With my Unravel Let’s Play now over I have moved onto a horror game I have been excited to play, Until Dawn. To view the first two episodes of this series you can check out Twisted Tales Studio’s Youtube Channel.
Until Dawn is a cinematic survival horror video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Entertainment. This game is a PS4 exclusive which was released in August of 2014.
One year after the disappearance of twins Hannah and Beth, a group of eight teenagers return to the ski lodge on Blackwood Mountain. The group is faced with a life-or-death situation when a psychopath begins to terrorize them, and unfortunately for them that is not the only thing they have to worry about. Something strange is happening in the woods, and not everything is as it seems. Can all eight survive until dawn?
I always say that I am particularly attracted to games that have a heavy emphasis on storytelling. Until Dawn is an example of this principal put into overdrive. In Until Dawn actual game play mechanics take a backseat to story. To say this game is cut scene heavy would be an understatement. In the two episodes of my Let’s Play, which are about twenty minutes each, maybe half of the run time is the actual game play. The player can only effect the outcome of the story through a series of choices, quick time events, and exploration in short linear environments. Success in the game depends on making the correct choices in each situation and uncovering clues to the mystery behind the twin’s disappearance.
With the opportunity for player interaction so drastically downplayed, Until Dawn relies heavily on its story and atmosphere. This is where the game shines. The animation is top tier for a new generation console game and it contains some memorable music to set the mood. I have only played the introduction, and I have not yet gotten to the aforementioned ski lodge, but I am already blown away by the environments. I have high expectations for the set pieces I have yet to see.
I say this in the video, but I work in film, and I love horror, so I may actually be the ideal audience for this game. I cannot wait to actually get into the meat of the story.
Welcome back everyone to the better late than never post! All the art more or less got done, I am simply horrible at documenting my work. So let’s get on with this shall we? Here are another five installments of the art challenge:
Day 6 – Microscopic
Day 7 – Anatomy
Day 8 – Fungi
Day 9 – Hate
Day 10 – Comic
Day #6 – Microscopic
Day six was a weird day for me. This part of the challenge just so happened to fall during the worst days of a flu which wrecked everyone in my household.
So, high on cold medicine, I scoured the internet for microscopic organisms. I ended up combining three or four types of organisms into one psychedelic freak of nature that probably should not exist. I think what I am trying to say is don’t do drugs kids.
*Watercolor and gouache
Day #7 – Anatomy
On day 7 I think I was coming off of the drugs, but I was in a dark place. We all know this point of being sick where the symptoms begin to fade but we are still not well enough to actually be productive. My face felt like it was on fire from blowing my nose, and I couldn’t breathe to save my life.
Sadly, I took out my frustration at being confined to my couch on this poor teddy bear. I wanted to know what made him tick, and what made him so damn happy and cute all the time. I am probably one of the few people on this planet that finds the idea of a teddy skeleton adorable.
Day #8 – Fungi
Day eight I painted the fungi zombies from the video game The Last of Us so I could tie this challenge in with my fungi study article. The Last of Us article ended up being pushed back anyway, which contributed to both of these posts being unforgivably late.
For those of you not familiar with the game, the zombie hoards in this universe are created by a parasitic fungi. There are different stages of infection ranging from the early stage “runner” (bottom), and the deadly “clicker” (top). I wanted a brighter color palette so they ended up looking a little psychedelic. Don’t do drugs kids.
*Watercolor and gouache
Day #9 – Hate
I struggled with day 9 well past the deadline where I was supposed to have finished this piece. I thought I would maybe tie it into the “love” day’s sculpture, but I felt I just could not translate hate properly. Finally I settled on another painting, this time of a cute little voodoo doll that resembles Lilo’s doll from Lilo and Stitch.
In the end this piece really came together in the end. It is actually one of my favourites so far in the challenge.
Day #10 – Comic
Day 10 was another one that really gave me a tough time, which is not what I expected. When I cobbled the list together I expected that I would do a tiny three panel comic of some sort, but for some reason nothing came to mind.
Then it occurred to me that it has been years since I have done a traditional India Ink comic book style illustration. This is another multi-day project that put me farther behind, but it was worth the effort!
