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Onime's Artbook; Not just pics, some in-depth stuff too.
Topic Started: November 1, 2014, 5:48 pm (1,621 Views)
Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Hey guys, wanted to post some art stuff because after struggling with it for so long in school I feel like I've finally made some strides forward, so I've been doing more of it recently and wanted to show it off.

Most recently we have my character for Sin's upcoming unnamed RP, and since several of the responses I've gotten when asking for advice about this guy have included others wanting to improve their own artwork, I thought I would walk you guys through my process and maybe it'll help.

Here's the finished pic:
Lee Xin

This guy's name, obviously, is Lee Xin. The backstory I have planned for him is that he and his father, whose name is Dai Xin, came to whatever continent the new RP takes place on from another continent, obviously a vague eastern themed one. Dai Xin and his wife might have left their land for a variety of reasons, but none are set in stone yet because I don't want to create my own weeaboo continent in Sin's RP without her permission. Some of my ideas, though, were that they were escaping a multi-sided war because their land was going through the equivalent of the Warring States/Three Kingdoms period, with numerous kingdoms all at each other's throats. They could also have been fleeing something in Dai Xin's past, or maybe Dai Xin simply wanted to spread his martial arts to new lands.

They settled in this new land, and not too long afterwards Lee was born. Dai Xin opened his martial arts school, and while he didn't get a whole lot of customers at first because not many people understood what he was trying to do, he soon managed to prove his worth as a teacher and became much more successful by the time Lee was older. Lee himself began training around the age of six, when his father felt he was old enough to actually learn something from the lessons. Lee's age hasn't been finalized yet, but at the very bare minimum this will mean that by the time of the RP, he's been training for at least ten years. However, he still has a lot to learn, and he lacks experience. He's never stepped onto a real battlefield. A large part of his character development will deal with the vast differences in recreational and functional martial arts, and the different philosophies of the two.

Here's a step by step process of how Lee Xin's appearance came to be:

After initially coming up with the idea and trying to visualize what I wanted in my head, I went out and found some reference images. I personally think having references is required for any artist; you don't want to trace or copy things, but you want to look at them, analyze them, break them down into the basics, and add it all to your mental "vocabulary" so to speak. After all, none of us are born knowing how everything looks, moves, feels, acts, flows, etc. Most of these I got from googling various things like "martial artist" and whatnot--one, in particular, came from an old MMO I played for a short time called Age of Wushu that had a Wuxia theme as opposed to traditional fantasy. Two of them I also owe credit to Sin for, as she made them for me a long time ago for different characters. Thanks, Sin!
Reference 1

Reference 2

Reference 3

Reference 4

Reference 5

Reference 6


Once I had those references, I had to decide on a pose for the first picture. I ended up cropping the Wan image because I liked his pose, and from there I just put the image side by side with my paint.net work space and started copying by eye. I was going to use my tablet but for some reason it was being an asshole and wouldn't interact with my computer, so I had to do it all with the mouse and the curve/shape tools.
Posing

One problem I ran into is that you can't see a lot of Wan's build because he wears very loose clothes in multiple layers. I just eyeballed it and figured that Lee is a martial artist anyway, so he needs some beef on him. I made some basic pipe shapes then started defining the muscles. I also noticed that Wan's pose is a bit more straight up and down, and I wanted more dynamic-ness to my drawing so I altered the angle of one of his legs and his hips a bit to give him a little more of that contrapposto feeling.

When I had a base I was happy with I opened up a new layer, and started adding clothing, trying to wrap it around his form instead of it just being on top of the previous drawing. I assumed that we'd be using the same general kind of starting equipment in this RP that was available in Veil, so I made a rough character profile sheet with what equipment I wanted and then based his clothing on that.
Clothing Rough 1

This, however, I found to be too basic and too monk-ish. I asked Sin and some others for help, and using their suggestions I came up with this.
Clothing Rough 2


From there it was on to figuring out what colors worked together. You don't want colors to EVER be, as my painting professor would say, "straight from the tube." You know those colors that MS Paint, Photoshop, etc give you to choose from in the little boxes, starting with black and white and going through red, blue, etc? NEVER use those colors plainly. You always want to take them and alter them with things like Hue, Saturation, Vibrancy, Value, Contrast, Lighting, so on and so forth. Bright colors are painful to the eyes, so you always need a good bit of saturation. For comparison, here's an image I did a while back (I'm not as proud of this one artistically because at the time I was very unconfident in my skills so I basically just traced a picture of a Ruroni Kenshin action figure).
Color Comparison

The second image is WAY less eye raping to look at because I saturated the SHIT out of it. Coincidentally there was too much blue so the final version has pants a little more green in hue. Came out good enough for government work in the end.

Back to Lee Xin. Once I had colors figured out, it was time for hairstyle. Most of you probably remember the various styles I showed you because I was having a difficult time figuring it out. After that I found some random tattoo images and some stock imagery of some laurels, like the Romans gave their gladiator champions, and adjusted it as necessary. This was the next substantially different rough image:
Rough v.2.0


From there it was a process of adding textures, most of which I did in Photoshop Elements with their very easy to use, very self explanatory filter gallery. You select the part of the image you want to add texture to, go to the filter gallery, and find one that works. For the leather bits I used Rough Pastels, for the clothes I used Burlap and Canvas, and for the metal I just added a color gradient to give it some shine. For adding wrinkles and shadows, I tried to figure out where his body would be the closest to his clothing and where gravity would be pulling on it the most. It's hard to explain, but you have to really imagine the cloth hanging over the body, and wherever it's closest to you (like in my case, around my gut) it's going to be pulled and stretched by your body and wrinkles are going to form. If there's a lot of weight in the clothes, they'll hang down with gravity and pull in that direction. I'm really not good at it but maybe Sin or someone else could chime in.

For shadows, one thing I read recently that really helped me was to not just think about where the protruding surfaces that block light would be and what angle the light was at, but to FEEL it. To figure out where shadows for the face should be, I literally put my hands on my face and felt around until I felt like I had a good grasp of how my head is structured in three dimensional space. Doing this with other objects, like apples, clothing, etc, helped me eventually piece together some of how shadows actually work. I'm still not really good with them but I noticed a whole lot of improvement in a short amount of time with that method. Another thing that helped me is to reverse engineer pictures by other artists and figure out why they put their shadows where they did. And yet another thing was to take what I learned from the first exercise, and use what I know of basic 3d shapes to put a "wireframe" type of thing (like the things with green grids wrapped around them in 3d modeling, if any of you know what that looks like) around the masses of the body to make them look and feel more 3d to me.

With decorations, wrinkles, and shadows added, I finally reached the final image you saw way back up there.

I think a really important thing to remember here is to NEVER directly copy a reference unless it's A) not that important to the overall image (like the tribal tattoos I used for the decorations on his belt and waistcloth) B) something you took yourself with your own camera or whatever, or C) you've been given express permission from the original artist to do so and you're only doing it to learn.

You ALWAYS want to change some aspect of your reference. Think about all those "Original Characters" people on Deviantart make for their favorite anime. How many of them are literally other characters who have been badly photoshopped to have different colored hair, clothes, and eyes? Everything else about them is the same, the body structure, the posing, the design of the outfit, so on and so forth. That's not YOUR character, that's something made by stealing someone else's work, which is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. As an aspiring artist and writer, I just get irrationally furious when I see people do that--you guys might have seen me rant and rave in the past about how people on most other roleplaying sites just copy/paste some pretty anime image and say it's their character.

But enough about that, if I rant I'll get angry and mean. Sorry about that.

Point is, make the image you make YOURS. It is perfectly fine to use references. All artists do, except for a very, very exceptional few who somehow have such a grasp of it that they can reproduce things in detail purely from their imagination. I have shittons of references, folders full of them. It helps a lot, but I make sure I'm not stealing anything from any other artist. They worked hard on their stuff, they deserve all the credit. For me to claim it as mine is, in a sense, the same as stealing something from someone's house.

I apologize for this being so long and wordy, but I hope you guys enjoyed it and that it can help you with your own artwork.

TL; DR:
I DRAWED A PURTY PICHER AND I'MMA TELL YOU HOW TA DO ET TOO!
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Primera Espada Yggdra
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The Kitty Cat, Mew!~
Nice work Onime! He actually looks pretty good. Of course, we all know that Sin is the master here, but still nice work. I never saw either of those drawings by Sin by the way. I agree with references and I like to use them when I imagine my characters.
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Because...


My Imagination When talking with you. - Person A

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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Primera Espada Yggdra
November 1, 2014, 8:52 pm
Nice work Onime! He actually looks pretty good. Of course, we all know that Sin is the master here, but still nice work. I never saw either of those drawings by Sin by the way. I agree with references and I like to use them when I imagine my characters.
Thanks! I'm glad you like it and--

Quote:
 
we all know that Sin is the master here


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YOU JUST WAIT I'MMA GET BETTER AND SHOW YOU--I'LL PAINT THE CANVAS IN THE GLORIOUS HUES OF MY BURNING BLOOD!
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Perascamin
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A Legendary Ocean
Ash Mira looked bad fucking ass
In War; Victory. In Peace; Vigilance. In Death; Sacrifice.

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Arcvalons
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Lord of the Octoroks, all hail!
You've gotten a lot better at this. Do you take requests?
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Daemon
November 7, 2014, 3:55 pm
You've gotten a lot better at this. Do you take requests?
I can, but given my school/karate/etc schedule it can take a long time. I'm working on a character for Kaze right now actually, but haven't had a lot of time to work on it. That said, once I do get time, the actual process itself doesn't usually take more than a handful of hours.

also thank you for the compliment!
Edited by Onime No Ryu, November 7, 2014, 3:59 pm.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Here's another thing I thought would be helpful to you guys, cause it helped me a lot when I was trying to figure out why my realism drawings were not coming out well. It also helps whenever you're using a reference for a pose or something and trying to figure out how to copy it by eye. Once you can reproduce things easily, then you can adjust a leg or an arm or change the angle or whatever in order to continue making the piece your own, instead of just making it the same and slapping some new stuff on it.

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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
GODDAMN LOOK AT ALL THESE FUCKING REFERENCES YOU GUYS

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REMEMBER, DON'T EVER COPY ANYTHING A HUNDRED PERCENT UNLESS YOU'RE JUST DOING IT TO LEARN SOMETHING.

BUT OTHER THAN THAT, THE MORE REFERENCES YOU HAVE FOR EVERYTHING, THE BETTER.
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Perascamin
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A Legendary Ocean
good stuff in here
In War; Victory. In Peace; Vigilance. In Death; Sacrifice.

Dawn Eros (hot mama):
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Xenon


A drawing I did for Kaze of his character for Veil of Chaos, Xenon. Right now, I feel sort of unsatisfied with it, like it didn't come out as well as Lee did. I'm not sure why. I apologize, Kaze, for taking so long to do it and if it feels of inferior quality. It didn't actually take a great deal of time to do, the problem was finding time to do it between school and karate and helping NTNP and dealing with my nieces and nephews and blah blah excuses. But once I finally had a spare moment I was able to finish it, albeit getting a little rushed towards the end because I knew the RP was launching today. Because of that rush, I feel like the shadows and the fine details are perhaps not as good as they could be.

The pose I wasn't sure of at first either, but it kinda grew on me. The original reference was a knightly character striding forward, sword and shield in hand. I shifted Xenon's stance so he looks more like he's stalking instead of charging, as if he's circling an enemy and waiting for an opening. I adjusted the position of the weapons and shield as well, to get a better sense of balance in the motion, although I feel like I might have botched the perspective a little bit.

I especially like how the armor and the shield came out though. It's supposed to be leather, although I know it looks metallic--the reference was this hard leather type stuff, not the supple kind.
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Perascamin
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A Legendary Ocean
Post the kawaii version too I love it
In War; Victory. In Peace; Vigilance. In Death; Sacrifice.

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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
oh man so i was showing kaze previews of the hair style and stuff and asking if it was what he had envisioned and all

and he's like "i want glorious sparkly facial hair, like that guy in Full Metal Alchemist!"

and i'm like "sparkles, huh?"

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KAZE-SENPAI, AM I KAWAII DESU ~UGUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
I MADE A THING

BEHOLD DAI XIN, DRAGON OF THE SKY

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Also a link to the non-background version so you can zoom in if you want:
http://i.imgur.com/HD1m4Ky.png
Edited by Onime No Ryu, January 29, 2015, 10:11 pm.
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DVD Player
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Mdl. No. 00X "Burrito"
See if you can look into more digital-paint-esque techniques for shading and lines. I honestly think the only thing holding these drawings back is the pixelated consequences of using rastar layers; so if you could try going for the vectors it'll just look THAT much better
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
I DREW A THING, AND THIS TIME IT'S A VECTOR

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It took FOREVER and was SO GODDAMN INFURIATING.

The vector program I used is a freeware called Inkscape and whoever designed it had to be high off their balls or something. It is so unintuitive and stupid and lacks so many features. This is why Adobe has a stranglehold on the industry--they may be evil corporate bastards, but they make GOOD products that work well and are consistent. Inkscape is none of that and worse.

Ignore his horribly malformed hands please thank you.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
YAY ANOTHER THING

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This guy is the character I was gonna use for my ACES RP, which I'm now considering maybe trying to draw as a comic or something. Originally his name was Gang Vencher, but I decided I didn't really like that and that it was too similar to "Gon Freecs" from the anime/manga Hunter X Hunter, which was one source of inspiration for Ace's power system anyway. So I've decided to rename him Alvis, a name I've used before for other characters, because of the dynamic he'll have with his brother in the story.

