Zel’s portrait


Well, I’m still plugging away at “Fabelwald Book II: Dandle & Lion”, which is why I’ve completely ignored this blog.  Actually, I’m reworking Book I as well a little bit. I have settled on a consistent cover layout for the series, so will reissue “Mythic Forest” with a new cover (the first design I had painted, but then not used) AND inserting a handful of character portraits AND adding a very short chapter at the end to allow for ‘loose ends’ to be picked up in future novels.

The portrait here is a 4×6 digital paint of the main character (Zel, aka Rapunzel) for Book I.  The following pics show the process… I sketched directly into the computer, then messed around until I came up with something that looks like stone for her window frame (on a separate layer).  On a third layer I underpainted the sketch with basic blobs of light and shadow.  I then duplicated the sketch layer (to save a clean copy) and merged it with the light/shadow layer… this allowed me to smudge and paint around the sketch, instead of having to essentially redo the sketch in a new layer of paint.  Finally came the long process of detailing and refining…. eventually getting down to adding individual strands of fly-away hair, freckles, birthmarks, etc.

I also tried adding a little bit of blur as you get towards the edges of the pic, and I kind of like the looseness of those areas.  The problem I keep running into is that I zoom in too much to smooth out the fine areas of color change on the face, which looks great zoomed in, but then when I zoom out to the “actual size” the paint looks strange… Its obvious there’s too much drawn in detail and there is a sort of harshness about the whole thing.  I need someone to stand behind me and slap me upside the head when I press the zoom button!

Sticking to a “rougher” paint will likely not only look nicer (more like oil paint) and save me hours of work no one can see.  Well, actually, the detail DOES allow me to print much larger sized work and even print out zoomed-in, individual areas… but really, unless by some miracle these drawings go viral and people start demanding poster versions, I’ll never use that option.

So, its back to having someone just slap me upside the head.

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9 thoughts on “Zel’s portrait

  1. You kinda lost me on the process, but the result–from my POV–is impressive. The only odd bit is the braid which seems to be in sharp detail while the shoulder behind it is blurry.

    • yeah… i left the center sharp and progressively blurred as you move to edges… it seems worse here cause its a jpeg, which loses the majority of the info in the actual drawing. i was planning on blurring the braid for final print.. i just went cross-eyed drawing for so long, lol

      • One more reason I get furious with technology. As much as we can do with it, compatibility is almost always an issue. Oh, this person can’t view that because they don’t have the right software or power of PC. And, this person has PC A while this item can only be viewed by PC B. Bah! Insanity. It’s more complicated, I bet, than difference of opinion.

        I sometimes thing PCs are like dusty windows. You need to use Windex before anyone can see clearly. And, that might leave streaks.

        I bet. Especially if drawing on a PC/tablet. On paper, I wouldn’t get as cross-eyed. Well, nowadays, I would, after spending so many hours on a PC. I regret losing some eyesight to this monster.

      • yeah, my sight has drastically deteriorated the last year or two thanks to the computer. I’m still trying to find a good way to blend pencil and tablet. I’ve done some drawings in pencil, scanned them, then worked up backgrounds digitally. Its nice to be able to develop a background without worrying about ruining the foreground, but the time saved there is lost trying to get the two media looking like they go together… look at my author profile on facebook (under “fabelwald”) to see some w.i.p.s.

      • Heck, mine deteriorated after my first year of using a PC 8 hours a day back in 2001. In just the past year or two, I’ve been having a lil trouble standing before an easel. Occasionally, I have to look away, rub my eyes and try to clear my line of sight. Or, improve the lighting. It gets me a lil depressed. I would feel like Cole Porter losing the use of his legs when trying to play piano. If I went blind, what would I do? Who would understand and help me?

        I have read about transferring pencil drawings to PC and being able to properly improve them via Photoshop and related programs, but I don’t see myself doing that til I can work in person with an experience PC user. I don’t trust online reviews and suggestions much.

        Right, putting one digital portion with a hand-drawn one doesn’t seem like it would gel well. But, that could be a new style/blend of media (though I am sure plenty do it already).


      • I thought as much. I see some nice cover art. The rose one is a lil creepy. I’ve been doing low-tech MS Paint cover designs for my book(s). I tried to whip up some hand-drawn designs and was actually disappointed with my skills. I have the images in my head, but putting them to paper remains a challenge.

      • 🙂 Or, make a drawing from 1000 words. I still aim to complete a few of those sooner or later. I like myself less, though, if I can’t draw better than I write.

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