Working through the hard parts

For any artists reading this I am looking to interview your experiences as you were learning your trade and achieving the goal of becoming professional artist for the first time. I value your stories and so do the readers of this blog. It means a lot to me when someone shares their story and I would like to bring your story to people with a genuine interest. The time right before someone goes pro is a challenge, your words are inspiring to me and others. If you would like to have your story here contact me here.

Speed drawing is in part a way of coping with the issues currently faced. In high school the art teacher there said art is a form of meditation. I didn’t understand it at the time as I had not yet reached the fundamental of meditation. It is focus and it is calm. Today there are serious decisions, making a demo reel has me down at times. What I know as life now will not exist in the months to come. This is a good thing as it means the future is open to possibility’s but also a difficult thing. It has lead me to plan and place faith in the future outcomes.

To get past this bump on the road last week included a lot of planing and reorganizing for the next step of life. Starting two weeks ago meet up groups have been a priority. They are great resources for artists and other creatives to further their ability’s with group drawing and photography to name a few benefits other than creating interpersonal connections. So far there is a monthly Blender meet up, weekly life drawing and speed drawings as well as urban sketching and industry game developer get together. Since they usually happen at night it keeps me working on the demo longer during the day as well.

In addition I have been running the entrepreneurial machine writing up documents and ideas. Tutoring art is a great experience, to be a tutor you have to live the life of an artist. It places you in the spotlight demanding persistence and attention. It is a great motivator to succeed in endeavors.

The demo reel; The complexity and resolution of sculptures was overshot and so I wasn’t able to complete content fast enough to meet the deadline, as a result I bought another semester which I now feel is a wast of money. The school counts the demo reel class as two courses because they require you to take two classes a week in order to pass. However for me the class consists only of independent work. Very little value is being returned on the investment. There are issues with the administration of the school but I feel personally responsible for the outcomes so I wont complain about it. I do however feel that a serious conversation with my grading teacher will be necessary. In accordance with my value of Integrity there is no choice but to come forward to find a solution. That is my commitment.

Next week I am aiming to put up a collection of drawings. Including life drawing, speed drawing and block studies. I am also going to populate the demo reel with plants and finish up some of the main compositional pieces. Got my angry eyes on the prize 🙂

Looking forward to the next few weeks. Its hard to stay up but I’m in the game and staying strong.

-The Environment Guy


More travel Photos

Last night all the images from the camera were pulled to the computer. There were just over twelve hundred over the last two months. Its going to be a lot of work to organize all those images!

In this weeks gallery some images that stood out to me are DownTownVancouver_002 and GilfordMall_018. I thought they both had nice composition, the latter one looks like it’s a still from some modern art movie 😛

Something  often noticed when reviewing pictures is that photographers get stared at a lot. Almost always I see people looking strait into the lens in the photos. Not sure if they are concerned that someone is taking their picture or if its boring to walk around you look at people doing something different for entertainment.

For the last few weeks there has been a focus on taking themed photos so we can begin the process of making easy to search reference on TheEnvironmentGuy. You can look forward to gallery’s of things like doors, machinery, pipes, architecture, plants, signs and so on. Random art photos for entertainment and drawing/painting studies like these will continue to be posted as well.


Website Updates and Future Plans

Here is the brief outline of things that are changing in November 2014.

  • Posting schedule changes
  • Update of About sections
  • Addition of a production sheet
  • Organization of photographs
  • Reduction in branding size on all images


Its been one month since the launch of TheEnvironmentGuy along with this are some changes to the posting schedule and content. Some people may have noticed that last Monday and Friday there were no posts. I apologize for Monday, there was an unintended release of early revision articles which were deleted as soon as I was aware of the problem. As for Friday a decision was made too only post once a week. It is distracting to write on workdays so the new Monday only release scheduled will allow everything to be prepared on weekends.

