Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Ultimate Vermin!

Hey e’rybody! It's Hannah, and it’s also high time to introduce a few new people to our little blog! 
I am pleased to present Finnegan, Lalitya and Babe! I would introduce their friend Ashley, but she is not available today, so maybe another time.
Don’t get overexcited, they aren’t real. These four folks (well, three, right now) are figures of my imagination, but they get along pretty well, and have endearing snark, so I might as well pop them out here for y’all to see.

 Okay, left to right: Finnegan Flannery, Lalitya Jobs, and Penelope “Babe” Farrow.  Actually, I won't often refer to them with those names - they prefer the code names Fox, Coon and Possum. See the resemblances? You may if you're from the South like I am.
The reason I said code names instead of nicknames is that these three are actually spies, with abilities as well as appearances that match their titles. I got the idea for this quite suddenly while my dad and my uncle were talking about something that was eating my uncle's barn kittens and leaving just the feet behind. Sorry, I might've warned you that this was not for the faint of heart... or stomach. In any case, they were guessing at what it might be: raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, possum, bobcat... and got to talking about the different characteristics of the animals. 
For example, a possum, or opossum, if you're picky, is slow and waddling and not the brightest beach ball in the drawer, but they sure as Mordor have a lot of resilience. 
Raccoons are way smoother than possums and a glop of a lot faster. Those are the ones you don't want to let loose before you shoot them (hypothetically speaking, of course). They can climb well, get into small spaces, are very clean, and good at teamwork. Two raccoons can go into a live-trap and both get out - one holds the door while the other get the food, like a very civilized varmint. But their weaknesses are shiny things and vanilla-filled marshmallows. Yes. 
Now foxes... ooh-hoo-hoo, foxes are not rumored to be wily and sly for nothing. We personally had a fox getting at our chickens a couple years ago, and holy frijoles, we don't know how he did it. Somehow that little thing climbed up the side of our chicken coop - there were claw marks to prove it - straight up the smooth, vertical wall, up into the rafters, climbed down the inside of the coop, grabbed a chicken out of the roost, climbed back up the inside and back down the outside with the chicken and escaped into the woods.
It's ridiculous. 
Going back to when I was listening to my dad and uncle's conversation: my uncle was telling us about a YouTube movie he watched about a fox that was getting out of all sorts of traps. The people who were trying to get rid of it had a nighttime motion-detecting camera and several baited live-traps. On camera, the fox went around to each of the traps and got the food out of them without getting caught, going in, getting the food, getting out, and continuing to the next buffet. The fox-afflicted persons in question only ever caught him because he stepped in a snare that was in the center of the circle of live-traps. In other words, it took a trap in a trap to catch him.

My weird little mind began thinking about how cool it would be to have the skills of a fox. What an awesome ninja-esque spy that would make you. Being a writer, my mind began throwing up character and story ideas, and being an artist, I just had to draw these atypically clear pictures of characters in my mind. 

So, the story, quite undeveloped as it is, is focused on Ashley Doyle, better known as Ash. She's a rookie spy, and having just joined the as-yet-unnamed spy corporation, the rookie gets dumped on a senior agent, being Finnegan Flannery, also known as Fox, also known as Finn, also known as Finn Flann, depending on who's talking to him. Usually just Fox. And by association, Ash meets Fox's regular partners, Latitya and Penelope. Lalitya prefers Coon. Formally, Penelope's called Possum, informally, they refer to her by her nickname, Babe. No one has yet figured out how Babe is short for Penelope. 

Okay, so, anyway, this particular picture was not enhanced on Photoshop at all, it's just mechanical and colored pencil. Ta-da!

It started out like this. No color.

This is half-way through the process... There's not much technique to speak of, as far as I know, just the basic "This color goes here, that color goes there, and please let's stay inside the lines!"

And voila! The finished product. If you're wondering what Fox is holding in his left hand, that's a rubber ball. It's part of his arsenal of tools. Don't laugh, he once broke out of jail with a pencil! To be fair, it was a mechanical pencil.

And here you have a bonus picture! Fox, Coon, and Possum in black and white! A precursor to a future post in which you will be rewarded with the lovely color version and a written bit of Ash's introduction to Fox.

And a second teaser of a future post:

Here's me with one of my newest tentative pieces of artwork. Excuse the picture quality, it's an iPhone picture. This picture that is shown is not even the finished product. I am currently (meaning today) working on doing one of these on canvas. And if that works out, I may sell it! See if you can guess what medium I'm working with. 

To God be the Glory,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Linh Cinder

GASP! It's been over a week! I thought I'd gotten over this forget-the-blog-procrastanitus! Well, fear not, I SHALL recover. It is my QUEST! ONWARD, TO DEATH AND GLORY!!! FOR NARNIAAAAAAA!

