Home at Last

3rd Oct 2017 0

I have the feeling that the tl;dr version of my blog posts for the past year or so had been “damn I’ve been so busy, I haven’t posted anything for weeks, here’s some artwork by the way”.

As a matter of fact, I have indeed busy beyond description, but for once I have the time to tell you why.

After a year or so of build-up, discussions, preparation, planning, problem solving and whatnot, my family and I have moved back to Italy.
I am now officially a freelance Concept Artist.

If anyone is wondering if it’s scary, stop wondering: it is.

No salary at the end of the month, bills to manage and stuff like that. God it’s scary.

Luckily, part of the reason why I had been busy for the months leading to this, is that I had already started accepting freelance work on top of my day job, so I have a nice backlog of things to work on.

If anyone is wondering if it’s still scary, stop wondering: it is.
On the other hand, we moved to a pretty damn cool place, and the fact that my wife and I take our lunch breaks on the beach kind of mitigates the hassles of the freelance life a little bit.

If anyone is wondering, we live here now:

Santa Maria al bagno

Moving to another country is a monumental endeavor, especially if you’re moving with a large dog and two cats, and you’re building another career on top of it.
Hence the long radio silence.

On the other hand, there’s quite a bunch of artwork in my hard drive that I haven’t had the time to post before, so you’ll see some actual pictures in the days to come.

by Paolo Puggioni

Freak Show First Panel

16th May 2017 1

After several months of concepts, experiments and preparation for our comic Freak Show, I’ve finally started working on the actual panels.

And by started I mean, good Lord this is a lot more time consuming than I had imagined, I’ve been at it for weeks!
Obviously I haven’t spent weeks just on this very panel (I’m almost finished with page 1), and surely this has been on top of my day job, and on top of my freelance work, and on top of another huge thing going on I’ll talk about in a while.
But it is nonetheless quite a big endeavour.

So yes, I might have lost track of time, as I have started inking page 1 by the end of March, and I’m just about to finish with the rendering.
But I hope it’s just because the image below is a big vista with thousands of small details and it took about 70% of the overall time I spent on the page. Hopefully the next ones should go on faster.

So, I had meant to keep the panels to ourselves until they were finished, but I wouldn’t mind to hear some opinions before I go even further.

So there you go, Freak Show first panel (click to enlarge).

Freak Show, Comic, Sci-Fi

I’m still unsure about the position of the captions, and there are still some tweakes needed here and there.
But it’s pretty much there.

Below is instead the inked page without colours.
With the black on white you can really see the amount of work that went into it.

Freak Show 1a Inked

Anyway, as I said, critics are welcome.

If you want to have a look at the concepts I’ve made for Freak Show characters (and space ships) so far, here’s a bunch of links, neatly ordered by time:



Generic Characters

Zaquida Finals

Thrannak Finals


Transport N945

by Paolo Puggioni

Cold Engines

9th May 2017 0

Cold Engines is part of a set of illustrations I made for Horizon Games back in March.
The game is called Traveller, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign it’s estimated to be delivered in July 2017.

Working on the project has been huge fun, although, as it always happens, when I get commissions I get them all at the same time (most of which I won’t be able to share for a long time), and I now remember March as a blur of drawings, concepts, and nights spent on my Cintiq working while Watching Netflix on my secondary monitor.
Still, as I said, I had great fun with this, and the people I worked with were great.

Cold Engines

I’m quite happy about this illustration in particular, as I had never drawn an Asian face before, oddly enough, and I think it ended up being not so bad.
I also think the perspective and the lines of the cockpit worked nicely together, so all in all this time I’m not complaining about the result when I look at it a month after it has been completed.
(Note to self, those kind of reds DO NOT translate well in CMYK!).

Only bump along the road was about me being a dumb idiot, and delivering the illustration with a screen reading ENGINE NON-REPONSIVE.
I still don’t know how I managed to mess that up.
Oh well.

Anyway, there are a few more illustrations I made for the project, which I’ll post in the coming days.

by Paolo Puggioni

Freak Show – Transport N945

20th Apr 2017 0

Despite various delays due to other pressing work, the development of Freak Show is proceeding steadily, and after months of preparation and concept art I’ve finally started working on the actual panels.

