Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More of the Same

Yes, I know, yet another picture of some model sitting around (and fully-clothed, no less). Yawn. Well, see, I'm trying to get used to the Artrage tools, the pencil mainly.

What I'm finding is that although the tool is pretty good for rendering it is hard to get good, sharp detail. This may be because of the way I'm avoiding using zoom at all with Artrage as well as the way the software forces me to use a thick pencil to get dark lines (just like the real world, I guess). The result is soft, lacking detail, and generally reminds me of the kind of thing most amateurs seem to produce at some point, and many seem never to go beyond-- a sort of almost good but bland style lacking any real edge or appeal, suitable for drawing loving portraits of pets. In other words, the mark of an artist going nowhere fast.

But! I am relentlessly optimistic! Let's not forget that. I figure that I'm getting used to these tools now. Soon I'll be back to producing stuff which, even if it isn't good, at least has some personality, and the new tools will, sooner or later, bend to my will.

Edit: About her right eye (our left). It doesn't look so bad full size, but I really should apologize to the model for making her look cockeyed. I ran out of time... or something. (And her arm is too big, too...)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Sometimes a picture seems to start out well and then it just goes plonk.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Dum de dum dum

Keep fooling around... maybe getting somewhere...

Or maybe not. (Well, it's going in the right direction anyway, I think.)

More Artrage2

The pencil tool in Artrage2 really does feel pretty much like a pencil... Which means I end up with pictures a lot like my old pencil sketches. In some ways I think I prefer the scribble-style of Photoshop pen tools, but I do like the more natural look of Artrage2, at least for sketching. Now if only I could get it a little darker and sharper...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Artrage2 is a neat little program. Makes a good sketchbook.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Edit: This is one of the rare instances where I am happier with a picture the day after I drew it. I'll see where this one goes.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Makes Perfect... Someday

Not one of my best ones, or maybe my eyes are getting even more critical. But, practice makes perfect, one hopes.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Final

Yes, most of you have already seen it. Click through for the right sized version.

Closeup of original at 50% zoom, once you click through. (The original, by the way, is 8.5 x 11 inches at 300dpi, which translates into "hella big.")

I'm done with this, so any advice you might have, while appreciated (very much!), will be applied to future pictures. I've got to learn to just stop at some point.

I do find it interesting to look back a few posts and see how the whole thing developed. Maybe I didn't ruin this one after all.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Memos to Self

The light on the right thumb is just wrong. Highlights on the left, and the darks between the fingers don't look quite right either.

Fix that outer shadow edge on her left arm.

Hair is... mmm... inner highlights not working? Not coherent, maybe? Outer edges too strong?

The top lip is flat, and the edges disconnect it from her face a bit.

A couple of spots on her neck need smoothing out.

Redo background? I dunno, it's not really working for me.

Hands too big? I fooled around with this enough already didn't I?

(This is the way my mind works when I look at one of my own pictures. Since I'm criticizing myself, I don't need to include the preamble with praise for what's working. If I was criticizing someone else, maybe I would say something like, "Nice depth, especially around the hands and wrists. Good effect around the eyes. Lightening the whole thing has helped.")

Stop and Look

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How it Changes

It's weird and amazing how color can change the whole feel of a picture. I'm not sure about where I'm going with this, but it's an interesting journey. I'm, like, learning stuff, and things.

Obviously not finished, and, like I said, I'm not sure where it's going.

I made it even -ing darker. And I didn't really change those lips, or those eyes. So I'm a liar.

Monday, February 12, 2007

OK, yeah

Waaaaaay too dark. That's what my monitor(s) at work tell me. And a bit too saturated, too, at least in the "light" areas. ("Light" here meaning the slightly different shade of dark...)

By the way, I was thinking about that holding back thing, keeping some of the things I do off the web until the big final reveal. I'm leaning away from that, for a few reasons:

1) I'm not so good that the reveal is a big deal.

2) I've had a couple of real artists visit here, who probably wouldn't visit the Dead Channel, and I appreciate getting their advice.

