Sporeling

Welcome to the final Other Guy! (Other Guys? Others? Hell with it.) I was really, really looking forward to this one, and not just because it's the last. A color palette I like, a species I like (with spots!) and I get to play with glow-y effects? Oh hell yeah. sporeling

The water doesn't so much look like water, but there's a limit to what you can do when it's supposed to look flat, muddy, and purple. The little green mushrooms could use more definition (aka darker shadows... again. I swear, I'll learn one of these days.) and the balloon-tree thingies in the far background have neither treelike or ballonlike qualities. I am however happy with the misty effect. Given that the balloon-trees came out a bit weak, I sort of wish I'd made the mist more impenetrable.

But this is one of those times where the figure came out much better than the background. I gave him deep enough shadows, the skin color variation all makes sense, and his little whiskers are pretty freaking adorable. I had to re-do his toes and hands about three times. They aren't great, but they don't stand out as bad anymore, which I'll take.

And I'm happy to report that on the very last illustration in this series I grokked a new technique. I can reliably make things glow. Now all I have to do is resist the urge to come up with excuses to use my new skill for no reason.

...

Radioactive special! All commissions with a glowing element 10% off!

Quillboar

Now then, were where we?quillboar

Ah yes. Quillboar.

I tried something a little different here to try to save myself time on the background, and pretty much robo-failed. It took longer than it would have to just draw it from scratch, and it wound up looking like I ran a simple filter over a screenshot. Dammit.

Strangely enough, the thing I was most worried about turned out just fine. I'm talking about the quills of course. With simple color change along the length of the quill I was able to take care of the 'depth' problem without spending lots of time drawing the shade and shadows of each individual spike.

And once again my subtlety rises up to bite me. The difference between the well-lit portions and the dark bits on the figures is about half what it should be. The shadows just aren't deep enough. I could justify it by saying they're in a poorly lit space, but in the interest of learning I really shouldn't. Justifying after the fact is not the same as doing it on purpose in the first place.

Furbolg

Sorry for the radio silence everyone, but I have a totally legit excuse: I moved! And not just a little move, oh no. This was one of them 'buy an air mattress because the truck with your stuff on it may not get there for a week' kind of moves. So I am now officially in the Boston area. I've been told means I need to start caring about sports teams. Or at least learn to say 'Bruins' in a heavy tone and slowly shake my head at appropriate intervals.

But that shit's not why you come here! I hear you clamoring for your pretties, even through the intertubes.

Furbolg

Holy Backgrounds Batman!

I may have gotten a little carried away here. I was worried about the background being the weakest part of the drawing, so I did it first. By the time I was doing finishing touches on the Furbolg I was to the 'stinky thing go away' stage, and neglected the details a bit.

The cobblestones turned out way better than expected, with minimum pain. I used the stained glass filter on my roughly colored path to chop it into 'stones', and then squished it to add perspective and a bulge in the middle, as cobblestone seems to do that over time. Then I colored highlights and shadows on individual stones, using the filtered copy layer as a guide. Then I deleted the filter layer, leaving only my highlights and shadows layer and the rough background underneath. BAM.

I'm also pleased with the mushroom clusters, they provide a lot of the feeling of undergrowth without a lot of time investment. (I'll admit to a little copy/paste/flip horizontal/scale) Plus the glowing spots did pretty much exactly what I wanted them to.

I like the fuzzyness on the Furbolg, but some of my color choices are a bit wonky. His skin tone is too yellow, and the teeth-jewelry looks plastic rather than weathered. I also like how I made the band of his loincloth disappear under his fur, even if I forgot to extend the effect around his belly which leaves that part looking strangely flat.

It's one of those 'this part's good, but it's not good enough to overcome that part, which is BAD' kind of pictures. It's a learning experience. *twitch*

Kobold

Despite them being, well, nasty little creatures, I enjoy Kobolds. They have simple priorities, and all the little things about their character design are consistent with the singleminded pursuit of those priorities. The backpack for holding various shiny objects they might find, (which is overfull, don't want to spend time going back to the surface until you just can't carry any more) badly patched clothes, the barely functional pickaxe, and the candle on the head, necessary for underground work when you can't possibly occupy a hand (vital for grabbing loot) with carrying a torch. As usual, I started with the figure. But I ran into a problem when I tried to make a background. I tried several different mineshaft settings, but nothing seemed to really be working. I wanted it to be dim, both because pre-industrial mines are dim, and also to keep the figure at the forefront. But then I tried to put normal shadows on the figure, and everything started to look very confused. kobold2 As usual, the solution is simplicity. Murder your darlings. (Of couse, as you may have noticed, in explaining this principle I managed to show you the full, unshadowed figure anyway.)

kobold

I'm also trying to figure out how glowing works. I've got a good handle on coloring with a directional lightsource, but the flame itself looks...solid. It would be fine if it were a lantern, but it's a shame that one of the natural focal points of the drawing came out a little awkward.

