Wowphabet: A

Wowphabet: A As some of you may know, I play World of Warcraft.

I have also read the works of Edward Gorey.

Somewhere in my brain, these two neuron communities bumped in to each other, and thought that a joint venture would be fun.

Beginning today, I'm posting one page per week day.  I have a nice healthy buffer, but I'll be continuing to work as I go, so this is a learning exercise. (By 'learning exercise' I of course mean 'motivation by threat of public ridicule and failure.' ) I'm trying to learn to work consistently over time. It's not that I haven't done so before, but I've been more sporatic in my working habits than I'd like.

Today, we have a foolhardy undead warrior. I'm guessing he got bored looking for minerals in Tanaris, and decided to pick a fight with Anachronos and the Bronze Dragonflight outside the Caverns of Time. As one might guess from the fact that he's guarding the frickin' Caverns of Time, Anachronos is about to have a late lunch.

Please note that the image above and all subsequent images in this series depict characters and other stuff that doesn't belong to me. Legal-ise version will be posted at the bottom of every entry in this series, so I don't get my pants sued off.

World of Warcraft™ World of Warcraft and Blizzard Entertainment are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. 


bunnies1.jpgbunnies2.jpgbunnies3.jpgbunnies4.jpgbunnies5.jpgbunnies6.jpgbunnies7.jpg This is why I hardly ever scan raw sketches and post them. In order to see pencil sketches, the contrast and darkness have to be messed with, which makes the scan look kind of like crap. However, I did it in this case because I thought you might like to see what my sketches look like right before I'd go ahead and ink them. Also, to give you some idea of how damn much I draw something when I'm learning it. I haven't tried to draw a realistic bunny in years, which means my ability to draw them trails far behind my ability to draw my 'steady diet' subjects (Y'know. Ladies. Dragons. Swords.) so I have to sit down over the course of a day or two and play catch-up. What's extra-cool about putting all these drawings in order is you can actually see me getting better in strangely abrupt steps. Somewhere on page two I figure out the ears, and a few bunnies later I nail the paws, but it doesn't happen in any sort of balanced or logical way.

And yes, the text on the first page is a list of the main characters from Watership Down, with some physical description pulled from the text.

Watership Down is one of the first books I can remember my Dad reading out loud to me (His memory focuses mostly on keeping all those different voices straight. To paraphrase: 'Damn it, you died fifteen chapters ago! I don't remember what kind of voice you had, but I bet my kid does!') and I think it strongly influences my concepts of epic and hero.

Thlayli is still my definition of Hardcore.

Laaady in the Win-dow...

windowseat_sized.jpg Not too much to say about this Lady.

I like the folds in her dress, no matter how unrealistic they may be.

I'm slowly reaching an uneasy truce with feet. I sort of like the one with her shoe dangling off. The other one is a wash.

I'm especially proud of her knees, and the way the legs fold over each other. I can't get my legs to do that in real life...

And I like the framing. Often, I feel that my attempts at framing within the page come across as a bit hamhanded, but this is contextually consistent, and also not annoying.

One of my earliest memories of art criticism is my mother, holding a piece of my so called 'early works'. ( It had an Apatosaurous sized horse, and a couple tiny stick figures. One of them was meant to represent a mom, as she was yelling 'Come down from there right now' and the kid who was riding the horse was yelling back 'No way!' The spelling was somewhat approximate.) My mom was thrilled that the figure projected off the limits of the page, which apparently represented a marker of artistic development. For some reason this resonated with me, and I am still fascinated by methods of framing.

Moonlight On My Shoulder Makes Me Happy

asymetrical-dress_sized.jpg It's been awhile since I've done a good ol-fashioned sexy black and white lady. I'll admit, they are a food group to my sketching diet.

This lady didn't 'settle' for a long time. She languished in my sketchbook, penciled lightly. I'd return to it from time to time, tinker, and not make up my mind. Or rather, she didn't make up her mind.

I don't know if any discipline other than writers and visual artists talk that way about their work, like the work itself has an opinion about its final form. I catch myself doing that occasionally, and usually the listener nods and smiles like they understand. So how about it listeners? Do you actually understand, or are you humoring the fruitbasket artiste?

War Photo

sepiatone_sized.jpg sepiatone_lines.jpg

I suggest clicking on the pretty picture. It's even prettier when it's all big.

This is an Experiment. It warrants a capital letter because of the number of new things I actually pulled off.

1: Machinery. I've been trying to gradually increase my tolerance for machinery. Generally, I have no intuitive feel for it. This has something to do with being unable to draw a straight line. In any case, I have stretched my boundaries to give you an Aliens 2 style boomstick.

