Senior Studio II: Journal 6

Journal 6-  (March 4th- March 10th) 2013

During this week of work my class had to look forward to our Midterm Reviews for the seniors of Digital Media and Animation. In the process Professor Speed-Schwartz and myself had an epiphany about my project. Up until this week I came up with three rather strong ideas for my book so, we decided that it would only help me to make three separate books for each idea for fluidity and to give each universe their own voice. This would, however, create more work for me but if I can accomplish it the outcome can be great. I had put together a few quick PDFs of what each book could possibly look like for the reviews. I got mixed opinions from my professors, mostly negative, understandably as the pages that I showed were very rough ideas. So, I took the opportunity in the days after my review to see how I could improve the book layouts.

Character Design Books: 

Book 1: “Cross Evolution”

Book 2: “Inanimate Disorders”

Book 3: “Shred Jam”

Here are my original rough book layout ideas from my Midterm Review.



Besides working with page layouts I also worked some vectors in Photoshop of a couple of my characters. This was necessary to help show a clearer picture of the page layouts of the book by having completed characters in the test pages. Here is the finished vector of the Team Captain and Pivot of “The Lightning Bugs” in my first book, “Shred Jam”.



The next character that I vectored was Gretchen who plays the Lead Blocker position of “The Lightning Bugs”. An approach that i have decided to take in creating these three books is to attack the layouts of the books, working with one book at a time.

“Shred Jam” Character Pages

In this set of images is the growth that the layout for the pages of “Shred Jam” has taken. These particular examples are what the possible character pages might look like. I tried playing around with the placement of images and choosing the font of the book itself. As the images progress you can see that I played with putting a colored stroke on the images of various types and colors to see if it would help the images stand out from the background. In doing this I decided to change the darkness of the background color to aid the strokes. I even thought about not having a background color but I really felt that it helped to make the page look a lot sharper and cleaner. Realizing that the stroke didn’t help the images in the slightest, I abandoned them. In playing with the layout I did discover that I liked having lines at the top and bottom of the pages to help to in a way frame the images within the pages. I used the color palette from the uniforms of my characters for this. This color palette may or may not change when I get to “The Black Widows” pages.

“Close To Final” Character Pages

Close To Final

I applied what I learned from playing around with one page and made two pages to see what they would look like side-by-side with the two characters that I have done. I feel that this makes a nice spread where you can see who the characters are without being distracted by a”dress-up flashy” display on the pages crammed together with “decorations”. There is still room for improvement on these layouts but I believe that this is a start into the right direction for the first book.

Book Layout Research

Art Book Example 1

Picture 1

Art Book Example 2

Picture 2

Art Book Example 3

Picture 3

After my Midterm Review I was encouraged by my professors to research actual character art books by other artists to get ideas for layouts of my pages that would make better sense. This research that I did aided me in creating the various layouts seen above. I drew inspiration from each book I looked at and tried to make a book that was purely my own and that gave the respective universes its own voice. I most likely will be looking at these books and others for more inspiration for the other pages of “Shred Jam” as they won’t all be the exactly the same. The layouts for the other 2 books I plan on making will have to be different from the first as well if I wish to reach my goal of creating 3 distinct books. Needless to say, I have got a lot of work ahead in the next 5 weeks.

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Senior Studio II: Midterm Presentation

Character Design Books:

Book 1- “Cross Evolution”

Book 2- “Inanimate Disorders”

Book 3- “Shred Jam”

Gallery Plans:

“Floor Plan”

Floor Plan


“Wall Plan”

Wall Plan

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Senior Studio II- Journal 5

Journal 5-  (February 24th-March 3rd) 2013

During this I continued on what I had been working on last week. That being choosing characters from my numerous sketches and trying to figure out how the characters would fit together in their own respective worlds. I eventually came up with three ideas from the designs I had. Last week I introduced the idea of the Roller Derby Girls and the plant/animal human hybrids. I am introducing the third one as well as what I have continued on with the other two.

Roller Derby Rival Team- Miranda

Miranda- Pivot

First I continued on with the Roller Derby Girl idea. I created a rival team for the main cast, The Black Widows. This is Miranda who is the Captain of the Black Widows. She plays the position of the Pivot.

