I’m A GameDev!

Devblog Day 1:

Guess what, Diary.

I’m a gamedev!
Yup. In the sense that I’m making / learning how to make a video game. I have been for quite a few months but I’ve kept it super secret. Well not really. Kind of secret. But now the cats out of the bag for one very simple reason:


(I don’t know why I never use capslock when I write like that. I always just keep shift held).
I’ve watched hundreds of hours of GDC videos  and read dozens of articles about how to not fail while making an indie game and the number one suggestion is “Don’t Keep It Secret”. Telling people (especially people that give a darn) will keep you motivated. Not only because (hopefully) those people will be excited to see what you’re producing, but also because they’ll remind you when you’re slacking off.

For instance:
I have done ZERO work on my game for three weeks. Also I bought Monster Hunter World three weeks ago. Coincidence? maybe…

(It is so NOT a coincidence. Also, I main Insect Glaive. It’s awesome.)

So I’m going to try to talk lots about this game while I make it. Blog posts, tweets, facebook, instagram, etc. Maybe youtube videos?? If you REALLY care about what I’m up to I recommend Twitter since it’s where I’m the most active. I don’t know if I’ll make a website for the game or my ‘company’ or what. And if so, I don’t know if I’ll move this devblog over there. But for now I’ll only worry about the game and keep everything here on my portfolio website.

OH! Also I will occasionally be making comics about it. Because it’s a nice distraction and stick figures are super quick to draw. Plus comics. I mean come on. Comics.

Love Michael

Glamour Shot

I’ve been reading guides to get myself employed as an artist and most of them suggested a good picture of me for a linkedin profile and my portfolio. So here it is.

It’s so heavily edited that it looks painted. Haha. It was a low res shot taken from an old webcam in my basement. I erased the background, added highlights to any of the high wrinkles on my shirt and redrew in the hair with a hard brush. I don’t know. I think it came out ok. Took about an hour to edit.

I put it on as my twitter profile but I HAD to change it. I don’t know how people can stand looking at themselves in their avatars all day. Here’s the new twitter profile:


Love Michael

New Portfolio

I graduated from the Diploma Concept Art class at the Vancouver Animation School a few weeks ago!

Are you proud? Yeah you are.

It’s been several months since I updated the website/blog mostly because the workload of school plus the workload at work was so crazy. I couldn’t afford to lose an hour every couple of dates to update since I was struggling to keep up with the assignments.

But in the end I prevailed! To be honest I’m really going to miss the program and my teachers. It was tough at the end, sure, but they really really pushed me to do better. Here is a comparison to really show progress. The first two images I drew the month before school started. The last two were my final assignments.

I hope the level of advancement is as obvious to you as it is to me.

If you read the last post about me adding the comics you can ignore it now. I’ve removed all the individual comic posts because they were breaking the website. 300 images gets unruly when you post them the way I did. I’m going to add simple galleries to the site soon for each series. In the mean time I’m going to start applying for CONCEPT ART JOBS!

Michael Ward

Website Update – Adding Comics

I haven’t updated in a couple of weeks as I work on some new assignments but I’m also doing the HUGE task of adding ALL MY OLD WEBCOMICS to this site! Yay! And some new ones! Lots of new links and descriptions and stuff coming. Right now it’s all dead links and missing information.

Lately I’ve been drawing a lot of comics with ANOTHER BLEEDIN’ BUNNY! I know. I’m the worst. But bunnies are sooooo great for drawing. You can see all the ones I’ve drawn on my Tumbling-er or my Instant-grahams or my Tweeters or my PhaseBook. But here’s all the ones I’ve drawn so far in case you’re too lazy to click another link.


002003004005006007008Comedy gold, right?

Love Michael

Shark Car – End of Term 3

2nd and last post today. But I’m going to get serious for a moment before I get into the art. (No one reads this blog anyway)

Term 3 ended this week and I’m so embarrassed about it. I didn’t even realize that my last class was actually my last class. I was late on EVERY.SINGLE.ASSIGNMENT this term. I kept saying I’d catch up but I never did. I still tried hard with my assignments and I really think I’ve grown but I really missed an opportunity to learn from my teacher, Todd Marshall.

Todd is an amazing artist and he loves to draw dinosaurs and science fiction. Wait a second. ‘I’ like to draw dinosaurs and science fiction! My last to webcomics were about dinosaurs and space ships! But by having all my assignments late, I missed so many opportunities for one-on-one critiques on my images before running out of time to make the necessary corrections. I can’t imagine the knowledge I missed out on. He did his best to fill the class times with tutorials, of course, but it’s not the same as literally fixing my mistakes and teaching me how to prevent them.

But on-to the final assignment. The first paintover that worked for me! Finally I did it! Even my apartment from a few posts ago shouldn’t really count as a paintover since I only sketched over top of it and then never used the original image. This time though I started with a car:

sharkoriginalIsn’t that just the dumbest/greatest thing ever? It looks like an aquarium… which is what I thought when I started sketching. The final sketch ended up like:


A fish driving a shark car! Super rad. My assignment was so late that I was practically starting it AFTER my last class with Todd. So when I uploaded the final image, it was the first time he even know what the heck I was drawing. Ugh. Sorry, Todd.

Anyway, the final:
sharkcarThis was a lot of fun to draw. I love cartoony stuff. Can you believe Pixar still hasn’t hired me?

Term 4 starts next week and it’s supposed to have more assignments than the last 3 terms combined. I need to change my habits if I want to pass it.


Matte Painting – Destroyed Paris

10 days ago, or so, I wrote 7 posts. Today I’m just doing 2. Way easier.

