Friday, March 27, 2009

Ninja Mountain Podcast #9 - Spinning ideas into gold!

Well, it's that time of the week again. And this time out we have a very talkative group indeed - Patrick, Jon, Jeremy, Keiran and Ralph chat about the very big subject of getting ideas from your head and onto the page. And getting those ideas in the first place... And what happens when there aren't any ideas at all! Plus a book review and an exciting tool tip. Join us for a very special episode, won't you?

Or click here if iTunes is more your thang.

Show notes

Oblique Strategies:
Jon's painting teacher from high school:
JW Waterhouse:
Leeds Royal Armouries:
Leeds UK?: link
Drawing Board?:
Art Order! Art Order

Drafting machines?
Here's the kind Patrick has.

Here's the kind that attaches more solidly.

Patrick says: here's a great example of what I was talking about when you have a subject that isn't exactly scintillating, but you still need to do something to make it interesting. Here, I was given the assignment of doing this World of Warcraft card featuring a Shield on a warrior's back. The shield was based on a previous design that needed to be used, and the card had to prominently feature the item (it's an "item" card)

Now, this wasn't really much to go on, so this was a case where I decided to make the picture about textures and light, rather than action or story. And I think it came out OK - I tried to make the piece attractive by doing lots of shine, reflections and highlights on the shield contrasting with worn and textured armor and floor. So when I mention the "fine art" approach of adding interest to an illustration, this is what I'm talking about!

(This picture is copyright © 2007 Upper Deck and Blizzard, used by permission.)



Jan said...

Good episode guys :)

"Ninjas versus Viking Zombies" is going to be a hit I think.

ATOM said...

I better say thank you chaps! Or the world will die! :)

Anonymous said...

Another wonderful show. Good info for both an illustrator and an art director!

Ninja Mountain said...

Jan and Atom - thanks for listening! We're always happy someone enjoys to hear our wacky carryings-on. 8D

Jon - very nice to see you here! Glad we've got you on board as a listener. Thanks again for the great shout-out on your blog! (Anyone who isn't reading Jon's blog should be - )



I'm saving this one. It never ceases to amaze guys constantly hit on issues I'm having THAT VERY DAY. Hell, I'm downloading them all and jamming them into my iPod. Keep talking, Ninjas...keep talking!

Ninja Mountain said...

Thanks Christine! We strive to be audio crack for discerning illustrators. :)


Jeffrey Lai said...

was another very good episode!
*drawing boards sound very dangerous *_*

Ninja Mountain said...

I placed the link for Art Order in the show notes--and it works this time! ( I broke a link the last time I posted one).

I saw your update on your blog, Jon. Thanks!
We're really glad you are enjoying the show! :)

Ninjas Vs Viking Zombies---that is cinema gold.

I help make the show and I listen to it constantly just enjoying my friends' awesome comments, I pick up something new every time.

Drawing boards dangerous?! You're telling me! A drawing board ate my dog! Found the collar a week later...

Cacodaemonia said...

Awesome show, guys! Is it just me, or was that one a bit longer than usual? Not that I'm complaining, of course.

I enjoyed hearing everyone's perspectives on idea generation/artist block, and actually getting those ideas onto paper. I thought it was especially useful to think of possibly 'boring' subjects in a new light: an opportunity to bring in more of the Fine Art aspect of illustration.

Patrick, it seems that I have a similar approach to coming up with an image that you do. I imagine the scene and sort of move the camera around in my mind's eye. It's comforting to know that I'm not a complete freak! ;)

Can't wait for the next show!

thedarkcloak said...

Excellent episode guys! Mmm... Viking Zombies!

It was really awesome hearing all the various perspectives on the 'creative block' thing. And Jeremy, so many of the things you said, whilst funny, I could really relate (like Brom telling you he's never out of ideas and your initial reaction to it). Really great input from everyone, Jon, I'll have to look into those cards, they sound interesting!

Patrick - the Charles Schultz quote - yeah, initially intimidating and 'OMG' inducing, but perfectly and totally makes sense, once mulled over and explained. It is so true, especially for those of us that want to do this full time, all the time.