It is also with some degree of satisfaction to announce the deadlines for updating the about sections was met. You can view the updates with these links : Bio, Ethics and Values, Income Statement, Services and Products, Life Goals. Some people advise not to place information such as your finances and personal goals online but I believe having parts of your life open for public scrutiny is a good way to develop yourself. I expect myself to treat everyone according to my Ethics and Values and everyone should be allowed to know what they are and call me out if it were to ever not be upheld. In fact I believe it is an essential part to grow as an artist and it is my commitment to everybody.

Some upcoming plans are revision of some of the new about sections. Ethics and Values and  Life Goals in particular need more attention. I would also like to include a production schedule on the website that would be updated multiple days a week. It will list each day for the week along with whats accomplished in that day and what the plan for the next day will be. This serves the purpose of guide my own efforts as well as inspiring other people to do their best every day. As stated here, part of the purpose for TheEnvironmentGuy is to show people the real life of an artist with all its ups and downs, not an romanticized image of a greater than life journey of some young person pursuing his dreams.

Last week there was mention of an organization plan to make the site searchable for reference photos. It is now officially on the todo to adopt the organization used by CGtextures This means reworking the current photography section and content release plans to start outputting some great new easy to browse content. Along with that is the downsizing of branding on the images to be much less intrusive. It’s my goal to make this a valuable resource over the years.

If you have any comments/questions or suggestions please feel free to use the contact form.

-The Environment Guy

Blender Meetup Vancouver

For the first time in two years there is finally a Blender Meetup in Vancouver that actually meets up! I had the opportunity to meet a couple of industry artists as well as hobbyists at the groups first ever event. You might recognize a few of them, the organizer Mike Pan created the splash image for Blender 2.72b start up screen, there was also Eoin Duffy an academy award winner for the short film ‘The Missing Scarf‘, and a software developer from Nerd Corps came.

Despite the impressiveness of an academy award I though the most interesting highlight was a hobbyist named Julio. He said he was a chef  that quit his job to learn 3D graphics full-time so he could get a job as an artist at a studio. Really look forward as to what becomes of him, he showed us his first ever environment scene and I have to say it was way better than most people’s first.

You can check out the group and even join if you’re in the area here. I love to meet and we had some great discussions.

On the subway : Part 2

Photographic reference helps thinking up new environment ideas, so in this week some interesting things found was a train station in plastic wrap… I thought it was interesting. Along with that there are some interesting architectural items in this weeks selection.

Something that’s going to change in future photos on is a reduction in branding scale. I feel the previous overlay elements are too distracting and take away from the true purpose as reference/inspiration. There is also a plan to make themed photo selections so that its easy to search the site for a specific reference, such as if you wanted to make a light fixture you could do a site search and get images of lite fixtures.

What I learned from a homless guy

Quite often I pass by homeless people begging for spare change or food when traveling through downtown Vancouver. The sharp pain of an empty stomach is not at all pleasant and I know that the person begging isn’t just trying to rip me off if they ask for a meal instead of turning everyone’s pockets inside out.

Trapped in a hallway about to exit to the street and surprise a homeless man standing right in-front of the entrance to ‘shake sown’ the pedestrians. Normally this means look busy and give a simile and wave with a sorry sort of look as you quickly pass by. This time I thought I was lucky because someone else got there just a few steps before me giving an opportunity for the next person to slip unnoticed behind him. Little did I know just how efficient this man was.

As I passed he sharply turned around and held a paper cup right at my chest asking if I could spare some change. It wasn’t that I disliked him personally but I was broke without a job and had deadlines coming up the next day. In no more than another month I too would have a financial situation like his own. But instead of getting away he stayed uncomfortably close to my side and asked a new question that asked if I would give him something to eat.

Food seemed reasonable and how much would a meal cost anyways, six maybe seven dollars? So I asked him what he wanted and he replied “just a sandwich, we can go to the store over there”. So I thought alright, this will only take a minute or two. I did ask what he wanted so it would be hard to back out now.

