I'm still working on this layout, but it's useable enough for now. The permalink pages look bad ATM but they work, at least. 8|
Yeah, sorry about that.
It’s old, but I wanted him on my blog. 8) (Photo ref, but I think the colors were improvised?)Read Post →
This thing is old, and there’s a custom 5-foot-wide black and white print of it hanging in my living room.
I’ve grown to love this picture because when oblivious older relatives come over, they usually just say, “You drew that? Wow, it’s so pretty!” (I don’t show my relatives many of my drawings) or “I think this picture is really you. It’s so rock and roll!”
Not trying to be a dick to them— they’re relatives, I love them. They’re very sweet, and they’re showing an interest in/support for things I make. Thankful for all of that.
But we see two different images— I love this picture because those same people haven’t registered the opened condom wrapper on the ground, his open fly, shirt on the ground, etc. and haven’t realized that because this is a drawing, I’ve made a conscious choice about all the items appearing in the image, and how that affects the drawing’s narrative. If they did I’d get slapped/scolded a whole lot more than I already do. 8D
To me they’re a litmus test of what sort of things people excuse in images without much thought, and what one can do with that ability…
(Also this is an old Gaia avatar, hahahaha.)Read Post →
A character belonging to one of my best friends. I must have drawn this girl about a million times and anyone who’s friends with us knows her by name.
Let’s pretend it’s a little over two weeks ago and call this the ten year anniversary version. I did the first drawing of her in 2002:
Yikes, right? Ha ha ha.Read Post →
WIP. Doing studies and portfolio work right now.
(Not dead, but pretty buried.)Read Post →
Fifty Human Ears.
I drew them as punishment for being lazy about this lately (didn’t feel like punishment, though, it was pretty fun). Necessary. 8|Read Post →
Ahhh! Thank you, Cheery! Comments like that, they’re inspiring and make me want to improve/try to live up to them.
Hmm, I feel like my approaches are pretty orthodox. I was an analogue painter before working digitally, so the approach is similar on a digital canvas as it would be on paper/etc.
Let’s see what I can dig up, though.
Of course, the process differs between styles, and it changes depending on whether it’s a study, sketch, or full piece. There are sketches (especially) at the beginning and throughout, on my tag for Teen Titans: X, to show some comic process.
Basically, though, for a finished painting the process/steps are pretty straightforward. I generally used one layer for painting because it’s what I’m comfortable with, and use more layers and the end for finishing touches (drawing patterns, for example.) I’m starting to use more layers for painting but don’t feel like I need too many (it’s usually for temporary stuff and gets flattened down).
1. Make thumbnails. This is where we work out composition (and in this case colors). Actually, I skipped the step where you’d also do studies before even making a thumbnail (studies are for working out composition too, but I use them to figure out how to draw objects I’ve never done before, for example, or how to handle shadows for a subject, like this one here that cuts across the figure in places.
Thumbnails are quick, and you’re not gonna be worrying about proper perspective and anatomy yet, you’re just gonna lay out stuff and arrange things. They need to be quick because there can be lots of adjustments to make, and while people bitch in beginning painting classes about doing studies/thumbs before going into the finished work, doing more studies and thumbnails mean less surprises and less damage to your final piece.
You go in knowing what’s gonna go where, and how to draw things. It’s painful to fully render an apple, only to find out your composition is garbage because the apple should have been three inches to the left. (Sure, digital painting makes that easier, but the fact remains that you have a familiarity and confidence with your subject/piece/technique if you do studies/thumbnails first, and with thumbnails especially you’re mindful of balance and composition.)
2. Rough in the major parts first. (I don’t have all the in-between steps of this piece, sorry.)
When you rough in things, it means to get the basic colors/forms down everywhere. Some people like to do a full sketch with proper anatomy and perspective before getting color in and that’s totally fine (I do it too sometimes), but in this piece I sorta… did both at once (color + perspective/anatomy fixes. I used a mannikin as my guide for how the figure lays there).
