Sunday, August 7, 2016

The End: Moving On (Thank You!)

Well... I think we're nearing the end of this blog's usefulness. With my final semester looming and real life after that, I really need to start getting my art out there in ways that people can find me. I'll continue on Tumblr (which I've begun posting on!), and probably Instagram. If you have no interest following me to another platform, I completely understand- Thank you for being here while I've struggled and pushed to improve. 

Here's a final pose and render on the character I've been working on. I'm still trying to figure out materials and textures, and I'd like to do a more exciting pose, but that will come soon!

Some materials and pre-pose.

This next was a progress shot on the character's hammer.

This is one of the things I'm working on next. He's a big punching punchmonster.

So there you go. Thank you for everything, and hope to see you soon.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Independent Study Week 4: The Wire

Despite the remaining two weeks of independent study, it really feels like things are happening quickly. I started another character this week. It's coming along, but I'm still embarrassed by how it's looking, so you don't see it yet. Here's progress on the demon guy;

Kaitlin tells me his toes look like Cheetos. I feel like compared to the rest of him, his legs are lacking something. I can't decide if I want to do shoes or armor on his thighs. That will probably be decided this week, in addition to building him a war hammer. I also aim to have the other character in a presentable state.

I got together with some art friends yesterday and it was a really good time. We had great discussions about work and drawing and it really got me pumped. I drew some stuff in my sketchbook I didn't hate. Is the slump coming to an end? I certainly hope so.

Here's a thing I'd like to finish. Behold the Psychic King, a giant alien entity from beyond the edge of space hell-bent on enslaving humanity. We find our hero at the apex of his rocket jump, the climax of this duel: When he presses a button, his blade's turbine spools up and the boosterblade carves in twain all matter unfortunate enough to stand in its way. Wind whistling through his ears, he knows there's only chance to strike the vulnerable brain of his foe before losing his mind to the crushing mental influence of the King. He prays his timing is correct and pulls the trigger.

This next one is an edit by me. I drew it with a pen in my sketchbook as seen above, but I moved the jumper for the sake of the design. I'll probably go with this instead.

The rest of my sketchbook from yesterday:

There you go. I'm gonna do some cool stuff this week! Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Progress on the Cutie

Progress on the work in progress. I hope to have him armed for the next update, and maybe textured. That would be excellent!

I did a one-hour study from this collection of photographs. I wish I had the line work, because I felt it was much more spot on, but apparently I closed the document without saving, so this is all you get.

Finally, I have some sketchbook stuff I didn't hate from this week. I've noticed that I have to slog through about an hour of warmup nonsense before I start doing stuff I like. I need to make the time to squeeze in more sketchbook, since I'm not going to finish this one by tomorrow. I'm not even halfway there!

Until next time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Studies from Figure Drawing

Hi. Today (Now yesterday) Kaitlin and I are going to a friend's wedding, so I took the day off. She'll be here to pick me up any minute, but I spent the morning scanning in some of the images from my figure drawing class. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed as I flipped through these. I remember doing some really killer stuff, but most of these weren't at all impressive.

Truthfully, I was also tired of scanning 5 images in the big (but not big enough) scanner here at school and then stitching them together. There's a few really nice gesture drawings I didn't upload and a couple other charcoal studies I didn't want to deal with. But whatever.

This was the final project. I did a pretty initial drawing and, in typical Zach fashion, ruined it when I tried to render it out. Probably my biggest frustration was the mess I made of her hand. I managed to salvage it to what you see here in the last 15 minutes, but this could have been the best drawing of my life. Maybe next time.

I love the poses with the chair. I noticed many of my classmates neglecting to use it, but it provides such a great measuring tool for getting things proportioned correctly.

For this last one, Perry had the model wear black articles of clothing and our job was to just draw them as though they were solid shapes. It was a fun exercise!

That's all I have for today. My sketchbook is still struggling, but my demon-building is going well. Expect more of that soonish!

