Monday, October 23, 2017

Yoga Crow Pose series - Rebelle/ArtRage - Surface Studio/SurfaceBook

This is the latest addition to a series of works featuring a friend. The above image is the SFW version (Safe For Work). After the jump is the NSFW (Not Safe For Work) versions. For the uninitiated, that means those that are working in offices with delicate sensibilities or are in front of the computer with their kids around, do not view the jump.

With that out of the way, the acrylic brushes were used for this project. Harder to use than the watercolor brushes in my opinion but just as impressive when it comes to producing quality results. At this stage, it may be time to develop more custom brushes for various effects as some of the hair was a bit more of a challenge than it should have been primarily due to not having quite the right brush.   

Remember, the jump is awesome, but totally NSFW

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sketch Sessions 10-21-17/Second Half - ArtRage 5 - Surface Studio

Another quickie sketch (long than the previous though). A different pencil and canvas were used to see what the results would be. More time was spent on the hair than anything else. These exercises are good for just getting the image down on the page. Sometimes it's too easy to get caught up in the details, constantly fretting over things looking "perfect" in anticipation of harsh judgment. Focus on the flow and freedom of the work, ignore the baggage. Being so caught up can truly be a detriment to the piece you're trying to create. 

Sketch Sessions 10-21-17 - ArtRage 5 - Surface Studio

Quickie sketch from today's sketch sessions. Nothing too extensive, this was created using a B pencil for smoothing in ArtRage 5 working loosely. In ArtRage and Rebelle I've begun to experiment again with creating custom canvas types, using one of them for this drawing. One advantage in ArtRage is that it will support canvas types in .jpeg and .png formats whereas Rebelle will only use canvas types that are .png format. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Guilty Until Proven Innocent - Rebelle/Quark 2016 - SurfaceBook

Poem by Anthony Colquitt
Another creation for a project that will never see the light of day unfortunately. This was inspired by Black Lives Matter (BLM) and all those that stand against inequality and racism. There is something dangerously wrong with a society when the police can flat out murder a child in broad daylight (as one of many examples) and no one is held accountable for it. 

America - Quark 2016 - SurfaceBook

This is an image created for a project that's pretty much dead in the water. It's an image that represents America's sadistic fetish for guns and gun violence. This will always be a serious problem until common sense is more prevalent than greed. 

Yoga, Crow Pose (Again) - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

This is a speed painting as part of the yoga series that was started in 2015, featuring the same friend/model. This was completed in a couple of hours. Rebelle 2 watercolor brushes again are in effect, at this point I think they're becoming an obsession. The Wet Wednesday's project caused a good deal of burn out that required a break for a few days. In order to get back into the swing of things, Crow pose #2 was the focus. Nothing too strenuous that could bring back the feelings of burnout. A very relaxing project to help build confidence. There are times, as artists, that the best thing we can do to help further develop our skills is to take a break. It's great to be that person that's die-hard and constantly painting/drawing/creating every day. Every free moment of every day. But this isn't always healthy.  Sometimes we need to walk away and come back with fresh eyes and a fresher mind to pick up where we left off, for continued success. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wet Wednesdays Rebelle 2 Portrait - Timelapse

Video of the processed used in the previous post.

Wet Wednesdays Watercolor Project (Morgan Hurd) - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

The original plan for this project was to draw it using the hatching and facet technique used in the previous post. But I haven't used Rebelle in a week or so and decided to use it instead and go with the watercolor brushes. Similar to the yoga project from a few days ago, this was pretty straight forward. No problems at all from sketch to final. Well, actually there is one issue I've been dealing with but it would take GPU support or new hardware to correct. The watercolor algorithm in Rebelle/Rebelle 2 is pretty extensive. Even though there's a Core i7 with 32GBs of RAM in the Surface Studio, Rebelle 2 can struggle at times when working with watercolors. This results in a pause every now and then as Rebelle needs time to catch up. Calculating the data to simulate the bleed of water/paint on canvas + pressure used is no minor task (which is why Rebelle isn't on iPad Pro, it's not powerful enough) but I have a sneaky suspicion that the bottleneck is the i7. I don't think this would be an issue if Rebelle 2 supported the GPU for processing instead of the CPU. As of now, GPU support is experimental in Rebelle 2. To avoid crashing the application or the entire system while recording, I stick to CPU processing for the time being. But I will definitely make the switch once GPU support becomes stable.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sketches Session 10/4 - 10/8 Time Lapse - ArtRage 5/Power Director 15

Time lapse of the latest project. Yes indeed, this one was harder than I expected.

