Wednesday, 9 September 2009

New Divide

Hey there, folks.

I just wanted to let you guys know that my robotic slaves have just completed a new website for me. It is at

'So, Sam, why have you done that when you already have an excellant weblog, won't you be spreading your considerable talents too thinly?'

That's an excellant question that I'm sure you would be dying to ask me were you here with me.

First of all, I have long needed a decent website to showcase some of my Illustration/Design work, most of which gets inevitably lost deep within the blog's (and flickr's) archives and is difficult to find and show off to people.

Secondly, the weblog is feeding directly onto the new site's front page so I don't need to worry about someone missing my important opinions regarding the latest piece of crap rpg that I've played.

Thirdly, I think the new banner looks rad.


Edit: It appears that this post doesnt show on the front page of the new site, I think that the import only shows previous posts and none made after the merge/import/whatever. I may need to only update there from now on.

Edit 2: All new posts will be at the new site as I can't feed new posts from here to there, but all my old stuff is archived there still, and this blog shall also remain for posterity.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Illustration Friday: Magnify

I seem to have missed last week's IF topic. But here's this week's.

I had actually no idea what to do. I wanted to subvert it someway. It's too easy to just draw a magnifying glass that makes a bug or something bigger, so I decided to have the typically tiny figure hold the magnifying glass. Something got a bit lost along the way and I made a gigantic freakish dog.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Illustration Friday: Wrapped

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Wrapped'.

I wasn't sure what to do, and this morning I realised I only really had today to do it. So I thought about what wrapped meant to me. I settled on wrapping up warmly to brave the elements.
First thing that came to mind was camping, and in particular my experiences at music festivals. It's cold, sometimes raining. But even when it's not, it's pretty miserable at night.

I decided against colour so I could experiment with colour values, learning to get that perfect mix of shades. The grey also makes it feel cold which is what I was aiming for.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Player Vs Comic

I've started up another blog exclusively for a webcomic that I'm going to try working on in my (considerable) spare time. It can be found at

I didn't want the comic to get mixed in too much with the stuff I post here and I'm not too clever at setting up webcomic sites and I just wanted to chuck it out there.

If you haven't played WoW lately it'll probably zoom over your head.

Knowing my luck though, it'll probably zoom over your head even if you have, but whatever...

Monday, 10 August 2009

Illustration Friday: Impatience

I haven't done one of these in a while so I thought I'd flex my creative muscles as it were and illustrate this weeks IF; Impatience.

I'm a very impatient person, so a lot of things that involve waiting infuriate me no end. Waiting for people at the pub, waiting for food, waiting in queues etc.

But my computer lets me down on a daily basis by making me wait for the most mundane things. Openning web browsers, installing tiny games, opening and running said tiny games. Ergo, my computer's endless defiance of my self proclaimed role as master made it perfect material for this topic.

I used my Wacom tablet, which as you can probably see I'm still not all that comfortable with using. I still can't get straight lines all that easily and I find it less precise than using pen and paper. That said it increases my workflow and productivity by an awful lot. In the space of about 2 hours I concepted, drew and coloured this. It probably shows, but I think that's amazing. With pen and paper I would be there for hours, correcting mistakes, fiddling with my scanner and then with the brightness and contrast to eliminate the pencil.

Also, quick shoutout to my brother Loz who got linked by the other day for a post he made about Emblem of Conquest farming. He got a ton of visitors and somehow his site managed to stay up. Which is good.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Saint's Row 2 Review

Carlos was the guy who got me out of jail. He knew me by reputation and I think he expected a black guy. Or at least an American. He certainly hadn't expected me to be 250 pounds, purple mohawk, clad in black and busting out Krunch FM in my newly acquired Vortex with the previous owner (or what's left of him) still spread across the bonnet, whilst i waved my Shotgun at the cops. And he almost certainly hadn't expected my not quite convincing cockney accent.

On paper Saint's Row 2 is a crap game.