Oh, hey, it's Hannah, by the way - as per usual. I still have things to put up that have not yet been put up, one of which being the aforementioned other thing besides the last thing, or in other words, the thing I mentioned earlier, being the thing that I have not put up.

Linh Cinder

This was an about-a-week-long project, and also my first experience in wholly painting a piece of artwork on Photoshop, so I understand if it's a bit sketchy. Ha ha, sketchy. A bit not fully worked out.

This is based on a character from Marissa Meyer's Cinder, a futuristic Cinderella story. It's part of an eventually 4 book series, The Lunar Chronicles. In any case, in the beginning words of a Wikipedia summary, "Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing after World War 4, with her step-mother, Adri, and her two step sisters, Pearl and Peony. Cinder owns a booth in the market place, where she works as a mechanic with the family's android, Iko."

Yeah, that was a bit of a spoiler right there. Yup, Cinderella's a cyborg. Getting kinda funky, huh? Well, in this world, cyborgs are looked down upon, like a inferior race, even though they're just normal people who got in an accident and had to have cyborg parts implanted to save their life. Cyborgs don't get the same rights as un-cyborg people, and a lot of people hate them. So at the beginning, like in the typical fairytale, Cinder is treated like she's not a real member of the household. She works all day in the market to bring money to her family, but she's not allowed to keep any of it herself.

I'm not going to go on and on about the book, 'cause I've pretty much come to my point right here. This picture is supposed to be Cinder in the marketplace. I tried to follow the book's description of her as much as possible: mousy-brown hair, unfortunately unfeminine figure, the fault of her cyborg surgery when she was younger, thick mechanic's gloves to cover her metal hand, cargo pants with pockets to hold her tools, grease stains on her shirt and face. 

The original picture did not have gloves, as I accidentally forgot them, so I had to resketch and rephotograph it to add the gloves ('cause those are a pretty important part). And also, to get the human-looking attributes to the face and body instead of the more cartoonish drawings I normally do, I had to base it off of a picture of myself. Yes, I went outside and set up a tripod and took some weird pictures of myself, while Sarah, watering the plants, gave me some strange looks. But all in the name of art.

The digital painting took quite longer, since I'd never done it before, and since, of course, painting is not just a jog in the park. It takes some time to get it looking right. About halfway through the process, I began to have some computer problems. As in, there was not enough room left on the hard drive to save my next draft of the file. The Cinder file, once I was finished, took up 4.27 GB, out of my hard drive's 73.2 GB, most of which was already used up. Fortunately, I have a second hard drive, which is a whopping additional 465 GB, so I moved the files over. Disaster averted.

Okay, I think now would be a good time to say that this is an uncomfortable post for me. Because as it turned out, in the middle of working on this project, Sarah, who was reading through the series again, began to feel uneasy reading it, because in our family we are not supposed to read "love stories". It would take a long time to explain, but my mom and dad don't want us to be developing unrealistic views of what love really is. And, it being a fairytale, there is, as expected, romance. Since this was one of the book series that Trinity had previewed instead of Mama and Papa, we took the book, belatedly, to Mama, and asked her if it was okay that we had been reading it. After looking it over, she said she'd rather we didn't, but that we might be able to read it again in a few years. So. Maybe once the last two books come out, in 2015, we'll be able to read the whole series. So I'm not really recommending this series to you - it's a really well-written series, but since we're not allowed to read it... Anyway.

To God be the Glory,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hatter Madigan

Again, it's Hannah. Fear not, I assure you Sarah shall be posting again! But for the moment, my fan art is piling up on the back order. And so it's a coin flip between the two that I did a whole bunch of stuff - hours of computer time - on. 

This is my best rendition of a legendarily epic fellow named Hatter Madigan. Seriously epic. Like, on the same level as Batman, Halt, and Pinkie Pie. You might not think that the last one's that awesome, but you just don't know Pinkie. 
Anyway, Hatter is a character created by Frank Beddor in the Looking Glass Wars series, which I would recommend to you if you like fantasy or sci-fi or period drama or awesome things or chocolate chip cookies. He was, in fact, so cool that he got his own spin-off graphic novel trilogy. Hatter is loosely based off of Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, except with several big differences - Hatter is a very somber, very sane bodyguard; a skilled fighter known as a Milliner.

I based his appearance rather strongly on another character from the Looking Glass Wars, Homburg Molly

Hatter began as a sketch: 

So I put it into Photoshop and quickly realized I'd need to stretch him out considerably to keep him from looking short and plump.

