Monday
Jun292015

Purchase charity art prints & help Nepal 

A special thanks to all the amazing artists who participated in Art for Hope: Nepal. Submissions are now closed. We'll be reviewing the submissions and contacting those chosen by a jury combined of both Autodesk and Viz Media.

While you wait, we're happy to announce the opening of the Art for Hope Print store on Zazzle.com. Purchase a print and all of the proceeds go directly to Build Change. Build Change designs disaster-resistant houses and schools in emerging nations and trains builders, homeowners, engineers and government officials how to build them. As an extra treat, the Autodesk Foundation will match every donation from these proceeds. 

There's eight amazing pieces of Autodesk SketchBook art for you to choose from. It's available on your choice of canvas or high quality archival prints by our friends Andrew Pawley, Chan Wook Min, Greg Baldwin of CreatureBox, Emily-Fay LunnEric Proctor, Isabelle Dorr, Matthew Fletcher, and Natalie Koromoto.

More prints are on the way- stay tuned. Keep drawing for hope and keep the people of Nepal in your thoughts. 

 

Monday
Jun152015

Autodesk SketchBook for Tattoo Fanatics


Mike Watkins is an Autodesk Employee living in the United Kingdom. You can check out his blog about Autodesk PLM 360 here.

I’m a Product Manager for of the Autodesk PLM 360. I’m responsible for ensuring the success of Autodesk customers as they deploy our PLM solutions to help drive business process efficiency and accuracy.  Helping customers discover and exceed their goals, and understanding how we can improve our products. Collecting feedback from customers and communicating this back to product development, quality and support teams to facilitate further product enhancements is a key part of my role.

But I love tattoos.

My first tattoo was a small tribal piece with a sun around it.  Nothing major - it was more about just getting inked ! I’m an old graffiti artist and I also love to draw. Tattooing was a way to carry around art with me wherever I go, right on my body, and express myself. I’ve collected so many artists over the years but I mostly like black and grey work, skulls and dark realism. My favorites are Jason Butcher, Paul Booth, Bob Tyrrell  . . . . But I’m running out of room on my body!

Last weekend I took a trip to the coast to see a good friend of my Zak Chai. He's the owner of High Tide Tattoo in Whitstable, and  was prepping myself for a day of pleasure (in my mind anyhow!).

When I arrive the kettle goes on and we sit down to discuss what he's going to do on me, chewing the fat as you do. He then reaches over to the desk and picks up his iPad and goes 'So I've done some sketches on this really cool app' !

You can imaging my surprise when he shows me a copy of Autodesk SketchBook

It turns out that Zak is using this app for all of his clients work. He loves the fact that it saves on paper and sketching time and it's so easy to add layers and remove lines. Being digital it's backed up in the cloud, so he's not hunting through masses of paper trying to find that sketch, for the client who's in the waiting room !

From this he is able to print the line drawing ready to make the stencil that he applies to the skin. Then he can make any amendments to fit the shape of the body and begin the tattoo, using Autodesk SketchBook as the reference to see what the finished tattoo will look like.

I really love the fact that Autodesk products are everywhere! They are being used to help every type of creative designer from architecture, manufacturing, visual effects and even tattoo artists. 

 

 

Monday
Jun082015

May Hero Challenge Wrap up

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 9.26.28 AM by reneedicherri

Eric's chosen his three favorites, and two runners up. 
Check em out below!

Favorite #1: 
dasevachen   

The Monster Under The Bed - May Hero Challenge by dasEvachen  


The bright colors and soft painting style create an atmosphere in this painting that works so well with the light hearted theme.  I love how big the monster is and how it seems to have just randomly appeared and lifted the bed off the ground.  Looks like the kid was prepared to find the worst but found this huggable fuzzy ball instead!  Beautifully painted!