Anyway, you can kinda see the evidence here: (but it’s already moving out of the rough step at this point, sorry), everything was laid in without bothering with details. Pretty much, as I progress through a piece like this, my brush starts out huge. ”Paint” covers the whole canvas, because it’s important to start with rougher strokes. The idea is to constantly paint all over the canvas at all times, so you don’t get stuck in minutiae (like worrying about painting every single strand of hair when it might just get covered or you may not need it later), and so you’re always considering the entire work as a cohesive piece at all times. With each pass over the work, my brush will get smaller, and the details will become finer where I want them.
3. Detail work/adjustments. I wanted it to look like late in the afternoon/near sunset so I adjusted the color by overlaying some yellow (if this were an oil painting I’d glaze with yellow to get this effect).
Remember what I said about saving details for last? Here’s why— now that the color “punches” in the way I wanted it to, I only needed to do details in the places where I want people to focus: the strongly lit areas. If you look at the tip of her boots, for example, there’s almost no change from the previous pic to this one, because those parts are meant to recede into the shadow. High contrast and sharp detail don’t need to go where eyes aren’t going to linger. No need to waste your time on it.
Aaand, for most painting, I use a general concept: big to small. Here’s how that worked:
Pic #1: Big, gestural blobs where my forms are gonna be.
2. Loose gesture; an idea of what I want there, big brush, big movements (using the whole arm).
3. Establish direction of light; put in larger forms, still using a big brush.
4. Punch in some stronger darks and lights. Adjust the silhouette of her hair a little. Shrink down the brush for more details (smaller movements, now).
5. Back to using a big brush to smooth out/simplify forms, and adjust values (Starfire’s hair is darker than her skin, and it’s time to act like it). The brush gets smaller for details here, though, like her lips, eyelashes, few strands of hair I drew, and the movement is only precise in areas of focus. We’re looking at her face, so it’s the part we need to worry most about. (Also, notice how the darkest values are sorta circling her face? Not an accident.)
6. It’s not necessarily done but this is where I stopped. Big brush to smooth out things again, adjust some proportions/values (adding darks made me lose my light direction so I had to work it back in, plus her face needed to be lit up a little), and back in with the small details with a smaller brush for focus. Lastly I added the darkest value to her eyelashes, and the smallest/thinnest forms to her face (eyelashes, nostrils, to her face, since we’re focusing on it). It competes with the metal of her chestplate a bit (metal’s so high-contrast), but is ultimately okay because humans focus on faces. (If I’d put darker colors in the metal, increasing the value range it would have compromised that, and possibly drew the eye off the bottom of the pic for no real reason.)
It’s important to keep design (in this case, the rhythm of how the darks in this pic are laid out) in mind, because illustration isn’t just the ability to replicate what stuff looks like, it’s also the ability to control where the eyes go, for whatever reason.)
Sorry, this next example is NSFW.
1. Here’s a failed thumbnail. But it was done quickly, so it’s no big deal. The angle was too straight-on, and pose was too balanced, which I didn’t like. This was supposed to be a moment where Nightwing’s barely holding himself together, but this angle, pose, and composition are way too stable for that.
2. Better. Plus I had to work the logistics of the pose out a bit, and we might as well rough out the background.
3. Working out the colors.
4. Cleanup. Pushed her back leg further out because (yeah, this sounds obscene but) Starfire’s legs would be further apart, she’s totally welcoming this. She’s starry-eyed and blushing, too, because she trusts him. There’s also sharper detail in the foreground. The picture’s got its shortcomings but this was the extent of what went into it.
That’s what I have.
This animation is absolutely glorious. Just take a moment to appreciate that this was all done by somebody’s hand; that they slaved over this, and this was the result of a human, not a computer. It’s completely perfect.
Uhh technically digital frames also come from someone’s hands but okay.
Oh, I’ve got a comic on this vein:
I’m sure OP is referring to 3D models or computer animation in general, though. There’s this underlying insinuation that because digital tools are used to make an artist’s job easier, the artist who uses them is less-skilled.