Sketch Sessions 10/4/17 - 10/8/17 - ArtRage 5 - Surface Studio

For this project the hatching lines and facets were layered many more times than the previous project. Because of this it took twice as long to complete, four days as opposed to two. The pose may seem simple to others but it was a challenge to work with. The perspective in general and the angle of the right hand specifically threw me off at times. Working on a dark canvas and drawing with light was also a challenge but easier than previous projects (practice paying off). But it's the difficult challenges that teach us the most so it's more beneficial to stick with it until the end. Laziness, excuses and rhetoric do nothing but waste time and energy. We have to do the work otherwise nothing is learned or gained. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sketch Session Time-Lapse 10/01/17 - ArtRage 5 - Surface Studio

Video of the Sunday Sketch Session.

Sketch Sessions 10/01/17 - ArtRage 5 - Surface Studio

Yesterday was a Sketch Session Sunday but I didn't finish the video and .gif creation until today. I stuck with ArtRage 5 but used a watercolor canvas with a thin fine liner pencil for the figure. This allowed my hatchings and facets to come together better than the second Shon Tenaj portrait which incorporated a rougher paper and a different pencil. Also, the initial drawing here was created using a scribble technique, simply drawing loosely what I saw from the reference photo. The scribble lines weren't erased when the facets and cross hatchings were applied, I drew over them, new lines covering the old. This was to avoid the old habit of correcting and over correcting which wastes time and energy. Of course, there was some clean up around certain areas but it was minimal and performed later in the drawing phase. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Brandon Time Lapse - SurfaceBook/Power Director 15

I was finally able to get the video for the last project produced. Apologies in advance,  there is a duplicate cursor in the video. I have to figure out why that is.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Brandon - ArtRage 5 - SurfaceBook

A few weeks ago, I posted a really loose digital painting of The Crow that didn't quite work out like I planned but served as a great example of working with more of a loose, free flowing strokes. I got a chance to revisit that style of working today and was able to create what you see here. Working in this way requires almost a total disregard for rigid lines and structure, allowing your eye and your stroke to flow with more of what you feel and less of what you see. Working in such a way was an amazing feeling. Many of us are taught to work within rigid confines of what is thought to be "proper" or "best practice." But this line of thinking is subject to preference. The reality is any and everything can work, any and everything are possible and any combination of technique and application are viable. There was a time when I didn't think I'd ever even begin to learn how to work as loosely as what's presented here but the key is practice. Always practice and ignore the naysayers with the knowledge that if someone isn't hating on your work, then you're not pushing it hard enough. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Yoga - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

Watercolor project that initially started in ArtRage 5 but was killed and restarted in Rebelle 2 (for the same reasons mention in a recent post). Not too much to say about this one. It progressed pretty quickly with nearly no other problems to speak of. Technically this is a speed painting as I worked really quickly jumping between this and the Wei Sketchbook Pro project over the last two days. It was a good contrast considering Sketchbook Pro 7 required a lot of clean up and correction to achieve the results presented. But this project was more expressive and free flowing. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wei* Time Lapse - Sketchbook Pro 7/Power Director 15 - SurfaceBook

Video of the general process used in reworking the character. This was really fun to do and inspired my next project which should be ready tomorrow.

Wei - Sketchbook Pro 7 - SurfaceBook

Final re-design for Wei. Instead of using Rebelle 2 for this project I went with Sketchbook Pro 7 for its blending and smudge brushes. They're really good even if they work very differently than similar functions in the Rebelle 2. The beauty of Sketchbook Pro 7 is that it's a very lightweight application (in terms of resources needed to run it) but it's easily capable of incredibly high quality results. Technically I could have produced this entire piece on an Android tablet using Sketchbook Pro for Android...the old version from 2010. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wolvie and Jubilee - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

This is a X-Men comic cover by Mark Morales so I take no credit for drawing this. I did provide the colors using Rebelle 2 though. While looking at work in a Comics group, I couldn't help but notice that no one was actually using a painting application to color comic books or comic covers. So I decided to try coloring one using ArtRage 5. That didn't work out due to the annoying way ArtRage 5  blends color so that version was halted and the project was restarted using Rebelle 2 instead. Maybe in a day or so I'll try to complete the ArtRage version but blending colors is one of the things I hate about ArtRage 5. It's overly complicated and never worked like I expected (read: it doesn't work like every other mainstream digital painting application and it doesn't even try to emulate how blending works using real paints).

