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My Organic Chaos

Work In Progress / 08 January 2019

So it has been an interesting first week already. I tried tinkering around with some stuff for a personal project but couldn't really find a groove with it. I do plan on finishing it so I'll post about it in the future, but for some reason it still felt a bit too close to actual work and I wasn't having as much fun with it as I thought I might.

The following night I'm listening to some music while playing Hearthstone. I'm up against the third hunter in a row and I'm two spell stones and two call of the wilds in by turn 8. I was never going to win that one and I'm a little bored of just queuing into hunters so I'm out, and out for the night as well. Warcraft is in my head now though and the random music stream I've tuned into is really pretty good. I'm not tired and I didn't really want to turn it off so I open up photoshop and start putting something down on the page. 

The Chaos begins. 

I often refer to my process as chaotic because from start to finish it's very loose. By the time I'm done I'm not even sure there was a process, I literally just bumble around the canvas until I'm happy to call it done. I don't even like to start with nice line art or sketching. I tell myself it's because I find I just get too stiff but I think I might just be a bit lazy. This isn't far off from initial sketches I've sent to clients. It's really quite bad I know, but I like to work with a lot wiggle room and experiment as I go. 

I guess something like this might be a bit closer to what I'd send off. It's loose but not too loose. I've no idea what I'm doing with the background nor do I have any plans for it. Flipping the work is essential though.

It's somewhere around this point I try and break away from a black and white image and throw in some colour (usually nothing more that ticking the colourise box in the Hue/Sat options if you're curious). It's different every time though, sometimes I'll start in colour but I typically find myself back adjusting values in black and white at some point before redoing the colour entirely. This is actually a big flaw I see in my work that I've tried and failed to correct. I don't establish a set colour palette, pretty much ever (as you'll see). It's a really bad habit that just feeds into the chaos. 

This is where I end the first night after looking up and seeing it's 2:30 am. The music stream has long since looped and it's been around six hours. Which, honestly, doesn't feel all that great to only be this far along. I accost myself for faffing around too much and almost don't hit save. It wasn't an unpleasant six hours, but it is just fan art. What to do? I eventually decided it's not terrible for something unplanned and that maybe I'll continue with it. So I flatten it (I try to work with as few layers as possible), save it and go watch TV for a bit. 


I don't touch it again for a few days still being unsure what I want to do with it. The world felt pretty quiet over the holidays though and no one was online to do much with so I put on some music again and see what happens.

I separated out the character and messed around with the background for a good hour or so. I don't know what I'm doing and still don't have a proper vision for it. I'm pretty frustrated with myself at this point despite the fact this is pretty typical for me. My mind has become a wrestling match now between "this is not efficient, you'd couldn't do this on a job. Get better!" and "This isn't job, it's supposed to fun, keep it experimental, keep it loose."

So I leave off the background for awhile and just try and go into auto pilot with colouring and detailing the character. Around another six hours later I've had enough for the night and I'm not sure if I'm having fun or not. I'm twelve hours in though, if I wasn't getting some enjoyment out of it I can't imagine I'd still be here. Colour palette is still in flux.


Another two days pass before I look at it again.

This session is shorter. I'm changing up the background colour and just adding more detail. The chaos is starting to subside and I think I see where I want to go with it.


The next day I'm back and immediately just start experimenting with the background. I'm also continuing to add some detail to the character.


You know what we need though? A big ass spell! Oh and another colour adjustment, obviously.

So this is where it's sitting currently. I want to refine the spell more as it's pretty messy and distracting. I think I might have introduced too much purple to the palette too so that will likely change. It's just refining the render from here really but you can guarantee I'll continue to faff with this one.

Was it fun in the end? I guess parts of it have been. I still don't really know how I feel.

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking it out to the end. Feedback about anything (the work, the blog in general etc.) always welcome if you have any.

And I'll see you soon?!