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d361 121223 Background Painting I


Well, I meant to write this earlier, but I found that I’d rather actually be drawing during the time that I had to do stuff. I meant to write two updates too since it’s going to be the end of the year, and that might still happen. This year has actually felt pretty long in general and with respect to drawing as a lot of things changed for me in both fields. Kind of in that spirit, today’s painting is actually something new.

I talked about doing all-paint background elements in d358, though I’d been making inroads into it for a while now. There were attempts as far back as 2009, but these were largely just abstract splashes of color. In that regard, the Pieces painting was really ahead of it’s time; no painted background of similar detail would show up again until the Dream painting.

So here is today’s painting; this is London Waterloo station shortly before the Eurostar terminus moved to London. Obviously I painted this straight off of a reference, and it took a really, really, really long time. I was actually here just a few months before this picture was taken, so that’s kind of interesting in retrospect.

The reason I decided to try this goes way back to when I first started doing figures. it was the opinion of a fair lot of people that the way to approach learning to draw anime figures was to copy stuff, i.e. real people, and modify as you see fit. Obviously this did not interest my one-track mind at all at the time, and that may or may not have ultimately impeded or slowed the development of my figure drawing. Nowadays breadth of drawing is a lot more interesting to me, so I decided to copy these two (this is the first) photos for practice.

For the most part, I think it turned out all right, especially considering that this is the first time I’ve tried something like this. The two main issues I’m fixated on are the skewed perspective of the Eurostar concourse on the left, and poor balance between implicit and explicit painting throughout the picture. The former is easy to ameliorate: I realized I should have leveraged the “digitality” of my process and backdraw some key guidelines by tracing, which I am doing for the next painting.

The latter is a bit more difficult to get around: I have this same issue in “normal” drawing. When I say “explicit” it means trying to draw all details explicitly, and when I say implicitly, it means trying to draw something that suggests what is actually there. Here I tried to be explicit whenever I could, and roll back to implicit when I could not be explicit (ie just too much stuff to draw), which resulted in the mid-ground building being implicit, and most of everything else being explicit, which is a little bit weird. Ideally I think you should get more implicit as you go into the background, but I’m not sure how practical that is.

The hardest part of this painting was subsequently the internal structure of the concourse, which had way too much stuff in it for me to be explicit, but was way too far in the foreground for me to get away with being implicit. And you can kind of see why this implcit/explicit thing is difficult.

And what is a painting post without a process capture? It’s difficult for me to change to the paradigm of drawing in fills rather than outlines, and I think that might be one of the most difficult obstacles for me to climb between traditional (for me) and all-paint backgrounds.

And I think that’s all I have to say for this. Until next time (which will hopefully be soon if I’m going to get another post in this year)

Published by D, on December 23rd, 2012 at 12:33 am. Filled under: d_paintsComments Off

d359 121116 Ink Drawings III


Another month, another update. One of these months we might get two, since the mean time between updates is more like 20-25 days. This update features some history and some semi-experimental ink drawings done over the past couple weeks where most of the focus is on backgrounding.

Early last year, I started to make a conscious effort to work on backgrounds and the balance between foreground and background. As such, there were some okay drawings and some slightly less okay drawings. These were all done with the same process that I had been using since the end of the NW Directorate story, and I think even back then I realized that I was pushing up against some of the process’s limits that would eventually be “solved” by pen.

But pen was still more than a year away at that point, so in the meantime there were some experiments including an unconventional series of draw-by-references, and a splash of what I’m now calling “gritty” drawings before I went on my painting rampage earlier this year. Only toward the end of said painting rampage did background/foreground balance come back to mind, cumulating in my scratch-painted background for ToG 2012 R2.

I think traditional line-and-fill figure on painted background is ultimately the way to go, so I recently thought that I should try to implement the same thing in pen.

The figures are drawn the way I always draw figures, but I’ve been testing this multi-directional hatching, which tries not to obscure actual lineart “underneath” it. It does a decent job of that, but it also makes everything look textured, or moreso than mono-directional hatching. I’m also trying to distinguish between “hard” and “soft” divides by outlining or not outlining the shadows. The background is an evolution of what I just called “gritty” (J’s term, btw), but it’s basically my pen equivalent of a painted background. This picture is actually the first time all these things are coming together, and I think it turned out pretty well.

This is actually a redraw of a drawing from spring.

Moving along, a drawing in all HB. I’ve been trying to sketch in pure HB and basically eliminate a specialty tool from my processes (lighter pencils). Here I guess I just wanted to try shading a lot of stuff.

Tried some landscaping and water and stuff like that. This was actually okay until I tried to put in the cloud effect in the background, which didn’t go over well. It’s supposed to be sunlight above a thick layer of clouds.

Finally, a drawing from one of J’s prompts. I was trying to draw a better sense of space, but the cloud effect (which I just had to try again) screwed it up again. I’ll make it work someday.

