The semi-art blog of a semi-person who needs to make more art. Welcome to my cozy corner of the internet.
"I fall in love with people’s passion. The way their eyes light up when they talk about the thing they love and the way they fill with light."
- Melissa Cox
Background art by nokkasili.tumblr.com
Tips on color & light from The Artist’s Guide to Color by Wendon Blake
a little step by step process for my “hangar image posted today”.
sorry i know i should do videos, but i guess i’m getting old. all the tests from a few years back were slowing down my machine, transforming the experience into something really crappy. must try again.
a small explanation for all steps:
01 - basic block in of the hangar
02 - further refining, mostly blocking a good compo
03 - adding the vehicle
04 - a small overlay in the greens to emphasize shadows
05 - auto color (or auto tone?) to obtain richer tones
06 - describing the loco
07 - 2 overlays and one darken layer to take care of slightly limiting the bright white areas, as well as obtaining better shadows and dark areas. also putting a touch of bright light in the upper left.
08 - another describing phase. lights done simply with a color dodge.
09 - smoke and flags. self explanatory
10 - final pass using once again the “auto color” mode. erasing afterwards to leave the background with the original yellow. this step is reintroducing colder tones where needed.
YEAH JUST REMEBER NOT TO DRAW IT TOO CLOSE TO THE FACE bc there’s actually a space between the mask and face IT’s not tightly fitted HOPE THAT HLEPS SORRY IT”S A SO SCRIBBLY I need to sleep
Hey ya’ll, if you’re struggling with towns or scenes, this is great
For the sweet Anon who requested tips for curly hair :)
Row 1: A logical starting point = The head! Basically, by first putting down a nicely shaped skull (think tilted “egg” here), you provide yourself the necessary framework upon which you can then build hair “movement.”
Adding the bigger version of the previously posted tutorial for the anons who couldn’t read it, also added the source. The second part will be added very soon. -ivona
I guess when I watch too much animu, I get irritated about the lack of variety.
Don’t even get me started on ”gender roles”. That could take five full sheets of this.
WOW HOLY SHIT THE NOTES;;;
I must add this is just something I see generally, both in Anime and cartoons\comics. Series that do have variety in important characters are scarce in comparision, but it’s not just lack of body types and faces that bothers me, as I said before.
Gender roles bother me the most, to be honest aaah I should make one for that…
Thanks for all the notes guys! ;u;
I mentioned before some of my favorite character designs in the world of comics and have been meaning to tackle this subject again. I came to realize, however, that “character design” is itself a fairly massive subject, and that it would be best to break the topic down into separate installments. Today, true believers, we’re going to talk about outfits and costumes, which are often a pivotal part of a character’s design.
3 Essential Questions
Clothing can convey quite a bit of conscious and unconscious information to the reader, but it should never be doing 100% of the legwork. Body language, shape and overall behavior all come into play when building a character, and the trick is to figure out what clothing can do that these other elements can’t. To get started, it’s important to ask some basic questions about your character before jumping into costume design.
1) Costume Hierarchy
How often does this character appear? Is it a main character or a side one? Primary characters have more complex needs than side characters, which is to say that the more information you have about your character, the more that can be conveyed in their appearance. Additionally, the more frequent the character appears, the more versatile the design needs to be.
2) Environmental Relationship
If it’s a side character that only ever appears in one setting, for example, you need only design the outfit to fit in that environment. If they are a main character, though, chances are you’ll need the outfit to mesh with more than one setting.
3) The Naked Test
Is your character recognizable without any clothes on? Body types, especially those of the main cast, should be distinctive even without the help of any outfits. The naked form is the foundation of all character design. Before you start dressing your body, make sure it’s a body worth dressing.
Once you’ve sufficiently answered these questions, it’s time to jump into the actual design phase!
Every character, no matter how complex, should be designed around an overal unique visual shape. This theme should not repeat in any other character. This shape should be readable enough that if you were to shrink all your characters into a super-simplified cartoony state, they should still be distinguishable. Character designs follow a hierarchy: you grab the reader’s attention with the most essential information and then invite them to investigate the details. If important elements of your design are only evident in the details, then it needs to be reworked. If your character is not completely distinguishable in silhouette, it needs to be reworked. Detail should always radiate from the core theme.
Kim and Vonnie stay distinct in a few ways.
The primary difference in shape between the above two characters is one of curves versus triangles. Vonnie is very angular, and her clothing’s angles mimic the scaffolding of an art deco building to emphasize her height and posture. Kim’s outfit makes her look shorter, but jaunty. There are a lot of soft curves going on there to make her seem younger and more innocent.
What does your character do? In what way would their clothing reasonably convey how they spend their time? This is an easy question if it’s a uniformed occupation, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. A more bookish or socially inept character is often prone to mismatched clothing, while a person of a very high social status is often wearing clothing that is physically less practical than those of the working class.
