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The Elf Bully: Beanie Begins

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The prequel to Katrina Hardin’s “The Elf Bully,” is hot off the presses and now available for Amazon Kindle! It was a pleasure to illustrate this additional chapter to this children’s series, which champions the value of reading.

Download a copy today!

Hankering for a hardcover? Look no further.

Game Art

Coming Soon on Wii U!

I’m happy to announce that a game I (Empty Jar Productions LLC) produced art for, will be available for Wii U Gamepad on Oct. 2!

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“Red Riding Hood” by Brave Rock Games is an enchanting visual novel based upon the classic fairy-tale. Explore branching paths, experience multiple endings, and expect to be delighted!

Check out the official listing on Nintendo.com!

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Dames, Diners, and Dead Things Pt. 2

Here, I’d like to take you along on one of my latest character design journeys. It was done as part of an art assessment test for a concept artist gig.

The character I was challenged to create was a diner waitress from a post-apocalyptic world. Tough, yet endearing.  A friendly face whom wouldn’t hesitate to punch a few if need be.

For “attitude” and costume reference, I was pointed in the direction of …

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Rose McGowen from Planet Terror, the girls of Sucker Punch, and Kat Dennings from 2 Broke Girls.

The proposed art style and proportions were to be more animated than realistic.

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My first step was to establish a good point of reference for the face. I knew of a site called http://www.morphthing.com, where you could take two celebrity photos (or any you uploaded yourself) and fuse them together. I figured that I could get some interesting reference by trying out a few combinations.

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I first experimented with two of the recommended sources: Rose McGowen and Kat Dennings. Their faces turned out to be similar enough that it didn’t really yield an interesting result.  I ran numerous other variants by adding new faces to the mix, or in some cases removing a few.  I tried out some of the “Sucker Punch” stars, but also threw in some personal choices here and there. There were about three that I settled on as my primary reference points.

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Kat Dennings + Mila Kunis + Miranda Cosgrove

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Kat Dennings + Vanessa Hudgens

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Kat Dennings + Miranda Cosgrove

I was the most satisfied with Kat Dennings + Miranda Cosgrove. I believe the key was finding the right counter balance to the “don’t mess with me buddy” kind of look Dennings has.

Next, I moved on to hair styles.  I gravitated towards something 50’s, since that era’s my primary association with diners.  What I collected was mix of genuine 50’s examples as well as modern iterations.

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Something with a pony-tail seemed to be the most economical for an action girl.

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I also dig the silhouette of these.

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I did consider alternate looks though.

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I thought Hannah Dundee from “Cadillacs and Dinosaurs” would be a nice direction to go in. This is actually a good segue into my biggest task, the outfit.

I envisioned two paths to a “post-apocalyptic waitress” costume.

My first idea was to use McGowan’s Planet Terror get-up as a base,…..

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…and infuse it with a “Kilt Girl”….

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…and Hannah Dundee.

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Perhaps even throwing in some “Roller Girl” touches.

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My second idea was building off the more iconic diner dresses….

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…then incorporating a little Sucker Punch.

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Rocket’s outfit seemed to be the closest to how I’d image a post-apoc waitress to look.  She even had an apron-like feature to the front of her dress.

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Of course, I couldn’t think about a warrior woman from a post-apoc world without Mamiya of “Fist of the North Star”  coming to mind.

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Boots and waist-high belts seemed to be the common denominators between most of my reference, so I knew I wanted to incorporate those if possible.

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I was curious if I could work Deborah Richter’s character from Cyborg (1989) in somehow.  Though not especially distinctive, I locked in her footwear for my boots reference. It’d be a subtle little shout-out .

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It wasn’t ALL about the boots though.

As time went on, I started leaning the heaviest towards the 2nd approach. To really sell the waitress aspect, I felt like I needed to preserve the collar in some form, or fashion. That lead me to think of A-ko’s battle outfit from Project A-ko: Uncivil Wars.

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I saw this movie before I ever saw the original A-ko, so it’s my primary impression of her. I always liked the layering of her suit.

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It had the exposed mid-drift element while also covering up enough to evoke a more formal uniform feel. It embodied both of my proposed design paths.  A-ko swiftly became a big inspiration.

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The color scheme was also pretty analogous with the “Two Broke Girls” diner dresses.

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With my reference gumbo complete and rolling to a boil, I dug in with two big spoons.

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These are just a small collection of the scores of sketches I did.  As always, I fill pages up from top to bottom to get a design down.  The more experiments I run, the closer I get to my “It’s alive!” moment.

Submission for an art assessment test.
Submission for an art assessment test.

The final result in living color!

I was pretty satisfied with it overall. I think I hit all the desired notes as best I could. It wound up being a bit closer to my initial approach, but I still get a good A-ko vibe from her.

I didn’t get the job in the end, but It’s always good to gain a new finished piece for my portfolio.

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Thanks for eating at Lovin’ Jarful. Hope you got a good eyeful!

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Global Game Jam 2013

Marking my second participation in a “Game Jam” session, Empty Jar Productions collaborated with Products for Robots to create the 2D Action-RPG, Geometry Saga.  It won best game going on to compete in Mozilla’s Game On Competition.

Geometry Saga is an episodic series chronicling two warring factions: Vibrance the color nation of  heart and Pale the monochrome nation of logic. In the first session, “War of Heart” the Pale nation seeks to overtake Vibrance and seize the power source known as “The Heart”

The gameplay featured in the trailer gives a peek at one of the playable “Vibrance” characters. As development continues, I’ll be providing sprite animation for even more!