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Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:40 am
The Sans picture looks really cool until I see his stupid face (not your fault, it's the character). I bet you could draw a hell of a Zombor. And you should.

Posted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:41 pm
by Spritedude

Still trying to do expression sheets of all the main characters in my comic.

Two down, four to go. If you're unfamiliar with my characters, this is Hector, a hotheaded young engineer who uses a mechanical suit and gadgets and stuff to fight.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I've drawn Hector in his full suit. I've only ever had a vague idea of what it'd look like, I never got around to actually designing it. I went with a dieselpunk-ish exoskeleton look, as opposed to anything sleek or futuristic. Like something a kid would build in his garage out of spare parts.

What? You don't believe a kid could build a high-tech mech suit like that? Well... maybe you should start living in a superhero sci-fi/fantasy world, kids there do stuff like that all the time.

Alright, so remember that purple wizard dude of mine?

Okay, so, I have this character named Melmazar. He's a wizard in black and purple robes with wispy purple magic, and was driven insane by an artifact called the Lunar Medallion, which he wears around his neck. He's one of my oldest characters, I came up with him in middle school, but I decided he could fit as a villain in my comic.

And then a few years ago my friends got me to start playing League of Legends. Turns out, there's a wizard character in the game with purple hooded robes, glowy eyes, who uses wispy purple magic, and was driven insane by "the night's chilling embrace". Even more astounding... his name is Malzahar. I was baffled. I came up with Melmazar years before LoL even came out, but they somehow made a character nearly identical to mine.

Instead of making a fuss about it or scrapping Melmazar completely, I just tried to make him different, so I de-aged him, a lot. I've always had the idea of a twisted child character who can't quite comprehend the power he wields or the consequences of his actions, like he just sees it as acting out an imaginary persona of his. I figured maybe I'd just combine that idea with one of my existing characters, and Melmazar seemed to be a good fit.

I probably should come up with a new name for him too, as much as it pains me.

Let's see, what else...

Here's a height chart thingy I made for the six main characters. I just made it for my own reference, but it came out kinda cooler than I expected.

Oh and then I colored that creepy t͘hi̱̱̦̖̺̖̟n҉̫͈̜g҉͈̰̩̟̭̥̣ ̰̠͖̭̗͓̳Ị̷͎ d̖͓͇͘re͚͎͖w͈̖͍̞͚̞͉ i̜̟̲̳̲͖̘̥n̩̯͝ͅ ͎̪͕̲̩̬̝̩͠F҉̭̻͚̠̞̣̥̪l̢̛̜̭̙̤̙͖̕o͏̛̰̲̤̥̲̗͍͉c̸̦̩̤̻͇̱͓͡k̻̩̤͍̗̳̲̼͝M̷͉͇̙o͎̭̗̙̲̝͜ḑ͙̺̱̖̟̕ w̨̯̬̙ͤ̉̆ͭ̇ͨͫ̏i̶̠̟̺͔̠̟͕̯͑̿ͯ̔̒ͮͅţ̬̖̣̦ͥ͘h̞̪̫͚̜̜̫ͪ̍͂ͪ̈́̋ͫ́ ̸̴͔̬̭͙͓̳̥ͭ̿̈̆ͪ̉̐͢A̖͖̪̳̰̫̩̿̊̆͛̏̊̚I̓͐̾̋͢҉̨͙͎̹̥͈͖͎ͅ


y͉̅ͦ̀̓͆o̙̻̪̣͚͉͓ͤ͑̌u͚̟͎̺͇͚̾͌̀ ̴͙̥̪̦͉̟̈̂͋w̷̯̩̥̥͚͛ͥī̗̯̀ͯļ̴̪̜̻̰͎͓̮̫̐́̉͌̊̍̚ļ̭͑͗ ̨̥̟̻̻̩̼̗̯͛̽ͪ̽̐̎̉̚b̨͈̗̻̬̳͊͒̌̉̔ͮ͞ȇ̵͓̼̬̮ͮ͋̒͊̑ͩ͊͌ ̟ͬ͛͝ȃ̵̠̻̼͋̕ṣ̡̳̍̀̎͗͜s̼̜̩̣̬̝̐͂̈ͧ̄̚͠i͖͍̘̬͋̄̏̑͆̿͘m̢̳̩̼̻͇ͬ̓̏i̭͔̞̣͔̜̦ͦͦ̄̓̌̀̈͞l̑͂ͩ̓҉̦̹̺̼āͭͧ̓͛̅̄̍͏̧̜̞̯̪̦̗̝t̖̺͕̓̆̌͗͐́̕͘ȇ̖̪̙̉̉̎̀̂ͫ̍d̶͈̳͔͚̟͚͔̼̔̄̇͝

