Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hard at work on the cusp of the New Year

Over the last few weeks I've been working steadily on my animation project. Although I have no footage as of yet, I have this fully rigged character and have been reacquainting myself with some of the intricacies of 3ds max. Here are some renders of the artisan in progress. The render features the artisan that will be used in the animatic, which is what I have been working on to figure out the pacing and structure before I jump into actual production. I will have a short walk cycle as well as concept art posted in the next couple of days. As always, comments and crits are welcome.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Real paintings?!

Yes, as promised here are the paintings I said I was working on during the semester. They're not as fantastic as I hoped (they look to "heavy" to me), but considering I haven't painted for about 5 years I think they're not so bad.

This is what the Bazaar looked like:

Every wall in the upper gallery and lower gallery of the college looked like this. Same as every year, but all the same it's still a spectacle.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Final Bazaar Prints

It was a pretty decent outing, although I figured out pretty quick that my paintings (which didn't sell) probably didn't have a chance from the start. They were too highly priced and I noticed people went for paintings that had specific subjects like animals or flowers. Anyway I'll post them soon, but in the mean time these are the rest of the prints that sold at the bazaar.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Bazaar inches ever closer

With less than a month left till the bazaar arrives, students are entering a frenzy stage at MCA (my art school) and of course in an attempt to keep up, I've been trying to kick into high gear too. I have several prints (not to mention 2 neglected paintings) in the works right now and here are two of them for preview purposes. One of them was borne out of an experiment, the other is a serene market scene. Once more, please let me know what you think so I can make necessary improvements.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Bazaar Stuff

Another print for the bazaar in the works. This is another re purposed drawing from contemporary concepts in drawing class. Your crits are very welcome as I fully expect them to go through a couple of iterations.

Friday, August 8, 2008


As the summer is drawing to a close, I would like to take some time to explain a few things that are going on with my projects. Well, I only have a week left at my internship in Salt lake city and that means a number of things. First of all, the 'Oro Iwin' posts are going to be on hold for a while, because they were mainly a summer project developed to channel research I had collected and to keep my drawing skills up to a decent level (as I was using Maya (3d software) all summer), plus they were really fun to draw.
Fortunately, this dire news has an upside; this means that upon returning to Memphis in a week, my attention will turn to the mammoth-scale animation I'm working on. The pictures above are a work in progress mask that will feature in said animation. Also I will be working on a painting or two that I plan to sell at the Holiday Bazaar this year (news and plans on that soon).

Anyway to close the chapter on Oro Iwin, several people have asked me what an Oro Iwin actually is. I defined the term earlier, but I guess because it was so long ago they didn't read the post. However, I am more than happy to reiterate. Well here goes; Oro Iwin are a race of beings/spirits that are neither demons, nor Orisha (deity), who are forced to dwell in certain forests in Yoruba land. Oro Iwin were once living beings eventually reincarnated by Olorun (the supreme deity) as spirits serving penance for a certain transgression in a life previously lived. Olorun must make this decision if a being's 'Ase' (life force) does not deserve after life in the ancestral plains or as a lesser Orisha. Oro Iwin all have unique stories,abilities and traits, as a result of this, demonstrated with the ones I threw light on. I hope you enjoyed them people, however do not fear for the next time you see them maybe in a 'Compendium' somewhere... hint hint.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oro Iwin: Iya Jijo Imo

Here is an Oro Iwin called Iya Jijo Imo, which literally translates to 'Mysterious Lady.' Well, I knew I wanted lots of calabashes and I had a fairly good idea of her pose and the composition, but the masks came from stray lines that I thought were promising.
She is not based on any existing myth or legend, so the story or understanding of her character that I developed rather is built around the conventional nature of a mystery. The masks of course are an obvious symbol for this and the empty/ full calabashes (you never know) are linked to this key aspect of her character. As with all mysteries, she seeks to confound or trick unsuspecting people in order to better understand the nature of humanity, and many over the centuries have fallen prey to her fancies.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oro Iwin: Iya Korin

This character was actually done in the 100 demons scroll section, but I decided to redo her with better execution and an actual explanation of who she is. She is the 'singing lady' or Iya Korin (in Yoruba), who was cast out of her village somewhere in old Oyo because of an age old transgression; She gave birth to twins, which according to old Yoruba customs meant that the mother had an affair with a man besides her husband. She was cast out of the village into the forest of Irunmale where she roams to this day, singing an agonizingly dolorous tune trying to allay the perpetual screams of her unfortunate children.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oro Iwin: Fere Baale

This fellow was a fun one to illustrate and his name literally translates to 'Flute Landlord.' He is similar to the Pied Piper except that instead of mice this Iwin Oro leads humans deep into the forest with his his ethereal tune to be transformed into one of his enigmatic race. All that hear his mesmeric tune never leave the forest again.