No more than ten seconds later we are in the store with the homeless guy in the lead. Obviously he had done this before and knew exactly what he wanted. And that’s when it happened, he started asking for other things such as three packs of cigarets. Unfortunately for him I am strongly against smoking so there was no way I would give him that. But that was only the first thing he asked for. Once we got to the aisle where the food was I realized what he meant by a sandwich was actually a jar of jam, jar of peanut butter, loaf of bread. Now that cost estimate in my head multiplied three times but knowing he was homeless and that it wouldn’t change my already dismal bank account it rationalized in my head. All the while he was asking for approval of each item just as his hand was about to pick them up and I agreed to all of it.

After that he wanted a box of Cheerios. It seemed the last thing he wanted so I was thinking give it to him and it will be over. So he got that and we went to the register. At the register the counter had a glass top with lotto tickets under it. He tapped and pointed at the ticket he wanted. Lotto being one of the other things I am against it was easy to decline, but if it wasn’t for personal feelings its possible he would have it.

Finally paying for the food he asked if its ok if he went outside and he was gone. Didn’t see him again, no talk or anything. Feeling disappointed I went on with the plans for the rest of the day with an foreboding feeling in my gut since I just spent $20 that could break this months budget.

Thinking about it now I realized that experience had a huge potential opportunity that went almost completely wasted. The only reason it’s not wasted is because of the gains from spending the time to analyze and write about it. Not only was that man a great negotiator but had I been upfront and spoke with him I could have gained more from his knowledge and experience as well as got some pictures which would help me with my art along with a possible friendship. So focused on the future the present slipped by.

The environment around us is largely shaped by humans. Including the homeless whose entire life is in the public environment. Their contributions deserve our respect and appreciation. To ignore those who live within and effect it comes as a great loss to any artist who wishes to better his or hers ability to create compelling art. Even if your socially awkward they are go to resources for photographers looking for interesting sites and an ideal source of life story’s.

One week afterwards I now keep some non perishable food in my bag to hand out. Not only is it easy to give when there are items on hand but its an instant way to meet an often overlooked social group. That $20 was an investment that has had payoffs far greater than its monetary value.

Painted sculptures

Last week was getting hands dirty finishing off sculptures and painting on textures that have laid around for a few months. It was also the first time in a while painting textures as well as the first time painting concrete. The rock for the terrain was a significant improvement over past work as well. There is so much to improved but  schedules must be met.

I have found schedules work well for getting work done. For these images I take a blocked in scene and for one day I sculpt, retopologize and unwrap the surface. The second day is making some fine edits and painting a texture. Right now painting takes about 4-5 hours per object using either Photoshop or Mudbox. These were all Photoshop but next week there will be some rock sculptures painted with Mudbox.

Something to work on in the future is to speed up the process using different brushes.

-The Environment Guy

Rock paintings : Tenant of Persistence

The tenants of the environment artist. As a child I practiced as part of a Tae Kwon Do team for six years and one thing every martial artist will learn are the tenants of their art. These tenants apply to everything in life and are in a way the ‘keys to success’. The Chinese philosophy of martial arts (Kung Fu) is especially profound with the view that everything is Kung Fu. Like Tao or Yin and Yang the foundation of an arts tenants are the recipe for life.

Last week I was frustrated trying to paint a rock texture on a sculpture, so this weekend I tried some relaxing 2D painting in Photoshop to practice. Ever since discovering concept art a year and some ago in college I have wanted to bring the painted look into 3D. Something that stopped me for a long time was that I didn’t believe it was possible. A lack of competency stalled  my efforts too recreate the beauty of gesture and inaccuracy.

Its still a long ways off but after making images like these and looking back a year there is no doubt that it can be achieved. With this we unlock a tenant of artistry, Persistence. The artist must acquire a taste to move  forward with confidence even when overwhelming or inadequate.

