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Drawing and Writing FAQ

Ask me a question about drawing or even story writing. If it's appropriate, I might post it!

Drawing and Writing FAQ
In Titanic Jack draws Rose clothed and then naked. How did he do that?
Well, chances are he probably knew what the female anatomy looks like. If you see enough of a person, you can probably guess the rest. I don't look at typical anatomy like most people do, when it comes to people, because I - like I hope most people - pretty much know what the human anatomy looks like; but try looking at a magazine or an ad with a person and draw him or her. You might be impressed with what you can accomplish.
How do you draw eyes evenly?
Depends on the angle of the face, but I generally keep the eyes even with the tips of the ears...
How do you draw people's faces?
Well, I start with the eyes... Then, I do the nose, lips, and eyebrows, then jawline, ears, and hair last... (For more, see my new tutorial.)

Evil Overlady FM's Tutorial

I start out with the eyes. The eyes look into the character's soul. Different types of eyes give different feelings. I'm always sure to be tuned to that.

I add on some eyebrows. Up if they're suprised. Down if they're angry. Maybe a crease and a mark on the forehead if they're determined. These eyebrows say "good mood." I add a little nose, more or less depending on how the face is angled; and some little lips - Two triangles on an orange peel and fill in with pencil, leaving a shine or not as I feel inclined.

Sometimes, I erase and redo one or more features (It's particularly tricky making sure the tip of the nose is far away from the eyes to make a full nose.), but when I'm satisfied, I move on to the rest.

Usually before I start, - sometimes not until this stage - I have an idea of what I want to turn out. Maybe a pose in mind or a personality or costume. It's good to have a goal in mind. I don't need the entire picture, just a feel for what I want.

Then, I determine the angle I think the face is and sketch out part of the forehead down to the cheek, the chin, up to the jawline. And add an ear. I might adjust the angle of the cheeks or the sharpness of the chin until it meets my desires.

I draw in the neck and the ears, or an ear, careful not to make the neck too thick or the ears too large (making the neck approximately half the width of the face and starting the ears from the tops of the eyes and ending them at the bottom of the nose).

I add some hair. In this case, the hair partially covers the ear. Sometimes, I might not have any ideas for the hair until later, but if I do, now is the time I add it in.

It may be long, short, wavy, or straight. Sometimes it covers up some of what I've already drawn. That's okay. It's a good idea to have those features drawn, however, because if I decide to do short hair, more of those features will be exposed, and I find it best to have them in place ahead of time or they might look "added in."

The eyes, face, and hair remind me of a picture I had in my head I want drawn of an evil overlady, so I've decided that that's what she'll become. I added a crown to start out the process while I'm thinking about it. Now, for the rest of her body. Of course, if you were just starting out, you might (like I did when I started) just get her shoulders and stop until you've mastered eyes, face, and hair. There's no real hurry. It took me nearly two years before I gained the confidence to go beyond this point.

I admit, I used to draw body and clothing as one single entity, but as I progressed, I realized I need some basic form to build on.

Some people start out with a stick figure or skeleton and move on to muscle and skin. I prefer not to. I've drawn enough human figures to know their basic shape, so I skip right on to that stage. I draw a naked body, essentially. I make no qualms about it. Everyone's naked underneath their clothing, and depending on the clothing, some of that nakedness might show through. If it's a tight outfit, very little will change with this drawing except the lines where the outfit begins and ends. If it's a loose outfit, less will be shown, but her general shape, form, and proportions will remain the same, and the viewer will notice if they're off.

Her outfit will be tight, so I draw in some tits. I select a pose based off a dancing move I've seen and I have her not only grasping a scepter, but leaning into it. Her weight is noticeably on her left leg, and it remains supporting. Her right leg and arm are free, and that is very clear to see. She is up on her toes, which means I'm about to give her high-heels. Had I decided not to, her feet would be flat.

