A few days ago I happened to think of hoverboards, so I thought I could draw some.
I can’t deny I’ve always had a thing for hoverboards.
Well, I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Let’s say I’m just one of those who have a thing for hoverboards.
They are one of those unkept promises that people from the 80s still begrudge, together with jetpacks and flying cars.
I check daily on Amazon for availability, with no success.
This is the only one I found, which doesn’t really hover, it’s way too pink and disturbingly too 80s.
Plus, the auction starts at 30000 USD.
Not that I’m complaining about the technology available today, of course.
I mean, my grandma used to fetch water from the river with a vase balancing on her head so, well, tap water technology is already pretty cool if you asked her.
Also, I draw things on a screen. And when I touch the screen, things happen. Ok, sometimes they don’t happen at all and I have to download and reinstall the drivers of the bloody screen, but it’s still pretty cool, and nowhere near as upsetting as not having a hoverboard.
How difficult can it be to make one? We have laser guns! They were in everybody’s list of things they expected to see in the future, and here they are. Why not hoverboards?
We should set our priorities straight, people. Lasers are cool, there’s no denying it. But they really look at their best when shot at alien invaders from a real spaceship, so the timing is all wrong here.
So, in case scientists ever happen to read this and were undecided what to focus on next, here’s where I would put our R&D money for the next few years:
- fucking Hoverboards, let’s get them out of the way guys.
- flying cars (you can hoverboard to the office for your work commute, but you do need a flying car if you have kids).
- decent robots (ok we’re getting there)
- warp drive spaceships (just a few years for those)
- ONLY THEN, laser guns
Should THE GOVERNMENT agree with my list, here’s some quick designs. Just in case.
by Paolo Puggioni
I decided I had to brush off my matte painting skills, so the first thing I thought I could do is your classic post apocalyptic city.
Only, in this case, instead of being a city depicted after a nuclear event, or a big ginormous tsunami caused by asteroid impact, or a zombie invasion, or an earthquake, or an eruption, this city is just frozen solid.
Considering it has been winter for like 8 months now, it’s not difficult to imagine why I came up with this original idea.
Also, I remember once I came across the picture of a block (in Siberia maybe?) which remained without heating because of a power failure or something, in the dead of winter, at around -50 degrees. The buildings were literally filled with ice. Imagine your freezer (well, my freezer actually, as I never clean off the ice build-ups. Maybe you do. In mine you can hardly fit a sausage now). It was like that. Like my freezer.
Damn I can’t find the link, or the images. Oh Well, just trust me.
Anyway, I figure a major natural event cutting the power during the winter could cause some serious trouble. People without heating, all huddled together in their houses to get some warmth from each other’s bodies. Engineers, as well as rescuers, would be impaired by the extreme elements. Eventually no one would go outside to take care of things, stray dogs would roam the streets fighting for their food with looters, all would be made fragile by the cold, glass would shatter, building would crumble, OMG it would be chaos!
Or maybe we have a plan B in such an apocalyptic occurrence, who knows.
In the meantime, that’s how I see it.
I took a lot of shortcuts with this one. First, it’s a shallow perspective. All the major planes are facing the camera, so I didn’t have to distort the textures too much.
Then, well, a frozen post apocalyptic city is easier to paint than, say, the carnival of Rio. Definitely less colours to deal with and no people around to be drawn.
I actually almost considered adding some characters to support the story, but the scale of the composition made it quite difficult to introduce other elements (like, as I said, dogs and people) without them being completely unreadable.
In the end I think the lack of characters actually adds to the sense of desolation a post apocalyptic city would give.
by Paolo Puggioni
Someone recently pointed out a disturbing absence of spaceships in my portfolio, so there you go, here’s a spaceship.
Now, spaceships are a quite tricky subject.
The thing about them is there’s a LOAD of them on the Internet, so it doesn’t matter what you do, more often than not someone has done something slightly similar to yours, only slightly better.
Well, this applies to pretty much everything you do and post on the internet, so it’s no big deal.
Then there’s the matter of how you approach your spaceship.
Should it be something completely void of any technological coherence? After all, it could be built like a million years into the future, and you can’t possibly fathom what kind of magic our descendants would be capable of. Therefore you can just go nuts, put a bunch of shapes together, chuck it on a starlit background and there you go.
Or should it be something more plausible, which could be set a hundred years in the future? In that case the design could be pretty close to today’s taste, materials would be pretty much the same and all the elements (windows, thrusters, communication arrays) would be just an upgraded version of those we already use.