Roller Derby Rival Team- Willow

Willow- Blocker

Here is Willow who plays the position of Lead Blocker on the Black Widows team.

Roller Derby Rival Team- Ling

Ling- Jammer

The final member of the main cast of the rival team is Ling. She plays the position of the Jammer for the Black Widows.

Black Widows Main Cast

Black Widows

The Black Widows main cast.

I will be moving to create the Roller Derby Girl’s colored sheets and then a few background characters.


Coral Portrait 1

Coral Portrait I

I worked with a couple of the drawings I did last week of the plant/animal/human hybrids. I took them into Corel Painter 12 and digitally painted them. I used my original references of my drawings for a color palette.

Coral Portrait 1- References

I mainly focused my color palette and design on these two images and tried to combine them together to create one cohesive look for the portrait.

Coral Portrait II

Coral Portrait II

In this digital painting I tried to work more with the textures of the hybrid and how I could better blend different colors. I again used references that I had gathered last week to use as the color palette of this hybrid creature.

Coral Portrait II- References

These were the two images that I used as my main focus for the design and color palette of the second hybrid.

I will next moved to create full body images of these creatures and more. I will also be deciding how they will fit together in their universes.


Inanimate Objects

Sketch Set 1

I chose a few characters from this sketch set I did a couple weeks to go and tried to figure out how they would fit together in a universe.

Attention Seeking Cactus

Attention Seeking Cactus

The first character I decided to work with was the Cactus. This Cactus has a extreme need for contact of any kind. It knows that if it tries to hug things that it will hurt them because it is a cactus. It still tries to hug everything and anything and it gets depressed when things ignores its needs.

Angry Microphone

Angry Microphone

This is a Microphone that is sick and tired of not being able to say what it wants to say when its being used by people. It has bottled up anger and has a need to say whatever it feels and tries to take control of every situation it can.

This idea is still very basic as of now and I have not decided if I want to press on with this idea but I will probably will continue to mess around with it to see what else I can do with it.



For this week’s research I tried to focus on applying previous research for creating characters. The best examples are the two Coral Portraits that were shown above. I carefully looked at my references and tried to chose the best color combinations to show off both plant and animal in the human hybrid creatures. I learned that it’s very important to gather good references in your research so that you can utilize them in the best way possible to create a finished piece.

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Senior Studio II: Journal 4

Journal 4-  (February 17th-February 24th) 2013

Throughout this week I experimented more with combining nature with people. I tried a few different things that worked and some that didn’t. When it came time to meet with my lead professor, Jeremy Speed-Schwartz, we took a look at all of the drawings that I have done thus far. He gave me the task of selecting certain drawings of various styles and developing them into more thought out ideas with lead cast characters and some background characters that might be part of their respective universes.

Nature and Model Reference Images

These are a few of the reference images that I used to create the following drawings. I wanted to try and combine lizards with flowers to create a new species of human.

Nature Combos 1

Nature 1

In this first set I tried combining different tree dwelling lizards with different types of under water plant life such as coral. I also choose to combine frilled lizards with autumn  leaves.

Nature Combos 2

Nature 2

In this second set I wanted to take the human body and see if I could make better sense of the anatomy of these combined creatures and how they would actually work together. More or less if it would be possible for the creatures to move. I also tried to expand beyond lizards for possible animal/plant fusions. As I was doing this it came to my attention that these creatures were beginning to appear reminiscent of the Navis from the movie Avatar. I will need to edit these characters as I create more to move myself away from this. I will also be taking a few of these images in Corel Painter 12 to paint them because the imagery will become stronger with  color.


Roller Derby Girls 1

Lightning Bugs

One of the drawings that professor Speed-Schwartz asked me to revisit was one that I did for Journal 1, The Roller Derby Girls. I revisited them and thought more about each character individually.

Roller Derby Reference Images

derby 3 derby 2 derby 1

These are a few of the original reference images I used in creating the original sketches of the Roller Derby Girls. I used them again when developing the characters.

