6.11.2014

DEATH STALKER! -- Process for new coloring method ...

Tried the new coloring method on a new character, the Death Stalker, and I thought "Why should I deprive the world of seeing my process? Who am I to keep that from them? Some kind of asshole? Nay, not I!"

So with that said, here's how I get shit done.

STEP 1: Find a sketch I did of a completely different character several weeks ago. I think this was when I was trying to work out the costume for Sabra Stingray.

Anyway, I scanned that into the Mac and moved to ...

STEP 2: I inked her up in Manga Studio. Love that program. Changed everything about the way  I work. Also helps that I have a 22 inch Cintiq monitor to draw on. That means all those different colored lines are done on different layers. I worked out costume details and and shaped the character of the character a bit more (if that makes sense).

Pretty drastic difference from that little sketch.

STEP 3: Next I flatted in colors and played around with her final color scheme. This is one of my favorite steps -- playing with color, not the flatting. Flatting is tedious and boring. Color theory is amazing and not boring. I have to reign myself in when I'm working out the colors because I'll just keep trying combo after combo after combo. I originally had a purple cold scheme in mind for her until I decided I wanted her to be adaptable to urban and desert setting. Hence the cool gray jump suit -- gray is strictly value and blends in easier with most stuff. It should be a broken up, muddled mix of grays and browns but camo looks stupid on the page and it's a pain in the ass for the artist and colorist and right now I'm both of those people and it's my character so I get to do what I want.

And doing what I want meant going to ...

STEP 4: So here's the airbrush style render with fog and lighting effects (because SCREW YOU, BACKGROUNDS). I'm still  working out the best way to get speedy on this style. I'm not entirely sure it will work for REVENGE of the OCTAGON. I want a unique look -- something different from the other pulp and neo-pulp books. Don't get me wrong, I love those books, but this one's mine and it's gonna look different.

The best way I can describe the overall look would be if you saw police lights spinning in the night while it's lightly raining to create fog or a mist in the air while flashbulbs are going off. It's dark -- the book is almost always set at night -- but there's color and light in the dark as well as something for those to reflect off of. That's where the rain or fog comes in. There's a nice glamour to it, a slick surface sheen, but underneath all that is the dirt and mud and scum.

So, yeah ... I just need to perfect that and find the time to do it all while I'm off on this little European mission I got coming up for the Army Reserves (more on that when I'm allowed to talk about it). Either that or I gotta find some ace who already knows what I'm talking about and wants to work for cheap up-front with a  good back end cut. And that just ain't gonna happen.

Anyway, for STEP 4 I added colored light to play with -- the yellow behind her -- then dropped in the fog. I tried to do the render as quick as possible while staying accurate on the details. On my last post I notice that I missed Black Phantom's belt and it really drives me nuts now. I used just black and white for a lot of the render so I could work over any color, but that get's tricky when you get into yellow and greens -- they can get ugly and muddy when you add black, and Death Stalker here has both in her outfit. But I managed to handle it okay. I definitely colored this piece faster than the last one, so I got that going for me ...

So I'm slightly pleased with this one. I still don't entirely like using the airbrush, though. It's took damn soft and the harder edges are too hard. I need to learn some of the new techniques for Photoshop I've seen going around. But the, there's the Army sending me off to somewhere remote enough that we likely won't have internets so online tutorials will be waiting for ... awhile.

Anyway, make with the feedback. Stroke the ego or flame the comments. Either way, I just want to engage in a discussion about the piece and the process.

Almost forgot: Death Stalker is the name of one of the most deadly scorpions in the world and it's found in tons of places, to include the Kasmhir. One of my bed friend's, Yasmin Anderson, is from the Kashmir, so when I read that I figured I'd dedicate this character to her. DEATH STALKER, THE KASHMIRI SCORPION. She's a fighter for Kashmiri independence from the forces in Pakistan and India that would claim the Kashmir as their own. And she has a lot of nice sweaters.

Also, that roscoe she's holding? It's a VZ-61 Skorpion! See what I did there? The silencer was just to add some mass to the silhouette, but then that made think more about making her versatile as a mountain and desert hunter and junk and stuff and now she's a lot tougher character which is totally cool.

I had fun.

S.