As promised, here’s Portal Keeper!
I had a lot of fun with this one. The idea was to try and iterate on a style I first dabbled with in the Maiden of Vigilance picture. That picture has been my best-received picture so far by a number of people (including, *ahem*, people who are willing to commission artists they like for miscellaneous work…) so I figured I might as well revisit that style.
The Maiden picture is rough around the edges in a lot of ways, but I think that’s what worked about it. When I first started out drawing, my first issue was, as expected, not being able to draw a neat line to save my life. My second problem was finally drawing neat lines to find that my pictures were flat, stiff and sterile. A bit of deliberate mess has made my output a lot more interesting than a fastidious commitment to neatness, I think.
Nevertheless, a fastidious commitment to neatness is my default setting, and already this picture is far less jagged and more refined than the Maiden picture. I can’t even be sure that that’s an improvement, and maybe I should let myself be even looser, let the line work and the sketch-style shading run even more wild. I’ll leave it for you to judge.
Of course, one of the main attributes of the Maiden picture was its deliberately off-kilter colour scheme. Because the actual in-game Maiden is grey with a splash of fel green, I livened her up by making my shading very stark and deliberate, even partitioning my areas of shading with actual line work. I tried to be similarly bold with colour here and, given that Hasabel has far more colour to begin with, the end result is a rather fun neon romp.
Now, the thing about me is I am in no way a trained artist – in fact I flunked art classes at school. Literally got a “U” grade. So I don’t know anything about proper techniques or procedures and have basically been making it up as I go along for the past year. The way I achieved this picture specifically is as such:
Draw an obscenely rough sketch of an approximation of what you’ve got in your head.
Endure the soul-crushing process of smoothing and refining the sketch until it’s a dull, featureless, lifeless series of neat lines and basic colours that are acceptably on-model.
Start adding layer after layer after layer of shading, lighting and texture (ie. sketchy scribbles). Hope that by the time you’ve added 50-60 layers that it starts to look good.
Six hours of manic layering later, breathe a sigh of relief, and declare the picture done.
And that’s about as sophisticated as my process gets for now. I’ve seen artists recommend all sorts of geometrical stuff for mapping out the model, as well as various neat little sketching tips to convey movement and perspective. But I’m RUBBISH AT THEM so for now, the Ludicrous Layering technique reigns supreme.
Imgur link for bigger image: https://imgur.com/a/XUL2F