Today’s painting is actually the first non-fanart painting I’ve done since 071120. It is also the first break in process since maybe 070707 or 070703. Between then and now, I’ve largely been doing paintings the same way. The paradigm since 2006 has always been to draw your pencil lineart, go over it with pen, and color the shit out of it. Today’s painting doesn’t quite do that.

This is one of those rare paintings that has a two-part pencil. I messed up the first time. I wanted to get a horizon in the picture, but as I was drawing the first draft I suddenly realized that it wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t quite want to start over, so I ended up drawing a new background.

Here’s a picture to help explain my next couple paragraphs.

The original intent was to paint the entire background – starting from the ledge in front of the figures – without a final lineart. Obviously, I’d use the scanned sketch as a guide, but color, rather than lines, should define the content of the landscape. This actually worked fairly well as I worked my way down from the sky and into the valley, but it started to get ugly when I got past the academy (blue 7) things started to get ugly.

I actually really like the contours of the mountains (red 1) and even the turrets on the SHD (red 2), but even as far out as the second SHD (red 4), I was already using lines – colored lines – to better define the outline of some objects. I’m not sure if this is better or worse than the high-contrast lighting I use to define some of the foreground buildings, but I don’t really like either approach.

Some of the details really get lost in that background… for example, the bridge (red 5) – yeah, you couldn’t tell that was a bridge – connecting the aforementioned buildings. On the other hand, some details seem to be better depicted as more simple blobs of color… the BKS station (red 3) has some vehicles out front and some people loitering around, and I think it actually looks like such. There are some splashes of color (red 6) suggesting tracks coming in and out of the station that also work reasonably well.

All in all, I gave up halfway through. The pure painting stops at the large structure in the center of the piece (blue 8), and the lineart begins early. Even then, there are some objects within the lineart area that don’t work very well; ultimately I think some sort of hybrid approach is required. Figures turned out pretty well, though, especially considering they were kind of an afterthought in lineart and in paint.

Of course, a little bit of color adjustment never hurt anyone either.

This illustration is called the “Pieces Painting” in my sketchbook and it depicts the Academy (as depicted in d293 and the surrounding cityscape, part of a large military base built during the BKS era. Once a facility consisting solely of Founder buildings (the typical motif for Founder style buildings is round and clear with some sort of vegetation at the top), the city has clearly been modified in its several hundred years of existence. There are a couple comic pages (not posted yet) depicting pure Founder cities and ships, and when these come up, I’ll note that the Symphonia class SHD is based off of the last generation of Founder SHDs.

The city centers around two large public structures (who knows what’s actually in ’em… probably a mixture of shops and offices?), one’s like a giant garden and the other’s like a giant fountain. The water one is the rainbow-colored mess on the right, and the garden one is the blue 8. The station serves local trains and inter-planetary trains. The green-topped buildings (there are six of ’em) are supposed to have wind turbines in the green part. Those really didn’t come out the way they should’ve. I do believe they have a real-world parallel somewhere.

That’s all I got for this update I think.