Say hello to one of my favourite comic book protagonists, Cassie Hack from Hack/Slash, dressed as my favourite villain Freddy Krueger. I’m a huge fan of pin-ups and pretty burlesque girls, and Cassie is no stranger to seductive posing.
Thanks for joining me again. Come visit next time for days #11-15 … hopefully in a timely manner, but at this point I make no guarantees.
Welcome to the 30 Day Art Challenge update for days one through five.
Sorry these art pieces are a little belated in terms of getting them out on their specified day. I have been working on these consistently day to day, but I am discovering that the scale of each of my projects are too large for the timeline I have set for myself. Clearly I need to scale everything back just a bit and concentrate on quality over quantity.
For now, here is the first batch of art pieces I have made this month! Enjoy.
Day 1 – Self Portrait
Day 2 – Scenery
Day 3 – Love
Day 4 – Tattoo
Day 5 – Skeleton
Day #1 – Self Portrait
I wanted to start off with something I haven’t done in several weeks, and that was a photoshop piece. No banners do not count. For my self-portrait I chose to do something that is half way between my own style and something a little Tim Burton. The yarn is so that you definitely know it is me.
This piece is one of the main reasons that I fell behind right off the bat. Between the line art and scouring for textures, this piece is not something I could crank out in a short drawing session. Love how it turned out though.
Day #2 – Scenery
When I think of scenery right now I think of the game with some of the most stunning visuals and environments I have played in a long time. Unravel is so very detailed, saturated and immersive that I feel like I could reach out and touch the thistle patch.
Learning from my previous mistakes, I scaled this piece down significantly from my self portrait piece. This was done in water color and gouache, and measures at about 3×5 inches. I’m a little annoyed with the yarn along the bottom, but all in all I really like how this one turned out.
Day #3 – Love
I had a bunch of spare sculpy lying around, so I thought why not? This tiny sculpture is only about as big around as a toonie (for all of my Canadian friends). It is based on a sketch I did back in the summer titled “Until Death Do Us Part”. It was basically a darker take on couples merging into one person as part of the relationship.
This one is technically incomplete as I have no idea what I want the color scheme to be. I plan on finishing this before the end of the challenge. Any thoughts on colors guys??
Day #4 – Tattoo
Day four featured the tattoo challenge, and for some reason everything afterward ended up looking a lot like a tattoo design. This piece is done in black gouache and is 5×7 inches.
I tried to push myself outside of my comfort zone with this piece. Obviously this is not referring to the skull in the middle. We all know how comfortable I am with drawing bones. I actually dislike drawing and painting roses. I am fine with almost any other flower, but my roses always came out looking chunky and awkward. I think these might me some of the favourite roses that I have ever illustrated.
Day #5 – Skeleton
Day five’s skeleton is almost interchangeable with day four. I wanted to steer clear of a purely technical drawing, so I took a lot of artistic licences with the overall design and shape.
The ribcage ended up looking a little more cluttered than I would have liked. It is a little hard to see but the rib bones are meant to be branches full of bleeding hearts. Bleeding hearts are a type of flower that flourishes in heavily shaded areas, which is why I paired it with the moth motif. I may come back to this one a little later and add some splashes of color, but for now I am over all happy with how this turned out.
Tune in later this week for 30 Day Art Challenge Days #6-10. This challenge is making me sweat already, so let’s see how this goes!
This week I have been thinking about fungi, and how they might be used to create a scene.
Crafting an environment is an acquired skill like any other. A creature crafted from imagination needs a home in which to dwell. Forests are lush places full of life even in the darkest, dampest, corners. Here thrive the things that crawl and the things that survive on the decay of other living things.
Fungi are nature’s natural composters, and as such they are associated with rot and all things dead. Given the environments where fungi tends to thrive, it is small wonder that mushrooms are lumped in with witches and frightening bogs.
Over the past couple of days I have been staring long and hard at interesting plants that would give a environment personality. Of course, it helps to know a little bit of information on your chosen subject matter. I have decided to gather some interesting facts about the species I have illustrated here. All of my sources are listed at the bottom of this post for those of you who want to continue their fungi journey.
Let us Begin..
Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric)
If we look to the bottom right of the illustration above you will see a familiar species. The Fly Agaric is probably the most iconic of all the fungi species. This species was made famous by popular media such as Smurfs and Super Mario Bros, and is the type of mushroom most commonly depicted in children’s books.
