d365 Rita and Estelle 2013


Well, I lied. I said there’d be another Lego post this time, but the hoverbarge I was building kind of got stuck, and it isn’t done yet.

For a lot of paintings I often have something in mind some time before execution, but this one kind of rushed its way into my queue. This is actual the fourth in what is now a fairly long string of Rita and Estelle paintings (the first one being 2008, most of which have unfortunately been rubbish. 2013 deviates from the “paint-heavy” direction I was going with Rita 2013 and Estelle 2013, and takes another stab at “hybrid cell-shading”.

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d367 Rita Mordio 2013


I don’t really get much time to read these days, but I’m slowly working my way through Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile. In this book Taleb describes systems which he classifies as “fragile”, “robust”, or “anti-fragile”, depending on how well they react to the chaos of the world. This post’s painting is tenuously related. I’ll quote Wikipedia for a brief synopsis:

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better”.

I described a drawing “theory” way back in d266 stating that the big picture is more important than the small picture: if your entire image is about “right” it won’t be affected too much by individual “wrong” lines, which is suggestive of a robust system in Taleb’s world. I guess the motivation behind the following painting is to push that boundary.

Rita is the most broken character in Tales of Vesperia as she can do infinite combos by herself (admittedly by virtue of the 360 version being something of a beta). She actually has a number of paintings in the past, but they are mostly all rubbish.

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d359 121116 Ink Drawings III


Another month, another update. One of these months we might get two, since the mean time between updates is more like 20-25 days. This update features some history and some semi-experimental ink drawings done over the past couple weeks where most of the focus is on backgrounding.

Early last year, I started to make a conscious effort to work on backgrounds and the balance between foreground and background. As such, there were some okay drawings and some slightly less okay drawings. These were all done with the same process that I had been using since the end of the NW Directorate story, and I think even back then I realized that I was pushing up against some of the process’s limits that would eventually be “solved” by pen.

But pen was still more than a year away at that point, so in the meantime there were some experiments including an unconventional series of draw-by-references, and a splash of what I’m now calling “gritty” drawings before I went on my painting rampage earlier this year. Only toward the end of said painting rampage did background/foreground balance come back to mind, cumulating in my scratch-painted background for ToG 2012 R2.

I think traditional line-and-fill figure on painted background is ultimately the way to go, so I recently thought that I should try to implement the same thing in pen.

The figures are drawn the way I always draw figures, but I’ve been testing this multi-directional hatching, which tries not to obscure actual lineart “underneath” it. It does a decent job of that, but it also makes everything look textured, or moreso than mono-directional hatching. I’m also trying to distinguish between “hard” and “soft” divides by outlining or not outlining the shadows. The background is an evolution of what I just called “gritty” (J’s term, btw), but it’s basically my pen equivalent of a painted background. This picture is actually the first time all these things are coming together, and I think it turned out pretty well.

This is actually a redraw of a drawing from spring.

Moving along, a drawing in all HB. I’ve been trying to sketch in pure HB and basically eliminate a specialty tool from my processes (lighter pencils). Here I guess I just wanted to try shading a lot of stuff.

Tried some landscaping and water and stuff like that. This was actually okay until I tried to put in the cloud effect in the background, which didn’t go over well. It’s supposed to be sunlight above a thick layer of clouds.

Finally, a drawing from one of J’s prompts. I was trying to draw a better sense of space, but the cloud effect (which I just had to try again) screwed it up again. I’ll make it work someday.

d358 120927 Misc Paintings


Well, it is nearing the end of the month, so I better finish up this post and put it up. This post covers some painting experiments from the past few weeks (months?).

One of the things I don’t like about cell-shading is that you can end up having large expanses of flat color. In traditional painting I end up blending a set of primary colors into such spaces, and this first painting is an attempt to do the same in a cell-shade. Needless to say, it’s kind of rubbish; this is a full-sized painting, but it doesn’t really deserve to be one.

In d353 I talked about how I had been doing a bad job balancing “hard” and “soft” divides. The second painting is a full-sized painting aimed at working on striking a good balance, and I think it does a pretty good job. This Tales of Graces alternate costumes is in the same sort of spirit as the Tales of the Abyss alternate costumes from 2007.

This painting is also the first painting an ink-drawn lineart, and I really think it looks a lot cleaner and smoother than the ink-finished linearts I had been doing up until I started drawing in ink. As is often the case with pathfinding paintings, I felt the need to document at the backdraw stage and at the lineart stage. As noted in my first ink drawing post, the backdraw here is pure HB.

There’s two more experiments “hidden” in this painting. The first is the tree, which is an all-paint element done from scratch. It is actually my third attempt, and I think it’s pretty decent considering that the first and second were much more rubbish. The second experiment is the light-through-the-trees effect on Asbel in the lower left corner. I wasn’t sure how well that effect was going to go over, which is why I isolated it to a small corner of this painting.

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d352 120428 Cheria Barns 2012

My second Tales of Graces painting features Cheria, who did not make it into the last one, primarily due to space constraints. The background is a hand-traced portion of the ToG logo. I don’t really believe there is anything particularly noteworthy about this painting except that the lineart is inked.

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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.

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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.

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