I’m not sure we’ll share the whole panels before the comic has evolved into a more final form (or maybe yes? Note to self: talk to John).
In the meantime, in order to remain immersed in its universe, I’m also devoting my lunchbreak doodling sessions to Freak Show related subjects.

Since I had already designed one of the main ships in Zbrush as a reference for the comic, I used the mesh as a base for a quick mood study.
By quick I mean that I really really meant it to be quick, and then it turned out being a couple of weeks worth of luch breaks.

Anyway, here it is, N945 in all its glory.

Freak Show Transport N945

I’m not spoiling the very first page by describing what this ship stands for or what it does, obviously.
I’ll just say that I spent quite some time figuring out what most of the various bits and pieces on its hull were for. So, what looks like random “tech stuff” visual noise should actually have a place in the Freak Show made-up technology.

I would have liked to post a turn-table animation of the 3D mesh, but for reasons I – and the several internet people I asked for help – couldn’t understand, the view in ZBrush was locked into some weird drawing angle setting, and the resulting animation would have looked very bad.

As an alternative, here are some occlusions renders made in Blender and Luxrender.
Good old Linux to the rescue.

Freak Show Transport N945 - Right

Freak Show Transport N945 - Front View

Freak Show Transport N945 - Back Left

Freak Show Transport N945 - Back View

Freak Show Transport N945 - Left

As you might have noticed, the last one is the shot I painted over for the illustration, which as always was made with Krita.

Over the past few weeks I’ll be able to dedicate a lot more time to Freak Show, so I’ll be posting more of these soon.

by Paolo Puggioni

Freak Show – Chayne

14th Feb 2017 0

Chayne is the only pure human among the main characters of Freak Show.
He is an activist who fights for trans-humans’ rights, so for a time I had considered making him like some stereotipical, cartoony “I go to all the protests and I don’t eat food which had a face” kind of person.
Then I decided against it.

This is the first page I made, a while ago.

Freak Show - Chayne Character Sheet#1

I had no strong feelings towards any of them, so John picked up the youngest one.
I think his genuine look is fitting for an idealist, and I’m quite happy with the veil of innocence and ingenuity in his face.

Once we agreed on a general look, I made some full figure studies.
His clothes are consistent with the look I devised for the generic population, with the only difference that Chayne wouldn’t wear any head gear.

In purists worlds people would normally cover their head as a sign of modesty, and as a rebel I figure Chayne would not want to conform to that idea.

Also, I have to confess that I didn’t fancy one of the main characters to be wearing a hat that would make him look like the modern equivalent of a medieval farmer.
Anyway, here are some studies for Chayne.

Freak Show - Chayne Character Sheet#2

We picked the first from the left, but don’t mind his face.
I made a few more experiments on this round of sketches, but his official look is still that of the young guy from page one.

Now I’m *this close* (makes gesture with thumb and index drawing close) to starting with the panels.
I just need to finalize a secondary character and some security guards, then I’m ready to go.

So you’ll be seeing a few more concepts over the next days.

by Paolo Puggioni

Freak Show – Thrannak #2

2nd Feb 2017 0

Here some more concepts for Thrannak, another one of the main characters in Freak Show.

Thrannak is a trans-human, and as opposed to Zaquida, she comes from a trans-humanist planet.
I haven’t designed anything of the visual style of the trans-human society yet, but I know that, where Purists are severe, modest and sober, trans-humans would make a point of affirming their own individuality, so I’d expect a more eclectic visual language.

For the Purusts I used mostly straight lines, sharp angles and dark and desaturated colours, so it makes sense that, by contrast, trans-humans’ aesthetic will be more organic and based on elegant curves.

We won’t show trans-humans environments until later on in the story, so I think this is enough for now.

Freak Show - Thrannak Concepts Sheet#2

As far as Thrannak goes, some elements of her home world is already hinted at in her outlook.
First of all, she is obviously a “modified human”. The scars (or seams) on her body serve as some sort of “war paint”, as well as having the function of hiding all the gear implanted under her skin.

