reference. mldoxy have a great bunch of tips that will help you with the basics. Software wise there are programs like Poser, DAZ, XNA, DesignDoll, Blender, ClipStudio, Shade etc. either for free or fairly resonable price. The problem with 3D though, and especially with 3D characters is that it looks stiff. It takes a great deal of time and effort to get the expressiveness and emotions out of polygons and subdivs. Take a look at all the work that Pixar and Disney guys are doing on their movies.

In conclusion, learn the storytelling basics first. Study other comics, books, games, movies etc. to fill up your own visual library and spark your imagination. Know what you want. Every little step counts. Keep going and consider obstacles as your friends. Without them you’ll get rusted.

Well it's already there on our side of the globe, and I hope you guys have a great time, safe and happy holidays! Cheers with Champagne Emoticon 

I know that for some of you it doesn't feel any special, just another date in calendar, yet consider it as a new blank page in your life book. Should you continue and project another chapter of cynical, seen-it-all attitude? Or do something different, something 'stupid'? There is a Disney short Inner Workings that perfectly describes these scenarios.

And these who are still waiting, have a blast guys! Join us in 2017! :D

Happy New Year! :D :peace:

dunno if you guys are still around, but I urge you to take a look at 2016 ILM Art Department Challenge results. In short - massive inspiration! Really. Go take a look. I salute all survivors, you guys rock! :salute: And congrats to the winners!

On another note Halo Mythos is out in US. It's super rewarding to see Halo fans enjoying both artwork and the book. Haven't seen it myself but here is a few snapshots with the pieces I did:

I wonder how do you guys deal with meltdown or cooldown? How do you get back on track? After being for months in trenches working on Halo book I found myself in a blank state. There are lots of personal paintings to be finished (also comic pages and a game) but I don't want to touch my brushes. Doesn't feel like a depression/exhaustion as I keep going to work, run errands and do chores. Images and ideas are still popping up so it's not a creative block either. Maybe it's some sort of cooldown phase after you run the marathon? I dunno... just hope it's not a permanent one.
Oh what a coincidence! Just wanted to address this issue...

Gus by agnidevi

The reason I'm not posting here (and anywhere else) is this:

Halomythoscfarticle Sm by agnidevi

Since the last spring I've been in touch with the guys at 343 Industries and Egmont Publishing, working on a 'secret' project alongside with some other artists. If you unaware of Halo franchise, it's a series of videogames expanded later into other media like books, comics, toys, animation an so on.

Halo: Mythos is a comprehensive, illustrated guide to the Halo universe, charting humanity's battles against alien forces of the Covenant, Forerunners, and the Flood. Even if you aren't into games, Halo is a very well written sci-fi universe with interesting characters and story arcs.

The job was to depict some of the iconic characters and dramatic events. Each artist worked on his own chapter, illustrating events from the specific time period. All I can say is that I'm extremely happy with the results. I've adopted some new techniques and pushed myself to the limit so expect some surprises. :) The only catch is that the book is set to release in October 2016 so you won't see anything soon.

But that's not all!

If you're into numbers, here is a comparison of my 2014 and 2015 work folders:

2014 Vs 2015 by agnidevi
In 2015 I've got almost two times more data with 5k+ files and 300 folders and these are just work files (my reference and photo collections settle on another drives). And it's not just Halo...

I thought I could retire now and lay down on sunny beach with hot girls around... :D

BUT as I read your replies on my previous post I've got surprised how many people are still there. And most important, I saw how lucky I am to have such a fantastic readership... even if I'm not posting fanart/pinup/nudes on a daily basis!
Um... I wonder how many of you guys are still alive and rockin' here?

I recently read that deviantart is dying (what? again?!) and people are leaving in droves. Really? I have quite the opposite feeling although my perception could be biased as I keep a low profile here.

UPDATE: Speculations aside parallellogic collected some data on deviantart activity over time. As you can see both comments and deviations rates are headed down.

Typically only a few people read and respond to season greetings so I'll keep it short.

The passing year wasn't an easy one for many of us. And things will be shuffling around in the upcoming one too.

I'd say put your fears aside and follow your dreams anyway. Consider every new year as a chance to change your life for good.

You have a palette with full range of colors from darkest to brightest ones. Now think, what you'd like to paint?

That's how you build your future and chase your dreams.

See you in 2016.