Friday, August 17, 2018

Thanos: A Fistful of Colors

Thanos: A Fistful of Colors


OK, this is a slight parody of the Clint Eastwood classic, "A Fistful of Dollars".  And, with "Avengers: Infinity War" recently released on DVD/Blu-Ray, it seemed as good as time as any to post this.

BTW, here's an amusing site to see if you survived the Infinity War or not (you have to clear your cookies to possibly get a different answer): 

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STEP ONE:  Here's the quickly scribbled start for the Thanos digital painting in Painter 2018, originally done on a 1,500px x 2,100px canvas at 300dpi.  Originally, I figured I would just do up the painting, then crop it as needed for the finished poster when I finished the lettering and whatnot.

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STEP TWO:  This was about the halfway point for the black-and-white digital painting.  However, I didn't like the face of Thanos much, and the head-size seemed a little off to me, so I digitally repainted it in the next pic.

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STEP THREE:  I wanted the colors of Thanos (and the background) to be more muted so the color of the Soul Gems / Infinity Gems / Infinity Stones would stand out more, so I mostly used a Multiply Layer for most of the coloration, with a few highlights done over a Normal Layer.  I also cropped the Thanos pic to make sure the Infinity Gems / Infinity Stones / Infinity Gauntlet had a little more focus.

Painter 2018 also has some interesting textures, which were added to Thanos' clothing.  I also just painted over the lettering to match the font used in the original "Fistful of Dollars" poster.  Lastly, I added a paper texture in the background and called it good, as I was already spending way too much time on getting this finished.  That's the problem... you can continuously noodle around with something to try and get it perfect, only to find a week has gone by and you really don't have much to show for it.  Feh!

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This was done digitally in Painter 2018 and an assist with Photoshop.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Captain America - (Updated)

Captain America - UPDATED


Well, I decided to do a little more work to the post from yesterday.  Rather than just have it be exclusive to July 4th, how about just broaden it out to a propagandist-style poster of Captain America punching Nazis?  Your wish is my command.

And, while we're at it, how about some of the process and associated boring stuff that goes with it?  Second verse, same as the first!  Say no more, here they are!


The pose was vaguely based on the original, 1941 Captain America comic book by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.  There were so many other Jack Kirbyesque poses I considered using, but eventually settled on the classic, first one.  Perhaps next year I shall go through some others.

* * *


PART ONE: Here are the quick digital pencils, scribbled on a 1,500px by 2,250px canvas at 300dpi.  These are cropped, as I originally left room for the poster lettering and such, which just show as blank spaces on the canvas.

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PART TWO:  And these are the quick digital inks, just building on the previous pencils.  They are more-or-less just intended as placeholders for the figures, since I was planning on painting over everything.  I also threw on a neutral-toned background to knock down some of the brightness of the white canvas.

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PART THREE:  Here is the quick underpainting.  I wasn't concerned with blending the colors at this time, just laying out the general color placement.  Here is when the position of Captain America's arm began to bother me, and kept asking myself if I should change it.

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STEP FOUR:  This is a big leap to the finished painting.  However, I noticed a few anatomical things which I tried to ignore but couldn't any longer in the painting: mostly, the head/neck were too low, the rotation of the art and chest were off, disguised by the sketchy nature of the original drawing.  I was hoping I could make 'em fit, just 'cuz I was in a hurry to get it (barely) posted before the end of July 4th.  It didn't work, so I had to fix 'em.  I'm sure there's a lesson there somewhere which I will refuse to learn.  ;-)

I also decided to change the color of the background to be more bluish, 'cuz of the red banners across the top and bottom. 

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STEP FIVE:  And here's an animated .gif of the process, just to see the changes over time.

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(And, just for fun, while there have been many references to the cover of "Captain America #1" over the years, one of my favorite references to this cover is when Marvel Comics' America Chavez also punched Hitler in the face.  It's a story that involves a time machine where she meets Captain America from Issue #1 and... well, it's a long story.  But, the page made me smile.)

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Done digitally in Painter 2018 and an assist in Photoshop.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!


Celebrating July Fourth just about the only way I know how... by doing a digital painting of Captain America punching Hitler in the face!  An homage to the cover of Captain America #1 (1941).