The school tasked me with creating a matte painting. What the heck is a matte painting? Well, it’s the ultra-high def cousin of concept art. And it’s actually pretty amazing. (Do yourself a favor and googled ‘digital matte painting’)

Matte painting serves to fill an environment in film or movies. Like if a character is standing in front of a destroyed town, you can assume the prop makers didn’t actually destroy a town. A matte painter just painted one in the background.

I started with a picture of Paris because I really like that place (I eloped there with my wife!)


Then I set about destroying it! I started blending other pictures on top and painting in areas and changing the lighting and junk. I wanted to create a world that was destroyed by a fungus or an insect or something.

These are the images I used to create the scene.

And THIS is the final imageparisdestroyedv5How did I do? The ‘eggs’ (or whatever) are actually just moldy blackberries.

What to compare it to the original? Here yah go!
combinedv2And of course… the animated process.

Clockwork Globe

(Last post tonight)

This post is the one I’ve been most looking forward to writing tonight. This is about the image I’m the most proud of ever. Not just during my time in art school.

The assignment was to create a prop. Any prop at all. Big or small or soft or hard or complex or simple. Anything that wasn’t a character, animal, vehicle or weapon, basically.

And just like the rest of the summer; I was way behind on my assignments. I was going to go simple. I failed spectacularly at that. I tasked myself with creating a Clockwork Globe. A planetary globe of Earth that is controlled by gears that would change the plates to show how the continents changed over millennia.

During the thumbnailing stage I didn’t realize how complex this idea is:

thumbnailsJust a few gears and poles poking about but mostly just flat or round smooth surfaces.

During the line art I started to figure out how dumb I was:

globewipI really struggled with the perspective at first and I started over 10+ times. I know for concept art it doesn’t need to be 100% perfect but I wanted this to be done right. Even though I was so late on my assignments and I was currently working 10-12 hour days I just wanted to make this image.

And this is the finished image.

globe50percentI was so late with this image that I had to simplify so much from the line art. The gears at the bottom aren’t nearly as complex as I imagined. The engraving on the wood isn’t there. But I am so happy with this. There are flaws and missed opportunities but so many times while drawing this I started sketching simpler props. I gave up completely on this picture every single night only to wake up ready to fight it more each morning.

And for fun here it is animated:

globeanimFor my next assignment I WILL go simpler.


Rabbit Turnaround

(6th post tonight- holy moly)

This will actually be a very short post even though it feels like it should be a long one. A Turnaround is when you show what a character, object, etc looks like from different angles. The assignment here was to show a character from the front as well as the back. I could use a character I had already created in the past or completely start over.

Using an existing character sounded like the smartest way to go. Especially since I was so far behind in all my assignments. But I knew that my previous characters were pretty complex and I wanted to do something simple so I could catch up. I did some simple thumbnails and I ended up with:

sketchwipv1A turtle. A bad turtle. I figured it had smooth skin with almost no weird hairs or bones or joints or items that needed to be rendered. Plus since I had to draw him from behind it would be way different from the front image because of the shell.

I played around with it during the line art but for some reason I just decided it would take too long. So I went back and looked at the silhouettes I did in the first term:


Most of these didn’t seem really all that complicated but I wanted really simple. I decided the second guy from the bottom. The rabbit.

Then I did something I had never done before. I sketched, lined, valued, coloured and textured an entire character in one sitting.

rabbitturnaround1I’ll admit that the character is simple but man that felt good. For me I always sit down and think that concept art should take a long time. The professionals are fast and know what they are doing. I’m slow because I’m new.

This time I knew what I needed to do and I did it. The next day I sat down and I did it again.

rabbitturnaroundThe behind side took a little longer (especially getting the legs into proper perspective) but it still wasn’t the struggle that most of my assignments have been.

My school, The Vancouver Animation School, works. It’s that simple.

Oh also I was pretty pleased with the colour of the character.


Space Apartment: Revenge of the Paintover

(4th post tonight)

Remember that time I complained about how hard Paintovers are?? It basically just happened. Two posts ago. (About 20 minutes ago, for me).

I had to make an interior as a paintover. And I was going to do better! I’ve been so disgusted with my last few assignments that I even wondered if Concept Art was really what I wanted to do for a living. BUT OF COURSE IT IS!

So I found a neat photo of a room for a base and I started to draw over top. After a few thumbnails I decided on this:

spaceapartmentYou can see the original image, both the image and sketch, and finally the sketch on it’s own. An apartment on a space station or a space ship. Complete with hologram computer and jellyfish tank in the back corner.

scifilinesThis was the first line art I had done in a very long time that I didn’t hate. The perspective was right and the level of detail was higher. I had wanted to do other details like a butler robot but I decided to do less and do it better. Plus I find the emptier room seemed more ultra-modern.

I wanted to really emphasize the computer in the corner so I zoomed way out and using a soft brush I did just the values. Light parts that I wanted to stand out and dark everywhere else.

apartmentvalueswipThen I used that as a base to do clean values.

apartmentvaluesv2I was pretty happy with it… until I went to colour it.

apartmentcolorswipEek. I knew I wasn’t near done colouring it but that screen was killing me. Every time I tried to fix it things got worse. It didn’t look high tech at all. One of the focal points of the image because it’s worst feature.

I completely redid it and I was so glad I did. For once I didn’t hate the final image as much as I normally do.

apartmentfinishedOf course this image was way late by the time I handed it in. I would have fixed the values on the couch and changed the way the room was reflected on the glass ceiling. I also would have added texture. Right now everything is smooth and made out of plastic instead of all the brushed metals and ceramics that I wanted.

Perhaps this one I can fix up for my portfolio. Hmmm.