I remember to keep proportion in mind. The torso is roughly one-third of the entire length of the body. The hands should come to rest midway down the thighs. With practice, I'm able to tell if they're too long or too short (especially the legs. I find it better if the legs are too long than too short.). If I were to take this character's arm and drop it to her side in this picture, her hand will touch her knee. This is because she's leaning downward, so I try not to be exactly keeping to the Proportion Rule. If the arms and legs on my character look proportional to me, chances are they are, even if I don't know why right off. With practice, I can see it. Now to add some clothing. She's getting chilly.

Ah... much better.

I've given her a tunic with those impressive knee-high boots, a ring to go with the staff, and a skull belt for flavor, but she still doesn't seem quite evil enough...

There! A cloak! With skull shoulder pads. Now, we're talking!

And now to give it a little pencilly impression of a shaded background, a title, a little blurb, a signature, and I'm set to go!

I've completed my first drawing, but what if I want to color it...?

Well, I could use colored pencil (I don't recommend markers. They just come out too dark for me).

Or I could color it on the computer. I use Adobe Photo Deluxe. The program came free with my scanner. For a long time, I never used it because I didn't know how to work it, but if you want, I'll show you how. It doesn't matter whether or not you have it. I've seen a few people's tutorials of coloring on the thing, and they assume you know what they're talking about. I won't, so if you want, keep reading, and I'll take you through step by step on what you could do with the program if you want to, and in the simplest terms I can think of so you won't get lost. It doesn't have to be as hard as most people make it, so stick around, and if I've left anything unclear send me an e-mail at evil_overlady@excite.com and I'll see if I can clear things up for you...

To color a pencil sketch, I open Adobe Photo Deluxe. Under "Quality", I adjust the brightness and contrast, doing first the contrast and then the brightness until it resembles an inked picture...

Personal preference... I start with the skin. First, I add a layer. If there's not a window titled "Layers" already open. I go under "View" and "Open Layers." I add a new layer with the little square thing. I make the "Blend" "Darken," and I close the window. I move the layer to the first on the list, or "top layer." I make sure it's highlighted before I begin working, or I'll erase my drawing (This means I can color basically like on a sheet of glass over my picture, so I can go over lines and trim off excess later). Now, on to the coloring. I open the brush under tools, click to change it's color, scan my color wheel in the yellow to orange spectrum up and down, left and right until I find the exact skin tone I desire. I make it paler than the standard peach, or my character comes out looking like an orange sherbert.

I use an "airbrush," where the marker has fuzzy edges, to give a subtle shine to the skin. I don't worry about going over the lines the first time. I can go back and erase the excess later. Now, the skin is colored. It's just a matter of selecting another item.

Going in opposite order from the drawing process, I've decided to start with the cape.

Again, I use the fuzzy tool to color, using the sharp part of the eraser (also under the tools menu) to catch anywhere I go over the lines. This time, however, I need to be careful not to color the skin. I messed up a little there on her leg, but it's hardly noticeable, and I tell myself it's a reflection from the cape, so I leave it. I'm in a hurry... If, however, I was more picky, I could've gone under the brush and changed color again. Instead of scanning the color wheel, however, I can click on the actual picure, and use that. Sometimes I find the shade darker than I want. I might either work with it, or if I'm ready for an advanced option... There are eyeballs next to my layers. I click off the one on the original. I'll see my pure colors without the drawing underneath. I select that, and it'll be the right shade.

Now, to select another area... (I make sure to click the eyeball back on, or I won't be able to see what I'm coloring. And I select the coloring layer! Very important. I've messed up many a time forgetting to do that.).

I've decided to color the crown, boots, and scepter black. All three of these items, however, differ from my previous selections by being round. This is where I employ another technique. Call it cheating, if you want. I call it 3D!

