So this isn’t quite what I had in mind for a new banner for social media, but I think it’s worked out quite well regardless. I’ll still be working on the other version of Phoenix too, since that one is going quite well. Looking at this, I wonder if Ephemeral was the right name.
Here’s the video too. 4.3 + 5.1 = A whopping 9hrs 40 mins spent. And it really does look like I put that time to good use.
Yes, I’m late, but it was worth it for the end result.
TL:DR of my long analysis below the tag. There is also a details shot too. I love this picture, and am going to keep it as my banner. Also this was quite the learning curve.
Unlike the usual situation, where I go through a load of different designs, this one I actually did know what I wanted. The fist attempt to make a banner had me sat in the corner, and then some logo I would make. I realised how boring that was, then went through some speedpaints on one of my playlists on Youtube. I came across a few different pieces, but you can tell I took influence from this one the most. When I saw this speedpaint, I was just really captivated by the face angle, and I wanted to capture that in my own style. When you watch the Youtube video, you’ll notice I went through a whole bunch of different iterations on the face, before I took some more inspiration, and managed this. It was quite a struggle, but eventually I got something I didn’t hate. Plus, as you can watch in the video, it took many, many attempts with lots of references to get something workable.
When I was drawing myself, I hadn’t even thought of a background until after I was tweaking the face to be less terrible. When I originally though about it, I figured that something like a simple dark background would work. However after I started drawing my hair, I realised that water would make a lot of sense, considering how I sketched out my hair. After that, I found out what the multi-tool does in Krita, and I remembered my “Inner World” picture, and the floor from that is supposed to be either water or oil, so I expanded upon that. Add a bit of blood, and you have a very dark but very visceral picture, which is why the bloody version of this is not my banner, but I added it anyway.
The ears were also not in the original, but I went back through my old work, and I am supposed to have them, so I drew them in and shaded them quickly.
I’ll admit right now. The nose is okay rather than good, but that is an issue I always have had. I think it looks acceptable, but I did pick a very hard angle. I should probably practice noses in different angles from now on.
The eyes were an especially big challenge, as I wanted her eyes to reflect the sky above her, so I paid especially close attention to them, which is quite hard when they are different colours. Plus when I painted them I thought I made them too big to reflect the sky, but now I see them as the right size. In fact, Krita decided it was going to let the liquify function work, so i could make the stars look like they wrapped around the eyeball. It really came out lovely.
I didn’t end up painting wet skin, but I may go back at some time and change that, just out of curiosity. In fact, I think that the skin is the weakest link in this painting, especially with the bloodless version. If I did this again, I would definitely push that contrast between light and dark more too make the face look less 2D.
The hair was just… My gosh, I felt I made a mistake in the beginning in drawing something I had no clue over. It added a lot of time, and you can watch in the video I go over the hair maybe two or three times before I figured out what I was doing, so as a rule, I should probably not try something too out of my depth for such a piece; I should practice first. The worst part was that the line art looked fine, but once your not dealing with line art, but instead values, the difficulty just ramps up. In fact, it wasn’t until nearing the end I figured out how to shade the hair without it looking strange or overly detailed. One of the tests made it look kind of like jellyfish hair. Or at least that was the vibe. This project really pushed me in making more loose strokes to simulate hair, and it also shows it as much more shiny as a bonus, just like real wet hair. Turns out strong contrast creates that effect. My only issue was making it look like its was halfway in the water. One half looks better than the other, but overall, as much as I struggled I really love it. Plus, during post processing, I made it look like the body was submerged in water as well. Not intentionally, but it really adds to the piece.
So I accidentally taught myself to make hair waterlogged. Not particularly well, but its honestly pretty fantastic for my first attempt, and I managed to get something that looks like water too, bonus. 😀
I usually paint in grey scale (not always, sometimes I use wacky colours because reasons) with the intention of changing it to colour. But when I was nearing the end of the hair, I realised I wanted it to stay greyscale. It looked better, and because of the messy layers, it would take even longer to colour properly. I’m still happy I chose to keep it greyscale, since it meant when I did the red eye, and later lips, it really makes them pop. Especially with the red of the bloody version. In fact, the blood was quite fun to do as well, and I added a tear of blood, just to balance out both sides. Either that, or it was going to bug me in some way.
There is an issue with Krita, in that, especially on the larger brush settings, it lags and doesn’t take opacity into account. it was probably both my biggest inhibitor, but also my greatest asset. Without a few mistakes, I never would have realised how to do the hair shading, and this piece would have been far worse.
Also my bristles hairy brush is bugged, as you may see in the video. I’ll need to fix that at some point.
For the record as I was typing this, I had to fix the facial shading of the chin, the lips that weren’t shaded, and the fact that the water did not reflect the sky, and that I wanted there to be more emphasis on the face, so I darkened that water around it. This is why I do long written diatribes throughout my work, and at the end. I’ll realise these mistakes as I am analysing the piece. Even now, I wonder if I should go back and warp the stars, or try to make waves with the water. Quite frankly though, I think I’ve spent enough time on this, and it look finished, so I’m not going to worry about it.
Edit 19/06/17: So I just realised that her chin is not angular enough for the angle. Something really simple that I didn’t even pick up until now. Well, I know for next time, if I don’t fix this in the morning.
– I have changed the pictures and details shots to reflect this.