Shauna- The Team Captain


This is Shauna the Team Captain of the team. She is the sensible member of the team and acts the voice of reason and comes up with all of the team’s strategy. She plays the position of the Pivot because of her versatility. (Look for more info on “Pivot” in the research)

Gretchen- The Muscle


Gretchen here in The Muscle of the team and plays the position of lead Blocker. She is tough but also very loyal to her teammates. Her team can always rely on her to have their back. (Look for more info on “Blocker” in the research)

Abby- The Speed


Completing the trio is Abby. She is The Speed of the team and carries the responsibility of scoring the points as the Jammer. She is highly energetic and clumsy when it comes to blocking, she more often than not accidentally knocks the opposing team down while she scores points. (Look for more info on “Jammer” in the research)

Lightning Bugs II

Together Shauna, Gretchen, and Abby create the main members of the made up team,Bear Creek Roller Girls Lightning Bugs. My next step is to create the other two members of the main string of The Lightning Bugs because there are actually at least 5 members on a Roller Derby team that will play during a game. The other player not on the main string await their opportunity to play on the side lines. I will also move to other background characters and a color palette for the characters.


Roller Derby Rules- Website

Roller Derby Rules

This week for research I decided that in order to make characters that are well developed I needed to dive into their world to understand where they fit in their universe. I used this mentality when I revisited my original Roller Derby Girls sketch. I needed to research the rules and gameplay of a true roller derby match. I found that there are three possible positions a member can play during a match. There are only 5 members that play in an actual match. There is the Jammer, which acts as the lead scorer in a match whose duty is to lap the opposite team to gain points. They are distinguished from the other players with a cover over their helmets with stars. There can only be one Jammer on each team. Then, there are the Blockers who aid in the Jammer’s run around the rink. The Blocker’s helmet has no special preference to the other helmets. The other 4 players all play as Blockers. Finally, there is the Pivot, which is a blocker that can trade positions with the Jammer during a jam. A jam is the name of the match. The Pivot is distinguished by a cover over their helmets with stripes.

For the three main characters of my team I gave them positions that would best fit their personalities. I gave Shauna the position of the Pivot due to her versatility to play any position and mastering of strategy. Gretchen has the position of main Blocker because of her strength and take no prisoner attitude. Finally, Abby has the all important position of the Jammer because of her speed and ability to slip through any block by opposing teams.

Doing this research helped me to better understand how to create more developed characters. I will take this into account as I progress in my book.

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Portfolio II: Artist Statement

In my Portfolio II class I was asked to create three versions of what my artist statement might be. The three versions being a full page, a broken down half a page of the first page, and a 50 word length artist statement. Below is a link to the PDF version of these three versions.

Artist Statement

Word Document Artist Statement

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Senior Studio II: Journal 3

Journal 3-  (February 10th-February 17th) 2013

During this week I acquired a couple of commissions from a professor and a fellow student. The professor being, Professor Larry Neuberger and the student, Amanda C. Zeiser. Professor Neuberger actually first commissioned me last week to create a character for him to model in Maya, a 3D computer animation program used frequently in the Digital Media and Animation major here at Alfred State College. Amanda requested that I help in creating some vectors for the opening of her senior thesis animation, “Playgrounded”. Both of these commissions in turn aided me in my senior thesis of creating a Character Design book.

First Round Character Design- “Blossom Girl”

Character Sheet 2

Professor Neubeger requested a simple female character. The first character sketches that I created (shown above) wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. After putting my heart into this design I needed to move on to something else but was able to use the design for some experiments in Coral Painter 12. (seen in Senior Studio II: Journal 2 post)

“Mod Girl” Sketches 1

Mod Girl

After leafing through some of my characters that I had sketched out in a previous week, Professor Neuberger found one that he felt would work best for his modeling purposes. This is the sketch from a couple weeks ago (Senior Studio II: Journal 1) that caught Professor Neuberger’s eye.

“Mod Girl” Reference Images

Picture 11960s-mod-fashion-swing-coat

mod ref 3 mod ref 2

These are a few of the reference images I snagged off of Google that I used for the original sketches of the “Mod Girl”. The style that I went for with the “Mod Girl” was the Mod fashion style made popular in the 1960s by the British model Twiggy which, is the person in the last image shown above in the references.

“Mod Girl” New Design 1

Mod Girl 2

I decided to not use the original design of the “Mod Girl” because I felt that even though it was simple that it wasn’t quite simple enough. I simplified the character’s hair style and also choose a simpler clothing design. I also wanted to play around with the facial expressions of the character for practice.