It's GTA light. It doesn't have the same rich tapestry and history of Grand Theft Auto. Saint's Row doesn't even make any attempts to actually feel all that much different from it.

You steal cars, you shoot passersby, you build up wanted levels, you buy houses, you can store vehicles at said houses, you have a cell phone where you engage in inane conversations as you spin the camera around waiting for the main character to stop moving so slowly, you can do a variety of missions at once, some activated by acquiring a specific vehicle. All the same.

Even the interface is the same. The menus are the same. Hell, the minimap is the same, with missions appearing as circular icons that spin around it, and just like GTA 4 you can set a GPS route to your destination sparing you from that fun experience of driving into dead ends or rivers as you followed the arrow.

A lot of the stuff in SR2 that isn't blatantly plagarised from GTA 4 they took from other games in the series. There's the character customisation, gang recruiting and territory game of San Andreas and the store buying from Vice City.

I pulled up to the gun shop, pleased to find Carlos guarding my property. I whistled to him. and he piled into my car. I spun the car around and zoomed off waiting for a perfect target. I saw it. I leant out of the window and sprayed my mp5s at the crowd and Carlos followed suit.

To him, it was all a game.

But SR2 is a game.
And it's not afraid to admit it.

Unlike other open world titles that attempt a semblance of realism, there is no small arbitary limit on the amount of vehicles you can store in your garage. I have about 30 cars in my garage and I can just pick one of them up from and of my houses, regardless of how mangled I left it after my last joy ride.

Getting Wanted stars isn't a punishment for deciding to drive on the pavement, instead they're an excuse to engage in more combat, and maybe to nick one of the decent cop cars with the gun on top.

I originally dismissed SR2 (and poured scorn on my cousin for buying it) as a shallow rip off, one that actually seriously was about 'drugs and hos'. In fact I pretty much imagined it as an interactive version of Channel U.

And that's true to an extent. Superficially all the main characters do drugs, the single important female character is pretty slutty, and they take this gang war business pretty seriously. But that would be ignoring what makes this game so fun.

It's like Halo.

Bungie have said that Halo's about the 'thirty seconds of fun'. With Halo you really are just playing the same thirty seconds over and over. It may be on different maps and with different weapons, but to be honest, it's the same thirty seconds on a loop. But it's the most enjoyable thirty seconds.

SR2 is exactly the same. They managed through some sort of alchemical process distill whatever it was that made GTA fun, eliminating the bs and handing it to you for dinner.

It's not without it's flaws though. The GPS system gets lost and confused fairly often. More than once has it told me to go left, then after making the turn it tells me I should have gone right, then when i turn around it's going left again. On some missions, especially ones involving other helicoptors, you can get unfairly destroyed in a single hit requiring you to redo vast parts of the mission. In addition the checkpoint system in missions is horrendously inconsistent. Sometimes there'll be a checkpoint everytime you go up a flight of stairs in an enemy stronghold, and sometimes the mission will require you to do several vehicle changes (car drive to jet ski to boat) or fight several waves of enemies and not checkpoint it once.

The story itself is pretty mundane until the very last act featuring the Ultor Corporation where the plot begins to morph from petty gangland squabbles to focus on corporate greed and the machiavellian motivations of 'the good guys in power'.

I never got a chance to play the online co-op though which is a shame, I'd have loved to have been flying a helicoptor while a mate chainguns people, but whatever.

However SR2 is a fundementally entertaining game. I strongly recommend it to anyone who played through GTA 4 and wished they could at least change Nico's hair.

The Brotherhood picked up Carlos. They wanted to send me a message. I found him chained to the back of their truck.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Saint's Row 2

I've been playing Saint's Row 2 on and off recently. It's not the best example of it's genre, and not the greatest shooter or driving game, but there's something fun about it.

Being able to create my own character with his own personality and quirks helps to make it accessible. This is a drawing of my guy, and honestly, I can't even imagine it with any other character. Same as when I see people playing KoToR and they haven't picked the asian dude with the goatee.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Wacom Practice

I've been trying to work on some backgrounds for my next animation, but my skill with the Wacom tablet I have is still a bit weak. Sometimes I can't get my hand to work with my eye. It's not the same as drawing on paper, that's for sure.

