Sketchbook Sunday #9 – Aeris

I mentioned on twitter a few days ago that I was thinking about making some FFVII fan art. Taking into consideration that this year is Final Fantasy VII’s 15 year anniversary, it just seems like the thing to do. Also, I happen to own two copies of the game for the PSX… What? I’m not obsessed.

Now, I’m not saying I’m very happy with this illustration of Aeris (and I’ve only recently started using watercolors seriously), but what is an art process blog if not to show a few not-so-great stuff? There’s always the possibility and hope that there will be some serious improvement after some time…

As preparation, I did a simple study of Aeris’ character design to figure out her essential traits. In the original game, she’s got green eyes, a red jacket and a pink dress. Her hair is tied in a long braid with a pink ribbon, her bangs are quite big and there are two “corkscrews” on either side of her head. This drawing is approximately 7 cm x 7 cm. Regretfully, I didn’t finish her pose, as I failed to plan one in the first place. What I think I managed to do right is her facial expression, which is a look of kindness and innocence. I would love to hear your opinion on this, or just on FFVII being awesome in general, so feel free to leave a comment!

Photoshop habits

I’m a regular reader of the well known webcomic called “PvPonline”. It’s one of the longest running webcomics around, and it’s made by the very prolific and excellent cartoonist, Scott Kurtz. I happened to read an interesting blogpost he posted on PvPonline.com, and I would like to share the a link to it here.

It’s about how an artist tend to stick to his own habits when working with graphics, or more specifically, layers in Photoshop. Kurtz shares a few interesting thoughts on the subject, and it’s worth checking out if you’re a digital artist, graphic designer or if you’re just curious as to how these cartoonists work. If you don’t know who Mike and Jerry are (referred to by Kurtz), they’re the creators behind the widely popular webcomic “Penny Arcade”.

How do you work in Photoshop? Do you like to have lots of layers and give a name to every one of them, or do you merge them when you’re satisfied, abandoning the opportunity to go back and redo something?

“I’m always very excited to see photos of another cartoonist’s studio or watch a video of them drawing.” - Scott Kurtz

Header update

I didn’t really like the header I made a few days ago, so I made a new one. I like the simplicity and closeness of this one better than the the last one. I also scoured dafont.com for a nice font for “Invisible Paperclip”, and eventually chose to use one called “Light Petals”.

The idea behind the header I used before was to utilize a nice watercolor background, but I don’t think I pulled it off very well. I actually took the photo for the current header on the same evening I had uploaded the one with watercolors and “icons”. I tried to make it recognizable, simple and with a short summary of what I’m most likely to write about. I think “About comics, drawing stuff and photography” generally covers the current direction of my blogs. Anyway, we’ll just have to see if I need to update or change it to make it more specific.

Oh yeah, one last thing. I found the watercolor texture I used for the previous header at Lost and taken, a blog dedicated to offering free, high resolution textures.

Sketchbook Sunday #8 – Lucky Cat

Hey kids, do your know what time it is? It’s time for another Sketchbook Sunday! Okay, all jokes aside, here are few process pictures of an avatar I drew for a friend. Actually, I was the one who wanted him to have an avatar for his twitter account, so I suggested he could let me draw a Japanese Lucky cat (maneki neko).

I sketched and inked it in my usual sketchbook, before scanning it with my lousy scanner. Then I redid almost everything in Photoshop with my Wacom drawing tablet (an old Graphire4 A5). The first draft (in the middle) was a bit too cute, so I had to make the final version a bit more hungover and scruffy. Or in the words of my friend… “Could you make it look like he has stubble like Fred Flintstone?”. Well, scruffy it is then!

In related news, here’s a pic I posted on twitter. I was challenged by @Nattosoup to draw “A psychotic, clingy babysitter”. My challenge to her was “An overly enthusiastic food lover/gourmet with crazy unkempt hair!”, and here’s what she drew.

Blog theme updates

Okay, I’ve been meaning to change the header picture for some time…Seriously, I’ve stuck with the theme default (which has been a set of randomized photographs) for too long. The photo headers have been nice, but they’ve got very little to do with the content on this blog…

So I cooked up this banner. I’m not pleased with the font I used (currently, I don’t have a lot of fonts…) and the four “icons” kinda look like they’re clickable. Well, they’re not. Anyhow, I hope you’ll excuse me for running with this for a while. Until I come up with something better that is!

Edit: I found the watercolor texture I used for the this header at Lost and taken, a blog dedicated to offering free, high resolution textures.

Sketchbook Sunday #7 – Fine-line madness

I’ve missed a few Sketchbook Sundays now, and for that I’m sorry. Maybe I should have some kind of punishment for not posting anything for a while? If you’ve got a suggestion for a punishment, leave a comment below!

So, on to this week’s sketches. I’ve had a lot of fun with fine-line gel pens lately, especially the super-fine ones I bought from the JetPens-store. I like the idea of being able to draw small and super-detailed on smaller paper sizes. This page is from a homemade pad of cheap printer paper, cut to A5-size and bound together with book-rings (a trick I learned from Lucy Knisley’s blog). The line that the pens produce are not as consistent as a fine-line black marker, but the result is nonetheless interesting. In addition to that, there’s a wide selection of colors to choose from, at least for the ones that are 0.25 mm.

For those interested, among the pens I used are the Pentel Slicci Gel Ink Pen – 0.25 mm and Uni-ball Signo Bit UM-201 Gel Ink Pen – 0.18 mm.