Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Sup yawl...

As I said in a previous post, I ordered myself an Intuos 4 tablet. It seemed frivolous at first, but considering I found a killer price for it and I barely use my ancient mini tablet (that isn't even manufactured anymore) it was an opportunity I wanted to capitalize on immediately.

I promised myself to be more prolific with my illustrations and concepts and not rely on online competitions and freelance to bolster my portfolio, so I assigned myself of a weekly task (at least once a week) of a solid, digital piece, tablet only. That was my only restriction. The idea is to get used to the thing (which is taking no time at all... it feels so natural to me) and bolster my roster with more modern styled concept work. As I get into things, I'll probably assign myself more specific tasks than just painting 3 eyed squids:

Well, that starts it for me. This took about an hour, maybe less. It was divided between two lunch breaks at work, but considering how quick it was, I'm fairly proud of it!

Check back for more.


Thursday, September 17, 2009


Well, this seems odd after a rant about my desire to enter the professional realm of video games, but I have been accused being a jack-of-all-trades (master of procrastination) many times before.

My band, typecast (not to be confused with the Filipino Emo band) is about to drop our first album. I joined the band relatively late in its life, as frontman Louis Deering started the group in Montreal about six years ago and the roster has grown and changed numerous times (Lou himself being the only original member).

I sway from the point: I did the album design, which I am proud of dude to the fact that it was done in great haste and minimalism is something very new to me.

Thank the gods for Helvetica.

The album is due for pre-release on September 26th, with a more official release to follow. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Anyone who knows me knows my love of video games. I'm such a completionist gamer that I will obsessively finish games that are technically awful and frustrating to play. Maybe I'm just miserly and want to get my $60 worth. Maybe I like the pretty images. I'd prefer to think that I truly appreciate the artistry and hard work that goes into making these things and from personal experience as a graphic designer, I know that thousands of hours of work doesn't always translate well from the original vision. I have always wanted to have a hand at game design, whether under the strictest terms of that title, or simply providing concepts and artwork to develop the final product.

My father always said that you never meet your last love first and likewise while looking for a career; it's never your first job. Not to undermine the values of love and companionship, but building a career around your passions really isn't that different from forging a strong bond with someone. I've been told that you should always take what you do seriously but never so yourself. My expectations of myself wax and wane in a perpetual cycle of artistic lethargy. There is nothing more stifling than having a creative impulse and being unable to implement it. It is the visual artist's equivalent of writer's block. When it comes to professional work, such a moment can well up an incredible amount of stress within the artist because others rely on the work, and if the work is not being done, everyone suffers. All should be entitled to fulfillment at their job, but the problem with being a creative person is that integrity coupled with undying ego makes seeking that fulfillment ever difficult. I recently updated my resume and streamlined my freelance client list as it was nearing three pages with the descriptions attached. I felt enormously proud of amassing such a long list of work, but I felt equally as disappointed in myself that almost none of it reflected the work I actually wanted to do. Feelings of entitlement are cropped concisely by notions of guilt and this self-centered duality stresses my ability to pursue what I truly want to do with my supposed talents.

Enter the video game. To vaguely describe what I want to do in life, I would say that to be paid to produce images and create fantasy worlds would be a dream come true. There are of course many different avenues to that goal, but I feel that video games have proven time and again (to me at least) that they are the ultimate storytelling vehicle. The level of interaction that comes with the intellectual property of video games in my opinion far surpasses that of film and literature. The latter media on the other hand, deliver tried and tested methods of storytelling steeped in tradition. The video game industry, while growing rapidly, is far from mature, but the potential for high art is incredible.

When I first left Toronto for Montreal almost seven years ago, I had just graduated from Sheridan College's Illustration program with the notion that I was taking my first steps into an elite world of creativity. To fund my journey I flipped pizza all night and taught children at summer camp all day. The camp program happened to be video game design. Our head counselor had written a simple game engine that could be manipulated to create scrolling shooters or basic platform games a la Super Mario Bros. My job was to help the kids tap their imaginations and create the artwork that would bring the games to life. High art this was not, but to see just how creative anyone could be given the right tools, it further solidified my love for the medium and gave me even more hope for myself as a professional in the games industry. Montreal was a few months away and becoming a video game Mecca in its own right.

As I write this, I contemplate my second application to the Masjid al-Haram of Mecca Montreal: UbiSoft. This was just a couple of days ago. If I get lucky, or just play my hand properly, I may get what I came here for, almost a decade later. Who knows? If things truly go my way, I may end up back home in Toronto at the fledgling studio that is getting so much press lately.

I feel that I have been panning for creative gold in a stream muddy with corporate sediment for too long now. Approaching thirty years of age is not as daunting as turning twenty-five felt, but in my relative maturity I clamor at something more fulfilling than plain sustenance. It certainly is lovely not to chase clients for cheques nor sign contracts demanding half-loot down, but if I could marry the idea of security and a good dental plan with fulfilling work, I know I would shine like the gold I've been panning.

Art will always be my first love, and to her I will return. Video games have taught me that she is everywhere, even in a previously childish medium. Games have grown with me it seems, and my first love can be found thriving within that coveted industry. If my last job is not to be my first as my last love is likewise not supposed to be, I may just be able to break my father's rule and meet both halfway.

Wish me luck.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Well, I didn't finish, but I did get this far:

I still plan on brushing this one up a bit and finishing all the criteria that the competition outlined.

I'm a little disappointed in myself for missing the deadline, considering there was a week long extension, but all guilty feelings were negated when I bought myself an Intuos 4. Good times.