Thursday, 31 August 2017

Goodbye Blogger - New Website and Blog

This blog is old! I mean it is actually an old thing. I created it back in 2009 when I was just a fresh faced student...and throughout that time, I used it as a place to document my work and connect with other. It has been a great thing and I'm proud of using it for so long. However, it has become a bit of a dead place. Blogger as a format just doesn't quite fit my needs anymore. 

So today, I'm calling it quits. I won't be taking it offline, but I will be moving to a new website where I'll be posting all of my new work and films...

This new website is going to be a simpler, cleaner archive of my work. Importantly, it'll be a place to post a new phase of my work. It also has a new blog which you can follow. If you want to add this to your Blogger feed, then simply paste the following link into the Blogger reading list, and any new posts I make will still pop up in Blogger.

Friday, 7 October 2016

New York Comic Con 2016 - New Prints!

It's New York Comic Con 2016 and I have some new prints on sale from Hero Complex Gallery. If you are at the convention, then head over to the Hero Complex Gallery booth #228 to check them out. I'm releasing 4 prints, all inspired by video game landscapes. More will be available online at a later date. But here's a preview for anyone looking to purchase. All are 12" x 36"giclee fine art prints limited to an edition of 75.

A Peaceful Shadow - Inspired by Shadow of the Colossus

"No Gods or Kings. Only Man." - Inspired by Bioshock

More will be available online at a later date. But here's a preview for anyone looking to purchase. All are 12" x 36" giclee fine art prints limited to an edition of 75.

The Traveler - Inspired by Journey

"Endure and survive." - Inspired by The Last of Us

Thanks as always to the folks at Hero Complex for the support and help getting these released. For those looking to buy online, I'll post here and on twitter / instagram as soon as they become available.


Friday, 19 August 2016

What The Heck / YPGTTO Preproduction

Time for an update! What the heck have I been up to? Well, largely working on a secret project of sorts, which I'll perhaps be able to talk about next month. But I've also been working on a few other bits and bobs. One of which is a preproduction project for Computer Animation Arts at UCA. You can find out more here, but essentially, it's going to be an almighty animation set against the backdrop of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

It's exciting to be in this sort of environment again, working with a bunch of other super talented people to explore the boundaries of a project and refine towards a solid idea. So far, things have been pretty exploratory, meaning that I've been working on some character design, environment design and a little bit of CG experimentation. Firstly, here's some of the design stuff...

And some CG stuff I had the chance to explore...forward message here ###

As preproduction ramps up, myself and Ethan are exploring art direction, animation and technical aspects with an open mind. It's the exciting stage whereby we try lots of things out, throw things at the wall, and see what sticks. And so to kick things off, here is the first of many tests and experiments in that vein.

Inspired CAA student, Julien Van Wallendael's beautiful response to the harp district, this is all made in Maya, with Hardware 2.0 rendering and super simple geometric construction.

It's been a while since I've used Maya, so this first experiment is an exercise in simplicity. I wanted to create an engaging and creative environment using a simplified toolset within Maya. These restrictions were as follows:
  • Hardware 2.0 rendering as a base, super responsive and  speedy output.
  • No texturing, only shaders. 
  • No lighting
  • Simple Models / Multiple Layers
This already starts to explore some ideas which we have discussed as a team in early meetings. Can we simplify Maya as a toolbox for creating exciting environments that are expressive and engaging, but also easy and fun to build? And can we do this with an emphasis on animation. I.e the art direction and creation should be of the animated world, rather than competing with the real.

These are all really appealing notions. Especially for independent animators of student film makers. Often, the complexities and possibility space of Maya can destroy a project. Users get so flustered and caught up with what Maya can do, that they simply forget about what it should do. This points to the idea that we create a restricted Maya toolset for our modelling team that allows for creativity but suppresses over-the-top, technical creations. Essentially, giving more time to the things that are most important, like storytelling, or animation, or art direction.

Here are a few screenshots of exactly what this scene looks like in Maya. It's rendered in Hardware 2.0, so a full 30 second shot only takes a minute or two to generate via playblasts. The shaders are largely surface shaders, so create a bold base without the need for lighting. And the modelling is so simple that it invites creativity. It allows for the user to play around, try things out, throw them away. Without that horrible feeling that you just spent 20 hours on a particle system that looks like crap.

This only took an evening to create, render and composite. And although this is in no way a definitive guide to how things will look or how we will move forward, it does bring up some exciting possibilities. The simplicity of this approach is very refreshing. It would allow modellers to spend time on the sets themselves. Allowing them to be creative and unrestrained. And it would allow for other departments to expand.

In my next few experiments, I'll be looking at particles, textures and shaders. I'd like to explore the possibilities of shaders as an addition to the toolset. Almost like a set of paints, can we create off the shelf textures that the art team could use for city generation. And can they express the print like qualities shown within Julian's work?


