LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

Art threads specific to a single artist.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1813
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#1 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:39 am

So, some of you may have noticed I've updated my forum avatar. <- To the right over there. She's saying nice things, I promise.

I don't usually post a lot of my art here, and I know several people have expressed curiosity, so when I created my new avatar image, I decided to record the process. I thought about posting this in the Art Asset Creation forum as a tutorial, except it really isn't. It's just an abbreviated record of how I work and make decisions. So I'm posting it here in the Personal Art threads.

It all starts with a concept. I knew it had to be a picture of Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It's how I'm known on the forums here and I don't want to go changing my 'face' - I still want to be instantly recognizable as me when users are browsing a thread. Plus, it goes with my forum name.

The second consideration is that it should be a neutral or pleasant expressioned portrait. If you use a picture of an angry or scowling avatar, people are more likely to read those emotions into your posts.

First Sketch:
Image
Okay, this isn't actually the very first sketch - I didn't think to record my process immediately. She started out bald, with guidelines everywhere. But you can still see in the arm and other places that I draw thru the image, and make sure I have the anatomy correct before piling clothes on top.

So, Alice is relaxed, leaning back, smiling, and looking at the forum goers. I decided I wanted her to have a more modern haircut, so I've messily sketched a bob cut in on her, held at bay by a headband. I wanted to make sure that she 'read' as young, so I made her features large on her face and gave her big ears. Too big. I'll be fixing and simplifying them in later stages.

Second Sketch:
Image
I decided I wanted Alice to have a more neutral expression, maybe with her lips parted as if she were speaking.

Third Sketch:
Image
Big changes. I've shrunk and simplified the ear, and tamed the mass of loose strands of hair in Alice's bangs. I've decided at this point to do a more 'graphic' style, rather than a more realistic one. This is the reason for the streamlined ear construction, the angular shape of the bangs, and the heart bubble giving a visual representation to Alice's speech. A more traditional circle bubble might flatten the depth of the image, so I've constructed it almost like a cube seen from the corner - this also compliments the angular bang design.

I've modified her expression, too. I decided the previous expression was TOO neutral, and now I've cocked one eyebrow, giving her more of an inquisitive or questioning look.

Fourth Sketch:
Image
More clean-up from the rough sketch, and I've started detailing the dress, working out how the puffy folds of her sleeves will work.

Fifth Sketch:
Image
I've flipped the image to check that I haven't skewed anything and my proportions look correct. But doing so also made me aware that previously Alice's body angle and eyes were leading a viewer's eye off the "page" when the image is placed on the left-hand side like a forum avatar. I decided to keep her flipped this way, so everything sends a person's eyes to my posts, not away from them.

I'm refining the lines here too. I've started erasing out the hair scribbles and begun the process of figuring out just exactly what Alice's hair is doing. I'm working on a single layer, treating everything much like a traditional drawing on paper. My eraser isn't 100% Opacity either, leaving "eraser marks" on the canvas.

Sixth Sketch:
Image
More clean-up work, and I've finished sketching in Alice's hair. I've also decided we wouldn't be able to see the second half of Alice's bow from this angle, and I've replaced it with a lock of hair.

Seventh Sketch:
Image
Lot's more refinement. I've changed my mind about Alice's expression. With her slightly parted lips, her expression was a little too hard to read. It might be confused for annoyance, and it was looking a little too sultry for my tastes. I sketched a dozen or more mouths before I went back to a smile, but an open one, so that her teeth are visible. I did this so both so the smile looks more friendly, but also to show Alice's big teeth, further emphasizing that this is a young girl.

Her sleeves are now in full-fledged "fluffy ruffles mode". I'm attempting to discern what it Heaven is going on with the front of her apron. More ruffles? Too much? Shouldn't it be wrinkled? How high up is that collar? What's with the heart? Is it an embroidered detail, or an actual window in the apron that will show her blue dress beneath it. I have no idea at this point. Like Indiana Jones, I'm making this up as I go along.