I'll post all the other stuff about the work in progress and whatnot tomorrow, since I've already spent too much time sitting in a chair and looking at a computer screen for one day.  :-D

* * *

Done digitally in Painter 2018--with an assist from Photoshop for the lettering.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Digital Painting: Shuri

Digital Painting: Shuri


I meant to do a digital painting from "Black Panther" for a long time, back when "Black Panther" was out in theaters, but was distracted with other things, alas.  This was done noodling around with Painter 2018, trying to get adjusted to the program, mostly using Chunky Oil Pastel brush.

The movie was really fun, and it in my personal Top Five of the many, many Marvel Movies, up there with "Captain America: Winter Soldier", "Guardians of the Galaxy", "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Iron Man 3" (yeah, I'm probably one of the few that praises "Iron Man 3" that much).  The order changes depending on my mood, but those are my general Top Five.

In "Black Panther", Shuri was probably my favorite character, being Wakanda's "Q" from the James Bond movies and is a joyfully fun character, as well.

As I did most of the painting on and same layer, I forgot to keep separate pictures of the work in progress.  Ah, well.

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Done digitally with Painter 2018.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

If I Were a Serial Killer...

If I Were a Serial Killer


CLICK TO EMBIGGEN

One of the numerous podcasts I listen to is the "Last Podcast on the Left".  It is a rather darkly humorous podcast about serial killers, conspiracies, UFO's, cryptozoology, and such.  Anyway, they are currently writing a book and a little over a month ago they put out a call for artists who would be doing something in a comic book/Mad Magazine format.  "Well," I thought, "this sounds like something right up my alley!  I'll give it a shot."

I gathered up some links from my Blog showing what they could vaguely expect from my work and sent it along to them.  I also pointed out the irony that I happen to share the name with the FBI agent, John Douglas, who helped to develop forensic profiling for hunting serial killers and co-wrote the book, "Mindhunters" (his name is also in the credits in the Netflix Series of the same name).  Imagine, I noted, the semi-irony of a book about serial killers illustrated by John Douglas (not that one).

Several weeks went by and I hadn't heard anything "yea" or "nay".  So, I thought rather than just sit around waiting, I should do something more personalized and see if I could sway them that way. 

In this case, I decided to write a two-page, semi-autobiographical story--no, not the murdery/serial killery part of the story, just the realization that if I **DID** go on a killing spree and I signed my name at the each murder sites there would be some... confusion.  Also, the hosts of the show are the first group of my victims, so it had that going for it.

I finished it up and sent it off.  Sadly, even though they liked my "If I Were a Serial Killer" submission, they had already decided to go with a different artist.  D'oh!  I guess I was a day late and a dollar short...  Or whatever time frame and denomination are appropriate.

All that said, it was good practice and more stuff I can throw on my Blog.  So, here we are...  Oh, and I presumed it would be in black-and-white, which is why this one isn't in color, using a line tone, instead.

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Done with Clip Studio Paint EX (Formerly Manga Studio)

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

May the Fourth Be With You - 2018

May the Fourth Be With You!


OK, so it isn't technically "May the Fourth" anymore, but let's pretend it is!

Once again, I am on my mad quest to make Jaxxon the Rabbit somewhat cool and bringing him up every year.  Someday, it may result in... well, something or other.  Who knows?  I'm sure it involves Underpants Gnomes version of Monetary Theory (Phase 1: Collect Underpants; Phase 2: ???; Phase 3: Profit!).  In your face, 200th Birthday of Karl Marx!  :-P

The secondary title, "Jaxxon/Jaxxoff", is intended as a pun from "Karate Kid" with "Wax-on!  Wax-off!", with the same vague, masturbation joke in both.  So, it has that going for it.  :-D

I decided not to do a step-by-step this time around.  They seem to take up a lot of space and I'm not sure if they really say much of anything.  I'll leave it to y'all if you're interested in the Work in Progress portions, or save them for times when it may actually be neat, or I have something in particular to say (we'll leave aside the whole "Hey, Dummy, you should have been doing that the entire time..." argument).  I'm ambivalent about it at the moment.  Also, the half-finished drawings turn up in Google Searches, so it really looks like a less-than-ideal representation of my work.

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Done digitally in Clip Studio Paint EX and colored in Photoshop.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018 - Part 5

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018
(Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing)



It's the last submission to the March M.O.D.O.K. Madness Blog for the year, just under the wire!

