Monday, February 01, 2010

The making of a "bit and run"

Like I mentioned in my debut post; So what happens to you if you're me and you're embroiled in the midst of an enormous three month long project? 15 - 17 hours days, 7 days a week, give or take?

Here's what happens --

Your life fragments into two distinct pieces -- work and decompression/Nintendo

* * *

For the last three months on this massive animation project I'd work like mad all day and crash in the early hours of the morning. But not before decompressing with a little Mario. Mario 2 and Mario 3, mostly.

I had to have some kind of in between time before sleep because if I just went to bed my brains would be buzzing with all that I needed to do and I couldn't sleep. So, Mario.

The result of this mix; delirious work schedule, little sleep, and Nintendo resulted in some of the silliest ideas I've ever had.

When I found tiny chunks of time in between the cracks of this enormous project I jotted those ideas down. I quickly amassed several pages of quickly scrawled jokes and notes of Nintendo related humor. Pretty specific, nerd humor. Like, if you haven't played level 4 of Mario 2 you're not likely to know what the crap is going on.

So, some of my energies I channeled into a series of Nintendo themed desktops that I released through GoNintendo, my favorite Nintendo blog. Kevin Cassidy, the guy behind it, is a stand-up fellow, fun to read, and very kind.

Now, what to do with the other ideas? They became my next personal project --

Once again I've partnered with Kevin and GoNintendo to release my work.

But how is bit and run made? I'm very glad you asked.

It all starts with this folder :

Occasionally I misplace the folder around my office. I usually find it later.

Inside you can see all of the quickly scrawled ideas spreading across a dozen sheets of paper.

Every comic, more or less begins looking something like this. A couple doodles and the idea written out.

From there I'll typically make a little more finished rough, at least a layout, like above, so I can get an idea about how it all plays.

Now, on to the digital future!

Here is my Nintendo folder. Pretty great, right? I took a picture of the screen.

So the first thing I do is make sure I've got my reference for the piece. I want to try and make sure I stick as close to the original colors as I can. I do make some exceptions. And in this case I wanted a refresher on all of the zillions of items to be had.

After that, I start drawing.

These comics are a little different than my typical work, they're more Little Golden book, I think. In a way. While my media is all digital I'm looking for a gouache-type painting approach.

As you can see with this exploded view, I make make everything on layers in Photoshop so...

...I can rearrange them as needed.


The drawing is pretty straightforward after all that.

Below you can see a little demo of the brush I most often use for these pieces.

So there you have it -- start to finish, pretty much. A few hours.

These are incredibly fun to make, I get a lot of enjoyment out of making them and I hope you gain some small measure of enjoyment out of reading them.


Will Kelly said...

"Little Golden Book" is the perfect term, and it's not one to be ashamed of! These little comics are so fun, and all the little pieces coming together makes you think of - I don't know - like, a Lego set. Thanks for the little peek into your process!

christy said...

they are awesome :)

Daniel Belchí said...

How great you are, Cory. I love the abstraction of Link, the skeleton, the bat and the weapons! Maybe you should to teach us how to make brush in PS like this you use in bit and run.

You are great, Cory, very great.

Rick said...

This is the reason I keep coming back here! You may have seen this already, but an artist on does some paintings of video games that are just amazing. He has over a million page views and for good reason. Here's the link------->

Andi van Heyden said...

oh please tell me how to do that brush. im not bad at building brushes. perhaps just ah hint?! its as great as your comics! keep it up!