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July ProgBlog #1: tattoo artistry

Posted on: Friday, 2 July 2021 @ 9:44pm
Blatting about

I've always had a great respect for tattoo artists.  I may or may not have mentioned the first time I did these tattoos that that respect increased by roughly an order of magnitude because unlike me they don't have undo buttons.  And somehow can make things look good from most angles.  I'm really feeling that again.

Also despite having had to do it for this version I still don't understand how people paint from colour blocks.

Perhaps because I finally have a vague idea what I'm doing, I managed to finish the dragon a lot quicker.

Zara's dragon tattoo v2

"Quick" is relative, it took me days instead of weeks (or was it months? I can't remember, just that it was way too long x_x but on the bright side I'm getting quicker?), and probably would have taken less days than it did if I had managed to concentrate on doing it.  As it was my mind kept wandering and wanting to do completely other things because I was annoyed about having to do this yet again.

I did what I know some other people do and blocked out the solid silhouette/shapes and then as you can probably see from the top right panel, started working on the shading, which is a separate image map partly so I could fudge a somewhat layer system and mostly because it is just a lot easier to edit this way.

shading in progress on dragon tattoo

I may have to find some way to up the intensity a bit on that, though the gloss coat (which is my light layer) is supposed to be the star of the show.  I'll figure something out.

Other than that I'm having my usual texel density issues (there is a polygon that is a bit too curved in the top right panel, might be a bit hard to see, I think I could resolve the problems I'm having by straightening it out but as I've done a few maps on this uv I really, really don't want to mess with it so it's staying like that).  It's a very small area that is unlikely to be zoomed in as close as I currently am for painting purposes so I'm forcing myself to leave it even though it's severely offending my ocd.

The bit I'm dreading the most is hand drawing all those tiny little scales.

starting the belly scales aaaaaaahhhhhhhh

And I might need to jump back to the colour map and fix up that mane a bit too.

In other news I seem to have created little monsters of a different kind introducing 16yo and two of his friends (another 16yo and an 18yo) to World of Darkness.  We started off one game with 12yo joining in, and me doing my usual getting a feel for the characters and then starting to build a story around them.  18yo is planning for/mostly expecting his character to go out with a bang (he's playing a mage who is slowly getting more and more deranged as the game goes on, which was a bit of a challenge for me as I'd never done Mage before) and we're hoping he won't take the rest of the planet out with him so he started looking through the rest of my sourcebooks and fell in love with the Corax.  He and the others then made characters for another chronicle in case the mage killed everyone in the current one (I'm already working on ways to prevent everyone dying XD).  They had this idea that they wanted to play in a medieval/middle ages setting and then got so excited about it I figured out a way to tie it in with the current game so we're now alternating groups each week.

Pro-tip: spanning centuries is hard work

Then the teenagers decided they wanted to run one in a steampunk alternate universe.  16yo told me bits and pieces about it and then 18yo decided it was going to be a thing that happened and that I was going to play in it too.  I told him not to worry about me and just to play with the other two as I am running someone somewhere literally every night and even the weekends are a bit busy.  He was quite determined and I let him twist my rubber arm into playing on Sunday (I have Saturday).  To speed up character creation I decided to rehash one of my old characters.  18yo thought the 14yo dragon pooka might be a bit young for the pirate airship it's mostly set on, and I decided the fae was probably not a good fit after finding out that the ship would contain a lot of iron anyway, and rehashed the 17yo Kitsune, keeping her mostly the same with some minor modifications and rewriting the backstory to fit the new universe (giving the GM as many potential plot hooks as I could in the process, seems like he's using a few of them).  The group prelude (which was meant to get 16yo's character and my character onto the ship, the other 16yo's character was already conveniently there) went so well it accidentally became the first session (I had done the same thing with the medieval group) and it was amazing enough that I felt like drawing my character again.

It kind of amuses me that the oldest fart is playing the youngest character in the game

The last time I drew her was when I made and was playing her back...before I had kids x_x and then again a year or so later (our games were epic) to celebrate her getting two tails.


Gah my awful drawings this is why nothing pre-2012 usually sees the light of day ever again unless it's already online somewhere.

In some fairness to me this was also when I was actually drawing, I can't remember when I got to a stage where I realised I was never going to be any good at drawing from scratch and just started using my 3d bases and I would love to say that it made drawing a lot quicker but in reality it only made the actual drawing and colouring part a lot quicker, the overall process takes about the same amount of time if not longer because I can mess around with poses and camera angles way too much in Blender.

Only this time I decided I would do all five forms.

And after I'd finally set up all the poses in Blender, I went over the top freaking extra with it and decided to do the head close up to use as a faded background.

Seeing as we'd automatically decided to go anime style playing in a steampunk AU it seemed a natural fit to draw in an anime style, however the first problem I encountered was I can't seem to ray trace at all when cel shading.  I spent way too many hours trying to nut it out and then trying to figure out an alternate colouring style before finally going with my weird looking hybrid approach where I use three colours (flat, light and shadow) but grade it instead.

I sent a wip that was less progressed than this

Yue wip

to the GM (might have even just been the lineart I sent, I can't remember) just so he could see what she looked like.  He said she looked cool and asked if I could draw the "scary crow captain".  As he didn't seem to want an all forms one I took a break and knocked that one out first.

This first pose and the headshot angle in particular was inspired by the scene where Yue meets Gundry for the first time (he startles her and she's about to draw the airfoil which she uses as a weapon).

The rest of the head shots are going like so:

Yue head shots

and the full body shots are like so

Yue full body poses

There's two more squares on the end which are currently blank as I'll have to draw the fox forms (I'd prefer to photobash but I can't find poses I want x_x and I don't want to 3d and rig a fox base just for this).

I have no idea when I'll finish this, I'm kind of picking at it when rework is doing my head in.

I told the kids they can request more characters (including NPCs from either game though if they wanted NPCs from 18yo's game he would obviously have to tell me what they look like as I only know what my NPCs look like) but I'd only be working on them one day a week probably, as this triggered me to actually rejig my schedule so I once more have a day to work on commissions/cameos/whatever stuff for other people so should also conveniently get back on track with the last couple of cameos (which are repeat requesters ;D) and the one I needed to modify.

GM is thinking of getting me to try a clockwork soldier next, the other two have not made any requests and in fairness I think that 16yo is so used to be drawing and whatnot that he doesn't particularly care and I also suspect they don't really know what their characters look like either XD

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