visual insights

Hey guys! :D I was thinking a lot about Visual Storytelling and some of the ways I incorporate it in my own art, so I wanted to make a little tutorial insight about it so it might MAYBE help some of you folks!

Okay, let’s start from the basics: What’s a CONCEPT and what makes it original ? Well… In MY humble conception (get it ?) I think it goes basically like this: If I say “Imagine a Wizard” and the first thing you think of is somewhere in the lines of Gandalf or Merlin, you’re not thinking of a concept, you’re sticking to what you know. Dressing some dude in generic heavy armor and saying he’s the captain of a secret order of paladins doesn’t cut it. You have to convince me he’s important THROUGH his design. That’s his CONCEPT. That’s how you tell a story through his appearance, the so called *ahem* Visual Storytelling.

Let me give you an example:

Get it ? If your character doesn’t convince the interactor (that’s you) about his story through his appearance you have to learn it through Text… and HEY, that’s super fine… we’re fine. It’s all good…. but you know… maybe some medias (if you’re not writing a BOOK or a comic or a story people will have to read anyway) can gain a lot if you manage to tell MORE about a character’s story on his appearance rather than having him tell you about his business… (plus he super sounds like a liar when he does… pants on fire.)

See if something like this is more convincing:

At first sight you’ll think he’s just more -detailed- than the other, but that’s not true. The difference is each of his ornaments reinforce his story to a point I could just scrap his bubble-chat and you’d still understand his role in whatever story he was in. Even if I chose to make a game without words. Cool right ?

It goes without saying there are a BUNCH of kinds of games and scenarios where your project may benefit from having characters tell LESS on his appearance. Most times when the player of a game will create a character, you don’t always want his looks to tell a story that never happened, right ? In those cases less is more and the experience is ENRICHED if the player gets rewarded with items that illustrate everything he went through. But in MOST cases I see projects where the artist failed to tell a story about a character that ACTUALLY has a story.

“But hey, if I make my character start off naked, does it lose his Storytelling ?” No~ most of their general LOOKS have to give it away. Their hair, body shape, scars, expression will often do the trick. You can specially benefit from that if your proportions are more cartoonish too. Giant dudes, shriveled old guys, buff ladies with giant swords, there’s no limit. You can say there’s 4 ways it can go:

Here are some examples of games and where they stand in my opinion.

Storytelling through VISUALS:
His gear, armor, clothes, accessories will give away a lot about who that character is and what he does.

Storytelling through LORE:
His gear, armor and clothes will look more realistic, but you’ll learn about their perks through quests, skills or books/notes scattered through the game.

Unrealistic Proportions:
You can clearly tell who’s faster, stronger, smarter, kinder or meaner through their silhouette, shape, action curves and such.

Realistic Proportions:
You can’t tell who’s faster by their looks, or at least not as clearly, but that works great if you want characters to develop in the long run or create impact scenes where the reader LEARNS about that character on a certain point of the story.

So that’s it! A little insight on what I consider when developing characters for my own projects! :)

I hope you guys find this helpful! I’ll probably make more in the future!
Thanks a bunch guys! I’ll see you next time! :D


Do you have anything to say about this tutorial?

109 / Drawing From Life: TheJournal as Art by Jennifer New (2005) 192 pg

Who hasn’t, at one time or other, kept a journal? The impulse to record our daily lives on paper is nothing if not universal. Still, only a few of us have the discipline to make it past the first few entries, and fewer still manage to create diaries whose insight and visual beauty can inspire anyone but their authors. Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art is an exploration of these exceptions books of obsessive wonder filled to their borders with drawings, sketches, watercolors, graphs, charts, lists, collages, portraits, and photographs.Jennifer New takes readers on a spirited tour into the private worlds of journal keepers an architect, a traveler, a film director, an archeologist, a cancer patient, a songwriter, a quiltmaker, a gardener, an artist, a cyclist, and a scientist, to name just a few illustrating a broad range of journaling styles and techniques that in the end show how each of us can go about documenting our everyday lives. Excerpts from journals by such artists as Maira Kalman, Steven Holl, David Byrne, and Mike Figgis give us a peek at how creative souls observe, reflect, and explore.For those who already keep a journal, Drawing from Life will be an inspiration. For those who have always wanted to or tried and failed it might just be the motivation needed to get past that first week.


Portraits: Bee Walker’s Family Story

Photographer Bee Walker discusses the transition from Kenya to eventually landing in the suburbs of Cherry Hill New Jersey.

How it was for me, working on FINAL FANTASY KINGSGLAIVE

How it was to work on Final Fantasy KINGSGLAIVE.
careful…it’s a long read.