Harpy

Harpies. Why did it have to be harpies. World of Warcraft harpies are considered humanoids, (meaning you can't skin them for profit. A comforting definition, no?) but otherwise they seem to be only marginally above animals: they lay eggs in nests, don't keep houses as such, and don't talk. And yet they wear metal bikinis. The resolution of this is left as an exercise for the reader.

harpy

I really, really like how this came out. Conceptually I was worried about the feathers, as detail work has a tendency to trip me up. But I managed not to focus too much on edges while giving a good amount of color variation. The placement of the feathers on the wing is only loosely related to reality, but I'm okay with that.

And this is a big step up in the background department. I wasn't sure how to integrate a character study with a full background, (and if I'm honest, I wasn't totally sure I could do a full background) so I simplified matters by using a limited and out of focus background with a border.

And yes, I'm doing the orange/blue thing. So sue me, but goddamn it, that contrast works.

Tuskar

Remember what I said about WoW giving lots of screentime to unusual human/animal fusions? May I present: Walrus people. tuskarr

Apparently, fishing is a sort of moral barometer in their society. If a stranger shows up with a big fish, the assumption is that he's a good guy. I can think of worse systems...

I was looking forward to doing the Tuskar drawing, and though there are things about it I like, overall I think I'm disappointed. It turned out to be one of those uneven drawings: parts are very good, but other bits don't have nearly the same level of quality. It winds up looking unfinished, even though I've done everything I know how to do.

And... well... he kind of looks like a muppet. And I just don't like muppets.

Gnoll

I actually really like the World of Warcraft interpretation of Gnolls. There are half-human half-animal fusions throughout WoW, and I like how much screentime is given to the less popular fusions. Yes, there are still wolf men, centaurs and cat people, but there are also bird people, pig people, hinds, and in this case hyena people.

Appropriately, gnolls appear to be opportunists when it comes to making a living: You'll find them in raiding parties of all sorts, working as mercenaries, and occasionally living in small tribes and just stealing things from the more industrious species of the area.

gnoll

As gnolls are clearly based off of the spotted or laughing hyena I decided to run with the somewhat manic expression. I still haven't quite figured out how snarly lips work but I do rather like how the teeth came out. They're not realistic, but they do get the point across.

Probably the 'best' part of this one is the coloring on the shoulders and 'hump'. I used about four layers (one for the actual hair, one for the base skin tone, and two for the spots) and freely eyedroppered between them to get a nice smooth transition and spots that fade out naturally.

And yeah, he's green, which isn't exactly a traditional hyena color. Sue me.

Children of Cenarius

Cenarians The colors are kinda gnarly in this one... like the Cenarians were egged with radioactive easter eggs. Cenarians do come in other colorschemes, but I liked the naturally colored fur in this palette so I was willing to put up with the pink and green.

Harder to deal with than the colors is that these forms are partially human. (Humans being really good at seeing the slightest mistake in the depiction of other humans.) Given these issues I'm really quite pleased that this came out as well as it did.

Favorite part: The female's legs. The hooves look dainty and pointy while still being weight-bearing, and the leg bracer-thingies have nice definition without looking pasted on.

Worst part: Ladies' torso. Ick. I'm really quite good at lady torsos in silhouette, but I clearly haven't figured out how light falls on them. It has to hit the ribcage and the curve of the tummy under the bellybutton, but knowing that and making it look right are apparently different things.

Nerubian

nerubian It's all right. You can say it.

Nerubians are icky.

They have several different equally icky body plans. So many in fact that getting them all in one illustration was a little awkward logistically, so I'm only showing two of the more common types that the average adventurer may run into.

Again, there are things I like about this one, and things that make me sigh. (I'm getting better. Sighing is a big step up from disquieting giggling.) In trying to relax about my color transitions, some things are fuzzier than they should be, which gives the whole picture a sort of dreamlike quality. Which would be cool, if I that was in any way what I meant to do.

And my color choice is too close in contrast. Again. The leg red, body brown, and purple wrappings have basically the same brightness, which makes them difficult to differentiate at a distance.

But I like the spiderlings.  They're alternately cute and horrifying, with good contrast and color. They're adorable. Just, um, keep 'em away from me.

