I've been taking some time recently to learn Adobe Illustrator. Here's some work I've done while playing around with the software. Drawing with vector feels totally different to drawing with pixels but you gotta love the sharpness of the lines. Not the greatest or most original work out there but a decent start as I familiarize myself with the program.
Tried out a new painting style and I’m loving the results. This piece has problems but it’s been a while since I think I learned this much from a painting. It is true, however, that occasionally you just get lucky with pieces and everything just ends up working. Only time will tell if my satisfaction with this one is down to me being lucky or a change in technique/style. Regardless, hope to keep the momentum going.
Art Station: https://www.artstation.com/artist/jameschao
Some fan art for my favorite game since 2008! Been looking for an excuse to start improving my anatomy skills and Hitman provided enough colorful characters to motivate me. The likenesses aren't quite there but that's something that will hopefully improve with more practice. I initially intended only to do one character but I got overly ambitious and tried to do a bunch more. I'll be trying to keep it simple from here seeing as I've still got a lot to learn when it comes to drawing people.
Happy New Year everyone! To start it off, here’s a new piece inspired by my favorite game of all time. Props to whoever can guess what that is. It’s been an unbelievable year for me with some lows but some incredible highs. Hopefully, this year I can build off of what I’ve learned and make some real progress. It’s early days but I know that 2017 will need to be a pivotal year for my art. The training wheels are coming off and it’s time to start being more proactive with my projects.
I’ve always operated more like I consider art to be a passion that sometimes pays rather than a job that I sometimes like. And while I think that being passionate about what you do is ultimately more important I do think a balance needs to be struck. Man does not live by dreams alone, and it’s time for me to start thinking about how I can support myself with my art.
In that spirit, I’ve decided to start selling prints of my work on Inprnt! If you like my work and would like to support me consider purchasing some of my work! I’ll include a link below.
To everyone who follows my work I want to say thanks for being along for the ride this year! You all make the struggle worth it. I’ve seen my work improve a lot this year and I can’t wait to see what it looks like this time next year. Hope you stick around to see it.
Art Station: https://www.artstation.com/artist/jameschao
Recently I've been pretty busy so I haven't been able to update this blog, but that doesn't mean I"m not outputting work. If you check out my portfolio from time to time, you may have noticed some new pieces being stealthily uploaded. When I get the time I'll try to blog more but at the moment I'm riding a creative wave that I don't want to end. Since writing isn't a strength of mine I often feels like it slows my momentum. For now, I'll just dump some sketches of pieces I'm working on. Apologies for the lack of explanations, more stuff to come when I have more time.
I've been working on some sketching in my spare time to help increase my work rate. More to follow soon!
Had a bit of fun a couple months back practicing sculpting by making this in Zbrush. I never finished it but I think it’s in a showable state. As a kid, a Lego set of this from Star Wars was my favorite toy, and it still sits above my computer today. Sculpting it really brought me back to the good old days.
This has been done for a while. Just forgot to upload it. Feel pretty meh about it but it’s not terrible I guess. It just lacks a focus which stems from an initial sketch that lacked direction. Something to keep in mind for the future I suppose.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated, and even longer since I’ve actually talked in depth about my work. This is in part because I’m lazy and also in part because I’m not sure anyone really cares to read these long walls of text. And if that isn’t your cup of tea, then hope you enjoy the art above, thanks for making it this far! For everyone else, it begins.
Beyond merely improving my technical skill, I’ve been really thinking recently about where I want to go with my art work. I’ve noticed that my art, overwhelmingly consists of very serious subject matter. Whether that be some futuristic police design or a painting of an old European town, all of it seems almost documentary-like. And for the most part, that fits my personality and my tastes. But I also have a sense of humor and fun (for real guys, I promise) that I’d like to see surface more in my work in between the serious pieces. Some of my favorite artists inject their humor into their paintings and designs and that’s something that really resonates with me.
Another thing that I’ve noticed is that many of my pieces lack a clear narrative. Since I’m really into environment paintings I often get so caught up in designing and rendering it that I forget to add a story that’s immediately apparent to the viewer. I want to be more intentional about including narratives in my piece and the easiest way I can think of doing that is drawing my characters in them. Figures in my paintings are usually used simply to get a sense of scale, but I know that this is limiting their potential. I’ll be doing my best from now on to really give character and action to the figures to aid the narrative.
