|Learning how to skin|
Yesterday was not a good day. I won't bore you with the details so you'll just have to trust me on that. Nothing significantly bad, just a cavalcade of not-awesome events. Which perfectly coincided with the release of a new illustration. One I've been working on for awhile now.
Up until recently I've avoided the issue of "skins" when approaching these ship illustrations. Skins are a pain in the ass. So I decided when I started to just ignore them as much as possible. But they've been in the back of my head every time I start a new drawing. The challenge was to try and discover a way to make them work without having to draw an entirely new spaceship every single time. It was a roadblock I just couldn't figure out. And like all challenges it required some creative problem solving and looking at the issues in a new way.
The solution is not easy. However it is rather simple and doesn't require re-drawing the entire base illustration each and every time. Rather it comes down to a case of proper organization and planning. Each ship illustration is a progression of dark to light color blobs, layered one after the other, building towards the surface. If I know ahead of time that I'd like to apply different "skins" to the finished product I can prepare ahead of time. There is not much to be done to already finished pieces, which is why I was getting stuck thinking about them. But starting fresh on a new one? As long as I know this ahead of time as I'm layering colors. Not as bad of a problem.
The Stabber/Vagabond seemed like a good place to start. I would be lying if I said everything went smoothly or easily. It did not. In fact the illustration that ends up being the final Vagabond is rather screwed up. Even though you probably won't be able to tell, the underlying foundation of the whole thing is a royal mess. I don't think anyone can tell, so as long as it "looks" ok. It is, after all, the final result that matters.
You have to break some eggs to make an omelette. And I broke a whole carton of eggs yesterday. But, next time? I'm ready. And along the way I learned a few new things that have made these illustrations a tad bit easier. Most of which result from having a much faster and more robust machine behind me.
All of which is probably more detail than you wanted to know.
So here is the final Vagabond:
Enjoy! And apologies for being a mess yesterday. I'll get my shit together someday, I promise.