Improved Headshot

A few months ago I designed a character. She is a waitress. I enjoyed the way my pencil sketch looked more than the digital work, and now I have had more practice digitally painting I felt I could do a better colour headshot.

Last time I painted with all brushes and layers on 100% opacity; since then I have learnt a lot about changing opacity layers, and that the blending brush is not the only way to blend and shade.

I learnt to do this recently and it was difficult to learn as someone who can spend hours blending colours as if they were paints. I definitely treat my digital painting like acrylic paints for the longest time (something I would always use in traditional media) with the bold unforgiving colours and difficult blending for a vibrant result. I am only now learning to sometimes treat the work like watercolours too.

For this I actually painted on top of the pencil lines in Photoshop, with low opacity layers being built up, letting the original sketch show through. I am learning that not everything needs to be smooth to have the right effect, and that often that can subtract style from a piece.

This version is more muted, and more rough, which I like. It also meant I could follow my original line art and not start from scratch.



Key to the Puzzle – Bleak Manor

I’ve produced some keys concepts for the Synoptic project. Nikki is modelling them, and I have been working on some final designs.

I firstly came up with some quick ideas. I then Worked from that to create a final key I like. Now I have re-drawn that concept as a final concept; a golden-metal key.

Today I drew a darker rendition of the key with some different features as another key for the game, possibly a decoy. I know they need multiple keys, so for now I have made sure to design a working key and a decoy key.

Logo Designs – Bleak Manor

Today I began UI concepts for the game. I have come up with a few logo concepts I think could fit the theme already.

I used old Style fonts and my own handwriting, mixed with red splashes. I am not sure if the gory reds fit well with our game as there is no indication of Danger, but it would add to the mystery if it were in the book.logo1logo2


I like that the final logo is all free-handed, and that the “IN” is technically trapped. I do like the instantly dated feel the others give. I would like to take pieces from these logos to finalise one. As they are just concepts my team will hopefully choose what they would like in the UI also, as it represents their game.




Additional Sketches for the Frame and Desk – Bleak Manor

I finally came up with a frame design I would like to go over the portrait for the room. It is bronze-gold in colour and very large, to cover the safe.


I also completed my concept for the desk, as I have drawn a sketch of the back corner. I wrote on the dimensions from that angle too.

Adam had the idea to add detailing into the edges of the desk. I wasn’t adding extra details into models because I didn’t know how long the modellers wanted to spend on each model, and didn’t want to add unnecessary tasks to the model. As it turns out they are welcoming details in the concepts and want to add more. They’re already doing cool stamps etc. so I will take that in for further designs.


Art Book Sample – Bleak Manor

Today after I researched art books for reference, I did a sample of our own for Bleak Manor.

The team thought about it a lot, then when I asked their ideas on it they said they would love a brown paper background with ink spills on the edges.

To achieve that I used a brown paper texture, then painted- with varying opacity- a dark blue spill on the edges. I also added a subtle vignette and a yellow glowing the middle as though a small amount of light is hitting the page in the centre.

After that I decided to use my smoking chair as the example, because I had access to drawings of the whole process on hand. I put the initial concepts on the page and tilted them, adding shadows being to simulate the pieces hanging off from one pinned point. I think it looks realistic on the page this way.

I then used my chair concept, deleted the background colours and shadow, then overlapped it slightly on the page as a final, eye-catching object. I added a new shadow and set it in a large space. I think it looks good to have it with no background on the page.

Also the team wanted some fancy handwriting as a font. For the real thing this can either be neater or messier, but I tried to use neat but quick handwriting for this (with extra swirls). I was told it filled the space well, and it ties in the spilled ink with the page itself.


So far everyone seems happy with the layout. I was going to do multiple examples, but people said it was what they pictured, and the rest was what I pictured to look good; so this will likely be the sample we give to Matt next week.

Art Book References

To come up with a layout design for the art book our team discussed how we would all think bout what we wanted it to look like during our scrum. I went away from that and researched and compiled some interesting art book layouts.

I have the Zootopia book at home and think it is very aesthetically pleasing so I definitely included that here, but also ones such as Legend of Zelda, Alice Madness (time period similar to ours), God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn.

These games are very artistic and their books have similar traits but with quirks.


