Visual development via iteration by ciro correia

This post is mostly about how the creative process works. I was going to write about linear perspective too- perhaps another post. I think its true that most people misunderstand how creatives work, hopefully this post helps demystify the magic of creating something out of nothing. If I'm honest, this is the way I've always worked- it's always been this way, intuitive I guess. I've also seen this process and principle taught at tertiary level. I'm not sure if it's said implicitly or implied but iteration is always the key to conceptual development or any other illustration, design or art. Conceptual illustration tends to use iteration at a faster pace, trying not to linger on the details early on. This is the process I live by, whether I'm working on a design, illustration or concept art. My early sketches can't be interpreted by anyone but me so people don't often see them- they're thinking images in which I'm ironing out angles, shapes - compositional stuff. It's fast paced and many times ugly. The more I need to figure out- the 'uglier' the early sketches are. At times I have a clearer beginning idea for whatever reason so the thumbs will look nicer earlier on, because some basics are already sorted I can then I give more to artistic expression and other skill sets. I'm constantly trying to make this gap smaller, I want to get to the point where I have a clear composition or some solid elements to work with so I try produce as many thumbs as possible to iron out issues. Bottom right you'll see these rough sketches, almost doodles in nature. They're for me only, I'll never show these to clients.

Stage two is the point where clients begin seeing my work. They're still rough compositional thumbs but they have enough information to help me decide whether I want to take the image further or not. I choose from the first stage rough thumbs and begin expanding, I'm no longer working from nothing now- I have created my own reference points. The two images at the bottom on the right are expanded thumbs. Thumbs at this stage don't have to be as detailed as these two are but they can be. Out of dozens of 'first pass' rough thumbs I choose only a few which best fit my needs and expand them- meaning I redraw them as fast as I can with as much extra detail as I can on each iteration. Layer upon layer upon layer until I'm happy that I have enough information to use the sketch as reference for the final illustration or perhaps all the client wants are looser conceptual designs then I might not redraw and polish the image but rather take it to the point where the piece communicates enough information to be used as a concept asset. Usually there is a line, or point where the 'sketch' is abandoned and you switch into rendering. It's important to understand that 'sketch' and 'rendering' differ and the difference is in your approach- the difference between using predominately line or shape, tone and colour.

For those of us who create for a living hopefully this will help grow your own process or in the very least ring true. We're all refining and learning even after years of working professionally- so if you feel you have something to add to this topic please feel free to comment and add your viewpoint. 


Monster coffee - animation 'pencil test' by ciro correia

It's been a while since my last post, too long. The political state of things has had me in an obsessive state and I've had to bite back on my pencil a few times to stop myself from churning out political parodies of the events and people on the news. Heather still worries about a 'soviet' style assassin taking me out for my recent political illustration of Putin. So no ... not yet anyway.

Today I've got lighter subject matter for you. An animation asset I'm creating about 'Monster Coffee"! Before working on the final animation sequence its common practice to run an animation test or 'animation pencil test' - you know, to make sure things are going the way you want them to. Now, whatever you do after reading this don't go google 'pencil test' because you won't come up with the same results of which I'm talking about here. Apparently the term 'pencil test' - outside of animation circles - is used to determine whether women need to wear a bra or not. Yes, that's right - if the pencil stays ... You won't be finding any animation under that test.

I've always loved classic horror (b-rate or not) imagery. Wolf man, the mummy, Frankenstein, and the creature from black lagoon. It's been cool to work on this sequence for that reason, amongst others. So here's my animation pencil test for a monster cup of coffee. Next stage is clean up and working on the final version. It's all still very beginning stages but fun to share. Hope you like it ;)

Creature from Black Lagoon enjoying a cup of black Americano :p

Once again thanks for visiting Sketched BLOG and for your interest in my work :)

Space Ape, illustration by ciro correia

Ham was the first chimpanzee (hominid) shot into space, it was 1961. Laika, a Russian street dog, was the first animal shot into orbit four years before Ham. Shortly after Ham had made his historic flight into space (January 1961) the Soviet Union launched Yuri Gagarin (April 1961) into orbit in the Vostok 1. The 'space race' was in full swing. Who won the space race is less important than the potential mankind unlocked by venturing beyond the limits of our atmosphere. The words 'Space Ape' can be interpreted in many different ways. One could take it as a reference to Ham but the meaning that was in my mind when I drew and created this poster illustration had to do with the collective us - mankind. We're hominids, part of the ape family. Over the course of our history we have looked upward to the stars, and beyond, and dreamt of ascending into those heavens. The fact that we, earth bound apes, managed to leave the confines of our natural habitat and go as far as the moon is an insanity worthy of awe- if we bother to think about it. On the other hand we haven't exactly had a good track record for being the wisest and most enlightened creatures on Earth, and that's probably why this 'Space Ape' carries a hint of malice in his eyes. Is the universe really ready for territorial, at times homicidal, and materialistic 'naked' apes who managed to learn how to harness the power of 'fire' and make their way into the heavens? We are space ape, with the power to soar - the power to cause great good or despicable evil.

Other worthy mentions- if you search space ape, by the way, are: The spaceape - the late Stephen Samuel Gordon, British poet and MC. I found one of his interviews online and it was an interesting read. Another interesting discovery when searching space ape is the amazing Space ape games based in London. Makers of Samurai Siege and Rival Kingdoms. Hopefully the third interesting discovery when searching space ape will be this blog post. :)

Final illustration with type design

Final illustration

Process from initial exploratory sketches, thumbs to final. ;)

Thumb-sketches and brainstorming

rough sketches