For the next five days I will have persistence and complete painting the rock sculptures. Next week the results will be posted on 🙂

Part of persistence is too share the results no matter what. I know my work still isn’t to the professional level that must be achieved however I will risk its judgement here even if its being weighed by my future employers because doing so will bring the feedback that fuels the persistence machine.

-The Environment Guy

On the Subway (Photos)

For the last two years I have been riding the public transit system in Vancouver Canada and the surrounding city’s. So many times we sleep, pretend to have something important to do on the cell phone or otherwise zone out of the environment around us. A tragic sin which even I must admit to being guilty of. So this week I made a conscious decision to stop at some stations I usually don’t stop at and pay special attention to all the things in the area. There is so many cool things that have gone unnoticed and unfortunately the pictures here cant possibly do justice to the cause. Every object is unique and every surface tells a life story. A story that can only be read if you take the time to silently observe and reflect.

I think my favorite image from this gallery is Chinatown Train 003. The way the potlights create such defined ring patterns on the floor is unusual for a light fixture. Not only that but the location was unusual as well. Its a secluded underground tunnel to give wheelchair access to the trains. Despite its busy location it holds a very quite and secluded atmosphere, it even has a glass wall where you look into the unlit train tunnels. Unfortunate it was simply too dark for the camera to take a decent photo.

As an ending note In the next couple weeks there will be more photos from the transit system coming up, as well as some digital sculpture and painting.

Website development and future plans

Its been almost one week since the creation of and development has been going smoothly so far. There was some difficulty setting up pages/categories but its all been sorted out. Some parts of the site are still under construction but the main parts are ready. You can learn all about what this site is about and who I am on the about page

There are a few posts already written and scheduled. Monday morning will show the first piece of digital modeling and painting, I know what it is and even I am excited.

Moving forward some things you can expect to see are a regular posting schedule. One on Monday and Friday at 7am GMT -8. There may be some posts on other days however these will not be regular occurrences. Second there are some pages under the about section that are being written and should be complete in a couple weeks time. And last of all will be making the currently in production portfolio/demo-reel available sometime in January 2015. There will not be any updates on the weekends unless its something like a technical problem that needs to be fixed.

There are a lot of plans that are scheduled over the next six months but you will have to wait to find out more 🙂

Thanks for reading and hope that we will get to know eachother in the months to come. If you want to contact me there is a contact form here.

Ceiling at VCAD (Photos)

As an environment designer part of my unofficial job is to take photos of interesting spaces such as architecture, geography, objects and so on. So to kick off the new website well start by sharing some of those photos. It is fascinating how there are so many little details in something as simple as a few pipes suspended from a ceiling.

A New Beginning

Its been eight years since deciding to learn 3D graphics. In the beginning I thought it was a convenient way to make ‘cool stuff’ without ever touching a pencil and paper. I thought apps and fancy next generation tools would solve all my problems and best of all I would never have to become one of those artist types who spend literally thousands of hours practicing doing he most mundane of tasks such as trying to design things on paper. That was all primitive things of previous generations.

Now its 2014, almost 2015. I have spent thousands of hours as well as dollars practicing ‘mundane things’. Its left me in nearly $30,000 debt to the government as well as an entirely new outlook on life. The money was spent to go to art school where I have worked with a number of computer games and movie industry veterinarians. I will complete school in a few months from now but I spent no delay on dubbing my self an ‘Environment Designer’. I’m proud to be called that however the true environment design part is only just beginning, and today is a first step in building some sort of legacy to that title. To write a blog post that probably wont ever bee read by more than a dozen people. I find that fact to be demotivating but after failing hundreds of times with just a handful of successes I am mentally and emotionally prepared to work through a long term commitment.

I cant see the path we walk on, but I do know our destination. So today we (aka myself since there is no one else here yet) point to the distant mountains in the mist and trudge through the swamp waters in anticipation of better days to come.

Thus ends the first exploration log of sir Jeremy (The Environment Guy). Future swashbuckler of environment design.