Posted: Sat May 14, 2016 2:01 am
by е и ժ е я
Awesome work, buddy! I love the robotics, great technical detail. I think you need to decrease the horizontal width of your eyes in profile angles, but you're showing a lot of improvement still.

Posted: Sat May 14, 2016 3:38 am
That monster would fit right at home in Silent Hill.

Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:19 pm
by Spritedude
Got two more for ya.


He's always one jump ahead of you.

Fizz was like the second champion I bought when I first started playing LoL (Anivia was my first and will always be my favorite). I didn't know he was one of the "annoying" champs at the time, I just liked him cause... well, look at him, he's a cute little fish dude.

dat perspective tho

And here's another D&D character I recently made.
Elteres, Centaur Wizard.

I dislike playing characters that are like "I AM THE STRONGEST WARRIOR AND I'LL SLAY ALL DA DRAGONS AND GET TONS O' TREASURE... I prefer playing characters with flaws, reasons to feel ashamed, things to redeem themselves for. So I decided to play a (bear with me here) "mule" centaur, being half regular horse-centaur and half onocentaur (which are basically donkey centaurs). Because of this he's looked down upon for being a "crossbred freak", but at the same time has the strengths of both species, as mules tend to do. In an effort to prove his capability, and to show other races that centaurs aren't just wild animals, he's become a student of magic, and adventures to pursue knowledge above all else.

...So yeah, he's an odd character, but hey, I like to make things interesting.

And believe me, I've heard the jokes already. He's literally a half-ass.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:02 am
by Heroine of the Dragon
Very sweet, Spritedude!! I really like your style. *gives you marshmallows* :D

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:15 am
by Spritedude
Sorry I haven't been posting much lately, guys. You know, real life stuff and-

how many times have I said this

Whatever, NEW ART YAY


Another D&D character? Yeah, but one of my friends', not mine. Ardoon, Aarakocra Cleric. A Tempest Cleric to be specific, so he has control over storms and stuff. Also he's a burd.

I have to admit this is one of those drawings I had to step back and ask "Did I really draw this?" I love how it came out.

chains are freaking hard to draw tho

Let's see what we have next- ANOTHER D&D character?
Another friend's character, he just wanted a colored sketch. Uh, he's a Tiefling Warlock whose name I do not remember. Pretty standard stuff.


This is kind of a redo of that painting I made a while ago. Minus the dragon.

You know what's great about digital art? It doesn't get all over your hands.

Still, traditional painting is fun now and again. Bob Ross style.

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:55 am
by Antisocial
You should've drawn the chains twisted for added realis--*stops speaking as you slowly strangle me*

That's some good **** you got there. I could practically hear Bob Ross's soft timbre as I looked at the last one.

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:39 pm
I really like that bottom one. Beautiful, like a good fantasy novel cover or something.

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:26 pm
by Spritedude
Alright, here we go again. BUT, full disclosure here, these first two are a bit, uh, suggestive... of the anthropomorphic variety. I mean, it's not even that bad, it's just that I know some people apparently want to claw their eyes out at the very sight of such things. You've been warned. But yeah, anyway, I'll shut up now.

More League of Legends stuff.

Kindred probably has my favorite aesthetic design of any LoL character. The two characters as one, the masks, the glowy eyes, the colors... I dunno, they're just really cool.

