I just want to start by saying that I'm absolutely honored to have been asked by missyjack to post here for Ask The Artist this month. When I decided to check out the other posts I was genuinely flabbergasted that I had been asked to contribute to this blog along with so many wonderful artists that I admire! I hope my contribution will meet the same standards as those of these amazing people.
I'm a 24-year-old university undergrad from Idaho, and am actually still a fairly new face in the Supernatural fandom. I was visiting my little sister a few months ago and her roommate was watching the episode "Long-Distance Call" from season three. I asked what she was watching, and she proceeded to give me a quick synopsis of the show. Since I was taking a course in the Anthropology of Religion and The Supernatural at the time, I thought, "Wow, this sounds pretty entertaining. I'm going to rent the first disc when I get home and give it a try!" Which I then proceeded to do... and subsequently kept on doing, until I had devoured the first four seasons and was literally drooling for more!
The Passion! :D
Art is something I can definitely say I have a serious passion for (although my work is typically farrrr from SRS BSNS). I can remember sitting on the carpet as a toddler, a crayon clutched in one fat hand as I tried my hardest to draw a mermaid for my mother to put on the fridge. I was definitely lacking in motor skills, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't manage to make anything other than jagged spirals all over the page. It frustrated me to no end, so I drew a picture every single day until I could finally control my hands well enough to actually draw that mermaid. In my mind, seeing that picture displayed proudly on the fridge was better than any shower of confetti or angelic fanfare.
However, I rarely stay appeased for long, so after achieving the dream of the mermaid, I was immediately set on drawing more complex things. This is an odd trait I still have… I'll be very proud of myself while working on a piece, and about two hours after its completion, I'm already tired of the outcome and desperate to improve!
Tools of the Trade
My first step into digital artistry began with a mouse and a very limited understanding of Photoshop, which eventually led to the purchase of a small Wacom Intuos3. My little Wacom and I shared many happy years together until I eventually sold it along with my computer to purchase a Modbook (a Macbook that's been modded into a slate tablet).
One of the things I absolutely adore about Wacom technology is pressure sensitivity. This is something you simply can't achieve with a mouse, unless you use the pen tool in Photoshop. Drawing in Photoshop is also incredibly addicting… you can easily change aspects you don't like with a few clicks of a button, and no eraser smudges to remind you of your mistakes! This can be a little annoying when you go pack to pen and paper, however… at one point, my cat came in from outside during a nice spring rain and walked across my sketchpad, muddy fetes and all. I didn't realize just what sort of trouble I was in until I realized there was no "Undo" button on my sketchpad!
One thing I absolutely cannot stand about art is how long it takes me. It literally takes me hours to complete even the simplest of pieces.
The very first thing I do before beginning a piece is gathering any pictures I want to be able to use as reference material and merging them all into one image for quick and easy reference. Sometimes you'll be working diligently on a piece only to realize that you've drawn the angles of someone's face wrong... having a reference handy will help to keep that from happening!
Below are the reference images that were used to create one of my more recent drawings, BeyonSam and Lady CasCas.
Here are the simplified steps taken in creating this drawing from beginning to end:
Some helpful hints:
- Always begin with a sketch. I tend to draw my base sketches in red or blue, which helps to differentiate between sketch and lineart when I begin creating the lines in another layer.
- Layers are your friend! Don't think that all of your coloring needs to be in one layer. Some people are more comfortable with having every individual item in it's own layer, ie. "skintone", "hair", "X's shirt", "X's eyes", etc.
- Remember to name your layers! Some people are afraid of too many layers, and for a good reason if you don't label each of your layers! Almost each one of my pieces contains the same set of layers, which typically are: Basic Sketch (your first, awful looking rough draft!), Sketch, Lineart, Color, Shading and Highlights (like shine on the lips and eyes, for example).
- Music! Mood music can help encourage you to add important dynamics into your piece... and it keeps you from getting bored!
I hope that helps for those of you who are interested in the process of digital artistry. Please feel free to ask me any questions and I'll be happy to answer them!