The Fully Illustrated Blog

Trenches 2 delayed until December 15th

November 30, 2011

Hey Everyone,

It looks like Trenches 2 has had a slight delay and wont be released until the 15th of December now.  Sorry guys.  To partially make up for it, here’s a sneak peak of the British and German tanks :) I’ve also included an image showing how the main two soldiers have evolved from Trenches 1 to Trenches 2. As I hope you’ll agree, they’ve come on quite a bit :)

Roll on December 15th!

The gargantuan game I’ve been working on is announced!

November 21, 2011

 

Hey Everyone,

Well, I’ve been tweeting about this project for about 8 months now, possibly even longer and its now been announced! The worldwide AppStore smash hit Trenches now has a sequel!!!! Trenches 2 will be hitting the AppStore on December 1st and is being published by none other than EA!

I’ve been working on this on and off for the best part of a year and let me tell you, it’s probably the biggest war/action/strategy game on the iPhone…by a LONG stretch, it’s MASSIVE! I’ve been drawing, painting, airbrushing, vectorising and designing for this puppy for soooooooo long and every second has been insanely awesome!

First up I want to cover what has to be my biggest creative accomplishment in my entire 12 years in the industry, the HUGE A1 promo poster that I created recently.

I was blessed with a 2 week budget to create this poster and was basically given something that as an artist you almost never get…the right budget!  As I’d been given such a generous project (as part of the much larger project) I wanted to make this my show piece, the one piece of art that would allow me to take my next step up and genuinely improve my abilities. Needless to say, I spent a significant amount of time sketching and ran through an entire sketch pad putting this together!  Once the sketch was roughed out, reviewed, amended and put into its final state, I was VERY, VERY excited!

My goal was to create a cartoon image in my personal style that reflected the stunning Udon/Capcom character collages that adorn the stunning Udon comics and posters, and while I know I’m no Alvin Lee, I was determined to make this MY take on such a composition.  I started with the star of the show, the German soldier and wanted to create a story around him that portrayed the game.  The overall vision was to tell the story of the Germans out weighing, out gunning and standing terrifyingly tall over the allied forces of WW1. Trenches 2 now has multiple nationalities, so I had to include each of these within the poster, each one displaying his own very distinct character.  All very tongue and cheek too which made it even more fun :)

With the sketch completed it was time to get into the colour rendering…this was going to be fuuuuuuuuuuun!

As I had the time to do so, I had chance to lay down some colour schemes before getting started and after a few iterations I settled on the warm glow of a fiery, war torn battlefield.  This just seemed fitting, and all the browns, oranges and yellows just made for a really indulgent palette that soothed my eyes :)

The scene just seemed to explode to life as each drop of colour adorned the screen, it was a spectacularly rewarding illustration to be working on and I simply couldn’t wait to move onto the next bit as the current part was completed.  My mind was so focused on the final image that I was almost dreaming about this poster whenever I was away from it.  And without further ado, here it is…

One of the other elements that made this so exciting was the final scale of the image ( A1), so my detail level had to be about a gazillion times higher than my usual ‘on-screen’ work and boy oh boy did that make for some memory challenges…

This puppy rolled in at a whopping 1.5gb as a PSD (I like my layers ;) and was quickly becoming a beast to deal with. Even with 8 cores and more RAM than you can imagine, this sucka was still loading after I’d finished making my morning espresso!

Aaaaaaaaanyway, I’m babbling.

I hope you enjoy looking at this as much as I enjoyed making it!

Oh, and here’s a couple of cheeky screenies of Trenches 2 to whet your appetite…

…now I’ll save my rambling on these until my next post :)

Lastly, and VERY importantly, I want to say a MMMMMMMMMMASSIVE thanks to Thunder Game Works for inviting me to be their lead artist once again.

Mike.

 

 

 

Stenches – Artwork Preview!