This next one was gift art for someone on DeviantArt:
There's this artist named DoNotDelete whom I've been following for quite some time. He just started a webcomic called Never Work With Monsters, about a guy who looks after a bunch of monsters and they like... try to fight evil and stuff. Comedy usually ensues. The characters pretty much all look similar to this, very *ahem* ...feminine.

Anyway I wanted to show him some support so I drew one of the main characters, Fina the Aviacean, as kind of a surprise gift. He liked it a lot.

Alright, next, another 3D printed thing.

Well, mostly. His toes, one of his tentacles, and one of the blades on his trident didn't print right, so I used clay to replace them. And then his arms and head fell off so I had to super glue them back on. Somehow everything stayed together enough for me to paint it.

Oh, this is Fizz from League of Legends, FYI. I drew him two posts ago.

I tried to finish this one before Christmas, but alas, procrastination wins again.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has always been my favorite... Christmas character, I guess? Is that a thing? Either way he's one of the many awkward, shy, or outcast characters that inspired me growing up. I just felt like drawing him in my actiony anime style cause I'm weird.

Honestly I think I spent longer on that background then I did on Rudolph himself.

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:39 pm
by Random User
All of these look real nice! Great work on them! I particularly like the LoL character and the lovely background you gave it.

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:07 am
by ScottyMcGee
Sweet stuff!

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:41 am
by е и ժ е я
Your shadow placement has really improved! I see you taking a lot less shortcuts and considering the composition in these, much more than in the past. Great job, always a pleasure to see your work (even if it's kind of scary anthro characters), you definitely put the time in.

Looking over that character sheet from back in May, I realise I probably said something already and you haven't shown it since, but when you've got an eye\etc and you're rotating it around a character's face, you want to show the change in width but not height. Height distortion with distance is something that's more exaggerated in close-up by foreshortening, whereas the width narrowing is actually from rotation and a different angle more or less. I have done the same thing on occasion, so it's something that sticks out to me.

I do like those bright blue eyes. I really like seeing that sort of color against a darker grey, making it really pop out. Nice work making the simpler background rough work, too, it really just takes the suggestion to fill in the piece. Trees as you've done show a good amount of height, too. Vertical lines for a vertical canvas.

Also I appreciate the narrower line width you've been progressing towards. The weighting is really solid and subtle.

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:31 pm
by Heroine of the Dragon
Those are really great, Spritedude!! *gives you marshmallows* :D

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:57 am
by Spritedude
Just the one this time. Well, two, though I'm not sure the second one counts as "art".


After getting back into D&D I wanted an updated drawing of my Dragonborn Fighter, Vynsayknos, or "Vyn".

I feel very accomplished with this one. It seems like I'm being impressed with my own art more often now than before, which is really encouraging. Last time I drew him was two years ago, so I thought I'd show them side by side to see what I've I figured out since then:


I don't mean to toot my own horn here, but I feel like this is a big milestone in my art, looking at this comparison. You can really see the things I've picked up on.

The metal surfaces are definitely a step up from before, though I can't say I have a complete grasp on it quite yet. AI said he'd give me a few pointers on that sometime.

I also like how the newer one came out looking more three dimensional, maybe due to better placement of shadows, and better contrast. I have a better understanding of how light falls onto surfaces and casts shadows, rather than just using the shortcut of "shade the right side of everything". The colors themselves are also more uniform and pleasing to the eye, maybe because of my use of lighter base colors to allow more contrast with the shadows.

Uh what else... The thinner lines definitely help. That's something I was stubborn about changing for a long time. It allows for finer details, and as AI said, more subtlety with the line weight. It also lets color and contrast do more of the work in showing form, which is definitely a plus. Also better anatomy overall. The pose is more commanding, and he doesn't look like a rectangle with arms this time.

Sometimes, when you feel like your art isn't going anywhere, all you need do is look back, and you can definitely see the progress. Other than the "actiony anime comic book semi-realistic cel shaded" style I've tried (maybe a bit stubbornly) to stick to, I've been constantly trying new things all the time, and I've taken to heart all the praise and criticism I've gotten from you guys. Seriously, thanks so much.

