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Orion Mining Spaceship

31st May 2016 0

Aaand back to spaceships.

Honestly, browsing my gallery the other day I realized that the number of spaceships in my portfolio is shamefully close to “no spaceships”, so I tried to put a remedy to that.

After a looong hiatus from ZBrush I eventually managed to clumsily put together a mesh to render and eventually paint over.

The endeavor was a confirmation of how terrible my memory is.
I hadn’t touched ZBrush in about a year, and all my recollections of shortcuts, menus and commands were gone.

Muscle memory, gone.

Tricks and slightly more uncommon procedures, gone.

Sure, I kind of knew what I had to do, fortunately that was well settled.
I just couldn’t remember how to do it.

So, well, the sculpting phase took about a dozen lunch breaks or so, as I had to re-learn a whole bunch of things.
Hopefully next time it won’t be as hard. I’ll just have to make sure I can do it again in less than a year.

Orion Mining Spaceship

As an exercise, I tried to stick with a very simple shape – pretty much a box – and see if I could make it interesting anyway.

As always, all my digital painting now happens with the help of Krita.
For this illustration I had to make a whole bunch of brush presets (lasers, scattered stars, noise etc), which I’ll make available for download shortly.

Sure, the most of this drawing comes from the occlusion shadows exported from ZBrush, but still, I’m quite happy with the confidence I’m gaining with the new tools.

Mostly though, regardless of the result, I’m content I managed to get something done with ZBrush.
So much saw that I rendered the turntable animation.

Look at her spin!

Spaceship Turntable

AH! The beauty of a spaceship spinning over and over again.
It reminds me of EVE Online.
Good times.

by Paolo Puggioni

Pyromancer

27th May 2016 0

After long thought, I ended up renaming what had been “New_Document1.psd” for more than a year, into the much catchier “Pyromancer”.

I was very happy about the new name.
I mean, it is very clever if you think about it.
I had discarded “Fire Queen”, “Fire Sorceress”, “Fireballs Juggler” and all the variations of those, when the genius finally struck me.
PYRO! Like, you now, FIRE. And MANCER! Like a Necromancer, but with flames!
PYROMANCER! I’m so brainy! It’s a new word! I made up a new word, and it’s not even my first language!

Then I checked on Google, and it looks like every game with even a little bit of Fantasy spin has a character called Pyromancer.
There are also several books with a pyromancer in it.
Hell, there’s an actual word in ancient Greek for it: Pyromancy – the art of divination by fire.
I’m sure there must be Zippo pyromancer-shaped lighters too.
Oh yes, and of course let’s not forget about Melisandre.
So well, I made up a word that’s been there for almost three thousands years.
Just, all by myself.

So there you go, behold what, unbeknownst to me, is one of the most overused cliches of Fantasy Art in general.
I just care to point out this is not a Darksouls, or a Heartstone or a Skyrim piece of fan art.

It’s just me being unimaginative.

Pyromancer

Now, on top of that, I also have to say that this illustration has been a massive thorn in my side for more than a year and a half.

I had started it as a lunchbreak time-filler back when I was at Jagex.
I remember thinking that I could have tried making something nice and polished, for a change.
Something I had actually spent time on.

The days passed, the season changed, and I would work like 5 minutes at a time on this lunch-break project, between a peak at reddit and a bite at a sandwich.

Then I moved to another company, and to a new house, and a new town, and every now and then I would come across this 80% finished illustration and think “aw, I should finish this”, and I would add maybe another 1% to the final result.

Then I changed computer, worked on freelance assignments, start and finish several things, and still every now and then this thing would pop up, demanding a few minutes of my attention.

Long story short, this pyromancer has been sitting in my WIP folder for longer than I care to remember, so yesterday I thought “fuck it, I now declare you finished” and finally sent her on her way.

by Paolo Puggioni

Cyberpunk People

25th May 2016 0

Before I finished off the cyberpunk lady I posted last week, I had started a few sketches for the same theme.
Just rough ideas, really.
I was caressing the idea of drawing a whole bunch of cyberpunk concepts, maybe tying them together in a consistent setting.

Then I immediately got distracted by something shinier that I’d like to work on, so I guess I’ll pause the cyberpunk thing and get back to it later.
That’s the beauty of personal projects after all.
You can have twenty of them going on at the same time and no one can say a thing about it.

