Sunday, December 30, 2012

The hest...

Hest means horse but spelled wrong. It's the name of my odd little alter-ego horse that is really emotionally unstable, totally confused and has a really cute fat tummy! He has no name. Just hest.

This little fella has sort of developed into some online comic thing with no story what-so-ever. I usually draw the hest in various situations I find myself in through my every day life. I also drew the horse family for all my relatives this Christmas which was really fun. This whole thing started with a really weird prank my ex-husband and my sisters friend pulled during a vacation in Denmark. We were just sitting by a table and J started singing this silly song about a horse that was really tiny that had no friends despite being really cute. My sister got all confused and wondered what the song was and he said they had sung it in kindergarden. So my sisters friend went along with it and started singing too and my sister ran to my mom and asked her if she had heard it. It was pretty hilarious since it was just a random silly song that came out of nowhere, and it got stuck in my head.

So I'd sit and sing this song sometimes and the office and it became my theme song in a way. And then I just drew the hest and that's how this epic tale began. At some point I might collect all the little pictures of this guy and make a book out of it. The tricky thing is translating it to english since it doesn't quite work the same way. I write little captions to every picture in swedish and I use odd grammar-errors and spelling mistakes to add a certain feel to the whole thing. When I try to do that in english it just ends up really stupid. Well, the images sort of speak for themselves a lot of times.

The picture in this post was made after some weird viral facebook-group grew popular in sweden, called: "Horses don't exist" which claims that horses are actually fruits.... that doesn't exist. I jokingly got upset and pretended this group really offended me because of my alter-ego horse. So the guys at the office sneakily made me 'like' the page while I wasn't in the room. I still haven't figured out who did it, but I will... So I drew this sad sad picture of the hest having an identity crisis. Is it a horse, is it a fruit? Does it even exist? It just doesn't know anymore...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Goth Ninja!

I can afford to buy clothes again! Woopidooo! Ever since I got a real job with a real salary all my hard earned cash has been spent on sustaining my ex-boyfriends modest alcohol and nicotine consumption, paying rent and yeah, pretty much everything else two people need in order not to die or end up on the street. So now that I don't have that annoying problem anymore I can start spending money on myself. Feels kind of awesome.

I've written before that I really love fashion. I don't really care much about styles or trends, but I love looking at what people wear on the street. I'm addicted to collecting images of sweet wears and good looking combinations. For being a fashion-obsessed female I am really lazy when it comes to shopping or even spending time thinking about what I wear myself. I'm trying to change that a bit. I probably won't become a shopaholic fashionista because that doesn't seem very appealing or budget-friendly anyway. I've rejoined lookbook though! Not that I ever spent that much time uploading pics there. I did it once and lost all faith in myself as a human. I've learned a lot since then though! Such as dressing however I want and to stop comparing myself to others or doubt myself. I talked to a friend recently who had this exact problem. A huge amount of inspiration to start dressing up and really spend time feeling pretty but she couldn't stop comparing herself to "more beautiful" people. I think this is reeeeally common and I've felt exactly the same. I told her to look at all the pictures of these beautiful people and imagine that they are all just drawn characters in a TV-show or in a game. Look at them for inspiration and enjoy the amazing visuals of what people can do with clothes, hair, everything. Never be scared to look the way you want to look. If people judge you they will probably be too chickenarsed to say anything and they'll walk around in their own boring lives, being judgmental chickens. That's just sad! Everyone has something about them that is pretty. Enhance that. My friend for example really loved her own hair but never really did anything with it so I told her to just go crazy and find some sweet hairstyles to try. I think she did, and she seemed happy as soon as she started thinking of herself like that.