Arakkoa

I was looking forward to this one. Arakkoa have lovely, multicolored feathers. And I wasn't at all sure how to draw that. So perhaps 'looking forward to' is a bit strong. 'Resigned to my fate' might be more accurate. But things actually went pretty well. As you can see, I'm made real progress freeing myself from the need for lines. This is one of my major goals for this series, actually. If you look at most of the good digital painting, they define the forms without outlines. Y'know, like regular painting. But my natural mental bent is more towards pen and ink, so prying myself away from comforting lines is something of a struggle.

I'm using a higher here contrast than I've managed previously, which will I think be what eventually allows me to get rid of those sketch lines entirely. Also at least 1/3 of the feather transitions are totally awesome. The remaining 2/3rds are just adequate, but that's all right. I haven't totally learned how to do a color transition with that many shades in it, but this was very good practice.

aarakoa

From the WoWiki:

The arakkoa are an ancient race of bird-like humanoids native to Outland. They have brightly feathered bodies in a veritable rainbow of colors, hooked beaks, clawed hands, taloned feet, and an erectile crest of feathers on their heads. They wear ragged cloaks about their bodies. Arakkoa appear to also have "sage" (with ornate shoulder and head ornaments) and "warrior" (with a metal helm and mail epaulets) classes.

They have great magical power over the arcane, and are also as "smart as any gnome you ever met", according to Gremni Longbeard in the Hellfire Peninsula. Most are aggressive to both Alliance and Horde, although there are friendly members of the arakkoa to be found.

Ogres

One of the great things (and painful things) about having a slight backlog is that when you go to post something, you immediately see everything that is horribly wrong with it. While this is good for learning purposes, it isn't terribly comfortable if you're slightly insecure. Which all artists are, trust me. ogres

I've clearly improved in some ways, but I'm also making some of the same mistakes. I'm happy with my color choices and shading, but it just isn't vibrant enough. In trying to make the skintones natural-ish, I undersaturated them. The contrast is fine, but the lighter skin and the metal bits are washed out and anemic. Annnd the overly precious monster is back. The ogre's faces are actually really cool... but you can't see them, because all that neat detail is on a tiny part of the picture. Oops.

From the WoWiki: Ogres are large, brutish humanoids originally from Draenor. They were one of the last races of Draenor's giants.

Ogre culture, such as it is, tend to revolve a great deal around warfare, violence, and acts of strength. Elimination of competitors is an accepted (in fact, it is the only) way to move up in the ogre ranks. The ogres have great admiration to those that can best them in strength or in combat, an admiration that far transcends anything else, including their hatred for other mortal races, specifically orcs and humans. There are rare but known cases of ogres bowing to the Horde when those have defeated them (such as the Stonemaul tribes) and even rarely the Alliance.

Regular ogres and two-headed ogres are not spellcasters; the ogre magi make up the smarter, spellcasting versions of ogres.

Wolvar

Remember what I said about brown? Here's a great example of how not to choose colors to make a brown animal. Ooops. wolvar

I mean, it's not bad. But it looks much flatter and less interesting than the Gorlock did, even though the shading technique is the same. I think the problem is that palette I chose is all midrange colors. I've touched on this idea before, but put succinctly: Limited palette good, so long as it's broad enough. White through black in five steps is good. White through black in twenty steps is less good, and only using only steps 7-12 is bad, which is exactly what I did here. If this were a black and white image, it would be nigh incomprehensible.

From the WoWiki:

The Wolvar are a primitive race of "wolverine people" that inhabit the icy continent of Northrend. They are one of the major races of the continent, and are found in most of its southern zones. Their tribes can be found in the Howling Fjord, Grizzly Hills, Dragonblight, Sholazar Basin and Zul' Drak. Though primitive, they are quite capable of diplomacy, and many of their tribes are friendly, or are open to friendship. with one tribe, the Frenzyheart tribe, being a faction in their own right. They speak low common, but their usage of it differs noticeably from that used by other speakers.

Gorlock

See, the reason this post is late is 'cause I got sick. Actually, I'm still sick. I sound like one of those bubbling mudpots at Yellowstone every time I cough. It's attractive. Uncharacteristically, I'd built myself up a little backlog of illustrations in case of just such an event, smiling smugly to myself about how good I'm getting at planning ahead and generally acting like a professional.

Then I couldn't sit at the computer for a week. So much for my brilliant plan.

This week we have a Gorlock, specifically one of the Oracles. I love these guys. They're cute, in a horrible sort of way. They have the personality of your three-year-old cousin who idolizes you, but in addition to the biting problem, amorality, bug eating, being generally slimy and nominally house-trained, they also... uh... Huh. I guess some of the game developers have kids.