So I took the original and added several virtual pounds of paint. When I was reading a book on writing by Gail Carson Levine, she stressed the importance of making several copies of my documents (she often had several hundred files at the end of a book, I believe) so that if you change your mind about deleting something, you don't have to recreate it by memory, you can just go back to an older draft. Since then I've done the same with my word documents and my Photoshop documents.

This is what my Hatter M file looks like now that I'm finished. Something I like to do is page through all of the files and see how it got from beginning to finished product. However, these files get so large and numerous that I have to move it to my secondary drive to keep it from overloading my computer's memory, which did nearly happen with one of my last projects. See, I still prefer to use Windows XP instead of the more recent versions Vista, 7, 8, and whatever else have you, so my family bemoans my very sluggish computer (that's one of the reasons I keep it - no one else wants to use a computer that takes ten minutes to start up and five to open a browser, even when it's Google Chrome!)
In any case, I worked on the sketch for several days and it came out like this:

As you can see, not the same as the finished product. For example, he looks like a zombie, his overcoat is missing it's fancy-schmancy decor, he's short with a hint of a potbelly.

Okay, so he's taller and thinner...

...And now with the help of the Liquify tool, I've given him a chiropractic adjustment. I called this de-hipping, just 'cause I made it look like he wasn't being all feminine and sassy. But he still looks positively ghastly in the face, and that's because I tried to follow a "painting a photo-realistic face on Photoshop" tutorial on Pinterest. First of all, this picture's not supposed to be photo-realistic, second of all, the person who made the tutorial was working off of a real picture, not a fuzzy idea in their head, and thirdly, I stink at following tutorials without skipping around impatiently. So I just went back to the original sketch, made the drawing's skin a tad rosier than white, tossed on a handful of brass buttons and heart appliques, and voilà!  

So this wasn't exactly a Photoshop tutorial on how to fill in a sketch. I kept a whole lot hush-hush, mostly because it's way too boring to write down step-by-step. When I do it, I just sort of feel my way around, making faces at my computer screen and erasing stuff and covering it up and finding references on what metal actually looks like and stealing the designs from people's boots and consuming large amounts of salty snacks and getting advice from my siblings and playing around with colors and freaking out because I thought I ruined everything and making teeny-tiny recalibrations and adjustments and basically spending a long time acting like I know what I'm doing until it looks okay. If you really want to know something about Photoshop and how to edit stuff, go ahead and ask, but all I can really say is that it helps a ton to have a mother and older sister who have absorbed the program and it's capabilities so much that they can do all sorts of freaky photo adjustments without going "Oooh, I wonder what this button does!"

Lastly, as far as I can tell, Vance Kovacs was the concept artist who made the Homburg Molly picture, so apologies, sir, for filching designs. I only did it because yours were awesome. 

Is that everything? Good, good...

To God be the Glory,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Creativity Warriors

It's me, Hannah. I have returned! And I have art.

This here was a sort of an off-the-wall idea. I was supposed to be sleeping, actually, when I sketched it, but I didn't expect the idea to stick and was just planning to outline it briefly. At around 11:00 pm. But it turned out well, yes?

The subjects here are based on Trinity and I (the one on the left being Trinity, on the right being me). The hairstyles are ours, as well as the fashion choice - Trinity specifically requested the left outfit. It came up because I was considering Trinity and I taking pictures for our other blog, A Quill In Her Quiver. I was hoping the pictures would reflect our personalities as well as our interests. But what I've really done the most of over the past few months is draw or do other artsy stuff instead of writing, so I've sort of been considering Trinity as the writey one (she's better at it anyway) and me as the artisty one (frankly, I'm the one who's better at that). So that's what I was thinking of when I made this picture.

See, what we're doing here is fending of the Bordum. The best way to do that is with creativity and imagination. Unfortunately, the powers of creativity only work at full strength when you get trapped, and that's where we are, with our backs against the wall - or back to back, that is. So Trinity and I whipped out our fancy vintage pen and palette and paintbrush (sable-bristle paintbrush, 'cause that's the best kind, so I've heard) and blasted the Bordum to bits with our Colorferno and Wordbullets (Trinity says hers look more deadly).
So we are the Creativity Warriors.
And yes, we destroyed the Bordum utterly, burned down their cities, and salted the earth.