“Mod Girl” New Design 2

Larry Mod Girl 2

Besides playing around with this character’s facial expressions I also wanted to play with some of her poses. I really wanted to explore how this character might move and try to get to know her personality a bit.

“Mod Girl”- Character Sheet

Larry Mod Girl Character Sheet

After getting to know the character a little bit I needed to move onto the character sheet that Professor Neuberger would use in Maya to help him to model the character in 3D.

“Mod Girl”- Vectored Character Sheet (Color)

Mod Girl-Character Sheet

When speaking with Professor Neuberger about the drawing we both came to the conclusion that it would make modeling the body easier by creating a “nude” character sheet along with one with clothes. Here is the colored version of the nude made with the “Pen Tool” in Photoshop.

“Mod Girl”- Vectored Character Sheet (Black and White)

Mod Girl-Character Sheet BW

I also thought it might be easier to model from a plain line-art character in Maya so I created one for Professoer Neuberger to use if he so chooses to.

“Mod Girl” Master Sheet

Mod Girl- Master Sheet

The finally step in this process for me was to create a Master Character Sheet of the “Mod Girl”, which includes the initial sketch, the vectored line-art, the colored nude, and the character with clothing.

Note: I still need to finish the side and back view of the character with clothes.

This will be handed off to Professor Neuberger so that he can get started on the modeling of the character in Maya. In doing this commission from Professor Neuberger I felt like I got an idea of what it would be like to be a working Character Designer and creating a character from start to finish for a client. I will apply what I learned from this side project to my senior thesis no doubt.


Amanda C. Zeiser requested that I create the vectors for the opening of her senior thesis of the 3D animated short entitled “Playgrounded”. I needed to create each individual piece as if it were a puzzle so that she could take them into Adobe After Effects and animate them to create her opening.

“Playgrounded” Opening Sketches


I first sketched a bunch of “P”s in slightly different fonts at the request of Amanda. She asked me to make blocky and bubbly letters. From the line of “P”s she choose the slightly bubbly/blocky font. The rest of the letters below the line of “P”s are drawn in the same style as the one she chose. This font would create the first part of her title of “Playgrounded”, Playground. The nature of Amanda’s opening required two fonts. So, I drew up a few versions of the “ed” that comes at the end of the word. This font had to compliment the bubbly letters and be more harsh or jagged but not too harsh and jagged. From the “ed”s she chose the first set.

“Playgrounded” Font Vectors

Playgrounded Font

These are the vectors that I created for Amanda using the “Pen Tool” in Photoshop. I kept in mind Miss Zeiser’s color palette of autumn colors of yellows, oranges, and greens for the fun bubbly letters of Playground. Since the “ed” is a harsh font we decided it was best for it to be black for the time being. (The blue background is not part of her color palette and is only there so that it is easy to see the white stroke on the bubbly letters.)

Note: I still need to ad the cutout middles of the bubbly letters.

“Playgrounded” Title Test

Playgrounded Test

I wanted to show Amanda what the fonts and colors would look like together so I took the letters into a separate Photoshop file and put them together as if they were a true title. I tried to keep the placement of the letters fun so that it would match the attitude of her piece.

“Playgrounded” Silhouette Sketches

Playgrounded 2

Along with the font that Amanda wanted there is also included in the Opening title a silhouette of some pieces from a playground to be displayed behind the font. These are the sketches of the pieces. There are also some eyes and reaction marks on this page that Amanda has also requested me to make into vectors so that she might do some tests with them in her animation process in Maya. These piece are not vectored at this time.

I feel that I can use what I learned from this commission with Amanda and take into consideration in possibly creating my own font for my book to be used in the front cover. I believe that this will also help to separate myself from other Character Designers.


ChChCheckit– Website

As well as working on my commissions this week I also did a little research in the “Pen Tool” in Photoshop. I decided that this was a good idea because I use the “Pen Tool” quite often in my present work and more apparent this week. I work with the “Pen Tool” well but I wanted to see if there was anything else I could get out of the “Pent Tool” that I hadn’t known about before. I did a Google search and found myself at this site were it has videos of various Photoshop tutorials found on their YouTube page after clicking their “Vidz” link at the top.