...Oh right, the other thing. You know that dumb Trash Dove meme going around? Well, I animated this:


Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:04 am
by е и ժ е я
Thanks for posting this here, the larger image definitely makes the difference in quality more apparent. Okay, so since this is a complicated subject but I think you're ready for it, this is a bit long and more of a formal lesson. It is for digital art, also, but it will at least teach you how to think about and understand metallic reflections and such to the extent that you will be able to imagine the process in abstract when you work with other media.

Shortcuts & incomplete metal techniques to save time:

In terms of how to show the metal, the short answer is that the Marvel way for line artists and inking was just to draw everything super chrome but monochromatic, because it saves time and still expresses 'metal' visually to the viewer - just not a particular type. It's like using ripples and the color blue to suggest water, even though that's just symbol-painting.

Cartooning requires some degree of symbol-painting to summon up someone's concept of a thing without having to dedicate the time to painting the volume of that thing. Hence why outlines are enough to make a face or person or identifiable outline - you're calling up the silhouette of that thing in the mind of a viewer who is familiar with that object. We still do this in a lot of things as artists, when we are learning, and becoming a master requires not only acknowledging that these things exist, but actually learning how to manipulate the viewer's expectations.

You can first focus on unlearning to use symbol painting where necessary. Hunt down your symbol substitutions. Don't draw the sun's rays as a black line projecting from it, show the light actually cutting through the haze of the atmosphere. Don't just draw the skin reflecting the light, show where the light penetrates the skin and muscle and the insides of the body are lit up.

So to express your understanding of sight through art in a masterful way, you can first learn the proper concepts and methods for light and how it works in relating to the eye. To express your understanding of how the mind works, though, you can investigate the extensions of the symbolism that we use to determine the meaning of shapes. This is the root origin of Impressionism and the movements that followed - up to and into abstract art.

The logic behind how metal returns light & how it relates to technique & other materials:

The proper explanation is that realistic metal shading requires a few things - edges of shapes/corners catch the light more as they usually are slightly curved/etc. This is counter to the normal black lines you would use for outline, and I'd suggest that for metal shapes you actually only use the black outlines for the edge of the character, to contrast them from the background.
So if a corner/edge is facing the viewer, it reflects light more powerfully than the surfaces that form the corner. Instead of using dark lines to denote internal edges, most of the time you can default at using lighter lines.

For metal and its varying degrees of reflectivity, there's a few things we can do. First of all, while metals do have a base color, something super reflective like polished silver or chrome does not inherently color its reflections - older mirrors are all silver-backed and movie theater screens were actually silver 'colored' to be more reflective - hence the name the 'silver screen'.

So here's the rub: Metals have two light layers, you normally are drawing surfaces that mostly appear to have one light layer. The different light layers actually interact dependent on a few qualities, one being the smoothness of the surface/polish considered against the base level color of the object, which is how you normally shade. The second is the chrome/reflectiveness. Chrome/reflection is like normal light, except it reflects shadows as well as light, and it reflects light sources and colors more easily.

Normal fabrics or stone or dirt or any other surface normally has microsurfaces which face many different directions. Light actually is absorbed and fails to reflect directly back at the eye, unlike a smooth or polished surface. Think about it - dust or dirt on a polished surface is actually millions of little particles which are all facing different ways. The light diminishes whenever it bounces depending on how reflective those particles themselves are. So a grain of sand, which is crushed coral and shell, may still be reflective and it displays highlights, but sand as an overall substance is made up of many microsurfaces. While an individual grain of sand may actually reflect you like polished metal does, in a mirror-like fashion, it is too small to see in most instances.

Chrome Reflection and Highlights:

The rough hack for chromatic metal is to shortcut this and fudge the idea of reflection, so you draw the highlight where the light source reflects most from the viewer but then you shade dark to light instead of light to dark, keeping in mind that hard highlights (as in, they do not have a smooth edge but an abrupt edge) are a product of reflection. In practice this looks more like your gems/crystals. The light will play out differently and obviously will not penetrate, so the ambient/base color shown by a reflective metal is going to be dimmer than a translucent object, but it will also show more dark reflections.

