Gavin McCarthy is a freelance illustrator and graphic artist. This blog is a collection for various sketches, experiments and new work. Comments are always welcome and encouraged. All blog content © Gavin McCarthy

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I Know This - Global Game Jam 2015

So earlier this year at the Global Game Jam I had a chance to work with a very talented programer, game designer and all around cool guy Renaud Bédard. Other contributes included Adam Axbey (sound effects) and Matthew Simmonds (4mat) (music). I will go more in depth about the experience, but first, the game!

I Know This is hacking "simulator" birthed from Renaud's and my mutual love of Jurassic Park, more specifically, the hacking scene.

In the game, you navigate from tile to tile, searching the system for a special file that could be in one of five possible folders.

You hack search nodes to helps provide information about the percentage likelihood of what folder the file is contained in. Pick the wrong folder and it is game over, so you better be sure.

All the while, the system admin tries to hunt you down while Clicky, the helpful system assistant, is there to harass help you.

You can download and play for free here. Be sure to read Renaud's write up.

Now some thoughts on the collaboration.

I have done a few game jams in the past, sometimes with a team, sometimes just floating about the place, helping folks out with some art. Usually the majority of my input is strictly regarding visuals with some narrative/design contribution on rare occasion. Not to disregard my previous experiences, but working with Renaud was a whole new type of game collaboration, one I had never really had a chance to experience. We were very receptive to each others ideas while being sure to keep the project contained within reasonable expectations. This collaboration also allowed me to get a better understanding of Unity and I was even able to work on the level design (originally just paper and pencil) with the tools provided by my partner.

Renaud was gracious enough to put some overtime in to get it running smoothly, which was probably for the best considering the reception it got from a number of different blogs. People seemed to really enjoy it, but then again, who doesn't love reliving nostalgia? am I right?

So please do feel free to check out the game and be sure to let me now what you think

Found in Translation - My Concept Storyboards Work with Reactiv Pictures

I have been wanting to show off this work for some time and with the launch of the video this week, I can! This one is an interesting example of how similar a final piece can be to it's initial concept.
Last fall I got to create some fun concept storyboards with a production studio I have had the pleasure of working with on a couple projects. Reactiv Pictures is a talented team and Alon Isocianu, the director, is always a blast to work with. One evening we sat down and went over the script and shot breakdown for Angry Kids music video "Battle". He had a really intriguing concept in his head and I had the pleasure of trying to translate it to image, giving the team an idea of the overall feel as well as shot composition. After our jam, I went back to my studio and started working.

Here is the final video followed by some samples of my storyboard alongside the appropriate stills.

My main visual inspiration for the storyboards was ancient Greek pottery and the silhouetted characters that often adorned their sides. That, and some Wire-Fu/comic book influences.

When I got to see the final video I was very flattered to see how many of my shot compositions matched up, with a couple lining up almost identically. It was good to know that my vision of Alon's initial concept was accurate and hopefully helped it grow.

I want to give a big tip of the hat to Reactiv and everyone who worked on the video (be sure to check the credits on the Vimeo page) on a job well done. When I was drawing these I had little idea of how they might pull it off in a live action video, but by golly they did it and then some. For a breakdown of how the video was made, check out Reactiv's Behance Page.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Poetry Illustrations - Be Glad Your Nose...

Today I would like to show you some work I did for an educational reader published by Scholastic Canada. I was asked to illustrate a poem by Jack Prelutsky titled Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face and I have to say I had some fun with this one.

The interesting thing about working on these was how odd is was to draw a face without a nose, even in a more stylistic approach. That, and noses look funny anywhere other than on a face.

It's sunny here in Toronto and I am starting to realize how much I missed the smell of mud and earth.
Time to open a window or three.

Mergers and Greetings - Animating for a Corporate Law Firm.

Last year a good friend and colleague Benjamin Rivers, who was busy with his new game Alone With You, referred me to a client he had worked with for years. I was both flattered and terrified that I was to be vouched for in such a long standing relationship, especially considering the client was a very reputable corporate law firm. I am happy to say that one project turned into two and both jobs went very well.

The first project was an animated seasonal greeting for Torys LLP. The final animation needed to find a sensitive way of portraying the charity they had contributed to for that year while also being somewhat fun and uplifting. I learned that doing a panning shot in Flash is tricky but possible and I am very pleased with the end result.

The second project was slightly less whimsical in it's purpose and presentation as it was a series of animated info-graphics that helped illustrated market predictions in Torys' Mergers and Acquisitions report for 2015. This project presented some other interesting design tricks to work out for the "suspended die cut" style I wanted to use. Overall I am very happy with this one as well.

The teams on both projects were a pleasure to work with and I would happily work with them again. I also had the added benefit of challenging myself to try some new approaches in both animations and learning a great deal in the process.

Let me know what you think

We can Redraw Him... Better, Faster Stronger... (Learning the Boards)

As promised, here is my first installment in my attempt to get my blog caught up on my work over the past few months. I think first off I will talk about my work as a storyboard artist.

