(semi)Weekly art wrap-up, weeks #5 and #6

I suppose it would be boring if I were predictable and remembered to update these every week.. right?  I’m just going to let the links and preview pics do the work here tonight – I’ve got work left to do on a few projects right now.  One of those projects may or may not include Badges.  Shhhh.

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013016 – Color puddle

013116 – Revenge of Poe Doodle-y

020116 – Sil face

020216 – Li Ming wip

020316 – Li Ming wip 2

020416 – Li Ming finished

020516 – Avalon Trevelyan, fashion disaster

And then… the week the Overwatch portraits took over… and yes, I’m currently planning on attempting all 21 characters.

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020615 – Tracer

020716 – Winston

020816 – Happy Birthday Faebelina

020916 – Valkyrie Mercy wip

021016 – Valkyrie Mercy wip 2

021116 – Lúcio

021216 – Jack Morrison sketch

Weekly Art Wrap-up, Weeks #3 and 4

Uhm, so I managed to forget this not once, but twice.  I’ve had a bit on my mind these past few weeks.  Time to play catch up!

 

Both weeks have some WIP days as I work towards a ‘big’ picture for the week.  Week 3 focused on Star-Lord’s 40th anniversary, spilling into week 4 which is also full of Dragon Age as I finally finished Inquisition and the Trespasser DLC.  Also a few different painty experiments and new brush testing mixed in for funsies.

 

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Weekly Art Round-up #2

This was pretty much what I’d call a restless art week, where nothing really fell together. I felt like I  was kind of all over the place while not really going anywhere.   There was one big exception though – Wednesday I posted a birthday present for Mr. Ammo featuring Arnas from Nights of Azure.   The rest of the week was experimentation and sketching.

Thursday was spent working on a wip of a pic inspired by the final battle from The Force Awakens but.. it’s been out for nearly a month and shouldn’t be spoilery by now!

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I ended the week happier than I started, and I’m hoping this coming week will be even better.

Weekly Doodle Round-up #1

I’ve mentioned a few times that I post daily doodles.  They all go to my Tumblr and occasionally my Twitter, but I haven’t thought a lot about putting them here until .. well, just recently.  Instead of daily (which I would probably get tired of in a hurry), I’m going to try a weekly format.  The current plan is to post these on Saturday, so the pics will be the week ending on Friday – except for this first edition which gets an extra day because.. Happy New Year!

 

I haven’t quite worked out the best way to do this, so I’m starting out with a graphic and links to the posts.  My main reasons for this project are:

  • Getting in the habit of using this blog more frequently, and hopefully writing more.
  • Better tracking of my doodles for personal reference.
  • Continue to share my artsy efforts, experiments, and struggles.

Let’s get to it!

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There might have been a theme.

Yep.  Still in the Star Wars zone.

Most of this week was spent working on something that I can’t post for a few days, so almost all of the doodles were quick warm ups.  I picked up a new brush to try out, and it’s now been added into my Manga Studio sketching arsenal.

Speaking of brushes, almost all of my MS brushes come from Frenden, and he just released a big update to his MS brush packs this week.  I highly recommend them – I use the ink ones a lot.   So on that note … I’m off to do some updating and sketching!

 

2015: Arting Back with Fight

It seemed simple enough.  At the beginning of January I decided I would get back into the habit of posting daily doodles on my Tumblr.  This wasn’t new for me – I had a three year streak of daily drawing and posting going at one point in time.  However,  my former job finally took its toll on me mentally and physically to the point where I couldn’t keep up; and for about a year drawing occurred less frequently and sometimes painfully.

This year I decided it was time to get back on track with regular posting.  I’ve actually found the “fire and forget” approach to posting doodles to be surprisingly helpful.  I don’t obsess quite so much over details or lack of perfection,  it’s just a sketch or doodle.  I can experiment; feelings and thoughts captured in a tiny moment.  I may look back on a sketch and go “ack”, or see that I was having a bad day, but there’s a small bit of exp earned from each one.

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February, July, November and December were especially tough picks.

 

The Recap.

The very first doodle of the year featured Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins.

 

I started playing DA:O in December.  I’d never played any of the DA games, but I loved Mass Effect and I did have a copy of DA:O Ultimate Edition sitting around on my pc for ages.  Needless to say, I got really in to it.  Most of January and February were dedicated to doodles of my favorite Dragon Age characters, and I continued to draw many of them all year long.  I also started a “Medieval Guardians of the Galaxy” series, featuring Quill, Nova and Gamora.  I even started designing Drax, Rocket and Groot but never found an idea that worked.  I was enjoying these projects a lot because I was trying new and different ways to render my lined art.

