Progress on the Lucian Freud reproduction, first posted about here.
Apart from just doing more shading, I’ve moved his eyes down a bit.
Progress on the Lucian Freud reproduction, first posted about here.
Apart from just doing more shading, I’ve moved his eyes down a bit.
Connell got this one to me early, but you guys get it the same time as usual. Also, he hints that there might be a second bonus update from him this week…
I was somewhat hesitant to make this comic with myself and Helena as the characters (again), but it is always easier to use characters I am familiar with!
I originally planned a comic which would have shared the first two panels, but then the guy has himself frozen for fifty years so he can write “Twilight with Predators”, with the warrior aliens from the Predators films hunting down sparkly vampires. But when I explained the concept to someone, the response was “….OK”, so I thought maybe with snappier writing and a different punchline the setup could still work. Also, I like the comic instead ending with the rejection, and that could be an interesting running gag to go with, where my character is seen having one idea or another knocked back for being silly or offensive. Or both!
Also, I know not all english translations of the Bible are public domain. Pretend it is the King James Version, or something.
I’m making paint swatches!
These swatches are modelled after the ones described here. The basic idea is to test the paint’s behaviour and characteristics.
The tests are:
In addition, the top labelling indicates the colour code in its brand range and the pigments used in the colour. The bottom is obviously the colour’s name.
The swatches I’ve made so far:
These swatches aren’t totally reliable as they’re made from pan colours – so the ratio of paint to water can’t be controlled in a methodical manner as described in the handprint guide. It’s also why I’ve yet to put in the tint lines for the blues as I’m pondering a better way to control them. Even considering that they might not be totally reliable as a standardised set of information about pigments, however, the swatches are still useful as a guide to the way I use my paints.
This year I’ve been taking life drawing classes. Unlike still life setups from my general drawing class last year, life models aren’t able to hold the exact same pose for the entire time they’re needed as reference. Sometimes, they “sag into the pose”, and sometimes we come back from a break and they aren’t able to quite return to the same pose as prior.
So what do you do when a model hasn’t returned to the same pose? Well, the easiest thing to do is to direct them back into the right one. If the pose is only slightly off, then sometimes the differences can be ignored – especially if the drawing itself is complete and the artist is on to the next stage, like toning or colouring. This time, we didn’t catch the differences, and my nearly-complete sketch was quite off. With nine minutes left for the pose my art teacher advised me to redraw the areas that were off – mostly the arms and curve of her back.
Image previews tiny so you can decide whether they’re safe for work or not. There’s very little detail but it’s still a nude. In an artistic context! An artistic nude, if you will.
For our life drawing classes, we’ve been given a term-long project – reproduce a Lucian Freud work. The image that I am aiming to replicate is below:
The aim of this exercise is to learn about using line direction like contours – finding the planes of the face and so forth.
My progress as of yesterday is below. Curiously the image I was given to replicate is a flipped version of the image that I seem to be able to find online. It’s possible that one is of the original etching and the other is from images taken off that etching? Who knows?
Oops, didn’t have stuff ready for today. But luckily, Connell has put together an extra-special guest post this week! I feel really excited and privileged to be able to share this with you all.
So, today I thought I’d share with you the creation of the wedding cake for myself and my lovely wife Helena. We’ve been married 3 months already! Time flies when you have an awesome wife~
So, our wedding was very geeky in theme, but not to a degree that it overshadowed the importance of the day. But for the cake, we knew that traditional was not going to cut it. Looking online, we quickly fell in love with the many Mario cakes that people have made over the years. The idea we had was to make a custom wedding topper made to look like us, and place that on top of a cake where each tier had the appearance of a Mario level.
