2016 personal project Challenge: memory lane
Good news, everyone! CC5 just finished but there is still stuff to do! This challenge will be a little different and we'll try out a few new things that you might not have done before. Give it a try, it's going to be a blast! This first round will run for the entire month of August, but you choose the exact deadline(s).

-In a nutshell-

-Make your own project! Follow the preparation tasks below to get started. The whole bunch of them should be doable in an afternoon or two. I know that's a lot of prep work, but as a reward you'll get to decide what YOU really want to turn this into. Finally a chance to do your own thing
-Did the prep? Nice! From now on it's like any other art challenge, really - with ONE exception! You MUST NOT use images from other people for this one. No google, no magazines, no nuthin. But fear not! Those photos you took are more than you enough to get you through this one. And if you feel like you need any support from your study books like Loomis, Gurney or Robertson? Go ahead, those are allowed, of course. This rule is only there to make you look for cool stuff in real-life, throw a fresh eye at the mundane and find gems that no one else but you has access to. If everything goes well, you should find out a lot about yourself, your own taste and maybe even figure out your own, personal direction in art a little bit more. Anyways - enough talk, get going already!

Ramble box: (skip this if you're in a hurry)


-Preparation Tasks-

-Grab a camera or phone, take a walk wherever you are right now and shoot everything interesting you can find. No, really, do it! Where else are you going to get your references?

MOODBOARDS (example in 2nd post)
-When you get home, make some moodboards with your favorite photos. I'm sure you found some cool shit out there! Keep going until you run out of stuff that inspires you. (I use Nexusimage without status bar, just throw a couple of images on the screen until the background is all covered up and then just take a screenshot of that whole mess. Really quick!)

STORY (example in 2nd post)
-Yep, you get to write something now! Look at your moodboards if you aren't already super pumped and have an idea already, and just write down what comes to mind. How can you make sense of those memories and images you just made? It doesn't need to be a literary masterpiece or anything, just a couple of sentences to give yourself a direction for what this whole thing is going to be about. Feel like writing more, though? No one's stopping you!

BRIEF (example in 2nd post)
-Now write your brief; a clearly and simply formulated task to tell yourself what you need to do to finish your project. Make sure it's a good brief before you start drawing and stick to it until you're done! Don't ask too much from yourself but always make it challenging! Also, make sure you decide on a format: Is it a story illustration? a book cover? a comic? character/environment/vehicle/prop concepts for a mock-up video game or movie? card art? stamp art? a tattoo? a gallery show? Anything goes!

DEADLINE (example in 2nd post)
-That's right, I don't decide the deadline - you do! The challenge runs for the duration of August 2016, so just choose any date from this month year and you're fine! Make it appropriate to how much time you have, how much work your brief is asking from you, how motivated you think you are for this etc. Keyword: Parkinson's law. You can also use smaller step-deadlines for the individual parts of your project to make sure you don't space out on something minor, mismanage your time and screw yourself. Take your deadline seriously. Treat it like any other professional deadline and don't disappoint your client! (even if that's you in this case)

-Core Tasks-

-Congrats, you made it through the preparation work! Now start the goddamn project already lol! Good luck! Post your results in this thread, but if you feel like your project is growing unexpectedly (which happens sometimes), why not make a blog or a dedicated sb thread about it? You can also post your prep work here if you want; others will have a better idea about what you're up to and crits will be easier to give. 

-While you're working on your thing, do as many studies as you feel like you need to do to help it come to life. The study part is a big factor in how much you'll get out of this challenge, so don't be lazy here! I recommend a time ratio of 2/3 project time, 1/3 study time. Study whatever your weaknesses are and what's important for the project. Anatomy, perspective, rendering, composition, visual library, design... whatever you feel like you need to learn to get this thing made. Focus and don't get lost, though. Don't freak out if you feel like you don't have enough time to study everything you need - you rarely ever will, especially when you're just starting out as an artist. Pick one or two specific problems, learn how to really nail them and forget about the rest for now.

