It is Avian August / Blaugust, the time of year when my blog rises briefly from the dead! Today I drew the first bird from Cookiedove’s prompt list; the Red Siskin.
It’s been a while since I’ve done digital art, partly because it was a bit of a pain to find a good groove to get into it. My laptop has only USB C ports so plugging in a tablet always ends up feeling like more trouble than it’s worth. There also wasn’t really a designated “tablet” space as such in the house, which would lead me to trying to draw from the couch in rather awkward ways.
I’ve recently had my PC repaired, and now have my large tablet permanently plugged into it. I had to pull out some old drivers to get it running but it works and I’m thinking that Avian August will be a great way to get back into some digital pieces without feeling any pressure about quality.
Not sure what my plans are going to be for the rest of the month, but like other years I figure I’ll start the month off on a good footing and if things take a hold from there we’ll continue, but if they don’t then again, no pressure.
Good luck to all the other artists and bloggers out there!
What started as a flippant remark turned into a little project! Thanks to Toad for inspiring this undertaking.
The suits are: Eggs, featuring golden eggs from Salmon Run. This is a nice, simple substitute for the original “coin” themed suit. Bamboo,featuring the old-men of Splatoon. While Captain Cuttlefish is represented via only his bamboozler gun, DJ Octavio stands in proudly as the 1-bam. A traditional Chinese set would depict a sparrow perched on a branch; here Octavio holds a stalk of wasabi. A Japanese set would more commonly depict a peacock – I enjoyed working some of the concentric circle details that might normally go into the peacock’s tail into Octavio’s helmet. Snails, featuring my morphed rendition of a sea snail, doing its best to look like the character è¬ – ‘myriad’. (Toad said it initially struck him as being a boat – I guess as a nautical theme it works, though it doesn’t scream “Splatoon”). The character suit represents currency increments of 10,000 – when I was thinking about high-value stuff in Splatoon, sea snails sprang to mind!
I think these suits give us a nice little tour around some of the main areas of the game.
It took a bit of brainstorming to work out the dragon tiles but John suggested tying them into their loose suit associations – the green dragon is most often associated with bamboo because of the green hand, which leaves the red dragon paired with characters and the white dragon to go with balls. Luckily by the time he suggested this I had revised the eggs suit to contain more blue, so the colour association was present when he made the suggestion – though now I want to make them even more blue!
Following the colour patterns, John suggested a Steel Eel could be used to depict the frame of a white dragon. He also suggested using Inklings and Octolings for the remaining two suits – while I took an inkling for the red dragon, I decided to try something different for the green.
With the bamboo suit being inspired by the rivalry between Captain Cuttlefish and DJ Octavio, I preferred the idea of giving a little more limelight to Cuttlefish rather than a generic Octoling. In addition, the Octolings you encounter in Octo Canyon tend to be red, so I didn’t really feel right making them green.
I decided to play with the Cuttlegear logo and hint at that while also attempting to mimic the ç™¼ character. The left side of the character is meant to represent one of Captain Cuttlefish’s medals. I’m not totally happy with the current draft but it’ll do for now.
The winds are currently placeholders – I think that my handwriting is a bit ugly. I’d like to think of some thematic stuff to replace them with – so far I’m dwelling on thoughts of locations in Inkopolis Square… or something with the great Zapfish, since it got bumped from being one of the dragons…
Finally it might be fun to include a few extra tiles – perhaps the idols as season/flower tiles? Though I’m not sure how well I’d be able to pull them off with this colour palette.
Some squids with food on their heads, in imitation of the Splatoon 2 region mascots used in the European Championships and Japanese Koshien tournaments. The style was surprisingly difficult to emulate.
Here are some rejects. The Kitchener bun was the original inspiration for the whole undertaking, so I’m sad I couldn’t make it recognisable. The Milo Dinosaur was just a hurried little fun thing.
By chance, some dear friends (UnwiseOwl from the Leaflocker and Havra) dropped into my Tetris stream the other night so we decided to play and stream some impromptu games of Mah Jong.
After that, Havra tempted us into another game tonight, so of course we had to oblige! This left me without a lot of time to eke out some art for tonight, so I took inspiration from the game and drew what I could between hands.
A little while before Blaugust started, I found myself with the itch to pick up art projects. I guess I saw Blaugust on the horizon and wanted to bulk up on content.
On Twitter, I saw a bunch of animation students needing people to work on content for their animations. That was seriously tempting, then I remembered the pressure of being responsible for people’s uni assignments (something I had some experience with when doing laser cutting jobs a few years ago) and I cooled on it a bit.
After that, I saw someone in the PAX Australia Enforcer group asking for someone to draw up some maps and logos for their DnD game. That sounded pretty nifty, and would flex some skills that are somewhat weak for me.
They sent over a hand-drawn map which included descriptions of a building with a number of floors. I initially decided I’d try modelling it in 3D. Here’s a close-up of the staircase, which was a fun little puzzle to try to solve.
The 3D floorplan really wasn’t working and it tripped me up a bit. So I decided to go back to basics – draft out the floorplan in Illustrator and then draw in details in Photoshop. I improvised somewhat with the rooms as the initial sketches just described a run down interior. You’ll recognise the floorboards from an earlier post!
Eventually, working in Photoshop and making adjustments to the actual layout of the building got quite cumbersome, especially when the interior walls needed to be changed to be wooden panels rather than stone. Maintaining both the untextured Illustrator version and the textured Photoshop one became a pain, because my Photoshop layers would no longer match up to my vector outlines.
I moved as much as I could back into Illustrator. For the walls, I used a number of appearance modifiers to create the lines. A single path therefore displayed its texture and a dark outline without me needing to draw in any fills. This made readjusting stuff much easier!
Here’s the completed floor. We left these rooms bare as the players will be furnishing them.
Since this is now a vector artwork I lost the crinkled paper effects that I could achieve by using a displacement map + multiply layer in Photoshop, but there’s nothing stopping me from just doing that as an extra step at the end of the process.
I learned a lot while drafting this floor. However I’ve been quite slow in turnaround time. The requester has been very patient with me!
I’ve since asked for their permission to post the work on the blog so if we do future floors I will be able to utilise them as my daily blog posts. That way I won’t be trying to do a daily sketch AND make revisions in the same evening.