I love to read webcomics, and there are a few that I’ve been following for quite a long time. Many of them have very nice art… a whole lot more have not so nice art, but the story makes up for it. One in particular though, goes leaps and bounds above the others in terms of quality. I’ve been watching this artist/author for years now and I’m always amazed at the quality of her work, both the art and story! The artist is Tracy J. Butler and her (free!) webcomic Lackadaisy is a great read. I loved it so much I had to buy the first book when it was published (WOAH look at those prices now that it’s on back order!!). Here are just a couple images of the awesome work she does:
And here’s actual work from the comic:
Her penciling skills are off the chart, and she puts them to full use with such amazing illustrations.
I’m leaving this afternoon for Chicago for that convention I keep talking about, and tomorrow it finally begins! The attendees of these conventions often have characters/designs that they like to show off, so a really popular selling item is Badges; small illustrations of the client’s character with their name or pseudonym largely displayed. They are then printed, laminated and cut out to create a tag or badge that can be worn and displayed as people walk around the convention. They’re fun, easy, and great advertisement! What better way to show off your work then have people wear it around? Here’s one that a client ordered in advance of this weekend’s convention, to be picked up in person, of a cute Red Panda girl.
So I already had this image printed yesterday to about the height of a pen. Then I carefully cut it out to a general shape, laminated it, and now all I have to do is attach a badge pin to finish it off. If you’re a little confused by my garbled explanation of what exactly these are, here’s another badge that I did for a convention over the summer, this time with a photo of the completed product.
There’s also this one that I did, where I was hired to take a photo of the client and turn him into a satyr!
Going through one of my old sketchbooks I found lots of drawings I did several years ago when I was working on a project with some friends of mine. Life happened and the project went to the back burner, but I still work on it from time to time. These are some of the character designs I created for it.
This was a commissioned image especially for Kokoro Cafe, an Otome gaming forum. The owner of the website approached me to do a commission in the same style as my “Scarf” image, and requested that I illustrate two similar characters on a date outside of a cute and romantic european-style cafe with the name “Kokoro Cafe” above them. So I started out with a rough sketch thumbnail…
The important part was to rough out the composition in a space that would fit the dimensions needed for the piece, as well as to get a good idea of what the scene would consist of. When I was happy with it I scanned the thumbnail onto my computer and into Photoshop (I like to do super rough thumbnail work in my sketchbook… it’s just easier to be messy I guess), then I started rearranging the bits and pieces to fit into the exact dimensions.
I miss-judged the dimensions in my thumbnail just a bit! So I added a few extra details to stretch the composition out; another tree, longer window display, two more tables, as well as a few little details just for fun. I also cleared up some of the sketch lines. You can really see it on the guy-formerly a man shaped blob, now with a winning smile. And a little cup’o tea.
Next comes the lines. As things clear up I go back into the sketch a few more times and add or subtract details. I also moved a few things around, like the tree. After seeing the clean lines it was obviously way too close to the door. A few more little tweaks and adjustments, as well as cropping the right edge a bit to help the composition out, and finally it’s time for some color.
This is the “Ugly Stage”. It looks finished enough to be complete, but the colors are all flat and boring. Also, what you can’t see in this are all of the color adjustments I went through to get to this point. The first color version had the wall baby blue… Don’t judge, I thought it could be cute… It’s also important to note that there are probably about 20-25 different layers for the colors. It makes adjusting and tweaking color/hue/saturation/texture/everything! so much easier! Someone once told me “You should never need more than three layers MAX”, but I completely and strongly disagree. The Layers function is one of the most useful tools in photoshop, hands down, and I use it shamelessly. The final image probably has around 50 layers.
So that brings me to the final image! All of the colors in the previous image are exactly the same in this image. The only difference are shadow, gradient and texture layers over them. I decided to keep it clean and as clear as possible because of the small size of it’s display (which you can see for yourself here), so while I normally would have added a lot more light and shadow I stuck to only some super basic shadows in the trees and plant. I also added two simple textures to the wall and concrete. The brick was one that I pulled off of Deviantart‘s Resource Stock a long time ago (I think), and the concrete texture is actually high resolution bread overlayed with a super low opacity… So then I just added in a bit of a gradient and shine to the window to make it look more windowy and voila! All done =)
I hope that wasn’t too obscenely long. For my scarf image I uploaded each image one by one, but I thought for this one it was better to see the whole thing together. Oh! and don’t forget, you can click on the images to view them full size.
I have so many half finished ideas in my sketchbooks and in my head… I spent hours on this sketch, actually partially inking and coloring it aaaa couple times. But something about it never looked right. As soon as it lost the looseness of the sketch it lost all of it’s character. So this, like many others, will remain just a sketch.
Also, HI! to everybody stopping in from Kokoro Cafe! I’ll be posting a step-by-step of the Cafe’s new signage later on =)