Saturday, February 22, 2014

amateur art #9 - mitsuru kirijo

it's been (or at least feels like) it's been a while since I did a sketch using colored pencils. In fact, I think the last time I used colored pencils (and not graphite) was ... when I drew cloud from Final Fantasy VII, back in art post #1. So I'd say we're about due. Today's inspiration comes out of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. I recently got an art book containing a lot of the designs from that game, and had decided to go with Mitsuru Kirijo, the pre-pre-law student and Marin Karin spammer. Here's what I was able to put together:


I noticed after I scanned it that the arms needed shadows badly. I was able to fix it pretty quickly (along with that fold on her left boot, which is a little thick), but my scanner died quickly after, so I can't really upload the new one yet. The scanner will probably get fixed at some point, so I'll upload the updated version then. Sorry 'bout that.

I'm getting ever-closer to generating my own work. This one in particular has probably had the least influence from someone else's drawing, and I was not shooting for a 1:1 copy of anything. The drawing is something of a composite of the numerous pictures my art book had of Mitsuru. I'll include a video (not made by me) of the book below, so that you can see what kind of reference material I had. The video also happens to have one of my favorite battle themes from the game. The pose was taken from the image at the 44 second mark, but does have some variation (the arms for instance). The rest of the details were taken from her in-game image, which I'll post beneath the video. 

A fairly high percentage of this drawing is my own work, something I'm finally, finally starting to get the hang of. I'd used a lot of close-up reference for the face, but almost nothing else is copied exactly. This time, I tried to just get a vague sense of the shape of each component, and do my best to recreate that in my own way. I would focus more on learning "how" the original artist would convey information. So, take the knees for instance. They're fairly simple shapes, but you'd be incredibly surprised how much slightly moving a single detail to the left or right affects the resulting pose. My goal in this case was to learn exactly how and why that happens, and how to do that myself.

I learned a lot and was able to use a lot of the skills I've gained from drawing up until now. The shirt folds, scarf, skirt and boots were all majorly done with my own estimations of where to apply shadows. This was because the original pose really didn't have those details to begin with. In cases where I needed to know where the shadows go, I would only take brief glances at the more detailed pictures in the book. I'd even made a point of not looking too closely at it; like, there was a minimum distance I tried to maintain between my nose and the book.

The original artist, Shigenori Soejima, draws his characters incredibly tall and thin, so my original 'pose only' sketch took that into account. I also took care to retain what I'd learned about drawing motion into a pose. In particular, the curvature of the arms and resting weight of the legs had to be done multiple times before I thought they looked right. When I started to lay outlines and color on top of the pose sketch, I started with the hair (as you can usually do that without having to worry about it later), and moved on to the sword, as it's the front layer of any overlap. Because I did that, I had to decide on the current position of the right hand; I'd originally wanted to have her grasping it or wiping it with a cloth.

I'm definitely pleased with it, but as always there are things about it that could have gone better. The skirt is not solidly colored in. Mitsuru's skirt color is somewhere between black, purple and brown, a color I just didn't have a pencil for. I was able to make a good composite color by lightly using all 3, but it didn't make for a good fill. You can see the pits of the paper extremely clearly. The hands (the right in particular) were of my own design. I had to draw, erase, and re-draw them several times over, but was ultimately able to get a decent shape. Having said that, they still could have been more accurate to human hands. I know something is missing or "wrong" but I can't tell exactly what yet. I think the palm needs to be darker so that it looks like it recedes farther back. Also, I rushed the red scarf, and it looks a bit like octopus tentacles.

Altogether though, I think it surpasses Cloud, which was one of my favorites leading up to this. I think I'm ready to go back to using the tablet, but I'm thinking the next post will be something "written". We'll see. 

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