About this time last year I did a post – Drawing 0: Pirates – because it was my intention to draw every month in 2020. Alas like almost everything that plan went down the drain. To be honest my 2021 goals are basically “same as 2020 but I really, really mean it this time!”
This was an illustration of a christmas flashback scene in my Sanctuary fanfic Our Darkest Hour. John/James/Helen ship obviously. Now there’s quite a few things that I’m not happy with. For a start I still need to work on likeness, and skin shading and facial expression. Lighting sources/appropriate shading for the lighting very much too.
This is my “art timeline” over the past few years. I know it’s hard to see small but for the most part there has been an improvement. I’ve definitely got better at doing hair! In some of the older drawings I can pick out things that I think I did better. I’m particularly pleased with the belt sash thing Myka’s wearing in the pirates drawing for example, and I think I did the clothing on Jedi!Belle pretty well.
Now likeness is a tricky one because yes the two Bering and Wells drawings look a lot more like Bering and Wells, than the above Sanctuary drawing does of John, James and Helen. BUT that likeness was achieved by finding and copying an exact reference which meant I was limited on pose. The biggest leap forward with this Sanctuary drawing was in developing the pose.
The 2016 and first 2017 drawing were straight tracings over a reference I found on google. The other two 2017 drawings, the 2018 drawings and the first 2019 drawing were straight referenced from 3D modelling poses. I think I used 3 different programs in that time. The two Bering and Wells drawings were just done from photo references. Again very specific, no deviation. I could only do what I managed to find.
With this Sanctuary drawing I had a picture in my head that I wanted to bring to life. I tried to do a 3D model reference and gave up pretty quickly. Instead I found some references that were close (a starting point), and then I found more references and I even took some selfie photos of myself for arm positioning and stuff. It was all very hacked together. I’m pretty pleased with it to be honest.
With the last drawing I did (the Pirates one) my primary criticism was the lack of narrative. It was basically just a portrait, there was no action, which I think added to the lifeless/emotionless feel of the piece. That isn’t a problem with the Sanctuary drawing, it’s a much truer illustration. However, the trade-off with drawing more from my imagination, is I don’t have such specific references – which has hurt capturing the likeness. Same with clothing folds and the like but I very much believe though that it’s a step forward.
I have January’s project in mind already – an illustration of John and James dancing at the club from the fic I’m currently writing. Cross fingers that by this time next year I’ll have at least 12 new drawings for an art timeline, and hopefully showing considerable improvement over the course of the year. That’s the goal!