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Vol. 2, Issue 4
December 2, 1999

Painting on Polygons:

Conceptual Art
Part 2

by Rick "Flatness" Grossenbacher



irst off, I’d like to thank those of you who sent in artwork and questions for the new Critique and Q&A section that I’m going to be starting in Painting On Polygons. And to everyone else, keep sending in those questions!

In part 1 of this article I showed a few examples of conceptual art and explained the major uses of concept art in the design of a video game. In this part of the article I’d like to just into some good basic rules and techniques to follow for drawing your pictures. You may prefer a different style in your drawing, but the things I’m going to be explaining are useful to just about anyone because they train your eye. I really wanted to show a concept drawing from the absolute start to finish but because of time restraints this time around, I’m going to have to save that for a future article.

Using Line Quality

For starters, let’s take a look at the dragon again that we saw in the previous article.

(Click to enlarge)

Notice the lines in the dragon that make up his basic shape. Art instructors will often refer to this a “line quality.” It is basically the variances in pressure that you put on the pencil as you draw to make a line lighter or darker at appropriate parts of the drawing. In the next picture I’ve labeled some sections of the drawing in red for you to take a look at to exemplify this further.

(Click to enlarge)

Looking clockwise around the picture, follow the numbers:

1. Notice how much the darkness/thickness of the line changes from one area to the next.

2. Again, see how the line is lighter at the beak and then darkens around toward the top of the snout.

3. In this area, the same type of rule applies but not just to the outside line. Look at the scaly area on the surface of the dragon’s neck. The little specks inside are also lightened and darkened to give a better sense of texture.

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Painting on Polygons is © 1999 Rick Grossenbacher. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.