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View Profile zeedox
I'm a freelance background artist and I'm on Newgrounds to make cool things and collaborate with people! Stuff I've worked on include Jazza's The Tale Teller, One Week Ultimate Werewolf and Shopkins: Wild

Greg Bartlett @zeedox

27, Male

Background Artist

Adelaide, Australia

Joined on 2/8/06

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zeedox's News

Posted by zeedox - May 24th, 2019


Hey Newgrounds!


Checking in with some updates on what I've been up to since it's been a while due to how busy things have been!


Four months ago I moved to Melbourne for a 3 month contract as a layout artist on a really cool show (can't tell you which one yet, sorry!). It was a super cool learning experience being trained in layout and it's a skill I'm hoping to use a lot more in the future.


Since that finished a couple weeks ago I've been back to working full time on a really big and exciting freelance project. I also decided to stick around in Melbourne a bit longer to see what other opportunities I can find here, and also since I've been having so much fun being around so many creative people here.


I'm also renting a hot-desk for the next six weeks inside an animation studio! I've always been interested in giving co-working a shot. Should be a fun change of pace from working out of my bedroom! Check out the view from my desk below:


I've also been posting weekly updates in Instagram stories every Friday for over 6 months now. They've been a really enjoyable way to let people know what I'm up to.


Planning on focusing hard on my freelance project (which I've been calling Project "Chocolate Cake") for the next six weeks, but after that I hope to find a little bit of time to do some backgrounds for something just for fun.


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Posted by zeedox - February 9th, 2019


What's up Newgrounds. I've got a big news update!


In my start of January post I mentioned I was in crunch mode on something BIG, something I've been referring to as project codename "Chocolate Cake"! It's the biggest and most exciting freelance project I've done yet. But just a couple weeks ago, things got a lot more crazy.


I got offered work in an animation studio as a layout artist!


The only way I could do it was by first negotiating a big extention on project "Chocolate Cake" which thankfully I was able to.


I didn't have much time at all to prepare, move interstate and find somewhere to stay. I started last week. I was pretty nervous starting last Wednesday as I've never done layout in a studio setting and there's a lot to learn in so little time. I'm excited to go back to work next Monday even if it will be very full on week. I'm excited because I'm gonna learn so much from it and layout experience will be super valuable on my quest to draw backgrounds.


Of course I'm also gonna have to put in the hours on the side on project "Chocolate Cake" I'm gonna be busy busy BUSY. But I'm excited about where I'm gonna be at if I survive these next 6 months. Working on those DREAM PROJECTS!!


also.....


3PM the day before I left Adelaide to go to Melbourne, look what arrived just in time! Finally got my copy of the board game I did art for, One Week Ultimate Werewolf. Now I just need to find the time to learn the rules!


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2

Posted by zeedox - January 11th, 2019


Hey Newgrounds, Happy 2019! Here's a little recap of my 2018. It's going down in history as a breakthrough year for me.

In January I finished up working my first studio job as a background artist on the film Shopkins Wild. It was only a short contract but it was a fantastic experience and a big step towards breaking into the industry as a background artist. I worked with a lot of great people and I left having learned a ton and feeling much more confident. I got to see my name in the credits in the cinemas at the premiere screening which was such a big moment.

 

Shopkins Wild DVD and Background Artist credit screen in cinema

 

The other big thing was One Week Ultimate Werewolf! I'd never imagined as a fan of board gaming that my work would end up on the shelves of board game stores! OWUW was also a project that I'm extremely proud of. It was a lot of unexplored territory for me as to how I did the design, colours and rendering in photoshop and I feel like I pushed myself to raise my own work by a substantial leap. I actually just went to the shops today and I saw it on the shelves for the first time!

 

One Week Ultimate Werewolf on display in my local board game shop

 

Freelance picked up significantly at the start of the year (after a really shitty 2017 too). For most of the year I was quite busy and never really found myself out of things to work on. It's also been a decent year for painting backgrounds for internet toons. I had the opportunity to work on The Real Pokebusters for Mashed and collab with JesusAcHe, who did the animation. I'm also thankful to JesseJayJones and Carbonwater for the chance to participate in both the Totally Tubular Collab and the Newgrounds DBZ Collab. Backgrounds for web cartoons are hands down the most fun to work on and I hope 2019 comes with more opportunities to do just that!