 

 

Favorite #2:
agataczerw   The Monster Under the Bed by AgataCzerw 

I  love the sense of motion and storytelling in this painting.  The monster seems to either be rescuing the child from a burning home or carrying them off to a grand adventure.  Either way, the monster conveys no sense of malice despite the surprised look on the child’s face and the departure from the lighter side of the composition as they move toward the shadows.

 

Favorite #3:
davidvargo  Vargo-Sock-Monster by DavidVargo

This painting is wonderfully executed and I love how the lighting and expression suggests that this monster has been caught in the act.  Great design and beautiful use of highlights!



Runner up:
griffinator  Bed by griffinator

This is a great flip on the monster under the bed theme!  This kid is completely prepared for any monster invasion.  The expressions on the characters and use of dramatic lighting make this a fun painting to look at.

 


Runner up:
MichelVerdu

monsters under the bed by MichelVerdu  


These little monsters have a great design and color scheme!  Their sense of wonderment and exploration of the music device is captured perfectly in their expressions.  I love the way the lighting illuminates them from below and how the blue glow radiates from the screen.



I'll be reaching out to the users TsaoShin selected!  
Favorites will get a year worth of SketchBook membership & DeviantArt membership-  and an Intuos Small with a SketchBook prize pack!  
Runners up, you'll get a three months of SketchBook MembershipDeviantArt Membership & SketchBook prize pack

Special thanks to our pals at Wacom for the tablets, and our friends here at DeviantArt for the memberships. 
And to Eric too- for being an awesome Hero. <3 


Want more challenges? Get started on June's today!
Download SketchBook for free & log in with an account for extra tools.

Monday
Jun012015

June Hero Challenge- Claudia Schmidt

 

 For this challenge, I would love to see you create anything you dreamt of or even something you would love to see in reality. It could be anything from a fantasy creature, landscapes that break apart into clouds, characters getting entwined with dream like colours and shapes or maybe even something you dreamt of last night and would love to share! Fill in the space of your canvas as you explore the world of your dreams.

Claudia Schmidt aka AlectorFencer

 

How do you participate in the Hero Challenge? Just follow these steps: 


Click to enlarge.


Download this, rise to the challenge, and draw in SketchBook! 

 Sign up for DeviantArt, if you're not already a member! All the fun is happening there.

Join the official Autodesk SketchBook group

Download the prompt and draw your image (left) . This month the challenge is to conveying motion in a still image. 

Draw your original artwork on the canvas using Autodesk SketchBook.

Add your entry to the DeviantArt Autodesk SketchBook group!

 

 

At the end of June, Claudia will pick the pieces that met the challenge the best, and give feedback on why they hit the mark. We'll feature that art right here for everyone to see!

Download SketchBook  and get started, or check out the post over on DeviantArt.

About the artist:

AlectorFencer, aka Claudia Schmidt, is a professional artist, character designer and graphic novelist living in Berlin, Germany. Alector's passion for art began at a young age with various colours, patterns and depiction of her environment and dreams. She wondered what pictures and stories might evolve from the ideas and images she dreamed up and made it one of her distinctive ambitions throughout her career. As her work progressed, she gained a reputation for her fantasy style and her inspiring words to help fellow artists. Alector Fencer has always been curious about different media to create her pictures with. Just recently, she began to focus more on digital art yet loves to return to traditional painting every now and then.

Friday
May292015

Making Comics with Atomic Robo & Autodesk SketchBook 

Scott Wegener is the the co-creator and artist of Atomic Robo, drawn using Autodesk SketchBook Pro. Read Atomic Robo at atomic-robo.com or support the kickstarter campagin here.

Scott Wegener

I got my professional start in comics completely by accident. I was working as a flight instructor actually, and at a point in my career where I was contemplating the next step - going either into corporate aviation, or going the airline route. But I wasn't very happy in my work. The reasons I'd gotten into aviation were not lining up with the realities of that industry. And then suddenly a health crisis saw my flight medical revoked.

