Earlier this year, I had a hankering to try and learn 3D sculpting. ZBrush is the go-to program for this, but because I wasn’t sure the laptop I was using could handle it, I became interested to try Blender first.
I was also interested in checking out Blender’s sculpting tools, because I had heard they’ve been making real strides as of late. I had heard that their developers were becoming closer and closer to rivaling ZBrush. I also stumbled across the amazing Entei Ryu’s “sculpt+paint” artworks around this time, which are her gorgeous ZBrush works that she paints over in a 2d program. She’s largely what inspired to finally try exploring 3d sculpting this year!
I’ll post a few of my first Blender sculpts below, and follow-up with another post chronicling my forays into ZBrush next!
These are in roughly reverse chronological order, which means they become subsequently more silly the further down you scroll:
First, we have a sculpt+paint of Corveil. It was sculpted using Blender’s sculpting tools, rendered out, and then the still rendered frame was painted over in Photoshop.
Here is a Blender sculpt+paint of Aurelle, one of the characters from a personal project!
Above is the Blender sculpt itself! Click the smaller image to see a larger version.
Next is a sculpt+paint of Aurelle.
This was one of the earlier sculpts I tried. I was mainly familiarizing myself with the sculpting tools and brush in the program.
Here is the sculpt and sculpt+paint of one of my “Duskbirds,” formally referred to as “Skullbirds.”
And here is a bonus render of a silly Elsium, glowing from within.
I was inspired to paint after seeing the new mount option in Guild Wars 2! It’s a “roadrunner mount,” but I was very excited because it reminded me of a mount idea I had a while back:
This mount idea is based off a greater prairie chicken, which is one of my favorite chickens! They are beautiful creatures.
I tried to recreate my mount idea in-game using the dye system, and though I did not really succeed, I am happy with my turkey mount, haha:
This screenshot is heavily edited, as I’m currently on a laptop with integrated graphics. GW2 runs surprisingly well on it, but I wasn’t able to find an area that lit the character models well enough for us to see them. I’ll post the original screenshot below!
Anyway, here is what I ended up sketching!
It’s a bit of a chimeric melding of my greater prairie chicken mount idea, the GW2 roadrunner skin, and the greater prairie chicken itself. The painting manages to look nothing like either my sketch or the in-game mount, haha, but it was really fun to paint tonight.
And now for the thoughts about cynicism in today’s media entertainment!
Thoughts about cynicism in today’s modern shows
While painting the above tonight, my mind started to idly wander about general thoughts regarding media entertainment. We finished the season finale of The Boys earlier tonight, and I’m sure this what prompted tonight’s meandering thoughts.
The primary thought is this: I can’t get into shows that revel in celebrating the worst in humanity.
There is a certain cynicism that pervades many of today’s most popular entertainment media. I think this is why many modern shows haven’t clicked with me, and the ones I do enjoy seem to be fighting for a widespread audience (with Cobra Kai being a welcome exception). My two other recent favorites, Person of Interest and Dark Matter, were both cancelled after only 3 or 4 seasons!
Let’s take Cobra Kai as an example. Cobra Kai introduces itself in a very deliberate way, which in the current media climate of “dark and gritty, humanity is irredeemably evil,” you think will go in a predictable way.
The show then shatters this expectation. Instead of taking the predictable route of a villainous, irredeemable main character – as he is introduced – the show instead invites us to ponder the idea of bettering ourselves and, in doing so, bettering the world.
It allows us to ponder this in a way media like Westworld, Game of Thrones, Black Mirror, The Boys, or The Witcher instead seem to choke out this desire in its audience – the desire to believe there is good in humanity, and that people are redeemable and can become better versions of their past selves.
These shows seem to desire bludgeoning their audience with a sledgehammer under the premise that humanity has little to no positive qualities, and that humans are overwhelmingly irredeemably flawed creatures.
Maybe I’m an overly optimistic Star Trek fan, but as long as we aren’t naive about it, I don’t see any negatives to aspiring to be our best selves.
Wow! It’s been five years since my last post to my sketchblog. Are blogs still a thing? Do I even know anyone who still keeps a blog?
I don’t think I do!
I’m kind of drawn to the relative anonymity this blog must have now. I loved blogging, and the only reason I stopped was because posting would take too much time with each entry. That, and also because social media basically replaced casual/personal blogging.
I think I’ll try writing some entries here though! I miss writing in general. I’ve been doing more personal writing lately, and it’s been great fun developing stories and themes.
But first, let’s update this blog with some recent work.
I’m not even sure which artwork I should post here first – where to begin after five years! This post will likely be a little haphazard, but let’s embrace it for the time being – I can always do more concise follow-up posts later on.
Let’s start with something I posted earlier today on social media – a rough painting of Vaknaa! Vaknaa is now one of my older characters. She is the same character in my last post from 2015.
I’ve been playing around with her design lately, though I’ve tried tinkering with it in all the years since 2015. I’ve always wanted her design to combine human and avian features, but I was never completely happy with the designs I came up with so far – I’m not sure if I’ll keep this current design of her, but it’s been a lot of fun to paint with in the meantime!
I should post some of those other designs here sometime – there are a lot of designs I haven’t posted anywhere because they don’t seem like things I particularly want to share on social media, but they’d probably be suited to a personal blog like this.
I’ve made a few other sketches of this design this week – actually, I think I’ll post them here now. It’s interesting how used to I’ve become with social media – things I’ve become used to adhering to, like staggering posts as to not potentially annoy anyone with too frequent updates.
It’s kind of freeing to not have to consider that at all with a blog like this, since this is mainly just for my enjoyment, as I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have traffic to a blog nowadays.
Anyway, more artwork!
Rough sketch of Vaknaa – I’ve been playing around with a much looser, possibly more expressive style lately. It’s been really enjoyable so far, which is a little surprising for me, because traditionally I’ve been told my artwork can be on the tight side, sometimes too much.
These were all painted this week, mainly as either warm-up paintings or break paintings. I’ve enjoyed painting them, and want to explore more paintings in this style!
Recap from 2015 – 2020
Now that we have some artwork here, I thought it might be fun to do a brief recap of what the past five years have been like. I’ll probably put these thoughts under a cut.