Monday, September 18, 2017

Shon Tenaj Time-Lapse #2 - ArtRage 5/Power Director 15 - Surface Studio

Time lapse of the last post. Admittedly this was harder to finish than I anticipated due to the mentioned (in the previous post) pencil/paper type combo used. Due to that error I had to take extra time and care to get the shading close to what was originally intended. Call it a happy mistake, a blunder or a non issue but either way, it was definitely a learning experience. 

Some artists over time have asked which is the better application for digital painting, ArtRage or Rebelle? Personally, I'd get both. Rebelle is phenomenal for watercolor painting and acrylics, while the pencil, markers, pen and airbrush tools are all really good. ArtRage has excellent oils, palette knife and pencil tools, with a deeper selection of brushes. Both applications have great canvas and paper options and both have great custom palette options, layers and layer effects support and transform options. Adding ArtRage and Rebelle to your toolkit gives an enormous amount of creative options for high quality digital painting that simulates traditional mediums.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Shon Tenaj #2 - ArtRage 5 - Surface Studio

Take two of this particular series using a different reference photo. There were some complications with the paper type and pencil that prevented me from making the shading as smooth as intended. I was never a huge fan of smudging or smearing of pencil lines as it always felt like a cheap short cut. Yes, I understand that great results can be had by smearing and I have used the technique many years ago but I never liked it. Instead of trashing the piece at the halfway point and starting over with a different pencil and paper, I ran with the rougher look. There weren't any measurements taken, position marking or prep in the beginning. I literally just looked at the original picture and started drawing. The measurements/position marking help in making the image close if not exact to the original in the drawing but it can be stifling. Bypassing that step allows the artist to be a bit more free with the interpretation. Overall this was fun but in the next drawing project I'll either use a different paper type and pencil in ArtRage or run with Rebelle or Sketchbook Pro 7 instead. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Shon Tenaj: Rebelle 2 Time-Lapse Video

The portrait took a couple of hours longer than anticipated. Even though the video is time-lapsed, it's still edited for length.

Shon Tenaj - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

After trying a few experiments over the last month, the tried and true technique was used for this project. A few of the more elaborate watercolor brushes in Rebelle 2 were used for the hair to try to capture the texture and I used another brush I rarely use to try to capture some of the texture of the skin. That was more difficult than I anticipated which leads me to believe I'll need to use the brush creator to make a brush that can better create the texture I was looking for. Water on this particular canvas didn't react the way I anticipated either causing a bit of deception. The water didn't bleed as expected leaving me with the impression that the canvas absorbed more water than other canvas types used. But this wasn't the case, the water+paint simply bled slower than usual causing large painted areas to bleed into others in a chaotic way over time. It was cool because watercolors will do that in reality on certain canvas types which is impressive for Rebelle 2 to simulate this so accurately. But it was annoying as hell because it totally wasn't what I wanted to do. So for this project, I used far less water, more paint and more pressure than in previous projects to better maintain control.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wei Ting*, WIP - Sketchbook Pro 7 - SurfaceBook

After spending some time sketching after taking a bit of a break, I started working on two of the key characters in the fantasy project that come from lands that would be the equivalent of China. Wei Ting* is a prodigy martial artist that is on a mission that may result in never being able to return to his homeland.  What is this mission? Justice. Brutal and bloody. The reasons behind it I'll share later but I'm excited to see what others think of them. Soon. 

I decided to to use Sketchbook Pro 7 for this design to generate more of an animation fell. Sketchbook Pro is truly one of the absolute best applications for drawing, sketching and color rendering. The techniques used in Rebelle with the previous designs will be used in Sketchbook to see how the final compares to the Rebelle versions. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sketch Quickies - Clip Studio EX/Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

This is a short video featuring a series of sketches and some color work using the new Surface Pen. The start of this month was a time to take a break due to the amount of work produced the month prior. Nintendo's Switch didn't help during the break as it proved to a be more of a distraction than I anticipated as it's far more impressive than I gave credit for.