I like the ones with a balance between having the initial sketch the final art piece on a page. In ours we will likely include the 3D final render of the sketch too, and I like the idea of having the progression shown.

I also love the way the bird creature’s wings are overlapping boked drawings on the Zelda book. I love having assets unboxed and layering over those which are. For instance, the sketches boxed, the designs boxed, then the final drawing or render on a clear background free on the page, possibly overlaying corners.

I will use these to help me come up with art book concepts, especially as I am lead 2D artist and it should mainly be my responsibility, as the others have more to do to bring the actual game together in 3D space before the end of the project. I definitely want everyone’s input in how their work gets presented.

Digital Desk Design – Bleak Manor

On Tuesday I used my desk sketches to come up with a concept for the writing desk. I chose my favourite aspects from my original designs and used them to create a desk I was happy with. It is old, wooden and glossy. It has gold tinted metal handles on the drawers and cupboard compartments.

It has the same dimensions as the desks I designed before (The most important of which being the fact it is 60 inches wide). I will have to sketch this desk from a diagonal-back angle I think, to show how it looks behind and to give more of a look at the scale itself; so at that point I will write the final measurements on the concept before handing it to the modellers.

I actually used the dimensions Adam researched and put into Trello for reference. Before even searching for images I had decided to do a desk this style, and the sizing he came up with allowed me to use that.deskfront
I also decided to play around with a few undertones for the wood colour for the modellers who end up texturing this desk. I think a reddish undertone would look classic, but the desk chair doesn’t have that, so I think it can be the modellers decision for what works best for them, and for the team to decide if we should match the wood colours for the chair and desk, or have them bought separately and look unique. Neither has been made yet so that can be decided whenever, as my concepts are mainly for the shape and design, I don’t mind what gets changed, if it means it works better for the room.deskcolours

How to Improve (Group Talk) – Bleak Manor

Yesterday as a group we discussed methods we use to improve our work and how we would help ourselves when lecturers weren’t around.

We talked about the way we practice. Kelly codes and likes to read message boards to find answers, for example. The modellers use YouTube tutorials for functions they are stuck with, and the 2D artists (including me) use tutorials too.

I told everybody how I like to use the new Instagram feature to help me. It lets you save posts to private albums in your account. I find many step by step tutorials on there. I don’t necessarily follow them, but I take inspiration from their methods to help me with my work, so I made an album for my references called ‘Art’. A lot of them are from various software and I am very new to digital art, so everything I can apply to myself is a big help.

As a team, we are confident in our specialisations. I believe there is always a lot of room for improvement, but I can already see a change in the quality of my work now, to how I was working in my Imagined Worlds project. I think the rest of my team are very good at what they do and I am using that to push me to keep up and do well, so they have good references to build from.

Portrait – Bleak manor

Yesterday I finished a portrait to go on the wall in Bleak Manor for my synoptic. I Used Photoshop to do this. It is a painting of the former owners of the house on their wedding day. Based on the woman’s makeup and hair, and the way they’re posed, we can imagine it was around 1920. The sinister looks in their eyes are because the painting takes time to do, but also they are mysterious people.

I drew the people from scratch and used Matt’s advice of using a bookshelf photo in the back, burring it and adding overlays. I also them drew in a vignette. I didn’t make the picture too dark or gloomy because this is meant to be a happy occasion documented, but there is contrast in their facial expressions of that.


I originally drew my idea for this painting on paper. The girl looks quite different, but I think I kept the style similar for the man.

portrait concept

I think the drawing looks a bit too smiley, and I had put no research into the dresses of the era or anything yet. I also think the flowers were too much of a colourful idea.

I am happy with the outcome of the picture and hope it looks good in the room.

Desk Concepts – Bleak Manor

One of my tasks in the synoptic project is to create a desk for the room. I have to come up with a concept quite quickly. Firstly I got some research images.


Then  I picked some of my favourite attributes from these desks and applied them to my own designs. I was insistent on the two sides of drawers like the majority of references. I prefer my second design as it has more character I believe.



It has to be 60 inches long. I have included a variety of drawers and compartments where a key (or decoy) could be hidden. I also think it would be fun for the player to have different sizes and styles of compartments and doors in the game to work and play with.

The next step will be a digital design of my desk, and then for it to be reviewed and (hopefully) modelled; if not I will make changes to the design until the team is happy with it.