I minored in Illustration at Uni'. But even before that I'd had one or two opportunities to apply my drawing skills to a written narrative. When I returned to school (in 1992-ish), one of the fun projects in English class was to create a children's story book. I came up with the story of a nerdy kid who visits a fantasy world "inside" his computer, sort of like Tron but more innocent, with less CGI. The lecturer liked it so much, there was even talk of getting it published.
I dug Perry out for a look recently, the drawings stand up to time well enough but the writing needs a refresh. In any case, it was a fun exercise creating interesting scenes and characters that attempt to enhance the enjoyment of the story. Why he's called Vulgar Perry, is a slightly embarassing story for another day.
I got a contract to provide 10 full-page illustrations for a children's book, "Chesscapades" a fun story inspired by the chess board in Fremantle square. This was a nice diversion from the 3D concepts I'd been working on in recent years. I studied illustration, graphic design and animation at Uni', here was a fresh opportunity to dust off those 2D grey cells.
I designed and illustrated all the characters for Chesscapades. The authors wanted something clearly recognisable as chess pieces and visually simple yet they had to ooze character and be likable. I think I fulfilled the brief for the most part, they don't look like dull, stiff chess pieces anymore and possess an energy that couldn't be achieved with something more literal. It was a lot of fun working on these characters, endowing them with individual personalities and life. I especially like some of the expressions and antics of the Pawns.
Scenes from "Chesscapades".
Lately, I've been reviving my 2D skills and learning stacks of web design software and methodology. I'm working for a small web design company, it's a big change from Product Design but a very welcome one, I'm learning new skills which is always fun and fulfilling once you get past that noobish feeling. This web site is my first foray into the world of HTML, PHP and all things webbish. Since it went live in 2008, I've co-designed loads of sites, I use Adobe's Creative Suite daily and can do so much more than I could when this site was built. In fact, this site is probably due for a facelift/rebuild? Hmm...
After more than a decade working with 3D and 2D design, I'd like to think I'm starting to develop a solid understanding of the Design discipline. I've come to believe the enjoyment of creation is largely the same, whichever stream you swim about in. For me, discovering a novel, elegant or clever solution to a problem is the most rewarding aspect of the design process. The fun is in turning an idea into something real that people can experience, enjoy and (maybe) be surprised and impressed by. A really good design might even make them think differently.
Web design definitely exercises the 2D brain cells yet I retain a strong urge to make 3D things. My interest has recently expanded beyond product design, to include other 3D projects such as prop design and various geeky pursuits. Designing and building props, sets and costumes is hugely enjoyable. The imagination is free to... imagin-ate, and you get a cool object you can hold in your hand. If the prop happens to be science fiction or fantasy based, it's designer-geek bliss! In combination with web design and product design, I definitely plan to spend more time in the future working on prop related stuff. (see: Prop Design).