Published by D, on November 16th, 2012 at 11:32 pm. Filled under: d_sketch Tags: , No Comments

d359b ThinkPad T430 Thoughts

[121116 – split 130118]

Once upon a time when software overhead grew faster than hardware development “upgrade” was synonymous with “performance”. The latter was the reason you did the former and that was that. When the two lines crossed again, I thought that my already slow upgrade cycle would slow even more, as nobody cared about silly things like power consumption or screen quality or form factor. Well, obviously I was wrong. Fleet turnover used to be something more sacred associated with regularity and neediness, but now it’s degenerated into whenever the hell I feel like it.

Turnover last year was two-thirds and turnover this year looks like its going to be two-thirds as well.

In the last days of my last setup it occurred to me that I had two machines that were mainly stationary, my primary workstation (x220) and my still discrete fileserver (e6400). This didn’t seem right anymore. Back when the fleet was bigger and I first decided I wanted a fileserver, I had a plethora of major and minor justifications (everything virus isolation to hardware overhead) for having a discrete machine. As these things tend to go, a lot of the issues surrounding the decision go away over time, but the decision itself is never re-evaluated. When I finally re-evaluated it, I decided to merge the fileserver and the primary workstation.

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Published by D, on November 16th, 2012 at 12:00 am. Filled under: d_others Tags: , No Comments

d360 121016 Maehara and Konoe


Wow, a post about Lego. How many years has it been?

According to d188 it’s been more than four years, though I know there is at least a mention of my Technic clock somewhat more recently.

I had a pretty bad run leading up to my Lego hiatus; I didn’t finish the Sakurazaki (because it was ugly), and I did finish, but never liked the Curran (because it was ugly). Heck, I don’t even have a Brickshelf gallery of the Curran, even though I do recall taking it to a BayLUG meeting, if only because I had not finished anything else. Whether or not these “failed” ships contributed to the hiatus is debatable.

That being said, the Maehara, seventh in my line of “Akamatsu Ships”, is really everything the Curran wanted to be. After building the monstrous Aoyama and turning her into the much smaller Tsuruka, I was pretty set on getting away from the modular ships that defined Lego in high school. I’m not sure if I had begun to consider unified styling or overall form for the Curran as well, I definitely wasn’t able to implement either if I did.

I was really happy with the Maehara when I finished. To me the overall form and the Art Deco accents suggest something between a WW2 fighter plane and a classic car, and I really liked that. The styling isn’t totally consistent, but I did plan out the basic layout in advance, and I followed it fairly closely. Furthermore, the unified construction gives the ship a relatively sleek and sturdy core structure, which definitely was not the case for most ships of the past.

Also unlike the ships of the past there are very few greebles on the Maehara. The first gen ships in high school, the Urashima and Springfield are basically simple shells covered in greebles for “visual interest”. But because greebling is kind of a local thing, the ships are also disjoint and really messy. As such, I made it a point to limit the amount of greebling on the Maehara so they wouldn’t distract from the rest of the ship. I do have my signature greeble, though, which is floodlights.

… and the complete Brickshelf gallery, though there aren’t really that many more pics.

Moving on to the Konoe. I do realize that my naming scheme is about to get messed up if I don’t want to use “Su” or “Konno” as ship names; I do have a couple more ships to go before I decide though.

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Published by D, on October 16th, 2012 at 4:47 pm. Filled under: d_others Tags: No Comments

d358 120927 Misc Paintings


Well, it is nearing the end of the month, so I better finish up this post and put it up. This post covers some painting experiments from the past few weeks (months?).

One of the things I don’t like about cell-shading is that you can end up having large expanses of flat color. In traditional painting I end up blending a set of primary colors into such spaces, and this first painting is an attempt to do the same in a cell-shade. Needless to say, it’s kind of rubbish; this is a full-sized painting, but it doesn’t really deserve to be one.

In d353 I talked about how I had been doing a bad job balancing “hard” and “soft” divides. The second painting is a full-sized painting aimed at working on striking a good balance, and I think it does a pretty good job. This Tales of Graces alternate costumes is in the same sort of spirit as the Tales of the Abyss alternate costumes from 2007.

This painting is also the first painting an ink-drawn lineart, and I really think it looks a lot cleaner and smoother than the ink-finished linearts I had been doing up until I started drawing in ink. As is often the case with pathfinding paintings, I felt the need to document at the backdraw stage and at the lineart stage. As noted in my first ink drawing post, the backdraw here is pure HB.

There’s two more experiments “hidden” in this painting. The first is the tree, which is an all-paint element done from scratch. It is actually my third attempt, and I think it’s pretty decent considering that the first and second were much more rubbish. The second experiment is the light-through-the-trees effect on Asbel in the lower left corner. I wasn’t sure how well that effect was going to go over, which is why I isolated it to a small corner of this painting.

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Published by D, on September 27th, 2012 at 1:12 pm. Filled under: d_paints Tags: No Comments

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