I started a Dragon Age 2 fan art about a year ago. I liked the sketch so much I didn't advance on it -- then a Dragon Age poster competition came out, and then Inquisition and well. I think I'm done playing DAI for the moment, so I switched my focus back to this as a fun side-project to pick up new techniques and as something to work on outside of my own comic projects.
It's fun and I look forward to dabbling with it every day. I paint a character a day and sometimes dabble on the ones I had finished (or like Hawke, who is a giant focus, was partially painted on the same day as Fenris). I had a great reference for Varric, and was able to do his face shadowing pretty well. I have been left to my own devices on everyone else's shadowing … with varying rates of success. I am learning a lot through this, and will start up another fan art to pick away at daily. Probably Mass Effect. I recently fell in love with it.
Anyway, I chose to add a custom Hawke and Bethany to honour my own playthroughs. I am not making this to sell or print, and I think that takes a lot of stress off of my shoulders and gives me the room to learn and try new things while paying my respects to one of my favourite games.
Today I worked on Bethany.
About halfway through another concept. I decided to tackle another season to do something different since I seem to always want to draw water. This time I am using more painting and shading rather than texture-borrowing as a trial. Here it is about three hours in. There are placeholder textures in parts of the image. The background sky is from the clouds trial I painted last week!
I will need to go back in and detail the front (especially) and finish up the back cliffs. I will probably do some more textures and paints on the rocks as well. I won't know until I get there if something is asking to be completed….
There is a scene in the book I have written at a river, and I guess I imagined this, but there is not a waterfall in sight at the particular incident though the character can hear it. Perhaps this is a way up the stream, where there is a little waterfall!
This is my second finished concept. The first I did not finish because it did not look right, and as I was using skills picked up from a tutorial, I had a somewhat realistic idea of where it should be even at that stage. I realised my mistake was using the soft round brush; all shapes seemed murky and vague. I used the hard brush for the second try (the desert scene below) and used the same tips and advice to push forward for this piece. Next on the practice list is more architecture, possibly a castle or ruins.
Here are my reference images, used for textures etc, and in the case of the bridge, basic shapes. I do not have many environment arts yet, so there is no folder in my portfolio … yet. But I am working on that!
Here is my first environment concept art for games -- well, finished anyway! The very first I abandoned because it was not coming together. I went back to the tutorial so I could understand where I had gone wrong (and I did find out) and took the tips and skills to a new concept, which is what you see here. While I do like this, I don't think it is quite good enough for my portfolio. I have been working on others since and will soon add an 'environment' section to my concept art portfolio here!
Turns out the poster contest came with a kit, which I'd somehow missed on my first visit to the site. I decided to use the images provided as a challenge to see what I could create. I did a lot of moving things around. The first image, below right, was based on the initial concept I had of a poster when I thought I would have to draw it. The second was just to try something new. At that point I was convinced poster1 was it. Good thing I did some more. They just got better! While my poster did not make the final cut, I did enjoy it. The process was fun and strangely relaxing. By the last poster I had decided to break away from centering everything and I'd tried out several filters, background, and effects along the way. I voted on my favorites on the Dragonage facebook.
I downloaded Twine yesterday. I learned about it from a blogger a couple of years ago, but I had heard it could be buggy, especially on mac. I am pleased to say that so far there are no problems!
One of the first games I ever played was Zork. I'm not a technical person, but it was one of those black screened computers with the bright green writing. There was no mouse. I am not sure what it was. Zork intrigued me, and I remember playing it quite a lot, though I am not sure if I ever beat it. I read a few series of those choose-your-own-adventure tales, including Dungeons & Dragons. Ten years later when I learned about video games that let me make more choices, which may impact the ending or even change it, was I ever on board!
Dragon Age is one of the games that pulled me back into the world of games. At that time I still played games but was not very excited about many. I also was opened up to other genres -- I had previously played mostly fighting and RPG (which were usually linear, though some had puzzle aspects). With my horizons expanded, I wanted more than ever to work in games and contribute to the great variety.
I may not know how to code, but I can write. I script and write all my comics and I really enjoy the process. Besides getting the comic into black and white (the inking), editing the script is my favorite part. I took an older story of mine, about twenty pages in length, and began converting it into a choose-your-own-adventure sort of story. And not only can I write, but I can draw. I will be dropping in illustrations every few pages, depending on how heavy the text blocks become. It will be a way for me to work in the initial plans for this story, which was to be a sort of illuminated manuscript storybook.
Here is a screenshot below from Twine. It's on my computer that is still on Japanese time, so it thinks it is October first already.
A friend of mine does comics related to games she's playing when she's not hard at work with her original comic series. I've always wanted to do such a thing, make a few comics about games since I enjoy reading them. I never had a very good idea, and fan art can be quite taxing. Now that I'm doing a consistent original fantasy series, it wasn't a smart idea to take much time from it.