The next big tasks that requires urgent attention are storyboards, animatic and key frames. So, lots to do but really exciting to be in the mix. I unfortunately turn another year older today, which normally results in a renewed sense of self as I stare into the abyss of mortality. I'll be over it by tomorrow and soon I'll be back here with some updates. Let's all just calm down.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Films to Watch: Submarine

I've had this film nestled away on my watch list for some years. And tonight, I finally managed to catch it. The perfect antidote to these recent Brexit blues. It's a beautiful little gem, directed by Richard Ayoade and featuring Alex Turner's heartbreaking soundtrack...what's not to love.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Bunker Down

What a fucking horrible week it has been. Let's just get that out of the way. The UK voted to leave the EU, and it sucks. Beyond the economic turmoil and worrisome future ahead, the misplaced ideals of this country are perhaps most troubling revelation. I'm not going to make this a political post, but it is safe to say that this last week hit pretty hard. I've been a miserable human being and my concerns for the future are perhaps worse than ever. In times like these, it's perhaps easiest to hide away and pretend it never really happened.

So, whilst watching the country fall apart, I've also been working on a passion project which has been simmering away in the background. I'm not too sure if this is comic or animation, but it's definitely narrative of some sort. That's really all that matters. I'm desperate to jump back into the storytelling pool. Trying to find my feet as a self employed art human has taken more time than I'd hoped. But with life changes on the horizon, I'm really keen to make something for myself again. And I'm hoping to have more flexibility to achieve this.

I know the story is going to be a mixture of character studies. Something akin to Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. But, I'd like for those stories to be born from the drawings themselves. As though the characters evolve through sketching. So, here lies some of the character sketches from this week. A possible glimpse into who these characters may be. Hope is not lost, more soon!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Hitting the Reset Button

It has been quite some time since I last updated my blog, and really it's been years since I updated this place regularly. These days, I only post every few months trying to sell my wares and get some eyes on a new project. There are a ton of reasons and excuses for this, but as my life moves into what is hopefully a new phase, I want to be present again. Blogging as a student was a hugely rewarding experience, but when I entered the professional world, I struggled to find a place for it. Hell, entering the professional world and trying to make a living as a self employed artist / animator kind of knocked me sideways for a good few years. It is only in recent months that I feel myself finding my feet. 

For that reason, I'm keen to start sharing again. As cringe inducing and embarrassing as blog posts can be in retrospect, in the present they feel entirely healthy. Sharing ideas, showing project work and writing about my process is just good for my brain. It's an invigorating process and hopefully an honest display of what my work entails. So, let's just mark this point as the reset switch. I'm hoping to post once a week or so, with a mix of painting / illustration / film talk / animation etc.

Let's start with something low key. I've been introducing more warmup paintings within my work day, and this little number above is from today. Inspired by a recent replaying of Shadow of the Colossus, it's a good way to get the muscles going and reflect on what I need to do that day.



Thursday, 31 March 2016

"Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland" - Mad Max Fury Road Print!

After an amazing reaction from folks regarding my "Visions of a Past, Present and Future" print release, I'm back with a new 12" x 36" giclee print from Hero Complex Gallery. This was created for Wondercon 2016, this past weekend, and the remaining are now up for grabs HERE!

Thanks again to Hero Complex. And also a huge thanks for all the support and enthusiam from you guys. It's been an awesome few weeks and I can't wait to see the reaction to my next set of work.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Visions of a Past, Present and Future - Prints Available Now!

Today is the official release of 12 news prints I've been working on for the fine folks over at Hero Complex Gallery. Titled Visions of a Past, Present and Future, this set of giclee prints celebrates some of the best science fiction films in cinematic history. From Star Wars to La Jetee, each print is sized at 12" x 36" and limited to 75 per print.

A big thank you to io9, who featured and revealed the work on their site. If you'd like to buy one of these lovely, super wide landscape prints, then head over to HCG and BUY HERE!

The full list of prints is as follows: 2001 : A Space Odyssey, Akira, Alien, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, La Jetee, Metropolis, Moon, Star Wars Ep IV, V and VI, The Fly. Here are just a selection of images.

Once again, a huge thanks to everyone who helped make this possible. Especially all those at Hero Complex Gallery.

To purchase a print, visit HCG's website here!


Monday, 4 January 2016

Sketchbook #01 - Jordan Buckner

A new year is upon us and it's time to start a new sketchbook. So, in honour of this most holy occasion, I thought I'd show a glimpse at my old sketchbook which ran from about September 2014 - December 2015.

The video above gives an insight into what this sketchbook held. It was a pretty messy, convoluted bunch of rubbish. Compared to my old university / foundation year sketchbooks, this is the most relaxed, unhindered book I've done. Doodles of characters on trains and tube station platforms, or notes on animation ideas and meeting notes. It's largely a whole lot of nonsense, but in there somewhere, are some good ideas. 

I hope this at least shows what I think a sketchbook should be. This is in no way a demonstration of drawing. Sketchbooks serve different purposes, and this one, was largely for getting things down on paper. As my old art teacher used to say, "Get your brain on the page." One of it's most important functions is purely getting things going. This is where all of my awful ideas go to die. So that when I actually start working on a project, the bad stuff is out the way. I'm not a guy who sits down and draws perfect images of perfect people, I'll leave that for others. This was the place of ugly humans, in ugly situations. For me at least, it may one day serve as a reminder for what 2015 was.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year!

