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Qualinwraith's Art Digest

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Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 14:11:29


Hi all, I'm William and I'm starting this art thread to share my art and art process and hopefully get some comments and critiques while I do so.

So without further ado here's my first art project that I want to narrate, Blink from the X-men.

I had originally uploaded the illustration of Blink as an inktober entry. You can still find that illustration on my facebook page. Now that inktober is over I wanted to take this piece to the next level by adding a background and colour.

For the pose I found an image of Daredevil doing his thing since he's always very dramatic and graceful in his movements. He also tosses around short sticks very similar in shape as Blink's bolts. As for blink herself, I found some character images take from comic books over in google images.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 14:20:18


Ok so in step 2 I have done my flats. In this piece I'm going to do an experiment. I will be working with values, which basically means I'm going to first shade the image completely in tones of black white and grey and afterwards apply the colour.

I'm using Manga Studio 5EX and will be completing this image only using Manga Studio.

Process: So I laid down the value of her skin tone first as a fairly mid grey knowing that her costume would be a lighter value while her hair, and nails would be a darker value. Her collar in the costume is a deep red with silvery studs which means an even lighter colour for the studs and darker colour for the collar. For her bolt and her portal I went with a dark grey, this will come in handy later.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 17:00:16


While the image is cool in a general way, I find the lack of variation in the lines to give it a less dynamic and flat look, even though the pose you drew is not.


You are not prepared...

Illustration/animation thread: http://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic /1229930

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 18:27:07


At 10/31/15 05:00 PM, Template88 wrote: While the image is cool in a general way, I find the lack of variation in the lines to give it a less dynamic and flat look, even though the pose you drew is not.

Thanks for the suggestion mate, I'll give that a pop and see what comes out of it!

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 20:11:40


ok so I took Template 88's suggestion and added some heavier line weight modulations in my piece. Since My brightest light source is going to be her portal the lines which are on the lower right of the figure are heavier due to shadowing.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 20:38:06


This is step 3 - The Rendering.

In order to render the light and shadows over the image I'm using a technique that involved selecting areas of the figure and passing lightly with the airbrush. Subsequently smaller and smaller areas are selected and overlayed the effect is a gradient with visible borders between each shade of gray.

For the face I decided to have the darkest point in the middle of the face since I have two sources of light on opposite sides with the one on the left being stronger.

To give her hair a nice shampoo sheen I varied the values highly in some areas and softened some of the light zones by passing over with the airbrush with the area unselected.

The costume was already light in of itself so I darkness the area in the middle and really exaggerated with the top highlight to give it a feel of plastic-y latex.

For the portal and the bolt I needed the highest range values so I selected those areas, and step by step shrunk the selection by 5 pixels, each time passing over with the airbrush until the final result is that of a bright white core with a dark edge and a gradient in between.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 21:59:22


This is step 4 - The Colour Zones

This step is a no brainer and a matter that is resolved in 5 minutes flat. Since I had previously separated my areas in flat values I can simply apply the correct colour to the correct zone with the fill tool and an Overlay mode.

As usual the colours I'm getting from reference images.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-10-31 22:03:32


This is step 5 - Glow Effects

After that I have applied the colour I add brush strokes with the airbrush in select areas to fulfil two functions, adding light and saturating colour.

In order to add more interest to the image I have decided to have an additional light source coming from underneath the character.

This light-source will be yellow in order to complement Blink's mostly violet hues. Since blink is flying high in the sky the light source's position will be underneath her, the explanation for which will come later.

The Blending mode I chose for the glow effects is Add (Glow)

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-01 06:05:08


This is step 6 - The Background Values

Quite simply I need the background to be much darker than my character in order to help her stand out in the image. I know that there will be a big blast of light on the top left of the image and the environment is a dark warehouse so the rest of the background is left in darkness.

At this stage I'm not doing any fancy rendering like I did on Blink as not to distract interest from her. The idea is that a background should complement a piece and not over power it (unless of course you're simply doing environment design and your character is in only for the purposes of scale.)

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-01 06:07:21


Step 7 - Light and Shadow

Urban industrial environments are made out of polygonal shapes. Using the Polygonal lasso I mark areas of maximum and minimum light and do a little rendering with the airbrush to give a better sense of 3D and depth. this way the shape and form of the warehouse interior even at its darkest depths becomes visible.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-01 06:14:59


Step 8 - Textures

I'm using Manga Studios' airbrushes to apply textures to my background. In select areas I create a concrete effect by spraying black and white particles, particularly on the columns and supports.

On the large wider areas like the ceiling, the floor and the walls I use the blurred spray to represent both grime and weathering.