I knocked out this one in a fairly short time, and to be honest (being as it is my first break from Fantasy in months) I went for the safety of a well-established look. If I were to do it for an actual game (or had I given myself some more time), I would have developed something a bit more imaginative.
For the time being, here’s just a spaceship.
As a matter of fact, I’ve recently been complaining to a friend about some repetitiveness in the designs you see around lately.
In fantasy, as well as in sci-fi, some visual languages have become excessively archetypical, and most artists I see around seem to mix up ideas that are a bit overused at the moment, without giving it too much thought.
Aliens have spikes and fangs, villains wear black, wizards have a beard, elves dress fabulous and so on.
Hell, I’m one of the worst offenders, sometimes you can’t really do whatever you want, especially when you are paid for it, and your audience expects a certain kind of image.
Anyway, my complaining sessions resulted in the outlining of a project that I’ll be working on in the next few months during my spare time.
I’ve got nothing at the moment, so don’t hold your breath.
It will be a sci-fi setting, deliberately designed to avoid well established clichés.
So well, hopefully I’ll be drawing more imaginative spaceships.
In the meantime, remember that spaceships are like pizza, or sex. Even when they’re bad, they’re still pretty good.
by Paolo Puggioni
I mean, Game of Thrones the HBO series is back, nothing to do with drawing.
As a matter of fact, I haven’t been posting drawings on my blog in ages!
It’s not that I’ve been lazy, in fact I’ve been working like crazy during the past couple of months.
Unfortunately everything I’ve been working on cannot be disclosed yet, so for the next couple of months I’ll be able to publish only the few spare sketches I’ll manage to slip in my schedule.
Too bad, I had some interesting ideas lined up.
Well, wait, it’s not bad actually, I’m working on pretty cool things, you’ll see.
So, as I said, Game of Thrones is Back. Everyone is pretty excited about it, me included.
I can’t wait to see on screen the events I read in the books. A part from a couple that I’m still trying to get over:(
Anyway, it must be because of the hype around the series, but I keep coming across Game of Thrones related things on the Internet.
The first one is of course George R.R. Martin’s new website.
I think it’s pretty cool (someone pointed out on reddit that it doesn’t look early nineties any longer).
It also displays some pretty cool illustrations on its rotator, one of which is by Michael Kormarck, who made the cover art in the same book I made the back cover of.
If you want to refresh your memory with the events of the past Game of Thrones’ seasons, this awesome map has been created exactly for that purpose. Just scroll down and the map will highlight the places where the events took place, with a brief pop-up summary of what happened.
Actually I should have posted it a few weeks ago, but as I said I’ve been busy, and I have a very crappy memory.
So, just two days to go.
If you want to kill time while you wait, just enjoy this gif. I just look at it every now and then when I need to feel better.
by Paolo Puggioni
I’ve never had a good relationship with cars, at least with cars as a design object.
It’s not that I can’t appreciate the elegance of some designs, of their smooth curves, of the solutions found to make something functional also nice to look at.
I get it, I really do, and some cars are just very cool.
I’m just not crazy about it.
This didn’t make me much popular during my adolescence, where all my friends went on ond on about how that specific carburetor was slightly better than the other one, and how those tires were so fucking thick.
Also, my friends (parents) could afford cars. And they had girlfriends who liked people who could afford cars, who in turn attracted other friends who liked to talk about cars all the time, which is one of the many reasons why I eventually ended up hanging out with people with interests that didn’t involved bloody cars.
Long story short, during my career I’ve always tried to avoid drawing vehicles. I couldn’t always help it, but hell, I’ve done my best.
So, the other day, for reasons I won’t go into, I decided to include some vehicles in my portfolio and, to my astonishment, I enjoyed it!
There are some things here and there that I could improved on, but being it the first one in ages I think it’s not that bad at all.
The thing about drawing vehicles, is that they require a completely specific set of skills.
For the past few years I’ve focused my attention on so called soft surfaces: skin, clothes, muscles, bodies and so on. They catch the light in a different way than polished metal, they require a different set of tools to be painted, and they follow different design rules.
Cars, on the other hand, other than looking pretty, need to look functional. Instead of big texture brushes and a loose, sometimes careless brush strokes, you need selections, vectors and gradients. You can’t really improvise when you are trying to draw a car, and every small inaccuracy look immediately WRONG.
