Can You Fanart Yourself?

I’m not always inclined to take a crack at my own characters, largely because I hate disappointing myself by coming up with a visual which doesn’t remotely match the character in my head.

That said, I’m pretty happy with how Acaja (From “At Her Fingertips,” up in the current issue of Betwixt magazine) turned out, so I figured I’d share:

I will admit that the coin she’s flipping wound up there because what I couldn’t manage to draw to my own satisfaction was the sidestep unit which is so essential to Acaja’s plans. I’m still generally under-impressed with how I render tech.

Instead, she’s got anachronistic physical currency. We’ll say she found it in the scrapyard.

Sometimes You Just Need a Steampunk Scotsman

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Another RPG character. Had fun playing with a lot of elements just for the heck of it. There isn’t actually a Scotland for him to be from in the setting, but honestly, there aren’t nearly enough RPG characters running around in kilts. Then, because he’s a tinkerer type, and also slightly mad, I wanted to do something mildly steampunk / clockwork inspired, but which wasn’t really polished or symmetrical at all. He cobbled together the armor from a lot of random randomness.

Because Turkey Vulture

Will I be getting back to sketchy Wednesdays? No promises. But I built a character for a play by post RPG game t’other day, and he amused me, so I sketched him.

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He’s a half-orc, who in-game are a mistrusted race because one of their parents looked monstery and everyone knows looking like and being a monster are the same thing because Pretty Is Never Evil.

In any case, I found myself into the idea of someone from that kind of background who spent a lot of time trying to rehabilitate the images of other not traditionally pretty creatures.

So, when my ranger-y character went looking for his traditional animal companion, he picked a turkey vulture, because everyone swoons over the hawks and the wolves, and I enjoyed Ladyhawke, too, but carrion eaters get no love, but they are all gonna be thanking their lucky stars when the zombies show up because birdie will be all: Who ordered delivery?

Who Drood It?: Posterized

Yes, I disappeared. I don’t know how widespread the term “Hell Week” is when discussing the week and change leading up to a show opening, but, well … yeah. That’s where I’ve been. I did, however, manage to put together all those D(r)oodles I’ve been doing and take another crack at some marketing materials. Wonkery to follow, but pictures first (click each for zoomy biggerness).

I tried a horizontal layout (around legal paper size) first, as I wanted everyone more or less on the same level:

Then, because normal paper is easier to print on, I tried vertical:

I started with the scanned sketches, pulling them all into a layered document and shuffling them around until I had two groups of four that I thought fit well together. I wanted to make sure I got everyone’s face and his or her “weapon of choice” visible. I used masks to chip away elements that other characters would cover without losing my lines if I changed my mind (which I did several times). That also helped when I switched layouts, since Drood covered different bits then.

Durdles was originally meant for the right side group, but I realized when I started piecing things together in the mockup that he and Princess Puffer had almost identical body lines, which looked repetitive in that context. One of them was going to have to move. I needed/ wanted to keep Puffer’s knife sheathe exposed, since I feel that’s what gives her weapon character beyond “pointy stabby.” It was easiest, then, to flip Durdles, since his raised shovel made it a lot easier to slot him in behind the other characters without losing him and his. Bonus points for their mirrored body lines providing a bit of a frame for Drood.

Since I knew I wanted multiple layouts, but that the groups of four would be the same either way, I made three documents for inking: the left group, the right group, and Drood on his own. Then I pulled those into Manga Studio to have another crack at vector inking. I think I’m getting a better handle on some workflow, though I’m still not sure on line weights. The thick lines seem heavy handed, but thinner ones have a tendency to disappear when I go light on the pressure for variance. Learning curve and all that, I suppose. Still, for the most part I think things cleaned up reasonably well.

The inks got exported back to raster for compositing, where I scaled things around, then did some text skewing and reshaping until I liked something for a logo. Then I added a sepia toned layer on top in burn / color burn, eh voila: Victorian postery stuffs.