Monday 23 November 2009

Dr. Grordbort's Gelaskins

Yo, Gelaskins - makers of fancy pants stickers that go on your fancy pants Apple get-ups are selling my Grordbort's art.
Now you can make your brand new tech feel all retro and dirty.


Tuesday 27 October 2009

District 9 Exo Suit Concept Art - part 2

images©wingnut film

In this weeks instalment, we see two more of the Exo suit concept pieces - it's like a sequel you see.

The head close up was done for Weta Digital and Embassy VFX to aid the modelling and texturing of the final model. It shows the mandibles that were there to reflect the alien physiology externally. I figured if the aliens had the equivalent of a 'hand' on their face (the complex crab like feeders as well as tentacles) they would use them for communication - a more complex, maybe pictographic version of our facial expressions.
If that was the case, then this would be integral to them and it would be necessary to make an analogue on the robotic suit too.
It also makes it look 'mean as' and also 'muy alarmante'.

The second illustration was a simple frontal plan view - very quick and dirty but showed the frontal proportions for the modelling process.

There were also side on views, internal views and diagrams showing how the chest opened and the internal system extended out to take in the pilot.
But you can't see those here because I have pasted them in using invisible pixels.

Tune in next time when more pictures of things are accompanied by hyper-nerdy descriptions.

Friday 23 October 2009

District 9 Concept Art - Some Guns...

images©wingnut film

Guns! I like to design guns. What a sad human being I am.
They're pretend guns so that makes ok though eh? Hello?....

These three designs were all based on a phrase or concept that Neill threw out to me:
An electric 'lightening' gun (the Arc Generator), a Gas Thrower- something that would project out gas or liquid like a flame thrower, but unlit - perhaps some destructive, corrosive gel or gas (it ended up just blowing shit up in the film - corroding humans costs a lot of effects budget...) and an Assault Rifle.
The Assault rifle has all these little tubes down the side - the idea being that each tube discharges an explosive burst of gas one after the other down the length of the barrel behind the projectile - a linear accelerator gun, like a rail gun but without the magnets. Of course it would fire these all rapidly to get a high rate of fire.

That shit is nerdy.

We went through a few colour schemes - the arc generator was originally black with red accents (we tried a few colours) and Neill sent back a tweaked version to me (hence me crediting him on the design, and the leftover watermark).

There were also versions of the Arc Generator and the Assault Rifle adjusted to go on the Exo suit.

Thursday 22 October 2009

ImagineFX Isssue 50 - District 9

Issue 50 of ImagineFX mag is out soon (now?) and has a feature on the conceptual design we did at Weta Workshop for District 9.
There's a good compliment of our concept art included as well as interviews from David Meng, Leri Greer and myself.
There's some really nice photos of David Meng's incredible Prawn sculptures and a lot of Leris' preparatory work for the graphic design of the alien language.

Saturday 17 October 2009

District 9 Concept Art -MNU

images©wingnut film

More District 9 concept work.

We built two armoured Hilux's at Weta Workshop and both got pretty messed up on set (as you may remember from the film, one crashed into the Exo suit, and one ended up on it's roof).
Neill provided me with the render of the model which he had added bullbars and guns to, and as a starting point I referred to one of Christian Pearce's very early sketches - that's why I put all three names down as signatures.

I don't tend to work over renders or photographs for the bulk of my work, and almost never for personal work. For a design job like this though, I was adding to an existing vehicle, so I worked into the render adding photographic elements like lights and guns and illustrating the armour panels and anything I couldn't find.

For the final build, we had to lose the MG's and mounts due to cost but everything else stayed exactly the same.

The MNU armour was a lot of fun. This full armour set was intended to be the heaviest version available - some guys would have less, some none.
The idea was to have this armour reflect some of the alien tech, a hint that perhaps MNU had learnt something, however little from the Alien technology over the 25 years or so since arrival.

The logos ( and all the graphic design for the Aliens and MNU) are by Leri Greer - every time I added his logos it brought the designs to life.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

District 9 Exo Suit Concept Art - part 1

images©wingnut film

I can finally start showing a little of the concept art that I did for District 9 - these two images along with a few others are up on promoting the work on the film we did at Weta Workshop.
I also talked on a Weta podcast a little while back if you want to know more about the process we went through working on D9.

These two images are two of maybe fifteen or so illustrations that I did on this particular design.
I probably did forty or more on earlier designs. (as I mentioned earlier, we actually built a full scale prop of one of the earlier versions but we changed to this design after principal photography was finished)

This version became the final design and went through a few iterations but really didn't change much from the first pass.
It started out as predominately white/grey with black extremities and orange markings. Neill asked that I make it black near the end of the design phase.
Definitely looks more menacing in black, but I kinda liked the mainly white version.
The very first version also had little external arms that Wikus's (or in it's intended form, an alien's) arms would slot into and you can kinda make those out from the back view.