No. Draftsmanship skills (the ability to draw stuff) are among the biggest skills an artist has to have, but if you think that’s all there is to making art, well… no. One hones a physical skill to put a line down, but without the knowledge of where things go and why, it’s half as powerful. (So getting down on people who do vector art, where points are just plotted to draw lines and curves, would also be erroneous.)
An animator has to know how color works, composition, how light affects everything ever (different materials and surfaces), how muscles and skeletons move, how gravity works, skeletal anatomy, musculature… pretty much the same things the rest of us have to know, but with a more intimate knowledge of the movement. In addition to a traditional skill set the modern animator also has to contend with software, and if you think this is not a legitimate skill I invite you to bust out Photoshop and have the computer magically belch out all of that amazing art you see, or just have a go at a 3D program and tell me how you do.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Protip: Digital programs don’t hide “fail” very well.Read Post →
Title: Petty (Created between 20 October 2012, 12:30 am and 21 October 2012 12:02 am.)
My first 24-hour comic! I got done in time enough to make a cover for it, too. I totally thought I would fail. I THOUGHT I WOULDN’T MAKE IT. I thought I couldn’t draw fast enough.
I LOVE THIS COMIC because it’s ridiculous, and almost during the ENTIRE time it was being made I was laughing my ass off. It’s probably only funny to me, but OH WELL. Witness someone’s brain slowly break over a 24-hour period.
- Husband (for feeding me)
- Holiday Inn (for housing me)
- #yuri (for looking up something for me)
- Everyone who suggested to do this
- Everyone who didn’t suggest to do this (thank you for understanding ♥)
- MC Hammer
- YOU, for reading.
I can’t reiterate how excited I am to have finished. SO EXCITED.Read Post →
Should you use masks?
(I wrote this in January; might as well stick it here.)
FYI this is using Photoshop CS5, but every version of PS I’ve ever used has had them (Since version 4. Not CS4, 4.). Lots of drawing programs have mask functions, though, so the principles will be the same.
IF I CAN HELP IT, I NEVER DELETE. I JUST USE MASKS.
If you click on it, on any non-background layer in Photoshop, it’ll create a mask for that layer. If you happen to have a selection while you click that, the mask will be in the shape of your selection (if that doesn’t make sense, come back to it after reading the rest below).
What does a mask do? It blocks out (or …masks ;D) part of your image/layer. Take this, for example:
Below, I used a mask to block out parts of that gradient, so they don’t show up (and the white from the layer below shows up underneath. Once a layer has a mask, you just click on the mask to draw on it. (don’t be alarmed if you see black and white only in your brush colors— black = the area you want to hide, while white = the area that’s showing. You should be able to do grays, too. Get out of mask mode and it goes back to normal.)
Okay, but why wouldn’t I just draw straight onto the layer instead?
Because, when using a mask I can modify that drawing without really changing anything/hurting the original gradient.
Right, but… why not just add a layer on top to draw that face?
It’s fine if you only want a solid color/fx fill, but WHAT IF YOU WANT STRIPES? What if you want some other drawing below to show through? The mask allows for the layer(s) underneath to show. Like this:
(Plus, if you’re the type to have like a million layers in a picture, using a mask will reduce the clutter if all you want to do is hide a little piece.)
Here’s a more practical use. I want to change the shape of the panel borders, but my comic artwork is too big for the new panel:
A mask, in the shape of my panel, will hide the rest of the artwork, so I don’t just have to delete parts of it. (You can also mask an entire group in Photoshop):
Why’s that important?
Well, if I want to move the panel over a little, I still have the artwork. I can un-link it from the mask and move the artwork, while leaving the mask where it is:
Do even more.
See how all of this stuff overlaps? My panel borders, backgrounds, and figures are all on different layers:
With masking I can move things, remove stuff, or make edits without messing up the other parts. Just hide it all with masks:
So, if you want to make edits but don’t want to permanently change your artwork, save a million copies, or rely on a crapload of undos, use a mask. :D Whatever you use them for is really up to your imagination, or something like that.Read Post →