A hard-edged highlight is a reflection of the image of the light source, whereas a softer highlight is typically just the light-ray bounce and not a reflection of the scene. At times these may appear directly in the same place, although the softer a highlight is the dimmer it is and the softer it is the wider the highlight is. Hard highlights like those on water or metal are very small. Plastics typically have hard highlights but they also tend to have translucency even when they're opaque, and you will be able to see light penetrating opaque plastic when it shines from the opposite side of that object. Overall, highlights are the most direct bounce of the light, the part of the light that is reaching the viewer's eye directly. The more polished and reflective the object, the smaller the highlight and the harder the edges of the highlight, until it approaches mirror-like accuracy in its reflections.

How to do it accurately:

For metals that are less chrome/reflective/mirror-like, but you still intend as appearing reflective, you should actually shade them twice for the most accurate combination, on two separate layers. One shading will be the reflection/chrome/mirror like reflection. You can make the highlights for this mostly the exact color of the light source, you can even paint in actual reflections. How blurry the reflections are will depend entirely on the finish of the metal. Very polished/more reflective = clearer/sharper reflections. Reflections are distorted by the curvature of an object's surface, and they reflect similar to a ricochet on a billiards table. Paint the chrome reflections for the object on a new layer, on top your base coloring layer.

To determine what surroundings are reflected, try to imagine the viewer's eye firing a laser which glances off the surface. It doesn't curve, it just hits the angle and bounces without spreading or curving, redirecting outward. Where does the laser hit in the scene, after this redirection? Which way does it direct? That is what the surface will show you. A curved surface, however, will show a curved reflection. A fragmented surface like that of a cube or other prismatic shape will actually show multiple reflections. Flat surface reflections on such a prism can actually overlap. To understand these, try finding a photo of a prism with mirror-like reflections. If you've ever seen a cracked mirror, with its pieces turned to slightly different angles, you may recall this effect as the reflections of each fragment will likely not have lined up.

That is the hard stuff, here's the easy stuff. The next layer is the plain shading and lighting, concerning how the object obscures the light. Shade this as you normally would a smooth surface, with shadows and highlights in their respective positions. Instead of making this the color of the surroundings which are reflected, make this layer the natural color of the material. That is known in 3D graphics as the 'diffuse' color. It is determined by what light frequency is absorbed the least by the object. Philisophically speaking, that means that a 'red' object actually cannot interface well with the color red, and that the red light is deflected from it rather than absorbed.

Now here's the part about joining them. The diffuse color (or base color) of an object also can absorb more or less light. The less light the surface absorbs, the brighter the object is and the more reflective it is of dark objects. Highlights as a rule tend to show up much more powerfully first. A surface can have a highlight but no reflections of shadowed objects. So, keeping that in mind, and with the reflection layer on top, you may adjust the amount of reflectivity with different blending processes in a computer application. Using 'lighten' may achieve a more natural appearance for your highlight, depending on the material you want to depict. Regardless of whether you use one layer blending type or just leave it at normal, you can adjust the reflectivity of the surface by changing the opacity of your reflection layer.

Making it more dynamically adjustable:

To create a totally changeable on-the-fly process, break all of the individual shading elements down. Make your bottom layer the diffuse color, minus the shadows and highlights. Place the shading/shadow on the next layer. Place the highlight on the next layer. Repeat this with as many elements as you wish to break down through the reflective/chrome/mirror version of the object. Once you have all your layers in place and it's all separated, you can control the blurriness of the highlight, shadow, reflections, etc, all on their own easily.

How these concepts apply to all surfaces:

Okay, so you've basically gone through most of the necessary steps to actually learn how light works. Light reflections primarily work the same way on all surfaces, it is actually the type of surface and its absorption that determines most of what we see, not just the focus of the light source or a matter of light stopping when it hits something. Light scatters when it hits materials, some less than others. Polished metals much less so, this results in clearer/more focused reflections.

These principles apply to all things, but some surfaces like glass are translucent - meaning light passes through them, but they can actually filter the frequencies that pass through. A red stained glass will only allow red to pass through, it is absorbing more of the light. The same can also be said of skin.