How does your character move? What are their default postures and body language? A good outfit should accentuate the body movements that you deem most important. If a character stoops and hunches a lot, their clothes can augment that behavior. For example, Kim is frequently hunched over, so I tend to dress her with a hood that’s shaped to go with poor posture, as well as a repeating “arch” shape to suggest this basic form.
How much does the character wish to communicate with their clothing? Not everyone wears their personality on their sleeve, nor is everyone especially fashion-conscious. Nothing’s worse than having a cast where everyone is immaculately dressed and overdesigned. A more outgoing character might be more aware of their appearance, while a more introverted one may be less concerned. To add another layer, a character may dress a certain way to disguise something they don’t want to show to others, just as someone might act overconfidently to hide their insecurities. You can tell your audience a lot about your character through what that character chooses to display to others.
Core shapes and patterns should repeat on the outfit. The entire design should exhibit some bilateral cohesion, which is to say if you were to cut the character in half horizontally or vertically, each part should look like it belongs to the other.
As mentioned, Kim has a lot of solid colors and arch shapes which are broken up by fabric and metal seams, with very few sharp edges.
Vonnie, on the other hand, is structured almost like a building, with vertical lines and triangles that take the shape of supporting beams on the surface of her outfit. Her triangles and broad horizontal planes repeat throughout her outfit, including her glasses.
This extends to multiple costumes worn by the same character. Even if a particular character changes clothes, the core shapes should still be evident. Scott Pilgrim is a good example of this. Most of the cast change clothes frequently, but in each scene it’s generally easy to recognize the characters by the “type” of clothing they choose. The details change, but the essential shapes do not.
Color and Contrast
Different colors can imply different moods. ”Winter” colors like cooler blues and purples can suggest an introspective or reserved personality, while warmer colors like yellow or red can imply a more energetic attitude. If your character only ever interacts in one type of setting, you only have to worry about how those colors will fit in one environmental color palette. If, however, your character needs to mesh well with more than one environment (as is usually the case with protagonists), you have to make sure your character’s colors will fit with multiple settings.
Also, don’t be fooled by superhero comics: it’s generally bad form to have two dominant colors in a single costume. My personal rule of thumb is to have no more than one prime color in an outfit design, followed by a secondary and then supporting colors.
In the case of Kim’s outfit in Dark Science, the primary color is black, with the secondary being off-white. These are then supported by the muted blue and silver accents that appear in both her prosthetics and clothing. Color and value contrast is very important, especially for a main character, which is why Kim’s basic palette can be reduced to black and white without losing any essential information.
Vonnie’s outfit is more colorful, but less contrasted as a whole. Green dominates and is blocked in by a secondary, warmer black. Green is the complementary color of red, and so her clothes naturally bring attention to her hair and reddish skin tone, inherently highlighting more sexual elements than Kim (whose black outfit essentially matches her hair). White is also present, but it’s only a supporting color here.
Above all else, keep it simple. Comic characters are not pin-ups or other illustrations; you have to draw them over and over again, from various angles. If you pile on too much detail, you’ll wear yourself out slogging through all the bits every time you have to draw them.
If you follow all these rules, good costume design should create this basic pattern when presented to a reader:
- Read: Silhouettes and essential shapes should be instantly recognizable
- Inform: The costume should then tell the reader essential things about the character
- Compel: The costume should then invite the reader to learn more about the character
- Move: The costume should never impede the flow of action within the comic
If you stick to these basic guidelines, you’ll never fail. Next up on character design: bodies and faces!
Section One of Part Three! Some interesting approaches to wrinkles in clothing.
Hello! This is a quick process/tutorial on how I paint hair on one layer. I don’t.. really know how to make a tutorial so I more or less explained my messy process …. I hope it is helpful even if a little. If anything is confusing, just ask!
I use PAINTTOOL SAI and the main brushes I use are the basic pen tool, for blocking in big shapes of colour, or light shading. And a custom pen brush, in which has more of a pen pressure to it; I use this one for highlights, detailing, and strong shading. NOTE: I also use a different stabilizer when I shade. I lower the stabilizer with the basic pen brush because I want an even tone when I shade large areas as opposed to detailed areas where I might need a steadier hand and a more fine bold line; thus, with the custom brush, I up the stabilizer. These are the settings I’m most used to. Feel free to experiment however!
ALSO…. The eyedropper (ALT KEY) IS YOUR BEST FRIEND! It is a lifesaver and really speeds up your painting process!!!
I will demonstrate how I paint hair using one layer. First, I have the sketch on Layer 1. Then I add a second layer beneath the sketch layer called “BASE COLORS.” I plan all my colours out first on this layer with the basic brush. I also plan where the light source it after determining my colours. I don’t go very detailed on this layer.
Next, there are two things you can do.
1) You may create another layer above your sketch entitled “DETAILS.” You can then start to blend and refine features of the face and the hair, etc, on this layer. If you mess up, you always have your sketch to fall back on because it is on another layer. If you are not comfortable with one layer painting, this is more recommended for now. As you go, you can also simply create new layers for different parts of the drawing like the hair, as will be demonstrated, and let’s say, clothing as well,etc.
2) Or you can merge the “BASE COLORS” and “SKETCH” layers right now as I have done in the above image. And right now, I’m directly detailing the face on one layer. I will detail a bit of the face for now before going about with the hair.
Okay, again, you can create another layer for “HAIR” or continue on one layer.For the sake of this tutorial, it’d be easier for me to show you on a different layer but it’s technically still painting the hair on one layer hehe. Here we go!
On the “HAIR LAYER,” I begin with a color that will be a dark in my palette for blonde hair. I begin to redefine the strands of hair from my initial sketch. I want the hair to part a little differently with more curve from the top of his head. Ultimately, these lines will help guide you in shading the strands of hair.
The next few steps doesn’t have a right or wrong way to finish the shading of the hair. The goal is to ultimately blend away all the initial sketch lines and the guidelines you made on the hair layer. This is done with applying highlights, midtones then darks and other shading effects to complete the look. You are always welcome to duplicate the layer you are working as you go if you are afraid you will mess up the layer. It’s also a good idea to duplicate so you can always have something to fall back on if you ever change your mind on some drastic edits! Let’s go!
Let’s start with redefining the basic colours. I have the lightest/highlight colour making its way from the topmost strand around the top of his head [A]. From there, then there are midtones flowing down to the tips and the strands that are framing the face [B]. The darkest areas are facing down or are towards the bottom near the ears and forehead. I also have darker tones on the outlying edges of the hair shape [C].
I use the custom brush on low opacity and low stability to begin blending the strands. I start with the lighter tones by drawing on top of the guidelines. I continue doing this by blending the highlights with the hair base colour and also the darker tones. Remember, the eyedropper tool really helps out with blending!!
Some techniques I like to do is creating shapes with darker tones then use a thin brush to draw strands on top with a lighter tone. It’s an easy way to create loose strands and give the character’s hair a more natural look. And in this screenshot, I’m continuing blending and redefining my shapes. Remember, you can always duplicate the layer and continue experimenting!
Another technique you can do is creating branching strands. You do the same thing again creating dark shapes from the top of the head to where you want to end it. Then overlap it with thin lines of a lighter tone. From this strand you can have other strands branching off of it.
(haha excuse me while I continue detailing the face too… eep)
Okay! Now the hair has been rendered more. Now to add some finishing touches, you can add an even lighter highlighter at the top of the head and a thin line at the ends of certain hair strands. The key is not to overdo highlights and keep the brush thin. You can do the same for darks.
And now more effects! What you can do, depending on whether you created a separate layer for the hair or kept to one layer all this time (If so, awesome!) is that you can create a clipping mask and experiment with gradients and textures.
What I like to do is to create another layer on top of my painting, and then use the basic brush at low opacity and 300 px+ to create a soft halo/gradient. You can also use this to add shadow towards the bottom of the painting. Adjust the brush and color and experiment! You can also use a clipping mask with textures. If you made a different layer for each component of your piece, this part may be easier; otherwise, do several clipping masks for your single layer and simply erase or mask certain parts!! I added a darker shading on the sides of the head for the hair!
And there you go! I hope this has been helpful even if a little! Thank you for viewing! Have fun! Good luck!
“Walt Stanchfield used to really get cranky when our sketches where too straight up and down. So when I’m teaching (and drawing my own sketches) I try to tell the artist to LEAN the pose, push that hip out, move the pose more left and right etc….
If you imagine a box around the drawing from it’s furthest edges you should be able to also imagine a centerline down the middle. That centerline helps you see if the drawing is too straight up and down. It also helps to keep the work asymmetrical and balanced.” — Dave Pimentel
List of tutorials that helped me with environmental painting:
“How to make your own Perspective Grid in PS” <—- this one is the best thing I’ve ever discovered. Srsly CHECK IT OOOOUUUUT!
Snuffen’s Background Tutorial P1More or less ALL tutorials by Griffsnuff is awesome, so make sure to check out the rest of them!
More or less ALL tutorials made by AquaSixio!
List of youtube channels that also helped and inspired me:
FZDSCHOOL - More or less one of the most known concept art-related resources I know on youtube. It’s great to sit and draw and just listen to the talking.
SinixDesign- This guy is also great! He has some design workshops ever now and then where the viewers can send in their stuff for critique! very encouraging and inspiring!
moatddtutorials- This guy is more into drawing than painting, and has a more cartoony style. He has interesting methods when it comes to perspective. And he also challenge himself in some of his videos (the engine block video is a great example of this)
foxOrian- Also known here on dA for his awesome perspective and composition tutorials. He has a youtube channel where he posts some videos that might be interesting as well.