Back to Basics

Whew—it’s been a long time since my last update! Since then, I’ve finished up my second year of university (eep), had some time to recover, and have started working on some new projects.

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Toward the end of the year, I began getting interested in hand lettering & calligraphy. Until very recently, drawing letterforms was incredibly unpleasant/daunting/difficult for me—but now I spend a lot of time just doodling letters and writing in books. The last several weeks of school were full of essays, research pieces, and projects that had me spending very little time drawing with my hands, so it feels really nice to get back to pencils and paper.

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On that note, here are some sketches from my lunch ‘hour’ (working from home is a wonderful thing) for a new mini project! More to come about that later.

Guild Wars 2 Girls

Whew—it’s been an incredibly busy last two weeks, and it feels like I haven’t been able to post anything here in ages! Here’s a Guild Wars 2 illustration I’ve been meaning to share since the last week of February.

During the school year I generally impose a ban on myself from playing, so once reading week came around, I decided to binge (and proceeded to spend most of the week playing with a friend). It only felt appropriate to create a piece based on our characters!*

Process 1

First, I draft an extremely rough sketch in pencil, then begin building over it in vector shapes. Poses and details always change once I start rendering, so I don’t concern myself too much with the drawing.

Process 2

Stage 2 is more building & working in of details. (The Verdant Staff in the image on the right was particularly fun to make—it’s one of my favourite staves in-game, and also provided a nice hit of bright green here!)

Process 3

Stage 3 is the home stretch, but I’m often shifting things around right until the very end (see: pose on left). At this point, most of it came down to tiny details in the armour and weapons, which were loads of fun to do.

Here’s the final!

I’ve been really inspired by the paper-cut aesthetic of a number of artists & classmates recently, but always have a really unpleasant time cutting/pasting/working with pieces of paper—so I wanted to see if I could replicate the look around using my own strengths (which ended up being an incredibly fun experiment)!

*For any curious players, my friend plays the hot ladythief on the left (Aribeth Hunt), and I play the brightly dressed sylvari mesmer on the right (Nycifera). Find me on Crystal Desert!

DIY Ombre

This post is a little bit different than my usual fare—I dyed my hair by myself for the first time yesterday! My relationship with my hair is super-low-maintenance (i.e. do nothing but wash and keep out of my face), but I’ve grown a little bored and wanted to switch it up. I’m a big believer in colour, so that was a natural choice!

I had my hair ombre’d about two years ago by an Aveda student when it was longer, but all of that’s long gone and cut off. This time, I did it myself with Feria’s Wild Ombre dye kit and a few YouTube tutorials. Here’s how it all went:

00-before1. Before

I never put my hair through any treatment (colour, heat, products, etc.), so it’s actually quite healthy. Pretty standard stuff.

01-during2. During

This step took way longer than it should have, and I ended up disobeying (literally) every single rule on the box. (Including ‘wear gloves’ and ‘don’t touch the bleach’, after losing patience at the end.) Years of hearing horror stories about bleach damage actually had me overestimating its potency and using too little on the first go—so I ended up needing to do multiple passes. I’ve lost count of how many times my head was rinsed yesterday.

02-after3. After

All of these photographs make the colour look much brighter than it is. In real life, the colour is a pretty subtle dark brown (imagine this at 40% opacity.)

Overall, I think I’m actually most pleased that my hair didn’t actually take much damage from multiple rounds of bleaching. For the most part, it still feels as soft and easy-to-deal-with as it was before—which is good news, because it’s time to get back to work. I’ve got a few exciting projects going on, and there’ll definitely be more illustrative posts coming soon!

Magnolia Doodle

Now that I’m back to being a functional human being (read: well-rested and fed), it’s officially time to wade back into the sea of homework. Unfortunately, I’m still feeling a bit sluggish getting back into it—so after a few hours of slow work, I just ended up experimenting with some media on a few pieces of scrap paper.

The images below are actually reflective of how they were stacked in Photoshop, not the order that they were created in! (Spoiler alert: real process is at the end of the post.)

1. Photoshop Base

2. Brush Pen 

3. Ink wash (colour corrected)

4. Charcoal for texture. This one was a bit of a twist—I hadn’t experimented with dry media for tonal areas until now. 

5. Inked lines with a dip pen

6. Colour correction over the whole thing—that’s it!

In terms of the actual order each layer was produced in, I actually drew the lines out with the pen first, followed by charcoal, then the Photoshop base layer. The three layers alone were still looking a bit bare, so I added the ink wash & brush pen—which has really become a go-to for me.

All in all, this thing took me (probably) less than 30 minutes! Now I just need to find a way to do homework this easily & quickly..

3D Sculpt — Demon Baby

Earlier this year, I started messing around with Blender and Sculptris, two open-source 3D softwares. I haven’t gotten the chance to really play with them for a little while (ah, school)—but now that reading week’s on, I’m glad to have the chance to get back into it!

Here’s a demon baby I sculpted tonight—as if babies needed any more reason to be weird and terrifying..

And, of course, one with horns—just for posterity. Enjoy the nightmares!

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