Mentorship Review: Stylized Character Design
Ewelina is an aspiring concept artist and illustrator who is full of creativity for designing appealing characters. She is very passionate about the idea of improvement and focus which helped her move forward on her design.
Full live mentorship custom-tailored towards your problems. We will work together every week to create full-blown marketing quality ready images.
Tell us about your artistic learning path and introduce yourself! When did you start creating art?
I’m Ewelina, a second-year Animation student at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Animated movies were the first thing that connected me to art; I remember watching the special features on my Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron DVD when I was about 8 and seeing the process of the characters being animated made my jaw drop.
Unfortunately, I never thought I could get even close to doing anything amazing like that for a living, and my occasional scribbles here and there remained only that – occasional scribbles until I decided to take drawing classes at 16. It was still a thing on the side though as I focused mainly on schoolwork and was often too exhausted afterward to even think about drawing. Now when I think back to that time I realize I was never taught neither proper art fundamentals nor how to get into the habit of practicing drawing every day, which led to a lot of frustration. I was stuck on redrawing photos from art teachers for a good 2-3 years before I discovered digital speed paintings on YouTube, which opened up the fantastic world of concept art to me. I can only speak of my beginnings of really ‘creating’ art from that point on.
I slowly but surely continue to take the next steps toward becoming a professional artist and the CGVerse online art mentorship is a significant milestone!
What problems did you experience when you were at the beginning of learning digital art?
I struggled a lot since as I mentioned, I didn’t have great fundamentals, to begin with, I also didn’t know anyone who could help me out: none of my friends were artists and art teachers didn’t acknowledge digital art existed, so I was walking in the dark, trying to follow some YouTube tutorials or doing some fanart. But, as I wasn’t getting enough feedback, I kept making a lot of mistakes that I still sometimes repeat unconsciously. Now that I know better what to watch out for, I am sure I can progress quicker.
The Silent Wanderers
What skills did you improve during the mentorship and what tasks did you have?
Overall, we managed to work on three character designs I could freely come up with. Starting from initial mood boards and character backstories, we discussed multiple early explorations and why some of them work and others do not, considering the number of details and the targeted art style. David often emphasized the importance of choosing good reference images that do not create too much visual noise. He also helped me push the body proportions of my designs to make them more visually engaging while keeping the anatomy correct and believable. Two of the characters I designed belonged to the same imaginary world, so I learned different visual clues and color choices that make them more unified. I wanted to practice a different design approach for the third character, so I focused on improving shape language and line quality, two skills that I could observe the most progress in.
Going through the conceptual phase one by one and backtracking if necessary allowed me to make my design and thought process more organized and intentional – now I know how crucial it is to have a clear idea in mind.
In the rendering phase, I was shown how to paint as clean as possible and how to place light to bring out the most important design elements. It was very valuable to me since I often add too many details and my previous designs tended to be quite messy.
Throughout the mentorship, I was free to pose any questions or ask for a more detailed explanation of David’s feedback and overpaints, which helped me understand what areas I should focus on to improve further. Overall, I can say that the CGVerse online concept art mentorship allowed me to progress much more quickly than I would have otherwise and that I saved precious time on figuring out stuff on my own.
How was the Mentorship for you?
It was challenging, sometimes frustrating. It was highly rewarding, helpful, insightful. David shared not only his artistic knowledge but also explained how things work behind the scenes in the concept art industry. With detailed overpaints as well as fun talks and informative tips and tricks, I was able to push myself to work hard on redoing things according to his feedback, even if it meant multiple attempts. I could see myself improve at a fast rate. I appreciated the fact that David took some of his time to give us short feedback in-between sessions, it allowed me to produce more quality portfolio pieces.
Cartha, the Parrot Captain
What made you decide to take a mentorship at CGVerse?
I compared it to other online schools like CGMA and I quickly noticed that I was already familiar with the works of many of the artists from CGVerse. The mentorship aspect also played an important part for me; I knew I needed someone who would take a more individualistic approach to me, my art, and its shortcomings, rather than just giving out general assignments to students in the class. The fact that the artists teaching at CGVerse already work at the companies I would love to get in to help me make up my mind completely; learning from them directly is an exciting opportunity and improves my chances of getting hired there in the future.
Weapon of Cartha, the Parrot Captain
What motivations do you have for the future?
I plan to keep on creating stylized character concepts most definitely, keeping in mind what I’ve learned during the character design mentorship with David. My main goal right now is to build a strong portfolio that will help me land student internships at Riot Games and Sixmorevodka. To improve my illustration craft, I decided to take a second online art mentorship at CGVerse, this time with Monika Pałosz. With advice and feedback from two awesome mentors, I’m sure I will be well prepared for the artistic journey ahead of me.
(Before the mentorship)
Polished sketch of a quirky character (later used in an illustration) created for the Atomhawk Design 2020 Competition