From time to time, I like to sketch in the manner you see in the video. It allows me to relax and get into the flow of things before tackling more intensive projects. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in mindset that everything has to be perfect, correct, accurate in terms of anatomy, perspective etc. But some of the best works I've seen are unfinished. Are flawed yet full of life. The baggage of creation is what I sometimes call it when others are quick to become a correction nazi lashing out against unfinished, "imperfect" works. Then there's the trap. It's when you realize you're not focusing on your own growth during the creative process, but the approval of these correction nazi's, creating what is assumed is wanted seeking approval instead following your own vision. Variation of a sell-out. This is a quagmire of wasted focus many times that can hamper the creative process and growth of an artist. But irony of ironies, some of the best work created isn't perfect, isn't correct (or politically correct), isn't accurate. Comic book art is a perfect example of this as is animation, especially Japanese animation. There is beauty in imperfection.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Maddie Time-Lapse Video - Rebelle 2/Power Director 15 - Surface Studio

This video runs a bit longer than the average time-lapse demo video because I wanted to allow the viewers to see there's no trickery involved in the portrait's completion. I started with a freehand sketch, no erasing, and used Rebelle's watercolors, a couple of brushes and a blender to complete the image . This project took a few hours to complete and a bit more to edit and process the video. There really isn't any excuse as to why any artist or student the world over with at least a mobile tablet or crap laptop can't produce great work. I used a Surface Studio to produce this, sure, but I've completed similar work with a $200 Google Nexus 7 and a $5 app same as many other artists you can find on social media. More powerful tools just make for an easier time using advanced techniques. If anyone, including offices, can't produce great work in this day and age with the insane amount of technology at our disposal (yes, I've witnessed companies that get paid ridiculous sums of money to produce dreadful work), then that's just tragic and could make anyone question the validity of the human race.

Foolish Mortals! You Will Pay for Your Insolence! - Rebelle - Surface Studio

This project came out of nowhere. An artist on Facebook named John created a rough painting of Maddie, a girl that took a photo while making a hilarious facial expression. I really liked his rendition and said as much mentioning that I didn't blame him for painting Maddie because the photo is awesome. He thanked me and suggested that I give a drawing and/or painting a go. I thought about it for a couple of minutes and decided to do just that. John got permission for me to paint Maddie from Maddie's momma and here we are. The conversation took place yesterday but I didn't plan on having my version completed until Friday. Fortunately, time freed up earlier so I was able to knock it out in about 6 hours. A large portion of the creative process behind this project was recorded too. Later today, it'll be edited and uploaded for the blog. I'd do it now but I'm beat. 😴

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Google Sites (New version) - Digital Canvas

Digital Canvas Google Site

Want to give Sites a go? Try this.

A few hours were spent testing out Google's updated website building tools under Sites. I created a simple version of my G+ Digital Canvas collection as a Google Site. The good news, Sites are very straight forward with easy to use tools for building simple websites. The collaborative tools are also really good. Anyone familiar with collaborating within Google Docs, Sheets or Slides will immediately be at home here. I also like the hooks that tie directly into Google Drive and Google Photos as they are very convenient and easy to use. Image cropping is fantastic and even works for animated .gif files which is something I haven't seen anywhere else on the web. Adding photos and videos are also very easy to do especially if you have your own YouTube channel. Sites gives the option to test run your design in a smartphone, tablet and computer screen view to ensure everything works as intended. This isn't anything new as other development tools offer options to view builds cross platform. But I appreciate the fact that Google's option actually works. Google certainly knows how to keep users roped into their services. 

The bad news is the tools are straight forward but very limited. Custom URLs aren't possible as far as I've seen and there are no advanced transition or gallery display options. Technically speaking, one could build an advanced presentation in Slides and import it into the site to alleviate this problem. I may even attempt such a solution myself soon. But it would have been more convenient to have such features built into the construction tools. I use Skyfonts/Google Fonts on my Surface devices but they are not available with Sites. Customization options for themes and layouts are very limited. Customization in general is very limited. But considering the tools are free, Sites is a good option for anyone that needs a website that's simple without too many hoops to jump through. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Whirling Swordsman WIP - Sketchbook Pro 7 - Surface Studio

2D character animation takes a ridiculous amount of drawings to work. Sometimes it's better to not think about the number of drawings needed to get an idea to work. Just do it. With this sequence I wanted to animated a practice sequence for one of my characters. The idea is there. But I need to add frames to smoothen out the motion more.

