Friday 8 March 2019

Illustration Experiment

   With a new book on the horizon, I've been thinking more and more about digital art. That, and this tarot book. That's also spurred my interest, I'll admit.
   The trouble is, while I love the swoosh of a pen over a tablet, I much prefer working with pencils - I love the mess, the texture, and the hand-eye coordination is much simpler. But I hate colouring with them. Instead, I love colouring on tablets. The thing is, you rarely see the two combined, and my twitter feed is full of digital artists with nary a pencil in sight. So, naturally, the thought of combining the two comforts just doesn't seem acceptable because I'm constantly comparing myself to them.
   Well, I recently decided, when drawing the skogsr√• from my short story, October's Blood, that I would just try it. I had nothing to lose, especially since it was Saturday night and I had 2 hours before my husband and I put on a movie (The Terminal, that week). And I was shocked by how quickly I made progress, and how well it came out. So much so that, when Faebelina announced a new twitter drawing event - #OCGardenParty - I thought I would have a go. I'd been following these kinds of things for a while now but never felt my work was worthy of being submitted. But, because I was drawing with pencils and not inking the lines, I realised that it couldn't really be compared to other people's since it was kind of a different style altogether.
   So, I went ahead (cheekily using characters from my book). I got the pencil lines down in about 3 hours, with shading, and the colouring took about 4. And I realised a few things when breaking the mould:
1. By keeping the pencil lines and pencil shading in, I immediately eradicate any possibility of realism, which is a trap I constantly fall into. Instead, it's become a little more stylised, but not in any forced kind of way. It's something that, with practise, I could really hone and turn into something wonderful.
2. With the gritty texture of the pencil lines, I can also get away with doing less. It looks more detailed than it actually is, and much less smooth and flat, which had always bothered me.
3. Even if I'm working with pencils, because I'm scanning it in to colour it, I can still resize and rotate things. There's nothing worse than spending 2+ hours on a pencil drawing and then realising that one of the figures is wonky, or too large. Both were the case below. Rathen was tilting to one side, and Aria was too far forwards. She would have come up to Rathen's shoulder. She's eight. And a small eight, at that.

   For only my second attempt, I'm pretty pleased. No, it's not perfect, but it's presentable. There are so many drawings I've done digitally that I've never shown, and more still that I've never completed. But with just 7 hours of work - a weekend, if taken easily - I've made something I'm really, really happy with, and was brave enough to show in a thread that I knew much better artists would both see and participate in.
   I also got around the problem of backgrounds with a green square :B It makes a shocking difference.

Aria has dragged Rathen along, and insisted that he bring flowers for the hostess.
She's also hoping for strawberry tarts.
Don't tease her about her 'antlers' - she wants people to think she 'belongs'.
Rathen, sadly, made little effort aside from actually attending. He looks so uncomfortable...

Edit: I wrote a little snippet to accompany it! Read it on my website!


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