Tulip quick study

A tulip, painted from reference photos I took of some gorgeous potted ones. This was made with three values–dark red, bright red, and a cool grayish pink for the highlights. The leaves only have two values, dark and middle green. Simple, but nice.

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Shunosaurus: half painted

Background reference:

As you can see, I have most of the dinosaur’s color blocked in and I’m toying with his shading. I don’t have a proper dappling on him yet, because I needed some idea of where the light was falling through the leaves.

I have three layers of bamboo sticks and three layers of leaves: dark, middle, and light for each. It really gives the forest some depth, but boy it makes my compy chug. Poor old compy. I save about every five minutes in case of (not unknown) crashes.

Anyway, don’t you love the way the light comes down at an angle through the leaves?

Work done so far:
Shunosaurus value study
Shunosaurus sketch

Waterfall cont’

I messed around with the waterfall and the bird a bit more.

I decided to go with a smoothed-out waterfall, because the chunky water was competing with the foreground bird and tree branches too much. I added some darkness of rocks behind the waterfall, but first, it’s too random, and second, it’s too dark so it competes with the foreground.

Also the tree is a birch tree now. I love birch trees.

Although you can go overboard with birch trees.

I wish I could find bigger versions of the Bev Dolittle art. She had some great hidden pictures. This one has indians and pinto horses in among the birch trees.

Bad Hostage Idea: Step by step

I had this picture in my head of Shadow holding Blaze hostage with a gun to her head, for some reason. Upon thinking about it further, I decided to add Silver in there, holding a Chaos Emerald. So we know why Shadow’s willing to bother taking Blaze hostage, not knowing that she’s practically a walking fire elemental.

Here’s the initial sketch.

And now with ink …

Nice and crisp.

I’d seen an interesting pic on DA somewhere that used diagonal lighting across a face, and it made it really pop out and be interesting. What struck me most is that light travels in a straight line across a solid object, straighter than I’d thought. So I set about trying to duplicate that effect.

Rough background with some basic color showing where the edges of the light beam ended.

I wanted some kind of a brick wall behind them, so I poked around in Painter’s Image Hose library, and came up with this in about ten seconds:

Just set that layer to Overlay …

Perfect! I thought about adding some graffiti to it, but later decided that it would distract from the standoff between the characters.

Time for the shading.

Alas, this is the refined version. I forgot to take screenshots of the coloring process. Basically I scribbled in the shadows and went over it with the Soft Blender tool, then scribbled some more, then went over it with the Soft Blender tool. The highlights went on very last.

And last but not least … the magic!

All done in about two hours, which is pretty quick for me. Working with such heavy shadows lets me cheat a lot. I remember why I love doing pics set in the dark with small light sources. 🙂

Background and details

I worked 3 hours on this pic tonight, and this is how far I got. Especially after I realized that the pic was supposed to be 12″ x 18″, and I was working in 12″ x 8″. Oops.


Click for fullview

So I expanded out the background, which is actually kind of nice, because now it doesn’t feel so squished. I busted out the Artists > Impressionist brush for the foreground leaves. Gosh, I love that brush. Makes the best leaves!

Also did a bunch of work on the girl herself. Take a look.

I had already sketched all the designs, so I just traced them in white on a new layer, locked the transparency, grabbed a big soft brush (I believe I used Gouache > Opaque Smooth Brush 30 with the opacity set to 5%), and made the shading match the rest of her body.

Her chest has a unicorn and a dragon facing each other, with a griffin head up above. I found a bunch of really spiffy Celtic designs of each critter, but I couldn’t exactly copy them in such a small space, so I just improvised.

Her face is still a bit funky. I’m trying to put detail into her eyes and mouth, and understate her nose. As you can see from the fullview pic up there, it looks fine from a distance. I have trouble with noses. I either overstate them or understate them.

Crash: step by step

Got another commission from Aura, this time for a fanfic scene based on the Fleetway (European) Sonic comics. In that universe, when Sonic turns Super Sonic, he goes absolutely insane and destroys everything around him.