* - 82617 - I made some corrections and changes to update the animation. This part of the sequence is a good place to stop before clean up which I'll tackle some time later. There are other animations I'd like to try before finalizing this project. Also, I could have cheated this and animated on 2s (duplicate each drawing to smoothen the motion) or change the animation speed using Power Director but that's lame. In order to get the really smooth motion you see hear, I animated on 1s (no duplication of frames) at 30 frames per second instead of 24 for much smoother movement that almost looks rotoscoped at times (Rotoscope is an animation technique that's basically tracing over live action film for smooth motion, cheating 101). It's much more work and harder to control in terms of speed, but smooth movement is key. This animation runs a bit faster than I anticipated but it gives me a good motion reference for timing future projects. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ha! WIP - Sketchbook Pro 7/Clip Studio EX - Surface Studio

Another quickie animation test, just having a bit of fun trying out whatever comes to mind. In this animation, I was practicing pacing. adding frames to build a bit of anticipation just before the jump and then adding frames during the height of the jump to build anticipation again just before the fall and rotation. The landing didn't come out quite like I imagined but that can be worked on later or practiced again in a different piece. I still prefer 2D animation over 3D animation because  a lot of 3D animation starts to look the same after a time. 2D animation still has a uniqueness that not many artists translate into 3D projects. Even in gaming, a lot of assets that make up a 3D project are imported from other projects or in some cases packaged art that can be purchased from various online stores. Make no mistake, 3D animation is great in its own right but 2D is my preference being more expressive and it allows me to actually draw. Animation in general is a lot of work, but it's always fun seeing the motion come to life on screen. 

Animation Test Stuffs - Sketchbook Pro 7/Clip Studio EX - Surface Studio

In preparation for the next series of projects, 2D animation is the focus. Animating on Surface devices is not hard at all. I was able to sketch out this walk cycle earlier this morning in about an hour or so. Sketchbook Pro 7 is a great application for this and can be had for a ridiculously low price, as low as $40 on Amazon last I checked. The animation tools are simple giving users a timeline and nearly full access to all of the tools one would use for illustration. The limitations come in the layers section which are limited to foreground, midground and background only. New layers can not be added and layer effects aren't available. This may seem like a deal breaker initially but I don't believe it is. 2D character animation is generally simplistic. Sketchbook Pro 7 focuses on the pencil test which is the foundation of 2D character animation. It is very intuitive in allowing users to quickly and easily animate an idea. Importing frames, backgrounds, illustrations etc is also very straight forward. If layer effects and things of that nature are needed, these can be added using Clip Studio EX which gives full access to layer effects per animation cel which is awesome but this comes at a price which I'll specify below. Other applications that can be used for layer effects are AfterEffects, Premiere, Power Director, Color Director and many other video production applications. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Grrr Monsters - Rebelle/ArtFlow/Clip Studio EX/Quark 2017 - Nexus 9/Surface Pro 3/SurfaceBook/Surface Studio

This is a test banner I created to use for a YouTube channel but due to the way Google implements channel art, this doesn't work. The problem is Google recommends a resolution of 2560x1440 which works for HDTV screens. But it absolutely sucks for smartphones and computer screens. I need a resolution of 2560x420 and designed a banner specifically for that resolution but Google won't allow uploads at that specification. Google gives us the option to crop art but it's so limited to the extent of being pointless. Amazing isn't it? Google can forge ahead and implement one of the world's most advanced AI but can't enable YouTube to allow more than one version of channel art so users can more easily support multiple device types without butchering their art. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Heroes - Quark 2017 - Surface Studio

These are a couple of banner ideas featuring some of the characters that were worked on over the last few weeks. I'm still trying out different arrangements but I really like the two posted here. The first is a favorite because of the connection the characters share in the story. The second I really like for similar reasons. Other arrangements will be posted a couple of days or so. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Speed painting practice - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

I'm a bit burned out on character stuff so I did a quickie today. Instead of approaching it in a straight forward manner, this was created by literally just splattering paint on a canvas and seeing if something good could come out of it. No pencil sketch was used or other prep work but I did use Brandon Lee as a loose reference. The goal wasn't to make the painting look like him but to make the final not look like shit.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chiamak Version 2 - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

This is finally done or at least, as done as this version can be at this point. I wanted her character to be a bit more distinct from Tau and Ar'Kamun but sharing certain aspects of their look. The yellow eyes are shared with the two men and others of their group for story specific reasons I'll talk about later. The spears and shield were switched for two swords to make Chiamak a bit different from her counterparts. The swords also match her personality better than spears and a shield. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Spellcasting Londisa Update - Clip Studio EX - Surface Studio

While waiting for the SurfaceBook to finish processing a different project (I REALLY hope Microsoft offers a Ryzen 7 option in the next SurfaceBook or Threadripper in a new Surface Studio) I decided to tool around with an older project. This is an update to an idea I started on a Nexus 7 tablet using ArtFlow. It was later transferred to my Surface devices and updated in 2016. This update was centered around the lighting and creating a powerful blue tone to the overall project. Unfortunately, I didn't have the original line art on the Studio, that's still on the Nexus 7 which is packed up so I worked with the updated colored version from 2016 using added layers while changing existing layers to complete what you see here. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fresh Produce: HellBlade: Senua's Sacrifice - Power Director 15/Game DVR - Surface Studio

