Recently a writing website was launched, called Beyondaries. This e-zine (electronic magazine) site features authors and artists, giving tips and advice in each quarterly issue. I am the head Illustration columnist for the site, and I wrote an article on my illustration process for Port Yonder Press‘ upcoming book, The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves. The article will also appear in the book, along with all the other short stories and illustrations.
Keep an eye out each quarter of the year for a new article from me and many other worthy writers, sharing our expertise to you and the world.
Please give it a read and drop me a line if you have any questions!
[EDIT: The offer for free drawings was made a long time ago. That offer has, understandably, expired. Thank you!]
Recently I have been creating custom drawings for friends on Facebook for free, and it’s been a wonderful experience! People are happy to see fun, creative artwork being created almost daily and it gives me tons of practice.
The first person I created artwork for was Tiara Brown, since she’s been on me for a few months to create a drawing of her. Here is the final artwork, made with Staedtler drawing pencils.
And here is a comparison of the final portrait piece alongside the photo of Tiara I grabbed from her Facebook albums.
As a special offer to those who read my blog, I’m extending this free, custom artwork offer to you. Just leave a comment on this post with your request and I will add it to my “free artwork for friends” queue.
I will be updating this blog more faithfully, bringing you more news and artwork than before. It’s time to turn over a new leaf. It is a new year, after all. So be expecting awesomeness in the days to follow.
Have a wonderful New Year and may 2012 give you joy and success, bring prosperity to the heart and mind of all people, and not let the world be destroyed this year. Darn you, ancient Mayans!
In my little photography experience I have found that shooting with a zoom lens greatly improves my portrait shoots. The closer I get to my subject, say, using a wide angle lens, the more distortion and stretching of their face I’m going to get. Their nose is going to get enlarged, the sides of their face stretched back – in short, they’re going to look horrible, or at best, like a clown. Using a zoom or higher millimeter lens (a 55mm instead of a 18mm,) I can get a much more accurate portrait of my subject.
Below you can see the difference between lens angle of 18mm and 55mm:
By being able to stand further away from the subject I create a sense of isolation and comfort for the subject, allowing them to act naturally. Getting too close to the model’s face makes them become self-conscious and stiff.
So not only does using a zoom lens, or a lens in the 55mm+ range – help tremendously to create a pleasant portrait of your subject, but it also allows your client to be able to relax and be natural. Ultimately, using the appropriate distance+zoom equals the best portraits you could imagine.
And that’s all, folks. Happy Thanksgiving!
This past week I have been volunteering on Druid Peak, a film written and directed by Marnie Zelnick, featuring Spencer Treat Clark (Gladiator, Unbreakable, The Last House on the Left,) Nathaniel Brown (Enter the Void,) and Armand Schultz (Salt,) while the cast and crew were based here in West Virginia to shoot the beginning of the film.
Druid Peak is about a young man, Owen (Spencer Treat Clark,) who is a footloose, delinquent teenager who finds himself in a load of trouble after a tragic accident where his friend dies. Forced to leave home, he travels to find peace in the wild of Wyoming, tracking wolves with his biological father, a scientist working for Yellowstone’s wolf reintroduction program.
It was a privilege to act as an extra alongside Spencer Treat Clark. I portrayed one of his cronies who rides in the back of an old Ford truck, roughs up a poor young guy, chills in an alleyway at a drinking party, and so forth. Nathaniel Brown portrayed Owen’s best friend, the driver of the old Ford. It was simply amazing being able to work with both of them on this feature.
Besides acting as an extra, I spent most of my free time volunteering as a PA (Production Assistant) on the film, doing anything from running for water bottles, wrapping up set, to mopping up an overflowed toilet. The best part was working with such an amazing cast and crew – each and every one was so hard working. It wasn’t about just getting a job done; it was about doing it with gusto and doing it well. To top it off, they taught me an incredible amount of hands-on techniques in the gaffer and grip departments, where I spent much of my time.
Early Monday morning the cast and crew headed out for the next location, Yellowstone, Wyoming, to finish shooting the movie in the following three weeks. After that, it’s post production and sending the feature film to festivals. I look forward the movie’s completion and to meeting the magnificent cast and crew again – preferably as soon as possible.
A huge thanks goes to the City of Mount Hope for all the exceptional help they provided us in the shooting of this film, including housing, extras, and much more.
Tomorrow I start work on creating an animation in 48 hours. Yes, two days. Me and and a bunch of other CGI artists will be working hard from dusk till dawn, twice over, to create the most stunning, whacky, incredibly-insane short animated movie you’ve ever seen. And it’s the fourth year in a row that we will succeed.
Tomorrow I hit the road to go down to Richmond, VA, which is nearly 5 hours away, to work with the Hand Turkey Studios team to create a film in 48 hours for the Richmond 48-Hour Film Festival. I’ll be at homebase, which will be graciously hosted by Hal Dowdy at Broadscope Media Inc., where we will be kicking off at 7:30pm on Friday, July 22, and start planning, voicing, modeling, animating, texturing, compositing, and rendering constantly until the deadline exactly two days later.
We will be given a few items to include in the short film (a line, a prop, a genre, etc.) to prove we made the animation on within the time constraints.
We’re bringing incredible talent onto the team this year, including Bassam Kurdali (Director of Elephant’s Dream,) who’ll be joining us from Team International; Sebastian König, Dolf Veenvliet, Beorn Leonard (animator for Sintel,) Jarred de Beer (winner of Suzanne Award for Best Animation at the Blender Conference,) Jonathan Williamson (author at CGCookie,) Lee Salvemini, Kernon Dillon (BlenderNewbies,) and Reynante Martinez, to name some. And in Richmond, none other than Roland Hess (author of The Essential Blender and a score of other books,) Sam Brubaker, and our producer and mastermind, Jason van Gumster and his wife, Heather van Gumster. It truly will be a magnificent team – and there is simply too many awesome exploits be each of these names and others on the team to write here, but let it suffice to say: we rock.