Later in the spring I started playing Final Fantasy XIV.  That led to some sketches (and moogles), and being exposed to a different visual style of video game art was refreshing.  A few months later.. the Star Wars hype started kicking in, and I returned to SWToR.  I spent a lot of time getting reacquainted with characters I hadn’t played for well over a year and preparing for the game’s new expansion.  Star Wars was pretty much my childhood and has inspired me in many ways my whole life.  I read the comics, played with the toys, I wanted to create magical, exciting things. Sketches and doodles based on that galaxy far, far away was of course a thing that was going to happen.  Star Wars art from various forms of media consumed a good chunk of the late end of the year.

The Badges.

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The final collection.

Drawing badges was exciting,  challenging and a heck of a learning experience.  This was also the first year that I started using Photoshop CS, so I began to develop Actions and similar processes to help speed up my work flow.  This really helped me during the entire badge season, and I was pleased with the consistency and quality.

The Progress.

I’ve been pretty comfortable with my “comic book-y” style and method for a few years now.  Artists will always compare themselves to other artists, we can never escape that.  Being happy as an artist can be both true and false at the same time.  There are days that you’ll hate every line that you put down, and wish you could draw this type of art like that artist. Near the end of the badge season I felt like I was hitting a ceiling and I needed to shake things up. I was feeling frustrated and dissatisfied with my art.

I’ve always felt that painting, even digitally, was a bit confusing to me.  I had adjusted very well to working inside nicely inked lines, or even inside my rough and loose lines when sketching.  Painting seemed like a mythical study that I couldn’t quite grasp.  And of course, since I didn’t think I could do it, I really wanted to be able to do it.  I made a lot of progress with my digital coloring throughout the year, and by the end I felt like I was close to some kind of artistic breakthrough.  About a week ago I threw myself into tackling a fully painted image and managed to achieve that goal.  I’ve been pretty ecstatic the last day or two because at the start of the year, I never thought I’d be able to create an image like this.

 

I’m excited that I could end the year with this.  I’m excited that I felt like I could create something in a new way.  I’m excited for what I can accomplish in the coming year.  I’m not totally throwing away the style I’ve already developed, but I proved to myself that I can break out of my artistic comfort zone and surprise myself.  It’s been a long year, and I can look back and say, “I’m proud of myself and what I have created.”

Some days were still hard.  Like, really hard.  As in “just wanna give up” hard.  But I didn’t, and I won’t.  In 2016 I’ll still be drawing and posting every day, and pushing myself to think about my art in different creative ways.  Many thanks to my friends, family, and all who have supported and inspired me in 2015.

Fantastic Finale

We’ve reach the end!  It’s time for the IntPiPoMo finale!  I’m wrapping up my first blog challenge with pics from Final Fantasy XIV, featuring my Roegadame Isalenne Walkure.  Let’s get right to it, pictures 44-50 (and one bonus).  No spoilers, just pretty colors and some cool outfits.

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Isa the Hellsguard.
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The ‘real’ Isa hairstyle came about because of this robe.
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If you haven’t noticed, I love swirly colors.
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Quill, the most fabulous chocobo.
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Isa and her friends.
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Spriggans ftw.
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I’m the one that replays cut-scenes in different outfits.
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And we’re finished!  Time for fireworks!

That’s it for IntPiPoMo!  It was a fun challenge and I’m glad I managed to make it all the way through.  Now I’ll be challenging myself to keep this blog going with some posts about art, games, and things.  I’ll be juggling this a bit with my on-going daily doodle posting on Tumblr – but I’m going to try!

Stoic nod.

 

Enter the Agent

November is almost over, and so is my IntPiPoMo  pic spam.  I knew SWTOR was going to make it in here, but the hard part was narrowing it down to which alt or what story.  The male Imperial Agent is one of my favorite voices in the game, I’ve enjoyed this story the most so far, and I really dig my snarky mostly gray-to-light Operative.  Here are a few random, unorganized photos of his adventures (that’ll be pics 37-43 of 50).  I’ve tried to avoid blatant spoilers for the IA class story and expansions, but there may be some mild companion or location spoilers (and a guest appearance by Sol’s Bounty Hunter).

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This lighting takes 10 years off my Agent’s age.
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Sometimes you gotta let the Bounty Hunter get the good lines.
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I wanted to include this because it was Worth.  Every.  Dark Side point.
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Sure, go with it.
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Love these colors.
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I just like the Vendetta armor set a lot.
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Creepiness

The Zayne Carrick armor is awesome for Agents.  I used a mixture of it for 85% of his class story, and later in KotFE.  I should have included some photos of his post-chapter 9 outfits that I made, because wardrobe photos are important.  Maybe next time!

Artsy Arsenal

A common question that artists get is “what program do you use to make your art”.  It’s a fair question, since there are tons of programs available at various prices.  For someone just wanting to test out digital art, it can be a bit dizzying.  There’s no “perfect” program, there’s what’s comfortable and works for you.  So, here’s what works for me!