For now I will not be touching the railing and the shutters.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-01 06:20:15


Step 9 - Shine and Gloss

Shiny and glossy materials like metal, glass, liquids etc need to have a high range of values and very close blending. I identify the two major areas where shine will occur.

The shutter and the railing receive light in accordance to the portal opening in that area.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest


Step 10 - Colours

And the final step is adding colour to the background. As I said before I'm going with a very desaturated look in order to help bring forward Blink. Despite the warehouse being an industrial setting I still apply colours to the building interior. From several reference images that I found, warehouses are seldom perfectly grey inside and often have coloured accents especially in the supports.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-01 06:46:48


Step 11 - Compositing and Effects

And finally here's the final piece with its final touches. I've added Blink in her place and with my airbrush tool I gave a colour to the light in select areas. To explain the yellow light underneath my character I added the lase blast which also narrates the reason as to why she's dodging around.

Hope that you have enjoyed this step by step process, comments and critiques are very much welcome.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-02 12:26:53


OK SO I'm going to post another step by step process today. The images below is Psylocke. I have completed this ink illustration as part of the Inktober challenge. I will be rendering it in my usual colouring style. As part of the game plan I will be using coloured highlights and shadows due to Psylocke's powers being what they are.

So here's step 1 - The inks and lineart.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-02 12:31:52


Step 2 - Flats

Flatting is along and tedious process, which is why artists can easily find work flatting for other professionals. With psylocke the flats are fairly simple, she's essentially 3 colours, so 3 major different colour zones with one few accents such as the lips and eyes diverging from the limited palette.

What I do to help the flatting process along is first draw a mast around the silhouette of the figure and use this mask on a group of layers. From there on it's a simple matter of adding new layers underneath each flat colour as I draw it on. I tend to avoid using the magic wand and bucket fill tool when I'm doing in my flats because the finish tends to be a bit imprecise and dirty.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest


Step 3 - Shading

Ok so as I said at the beginning I will be using coloured high lights and shadows for Psylocke, largely because we have an intense coloured light source very close to the character. At the time of doing the inks I had already preplanned that the light was going to be intense and coming directly from above.

At this stage the piece looks just absolutely horrible and that's quite normal. Every work of art passes through the crappy stage, the part in the drawing's lifetime where everything looks wrong or silly. It'll pick up I promise.

I rendered the lights and shadows by selecting large areas and shading lightly with the soft airbrush tool. In some cases, especially around the edges of the mask I can create a large selection and then by using the shrink selection tool and shrinking by 10, 15 or 20 pixels at a time create more and more of these layers. This results in a gradient that's half way between smooth and chisely.

I like this effect but in some areas it can become too hard edged so I can always soften it a bit with some airbrush strokes.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-02 12:58:17


Step 4 - Highlights and darkness

Ok so in this step I have intensified the lights and shadows and helped with smoothing out the previous rendering. I did so by adding two new layers, one in the blending mode Add (glow) and the other in the blending more Overlay.

In the Add Glow light layer I added pink light to the areas illuminated by Psylocke's sword and yellow light to all other edges cine I want to have a yellow light atmosphere around the character.

In the Overlay shadow layer I added blue shadows to bring out the really dark parts immediately underneath psylocke.

With this last passage my colouring process for Psylocke is complete.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-02 13:03:21


Step 5- Background Rendering

Ok so this background looks complicated to hand draw but it's actually quite easy.

I'm using only one brush to get this effect, Manga studio's Blurred Edge Watercolour Brush from the Water Colour brush set.

I went from dark to light, painting in a dark purple and with each passing I draw smaller and smaller circles each time choosing warmer and lighter colours moving towards the reds oranges and finally yellow.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-02 13:06:10


Step 6 - Background Adjustment

Ok so this is the last step before I can put it all together. I use two adjustment layers on the background image to desaturate it and darken it. It's always a good idea to desaturate your backgrounds a bit to avoid them distracting attention from the foreground. I darkened the background because I wanted a dramatic environment look.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-02 13:18:12


Step 7 - Final Composition

And here's the final version of Psylocke.

In the final composition I add some glow effects with the add glow layer mode and pink air-brush strokes.

I have some doubts about the focus lines. I tried to render them in white or gradients but nothing seemed to work.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-03 03:15:30


Ok so today I will be uploading the step by step process for digitally painting this image of Storm from the X-Men. To avoid repeating myself too often I have taken the first 4 steps of the process and put them together.

In this piece I will be experimenting with weather effects. I'm going to take what I've learned when I did the previous Psylocke piece and adding to that a layer of effects.

