d347 120221 Test Paintings

[120213] – [120221]

So this update is kind of a tale of two paintings if you will, one probably better than the other. The Tear painting from the last update is actually the first of a series of three – sometime in January I told J that I wanted to do “three paintings that I like” – those are it. Basically done, but not posted. Those three are all more or less done the same way; at some point, I thought I really just wanted to clean stuff more.

Let’s pretend digital ink is out of the question for now… I tried to tackle cleaning using pen:

This is just a thumbnail test painting, but the lineart is done in ink. I think my inking ability is definitely better than it was with the last Senjougahara painting, but after completing this, I wasn’t sure if ink was what I really wanted. Conceivably my inking isn’t good enough yet, but the inked lines still look more or less like pencil lines, if only much more consistent.

They’re just still not very smooth at my usual drawing resolution. Again, it might just be because I can’t draw big enough yet, but I’m starting to get the feeling that it might just be the nature of the beast. Maybe a lot of the art that I see that I think is done in pencil is actually done with pen…

So tidying up the lineart with pen didn’t help… so I tried to get rid of it altogether:

This is actually a lot more interesting. This is similar to the Pieces painting. I originally intended to take my time on this and make a really nice painting, but that proved to be a little too ambitious. Basically I drew a rougher sketch than usual, started painting on a separate layer, and then I merged the two layers and started painting on that. I couldn’t figure out when to merge the layers, and I may have gotten impatient.

Either way, I didn’t really end up taking my time, and basically ended up blowing off the characters in the foreground. The entire painting, though, turned out surprisingly well for how badly I thought I’d messed it up. It definitely looks more like a painting (according to J as well), though I’m not totally convinced that’s what I want either. As usual, the “correct” approach is probably some sort of hybrid…

I think do like this more than the older Pieces painting, though. Not quite sure why; the Pieces painting might just be a little too “deliberate”. I think the foreground/background segregation in the Pieces painting works better, though. I’m trying another experiment on a painting that I started a while ago and never finished. Basically I’m going to try to merge the lineart later. We will see how that goes.

Speaking of Pieces, almost a year and a half after its completion, I’ve decided to embark on another one-shot. A year and a half after finishing Pieces, I still think it’s alright, albeit a little corny. It’s corny because I’m just not that good at writing, and my text is a little corny. Hence, for this next project will have no text!

The general premise is this: 20 pages with text is too long and too complicated for anyone to figure out unless they’re really into reading comics, etc. I want to convey a compelling story to the reader with as little effort as possible on the reader’s part. Basically, you should be able to pick it up, flip through it, and understand what happened, and maybe take something away. I supposed it’s a fairly lofty goal, but I think I have something ok.

As of now, I basically have a fairly rough outline completed – I originally aimed for about ten or eleven pages, but once I had a rough plan for that, I decided that there was a lot of fluff… and I cut it down to six. Hopefully I will actually start drawing soon…

I Wanna Rock

An actual incident that happened to me when we were cleaning up the lab. We found a whole bunch of “art objects” (sculptures or models/tiny reproductions thereof) and some rock slabs that had been used in a 3-D imaging project. We sent them to MIT’s mailing list for used stuff that’s up for grabs … and by the next day almost all the rocks were gone.

This comic almost got filed with the other Real-Life Random Acts of Stupidity, except that neither D nor I did anything stupid this time. Also, I debated having a “Completely Unamused” face for the last panel, until D pointed out that “CO-O” is a signature NW pose. J’s never done it before though…

Experiments in “Traditional” Media: Watercolor Colored Pencils

So, over winter break I rediscovered these:

These are watercolor colored pencils. Basically, the core of the pencil is the same stuff those solid blocks of watercolor paint are made of. The idea is you can draw with the pencil, then go over it with a wet brush to get interesting blending effects, etc.

