This is another exercise in lighting, shading, modeling, anatomy, perspective, work-flow, and when working from the imagination. I also intended it as a work of art, but working within certain parameters, and with a given objective in mind. My followers know I like to compare digital painting to MMA, in which case in order to be a contender you have to be able to do the equivalent of at least boxing and wrestling, and you have to train. This is training, and I did exercises.
If you saw my last post, you know I did 20 profile sketches in order to prepare myself for rendering a profile in an upcoming image.
The plan is to do my version of a tutorial piece in order to expand my options for process and technique. I’m starting to think of pieces more in terms of being a project, and each project has it’s particular demands. In this case I’m approaching a tutorial as a project, rather than just an exercise. The long term goal is to do a bunch of these (I’ve been doing this for a while already) to enhance all aspects of my image-making. Younger people like to say, “level up your game”, and I think it’s a perfect encapsulation.
Here is the end result of the tutorial I’m working with, by Aaron Blaise:
There are things I’m not that crazy about, and that I changed. Aaron explains things simply, and that’s why I like him for tutorials, but he has quite a different sensibility than I do. His decades of working for Disney are apparent in his art, in good ways, but my work definitely does not feel like fun for the whole family, especially the kiddies. His queen’s lips are way too big, as are her eyes and brows. That’s cartoonish, and deliberate, but I’m interested in more realism. I also wanted to put the ear in, and that’s why all the profiles I chose, except one, had ears (the one without was so I could practice inventing it]. Note that I’m not knocking his style or product. I wouldn’t be doing the tutorial if I didn’t respect it.
The concept of the woman or girl being part wood and branches is his, or at least I am borrowing it from him. It may be little more original that a mermaid. So, in addition to doing the tutorial I’m putting my own spin on it. Mine’s going to be darker, more elaborate, and realistic.
Here is his initial drawing, and mine, side by side:
On the off chance Aaron could mind me sharing his drawing in process, I’ll link to his photoshp tutorials. Y’know. I’m not trying to steal his business, but, if anything, endorsing it.
I included a hand toughing the neck, so it seems a bit like my stick woman is in the act of discovering her condition, either of booming human, or becoming a tree: she may be cursed or blessed. While his forest queen is either wood or human, with a clearly delineated break, mine segues between the two in complex ways I’m not sure how I’m going to render. And while his person is mostly the trunk of a tree, mine is mostly intertwining branches. His concept was that the “forest queen” comes out of the tree at night, and mine seems to have evolved into the figure waking up into the half-human/half-tree condition. for the first time, possibly in the morning. It may be an affliction, such as in Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”. Mind is not a queen. Whatever is going on is between her, nature, and the cosmos. Also, I’m much, much more sci-fi than fantasy.
Dong the portrait sketches a head may have helped me design the profile and get the proportions in the ball park. I do like the placement of the ear. Some people will like this initial drawing better than the finished produce.
Below is a detail. I created my own “pencil” brush, which is also fairly “charcoal”. It looks real. I’m using a drawing tablet, which means I’m looking at my monitor and drawing in my lap. This is much more clumsy physically — about on part with drawing with your elbow – than drawing on the surface of your image. One day I’ll get a graphics tablet that allows me to draw directly on an image.
The next phase is choosing local colors. That’s just flat colors, no shading or lighting or anything.
~ EndsAnd if you like my art or criticism, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). See how it works here. Or go directly to my account.
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