Well, I’m just starting to come to the end of my crazy busy spell.Â I started a new job and had a bunch of obligations to finish up and I’m just about in a position to spend more time on SoL now.Â I’ll update this page more often with my progress.
Really, my Day Job has been kicking my ass for the last few weeks, with a ton of extra hours. That means less time in the studio, so the progress on my illustrations has been frustratingly slow. I hope to have something new to show you next week. The goal at the moment is still to get all the elements finished for a complete screen shot for the main screen of the game. The last few drawingsÂ I need to do for that are not many, but important (insert time consuming).
Right now im reading: Well re-reading all the Wheel of Time books, before I can finally finish and read the last three in the series. I have been waiting over a decade for this moment.
Right now im inspired by: The Spectrum Collections. I recently picked up Spectrum 18 and 19. If you haven’t bought any of these annual books of Fantastic Art … where have you been!
Right now im feeling: Like I need to get my routine back! Where did you go? Come back, I miss you!
Right now im looking forward too: THE CALGARY EXPO. OMG only a little over a month away! Gah so much to do.
Okay. Back to work.
Today I thought I would share some of the small Icons I have drawn for the map. These will be inserted into our provinces for cities, towns, farms, houses, castles, and ports. There are more, but these 4 are just a sneak peek.
These drawings are about 1 inch square each.
So, someone asked me to follow up last weeks post by talking a little bit more about the materials I use, and more specifically the types of products I lean towards. Here goes.
As you can see in the photo, this is pretty much the go to stuff I have on hand when working on a project.
a. My painting box. Basically a plastic tackle box, it holds all my watercolor paints, my brushes, my pens and pencils, and erasers, ink, and guache. Its portable, which for me is the most important because I need to be able to take things with me wherever I go.
b. Here is a list of my preferred brands (from the box). Watercolors: Windsor & Newton, and Holbein. Guache: Lukas. Brushes: H.J. Gold Sable inÂ a smattering of various sizes and shapes. Pens: Sakura Micron archival. Eraser: Stadler white. Eraser pen: Tuff Stuff.
c. That soft white brush sitting there is what I use to brush away eraser shavings. I don’t like to use my hands because 1. the graphite smears all over everything, and 2. the oils transfer from your skin to the paper, which is kinda gross. So a nice clean brush (that is used exclusively for this task) gets it done.
d. For painting I prefer to paint from old porcelain plates, or my big ceramic “flower”. I don’t like plastic palettes. The paint eventually gets soaked into it and they don’t clean up well, and they are just a mess. Glazed ceramic is best in my book.
e. Reference materials. This week I have been working on coats of arms for all the families in the game, so hence the Heraldry books. I keep a big collection of books for referencing. I am not one of those artists who can make stuff up. Im no good at imagining the way an animal fits together physiologically, so I need something to show me. I also have a big collection of Dover books, because I love the style of Victorian engravings.
f. I like to work on a cutting mat. I am not particularly messy, so I like a clean surface, and for some reason having that black mat comforts me. Plus, if I need to cut something I can just go ahead and do that without ruining a table top, or glass, or whatever.
Most of this stuff, I have literally had for decades. I am not hard on my materials, and I tend to use things sparingly, so it lasts a really, really long time.
Last but not least is what is not pictured here, PAPER. I use a bunch of different papers. I like cold-pressed watercolor paper (140 pound). I usually use Arches, but recently I have been using Acquerello Cartiera Magnani and it is wonderful, my new favorite. The surface is VERY smooth. I also sometimes use printmaking papers like BFK Rives, or Stonehenge.
Here are the same three character portraits I showed in last weeks post. The the first one it was all about getting the drawing down in line form. Now, we have shading and painting! Good stuff.
As you can see, I have completely inked and done a fair amount of shading by stippling. Why stippling? Its not a common technique for ink illustrators (I don’t really know why other than it being very time consuming), but I like it because there isn’t any other way to get a subtle transition of shadow, like with a graphite pencil. I like the way it looks for skin and cloth (mostly smooth surfaces). You will notice that I don’t stipple the whole drawing.
After the inking is complete, I lay down an initial layer of watercolor (which you can see on the red head). Here my goal is simply to cover the whole surface of the paper with paint, even if it is a very thin wash which is mostly clear water. This changes the surface of the paper and allows for more subtle shading because it isn’t being absorbed as much. I like to use the lightest colours here, mostly, and I also like to create a grey scale of shadows on the face.
In the third portrait you can see the final painting, saturated with colour. All the little details have been added, and the shading has been deepened. The only thing I left out are the tiny highlights, which will be added with white guache to accentuate the highlights in the eyes and also any metals there may be (in this case the gold on her head dress). You will notice that I hardly painted her pearls at all. I left them alone so that the white of the paper would show through.
Alright, so just like Erika will be updating everyone with new art, I too will be updating more often.Â I’ll be talking about progress on the game itself and what features I’m working on.Â This way you might get a better idea about how the game will actually play.
So first off I’ll tell you where the game is at currently.Â Right now it is actually playable, but it doesn’t do a whole lot yet.Â I have finished creating most of the system and base code that the rest of the game will use.Â Right now there are a lot of placeholder graphics and Erika is working hard to get a few art assets done so we can reveal our first real screenshot of the game.Â While the game itself is still fairly early, I have finished creating a full set of tools that handle asset creation.Â Sunset Over Lievnos is rich with characters and story and I spent a good deal of time creating a custom tool for content management and creation.Â On the design front, I have graphical mockups of every screen and menu in the game as well as a full design spec.Â What all this means is that a lot of the groundwork has already been done so progress on the game itself will be much more rapid at this point.
So what’s next?Â I am currently working on a data layer that imports all of the data from the database into the game as it needs it.Â The game already has the turn system in place but it isn’t using actual data from the database.Â Once I have that in place then actions you make from turn to turn will be permanently stored.
Come back soon for another progress update!
This week I thought I would show off a shot of a few characters in progress. As you can see I have a couple just drawn in with pencil, and one inked character (no info on these guys yet).
I start by drawing the character from a reference photo. I sketch the portrait in, including a few lines to indicate shadows. I like to use mechanical pencils with 2H grahite, which is a little harder and doesnt smear so easily. I also use an erasure pen that allows for fine erasing in small areas. After the initial drawing is done I set it aside for a day or so. I find that if I give it a little time, and then come back to it, I might see some mistakes that need to be changed. My eyes get to used to things if i’m staring at the image too long. I wont see proportial mistakes (especially on faces) unless I give my eyes a rest.
Also, sometimes I need a moment to think about costumes, or hair styles, what have you. So going back to the drawing the next day allows for essential thinking to happen.
Once i’m satisfied with the sketch, I am ready to ink. The first stage of inking is simple. I basically just trace the graphite drawing. I like to use Sakura Micron pens in .005 & .01 sizes. They are the smallest, and I like the fine details you can get with them. Some ink artists like to use old-school bottled ink and dip and draw nibs,Â and I like those too, but I find the Sakura pens to be more consistent (even though I probably go through way more pens than I would with nibs).
Okay, so from now on I shall be calling these posts I/W (short of Illustration Wednesday, k). This week we have images. Allrighty then.
Fraternal twins, this brother and sister co-rule their family estates. Their father died when they were children and much about his death is shrouded in mystery. Although they now rule together, this will change when she is married for political affiliation and he inherits the mantle of leader of his clan.
Their lands are richly forested, providing a wealth of timber and game, but quite distant and separate from the court of the King.
*p.s. Any character info is subject to change.