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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:01 pm
by ShiroiFAN

Sorry, I'm late; I started doodling a bit here and there. The font is Comic Sans MS, except for a few wingdings and "FAIL" which was arial black. The title is, as always Lucidia Handwriting and the auteur can put his name on it if he feels so inclined.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about adding a side sketch, like the toad outfit from before. My only idea so far has been the Minish Cap, with an exceptionally long version of Link's hat covering Shiroi's ponytail. However the pose is rather difficult and aside from a few emulators, Legend of Zelda isn't really an online game series. What do you think, any ideas about the empty space:


PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:10 pm
by Kris@WLP
YujinStudio wrote:Normally I like to have the rough approved, but seeing as you're looking for speed you're probably relying on us to make that call.

Partly, but I'm also looking to see what you come up with on your own.

Also, I want to see completed work, as in NOT PENCIL SKETCHES. Pencils prejudice me against the final work, especially having seen so many in this thread up to now.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:32 pm
by YujinStudio
Ok, I finally finished. Took longer than I had expected. One problem I had was over doing the details. I had to keep reminding myself that I didn't need to do so much since it might not be seen. I just need to get more comfortable with doing less. I normally try to put my all into my art. That aside I swear I'm cursed. Simply put when I need something the most is when it fails on me. When I went to get started my desktop decided to stop working. I spent time to try and fix it without reinstalling Windows, but that's not going to happen. At least I still have my laptop which I used to finish this. But I need to get the desktop back up since the scanners I have don't work on Vista64.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:21 pm
by Kris@WLP
I'll critique both of these Sunday, after Dallas Webcomics Expo.

For right now, though, I need to get to bed- it's going to be a very early, very long day tomorrow.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:31 pm
by Kris@WLP
OK, here we go...

ShiroiFAN wrote:Image

The single biggest problem with ShiroiFAN's effort is that there really isn't an inking job on it. The pic went straight from pencils to coloring, and it shows- badly. The lines in the artwork are extremely weak, to the point that it distracts from seeing the overall image. It's just possible that a superb coloring job could save it, but flat color fills can't.

Next, to poses and presentation. Far too much of what's drawn here is drawn in perfect face-forward aspect. That's a bad habit. Whenever possible avoid full-front, full-rear, or 90-degree-profile shots. Giving things a bit of an angled aspect helps preserve the illusion of depth to the drawing, while at the same time giving life to the image. When an art teacher talks about "active poses," this is better than half of that.

Finally, conformity to script. The first panel called for us to see Shiroi's face and the back of the monitor. Instead we see the exact opposite. This would be useful if we needed to see the contents of the monitor screen, but even if we did, there aren't any. This is important because it deprives the reader of a view of Shiroi's face, so we don't see her emotion or reaction going into the rest of the strip. As a general rule, I leave as much as possible to the artist's discretion, but when I give a detail or a specific pose, I usually have a reason.

A lesser quibble is that, in panel 4, the beholder isn't -wearing- the sign, he's just standing near it. This is a weaker connection between sign message and character than wearing it, but it's not much of an issue.

Now for the good points: (1) decent thoughtful expression in panel 3, (2) the little love-heart in panel 4 amuses me, and (3) well imagined RPG outfit.

Now for YujinStudio's version:

YujinStudio wrote:Image

In general a much better effort. The coloring is simple but effective. The lines have quite a few jaggies, but I can't tell if that's due to how the inking was done digitally, or just the low resolution of the strip. Poses are generally much better indeed, except for Shiroi in the last panel- remember, when walking the center of gravity is either directly over the midpoint of stride, or slightly ahead of it- not entirely on the back foot.

The main flaw- and you referred to it yourself, I believe- is that you weren't familiar with the ad the script was ragging on, and so you didn't know what a D&D fantasy-world beholder looked like. The Warcraft version is close enough that it's not a major quibble, though.

I don't make a quibble on either strip on fonts. I am, however, one of those who loathes Comic Sans. The problem with Comic Sans is that it's a comic font that does not in the least look hand-drawn, as all comic lettering was done once upon a time. WLP uses a font we bought a license for ten years ago, but Blambot's Anime Ace is a good alternative.

