Sunday, May 29, 2011

Adventures in Digital Painting

Digital painting is something I've really been wanting to improve in, but for some reason self teaching has been a bit of a struggle. Lately I've been trying to use a lot of inspirations and just forcing myself to muck through it. Flat color isn't a problem, but I want to start adding interesting backgrounds and focusing more on scene painting.

I decided to do a doodle from a stock image I found on good old Deviant Art:

My legs can't do that.
Deviant Art is great for finding poses. This one was posted by Danger99Stock, he has some great jump poses under his action gallery.

The pose is a little crazy but I think it's dynamic and fun so that was a nice starting point. I sketched it out once just to figure out what the muscles were doing and then I came out with a drawing that looked like this:

I adjusted the pose a bit, but it still doesn't feel quite right.

Once I scanned that in I started working on Photoshop and inked in the line work. So far it's pretty much how I normally work, nothing special. I tweaked the feet a little more trying to make him look somewhat... natural. I think it came out all right.

Let there be line!

Coloring in the line work is always fun, but can be a struggle at times. I tend to desaturate a little too much, but I think that is a natural instinct in trying to prevent my drawings from looking too cute or cartoony. I also add a lot of graphic shadows, I'm hoping to improve that tendency as my digital painting skills improve.

Lookin' good! But still a little cartoony.
So this is where I normally stop. But not today! Today is about improving. So, with tears in my eyes I grit my teeth and warmed up the Photoshop brushes. I used a number of references and a few textures, but for a short effort I think it came out not too shabby. I also threw in some gradients on the figure to give him a richer feel:

I struggled a little with the intensity of the background, didn't want it too busy.

I ended up pulling the outline color to nearly black to keep the figure popping into the foreground. With the background I'm learning that there is a danger of making things too crazy and losing the focal point. Overall for a learning effort I think it came out reasonably well.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Life Drawings

I've been attending a workshop during the intercession, trying to get some more life drawing in when I have time. I like the fast gesture drawings because it really forces you to identify the core components of the body fast. If you fail to get the important parts it's pretty obvious, but that's the great thing about quick poses! If you mess it up another chance is only a minute away.

Some 2 minute quick poses

10 minute pose

I've been working on using my imagination to add costumes to nude poses on the fly. I like to just take the feeling of the pose and improvise, taking an extra 3-5 minutes to sketch in some details and costuming

Costumes drawn over nude quick poses from imagination
In effort to continue to try to toughen up my style I've also been doing some quick heads and faces. The progress feels slow at times, but it's fun to try and improve. I find I make a lot of default shapes and lines that I don't really like, so it almost feels like spring cleaning in a way.

Some more successful than others...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Starting a blog, Character design, Dragon Age

I've had blogs in the past, but I've decided to start one to post and talk about my work. I'm going to try to post work incrementally on here and use this space as an opportunity to talk about my process and what I enjoy about drawing. I guess I'll start things off with a bit of a dump.

3-5 minute life drawings with a little imaginative editing

3-5 minute life drawings with a Star Wars theme

3-5 minute life drawings - she had a sword and everything!

I wish I had more opportunities to draw male models
This semester I've been focusing on refining my ability to stylize my life drawings. I'm going for a more graphic, harder-edged look. It's taking some time to trim out the soft curves in my work, but I'm liking the progress. Drawing from models is really helpful, it reminds me how dynamic the body can really be. 

Faces of Dragon Age
I've also been working on my character design. To springboard my efforts I've been working with some existing IP that I'm enthusiastic about. I've enjoyed the Dragon Age games, so I thought that would be a fun place to start. I'm pretty much a fan of anything Bioware touches, so playing around with these characters is like joyriding in a Ferrari 458 Italia.

Leliana, why you such a BOSS?
I also did some redesigns for Alistair, Morrigan and Anders. Overall it was a fun little project, and I really enjoyed the chance to do some armor and interesting costume elements.

Alistair, owning some face.
Morrigan, ready for action.
Anders, making some bad decisions. Typical.

Games are something I'm really passionate about. While this style is very 2D animation, I'm hoping to work on some more conceptual designs in the future for other games related projects.