Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

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Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Degausser on Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:32 pm

Okay, so, I have been trying to start a webcomic off and on for some time. I've gotten to the point where I THINK my drawing ability is enough to hold the story I've got swirling around in my head, but I am still having troubles and I was hoping either Dan or someone else knowledgable in the subject could help me muddle through.

(Yes, I know Dan is VERY busy and I don't want to upset his life more than it already is, but maybe if he could take five minutes to help me out . . . I would be much appreciated.)

1) My art is unreliable. Occasionally, I'll draw stuff that I think is pretty top notch (well, not bad at least), and other times I'll draw stuff that is pure garbage. Of course, sometimes it has to deal with how much time have to give to a project, but sometimes it's seemingly random. Anyone ever deal with this problem?

2) While I can draw characters just fine, I am HORRID with landscapes. Any exersizes out there that helped others?

3) Probably my biggest problem is the comics themselves. How do I make them so crisp and clean, like Dan does? No matter what I seem to do, I draw a comic, ink it, throw it in photoshop, it still looks like it was drawn on paper. You can still see the texture of the paper, and sometimes some errant pencil lines hat weren't fully erased. Is non-photo blue the answer? I've never worked with it, so I wouldn't know.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Shadowhamster on Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:31 pm

Degausser wrote:Okay, so, I have been trying to start a webcomic off and on for some time. I've gotten to the point where I THINK my drawing ability is enough to hold the story I've got swirling around in my head, but I am still having troubles and I was hoping either Dan or someone else knowledgable in the subject could help me muddle through.

(Yes, I know Dan is VERY busy and I don't want to upset his life more than it already is, but maybe if he could take five minutes to help me out . . . I would be much appreciated.)

1) My art is unreliable. Occasionally, I'll draw stuff that I think is pretty top notch (well, not bad at least), and other times I'll draw stuff that is pure garbage. Of course, sometimes it has to deal with how much time have to give to a project, but sometimes it's seemingly random. Anyone ever deal with this problem?

2) While I can draw characters just fine, I am HORRID with landscapes. Any exersizes out there that helped others?

3) Probably my biggest problem is the comics themselves. How do I make them so crisp and clean, like Dan does? No matter what I seem to do, I draw a comic, ink it, throw it in photoshop, it still looks like it was drawn on paper. You can still see the texture of the paper, and sometimes some errant pencil lines hat weren't fully erased. Is non-photo blue the answer? I've never worked with it, so I wouldn't know.


1)All artist's draw things they think are garbage. You're your best critic....this is generally a bad bad thing. You may need to do a piece several times before you're happy putting it up, and it should always start with something editable(i.e. pencil). Also, get second opinions as it really doesn't matter how YOU feel about your art as much as it matters how others feel about it.

2)Anyone can develop a technique, but just go outside and draw what you see. Alot of things are not skill based, and are more dependent on you're ability to improvise(like tree leaves not all being drawn out), or patience(like tree leaves being all drawn out.)

3)Master photoshop editting. Get a better scanner. Use coputerized tablets instead of paper. Simply make sure the paper is clean before scanning so that you have less work to do in photoshop. There is a thin paper used by sketch artists from time to time that is used to copy images on the last piece. That way you can copy images better and such.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Degausser on Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:38 pm

Shadowhamster wrote:1)All artist's draw things they think are garbage. You're your best critic....this is generally a bad bad thing. You may need to do a piece several times before you're happy putting it up, and it should always start with something editable(i.e. pencil). Also, get second opinions as it really doesn't matter how YOU feel about your art as much as it matters how others feel about it.

2)Anyone can develop a technique, but just go outside and draw what you see. Alot of things are not skill based, and are more dependent on you're ability to improvise(like tree leaves not all being drawn out), or patience(like tree leaves being all drawn out.)

3)Master photoshop editting. Get a better scanner. Use coputerized tablets instead of paper. Simply make sure the paper is clean before scanning so that you have less work to do in photoshop. There is a thin paper used by sketch artists from time to time that is used to copy images on the last piece. That way you can copy images better and such.


1) Thanks, but what I meant to say is that my drawings are inconsistant. If I think that they are garbage or not, sometimes I'll draw something and It'll be fine, and then I'll draw the same guy again and he'll look totally different. It's consistancy that's the problem.

2)Yeah, okay, I'll try. I hate drawing still life, or rather, I'm no good at it, but I'll give it a go.