Eighth Sketch:
Image
I've given her upper lip more volume. I also concluded the folds in her dress where all wrong for her posture, so I redid everything and axed the heart in her apron top. I liked it, but felt it made everything a little too busy. For the same reason I nixed the idea of lining it with ruffles, settling on just putting them on her collar instead.

Ninth Sketch:
Image
I differentiated the apron from the dress, gave Alice's eyes a little more life with reflections, and finished refining my lines. I decided to try and save time by using Adobe Illustrator to Live Trace my sketch and created a vector drawing from it, rather than inking it like I normally would. It worked pretty well, but I still had to go back and clean up the lines afterward. I'd say it saved me a little time, but not a lot.

Flats:
Image
This is where I picked and put down my flat colors. I experimented with a few different color schemes, but didn't have a lot of room to play with choice - Alice must be blond and must be in a blue dress to be readily identifiable. Ultimately I decided on a more muted scheme of neutral colors that were slightly desaturated.

Shading:
Image
Here I've laid down my shadows. Notice I don't use just darker or lighter versions of the base colors. The blue dress is shaded with purple, and the yellow hair with orange shadows. This gives life and vibrancy to the image and colors, and makes Alice a strawberry blond. :mrgreen:

I resisted adding highlights in order to keep it in line with the more graphical style I'd chosen.

The Pretty-ing aka Final Image:
Image
I added some slight blush and blending to the skin only, and added background and some slight texture overlays. And that's it. I've made an animated GIF to more clearly show the sequential progress below.

Image

If you have any questions as to why I did one crazy thing or another, let me know. Thanks for reading!

User avatar
Obscura
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1368
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:58 pm
Projects: Coming Out On Top
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#2 Post by Obscura » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:05 pm

Oh man, this is so super effing cool.

First of all your linework is amazing, I'm in love with it. Tons of energy.

Secondly, it's awesome how you made her really look like an actual kid, with a bit of goofiness to her, and not the standard pretty girl the way most young girls are drawn. She's got a lot of personality, the kind of kid who loves dishing it out.

Thank you so much for your posting this--I love seeing people break down their process for creating art. Very illuminating.
Coming Out On Top - An Adult Gay Dating Sim
Purchase Here
Demo
Tumblr(18+) Twitter Facebook

User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1813
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#3 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:22 pm

Obscura wrote: First of all your linework is amazing, I'm in love with it. Tons of energy.
Thanks! It's why I work almost entirely on a single layer. I feel it preserves the energy and movement of the initial loose sketches much more than breaking everything down into sterile and precise layers. It also encourages more "happy accidents" as Bob Ross would put it, and forces me to move ahead and commit to lines rather than fussing over individual elements all day.

Occasionally I'll make a new layer above the sketch to experiment when I'm really unsure of what I want to do - for example, Alice's mouth above was the result of sketching variation after variation on such a layer before I decided on the final look. It really helps if you know what you're going for before you start - I didn't, and "walked it in" before seeing something I liked and collapsing the layers back down.
Obscura wrote: Secondly, it's awesome how you made her really look like an actual kid, with a bit of goofiness to her, and not the standard pretty girl the way most young girls are drawn. She's got a lot of personality, the kind of kid who loves dishing it out.
I'm really glad you can see that in the final piece. I HATE artists drawing kids that look like little adults. A lot of comic book artists are really bad about doing that and I actively strive to avoid it.

And yeah, Alice always strikes me as quite the non-conformist rebel for a Victorian little girl, so I wanted to stress her sense of fun and mischief!
Obscura wrote: Thank you so much for your posting this--I love seeing people break down their process for creating art. Very illuminating.
You of all people know how everyone is always after me to show something, Obscura! So, since I was getting tired of my previous avatar (which wasn't my creation), I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

Oh, and I forgot to post the ACTUAL final image that is being used as my avatar - some details were lost when shrinking to 200 pixels tall, so I knocked out the background and strengthened the contour inks. It also shows how the background color affects the perception of colors.

