Coral Reef

ocean-piece-done(Print Available)

About time I put together a new piece for postcards!

This is probably the most ambitious illustration I've taken on in a few years, but I have to say that that felt really good. I've been starting to feel a bit stagnant recently, and I wanted to do something new to really push myself and see where I'm at. I used this piece to try a few new things:

A much tighter sketch than is typical for me (and in pencil, too)


Value studies beforehand


Working primarily in Manga Studio for lineart/flatting




And happily, I feel that all of those new paths took me to good places. The value study especially helped immensely. I knew this idea was going to be overwhelmingly colorful and detailed - and that was part of what I wanted to do, a hugely detailed, colorful environment. I knew value was going to be the only way there could still be clarity, and I also knew as a color addict, a study was going to be the only way to get me there. I used the study and actually did a good chunk of my flatting in grayscale as well - until it got too hard to see what everything was (since I didn't do full lineart for everything.) I also checked how I was doing on value frequently once I was working on color, by switching on/off a grayscale overlay. Definitely something I'll be paying more attention to in future work.

Using Manga Studio more was a great experience, too. As far as lineart goes, I'm a convert - drawing lines in Photoshop has always been clunky and frustrating for me. Sometimes I wonder if the main reason my work went in a painterly direction for a long time was because I just hated trying to get nice lines in PS! As soon as I picked up Manga Studio (and brushes from the excellent Ray Frenden) my lines felt natural and went where I wanted them to. Drawing lines digitally suddenly became.. FUN. I was even able to use this to speed up flatting, outlining the shape and filling it in rather than painstakingly "painting" it in as I had done in photoshop.

I'm not sure about doing work 100% in Manga Studio - there are definitely a lot of production things I can accomplish faster in Photoshop, plus I'm addicted to my Kyle T Webster brushes. But, I'm enjoying the exploration and I'll see where it takes me next.