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volume 1, issue 6

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

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Graphic Content:Chris Buecheler's regular column here at loonygames.

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DRAW, Pardner!

 

By Chris "shaithis" Buecheler

For fun, I attached the question "Do you prefer to work on textures that are component parts of things (i.e. 'a steel', 'a plastic', 'a shower tile'), or more complex textures (i.e. 'a futuristic computer', 'a wall panel with exposed wiring', 'a set of books')?" Some of the responses I received were:

"I like to do it all, the more challenging the better"
-Ruben Cabrera

"I like a good mix of both"
-Kevin Kilstrom

"I prefer working on whatever is the most challenging"
-Jeff Wand

"I tend to like the more challenging detailed textures"
- Mike Hadwin

It's interesting that with all of the diversity these artists have shown, most of them feel the same about this question, three of them even going so far as to use the same adjective. :)

Skinning also allows the artists to show some of their varying techniques. While most artists agreed that they typically create a skin "area by area" (i.e. boots, or legs, or head), a few have a different style. Rich Fleider wrote, "Maybe it's a symptom of training extensively with colored pencils but I usually rough out the whole skin, blocking out areas in basic forms and choosing the best color combinations before I begin the process of detailing a skin." He then moves on to the area-by-area approach for final details (usually starting with the face). Mike Miller also works on the skin overall, taking time out often to stretch it over the model and see what needs to be tweaked.

Mike Hadwin also has an interesting approach to skinning a character: "I tend to work on a skin from the outside-in. I lay down all the primary shapes and define inner elements from there. If an area of the skin needs extra detail, I'll work on that image in a larger separate file. Then I import that image back into the primary skin and scale it down to the proper size. Scaling down usually means touching up, so I start pixel pushing. A good example of this would be a character's face."

Conclusions

It certainly can't be said that the methods of a 2D artist, be they communication styles, techniques, or even the tools, are not a diverse group. Each method is important to the specific artist, as it helps them fulfill a role that is integral to the creation of any good game. Each tool, technique, or style of communication is therefore important in itself, to the creation of that game.

I'd like to thank the artists who took time out of their busy schedules to answer the questions I sent. I definitely appreciate it, and I found their answers to be extremely intriguing.

- Chris "shaithis" Buecheler is a freelance 2D artist.This is his first contribution to loonygames.

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Credits: Illustration © 1998 Chris Buecheler. DRAW Pardner! is © 1998 Chris Buecheler. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't do it...we'll hunt you down, you varmint.