3D Tools for Artists: A Basic Primer

It’s tempting to use a photorealistic rendering of your 3d model on the background of a beautiful sunset as your base, but that’s a hindrance if you decide you want to change the lighting or color palette once you’ve added the characters and other elements of your painting. Especially when you’re new to integrating 3d and 2d art, you want to start simple so you can make most of your creative decisions during the painting process: An image that just gives you the object’s shape and lighting might be best.

Read More
CS Jones
Color, Part 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Color Theory

Color is one of the most complicated and subjective topics in art. So I’m going to try to summarize it in the shortest terms possible. First off, I’ll skip covering the color wheel, the scheme types, and color symbolism here; this is just about the nuts and bolts of applying color to your drawings.

Read More
CS Jones
Tabling with a Tablet

Drawing at a con is physically the same as doing a digital plein air painting, an art form that’s been taking off lately, and if you have a device that takes up a small enough amount of space (sadly, a Cintiq Pro 32” may not be the best choice), it won’t be any more obtrusive than a sketchbook. If your table’s packed to the brim, you can hold the device in your lap, prop it against the table edge, or invest in a tablet stand. If you have a camera tripod or a microphone stand, they also make attachments for those that hold a device at an optimal drawing angle.

Read More
CS Jones
Yume-Hime

When Laurie was a ten-year-old anime fan, she dreamed up an alter ego. As kids do. When she grew up, she abandoned her. As teens do. She's eighteen now, with an isolated and troubled adolescence behind her. But when she goes to sleep, Princess Yume wakes up into a surreal world of nightmares. And she's not happy she was forgotten.

My first (and only planned) light novel. First written over the course of 2013, mostly rewritten and finally finished in February 2018. Currently illustrating it.

Read More
CS Jones
How Do You Get Into Freelance Writing?

One of the biggest catch-22’s faced by new writers is that you can’t get gigs without a portfolio, but you can’t build a portfolio without gigs.  This is similar to the “no jobs, no experience; no experience, no jobs” cycle faced by people starting a new career, but yours is much easier to break: Simply assign yourself a few topics relating to your chosen niche and write a few articles about them.  Three to five 500-to 1000-word pieces will do. If you’re knowledgeable about the subject and have a few topics in mind, you can do it in a day or two.

Read More
Best OfCS JonesComment
Some Things, off the Top of My Head, an Artist Should Know

Your first priority should be learning to think in 3D. When you look at a reference, think of it as a rotating 3-dimensional object, not what it looks like from that exact angle, in that exact lighting, taken with that exact lens. You should never let a reference photo dictate what you’ll draw.  And the first key to that is learning how to break everything you draw down to five basic shapes: Cube, sphere, pyramid, cone, and cylinder.  Everything else is just stretching and combining them.

Read More
CS Jones
Build a Studio From Nothing

Early this year, I moved a thousand miles and had to rebuild my bedroom studio from scratch, and a couple months later, my laptop bricked itself, forcing me to replace it and all its programs.

So I took that opportunity to tackle one of comics’ oldest questions: What are the cheapest supplies you need to make a good one?

Pretending you’re starting with an empty room, as I did, I’ll be covering as many types of art supplies as I can think of.

Read More
CS Jones
Virtual Reality: How to Design for a Whole New World

Months after its initial release, the Rift is still nowhere near the smash hit it was expected to be: early reviews have been mixed, with many complaining about uncomfortable headsets, an impractical interface, and a price tag that’s just too high. The video game industry, on the other hand, has already realized the future is in virtual reality: the focus of the last E3—the ultimate game developers’ convention—was on VR technologies and their uses. 

Read More
CS Jones
Mozilla's Becoming the First Company to Crowdsource a Rebrand

In short, the Mozilla Foundation, the makers of Firefox and a global nonprofit that provides open-source software, is crowdsourcing ideas for their first major rebrand.

