Here is a piece I have been working on and off for a few weeks now. The original actually showed full bodies, but because the heroine is in the background with only arms and legs showing, she looked naked. Also, a frozen “realistic” fight pose looks kind of boring (which is why comic books are so exaggerated to maximize a sense of action). I also must confess I got lazy and wanted less canvas to cover! What is new in this picture, though you would never know, is that I actually did a lot of studying to learn some color and layer techniques. I decided to zoom in and rotate the image 25 degrees, which fills in more of the canvas with actual subjects instead of backgrounds. I paint well enough, but my colors are too saturated or cartoon-y… too “technicolor!” I found a bunch of tutorials and even texted back and forth with a guy in Italy (his DeviantArt profile is “PSHoudini”) who is really good at photo manipulation, and got some pointers on layer settings and adding color filters/overlays to adjust hues and saturation to get all of the drawn elements more in line as far as over all colors/shades are concerned.
Layers, for those of you who do not know, are a way you can set up the drawing itself… think of it as layers of transparent sheets where you can paint separate parts of a drawing or colors. When they are stacked and you “look through” them all, there is one final drawing. This is how old school cartoons were drawn, like Disney… moving pieces laid over static backgrounds. What the computer can do is alter opacity, color, sharpness, brightness, etc of EACH separate layer without you having to redraw something a thousand times over till you are happy.
I am mostly happy with this outcome, but still would have liked more punch than what you see… at least this time I saved multiple versions and stages of this piece, and can use it further as a teaching tool for coloring, layer management and environmental effects. As for now, I think I need to step away for a while and get a fresh look to figure out what needs to be done… perhaps deeper shadows and brighter highlights.