I decided to go out with a bang and do up a two-page parody of the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Duck Amuck", with Arnim Zola and M.O.D.O.K.

Step-by-step below (Click to embiggen!)

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STEP ONE:  Here is a peek behind the curtain, showing the evolution of the strip (including parts that were dropped/changed).  Originally, it was going to be just a single panel with "Ain't I a stinker?", but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of doing it as a multi-page, comic panel layout.  Except in this case "multi" means "two".  There were other little scraps doodled out here and there, but rather than show every little thing, here is the nucleus of the cartoon upon which everything else was built.

It's the way I do most of my stuff: a piece of paper and ballpoint pen to scribble out some ideas and see where they lead.  Usually, it is down dead ends and blind alleys--like this one!  I had doodled the "Ain't I a stinker?" line last year as a possible idea, but ran out of time.  So, here it is now.  And I have several ideas sketched out that I didn't get to, so probably next year.  Or the year after.

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STEP TWO:  The pencils are particularly rough and somewhat off-model, as I was still deciding if I wanted to do Zola in an updated form where his face is a blue computer screen, or more of classic Zola.  I went with a mostly classic Zola after all, so that changed.

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STEP THREE:  Here are the digital inks.  They were done with a .7 size digital brush in Clip Studio Paint (formerly Manga Studio), since Photoshop decided to start acting up on me.  I should take the time to use Clip Studio Paint more, except I'm used to Photoshop so default to it out of habit.  I like a lot of Clip Studio Paint, but just have to get used to where all my normal tools are hidden...  :-D

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STEP FOUR:  I colorized digital inks with a Multiply Layer, as well as a few Normal color layers over top.  I also hand drew the speech balloons, since I didn't have time to learn the proper way to make them in Clip Studio Paint before I had to submit it to Pedro and Brendan at the  March M.O.D.O.K. Madness site.  Time was ticking and I was down to the last hour.  Made it!  Whew!

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Done digitally in Clip Studio Paint.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018 - Part 4

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018
(Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing)


It's another submission to the March M.O.D.O.K. Madness Blog!

This time around, it is inspired by what I call Kaiju Cutdowns, drawings showing the internal anatomy of various Japanese monsters of my youth.  In this case, it is more of a M.O.D.O.K. Melt-through, revealing what all is happening inside that giant head and floating canister.  This is probably a more disturbing submission (mostly due to the image of M.O.D.O.K. riding around commando--YIKES!), but here you go, nonetheless.  Irk, easy stomach...

Now, to race to the finish line and try and get that last submission done before time runs out at the end of the month!

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STEP ONE:  Here is a quick sketch I did for the idea on a piece of 8-1/2" x 7" piece of paper with a ballpoint pen (it was a sheet of legal-size paper folded in half).

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STEP TWO:  I did some digital inks over-top the pen sketch, using a 7-pt brush on a 2,100px x 1,500px 300dpi canvas in Photoshop.  I will admit to cheating on the anatomy little bit (well, more than usual, in this case), in that M.O.D.O.K.'s right arm and leg (y'know, the metal sheathed ones) are both moved over to an untenable degree.  But, then again, a LOT of M.O.D.O.K.'s anatomy is untenable.  So, there ya go.

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STEP THREE:  And here are the colors, which I just added as a Multiply Layer.  Nothing fancy, as I was trying to keep it relatively simple, what with all the extra line work all over and everything.  Otherwise, it may look too busy.

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Done digitally in Photoshop

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Friday, March 16, 2018

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018 - Part 3

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018
(Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing)


It's another submission to the March M.O.D.O.K. Madness Blog!

This time around, it is a parody of the Maxell tape ads from way back in the day.  Way, way back in the day.  Like, in the late 70's, early 80's.  Y'know, audio tape?  Anyone?  Holy cow, I'm old.  Sigh...

In this case, it is a Cosmic Cube blasting back M.O.D.O.K.'s hair, rather than a Maxell tape playing "Ride of the Valkyrie" or "Night on Bald Mountain".

Just for fun, here's the original Maxell ad:


I'm hoping to get one (or possibly even TWO) more M.O.D.O.K. posts before the end of the month.  So, we'll see...  :-)

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STEP ONE:  Here are the quick, digital pencils, done on a 2,100px x 1,500px 300dpi canvas in Photoshop.  I threw in a gradient as a background just to fill the space I would be using for the digital painting.