So, here’s a sketch of some random cyberpunk people (ok this is not rough, I actually polished it a lot more than I should have).

As always, done in Krita!

Cyberpunk People

The cyberpunk setting I had in mind wasn’t set like a million years in the future.
Let’s rather say a hundred years or so.
So I was thinking that in that case, most elements of our own culture and techology should still be recognizable.

The leg implants of the girl on the left are quite similar to today’s prosthetics, for example.

I took a few of the components of the winged lady from Shimano byke parts.

The old creepy guy works instead under the assumption that, in this setting, people’s life span can be increased almost indefinitely by plugging medical equipment into one’s body.

Impractical, maybe, and creepy, but better than being dead I guess.

Anyway, there’s actually another cyberpunk concept I had started working on, this time in ZBrush.

Since I’m slow as hell in ZBrush (I use it so rarely that I forget everything from one time to the other), I’m afraid that you shouldn’t hold your breath for that.

by Paolo Puggioni

Cyberpunk

19th May 2016 0

I have to admit I fell to the hype for CDProjekt Red’s next project, Cyberpunk 2077.

The Witcher 3 was one of my favourite games ever, so I have to assume their new franchise will kick ass just as much.

Seeing their teaser trailer brought back my ancient love for everything Cyberpunk, together with memories of the throng of comics and books I read about it.

I even found an old link saved in one of my bookmarks folders, which led to the complete series of BLAME! (the exclamation mark is not mine, it’s in the title).
For those who don’t know about it, do yourselves a favour and give it a quick read.
The environments and the cyborgs in it are among the most imaginative pieces of art I’ve ever seen.
The mood and sense of scale of the entire comic are just superb.

Anyway.

Riding the wave of this newfound love for everything Cyberpunk, I started sketching something, and this is what came out of it.

Cyberpunk

Now, with cyberpunk you can go crazy in a lot of different ways.
With this one I meant to be conservative and focus on mood more than anything else.

Instead of tubes and cyber-augmentations and body modifications, I preferred to convey something different and through other means.

For example, the clothes indicate some sort of urban environment (as opposed to what happens here, where everything seems put together from a post-apocalyptic junkyard).

The snazzy glasses are obviously from a high-tech environment, whereas the old-style, vaguely ethnic bling is supposed to suggest another layer to the background.
Maybe a fashion coming from a society that contains elements from what are now developing countries, and that in the future might have a more prominent influence on world’s culture.

I’m quite happy with the level of finish (although I left the hair very much unfinished to leave focus on her face).
I’m still not 100% proficient with Krita, and I had to see if I could do something a bit more polished than what I’ve done so far.

Good God Krita is amazing.

Anyway, I have a couple more cyberpunk sketches to finish off, I’ll post them next week.

by Paolo Puggioni

The Dragon and the Prince

17th May 2016 0

The dragon and the Prince is the last podcast I illustrated for Legends Myths and Whiskey.

It went out in April but I actually forgot to post this:(

We’re having a pause with the illustrations by the way, but the podcasts are still going on as usual.

Anyway, this story is about the three sons of an Emperor.

The first two sons had the misadventure of running into a nasty dragon while hunting in the forest.

The third, youngest brother then decides to investigate their disappearance and leaves home to find clues.

He follows the steps of his brothers to a mill, by which is sitting an old woman.

She reveals that the prince’s brothers have been eaten by the dragon, and that she herself is being held captive, with no way to escape.

The prince offers his help to the woman, and they agree she will try and trick the dragon into revealing his weaknesses, so that the prince could try and ride the land of it for good.

As it turns out, the source of the dragon’s strength is a long way off, in another kingdom.
In that kingdom there is a lake, and in the lake a dragon, in the dragon a boar, in the boar a pigeon, and in the pigeon the dragon’s strength.

The next day the old woman tells the prince the dragon’s secret, so the young man leaves immediately in search of the lake.

He disguises himself as a shepherd, and after much roaming he finally reaches the far-away kingdom.

He speaks to the emperor asking for work, and the emperor agrees to give him some sheep to
keep, warning him not to let them wander around the lake, for no one ever returned from the fields around it.

The prince understands that’s where the dragon strength is, so he buys two hounds and a falcon, gathers the sheep and leaves for the pastures around the lake.