3)I actually have a tablet, and I'm complete crap at it. I know of the thin paper (it's called vellum, my Dad's an architect so I've known abou it since I was five) but the stuff is both expensive and SOOO easy to rip or wrinkle when working with it. I've thought about getting or building myself a light-box, but I have yet to find an art supply store that has one that's not rediculusly overpriced. Has anyone worked with a lightbox before, or have do they have experience with non-photo blue?
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Huzzus on Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:43 pm

Mind showing us an example. It seems you don't like it but it's your audience that you should care if they think it's bad or not.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Degausser on Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:14 pm

Here is som EGS fanart that I consider some of my better work. Sorry about the poor photo quality, but my scanner is currently broken so I took it with my cell-phone camera.

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Here's some EGS fanart that I consider Not-so-good. I drew this after the above image.

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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Illusionist on Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:34 pm

You seem to have a distinctive style - very big and bold and square. I imagine you don't like the other sketches because, apart from Elliot, they don't fit into that style. There's nothing bad about the Nanase or Sarah pics, but compared to your other drawings they stand out and look weird.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby ChronosCat on Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:12 am

Degausser wrote:Okay, so, I have been trying to start a webcomic off and on for some time. I've gotten to the point where I THINK my drawing ability is enough to hold the story I've got swirling around in my head, but I am still having troubles and I was hoping either Dan or someone else knowledgable in the subject could help me muddle through.

(Yes, I know Dan is VERY busy and I don't want to upset his life more than it already is, but maybe if he could take five minutes to help me out . . . I would be much appreciated.)

1) My art is unreliable. Occasionally, I'll draw stuff that I think is pretty top notch (well, not bad at least), and other times I'll draw stuff that is pure garbage. Of course, sometimes it has to deal with how much time have to give to a project, but sometimes it's seemingly random. Anyone ever deal with this problem?

Practice, especially with the character/whatever you wish to be consistent with. From what I've heard, art classes will also help, but you'll need to practice in art class too so...

2) While I can draw characters just fine, I am HORRID with landscapes. Any exersizes out there that helped others?
Practice. If your pictures don't wind up realistic enough, or you often can't visualize what you want something to look like, get photos or go to various locations, and draw what you see - with enough practice you'll be able to transfer this experience over. Again, Art classes may help.

3) Probably my biggest problem is the comics themselves. How do I make them so crisp and clean, like Dan does? No matter what I seem to do, I draw a comic, ink it, throw it in photoshop, it still looks like it was drawn on paper. You can still see the texture of the paper, and sometimes some errant pencil lines hat weren't fully erased. Is non-photo blue the answer? I've never worked with it, so I wouldn't know.


Edit the pic in an art program that allows layers, and create a separate layer on which to digitally ink the picture. When you're done inking it, ditch the original layer, paper texture, errant pencil lines, and all. (Oh, and you'll need to give the pic a new white background.)

The best techniques for digital inking, I'm still working on myself, and wouldn't mind some pointers. (And yes, I am practicing!)
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby MOOMANiBE on Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:15 am

Warning! Incoming moomlecture! Run for cover. XD

Degausser wrote:1) My art is unreliable. Occasionally, I'll draw stuff that I think is pretty top notch (well, not bad at least), and other times I'll draw stuff that is pure garbage. Of course, sometimes it has to deal with how much time have to give to a project, but sometimes it's seemingly random. Anyone ever deal with this problem?

There's two elements to consistency.

The first is technical knowledge -- Anatomy, proportions, etc. Understanding simple anatomy is important. Understanding proportions and how they change is even more important. From what I see of your style, it seems you're still drawing from an idea of "I know that people look like this, when they're in this pose that I know" rather than "If I draw this pose, then the person will look like this as a result"

The second is stylistic -- Dan deliberately practiced drawing his characters in a certain way over and over, becuase it helps him keep them looking the same from frame to frame. It's an important skill to have for comic work.

I think your problems stem more from the first aspect -- when you're a "low-level" (yes, I'm using RPG terms) artist, and don't know proportion or anatomy well, oftentimes you're relying entirely on your subconcious impressions to make a drawing work. The ability to look at your drawings, and say "this is wrong", and then go about fixing it, is a major part of maturing as an artist. Understanding what proportions are correct in what situations, what looks proper and what looks odd to people, not being too nice to yourself and glossing over flaws, but understanding when you've gotten something good enough. That sort of understanding is a major step, and trust me, you -will know- when you've hit it because you'll feel a lot more confident in your ability to put out drawings that look right. It'll stop being "can I do a proper drawing" and become "can I come up with something interesting / handle the challenge of this aspect".