Like in Psylocke I go from Lineart to rendering in the four steps below. As usual step 3 looks totally like crap until I bring it all home in step 4 where the Add (Glow) and Overlay layers unify the piece. The Highlights like in Psylocke are coloured, especially on Storm's skin. In this piece she's largely backlit because I want to put a strong light behind her.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-03 03:30:56


This is Step 5, rendering the background.

I'm playing around with the Blurred edge watercolour brush in Manga Studio to create the clouds. I start from a mid tone grey sky base, making sure that my grey has a slight hint of blue in it. Then for the clouds i start with a dark mass and go to make it lighter and lighter as I near the upper edge. I also make my brush smaller and smaller and make the areas of light narrower. The clouds essentially are big 3D objects in the sky. the Lightning in the distance I draw freehand with a fully white GPen.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-03 03:33:51


Step 6 - Compositing

So now I put Storm in the Scene and add my primary light source. The lightning bolt behind storm is on an Add (Glow) Layer. I draw the basic shape of the lightning arc and it's particles with a very thick G-Pen and then brush over my shape with a Soft Airbrush in the same colour on the same layer to give it an aura of light.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-03 03:47:40


Step 7 - Effects

And finally I apply the effects. So there's a few things going on here so let me break it down in parts.

Part 1 - Wind

Storm's costume plays an important role in communicating the direction of the wind. To help this along I add long bright white lines that represent the direction of the wind.

Part 2 - Rain

There are three things you need to do in order to render rain properly. First of all the droplets of rain need to be Parallax. What this means is that in the scene there need to be different size droplets of rain in the atmosphere. You go from long to short lines, quick strokes with the pen. The shortest lines represent the rain droplets that are in the distance behind the character so make sure that when drawing these small rain droplets not to put them in front of the character. In a more complicated scene with foreground and background elements, rain can also be used to communicate depth.

Secondly rain should bounce off surfaces so identify the direction of the rain and the volume of the objects and draw rain splatters. The Splatters are simple to draw, unlike the flying droplets they're tiny dots and spots that clump up together in certain areas. Once again this can greatly help to transmit a feeling of 3D volume to a mass.

Finally rain should have a tail. When drawing rain droplets keep in mind line weight variation to give the droplet of rain a heavy 'head' and long narrow tail.

Part 3 - Lightning

I added a lightning arc that starts from Storm's eyes, slithers up her arm and finally shoots out of her hand. This is hand drawn with the gPen. What to keep in mind about lightning arcs is that they are a collection of particles that start from a root stem and spread outwards in a vague triangular shape. Lightning behaves a lot like rivers and plant roots. Everything starts from a delta. a source point and spreads outwards in smaller branches.

All of the above effects have been drawn on the same layer, once again with the Add (Glow) blending mode. This layer is above all others so as to allow the effects to cover Storm.

this concludes this Step by step presentation. As usual I'd like to hear what you guys think.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-04 02:45:41


Today I will be doing Spider Gwen from the spider verse series. The game-plan for this image will be to experiment with depth and line colouring. I start with my inked line-art as usual and move on to flatting the image. I create a layer with a Clipping mask above my line-art and give the lines a colour that matches their filling. I do this during the flats stage because its much easier to see where I'm going at this stage. I have used this technique before but never so extensively. I'm blending gradients of colour over the line-art, which can be seen on her hair and on the black parts of her suit.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-04 02:48:06


I plan to separate the two images of Gwen with a mirror-like building fa├žade surface. This is simple to render and draw. I set up Manga studio's perspective rulers with a two point perspective layer and make the railing completely opaque. The glass is going to be slightly transparent.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-04 02:52:38


To add interest to the image I render a background city scape with several sky scrapers and rooftops. As you can see in the second step of rendering the buildings I colour in the line-art. The lighter tones are used for buildings in the distance.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-04 02:53:42


Now that I have all my layers ready there's only compositing that's left to do.

Tell me what you think :)

Qualinwraith's Art Digest

Response to Qualinwraith's Art Digest 2015-11-05 09:46:36


OK so today I will be colouring Zatanna and for today's colouring process I'm trying something different. Instead of my usual lasso airbrush shading I'm using one of Manga Studio's natural media brushes, one called "With enough water" from the Watercolour swatch.

The brush is smooth and leaves the strokes clear enough with a decent opacity and size control through pen pressure. Manga Studio brushes blend colours on the same layer which makes them ideal for getting smooth gradients. Thanks to the brush's natural 'hard' edge the brush strokes are still clearly visible resulting in a neat painterly effect.

Even the line art is coloured over with this brush, especially on the top hat and the yellow rim lighting seen in step 4 below.

Qualinwraith's Art Digest