FreelanceSwitch.com

How did I not know about this website? Thanks to a blog entry by the very talented Tom Richmond, I’ve recently discovered FreelanceSwitch.com. FreelanceSwitch is a blog devoted to freelancers in general (artists, writers, web designers, etc.). I’ve seen several websites that attempt to gather resources and advice for freelancers. Some are good, others not so much. This is one of the best ones. Dig around and you’ll finds some helpful articles that are real gems.

Inking Practice

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Here’s a warm-up doodle I inked on the Cintiq. Still trying to figure out the fastest, most comfortable, and most effective way to ink digitally.

And what’s with his nose anyway? No idea, it just came out of the pencil that way.

“Keep it Cool” Flash Game

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A while back Snert Studios hired me to create some of the artwork for a website and Flash game. The end client was Reliant Energy, and the goal of the site/game was to help teach kids about conserving electricity. They gave me a list of elements they needed to animate in Flash (i.e. a spinning globe, boiling pot of water, etc.), and some sketches and reference materials as a jumping-off point.

The main character is a desk lamp which had previously appeared on TV commercials in Texas, so I was pretty tied to the existing design. They asked me to give it eyes and a mouth, but I could’t change it much beyond that.

If my memory is correct, this was the first project since buying my Cintiq where I was asked to create vector art (i.e. Illustrator) instead of raster art (i.e. Photoshop). In the past, when a client requested vector art I would ink a drawing on paper, scan it into Photoshop, and then use the Live Trace command in Illustrator to convert the art to vector. With my Cintiq I could now skip the scanning phase. To speed things up even more I decided to try drawing direcctly in Illustrator to get a wonky no-outlines look (which I’ve always thought looks realy neat, when its done right). Here’s what I submitted as the first pass:

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The client told me they had hired me specifically because they liked my cartoony line work, so I was asked to go back and add inked outlines to everything. Fair enough, since I wa giving them something a little different than my normal look. I had to do a rush ink job but it didn’t turn out too badly. They also asked for a brighter color scheme, and in hindsight I think they were completely right. The blue/green/grey scheme didn’t “pop” enough. The lesson for me was, communicate clearly with the client about what is expected, especially if you are planning to try something new. Overall I’m happy with how everything turned out:

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To see the final result with animated roll-overs, or to play the game, click here.

More sketchbook stuff

I just got back from a five-day trip, and I’ve got a huge pile of freelance work to get caught up on. Time to turn a mountain into a mole hill. I’ve currently got seven projects in various stages of completion for different clients, and unfortunately I can’t show you any of it! (yet.)

I’m committed to post something on this blog every weekday. Since I don’t have time to write much today, and I can’t show any recent artwork, here’s some sketches I did a few months ago from a book of old Life Magazine photos. I got the book at a thrift store. Thrift stores are great places to find cheap source material for sketching.

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What’s Wrong With Reality TV?

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Here’s something to think about, from Challies.com:

Would we be as interested in these shows if they were merely about talent or about fascinating plots? I don’t think we would. I think we are attracted to them precisely because they humiliate other people. We are attracted to them, at least in part, because they give us the opportunity to feel better about ourselves at the expense of others. “I may not be a good singer, but at least I’m not as bad as him. I may not be able to carry a tune, but at least I’m not delusional enough to go and audition for the show!”

Read the entire article here.