Learning to Draw 01: Basic shapes (and getting ahead of myself)

I’ve always loved to draw, but never received any formal training. Because I’m getting a bit more serious about improving my drawing skills, I started taking an online class. Rich Graysonn goes over the absolute basics that make up the fundamentals of drawing in How to Draw and Sketch for Beginners.

So far, I’m mainly doing lots of basic shapes exercises:

20180213 Pulling Lines20180213 Rectangles20180213 Squares20180213 Triangles

But then of course, I got a bit antsy and way ahead of myself. A good friend of mine made a series on house dust mites a couple of years back, and ever since seeing those I’ve wanted to do my own series on insects. I’ll gradually keep drawing insects throughout the course. I’m not unhappy with how the first beetle came out, but there’s always things to improve on. Hopefully I’ll be able to do so by the time I’m done with the course.

20180213 Beetle

Simple Lamp Animation

I modeled and animated a simple lamp to learn about rigging and kinematics. Below you can see the complete process.

First I modeled a simple lamp, using both box modeling and bezier curves:

wip lamp wirewip lamp renderwip lightbulb materialsThe light bulb was also modeled through bezier curves. It was given a blackbody material to more realistically represent the colour tone of a light source when interacting with another surface (see the slightly warmer colour on the inside of the lamp)

wip lightbulb wirewip lightbulb renderI then rigged the entire lamp and constricted its movement to rotation around a single axis depending on the type of joint.

After the basic rig worked, adding reverse auto kinematics made all the bones in the rig respond when only a single one was being manipulated. This gave the whole rig a more realistic feel to it.

Next up was animating the scene:

I found the scene to be more dynamic once I also animated the camera:

After adding some simple textures I rendered the entire thing:

A simple 6 second animation at 720p 60fps still took well over 12 hours to render. I sincerely hope I will not have to render Full HD or 4K projects any time soon.

I’m glad I finally learned the basics of animation. I had been putting that off, but it’s really not that difficult to get a working rig.

Chessboard: Modeling and Texturing

The latest assignment in my Blender course was to model and texture a chess set. This is a classic assignment because it allows for a wide variety of modeling techniques to be demonstrated. On the other hand, the scope of the project stays manageable.

This section was really cool. I feel like I learned a lot. Below you can find my chess pieces and final renders. The last 4 renders display a famous game between Garry Kasparov and Veselin Topalov.


pawn reference pawn wire pawn solidRook

Rook referenceRook wireRook solidKnight

knight referenceknight wireknight solidBishop

bishop referencebishop wirebishop solidQueen


King referenceKing wireKing solidFinal Scene

I changed the texture of the chessboard. I initially went with adding a texture per square and duplicating that to all squares of the same colour and keeping the rosewood texture around that, like we did in the lecture. However, I found the squares to be quite repetitive, so I made the whole playing field from one piece of wood (source:  wildtextures.com) and changed the squares’ colour in GIMP. This way uses more memory for rendering and in game, but on the upside: there’s no texture repetition between all squares from the same colour, as the grooves carry on from one square to the next.

The wooden pieces use a seamless texture (source: maxtextures.com) mapped with coordinates “generated” and projection “tube”.

If you want to use the textures, you can find them here:


Center Diffuse

Outer Diffuse

Bump map

Reflection Map


Light diffuse

Dark diffuse

Bump map

Reflection map

Simple bowling scene in Blender 3D

In order to create my own game assets, I’m taking a course in Blender 3D. Up to this point we’ve covered basic box modeling, Bézier curves and simple materials.

Below you can find my entire process of going from the initial reference material all the way to a finished bowling scene. As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Creating the curve: