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  Alt versions of t'day's page; weekend artJan 03, 2012 11:02 AM PST | url
Added 1 new A* page:I did this over the weekend:
It was for this art challenge on the ComicFury forums, namely to draw a character of yours as the embodiment of one of the seasons. Guess which I picked!
*spoiler* Okay it was winter. Hey 'tis the season, etc. I was thinking I'd even have stars in the space background there and they'd kind of look like snowflakes, but in the end I didn't want to crowd out the interesting ink wash patterns I'd gotten there--this was also a test of some new paper I got a while back: Canson "Illustration" paper, which is apparently kind of a new formulation of theirs that's supposed to be good for pencil and ink, and comes in a nice heavy 150 lb. paper weight. And it's not bad--feels nicer than the cheap Strathmore Bristol boards I was using originally--but the clay or whatever it is imperceptibly coated with to absorb ink better seems to cause sort of greasy patches in ink wash that can prevent the wash from attaching to the paper in spots. I think that actually came out in a kind of neat way here but it would drive me buggy if I was trying to get a really smooth black.
While I'm paper nerding out on you, let me just share that I tried actually "stretching" the Arches watercolor paper I've been using--for the page 21 you see here. Stretching really just consists of saturating the paper with water all the way through--I left it submerged in a tub of water for a few minutes--then taking it out, taping the edges down, and letting it dry; as it dries, it contracts very slightly, pulling against the fastening and supposedly stretching the fibers so they won't expand and shrink irregularly and cause the paper to buckle and rumple up when you use ink washes on it. This 140 lb watercolor paper doesn't buckle up that much anyway, but it sometimes does enough that there are unpainted areas that raise a bit off the scanner glass (even though I have extra weight pressing the paper down on the scanner tray) and come out looking like very slightly darker elliptical areas in the scanned image; I found a pretty easy way to eliminate those artifacts fairly well and reasonably non-destructively in Photoshop, but it would be nice if they didn't happen!
So anyway I tried stretching the paper, and it did sorta flatten it a bit and make it feel a little limpish, but also left it with some buckles in it, before I even started painting on it! And it took hours and hours to dry and was sort of bothersome to do. So I probably won't bother with that again; I think next time I need more paper I'll just upgrade to the 300 lb Arches paper, which is so heavy and thick that--according to everyone on the Internet--it shouldn't need any stretching or anything, because it's strong enough to resist buckling from even the wettest ink washes. It's a bit over twice as expensive as the 140 lb paper, so that'll run me about $2 per A* page just for paper, but man if it works as advertised it'll be pretty nice.
And secret! This was the second version of the page. For the first version I second-guessed my original script (which just called for a close-up of Selenis' eyes open, as you see in the second version) and went with a different shot, which...well when I look at the end result of it, it seems to show Selenis, having grown a mustache, doing "jazz hands" while dislocating her jaw, boa constrictor style. And that sounds cool in a bizarre way maybe, but this was...not, and the only reason I haven't destroyed it is so that I can use it to remind myself why I shouldn't stay up all night doing art challenges. No other mortal eyes shall ever be exposed to it, though, if I have my way.
Okay actually the page you saw for today was the *third* version; here was the second, which I ended up deciding (after I'd written all that stuff above) was eh just too plain and unfocused:
Way better than the first one, though. >_>
Man, long day (come to think of it, it got so wild around the second version of the page that I accidentally planted a black ink brush stroke on my white wall :o; don't tell the landlord!)--especially since I had to get up (sadly relatively) early to help my dad take the pieces for my art show (opens Friday here in Seattle! Stop by and say hi! :) over to the gallery, which was kind of cool really. And then he took me to breakfast (a prince of a man, my father! :) where I had cinnamon French toast, so actually it was pretty much a rad day from that point onward no matter what.
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