Friday, July 8, 2011

Custom Shapes

For a while I kept hearing about this magical new approach to building up compositions using custom shapes. The idea came from Sparth (if you don't know who that is...let's just not even go there) and for the longest time I questioned it's effectiveness. I generally like to block out big shapes and cut back in for detail. It's a process I've used for a while now to generate enviros and up until now it's worked pretty well.

The problem I kept running into was populating the scenes with detail and getting my shapes to read as I intended them. A rock didn't QUITE look like a rock unless I spent a few minutes slicing out all the cracks and chips, and it never felt quite natural. But this new approach to thumbnailing circumnavigates this two step process and cut's production time by more than half. Here's the thread you'll need to get started:

Below are a few of my first experiments.

I started with one shape and use that exclusively to build up a quick scene.

From there I altered the first shape painted over and cut back in with negative space to create a new custome shape. I used both of these in tandem to create the next scene.

Shapes alone stack and incredible amount of detail in literally no time. But using them together with stock/custom brushes has been ideal. The custom shapes work as a base to build up on top with brush strokes.

Which is exactly how I've started one of my key shots for my Comp. Illustration 2 class. Depending on how calculated to want to be with this method I can see it working both as a graphic white/black technique, or (as I plan to do) a basis for a full color painting.

SO! Just thought I'd share. I'm definitely enjoying this fast and messy method, and the results are great for the time it takes to produce. I'll see if I can't get a tutorial up once I finally do a color paintover. 

And finally broke open the new Molskine. Some renders/sketches from photo reffs.

Goggles girl and ninja lady from DA:

The rest are friends of mine from high school. Some insanely talented models and one of the best photographers I know. Show her some love ;)

Have a good one!!


  1. Hey man! This is all looking pretty sweet. Love the technique, I've been wanting to stretch myself in my enviro paintings, this will definitely come in handy! Great sketches at the end there, too. Hope all is well for you!

  2. Thanks much Riley! Appreciate it.

    Where are you at these days? I was road tripping with Raul, Jon, Brittany and Beki yesterday and your name was brought up. So now we're all curious, haha.