Once there he shouts at the waters, challenging the dragon to a wrestling match.

The dragon bursts out of the water and accepts the challenge.
For an entire day they wrestle, their skills evenly matched, until the dragon withdraws under
the waters to rest.

The illustration obviously depicts the struggle and, obviously, it was made in Krita.

The Dragon and the Prince

Two more times the two face each other, but since this is turning into a big wall of text I have to cut it short!

You can listen to the whole story narrated properly here.

by Paolo Puggioni

The Woodcutter Story

12th Apr 2016 0

It’s actually The Woodcutter and the Eight Heavenly Maidens, but I hate it when Google shortens my titles:)

Anyway, yesterday it was the 10th of the month and as I said last time, it’s story time again.

This weeks’ story at Legends Myths and Whiskey features a North Korean myth about a young woodcutter in search for a wife.

The young man was always very industrious and honest, and still he was one of the few in his village without a wife.

One day he saved a deer from a hunter, so as a sign of gratitude the deer told him the secret of a long and happy life (the story doesn’t mention the woodcutter gasping in amazement at a deer who could talk like people. Anyway).

All the young man had to do was to climb the Diamond Mountain, hide behind a bush and wait for the Heavenly Maidens to descend to have their bath. Then he should steal one of the Maidens’ clothes, and by doing so she would bound to Earth and be his wife forever.
AS LONG AS HE DOESN’T GIVE HER HER CLOTHES BACK.

By the way, this is very interesting, as I’ve read this in many other stories from other countries.
I mean the fact that supernatural creatures are bound to Earth if you steal their clothes.

Anyway.
The woodcutter climbed the mountain, hid behind a bush, waited, stole some random clothes, one of the Maidens remained on Earth, he married him and gave him three children.
They lived happily together for several years, until the woodcutter gave up to his wife’s insistence and eventually gave her back her clothes.
As a gesture of trust.
The second she put them on she fled to heaven with the kids.

The rest of the story – which you can find here – is about the woodcutter making one mistake after another, but I’ll leave you to the proper narration.

Woodcutter

Now, I took a lot of liberties with this image, as the squared frame made it impossible for me to draw the entirety of the waterfall, plus the mountain and the maidens.
I guess it conveys the idea though.

I realized the woodcutter is a bit too dark and with a bit too much contrast.
I’ll fix it soon.

Next story is on the 20th, go check the other podcasts in the meantime!

by Paolo Puggioni

Psycho Cyber Reaper

7th Apr 2016 0

Hey, I’ve found the coloured version of the reaper I posted last week.

Not the you were holding your breath, but as the saying goes, OP must deliver.
So here it is.

Grim Sleepers Logo

It wasn’t actually necessary to render it in, but as I said, I kind of fell in love with the whole thing, so I made this over the course of a couple of lunch breaks back at my last job.

To be fair, even if the corp is no more, I might still get a tattoo of this at some point.
If and when I get the chance.

by Paolo Puggioni

The Story of Timun Emas

5th Apr 2016 0

I’ve recently started a very fruitful and enjoyable collaboration with Legends Myths and Whiskey, a podcast about, well, Legends, Myths and Whiskey!

Now, it’s not because I’m involved in it, but the podcasts are mightily interesting.
So if you are, like me, lucky enough to have a job that allows you listening to stuff without being distracted by it, I whole-heartedly recommend to subscribe, or at least to give it a try.

Just so you know, I’m not normally into podcasts (either I keep a documentary on the secondary monitor while I work, or just music), and the only two other podcasts I follow are StarTalk and There’s No Such Thing As A Fish.

So yeh, Legends, Myths and Whiskey is that good:)

LMAW produces three new podcasts every month, each with two new myths from around the world.
Between one story and another, as you might have figured, the host will talk about a specific brand of whiskey, which I think is a pretty cool thing to pair with ancient stories.

Anyway, I’ll be posting the illustrations as we go along with the podcasts, and this week’s was about an Indonesian legend about a girl called Timun Emas

Timun Emas

To make a long story very short, there was a couple who couldn’t have children, so they thought the next best thing after fertility therapy was begging the giant monster Butho Ijo to help them with his magic powers (the illustration depicts the moment the supplicants make their case before the demon).

The monster agrees, but under the condition that the child would return to him once she’s grown up.

