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19 June 2012 @ 10:24 pm
The synergy of scatterbrains  
I spent the past three weeks on a new illustration, building up lines and torturing myself with the sort of fussy detail that has a way of bringing out every form irregularity and perspective fail. I finally enjoyed drawing hair, and I'm beginning to learn the ways of fabric. Both are cut from the same cloth, so to speak - flowing surfaces with volume that my brain just didn't seem to get for the longest time.

Also on deviantArt as usual. Pose was adapted from a photo reference.

I want to color this. I tried for a long evening and set it aside, frustrated by my inability to choose flats in the sweet spot between dull bleh and oversaturated clown barf. At least Pennywise seemed to have been snacking on a cohesive set of Crayolas, so I figured it was a reasonable first try. Then I got to wondering why I was trying to choose flats to begin with, as I never seemed to get along with that process on any other prior failed attempt to color my work. The uniform fields of color look weird and trip me up. Instead, why not paint as I had drawn - built up and relaxed into, just as I'd done with traditional media in high school?

Inspired by this faux watercolor tutorial, I gave it another go. Damn, what an improvement. Slowly deepening washes just look right to me, and those stupidly saturated colors mellow into desirable brightness when layered in patient steps. I need some study practice before returning to the piece, but I should be able to finish it true to my nebulous vision.

While my conscious effort was focused on art, the rest of my brain was chewing away on my novel. The missing gist of plot came in one fell swoop, and I now have a solid high-level concept for the full story. I'm working on the next level of detailed planning for each subplot and conflict. Some specifics have changed or gone back up in the air, but I have a better handle on the more important aspects - thematic or plot purposes served, fundamental character motivations that drove the original ideas. The anti-counterfeiting investigation went from a giant question mark to quite the light bulb, not requiring any real stupidity on the part of a cautious supply line. Accidents happen, patterns can be seen with enough comprehensive surveillance, and fake bags aren't going to be guarded with the same extreme care as fake cigarettes. One bum link, no matter how temporary, can expose the chain just enough to be latched onto. What happens from there is a series of snapshots, further questions to answer, and a resolution satisfying enough that the rest will surely fall into line.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Current Music: Guster - Satellite
(Deleted comment)
The Heavy Metal Matador: Vault Boy Winkingrydain on June 21st, 2012 03:35 am (UTC)
Thank you! I did have some help from vectors of traditional Chinese motifs and a curved ruler used to draw parallel lines on that character on Wenji's skirt. I freehand the vast majority of my work, but I don't mind using assistance for precision drafting.

Ren and Wenji do make a cute couple. KOEI needs to take the hint already. :P
sissyhiyah: surprised opheliasissyhiyah on June 20th, 2012 10:04 am (UTC)
Holy cow, that's awesome. I can sometimes swing a sketch of someone if it's just a profile or from the front, but something like this? Ha! Seriously, the way they're "there" and in motion (even though it looks like they're not really moving much, just holding each other, you can still totally see it) is just bloody terrific. Fantastic work.
The Heavy Metal Matador: Kuribo's Shoerydain on June 21st, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! That sense of "there" is an elusive and challenging target, and I'm so happy that you see it in this piece. The original reference was quite a still pose. My sketch came out more like dancing - I swear her hair flew away by itself - and I just rolled with it.

Gesture is a pain to really nail. I had a hit or miss grasp on it until this year with my parade of beefcake manservice. Art has a way of frustrating you until something clicks, and I was surprised at how naturally I adapted this pose. If you want to push your drawing skills further, I can link you to some tutorials for the thought processes fundamental to getting that sense of veracity. Pro artist sketches are a huge, huge help, too - they show how to think through the piece and get it looking right from that crucial rough phase.
Skurtchasorskurtchasor on June 20th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
I might actually watch "Dancing with the Stars" if they could somehow feature out favorite Koei warriors. Well, probably not, but awesome work nonetheless.
The Heavy Metal Matador: Huang Zhong Damn Kidsrydain on June 21st, 2012 03:58 am (UTC)
Thank you!

That sounds like the best worst crossover ever, and I should write terribad crackfic on the subject never speak of it again. I just wish I could finish Beavis and Butt-head in Orochiland past the part where they get warped back in time through Todd's truck and can't decide if Lunchbox is KISS or Hefty Smurf.
Skurtchasor: Shark Punchskurtchasor on June 21st, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Speaking of KISS and bad crossovers, I have six words...

Gene Simmons: Sweatin' to the Oldies.
The Heavy Metal Matador: Rock and/or Rollrydain on June 21st, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
I own a copy of Disco Sweat. I was trying to stave off Winter Break Couch Potato Syndrome, and I figured that it would provide at least $10 worth of amusement. I got my money's worth just from Richard Simmons' sincere proclamation that he wanted me to be his disco doll.