Sunday, September 16, 2012

Drawing for fun - part 1

Lately, I've been trying to get myself into drawing, using a combination of hand (with pencil) and computer (photoshop with a drawing tablet).

The idea is that I'll make 3 drawings of weapons and turn them into some kind of wallpaper. All 3 will have a different color theme. These weapons are kinda staples of the generic fantasy realm, namely:
-The holy axe (green)
-The dragoon spear (red)
-The dark sword (blue)

For each weapon, I also devised a (small) background story.
-The axe isn't just a generic holy axe, but is closely tied to the forces of nature.
-The spear has a high ceremonial nature but is usable as a weapon
-The sword used to be a generic (knightly) twohander, but has been taken over by dark forces.

I started with the holy axe, for no other reason than that I wanted to.
On paper, I usually try a rough sketch of what it looks like, as I can always change many things once going digital. I used A3 paper because it's sufficiently large and I still had some lying around.

Now, the problem with A3 paper is that most people, including me, don't have an A3 scanner at home and while I could go to a copy center to get it done there, it's usually cheaper if you just scan it at home.

First off, I scanned the 2 halves separately, making sure to have a tiny bit of overlap as that'll make it easier to merge them.
In photoshop, open the 2 files and drag them into a big enough file where you have sufficient space to move them around. Putting the half on the upper layer slightly opaque helps with positioning.

Now, using careful gumming at the edges and slightly repositioning the halves using the arrow keys, you should be able to make a nice seamless file. I ended up with this:

As a closing, some hints:

  • Try having more than one pencil hardness available. Switching these up can help with depth.
  • Try having a definite outer line that's slightly thicker all around and around parts of the drawing that stand upon themselves. (For example, the entire axe has an outline, but the different parts - shaft, blade and point - as well.)
  • Draw big. It allows for better detail as you can downsize it later.
  • Scan in a high resolution (about 300 dpi is good). 
  • If your drawing comes out too light, try balancing the levels with ctrl+l (when using photoshop).
  • You can either shade with your pencil or on pc, either works.

In the next issue, I'll go over the first coloring of the axe, just adding basic color and some minor lighting.

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