Project: Woodwork transformers
(do NOT use my topic, come up with your own! that's part of the challenge, I'm just showing one out of the infinite ways to do this)

Story Brief (just an example, what you're going for depends on you!)

You managed not to notice it until now, but it's true - your entire city is alive! No, not just the people, their pets and the vermin underneath the streets; everything! Everything here has a soul of it's own and a life that sometimes spans across multiple centuries. Did you see that house turning? No? Look again!

Brief (just an example, what you're going for depends on you!)

Design at least 5 transformers, for a mock-up miniature game, based on architecture and other inanimate objects from your city. Everything in your city is alive, the houses tremble and glance your way at night - but what happens when they start walking on their own? Base your designs on real anatomy and make them as believable and convincing as possible. Show each of them in their inanimate form (regular architecture and other city objects) as well as in their transformed state. The transformer should look like a reorganization of the original's parts, not just a robot made from the same materials and design elements. Think about different possiblities how they can move (biped, quadruped, centipede, winged..). Make sure all 5 of them are noticeably distinct from each other in terms of shape, color, proportions and functionality and draw from different design influences from your city. The style of the final presentation and rendering should be realistic, with minimal stylization and as believable as possible.

Deadlines: (these are my personal deadlines - your deadlines depend on you!)

01.08. - 09.08.: Study anatomy and visual library in traditional sketchbook.
10.08.-17.08.: Study rendering from life and from the photos you took. Focus on relevant materials.
18.08.-21.08.: Idea time! Lay down as many cool ideas as possible. Rough sketches, but sharp enough to communicate the idea.
22.08.-31.08.: Pick the best ones and render them as well as you can.

Moodboard example and visual library study example:

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hmm, a no preassure summer self challenge

I did write some comic ideas months back .... maybe i'll draw em up :)
@Prabu: Nice! Go do it!

Progress log: did the first part of my personal challenge, filled up 26 pages in my physical sketchbook with anatomy and architecture studies and some more on some other random pages. Spent around 43 hours on that, not gonna bother scanning, though. Got a much better understanding of anatomy now. Still lots to learn! Focus for the next 7 days: rendering studies! I'll still keep up the anatomy studies, those were really useful. Practiced muscle placement until now, next up is deep space figure construction and posing.

Thinking about doing an ongoing challenge thread after this one where people can just set project goals for themselves and logging in progress every now and then - so a simpler and cleaner version of what this is supposed to be, and with an open end.

A promised to join, so here it finally is!

Moodboard: It's a small moodboard, but maintheme is nature. I might want to take a few more picture if needed for studies.

Story: As a child you have beent old about trolls, fearies and what not. You believed them to be true, but never saw a trace. But they do exist. Maybe not as you imagined them, but they are there. Living in harmony with nature.

Brief: Design the creatures that live in those places in a way that they can walk directly out of a storybook. But the creatures also need a place to live. Create 4 different scenes on where they live, if possible use different times of day. Show also one illustration including the creatures.

* 4 watercolour landscape showing location in the world
* Imaginaire creature design for a children book
* 1 Illustration where the two are combined.

August 31.

August 16: 4 Watercolour landscapes
August 21: Creature design
August 31: Final illustration.

I want to study landscape/environmental composition and try to combine that with watercolour.
Creature design based on human anatomy, but porportions etc can be totally adjusted.

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Wonderful themes, mood boards and deadline you two <3
I'll be joining somewhat soon n_n

Can't wait to see the results from both of you!

Log: Done with the rendering practice. kept on doing anatomy studies after anatomy week so i dragged out the rendering stuff a bit longer, but i feel like I made some progress for both things! Now it's finally time to get down with it and do some designs!

Log: Struggling. I did a lot of watercolour studies, landscapes and forest scenes. Did help me with getting an understanding on how to build up a painting. But I have problems with coming up with my own illustrations and compositions. Kinda fixt on thumb tonight, although not entirly happy with it yet.
I'm not gonna make my deadlines, because I want to do this right and as always I overplan things. But I really want to take the time to push myself and get something nice out of it.