Honestly, my preferred approach to this is two-fold; Draw from life, and draw from your imagination. Let one affect the other, let each -inform- the other, so that you learn more. Drawing from life is vital for learning proportions, and can help you understand anatomy -- don't pass it up! Use photos, or (my personal reccomendation), people in life. I like to take my sketchbook on the train and see how fast I can sketch out something that roughly looks like the person, not worrying about facial details or hair strands or anything, but trying to give a rough impression of that person's movement and appearance.

I know what you're thinking; "Real people are overly complex! I want to do a cartoony style!" But the thing is, cartoony styles are based off reality. Drawing real people, taking your time to understand how they work, can really help you out.

But, mainly, the biggest thing is to keep pushing yourself. Try things that challenge you, and push you out of your comfort zone. Experiment, play around, look for inspiration. As long as you keep demanding better drawings from yourself, you'll keep getting better. ^_^

Degausser wrote:2) While I can draw characters just fine, I am HORRID with landscapes. Any exersizes out there that helped others?

Drawing landscapes requires a very different thought process from drawing people. I suggest, again, drawing from life... but look for different ways to simplify complex objects. Think, "how can I make this object look roughly like itself, but be quick to draw?" After you've got those basics down, you can always fill in the details later.

Degausser wrote:3) Probably my biggest problem is the comics themselves. How do I make them so crisp and clean, like Dan does? No matter what I seem to do, I draw a comic, ink it, throw it in photoshop, it still looks like it was drawn on paper. You can still see the texture of the paper, and sometimes some errant pencil lines hat weren't fully erased. Is non-photo blue the answer? I've never worked with it, so I wouldn't know.

Photoshop has a number of filters that clean drawings up, but honestly, the reason Dan's drawings look as clean as they do is that they're computer generated. Programs like Illustrator and Flash use vector graphics, which are scalable and will always be infinitely cleaner than anything you can draw on paper. That said, the inking phase is really when the "cleanliness" part of a drawing takes shape. Being able to ink smoothly and expressively is important for pretty-looking lineart. ^^;
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Ineluki on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:20 am

Degausser wrote:(...)You can still see the texture of the paper, and sometimes some errant pencil lines hat weren't fully erased. Is non-photo blue the answer? I've never worked with it, so I wouldn't know.


Yes, Dan draws EGS completely on a graphic tablet. But what you are making wrong, obviously, is that you think the finished picture still shows something from the scanned picture, which is not the case - at least not, if you want it "clean".
Frankly, there's dozens of techniques to ink. Raster,vector, or both combined. I explored a lot of them. For some of them, there's tutorials somewhere. I don't know, I don't use photoshop, but paint shop pro x.

What you gotta decide is: how often do you want to bring out a comic, then decide on a style, that can take up so much time as you have. Cause, as you know, time is *everything* in webcomic business. Look at DD for example: he decided early on a style, that he could push out 5 (or more?) comics a week.
Other possibility: look for a parter, who works with you and inks it for you. That way, you can concentrate on the line art, working on panel layouts, etc. etc.
Because having a story in mind and being able to draw is far from enough to make a webcomic out of it.
And keep in mind that good shading (if you plan on doing that too) can need even more time, again, depending on style...
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby horus on Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:55 am

Let me preface this briefly: I'm not a cartoonist, and I have no technical creds in this area whatever.

That said, I came across this link while reading the webcomic "Candi" by Starline X. Hodge (one of Dan's friends, if I recall correctly).

http://candicomics.com/tutorial.html

Ms. Hodge has two tutorials here, one on scanning and lineart, and the other on coloring and text. They are geared toward users of Adobe Photoshop CS3, but I would bet that certain aspects of these would be useful in many situations.

Hope this helps you out some.

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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Darekun on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:09 pm

First, there's one answer to all these problems, which you probably won't like: do a comic for a year or two first. It'll later end up being one of those comics you want to sweep under the rug but people want to read, but you will get better.