Also? We didn't have a single male model all summer. Hopefully future figured classes amend this.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Dark Times: Slump City

It's been a busy couple weeks. I scanned probably 8 sketchbook pages for upload, but when I opened everything up to prepare them, they were't really good enough to put here. I'm just under halfway through my current sketchbook. I won't finish by the 18th (or 17th, I can't remember when I hit the month mark). So far, it's a bit of an embarrassment in there! I've been slumping pretty seriously in that department. I really want to push myself out of this soon.

In other news, independent study is going fine. Today marks the beginning of the 3rd week. The first week I spent working on a previously mentioned project for a client. Last week I finished the basic sculpt for my first character. This week I want to do a detail pass and extrude clothes and armor. It would be ideal to finish this guy so I could do a couple more, but this is going slower than I anticipated. Hopefully things pick up! Expect more of this guy soon, as well as stuff from the figure drawing class from first block.

Oh, as a sidenote, I'm using a great tutorial from Kurt Papstein's Gumroad. Check him out here. He's great!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


About the title? Ask my mother to tell you the story.

I need to finish more work. This was just a quick thing I threw together tonight. Now bed. Only 2 more days of class. Will I survive? Perhaps.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

BONUS: I Did It?

I told you I'd polish the guy from last time,

and I DID!

Also, two posts in a week? Sink me!

Now I have to go do homework until Kaitlin gets home! She's at a baby shower.

EDIT @ 5:40 PM: I just realized that his big punchy right arm doesn't seem to connect to his body properly. I didn't notice it until now! Also, his head design is kind of silly and I think lost the magic of the original sketch. I may have to revisit this one!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sketchbook Completed: Independent Study Is Go!

It's true. I've FINALLY got second block classes set up! Independent study is happening! This means I can drop a class Fall semester and still graduate. Won't that be nice? I'm hoping to take some of these sketches to a finished state and build them in ZBrush. If I came out of summer 2016 with 4 or 5 (or 3 or 2 or 1, let's be honest) finished characters that would be aces. Moving on!

Today is Thursday? A week from now my figure drawing class will be over! I've done some nice drawings and will scan those in to show you. I'm posting today because I finished a sketchbook, the last in my 3 pack. My new one has 100 pages compared to the Moleskine's 60 and is significantly bigger (9x12 inches vs 7.5x10). This larger size is what I typically use, but I'm concerned that after having filled 3 smaller ones I'll have a tough time finishing in a month. I had forgotten how massive 9x12 is!

These sketches are the last of the Moleskine. 

In this first one we have the punching guy. Punching is a theme in my work, I think. It's great! I want to work on him a bit more, but we'll see. I seem to have a hard time finishing pieces...

Recently, I was going through some older stuff I had uploaded to this blog (circa 2013). It's terrible! I'm shocked by what I thought was viable upload material. So much of what's on here from that time is basically scribbles. It's nice to see that I've improved, especially when it can be difficult to feel that improvement in my regular day-to-day. 

Back to work!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Summer Is Busy

I have to go to bed, but here's stuff I've sketched on the bus and between figure drawing poses in class. I haven't done 3D for weeks and am still working on getting my second independent study squared away. Glancing at these again, I feel like I missed something. I'll have to go look. There's two weeks left before 2nd block begins. 

Also, I can't stop listening to  Dasein by First Fragment. If you're into deathmetal, give it a listen.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sketchbook Dregs

We've almost got the summer's second block scheduling woes squared away, which I thought would be nice, but it's turned out to be the least of my worries.

The figure drawing class has been a frightening nightmare. We had an assignment due this week and I spent 8-10 hours struggling to complete it on time. Because of this I had no choice but to get behind on sketchbook. I spent most of my day yesterday and a few hours this morning catching up! It's nice to finally be where I should, but I'm concerned the next assignment will throw a wrench into things again. 

Here's the last of the sketchbook I was talking about last time. This new sketchbook is off to a rough start, which I'm actually okay with because I had a really nice couple weeks. I'll get it back.

