Throwback Thursday: My trio of characters slaughter a box of inking pens

tbt_airika_vince_tren_ink_drawingContinuing last week’s topic of Using a Lot of Ink, here we have… exhibit B! I made this about 1 month into art school and I still think it’s one of the more competent pieces from that era. It’s got action, halfway decent anatomy for the time, and a sense of lighting. Woohoo!

Too bad about¬†all the crazy sword positions. It took me a minute to realize that Vince wasn’t about to chop off Airika’s head with his right hand while her right arm was crossing his body – no, her right arm is behind her body in a strange little contortionist act. I wouldn’t trust her in a battle.

Tzipora Shadowbriar (2015) (wips and done)

tzipora_shadowbriar_2015_done

I haven’t drawn her in a while, so I made her the subject of my latest lighting study! Tzipora Shadowbriar is Vince’s betrothed, although neither of them is particularly interested in a relationship with the other. Tzipora is more interested in her own growing sphere of influence in the criminal underworld and the opportunities that can be found (and bought ūüėČ ) there.

This one started with a sketch:
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A bit of palette testing:
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Rendering:
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A background appears!
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Color temperature adjustments and more rendering to make a finished piece:

tzipora_shadowbriar_2015_doneSomewhat related, here’s a quick painting I did back in February of Tzipora and Neenah scouting the desert.

 

 

Bananas (done for real this time)

4_25_2015_banana_doneThe background was bugging me, so I added a plate and redid it. So much better now, and the plate was a lot of fun to try to capture with limited time and brush strokes.

~30 mins for new plate and background. I left the naners themselves largely untouched.

Work in progress steps: Bananas (wips and done)

 

Bananas still life (wips and done)

4_25_2015_banana_doneBananas! These bananas had no idea they would be immortalized in a still life when I picked them up off the stand at Safeway. To be honest, I had no idea either. ūüėõ They just looked like they’d be fun to paint so I moved them off my kitchen counter and onto my still life platform and bam! – banana painting.

~90 minutes in Photoshop

I only saved a couple progress steps:

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4_25_2015_banana_done

Throwback Thursday: Airika and Vince inked with bad anatomy and sliding faces

tbt_Airika_Vince_line_drawingAhh, 2003. You were a good year for wasting Micron pens and erasers in the grand college-induced effort to INK ALL THE THINGS.

What was with my instructors¬†and inking? They had me (and most other students) convinced that a drawing¬†wasn’t done until it was inked. Everything had to be inked. I wish they’d spent more time beating the importance of anatomy and reference into my thick skull instead! Haha.

Anyway, today’s Throwback Thursday is a familiar couple of characters to regular visitors to this blog/Tumblr/Twitter/DA or wherever you are reading this from. As usual for my older artworks, Airika really only had two looks: sexy or dumbstruck (this is an example of the latter)¬†and Vince looks, well… pretty much the same as he does in every decent drawing of him. I always struggled to get his face looking halfway okay so I imagine my 2003 self was pretty satisfied with this one seeing as I still had it laying around in 2015 to photograph and share here. BUT¬†WHAT HOLDS HIS SCABBARD ON?!

I still can’t decide if my continued fascination with these characters is evidence of my consistency and commitment to an idea… or just proof that my creativity well¬†is pretty shallow. ūüėÄ

These old artworks always make me cringe and smile at the same time.

The Stranger (wips and done)

the_stranger_doneHis chat handle is The Stranger. For the last three months, he’s been¬†messaging Loca Mocha, Lethal Lemon, and Nimble Melon, helping them find secure data connections and private places to meet. They’ve never met him, but Loca Mocha is about to come close. But is he just a¬†sophisticated¬†Org agent? (Is he even human?)

This piece (which I started Sunday and worked on for most of the day, before finishing it off Monday night after work) began as I looked through some of my older art, namely these two pieces from 10 years ago.

Gigapolis_Cityscape_by_Majoh

Loca_Mocha_Mood_Piece_by_Majoh

I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to paint Loca Mocha with her motorcycle in Gigapolis? I had a bunch of ideas in my head, but this is the one that started to get traction:

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Redrew her upper body, I like this one a lot better:the_stranger_wip02

Rough sense of lighting:the_stranger_wip03

Clearly, I still do not know what to do with the right side of the painting.
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Oh I know, a big line of cars!the_stranger_wip05 the_stranger_wip06

Okay, bigger cars maybe?the_stranger_wip07 the_stranger_wip08

This is where I left it off before going to bed (and to work on Monday), only to come home with a great idea – Twisted Gizmo totally needs to be in this one. I added a new layer on top and just started painting out the cars and painting him in, and that was it!

the_stranger_done

This was a fun piece. What really gets me about it though is that I spent about 7 hours on it total, which is probably half (or a third) of what I spent making this (hot mess of a)¬†painting of Gigapolis¬†in 2005. Back when I made it, I thought tiny details were what mattered, and had virtually no understanding of lighting… or anything, really.

Gigapolis_Cityscape_by_Majoh

Now, of course, I know you can “do more with less” (chunky brush strokes, loose forms) as long as you get the fundamentals (perspective, lighting, etc) correct¬†– but it’s much easier said than done!

Onwards!

Depart at dusk (wips and done)

depart_at_dusk_doneTren: We can’t go with them, but there’s nothing stopping us from following… We’ll depart at dusk.

