Tonal sketches digital


peek a boo1





These were my first designs ever on a graphic tablet. Overall, I’m quite happy with them, especially the bridge sketch. The highlights on the head I’m rather proud of. However, if I was to revisit the sketches again, I would aim to try and get better detail on them.

I mainly favored the Bubble girl as she reminds me a bit of me (inquisitive) and always on the move. ( Imagine Dora the Explora but less Hispanic).


Digital Tonal Studies Revisited

So I wanted to have a go at redoing some of my tonality sketches. I originally used Sketchbook Pro, but now as I feel a bit more confident I wanted to experiment more with Photoshop, and the different brushes available.

I started with some basic tonal sketches, based on the environment itself solely. I wanted to recreated a piece based on that of Pete Oswald. His concept art was the basis for the set of Paranorman. I wanted to show a little bit of our Sound World as if it was barren- maybe some of the houses appearing lower and smaller, as if yet to be effected by the environment.

Work by Pete Oswald.


My little street scene- this was a little warm up sketch, having not touched my tablet for a while. I like the depth I managed to create in this image, as the buildings fade into the distance. It was also gave me the chance to explore the environment of this world a little more- without the use of the city as our main landscape.

From our most recent project (the Game project for our world), Clíodhna had suggested we look at the concept art for Disney’s Tangled, more specifically the concept art for the  lantern scene. The scene was originally designed by Jeffrey Turley.


Painting by Jeffrey Turley.

I wanted to experiement with making the shapes (circles, squares and triangles) appear in the sky- either as lanterns or stars, like the scene shown below.

One of my favourite scenes, visually, from any Disney movie.

I also had previously saved work by Swagtaters on Tumblr- I am a huge Sherlock fan and love trolling through all the artwork. One of her sets of work in particular featured a glowing John Watson in the sky. I’d love to take my lantern work and have a go at replicating her style.

Swagtaters work.

My first attempt at creating the ‘glow’ on the shapes was too strong and looked more like mist, so I experimented with the adjustments and until I found none that looked best.

I then wanted to have a look at a scene with the character and the environment together. I loved this character design piece by Rafael Mayani, especially the glow on the pig’s face. The character is from a film called “The Dam Keeper” and I think it is simple but beautiful design. The character can really be felt through the softness of the colours.


Rafael Mayani’s work from ‘The Dam Keeper.’

The Dam Keeper  by Daisuke Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo

In my piece I focused on the character design of the bubble girl and wanted to show this glowing effect  on her somehow.

I originally created the piece on the left as if the girl was walking through a tree line. However, I wanted to create more of a glow look on face and decided a darker environment would look better.

Therefore, I placed her in the sound cave, as if she has found some ancient artefact. I’m rather proud of how the stalagmites blend in with the cave background.



Marker studies.. more developed

Due to photoshop dilemmas (I hate technology at times) I was kind of stranded at the weekend when it came to planning ideas out. Therefore I decided to draw them in more detail using my new markers (yes they are highly addictive)

I wanted to demonstrate some of the character and personalities as previously mentioned in my previous posts and how they interact with the environment in which they live. Therefore I redrew some of my original sketches, but in greater detail.


I had the idea of a game sort of vibe going on- the person who makes the buildings rise the most wins? As described before, I had the idea that the square character (Frank) would be the sort of fall guy- doesn’t always get what he wants, kind of always second place. The person who the door slams on.. (Basically me),


This was an idea based on one of the characters (I believe it is the circle girl- Spudge) exploring the caves below the disc. I am terrible at drawing things from memory so used plenty of reference images when looking at caves themselves (I recommend going to the Marble Arch Caves if you ever get a chance).

Why do our accents sound terrible on video? The Marble Arch caves in Fermanagh. Video courtesy of knoxi82.

There’s a 3D digital model of the super caves in China which I found very useful.

This giant cave system in China has its own weather system. Video courtesy of The Weather Channel.


Phoebe came up with the amazing ‘soundcave’ idea, in which the hollow circle of the CD/Vinyl would have caves dotted throughout it. These areas would be unaffected by sound and therefore would allow a good narrative when needed as the characters explore it.