3) Trying to hold back would mean no blog posts for extended periods.

4) I don't have that kind of self control.

So, if you just want to see the end product and not all the fumbling around that leads to it, you'll have to close your eyes for about 90% of my posts, at least until I change my mind about this.

No Surprise?

It occurs to me that anyone reading this who also happens to read the Dead Channel (and I suspect that most of my readers, perhaps all half dozen of them, will visit from time to time), will be getting a blow-by-blow account of every freaking illustration I'm planning for that site. Maybe I should hold something back.

Maybe the next one...

Here is the finished line work:

With that, I crashed onwards into the color. This is a basis for later work, trying to get an idea of the main color decisions and lay some groundwork. In case you think it's too dark, I am planning to brighten the light areas a fair bit, trying to get a fairly stark lighting effect (and darken some of the light on her arms, since it's a bit distracting now). Also, obviously I'm not going to leave her eyes and lips like that. I just want to be able to stare at this tomorrow at work, and make some plans for how to proceed.

Oh, and here's something completely different-- another crappy ten-minute painting.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On the other hand

Maybe it's the eyes. I'm fooling around again with the eyes. (Sorry, no picture right now, I'm in the middle of it.) Every time I do one of these comic-style pictures I say to myself, "finish the pencils first." I think I should work out the problems before I move on to the "inking" stage. Unfortunately, that's a little difficult when I'm never satisfied, or when I'm satisfied one day and disappointed the next. So I just end up moving on when I have something that seems good enough at the moment. I suppose if I didn't do that, I'd never finish anything.

Too Late

If you were going to offer advice on that last conundrum, it's probably too late, because I've gone and messed it up anyway.

I went back to tape and finally got something that doesn't look too too bad.

This is first-stage "inking," or preliminary cleanup of the line art. I'll need to darken some of those lines, I think, because right now they're very weak, and the eyes just jump out of the picture (too much).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Magic of Layers

Sometimes, Photoshop can be really damn useful, and sometimes, it's probably too useful.

Here's that last picture, that I'm in the process of ruining. First, just one layer, which I have named, in a fit of originality, "Face Pencils." (It's not really pencils, of course, but that's how I label the scribbly roughs.)

Ok, but I want to try and connect the picture to the story, so, show us your hands...

Hmm. Have I mentioned that hands give me lots of trouble? I think I have.

Anyway, I think this actually helps the composition a bit. Maybe the hands help keep the eye from slipping off the bottom of the page, and the angle between the arms points back up towards the face. Or maybe not... I'm not so good at these things.

Still, I drew the hands like that for a reason: more connections with the story. In the story, she is tied, or actually taped. No matter how many times I tried to draw tape, especially tape in the process of being ripped apart, I could not get it to work. After a while I just gave up and drew a rope.

Ah, but now all that complication at the bottom draws the eye down too much, and besides that, the rope looks like crap. The layers are helping me fool around with ideas, but maybe I would have done better to do the whole image on one layer and avoid trying to match props and hand positions after the fact.

I'll stare at these three for a day or two and decide what to do.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

One Hundred

Posts, that is.

Preliminary sketches, with all their warts and incompleteness, have a certain charm. Sometimes, anyway.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I'm sort of happy with this one. I don't know how much anyone else will like it, and I think maybe it shows my influences a bit too much, but it is about as close as I've ever gotten to what I wanted out of a picture in this style.

So, let's call it finished.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tricky Bit

So, finished the inks, or close enough for shouting:

Followed by yet another slap-dash coloring session. This is a little closer to what I wanted than the last comic-book-type image I was working on, but I still much prefer the inks. The lines on empty white seem to have potential, I guess, whereas colors seem terribly final (even if they aren't, really). Something to do with the appeal of coloring books, maybe?

Oh, and I forgot Paint Something Saturday... again. Probably because I was the last one to get up this Saturday.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Rushed Inks

Not really rushed, of course, because I'm hella slow. (And not really inks either.) However, after a couple of hours fiddling around I just had to quickly outline the rest before I collapsed.