Week 33

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independant creative.

Week 32 and 33 were quietly productive, not that much to write about.

I launched a webshop with Society6! Selling prints of my artwork is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and it was surprisingly easy to set up actually. Though not all of my artwork is nescessarily useful to serve as a print, because when I paint freely I usually don’t think about the resolution. So maybe I’ll make artwork specifically designed for print now. If you have any suggestions or requests let me know in the comments!

Other than that I continued work on the site mascots – finished one and iterated on the other. Fawlty Towers was also in the mix the past two weeks, with more and more graphics slotting into place. Last week it was mostly deferred in favor of working on an update to the Putin dressup game. I made a bunch of new items that should show up sometime soon. Going back to an old project is often somehow soothing, like “I know how to do this” – the process is fleshed out, the idea is fully formed, so it’s comfortable to produce extra content.

I also did more writing on my detective concept. I’ve played most of the games that speak to the same aesthetic but it feels like there ought to be more out there. If you know any good obscure detective games, let me know in the comments.

One great game I played during the writing phase was Detective Grimoire, available on just about everything. It’s a small game but it has a great story and it knows exactly how it wants to tell it. There are no excess features or distracting things, and that makes it one of the best mystery-solving games I’ve played in a while. Very cool to collect all the clues and eventually form the theory yourself. Highly recommended.

Week 27

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independant creative.

It’s been a pretty productive week, finished up my to-do list for the webgame I’ve been making assets for, did some logo design and mockups for two other projects, and spent thursday working at Game Oven again on Bounden. We looked at some new interface shapes and button layouts for various menus, and managed to push a Testflight build out the door so I can finally check it out on my own phone, which is quite useful when I’m designing at home.

I did some writing on friday based on a dream I had the day before, and the satisfaction I got from it was quite intense in comparison to the bigger tasks I’ve been doing the past few weeks. I forget what an instant high writing a short story can give you. It was a welcome feeling.

Your ‘job’ as an independant creator doesn’t just stop at doing the work and nmanaging your clients and finances, you also have to manage yourself and your own contentment in doing the work in the first place. It’s an aspect that often gets overlooked, and I read some good articles about it this week that made me realise again that we as humans are inclined to focus on everything that can be improved and all the uncertainty we face, and with that forget all the good parts.

When You’re Feeling Self-Doubt & a Lack of Motivation

http://www.artfulgamer.com/the-albatross-of-incompletion/
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JamieFristrom/20131212/206951/How_To_Be_A_Happy_Indie_Game_Developer.php

It’s good sometimes to stop and take a moment to appreciate all that you have, even if it is an uncertain whirlwind. Getting up early to go to the office on thursday through the cold and the dark was one of those moments for me. Check out those articles, they’re a good read.

Week 21

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independant creative.

Monday was once again the classic blogpost-offstage day. I’ve been letting the significance of that day as the start of the week slide, so I’m going to enforce it more as if that day is off-limits to anything else.

On tuesday I worked at Game Oven again and we’ve been zeroing in on the final visual look. Rami Ismael dropped by and concurred that it does in fact look quite rad. This week we’re announcing the game!

On wednesday I worked from home and in the evening took a friend to the special edition of De Mus, our weekly theatre cafe night, this time in the church at Waterloo square. Next to the music performances and interviews we also played folk games with Adriaan. Aside from a slightly rambunctious crowd it was a great night and these guys are destined for great things.

Thursday and friday I continued with creating assets for Gamesys. I’ve been doing more with interface design recently, something I’ve never really spent much time on, and I’m learning a lot. I’m still no UX designer but designing goodlooking and functional interfaces is enjoyable work.

At the end of the week I went to eat and see The Hobbit 2 with my old colleagues at Paladin Studios in The Hague. It was great catching up with them and they are working on something truly stunning coming out soon. The level of polish on that thing is amazing.

Week 20

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independant creative.

On monday I swung by the Gamesys office here in Amsterdam to work on the assets for the game we’re making. I managed to up the catalog of items from 6 to 36 by the end of the afternoon so we made good progress. Their office is right in the middle of the Red Light district, so it feels a little strange walking into the building when all the neighbouring buildings have red windows. And I forgot my laptop charger when I started for home so I got to walk through there twice…

On tuesday I was back in the Game Oven office to film the first production diary for the unannounced game. That should be going online pretty soon so then I can finally talk about what’s going on. On wednesday I was in the building again for the Dutch Game Garden networking lunch where we demo’d the Sinterklaas game we made last weekend. Also caught up with some of my old classmates.

Thursday was the first day in a week that I could sit down at home again for my other projects. I caught up inking Off-stage, and spent too much time figuring out why the site was only displaying the new version when I adjusted the zoom level of the browser. Turned out it was some dumb WordPress CDN feature. I kinda liked the effect though, might be worth making that a feature of the site.

During the week I also sort of wrecked my Intuos4 pen. It still works but it’s all ductaped up, no good. I wanted to grab the new Intuos Pro right from the store but this model was 350! Thankfully with my comapny’s VAT number I managed to get it for 250 online. It came in on saturday right before I left for Utrecht to celebrate Sinterklaas with my family. For my dad I made a cardboard Xenomorph head as a gift container, and I like how it turned out (considering I started on it two days before). A ‘gezellig’ weekend was had!

Week 17

This is a weekly recap of the goings-on in my professional life – to keep track of what I’m doing and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independant creative.

Monday went by as the classic blogging + Off-stage day. Took a trip downtown when I got stuck on drawing to get some fresh air and restore focus. Tuesday and wednesday I spent at the Game Oven office working on sexy visuals again.

Gilles van Leeuwen filming some dev diary action

By the end of tuesday my erratic sleeping schedule caught up with me and I basically fell into bed at 9 PM. Finding some sort of rhythm or schedule as an independant is so important because sometimes a bad sleep can sap all the energy I need to be creative in favor of just keeping this meaty husk up and running. It’s a struggle but I have an alarm set at the same time each day.

On thursday I did some sketches and interface design for a small webgame I’m collaborating on. I like these short projects where I can focus intensely on making art assets over a short period without too much back-and-forth and get a nice paycheck out of it at the end. If I reliably have two such projects each month I will be a happy camper.

On friday I was back at Game Oven again, and in the evening I was invited to a violin recital at the Utrecht conservatory. It’s not the sort of music I ever end up seeing live so that was a fun experience. It made me think a lot about what kinds of things I like about the music I generally listen to and how it fits in with my creative preferences.

Over the weekend I followed Sean’s advice and just ’embraced everything I love, idiot.’ I hadn’t played an actual goddamn videogame in weeks and I almost forgot how good that stuff can be. Found some new music. Read comics. Went to the cinema. Walked around Amsterdam. Planned a trip. The good stuff.