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Painting on Polygons:
Looking For Employment

By Rick "Flatness" Grossenbacher
Vol. 2, Issue 8
January 12, 2000


Another tip is that relocation is essential. If you want to work as an artist for a game company, you need to be able to relocate. To be efficient, most companies want you right there. Yes, there are some companies who will work via the Internet, but those are few and far between, and most wont touch you unless you are damn good and have some experience. With the economy as good as it is right now, however, there are still some companies who need the help so badly that they will resort to working remotely, but again, unless you have experience it is doubtful that they will give you much of a look. They usually find it to be a serious pain to deal with someone from across the United States and try explaining things over e-mail (not to mention the cost of long distance telephone called now and then, airfare, and even hotels to bring the artist to their headquarters every now and then). I know this, because I’ve done it. I was working on the Gameboy Color version of Polaris Snocross (not released yet) and one of the programmers was trying to explain to me about a certain perspective that he wanted a particular jump to face and it was quite difficult to communicate this over a series of e-mails. If I were sitting right there he could have just held a piece of paper up and shown me. So, you can see how little things like this are annoying and slow the whole process down. That’s why game companies will tend turn their noses up at people who want to work remotely. Plus, they really want more of a team setting. And it is hard to be part of a team when you rarely see the person.

This week’s critique is on the work by Scoll ([email protected]). He is a beginner and I’m always happy to help out beginners since this column is designed for everyone of all levels. Let’s take a look at the picture he has sent in:

click to enlarge!
(Click to enlarge)

The first thing I instantly noticed that I liked very much is that he has a loose line. If you look closely, you will see where he goes out of the main line sometimes and redraws over his original lines. This is very good when sketching because it isn’t always good to commit to a line right away. This way, if you draw lightly at first, you can redraw over areas which need to be better defined. When I’m sketching I rarely use an eraser, but I draw very lightly at first -- drawing and redrawing over lines until I have something well-defined.

While we’re on the topic of lines, Scoll also uses some line quality, but I would like to see more of it; some lighter lines that are very, very light and also darker ones that are thick and very dark. If these are used correctly it will drastically make the lighting look more realistic. Even an idea to try might be to make one side of the face much darker than the other. Or better yet, maybe drastic downward lighting that would cast sinister looking shadows under the eyes, nose, mouth, chin, and chest. That would make considerable difference to the mood of the drawing.

On thing else to keep in mind are proportions. The shoulders and chest need to go out a bit on either side. The head is a too large for the body (or the body is too small). One way to think of this is that the shoulders are about three heads wide. Of course, this depends on the type of creature you figure or whatever you are creating, but it a good general rule to follow.

There is something that I would like to applaud Scoll for. He took the step to add some action and interest in his picture. I like how the drawing suggests that the creature is looking down at you. If it were at a flat, eye to eye level perspective then I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful.

As a beginner, sometimes it’s hard to take the step to let your work get critiqued so I’d like to thank Scoll for submitting his drawing. I’m always accepting drawings for critique, so if you have something that you would like to see appear in a future column and hear my artistic drivel, please send in your art to: [email protected]. And, as always, I’m accepting general questions too. Whether it be traditional art, something about the game industry or something specific to a program like Photoshop, Illustrator, or 3-D Studio MAX.

Rick "Flatness" Grossenbacher works on Gameboy Color games for Vicarious Visions.


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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Painting on Polygons is © 2000 Rick Grossenbacher. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.