It turns out that I’m busier than I thought I would be this week and I apologize for the delay. I’m still working on a nice equine center inspiration post for you but I will have to delay the post until next week. At first i thought changing the update day to Thursday would help but I do not believe it would make a significant enough difference. Usually I will alert you the week before I take a planned ‘break’ from posting but unfortunately this was not planned. Please bear with me and lend me some of your patience. In the mean time, take a look at my finished experimental shading request piece!
I will be back next week with that equine center post. Until then, smooth journeys!
It’s just a picture update for this week, guys and gals. My hand muscles are screaming at me to stop moving. You see, I overexerted them this past week between writing and volunteering at an equestrian rescue center. I was writing about 1,500 words each day on average and at the equestrian center I was finally introduced to mucking stalls.
At the ranch I took riding lessons at we never reached the stall care lesson. At my neighbor’s place the horses did not have stalls, they lived on the fenced in land with only trees for shelter from the rain and wind. At this rescue center some of the horses did not care where you went and only paid you mind for treats. No matter; after morning chores were finished we groomed one of the horses and I walked around the middle of the ring while the volunteer showing me around tried to walk and trot him along the fence.
Then it was my turn.
It’s an experience I’ll save for the next post. For now all you need to know is that every time I spend a chunk of time with horses I come away flushed with inspiration and aching, as always, for more.
This picture is of two characters from the Kaleidoscope series my cousin and I put together. I finished this picture in about a day, fueled by the inspiration from the equestrian center. The first installment of the short story series, “Ointment,” will be free and is coming out this month. I will keep you updated and I promise to provide links to access it.
I experiment with shading techniques often ever since completing a dragon picture where I followed a shading tutorial for photoshop artists. Before I was a big fan of the soft edges brush where the hardness was set nearly to 0%. I’ve found that that isn’t necessarily how all shadows are blended on the skin. Now I will change the hardness of the brush when shading at intervals and experiment with the effects. You can see the difference in the ‘harder’ shading at the face, neck, and arms versus the ‘softer’ shading on the legs of the young woman in the picture below.
I’ve also been learning how to add different pigments when shading. Sometimes I have to change hue and go to the opposite side of the color wheel to make sure I’m doing things correctly. The picture below isn’t necessarily one of those examples but it shows the start of one of my preferred skin shading techniques. For this one I also color dropped from a photo and added more fleshy toned pink to places where the blood vessels may be closer to the surface of the skin.
For a few years now I’ve struggled with developing backgrounds for my work. When it came to the space behind a character I’ve always had a hard time transferring what I imagine onto the page – as if the axon connecting my inner mind to my fingers is broken somewhere along my arm. I recently accepted a request piece for a Sailor Moon-inspired character and felt it needed a background. The first thing I did was look up tutorials on how to start on making a background. The most repetitious advice I read was to use plenty of photographic references and that said references could be used to color drop when I became lost. So, I chose the two most fitting backgrounds and then planned out the character color scheme.
Since this is technically my first time trying a background on my own I followed the references I chose pretty carefully and didn’t deviate much. You can see the original backgrounds by clicking on the image and following it back to the original post where I credit the original photographers.
You should always remember that even the greatest artists use references whether it’s for poses, backgrounds, lighting effects, design, etc. What happens in the world around us can influence our art and can help to improve it. Your art could be the tools you craft, the clothes you make, the drawings you create, the music you compose or just play; the writing you spill from your fingers, the paint you flip onto canvas, the angle at which you take a photograph, the programs you write, the speeches you make to your peers. It’s telling you all its secrets. Pay attention.