Art Smash:Or, Stuff You'd Think I'd Know but Don't

9 min read

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I'm now celebrating seven months on :dalove: but on top of that, I'm celebrating just over a year's worth of trying to give art a substantial shot in my life.  So I'm taking a quick look back...

I always grew up around art. I'm a part of a family that loves going to museums and galleries, loves to read, and loves to make things for fun. I also studied art in school--not the practical side of making art, but the theoretical stuff, like art history, historical preservation, and appreciation.  In my spare time, growing up, I doodled and tried to draw, but right around the time I hit high school I stopped drawing. i think it's because that's around the time I decided to devote my life to writing. So high school up until now, that's been my major creative output in my life (besides music).

Grad school kind of reopened my eyes to art because my program has awesome classes like "writing for comics and manga" and I also took a few workshops on graphic novels. Add to that art workshops at cons, and my interest exploded. Writing is still my #1, but I'm studying art because I want to make my own comics someday, and have that be a part of my "writer identity." So last January, I impulsively got a tablet, got Manga Studio, and started making digital art for the first time in my entire life. I figured this is also the best time to do it, because when I graduate from school it's back to the daily grind, which means I'll have less time to devote to art and writing.

What's great about dA is that everyone's been so kind and encouraging, so even though I'm a noob, a lot of times you guys make me feel more substantial than that. :heart:  But I still occasionally feel light years behind everyone when I look at other artists' works and compare them to my own. There are a lot of basic things that I don't know how to do. I couldn't figure out how everyone got their line art to look so snazzy and clean; I couldn't figure out coloring or shading or anything like that.  And I knew most of it was talent and knowledge, but I also knew that a part of it came from understanding how to utilize digital software to its fullest potential.

So to me, my most recent art that I uploaded feels like a HUGE personal breakthrough, because I finally started to figure things out! This part of the journal is going to be a breakdown of that piece. If you're curious you can read on; mostly it'll show you how much in the beginner stage I still am :D but maybe there will be something in it to help you out. (I personally feel like most of the people I watch already know this stuff). 

I've wanted to draw Link for a long time; :D he's one of my oldest and favorite characters. And since I needed a stress break, I decided to draw him...but I really wanted to try and evolve my style with him, and I'm proud of my art because I think I have done things differently in this one.

I did all of my artwork in Manga Studio EX...I recently upgraded to Manga Studio 5 but the layout with it is completely different from what I'm used to, so I didn't want to get into that yet. Anyway, since I worked with MS Debut up until Christmas, I didn't realize that EX had a lot more tools to play with.  Here's my checklist of things I'd never done before until yesterday :heart: (Yes, they're all WELL DUHs):

:bulletblue: After using the Brush pen to line my sketch, I played around with the Filters. To get cleaner, more uniform lineart, I used the Filters menu, selected Line Adjust, then selected Line Width Correction. This thickened up the lines so they looked more uniform. I did this about three times in a row. There are also options to Edit Line or use the Dust Filter to help smooth the lines, but I didn't really play around with these much.

:bulletblue: I used tutorials for the first time for my art! Namely these:
:thumb340979318::thumb251756029: Gold Step by Step tutorial by CGCookie

:bulletblue: I used the Manga Studio Hair tutorial and followed it to the letter for Link's hair. When I couldn't find the Pencil in the list of items needed, I explored the program and realized for the first time there was a drop down menu with additional items I could use--up until then I used just the pens and tone brushes. That's it. So, I felt like an idiot :D but realized I loved the textures with the pencils...after using it for Link's hair, I realized I could play with shading better (which, up until then, I just used Brush A). So that's how I did all of my shading. Now, the second hair tutorial is a Paint Tool SAI program, so the tools were different (as far as I know, anyway)...but when I read through it I didn't realize that one of the ways artists make their colors smooth and blendable is by simply blurring the layer. :facepalm: So that was a huge epiphany for me. 

:bulletblue: I did all of the shading with the Pencil (soft), and then used Filters again and blurred the layer via the Gaussian Blur setting. I did this for Link's tunic, hat, and cape. For Link's leather, pants, and undershirt, I used the Blur tool, but at a lesser setting to keep the textures. 

:bulletblue: For the gold tutorial, I figured out how to use the Eyedropper tool for the first time, ever. Whenever I saw palette adoptables on dA or things that showed the color schemes (via little those little dots or swabs) I never quite knew the extent of what you could do with that. I couldn't figure out how artists got to match the colors exactly.Whenever I've done coloring for all my art, I've manually mixed the colors just by eyeballing it and guessing. So when I realized MS EX had an eyedropper tool, I tested it out on the Gold tutorial. I borrowed colors for each of the layers and brushed them on with a dot brush to make it look like hammered gold. Then I used the Blur filter to help smooth things out. If I would've started out knowing about the Eyedropper tool I would've finished art soooooooooooo much faster than before. I also would've used it to get Link's hair a color more accurate to the Skyward Sword manga, but his hair was already done by the time I used the eyedropper. Oh well; at least I know about it now, but again, I feel :dummy: because I'm sure this is common knowledge for digital artists. 

Yup. That's it. Those three teeny things--Line Adjust, Blur, and the Eyedropper--really made my work look better, in my opinion. And that's a big reasson why I'm so proud of A Lion of Hyrule. I think it's my best- looking deviation to date. I kinda wish I could go back and clean up all my old artwork now that I know about these options, but the best and most efficient thing I could do is use this for all new artwork going forward. I can't wait to keep on improving (as well as continue to learn the reeeeeally basic stuff that'll help clean up my art)!

© 2013 - 2021 kristinaelyse
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Draxonis-LupusVI's avatar
Keep moving forward.
CHRISwillar's avatar
PRISMkidd's avatar
Way to go Kristina!!!!! Never give up and keep up all the fantastic work!!!! :iconbummiesplz: That was a very interesting read, too. X3 I can't wait to see what the future holds for you. :)
kristinaelyse's avatar
:iconiloveyouplz: Thank you so much!
PRISMkidd's avatar
You're very welcome~ You really do deserve it. :iconhappyhappyplz:
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