Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Steampunk CGTalk Challenge

Been a while since I updated...I've been pretty busy wrapping up my entry for CGTalk's Steampunk Myths and Legends Challenge. I'm not really into Steampunk but I am really into Mythology, so I thought it would be a good excuse to do up an illustration.

I started by brainstorming some myths and thumnailing what I thought might be interesting compositions.... Icarus, Gawain, Valkyries, Cyclops, Giants, etc...

After settling on an Icarus theme,I did more thumbs...

I had a pretty hard time finding a composition and pose that showed everything I wanted to show but was still close up enough to show the expression on Icarus. The one figure was going to be center of focus for the comp, so I wanted him pretty close up. I did this thumbnail up into a slightly more involved sketch, and then did a quick colour pass on it.

After this point I was pretty burnt out on the piece. I was so unhappy with it that I came super close to deleting all the work off my hardrive just to be done with it. I was happy with the decisions I'd made, but the art I had generated was pretty poor. Too much quick sketching without a real commitment. After a 2 week break I started the piece over again, sticking to the decisions I'd made, but with more focus. I started with some design work on the character...

Then after the holidays I started the work on the final comp. I was never really happy with the poses I had come up with, so I sketched a few more dynamic one out that had a struggling, grasping emotion to them, rather than the helpless resolve of the previous look and it really made the piece start to come together.

A rough block in of the comp with the colour scheme I had established before, but moved the light source to the bottom...

and went from there...

Did some design work for the airships and Steam Labyrinth after I'd roughed them in.

Then I did some rough 3d modeling to help block them in for the painting...

Got the 3d integrated...

and then pretty much just worked at it until the deadline to come up with a final.
I got alot of great feedback along the way that really helped the piece out, so thanks to everyone who gave input. I learned alot through the process and I felt pretty good with what I ended up with, but I'm really glad to be done with it.


  1. the piece looks amazing, man! the icarus story is one of my favorites.. this version is fantastic. Good luck in the competition!

  2. Just stumbled across your blog. Amazing work! This piece is gorgeous. I'd love to see more of your process. Do you work mostly digitally?

  3. Hi NQ. Awesome artwork! I'll be in touch by e-mail.

  4. Fantastic! Really like this piece a lot.

  5. I really liked your piece in the challenge and its great to see the whole progress together. Congrats!
    You have some other nice stuffs here as well - I will keep checking back buddy!

  6. Hey, thanks alot for the comments! Great to know people are out there checkin' this thing...

    Also, I will do my best to answer any questions that come up, so...

    Jeremy - I will be trying to post more in progress stuff here... from thumbs right up to finished pieces. I finish my work digitally, but I always start with pencil on paper. How far I take the drawing depends on the piece, but whether it's a tiny thumbnail or a rendered drawing, I always get started on the drawing board.

    Thanks again... I really appreceiate you taking the time to let me know what you think.

  7. Hello.
    I really liked your article and I have translated it into Russian.
    Do you mind if I post the translation on my site with links to your site?