There's a third artist who's expressed interest in Shiroi, and I'm going to try to get him on these boards, if I can recover his contact information. I bumped into him at DWEX yesterday and he asked about it. For that reason, no decision is made as yet- this is mainly a test and a means of showing where work needs to be done.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:32 pm
by Kris@WLP
One other point: a few days ago I edited the WikiWLP entry for Shiroi to flesh out her core personality a little bit.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:26 pm
by YujinStudio
I'm going to take a look at what I can do about the jaggy lines. That's something I try to avoid and not sure what happened with this. I know towards the end I started messing with some settings and miss-typed some keyboard commands. It was around then when I noticed that the art wasn't anti-aliased. I didn't know if it was a result of something I did or if I hadn't noticed it before. The problem is either that or my jpeg export settings. Either way I 'll find a solution. The artwork is all vector so it theoretically has infinite resolution. Also, because it's vector, my art isn't set in stone. Anything that needs to be changed can be easily. This is also beneficial for making a clipart database.

As I said when I posted the sketch I like to get approval before I start to color. I had a feeling that there might be an issue with the beholder. I used the cacodemon from Doom as the base. It is based on an old illustration of a D&D beholder. Being the obsessed Doom fan I am, that was just me throwing in my own artistic license.

One thing I know I'm going to need to work on is paneling. Comics aren't something I've really worked with. There's more to it than just making a string of illustrations. Even doing the text bubbles gave me a hard time. If I'm selected I'll have to do some studying.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:05 pm
by ShiroiFAN
Sorry, the little blue dot in the corner of last update was bugging me. Did you ever find the contact information for that artist from the con?


PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:35 pm
by YujinStudio
Hey ShiroiFAN, I happen to come across a forum topic on deviantART that I thought you should look at. It talks about the principals of art and some things to think about when developing a style. Since I don't know how long until it'll be available I'm posting the article.

Darkmir wrote:First of all, it should be accepted by one and all up front that there is no set of instructions that will help you define a style. The goal of this post is to do two things;

One, to suggest tips on how to proceed, and methodologies, that may help you begin to lay the foundation of a perosnal style.

Two, to get others to discuss how they developed their style, and build a body of information about a range of ideas and suggestions that people can consider when they try to develop their own style. Because I'll tell you one thing for sure right now: "style" is like fingerprints. No two people will completely have the same style, or go about developing their style in the same way. It boils down to how you think about art, how you practice to develop your style, what you want to say with your art, and who you are as a person.

The first thing you have to accept, and the hardest thing for a lot of amateurs to deal with, is that you CANNOT develop a original style until you learn how to draw well on a fundamental level. You need to have co-ordinated co-operation between your brain, your eyes, and your hand, and need to be able to competently render characters and background elements in a dependable, repeatable way, before you can even begin to think about style.


Style is like icing. Your style is not the METHOD by which you draw. Your method, and theory have to already be developed and in place. That creates the foundation... the 'cake', if you will, over which you place your style, like the icing on top of a cake. If the cake is dry, poorly baked and tasteless underneath, even the best tasting icing is not going to produce a good cake.

Once you have your skills honed to the point where you can render whatever you think of with repeatable dependancy, style becomes an expression of your taste, your philosophy, and methodology of conveying shape, light and shadow, movement, and action in your drawings.

Some practical aspects of style to consider:

LINE QUALITY: You can use lines that are rough, and sketchy. You can use lines that are smooth and clean. You can have bold dark hand, or a light, delicate hand. Your work can be intricately detailed, or you can work in a lose, cartoonish style. Whether you work in graphite or pen & ink, or acrylics or oils, or with colored pencils, or even in the computer, the way you weight and construct the lines in your drawings can go a long way to defining your style.

SHADE AND TONE: The way you develop tone, depth... light and shadow, can help to define your style. Your tonal work can be deep and dark, or light and airy. You can use hatching, in any of a variety of forms, or stiple, or washes, or soft tonal shading. You can use lines and linear hatching to develop contour and tone. Your work can be composed of a full range of gradient tone, or more posteurized, and comprised mostly of pure blacks and whites.

ARCHITECTURE: Here, I am refering again to line quality. Will your lines, and your figures, and the way you render and compose objects be mostly angular, and squared off? Or will it be built on curving, flowing lines with few sharp angles, and little conformity to a rigid architecture? Will you organize your renderings and compostitions in tight conformity, or will your they be lose and fluid?