You must wondering why I’m writing a note about “how it was to work with”…for a freelance guy…but you will understand what I’m trying to say if you keep reading. It is odd, even for me, but whats happened to me during my work on FF made me want to do it, and to give a big big up to team behind FF Kingsglaive.
let’s start…


Well I must admit when I saw the email the first time from square enix I was like, what the hell is happening, it must be a mistake.
It was like : “hey hello, we liked you art and we would know if you’d be interested in working on a final fantasy thing related, let me now.”


Of course I was interested, even if at that time I was not aware of what it was.
So I had a skype session with a part of the team, maybe one week later. They were very friendly, they talked a lot about my works and how the works I did on Remember Me led them to me. It was maybe 6 a.m for me (because of the different time zone) and I was a bit sleepy, even I was hiding it well because my webcam was not working at this time. I see you but you can not see me…you know the thing.
Then we talked about the project, and this is when it all happened, they told me that it was for a CGI movie, a side story of FFXV, I was literally shaking.

ou have to understand, final fantasy is for a lot of us, what ignited the flame of drawings or the will to put 100+ hours in a video game and most of it ,to work on this kind of video game. For me, my love of the video game really started with FFVII.

We kept talking and I eventually ended by saying that “YES” , I wanted to be a part of this project and that I still have the DVD of advent children on my desk with the artbook.
At this moment they revealed to me that the team behind this project was the same team behind FF Advent Children.

Try to picture me, jumping on my couch, yes…no i’m not overreacting!

the deal was settled, I will be working on some crowd people.Yes it’s not the shiny boss of the movie or the lead character, but man, it’s Final Fantasy!
Ho and for the record I still have a day job at dontnod entertainment, working on life is strange at this time, so every work I had to do for FF was on my spare times and nights. They were okay about that.

So I started, working days and nights with every spare minutes I could get. It was freaking awesome and trust me a lot scary, because, you know the level of details they want, and you are like, ok, it’s not enough, and you push harder and harder, but in the end I delivered almost 60+ differents character concept for the crowd in five weeks.
I have to say also, the collaboration with the guys at square enix, with the producers and the art director was the smoothest collaboration I had, EVER! The guys were always answering in the row, even when it was 4am for them, they always gave me the right direction for the feedback and retakes, they knew what they wanted but they were really open minded and they gave me a lot of freedom on a lot of differents things that they ended by liking, and in the end, be approved… and with people like that, the job is faaaaaar more easy.

So when I finished my first assignment I thought it was it, but no…they really liked my work and the way I was working with them, so they asked me to go on several others characters, but this time, more important characters.
Me I was like, “no it’s not happening, really?” okay go, round two!

And it lasted like that for 7-8 months of freelance with them, with a lot of concepts, from crowd people to…well…I can’t say, but when they asked me for my last gig to do, one design in particular, I was shocked…
this is not the kind of design you ask to a freelance guy, it’s more a design that the art director or the lead concept want to keep in intern, but no…they offered me this (no don’t insist, i will not say).
So for me I was brought in to design some people that you will not notice in the final product, to ended up by designing some guys/gals you will see a lot!

WHAT A RIDE! WHAT A LOVELY RIDE…sorry…wrong franchise

Now I want to explain to you why it was one of the most fulfilling and kind adventure I had in term of remote/freelance work.
They were HUMAN! yeah I know, but I mean, truly human! Rui, Kenji, Shinya, Yuri, they were the four persons who I worked with during this ride, the producers and the art director.
They were nice, kind, always trying to do their best in Japan with a guy in France. The way they worked with me was the smoothest I knew and know so far.
 The Art Director always made some long feedbacks about my designs to not let me with some grey areas about what I have to do, and the producers always reported feedbacks when kenji was not able to do it.
it was smooth!

Some of you may know or not know, but during this ride, I ended up in hospital, I had some bad things in my stomach plus a rupture of some abdominal muscles…it ended with a lot of pain.I was already struggling with pain to finish some work for them.
So I told them that I had to finish in a hurry my last design (yeah you know…the BIG ONE) because I will be in the hospital the next week for a stomach surgery who will end up by two month in bed…yeah imagine…

In the freelance area, you deal a lot of time with people who want what they paid for, not excuses, it’s okay, it’s like that sometimes, but sometimes people forget that we are in fact, all human, with up and down, for my case at this time I was in a big down.

But, they were very supportive, in fact they told me to stop working and to rest before my surgery, that I will resume my work with them after, when I will be okay, with no more pain, that I had to listen the doctors and not pushing it to far…
I was like, “yeah but your design…”
and they were like, “nevermind, it’s not so hurry, just REST”. 