In an admirable display of “uh that might be a problem later on but I’ll do it anyway and think about it later”, the aspiring parents take the deal, go back home and after nine months their dream comes true.

They lead an uneventful but happy life with their offspring, until, many years later, the monster knocks at their door demanding they fulfill their part of the deal.

The two parents, quite ungentlemanly I have to say, manage to delay him for some time, lying shamelessly, until Buto Ijo can’t take their excuses any more and decides to run after the poor girl.

Luckily Timun Emas has been given some magic trinkets to defend herself, and after an adventurous escape though the forest, she manages to overcome the monster and get back to her parents, to live happily ever after.

The story teaches us that it’s morally acceptable to break a deal if your counterpart is a blood-thirsty monster.

You can find the story, properly narrated, here.

by Paolo Puggioni

Logos

29th Mar 2016 0

If there’s one thing I hate, together with having my teeth drilled by the dentist, queuing at the post office and filling in tax forms, is doing logos.

As a matter of fact, not unlike most Illustrators of my generation, making logos was exactly how I started my career, in a small, now defunct advertising company in Northern Italy.
You know, just to “get a foot in the industry”.

Photoshop was a novelty back then, the Internet was at its beginnings, and every time there was some feedback we had to draw the thing back from scratch. I mean, with pencils, markers and paper.

No hold on, let me rephrase that: we had to draw the DAMN thing back from scratch.

And one thing I learned in my time in advertising, is that your clients would always require the highest possible amount of feedback, always.

So there I was , drawing over and over again something I had no interest whatsoever in, which eventually led to my deepest disgust towards anything even remotely related to logo-making.

It’s not that I don’t have respect in the profession. I know there’s an entire, huge set of skills involved in making a good logo.
It’s just that I probably didn’t have those skills, and I had no interest whatsoever in developing them.

It is with surprise then, that at some point, about a year ago, I heard myself slipping to my bunch of good Internet friends that I would be glad to redraw the logo of Grim Sleepers, our player Corporation in EVE Online.

It might have been because I had just finished watching Sons of Anarchy, and I kind of liked the aesthetics of bikers leather, or something like that.

The thing is, I actually enjoyed the entire process, and I’m kind of pleased with the results.

Grim Sleepers Logo

Grim Sleepers Logo

Grim Sleepers Logo

Ok, it’s not like I designed Nike’s logo or anything, and drawing a biker-style cyborg skull is a lot closer to what I do normally, but still.

There were more, but being them just slight variations of the logos above I’ll save you some band width.

There also was a coloured version of the one we picked, I just can’t find it on my machine right now.
I’ll ask one of my corpsies if they still have it.

Since then we all abandoned EVE to one degree or another, and when I came across these logos in my Old_Stuff folder I went all “awwww, look at that”.

I loved my corp.
I had also considered getting a new tat with the Grim Sleepers’ logo.
Oh well, good times.

by Paolo Puggioni

Just Weapons

24th Mar 2016 0

In 2014 I worked a lot on the Pathfinder game setting; weapons, characters, environments, you name it.
I was also working on Game of Thrones back then, plus a bunch of other things, all this on top of my day job at Jagex.

In hindsight, yeh maybe I had too much on my plate at the same time.
Not enough to mess up deadlines, luckily (I’ve never ever been late on a deadline, actually!), but after several months of this, hell I was tired.
And to be completely honest with myself, I’m not 100% happy with all the artwork I produced during that time.

As a matter of fact, there are throngs of Illustrations I have from that period, and I’m comfortable with just a handful of them.
Oh well, experience, I guess.

Anyway, one of the expansions I worked on was Pathfinder’s Skull and Shackles.
These are some of the cards I made for it.

PZO6013 - Distance Musket +1

PZO6013 - Furious Falchion +1

PZO6013 - Harpoon

PZO6013 - Humanbane Short Sword +1

The rest of the work in that particular assignment falls under the “umm this might need some more love” category, whereas these weapons seemed to me good enough to post here.

I remember these flowed out quite nicely.
After all I was quite used to drawing one set of weapon after the other when I was on Runescape.

As for the rest, it appears I’m heading towards the end of this “empty the Old_Work folder” initiative.
After the very last couple of Concepts I made for Runescape, form now on it’s just new, unpublished work.

by Paolo Puggioni