Since I have other black items in my picture, I decide not choose black be my template. So, even though you can see it now, I colored the scepter and crown red (since the boots border the red cape I color them blue). I then go under "Select" -> Selection Tools -> Color Wand. I click on one of the colored areas. While that's selected, I go under "Effects" -> Gradient Fill. I chose my start color as black and my end color as a light shade of gray and chose a direction. (For my scepter I decide angle down, left to right. Crown - across left to right. Left boot - I switch the start and end colors and do angle down. Right boot - the same as left.) After I do all the selections. I trim everything up with my eraser and appropriate brush colors where they overlapped colored areas. I use this technique carefully. If there are any gaps in the coloring, it's going to be noticed unless I'm very careful in the patching. I avoid patching if at all possible when I use gradient fill.

See the nice Three Dimensional feel it gives it? It's always good to keep a picture from looking flat whenever possible. Shading's good, but not all of us are expert shaders...

The hardest parts of the coloring process are done. Now it's just a matter of touching up on everything I've missed: jewelry, eyes, hair... For this picture I've decided to try experimenting with a two-colored approach with the hair. I colored a bit where I wanted to put the shine, lavendar. I then used the fuzzy tool to go around it. There's another tool I'm just now experimenting with called "Smudge." Self-explanatory. It basically smudges everything under it. I use it to give even more transition to the coloring. I probably should've chosen two shades of color much closer together to be more subtle. I could try that, or I could make the hair all one color. I advise not using the gradient fill. Hair is not round. Hair strands are round, but hair is not. What I'd end up with is a "space that's shaded wrong" and not hair. So, I don't do that. Too many people overuse the tool and do that. It's a nifty tool. I'll grant you that, but good techniques can be overused very easily, so I'm careful.

Finally, the background and all the other nifty "completion" effects.

I got a little careless with the gradient filled background, and had to do a lot of patching. You can probably see them... Usually, I go over everything. Fine-toothed comb with the eraser. Everything I want to be background, I erase. For her white outfit, I should've colored it something for a place holder. I didn't and some of the details of her costume suffered. I try not to make that mistake.

When I think I've gone over everything, I go to do the gradient fill thing again. Under Select I get my Selection Tools and my Color Wand ready. I select the white area. There should be no vibrating lines anywhere else but around my character and along the outside of the whole picture. If there are. I Select -> Select None. I go over the spots with the eraser again and try again until there are no gaps. Now, I Effects -> Gradient Fill. This picture has a lot of red, black, yellow, and purple. I want a background that gives it an evil appearance but doesn't lose the picture. A start color of black and an end color of blue should fill the bill nicely. A viewer's eyes tend to go from top left to bottom right, so I choose that. A radiant in or out would distract from the glimmering scepter. That might be nice for an active action pose, but not for this. From top to bottom runs the risk of making it look flat. If I had a landscape type background, that might work, but not here. Left to right would be best if I wanted to focus on someone standing tall and straight. Also great for an anime-type action pose or someone going superhero. Not what I'm looking for. Something peaceful, subtle, not distracting. An angle, and in the direction the viewer's eyes wish to go.

So a gradient fill has been selected. OK. I'll probably still have a few gaps up against the figure. So, I go ahead and try to patch those up a little.

I want to make my staff and ring glow, so I go under Effects again to Render and Len's Flare. I pick a spot, adjust the percentage of light. For a tiny ring, 50% or less is good. For a glowing staff a full 100% is not bad, but not much bigger or it'll look washed out. I pick a spot on the thumbnail, hit okay. I undo and adjust if necessary, and repeat. (On the original drawing layer, I erase the light rays and return to my coloring layer.)

Now, just one last thing to make this picture really something special... Under Effects there's a thing called "Outline." I select a width anywhere from 3 to 6 pixels, depending on the look I want to give. I play around with the opacity. About 30% with a wide outline will give a 3D button/translucent frame look to it. I chose my selection. I undo and try something else if necessary, then I'm done. Menu -> Export -> File Format -> JPEG, a title, save (I make sure I know where I'm saving it too). And VIOLA! My own Evil Overlady!

I hope you've found this tutorial worthwhile! Feel free to sign my guest book with any of your comments or questions.

Have fun and keep drawing!



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