The idea arose from our original concept of having a world with no sound in the reflection, a ‘Death Star’ to our universe. To demonstrate what his area of the world would feel like we looked into the anechoic chamber, the world’s quietest room. The room itself absorbs 99.99% of sound and the longest stay in the room has been 45 minutes. Lengthy trips are said to drive people mad.

This is the feel we wanted to give from our world- the inhabitants used to so much sound that the caves themselves may drive them mad.






Marker studies..

Ok ok so I suppose I cheated a little- but I wanted to place some scenes before photo shopping them in.

I bought some Promarkers in neutral tones-so a range of white-black tones. How have I not discovered these before? They are so nice and fluid to tinker with- allowing me to create lovely shaded drawings.

Jack  and Even (from the previous character development team) gave us their blogs to look at their characters in more detail. I discovered that I liked the bubble girl (we named her Spudge) and square man (Frank) in particular. To me Spudge is a giddy, curious girl, constantly searching for new things. Frank on the other hand is more square with his act, constantly annoyed or sensible. He’s also kind of the fall guy (much like Daffy Duck), Frank is always kind of second place.

Video courtesy of ericho33.

Video courtesy of ariel141.

Characters such as M-O from Wall-E and Daffy Duck are the main basis of this character’s personality in my work.

After thinking of these things, and factoring in the world I then drew up some concept ideas. They give allusion to the personalities of the characters and the environment around them. Our group had also previously talked about naming each scene after songs or lyrics from songs.



Tonal Research- Alexander Linder

Artwork courtesy of Alexander Linder. Early concepts for ‘Dream City.’

For the tonal aspect to this world, Conánn suggested we start with the basics. Pieces with no more than five tones, to show the depth of the piece, before going back and adding to them.

While researching into this I found amazing examples through the work of Alexander Linder. Above you can see where he begins, with simple blocking of the areas in the specific tones. He then adds the details after to further show the elements of the world.

In my own work I want to look into this

Linder also used pencil for his earlier pieces, as you can be limited with the tones you can use.


Lego architecture- block build up continued..

Our world is based on an equaliser- the movement of the building itself is effected by the sound around it- and therefore we decided to have a look into the different ways in which this look could be achieved. Minecraft and Lego were the two main ones that I thought of.

(This gives an idea of what our world looks like).

My brother had a collection (putting it lightly) of Lego sets at home and thought they would provide a good basis for the building of our city/structure. The interlocking bricks and structures link together, much like the bars in an equaliser.

The one series that stood out to me was the Lego Architecture range- based on smaller models of famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower.

The Lego video games and the movie itself also represent visually what I’v been doing for years- building lego. Though, obviously, the bricks tend to move by themselves.

Scenes from the Lego Movie.

Benny building his rocket from the Lego Movie– you may want to mute the volume before playing.

The Lego video games, such as the Starwars Saga and the Batman game also show similar game play to this.

Lego DC Super Heroes gameplay.

Lego Starwars gameplay- skip to 6.24 minutes for a good look at the build up effect.

Minecraft was another thing we thought would help visualise our world, due to it being made from blocks. I’ve never been one to play computer games myself but looking into some of the awesome things people have  created are unreal.

Courtesy of Cortex on YouTube.

Courtesy of PopularMMOs

Courtesy of TheProGamer Jay

Another thing that was suggested to us WAS 8 Bit art by Megan (she later did an amazing 8 bit inspired piece for her own world). Again these  images look to be mad up of blocks, like an equaliser is.

8bit color graphics is a method of storing image information in a computer’s memory or in an image file, such that each pixel is represented by one 8bit byte. The maximum number of colors that can be displayed at any one time is 256. – (Wikipedia, 2015)


I couldn’t find the artist’s name but they created this landscape throughout various stages of the day- it looked like a crazy detailed Pokemon game.

8 Bit landscapes by TheDailyRobot


The simple animation in this gif is so beautiful- it gives a nice vibe to the chilled city as it enters dusk. Maybe an 8 Bit art attempt is in order…



Sound world research..

So this week we are on sound world- Thomas, Caitlin, Phoebe and I are now a new team. This weeks task? Tonal concepts for the world around us. We kind of were in a bit of a panic when we first entered this world as it was still now finalised- or actually it still was an idea rather than a set in stone world.

We decided to spend the first day finalising what the world would look like before we broke off and did our own ideas for the world.