 Joining the challenge, as soon as Jan chose to extend the duration.

I took photos at the Budapest Tropicarium and Zoo (might attach more images later). As soon as the tigers and cougars were rather far from the view, the photos are too bad to show, but I used my own cat to get better ones. Also I wasn't able to film the bats cause it was too dark for my camera.  I also filmed some  videos, so this moodboard is not all what I have but it gives an idea thereof.
For now, I study a ton of animal anatomy. Main resources are Atlas of animal anatomy by Ellenberger and Baum, The Artist's guide to animal anatomy by Baum, and I might use Art of animal drawing by Hultgren. If I google, I only use reliable resources of real animal anatomy (like this https://comparativeanatomy.wikispaces.co...uscles.pdf, no ready dragon anatomy solutions.

My recent submissions are part of some bigger project I'm working on. Remember my interspace market from CC5? There is a creature department there, and particularly a dragon pavilion. Some info on the dragon I chose to design:

Dragon lacertus felis (Dalf)
Dalf is a rather small dragon, average grown-up male 1,8 m long. Originally from planet <no name yet>, adapts best on planets with moderate, warm and hot climate. Cold is hard to bear for dalfs, although not as severe as for lizards, so please avoid letting them out in case of temperature is lower than -5 C or purchase our special dalf clothes and warming spheres. Dalfs prefer meat diet. In nature, they mostly consume small animals and birds. Although in need dalfs may be pretty much omnivorous.
Dalfs are unwilling to obey and hard to train, but once the creature ensures your respectful attitude and friendliness, it becomes your faithful and reliable partner. 
In nature, dalfs are born hunters.Slender and compact, these creatures were used at wars as spy companions. Chameleon skin and paw balls allows perfect stealth. Dalfs are good flyers and tree climbers. There were cases when Dalfs protected soldiers on their backs from arrows with their lower throat, which expands like shield in case of danger (Like bearded lizard's) Although, learning  to fly on a dalf’s horny back, let alone training it, used to take several years. 
Nowadays, they are mostly kept as adorable pets. 

Design a dragon concept. The dragon shall be based based on feline, lizard and bat/bird anatomy. 
  1. Show skeletal and muscular structure (side, front, top views)  - 6 images, of which at least side views should be rendered enough to be presentable at client's corporate meetings :) Also be prepared to explain to the 3d animation team how those bones and muscles function/
  2. Show several ideas of skin, color and texture on the side view (at least 3 versions for the client to choose the best)
  3. Create a rendered image  of the dragon, 3/4 view on neutral background
  4. Additional task: Create a 3d model (to be made more specific after 2d image is complete, as the client is unsure about the requirements yet).
1 - August 29th
2 - September 02
3 - September 12 (+1 day for polishing the skeleton and musculature side views, because I might tweak the anatomy a bit while further designing process)
4 - to be specified after the 2d image is complete

Here are the side views of the skeleton and muscle structure, along with some studies. I don't show all the iterations of the side views, just the final structure solutions. And thanks to @Meat for support!
I also tried Expressii for gesture and sketched my cat (to feel the rhytm of how it moves), the brushes feel extremely natural. Was lucky to read @Amit's message mentioning this software in our shoutbox :)

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So happy for everyone who joined!
The first designs! wooo! 

Things that worked out in august:
-did the anatomy studies
-took a lot of photos and did the visual library studies
-did the rendering studies
-did 3 designs
-found out a lot more about my city, my own taste, and where I want to go with my personal work

things that didn't work out
-spent too much time on anatomy studies and as a result, less time on rendering
-didn't do 5 designs as planned and didn't render them (excuse: I accepted a studio job and am still in the middle of house moving, very little time for drawing atm!)

goals for next month (rough version)
-continue drawing more designs, also draw them in non-transformed state and render a few. 
-2 still lifes every day (1 study, 1 reconstruction from memory/application)
-still not sure how much i can get done after work, but i'll figure things out.