No big story behind this one, just Airika being her usual optimistic self and Tren making plans. This one was a lot of fun to paint, and the lighting and palette were challenging. The palette was¬†inspired largely by this painting called “Memoria” that¬†I found on DeviantArt, so my thanks goes out to¬†this (and all the other artists) out there sharing their work so that other artists (like me!) can learn from them.

Here are some WIPs, starting with a bunch of chunky blobs. I didn’t really use a sketch for this one, and I kind of flip back and forth between bothering with a sketch vs.¬†just jumping right into¬†blobs of color.
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Got Tren’s face to a happy place on the first attempt. Aw yiss.depart_at_dusk_wip02

At this point I was so happy with it I debated chopping Airika out of it and making it just Tren. But I think I make more compelling scenes when there are at least two characters, so I kept her in.

depart_at_dusk_wip03 depart_at_dusk_wip04 depart_at_dusk_wip05

From here it was just render, render, render.

depart_at_dusk_done

I could keep picking at it, but at this point I think I’ve learned what I was gonna learn from it and I’m ready to¬†start something new.

Photoshop, a few hours.

Where we fought the old witch (wips and done)

mirrors_done

As promised, indulgent fantasy stuff is back! (Slowly РI caught a bad cold this week which is slowing me down these last few days!)

I was eager to start a new scene painting after finishing all those still lifes last weekend. Rolling around my head was this idea that Vince and Airika might go adventuring in some kind of hall of mirrors, so I sketched it out…
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Then I decided this scene needed Tren – after all, it’s always wise to bring a healer. ūüôā

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Render, render, render… here I am trying to get a good sense of where the light parts are and where the dark parts are.

Tren tends to wear brighter blues/greys but Vince and Airika both wear black and browns/neutrals at this point in the story when they’re still n00bs.¬†mirrors_wip03

I’ve been trying to give my scenes a stronger sense of depth, so I pulled Tren into the background and made her lighter. So far so good.¬†mirrors_wip04

More rendering – mostly trying to get faces established, because if the faces aren’t right, nothing’s right. ūüôāmirrors_wip05

More rendering. At this point I decide I don’t like the boxy hallway scene over Airika’s head on the right, so…mirrors_wip06

…I open it up a bit! (See below)

Much better. I also turn the wall to the left of Tren into a series of windows. At this point, I’m thinking this is probably a palace room belonging to a certain necromancer we met earlier on this blog, which gives me an ideal I’ll reveal further down. ūüėČ
mirrors_wip07

Below, I changed Tren’s staff position after Jim suggested she was opening a can of whoop ass. Not that she isn’t, it’s just that she’s putting the staff together, not taking it apart, and I think the previous version looked more like the latter than the former.

mirrors_wip08

From here, we get into smaller details that are harder to pick out. I kept trying out different faces and sword poses for Vince. That blue sword has to go in his right hand, and I didn’t like the way the scene looked when flipped horizontally, so I¬†just changed the way he’s holding his weapons. Plus, Airika is right-handed as well, so this keeps things accurate for her, too. (Now if only I kept their clothes this consistent across paintings :P)mirrors_wip09

More faces and minor details. It’s¬†always hard to get their faces right.¬†mirrors_wip10

Final lighting touchups, more spiderwebs, repainted Airika’s face again, and the mirror reflection.

mirrors_done

I didn’t want to spoil it earlier, but that’s totally not Vince. It’s a trick by Lady Jozlynn, the necromancer and illusionist Airika woke up earlier. ūüėõ

How long has it been her in disguise?¬†Tren is already suspicious and putting her staff together, but Airika’s just now realizing that they¬†are¬†about to have their¬†first¬†battle with a very powerful foe…

Flashlight, clothespins, shark still life (wips and done)

april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_done

And another one! April has been a great month for digital still life paintings.

This one is pretty heavy on the red stuff, but that’s okay¬†-I always love working with a limited palette. I think the big clothespin up front is my favorite. The shark is a rubber toy (alas, it does not squeak, but I always thought it should squeak) that used to sit on the wall separating my cube from the cube of one of my favorite co-workers. (Look, I still have your shark, Sean! He is well cared for. Haha :))

Anyway, here are some WIPs revealing just how sloppily this thing got started. I’m not a big sketcher, I just like to start putting in forms and adjust from there.april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip01

I try to block in everything before going too far on any particular part.april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip02

Bam, a shark appears! (I wish I had more opportunities to say that in real life.)april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip03

And the narrow slots between my oversized blinds! Isn’t this a tiny flashlight? I think it came free with a pack of batteries or something.¬†april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip04 april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip05 april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip06

I know the airbrush is considered uncouth by some, but I think it’s handy for making foam balls look as smooth in the painting as they do in real life. It’s also nice for fabric highlights.

april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_doneYup, that clothespin up front is definitely my favorite part of this scene.

It’s just a practice still life so I don’t worry a lot about composition as I set these up, but as a finished piece it’s pretty chaotic. A better still life would probably feature a variety of object sizes, fewer objects, or both. ūüėõ¬†I tend to choose just small objects for my still lifes since the platform I put them on is so small (it’s maybe 10″ x 10″).

Anyway, this is like… still life #4 or so for April, so I think I’m done eating my veggies for at least a few weeks. BACK TO INDULGENT FANTASY STUFF!