So as an effort to improve I've been just straight up tracing. I've always advocated tracing and copying of images as a way to teach your hand how to draw how you want it too. You also can 'absorb' elements of another artist's style, for good or for ill.

For this attempt I tried tracing a screenshot from Warcraft. There are a lot of little details to pick up, and I always feel guilty if it's an actual piece of artwork I'm stealing from.

This is a work in progress as you can see, but I find it's already becoming a little more natural to me.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Wall of Text

Hey, I don't have anything arty to post but I don't like not updating frequently.

I got some great feedback on the animation in the last post and I'm working on another one, but I scrapped a bunch of the assets that I've put together. And my friend is being lazy and hasn't gotten round to recording his voice for one of the characters yet. But hopefully it'll be done in a few weeks.

Anyway, I wanna talk about what I've been up to.

I've been playing a few games so I thought I'd summarise how I feel about them.

Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
I never played the Xbox original, and my enthusiasm for the character meant that this was actually a pretty good buy. Butcher Bay is on here and it's a great game. There's a lot of great atmosphere and characterisation. It feels a bit like Deus Ex actually, which is a good thing. The new campaign (the Dark Athena of the title) is a bit worse. I can't really put my finger on it. Yes, the guards have worse AI (but they're meant to) but given their volume and stupidity you can really unleash on them in a way you can't in Butcher. I think in general that Athena just misses a lot of the aforementioned atmosphere and characterisation of Butcher which is something of a shame. In Short: Not a bad purchase and fun while it lasts. Which isn't long.

John Woo's Stranglehold
Is a terrible, terrible game. It fills a void in my life every now and then where I just want to engage in mindless violence.

Diablo 2:
I've never really played it, so playing it now for the first time is a bit of an eyeopener. I can't really see all the fuss about it, but at the same time I can see where a bunch of the mechanics in WoW came from. It would probably be more fun playing with other people, rather than on my own, but I can't seem to convince anyone to do so. As it stands, on my own it's a bit, well, boring?

I sort of have to mention warcraft given how much I've invested in it. I've been doing a bunch of the tournament dailies and am slowly getting Champion everywhere (my guild is called Crusade so it's pretty much an obligation to get the Crusader title). We're slowly pushing into Ulduar. We have 6 bosses down, but Assembly of Iron give us so much hate atmo. Maybe we'll get them this week.

I hope I've not forgotten anything. Anyway. I'll be back later hopefully with something to actually show.

Friday, 15 May 2009

100th POST!

They said it would never happen. BUT IT HAS! This is officially my 100th post. So I thought I'd celebrate by fiddling around in Flash and making something that moved. It's a bit rough, as I've never used it before. But it's a nice try. I think.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

IF: Hierarchy

I was just playing around with my wacom. Still feels really weird to use. But hey ho, here we go.

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Is kinda awkward to use.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

IF: Impossibility

Didn't really know what to do with this one.
It looks all right though.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Illustration Friday - Fleeting

Hey There,

This is my entry for this weeks Illustration Friday, the topic was 'fleeting' and at first I wasn't sure I was going to do it. I won't show you the sketches, but my first idea was a guy sitting in a coffin with a 'how the hell did this happen?' expression on his face.

It was as bad as it sounds. I decided to go with something else. So I thought, what's fleeting? Space ships? In a way, yes, but they're difficult to draw without copying someone else, so I went for time instead. (click to enlarge as always)

Review Time
I watched Welcome to the Jungle last night. It has the Rock in it and Sean William Scott. It's pretty generic, mindless and derivative as hell, but fun while it lasts. The film is clearly a vehicle for former WWF doucebag The Rock and as a result it just glorifies him in a way that's pretty lame. For a start he wins all fights, even when he shouldn't. He doesnt use guns (but when he does he's able to hit some guy behind cover 50 yards away with a shotgun) and in order to make him seem like a 'normal' person, he also wants to be a chef. Even though you don't see him once get behind a stove.