I'm really very pleased with the color on this one. The critter is green and purple and yellow, but instead of being garish I managed all of the transitions so it just looks like a sorta greenish-brown. Which is of course how actual animals are- rarely is something just brown, it's a complicated and intense palette of colors that you're generally too busy appreciate. But you notice it when someone tries to substitute plain ol' brown.

I'm also pleased with how the sketching lines came out in the final product, even if I'm not sure I'll keep them on in subsequent drawings. They're damn useful, and add a certain character, but when I get to the final touches they seem to bring down the quality of the picture. We'll see.

gorloc

From the WoWiki:

Gorlocs are "an arctic race of murloc-like creatures" that battle the tuskarr. This can be seen in the Borean Tundra.

They are said to be the "next evolution of murlocs." Lead Game Designer Jeff Kaplan called them "an evolution to the murlocs" and said they were a "complicated race of murloc, both good and bad at the same time".

The Oracles are a faction of several friendly gorloc tribes that inhabit Sholazar Basin. They see themselves as guardians of the titan technology that remains in the area (though they understand little of it). They find themselves in an escalating territorial war with the Frenzyheart Tribe of wolvar.

Centaurs

This series is going to be fun, I can tell. I'm flailing around madly trying to figure out how to make it do. ( 'How does make do?' is a common refrain at my house while dealing with electronics, photography, and elementary plumbing repairs.) But I'm pleased by my spasmotic twitching, because it means I'm learning. As I've mentioned before, rapid and not necessarily linear changes in style are a strong indicator of learning. (Check out the difference over a period of months between a webcomic like Questionable Content, where the artist has only been drawing these characters for a few years, and Girl Genius, where the artist has been well established for a long time.)

To bring this back to specifics: I really didn't do a good job on the areas of high contrast here. (Oops.) The fur is full of abrupt changes that aren't particularly well mapped to the topography of the surface they're supposed to be describing, and the gauntlets of the male look absolutely plastic. However, the skin shading and arm wraps on the female (the parts I did last) actually look pretty good.

centaur

From the Wowiki:

Centaurs are a half-humanoid, half- horse, war-like tribal race. They abound in central and southern Kalimdor, primarily in Desolace and the Barrens, where they engage in constant war against other centaur and Tauren tribes.

Each tribe of centaurs is lead by khan, who is generally a leader of above-average strength and intelligence. Some of the clans, if not all, practice cannibalism and will eat the flesh of other sapient races as well, such as the Tauren.

Centaurs follow a shamanistic faith, but their brand of shamanism is far different from the more gentle practices of the Horde. Curiously, most centaur shamans are female.

Filthy creatures, centaurs are always followed by swarms of flies, which are attracted by the centaur's repellent odor. Centaurs have no qualms about leaving piles of dung strewn about their encampments, and no concept of privacy.

The Other Guys

You know who I mean. All those other non-playable, yet clearly intelligent species in World of Warcraft. That's right, it's series time.

Before we get started, let me define some terms: I'm not doing demons, elementals, or anything that could be described as a critter. I'm also limiting this to things that you can speak with in game, and which seem to have a distinct culture. Plus they have to amuse me. Most likely, this means I will not be doing Quillboar. (Frickkin Quillboar. With their stupid death squeal. And you never have to kill just a couple of them, oh no, you have to listen to that squeal eleventy-twelve times.) I have not however compiled my final list, so if there's any species you're dying to see me draw, just ask.

On the subject of artistic relevance, this series will serve as rapid-fire, low pressure sketching practice. See, I'm gradually transferring my years of hard-won pencil skills to my digital tablet. Unfortunately, that transfer is not automatic. Something about not being able to see the marks on the same surface as I'm making them, plus the different biofeedback from the digital pen is enough to impede my sketching ability. So I'll do no physical sketching in this series. Additionally, all these very similar pictures will help solidify my painting process, and the unreality of the subjects will help keep me from getting too precious and narfy about it.

First up: Naga

naga

From WoWwiki: The naga are former Highborne night elves who mutated into vengeful humanoid sea serpents....Naga culture is complex. A clear delineation exists between the sexes. Male naga are larger and more muscular, reminiscent of dragons. Naga men serve as soldiers and guardians. Female naga are more slender, with smaller scales and finer, more human-seeming faces. Naga women are natural spellcasters and rely on magic and poison to defeat their enemies. Naga men are more numerous, but as naga consider their women to be magically and intellectually superior, their society is matriarchal. Women occupy most positions of leadership, and all naga pay homage to their queen, Azshara.