Thursday, 14 April 2011

Procrastination is my middle name

I was thinking what should be the very first post here and how these sketch blogs should look like and after quite a while I've decided on starting out with a confession and introduction of my future followers to my latest  project. This blog was also my idea of making myself work and draw since I've been lacking motivation more than anything. I hope it helps, because being abstinent from drawing is probably worse than being abstinent from sex. For an artist at least. I don't like either, trust me.

I've been uploading my art on Deviantart for over two years now, behind the nickname of Poucelette. Whenever I uploaded a work related to the project I already mentioned above, I mostly couldn't bother writing long descriptions and backgrounds of depicted characters. That's why I feel obligated to share the whole story here. I don't know if anyone that saw my drawings at the given website was actually interested in the story behind them or why I keep drawing the same people over and over again, but if there was such a person, they would probably be delighted to read this post.

So, about two years ago I've started playing a fantasy pen and paper game (a campaign called Under the Shattered Moon which is how I chose to call this project. Yeah, original.) with a bunch of friends. It's a game loosely based on Dungeons and Dragons, only with custom setting, rules and well... mostly everything.  It is a world created by a friend of mine, presented in such detail that from the moment we started it, I knew it was going to be big. Each of the rest of us got to create one unique character whom we've played and lead through the story ever since.That's how Draa (air pirate), Cromartie (fire mage), Sanako (young samurai-like warrior) and Quinlan (the priest) were born. As the time went by, they've evolved and grew on us completely unexpectedly. We agreed that we could no longer use generic images found throughout the vastness of  internet and I accepted a challenge of portraying each of  "us". How it really began was quite random, after I doodled my own character at the back of my character sheet. When I scanned it and added some quick coloring, it actually didn't look half as bad as you can see below.

Now, this drawing was followed by another two or three takes on Draa which resulted in general approval and requests for other characters' portraits. I have to admit, I'm lazy and I doubt there's a more lazy person than me out there, and I slacked, like I'm slacking right now. The next drawing in the series was yet another portrait of Draa and her little sidekick, quite to a disappointment of others. They wanted to see the rest of the group while I produced a dozen of sketches of my own character. I bet that they'd given up at this point and I couldn't blame them.

 However, this was one of my most praised works and at the same time my very first attempt on using a digital tablet so I guess I was forgiven. To a certain degree.

After Draa came Cromartie's time. I was told by his creator that he should resemble Dustfinger, Paul Bettany's character from Inkheart - a handsome, mischievous fire mage. I tried to pull it off, but I kept ending up with Guybrush Threepwood and it's not just because of the hair! Which is great by the way. It's mostly because of  his funny character, witty remarks and general crazy aura about him that lead me to a cartoonish, doodly style. My first take on him, however, was awful and I'm not even going to feature it here (although it was loved at the time, hmpf.).

After this ice breaker, the whole series of characters followed - all playable and two nonplayable characters (created by the game master).  Drawing them was easy, the style was already -in- my hand. Coloring was the tricky part. I practiced very little before I started working on these portraits and I thought I was going to ruin them as usual. But as the time went on, I picked up a couple of tricks from various tutorials (mostly shared on Deviantart) and in the end, I was satisfied with the result. I leveled up my coloring skill! (A little). And so I decided that I didn't hate the colors, only the conventional means of applying them. I admire the great oil/canvas painters, olde and new, but that's definitely not my cup of tea. (I got a pretty good grade on my painting exam though. I'm not -that- bad, I just hate its guts).

Little Sanako came out fairly easy though not completely without obstacles. Making her look asian was incredibly tricky as it was my first attempt at drawing oriental types. I admit, I'm still not good at it and I'm not even close. And on top of everything, I had to express her character through her portrait, like I did with others. I'm not sure if I made it, but this is not the last of her, that's for sure.

Drawing Quinlan (the priest) was.... interesting. He's older than the others and had lead a harder life than the rest of the group which had to be written across his face. Not literaly, right? His real age is under 35 but his apparent age should probably be... 40? And it was yet another challenge - drawing an aged man (drawing an aged woman would be just as tough for me). Those who have been through my gallery have probably noticed that I mostly dwell on young characters. Well, you know what? It's wrong. It's slacking again. It's dismissing practice and studying. And I should be ashamed. Well ashamed. Anyway here's Quini:

And of course the last but not the least of the playing characters in the series of portraits was Draa... again (yes, I am grinning as I'm writing this). This was not my favourite take on her since she is my creation, but at least now I know how not to draw her. The nose is too narrow to begin with, and I'm not going into other details. But here she is:

 I've still got to finish their full body images and a group picture. It's work in progress, slightly different style and new series which will hopefully surpass the previous one and be used in our new character sheets. No wait... that's not what I was going to say... Dammit. I meant, it's a style that will probably be used in a potential, probable, future webcomic if I quit procrastinating. (it's a terrible, terrible habit.. hobbit. I had to say that.)

And here's the first full body portrait, finally finished after 6 months of my staring at its skeleton in my sketchbook (yeah yeah, I know, I'm terrible). By now you probably learned to recognize the character:

Stay tuned.