Posts Tagged ‘fanart’

Summer Art Dump

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Oh, it’s been ridiculously long since I last posted, hasn’t it. With a full-time illustration job and a weekly webcomics I hardly have any creative juices left for extracurricular doodling, and when something does finally let itself out onto the canvas, I usually rush and post it on Facebook or Twitter for the immediate gratification of audience feedback.

Some things have accumulated, though.

Commissioned Work

My good friend wanted to surpise her roommate with an original Kyrandia-themed poster (one of her favourite games) for her birthday. How could I say no to that? Do you know how little Kyrandia fan art there is online? Well, now there’s a little bit more.
Kyrandia poster - work in progress Kyrandia poster

I was approached by an Israeli publisher who’s translating The Dresden Files series to Hebrew, and wanted my illustrated Dresden on the cover. It took a while to get me on board (so busy, no time, what stress etc), but I’m a big Dresden Files fan, and have already done some character designs a while back that the publisher liked, so now Hebrew Dresden has my art on the cover!
Dresden cover - sketch Dresden cover

My new obsession in the realm of content conusmption during work is the actual play podcast One Shot. Actual Play podcasts are recordings of tabletop roleplaying game sessions, and the group in charge of this one is full of improvisational comedians who make every episode an absolute joy to listen to. They try different roleplaying systems and settings every month, so you also get to learn about new games and get a glimpse of how they work before trying them yourself. Their other podcast, Campaign, is a single ongoing game set in the Star Wars universe and played in the really cool system Age of the Empire. I’m not a Star Wars fan, but I adore this story and the characters in it. So much so that I couldn’t help but do some fanart for one of the episodes, which happily led to also being commissioned to draw a T-shirt design for their Patreon’s T-shirt club.
One Shot fan art
One Shot T-shirt Design sketches One Shot T-shirt Design


Whenever I feel like doodling something but have no place to start, Sketch Dailies is still my go-to place: if the daily topic tickles my artistic fancy, it’s a great trigger to get sketching.
Sketch Dailies: King Arthur Sketch Dailies: Heman Sketch Dailies: Wonder Wombat

There’s also an Israeli group on Facebook that serves the same function, but focuses on hand-drawn sketches, with a time limit of 30 minutes. Awesome for getting back to classic media sketching and practising quick execution of ideas.
Daily Sketch - Binoculars Daily Sketch - A Gentleman

And when all else fails, one can always resort to a quick fanart or a bunch of random face doodles. Or, uh, an illustrated daily food diary (lovely idea by a Twitter friend, but unfortunately I lost interest after just one (albeit yummy) Sunday).
Attack on Titan Food Diary
Face doodles

The usuals

I’ve also been doing some fun new stuff at my day job. After drawing my “Freddie and Friends” characters almost exclusively since I started working with Viber, I recently designed a few new characters, slightly less furry this time. I love my foxes and panthers, but it’s cool to shake things up and do something a bit different.
Viber sticker pack - Summer Girls

And if you’re into webcomics, gaming or general geeky stuff, I hope you’re following Eran’s and my webcomics, Up to Four Players. Here’s an exclusive peak at the sketchy phase of one of our recent strips. See the final here (is that considered clickbait?..).
Up to Four Players #32 - Mana Burn sketch

That’s it for now! Hopefully next time will be before 2016…


Brotherly fun

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Playing around with lovely Thor and Loki, trying to remember how they’re brothers and shouldn’t be doing anything inappropriate together. Tryin’ real hard.

I usually wait until there are several pieces for a blog post rather than just a sketch or two, so if you want to see every piece right as it leaves my Wacom, why not Like my Facebook page?

Thor and Loki: Sketches
Thor and Loki: Compensation



Geek Road: Poster and Process

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

A couple of friends wanted me to illustrate a poster for them, and their request was so detailed and rich with cool geek stuff that I had to take the job or the universe would have imploded around me. So, with Idan and Danielle’s permission, here’s the final piece, and right after it a break-down of the work process:

Geek Road - Final

Clarifications and disclaimers: The original CD cover is the design of Apple Records’ creative director based on a sketch by Paul McCartney (apparently); the idea and choice of all elements are the brainchild of Idan and Danielle; all the characters, vehicles, aircrafts, weapons, puppets and police phone boxes that are actually time machines belong to the owners of their respective intellectual properties. If you post an image from this post somewhere else, I’d appreciate it if you linked back here. Thanks!

Work Process

00 – The request

Idan and Danielle’s idea was to illustrate The Beatles’ Abbey Road cover, with the Beatles replaced by characters from their favorite fandoms, and the background filled with elements from TV, movies and video games. I wish every job request I ever got was so meticulous: Idan and Danielle knew exactly what they wanted, thought about all the details in advance and sent me a full list with reference photos they shot themselves and a mockup they put together in Photoshop to convey their ideas. After a few short questions I could get right to work.

Geek Road - mockup

01 – Pencil

Since the composition was already done, I could skip the initial sketching phase and move on to pencilling all the different elements into one scene. I work directly on the computer, so the “pencil” is a fun brush that comes with more recent versions of Photoshop, that responds not only to Wacom pen pressure but also to its angle.

