Design Doc Thomas Loughran .pdf
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This project all started with a drawing I made
in the first week of the assignment. The drawing
was inspired by a Behance live video giving tips
on how to paint in Photoshop. I had recently been
comparing my current sketchbook to some older
ones I found stashed away and had come to the
conclusion that I needed to start using color more
in my art again. I drew this cave with the intention
of making it something that would be interesting
and fun to color. When I heard that we were going
to pick our own projects I decided that I would do
the coloring in Photoshop. I have a Wacom tablet
that wasn’t seeing enough use and this was the
perfect opportunity. I decided to bring additional
life to this cave by entertaining the idea of a
character that lives within it. This developed into
Gnomie the Homie.
Learn the fundamentals of painting in
Create an interesting character
Showcase this character and his environment
using Photoshop painting techniques
Gnomie was to be the keeper of the cave,
existing for the sole purpose of tending to and
enjoying the things living in the cave. I wanted
Gnomie to be a spirited character, tending to
the cave as a result of his appreciation and
admiration of it rather than as a part of some deal
or begrudging contact. The story of Gnomie was
to be the story of a connection between conscious
and unconscious life in a distant hidden world.
I mostly found inspirational images from
google searching things like “fantasy gnome
drawing” or “steampunk goggles drawing” and
finding things that I thought were interesting
more so from an idea standpoint than artistically.
As far as his appearance went the plan was
to attempt somewhat of a steampunk take on the
idea of a gnome, with lots of gadgets and tools
with which to take care of the cave. This started off
as a series of pages in my sketchbook attempting
to create cool steampunk gadgets and accessories.
The initial focus was on goggles, tools, a jacket,
boots, a hat, and some sort of lantern.
This is where Gnomie began to develop in
what his duties would be as I was forced to think
about what kind of tools he would carry around
and how his outfit would be functional for him.
I settled on a large use of leathery clothing
and functional gadgets, focused more on adding
things to carry his supplies and putting padding
in the right places than looking fancy. This was
largely based upon the idea that Gnomie would
have no one to dress up for and would wear
things simply to make his job easier and more
After bouncing ideas back and forth it was
decided that Gnomie should have some sort of
companion to allow for more human exchanges
and interactions. I wanted the additional character
to be much more of an accessory/companion to
Gnomie than a full-fledged new person.
This led me to toy with the idea of a
functional companion, like a Chocobo from final
fantasy (they ride them from place to place) which
I attempted to draw a rooster version of.
Ultimately, I decided that this didn’t make
enough sense to me as a companion that would
live mostly underground and so I created a Mole
companion. He would be able to dig around and
help Gnomie by being able to go places and see
things that he himself wouldn’t be able to access
I used Google Images to search for the
majority of my inspiration as far as assets go.
This led me to content from various websites like
Deviant Art and Pinterest.
This drawing right here was one of my
biggest inspirations. I thought that this gnome had
the right number of accessories to bring character
to the table while not looking too overcrowded.
I also thought that the strong warm light source
added a lot of character to the drawing and soon
found that this is harder to do than it may look.
This jacket was another huge inspiration
for me. I had spent a long time going back and
forth on ideas for styles for his clothing and this
one ended up being the closest I found to what
I actually ended up settling on. I liked the flare
on the inside of the collar and ended up giving
Gnomie a slightly thicker and shorter version of it.
These two drawings were original
inspirations for the hat and the beard that ended
up being changed a fair amount for the final
product. Ultimately, I sifted through a large
number of drawings and thumbnails and molded
what I considered to be the best elements of them
to create the most interesting character I could
My professor, Mike Salmond, put me in
touch with Simon Carr, a friend of his who does
digital paintings. I looked at Simon’s portfolio
and was immediately blown away. What he does
is exactly what I hoped to start on the track of
learning with this project. Even at a quick glance
its clear to see that Simon has a strong grasp on
how to create an interesting character and how
light sources and shading work when painting in
Simon gave me incredible amounts of advice
breaking down the process of creating a piece into
If I’m being honestly I’ve almost never
taken the time to do multiple thumbnails, none
the less value or color sketches. Hearing this
from someone who has created such impressive
works inspired me. While in the end a lot of the
thumbnails I made ended up being on random
scrap pieces of paper that got lost along the way,
they ultimately made a huge contribution to the
development of Gnomie as a character. They were
used as character poses and little glimpses into
the life of Gnomie that made him more than just
a still image. They helped embody his personality
I watched a few tutorials on shading and
blending in Photoshop to try to grasp the basics
for things like what brushes to use, what tools to
use, how to blend, etc.
These videos laid out the basics of how to
get started, showing me to create different layers
to build upon and to lay base coats with the hardround brush then going through and detailing
objects with the hard-round pressure opacity
brush. They also showed me to start the document
by creating a hard-lined sketch of what I want
to draw so I have something to fill rather than
starting directly with color.
In the end, the majority of the advice was
just that it was a matter of playing with the tools
and getting a feel for them to truly learn the best.
Due to this I tried mostly to just take away the
fundamentals from these videos and use them to
build a style for myself as I practiced and learned.
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