Degausser wrote:1) My art is unreliable. Occasionally, I'll draw stuff that I think is pretty top notch (well, not bad at least), and other times I'll draw stuff that is pure garbage. Of course, sometimes it has to deal with how much time have to give to a project, but sometimes it's seemingly random. Anyone ever deal with this problem?

The "standard" answer to this problem is model sheets. Draw a character a bunch of different ways until you settle on a set you like, then refer to those images whenever you draw that character. Making model sheets is also practice.

Are you sketching out their shapes first? that can help. And you can stack them by doing two-stage model sheets, with a bunch of poses and views of a character's shapes, then a bunch of poses and views of the complete character.

Degausser wrote:2) While I can draw characters just fine, I am HORRID with landscapes. Any exersizes out there that helped others?

I'd use compositing; create the landscape in something like Terragen or POV-Ray, and then shop the characters on top.

However, if the landscape is just a background, you can probably get away with just a few bezier shapes. You can always claim "first comics suck" later :J

Degausser wrote:3) Probably my biggest problem is the comics themselves. How do I make them so crisp and clean, like Dan does? No matter what I seem to do, I draw a comic, ink it, throw it in photoshop, it still looks like it was drawn on paper. You can still see the texture of the paper, and sometimes some errant pencil lines hat weren't fully erased. Is non-photo blue the answer? I've never worked with it, so I wouldn't know.

There's two main ways to go:
  • Ink digitally. Even if you've already inked physically, create a new layer, use a line tool on that, then get rid of the original layer. This has the disadvantage of requiring some digital art skill, but that's a good skill to have with digital graphics tools being so good nowdays.
  • Digitally crank up the brightness/contrast, until the darkest paper is pushed to white. You have to ink dark enough for this, but if digital inking isn't an option this is a good way to go.
I use CorelTRACE on the rare occasions I have need of this, but the Corel graphics suite is expensive. (I have a seat on my company's copy.) Photoshop might have trace/lineart filters, though.



And again, just do it - you'll get better.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Degausser on Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:57 pm

Thanks for all the help, guys. I seem to recall that Dan Used to use non-photo blue, but that may not be the case anymore. I've also tried digital inking/shading, and I can pull it off, but it takes me a long time, so I can't see myself realistically pulling it off on a weekly basis.

Anyway, I'll look into some more stuff, thanks for all the hints and suggestions so far . . .

BTW, no one really commented on my art style. Is it okay? I mean, I'm my own worst critic, and so I think it's all garbage, but others have been telling me it's decent, so I don't know if it's being polite or if it's actually decent.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby MOOMANiBE on Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:03 pm

If I were just looking at what you posted, I'd say your bodies seem pretty boxy. The side views in particular. Anatomy and posing issues, like I mentioned before...

That said, did you draw these? They were on your photobucket..
Image
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If so, I have to say that the justin drawings have a nice start at good posing and surprisingly superior body proportions to the ones you posted. The girl kinda looks like she was drawn by a different person entirely but is pretty good in terms of stylization and proportions as well. ^_^
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby kyevan on Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:08 pm

And don't worry: I make RANDALL MUNROE look like DaVinci, and I'm working on plans for a 'webcomic' (done as independant short stories, so once a story starts being released, it's done, so I don't leave people hanging). :roll:
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Degausser on Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:22 pm

MOOMANiBE wrote:If I were just looking at what you posted, I'd say your bodies seem pretty boxy. The side views in particular. Anatomy and posing issues, like I mentioned before...

That said, did you draw these? They were on your photobucket..
If so, I have to say that the justin drawings have a nice start at good posing and surprisingly superior body proportions to the ones you posted. The girl kinda looks like she was drawn by a different person entirely but is pretty good in terms of stylization and proportions as well. ^_^


Yah, I drew those. That account is a dumping ground for me and a friend of mine. I drew all the ones you've posted though. The first pic was trying out a different style, which I eventually decided to forgoe because, while cool, It just didn't FEEL like me. The second picture, I was trying out some martial arts moves. I'm still trying to define my exact 'style.' While I agree the cats look blocky, I was kinda trying to make them look big and beefy, that's kinda what I was going for.

On a side note, you actually stumbled across my WOTCH fanart. The top person is a highly styalized Anne, and the bottom person is supposed to be Robin, not Justin.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby kyevan on Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:32 pm

Degausser wrote:On a side note, you actually stumbled across my WOTCH fanart. The top person is a highly styalized Anne, and the bottom person is supposed to be Robin, not Justin.