You are the main character of the story that is your life, so dress for the part and be who you want to be. That's my new motto in life.  So, what's this goth ninja business? It's a really cool-looking style I'm trying out. All black, grey with layered clothes. Combining different textures and focusing on silhouette . All I need to complete this look is a proper leather jacket and a really big hoodie. It's so much fun to play with self customization again!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grimes

I think it was the end of last winter, just as it started to feel like spring was approaching. Elysia sent me a link to watch a video by Grimes and I just fell straight in love. Her way of layering her voice to create that beautiful sound, the creativity of how she changes her looks and of course her raw talent and presence on stage. I wanted to paint her portrait back then but since I didn't paint much at all at that time I just forgot about it or pushed it further into the future. Her song Genesis followed me almost every morning on my way to work and I remember how it fit perfectly with my mood once the sun started shining in the mornings again after a long, dark winter.

So it's almost been a year since I first heard her music and my inspiration peaked again after several lengthy discussions with other passionate Grimes-fans at work. Trying to pinpoint the exact feeling I get from her music into one image was really tricky and just like every time I try to make art out of something I truly love, I get all picky and unsure. I'm kind of satisfied with the result but I still prefer to just watch her videos and smile at how she sings with an adorable lisp and how quirky and unique she seems to be as a person.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Speedy obnoxious brat!

Well yeah, that's me. I have no idea how this happened but my personality seems to have just flipped out completely and I've gone from somewhat overly polite, shy and introvert into some sort of hyperactive, filthy-minded brat. I even annoy myself by being so overly confident and thoughtless. It's way too fun to stop though, and it's not like I'm making an effort. It's the opposite actually. I'm trying real hard NOT to be too intense. Happy and confident is one thing, over the top crazy and impulsive can be scary.

I wouldn't say I have an attitude problem... It hasn't become a problem yet anyway and I hope that I'll be able to stay out of trouble even though I feel a constant urge to get into trouble just to make life more exciting. I have no idea how this happened to me, but if I happen to say something really stupid, offensive or just plain annoying, feel free to tell me to shut the fuck up. Can't promise I'll obey but I'll try!

I'm writing this as a warning and an explanation for my weird behavior and my freaky change of character over the last few weeks. Not really an apology, because I don't think I've hurt anyones feelings and also because I've been apologizing all my life. Sometimes I've felt sorry for everyone around me that has to put up with my very presence. Changing into a jumping, laughing and energetic maniac is actually truly enjoyable and I can't believe how sad I used to be. I still get sad, but only for short periods of time where I just cry as violently as I possible can to get it over with quickly. Then I go right back to memorizing dirty rap-lyrics and laughing at how silly I am. No shame, no regrets... yet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh Lara, screw them all!

So after writing about my thoughts while designing Skye Autumn for Sanctum 2 it reminded me of my love for Lara Croft. It also reminded me of how pissed off I get every time she is mentioned in discussions regarding sexism in games, which is... a whole lot. She's like the poster child of sexism in games and I just don't get it.

There really aren't a lot of characters to mention when it comes to genuinely cool female leads in games. Those who are cool though are praised to the skies and beyond, and for good reason too. Lara Croft is often portrayed as the worst example of a female character ever in the history of the WORLD! She has been called everything from a "man with boobs" to "slut", and this is by people who say they are fighting against sexism. My head gets all messed up while trying to figure out how that works.

So, what is my opinion of Lara? She's AWESOME! I'm not talking about the games themselves, the movies or any other specific media where she is portrayed. I just love her character for what it did for me when I was 12 years old and found an old CD with Tomb Raider II at a friends house. I got to borrow it. I think it took me over a year to finish playing that game (because I was a 12-year old noobcake and I still am) I remember bringing my friends over to play along with me and we could sit there in a group of four or so pre-teen girls and just have a really frikkin' good time while stepping into Laras shoes. I remember endlessly watching her animation as she would jump around with dual pistols, braid fluttering behind her. I copied the way she rolled her socks over the edge of her combat boots. I put pictures of her in my locker at school. My sketchbooks from that time have page after page with drawings I made of her. A role model? Of course she was! She was this badass girl that could just whip out an M16 from her tiny backpack to spray bullets into the face of a T-Rex. How is that NOT cool?

