Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Just the Other Day, I Decided You Are Ugly and I Hate You...

So this was how far I got with the 'entry' for the forum art comp, before deciding I actually hated it and binned the idea completely...

One of the advantages of working on something for no particular reason is the ability to say 'fuck it, I hate you' and just stop- it's not a luxury you get when working on a proper project, but this piece was starting to grind me down- I was supposed to be doing it for the joy of just being able to do it again after such a long lay-off from any kind of art. It becomes self-defeating when it isn't actually enjoyable and becomes an albatross round the neck. My philosophy is usually to say "you aren't enjoying it because you know, on some sub-concious level, that it's shite; though you may not know why or what to do about it.

Anyway- I went on to start trying to apply the stuff I've recently learned about painting digitally to a page of comic art (I've nearly finished the page, I'll post it when the last panel is done) and also practising trying to polish a drawing a bit beyond sketch-level when drawing digitally- something I've always found a major problem. There was a time when I thought Manga Studio was the answer, but it so far hasn't proved to be the case- that's more likely down to me simply being much more au fait with Photoshop and finding it easier to make custom brushes and be in control of the work. I wish I could take some Manga Studio classes, because I can see from other peoples usage that it's a really good bit of software- I just can't make it do anything I want myself and it just sits on my hard drive looking at me, I'm damned sure its icon has a look of disdainful superiority on it's stupid fat face- just exactly like almost every IT 'wizard' I've ever met...Anyway- I've been drawing in photoshop and I'm getting happier with the results- this one was just worked up from one of those 'basic human head' practices I have drawn on envelopes and scraps of paper all over the house, only this time digitally- it's not done yet, there's still an eyebrow to add and I'm not sure where I'm going with the hair, as I've been pretty much making it up as I went along.
In between scribbling, I've been playing around with trying to get a watercolour look using photoshop as well. It's not too bad actually- the software definitely exceeded my expectations in that it really does look reasonably convincing as a watercolour- though the only water involved was in my coffee.
After all this dicking around with colours, I prefer the last-minute grey-scale afterthought....


The real beauty of it is that I can add to the drawing on a new layer without affecting what I've already drawn, and If I like it, just erase any parts affected on the layers below and merge down; so you can go from the most rudimentary of thumbnails right up to the finished drawing in one file- you can keep all the various stages or bin them as they become obsolete. I have to say, now it's actually starting to look like a proper drawing, and I'm actually enjoying the process now, I'm becoming a convert...

Monday, 10 August 2015

2000ad Forum Art Comp: Onwards to Genetic Purity...

It's been a bit hectic with Real World Stuff, so posting shit on a blog that sees less traffic than the back road to Maggieknockater has been neglected the last few days. Anyhoo- I've done some more work on my supposed entry to the 2000adonline message board art competition. My printer/ scanner problems remain the same so I just sketched it up in photoshop, I was going to use Manga Studio, because the drawing feels nicer in that program, but I'm far more accustomed to photoshop and still find the UI a bit mystifying in MS. If all I had to do was just draw- then Manga Studio would suit, but it's never as simple as that so it's PS for me for the moment. As I'm only sketching, it doesn't matter too much at the moment, it's never going to be anything other than 'scrappy'. I don't think I can draw properly digitally at all yet- nothing to do with software, I find the surface of the tablet too hard, smooth and hence 'skytie'- I wish it was slightly rubberised for a little more traction. I tried placing a piece of really thin, cheap-ass printer paper on and drawing on that, which worked a little better, though thinner paper, like maybe layout paper, could be an option.
Anyway- writing is boring, so is reading, so here's where I'm at...


It's pretty rough, IMO; but I've got a blue version for printing (back to work on Friday), which I can then hand draw and ink over the weekend , ready to scan in on Monday. Meanwhile, I'll get started on a colour layer so I can get this finished in time for the competition deadline (maybe). I plan tweak the colour palette from the original poster a little for a basic Blue/ Red/ Yellow split complementary scheme which doesn't deviate so much from the original as to be unrecognisable.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Distracted by Fascist Propaganda

Over on the 2000ad message board there's an art competition for this month again and it's been a while since I've done one, so I thought I'd have a go again. I've got some stuff on the boil in the background, so I can work on this a bit. I still have a couple of little tweaks to do to finish the digital portrait of Laura Gonzalez, but it's handy to have something else to move onto as soon as you finish one.

The competition is:
"2000ad is full of wars and authoritarian regimes. Produce a piece of propaganda for one of them."

At first, I was thinking of doing some Mutant Army propaganda from the Mutant Uprising in Strontium Dog- in an old Dogbreath story, 'Shadow of the Mutant', there's some grafitti sprayed on a wall depicting the Alexander Muties heads with the slogan "ONWARDS... AYE, ONWARDS" as a little jokey play on that character's dialogue. I thought about working that up to look like it had actually been sprayed on a wall, rather than just a drawing. I started looking at propaganda posters for ideas too- and I finally settled on this poster on the Italian Fascists...

I thought I'd do a mock-up cartoon first just to get an overall idea of where it was going, so I did a rough sketch in photoshop and grabbed sme base colours from the poster to start playing with a palette...

then I started laying in some colour quickly, and roughed up a Kreeler logo (there'll be some writing to go in there too, though I haven't settled on a final slogan). I intend to use some of the colouration, There will have to be alterations to the uniforms and I want it to look more like comic art than stylised blockymen, though I'm not decided on whether to include line-art or just go with a painted look. Here's a rough of my idea...
Scanning and printing is still a problem until I'm back at work again, but I can go ahead and start drawing up the figures and the Kreeler badge properly for now- I have plenty other bits and pieces to be working on right now anyway. More later.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Current Experiment- almost done

I've left it alone a few days so I could come back with a more objective eye. There's some more detailing around the eyes to do (mainly eyelashes); a little more detailing on the hair nearest the face (that forelock is also a little 'blocky' looking); some more 'atmospheric colour' and definitely a crop on the left hand side so the face is more central. I think the shadow under the nostrils is still too strong- she is a mutant who has no nose, just a subtle bump with faintly-rimmed nostrils. This was actually harder to get 'right' than I'd thought- whatever 'right' is.


I'll try to bash on and complete it tomorrow, as I'm getting bored of it now and want to move on to something else. The only real purpose was to try to learn a bit about the technicalities of how to 'paint' in photoshop, beyond that I had no real 'vision' for the painting so I've been just making it up as I went along- not the best method for getting the strongest picture, but hey-ho, it's only practice anyway.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Painting Practice - the continuing saga...

Moved the painting on a little- mostly background stuff though. My original plan to keep the clothing fairly loose appears to have fallen through...

It's getting there, but I felt I needed a little break from it as I need to refocus to getting the finishing done. I've been jumping around repairing and building the other parts up to catch up with the face and I just need to consider where I'm going next. This is what happens when you don't plan a piece out. Still, I've done better than I thought I would already- just need to plan the final push.

Also, I suppose I should mention I managed to do my first page of comics in a year and a half a wee while ago, for Dogbreath, the Strontium Dog fanzine- what else would it be? :)
The story is part text, part strip (mostly text). I won't post up any panels for it, as there weren't many, but it's a start and I'm just glad I can still use my arm. Details, as ever are on the Quaequam Blog here...
DOGBREATH #30 now available from Futurequake Publishing

Also check out ZARJAZ, the 2000ad fanzine while you're there.