Sean William Scott was a bit better but his character was still just another derivation of Stifler, just with a treasure hunting streak (for some reason). I've seen him act better (he was the lead in Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot which despite the IMDB ranking was actually pretty good).

I guess what I'm trying to say is, that Welcome to the Jungle, is to cinema what McDonalds is to steak. Nice stab at it, but trying to please everyone at once and failing horribly.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Good, Bad, Ugly

I had this random doodle in my sketch book from my session of drawing Roland of Gilead. I was wondering if there was anything I could do with it and turned it into a film poster.

With this first one I was going for a Sin City look. I thought it looked ok but the more I thought about it, the more wrong it was. So I decided to put in some 'western' colours to make it feel less Sin City and more Good Bad Ugly.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Stargate Poster

I found this on my hard drive earlier and it made me laugh. I was trying to make Stargate posters a few months back for my portfolio and this was the best of the bunch. Because it's clearly the one I was doing as I gave up.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Dark Tower

Last year a good friend of mine got me reading the Dark Tower cycle by Stephen King. Looking back, I'm still a bit fuzzy about precisely how that happened. I guess he must have used hypnosis because I remember him telling me how it all ends and me saying that I'll never read them after that. It's more about the journey than the end though and now that I finally got past Wizard and Glass (quick summary; the first 100 pages or so is basically the last 100 or so pages of the Third book, then there's a massive flashback about him as a teenager hiding basically) I'm reading it every night pretty obsessively (I'm on Wolves of the Calla now).

For those not savvy to it, it's an epic fantasy series but instead of swords and sorcery, King deliberately went for a Western motif and if weekday afternoon movies on Channel Five are any indication, then Westerns are coming back.

The story centres around Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger of Gilead and his search for the elusive Dark Tower. He's a man who is described as being a) incredibly old because the way his world is moving on is affecting time somehow b) sharp, both with his guns and with his perceptions c) short on imagination d) short on humour e) complete badass.

The Tower itself stands at the centre of all things, the nexus of all worlds and times. And it's crumbling.

Plot aside (I'm sure I'll bring it up again at some point anyway) I spent some time last weekend drawing Roland in front of the Tower and spent a while today meticulously colouring it in (click to full zoom of course).

And then I went and defaced all of my hard work.

And then I wondered how it might look on an old edition book.

But it kinda came out more like an olde timey wanted poster.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Chilling at Work

Here's a new comic what I done.

You need to click the magnifying glass so you can zoom in. I was having trouble with Flickr as it for some reason wouldn't let you zoom in at full size, which made it unreadable.

Monday, 6 April 2009

It Came From Beyond (the Jameson's house)

Hello there, to whoever reads this still. I've been doing a bit of drawing lately during downtime in my Naxxramas raids. It's surprising how much you can actually get done while waiting for people to turn up, run from graveyard, discuss strategies.

I got the idea for this, sort of, when I had to mail some dvds a week or two back. I couldn't find the post office (apparently all the local ones are shut) and had to walk into Laleham. Got a bit lost and ended up walking down suburbua. With the endless rows of houses and surprisingly few people it felt a little claustraphobic and Kafkaesque. I imagined myself lost in this labyrynthine residential area for the rest of all time.

I got out of course. Duh. But I couldn't escape the feeling at the time that I was trapped.

This image however is part of my attempt to build a new slightly fresher, more mainstream looking portfolio. The hope is it'll get me work. Work that I need.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Firefly 'Review' and Doodles

I was just playing around on my Wacom for the first time in ages. I haven't done much drawing recently I'm ashamed to say, and it felt good to get back to it for a bit. This could probably be better, but I'm a bit rusty, and I was experimenting a bit with colour value and contrast.