Fly Agaric got its name from its use an a natural insecticide. The mushroom was crushed up and added to milk, which would attract flies and subsequently poison them. Fly Agaric is also mildly toxic to humans. Ingesting this mushroom can cause sweating, mild hallucinations, and (in very rare cases) death.
Fly Agaric is a common, wide spread, fungi. It thrives in north-temperate regions of most major continents. This species grows closely around trees and forms a relationship with the roots. It’s preferred species of tree are birch and pine.
Hydnellum Peckii (Bleeding Tooth Fungus)
Bottom left. Also known as Strawberries and Cream, Bleeding Hydnellum, Red-Juice Tooth or Devil’s Tooth. This species is found mainly in North America and Europe. This mushroom producing fungi forms a mutually beneficial relationship with coniferous trees.
The cap of the mushroom contains fruit bodies which ooze a bright red liquid when young. This give’s the distinct look of a bleeding mushroom. I’m uncertain whether or not this looks incredibly pretty, or like something out of a horror film…
Armillaria (Honey Fungus)
This species is depicted by the illustration on the top right, and the top left. Honey Fungus is actually a name given to a family of fungus Armillaria, which share common traits, which is why this variety is depicted in two separate illustrations.
These are common mushroom and fungus that are considered pests. They feed mainly on woody perennials such as trees and shrubs. Infected plants will begin to wilt and fail to flower, and the mushroom caps most commonly appear in autumn. There are no fungicides available to honey fungus. The only treatment is to remove infected plants, dig up surrounding area, and take steps to prevent the spread.
Clathrus Ruber (Red Cage Fungus)
Red cage fungus got its name from the distinct lattice-like structure of the fungi fruit body. This species starts out its life cycle as a round white egg looking structure. It gradually breaks out and expands upwards into this distinct shape as it matures. This species can grow up to about 20 cm tall.
The lattice structure of Rage Cage ranges from light pink to dark orange-red in colour. The larger spongy structure surrounds the cluster of spores on the inside which are dark green in colour.
Red Cage fungi are also known by another name, Stinkhorn. This is due to the fact that the spores of this fungi release an odor similar to that of rotting meat in order to attract flies. The odor combined with the bright colour of the lattice structure is enough to deter most animals that might eat this fungi.
Red cage thrives in decaying woody plant material. It can be found growing in North Africa, Asia, Australia and South America.
Clathrus Archeri (Devil’s Finger)
Last but not least, we have Devil’s Finger Fungus. This particular species is making a big splash on the internet due to its striking resemblance to xenomorph eggs (Alien 1979).
Devil’s finger starts out its life cycle resembling a semi-translucent glutenous egg structure. As it matures four to eight long tentacle-like structures push out through the membrane. If you have the stomach for it, I highly suggest looking up pictures of growing Devil’s Finger. It is truly the stuff of nightmares.
Devil’s FInger is actually related to the Red Cage (or Stinkhorn) fungus. The tentacle-like structures are made of a similar spongy material which releases a strong odor which attracts flies in order to spread its spores. It also grows in similar habitats of wood chips and decaying woody plants. They often grow together in clusters. Freaky!
While Devil’s finger is quite an usual, and even a little frightening, it is actually quite harmless. Its spores are even served as a delicacy in some parts of the world.
Coming Up Next…
Next time in Twisted Tales Studio, we are going to take an up close and personal look at a particularly freaky fungi, which can technically be classified as a parasite. This fungus’s life cycle is so unusually frightening that a well-known video game actually used it as a basis for their big bad monsters. After all, the scariest monsters have their roots in reality.
Can anyone guess which game I am talking about??
Once again, all of my information above can be found in the links listed below! I am by no means an expert on species of fungi, so please check out these sites for more information.
Fly Agaric - Link
Bleeding Tooth Fungus - Link
Honey Fungus - Link
Red Cage Fungus - Link
Devil's Finger Fungus - Link
I have been putting a lot of emphasis on my Youtube channel and Let’s Play series this week, but fear not I have been working on some crafty things in the background. My artistic projects take a little more time to complete well, so these posts will probably be once a week or so.