This is a long play video I recently posted on YouTube that shows all of the solutions to Valravn's puzzles and how to defeat him. HellBlade is also a shining example of superb art direction and a master level example of what can be done with Unreal Engine 4 (which is free for all BTW). Ninja Theory, the developers of HellBlade have also had a flair for cinematic game design since their debut with Heavenly Sword on PS3 but HellBlade is the first game they've released that comes together really well without any glitches or dealbreaking controversy. The game also makes some powerful statements about mental illness as Senua is mentally, a very disturbed young woman.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chiamak version 2 WIP - Rebelle - Surfacebook

I like the original drawing of Chiamak but the painting didn't come together as well as I expected. Instead of repainting it, I decided to just redesign the character from the ground up and change the color scheme. She's coming along nicely.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Chiamak - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

This version is done but I'm not totally thrilled with it. I'll try again later. But it's a lazy Sunday so time for Sucky Movie Sundays on Netflix.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

WIP - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

I have to change her name and haven't come up with anything good yet. She fights closely with Tau, Ar'Kamun and another character that is in need of a name change.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tau - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

Tau, the oldest active member of the elite warriors of the current rulers of the kingdom where the fantasy story begins. He is also the husband to Arjana who I posted a few days ago. As I mentioned previously, this project is an updated version of Tau, who was created long ago. His purpose in the story hasn't changed but his look has been slightly modified. The elite warriors that Tau leads of which Ar'Kamun (posted here) is a member are the absolute best of the best warriors among all warriors in the kingdom. The most dangerous, most secretive missions are assigned to Tau's group and for good reason. In the entirety of the group's existence, they have only failed twice.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tau WIP - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

Update to an old character. The oldest member of an Order* dedicated to protecting the kingdom where the fantasy story originates. His look hasn't changed much from the original drawing except his hair. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ar'Kamun (The Chosen*) - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

This started off as a quickie sketch that wasn't supposed to be anything more than that. But it became more as more time was put into it out of curiosity. It happens that way sometimes when writing out notes for a story and sketching at the same time. Also. Ar'Kamun isn't The Chosen* but there is a group that are temporarily named The Chosen* until I can find a better name for them that fits their purpose.

Arjana - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

I needed a mother figure to try out an idea in the story. This turned out with a look very similar to someone I dated a couple of years ago as was mentioned in the previous post. I guess she comes to mind because she was very motherly but with a very stern, aggressive undertone that always lurked just under the surface. That aspect inspired the attraction. She was definitely interesting. No doormats, as they're only good for walking on. A woman with fire, that can hold her own is good especially when it all hits the fan. A real partner and teamwork.  This how I imagined the character. Now to finish her husband...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mother* WIP - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

I guess the theme for the end of July is "short, thick, Black women." Subconsciously my hand gravitates towards that theme when I'm sketching so instead of fighting it, I'm running with it. My father told me not too long ago, "the subconscious knows even when we consciously claim we don't know..." That statement could be applied in a lot of interesting ways considering what I've experienced over the last few years. Certainly my father knew that when he said it considering one of my designs looks exactly like my mom and one of my digital paintings looks exactly like my grandmother (father's mother), another looks like my ex from college, yet another looks like a friend I dated a couple of years ago that moved away. Influences and preferences, the subconscious knows...

Saturday, July 29, 2017

DAFUH...! - ArtFlow/Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

Final! After finishing this, I could totally see myself sketching on the go using ArtFlow on a Pixel tablet and finishing the projects on a Surface Studio using Rebelle, Sketchbook Pro or Clip Studio. That is IF, Google took the creative market seriously and released a dedicated pen with a respectable Pixel tablet, probably will never happen. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed ArtFlow. I left a request for the developer asking about a Windows 10 version of ArtFlow since Android feels too limited for it due to lack of good hardware. Considering how long it took for version 2.0 of ArtFlow to even see the light of day, I doubt it will ever happen. I  understand to an extent the amount of work that can go into developing a creative application with advanced features especially as a solo developer. But Google isn't doing creatives any favors on the hardware size of things leaving some of us stranded. The Nexus 7 and Nexus 9 were good for their time but where is the iPad Pro and Surface Pro competitor? Hence, my move to Surface devices (iPads are a laughable "no way"). More expensive, but better devices, better pen, better OS, better software support.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Kia Revision 72817 WIP - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