Image
Last edited by LateWhiteRabbit on Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MaiMai
Yandere
Posts: 1756
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:04 pm
Completed: [Phase Shift]
Projects: [ None ]
Organization: Paper Stars
Tumblr: maiscribbles
Deviantart: maiscribble
Location: USA, Southern California
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#4 Post by MaiMai » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:19 pm

Whoa, Rabbit art!!! I'm glad to see some of your stuff and how detailed you are with each step!
Image COMMISSIONS AVAILABLE (check Tumblr sidebar)

User avatar
Starshine
Veteran
Posts: 247
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:50 am
Completed: http://berry-melon.blogspot.co.uk/2016/ ... -2016.html
Projects: Pancake Surprise (2016)
Tumblr: http://bettybooplover.tumblr.com
Deviantart: berry-melon
Soundcloud: sweepea-1
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#5 Post by Starshine » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:12 am

This is a good tutorial for a creation of a avatar, i never knew you were a artist. :lol:
http://berry-melon.blogspot.com
I'm not resting until I find
What would make your eyes
Glisten like mine
With loves divine!

Boo-Boo I couldn't aspire....to anything...
Higher...than to fill that one desire to make it
My own....Bop-Bop-a-Dop-Boop-Oop-a-Doop honey?

User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1813
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#6 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:56 am

This isn't going to be as in-depth as the first post, but I thought I'd show the steps I took in a recent picture made while freezing inside my house due to the "Polar Vortex". Apparently weird things happen when you strangle yourself with a scarf while drawing. :wink:

Here's how I made "Strawberry Lip Gloss".

STEP 1:
Image
First, I planned to draw a "Magical Girl", like Sailor Moon, or Madoka. In the freezing cold, I thought of an ice cream themed magical girl. Then I drew a rough sketch of a girl holding an ice cream, and, I guess, wanting to be somewhere warmer than my 48 degree home studio, I decided to put the girl on a beach. Deciding the ice cream would be strawberry flavored, I was reminded of my first kiss. Age 9. The girl was wearing strawberry lip gloss. And so the girl in the drawing became kind of a punky 1980s deal from my childhood instead of a magical girl.

I don't know. I'm claiming insanity here, alright?

STEP 2:
Image
The more refined sketch. The following set of images are from an alternate timeline - one created when I first refined STEP 1 above and got all the way to coloring it before realizing the perspective, depth, and positioning of her arms and hands did not the work the way I originally refined them. Pro Tip: The laws of anatomy make it impossible for two hands to be next to each other and one arm be fully extended and the other bent. :oops: I'm blaming the fact I was freezing and having to stop constantly to blow hot air on my fingers. Yeah, that's it.

So, this and what follows is what happened when I went back to correct the timeline (i.e. draw it again). :cry:

STEP 3:
Image
Inked. Also added an actual strawberry on the ice cream cone. And, yes, she is letting the melting ice cream run all over and pool in her hands. Because I'm reminiscing of my first kiss and the girl that gave it to me and, uh, let's not get Dr. Freud involved in this, okay?

STEP 4:
Image
The color block-in; i.e. "flatting". The first girl I kissed was a brunette. But this girl is going to be a redhead. Because that fit's the "strawberry" theme better.

STEP 5:
Image
Shading and major light sources are established. I debated leaving the picture in this state. I went to bed. Then I got up, and it was still cold, so I added a few details....

STEP 6:
Image
Details.

User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1813
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#7 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:48 pm

Even less in-depth than my last picture post, but I figured it would be interesting for people to see how the initial incarnation of these drawings look. Because of the way I work in iterations with different file versions, it is easy for me to go back and show these steps, because they all exist as a layer in some version of the save file somewhere.

Behold the "rough":
Image
This is the first pass at a picture after it has graduated from the tiny sticker-figure thumbnail stage. The thumbnail stage is where I decide on an idea, and map out very basic composition. The rough stage is where I've blown up what I consider my favorite thumbnail and make the first pass on figures and details. You can see from the finished image that most of the final details are present at this stage.