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STEP TWO:  In this case, I just skipped to the final.  Mostly 'cuz most of the steps in between weren't all that interesting.  And I forgot to get screen grabs, so there's that, too.  So...  Digital painting, used some shapes for the speaker, lamp, and end table; added lettering... Done!  Ta da!

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Done digitally in Photoshop.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day 2018!

Happy Pi Day 2018


OK, I'll be the first to admit I am not smart enough for this joke.

It's a mash-up of two things I really don't participate in: Video Games and Math.  Video games I gave up for the most part cold turkey almost 20 years ago.  I had burned myself out on a combination of pumping every spare quarter I had into arcade games (remember those?), Atari 2600, Nintendo NES and the next gen Super NES, and any other game systems I could get my hands on right up to 1999, when I realized I was wasting too much time on video games and basically quit.  Granted, I was (and am) still wasting time on a LOT of other things, but video games wasn't one of them.

And Math, well... Math and I don't see eye to (i).  That's another joke I'm not smart enough to make.  I think.

So, "the cake is a lie" is from the video game, "Portal", which I have never played.  However, I have seen enough of it referred to in the nerd culture I swim in that I was aware of both "Portal" and "the cake is a lie" meme.  Heck, it even has a really great ending song in which the insane computer, GLaDOS, taunts the survivors that she is "Still Alive" (written by Jonathan Coulton, no less).  I listened to it again a few weeks ago, which is why it was semi-fresh in my mind.  Here it is for those interested:


There is even a symphonic version which also makes me smile, since I appreciate seeing low-brow and high-brow cultures mix it up.  Lest this go from a Pi Day post to a "Portal" end song "Still Alive" post, it's probably in the "Suggested Videos".  Go look, I'll wait...

As for the formula Pi^(e) = 22.459157718...  Well, I went down a YouTube rabbit hole about  calculus, graphing imaginary numbers, and Euler's Constant.  Not much of it really stuck because of what I said above about Math and me.  But, I did remember (e) was something in math.  I guess that means it wasn't completely wasted on me.  Close, but not completely.

With that as the background, my chain of thought went something like this: Pi Day... If the cake is a lie, Pi is something else.  If the cake is a lie, maybe Pi is the truth?  Nah, that's obvious.  Bleh.  I need a pun--the worse the better!  (Which is how puns work, after all.)  So, then I tried to think of a pun from cake to Pi...  Oh, wait, with Pi being mathematical, and (e) also having to do with math, well there we go!  I Googled the formula "Pi^(e)" and it turned out to give an actual answer--No one was more surprised than me!  And, even better, it could be plotted on a line.  LINE!  Of course, that pun is almost bad enough to work!  If the cake is a lie, the Pi^(e) is a line!  Ta da!

Who says explaining jokes isn't fun?  :-P

For my amusement, I posted this as close to 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 (CST) as possible.  Y'know, 'cuz Pi.

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Done in Photoshop.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018 - Part 2

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018
(Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing)


It's time for another submission to the March M.O.D.O.K. Madness Blog!

In this case, it's a team-up of two Jack Kirby creations, Devil Dinosaur and M.O.D.O.K.

And, it ends with a rather bad pun, so there's that.

* * *


STEP ONE:  A little peek behind the curtain as to my working (HA!) process: here is the doodle in the margins which was the germ of the idea for this post.  I thought it would be amusing to give M.O.D.O.K. a bonding moment with everyone's favorite crimson-colored T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur, over their tiny arms.  It was worthy of a smirk, or perhaps even a quiet titter, at best.  But, then I thought of the line "GASP!  You have tiny, vestigial arms just like mine...  I cannot kill such a noble creature" and thought it could be expanded into a actual comic page which ends in a team-up (of sorts).

* * *


STEP TWO:  Here are the digital pencils, done on a 1,500px by 2,250px canvas at 300dpi.  I made it a little more cartoony, ala Calvin and Hobbes (one of the greatest comic strips ever).

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STEP THREE:  Followed by the inks, which were done mostly using a 7pt. hard brush.  Of note, in panel 3 of the pencil page, it cropped off Devil Dinosaur's rear end enough that it didn't visually read as if he had a tail.  He just sort of looked like he was squatting down... perhaps getting ready to leave some coprolites for future generations.  So, I moved him over just enough to have some of his tail showing, but still leaving enough room for the word balloons.  Also, I changed the direction of M.O.D.O.K.'s cowlick on top of his head.  Not sure why, but it seemed funnier leaning the opposite direction.