Continuing with this month’s theme of stabbing things with needles, I came across my old embroidery hoops while cleaning my room. I have been on a mission to use up some of the crafting supplies I already own, so I decided to pull out my embroidery thread and see exactly how rusty I have become.
I love embroidery for the fact that with a few basic tricks and stitches you can make some pretty stunning compositions. Whether it is a pattern or more illustrative the entire picture is made up of a series of chain or cross stitches.
Gone are the days of your Gran’s “Home Sweet Home” framed cross stitches and heirloom embroidered table cloths. This should go without saying, but if you can draw or download a simple image from the internet you can turn pretty much anything into needlework.
Cross stitch makes this particularly easy because as long as you can line up an image to grid paper you can translate it into a sewing pattern. Same goes for embroidery, for which I play fast and loose and do much of my work free hand. I guess I am just a rebel like that…
For everything else there are literally endless resources for patterns on the internet or in books. Take for example my favourite: Twisted Stitches: 30 Corrupt Cross Stitch and Embroidery Designs. As the title might suggest, this book does not contain any traditional cross stitch designs. Unless you think traditional cross stitch would have been better served with bunny roadkill imagery, in which case I would wholeheartedly agree.
This book is a nice combination of cross stitch pattern, sewing pattern and how-to book. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for completing 30 projects from start to finish. That way you don’t end up like me as a kid with a million useless patches of fabric that aren’t actually sewed into anything, but damn don’t they just look pretty. I still sometimes refer to this book when I need a refresher on certain types of finishes or stitches.
What are your favourite unconventional stitching resources?
What I’ve Been Messing With
Over this past holiday Monday my friends and I had ourselves a good ol’ fashioned stitch-and-bitch party. Each of of brought our respective projects and sat around drinking ungodly amounts of caffeine and sugar.
As mentioned in the beginning, I decided to give embroidery another go. Lacking any patterns (I had not been able to dig out my copy of Twisted Stitches before I left the house) I did everything entirely freehand, which explains the horrid lettering in my first attempt. Oh well, at least the ventricles in my anatomical heart look pretty.
My second attempt yielded much more attractive results. They aren’t creepy exactly, but they are darn cute, and it also falls under the category of geeky. If it is not obvious I have Unravel on the brain. Unravel is a new platforming game out just this past week for xbox one and ps4. The main character being made of yarn lends itself well to being embroidered.
It’s nowhere near finished yet, I am currently working on adding a background to match the style of the game. I aim to have it finished before the end of my Let’s Play. There may even be a speed-embroidery video in the coming weeks…
Happy February first everyone! I will be participating in blogging 201 this month, so let’s get started shall we? This challenge is “what is my angle?” so I decided to take the theme a little bit literal.
The question of the day is: what makes something cute vs. creepy. The short answer is that it is all in the angles.
Cute Curves Vs. Harsh Angles
Let us take a look at the ultimate example of cuteness: babies. What makes infants so darn cute? The secret is in the circles. From their big round eyes to their stumpy little legs, babies and infants are made up almost entirely of circles and curves. Subconsciously in our minds, particularly in women, we associate soft lines with babies. This means that any product or design that has proportions similar to an infant is perceived as “cute”. A lot of cartoons, particularly chibis, use these proportions.
Another instance of the use of curves is when it is meant to reference the female form. The curve of the breasts and hips are used as inspiration for products ranging from cars to cell phones. Anything meant to be “sexy” is typically slim in design with few sharp angles.
On the other end of the spectrum characters who are meant to be evil or creepy are designed with rougher edges in mind. Good examples of this principal are seen in pretty much every Tim Burton movie where he uses strange proportions, pointy faces and spindly limbs to purposely make his characters creepy. You’ll also notice that villainous characters are either unusually thin or have overemphasized masculine traits.
Simple Symmetry Vs. Just off Center
There is a basic formula for the proportions we find attractive in another human being. A symmetrical face is usually a sign of favorable genes and good health. While few faces are truly symmetrical, characters or creatures that are meant to be “good” will often have perfectly symmetrical designs.
Traditionally a face with glaringly obvious asymmetry is a sign of injury or disease. Back in the other corner with our friend Mister Burton, his designs are rarely symmetrical. Putting the nose slightly off center or making the eyes two different sizes can vastly change the look of a character. High levels of asymmetry can invoke feelings of fear or distrust, even if there is no actual danger.
