Earth - A picture "grows" (...and some off-topic talk xD)

Hello world wide web world!

As I promised you last time, I'll be showing you the finished painting of my Marvel OC today! But not only this, I'll also show you something interesting: the work process of my painting. See how I transform a very rough pencil sketch into a fully colored painting that (hopefully XD) looks as though one took it right out of a comic book.


Also, I'll be telling you some off-topic things - but you know me, I like to rant about things, especially if it comes to movies, and especially a ceeeeertain one.

In fact I'm writing this entry right after I watched Thor: The Dark World with my mother – that is, I made her watch it with me *laughs* (Just as I made her watch Avengers with me last week). Actually I'm surprised she even agreed on doing this, but probably it's because I've still been like “Omg mom you just NEED to see it, Loki is SO cute there” ever since I got the Blu-ray on Wednesday. I was so happy it arrived one day earlier than the official publishing date, so I spent the whole afternoon watching the movie.


But Wednesday generally has been a Loki day to me, you know? See, it had been a day I dreaded, because I had two presentations in school on the very same day and I'm scared of things like this. I don't like it when all eyes are on me, it gets me nervous and panicky... But since I bested the demon and survived (wow, not exaggerating at all here, huh? XD) I felt I deserved a reward – EVERY hero gets a reward after a battle after all! (So now I'm being a hero?!) What did I do in that case?

Well, I can tell you what I did – right after school was over I went to a nearby comic book store that's on my way home. I've only been there once before because you have to know, going alone into small stores and talking to strangers, including shop owners, is something else I'm kind of scared of (yeah I can tell what you're thinking: “She's got quite the issues – does she have some kind of social anxiety disorder?!” =.= So what if I do, hm?). The first time I went there I didn't dare to enter the store at once and instead went past it four or five times until I finally made myself go inside >>;


This time though I took a deep breath, went inside and made my way straight for the counter and went: “YOU can help me today.” I think I was half wishing the ground would swallow me up but I still told the shop owner that I usually read Manga and that I'm now searching for some Thor Comics. He told me that there was a Season One volume of Avengers but I told him (and I think I blushed when I said it) that I'm more interested in something that has more... Loki. >///> (Alright, alright, I DID blush. Happy now?).

Eventually I did buy a new comic book of Thor and also let the shop owner put another volume of Thor away so I can pick it up next week X//D And I guess it's a good thing I did, because I already finished reading Thor Season One and the one I bought wednesday, Thor: Godstorm.


By the way... I realized that I like the Loki in the comics just as much as I like Tom Hiddleston's version in the movies X///3 And it makes me giggle every time when Loki is thinking of some new schemes and Thor is stepping riiiiight into his traps. Honestly – every time there's a panel of Loki I cannot help but to smile, it's strange hm? But the comics also made me dislike Odin all the more (didn't think that was possible, I already didn't like him in the movies >> I mean seriously Odin, setting stinging blood gnats on poor Loki? UNFAIR! >O<).


Aaaanyway, this all was actually just meant as a side note... *giggles* I suppose it got a little longer than I expected, but hey, don't say I didn't warn you I was going to rant!



Now on to the actual matter of this entry: my painting “Earth” and the character in it!

As I've told you before I'm really inspired by Marvel and their superheroes – and villains – so I decided to make an attempt on creating my own hero. It started as experiment, out of curiosity to see, if I could turn my own life into a story worth to be told about in a comic book/ a graphic novel. And well... It went better than expected. Actually it really went VERY well and I'm happy with the concept I came up with X3


After I read a bit into the matter of creating a superhero here and on some other websites, I began writing a concept of my own – and before I knew it, I had written about five pages of a concept for my villainess.