I have had some experience boarding in the past (the drawing kind, not the surf, snow or skate ones, I have no skills in those departments). However, most of my experience was for myself or side projects as well as a fairly strong understanding of sequential narrative from my work in comics. Over the last year I have been working on building a portfolio and client base and I am happy to say that I have a fair number of project under my belt now. It's an odd feeling to be watching TV and have an ad you worked on pop up, it's like extreme déjà vu or commercial clairvoyance. Here are a couple examples

Here is one I did for a First Choice Haircutters ad (one of my first full advertising boards). Here are a few panels and a sample of the final spot. This ad has a couple variants with different genders and ages.

You can check out the final video Here

Next is one I did for a Life Brand advertisement. This one has a stronger sense of tone and space. It was also helpful to have some really good reference shots from the location scouting that was done prior to my work on the project.

Overall I am really enjoying the work and have gotten a good feel for the pace I need to render. My work storyboarding has also been a fantastic drawing exercise as I am being forced to draw scenes/objects/poses that I usually would never think to draw. I look forward to showing off more of the boards as the projects get launched.


Emerging from the Mound

Hello Everyone!

It has been waaaaaaaaay too long since my last post. So long that I would not blame you for thinking I had fell off the planet or been lost to the Bermuda Triangle. The real reason I have been neglectful of my little blog here is that I have been tunneling my way out of a mound of work and projects.

I have been very fortunate over the past few months to have a generous amount of jobs come my way and some opportunities to work with some fantastic people.

Over the next few posts I will go in depth on some of these projects and also announce some projects that I will be working on this year.
Until then, Cheers!

Monster Sketches

So last night I was playing around in my sketchbook waiting for some water to boil and decided I would sketch some monsters with a tech-pen. After I was finished up with cooking and eating our meal I continued drawing while watching a gloriously bad sci-fi movie staring Mark Dacascos (that guy from Iron Chef America). Here are three of my favourites.

I might do some more monsters soon or perhaps explore these ones some more.
Hope you enjoyed them

MEGA POST - Web Comic - Mythic Disappointment (and some other drawings)

It has been a while since my last post and even longer since my last comic. Because of this, I thought I would do a nice, big post with a new comic and some things you who might have missed from my Twitter posts.

The following comic was created from a transcript of an actually conversation I had with my wife last Friday. And yes, I was genuinely sad.

Next is a new self portrait I made for all my various interaction. It was either this or a wedding photo.

And here is what I would look like in (and how I would survive) the apocalypse.

One day this month I asked the Twitter cloud to give me some suggestion on what to draw. Brian McLachlan suggested I draw either a dragon octopus or mermaid Captain America. So I did both.

And here are a couple drawings I did the other week because the internet needed some happy vibes. One is a BadAss Orange (based off a doodle by Myriame Pilgrim). The other is my dog and his joy of finding cheese.

And there you have it, most of my fun drawings this month. Once some of my work related drawings are published I will be sure to post about them. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Artbygavin and enjoy what's left of your summer.

Torontaru and the Quest for Nice Folks

I don't get out much. This is not because of social anxiety, shyness or a grumpy disdain for other humans, but merely a byproduct of working from home. I get out frequently enough with friends but really never had that group of comrades one gets from a studio environment or similar to that of my college years. I had been searching for this for some time but I was having trouble finding that social "je ne sais quoi".

It was discouraging to not have a "group" I could talk about work, life, food or whatever. Where I could socialize and meet new people, compare drawing/animating tricks, hear about interesting projects they where working on, weekend adventures... I felt like a nomadic high school student trying to find a club.

Then this purple, inebriated octopus came into my life.

About a year ago Kris Piotrowski (Capy), Marie-Christine Bourdua (Polytron) and Renaud Bédard (Capy) made this thing called "Torontaru". It was inspired by a casual social night for game developers that they had attended in Japan called "Otaru". I had already been going to game development events, collaborations and presentations and caught news of this new social night.

When I arrived I was immediately greeted by Marie-Christine as if I was a childhood friend she had not seen in years even though we never officially met until that night. This welcoming wave continued throughout the evening with everyone I met and I knew I was in the right place. Since then I have attended each one and have met some incredibly friendly, talented people, many of whom I have became friends with.

Torontaru recently celebrated it's first year anniversary. I was trying to think of something I could do to say "thanks" and that's when I was approached to design a new logo (obviously I said "yes"). I was nervous because Dominique Ferland did such a great job on the first one, but I took my best crack at it and think it came out quite nice. I also made this little announcement animation just for kicks.

If you are in the Toronto area and looking for a fantastic evening to spend with the game development community and friends, then be sure to check it out. Additionally, I must add as a beer drinker, Get Well is a great bar with a awesome beer selection, friendly staff and arcade cabinets. Details can be found at...
Twitter: @torontaru


My Return From Europe

It's OK... I'm alive. Some time has passed since my last post as I have recently been gallivanting around Europe with my lovely wife. We traveled for a little over two weeks and visited London, Paris, Amsterdam and Bruges. It was a packed 16 days of sights, sounds, smells and experiences. Here are a few images from the trip. Not many drawings but lots of sights.
I will be annoying my friends and family for years with stories from this adventure. Thanks to my wife for putting this all together, she might need to consider tourism as second career.

I was lucky to come home to some very fun projects and can't wait to show some of them. Now that I have gotten my routine back in order I should be posting more often.