So, the boobs apparently. Or her shorts, or her lips. I dunno, there is something about her body that isn't good it seems. Is it just me or does the size of polygons matter that much? Especially in a world where Laras kitchen sink was just as big as her bath-tub? The proportions weren't exactly realistic in any way. I'm not saying she wasn't portrayed like a sex-object in promotional art or through later games and of course, the movies. I still can't really understand it because the only thing that seems to matter is her body and her clothes. To me, fighting sexism isn't about pointing at someone and yell: "Your breasts are way too big and you should bring some real pants before you go into the jungle to fight dinosaurs!!!" That rather seems like adding more sexism into the messy mix. It's as if people want her to prove something. She has to represent half the population of the world and if something isn't good she's blamed for it. I don't want to defend the creators of the games, they don't interest me. Lara Croft is an icon by herself and to me she was probably the first step into deciding to work with video games as a profession.

It also makes me really tired to realize that the only time people ever seem to talk about Lara is when it comes to sexism, and now I'm doing the exact same thing. Bleeegh, how bothersome. Still, I felt the sudden impulse to write this and to spontaneously do a Lara-cosplay in the middle of the night. It's probably the easiest thing ever. Braid, boots, top, shorts.... and a photoshopped gun of awesome. The only thing I had to do was to fetch my boots and then take a picture. If the portrayal of Lara is that horribly objectifying then my normal lazy-at-home-outfit may be more vulgar than I thought. Now if I ever have to read another article complaining about Laras bra-size I'll find a T-Rex and ride into the sunset on its back.

Skye Autumn

Skye Autumn, the over the top confident elite soldier BADASS! She has been revealed on the Coffee Stain Studios Blog and on the Sanctum facebook page. Killing off Lumes as if she was a kid popping balloons at a party, probably just to watch the other kiddos cry.

Re-designing Skye from the first Sanctum game was a personally scary challenge for me. I was there when the first sketches of her were made before the school project that would become Sanctum. It was painted by Johan Wahlbäck, my husband back then and still one of my dearest friends. I remember sitting in our apartment, discussing and debating over her hair and her clothes. Two concept artists with strong ideas could get quite tricky at times. I think I even yelled at him about the hair at some point. Sorry about that dude! I was just frustrated that I was one year behind in education and didn't get the official concept artist position! One thing we did agree on though that we wanted to make her stand out as something other than the usual, bland version of a female game hero that's usually just a version of the male one but with more stuff on the torso and then some sex as a weapon that might or might not be good for killing stuff with.

So this time I didn't have to sit on the sidelines. I really wanted to stick to original idea of Skye as that uncaring, brutally skilled badass. In Sanctum 2 she is a bit older, a bit more battle-hardened and got some hair shaved off. All designs for Sanctum 2 were made with the goal to make things feel even more crisp and cool than in the first one. Sharper whites, more intense blues and of course, a main character with more bite. Designing her looks and writing her story has honestly been one of the most entertaining and awesome work assignments I could ever have imagined. I wanted to be a character designer when I was a little kiddo, and here is the first proof of my childhood dream coming true. Schweeet!




Probably, my top priority while breathing new life into Skye was to keep the feeling of her as that kickass action hero (or antihero) that she was intended to be. In her biography I wrote:

"Her bad attitude is simply tolerated as long as she keeps killing off Lumes for the sake of Elysion One. 
Skye lives for the adrenaline rush of the perfect kill and enjoys battle as if it was all a game to her. The rumor say her crazed laugh after a successful mission even makes her commanders feel uneasy. Skye herself is very well aware of her bad reputation and makes no attempt to improve it. Why would she?"


I wish I had the time to write an entire book about her. Never asking for anyones opinions of her, going her own way, all in order to get what she wants and to have fun in life. She's pretty much my hero. Although she is kind of unfriendly.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Leaping over the top

I woke up tonight after another really vivid dream. I seem to have a lot of those lately. Usually they are quite disturbing and scary. This one was too, at first.