They insist the audience won’t be doing the whole thing. They’ll simply collect designs and invite comments before hiring professional designers to actually create it, though they’re open to the idea of directly pinching design elements from the community if they fit. “We have 30,000 volunteer contributors who contribute their time to Firefox and other Mozilla products, offering their service for the good of the Internet,” he says. “We’re hoping any designer who wants to contribute their own design ideas to Mozilla [will] look at it through the same lens.”

Read More
CS Jones
Why You Should Learn to Draw. Yes, You!

So, you’re a graphic designer. Or a web designer. Or a UX designer. And you’re wondering if you should bother learning to draw.

The answer, as any other article will tell you, is that you just need to know enough to be able to sketch out a design concept: there’s no need to learn more than that. That’s technically true, but I personally disagree with it. Here are the reasons I think you should be drawing, and as much as possible...

Read More
CS Jones
The Hows and Whys of Rio's Stunning Olympic Logo

The goal was to symbolize Brazil’s famed vivaciousness, and to that end, they packed every aspect of it with symbolism, from its shape to its colors to the specific angles of its curves. According to the Olympics’ site, the key word is passion - for sports, victory, the country, and the games’ transformation of Rio from one of the world’s most infamously crime and inequality-plagued cities to a showpiece on the world’s stage. And it’s reception’s been overwhelmingly positive.

Read More
CS Jones
Infographic Design: How to Visualize Data Like a Pro

This is the golden age of the infographic, but the process behind them is still a mystery to the general public: where does the data come from? How do they come up with the ideas for all these stunning interactive ones? And what data should be made into an infographic in the first place?

Read More
CS Jones
Constructive Criticism: How to Give and Get It

Graphic design’s one of those fields everyone thinks they can do. …And a lot of them are right: there’s no universal standard for who should be allowed to practice design and what makes their work acceptable. That’s a good thing, in my opinion: it leaves it up to the designer and the client to come to an agreement on what works for them, with no formalities getting in the way. But it leaves us with another question: what makes a good designer?

In my opinion, it’s the ability to give and take criticism. “Not training?” You might ask. “Not even hard work?” Don’t get me wrong, those are crucial, but in isolation, what do they mean? There are people who go to school for graphic design, then never use what they learned. There are others who work for years but never improve, churning out the same quality work all their lives.

Read More
CS Jones
Five Bizarre Billboards that Worked

They say there’s a thin line between genius and insanity, but where is it?

It’s subjective, but in the ad industry, it’s defined by success: weirdness that doesn’t work is insanity, weirdness that does is genius. And when you come up with a stroke of genius, you give it the biggest canvas possible.

Read More
CS Jones
Shooting Stunning Skylines

Cityscapes are fun to shoot. Since you can’t control the lighting or placement of the subjects, all you have to do is find a good vantage point and fire away. They’re also a good test of your eye when it comes to finding natural lighting and composition, and a really good way to hone your photography skills. Ever wondered how to start capturing city skyline shots?

Read More
CS Jones
Portraiture Noir

The hallmarks we’re looking for are high contrast, usually with sharp borders between light and shadows, and a limited color palette, dominated by dark colors. In fact, there’s little functional difference between noir photography and plain old chiaroscuro photography. You could just say the first is a category of the second.

Read More
CS Jones
Where Great Art Comes From

A lot of people think it comes from pain. Other people say it comes from passion. Others say it comes from determination. All of them are thinking too small.

I believe it comes from emotion. Intense emotion. All-consuming, body-seizing, from-the-heart intense. The kind that drives you to share it with the world. But the specific type doesn’t matter.

Read More
CS Jones
20 Rebranding Disasters You Can Learn From

More and more companies are engaging in rebranding campaigns. 20th century companies are beginning to hit their midlife crises, and as with people, that means lazy attempts to catch up with current trends. For a man, that might mean studying Urban Dictionary for too long and hitting up women his daughter’s age on OKCupid. But for a company, it means slapping on a flat-design logo and hiring that man to call their Twitter followers “bae.”

Read More
CS Jones