[Art Process] Hazardous Combination

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By sonicolas

Welcome to the third entry of my Art Process blog series.
This time, we'll be looking at Hazardous Combination, featuring Ushio and Tora (from Manga and TV series Ushio to Tora).

Hazardous Combination by sonicolas
Click on the image above for the full published resolution!

Laying Down the Idea

Ushio-to-tora-1 by sonicolas

So I wanted to draw one of my favourite duos. To start off, due to the nature of the show, it had to be some sort of dynamic pose. The idea here was to use the spear as main dynamic aspect and have the characters positioned around it. At the time, it felt okay to pursue with this above idea, so I ran away with this for the next step.

Ushio-to-tora-2 by sonicolas

And for no real reason, I decided to be different from the previous two pictures and start with value painting. The general idea of the picture has also drastically changed, as I figured that it wouldn't work. I think it had something do to with Ushio's hair being too much in the way, and my inability to properly imagine or draw Tora's pose from that angle. I though it weird. In any case, working with greyscale colours made it very easy to change stuff up on a whim as soon as I wasn't satisfied.

Normally, the above doesn't constitute a good value painting. I guess I got a little impatient or forgot to take a screenshot of the very final greyscale image.

Visualising the End Result

Ushio-to-tora-4 by sonicolas

As soon as I warm up to the idea of cementing the poses, I block colours onto the image by using another layer. I would set the rough layer in Multiply blending mode and apply the colours on a new layer, to show a bit more what I want to accompliosh.

Endless Refining Time

Ushio-to-tora-5 by sonicolas Ushio-to-tora-6 by sonicolas
 Ushio-to-tora-7 by sonicolas Ushio-to-tora-8 by sonicolas

And now it's the repeated passes over the image. Because my rough was very.. rough, it's not unusual to see things also changing drastically in this step. The major things I can point out are Tora's teeth, Ushio's hand, Ushio's face (really! compare it with the first few steps, it's pretty funny) & the lighting effect.

Ushio-to-tora-9 by sonicolas

Most of the destructive details are added near the end of the picture. I tend to work on a single layer per character, so I leave the risky stuff for the end. Most notably, I refer to Tora's hair/tail blue shading to create a bit of depth illusion, the light aura overlapping Ushio's normal lighting, and the hair highlight.

Finishing Touches

Hazardous Combination by sonicolas

I have a love-hate relationship with this step. Sometimes, trying to add that oof to the picture is fairly difficult, since it's about the same as throwing paint on a canvas and hope it sticks and produces something good. For this picture, it definitively was; I had no idea what to do with the plain bottom left side of the picture for instance.

Adding random particles and fog usually does the trick. And eventually, it chained on creating more detailed aura on both Ushio and the spear.

Or course, you spot errors or non-worked areas previously unseen like Tora's arm.
Also a few colour and lighting adjustments on the reds.


If the changes are hard to see from the individual thumbnails above, I've prepared animated compilation. I tend to cycle through my saved snapshots with my gallery viewer like so. Because it's fun.

Ushio-to-tora by sonicolas

And this concludes this entry.
If you're interested in the (rather slow) progress, I tend to log them over twitter or host a stream at Picarto.

© 2016 - 2021 sonicolas
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