I’m talking about all these points here because they were the design decisions that were most prominent in painting this piece. I knew going in that a painting of a ninja and samurai fighting couldn’t really be taken completely seriously, but rather than abandoning it, I accepted it and continued. It may be lame, but it’s also fun and whimsical.
I always tell people that one of the reasons I moved into concept art and illustration from fine art is because I didn’t want my art to be simply about making profound messages. While I was in art school, most of my teachers pretty much only talked about what I was trying to say with my art. They would tell me how painting was a platform for me to raise my voice and talk to the world and that I should take advantage of that. Needless to say, paintings of ninja and samurai would not have been greeted with favor. They encouraged me, sometimes consciously and sometime subconsciously, to focus less on learning the fundamentals of drawing because it was a waste of time. This never really stuck with me and at the time I wasn’t able to explain myself beyond just saying that I wanted to draw stuff that looked cool(something that surprisingly my teacher didn’t accept).
Nowadays I know enough to say that I’m not interested in infusing direct messages in my work. I know that I can use my art as a microphone, and there may come a day that I will use it, but that’s not the case right now. Just because I can doesn’t mean that I should. I’m literally just some dude, that can draw better than most people in the world. That doesn’t make my opinion suddenly worth broadcasting. These days with the internet, anyone can make their opinions known to millions of people at any time. It’s led to a lot of good but also a ton of bad as I’m sure we can all attest to. i want to be selective about when, if ever, I say something directly through my work. That said,I also don’t believe that my art has no profound meaning. I firmly believe that artists infuse their beliefs and opinions into their work, even subconsciously. It may not be screaming at you when you look at my work but that’s actually what I prefer.
On a side note, I’ve been considering the possibility of selling prints of my work but have yet to find a site that is of good enough quality. Let me know if you know any good ones. Thanks!
Finally finished this project! Took a little while longer than I normally take because I really felt like these pieces (more so the first one) were some of my strongest and wanted to polish them up as best I could. But it's finally done and now it's onto the next project!
Some sketches from a personal project I’m working on.
Recently I’ve been pretty lazy about updating my blogs. I’ve just been doing so much work that I don’t feel like slowing down and typing something up about my progress. Anyways, I’ll try to start posting the finished pieces here and there starting with this one.
Here's a fun little design of a UFO. Been doing a lot of work on Zbrush lately so haven't had time to upload much. The project I'm working on is nearing completion and I'm excited to show it. Stick around!
Happy Chinese New Year everyone!
Finally finished! Took way too long to get done but I learned a lot during the process which will hopefully make future portrait sculpts faster.
I’m currently working on like 5 different projects at once so here’s a small update on some work I’ve been doing with the mech I’m designing. This is just the structure of the foot. The final product is nowhere near done.
Recently I’ve been going through and updating old work. These two personally struck me as pieces that could be so much better with some minor tweaks. The first of each set is the updated version and the second is the old one. I made tweaks the lighting, composition, and corrected some minor mistakes. The bridge-like structure, in the river house piece for example seems like it would collapse under its own weight if it were real. I cut some parts off of it to make it seem more believable.
Also in the other piece, I cropped it to make the composition more focused. I felt the background was poorly drawn and distracting from the focus of the piece which was supposed to be the sword. Making these changes refocused the piece to draw attention to the right places. I also lowered the opacity of the lens flares as I felt they were too distracting.
I feel a lot more confident in my portfolio now and have even better stuff coming soon. Can’t wait to post it!
Here's a model I made some time ago that I forgot to post. It's acceptable but it has some pretty bad topology that is hidden the sculpt. At the time the only way I knew how to get a lot of clean cuts and small details was to sculpt in super high resolution. Because of this, this model uses way more polygons than it needs to for the level of detail that you see here. Now with the Zmodeler function I can get a lot more detail with a lot less polygons because of the way I can organize my edge flow.
As a side note, I've temporarily removed the 3D page on my portfolio because I've realized how terrible it was. The work I'm doing now is far superior and when I have those finished I'll be bringing the 3D section of my work back.