 

The Real Pokebusters background art

 

I'm starting 2019 in crunch mode working on something BIG! I can't say anything about it yet but I've been calling it Project Codename "Chocolate Cake" in my weekly updates on IG. It's quite possibly the most exciting thing I've done yet.

You can follow me on either Instagram or Twitter to hear more updates of what I'm working on.

 

Assortment of 2018 highlights


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Posted by zeedox - December 26th, 2018


I recently joined in this fun artist resolution challnge on Instagram after a friend tagged me in it. It got me thinking about all the sorts of things I want to work on next year:

Various goals for 2019

On the topic of instagram, I've been sharing recent art as well as updates on big secret projects I'm busy on. I only started using Instagram this year so I don't have anywhere close to the followers I do on NG or twitter, why not check out some of my recent posts?


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Posted by zeedox - August 4th, 2018


I've been doing at least one daily practice study every single day, and this week I reached a two year long streak! On average I've done 27 minutes and 3.8 drawings a day. I thought I might make a post to share with you all my method of doing it and sticking to it.

Some of my favourites out of recent studies

Daily art practice and working on my weaknesses was something I always wished I could do and I'd try it in short bursts, but was never able to stick to it for any amount of time.

Until I discovered a program called Anki.

Anki is a flashcard program that uses spaced repetition. It's an incredibly efficient way to memorize a whole lot of information (like, if you are studying medicine or learning vocab in a foreign language.) Essentially, every time you get a flashcard right the amount of time before ANki makes you review it again goes up and the difficult cards get seen more often.

Instead, I decided to try using Anki to make decks of reference images of things I wanted to practice drawing and then I challenged myself to do at least one drawing a day (although it's effectively two as I try do to one to improve my anatomy drawing and another related to backgrounds/environments.

Anki turned out to have a whole bunch of big advantages.

1) It tracks your time and amount of cards studied and gives you graphs and statistics. This is a great way of keeping myself accountable to drawing every day because if I miss a day it'll permanently be recorded under the days studied % stat.

Also I found that without Anki, doing studies of things I'm bad at was demotivating since I was struggling through the process of drawing something I’m not good at and it felt like that time was wasted. But with Anki, that time gets recorded and increasing the total hours spent/number of reviews gamifies it a bit.

Statistics from Anki

2) Anki manages my cards so that I can do more intensive practice on specific things but also keep practicing everything else. For example, if I decide that the thing I really need to improve most right now is drawing cars, I can add a whole bunch of car images and Anki will mostly show me cars to draw, but all the clouds I wanted to practice earlier still pop up occasionally as the cards do repeat themselves. Also, I can mark cards as hard or fail them if I’m struggling with them and feel I need to practice that same drawing again.

 

3) Anki makes it super convenient to start practicing. Removing as many barriers as possible is essential for being able to stick to making something an every day habit. I don’t have to think at all about what I’m going to draw, I just open a blank photoshop file and then hit study and Anki gives me something to draw. Of course, I do need to put time aside every now and then to add more images into as they start to run out but it’s not an extra thing I need to think about every single day.

This convenience and ease of starting is the key to sticking to it every day. I set my goal really low, I just need to do one mandatory drawing and I’m done for the day. There’s no minimum time limit, it could even be a 20 second scribble. I’ve done bare minimum half-assed studies many days, either because I was busy, on holiday or just unmotivated or lazy. However, the hardest part is just sitting down and getting started. Often, telling myself that I only need to spend a couple minutes and then I’m done with Anki for the day if I want leads me to keep drawing for 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even an hour longer than I thought I would. But if I don’t, that’s fine too.

Another convenience with Anki is you can create an account at ankiweb.net and sync it to there. That means I can do Ankis anywhere as long as I have a device with a web broswer and internet. I used ankiweb on my phone and did 1 minute sketches on paper when I was on holiday in Hong Kong.

