Zenia Tsui

Corporate Brand Police by Day, Art Ninja by Night



365 days of Learning to Digitally Paint Environmental Concept Art

So my project is the: 365 days of Learning to Digitally Paint Environmental Concept Art.

I've recently come to the conclusion that I want to kick my career a bit and become a concept artist. I've always been interested in video games and films, and I always love the amount of detail put into the landscapes from games. At the moment I'm a desktop publisher, which was an easy way to get into graphic design without going into graphic design for school, but I want to be more creative. 

My plans to do this aren't concrete yet. (Though my plans never seem to be). What I do know, from research is that thumbnails are very important. I have a drawing (and acrylic painting) background and I am fairly proficient at Adobe Photoshop, so I'm hoping the transition wouldn't be too hard.

So far, my list of what to do is this:

Research: Search for online tutorials and look up some artists and some examples of works. Learn from the masters. 

Gather: From what multiple artists have said, they gather a lot of reference materials to gather ideas from. I've created multiple pinterest boards on the different kinds of landscapes which I plan on using as references. (Some include mountains, sky, water, buildings, etc).

Studies: Start with b/w/gray values and create thumbnails. I'm thinking of doing some thumbnails and then at the end of the month, to gather all the thumbnails from that month and pick an image that I want to create as a bigger landscape painting. 

Finals: 1 complete-colour landscape drawing per month. Maybe I'll start that in 2 months or so, just to get used to values and painting in Photoshop.


Thumbnails: I've created a 10-thumbnail template where I should put everything together with. I plan on doing 10-20 thumbnails a week. They should be quick and just random ideas of landscapes, so I want to have about 40+ or so to work with in a month. 

August: Gathering resources, watching videos, take notes. Already found some landscape concept artists that are amazing. I've bookmarked a few tutorials that I play in the background while I'm working or eating or doodling or playing videogames. 

Plan for August: 3-4 days a week

Day 1. Gather references/watch tutorials/watch tutorials

Day 2-4. Thumbnail drawings. Try to do 10-20 a week. Use a random generator if need ideas. Start with black/white/grays


July 26, 2016:

- Created multiple pinterest boards (mountains, plains, sky, water, trees, building, bridges). Plan on updating and adding to them every month for new references and ideas. Or if I only have a few minutes, at least to keep my mind fresh.


- Looked up several artists and examples from games: Frank Hong, Loish, Noah Bradley, Feng Zhu, and FDZSchool. I've subscribed to a bunch of youtube channels and which have tons of tutorials on composition, colour and just basis digital painting tips and tricks. Watched the FH ones on creating thumbnails.

- Created thumbnail template, taken from FH. (11x9 black borders with white boxes on separate layers) Learned a bit on how to start from a FH video: Remeber to use gray value panel to start so I can add and subtract values. Learned different painting methods: layering, adding, subtracting, transforming values

July 27, 2016:

I've created two social media touchpoints to post my progress, as I find the Skillshare Project posting rather hard to share multiple check-ins.

Blog: https://zztnconceptart.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zen.tsuing.art/

Feel free to follow me on my journey!

September 29, 2016:

Just a random checkpoint. I've been busy taking some concept art courses, especially one by Matt Kohr (called ctrl+paint). And I've starting sketching random landscapes with photo inspiration (albeit with pen and not with the tablet my friend let me. but just yesterday I created my business card by digitally painting a self portrait. (Very cartoon and sketch-like but I like it.) I'll upload the images to my blog~ 

Going to a job fair later today so I had to get some made to hand out. Wish me luck~


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