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.

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.

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From here it was just render, render, render.

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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)

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As promised, indulgent fantasy stuff is back! (Slowly – I 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. 🙂

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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. 🙂mirrors_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. 😉
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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.

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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.

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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. 😛

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…

Throwback Thursday: Old sketches from 2003

tbt_2003_airikaI started art school in October of 2003. For the first time in my life, my sketching hobby was legitimized. I basked in it and drew all the time (as if that was much different than what I did all through high school, and elementary school, and before).

tbt_airika_bandage_clicheHonestly, some of these are so bad I cringe a little bit as I post them now, feeling like they might offer a window into some part of my brain I’d rather keep buried.

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My college program was really big on developing a story, and it was during those years that I started to build the world which I still like to explore in my personal art.

My main ladies have changed surprisingly little in 12+ years. Tzipora is still short and red-haired with a preference for black clothes, Tren is tall and blonde, and Airika is somewhere in between with messy brown hair and a blue sweater.

tbt_unknown_vince_airika_woodsVince is still a dude in the woods with a sword and a cape, though he’s not an enigmatic (or dickish) character anymore.

tbt_vince_airika_2003What has survived is the “forbidden love” nature of their relationship.

No, I don’t know why they look okay with the idea of being sliced up by this crazy guy with a sword on the page below.

tbt_airika_vince_scenesThere are probably only about 20 people on the planet who remember this comic book cover – it was the first completed piece I ever debuted in class. It looks amateurish to me now, but at the time it was my crowning achievement.

tbt_oct_2003_comic_book_coverI can’t believe it’s been 12 years since I drew all of these (and nine years since I graduated)!

Hope you enjoyed these old drawings. 🙂

Guildless characters (done)

3_11_2015_guildless_groupies_doneIt’s done! I started this one back in January (click for WIPs) but I sort of lost interest, maybe because artwork that tries to tell a story or capture a mood is so much more interesting to me now than plain old character sheets.

Anyway, I felt kind of bad about not finishing it so I dusted it off earlier this week. I knew I could do better rendering (and faces… man, always the faces). Much better now – and more importantly, it’s DONE – so I can move on now, haha.

I think this is the first time these four characters have appeared in one artwork together. The last time I drew them all together – 2006 to be precise – they were just a bunch of poorly rendered disembodied heads.

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Photoshop CS, many hours

Sunday sketches 2-15-2015

Thanks to Discount Chocolate Day (ie: February 15th) I have an unspeakable amount of chocolate in my system today. Today is awesome.

Here is Lady Joz, another story character who I’m not sure has graced this blog yet. She is a powerful necromancer who has extended her own life well beyond its natural years by feeding off wish-makers eager to trade years of their own lives for special powers.

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This next one is a sketch I started back on 2-9-15, but touched up a bit today. Kiddo Astrid, her dragon, and some soon-to-be-food wisps (if they’re not careful, but they are usually careful).

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Airika doing an ugly cry into stoic Tren’s shirt after Vince tells her that he’s got to go marry some other girl and do stuff with the guild he’s promised his life to (don’t worry, they don’t stay apart for long… spoiiilers).

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Summoning WIPs

Summoning at the ice swamp? I dunno. I let this one naturally evolve over the course of a couple hours and that’s what it became.

Wip 01: an ice pond and some trees. This was wider, originally, but got cropped in later revisions down to the size you see here. I set out knowing I wanted to make a blue, snowy scene, but the particulars were free to evolve along the way.

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Wip 02: Added one of my favorite characters, Tren (also called Trinth) making some sort of green hand magic.
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Wip 03: Added a couple figures in the foreground since Tren was looking rather lonely, refined her face, changed her sitting pose, and turned some of those background blobs into misty horned creatures. Now I’m digging it!
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Wip 04: Refinements to wip 03. I still like the concept, so I’ll keep going with it. 12-11-14-sketch4I don’t know when (if) I’ll return to this piece so I figured I might as well go ahead and post the wips. Hope you enjoyed!