Early progress on a revision of an old Kia design that was originally completed using ArtFlow on a Nexus 9 tablet. I imported the line art version of the ArtFlow project, redesigned the face and started the color work. Looking at the clean line art caused me to miss ArtFlow because it was capable of truly impressive results even running on a 2012 Nexus 7. Even now, the 2.0 version is excellent but I can't go back to using soft fat tip styli and Google never released a Nexus tablet that's truly high end. I'll never support Samsung again so Galaxy Tabs/Galaxy stylus are out of the question (long story). Going back to the Nexus 9 simply isn't an option after working on Surface devices. Even my old Surface Pro 3 is preferred over the Nexus 9. But I really miss ArtFlow though. Maybe I'll ask the developer if he'd consider a Windows 10 version. I'd pay a premium for that.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Disa* Repaint - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

Another redo of a previous character with some edits to her face to make her look less Asian. Using a similar process as the last post, this was completed using Rebelle 2 watercolor brushes. I changed the canvas and used a bit of an underpainting technique to get better shadows and saturation of colors even without using a lot of loading with the watercolor brush. For those not in the know, Rebelle/Rebelle 2 watercolor brushes have four sliders for control...

1 - Size (of the brush)
2 - Pressure (amount of pressure when applied to the canvas)
3 - Loading (how much paint is applied to the brush)
4 - Water (how much water is applied to the brush)

If a creative wanted a less saturated, more faint look to their watercolor project, then they could use less loading and more water on a wet canvas. For a more saturated look, one could use more loading, less water on a dry canvas.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kianara Color Revision - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio/SurfaceBook

This version of the character was completed last year but in keeping all of the characters consistent in the color rendering phase, I painted the drawing again using the Rebelle watercolors of the last couple of designs. I also switched to a darker canvas to give the lighting and energy effects more impact. The original version (after the jump) was created using Clip Studio EX with simplicity in mind even down to the color palette. But it lacks impact. I like how clean it is making the character and energy effects very easy to read. But the new version has much more depth. I'll experiment more to see how far Rebelle 2 can take me before I need to try something different. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kia* WIP 72517 - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

After the last character design didn't come out quite right, I decided to re-render this version of Kia using Rebelle water color brushes to see if I can keep the look consistent with the other designs. The original was created using Clip Studio EX. Although I like the way that version turned out, the colors don't quite fit with the  Rebelle designs. Initially I was going to paint the fire and ice effect but decided against it since the original effects are still really good.  A better technique is being tested for the lighting to see if I can get more of an impact out of it in Rebelle. So far so good. 

WIP - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

I'm not sure what to do with this particular version of the character. Technically I'm still working on it but I need a break from it because it doesn't look quite like Londisa. It could pass as a younger version maybe, but that's not really what I was going for. This is why you shouldn't work when you're tired. There are things I like about it so the image will get used at some point but I may take an older design of her and paint it using Rebelle watercolor brushes to match the previous entries in the book. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Wakati - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

Wakati and two of her cats, Poogers and Greybear, named after two kittens an ex used to own that really liked me and my big, comfy sweatpants. I miss them to this day and hope they're ok.  As mentioned in a previous post I made Wakati short and thick based on a long time friend. Ironically my friend doesn't care for cats, preferring dogs and I'm sure I'll get an earful for Wakati's breasts being too small. My friend loves the size and bounce of her breasts and would want them on the character. But I purposefully didn't do that because it's typical to the point of annoyance. Japanese manga and anime are some of the worst examples. Teenage girls designed with F cup breasts. Women zombies and demons in Hollywood films that are designed with painstaking detail to show the decay of the woman's body but somehow the breasts are left completely intact and they're huge. Also in comics, no female warrior is complete if she's not running into battle in a bikini with a top that can barely contain her DDs and wearing heels of some kind.  This was cool when I was 13 and didn't know any better. As an adult it's becoming tiresome. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wakati WIP - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

Early this morning work started on Wakati's second rendition. I really want her to be short and a bit thicker with a look that's easier to cosplay. Wakati is awesome in that her characters is as direct as The Bladesman or as magically adaptive and powerful as Kianara or as focused as Londisa, but she's more effective than the rest in key situations that make her irreplaceable.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Bladesman* - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio/SurfaceBook

He's one of my favorite characters so far. In this version I simply re-rendered him using Rebelle 2 watercolors and redrew his feet. The Bladesman is a more stealthy character. He'd much rather complete an object long before the enemy ever knew he was there. But when it comes to direct confrontation, the Bladesman* is still very capable.