I’ll be down in Richmond, VA, this year to capture all the action first-hand and meet other real Blenderheads for the first time. Last year I was on the team for my first time, heralding from the International Team, when we created the sensational Grey Justice: Puncher of Men animation. This year, we can only top the awesomeness by getting closer to the source.
Let it begin.
So, I was asking myself earlier: how could I create a character that looked like something really cool, yet be totally new? And then I wondered, how would I create a character without the humanoid shape? (After all, it’s used way to much with science-fiction alien lifeforms.) My only solution would be to animate inanimate objects – make them come alive. But how uncool is that? And how many times has it be done?
There are animal-people, also called anthropomorphic characters – but that’s not what I’m looking for. So, I suppose I’ll be sticking to the norm and create an awesome character based on the human form, but I’d love to discover if it were possible to create a character that easy to relate to, recognizable as a character, and yet breaks the mold of needing to have eyes, feet, hands, move, or even speak. We don’t need any more living plants eating people – let’s play safe and dive off the deep end with ingenuity.
So the question is, what makes a character a character?
Peace out and please share your thoughts on this!
Copyrights. This is the issue. In today’s society, so quickly moving to the metaphysical sphere known as the Internet, we have to hold tight onto our pajamas and push our work out into a void previously unexplored by the eager practitioner of entrepreneurship. In order to survive in a volatile market where fame is greater than skill, there is one single key that protects your work from the thieves of heartless re-distributors, and that is copyrighting.
As much as your car or your house is your property, so should your work be yours (Lessig, Lawrence The Future of Ideas,) and just as a deed to your land or the title of your vehicle grants you that magical power of ownership, so the copyright empowers you to promote your work without the fear of others, less motivated than yourself, to steal, rehash, re-brand, and sell your hard work.
Artists, like myself, find it difficult to make it day-by-day, taking part in wild ventures of creation, such as illustrating a book on elves for free, or volunteering our time to help a random kid from California we just met promote his groundbreaking innovation in coding development. From our deep desire not only to create, but to be well-known, wealthy, and keep creating, artists deeply value copyrights. For as much as we love to create, we love to keep recreating, and in the spirit of this Richard A. Epstein writes “Some creators are motivated solely by the desire to create and would be happy to distribute their works under simple terms …requiring attribution only. But for most authors, compensation matters.” Because without compensation, we simply cannot survive.
And finally, there definitely is a place for free information: work to be shared by merely attribution and with no monetary reimbursement. Just like the book I’m working on illustrating, some projects are there just to help get our name out. But beyond that, artists, and everyone else across the globe, benefit from a moderation of free information and readily-available knowledge, as can be found on Wikipedia, however unreliable it may be. And as Lessig says, “The opportunity for learning is the Internet.” I agree with this, because I have found a great amount of help in online tutorials for learning 3D.
But what it all comes down to is the simple fact that artists cannot survive on their pencil stubs. They need money, and their work needs protection. And that, my friend, is why we have copyrights.
This is an essay I wrote as practice for the College Composition CLEP, but as it stands alone well, I am sharing it as my view on the issue of copyrighting.
Copyright © 2011 Benjamin Bailey
I suppose I should write a new post, so I will. I realize how lame the intro I just wrote is, but I will continue nonetheless.
I’ve been working at Sheetz for the past, well, over a month now. Recently I’ve been pulling full time, but as the new store quiets down I expect life will also open up more as I shift into part-time.
But on another note…
I still have those illustrations for The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves to finish. I’m in the digital cleanup stage for the rest of the drawings featured in the The Isle of Wight short story, and I may even take a stab at illustrating another story.
I’m also getting back into Blender. Recently I worked on a low-poly model for Freezing Moon‘s game Ancient Beast. Some topology redirection and getting rid of manifolds should bring it close to completion.
I also had a pleasant time yesterday evening helping dream up (and make one of the dishes) for a lovely meal at home. And this evening was enjoyable as well, when my father took us out to eat and then tonight while I was absorbed into watching a lengthy amount of the sequel to Anne of Green Gables.
Well, there’s work tomorrow at 6am again. Good evening, and the best of wishes upon your life! May you find inner peace in all your pursue.
Keep in touch! I have a lot ahead of me.
Yes, I have six more college credits. This morning my sister and I went to Mountain State University testing center, and we both took the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP – a college-level exam. I’m proud to say that I passed with a 78! (Scoring is from 20, being the lowest, to 80, being the highest.)
I’m hoping to apply to a number of different colleges soon, as well for my passport. And oh, there’s that package I need to send to the Sunshine state… anyway, please be in prayer for me concerning my life: finding the right college, the right career, et al.
Now time to write a BlenderNation.com post, work a lot on those illustrations for The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves, and watch more episodes of 24 and perhaps try and old movie like Dial M For Murder.
Yesterday, after work, my sister and I visited Joy Lynn of the Whipple Company Store & Museum We had a nice chat before we had to part ways, my sister and I home, and Joy back to Florida, today.
The hat is by the illustrious Charlotte Lynn. You’ve probably seen or heard of her on my site – in artwork, promo videos, etc. She’s a great friend of mine. Thanks for the present, C!
And oh, also note my epic “New Team Member” banner on my Sheetz nametag – it let’s EVERYONE know I’m a newbie.