I dreamed I was back at the hospital but this time it had changed a lot. All the patients had to care for themselves and the building seemed all abandoned as if during a zombie apocalypse. There was a lot of fighting going on and the feeling was really unsettling. I found my friend there and her room was all trashed up. I told her we should escape but she couldn't because she would get killed.

I managed to get out and I was helped by two co-workers although they were dream versions of co-workers that don't actually exist. The setting had changed to become a really dark version of the city I grew up in, Västerås. The three of us dashed through the streets at a really incredible speed. During dreams I'm usually painfully slow while trying to run but in this one it felt like we were breaking the sound barrier as soon as we moved.

We tried to find hideouts in old shopping malls but they had all closed down. Somehow I lost sight of the guys and ended up on my own in a huge skatepark. To find my friends and catch up with them again I ran through crowds of skaters, capoeira fighters and punks. While running I could jump with such intense speed and strength that I could scan the whole scene to pinpoint where my friends were. In the end I found myself in an old concrete building, smoking a cigarette while some random dude yelled at me for disturbing the peace by jumping around like that. I laughed at him, gave him a kiss and then kicked his ass.

Then I woke up and painted this pic. Haaaa!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Some of my own

So, as I mentioned some days ago I've wanted to get pierced for a really long time. I've gotten an outlet for this urge by almost always adding piercings to my character drawings. It's an odd thing about my personal art, because I can't tell if my characters look like me or if I'm copying my own characters. I think it's just my own personal taste poking through in all the stuff I do. Speaking of poking through, I had my skin poked through this afternoon! A rush of adrenaline is effective against pain, but since I'm all socially awkward I found it more scary to walk into the studio than to get sharp stuff forced through my face. Either way I went ahead and got this done today and I'm really happy about it. I painted commissions to be able to afford this christmas gift for myself despite poor economy. I finally feel a bit more like myself in a way, because this is sort of the mental image of what I've wanted to look like for a very long time.

Downsides? No smoking for two weeks, and if I get a cold I'm fucked... Let's see how this goes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Influences

I've had this in mind for ages but I've always been way too confused to be able to gather up the artists and specific things that has influenced my own style of art. It's still incredibly difficult, not because I don't know what has influenced be, but because I have such a huuuuuuuge list of influences and sources of inspiration. I chose to include those who I remember as real "eye-openers" that really made me change and adapt my own style, eventually making it look like it does today. I'm trying to make a difference between influences and sources of inspiration, since I can find inspiration in anything really. People I see on the street, a specific scene in a movie, the shade of a concrete wall I pass by. It would be impossible to gather my inspiration like that.

So these are a few choice picks out of the huge pile of artists and works of art that has truly been influences style-wise. The ones I feel have made the biggest impact are Jamie Hewlett, artist of Tank Girl and Gorillaz and also Barabucci and Canepa who has made the graphic novel Sky Doll. Also the animated sequence from Kill Bill made me gasp the first time I saw it and I studied it frame-by frame to be able to replicate the exact way of drawing faces the way O-Ren was depicted. Back then I didn't even come close, but looking at the scene today and comparing what I can do I'm pretty satisfied!

Like I said, these are only a fraction. I have to mention a bunch of other artists that I love and often go back to in case I need more inspiration or help along the way to improve. I'll just namedrop...

Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Paul Bonner, Jon Foster, Justin Sweet, Phil Hale, Amano, Studio Ghibli, Mucha, Waterhouse, Android Jones, Michael Shapcott, Skin Graft clothing brand, the webpage lookbook.nu, Blade of the Immortal and then of course all of the random amazing art and photography I find around the web.