October 17, 2010

Hey Everyone,

One of the recent iPhone games I’ve been busy on, is the sub-story follow up to the worldwide AppStore hit, Trenches,  attractivly entitled, Stenches!

After the phenominal sucess of Trenches and the huge expression of love from the players regarding secret unlock-able ‘Zombie Horde Mode’, Thunder Game Works decided to create a whole game based around this awesome little mini-game.

So you can imagine my excitement when I was tasked with bringing this vision to life!  I love anything Zombie related, so couldnt wait to get my teeth into this!  New characters, environments, branding, menu’s, everything!  Absolutely awesome fun!!!  Just to give you a preview of what’s to come, I’ve showcased the main zombie characters below, and as you’ll see, there’s quite a mix in this new game :)

The game is crammed with awesome new features and game modes, but I wont babble on about those here (you’ll hear more in the press real soon) and I’ll leave you take a look at the concept sketches.

If you’re a fan of Trenches and/or Zombies, you’ve got to grab a copy of this puppy when it launches as I can honestly say it’s absolutely SUPERB!!

I hope you like them :)

Mike.

iPad sketching with a Pogo Sketch

May 6, 2010

Hey Everyone,

Well this bloomin Pogo Sketch Stylus took absolute age to arrive, but its finally here!  Worth the wait?  Absolutetly!  While its still nowhere near as accurate as a good old fashioned, well sharpened B pencil, it is a lot more precise than my chunky index finger!  It feels more akin to drawing with an unsharpened 8b I think.

Anyway, decided to have a play last night in front of the telly and this is what arose.  It feels a lot cleaner than the finger paintings (but it is still very, very rough) and has in some ways allowed for some more fluid movements as I’m not constantly trying to see under my finger tip.

ipad-sketch4

My only concern with this Pogo Sketch is that while it works, I fear that the sponge nib has a limited lifespan, as while I was using it on this illustration, a couple of bits of it fell off, so I’m guessing that it will last about a few months with daily use.

I’ll post up some more sketches over the coming weeks.

Hope you like it :)

Mike.

iPad sketch number 3

April 21, 2010

Hey Everyone,

Nice morning, the sun was shining and birds were singing, and all the while, my 3 month old son was fast asleep on my chest as my wife got ready for the day.  During which time I grabbed the iPad and thought I’d see what can be created in the time it takes a women to get ready in the morning…but I only got 40 mins ;)

firemonster

This firery monstery thing just seemed to flow from my fingers, so I went with it, kinda fun.  Again, it aint that great, as with all the other sketches so far, but I’m starting to see a level of freedom and movement in these peices that gets lost in vectors, so I’m keener than ever to persue this device and see where it takes me.  I think in many ways its actually going to broaden my skill set rather than anything else, and that can only be a good thing.

Hope you like him.

Mike.

P.S.  I’ve ordered a Pogo Sketch, so once that get here from the US, I’ll throw another one of these images together and write a quick review…presuming the Pogo Sketch is better than the cheaper alternatives on eBay that is ;)

The iPad, sheer awesomeness!