Oh, and I got rid of the Kirby Krackle/energy bubbles coming out of his headband.  It looked as if I were drawing him as drunk, rather than readying up a Mindblast.

* * *


STEP FOUR:  And here is the finished comic page.  The colors were all one on a separate Multiply Layer, and the lettering was added.  I also decided to change the word "Kill" to "Harm" in panel 4, to make it seem as if M.O.D.O.K. was so moved by his connection to Devil Dinosaur, even the though of harming him was too much to think about, let alone killing him.

I threw in a shadow under Devil Dinosaur in the last panel so he didn't look like he was floating in space for no reason.  I will also admit the car crash of logos and fonts in the last panel makes my inner-graphic designer cry a little bit.  

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Done digitally in Photoshop.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018 - Part 1 (Updated)

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018
(Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing)


I decided to update the picture to an animated .gif for no real reason at all.  Well, other than it amuses me.  Which, now that I think of it, is responsible for way too many of my inane actions.

Also, if you're gonna label something as "Techno-Color", well, by gum, it better have some color! 

Whoa, man, the colors!

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Done digitally with Photoshop and Painter 2018

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March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018 - Part 1

March M.O.D.O.K. Madness 2018
(Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing)


Greetings!  It's March, so that means it's time again for submissions to the March M.O.D.O.K. Madness Blog!

So, while some people's minds begin to turn toward thoughts of Spring, mine begins to grind away at trying to think of submissions for everyone's favorite Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing.

I can't help that some of you have misplaced priorities...

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STEP ONE:  This was just a quick, scribbled idea in a sketchbook with a ballpoint pen.  Originally, I intended to have the letters toppled and jumbled as from the Mindblast, but realized it would be a bit of a pain in the butt, so changed it to letters on an arch. 

* * *


STEP TWO:  Here was a vague drawing of the sketch, which I did in Photoshop on a 1,500px x 1,650px canvas at 300dpi.  Since the view of M.O.D.O.K. was straight on and symmetrical, I cheated a bit by just drawing the left-half, then copying and flipping it over to the right-side.  Yeah, sinister, I know!  (I'm sure there's nothing more clever than a left-handed, Latin joke.)

* * *


STEP THREE:  Here is the initial start of coloring the drawing.  I included a rainbow gradient just because it was there and thought it would look cool.  However, for this particular choice, the problem was the purple on the left side would be too close to the purple of M.O.D.O.K.'s arm, and the orange on the right side would be too close to the orange of his chair/headband.  So, bleh on that!  Also, the head just didn't seem right for him, either--he needed to have a bigger forehead.

* * *


STEP FOUR:  I started goofing off with a new program along side Photoshop, Painter 2018.  I found a pretty handy symmetry tool which allows you to digitally paint the same thing on both halves of the painting.  So, I got to "cheat" again but just painting on one side of the painting and having it show up on the other side at the same time.  Nice!  I finished all the digital painting, added the lettering and the glowy bits, and changed the rainbow gradient.  And, of course, added the bad pun on "Technicolor (R)" as "Techno-Color".  

I'm witty like that.  Well, half-so, anyways...

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Done digitally with Photoshop and Painter 2018.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Unwanted Valentines: Leeloo Dallas

Unwanted Valentines: 
Leeloo Dallas


This "Unwanted Valentine" is from "The Fifth Element" (1997), a somewhat goofy, fun, sci-fi movie for which I have an inordinate fondness.

Happy Valentine's Day!  (Or, VD as I prefer to call it.)  :-)

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STEP ONE:  Here are the digital pencils done with a 9 pt. hard brush on a 1,500px by 2,100px canvas at 300dpi.

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STEP TWO:  The digital inks, again, mostly done with a 9pt hard brush.

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STEP THREE:  Coloring was done over top the digital inks on a Multiply Layer.  After it was done, I dropped the resolution down to 200dpi, which reduced the canvas size to 1,000px by 1,400px for a smaller upload size.  I decided to keep the coloring stylized as its own design element, rather than a more realistically colored image.

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Done digitally with Photoshop.

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