The unexpected turn of events and a brush with my own mortality prompted a lot of honest soul-searching. The only thing that I'd ever really loved doing was telling stories, specifically through the medium of comics. But my art chops were pretty raw after years of not exercising them. I set myself up a series of "Art Boot Camps", compiling lists of all areas I was really weak in. From 8PM-12AM, six days a week, after working all day and getting my toddler to bed I would study and practice. I got active online with the various comic book communities and started getting to know people and sharing my work. That eventually lead to some "just for fun" projects, which eventually started to lead to paying work.

The best way to wrap your head around Atomic Robo is to take the Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, The Rocketeer, and Buckaroo Banzai, cram all of that into a five foot tall robot who wears pants and -BAM! You have Atomic Robo. (That's my convention pitch, can you tell I've practiced it?) Atomic Robo is high adventure with a generous helping of humor laid on top. The character of Robo was built by Nikola Tesla in 1923 and is still around today in 2015. Each series tells a particular story from a particular period in Robo's life, but not in any particular order. One series might be a kind of Borne Identity conspiracy story set in the present, while the next might be about a band of lady air pirates operating in the South Pacific in the aftermath of WWII.

Each series is designed to be a stand-alone book, but people reading all of the series will be rewarded with a lot of little nods and Easter eggs that create a deeper understanding of Atomic Robo and the world in which he lives. My co-creator Brian Clevinger writes the scripts while I handle the art duties. Our books are lettered and designed by Jeff Powell, who also works at Marvel Comics designing their trade paperbacks, and our books are currently colored by Anthony Clark - any webcomic readers will know him as the hilarious mind behind nedroid.com.

Before any art can happen Brian and I sit down and talk out the broad strokes of a story together. Then Brian goes off and breaks that down into a three-act story, which is further broken down into five, three-act chapters/issues. There are some read-throughs and some more back and forth, and then I get a semi-final script. At this point the art starts. I like to read the script again and mentally map it out in my head. And then I begin doing a first rough pass, using a big paintbrush to block out the panels and establish a visual flow. This is where we run into our first set of problems, as what flows nicely in the narrative of the script does not always flow visually on the page. This is why we call it the semi-final script, because now I have to start retelling the same story in a slightly different way to bring the intent of the writing, rather than the literal interpretation of the writing, onto the page.

It's further complicated because we are trying to think about how our pages are going to read on a computer as well as in a printed book, which are oriented differently. Printed comic books are oddly shaped. This is because the first comic books were reprinting collections of newspaper strips, and newspapers have their own unique proportions. If you fold a newspaper in half a couple of times you will get the same height and width of a comic book. As far as I know, no other books are quite the same shape. So there is a legacy of this oddball aspect ratio from the 1930's that we have to contend with. Most computer screens, tablets, and smartphones have a 4:3 aspect ratio. Okay, that's not so odd; manufacturers want our media to display the same way across platforms. The weird part is that if you take two computer screens and stack them one screen above the other the new combined aspect ratio of the screens is exactly the same as that of a comic book, whose aspect ratio was determined by how newspapers got folded 85 years ago. Coincidence!?! I THINK N---yes probably.

With all of that in mind I asked our book designer Mr. Powell to make me a page template that would look just as good in a printed comic book as it would on my iPad. What he created was simple and effective -essentially two stackable half pages. We combine them for the printed books, and cut them in half for the webcomic. Having the page divided in the middle adds an extra level of challenge to layouts, since I can't have a very tall panel that crosses the "equator" of my page without it screwing up how things read on the webcomic, even though it might be the most effective use of space on the printed page. But with SketchBook I can create several layers of roughs, toggle them on and off, recombine them etc., to make the best use of the space available.

Once the basic layout is set I draw in the panels on a new layer, make sure it's my top layer, and lock it. At this point my process is very similar to the process I used when I was drawing comics on physical paper -except I can just toggle layers on and off instead of erasing holes through my pages. I'll dial the opacity of the ROUGHS layer down to about 25% and start working on a SKETCH layer. Depending on how complex a page gets I might have multiple SKETCH layers -typically it's just one for the characters and one for the environment. I like to work with colors at this stage. Partially because if really helps separate the figures from the environment they are in, but equally because its just a lot fun to draw in different colors and I don't have to worry about how a scanner is going to choke on them, or what a pain it will be to get rid of them in Photoshop anymore.