Continue reading “Experiments in “Traditional” Media: Watercolor Colored Pencils”

d346 120213 Tear Grants 2012

I admit, a little late in posting this post. I had it written for a while, and I thought it had been posted a while ago -___-

[120121] – [120129]

It’s windy like nobody’s business out there, and I should be sleeping… but I’m writing this update instead. So far I’ve actually done a considerable amount of drawing given that we are fairly well into an academic term, to the point that I’m basically going to be able to post a new painting for the next three or four updates (inclusive) at the rate I’m posting updates (roughly every 20 days).

This Tear Grants 2012 is the start of an effort to really clean up lineart. Included will possibly be my first serious effort to use the pen well since a long time ago. Hopefully with a bit of polish, general art quality can take a bigger step up than it has in recent years, but likewise, I try not to be too optimistic.

It’s a start. The process behind it is a development of what I used for Motoko 2012 in the last update; I got rid of the fairly heavy-handed pencil shading and simply outlined the areas that I would have shaded in pencil. Everything is still done on one layer, and the “effects” are also done manually. There is actually a painting between here and there, but it obviously didn’t make me happy, so I didn’t post it (so many paintings I can skip posting one – wow!). I think just a little bit of lineart stiffness can really put me off.

In a sort of uninspired way, this is somewhat of a redo of Philia 2009, just as Motoko 2012 was somewhat of a redo of DMG 2008. I think redos are just sort of my own little way of proving to myself that my art is getting a little better over time. I have a little graphic too, this time, but I didn’t realize my Tear data points were so few and far between.

From right to left, this is late 2006, late 2007, late 2009, and early 2012. The drastic improvement in lineart quality from 2006 to 2007 is partially attributable to the difference in the scale of the two figures, and probably also partially attributable to the volatility of my art back then; if you look at my DMG comparison from 2009, the 2006 DMG (direct center) is very different from the 2006 Tear, and the 2007 DMG (direct left of center) is very different from the 2007 Tear. The 2009 DMG and the 2009 Tear, while still scaled differently, are much more similar.

Interestingly enough, I believe that 2006 Tales painting is also single layered.

One trend that I would hope is evident is the gradual decline in “splotchiness” in the paint since 2009. It was already better in 2010, and I like to think the paint is pretty smooth in today’s painting. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s less about being “good” at blending the colors than it is about choosing colors that blend well. What exactly it is that makes particular colors blend well: I haven’t yet really formulated a cohesive theory on that.

also concerning color, I do believe I am generally getting better at choosing them from the start. For the most part, I haven’t really had to do any heavy-handed color correction on the past couple paintings; the worst as of late has been the really bad Akemi Homura 2011 piece, which is a while ago now. Below is the non-adjusted original, which, as you can see, is more or less the same thing.

Here you can also see the relatively small color palette and the relatively large amount of cropping in this particular painting. I think colors follow some variant of the 80/20 rule: you use 20% of the colors 80% of the time… or something like that. The lighting effect from her staff came out better than I thought, too. I make an effort to try to do any such effects manually and I think it paid off in this case.

Last but not least, a small craft I designed, partially based off of something I dreamed about; it’s kind of an Aruku Reshivu shaped hull with Last Exile styling. I really like the square-radiator-into-conical-propeller-cone thing, and corrugating the hull does wonders too. Otherwise, this thing has boat elements, plane elements, and car elements all in one. Maybe there will be a painting in the future. I’m trying to do a lot this year.

That’s all for now.

Experiments in Coloring: Markers and a Colored Work

Man, I really haven’t been posting at all.  My last post was over 3 months ago.


I didn’t draw as much last term, but that’s not to say I didn’t draw at all. Presenting: J’s coloring experiments! (In rough chronological order).

So for Christmas I received these markers. I thought it’d be interesting to do the sort of Copic-marker-blendy-coloring that a lot of other people do.

Unfortunately they didn’t blend.

Continue reading “Experiments in Coloring: Markers and a Colored Work”