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Nice transformer guys @Jan!
@Eyliana saw you streaming yesterday, keep up studying, you're definitely making progress!
@smrr hope to se your wips if you're still into this challenge!

Upd.: electricity has been fixed and I got no more excuses :) Finished the front view, back still in progress.
Started  reading Teryl Wichlach's free  creature design tutorials, they are just awesome! Had real fun basing the pose and  the skull position on my own refs :) Also trying out other rendering style, I like this look better than of my side view. As for the top view, it turned out to be not the best choice to show wing muscles so I might try back+top 2/3 view instead.

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Update update update! Because... well I did stuf..

Found a tutorial on YouTube and followed it. I really like the style so I'm gonna try do that for my painting. Want to try a few more and see if I can do it myself without the video and paint a bit cleaner.
I thought of a character and will try to post an illustration of that at the end of this week.
Still struggling a lot of with the composition, but I'll figure it out somehow. I bought 36x48 cm watercolour paper were I want to do the illustration on. It's gonna be awesome (and scary!)

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@Eyliana well done, these studies must help you with your image. Are you going to post your composition sketches here?

Top view here, time for break with anatomy studies and move on to sketching. 
I'm going to explore different poses of my creature before I move on to materials, combining constructional approach with gesture and keping in mind on the anatomy that I've learned.
Found some mistakes in my side view muscles and some unnecessary head muscles, but I'll fix it and the side view rendering later. In order not to get stuck on the anatomy stage.

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Made a rig sketeton and main form masses (thanks to Teryl Witlatch for this technique from the the free Creatures of Amalthea course, will definitely use more from this course).
Made 9 sketches today, you don't want to see the first ones, but then something clicked and I applied everything I've learned about construction drawing and gesture by now. Sloppy as those sketches may be, it's something important for me. I based on my cat's movements but changed them to follow the desired rhytm, so those are not copies. It was the first time that I rotated simplified forms kind of mindfully in my head. Going to do more  of them sketches, be more accurate, exaggerate,keep in mind perspective and visualise stuff.

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I think I'll choose sketch 7 or less likely 10 to push further.
A bit confused about the part of plan where I have to come up with 3 color  and material options. Those are supposed to be quick simplified sketches, but turns out I never really tried simplifying colors/values properly. 
I don't really see clear light sourses in Creatures of amalthea course sample images btw.
So, pushed my iguana head construction study further. Today was the first time that I applied values and colors based on value not relying on the reference lighting, thinking planes, pretty much happy with this new experience, but not really with the side view color sketch :) Perhaps I'm just lazy to work on it because the final image is going to be 3/4 view.

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Several people said already that a hairy dragon might be cool. I started taking my cat's grey and aded some stripes from my tiger zoo shot, and new goat horns. Need to explore further , at least one more hairy and one reptile texture, although I'm already off schedule. Still can't simplify stuff in a sketchy way, show texture and preserve lighting  simultaneously. Actually I know what to do, apply basic colors and then add detail, but easier said than done :)

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Too detailed for a sketch maybe, I just  explored stuff and had fun. Still you probably can't see scales on orange skin areas with this scale so that they might seem fur, not skin. If I proceed with this one further, got to fix it. 
Tried making silouhettes to check if the poses read. I prefer the 2nd one for now

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Lineart here for now. Struggling with lighting, going to learn about ambient occlusion technique tomorrow, I guess it must help. Next post will hopefully be the final.

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Cool stuff Neo! I really liked you 'too detailed' Sketch ^^ It has a bit of an old friendly dragon feeling to it.

My stuffs. Some composition thumbnails and the design of the character. I'm not sure about the ears yet, since they look like ponytails at the same time. So might change that. Now I'm working on the big sketch (A3) and trying to determine how I'm gonna paint that.

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