For the SKETCH layers I use the basic SketchBook pencil. It is hands down the best digital "pencil" I have ever worked with. I absolutely adore it. I would marry the digital pencil if I could. I dial the pencil size up to between 7 and 10, but never any smaller than 7. One of the big challenges I have found going from physical drawing to digital artwork is maintaining a sense of scale. On my first couple of digital pages I would spend half a day tucked up in one corner of the page adding tons of detail to some unimportant panel, only to zoom out and realize I'd gotten nothing done and no one would ever see all the stuff I'd just crammed into that tiny space. Through trial and error I figured out that keeping the pencil set between 7-10 in combination with the particular size and resolution of the canvas I am working on does a good job of mimicking my mechanical pencils on a physical pages. It does a good job of keeping me from trying to add lots of tiny detail to a background figure that will barely be visible on the finished page.

Once the SKETCH layers are finished I can get rid of the ROUGHS, and then create several layers for the final inks. Usually it's PEOPLE, BACKGROUND, FIDDLY BITS, and SCUFFS layers. The PEOPLE and BACKGROUND layers are self-explanatory. FIDDLY BITS is for a whole host of things -tiny objects, wires, buttons and knobs, cable housings, or anything particularly difficult to draw that I know will result in a lot of erasing and a lot of Ctrl-Z'ing. For example lets say I was drawing the exterior wall of a building in the BACKGROUND layers. I would use the Perspective Guides to create the basic structure and any windows and doors. The Perspective Guides are FANTASTIC by the way. I LOVE using them. But I have to be careful. They are so helpful that they can become a real time-sink for me, as I want to keep adding more and more layers of detail and shape. I'm noticing this is a trend for me in SketchBook! I get so wrapped up in what I can do that I tend to lose myself in the process. Anyway, on the FIDDLY BITS layer I will then draw all the stuff that makes a drawing of a building look, if not real, then believable. Telephone wires, electrical boxes, cables and pipes -the minutia that implies this is a complicated structure with internal wiring and plumbing. The SCUFFS layer is for, well, scuffing things up. I like Robo's world to look lived in, and things that get used get nicked and scuffed. I also use little skuffs and tick marks to add depth to my otherwise very clean line drawings. I use them as a kind of code for shading and spot-blacks. When I am working on the final inks for a page the custom pen I am using is full of irony for me.

When I switched to making comics 100% digitally I had visions of textures and paintbrushes and layers of exciting and colorful ink-washes. And in my personal work I am exploring all of that and more. But to get the look I want in Atomic Robo - which is kind of a clean, animated cell-shaded look, the line work needs to be simple. The custom pen I made that consistently delivers the best results for me has a consistent size and the opacity barely changed with pen pressure. So I've got this fancy Cintiq and all the bells and whistles of SketchBook Pro 7, and yet I am essentially inking my work with a digital ball point pen, HAHA!

That aside though, being able to work in layers, the Perspective Guides and Steady Stroke (a critical tool for drawing Robo's eyes!), and the general workflow that I have been able to create for myself in SketchBook is fantastic. I love when I get the chance to dive back into my physical SketchBook, but the few times I've physically draw comics since I started working in SketchBook have been shocking. I particularly love how intuitive SketchBook is in execution and implementation. I had tried going digital a few times in the past, but every program I tried before SketchBook made the simple act of drawing feel like work. Like the actual artist was some irritating and secondary factor in the minds of them programmers.

Create the comics that you want to read - not the comics you think other people want to read. Comics are a weird and unique medium for self-expression, and the truly great comics and manga are written for a single audience - their creators. If what you create has value, others will be drawn to it.