Just a concept art exercise. I revived this post from a few years ago.
The purpose of this article:
This is essentially a long post about overcoming creative struggles. I consider myself a creative expert; I write, I make music, I draw. But I’ll tell you this: the struggle never fully goes away. And if it does, then you’ve fallen into a comfort zone, a rut, and you need to step out of it—pronto!
I go into detail here primarily to share my experiences with brand new artists. I will share with you which stages were the most difficult for me to overcome, and how I did so.
Let’s get started.
Scar falls in love with a lovely earthling snowplow. She’s brand new, having never been ridden or used for plowing, and to Scar’s tastes she happens to have the right metallic sheen in the right places. Scar’s a battle-dented warrior, but something about this modest creature is alluring.
What would their child look like?
Morph Scar from Battlestar Galactica with… a snowplow?
An odd goal, I know.
I got the idea from Scott Robertson, who, in his book Start Your Engines (a must-have for any product designer or concept artist), discusses what he calls a mechanimal: a “fun sketching assignment where the student chooses an animal to use as the initial source of inspiration to design a vehicle.”
Here’s a mechanimal I did last month (my girlfriend chose an animal at random for me; it was panda):
Following that example, to challenge my technical and creative abilities, I decided to do similar exercise. Here’s how I did it:
1. Get a handle on Scar’s dimensions with a quick sketch:
2. Draw Scar’s half-breed snowplow-raider child:
Me: “I present to you… Scar’s half-breed snowplow raider child!”
Girlfriend: “He looks like a rhino beetle“
3. Back to the drawing board:
4. Draw Scar’s half-breed snowplow-raider child minus the rhino beetle features:
Very nice start! I was happy. It was time to add perspective.
5. Flesh out Scar Jr. in three-quarter view:
Note the signature at the bottom right. I meant for this to be my final piece on the Scar/snowplow saga. The next day I had a rude awakening: if Scott Robertson were my professor, he’d give me a D-. This piece lacked passion. The perspective is off in a few spots. So I tried again, continuing to push my own boundaries…
6. Back to the drawing board… again.
Experimenting with perspectives
7. I present to you… Scar’s half-breed snowplow raider child!
I broke new ground here! For the first time in my life, I implied sources of light (notice the streetlamps) by not sketching in those areas and easing into them with a gradient. I see artists do this all the time, but I was never brave enough to try it.
Note the signature at the bottom right. The next day—you guessed it—I had another rude awakening. Yes, the sketch had passion—kind of—but it didn’t have snow! The guy was supposed to be running for his life, shrieking wildly, about to dive away from the oncoming avalanche. Instead, he strolled peacefully as Scar Jr. rumbled by at 10mph.
8. Back to the drawing board.
The topmost thumbnails are just random shapes and lines; experimentation with value. This practice is used by many artists, and works wonders when it comes to unlocking your creativity. Soon enough, I was drawing thumbnails of Scar’s child in perspective again.
And, I’m proud to say, these sketches had passion.
They were doing Battlestar Galactica justice.
And that tv show is all about passion!
9. Three days later, I completed this:
Aha! There’s a sketch I’m proud of! Kind of.
I had no idea how to draw snow, and I didn’t waste much time on it, except to detail the front where the snow split across the plow face. The already-plowed sludge doesn’t look like snow, but that’s okay. The movement and detail at the front and the easily-recognizable plow do enough to convey that the other “white stuff” in the background is also snow.
Note the signature at the bottom right.
Okay, look, the rendering is pretty crappy, especially at Scar Jr.’s backend. The perspective is off a bit. I couldn’t give up just yet.
So I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone and tried my hand at digital painting, with Photoshop.
And now, without further ado, the conclusion (finally!) of this post about struggling, concept art, Scar, love with a snowplow, and Battlestar Galactica, a truly impressive tv series….
10. Scar’s child, a cylon raider snowplow:
No, it’s not perfect. But it’s a heck of a letter better than where I started.
I thank you for reading through this journey with me, and I hope my efforts have benefitted you in some way.
Until next post…