Saturday, May 20, 2006

New Look for

Part 1: Rough Sketch from Life
Each of these pictures enlarges if you click on it.
Well Dzz was foolish enough to accept my offer to spruce up for an upcoming coding event. I volunteered to draw a girl - which in my mind, meant Cecilia, the Web comic incarnation of my lovely Latina - and get that working with the site.

So, first thing Saturday morning at 7:30am, I started work. I realized I couldn't draw crap without my model, so I had her take a break from her morning workout and sketched the blue sketch on the left.

Notice her arms and waist - I trimmed the latter a bit but those are the real curves. The real Maria is working on getting back her figure, and right now she's at what I'd normally call "approaching maximum density" if she were a woman on the street, but she's not, she's recovering from her fourth pregnancy like a trooper and I love her for it.

Part 2: Refinement
Anyways. I then scanned it for archival purposes, sucked in a deep breath, and penciled over in my blackest graphite.

You'll note that it doesn't look bad - but the pose looks kind of bland for the purpose. Because I was technically accurate and my wife, who is incredible at telling me what lines need moving where, said it was good, I wouldn't realize this until later.

I set up for colors on my Tablet PC by loading the image from my Scanner, to my 4 year-old gaming rig, to my USB 1gig drive, to my Tablet PC. Fun.

Part 3: Exercise in Futility
I realized that I couldn't color that well in my Tablet PC as there were no hard lines for a magic wand to grab, so I traced the paper copy in ink:

I took this and used it as my selection layer and tried to color the digital copy of the 2nd drawing, above. I had to do a lot of hand-editing to get the colors on the edges.

Part 4: Finished Product aka "Not Good Enough"
The graphite, as dark as it was, just did not work with the coloring style I learned from, so I had to take my Tablet PC pen in Photoshop CS and hand-draw black lines everywhere.

The finished product looks like ass. The pose is still good, and the colors as far as being selections are decent, but it looks like what it is: a black and white drawing that has been colored after the fact, just like a black and white movie.

To boot, she doesn't have her hand out to hold a GP2X. I could have shot myself.

By now, I have spent 4 hours, including a quick breakfast and kids coming to ask me how I'm doing, drawing. Maybe longer. All I know is that it's noon, and I started at 7:30am.

Part 5: Redo starting and ending in digital format
I did this in 30 minutes flat. Why oh why did I decide that the touch and tactile feel of paper is better? The truth is: physical paper is easier to draw on. But what's the intended medium? If the end product is a computer-colored computer graphic... a Tablet PC with a high-quality Wacom Cross Executive Tablet PC pen is the best for the job.

I didn't use Maria to model for this because the poor dear was busy, but fortunately I'd just had a good showing of her arms and breasts that morning, I had the physical sketch next to me, and this was fairly easy.

Naturally I added Cecilia's elven ears this time. She didn't look right without them. I love the pose. And she's all ready to hold a GP2X!

Part 6: Finished Artwork
Yeah, she looks nice here. Now, there are problems with the drawing, like how thin her hand appears to be based on how deeply set the GP2X is (when my technical mind activates, my right brain flat goes to sleep and I don't notice these things as I'm doing them), and the pose is proportioned oddly for flair...

But that's my lovely Latina! Just crop the ears back and give her black hair, Mexican cheek-bones, nose & nice, rich eyebrows and there she is. Mmmm... Latina.

So the artwork is ready for the website, at which point I discover a new problem: the website doesn't fit 800x600 resolution and doesn't fit Cecilia anywhere. So - says I - "I do this for a living. Perhaps Dzz would like some free work."

Website, Parts 1-5: The New Deal
[See Most Recent Updates] This site uses tables, which I feel are evil, but I didn't have enough time to hand-code tableless CSS without charging money. Still, the website works in IE and Firefox, is largely accessible (fonts scale for older folk, which we can't ignore in retro gaming), and it looks decent.

I'm happy with it. I hope Dzz likes it. It's got some room to grow on the menu - and that "About" link tastes like mystery meat to me (when most users see "about" they think "about this company" or "about this website" not "about the GP2X").

I have a version without Cecilia for pages that need the screen real-estate.

This took a few more hours, but it was fun to do - given that this used to be what I did with my days. Now I do this and GIS and C#.Net and computer technical support all put together with a boss who doesn't give a flying fuck how I do my job, he's just happy when he sees I get things done. God, I swear, some days I could kiss him if I didn't think he'd put me through a wall.

Anyway - so that is my Saturday. It is now 7:58pm. I think I should eat dinner.

"Wow, that's amazing, I'm speechless! I'll replace the site with your incredible work right away, what do you think is the best way to do that?
Thanks for your great effort!" -Dzz

I guess that should come as no surprise! XD


Chris said...

Nice work !

I prefer the part 2 drawing looks great! Getting the color to look right is probably the hardest part i guess...(what do I know I am just a programmer ;))

David said...

Thank you, Chris.

Color is an art in and of itself, however closely tied to the rest of an artist's trade.

Check out this: