I’ve finished detailing in the jackets, blocked in some heavy inks - but not too much, I’ll handle most of that with coloring (I also don’t have the confidence to do a lot of ink on faces yet, unless it’s a fully b&w pic). River gets a stronger outline because she’s more in front of course. I also remembered to fill in Sam’s body behind the boards, which I’d forgotten in my first ink pass.
I’ll fill out the background with some textures and brushes to give it a messier look. I tried a few slighly different things, and I think this has been one of my best inked images yet :)
Would anyone want a series like this on how I color, too? Or was this enough rambling for now?
Getting up to take a break seemed like as good a time as any for an update.
I flipped the image again, then twisted the canvas so that the faces were “straight”. I see now River’s jawline is crooked, and her eyes don’t quite match enough. I’m not happy with her lips, but that’s probably because I’ve only done the outline and not really given them any real volume yet.
Sam’s doing better (probably because his face was at a better angle to begin with). His eyes are slightly out of alignment, another one of my flaws that I have to keep fighting with. I think he also needs a little more cheekbone on the side facing inward in the preview.
Just a few minor things to fix up, so I’m pretty happy that I’m still on the right track. Back to the heavy inking after that (although if this storm keeps up I may stop for a bit).
And then, I hit the “snag” I mentioned last time.
I was not happy with Sam’s left arm. It really was too awkward, and even when I tried having his hand facing in or out, I could not make it work. It was something that bothered me to begin with, but I decided to let it go and march forward, see if I could pull it off or not. The answer was “not”.
So I made two new layers, and experimented with different pose ideas over the original. The red line was my first attempt, Sam leaning into his arm on his knee. I didn’t like it, the way I sketched it made his arm look too short. I tried another in blue ink, and this I liked - now it looks more like he’s leaning and balancing himself. That bit of wood or whatever I added in for a background element actually worked out in a nice way. Now I’ll erase the first arm attempt and draw in this new one.
After that, the first phase of inking will be done for both of them, so I’ll
try to remember to flip the image, check for errors, and move on to shading and filling the lines out. Also I need to decide on the exact style for their jackets.
Random fact: River and Sam’s hair each get their own layer. Much less stress that way.
After some procrastinating, we’re moving on to the start of the inks.
I felt like doing River first, since she’s right up front. I started with her face, as I am wont to do. I did a little googling for some good face shots of Alex looking sort of up and to the right as she’s posed here. I try not to straight up copy a screencap or something, and just use it as a guide and try to freehand it and keep it a little bit loose. My stuff tends to be pretty free and sketchy even when I try to keep things clean, and I’d rather learn the face through a bit of trial and error. I actually got her down pretty well for this start, so I’m quite pleased. I also tend to draw, erase, redraw, erase, redraw again frequently. I’m terrible.
I begin with a small pen, in this case Painter’s basic Smooth Ink Pen at 1.0 size. I loosely ink in the outlines and main details. Next I’ll get a larger pen and begin to add depth and shading. I’ll add more clothing details and folds later, although I’ve found that I do better painting in folds than drawing all of them. I’ve also blocked in the black border and the larger background elements. Since River’s lines are in early stages, I separate her and the bg with another layer that I use for ‘white outs’, so I can make changes to either quickly without much fuss.
I also realized that I had no idea how I was going to do her hair. Most of the volume is going to be handled during coloring but I’ll be messing around with a few ideas.
I’m really quite happy with how this is starting out. It’s almost too smooth, I’m afraid I’m going to run into a snag at some point… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, mm?
Back to drawing and now fixing River… on another layer, I redrew her basic shapes over the sketch layer, starting with her spine, then her upper torso/rib cage and her hips. I used a lighter red, and then went over the basic lines I needed to hit (also catching the flow of her jacket) with the darker red, so I suppose now you can’t see those shapes as well now, oops. This is pretty sloppy in the preview, but I was basically reminding myself how things should be fitting. I actually had her stretched too awkwardly into her original kneeling and leaning position, and while some artists can pull that off, I am not one of them. I also saw that I had the too-big-head syndrome with her too, and adjusted it. Twice.
Then I went back to the green color, redrew over the red lines layer, went back to my original sketch later and erased out her original body roughs. Even though it still looks very blocky and simplistic, I think I can work with this now, so with just a touch more cleanup I’ll merge my sketch layers and enlarge the image to begin zee inking.
When I start inking faces, they always shrink down on me - because I’ll be using smaller lines than my big chunky sketching lines. So even though her head still may seem just a little large, I know it’s probably going to end up smaller. This is a quirk of mine that I’ve just adapted to.
Here’s a step I forget too often, flipping an image to check for mistakes that you just may not catch otherwise. If you have a habit of drawing with a slant, this will save you a lot of time and damage to your head if you like to beat it against things when you realize (probably too late) that you’ve really messed up.
Sam’s face (now resized and more fitting on his body) was actually pretty good, I managed to keep his face rather even. Of course further in I’ll be using some photo references to make sure he looks like, well, Sam. But this was a pretty good rough. I think I need to bring his hairline down a tad. I used to have a bad habit of having not enough forehead, especially on guys, now I think I over-react a bit when I do roughs :)
River had a few more problems. Her nose was slanted too far to one side, which caused me to draw her lips too far off as well. It wasn’t terrible, but I had the annoying “something isn’t right” feeling when I looked at her, and so when I flipped the canvas, I saw it right away. Her eye shapes are still a bit different, but that’s something I always fix during inking - as long as I have them lined up properly I can adjust the shape when I also look up photo refs for Alex. I also see that I need to adjust her shoulders and that will help fix the issues I’m having with the arm holding her gun.
I’ll flip it back around the right way next, fix those issues, and start inking. I really dunno when I decided to turn this into a slightly more in-depth step-by-step. I guess it also helps me to sit back and think about what I’m doing, what I’m trying to achieve, and how I can constantly find ways to improve my art process (even if it’s nutty, cracky, fanart).
I honestly thought I’d give the Superwho jam stuff a little bit of a break after finishing the last one, sorry. I’m not feeling so great tonight so I just decided to go with what felt relaxing and fun.
So here’s a look at some of my early draft stuff… this is the stage shortly before I increase my canvas size to the larger res I’ll “ink” at, using Painter. It’s much cleaner than my initial sketching, but still has flaws to clean up, like Sam’s head is a little too big and River’s right arm is a little too short, so next I’ll use the transform tool to adjust Sam and just erase and redraw the lines for River. Both of these issues tend to be recurring problems for me, and I’ve gotten a lot better at catching and correcting them before I get too far.
I’ve marked an X to give me a rough idea of where I want the light source, and I’ve done a little chunky shading in a few spots. I’ve left myself some small visual reminders on where to put some textures and elements to bring in later.
Like the previous two images, most of the actual drawing will mostly be just the two characters and more environment info will be improvised when I move to Elements to color it. The color theme of the final image will be green, so I chose a greenish color to sketch in to help me with the mood.
… I really rambled off, there. Wow. I think I’m gonna take something for my headache and chill out for a bit.