Sunday, June 16, 2013

Poster Talk

Okay, so, let me be honest. I'm definitely not an artist. I almost went for illustration as my career when I had convinced myself I couldn't be a writer, and in my Art 101 class I got an A because I think my professor took pity on me.

In my painting 101 class, I got a D. That professor was kind of evil, anyway.

I also didn't really understand how college worked, but I took less than a handful of art classes after that. That was the end of my art career.


All I ever drew were our characters, and the art that I've used for promotion so far had been drawn over the past year. I bought myself my cheaper non-Wacom tablet with my birthday money last May, got myself a free drawing program, and did stuff. It wasn't always pretty stuff, but it was still stuff.

I never expected to use any of these drawings for promotional-type stuff -- it'd still be a while before Victoria and I decided to go self-pub. Every piece on this blog is experimental.

As in, I had no freaking idea what the heck I was doing when I started.

In the case of this Kali picture, I stuck to everything that I was comfortable with: hard lines, head-on,  closeup, floodlights, so on and so forth.

But, it's only the second real digital semi-realistic full color painting I've ever done. And, let me say, painting darker skin tones is a hundred times more difficult than painting lighter skin tones. Darker skin shows reds and blues differently, and it also reflects light differently. The color I often thought I was painting was not the color I would end up with, because mixing red and blue and yellow too heavily into the intended flesh tone will yield a very muddy color.

Thank the digital painting gods for color correction.

Here are the steps of The Great Kali Painting Endeavor:

The sketch itself required very little, and I didn't spend too much time agonizing over it. I knew most of my corrections would be when I actually threw down colors to get a better idea of the composition and the space of her features. Big things that a sketch or lines can't tell me.

Because of the tone of Kali's story, I wanted the stylized semi-realistic approach with lines. I liked the drama of it as opposed to a normal painting -- I also didn't trust my skills enough to handle a painting without lines and without reference. (Yep, Kali's face was painted without reference.)

You can also see here that lines have been corrected. This happened during the painting process as I tweaked her facial proportions. I had also initially drawn lines on her hand, nose, and lips that I later erased.

This was the final product.

Well, okay, more accurately, this was the product when I decided to throw in the towel and stop tweaking before I drove myself insane. By this point too, my arm was in total pain from all the repetitive movements, so by the end, it came to a question of whether I wanted my arm or a more refined painting. We're going to pretend I made the right choice there.

The colors, however, are pretty shmeh. Easy for eyes to glance over. That's not a good thing for a promo poster. So, I took the thing and upped the contrast and the color vibrancy, which resulted in something closer to what I liked.

THIS looked more like Kali. Finally this girl I had spent a few days painting evolved into Kali and I was pleased (FOR ONCE). From here it was a matter of throwing on some textures and adjusting until everything was just right, and thus:

There's so much to see in this poster, and yet all of it is so subtle. My whole idea was to have readers finish the book and then come back to this poster to see things they hadn't before. We'll see how that goes, but if nothing else, she does the job and now I can take a break from arting.

I've already sketched the poster designs for the next book, but those are a secret for now!

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