Oro Iwin: Madame Koin Koin

Here is a lady Yoruba Oro Iwin for a change. Her name was Headmistress Ina Kere (small fire) and she stems from an old tale that most Nigerian school kids know, but here is my telling of the old tale.
She was once the headmistress of a prominent school in the old Oyo kingdom in Yoruba land. She was of course very strict and puritanical, as her name implies. So on a hot day the students of her school grew tired of their Headmistress' wrath and hesitantly dared one amongst them to retaliate. It turned out to be the headmistress' little son who was instructed to steal his mother's shoe. Unfortunately, he was successful and all the students knew this when they could hear cries of pain. The hot afternoon ground scorched the Headmistress' feet as she looked for her stolen shoe. It turned out that hearing his mother's cries the headmistress' son fled into the forest nearby for fear of a swift and painful reprimand. In time the boy did not return, and a determined and angry Headmistress Ina Kere followed in search of her lost son all the while calling out.
They never returned, and it was said that hunters and travelers over the years could hear cries of anger slowly turn to cries of sorrow. Till this day kids in Nigerian schools (especially kids in boarding houses in the middle of nowhere) hear the spirit of Headmistress Ina Kere, (which she came to be known as) calling out to her lost son all the while the eerie, paralyzing 'koin koin' sound ringing from her one shoe as she slowly wanders through the night. Today she is popularly known as Madame Koin Koin.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Here are the wire frames my brother requested earlier. They are screen snapshots so please excuuse the quality. The wire frame is overlaid over the normal map.

Test normal mapped artisan head

These are normal map tests for the previously shown model. The final normal map will be sculpted in zbrush. This was just a quick test to see if I could pull of normal mapping successfully on the character (it being the first time I've used the process). Any comments or crits are welcome.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oro Iwin: Baba Itaniro

Here is the newest edition to my list of Iwin Oro characters. His name is Baba Itaniro (Father of stories or the storyteller). I realized while working on this guy that I'm facing the same dilemma I encountered when I was doing the 100 demons scroll. The demons that were myth- related in the scroll were a great challenge because there is such a lack of visual information on what Yoruba mythological creatures and deities look like and also the literary accounts vary, or are very sparse, however I believe this is why I enjoy creating them so much. I am able to infuse the character and visual identity without much of a preconceived mental fog, I also believe they look a little more unique than say if I would have referenced a design from some established visual source or the other. That said though, when I do look for visual info I look to Yoruba sculpture (Ife, Benin, Nok, Oyo, etc), a lot of character can be derived from those iconic looking sculptures.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

As a reminder here is one of the original concept sketches I was shooting for with the model. I made some changes to accommodate his appearance from many angles, particularly his profile which is what I enjoy most about the character.

Test Renders

Here are low polygon renderings of the artisan's head which I created in 2 days in Maya. I'm about to build a higher polygon model with more detail which will make him look more like he's cut from rock. I just wanted to show work in progress and they are not the highest quality renders because of time. I'm hoping that he will be able to emote sadness and contemplation with an idle look. Let me know what you think.

We begin again.

I have recently been working on a character here at the studio and I just wanted to post the concept sketches... He looks familiar because i'm working on the Oni Ise Owo animation like I said I would... I will post story boards and the plot synopsis soon. For now here's the character.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Normal blogging resumes: Oro Iwin

Ever since the end of Illustration 3 I've been in Salt Lake City, Utah in a video game company called Sensory Sweep as an art intern... I've been familiarizing, settling in and getting organized, which is why I haven't posted anything in a while. I, however, have done some work while in Salt Lake. For instance, here is one image in a set of a creatures I'm working to realize. He is a creature of the Forest of Irunmale called an Oro Iwin (from the book Forest of a Thousand Demons by D. O. Fagunwa) . Oro Iwin are neither deity nor spirit and definitely not human but share characteristics of all of these beings. This particular Oro Iwin enjoys dancing and playing his shekere (maracas) while annoying hunters with the odd ribbit sounds made with his frog-like neck sac. Which is why I called him Opolo Baba (Father of frogs)Expect more soon!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lettering Studies

Insect lettering study

Burnt toast lettering study

Blind contour lettering study

Negative lettering study

Scribble stick (3 foot) lettering study

Monday, May 26, 2008

Visual Metaphor

Duck-billed platypus; understanding evolutionary mammalian biology.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Artist Research: Nicolas Bouvier

Bouvier is a French illustrator/concept artist that now lives and works in Dallas, Texas working for ID software. He traveled extensively when he was young and perhaps this influenced his love for landscape, architecture, and various cultures. He has worked on several projects including Alone in the Dark 4, Prince of Persia 2 or Ubisoft, for Darkworks-Studio that have collaborated with Namco and Capcom. He has also worked in Montreal to work for Ubisoft on Assassin's Creed. He has also been illustrating book covers in France and England throughout hi life. Examples include: Lou Anders and PYR publishing. I find his work intriguing because he is able to depict the most complex and otherworldly scenes effortlessly and still imbibing the illustrations with energy and life.
his blog
his site