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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 - 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

 


1

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!!!

1469953_151460484373_ngpost-tweet.png

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!


1

Posted by zeedox - July 15th, 2017


Hey Newgrounds!

Are you an animator who makes cartoons!? Need some backgrounds? Maybe I can help you, I'm looking for more animators to collaborate with!

I can do them free of charge, but with a few caveats

-It's something you're working on independently, not work you're producing for someone else/a client (in that case I'm willing to negotiate a fair price).

-You've got a few previous front page quality animations already on Newgrounds (or can show me existing work somewhere else of a similar quality)

-I would like to paint these backgrounds in Photoshop even though most of my previous work are vector Flash backgrounds, I've been trying to improve on my raster painting skills lately.

-I'm not looking for any particular scope of project. Need one background for something simple for Animonthly/Loopdeloop or working on something ambitious, either way I may be interested.

-The backgrounds won't be exclusive. I'm going to put the source files up in a bundle that others can purchase and use. I'll probably use them for other things too.

So, If you have a project in the works or you are starting one soon and you think I might be able to help you, let me know! You can see examples of my background work over at BackgroundArt.net


Speaking of background packs, I recently made a background pack #3 available on my Gumroad store, it's the result of the last time I made a similar collab offer. If you want to see the source file of a flash background with 61 layers, take a look!

If you want updates on future background packs or on everything else I work on, my Twitter is the place I post most often!1469953_150013383772_pack3.jpg


Here's one background I once painted in photoshop, and some of my vector stuff too:

1469953_150013390262_bg31.jpg

1469953_150013454523_odd4_final.png

1469953_150013454431_zeedox_city-street-under-attack-barckground-art.png

1469953_150013454422_bg14.png

1469953_150013454363_3.jpg

 

 

 

 

 


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Posted by zeedox - June 23rd, 2017


I've just put together some background packs on my Gumroad store.

Check them out if you're interested in using any of these backgrounds on your own projects or if you'd like to take a look at my source .fla files

1469953_149822161531_bgpack1_tweet2.png1469953_149822178853_bgpack2_tweet.png

If you want updates on future background packs or on everything else I work on, my Twitter is the place to follow!


1

Posted by zeedox - April 19th, 2017


In other news, this background I posted the other week got my first art portal frontpage which certainly made my day! It's for an animation I'm working on with tidohuki. I also went as a volunteer to Jazza's million subsriber Arty Party (and even had the honour of presenting him with his golden play button!)

As always, My Twitter is the place where you can find the most updates on everything I'm working on.


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Posted by zeedox - April 1st, 2017


In other news, I did a couple of additional backgrounds for Trumped 2 and I've been working with tidohuki on an animated short. The background below is a work in progress of the current BG I'm working on.

I you wanna keep up to date with whatever I'm currently working on, the best place is my Twitter, I've also started streaming my background processes over on Twitch.

I also did an interview for Monoversal which you can see here!

Also, if any of you snagged tickets to Jazza's arty party in Melbourne, I'll see you there next weekend!

1469953_149109587682_bg2_v43.png

Here's something else I drew recently too:

1469953_149109614013_zeedox_lighthouse-background-art.png


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