I received Pokemon Omega Ruby as my birthday gift from my girlfriend this year. Having played the original (I played Sapphire back then), I am pleasantly surprised by the little touches Game Freaks did to enhance the experience. For one, I thought the 3D implementation to the game is so much more impressive than X&Y.
I've been meaning to create a fanart of that game since completing it, but I didn't know how to approach it. Should I do a painting of my team that beat the Elite 4? Or just my character and my starter Swampert? Eventually I decided that I'll focus on the ORAS original character Zinnia.
I won't spoil anyone who hasn't play the game, but let's just say that she's a Dragon type user ;)
Let's talk about my process for this painting. For this artwork, I started with lines instead of the doing a tonal value sketch. I usually do lines when I know the designs of each character (usually the case for fan art). I personally feel that it is faster to nail down the drawing with lines than with value.
I do a more detailed pass of the line drawing on top of the rough sketch. With this, I tie down the general perspective of the drawing, making sure everything works before I move on to color. This step is helpful as it removes most of the question marks about composition and staging.
The composition here is simple: everyone is looking and/or moving towards the right side of the canvas. I made the drawing slightly more dynamic with the perspective. Here, the characters 'fan' outwards towards the right, creating the illusion of depth.
I start the coloring process with a simple gradient. What this does is it immediately sets the ambient lighting and the light direction of the painting.
Now this looks like a huge jump from the previous step, but it really isn't. As mentioned in my previous post, I color pick from existing images to set the color scheme of my paintings. The trick to unifying the colors so that they look like they belong to the same scene is to not drop the hues on 100% opacity. I apply the colors on 70% so that the ambient lighting (the gradient from before) shows through.
One con of color picking is that it usually produce very dull results. This is easily fixed with a Hue/Saturation and/or Color Balance adjustment.
After laying the ground work, what's left is just the laborious process of detailing the characters and environment.
I felt Zinnia looked too passive here. She's a very lively and jumpy character and I want to show that. So I tried opening her mouth and she looked much better.
Some more color adjustments and the painting is done!
The disciples stood nervously as they awaited their judgement. With a thunderous roar, the headmaster descended upon the cliff of skulls, riding his new pet the Black Dragon. They gasp as the Black Dragon extended its wings, an intense green glow bursting our from its chest. The headmaster raised his hands and all at once, everything seemed silent. He bellowed, "Look at the person to your left and right. They will not graduate."
Based on a true story.
So a few months ago my Alma mater Digipen introduced the dragon as their new mascot. They featured an old dragon artwork I did when I was in school in their Facebook page. It made me realized that it has been a while since I drew dragons, so I whipped out my pen and started sketching new ideas for a new dragon illustration.
The above paragraph is an over-dramatized version of true events that happened in school when the school's president flew down from Redmond to the Singapore campus to reprimand us of our bad behaviour. I remember I was still a freshman and it was only my first week of school. It left a big impression on me and my friends and we will always bring it up from time to time during our school days. I wanted to tie in the dragon illustration with the idea of the scary leader of the school descending into the scene.
As usual, I started with a quick black and white tonal sketch in Photoshop (after doing a super rough drawing on paper). This step helps me organise the different elements I want in the image. I initially wanted to have some bats flying behind the castle in the background.
I then block in some colours using the Overlay, Colour and Multiply blending modes. A friend recently asked me how I decide on what colours to use. My answer is simple: I colour pick from images I like. They range from photographs to other paintings done by other artists. I understand the morality debates on this issue, but all I have to say is that the colours I picked get edited out eventually. To the point where they may not even resemble the reference image. I will often run a Hue/Saturation and Colour Balance filters on top of it to find the colour scheme that I like. This process gives me a good head-start to the illustration and I have been using it since my school days.
Next, I go on and detail the background
The dragon is a relatively complex character in the scene, so I start by doing a more detailed sketch before proceeding with the final details. Besides Digipen's mascot logo design, I also drew inspiration from other famous dragons like WoW's Death Wing.
I decided to be less lazy and do a few more dragons in the background instead of bats. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to put more hours into a painting to make it that much more epic.
I submitted a preliminary image to the LevelUp! group and some of the members told me that the headmaster's design was too simple compared to that of the dragon. While I do not want to deck out the headmaster with too much details, I do agree that he needs some additional gear. I added a simple crown and hinted at some sort of armour beneath his cloak.
At this point, the entire piece feels like it lacks that last bit of oomph. I decided to fall back on an old technique I used in school, where I overlayed a piece of texture on top of the entire painting. The difference is subtle here, but it adds more colour to the painting, especially the skin of the dragon.
I'm quite satisfied with the final result and I hope you enjoy this illustration too!
The last character of my "Wrestling" series is the big bad Vulcano. I had the most fun designing him; I've always enjoyed creating villains.
With a name like Vulcano, my first instinct was to do something related to fire. And if you follow WWE, you'll immediately associate fire with the wrestler Kane. The first design I did mimic the famous wrestler's appearance: long hair, tall and dons a face mask. I felt that the solution was too much of a rip-off so I decided to explore other options. In the end I preferred the design with the Ultimate Warrior-like face paint and the Shishio (of Rurouni Kensin fame) burn scarred body.
I decided to drop the burn scars when I was colouring the character. The end result looked more like a blend between Ultimate Warrior and Triple-H.
"Vulcano is the reigning world champion after Ty was discharged from the federation for misconduct. While he may boost an impressive physique, his most valued asset as a wrestler is perhaps his brain. Ruthless and cunning, Vulcano has the unique ability to immediately read his opponent's strength and weakness in the ring. He managed to climb the ladder, defeating every wrestler except the then-champion, Ty. Unable to secure the title, Vulcano devised a devious plan that got Ty permanently banned from entering the ring. With him holding the belt, a new and dark era has begun."