Original ideas from our world came from sound world. I spoke to Rebecca from the original group, she described a world living on sound waves, moving with the waves as they faded and increased in levels. Naturally, I decided to have a look into the sound waves and different types, just as they had in their original research.

I found that there are two different types of sound waves, transverse and longitudinal. Consulting some GCSE physic sources I found that transverse are waves that move in the direction that is perpendicular to the direction that the wave moves. Whereas longitudinal waves are that have particles which travel parallel to the direction the wave is traveling in. The video below shows each of these waves. We wanted to maybe use the previous idea of the world moving with the sound, and maybe each of these waves could have different effects on how the world itself moves.

Video courtesy of Animations for Physics and Astronomy.

Taking these things into consideration I then wanted to look into ways in which sound has been drawn, to consider the way in which our world would move with the music. Possibly, certain parts of the world, like the buildings could move with the music, like an equaliser. I had a look into the work of Nikolai Voinov and his work with synthetic sound. He used a variophone in his work.

The Variophone was an optical synthesizer that utilized sound waves cut onto cardboard disks rotating synchronously with a moving 35mm movie film while being photographed onto it to produce a continuous soundtrack. – (Wikipedia, 2011). 

1930s Russian Drawn Sound: Nikolai Voinov’s ‘Paper Sound.’ Video courtesy of straypixel.

1940s Russian Drawn Sound: Les Vautours by Igor Boldirev. Video courtesy of straypixel.


I find it interesting how he uses the shape themselves to reflect the mood of the music itself. In our actual world, maybe something to consider, would be the use of shape when considering the tone and genre of music played around the world.

Once I had shown this idea to our team, Thomas had suggested we look into the use of oscillograms to portray sound. He suggested we look into the use of these in different volumes of sound, and different pitches. These could further idealise how the world itself will look when things act upon it.

We did a lot of research into soundwaves and agreed this sound graph would be best to style our environment around. Thomas found some cool concept images online and we decided to delve deeper into these.

Video courtesy of UCIPHO.

Video courtesy of Olivier Oswald.

For all those not familiar with Physics equipment- these are pretty vintage Oscilloscopes.

When a uniform sound wave is effected by volume or pitch, the way it looks changes. Pitch effects the frequency, or number of waves, in a graph. The higher the pitch, the greater the frequency of waves. Volume effects the amplitude of the waves, or the height. The greater the volume, the taller the peak of the waves. I found a little example as shown below, I am a visual learner after all.

Video courtesy of Freesciencelessons.

This has opened the ball park for us even more – the buildings themselves can increase in length and width like some sort of putty.

Thomas found this piece of artwork below by Platronics PR. They have quite a few logos similar to this on their Flickr, however this was the easiest example for us to visualise. We took the original idea of the world moving like an equaliser and made it into our own.

Image courtesy of Platronics PR.

Internet company FOG decided to make a sound file based on the adaptation of London’s skyline into a sound wave. The article gives a bit more insight into this project, and the file itself sounds rather strange. The division lines give it a Minecraft- esc look. I thought this inclusion of the grid gave more of a look like the original oscilloscope graphs.

Image courtesy of FOG.

Realtitat also did a project similar to this, they interpreted music by artists such as Nick Drake’s Pink Moon and created 3D sculptures from the sound files. These sculptures look very like the landscapes of Lord of the Rings i.e. Mount Doom. I found it more visually appealing, and gave the idea that landscapes other than just cityscapes can be considered in our tonal studies.

Image courtesy of Realtitat.

Artist Leandro Esparca created these images for a headphone company and I thought they looked really nice drawn up large. The image replicates itself onto the waterline- we thought the world itself would look rather interesting with this floating in space. Maybe the reflection itself could have no sound at all? Like a dark side of the planet.


Thomas came up with the below sketch over night to show the general shape of the world. I then had a play about myself, and came up with a simple line drawing of the world. In my concept I wanted to include the idea of a reflection of the world under the world itself.

thomas concept

Thomas’s idea



My idea

Next, we will have a look at the world itself, and demonstrating the interactions between both the characters and their habitat.

I also had a go at drawing a row of houses as if they had been effected with different pitches and volumes, based on the research above.

The images above are if the volume was altered.

Again the doodles above show what the houses would look like if effected by the pitch.