Geek Road - pencils

02 – Ink

I wrote a long post about digital inking in Hebrew if you read it (might translate that bad boy one day). In this piece I used mostly Photoshop’s vector tools. Since the poster would be printed big, I wanted to avoid slightly shaky lines that are more likely to happen in freehand inking: they may be negligible on screen, but they won’t be pretty in print. Working with the vector pen tool allowed me to control the curve of each path, and when I was happy with it, the “Stroke Path” feature easily creates a bitmap “ink” line that follows that curve. It was useful mostly for the all technical vehicles and the flowy fabrics; for faces, hands and other small details I inked freehand.

This is how all the inked layers look together:
Geek Road - ink
But to show Idan and Danielle I added basic flat colors so they could tell what was going on. Almost every element in the illustration is on its own layers, so I could easily move and transform things. Oh, Photoshop – my heart is forever yours.
Geek Road - ink separated

03 – Basic Colors

Also called “flatting” – under the lineart layer I block in flat colors as base for adding lighting and shadows.
Geek Road - flats

There’s not much to say about this phase, except that I recommend doing it with tools with sharp pixel edges: use the pencil instead of the brush, and removing the “anti-alias” check from the fill bucket and selection tools. It’s much easier when you want to select or fill already-colored areas, and this shows why:
Don't color with anti-alias

04 – coloring
There are dozens of color techniques and dozens of way to achieve each of them in Photoshop. This is just one, that I found pretty efficient: it uses Adjustment Layers to get light and shade quickly, and more important – to change things later if necessary. Adjustment Layers are great because they let you play with a layer’s color and tone in a reversible way, and since they always have a mask attached to them, you can show or hide as much of the adjustment as needed. I separated one character to show the process:

Geek Road - coloring process 1: flats

This is more or less the layer structure of every element in the poster (the horrid green is really transparency). #1 is the flat colors layer, the one on the very top is the inking layer, and between them are all the layers that create the shading. The small arrows mean these layers act as clipping masks for the flat colors layer, meaning their content will only be visible within its boundaries (no accidental coloring outside the lines). You create the clipping mask by selecting a layer and pressing ctrl+alt+G.

Geek Road - coloring process: layers

2. The first layer I add is a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer. Click the icon in the red circle and choose Brightness/Contrast. Then make this layer into a clipping mask to it only affects the flat colors layer under it. Adjust your desired brightness and contrast according to the lighting in the scene. Now fill up the mask with black to start with a clear slate, and with a white brush start “painting shadows”. Different brushes will give a different look – softer or harder shadow edges, or a completely different brush shape like in the trees.

Geek Road - coloring process 2: darks

Masks can be confusing at first, but work with them a little and you’ll get the hang of it. You can see the black/white distribution in the mask’s thumbnail: the adjustments are visible in the white areas and invisible in the black.

3. Next layer is similar, except this time I made it brighter and used it for highlights. The process is the same.

Geek Road - coloring process 3: lights

4. This method is quick, but it can make the colors look lifeless, since it’s just one hue getting lighter or darker. After the shading is there, in a new layer I add some more hues where necessary. Hermione here got some reds in her nose, cheeks and hands, with soft touches of color in a layer set to Multiply.

Geek Road - coloring process 4: hues

5. Finally, to connect the character to the scene and give her a 3D feel, I add some environmental light in a layer with low opacity. Here the main lighting on the character comes from in front of them, so I added some back light in sky-blue.

Geek Road - coloring process 5: backlight

You can add more and more Adjustment Layers with different hues for shading, more highlights, reflections etc, but since this illustration has so many details, I felt it was rich enough as it is. As I mentioned, the cool thing with this method is the freedom to change each and every layer without affecting the rest: for example changing Hermione’s robe color with a simple color fill, while the shading above it remains untouched. For your convenience, you can click here to download a PSD of Hermione with all the layers. It’s probably easier to understand when you see it before you.

Here’s the poster after coloring, with a few more Adjustment Layers for separate planes and for the whole scene, to tie it all together (Color Balance is awesome, give it a try).

Geek Road - colored

05 – Fixes

After a test print, we found some color issues (the Batmobile, for instance, was too dark and lost much of its detail). While making corrections we also added a few more small elements that I initially missed (like the writing on the Tardis or the beetle’s headlight) or that Idan and Danielle just came up with (I can list them, but wouldn’t it be fun to spot the differences yourselves?).

Here’s the final again:

Geek Road - Final

And here it is hung majestically in their cool geeky London apartment:

Geek Road - on the wall Geek Road - on the wall 2

Got questions about the process? Curious about an element in the poster? Who’ll win in a fight, Buffy or the Man in Black? Leave your comments below!


Fanart: The Wire & Game of Thrones

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

I love fanart. Taking an existing character you know and love, doing whatever you want with, maybe taking advantage of the fact that you already have your subject nailed down to experiment or practice new techniques, and spreading it to millions of fans who’d love to see anything even remotely related to their favorite fandom.

Anyway, here’s some stuff from my recent favorites:

The Wire

Omar is such an awesome character, and a “My Little Pony” doll is not really the totem animal I’d pick for him…but his name just begged for it. In my head at least.

Omar Little Pony

Game of Thrones

Here are two of my favorite duos: Jaqen & Aria (drawn on an iPad, trying to play with the painting tools) and Tirion & Shae.

Game of Thrones: A Man and a Girl

Game of Thrones: Tirion and Shae

Comments on the shows themselves are welcome, but please – no spilers!