The reason I wanted to do this little summary of my influences is because when people comment on my art they often compare it with various artists and ask me what my inspiration is. The answer is always so tricky since sometimes I make a picture heavily influenced by a particular artists style, and another time I have no specific influence at all but rather a combination of all of the above. A lot of people also seem to struggle with "finding their own style" and this always confuses me a bit. An artists style doesn't have to be fixed. It just grows from all of the influences you gather. Every little piece of art you consume and aspire to will be entwined into your style. I've learned all I can about art through endless copying and replicating. That's pretty frowned upon for obvious reasons, but it's needed in the beginning or while trying to learn something new. For example I tried for ages to get the dynamic lineart skills and quirky anatomy from Sky Doll to work in my art. I made fan art of Noodle from Gorillaz to really try that style to it's edge. Now I don't even think about it but parts of those artists show through my style that has now become mine. A fusion of lots of reeeeeally cool things that has become something of it's own. The enmi-style! Everyone has their own.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Source

 I got to paint another commission from the same world as Lonikaï. This girl is named Source and I loved painting her. It was a struggle to get her facial expression just right. That angle just made her eyes look crazy if I put a pixel in the wrong place, but I think I managed to avoid crazy-eyes. So that's another weekend spent working, but I'm enjoying it. To celebrate this I'll eat some noodles and watch sci-fi movies all night!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Core Guardian






This is the comic I made for Sanctum as one of my first work assignments at Coffee Stain Studios. It was released on the game forum and then later in real comic book form as a piece in the collectors edition box of the game. It was made as a part of the release of some new maps for the game and it was a true challenge for me to paint this. I remember panicking about all the little details, the perspective and colour choices. I honestly haven't gone back to look at it again until now.

Since I made this over a year ago I just assumed that it wouldn't measure up to my own standards, but looking at it now I'm actually impressed by my one-year-younger self. Above everything though I'm thrilled to re-read this now that Sanctum 2 is so well on it's way to becoming the game we all had imagined when we started. Actually, it goes beyond my own expectations and these past two weeks my mind has been exploding with newfound inspiration and creativity at work. I've been sitting at the office until late nights, not because of time pressure but because it's just too damn enjoyable to just walk away from. Soon, soon I will be able to show my recent work and my whole body is itching with anticipation. I never thought a job could make me feel this damn good.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stability is my middle name...

NOT! I've been spending my day at the office cycling between hyperfocused painting, listening to speedy music and then jumping around, posing and dancing while talking without pause. Such a moment was captured on camera and then I just went ahead and used my pro photoshop skills to make it a bit more awesome.

Okay, so I'm not completely out of my mind. I realize I'm in some sort of crazy hypomanic rush. As long as my co-workers don't mind and nobody gets hurt I guess that's alright. Spending months and months if not years in the exact opposite mood I just feel that this change is for the better. Remembering to breathe and stay calm is good. If I can just manage to survive this rapid pace of my brain I'll be able to enjoy it as long as it continues. I don't miss the gloomy, exhausted version of me at all. I guess I'm just that sort of person who feels the extremes of everything. Extremely energetic and happy is exactly what I need right now. Just... breathe!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cold but excited!

Winter looks amazing but it is torture to go through, especially in the mornings. Somehow my body thinks a suitable reaction to cold is to start breaking out in cold-sweats during the night. As a result it feels like waking up underneath a heap of old gym clothes that has been left out in a dumpster overnight. Ok, maybe not that stinky, but just as gross!

Lots of clothes, scarves, hats, hoodies and blankets get me through these cold days. More than that though, my job brings me through my days! I haven't felt this excited about my job since my first weeks of employment. Sanctum 2 is blowing my mind away every day when I get to the office and realize this is what we have achieved in just about a year. Little by little the new content is revealed and I can't wait to share my concept art here! Gaaah! If you haven't already, make sure to follow Sanctum on Facebook for updates. You don't have to be an FPS-gamer. I'm not, I'm just an artist with no clue. I know how to paint to make games look good though! That's what I'm hired for after all.