Fortunately, some of the endless rants I had to endure during my adolescence stuck somewhere in my brain, and when I have to draw vehicles I’m not completely clueless.
I’m also getting the hang of big soft brushes to paint gentle changes of light (very easy as long as you set flow to less than 10), and vectors to draw big shapes and highlight.
It’s also surprisingly fast to do once you get the idea.
And, of course, if you paste time-consuming things like wheels and mechanic parts from stock images.
So, I never thought it possible, but I enjoyed drawing this, with possibly more to come in the next future.
by Paolo Puggioni
Ok, these two guys are the last Game of Thrones Characters left on my hard drive.
Again, I’ve been a bit under the weather recently and I don’t have much new stuff to show.
(Well, I guess these two still qualify as new if you haven’t bought the Game of Thrones Night Watch’s Rulebook or had one copy shoved upon your face when visiting my house).
Anyway, the brief for these two characters was quite laconic.
The first one is called Flown Crow.
From the brief I thought he was the usual, straightforward “I’m going to kill you with my sword” kind of person, which is how I depicted him.
As it turned out after reading his description on the Rulebook, Flown Crows are Men of the Nightwatch who fled from the wall to live either South of it (and risking to be executed by pretty much anyone they meet), or North of it, amongst the Wildlings.
Still pretty risky but with a slightly longer life expectancy.
Hence Flown Crows. Got it? Men of the Night Watch are commonly referred to as Crows, so when one escapes he becomes a Flown Crow.
I didn’t get it back then.
I know, DUH.
The second character-type is called Unlucky Gambler.
These folks usually come from wealthy families, surrounded by shiny stuff and booze.
It being Game of Thrones I guess that “booze and bitches” wouldn’t be too inappropriate.
After a while they start gambling dad’s money (like, all of it), end up in some kind of court and are given the choice between losing their head or joining the Night Watch.
So, this is it for this Game of Thrones assignment.
As for my whining about, uh, lack of inspiration, systemic laziness and whatnot, I certainly don’t want to dilute them into a completely unrelated topic!
These thoughts certainly deserve some space on their own.
So don’t rush to unsubscribe from my feeds! Who doesn’t like reading people moaning about things?
by Paolo Puggioni
There’s still some Game of Thrones artwork I have to post.
Actually with this one I should be pretty much finished.
I haven’t been drawing much lately. Which could be a bit depressing if it wasn’t for this post on Muddy Colors by Petar Meseldzija, which cheered me up a little. Apparently even world-class artists regularly go though periods of low productivity, and it’s not always a bad sign.
As a matter of fact, there’s a whole bunch of things I would like to start working on, and a quite ambitious project for which I might have to involve the friend who made this website for me.
(He doesn’t know it yet. So yes, if you’re reading this, there might be work heading your way at some point:)).
In the meantime, alas, I’m actually going through a period of mental laziness. Even at work it’s more Excel spreadsheets than anything else, which usually sucks the creativity out of anyone.
But things are changing fast around me, so we’ll see what happens in the next future.
Anyway. This is one of the last pieces I made for Green Ronin’s Game of Thrones RPG.
They both depict Men of the Night Watch taking their oath.
The recruits on the left hand side are swearing before a Septon, a priest of the Seven Gods.
The Brothers on the right hand side, faithful to the Old Gods, are instead taking their oath before a Heart-Tree.
That’s how Jon Snow took the Blacks, as any Game of Thrones nerd would know.
Both scenes take place at the end of the day, the sun setting and the night approaching, which is obviously a symbol of the kind of life ahead of them.
As I said before, the chapters about the Night Watch were hands down my favourite in the Game of Thrones books.
The constant threat of the cold, and the evil things creeping inside it, the peculiar, unforgiving code of honour of the Wall. And the grudging dedication of the brothers, for whom the Watch was the only meaningful thing left in life.
Also, their Oath always gives me the chills.
Night gathers, and now my watch begins.
It shall not end until my death.
I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children.
I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.
I shall live and die at my post.
I am the sword in the darkness.
I am the watcher on the walls.
I am the shield that guards the realms of men.
I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
by Paolo Puggioni
Here are some Wildlings I designed for the Game of Thrones RPG.
As I said before, the game sheds some light on the various tribes dwelling North of the Wall.
It’s not that the books don’t cover them, it’s just that most times what makes them peculiar is just hinted at.
These drawings in particular have been quite a bitch. You see, a characters line-up like this would normally take as much time as three or four illustrations, at the price of one.