2016 is nearly upon us and so it's time for a blog post! I'm normally a miserable git at this time of year, but something in the air has changed my outlook and so I'm pumped up for the year ahead. It's a new year, so that means leaving any old shit at the door. Start fresh, work hard and be excited about making things. This is a time to be hopeful. New Years resolutions are for chumps, but the one resolution I think is actually worth following is harder.

I'll be starting the new year with a few really cool projects (3d scanning, animation, prints, collectives) and also with a new sketchbook. So, this week I'll try and post a video showing the main sketchbook I've been using over the last 12 - 15 months. It was a slow sketchbook that lingered around for far too long but I think it shows a change in my work.

On a completely narcissistic note; I've spent the last few years figuring things out, working out where I stand in this big abyss. Ultimately, that filled me with depression. Whilst it seemed everyone else was out travelling the world, seemingly happy, rich and successful, I largely felt stuck in a rut. And it's time to move past all of that rubbish. The nagging images of social media haunting me with the lives of others, is perhaps the one thing I'd like to get rid of in 2016. And now that I at least have a few things figured out, it's time to start making them happen. So, let's just call this a new beginning. Enjoy the New Year, but more importantly, look forward to actually making stuff.



Friday, 18 December 2015

Inhaler - Film Poster

A few months ago I completed a poster design for Danny Sawaf's short film, Inhaler. It was a really awesome project, that went quickly and had a super open brief. So, it's about time I shared some of the work from that project. Here's a little bit of a breakdown. First the final poster.

As with any project, it all starts with thumbnails. Lots of character sketches, with some suggestion of darker themes. It needed to convey some comedy but also retain some of the disturbing, horror aspects. This stage is always most fun. Chucking around ideas and seeing what looks good. It's quick and cheap and rewarding. I could thumbnail forever.

Once and idea gets agreed upon with Danny, it's normally just a case of getting it made. That always sounds so simple when in fact, that stage can be a nightmare. It's often tricky to retain excitement and still make an image look finished. So, I normally start with traditional drawing and inking for the base of the image. Then cleanup and start working digitally. But all the time, I'm making sure I'm capturing what was good in the thumbnail.

And that was that. A fairly smooth project that turned out well. A small insight into some of my day to day work. I'll have more movie posters and illustration to show soon.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I'm Still Here

It's been forever since I posted on my blog. Trust me, I feel the shame. This place has been dead for some time. It's like Richard III in that way. But I'm still alive and it's time to inject some energy back into these bloggy veins. So, forgive my narcissism, whilst I tell you what the hell have I been doing with my life.

As with everyone, there are ups and downs. Things go well sometimes, other times they go a bit shitty. But it's almost the end of 2015 and god damn am I ready for the 2016 roll over. Shit is going down in 2016! Well maybe it is. We'll see. But good things will hopefully occur. Good things, with good people.

So, the main reason for the quietness of late; lots of teaching. It's been great but I've been way too unproductive with my own stuff and my online presense plummits off a cliff the minute that happens. I'm working at getting better at that, so when things get busy with projects and teaching, my sketchbook doesn't become a ghost town.

Mostly, I've been teaching with the lovely folks at UCA Rochester, but I've also been giving workshops down at University of Portsmouth for the BA Animation course and will be over at University of Brighton in January to talk to the Moving Image students. It's still a super weird thing for me. I feel old and young at the same time, both novice and professional. But it's good fun and I learn a lot purely in the act of teaching itself. I realise what shit is important because I keep repeating them to students. Check your goddam tonal value! 

All of a sudden it went from September to December and I'm back in the world of my own freelance work, which is great. I'm making my own stuff again / working for others and with others. So, more of that very soon. Hopefully some print work as well as a super cool cg animation that may happen at some point next year. Lots of pies in different ovens. Or fingers in pies? Something about pies. One is pregnancy, the other is work. I mean the work one.

This post I guess, is me saying that I'm back. Out of a rather stressful, negative time and hopefully onto more exciting things. All sorts of things. Most exciting of all, is that those things are no longer singular. I'm not really a CG artist any more, in title. I still do CG work for clients, but I also do illustration, conceptual design, animation and more. Plus teaching. That's actually what I'm happiest about most. I feel like I'm making it out of the odd post graduation blur, when you feel lost and adrift at the mercy of the world. And now I'm more certain now of what I do and what I want to do. Hence, the excitement about moving forward. It's all about the future these days. Fuck the past.

That's it from me. I've got some super cool but secretive paintings that I'm working on which I can show soon, plus some other various bits and bobs that I'll put up this week. It's lovely to be back. Hopefully I'll stay around these parts for a bit and will be posting more regularly. Just like a fully functioning adult.



p.s. I just completed another year of self employment tax return. Which definitely means I'm a proper functioning adult now right?