Because surfaces can be wet, or objects can be varied in their depth, etc, they actually may have inconsistent diffuse color/shade or they may have inconsistent reflectivity. Layered, complex materials are everywhere. The most complex difficult of which is probably skin/a body. Think of it, all the organs, etc. The rules change depending on which part of the body is reflected. At thin parts of the body with little muscle or bone in the way, light can pass right through. Ever shine a flashlight through your hand and see how it lights up red? Well, light is passing through them all the time, just not as extreme.

Off the top of my head, the most translucent parts of the body are the hands, the nose, the ears, the mouth/cheeks. These show warmth more easily and are more apparent when they are saturated with blood. The nose goes read when someone drinks, the cheeks go red with extra blood when someone blushes, the ears are almost always more red than the rest of the body as a matter of having the most particular, light-weight structure and most translucent matter in them.

Similarily, different parts of the skin may be more reflective. Some of this depends on smoothness, some on the skin's oil. The most reflective part of the body is typically the face, especially the cheeks and forehead. This isn't surprising, considering that the face is also the most important part of the body for communicating, and so the extra depth of light and reflectiveness will both draw attention and make the face appear more defined.

In closing, I'd like to say that it's all right if you feel like you don't understand all of this upon simply reading it. Try going through the steps as a drawing exercise and the necessity of each step will probably jump out at you. While the approach here explains the most practical way to think about the metal, obviously you aren't going to have 'layers' when using traditional media. In that case, you are going to have to familiarise yourself not only with the process but also its outcome, so you can visualise the outcome and recreate that directly when you are working with a more destructive/less forgiving media. Ink is all about planning ahead, and is pretty much the least forgiving medium you could choose for 2D art.

So that should be about it, I'm not going to edit this at all but I will take some time to provide visual reference.

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:44 am
by Spritedude
I never got the chance to properly thank AI for taking the time to write everything above. Thanks dude, you do a great job in going beyond and actually explaining how to think when drawing, which is something I wish more people did with their advice/tutorials. I promise I'll make good use of it soon.

Anyways, sorry for the long break. Here's more stuff.

Here's another expression sheet for one of my characters.

I want to do one for all six main characters of my comic The Challengers, so three down, three to go. For those unfamiliar, this guy is Adam, the slightly more "main" main character than the other main characters character, and de facto leader of the group. He has the ability to alter kinetic energy, which allows him to fly, move super fast, hit people super hard... stuff like that.

I like doing these expression sheets cause they're really helping me pin down the different faces of the characters in ways I didn't think of before. For example, Adam's supposed to be half-Korean, so I studied how Asian eyes are shaped. They're still a little stylized but I think it makes a difference.

Adam's scarf has a subjective length. It's always exactly as long as whatever length will make it look the coolest in his current pose. Artistic license, yo.

Alright so I was on vacation a few weeks ago and all I thought to bring for drawing was a sketchbook, a mechanical pencil, and an eraser. So I drew Garrus from Mass Effect:

This next one was really fun. I've always wanted to do it since pretty much everyone else on DeviantArt has (the original meme is like a decade old now). Took me long enough but I finally got around to it.

So yeah, that was a cool bit of self-reflection, and a sort of excuse to showcase my own artistic background and such.

Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:13 pm
by Spritedude
One extra thing. I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but in the expression sheet above, I purposefully drew the full body pose to look like the old "Draw this again" meme from the very first post in this thread. So here's an updated version of that meme, complete with a fully shaded version of the above pose.


Man, I sure do a lot of these before and after comparisons of my own art. Maybe I just like the reminder of my own progress, or maybe I hope it'll inspire someone else when they see I wasn't always at this level. Or maybe I just like showing off, I dunno.

Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:04 pm
by е и ժ е я
Looking great there, Sprite. You've definitely improved in just about every way imaginable. Your current work shows momentum, weight, and displays a much-improved sense of design and composition.

Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:55 pm
by ScottyMcGee
Love seeing "Draw This Again" challenges! Great work!