Edited Blog

In the second out of the four briefs (landscapes/environments) 'Campus Building in a Fantasy world: this can be a dark or high fantasy world. It could be good or evil', I answered well and I was happy with the final outcome.

Firstly, my method began by studying the buildings around the university campus, see below. I wanted to find a building which I found both interesting and could imagine out of its original setting. From the offset I knew I wanted to make a 'good' building due to the soft autumn colours and greenery around campus. During my studies I tried to focus on details I found interesting in the buildings that I could exaggerate in my scene. Some of these features were the large windows, leafy trees, brickwork, wooden awnings, greenery and golden colours.

Secondly once I had decided on the building I wanted to do, I drew it further to try and get a sense of layout and light as a base to start from. I also researched into fantasy buildings, looking at villages with thatched roofs, castles and curved staircases often seen in fairytale movies. This I would later implement digitally.

Thirdly I could then use my references, both internet and my own drawings, including the mark making I had tried in pastel with the trees seen later in this document to inform my final design.

In the picture above you can see a breakdown from my original drawing to the final design. I added in a thatched roof, as this is something not found in modern building design and a pitched roof extension to give the sense of a cosy home. In the back of the building I added in a castle parapet to help give the sense of something out of time, more suited to archers or cannons. Keeping with that idea I added a large watchtower at the back. To frame the scene and add the traditional curved staircase seen in most fairytale movies, I adapted the space and give it more grandeur. To give the impression it was a safe courtyard, I added a running, clean fountain feature. Last of all I included a hedge at the front, to give the impression someone is peeping into a secret, almost magical place. However, since I used a drawing to develop it from, this meant that it was kept true to its original origins, when placed side by side you can easily see where the image has developed from.

My main idea was that while focusing on the left hand building, I also wanted to integrate the environment around it so the scene can be imagined immediately on how it would continue.

During the project I experimented with a variety of materials. Due to being a digital artist for many years this was outside my comfort zone, and I mostly enjoyed using pencil due to its neat lines and ease to control (much like digital painting). The mix included charcoal, pencil pastels, pencil, chalk, watercolours, watercolour pencils, watercolour paper, inkjet paper and pastel paper. However I did find that I liked using pastel paper due to the colour variety, porous nature and thickness. As you can see in the image below, when different media was used on the paper it gave a much softer appearance and contrast. In particular I thought the charcoal was the most effective in creating a shadow and light balance, and I therefore chose to do a drawing of my chosen building in this media to enhance the lighting to aid the final design. My least favourite was the watercolours. Due to a limited selection of colours, and not much knowledge, I thought that my drawings using this seemed to be missing detail and information.

As I drew the same scene in different media and from different spots I got a good sense of detail, lighting and layout for when I finalised in digital. This meant on the final drawing I could easily exaggerate the light and shadows to give a serene feeling. If drawing in watercolour again, I would like to first practice more, or find a warmer spot to draw so they are neater and more detailed as I would be able to spend more time. However, I do feel that beginning with a pencil drawing was a good base and created a strong final piece.

Below is a step by step detailing process of the digital workflow. I also included a breakdown piece including zooms on important details (see first picture), and reference pictures. This means if it were to continue the pipeline in an industry, they would have a clear idea of the features and materials I am communicating.

During this project I could have improved my planning before jumping into the final design, such as trying a few sketches turning it into a fantasy building before committing to an idea. However, as I enjoy fantasy I had strong ideas and was successful in expressing them (as mentioned earlier). I also could've have experimented more, such as using more felt tip and fine liner like I have in the other briefs, and also improving in using more traditional material, especially watercolours.

Across this brief, I thought my time was well managed, the workload was met equally with the other briefs and the response to the brief was well balanced. Due to the colour experimentation and studies with traditional media, my colour palette was quickly decided with greens and oranges (like autumn when they were drawn). The brief response was also helped by my own interest in fantasy, especially happier stories and this helped influence a strong 'good' scene.