Now that I think about it, I probably did a lot more than fifteen illustrations of this design....
I'll show a few more soon as well as a few other designs.

I've seen some really cool home made models of the Exo Suit now, some in Lego that are particularly good.
This one is great, and this one is proportionately the most accurate.
Pretty impressive considering the lack of decent reference.

More soon.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

District 9 Mothership Concept Art

images©wingnut film

Here's the first piece of my District 9 concept art released on the internet.
This image was printed as a limited edition (150 prints) piece and signed by Peter Jackson.

I'll be showing more in future, but this one is out there on the internet so I thought I might as well put it on my blog too.

The next concept art to be made public will be through UK magazines ImagineFX (a concept art magazine) and sister mag, 3D World.
ImagineFX will feature several pieces from myself, Leri greer and David Meng and hopefully reveal a little of the design process and thinking behind the film.
3D World are doing a feature with Embassy VFX and Weta Digital about their build of the D9 Dropship which will feature my original concept pieces.

Oh yeah, the blurred out part of the image is Chistian Pearces face! It must have been blurred to protect his identity... not now!
In this iteration of the design (which was adjusted for the final build - more booster pods instead of three, a reduced mid section, based on an earlier version of the design etc..) I had advertising hoardings and some grafitti littering the sides of the ship, the idea being that the Mothership has been there for twenty plus years. I thought that not only would MNU have been up to scavenge and salvage, but private firms and individuals would have made their way up and over the course of time, graffitit'd it and added billboards etc..
I really liked the idea that this astounding object could become mundane over time.
This idea didn't make it into the final build for various reasons.

Another subsequent version had the big, graphic patterns on the side. I think this version was the second or third to last iteration.

From a design perspective, I painted this from a pretty tight set of Neill's ideas. He had established by this point of the design phase that it was a classic saucer, something iconic and instantly recognisable - a shorthand. He also wanted it to be slightly de-constructed by MNU's salvaging and to feel like a refinery or mining vessel.
While the forms are all my own, the ideas are for the most part, very specifically Neill's.

For the final model, I think it was Embassy VFX who built the actual model, but Weta Digital added a great deal of detail and texture as they managed the majority of 'ship' effects shots.

You can hopefully read a lot more on this in the upcoming ImagineFX feature.

Tuesday 18 August 2009


My new Dr. Grordbort's book: Victory is finished and nearing it's release date.
Darkhorse are publishing again and they will be releasing it on November the 11th.
As you can appreciate, I've named it something a little shorter than my last book this time: Victory - although it's full title is still a mouthful Dr. Grordbort Presents: Victory - Scientific Adventure Violence for Young Men and Literate Women.

This new book is sort of an adventure annual - although, within the context of the universe of Dr. Grordbort, I consider it propaganda for children. I'll leave you to interpret that as you will.

It fleshes out much more of the Grordbort's world than ever before and I think it is some of my best work so far - but I would say that wouldn't I?
It's not shit, I can promise you that much at least.
Here is a little sneak peak at what to expect!
Enjoy! (or complain - it's up to you. This is the internet after all)



District 9

So District 9 is out at last and the reception has been amazing. I've really only heard good things from people and nothing but compliments for all our work on the film at Weta Workshop.
I saw the film in San Diego while I was over for Comic Con, and I gotta admit, I was nervous. Surrounded by journalists, it's hard to be objective with something you've worked so intently on for so long.

Those nerves disappeared pretty quick once the film got started though - Neill's vision came through so clearly and powerfully, and between that and Sharlto's incredible performance, I was just dragged along for the ride. I even got a little weepy in bits! What a sissy.

Plus I got kinda buzzed when I saw my Exo Suit design running around at the end fucking annihilating everything!
The modellers at Weta Digital and the painters and animators at Embassey VFX just nailed everything I imagined it to be and added so much more.
I can tell you, there's a really powerful childlike thrill that you get when you see something you've drawn and designed come to life like that. It is truly nerdy.
Oh yeah, plus all my guns turning dudes to mist! Ha ha! Fuck, I must be a frikkin' psychopath or something.... I swear, I'm actually a vegetarian!

I'll post concept art from the film as and when I get approval.

Saturday 30 May 2009

You Went Down

Ok, so I like to think of myself as a pretty good illustrator most of the time. I've designed for many movies, illustrated dozens of books, created a whole world of Rayguns, robots and intergalactic racism with Dr. Grordbort's (new book in November plug plug).
So I thought, 'I wonder how excellent am I at animation?".
Turns out, not very.

Nevertheless, the results are out on the internet and hey, all in all, they're kinda cute.

