A while back I posted a drawing called The Gateway, so named because of it’s personal impact on my experiments with illustrating. Soon after completing that first sketch (yet prior to digitally manipulating it) I had begun a second with the same character… At the time, I had simply sketched out the main figure without any shading or idea of where I was going. I lost interest and put the sketch aside, simply tucking it into a binder I was putting together when I first started trying to collect, scan and archive my drawings. I do recall doing the actual shading of the girl while sitting in a stairwell waiting for a figure drawing session to open, and at the time thinking the pose only worked if the character was on a stair or jumping down layered platforms (maybe because I was sitting on steps at the time!). As you can see, I set the girl onto a castle rampart, taking out more of those troublesome orcs with her bow. To aid in the appearance of depth, I had to use plenty of shading, so settled on a night time raid, where fire light could create some deep shadows for me. In the end, the pencil sketch came out pretty nice, considering it was not at all planned, but constantly added on to.
By the time I had finished, I had already played around a bit with coloring my sketches on the computer. Seeing as the first Gateway drawing came out so nice for its simplicity, I thought i would try it again for this sketch. This time, I was not so happy. The difference here is that I already had done a ton of shading, and it shows through the colorizing. The color scheme of moonlight and torchlight was also pretty limited and muddy. In gray scale it feels nicer or more rich to me. Also, for some reason when i saved the drawing as a jpeg or png or any sort of picture file, it lost much of the color blending. one article I found says you lose 25 to 75% of the colors of the original file when converting. I have tried this with a few drawings, and the same thing happens… they save much darker and with a limited palette… like going from the millions of colors in the original to the 256 basic colors. Skies and clouds and such things that have smooth color blends come out the worst- they wind up looking like globs of jelly. For some reason this does not seem to happen with drawings that I entirely begin and complete on the computer, as seen in my Supergirls, Debby Harry, Athena and Hermes posts.
In any case, it is another I can chalk up to experimenting/learning moment… at least on the bright side I wound up with a character that is easy on the eyes and a fun subject for fantasy drawings. I am working on a third drawing now, using what I have learned from the previous two, and it is coming along nicely… I hope to post it soon, because it taught me some important lessons beyond searching for more practical techniques for coloring on the computer… lessons in the creative process before even picking up a pencil.
As for now, here is our as yet nameless heroine kicking ass and taking names: