Friday, March 30, 2018

Crisis for the Planet

"Crisis for the Planet"
(Final Fantasy VII)
This is a redo of a much older piece. I had it in mind to go back to this one for quite a while, however, the original had a lot of motifs I feel are now rather cliche of me, so I wanted to find a way to make it fresher.
Firstly, I changed the poses held by the two characters, putting Aerith in a prayer stance (which doubles as covering herself, lol), and placed Sephiroth in a powerful outstretched arms pose. It's minor, but adds more dynamics and personality to their presence. I also ditched the Advent Children-esque look for somewhat more classic-faithful models, which I also tried to replicate in the coloring style, mixing markers with colored pencils for a recreation of texture found in Nomura's character illustrations.
Losing the yin/yang motif, I moved the Materias to the sides, being "cupped" by the ends of the central glyph, which to keen eyes is recognized as the symbol used on the title card and opening credits. For the background colors, I wanted the base colors of the materia to start around their locations and swirl into a mix as they approach the opposite, invoking a sort of color wheel look.
As a final touch, I put my signature at both ends so there's no "real" top or bottom to this piece.

March 30, 2018
Micron Pen, Sakura Pigma pens, Prismacolor Markers, colored pencils, and gel pens
on 8.5x11" cardstock 

Paper texture added digitally via Photoshop Elements 7.0

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Champion's Return

"The Champion's Return"
(The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
Second year in a row I started with a Zelda illustration. Huh.
So, personal time. Since the end of December, I got sick. Like, worse than normal sick. And my ill state got worse within the entirety of January, with the brunt finally tapering off mid-February. During this down time, I hit a nasty artist's block that eventually turned into pure lethargy. Even as my infection dwindled, my energy never really came back. I knew I had to do something to make myself feel better before I slipped into depression, so when my taxes came around, I got a Nintendo Switch, along with... You guessed it, Breath of the Wild.
So, playing the game a second time has been a blast, and during my still-ongoing runthrough of it, I slowly felt the inspiration come back. Much like Link's 100-years of rest, forgetting his goals, I, too, lost sight of my ambitions. This is the manifest of the end of my hiatus.
Maybe not fully, but it's a start.

The bulk of the illustration is my usual traditional means, attempting some risky pen-and-marker mixes to pull off some of the effects I was aiming for, namely for the Guardian's glowing bodies and eyes. The color style's a bit of a mix of trying to emulate some of the official art's rough strokes, mixed with my own more subtle blending.

Then, to kinda suppress the somewhat busy background, I decided to do an overlay akin to the patterned design used on much of BotW's game and materials. I was really worried whether it would be too much, but after messing with the blending and levels, I think I found a nice balance that doesn't overwhelm the image it covers.

For those curious, the un-digitized original can be viewed below.

March 13, 2018
Ball pen, Prismacolor markers, Colored pencils, charcoal pencils, and gel pens
on 8.5x11 cardstock
Digital overlay done in Photoshop Elements.

"The Champion's Return" (Traditional piece)