Wakati Hupita* - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

This version of the character is done. It captures the essence of the character and her importance to the story. I tried to make her a little plump too. Plump women are cute. Wakati is a more withdrawn than the other main characters in the story. She's one of the healers for the main characters and uses a lot of magic that's based on deception. In hand to hand combat she only has moderate skill, preferring to rely on her magic almost to a detrimental degree.

 The focus for the immediate future will be Rebelle 2 and the watercolor brushes. The process is basic, sketching out the poses, creating the characters details and cleaning up the basic details. Then, the color scheme is chosen based on the type of character being created and their history which leads to adding the watercolors.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Character Book WIP - Quark 2017 - Surface Studio

This week is dedicated to a lot of character work for bio pages being laid out using Quark 2017. A lot of multitasking is taking place as I'm creating, updating and editing designs while laying out the pages. This is one of the reasons I highly recommend working on systems with at least 16GBs of RAM if possible. Sometimes you'll have to multitask running a number of applications and processes at the same time and you don't want your system to choke under the load. At on point earlier in the week I had 6 different applications running at the same time including a Blender Render, jumping from one to the other as necessary. Quark 2017 was definitely worth the upgrade. The new image editor is cool and the basics such as master page creation and editing, style sheet creation and managing libraries still work as good as advertised. The ability to edit images without actually leaving Quark 2017 may sound minor but it's a pretty awesome feature when you're trying to get things done, short on time and don't want to jump through hoops loading another application just to make some quick adjustments. 
This project is going to be the focus for the next few days or so as I compile more of the old designs and fit them into the layout while updating and creating new designs.

Character stuffs WIP - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

I'm pretty excited about this character even though the look of her is still in flux. I was talking with a friend about story ideas when I told her about this woman I had in mind for the fantasy story. My friend loved the concept so I decided to give it a go in getting some visuals down. As we talked I began to realize that her abilities would make her a bigger part of the story than I originally intended due to the nature of what she can do. I'm also excited to be working on her because she likes cats and it allows me to draw up two adopted kittens I used to play with and put them in the story too.

Bladesman Watercolor WIP - Rebelle 2 - Surface Studio

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kianara - Rebelle 2 - SurfaceBook

Kianara is the twin sister of Londisa. Her magic is powerful and she's a very skilled hand-to-hand combatant. Kianara uses her magic to enhance her physical attacks and can switch immediately to attacking directly with purely magical attacks. Her love for the thrill of combat has gotten her into some dangerous situations.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I just Want Him... - ArtRage 5 - SurfaceBook

The end of Brandon Lee's life was tragic but at least he died doing what he loved to do. According to one of his interviews he believed in the role of The Crow, saying it was the only film he'd done where the violence was justified. I can definitely understand. Similar to Venus Williams, Brandon Lee is an inspiration even now because he dedicated his life to what he believed in. He loved acting and being in front of the camera. Unfortunately he died doing just that. But how many times have we all heard, "you only live once so make it count." What better way to "make it count" than following a dream, mastering a craft and sharing it with others? It seems too many of us are presented with conflicting advice when young. On one hand, the lesson is "you can be whatever you want to be." Not quite as even some family members won't support each other in the pursuit of a dream. Quick to say what can't happen or what won't happen, unless of course, the dream is generating a lot of money. Then, support is for sale just like many other things that shouldn't be.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Venus Williams - ArtRage 5 - SurfaceBook

It's unfortunate that Venus Williams lost Wimbledon today and lost badly in the second set, but one of the reasons Venus is such an inspiration to me is because of her strength of will to continue playing against some pretty harsh odds. Age is one aspect many point to, but Venus has also fought on to play with a debilitating illness and continued to fight on through injury with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, instead of recognizing the strength of will to continue to strive and respecting it, Venus is harshly criticized even for really petty, mundane reasons. People focusing on petty details such as her chosen hairstyle, things that have absolutely no bearing on what's supposed to be the focus, the tennis match. Racism is alive and well but it's really sad to see and hear Black people tear down successful Black women due to not dealing with their own personal issues. 

Although she lost, it was still good to see Venus make it to the finals despite the criticism, despite the naysayers and pettiness. No one escapes the ravages of time, this is true. But she is a great example of how to fight on, never give up even though so many others have done just that and settled for far less.