2013-08-17

Living Steel art

This year, I've seen a rekindling of two of my old passions: drawing and role-playing games. In addition to that, I have been long meaning to learn to create art on the computer, as drawing and scanning is a little cumbersome, the colors don't always come out right, and the finished pieces are already taking up much space, and I'm not too eager to add to the pile. So I am trying out Corel Painter now, with a Bamboo tablet (which is sub-optimal, but better than using a mouse or trackpad).

So at the intersection of role-playing and art, is this here, my first attempt at using Painter to create an original drawing. Meet my Living Steel character Helga Schwan. She's a martial artist, and a little bit of a super-soldier, grown in a lab. She's not got much in the way of a value system or ethics imparted in her training, and now as she finds her home world in shambles, she has to figure out all that touchy-feely stuff in addition to surviving a zombie apocalypse.


In this drawing, I was mostly figuring out just what the different tools did. To my amazement, the brushes behaved very much like brushes, and paints and inks behaved like such IRL. I did enjoy erasing/etching outlines from a generously sketched drawing, such as the profile of her face, and the hem of her pants and the thong of her right shoe.

I stopped at some point, even though there's clearly more that needs fixing, but it was late, and my wrist was getting tired from using the tablet.

A couple of days later I have tried my hand at Painter again, this time paying more attention to simpler technique. Meet T.K. -- a character from our party who likes his guns big. He's a hefty fellow, not very bright, but has a heart in the right place. Just don't try to take away his weapons, or he may get angry.
I think the plan is right now to draw a bunch more characters and get that Painter thing figured out somewhat better. So far, I really like the ability to do illustrations in the scratchboard-like style. In the past, I have been using coated papers and scratched with various pointy things. The problem with that is that you only get one attempt at scratching, because the ink comes off with the coating, and once that is gone, you don't get clean lines anymore, even if you put a generous new coat of ink over the spot.

Also, finding just the right kind of paper for this technique is hard: not all coated matte papers are created equal when it comes to scratching, and I am not versed enough in paper industry terms to express what exactly I mean. I just know that I've had best success doing this technique on backs of advertisement posters, and the kind of paper that is used in printing posters isn't normally sold in art stores. So I just hoarded posters for a while.

Aaanyways, I never could come to terms with Photoshop for original art creation, and am quite excited about Painter. Watch this space for more adventures in digital art.