2: Armor. Not only detailed, semi-realistic armor (god bless Google) but it's clearly, worn, scuffed, well-loved armor. Although I suppose well-hated might be more accurate.

3: Honest to God Texture: Not all photoshop pre-sets this time. The leather textures on the gloves, belt, and boots I put there myself. I learned to manipulate the texture so that the shading is entirely a separate function, and so that the texture bends with the form it's covering.

4: Facial Shading and Skin in General: Gotcha. Ha!

5: Reworking on the Fly: When I started shading, I realized the hand holding the helmet was wrong. I thought it was just a little wrong, so I kept going. By the time I was entirely done with the gloves, it was so wrong it hurt. At this point, I was stuck with re-drawing the glove in Photoshop, and then duplicating the textures and effects I had already used on the other hand. The surprise was that the result didn't suck. It was, in fact, an improvement.

6: Background. So I've been trying out the pastiche approach, and I think I've got it now. For your edification, about four (five? ah, who cares) reference photos were combined, altered, adjusted, re-worked and painted over to make that background. Looks reasonably contiguous, donnit?

7: Sepiatone. I'm still not entirely pleased with the brown that I chose, but all and all not a bad first stab at sepiatone. What I'm proud of in this case is that I didn't reinvent the wheel. Before I painted myself into a corner (somewhat literally) I asked the internet what it had to say about Photoshop and sepiatone. Low and behold, it can be accomplished by applying a few functions to a grayscale image.

8: Glow: I put a slight from-behind glow on the head and shoulders of the figure, fading out as it goes down. Bet you didn't even notice until now, huh? But it helps the figure stand out from the background quite a bit, and it is consistent with the lighting.

And now for the negatives:

I still hate boots. The little note on the bottom of the sketch? That says 'stoopid boots'. And the hand holding the gun isn't very natural. I still can't make 'holding' hands that actually look right. Finally, the helmet was supposed to have an antenna on it. See it there, in the sketch? Yeah, somehow that got lost in translation, and I've had too much booze to consider changing it now. Keep checking back, maybe I'll feel ambitious later this week and fix it.

It's That Time Again

eyecandy.gif Okay, so there's a five week limit before I start drawing naked people. If you are offended by this, well, I have no control over what offends you. But you might want to go elsewhere, because this trend is only going to continue.

Previously, I've been disappointed and irritated by my attempts to draw men in the same way I draw women. There's no deep psychological block here, just the fact that exaggerating curves on women really works, but on men not so much. They tend to end up looking like they have a glandular disorder.

I'm rather pleased with this one. I used photographic reference to good effect, which is always a balance between what I want to do and what the picture gives me. In this case, I synthesised the elements necessary to comprehend the form without rigidly adhering to the exact representation of the photo. We at Inksplot Studios like to call that 'not tracing', while at the same time 'not sucking'.

Inversion Line and the Terrible Metaphor

sketchywoman.gif A meaningless little sketch of the type I tend to do during lecture classes. It warranted the effort to finish it because it is less polished and slick than those little sketches tend to be, and because I liked the line quality. Also, I'm a sucker for color inversion lines.

It is also one of those rare cases where I demonstrate different levels of competence within the same piece. The nose and eyes are handled in an entirely different manner than everything else, which wasn't even a little on purpose. When that happens, it's usually a clue to me that I'm getting on to a new stylistic phase.

Not phases like the moon. Nothing that graceful. More like the terrible twos. The beginning is usually awkward, hard, and frustrating, like watching a two year old try to explain what she wants. Eventually though, there comes out of the tiny mouth a witticism that surprises everyone, including the kid. Eventually, she's clever enough to be witty with some regularity.


Unambitious, but Maybe Possible

Torighost News from the real world:

A nine-to-five sucks all the vital juices from your body. I happen to work at a great place, and I am grateful, but that doesn't mitigate the tendency to frantically unwind as soon as I get home. Over the last few months, this has degenerated into little more than staring at the computer, eating, and buying things. On a fundamental level, I am not producing anything.

Is no good.

I think that a venue to display what I am working on currently, or what I have recently finished may help. I plan on posting here weekly, more if the mood strikes, but there will be something here on Wednesdays that wasn't here last Wednesday, come hell or high water. (or, y'know, a vacation that lasts more than a week.)

As to the above: I am returning to an old theme of negative space caused by overlap. In this case, playing with the solidity of the figure was the point. I'm slightly displeased with it, as she didn't come out as ethereal as I was imagining, and the whole image feels rather stark. I was planning on a more emotive image.