I've been watching Firefly and it's a good show. The last time I watched it I was completely enamored with it. But this time round I began to nitpick a little bit. For a start, the Alliance is meant to be this massive authority and you get the feeling that they don't really have much control as many planets don't actually have any Alliance presence whatsoever. In the context of the show, the crew of Serenity avoid the Alliance like the plague, deliberately going to these places but the fact that there are hardly any government or federal types around at all after about episode 4 gives the impression that they hardly exist at all.

Same with the Reavers actually, but I reckon I'd have got a lot more annoyed if it was all Reavers all the time.

This includes the main characters. You get to know them as people but many of the main cast don't get a fully fleshed out backstory. Most get a blurb in regards to their history, and some a massive question mark. River's time spent at the Alliance academy, while getting attention, is never revealed. Sheperd's links with the Alliance military is also a massive blank. But the other character's with their more 'mundane' lives don't get a look in. How come Kayleigh knows so much about Space Ships and engineering? Where is Wash from and who taught him to fly said space ships. And why the hell is Jayne such a badass?

To be fair, this is stuff that would have been fleshed out further should they have been allowed to complete the first season and perhaps move onto another. So I guess the conclusion to this ramble is 'good but need more'. Which is about as good you could get.

Oh, and I want to know about the 10th character. How did she end up in that junk yard and who the hell owned her before Mal?

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Why I Can't Get Design Work

I found this job posting online this morning. I wish I'd made it all up. The worst part is that people actually applied to this guy.

Description: I need humble graphic design artist that can draw the characters and color them

I need two guys standing side by side of each other with there arms crossed and they need to be drawin in the type of style as the characters in the picture I got attach atleast like the one with french braids have bandana around his mouth and nose and the one with the red and white hat on him this will be on the t-shirt if you can draw them better then be my guess make it look cool it will be full body shot of both of the characters...

The character with the hat is gonna have red,white,yellow hat turned backward its gonna be fitted Old atlanta hawks hat with the Atlanta basketball jersey the colors is gonna be red,white,and yellow with just the atlanta hawks logo red and white on the front of the jersey with know band on his arm... his shoes red,white and yellow pants white and pants white with red and yellow line going down the side... he have know scraf on his head either last but not least his t-shirt under his jersey gonna be white look at the atlanta hawk picture I attach will help you match the colors with the hat but I dont want the man dribbling the basketball sinble there I want you to put the atlanta hawk sinble so you can see it when his hat in backawrds in the same colors as the sinble on the front of the hat

The character with the braids blue hooded sweater with dark green pants and his boots gonna be black... bandana around his mouth and nose will be blue and white looking like a real bandana and his t-shirt under his hooded sweat shirt white


I would like some words around them or under them to make it look urban and you can send me your samaples as well of what you come up with

characters will look realistic as possible

The characters you will be designing must be a little bit bigger then the characters on the picture thats attach to this post

we would like someone with good prices not real high in prices but good a real good job that can work with me and also humble

Yes the characters race are two black males on the picture them the ones you will be drawing

They pants can be sagging

also can even even have they hands in they pocket

Be creative but it has to be catchy

I guess is more of the thug type of look as some of you might say

Please dont put know Pink clothes on them

You must be able to work with us on yours prices we aint rich at all or know where near

Employer questions: (1) What can you bring to this project ? What Programs You Use ?
(2) Why you apply to this project ? Are you humble person ?
(3) Why should I hire you for this project ? How long you been doing this for ?'

Saturday, 7 February 2009

TShirts part 2

Apparently I ballsed up the links on the last one. So here they are again. Hopefully you can actually SEE them this time.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Illustration Friday - Flawed

Didn't think a whole lot about this one. I just wanted to draw something.

I like the lighting from the windows (?) on the left and from the glowing balls of spell flame.

The demon himself perhaps not so much.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Herro. Here are some shirts I did as partway application for a job. Didn't get it so here they are. Mostly using other people's fonts' and design elements. I just arranged them this way. (only thing that's truly mine is the camo wave).

click to enlarge