When I get a spare second I work on UV's for the 3D guy. It's super slow going since my time is all being funneled into figure drawing, but hopefully now I'm caught up I can spend a little more time getting through this and getting to the fun part (texture painting).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's Me Again (SMALL UPDATE)

Well, I figured out my class schedule... Kinda. I'll be doing independent study with a couple teachers during the second block to meet the credit requirements since the blessed 3D portfolio class didn't carry. Even if it had carried I couldn't take it anyway because figure drawing is at the same time. Scheduling woes, scheduling woes.

Today is just a sketchbook dump, since I'll be finishing my sketchbook today. There's only a few pages left, I'll have taken exactly a month to finish it! I haven't worked on my 3D guy for days and days. I'm almost done UV mapping, but Perry's figure drawing class has been a nightmare. I should be working on stuff for his class right this moment, but I needed to do a quick blog post. I aim to have the 3D character UV mapped by the next time I post. I need to find a sliver of time to take care of the rest of that.

Also, all this stuff is drawn only in pen. That's weird.

The explosion in this came from a Google search. I used reference! But only on something as inconsequential as an explosion.

Okay, I need to do my homework now. Bye.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Hello! I'm starting summer school tomorrow! I think. I need 19 credits to graduate this December and I've ever so carefully built a schedule that meets that demand. Unfortunately, one of these essential classes didn't carry, so I'm 3 credits short. The art department isn't offering anything I can take, the much anticipated Zbrush/portfolio building class has a time conflict with figure drawing, and I appear to be locked out from digital media's upper division. I'm going in tomorrow to knock heads together and make them fix it. I'll be quite put out if I have to stay an extra semester to take a single class. Oh me oh my.

I was talking to my friend Samuel and he suggested I post what I had so far from my current 3D project. It should look familiar to those who saw what I posted last time...

This is a 1 hour study from a girl I found on Mel Milton's Pinterest page.

Sketchbook has felt weak to me the last couple weeks, but here's some scribbles I didn't loathe:

Hoping to have the rest of my seams drawn up and uv's mapped on the 3D guy next time I post. It would be ideal to have textures in, too, but I'm not gonna get too greedy!

Have a nice week. 

Oh, I haven't mentioned my goals for this summer yet. 

...Because I don't have any yet!

Monday, April 25, 2016

550 Views!? What's the Point?

You guys, everyone hates my portfolio site! At the time of this writing there have only been 550 views. Nauseating! I need to draw/add pictures of sexy ladies or something, yes? No, I only draw deformed men, semi-cute monsters, and truckloads of killin' tools. But I just need cool portfolio stuff to draw in the masses, which is something I'm working on. I actually have 2 things I'd consider portfolio-y in this post. And then there's those coupla weapons from the last few posts. What else, what else. Oh, I'm still waiting for the Summer class to appear online, that should generate some portfolio. After that I'll set up Artstation and get back to Instagram and Twitter. I just feel obligated to manage that stuff and respond and communicate! I respond to EVERY comment on this blog, and I'd have to do the same elsewhere! That's a lot of strain added to my feeble grey matter. I'm sorry, I'm rambling. I have to go to the bathroom. Also- I'm not sure I mentioned this last time, but I did add a link to the portfolio site on the right hand side, under my profile picture (mobile device users- I'm not sure where you can find that if you can't see it. I'll look into it).

Here's a guy I added some polish to. I'm finally pursuing my lifelong goal to finish something I started. You can see how this began life in this sketch.

This next brute is from last time. Remember this? I painted him all up and gave him scary teeth. The better to eat you with, my dear.

Then I've got some sketches from my new sketchbook. I was happy about the guy in the upper right because Kaitlin said he looked good. Also, a guy with a ridiculous beard.

#soblessed is a ridiculous and obnoxious hashtag and I don't know why it's here. Also, there's a vampire alien. You can tell from his shiny medal. All vampires worth their salt wear a medallion.

I threw together that guy with the horn from the last image in Blender and painted him up real quick. I got cranky because I couldn't hide my hideous geometry with a nice texture. This was more practice/prep for my next thing than anything else. It's not quite as stylized, which I don't like, but hopefully I'll be able to get closer to my initial sketch next time. I don't know that I'll get around to that 3D guy I've been talking about for the last few posts. I have something else I like more that I want to start on. If I'm going to be dumping time into a model, it will be that one. I'm hoping to have that modeled by the next post.

