Thursday, 17 November 2011


New lion sconces and some minor details. Still not happy with the gawd awful terracotta walkway but I'll get to it eventually... also water isn't flaming aqua but it works :p

System Crash

What a downer... I started today's painting off really well. I decided to go at it with a relaxed attitude. I identified why I didn't like the latest version of my greek town. It's too clean and sterile and dead... and digital. The previous one although it's a really bad quick sketch had so much more feeling to it regardless of how much a lack of skill I had when I made it. It seemed funny because I didn't change the colors of the buildings at all, just the sky.

So I settled to make it more artistic and less computer-like. I had an idea for some lion head sconces as spitting fountains at the base of the pillars. I got to painting, started off with wacky colors I didn't care about, put some roman pillars on my archway. The lions turned out so great! They were beautiful and really looked like they were carved from stone! I was so pleased!

And then... it happened. Horror of horrors PS crashed on me. It's never happened before and I was previously working with a much larger file. Blue dragon got up to half a gig and I was saving every time I paused to think for fear that the program would eat my work. I don't fully understand why PS crashed but of course I hadn't saved my lions and they got eaten. I briefly hoped I could recover them from the scratch disk but alas... the internet consensus is no, you can't. It freely eats your stuff when it crashes. Nom.

I think the most infuriating part is knowing the image is cached in your RAM and you can't get it. Then as you keep using your computer it gets gobbled up into nothing.

What an inspiration killer to a good start on today's progress.

I have a feeling the laptop's outdated 4 GB of memory isn't enough. I really wish I could use my imac with 8GB. But even then that might not be enough for a powerhouse program like CS4.

I guess I'll just have to muster up some courage to go back and redo my work while it's still fresh in my mind. The worst part is knowing that no matter how hard I try, it won't be exactly the same. Poor pretty lion sconces... RIP.


: /

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Greek Town: Day 2

Alrighty... it's day two now and today I learned how to apply textures. That and amazing people make photoshop brushes that are essentially 'giant rubber stamps' that you can use as textures themselves and it makes doing trees a super breeze.

I still can't believe how fast Feng can make cities or towns. I think I've poured about 6 or 7 hours into this thing and I still have just a shell of a scene. Time and patience... but yikes is it ever frustrating getting there!

I look like a horrible CG rendered model but I promise I'll look pretty eventually!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Perspective... being that it should be drawn on paper first with a ruler then painted later. I've never done cities or buildings before. I had an idea and it isn't working out. The sky kinda ruined it... I don't think an early morning thing is going to work out the way I wanted it to so it might have to be a mid afternoon scene with more light to get that dusty hot summer feel.

I'll play with this another day it seems.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Character Sketch

Just something that was in my head that I attempted to get out... nothing like I want it just yet but it's a work in progress.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Background of Fail

And I present to you more blobs of color! Two adventurers at the bottom right in the cave on a daring raid on the empress's nest because lo and behold there's treasure in there! Because dragons use treasure as nesting material..... yes... the shinies keep the eggs warm... oh just go with it :p

... I figure if I keep doing them eventually the backgrounds will get better... right?.... right?!

(I've just been informed that this would be a 'proof of concept'... so it isn't fail it's on purpose! mwahahaha!!)

Amg am I finished yet?

Ok... rip them apart... just be honest but not too mean :p

This would be the finished one.

Crackly scales are neat!

Blue Dragon Update

So I always hate it when just as I'm trying to fall asleep my brain goes nuts imagining things. It can be anything from daydreaming to working on art pieces or even just refining what I was working on that day. Since I spent all yesterday working on my blue dragon my brain went crazy trying to come up with a decent background. I've been lazily painting one every now and then while working on my blue dragon but I've never felt satisfied with them. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep.

One major problem comes up now after I decided I wasn't going to have a background. Lighting. I've done everything backwards. Definitely for my next major piece I'm going to do the background first. This will resolve a lot of the problems I'm having now.... composition for example. It's kinda hard to make a composition after the fact and I'm afraid that will show when I try to flesh out the background I have planned for my fem dragon.

This nightmarish piece has been dragging on for a month now partly because I'm refreshing myself on photoshop's capabilities and mostly because I've never before used it to paint something in all seriousness. The learning curve is steep and I'm sure I'll be learning something on everything I do from here on to infinity.

The belly scales for example. They're not really scales at all. I think I re-painted them 5 times before I got what I wanted. At first I tried just shading them. Then they looked like plasticine. I find when I shade things with low opacity brushing it looks just like plasticine or clay! I know most people would go out and grab some kind of stock texture and do the easy texture overlay thing but that's not what I'm trying to learn here. I'm trying to replicate the textures on my own like a real artist would on a real canvas. Go figure I have to pick the hard things first. Oh and I'm very aware of the irony considering my choice of medium isn't "real" in the tangible sense of the word.

So on I went to try replicating the horn texture... maybe they should match. That didn't work. How about looking at what a real snake's belly looks like and try that? Nope. Ok... what about just anime cell shading. Well that's goofy cuz the rest of the picture isn't anything like that. So while wiping out the cell shading I tried the horn texture again but I subdued it with a soft brush. It works. On to the next thing!

(I think I need to add here that the high resolution and sheer size of the file is breaking the laptop. It was a whopping 530mb but after some layer merging and deleting it's down to 359mb. Still huge I think but it doesn't save the processor any because as I kept repainting the belly scales I would move the canvas around to different focal points and the memory artifacts of what I'd previously painted over would show up as I was moving the canvas until I stopped to rest on the next scale down the line. I was working very close up. Also... saving the file takes an entire minute or two. Poor laptop.)

The next thing to fix is this: the thick scales seem to be just floating on the dragon's surface so I need to readjust the shading to reflect that they are indeed grounded into the skin.

She's coming along slowly. But I can taste that I'm near the end. I think I will post the head detail separate from the background I'm creating for it. That way it will be like they were two different things. And they are. Because in the not so exact words of Feng 'you always do your whole composition first before you start on the details' :p

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Blobs of Color

Blobs of color prevail! Blobs that probably only make sense to me... Oh well, someday these will be full paintings... well, maybe not the galaxy one... I've never been good at making space pictures :p