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fanart process post: Iskierka's hatching, step-by-step
Because some people find the production process interesting, I decided to do a sort of "making of" post. If you'd just like to see the finished fanart, go here.

I started out with lots of doodles, mostly to find a hatching posture that would work for me, and to get a feel for how I'd want Iskierka's head to look like. I'm rather inefficient at this kind of thing. Here's what my notebook pages wih preliminary doodles related to this project look like:



I actually did even more doodles but they aren't more interesting. There were two failed attempts to make a version look okay larger, where the posture just didn't work, one of which was this:



Anyway, the one doodle that would be successful and would turn into the actual picture was this one:



I scanned it, resized it to roughly A4, printed it, and transferred it to a new piece of paper on my (homemade and unfortunately rather crappy) lightbox. I then worked on the details. I had trouble in particular to get the wings look right all folded up, no matter how much I tried to imagine my wing schematic, so I resigned myself to being an utter dork and made a foldable wing out of bits of wire, tape and paper. On the left you see one of my many wing scribbles trying to understand it, on the right a photo of my paper wing:



All this effort resulted in the rough pencils, which aren't too dissimilar from the final pencils I posted before as a WIP, only a bit messier and lacking some detail:



I then transfered this again via lightbox, this time to the final piece of paper. This way I only use expensive thick paper (over €6 for 25 sheets and that's the no-name kind my art supply store offers, not anything fancy), when I know the drawing will work out, and the line art is cleaner too. Anyway, I finished the pencils, getting what I posted before:



I then inked it with water proof indian ink using fine liners. I used three of different thickness to ge a bit of variation in the line. It's not as dynamic as with a brush, but easier. All the scales and fine details are done with a 0.1mm, most regular lines with a size larger, and then at the end I drew over some of the lines again with a thicker one, trying to keep the thicker lines mostly where I intended the shadows to go eventually, so that the lines would give it structure rather than make it look flat. This are the finished inks which I like quite a lot, I think I got a good balance between a clean look and still having scales and such detail in the inks:



Then I colored this with acrylic paint, applied in glazes, i.e. the acrylic colors are thinned with water and then layered over each other. I took several pictures of the inbetween coloring stages besides the scans of the sketches, The changing light and the camera's flash distorted the colors in different ways from my scanner, the former making them quite a bit brighter, the latter slightly darker, the reality is somewhat in the middle, I guess.

Anyway, I first wet the paper, taped it to a board and applied a little bit of blue and umbra glazes all over, mostly so the paper wouldn't be so completely pristine and white anymore (um, I guess I kind of have issues before coloring, having some mess all over the lineart somehow helps). Anyway, simply wet in wet with a brush, then dabbed it with a piece of kitchen sponge to mess up the stripey effect of the brush a bit:



Then I colored Iskierka in her base red color. I did the red beneath the slime too, intending to have it shine through a bit later on, giving a transparent feel. In hindsight he red truned out a bit more persistent than I had anticipated, so I would eventually need quite a bit of paint over it, but in the end it worked out more or less okay:



I added violet shadows, colored the skikes with a light brownish hue, applied another red glaze to Iskierka:


Started to layer white and yellowish colors for the slime, yellow for the eye, more red for the main body except for the wing skin which I wanted lighter, added red to the eggshell too, then more sienna red I think it was for the belly (I kind of forgot that the text said the belly was more purple), I dabbed some color to give more of an impression of scales, added the green spots to the eggshell, added another layer or two of violet for the shadows...:



Still more layers, a lighter less intense rose color for the wing skin, a more orangeish red over the body and the the dabbed areas to make them look less like individual spots, and you can't see it in the small photo, but I added colors to make the eye look more 3d:



At this point I was more or less finished with Iskierka, and while I had dithered a bit about whether to make the background dark or light, I thought she would more dramatic on a bark background, so I started layers of blue and umbra. It didn't quite turn out like I imagined, but not that bad:



At that point I was finished with the acrylics but most of the line art didn't come through clearly anymore, so I inked some of the black lines again to highlight them, and added some white highlights on the spikes, the slime and the eye with conté chalk. And this is the finished picture:



fanart process post: Iskierka's hatching, step-by-step

maxinemayer

2008-02-08 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

This is absolutely fascinating! You've got so much talent but what you've got most of - and what I envy the most - is how much patience you've got! You really *work* at art: no wonder you accomplish such wonderful results! Thank you so much for sharing your "process" - I enjoy this so much.
Love, max

Re: fanart process post: Iskierka's hatching, step-by-step

ratcreature

2008-02-08 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, I usually need a lot of sketches and attempts, looking at references and then rework things before a drawing gets more or less like I want it. I didn't include the reference part, because this post was long enough as it is, but for this drawing for example I used a book about reptiles, another about dinosaurs, a bunch of photographs of bats, a book on fantasy art, and two books on drawing animals and animal anatomy at one point or another. I figure it's like when writers have to draft and outline, and do research before they start, and then have to rewrite things.

I mean, some people can sit down and get out a fabulous story right away, but others have to go through a lot of steps to get the craft aspects right. It's the same with art. I mean, with all creative stuff a bit is talent, and some are more "natural" at something, but a lot is just patience, practice and trying things when it doesn't work right away.

Re: fanart process post: Iskierka's hatching, step-by-step

maxinemayer

2008-02-08 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

So true! I have a tendency to forget how much "craft" there is in "art," just like how much "craft" there is in writing - not just "muse" but work, too!
Love, max

gnatkip

2008-02-11 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)

PROCESS!YAY!!! Thanks for sharing. It is so awesome that you actually made a model wing. :D

ratcreature

2008-02-11 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Cool that you found this interesting. Mentally folding the wing or looking at bat pictures was just getting me nowhere, and it is not like I have a 3d modelling program, and even if I had, unless it came with a precoded wing set and an intuitive interface, that would sure take longer than sloppily taping a bit of paper on wire pieces. I mean, this 3d modelling is something people study, right? also I've seen fanart using something called "Poser" I think and it always looked horribly stiff. I still felt dorky, though.

Too bad humans are so much more complicated I wish I had fully flexible puppet humans with all joints and realistically flextible spine to arrange them in poses.

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