A couple of points to note - first you'll notice the hands of the opponent are missing in the final composition I went with. I did this because I am lazy, but not, perhaps, in the way you are thinking. I cropped the image tighter to avoid drawing UNDER the table, not to avoid drawing more hands. Second, and this is probably only funny to me, but the tag-line on the wanted poster is a meta-pun for illustration and poker, along with it's more straight forward reading of gun-fighting. Sometimes you have to make yourself laugh.

Image
The final inks and shading. Make note when you look at the picture above and the final colored piece that EVERY shadow is the same color. This unifies the piece, and the color choice of creamy yellow was because I imagined the saloon they are in is filled with ambient yellow light from lanterns and the like. Your shadow color should almost always be some variation on what the ambient light is in your scene. For instance, if you look at shadows outside on a bright, cloudless day, you'll notice they are tinged blue. Because the ambient light is blue from the sky.

Image
The "flats". Or the "coloring-book" stage of the art. I find this stage the most relaxing, after the inking stage, but it goes by really quick! As for picking colors, my best advice for choosing good colors is to make sure they are all the same saturation. Colors of the same saturation look harmonious with each other, but when you start throwing colors next to each other from different ends of the saturation scale, things can go off the rails quick if you don't know what you're doing.

Want to know a secret almost all colorists use? See all those colors up there in my flats? I've mixed the same color into all of them. :wink: The secret sauce color I frankensteined every swatch with is pale yellow. It makes sure all the colors are warm (like the desert and the Old West) and gives everything a dusty look, again, like the desert, or old comics.

Image
Final image. The shading has been combined with the flats, and a texture overlay has been added, plus some vignetting.

A few last observations on the illustration itself:
- Yes, "Bang-Bang" Bonnie, the outlaw, fights with derringers.
- In the imaginary goofy show that Bonnie inhabits inside my head, her entire outlaw gang is made up of slightly incompetent teddy bears.
- Poker players can see that Bonnie has won this hand. Poker or Western historians can probably read some significance into the lawman's hand.
- Drawing face-cards is insane! After drawing the first Queen playing card (in perspective no-less), I just sat back and went "My God, what have I done?"

User avatar
Tempus
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 519
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:37 am
Completed: Ladykiller in a Bind
Projects: StoryDevs
Tumblr: jakebowkett
Deviantart: jakebowkett
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#8 Post by Tempus » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:19 pm

This is really cool, thanks for sharing. Those tips about the shadows being the colour of the ambient light and mixing in a single colour with all the others are useful and something I knew, but I'd never given thought to keeping colours in the same range of saturation. Since I don't really know what I'm doing with regards to colour, maybe I should try that some time.
StoryDevs — easy-to-search profiles for VN devs (under construction!)

User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1813
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#9 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:41 pm

Tempus wrote:This is really cool, thanks for sharing. Those tips about the shadows being the colour of the ambient light and mixing in a single colour with all the others are useful and something I knew, but I'd never given thought to keeping colours in the same range of saturation. Since I don't really know what I'm doing with regards to colour, maybe I should try that some time.
Your art always looks like you have a good grasp of color. A lot of artists will stay in the same saturation range by instinct. And yeah, I could tell you knew about the single color mix from looking at your backgrounds!

Thanks for looking at my stuff! I always like to do breakdowns of images I post on Lemmasoft when I can. Stuff like this helped (and helps!) me immensely with my art. "Looking over someone's shoulder" is the best way to pass down art skills or pick them up!

User avatar
unknown5
Veteran
Posts: 311
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:41 pm
Completed: (see sig)
Projects: slit-mouth girl, purifier, etc.
Contact:

Re: LateWhiteRabbit's Creation of an Avatar

#10 Post by unknown5 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:37 am

wow, thanks for the tips! never saw that in any of the tutorials i tried to learn from. QQ
Image
information wants to be free, yo.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users