I actually kinda guessed the Anne one. (I didn't really guess it was supposed to be Anne, but I did go "It looks like someone crossed Anne Onymous with that weird witch show on one of the kids blocks". The bottom one, the hair is too 'droopy' to be Robin to me >_>
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby CPUX on Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:17 pm

Practice practice practice practice practice.

Practice.

Practice and patience.

And maybe some guided practice. Which is some advice I need to follow, rather than just blindly draw.

.......I'll stick to writing, personally. And I can't even launch that off the ground.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby MOOMANiBE on Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:10 am

Degausser wrote: While I agree the cats look blocky, I was kinda trying to make them look big and beefy, that's kinda what I was going for.


Weeeelll... "beefy" characters requires anatomy knowledge. Not to disparage, but right now, the "beefy" drawings just look like you don't understand proportion, and they have very weak poses compared to the other drawings I found of yours. I think it's a disservice to yourself that you only posted those original two -- they give an worse overall impression of your work, and having seen the other two I know you are capable of better than those "beefy" drawings.

Heavy muscles are probably something you want to save for later. If you reaallly want to do them now, I'd suggest marvel comics for reference in terms of getting the "beefiness" to look right.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Darekun on Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:38 am

MOOMANiBE wrote:Heavy muscles are probably something you want to save for later. If you reaallly want to do them now, I'd suggest marvel comics for reference in terms of getting the "beefiness" to look right.

Also, TMNT comics use(for most characters) an easy-to-draw stylized style that can only do heavy muscles. You really need to do the "bones" first if you use that style, but that's a good idea anyway.

One trick for doing beefy characters is sketching a scrawny character, then sketching over with the extra bulk. Because really, muscles are hard.

Oh yeah, and this is a good guide for anatomy and proportions.
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Aeg'air on Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:40 am

To be honest your work looks alright, however you seem to worry about the background. I usually can draw backgrounds alright som long as it lacks detail, or I have something to sketch from. A good tip for backgrounds is to use a vanishing point (yes I know it's pathetic) Or to spend alot of time on varying backgrounds and reuse them. Yup cheat!
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby ChronosCat on Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:31 am

Aeg'air wrote:To be honest your work looks alright, however you seem to worry about the background. I usually can draw backgrounds alright som long as it lacks detail, or I have something to sketch from. A good tip for backgrounds is to use a vanishing point (yes I know it's pathetic) Or to spend alot of time on varying backgrounds and reuse them. Yup cheat!

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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby raekuul on Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:43 am

Drawing (pun intended) on the ideas in this thread
Before:
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After:
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The News wrote:As those who saw the original version of today's comic are well aware, an edit has taken place. In the original upload, the second panel was completely uncensored. Boy, was THAT embarrassing!

raekuul's thoughts wrote:http://www.egscomics.com/d/20031128.html, last panel.
http://www.egscomics.com/d/20080819.html, fourth panel.

Leave it to a dormant witch to have access to knowledge magic.
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raekuul
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Aeg'air on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:38 am

Okay now everyone is well and truly confused!
ImageMy devart page now has stuff!
Inventory
I will soon upload an avvy I have made. Until then I will use this Namin'e avvy for the sake of confusion and the text.
ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
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Aeg'air
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby raekuul on Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:34 pm

Aeg'air wrote:Okay now everyone is well and truly confused!

Then my work here is done. *skips merrily away*
The News wrote:As those who saw the original version of today's comic are well aware, an edit has taken place. In the original upload, the second panel was completely uncensored. Boy, was THAT embarrassing!

raekuul's thoughts wrote:http://www.egscomics.com/d/20031128.html, last panel.
http://www.egscomics.com/d/20080819.html, fourth panel.

Leave it to a dormant witch to have access to knowledge magic.
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raekuul
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Re: Little Help, Possibly from Dan?

Postby Aeg'air on Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:06 am

raekuul wrote:
Aeg'air wrote:Okay now everyone is well and truly confused!

Then my work here is done. *skips merrily away*


Don't think you can get away that easily *Pulls out TF Gun* Explain your actions!
ImageMy devart page now has stuff!
Inventory
I will soon upload an avvy I have made. Until then I will use this Namin'e avvy for the sake of confusion and the text.
ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
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Aeg'air
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Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:06 pm
Location: fingers typing on the keyboard!

 
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