Yo! Past couple of weeks have been a steady drip of little bits n pieces as I try to get my head around the Late Jurassic environment. Part of me has been wondering if I’m going a little too deep here – like does it really matter if I get the ferns right if I’m making a lot of things up either way ? On the other hand, even if I’m not going for 100% paleo-realism, back then the plant life was like…80% ferns and cycads, so exploring different approaches to showing those is something that will come in handy as I move forwards.
The next step with these is to make them interesting.
One thing I’ve been struggling with recently is a niggling sense of ‘ well what’s the point’? I guess that’s been around since I started on this project, good ol self doubt. I’m not a scientific paleoartist and that’s not my aim here, but I still want to be respectful of the time period to whatever degree I can as someone scrabbling around entry level textbooks and wikipedia – so no flowering plants, for example, because those weren’t around yet – but a ferns a fern, and I’m not going to be super precious about where I go with that.
That said, it has felt like I’ve been treading water a bit with this stuff, I guess I’ve not really known where to push myself forwards, be it due to insecurity or just wondering how to do this without covering old ground. The answer to these kinda questions is always some variation on ‘ just do it and see what happens’. ‘ You don’t suck but you can do better :) ‘ is also one that I’m trying to mantra myself into to stop myself from running round in circles like a headless chicken. Its all too easy to get sucked into the mindset that the way out of a problem is to mindlessly study a thing, over EXPLORING a thing and this is the #1 fallacy I need to bust right now. It never used to be like this, I could write a whole other post on why I’m so dang insecure about what I do but I’ll save that.
Ferns – trying to figure out ways to quickly approach and simplify the structure while maintaining the essence of what makes a fern a fern ( so that they will work on two scales – the scale of the small character and the scale of the larger one ). Ferns are super fractal, and the more you simplify the more that is lost and the more the fern looks like something else. Mostly I wanna make sure they feel fluffy so that there’s contrast between the ferns and the stiff leaves of the cycads.
Part of the reason I wanted to do a detour into deep detail is because of sketches like this – noodling around, and you can see what’s going on, but I know I can do better. Same goes with the sketches below – exploring hazards – they aint bad but they reminded me that I don’t really ‘know’ my characters enough yet – can do better! :)
Oh, and finally! A little more from the style exploration stuff – shelved for now as overall render style isn’t as important as knowing the characters/elements.