Okayyy…So I went to the hospital, the surgery went well, but i had a lot of of postoperative complications. I had to go back to the hospital 3 times in the first 3 weeks because of it…it was a living nightmare…I could only stay in bed, not up, no sit, just lying on the bed.
During this two months, the guys at Square enix sent me a lot of mails, not to know if I could resume my works, but only supportive mails, letting me know that they were thinking about me and they wanted to know if I was ok.
Only this…they never asked or talked about works, only took health update from me…HOW COOL and HUMAN is that? right!

So after my month and half of rest, I started to draw again, a bit, and started to resume my work on this big design, little by little. I was super late I guess, but I wanted to finish it to not put them in trouble. And they still keep telling me, “no rest, don’t push it.”
Finally, we resumed our way of working, kenji made some important feedbacks and I made the numerous retakes, and the design was approved. This ended my work with them, with a big virtual shaking hand session.

Why am I telling you this…It is because we often listen how bad this freelance gig was, how late this guy or this studio paid you, and all and all (ho by the way they never paid me late, never, sometimes even one week before the approval), we, as freelance, have to deal with a lot of people, different kinds, sometime it is same shit/different day…but sometimes it also good and necessary I guess, to tell to others, “HEY it was a blast, everything was fine with them”.

Well in this case it was for me! so thanks again Rui, Kenji, Shinya and Yuri, it was a blast working with you guys and I hope to work again with you one day.

that is all for me.
hope my little experience could bring you something and know you understand with I made this post.



ps : here is a screenshot of some of the many guys I designed for the movie. It is just INSANE, the amount of details they put on it! it’s like…my design, but moving.
We are all used to see our models, moving in a video game, but we always have to deal with video games limitation, consoles, production pipeline and all…so seeing this designs, fully CGI rendered, with all this details and shaders…I don’t even want to know the polycount on it haha congrat guys! awesome works!!

Repost via: @l10_lax a.k.a. Elton Anderson


I’ve been cooking up a few things over the last few months and there is no better time for my latest project than right now! Follow @CreatorsOfColor – a new platform highlighting diversity in the creative sphere – for more updates, visual essays and insightful interviews.

Thanks to @jussiesmollett and @jurneebell for bringing so much fun to their portrait session! ‪#‎CreatorsOfColor‬


Jussie Smollett & Jurnee Smollett Bell Raise Their Fists For Black Power In New Campaign + Zoe Kravitz Hangs Out With Godmom Cree Summer

Its’ a family fair all around.  Jussie Smollett and his sister Jurnee Smollett Bell are using their starpower to help kick-off a brand new social justice movement. Meanwhile, Zoe Kravitz is spending quality time with her godmom Cree Summer.

There’s a new movement in the works. And it’s already bringing forth some powerful imagery.

“Empire” breakout star Jussie Smollett and his sister Jurnee Smollett Bell, who’s gearing up to star in a new series “Underground,” have joined forces for the Creators of Color movement, just in time for Black History Month.

The new platform will highlight diversity in the creative sphere through images, visuals essays and insightful interviews to tell our stories and to make our talents more visible.

We’re SO here for black empowerment!

In the compelling pictorial, Jussie and Jurnee are dressed in all black while raising their black-gloved fists in the black power salute. Their photo is the first installment of an ongoing portrait series shot for Creators of Color. The campaign will be highlighting artists both in front of and behind the camera who inspire us to push the limits of creativity everyday.

Jussie shared the image on his Instagram with the caption, “Happy Monday. #StayWoke @l10_lax for @CreatorsOfColor portrait session – a new platform highlighting diversity in the creative sphere through images, visual essays and insightful interviews. #creatorsofcolor”

We’re sure folks will have something to say about this, just as they did when Beyonce and her dancers held up the black power salute during her halftime performance at Super Bowl 50.  If you haven’t noticed, tons of think pieces both supporting and condemning Beyonce’s performance have taken over the net since Sunday.

We’re certainly here for empowerment and anything else that inspires our community to be great.

Hate on haters….

In another black-and-white family flick….

Divergent star Zoe Kravitz found time out of her busy schedule for a girls’ day out yesterday with her godmom, who happens to be actress & voice-over star Cree Summer.

Zoe’s mom Lisa Bonet and Cree have been great friends for years, ever since they starred together in “A Different World.”

Cree posted up the family flick on her Instagram page, with Zoe looking like a spitting image of her mom, captioning, “When My Goddaughter is by my side … @zozobear121 @zoeisabellakravitz #supportyourlocalgirlgang #GODBLESSTHEFREAKS #PIRATES”