April 9, 2010

ipad01

Its official, I’m head over heels in love!  This shiny oversized iPhone is absolutely breathtaking in just about every respect!  I’m bowled over!
Ok, onto the good stuff, the sketching and painting:
Initially, the whole prospect of painting with my fingers seemed way too primitive and all too clumsy, and in truth, it kind of is, but after only 50 mins playing, I soon realised that you can adapt (a bad workman always blames his tools n’all that), and I think that with practice I could achieve results that I would be ‘officially’ happy with.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be creating final project work with this, it just wouldn’t give me the vector precision that I love, but for roughs, samples and experiments, its perfect.
As this is multi-touch, you can zoom in and out VERY easily and very quickly, meaning that the clumsiness of the finger painting soon becomes an obstacle that you can overcome (to a degree), as you simply drop your brush size and zoom in close to add in details.  This may seem a pain in the ass, but it soon becomes quite a natural process.
The other element which is initially tough to master, is not resting your hand on the screen as you draw (as it causes the tablet to go haywire due to your hand acting as one touch and your finger as another), something most people do all the time.  This in many ways forces some classical oriental calligraphy rules on you, meaning that you are never allowed to rest your hand on the page while you draw/paint, allowing you to move more fluidly and be less limited in your movements.  Heck, maybe this machine will be the making of me ;)
Ah, I almost forgot, a stylus.  Well, I bought one from eBay, which looks to be a cheap version of the Pogo Stylus and it was cheap for a reason…as it was crap.  It’s made from a material that sticks to the screen (due to the type of rubber it’s made from) so you can’t smoothly drag it along the screen.  Needless to say, after 3 swipes with this pointless thing, I discarded it.  I’d like to try the official Pogo stylus at some point, but to import one of those from the US seems to cost about £30+ which seems insane for something that must cost around £1 to make.  Rant over ;)  I’m going to experiment at making my own.
I was asked by a few people to put up my very first drawing, but in truth, my VERY first was simply a test to see how everything works, so I couldn’t even call it a drawing, more a page of scribbles, so I decided to set a timer last night for 60mins and see what I could come up with.  50 mins later, this rough looking cartoon dinosaur was what appeared.  I’m reasonably pleased with this for a first real attempt, and am looking forward to seeing what I can achieve this time next month with a lot more practice behind me.
Oh, and for anyone wondering what I am using on the iPad, its Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro.  I cant remember how much is was, but it was under £10 and in truth, I’d have happily paid a lot more for it as its very versatile.
Well, I hope all you fellow iPad yearning artists out there found this interesting, as I know I was scouring the web for a fellow artists perspective on it.
And just on another couple of notes…
Playing your iPhone games:
I cannot stress how much more playable a lot of my old games now are, its mental.  There are sooooo many games that I played just once, and for whatever reason, never played them again, but now, with a MUCH larger screen, they seem ridiculously more playable?!?!?!?  How that works is anyone’s guess.  The other cool part is that for all the iPhone 2G and 3G users, that struggled to play some of the more CPU intensive titles aimed at the 3GS, can now play them in all their glory, as this little beast is mighty powerful.
Browsing the web:
EVERYTHING (except flash of course) looks better on this screen.  I was rather pleased to look at some of my own sites on this device as they just seem so much sexier on this gorgeous screen.  The brightness, sharpness and colour is just perfect.
Overall:
It’s just too good, I’ll leave it at that as I aint got the time to delve into any more detail ;)
Thanks.
Mike.

Its official, I’m head over heels in love!  This shiny oversized iPhone is absolutely breathtaking in just about every respect!  I’m bowled over!

Ok, onto the good stuff, the sketching and painting:

Initially, the whole prospect of painting with my fingers seemed way too primitive and all too clumsy, and in truth, it kind of is, but after only 50 mins playing, I soon realised that you can adapt (a bad workman always blames his tools n’all that), and I think that with practice I could achieve results that I would be ‘officially’ happy with.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be creating final project work with this, it just wouldn’t give me the vector precision that I love, but for roughs, samples and experiments, its perfect.

As this is multi-touch, you can zoom in and out VERY easily and very quickly, meaning that the clumsiness of the finger painting soon becomes an obstacle that you can overcome (to a degree), as you simply drop your brush size and zoom in close to add in details.  This may seem a pain in the ass, but it soon becomes quite a natural process.

The other element which is initially tough to master, is not resting your hand on the screen as you draw (as it causes the tablet to go haywire due to your hand acting as one touch and your finger as another), something most people do all the time.  This in many ways forces some classical oriental calligraphy rules on you, meaning that you are never allowed to rest your hand on the page while you draw/paint, allowing you to move more fluidly and be less limited in your movements.  Heck, maybe this machine will be the making of me ;)

Stylus:

Ah, I almost forgot, a stylus.  Well, I bought one from eBay, which looks to be a cheap version of the Pogo Stylus and it was cheap for a reason…as it was crap.  It’s made from a material that sticks to the screen (due to the type of rubber it’s made from) so you can’t smoothly drag it along the screen.  Needless to say, after 3 swipes with this pointless thing, I discarded it.  I’d like to try the official Pogo stylus at some point, but to import one of those from the US seems to cost about £30+ which seems insane for something that must cost around £1 to make.  Rant over ;)  I’m going to experiment at making my own.