DYNAMICS: Will your drawings, and your characters, be tense and rigid, with the action "cutting' itself out of the page, or will they be fluid and full of motion, and seem to flow off the page?

All of these are aspects of how an artist might begin to structure the way they draw in an effort to assume a distinctive original style. From the most intensely executed, hyper-realistic graphite illustrations, to the loosest, most rapidly executed cartoon renderings, all "original" illustration displays a style that is formulated and applied by adjusting and controlling all or some of the aspects described above, plus dozens, or hundreds, of others.

Sometimes an artist's style is defined by the tight control of technique on a micro level, with many many little aspects of technique being applied in almost exactly the same way from drawing to drawing. Pencilers on comic books do this, for example; controlling the way they develop the anatomy of a character, and the line weights, and the linear detailing, on a very fine level, so that their charcaters are instantly recognizable form page to page, and issue to issue, of a book.

Sometimes only a few aspects of technique are controlled or modifed, but in a very distinctive way by an artist, to express their style. A natural landscape artist, for example, might use a repeated technique to render flowing water, or leaves in the wind, in the same repeatable way from painting to painting, so that a fan of their work could identify a piece as having been done by a particular artist because of the way certain parts of the painting were executed.

Whatever type of art you do, and however you ultimately wish to express your "style", it should be apparent now that you can't work on style until your fundamentals are really strong. Because style is really a matter of taking learned, practiced techniques, and placing a specific type of control on them so that they look the way you want them to.

In other words, style is not the way you learn to draw. You learn to draw first, and then build a style second, on top of your already good drawing skills.

Once you get to that point, your style can say a lot about you as a person. If you are an illustrator, and you are a strong willed, out-going, high energy person in your day-to-day life, your style is liable to be bold, and dynamic, with lots of direct action and in your face emotion and movement. Your composition may be clean, and simple, with easily interprested action and dynamic flow. Your line work might be confident and fluid, with long, smoothly drawn lines that flow into each other. Your color work may favor bright, bold color schemes, and may lean towards the use of more primary palletes.

On the other hand, if you are shy and withdrawn, your style may include small, tenative strokes, which build up together to produce a complete illustration. Your image dynamics may be constrained, or tense, with movement being shown in a limited, held back way. Your colors might tend towards the use of muted tones and a lot of grey, with very few highlites.

These are very simplistic hyypothetical examples designed only to show how who you are and how you feel and think can directly affect your style. The trick is; the more you consciously, pro-actively think about it... the more you directly review "how" you draw, and "how" you compose and execute your drawings, the more you will be able to control all of the myriad little techniques and component elements of your art that ultimately become the vehicle of your style.

You may, for example, look at your characters and decide that you are going to make the legs a little longer than is normal, and that will become a part of your style. Just remember that if your desire is to have a destinctive, identifiable style that people can recognize as yours, and you adopt a technique like making the legs a little longer thsn normal, you have to do it in all your figures; male, female, fat, skinny, young old, short or tall. The same type of exageration has to be evident in ALL your work for it to be considered "style".

As a general rule, and most certainly in the case of "pop" art, for things like comics, and video games, and animated movies, Maintaining the elements of your style throughout ALL of your work is mandatory. In the movie THE INCREDIBLES, for example, the distinctive way the characters had larger heads in relation to their bodies, and very small feet relative to their body size, no matter what the size of the character, was carried through on every character, throughout the entire movie. All illustrated work which tells a story in pictures, and is episodic or periodic in any form at all, requires that a completely recognizable, totally distinctive style be maintained from the first page to the last.

Hopefully, some part of this may help you to get your mind in the right place when you start to think seriously about putting your style together.

I am sure everyone else has lots of good advice on this subject. Let's all share what we found ourselves thinking about and working on when we were developing our style. What were the techniques and methods you saw yourself working to control and repeat when you were putting your style together? How did oyu go about finding, and nailing down, your style?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:50 pm
by Kris@WLP
Put another way: if the way you draw something stays the same each time you draw it, that's art style. If it changes, it's probably a mistake.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:09 pm
by Dorlynn
Very informative.