Anyway, in this scene, Super Sonic has just made the Tornado crash. Everybody survived and is hiding, so when Sonic turns back to normal and wakes up, there’s nothing but wreckage and nobody around. And they don’t dare come out for fear that Sonic will go Super again.

I played Sonic 3 with this in mind, and whaddya know … when Sonic turns Super, he does indeed destroy everything around him. Fleetway was pretty observant when they were writing their universe.

Anyway! Onto the pic.

Rough sketch:

I got no feedback on it, but I was rushing to finish because of internet deadlines, so I went on and worked on it.

I did ink each layer, but I didn’t get a shot of that. Whoops.

Anyway, first the gradient …

I’ve used this particular gradient before. It’s very nice for evening scenes.

Then some background work … Very unrefined because most of it is behind other stuff.

Then the foreground trees and leaves, to establish my darkest tones.

Then the foreground characters, inked, colored, shaded, and darkened, to make them look like they’re hiding. Painter’s Soft Blender tool is wonderful for rushed shading. Scribble it on any way you like, then smooth it all out with the Blender.

Last of all, the background with sad, sad Sonic, who is still on the edge of Super Sonic, hence the glowing ends of his spikes.

I need to do a little more work on it, but the biggest chunks of work are all done.

Next up, I want to do a space picture. With galaxies and planets. I downloaded some really nice stock planets off DA, so we’ll see how it goes. 🙂

Navi self-portrait

I just saw Avatar on video. I still don’t know if I liked it or not. It felt like more of an art movie than anything–lots and lots of pretty art and weird stuff. Like looking at one of those books of concept art for Myst.

Anyway, I wondered what I might look like all CG-d up as a navi, like I’m sure half the internet has already done. So I figured, might as well give it a shot! It’ll be a fun exercise. 🙂

Here’s the photo I took of myself. Gah, I look so tired. That’s going away when the airbrush comes out.

And splash on 45 minute’s worth of airbrushing and liberal use of the Hue slider:

Yay, I’m a blue-skinned catgirl!

I haven’t painted in Photoshop in a long time, especially not ancient Photoshop 6. I miss the wonderful blend tools of Painter, but I managed to bend Photoshop to my will pretty well.

Here’s my reference pic:

Painting Venice/Solenna

I sat down to doodle, and this sketch came out.

I’m contemplating writing a story adaptation of the Sonic game that was on the xbox 360, since it had a totally rad story, more Final Fantasy than Sonic. The whole thing is set in a city called Solenna, which is based heavily on Venice.

So I went poking around, looking for neat pictures of Venice for the background. I found this one, which had the sort of lighting and mood that I wanted.

Started with a gradient …

Scrubbed in some sky …

Dropped in some building structure. I drew them as blocks and shaded them before I put in the windows.

So. Many. Windows.

A lot of those windows are off kilter or unfinished, because they fall behind a character’s head and there’s no point in adding all that detail.

Then I slathered in some light.

The light inside the buildings is essentially painted with a soft airbrush (I used a Gouache brush with opacity set to about 5%), and the water reflections are painted with Oils > Wet Brush. I love the wet brush.

And it’s late, and I’m tired, so I’m stopping here. 🙂

Another anime-style commission

Working on another commission I actually took a while ago, but my commissioner just now finally got around to giving me reference of his character. He’s a dude in a mask with a big cloak that covers most of him.

Here’s my concept sketches. Aside from the hair, which I was instructed to make spikier, it was spot-on.

Another sketch. This one looked fine, so I went on to ink it and color it.

First incarnation of this had a white mask, but my commissioner had me change it to a black one. I’m getting a little more confident in my anime-style. The shading is usually in big blocky chunks, so I use a hard brush, usually the Gouache brushes in Painter. (Those are pronounced “g-wash”, or at least that’s how we pronounced it in art class.) I’m not the best anime artist, but I’m still learning. Wait until you see the pic I get to do next.

Anyway, then I dropped a blue-to-black gradient in the background and airbrushed in some star clusters.

As I did this whole thing in about an hour, I felt I owed the commissioner something that required a little more effort. He said, “How about one with my character and this one girl from the Touhou series?”

Resulting sketch:

All the ruffles on the girl … *runs away screaming*