Then some pen sketches.

I have a final tomorrow and then I'm free.
Free to begin working super duper hard on portfolio stuff.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Interlude: Realization

Here's the last of my current sketchbook, going to start a new one today. Hoping to also draft out a prop and start modeling a character. Maybe I'm an idiot for never realizing this, but it's not just painting that can benefit from working large to small, general to detailed. I think this approach works well when modeling in 3D, too. I've been looking at past posts searching for a character I want to model and invariably there's a complication that would make it difficult to build. I think I'm getting stressed by the micro level before really looking at and approaching the macro. All complicated shapes started life as basic primitives and there's no need to bite off more than you can chew! So while I still intend to finish the character I started a couple posts ago (I started re-UV-mapping it yesterday, actually) I want to start another one (probably the "SLEEVE" guy from the first picture here) and a non-swordy prop.

Two posts from me in a week? I'm hoping I can continue to do this! Also, these images are pretty large. Is anybody having issues with that?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Zero Views Per Day: Slow Going (ALSO! I LIED)

Hey! Long time no see. It's been since MARCH 20TH 2016! So much has happened since then- Kaitlin had a birthday, I had strep throat, I registered for Summer and Fall classes (the last time ever?!), we finally saw Star Wars (which I liked a lot!), Dark Souls III came out (which I can't afford/play), etc. Life has been busy.

I've been putting this post off for weeks because I promised you that I'd finish painting that character from last time. I actually started but was having a very difficult time getting it to look how I wanted. It could have been I was painting with only the vaguest sense of color scheme. With my rudimentary feel for color, it was certain death. I also need to uv it again before painting, just another step to worry about. I want to complete it, but I was sad that I'd been neglecting my blog for weeks.

A couple weeks ago, I was playing with a custom action in Photoshop that was feebly attempting to be the mirror mode that Photoshop still lacks and I came up with the sword sketch this model was based on. I finally finished painting it today, so here it is! There are a couple spots that could use some polish, so maybe I'll revisit it. The top two views were rendered with perspective present, so I included a third view with no perspective (flat from the side). 978 tris, 1024x1024 diffuse map.

I sketched this sacrificial knife a couple weeks back and banged it out pretty quick in Blender. I spent hours painting it, though. I really like the hand-painted look for textures and have been playing with that as a way to avoid learning more modern ways of generating maps. I'll be getting to that this summer, hopefully. Also, I figured out how to take nice screenshots today, which means the image I snapped of the dagger looks nasty, but since I'm in class I can't make it look nice. Maybe I'll swap it out when I get home (EDIT 4/15/16 - I snapped a new shot and the quality difference was negligible, so I'll just leave this image here).

I've almost finished another sketchbook. I'm on track to do so within a month, which is nice, but it's been a doozy for me. The first half is just atrocious. None of you will ever see any portion of it. I'd been slumping pretty hard until I switched to a black Prismacolor and for some reason I've felt much better while drawing with it. These first two splash pages were done when I'd just changed drawing utensils, so I was still hating my life and everything I drew.

This next one has a cool sword I'd like to model and a character with a flaming head I'd like to model. I'm saving him for a summer project. Also, that really ugly guy in the bottom left!? It's depressing.

After I put the above 2 collages together, I've been on a roll. By the way, when I say that I'm not tooting my own horn, it's more a description of how I feel when I draw. Drawing while slumping is a frustrating thing to do, and with these next ones I just felt really good about everything. On this first one, I really like the monster at the top.

I like the weird antlered creature down on the bottom. If he had legs he'd be grade-A awesome.

I like the guy who's too serious on the right. What's his problem!? He needs to take a chill-pill.

That's all I got! Hopefully next time I've got that character finished, but if not there will be more 3D. I really need to branch out from bladed weapons when it comes to props! Treasure chests, potted plants, braziers, etc.

I just realized I haven't eaten lunch and I ate breakfast at 6:30 am (it's 2:49 pm now). I'm hungry!