Here's a crazy suggestion/ question!

Have you guys considered doing a special 'video podcast' episode at all? I thought it would be really amazing if you guys slung a file back and forth amongst each other, recorded the work as it's being done (screen cap) and put the whole thing together from beginning to end, and then do the Ninja Mountain Podcast to the resulting footage.

The reason I ask, is it would probably be another cool way to talk about process, jobs where you're required to work with other people's artwork or around it, etc, improvisation, and then the other things like composition, color theory, and when to consider an image actually FINISHED! (are they really ever?)

I know, it's a bit nuts and it'd be an epic undertaking - but I bet it'd be a smash - and there'd be so much to learn from it. :D

On another note, I have another suggestion for a topic to be tackled - Time Management! *crowd runs screaming* And I don't necessarily mean in terms of deadlines, but just day to day time management, both in the aspect of freelance work and even personal art projects.

I sometimes find myself juggling various projects, day to day life (like what you guys touched upon with the sick dog and cats vomiting etc aspect of 'creative block'), personal projects, or even managing being 'creatively productive' with whatever time I DO have (in which I often find myself debating what I should devote said time to).

Anyways, keep up the amazingly good work, it's really great hearing the many points of view and discussion you guys offer, as well as learning so much from it all.


pebble said...

thanks.. i'm a subscriber

Ninja Mountain said...

Cacodaemonia - Glad you're still on board! And no you're not alone... :) Actually it's interesting: almost every thing I do with art that I think is unusual or weird, I find that at least one other artist I meet does it too! We're never as strange as we think we are. Sadly!


Ninja Mountain said...

Mr. Cloak - YOU WIN!!!! For longest NM comment post EVAR!!! :D Your prize will be coming by mail soon.

Also, I really like the Time Management idea. Well thought out. I think we could really say something useful about that, and probably all learn things from each other as we talk - I'll bet everyone has a different strategery.


Ninja Mountain said...

Hey Pebble - glad to have you on board!


thedarkcloak said...

LOL - yay I arr da WINNAR!

And yes yes, strategeries are defunettely in ordar!

ha ha!

Thanks Patrick!

Char said...

Hey guys! Still loving your podcasts!

After listening to this one, I wanted to share an idea maker I've found online.

It's great for coming up with random ideas :)

P.J. Magalhães said...

Ok am doing the tour from the first podcast to the last (Jon sent me) and i was going to wait until the last episode to comment, because i figured that you would not want to hear from me on every single podcast inside a week or two.

Well i cannot resist any longer and you guys got yourselves to blame for being so good, so... tough titties, deal with it! :P

Awesome awesome awesome awesome podcast guys. You are keeping me focused, informed, entertained, awake, eager and drooling for more.

Quick question: coming from an artist who wants to write as well as draw/paint i interested in the point of view that when a writer has a description for an artist to draw, some illustrators like them to not 'interfere/dictate' how the art should look like. As in what point of view it should have, or maybe palette or composition or something of the like.

I am interested in knowing whether this is frowned upon simply because it is sometimes dictated rather than suggested as a starting point or something they would like to see attempted, or maybe because it should not be suggested in the first place.

I know that writers have to imagine action in their heads and see it played out when they are doing their thing and it seems strange to not want him/her to share that when describing something to an illustrator.

I don't know if that made sense and i am sorry that it turned out not to be so quick after all! LOL

your efforts are much appreciated guys and gals, please continue.

P.J. Magalhães said...

i actually paused the podcast to ask that question, so i think i jumped the gun cause i think the rest of the podcast i think answered my question. :D :D


Ninja Mountain said...

Hey P.J.! Thanks for stopping by. Glad to have you on board. :)

The thing about your question is that it really does vary. Some like more description, some less, and it's hard to tell.

Probably the best bet is to go with what you think, but try not to add TOO much detail, and always (if possible) invite the artist to come up with alternate ideas.

Almost always, however, things like angle, POV, color scheme, etc. are going overboard. Trust the artist to come up with something unexpected - that's the magic of illustration. :D