I was talking with that friend about something that'd happened in my recent playthrough of SKYRIM -- so first, a story. I have the Hearthfire DLC, and immediately built a house and adopted two children, one of whom immediately adopted a nasty, loud skeever. The thing grossed me out and I read somewhere that the kids wouldn't care if you got rid of it, even if you killed it right in front of them. I finally worked up the guts to do so, hid in my alchemy tower, pulled out my bow, and took aim. Please note my stealth is always insanely high. Bullseye! But ... the kid fired out of the chair, yelled that he hated me, and ran away. My other child did the same when I approached her. They both ran away yelling curses. I was distraught -- "I was told they wouldn't care!!"
In any case, I left the house and came back hoping it would clear up in time. By default, one of the children ran up to me and asked me to play tag. So I said yes, relieved they were over the skeever thing. As I ran after one of them they shouted, "Go away I hate you!!" It was so pathetic I just restarted and have to deal with the skeever even now.
My friend and I began imagining this and other happenings through the Dragonborn husband's eyes. My Dragonborn married Farkus, from the Companions. You know, being married to the Dragonborn may not always be as exciting as you would think, especially when he may not be all that epic.... And let's be honest about the hilarity of SKYRIM glitches. The armor dummy walks around the top floor of my house every time the Dragonborn comes in through the 2nd floor door. Does that hurt gameplay? No. Is it scary? Quite. Did I put goofy mismatched clothes on the armor dummy to teach it a lesson? Maybe.
And thus "Diary of the Dragonborn's Husband" was concocted. I've been thinking about it for some time and have revisited the idea, so I think I've got something worth attending to!
The initial sketches were simple, with a line or two from Farkus' diary concerning some event that'd happened, with intentional misunderstandings of the Dragonborn's reactions (since he's supposed to be heroic). I want to change it from that somewhat, though I do want it to be in a diary format. My first task will be to come up with a basic layout for each entry, or page. I'll post those ideas later, but for now, here are some WIPs from the initial idea.
Immediately below are some notes on the Dragonborn's appearance, and at bottom is a sketch of a diary entry.
As I said in the previous post, I like the load screens of Dragon Age II quite a bit. (I don’t know if they are different on PC; when I looked for images, I found a couple I had never seen while playing on PS3.)
Here is an example of one of the load screen images.
I tried to keep my illustration trial as simple as possible, allowing for the smallest amount of detail in the face and also the chainmail. The picture above has more linework, but I wanted to rely on silhouette ... or at least try it. A lot of my character illustrations are detail heavy, so it was difficult to keep it down to simple shapes to try and convey this character. I had to force myself to stay on track and just move ahead and see how it turned out; I decided if it went poorly I’d try again and allow my detail urges to be satisfied, and I would more clearly render the armor I’d drawn up in the sketches.
In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with this trial. About an hour and a half, maybe two (as I was experimenting). Photoshop.
When that was done I added filters. I get mine from this user on deviantart.com: Sirius-sdz
When I added the top filter I ended up with some of his hair showing a bit, just this white line around the crown of his head. I decided to either erase it or run with it; so I ran. I incorporated it into the rest of the image, fading it out near the bottom. That layer is on luminosity to help with the glow effect.
It was challenging yet relaxing to work with minimal shapes and colors. I want to try images of this sort for my own comic, but that’s for future trials – a few projects came up very suddenly and I must attend to them first, while keeping my comic updated. More on these projects next time!
First of all, I needed a good clear image of Fenris' existing armors, and a pretty clear shot of his face. I didn't intend to go into detail but I have found catching 3D characters' likeness in 2D sketches to be a bit of a challenge.
These are the reference images I used, both are game screenshots I found in a search online.
To reiterate, I'm not doing this because I think his armors are terrible. I really love the aesthetic and feeling of Dragon Age and Dragon Age II, and I'm generally not so good at fan art. I probably wouldn't have thought of doing such a project if I hadn't seen someone reimagine a costume for another game character on deviantart! I love drawing armors. That seemed like the sort of fan art I could get into. I thought it'd be a neat challenge.
His face was the hardest challenge I think. I really did not want to mess him up. I tried to give myself a pep talk: "No big deal, just draw him like one of your Spidersilk characters ... dang it! Too pretty." I somehow captured his essence. It could be luck. And I drew his head last, momentarily wondering if I could get away with designing armors for him without actually drawing him.... For shame!
Anyway, I wondered what armors he might choose. The first one, far left, is based roughly on existing shapes and silhouettes of his outfit. Then they just got clunkier as I went, winding up with massive black armor of doom at the far right. I like that one the best.
I'll be collecting opinions on shape, silhouette, details, etc and will use them to bring one of (or a combination of) these armors into a more fully realized painted concept.
Done in Photoshop, each one took 35-45 minutes.