More studies

Last year I used Anki to tackle a major skill I needed to improve. As I used to only using flash to draw backgrounds since 2011, I mostly stuck to using only that and rarely left my comfort zone to paint BGs instead in Photoshop. I realised that I needed to force myself to spend time painting in Photoshop. So I made an anki deck of images to do 30 minute timed studies of and set a new years resolution to do 240 of them. There was only one rule, I could only do a maximum of two a day so that I forced myself to spread them out somewhat over the year.

I ended up only making it to 200 (I got an in-studio job at the end of the year as a background artist and things got hectic), but it was a huge success and it made me a lot more comfortable in photoshop. I was certainly grateful I’d done it as I was a lot more prepared for the work I did on One Week Ultimate Werewolf, which involved painting detailed rooms entirely in Photoshop.

Some of the best 30 minute studies I did

I hope you found that interesting! If there’s any interest I could make another post about specific settings in Anki and other study tips. And, if you stay up to date with more of my stuff, my Twitter and Instagram are the places to go.


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Posted by zeedox - June 1st, 2018


Hey animators of Newgrounds,

Are you planning on entering the summer animation Jams? Want background art? I'm looking for animator(s) to team up with. Here's how it works: I draw backgrounds for you so you don't have to which means you get to more time to do inbetweens or play fortnite or whatever AND THEN YOU WIN (At fortnite).

So let me know if you're interested.

If you're not familiar with my stuff here's a few backgrounds below that I did for previous NG jams/collabs, or you can see even more of my work at backgroundart.net

DBZ Collab BG

Summer Jam '16 BG

DBZ Collab BG

And here's a few examples of other work I've done:

Observatory Room from One Week Ultimate Werewolf

Totally Tubular Collab BG

Background from Jazza's The Tale Teller


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Posted by zeedox - May 15th, 2018


Hey Newgrounds,

I wanted to show you all a pretty exciting project I've been busy on the last couple of months!

One Week Ultimate Werewolf box

I've been designing and painting all the different room tiles and the cover illustration in the board game One Week Ultimate Werewolf, by Bézier Games. It's been a really cool opportunity since I was already a fan of the original One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

Here's a sample of a few of the rooms:

The Sitting Room

The Workshop

The Kitchen

If you wanna see more of my stuff, why not check out my Instagram or Twitter!


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Posted by zeedox - April 30th, 2018


Hey Newgrounds!

Last month Shopkins Wild, a feature film I worked on as a background artist got released on DVD after a cinema release during March. If you're a 5 year old girl, first of all I'm impressed you're browsing Newgrounds, but you're gonna love this movie.

Seeing my name in the credits at the premiere in the cinemas was such a cool moment! (even though I got credited twice differently as "Greg Bartlett" and "Gregory Bartlett haha")

Check out this music video from the movie. Even though we heard it so often in the studio I never got sick of it, it's so catchy!

 

Here's a couple backgrounds I did the final line art, coloring and lighting, I uploaded even more to my portfolio site BackgroundArt.net

A friendly jungle frm Shopkins Wild

A scary jungle from Shopkins Wild

Shopkins background credits in cinema

In other news I've been super busy on a really REALLY cool project. By far and away the coolest thing I've ever worked on. Maybe I can say more about it sometime very soon, don't know yet, but why not follow me on Instagram or Twitter if you want to hear the lastest news!


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Posted by zeedox - January 17th, 2018


Hey NG!

Recently I got to work with the super talented @jessejayjones on a background for his part on the Totally Tubular Collab. Here's how I made it from start to finish, using Photoshop. It's pretty similar to the processes we used at my last job where I worked as a BG artist on a kid's feature film (although for that I mostly only did the line art/flat color/lighting steps.

Here's what Jesse sent me to work off of, as well as the animatic.