His power is to harden his body into a black, stronger than steel substance to slightly increase strength and greatly increase durability. At first his power would prevent him from moving, but I came up with a method he would use later that would allow more flexibility while retaining defense--he would, instead of transforming all of his flesh, instead only transform the muscle fibers, tendons, and things like that underneath his skin. The result would be like steel wire as opposed to steel plates--wire can bend and be twisted. Thus, he would now be able to move while hardened, making fighting much easier. He would still be vulnerable in many areas, and any blades or similar attacks would penetrate through several layers of skin and cause lots of bleeding damage, but at the same time his punches would be like swinging sledgehammers.

The ability was inspired by One Piece's Haki, specifically the Armament Haki that uses an aura of sorts to armor a user's body or increase their strength.

Immediately after I drew him I started asking myself "why didn't you actually show him using his power or in a more dynamic stance or something" so I guess maybe consider this just a concept piece to help me figure out what he's wearing and what he looks like.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
So hey guys I need your help with this thing. Could anyone give me critique as to how I could improve this base in terms of like, anatomy and shadows and things like that before I start putting on more details? Pixel art isn't exactly my forte so I'm trying to learn how to do it better and make it more polished.

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Kazemitsu
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Assassin
Calves seem a bit thin and the left one seems oddly shaped. Needs to flow a bit better in my opinion (but really what do I know about art and stuff?)
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Perascamin
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A Legendary Ocean
You need to be able to zoom it out more and still be able to tell what it is. The further away our eyes are from it, the more the illusion of it being a more life-like image becomes. You've done very good on all of the body proportions and shading though.
In War; Victory. In Peace; Vigilance. In Death; Sacrifice.

Dawn Eros (hot mama):
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DVD Player
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Contrary to drawn art, the colour-differences in the shading for pixel-art needs to be SUPER subtle if you want the anti-aliasing to be right. The reason the shading for my drawn art was so blended and subtle is because before drawn art, pixel art was my main colouring experience so I was applying a lot of what I knew from that to drawn art. Take a look at like Pokemon sprites or other professional work, and you can see that sometimes that colours are like within 10 RGB values of difference for like a single pixel. Anti-aliasing is a lot of work, but it's so worth it.
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Sin
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Slow and steady...
His right heel seems strange. I don't think it should be curved like it is. No one's feet really do that. >__<
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Second draft, tried to fix the right (his right) heel and the left (his left) calf, hopefully that was what you guys meant. Also made the shading more subtle by changing the RGB values by 5 points for each level.

When I say right and left I mean as if I'm standing how he is and looking to my front. But for future reference maybe specific if you mean the side of the picture as a flat object, or the side as in the character's side, which is mirrored to what we're looking at the computer from because he's facing us.

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Edited by Onime No Ryu, March 14, 2015, 6:09 pm.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Third draft--shading will need to be added using the "base" as reference, but for right now it's just flat colors so I can see the overall shapes and whatnot and figure out how exactly I want things to look before I start fine tuning.

Ignore the fact that he appears to have developed a severe case of jaundice, I had to save it as a reduced color bitmap in order to upload it to imgur because for some fucking reason it's not letting me upload a png anymore.

Now, a tidbit about what's going into this character's design--obviously he's a fighting type character from his stance, but when I look up things like "martial arts games/anime" so on and so forth, most of the character designs I see are all wearing martial arts or China/Japanese themed clothing, which is fine cause when you take martial arts you wear a uniform and if you're from Japan you wear Japanese clothes and so on. But I just wanted to differentiate the character a little so I tried to make his appearance more Western. Two problems with this, though:

After a little more research, I've turned up a LOT of characters from older fighting games who actually seem to subvert the traditional "karate gi" or "kung fu uniform" outfits, and now I'm worried that this character won't stand out enough from THEM either--examples being Kyo Kusanagi (who it turns out this character looks WAY too much like, outfit wise), Terry Bogard, Cody of Final Fight, the Double Dragon brothers, and so on.

And secondly, when you have a character wearing very American-styled clothing but doing very Japanese/Chinese martial arts, there's a big disconnect and it just makes things seem kinda awkward.

So, questions this time around: What kind of costumes do you think would work better than this current design, or what could I add to spice things up? Any suggestions for designs, color schemes, graphic images on the clothing, so on and so forth?

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Kazemitsu
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I got nothin. I'm not big on clothing designs and such. Look at what my characters tend to wear. Canvas, cargos, jeans, boots, muscle-shirts, t-shirts, the occasional gloves. Not my thing
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Kazemitsu
March 16, 2015, 9:25 am
I got nothin. I'm not big on clothing designs and such. Look at what my characters tend to wear. Canvas, cargos, jeans, boots, muscle-shirts, t-shirts, the occasional gloves. Not my thing
at least tell me if anything looks off or too big or whatever then
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