“Beginner Pen Tool” Tutorial

I scrolled through their videos and found a “Beginner Pen Tool” tutorial. The gentleman leading the tutorial talked about the basics of the “Pen Tool”, which I already had a pretty good handle on. There was one thing that I learned from this tutorial that will be extremely helpful. I discovered that there’s an icon you can click while using the “Pen Tool” called “Subtract from Shape Area”. This tool allows you to remove a part of the shape that you had created with the “Pen Tool”. For example, with the bubbly letters of “Playgrounded” I can now do the cutouts of the letters that were needed  to complete the font. This is a simple thing to do that I wish that I had known about long before now. It would’ve saved me a lot of time and effort in the past with a few projects.

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Senior Studio II: Journal 2

Journal 2-  (February 3rd-February 10th) 2013

This week, I decided to play around in a couple of programs that I haven’t spent much time in my years here at Alfred State College. The two programs being, InDesign and Coral Painter 12 (a program that I recently acquired in the previous semester). These two programs I feel will be very useful to me in my Senior Thesis. Indesign, because it will help me in the actual design and layout of my book and Coral Painter 12, because the digital painting capabilities are incredible as compared to Photoshop and other painting programs. I also believe that increasing the number of programs that I am capable of working in and working in well will help me in the long run especially after graduation.

“Blossom Girl Sketches 1”

Blossom Girl 1Before moving to create in Coral Painter 12 I needed a canvas. I was asked by one of my professors, Larry Neuberger, to do a character design for him so that he could model it in Maya, a 3D animation program. He asked for a female character. These are a few sketches of the female character that I developed for him combined with that of a plant and a bird. Both originally based off of the Bird of Paradise (the flower and the bird).

“Bird of Paradise Reference Images”

Flower Bird

I drew inspiration from how exciting the colors of the flower were as well as the shape of the petals and the graceful appearance of the bird. These images are from a google search that I did and do not recall from what sites they are from.

“Blossom Girl Sketches 2”

Blossom Girl 2

Here are a few more sketches of the female character focusing on how it would move and what her face might look like. I wanted to keep her design simple so that the detail could be left up to painted textures that I could possibly create for the character.

“Blossom Girl- Character Sheet”

Character Sheet 2

After getting an idea for how the character would move I shifted to developing a character sheet that Professor Neuberger could use to start modeling the character. Unfortunately, the character wasn’t exactly what Professor Neuberger was looking for but I was able to still use the character for my own purposes.

“Blossom Girl- Digital Painting”

Blossom Girl 3

I pulled an image from “Blossom Girl Sketches 2” and took it into Coral Painter 12 to see what I could make of it. The above image is the process of me playing with the blending capabilities and various brushes of the program. I found that using the “Wet Detail Brush” for painting and the “Just Add Water Brush” for blending worked best for me.

“Cherry Blossom Tree Reference Image”

Cherry Blossom Tree

The character’s color palette is based off of a Cherry Blossom tree rather than the Bird of Paradise. I felt the simplified color scheme worked best.

Book Layout Test 1

As well as figuring out at least a bit of Coral Painter 12 I also played around in InDesign to see what kind of layout I could create. The above link is a PDF of a test page that I created. I really wanted to try to play around with where text could go in conjunction to the images. It just didn’t work out the way I had it planned in my mind. It’s rough but at least it’s a start to a possible page. I must explore the program more.

Amanda M. Kozub– Website

Amanda M. Kozub Site

On the side while fiddling in Coral Painter 12 and Indesign I also did a little research into how my book could potentially look. I mainly focused on the layouts of the pages. In my research I found myself at Amanda M. Kozub’s webpage again and stumbled into her Flatbook. At first glance I was drawn into the book just from the cover. It seemed to say, “Open the door and come on into my world.”, so I did. I looked at each page and was impressed at how strategically each thing in the book was placed on the pages, both image and text. The color palette and font choices worked with the feel of the whole book as well. These are all things that I need to consider in the creation of my book. It’s not just the content but the actual design that can invite an audience to look inside or to turn away. I learned that presentation is key. Below are a few pages that I screencaped from Ms. Kozub’s book which I enjoyed looking at most:

“Cover Design”



“Page 13- Character Designs”

Character Designs


“Page 17- Collaboration”

Kitsch Klutz


“Page 18- Independent”



“Page 19- Elusive”



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