Storyboard

First step is gethering reference images and then drawing up a rough:

background rough

Next I created a color thumbnail. Sometimes when doing color design I play around a bit at color.adobe.com until I come up with something that looks nice. For this background the plan was an analogous color scheme, with nothing being allowed to go further green than the door's color, with the ratio of green to orange favoring a majority orange. Also, oranges/reds were allowed to have a maximum saturation higher than greens. This color thumb involved a lot of playing around with the hue/saturation slider on the individual areas of color until I was happy with it:

color thumb

Now I'm ready to work on the final piece, starting with line art. I used three different brushes here, a standard brush (round brush with pressure sensitivity and spacing turned down to 1%), a textured brush for the inside lines of elements like wood, and a thicker textured brush for other elements like the rug and stones on the wall:

line art

Next is coloring. I painted in flat fills underneath my lines, using my color thumb as a guide. Some fills bled out past the lines as a deliberate style choice (was one of the things I wasn't sure if it was going to end up looking good or not though). Then I recolored the lines to be slightly darker and more saturated than the colour of the fills.

flat colors

Lastly is lighting. Hard shadows are painted in using the multiply blend mode, and hard highlights/soft lighting were done with color dodge/screen (really whatever looks good). Finally I added subtle amounts of texture to some things and a reflection from the windows.

lighting

Make sure to take a look at the end result and Jesse's finished animation!

Bonus: All the elements of the cupboard prop seperated out:

cupboard pieces

 


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Posted by zeedox - December 29th, 2017


Hey Newgrounds,

2017 was a pretty interesting for me, I think if this year ended in August I would have considered it the worst year so far but it got its shit together all of a sudden and I think it's been one of the best yet. For this reason I thought it was worthwhile sharing a summary of the year.

Trying to make a career out of animation backgrounds has been a goal for a long time and 2017 started having released The Tale Teller a few months earlier. Looking at it as passion project, it did amazing. I'm super proud of it and I still can't believe it's at the top of the portal. But it didn't really lead to any immediate opportunities and my branding was kind of confusing too. I'm either 'zeedox' 'Greg Bartlett' or 'BackgroundArt.net' and BackgroundArt.net is the one I started focusing on with this push to get more into backgrounds (though it wasn't prominent within the Tale Teller). I'd also kept so much of the Tale Teller under wraps and I regretted underestimating the importance of the exposure that comes from making stuff that I share on own channels such as my Twitter and my Newgrounds page. So since then I'd been looking for opportunities to collaborate with animators which also lets me create background art I can share.

some backgrounds I did

Most of the year was pretty bad for background work. Any time it seemed like something was about to come along it just ended up in a disappointment. I began to question if I was was wasting my time focusing on backgrounds and this uncertainty sapped away at motivation. But then around August things changed. The biggest change is that I got a job over in Melbourne at a studio as a background artist for a three month contract working on an animated kids film. And, I feel really confident about how it went (plus the job was amazing, I enjoyed it so much). Even though I was a mid level bg artist, I feel like I got trusted to do plenty of complex, key backgrounds. On top of that, I'm starting to get busy with a few other projects, I'm already pencilling in some awesome stuff for early next year. Here's one thing I'm in the process of working on right now: it's for Jesse J Jones's Totally Tubular Collab piece. Here's a work in progress of the line art and a color concept.

Some cool shit I'm working on for the amazing Jesse J Jones

On top of that I set new years resolutions to practise drawing every single day (which I succeeded) and to do 240 thirty minute studies in photoshop (made it to 200...) I'm gonna go into more details in another post soon. I also opened a gumroad store with background packs for sale as an experiment. I fully expected I'd sell zero. To my shock I've somehow sold seven. This is pretty exciting because it makes it a little bit more viable to make more by collaborating on projects on Newgrounds.

Earlier this month some tweets by Tyler and Jazza got me thinking about how much I owe to Newgrounds. And since I'm no longer totally broke, it was time to renew my supporter status. I'm staying in Melbourne right now and everyone I know here and hang out with including my housemates, all Newgrounds. Plus, I even met MarcyVF and TommyVF who visited Australia since they're directing another production that the studio I'm working it is working on. WOOOOOO NEWGROUNDS!!!

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I don't yet know exactly what's in store for 2018. My contract for my job is almost over and I'm not sure yet if I'll have more work and end up staying in Melbourne, but either way I'm filled with this optimism and energy right now that I had been missing for a long time, and for this reason I'm so excited to start 2018!


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