I was toying a bit with the concept of Thor and the fact that there are only humans, no gods on Midgard (earth) and so I wondered, well, what if there WERE gods in the past, but they died because humans gradually kill nature? And what if there's one person who seems to be a human, but has always felt different... And eventually discovers she has power of nature & plants and happens to be earth's last goddess who'll bring about the worlds end, so nature can recover at last? That's roughly my concept for her *giggles* Not bad, hm? I had fun thinking of it (and also of the possibilities this offers as far as Fan Fiction writing goes X3 I love doing things like that, it's a fun and useful writing practice to me.).


Based on this concept I wanted to draw an illustration of her – but not just ANY illustration, but one that's kind of drawn in Comic style. So I first made a pencil sketch [1] (keeping the “How to draw the Marvel Way” video in mind that I had seen a few days prior) showing her in battle, as one with nature, and eventually inked it digitally in Manga Studio Debut [2]. But unlike the way I ink usually I scarcely hatched the shadowy parts of the image, but instead filled them with solid blacks, aiming for a dramatic comic book look. You may have seen the WIP of my inks before, but I included a picture of the finished inks this time so you can compare it to the sketch.

With the inks done I exported them and began coloring them, first blocking in the flats for the colors, but focusing mainly on the character [3] without doing much background work. Saving it as an extra file called “earth_flats” I continued to work on a new file and began to paint a rough background, deciding to get some lighting done before I actually begin shading. [4] I decided some bright areas behind my character would spark the interest, especially since she's wearing dark clothes, so she'd stand out.

Then the tedious part began: blending the background [5]. This took me way too long, at least two or three hours (but admittedly, I was half busy watching Thor 1 while doing this xD; ) but in the end it was worth all the effort: the grass now looked more detailed than it actually is and the sky in the background became nice and smooth, but not TOO clean looking as it would have, if I had merely used a gradient ( I generally rather paint my own gradients rather than letting the software do the job for me, it looks more natural this way, believe me).

As I finished the background, I also did something else at this step: I went back to do some research. I found this awesome website and took a look at how other Comic Artists paint dark brown hair, and I realized they often also use solid black a lot for it as well. So before I went on painting, I added some more black too to give the hair more thickness and flow.

Then the fun part finally was there: shading [6]! At times this can get annoying to me too, but I generally like doing this because its amazing to see how just a few shadows can make a flat color look three dimensional all of sudden. Though this part also took me a few hours, I ended up being rather happy with the result. It's different from how I usually shade though: if I paint illustrations in my normal style, I tend to take colors from the background to shade and add highlights, so the character blends well with their surroundings. Blending is something important for my style anyway, also if it comes to brush strokes: I like smooth transitions between colors better than hard edges. For this Comic Book Style attempt I tried a kind of cell shading style though, intentionally leaving hard edges here and there.

Finally done with all the shading I went over to the finishing part [7]: I merged the layers of the character, copied it, filled it with an orange-ish color and tried some layer modes so the color would affect the painting underneath and make the colors look more harmonic and fitting to the background. Furthermore I also added some kind of “halo” behind my character to make her look as though she glows and added some effects to the background as well (such as darkening the background a bit at some places. And the rest – the text boxes and the title? Well, I actually did them just for fun *laughs* But I liked them so much that I eventually decided to leave them there.


Doesn't look too shabby for my first attempt of a Comic-Style illustration, hm? :3 Let me tell you, I'm REALLY happy about it – and not just happy, also proud, which is rare for me. Maybe I'll be doing something like this again soon, but first I have some other things to work on... A comic book page and some school project about Manga. I might be telling you details about this some time later.

For now I plan on finishing this article though, there's some chinese noodles in the fridge and they're calling my name – can you hear them? XD


Have a nice weekend, everyone! And be sure to leave me a comment or two :3


~ Yasao

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Asa (Saturday, 22 March 2014 21:39)

    Once again I am the first and proud of it. *nod nod* I like your article very much and i would like to see more of your WIP 's here. Because they look really pretty and awesome. Next time we can go together to the comic store. I will go on to support you.
    Thy little Sis xD