First Sketch:

I was asked by a few people to put up my very first drawing, but in truth, my VERY first was simply a test to see how everything works, so I couldn’t even call it a drawing, more a page of scribbles, so I decided to set a timer last night for 60mins and see what I could come up with.  50 mins later, this rough looking cartoon dinosaur was what appeared.  I’m reasonably pleased with this for a first real attempt, and am looking forward to seeing what I can achieve this time next month with a lot more practice behind me.

ipad02

ipad02

Software:

Oh, and for anyone wondering what I am using on the iPad, its Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro.  I cant remember how much is was, but it was under £10 and in truth, I’d have happily paid a lot more for it as its very versatile.

Well, I hope all you fellow iPad yearning artists out there found this interesting, as I know I was scouring the web for a fellow artists perspective on it.

And just on another couple of notes…

Playing your iPhone games:

I cannot stress how much more playable a lot of my old games now are, its mental.  There are sooooo many games that I played just once, and for whatever reason, never played them again, but now, with a MUCH larger screen, they seem ridiculously more playable?!?!?!?  How that works is anyone’s guess.  The other cool part is that for all the iPhone 2G and 3G users, that struggled to play some of the more CPU intensive titles aimed at the 3GS, can now play them in all their glory, as this little beast is mighty powerful.

Browsing the web:

EVERYTHING (except flash of course) looks better on this screen.  I was rather pleased to look at some of my own sites on this device as they just seem so much sexier on this gorgeous screen.  The brightness, sharpness and colour is just perfect.

Overall:

It’s just too good, I’ll leave it at that as I aint got the time to delve into any more detail ;)

Thanks.

Mike.

Trenches featured on Touch Arcade!

December 20, 2009

Hey Everyone,

Just got news from the guys at Thundergameworks that Trenches has been featured on Touch Arcade!  There is a full video preview of the game along with screenshots and artwork, all of which is exclusive to Touch Arcade.  Take a peek…

http://toucharcade.com/2009/12/19/an-exclusive-preview-of-iphone-warfare-game-trenches/

From the comments so far, it looks as though everyone is excited about this game which is totally awesome!  So much time, love and passion has been put into this game so its great to see it getting the warm welcome we were hoping for.

Stay tuned for the official release date, its coming VERY soon!

Mike.

Butcher Bill comes to life!

November 6, 2009

Hey everyone,

I finally managed to get Super Turbo Action Pigs arch nemesis, Butcher Bill, fully rendered last night, so take a look and see what you think.

He looks pretty mean huh!

butcher-bill-super-turbo-action-pig-COLOUR

There is going to be a brief story at the beginning (very brief as not to get in the way of play) featuring this sausage loving bad guy, so you can expect to see him in a verbal joust with our porky hero.

More updates soon.

Butcher Bill – Piggies Arch Enemy

November 3, 2009

I was going to wait (as I usually do) until this guy was finished, but as so many people email in and ask to see my sketch work, I decided that this maybe the perfect time to show some.  So say hello to Butcher Bill and his massive meat cleaver!  This guy isn’t actually that nasty in the eye’s of us humans, but to Super Turbo Action Pig, he is the devil himself!  Butcher Bill has a fetish for sausage making, and with our Pink hero having such a fine physique, Bill will stop at nothing to turn him into his finest Cumberland sausages!

butcher-bill-super-turbo-action-pig

I’ll be posting the final artwork for Bill later this week/early next week.

Thanks.

Mike.

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