Friday, February 21, 2014

Marvel Ladies

It's Hannah, again. I've waited a long time to be done with this one. It's been a month long project, and thanks be to God for the foresight to put the files on my second drive, because the single folder "Marvel Ladies" was a good 9 GB with over one hundred .psd files, while my main drive has only 1.69 GB to spare. This is what comes of saving dozens of extra copies.

Left to right: Maria Hill, Darcy Lewis, Natasha Romanoff, Betty Ross, Lady Sif, Jane Foster, Pepper Potts, and Peggy Carter.

Alrighty, let's begin at the top. Backstory. I'm a Pinterester, and I get on that site entirely too much. On one of my daily visits, I saw that someone I follow had pinned this picture:

This picture, by the way, does not belong to me. It's from

I almost didn't give it a second glance. I think I'd seen it before, but this time it caught my attention because in the comments below there was some dispute about Marvel lore and cinematic trivia, and since I am a person who unconsciously absorbs facts about silly things like comics and movies, I stepped in to help sort out the mess. Then I saw that people began to say things like this:

I like to fix things. I'm a fixer. So when people were saying they thought it wasn't done right, I wanted to "make it right". I'm just weird. Maybe slightly OCD. 
In any case, I did some research and some sketching. It wasn't a big thing at first, and I didn't ever think I could do better than the picture above, but I thought, Well, if I'm going to do this, might as well do it right. I know for sure that Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman are very short, but I couldn't remember how Sif and Pepper, etc, compared.  

You might be able to see the notations beneath each lady: 5' 8", 5' 3 ½", 5' 3", 5' 10", 5' 9", 5' 3", 5' 9", 5'7". Yeah, I went so far as to look up each celebrity's height, but you have to keep into account that Natasha wears freakishly tall heels. Each lady's outfit is just the one I liked best or was the best I could get. Didja know there are tons of Natasha and Pepper images all over Pinterest, but Darcy? Jane? Betty? Ha. I had to dig into the Marvel Cinematic Wiki to get a handful of blurry Betty pictures, so I pretty much made her outfit from scratch.

And of course I had a ton of reference images:


Now this was supposed to be a quick job. After scanning the drawing in, after about 15 minutes I had finished with Peggy's dress. But then I started on Sif.
And I finished days later. That is some complex armor. And a lot of fun. This entire project was a crash course in lighting and clothing and skin tone. It's been a long, painstaking process.

Speaking of lighting. When I'd finished the outfits, hair and skin, I presented the picture to Mama and all my siblings, to rounds of gushing and compliments. Once all that was out of the way, however: What's wrong with Peggy's forehead? She looks like Megamind. She looks lumpy. Jane's head is way bigger than everyone else's. The two chicks on the end, their legs are too bright. Darcy looks way vampirical. It looks like she's wearing a mask. Sif's eyes are blurry. Peggy's hand looks like a flipper!

All part of the process, I suppose. Mama did say, "If I were in the Sistine Chapel while Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling, I'd say, 'What's wrong with his head? It's all egg-shaped.'"
But I did listen to the criticism, with a sigh, and I was beginning to realize that I was only half-way done. Especially when my greatest fear was pointed out: I had followed all of the reference images too closely, because it looked like each lady had her own personal light source.

"How am I supposed to fix that?"
"You're going to have to do the skin over again."

Then I told myself that if I wanted to fix this thing, and get it done, I was going to have to accept this horrible fate. And so I went again, making sure that the shadows of the clothing all fell on the right side instead of the left. I adjusted Peggy's dress and fixed her "flipper", moved Darcy's eyes closer together (she did sort of resemble a frog), completely redid Peggy's face, warmed up the pale people and toned down the orange people, generally making everyone look like they belonged in the same "picture".

So now, after 39 days of hard work... and easy work and medium-skill-level work...VOILÁZ!

And despite the slightly-harsh criticism, everyone in my family has been super encouraging. I must have gone to Mama for advice a dozen times, and she knows just how to deal out the compliments. I have to admit I was getting pretty unhealthily proud about Pepper's face. 'Cause I really like it. Also, Sif's armor. But I'm working on that.

If there's one thing I would like to change about my picture, it'd be the stiff, inactive poses. In Vylla's picture she had the girls in all sorts of interesting positions that made them seem alive. So proper respect to her. This was all hers in the first place.

To God be the glory,

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lighting: Drawing The Eye

Happy Blogoversary to us... the blog is one year old.

Hannah here. No, this title doesn't refer to sketching an eye. This is about using lighting to attract someone's eye to a point on a picture.
 Likely every artist that has had an official teacher has been told about contrast: contrast between dark and light. My mama, who has actually had art lessons (as opposed to all us home-school kids), said that her art teacher told her to make the dark parts of a sketch black, and the light parts white. It makes for a more dramatic image.

Light draws the eye. If you are in a dark room, and the only source of light is a tiny strip under the door, odds are you'll look at the light instead of at the rest of the room. This power can be manipulated. Bwahaha.
I don't know how many people are familiar with this technique (the technique that may or may not have a name, I'm not sure), but it can be used to great effect.

One notable example, and the one I remember best, is Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper.

Who is the most important picture in this image? Jesus, of course. And you may notice that, contrasting with the dark walls that make the backdrop, there's a window right behind Jesus, framing his head, drawing the attention right-smack to his face. About as effective as a halo. Da Vinci's pretty cool.

Another artist I see that uses this technique is Gustave Doré. He's got a fairly distinct hand. His illustrations of the Bible have shown up in both my CKJV bible and my study guide.

Nehemiah secretly viewing the ruins of the walls of Jerusalem.

The Ten Commandments


See how in each of these, the white wall, or bright lightning, or the lighter sky, draws the attention to the dark figure or object directly in front of it.

Of course, there are different ways to use this. You could, for instance, make the object of importance light-colored itself.

The famous judgement of Solomon.
John and the angel looking down at New Jerusalem.

Take a look at the New Jerusalem picture. What's the first thing you want to look at? Probably the glowy-white city down there. It's the idea of a spotlight, if you understand that.

I have to say that I don't often use this myself, but I'm going to start... thinking about it. If the pros do it, why not?

To God be the Glory,