This is the first piece of concept art released for Sanctum 2! The fierce walker warrior. All glowy and scaly. This was one of the first finished pieces of art I made for the enemies of Sanctum 2. I had never painted a monster in my entire life before I got this job. Character design has always been my area, but jeez, I learned! Designing these freaks of nature taught me so much about shapes and dynamic design. So, again, make sure to follow the work of Coffee Stain Studios, if not for gaming, at least to see what I've been doing 8 hours a day for more than a year!

Lonikaï

Since I seem to have a lot of energy to paint I thought I should open up shop for commissions again and last night I finished this piece for Feliane on DeviantArt. It's her original character Lonikaï. I was really inspired by her story and the post apocalyptic sci-fi world she exists in. I want to read the entire story!

It's tuesday morning and I just got in from a wild snow storm outside. I want tea but there is only old milk in the office fridge. Why-oh-WHY?! Well, I guess I'll live. So, back to the picture: My intention was to go with some sort of semi realistic painting style but as I went along the body got more and more realistic in it's shading. Since I felt like I had never been able to render skin with this level or realism before I just went with it to see how it would look. I usually have some sort of reference photo, or several of them. This time I didn't have anything up to even look at for direction. I don't usually mention stuff like that because I don't really think it matters. Your art isn't worth more or less depending on if you used references or not. Just mentioning now since I feel that I've learned a lot in just this little amount of time back into art since my absence. Feels good!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Found the confidence

I went out along with my co-workers this weekend. I probably had one of the best nights of my life. So many laughs, good conversations, silly jokes and amazing friends. New and old. We're truly like an odd nerdy family of creative people. It was ages ago since I got to party like that and I really needed it.

So while out, being slightly drunk and very energetic I threw out my long-time idea of getting piercings. I've wanted to do this ever since I was about 15 or 16 years old but I've always had different thoughts on why I shouldn't. Feeling too boring to be able to pull it off. What would others say? What would they think of me? No, shy little Emmy wouldn't be able to pull it off. I even had the strange notion that I was too old to do it. I'm 24 for goodness sake! I'm not to old for anything! So me and this new guy at work had the same trail of thoughts as it seems, and we agreed to just go and do it together at some point in a near future. No more looking to others for opinions. I know what I want and I have known for years.

This is my self portrait as I want to look. This is how I feel I look, at least while in a good mood and feeling confident. About confidence, I've got it back in abundance now. It feels so amazing to feel good about myself again after so many months (if not years) of self doubt. Work is fantastic, I have great friends and I have the energy to make reality of these things I've been having stuck in my head for so long.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reclaiming me

"Doctor what's the diagnosis, what has gotten into me? Gotta be the bittersweet epitome of dignity." - Henry Bowers

All this chaos and confusion has led me to this point. I don't care if this happiness is just another symptom of my disease. I am happy, I am energetic, I am full of confidence and ideas. I love it!

While having this extra amount of everything, I feel that I can think more clearly too. Since I know more now about how my brain functions I can foresee things in my own behavior and avoid the things I know lead to bad places and enhance the things I know are good for me. Reclaiming myself to put it simply.

Being a person who constantly shifts in moods and self-image is really time consuming and tiresome. I know for a fact that I will fall back down into hopeless apathy again, because it's a part of a chronic mental illness, but just knowing that it will happen helps me to deal with the fear of that. Right now I feel so alive and awesome for real. I want to be able to remember that next time depression hits. I hope it takes years and years before that happens, but by that time I will be able to re-read this and know for a fact that the awful shit goes away and what comes after is amazing. Sometimes you drop down so low there is nothing left. When the way up begins again it is the most beautiful experience ever. Not talking about a struggle of positive thinking and fighting here. I mean the actual, real sensation that you start feeling lighter and happier again, for real. I might have an illness that sends me to the lowest pit of hell sometimes, but it also makes me able to fly as if I was high on the most potent party drug ever. Except it's free and legal. (Wouldn't know though. Pugs not drugs!)