Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Character a Day...

... keeps the !@#$% doctor away.  Or brings him because, frankly, today's exercise was making me a little crazy.

I know I need to get lots of experience in character painting.  So I decided today I would start with a fairly - or so I thought - easy one: Magilla Gorilla.  I found a good picture on the web and traced it and made my worksheet complete with color markings:
Seems simple enough, although I gotta tell you there's something about that left hand I'm not too crazy about.

Anyway, I broke out the Cel-Vinyl in the belief that I can apply big, flat, matte surfaces and tried my hand at painting Magilla.  I used gouache for the line work and some of the details.

I'm gonna be honest with you, I really don't like that left hand.  It looks like Magilla is flashing some sort of gang sign or something.  Also, if you look close you'll see that the Cel-Vinyl doesn't come out near as flat and matte-like as I had hoped.  I don't blame that on the Cel-Vinyl, I blame that on my own basic incompetence with paint and a brush.

I do appreciate the fact, though, that once you have your flat surfaces down you've lost your guide lines.  You can check your worksheet for reference but basically you're working blind.  That means you have to draw in your lines with your brush... and that encourages some pretty bold lines.  Wimpy little lines just don't cut it, so you have to make decisions... and they come hard and fast.

Normally I don't want to make my decisions while I'm wielding the brush; I like to have more control over the process.  Maybe it's better though, that loss of control.  It forces you to draw.  It forces you to really look at your character and decide how he/she is going to look.  Maybe it's the kick in the rear we all need to experiment a bit, to be bold, to try things we're not entirely comfortable with.  Maybe.

I was so unhappy, initially, that I was going to stop.  But that won't work... you have to trudge on.  Even if all you have to show for your day is some crappy painting that doesn't look like anything.  So onward I trudged.

Now begins the laborious process of removing the white paper.  There was so much bric-a-brac left behind by SketchBook Pro's "magic wand" that I wound up importing to Photoshop and creating a mask.
I set the background to blue so it would show through the layer; thus you can see that all the surrounding paper is gone.
Photoshop's mask is the best way to isolate an object.  I really wish SketchBook Pro had such a tool - they try to let on their new and improved selection tool-set acts as a mask - but it doesn't.

Now my image is thoroughly digitized.  I did a few things.
  • First I used Photoshop's level control to maximize the colors and the contrast.
  • I wish I didn't have to but I used a blender brush in SketchBook Pro to smooth out the paint.  Geez, I'm such a poor artist....
  • I decided to fix the fingers a bit on that left hand... and I still don't like it.
  • I fixed up the left eye a little bit.
  • I applied a shading layer and set a gradient over Magilla, dark to light from top to bottom.
  • I added a little vanilla yellow to that exposed banana.  Banana "meat" is not white, it's a very nice vanilla color... IMHO.
  • Finally, I imported to Photoshop and set a drop shadow.  Also, I set the background to white.
Now Magilla is looking pretty swank.  Hell, it even looks like I know what I'm doing.

No comments:

Post a Comment