So if you don’t want to lose time and money you have to be efficient (and possibly go through little or no revisions, yes that would help).
They still took the better part of eight hours, which is pretty much what it would take for one single character with this level of polish.
So, well, I took shortcuts, used textures and I grabbed the colour palette from photographs. Much quicker than figuring out the colours along the way.
The only one that I “improvised” is the second from the left in the first picture, which is in fact slightly inconsistent with the others. However, its the only one set indoors, (not many Wildlings in Game of Thrones do) so I thought it would fit anyway.
So, from the left: a member of the Cannibal Clans, with trophies of previous killings and painted in blood; a Cave Dweller, painted in the green and purple of his clan; a Hornfoot, who walks barefoot even on snow and carries all his belongings on his back; an Ice Wife warrior on a bear mount.
From the left: a Nightrunner girder for war. These guys carry heavy armours usually collected from enemies (he’s sporting some Night’s Watch items); Walrus Men riding a whale-bones sledge pulled by dogs; a Thenn warrior in bronze scale mail, bronze headed spear and shield. They live on grassy mountains instead of frozen wastes.
AsI said, I don’t remember many of them while reading the Game of Thrones books. Maybe the Thenns and Hornfoot are mentioned? Anyway, since my 5 years old daughter can beat me at Memory Game it might also be that they are and I don’t remember.
In any case, they look pretty cool on print:)
by Paolo Puggioni
I eventually managed to finish the Nymphs I sketched a while ago, just in time for the deadline.
As usual, I was caught into something completely different in the meantime, and I managed to complete only one of the three drawings I had planned.
Plus, I’m an idiot, and I forgot to take home from work the only drawing I finished, which was the result of a few lunch breaks.
So, no time for the several tweaks I had in mind and other changes, I just submitted it as it is.
Oh well, that should do I guess.
At least I’m quite happy about this one, the nymphs are as pretty as the lore requires (I hope), but odd enough to come across as non-human.
As I said before, I think nymphs should be at least a little unsettling. I mean, they live on the shore of small rivers, and possibly catch their own fish and eat it raw. So I figure they must be skilled predators, with agile fingers and sharp teeth.
And of course gills.
I had started (and almost finished) a whole illustration. Unfortunately the result was so poor that I just deleted it. The badness was so wide spread that it wasn’t even possible to point my finger on something to fix. Just easier to throw it in the bin and move on to something else.
Sometimes it happens. Not a good feeling when you waste time this way, but it happens.
Too bad the sketch was pretty good I think, I had great hopes:(
Nymphs are done, now my new endeavour will be drawing a card for my sister.
My little sister gets married, and she wants me to draw her cards, how cool is that?
I doubt I’ll be allowed to post them though, (also, I doubt anyone but few selected people would care) so in the next few days I’ll keep posting images from Game of Thrones, for a change.
by Paolo Puggioni
The reason I was so happy to work on a Night Watch assignment was that I would have the chance to draw Jon Snow, who is one of my favourite characters in the whole Game of Thrones series.
Then I found out I did indeed have to draw Jon Snow. Only seen from behind.
Oh well. Still Jon Snow, I guess.
In this illustration he is in one of many situations in which Mormont is reprimanding him for some reason.
Mormont was one of my favourite characters too.
Too bad that… oh damn it, how can I speak my mind without spoiling the books or the TV series to everyone?
Anyway. They had a really nice dynamic. Mormont a lord of ancient family, proud and stern, but good inside.
Jon Snow with noble blood as well, just spoilt by the detail of being born of an illicit relationship, and being reminded about it around fifty times per page.
They both had something to be sad for, which is why maybe they made such a good couple of characters.
Hold on, in Game of Thrones everyone is sad about something.
You care about these two, though.
I chose to depict the scene in warm colours, despite being set at Castle Black, where it would make more sense to convey the sense of worry for the constant menace of the cold (and the things that thrive in it).
Then I thought that a cold mood would have made the scene too negative. The characters are already clad in black, and it would have looked more like a judge about to convict a criminal, or something like that.
I think the warm light makes it easier to think of a benevolent scolding rather than an angry accusation.
The only thing I’m not entirely sure about in the drawing is the cup on the table.
I meant it to be ornate enough to be fit for the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. However, I might have made the design a little too complex, so perhaps it steals a bit of attention from Mormont and Jon Snow.
Again, it was perfect for me when I finished it. I should never look at my finished drawing again.
by Paolo Puggioni