"Life is too short to make bad art."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shooting and blasting - making a revolver

After the hacking and slaying it's time to move forward in time and get to the shooting and blasting - guns and rifles and those things in between. 

This is part of the 1 million views give away. The files attached to this blog post are free and contain the guns and rifles in inkscape's .svg format and as an exploded version to use as gun construction kit.

This is what we are after - simplified handguns and rifles to use in your game. 

In order to be easily readable I created these with outlines. You can take those off but will have to add additional shading to make up for the loss of detail. 

I took the revolver as a sample to show you how these assets were created. 

Even though I am not big on guns (and please forgive me if I named bits wrongly in the tutorial - as to me they are just 'bits of a gun'), I had a lot of fun creating these. I hope you enjoy the assets as well.


Thank you! - the blog just reached 1 Million views

Thanks to all those who read my blog post [that have been spread way too far and there are still too few - or too many topics still to cover. I am working on it... but time seems to fly by too quickly.]

Anyway... I want to thank all of you and am working on a nice [well I hope it is] give away to celebrate reaching this mile stone. 

Sunny greetings,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Choosing your highlight and shader colours

I am not into colour theory - having worked by instinct most of the time - so picking the shading colours to me is not a big decision. 
Today I received that very question on the blog [again] and after a quick try I came up with this:

I hope this is helpful! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Quick and dirty - a simple effect for menu texts

Just a quick tutorial on how to create an outline/ highlight effect. I like to use this effect a lot for menu texts/ mock-ups as it's quick to create and it looks rather nice. 

The key to this effect working/ looking good is the right font. Choose a bolder/ thicker font to allow the inset to work. 

You can use the same workflow on any sort of object - not just fonts. Buttons, icons or bullet points look nice with the highlight and a little gradient fill added to them. 

Enjoy playing around with this one. I would suggest trying multiple stroke objects with decreasing stroke width to get double or triple outlines. 

And for all those Gimp users - it's not that hard to create this kind of effect either. It's a different approach in gimp but by using selections and growing and shrinking those you can achieve a very similar effect. 

There is a stroke effect in Gimp and it allows you to add a stroke to a path made either from an object or a text. It offers a lot more flexibility than the outline created by the growing selection. (Edit/ Stroke Path).


Hacking and Slaying... back into action

It's been way too long since the last post. I am still around and as eager as always to write some hopefully helpful tips on how to create some assets for your game/ illustrations or just for the fun of it. 

One requested tutorial I received was on weapons and how to create something looking decent in inkscape. Due to  the multitude of weapons out there and even more creative variations used in phantasy games and RPGs, I decided to split the request into two or three tutorials and start off with an axe. 

Here's a sample of those two axes scaled down to 64x64 pixels and 32x32 pixels for use e.g. in inventories or equipped to the character. 


In the smaller version you can see the limitations of the dimensions. Adding more detail to the axe when the final ingame size is just 32x32 or smaller wouldn't make much sense as you lose most of it when scaling. It also gets harder to read the object as an icon.

Keep your output size in mind when creating your vector images. The image might look awesome on your 24" monitor. Yet a lot of the time consuming details added to them might not be visible in the image used in the game. 
It helps to zoom out every now and then and look at the art in a size close to what you will use in your game. 

Let's take the simple hand axe and turn it into something a little fancier. We have the basic blade - a little dull and boring but a good starting point.  

For some additional colouring of the blade (e.g. the reddish tint I used on the two blades above) it's easiest to create a duplicate of the blades base shape and give it a coloured tint and then turn it into an alpha gradient. The transparency allows you to shade only certain areas of the blade. 
For the smaller blade I used two of those shapes running from bottom up and another one from top left to lower right. 

When creating a whole set of weapons to allow a character to evolve and update his equipment it's helpful to line up your designs and 'sort' them from the simpler shapes to the more complex and decor rich designs to give the player a sense of upgrading visually.

That's it for now... I will continue this set of tutorials with some rambling about designing swords next. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did writing it. Good luck with your designs. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Out of the cold for a bit

I am sick and tired of the cold and the winter and having the flu, the cold, some virus or another... It's time for some warmth and sunshine... so I am off... last minute trip to where there is sun, beach and palms. 

I won't be checking my emails regularly - as I am not sure about internet access and my motivation to check when there is sunshine and ocean out there to swim, snorkel and dive. Please have a bit of patience when you order some of the tutorial art or BlockBuddies. I will do my best to get the art to you asap... back on April the 16th...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Rings of Saturn

So the urge to write the tutorial (and have some fun) wins... and I treat myself to a quick tutorial rather than reply a big backlog of emails (which sadly will have to happen later)... 

The standard beginning of my tutorial seems to be a circle - such a versatile little thing - and then I duplicate and transform it. I am just not sure if I mentioned some quick way to do the duplicate and keep it in place. Duplicate a shape (CTRL-D). Hold CTRL and SHIFT while scaling the object - the scale will keep the proportions and scale based on the pivot point. (Holding just CTRL keeps the proportions and scales based on the lower left corner.)

Let's get started with a simple version of a Saturn style planet with a simple one shape ring around it.

I added the pattern of the planet (bunch of squashed and slightly differently shaded circles) and the shadow shape (one circle with another circle cutting out the sickle shape via a Path/ Difference) to a mask. I did the same with the shadow of the planet on the ring. 

Next up... the same thing with more elaborate rings. Let's face it... it's the same thing... You just take the intial ('unsquashed' ring) and make it more complex by combining several rings of increasing sizes into one object...

You can add a more realistic look by adding a circular gradient and more detail patterns to the planet. Breaking the rings apart (Path/Break Apart (SHIFT+CTRL+K)) allows you to assign different colours to different rings and vary the opacity to the rings.  I added some small objects and their shadows on the rings for a bit of detail. 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did and give it a try... as usual it's a lot easier than it looks once you worked out how to do it. 

Get the source art (svg file) of this tutorial for
USD 5.00


Back from the bed...

Spending a day in bed - sounds great... Well... Today I got out of bed with all new vigor. After a few days down and out with a stomach bug (too tired to even check my mail or surf the web) I am over it...

Now I am faced with a backlog of emails and work and urge to write that quick tutorial on how to do rings of saturn in inkscape... 

Let's start with a coffee... and see what happens... but the next tutorial is right around the corner...  

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Just a quick tutorial to start the new year. I needed a splatter for an illustration. After a quick check on my hard-drive and google images I decided to do it from scratch which turned out to be quick and easy. 

It's based on a circle with added nodes and a bit of deforming. 

Again it's all about variation. The design is nice and simple and very flexible. Let's try some directional drips. The first one drips down to the lower right and the second variation drips straight down.

I hope this might be helpful ... Enjoy!