The initial design for the topper was Helena and I high fiving, which we thought would be a very cute idea. To account for our rather amusing height difference, Helena was to be standing on a Mario item box:
We have a friend who makes his own toys, and had hoped he’d be able to hook us up with someone who could make a specific resin toy of this design. Sadly, for size we wanted, it was going to be expensive and time consuming, and instead, we found a local cake topper designer who uses wooden pegs and makes custom clothing for each topper, which all looked incredibly cute. We sent her descriptions of our clothes (including Helena’s wedding dress, so I didn’t get to see the topper until the night of the wedding), and I designed faces to look closer to my art style than hers:
With this being made, we had to find a cakemaker who would be up to the challenge of making our cake. A local cakemaker Helena found showed some pretty amazing talent, and once we’d met her and tasted her cake (oh my god her cakes) we knew we had the right cake craftsperson.
So, I had to design the thing. I wanted each tier to be unique, and thought it would be cute if each level was as if they were connected via pipes, making the entire cake effectively one Mario level. Firstly came a basic planning stage, the cakemaker and I had to come to an agreement on what was feasible based on the limitations of icing. Here’s the sketch we started with:
Initially it was only two tiers, but the cakemaker recommended a third (who can say no to more cake?). With that, the top tier was also going to be a cliff rather than the sky and trees I settled on. While the top tier could have been made with a darker brown, it really wouldn’t have been as unique as I wanted. From those decisions, an overall cake plan was determined:
With that worked out, I searched for as many Mario images as I could find. I ended up chosing the look of New Super Mario Brothers, the colours in that game have an almost… sugary feel to them already (for want of a better, more correct phrase). The first step was to create the building blocks that I’d be needing for all the tiers: blocks, goombas, pipes, pirhana plants, and so on:
And once that was done, I started building Mario levels, which was actually kind of fun! I made sure to keep in as many nods to classic Mario level design as possible. The final designs are quite large, as I designed to scale, so they’re linked below.
And with that, the planning was complete! And the result was completely and utterly worth it:
In the end, the cake designer took some liberties in the design, but that was to be expected. I loved how the colours came out, and of course, the taste… As for the topper, I think it is so damned cute.
Helena and I still have the top tier with the topper on it kept in a case – the actual tier is Styrofoam, and the sugar icing will keep for a very, very long time. Best wedding cake ever? I think so.
Thanks Connell! I hope you’ll provide another post about the other awesome cakes that made an appearance on the night, too! Every table was graced with its own original cake and an accompanying story. Our table especially enjoyed our Pikmin themed cake, but I couldn’t resist sneaking over to the Tetris brownie table and playing some pretend Tetris… I mean, uh, congratulations to you and Helena!
The ditched first-attempt page. I’d gotten too far into the art without thinking about the script and the pacing, but eventually tore myself away from it to start over. I liked the angle of the second panel but it couldn’t fit the dialogue I wanted.
Today’s post was also going to have art from my class last night but I forgot to take photos. Have some photos of my lunch instead.
A step through of the creation of the booklet comic.
Step 0: I write a script. It starts from a bit of stream of consciousness as I play around with what the characters would say. I then split the script into scene and dialogue transitions – working out the pacing. Where would be the best spot to move the panel focus? How do I fit all this text onto the page? My original script gets sliced in a way that needs four pages. I revise and re-revise on this, now that I have an idea of the tone of the comic.
Step 1: Once I’m happy with the script (ie, once I realise that time is short and there’s no point in rehashing it if I’m not going to be able to draw the comic by the print deadline), I rough the panels. This really happens in tandem with step 0, as sometimes it isn’t clear how the dialogue is going to work and how the characters are going to feel on the page without doing some thumbnails.
I drew myself into a corner on my first attempt at the comic exactly because I’d failed to take into account the dialogue when initially imagining my panels. I’ll put up the failed page tomorrow.
Step 2: I’m fiddling with the speech bubble style. I want to give off a bit of a manga feel, so I do some font-hunting and find one that looks good in all caps and has a lenient publishing/royalty policy. I also put some thought into the design of my word balloons – instead of going for perfectly rounded ones I emulate the dynamic shapes seen in manga. I also choose tall word balloons where possible, like those used to accommodate the vertical dialogue in Japanese works.