In case you're wondering, Trinity's Wordbullets do spell out real sentences, which read:

  • Error. The computer flashed.
  • "Yeah, Mr. Incredible, you're the best." (a paraphrase from The Incredibles)
  • That's the thing about Jim, you never know what he's about to do.
  • I'm a better liar than I should be.
  • The robot's metal treads bumpity-bumped across the rough gravel.
  • I had never worn a crown before.
  • Once upon a time 
  • All was well. (Harry Potter)
  • Lightning crackled overhead.
  • "Fascinating," he said, cocking an eyebrow,
  • A ranger practices until he never gets it wrong. (Ranger's Apprentice)
  • Little Bo Peep had lost her sheep
  • At the stroke of twelve, she'd said. I had just assumed she was being melodramatic. Old ladies were like that sometimes.
  • "Stay away from me!"
  • The princess was the most beautiful in the land.
  • Look, I didn't want to be a demigod. (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief)
  • "I bet you don't even know what you're talking about."
  • "Why won't you trust me?"

And my Colorferno does not spell anything, it just looks cool.

This was just a sketch I photographed and messed with on Photoshop. The drawing itself is largely unedited, although I had to use the color replacement tool with white to take the orange cast off the photo, and I employed the burn tool for the shadows.
The Wordbullets are dozens of layers of text, some slightly warped, and the Colorferno is a bunch of smudged "paint". 

To God be the Glory,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Snow Leopard

Here am I, Sarah! Moi first post! I did this picture solely on Photoshop Elements 7.0. And technically, weeelll, the second picture you see here was entirely my work, but I did happen to take...

...this snow leopard picture from Wikipedia.com and took a sample of the fur tones from this picture and "painted" over the first picture (on another layer), until it looked  more or less like this.

 I had some difficulty making it look like fur instead of an oddly colored fur less cat. I added the spots on  his head and neck with I think a soft round brush and then used a chalk brush to make his spots look furrier and direction to his "fur".I also had to use a spatter brush on his nose because it used to be just a solid color, I used the spatter brush on other parts of his fur using alternately lighter or darker colors depending on which color patch I was working on, to give him ticked fur. I did " burn" some parts where there was shade to make his fur darker. By then I was pretty satisfied with how it turned out because I could hide background layer and it looked like a complete picture...except for the background which was non-existent. So I gave him a dramatic night sky background and changed the lighting to a more suited night time lighting and came up with this! 


And I'm extremely pleased with the results. The entire process took three days I think, though I didn't spend the whole day on the computer for three days in a row. Maybe, three hours a day. Today's included post writing, profile writing, background creating and signature editing.

Thanks to younger brothers who are constantly encouraging and God for allowing me so much free time.

P.S I changed the eye color because I think that this blue is prettier. :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Short Post With Eyeballs Included

Hey, everypony! I'm not dead!
 But you wouldn't know that, hmm, because I've been gone for over two months! And I said I'd be putting something up soon. Shame on me. For this post, ignore every excuse. I have no good ones. I am going to (I'm not gonna say soon, but eventually) put up the post I was planning on. But today is not that day!

On the other hand, I do have something to put up today!

The ideas for these came from Pinterest (of which I am on frequently). There are a lot of sketches of just eyes. 
I don't know who these belong to, sorry.

And the way I did it was derived from this tutorial: http://pinterest.com/pin/26529085275129304/.

I used a mirror for reference for the lower four pairs of eyes. That meant me staring strangely at the mirror, then scribbling furiously on my sketchbook, then making the same face, then scribbling furiously, for about a half an hour during storytime while my dad read The Rats of NIMH.
Excuse the eyebrows, mine are profuse enough to need combing. Mama and Trinity despair of them and subject me to monthly pluckings. And mine are the only ones I can use for reference so... oh well.
And that last set of eyelashes and eyebrows look orange because I meant for their host to be a redhead. However, I'm not well acquainted with ginger facial hair (I shall just assume that's a good thing), so it might not have turned out so well.

These were done by being sketched out with a pencil and then edited in Photoshop Elements. I'm still working on different techniques for photographing or scanning my pictures - mainly photographing. I haven't scanned them in so long, cause we used to have a pretty lousy scanner that would ruin my pictures. I've got a pretty light touch when sketching, which had to be trained into me (I used to recklessly chisel my drawings into the paper, but I've gotten better at that), so the scanner, and often the camera, has trouble picking up the lighter lines.
Also, as you can see, the paper tends towards orange-brownness, no matter what I do with the camera, while the actual sketch paper is rather white. Any suggestions?

And I do have a host of others things stacked up in reserve to be put up here, including one I'm working on that I'm currently rather fond of (having a bit of trouble with, but still, rather fond of). In addition, Sarah may very well be putting up her first post soon! Yay!

She and I have been dabbling with painting on Photoshop, not just editing and stuff, but actually painting, in a manner of speaking. There are a lot of not-helpful tutorials on Pinterest that I've been able to chop down to something I can understand and almost use. Then there are slightly more helpful tutorials that I've not really been able to use. So let us see what turns up.

To God be the Glory,