How I Use the Sims 2 to Make Art

If I didn’t know better, I would think the Sims is a series completely devoted to inspiring art. It’s really a game of 3D figure models with hopes and dreams. For a video game nerd and art lover, there’s no better inspiration for a consistent practice.

howtoportraitsimThese are the first four stages that I go through to make a Sim-based painting.

First, I am obligated to pour hundreds of hours into an open-ended game with no intended purpose to fulfill. Once an interesting enough Sim pops up, I have them do various activities around the house and take a lot of screenshots from a lot of different angles. I go through the camera roll, pick the best one, and draw a quick sketch with pen on my canvas.

Then, I head over to my paints and start filling in spaces with generalized colours. Once the colours are in place, I obscure and redefine the boundaries of the figure like crazy until I finally have something I’m happy with.

I might post this version of the product on social media, and perhaps even text my mom to brag to her about my art finesse. Then, as in this case, after the 3rd or 4th instagram post, I started to get really annoyed with the shape of the nose. The details were too ambiguous for my taste; neither clear-cut nor forgotten about entirely. Weeks went by until I mustered up the courage to redo the face and hair.

portrait-10I was TERRIFIED of overdoing this piece. The dress and bathtub are so perfect that I knew the hair and face had to be just as beautiful, but maybe more glamorous. I spent a lot of time reworking this part, got frustrated at times, but ended up bouncing back by taking a risk with mixing china ink and acrylics to shift the focus to the face drawing I did.

The Sims 2 is a particularly easy game to cross over into my art interest, as they provide creative inspiration and physical models to get those body proportions right. And you can paint portraits in whatever style or style(s) you want. The goal here isn’t necessarily realism, but it’s representation. Art that inspires other art brings about this motif of perception and reality into play, and I’ve used this to further enhance the impact of my style.

Anyways, that’s all it takes to justify all those hours of video games.

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