Oh yeah. You might be wondering how these hyper realistic moving images were created. Is it some new version of Maya running on twelve Playstation 3's? Or did he get the render wall at Weta Digital cranking for a few weeks? Neither of these is true.
It's a little app, like Colors for the DS called Animanatee that you can create quick animations on.
I did almost all these lying in bed at night when I shoulda been reading a clever book.



Tuesday 26 May 2009

99 Dodgy Slips Video

Well, I finally got round to uploading a video of some of my 99 Dodgy Slips images being created in Colors.
Christian and I did this during the exhibition, they were on continuous playback for the duration of the show. Now Christians video has had some great success getting onto Jalopnik (a car blog) and Kotaku, one of my favourite blogs entirely about videogames.
So I thought, "You tard, put a video up while you still give a damn."
Here it is!

Watch it while you can. 99 Dodgy Slips, of course, has nudity and reveals parts of feminine anatomy that some people seem to enjoy being offended by.
I won't be surprised if it's taken down quick smart.

Sunday 17 May 2009

The Boozer

He stays out all night, drowning his sorrows.
You'd stay out on the turps too if you were just told by your manufacturer that you were an android and not actually sentient, just programmed to think you were sentient.
That shit is deep. Think about it...

Sunday 3 May 2009


What is this thing? I have no fucking idea.
I fell asleep at the wacom, woke up...hello.... whatever the fuck you are...
If you have any idea, you are probably on drugs.
Remember, winners don't use drugs.
Except for medical mary-jane. Winners love that.
It cures their lumbago.

Friday 1 May 2009

District 9 Trailer up

The trailer for Neill Blomkamps District 9 is up and I am smiling.
This is the only film I've taken time away from Dr. Grordbort's to work on at Weta over the last couple years, and it's finally nearing completion.
It's personally very exciting for me to finally see this trailer. I consider the design work I've done one this film to be my best so far, and it's incredibly gratifying to see a glimpse of it finally made public.
Check it out here.

Thursday 30 April 2009

Prints and 99 Dodgy Slips Books available

Eyeball Kicks, a great little pop-art (best term I could think of - they sell excellent art prints, books and toys) store in Wellington, is now selling one of my personal prints.
Idrisopod meets Earth man was a painting that I did for a friends son and I believe it's limited to 20 pieces.
They're also selling the 99 Dodgy Slips books for $99 NZD and they ship internationally.

I have various other prints and limited edition posters for sale. These are all from the Dr. Grordbort's world and you can get them at the Wetacave in Wellington or from the online store at WetaNZ.
Check that shit out!
You know, if ya want to.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

The Battery Updated

I've been deep in Dr. Grordbort's land writing my follow up book for the last three months so I've barely had a chance to update the blog. In the background however, my good friend David Vega Morales has been updating my main website The Battery.
It doesn't look or function a whole lot differently, but it's now way easier for me to update. So when I have time I'll be able to put up new images etc..
Please come along and check it out. There are a few new images in the latest gallery.
After the new Grordbort book comes out (later this year, look for an announcement at Comic Con), I'll finally put a whole bunch of that artwork up. I'm really looking forward to seeing all this work finally made public. It's been a huge job.
The Battery is now my personal site but you can check out my Battery founding partner, Warren Mahy's work at the Mahy Studio.
He draw good.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

99DS Opening Night Photos

OK, so 99 Dodgy Slips & 99 Deadly Sleds is already over, but wanted to throw some pics up of the opening night anyway.
It was a fun night and lots of friends and a few weirdos came along to enjoy the amazing selection of complimentary bananas, banana lollies and banana flavoured milk.
Oh, yeah, they looked at the art too and all of them said nice things so I was very happy.

Many of the prints sold from the exhibition during it's time open, but we still have some available as well as the art books which compile all the images.
If anyone is interested please get in touch via the comments and I'll figure out a way to get them to you.
The prints are from one part of only two editions (edition one of all 99 prints having sold before the opening of the show) and sell for NZ$99 each (roughly USD$50 at the time of writing).
The limited edition art books also sell for NZ$99.
Christians prints and books are available for the same amount.

Thanks again to all that came along.

Photos by Steve Unwin!

Sunday 22 February 2009

Getting Directions....

Sometimes, you just gotta know where the nearest public toilets are.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Imagine FX Dinosaur

Dinosaur! Well sort of.
It's a Dinosaur that I created for an ImagineFX Tutorial (British concept art magazine) and it's entirely fictitious as you could probably guess.
I think I called it Atrocitasaurus, which is derived from a Latin base and means Hipster Doofus Lizard....or something like that. No wait, it means Lasers for Eyes Lizard...
This concept along with a bone diagram and some other supporting sketches became the basis for my friend and fellow Wetite, Steve Lambert's 3D version.
He created that (modeling, texturing, rigging and animating!) for 3D World magazine.