Thursday, April 19, 2007

Earth Two

"One of the hardest lessons for an artist to learn," one teacher told me, "is knowing when to stop."

I still haven't figured it out, so after the jump I'm going to post the latest version of my super-hero creation, "Earth".

First, for comparison's sake, here's the last version of the character I drew:

I liked the basic black drawing, but I think I dropped the ball on the coloring. The textures used for Earth's arms and such looked flat instead of contouring along a three-dimensional form. So I recently got motivated to re-imagine the character a bit, in the process changing the human aspect (Gandalf Jones) from a pre-teen to an older man. The nice thing about having done the illustration digitally is that both the human and the creature are complete, separate drawings. That meant I could just delete the young boy and replace it with the older man, while being able to leave Earth exactly the same. Furthermore, since the color and the ink are also on separate layers, I could recolor the black and white lineart without having to redraw it.

Anyway, here's the most recent version:

I like the color work much, much better. I think the chest area on the creature works much better as a solid black than as discrete plates as well -- it's a more dramatic lighting situation, and it echoes the black turtleneck of Gandalf. I also like the glow around the human figure, I think it plays off the creature's glow well.

I also think this treatment conveys much better the concept I was going for, of an ambulatory pile of rocks and dirt, animated by an elemental spirit. I wanted it to seem like he grew up out of the ground, incorporating whatever materials happened to be there where he spawned.

See? This blog's template isn't the only thing I tinker with excessively!


David M said...

Since you're still tinkering I'll toss out a few suggestions and comments that spring to mind. (It's too bad the 'comments' don't have a 'jump to' feature, allowing you to skip them if you really don't want them.)

1) Comment: I like the coloring MUCH better too. Much more 3-D.
2) Comment: I never realized the he grew out of whatever earth and rock was nearby when he transformed. I'm sure you mentioned it, but it just sunk in this time. And I like that idea very much.
3) Suggestion: Less symmetrical. I think he would look even more organic if he had plates of rock jutting out here and there and different concentrations of rock in different areas of his body and those concentrations varied each time you drew him. In 'Champions' terms, that might even be one of his limitations: even he would never know the density of the form he would take. Sometimes he'd be mostly sand, other times mostly granite, sometimes one fist of red clay and the other of shale, etc. Adjusting to those features quickly would be something he gets better at over time.

Jeff Hebert said...

Good comments, thanks Dave.