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A* Episode 19, Page 70
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  Reflections on reflecting a reflectionJul 30, 2014 1:24 AM PDT | url | discuss | + share
Added 1 new A* page:Like today's page? You know the painting itself is on eBay, just like the paintings behind the last week's worth of pages always are, right? : ) (Just look for the little blue and gold "original on eBay" link at their lower left corner.)
Speaking of liking, do you like A*? Well you're here so hopefully you do, at least a little! And do you like tumblr? If so, did you know you can like A* on tumblr? It's true! And aside from the comic updates that I post there, I also post extra sketches, and draft versions of pages you might not see otherwise, and other people's art that inspires me, and heck even the occasional bad poem. When someone likes my stuff there (did you know you can just press the "L" key on your keyboard to like the post you're currently looking at on your tumblr Dashboard? And "R" to reblog it? Try it on some of mine! : D), the tumblr app on my phone makes it blink a little blue light, and that little light can cheer me right up if I'm sitting frustrated at my drawing board working away on A* artwork, which is what I'm usually doing. So <3 (and reblog! unless you're ashamed of me -_;) my stuff on tumblr and help keep me happy and productive on A*, yep! : ))
Like, if you were following me on tumblr today you'd have seen a lot of draft versions of the pencil drawing for today's page, as it sort of tortuously evolved over the hours, for a particular reason that kind of caught me by surprise. I won't show you the hideous earliest versions here—you can go scroll back through my tumblr archive a bit to find 'em yourself : )—but here's a sort of midway one:
So the difficulty I had was that I had Selenis all drawn out in pencil—heck I had pretty much the whole darn page all drawn out—after just a few hours and I was all happy and thinking I might set a new record by getting to bed on time for the third day in a row, and then I got to thinking well gosh I'm so ahead of schedule maybe I'll try drawing her reflection in the window like I'd considered doing earlier but thought I wouldn't because it's hard for me to duplicate a likeness that closely, not to mention backwards. Well, so—oh, hubris!—I decided to try drawing the reflection, and sure enough it was taking forever to get something that looked like a reflection of her face from the left side of the page. That wasn't the real difficulty, though; that came next: once I finally got a decent reflection drawn, I realized that it was way better than the original figure it was reflecting. The reflection put the original in the shade!
I think it's at least partly because it didn't have to bear the brunt of a figure being constructed and all that, it was just pure "okay that line goes here and over here are these lines and" so it got that slight, easy abstraction to it that makes something look less drawn and more actual; and as sometimes happens, after trying to draw something over and over my brain kind of went blank and my hand just did stuff. So for instance the hair zig-zagging through her eye, though not, in fact, happening in the face on the left, came out way cooler than if I had really been trying to do that consciously. Dagnabbit.
So I struggled with this in my head for a while and there was just no help for it, I had to erase the original figure and try to redraw it to be more dynamic and cool and slightly abstracted, like the reflection—except reflected back the other direction, naturally. I knew, of course, that this was more or less impossible—I still haven't been and I don't suppose I ever will be able to draw completely fearlessly and unconsciously at will :"|—and, sure enough, it was rough going. Drawing the reflection of a reflection was tricky! >_< Plus, the reflection didn't show me what to do with her arms, which insisted on getting in the way.
Bleh. Well, more hours flew by, and my once mighty eraser wore down to a round nub that kept rolling off my lap and away across the floor, so I had to keep getting up to chase it, but eventually I did get the reflection reflected in a way that was a pretty large improvement on the original figure that had been there. So I guess the lesson is... Keep drawing, keep erasing, keep abstracting, keep fighting until it actually looks cool instead of just kind of like the thing you wanted to draw. Even if it keeps me up past my bedtime. >_< I guess if I was going to be all hardcore about this I might go ahead and draw a reflection of each figure in each drawing I do, then erase the original and reflect the reflection back, and thus end up with an improved figure, but um yeah I probably won't be doing that.
I should definitely do more sunset scenes, though, 'cause apparently watercolors are bonzo at sunsets! Who knew?
The other thing working well here I think is that I didn't leave much pure white space—seems to leave it with a richer feel. So I guess even on pages where they're supposed to be very light, I should still put in a really light color everywhere except a spot or two I really want to highlight.
Hm another thing is that I had been kind of afraid of using purple for a while, and that was probably silly.
Oh and yet another thing was that near the end of the pencil work I went back over parts of Selenis' outline with the pencil, pretty hard. I wasn't sure at the time why I was doing that, and I'd been avoiding doing that up to now for the most part because I thought it would sort of fuzz up my lines, but it ended up being just the right amount of reinforcement needed to keep the figure sharp and highlighted even though her colors are very similar to those of the background; so it finally kind of enabled the coloring over the lines I've been wanting to do for a while now, even though I didn't actually go over the lines really—but I did come close to matching the colors on either side in a lot of areas, which helped give her and her room a nice unified atmosphere. Actually that and the white space thing really come down to having a solid grasp of the light sources in a scene, which I don't always manage in some settings.
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