Warm and Welcoming Vs. Green and Ghastly
This one is pretty obvious. Warm colours are associated with light and flowers and all those good things. Heroic characters will usually be associated with a warm primary colours (go Gryffindor!).
Dark and cool colours, particularly green (Slytherin), are associated with villainous characters. Green has a dual association with plant life or with sickness. Disney has abused the heck out of the colour green to represent their villains. Black, the western colour of mourning, is also paired with villains.
The Uncanny Valley
Sometimes animated characters and non-human objects are given a few human characteristics. This is done mainly for the purposes of animated movies to give characters expressions and to tell a story. A staple of this principal is giving robots big expressive eyes and eyebrows. A good example of this is Brave Little Toaster or Wall-E.
The uncanny valley is when an animated character or non-human object is given enough human characteristics to no longer be “cute” but is not accurate enough to be considered “realistic”. The result is something rather unsettling. This can be used intentionally like in Terminator when poor Arnold’s face is slowly being peeled away to reveal a machine, but the eyes remain more or less intact. Or it can be completely unintentional like when animation intended to look realistic ends up looking like a melted Barbie Doll.
Now these rules are obviously not the be-all-end-all character design traits in every story. There are plenty of stories that intentionally break these rules, either to better serve the story, or to raise tension. It is fun to play around with proportions and see what kind of personality a character can adopt.
Octopus Hair Fascinator by Deeds/CuriousCephalopods
Octopus Hair Piece by Deeeds/CuriousCephalopods
Octobpus Hair Piece by Deeds/CuriousCephalopods
I am glad to be back with this month’s round of featured artists for January 2015! This year we are starting with Curious Cephalopods, a curious nautical artist from Deviantart. Let’s get this year started on a good note.
Whilst clicking around on the internet for new and interesting things these cute little hair accessories caught my eye and I just had to share them. I see these pieces being ideal for fans of steampunk or anyone who wants to feel a little Lovecraftian. Need a hairpiece to spice up a wig or something to wear to a masquerade at a con? Or perhaps something interesting to wear any old day as an interesting conversation piece? Look no further.
I have always been a huge fan of process and new mediums, and these hairpieces make me feel inspired. Each piece is made with a ridged foam base with hair layered over top and styled with hairspray and paint. I give two thumbs up for this level of creativity. I have not come across anything like this before!
I highly recommend anyone looking to add some flare to a steampunk or fantasy cosplay to come to this shop. Just imagine one of these hair pieces putting the figurative bow on the top of a steampunk mermaid. Go ahead, I will wait.
These pieces can be purchased at the Curiouscephalopods etsy. The shop is looking a little empty at the moment, but the artist assures me that she is in the process of posting more pieces. If anyone is interested in purchasing a hairpiece in a particular colour, she does take requests. Simply send your request through the etsy shop or deviantart account.
If anyone has any suggestions for future featured artists please leave their name/shop in the comments. In the meantime I will continue to search the internet for curious, cute and creepy things!
My second featured artist for November I found while clicking around on etsy. Naturally, I spend my time looking up skeletons and mythical creatures, which took me to the Mythic Articulations shop.
Opened in 2013, the goal of mythic articulations is to create what nature won’t. Mythic articulations offers a variety of skeletons and skulls of all of the mythic creatures you could ever think of … and maybe some you have not.
With technology growing and becoming accessible there are new opportunities for makers to create things that would be impossible or impractical to make with traditional methods. The skeletons of Mythic Articulations are created with a 3D modeling program, which is then made into the final product with a 3D printer. Like traditional methods, this process is meticulous and time consuming in its own way, but the results are stunning. Check out the product for yourself.
Obviously one of the biggest advantages of 3D printing technology is that Mythic Articulations artists can create one digital “master” with incredibly small and fine pieces. Some of the items in this shop contain some crazy intricate detail. I am a huge fan of the 3D tribal skull!
For those interested in one of these pieces please visit the Mythic Articulations Etsy store. Please ensure that you order before the end of November if this is to be a Christmas gift … if you have someone in your life like me who would love a skeleton for Christmas. That is normal right? Skeletons are cool.
If anyone has a suggestion for the next featured artist please feel free to comment.