 

But first, a brief history of Ammo’s Arting and what led her to these choices.  I’ve used a few different programs on my art journey.  One of the earliest was OpenCanvas, which I haven’t used in years but was a great starter program for me.  It was relatively inexpensive and every update had some nice features added.  I could easily sketch, paint a bit, and do nice clean lines.  I also did some dabbling in the free version of Painter that came with Wacom tablets.  As my style grew and changed, I tried more recent, and full, versions of Painter.  I used that for quite a while until I realized that what I enjoyed drawing most was “inked”, illustrative-styled images.  Yes, basically, comic book-y.  Naturally Painter had great tools for that, I made a whole toolbox filled with different ink brushes.  But I felt that I wasn’t using the full potential of the program, my art brain couldn’t wrap around some of the advanced brushes and I felt like it was a bit wasted on me.  I wasn’t satisfied with coloring all of my art with Painter, so I started looking around.  Of course Photoshop is generally seen as the dream program for digital artists, but I started out with the lighter Photoshop Elements for my coloring.  Elements is really a great program for learning your way around digital coloring, and I used it for several years.  Moving on to more current tastes…

 

Sketching/Inking (line art):  Manga Studio EX 5.

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The first Manga Studio program I tried was 4.  I liked it, but the program is a bit hard on newbies.  I used it for quite a while back and forth with Painter, it had lots of great tools once you knew where to look and how to use them.  I put MS4 on the shelf for a bit, and became intrigued when MS5 was announced.  I tried it and was pretty amazed with the changes to the program.  It was now much more user friendly, had a more familiar layout, and I almost immediately fell in love with the feel of it.  I was never happy sketching in Photoshop, I still can’t get the hang of it… and a lot of my particular style starts with my crazy sketching.  I don’t press down very hard on my pen when I work, so whatever program I use needs to be able to catch my light, zippy strokes.. and MS5 is amazing for that.  I also have to mention Frenden’s amazing selection of brushes, several of which I play around with during sketching and one or two I use for all my line art.  I use this for almost all of my art, I do some coloring with it but for polished coloring, I use…

 

Coloring/Post-production/etc: Photoshop CC

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When I first started using Elements, there was no subscription plan for PS.  This year is the first year that I’ve actually started subbing to PS proper, and it’s been a fun learning experience.  I was able to move over my brushes, actions, and swatches easily.  I made a workspace I was comfy with.  It’s been great, and I’m very happy with my current art flow and continue to find ways to improve efficiency and creativity.  I still can’t sketch in it worth a damn, but I love using it for coloring art and editing pictures.  Photoshop is great at being exactly what you expect it to be, but again starting out “lite” with Elements is still a good choice.

 

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My go-to routine routine right now is definitely Manga Studio EX 5 and Photoshop CC.  Other good programs to check out, that are easier on the pocketbook, include Painttool SAI and Sketchbook.  I’ve played around with both, and they each have their own fun quirks and are easy to use and sketch with. Whenever I have a bit of an art funk, I like to shake things up by messing around in one of those programs.

A Mild Chance of Dragons

Originally I had planned to have an actual post of words today, but it’s headache-o-clock and words are hard.  We’re rolling ahead with more IntPiPoMo first.

I was late to the Dragon Age party, I played Origins last December for the first time.  I’d owned the Ultimate Edition for a while, I think I bought it while playing through Mass Effect 3 but decided to not start another large Bioware series right then.  Needless to say, once I started and got hooked, I consumed DA:O and it’s DLC as quickly as I could.  It’s been a little while since I poked through these folders… Onward with IntPiPoMo 28-36, featuring Silmeria Amell – Mage, Grey Warden, and Hero of Ferelden.

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Sil’s not taking your BS.
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DA:O’s auto screenshot feature is really nice
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Prepare to be romanced
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The Poet Tree.
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I should’ve recruited Shale sooner
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Mage + armor + big sword = winning.
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… awkward.
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Ser Pounce-a-lot ❤
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I get to keep my fave Awakenings team in DA2, sorta…

I don’t normally use Silmeria for a character outside of Warcraft, but it worked for DA:O.  I had mixed feelings at first about different PCs for the DA games, but now I totally get it.  I just got spoiled by Commander Shepard.

Photo Mode, TLOU Edition

Picking screencaps for The Last of Us is pretty difficult. I didn’t figure out how to use photo mode until about a third of the way into my first playthrough, and at that point I was just trying to survive the roller coaster ride.  I was completely wrapped up in the story, so when I did start taking caps it was usually an attempt to catch the interplay between Joel and Ellie. Later I started a playthrough to focus on the broken but sometimes beautiful world.  For this post I’ve settled on a small handful of non-spoilery images, because I have one friend that is still experiencing the game for the first time *cough*YouKnowWhoYouAre*cough*.   Moving on, 21-27 of 50.

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Best Ellie face. Ever.

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Bonus: Joel’s lament for coffee.

This was a game I had to play in short bursts at first, and later came the long sessions.  Clickers are terrifying and the hotel basement nearly broke me, but I went on. Then Fall arrived and I started Winter… I absolutely could not stop until I reached the end of the game.