Contrarily to Purists, who seldom indulge in frivolities, she is wearing piercings and an extravagant hairdo.
Also, well, her skin is green.

I meant her to have a very masculine build, and I think that is already working.
I did take some male body builders as a reference, and changed a bit hip size, lats and neck.

In the first version she also had some marks on her face, but John rightly pointed out that it could be confusing when next to Zaquida, so I removed them in this iteration.

With this I’m getting close to having enough material to start working on the panels.
Some of it is already done, just waiting to be posted here.

Just some polishing on a space ship, a couple of characters and we’re good to go.

by Paolo Puggioni

Freaskhow – Zaquida

31st Jan 2017 0

I’m at the end of the concept stage for Freak Show, and I’m wrapping up the designs for some of the main characters.

Zaquida was the first one I made, so last week I went back to that first concepts page and applied the changes John and I had discussed aloing the way.
To be honest we were already quite happy with her face, but I hadn’t designed any of the clothes or thought of her overall look.

Despite her being a transh-human, Zaquida comes from a Purist planet, so before I could even think of her design, I had to figure out more things about the general aesthetic of Purists in general.

Purist society is harsh and authoritarian, and as you can see in the previous concepts, it imposes modesty and sobriety.

I figured Zaquida’s look should be consistent with those principles, but with some “twists” in her attire to account for her rebellious spirit.

For example, if Purists would always cover their necks and heads as a sign of modesty, Zaquida would stubbornly refuse to wear any headgear.
Where revealing any skin would be considered inappropriate, Zaquida would discreetely do so as a sign of defiance.
She would also wear some piercings, where those kinds of accessories would be considered too frivolous in her environment.

Freakshow - Zaquida

Basically I meant her to look extravagant and rebellious enough to her peers – as a consequence of her being a natural “free spirit” and somehow on the fringes of society – without going as far as making her look like their equivalent of a Punk.
Nothing too much in-your-face, so to speak.

For this reason I kept the rest of her clothing quite standard when compared to the local fashion: ample clothes to hide the shapes of one’s body, asymmetric tops, arm sleeve to carry wearable devices and so on.

I think I’ll pick the one with the yellow coat.
Its colour would be a further sign of her individuality (purists in Freak Show would mostly wear dark and colourless clothes), and also serve as a cheap device to make her stand out in the panels.

So there you go, Zaquida’s official look.

Next drawings about her will be style studies, that is, how she will actually be in the comic.
I have to confess I’ve been dreading that bit for a while, but it will be another couple of weeks until I start with that.

by Paolo Puggioni

Freak Show Generic Characters

24th Jan 2017 0

After the first batch of sketches for Freak Show, I am now moving on to the main characters.
It’s not like everything is set in stone, but I thought that now that I have a general idea of how most things would look like in the first panels, I could start focusing on better defined character pages.

I meant to work on Zaquida first, then I realized that, as she comes from a Purist world, her look should at least partially reflect the kind of aesthetics you’d find in that environment.
Which is why it made sense to explore further the kind of clothes that people from Purists worlds would wear, before I committed to the design of a main character.

In video games you would call these NPCs.

Freak Show Generic Characters Concepts

There are a few features I deemed fundamental in these designs, and which will be a common trait of all Purists in Freak Show.

The first one is that I’d like their attire to be conservative: as little revealing as possible, modest, no embellishments.
Most characters would wear some sort of head gear as a form of modesty. Purist society is supposed to be authoritarian, so their outlook should reflect that.

I thought they would also wear ample, baggy clothes to hide the shape of their bodies, as you’d espect in a society that doesn’t encourage frivolities.
At the same time I tried to use straight lines and sharp angles, to emphasise the “aggressive” nature of the society.
I’m not sure I got there yet, so I might have to make more work on this.
Along the way I accidentally came up with that sort of over-trousers you see in the two people from the right, and I decided I’m happy with those. So I think I’ll stick with them, maybe with some youngsters with slightly more liberal ideas in terms of fashion.

As you might have noticed they’re all carrying some sort of touch screen, which is a feature of their technology you’ll see later in the actual panels.
The design of the clothes and their asymmetry accounts for that.