Step 3: Inking. I’ve taken the blue roughs, printed them onto watercolour paper, and inked over them using a dip pen. I enjoy using the dip pen to create the lineart as it’s easy to manipulate line weights and I get a really crisp line. I’m also coming up against time – so my choice to go with real media is to force myself away from obsessiveness about perfection. There are flaws in this lineart, but at least I’ve gotten it done.
Step 4: Corrections. Errors and untidy lines are tweaked in Photoshop.
Step 5: I’ve printed out the new lineart again. The mistake? Doing it on my inkjet printer, which I’d previously found to be acceptably waterproof when working over light print like pale blue, but which has obvious bleed issues when using black ink. I’ve also lost a fair bit of detail in the lineart.
I’d used my inkjet to save time and because I’d had other issues with painting on laser printed lineart in the past. The answer is probably to just work on the one piece of paper from start to end, but I did need to make corrections throughout this piece so it wouldn’t have been the right solution in this case either. Perhaps I should do colours first and lineart last?
Initial colour choices here. The important one was making the distinction between the first and second scenes. My panel layout shows a passage of time through the wide gap between the third and fourth rows of the comic in the second page. The colours serve to further emphasise that the characters are in a different setting.
Step 6: I’ve finished most of the colours, and this isn’t so much a step as an experiment. Here I’m trying to restore the original lineart that got ruined by the poor print quality and the bleeding of the inks that happened when I was watercolouring over them. I’ve done some Photoshop magic to try fill the blacks in based on the colours around them and have laid the original lineart over the top. It looks crisper, but the colours that were evident where the colour meets the black are lost, and many areas appear washed out or to have a weird rim around them.
The finished comic
I decide to not bother with a perfect lineart restoration as some areas where the colour meets the lineart actually rather appeal to me. I focus on cleaning up the areas of highest detail and where the restorations are easier. Also, I’ve added Ayvee’s bow in the second-to-last panel digitally, making sure to get the texture of the colouring consistent.
Based on the panel I put together for AVCon. I had kinda wanted to make the presentation come from the point of view of a beginner learning about the medium but I didn’t have quite enough time to lock down the tone and focus of the presentation. Still went pretty well and I had an interested, engaged audience. Let’s get straight into things.
Advantages of Watercolour:
Watercolours are a surprisingly versatile medium and produce a range of beautiful results. The transparency of the paint means that watercolour paintings often have a light, bright or effortless feeling to them.
There’s also a charming unpredictability about floating pigment in water. While in an acrylic, oil or even digital image you can get a lot of expressiveness into the painting through brush strokes, expressiveness in watercolour paintings is often about walking the line between controlling the medium and letting the unexpected happen.
I enjoy watercolours because they are a tidy medium. All I need is my box of colours, a brush and some water and I can dive straight into a painting. Watercolours are also teaching me discipline and are encouraging me to make careful choices about colour and what I commit to paper. Often there’s no taking back something once it’s put down, which leads to the next section…
Watercolour can be quite unforgiving. One of the great skills required by watercolour artists is being able to leave the whites of an image untouched. This way, the white of the paper serves to provide the highlights. Although there is often white paint included in watercolour sets, you will never achieve the same effect as leaving the paper clean. I think of a painting as one that is drawn without white available at all. In short, with watercolours you cannot paint white over your picture like you might do with acrylics, oils, pastels or in a digital image.
Layering colours can also be tricky as the transparency of the paint usually means that the colour beneath is evident. Again, if you have painted over a section in the wrong colour you will have difficulty restoring it and painting over it likely won’t work well. On the other hand, if you’re glazing an area to give it a hint of a new colour, you must be careful to use a thin wash. Although the colour below may be evident even with a thicker wash, details can be lost. A painter also has to be careful to not disturb the pigment that is sitting on the paper on layers of paint they’ve previously applied.
Finally, working with a wet medium of course means dealing with different behaviours as the paper or paint have different wetness. Painting onto a wet sheet of paper will give a vastly different result to painting on a dry sheet. This means that the watercolour painter must learn to gain familiarity with the way that the paint acts. They must also learn patience!
Some art links demonstrating what is possible with watercolour:
Next up: materials.