This first detailed page wraps up a bunch of early sketches I had made a while ago, in which I outlined the main guidelines of Purists aesthetics.

Freak Show - Generic Characters 1

Freak Show - Generic Characters 2

So, next I might be working on the first main characters, or go on on these generic concepts, I haven’t decided yet.


Krita Cloud Brushes – Part II

18th Jan 2017 0

This is Part II of my Cloud Brushes Set for Krita.
It’s not like I use this particular set that much (there are so many instances where you actually need to paint clouds), but I haven’t seen cloud brush sets around often, so I chose to start with these.

You can download part I of the set here. When I’ll have enough stuff shared to justify a new section on the website I’ll put them all together in the same page.

As I already said, there are a few small things to point out:

– I like my popup palette in Krita to have 12 brush icons (it’s just a matter of preference), so my sets will always be made of 12 brushes. When the brushes exceed this number, I’ll split them into multiple sets (like Clouds I, Clouds II, etc).

Krita Cloud Brushes

– for the cloud brushes in particular I had started doing some research in metheorology so that I could name each brush the proper way (cirrocumulus, altostratus, etc). Then I stopped because I’m not mental:)

– I believe there’a a bug in the way bundles are packed in Krita (which I’m about to report), so the safe – albeit a bit less straightforward – way for me to share these brushes is still “the old way”.
Instructions are below.
I would recommend watching the short video below before you download, it will show how the brushes are used and what they look like.


Cloud Brushes part II


The zip contains two folders: “brushes” and “paintoppresets”. You have to move the content of these folders into the similarly named folders, brushes and paintoppresets, in your Krita resources directory, as follows:

  • Linux

Unzip downloaded file into $HOME/.local/share/krita/ (merge if prompted)

  • Windows

Unzip downloaded file into C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\krita (merge if prompted)

  • OSX

Unzip downloaded file ~/Library/Application Support/Krita/ (merge if prompted)

Krita Cloud Brushes I Usage and Previews

The thumbnail on the left is the icon of the brush as you’ll find it in your pop up palette, the strip on the right offers a preview of the brush stroke.
All previews have been painted with a single brush stroke, just varying the pressure.



Krita Cloud Brush 14


Krita Cloud Brush 15


Krita Cloud Brush 16


Krita Cloud Brush 17


Krita Cloud Brush 18


Krita Cloud Brush 19


Krita Cloud Brush 20


Krita Cloud Brush 21


Krita Cloud Brush 22


Krita Cloud Brush 23


Krita Cloud Brush 24


All brushes are released under Creative Commons 4.0, CC BY-SA to Paolo Puggioni,

This license lets you remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as you credit the creator and license your new creations under the identical terms.

by Paolo Puggioni

Freakshow – Thrannak Concepts

17th Jan 2017 0

Second main characters of our comic Freak Show, Thrannak will be the one to take care of things when the situation requires physical strenght.

As opposed to Zaquida, Thrannak comes from one of the Transhumanist worlds, and all her augmentations have been designed to make her more effective in combat.

Freak Show - Thrannak Character Sheet 1

As you can see, all her augmentations are installed under her skin, and are developed when needed.
Initially I had thought the seams should be as inconspicuous as possible when the weapons are hidden.
Then we decided she would look thougher with lines running on her body in intricate patterns, like a Maori warrior or something like that, so I’ll make another version to see how she looks like.

John and I haven’t really decided yet if the communication devices implanted in Thrannak’s skull should be more or less visible.
In the concept I made them hidden under her scalp, whereas John would like them to bulge a bit more.

I’ll have to look into that too, although I have to confess that at least in “rest mode” I’d be happier for them to look more like scars.

I have to point out that these concepts are just meant to be a study of how Thrannak would look like in general, all the clothes she is wearing right now are just to avoid drawing her naked:)

I’m going to make a set of concepts to design the clothes she’ll be waering when fighting in the Freak Show, and then more sets with maybe a combat suit, generic overalls and so on.

I really dislike the “super hero costume” kind of idea, so I’d like to change her attire as often as possible as the comic develops, and instead use other elements to make her more iconic and recognizable.

Next bunch of Freak Show concepts coming up soon.

by Paolo Puggioni