Irrational Journal : August 2015 updates and artwork

“It’s time for another journal entry! To start off, a big THANK YOU to the great feedback we have been getting from various readers on the Roleplayers comic series! We deeply appreciate your comments and critiques as we continue to produce the title. We would like to say that readers can expect to read the FREE online version of issue 4 of Roleplayers some time around the end of August 2015 as we near completion of the issue.

In the mean time, Irrational Comics is gearing up for our first time tabling at a local convention! The Singapore Toy Games and Comic convention is just a month away and we are busy preparing for the event. More news to come as we approach the annual event. For now, I would like to give readers a little insight into my art process and workflow as I go through the creation of a promotional poster we are planning to use for the convention.

Final

Here we go:

Rough

Rough

It all begins with a thumbnail on paper, which I later translate quickly onto the digital canvas. At this roughing stage, I am less concerned with details and more focused on composition and the overall layout of various elements in the image. I use simple gestural lines to indicate the expressions and poses that I want but nothing is really set in stone and things can still change as I progress onwards.

Sketch

Sketch

Once I have the roughs down, I lower the opacity of the rough layer and use it as a guide to sketch and more or less nail down certain aspects of the image that I have decided to include. Much of the composition of the image hinges on the elements in the centre of the image, specifically Cassie, her character Cassandra and the Game Master, Ben. I take special care to ensure that the characters in the middle are well placed and centered so that they can serve as a guide and reference point for the placement of the other characters.

Lineart

Lineart

With the sketch stage done, I move on to the most time consuming and labor intensive part of my work process, drawing the lineart. At this stage, I draw very carefully and make sure to create clean, smooth lines which is a great departure from the prior stages. Much time is spent drawing the characters to be “structurally sound” and it is at this stage that I find my drawing fundamentals tested at every corner as I struggle to get the anatomy right while allowing myself some stylistic freedom. I find that the better the quality of the lineart, the easier it is to put the colors in later, so I absolutely devote a lot of time and effort into this part of the process. For readers who are curious, I believe it took me an entire day from morning to night to get the lineart done.

Flats

Flats

After the lineart is done, I usually heave a sigh of relief. Before I put on the colors though, I move the characters around a bit to get a better composition. Once that’s done, I put in the flat colors on the lineart. At this stage, I also take into consideration fundamentals such as color theory and choose a color palette that I feel works best with what I’m trying to achieve.

Render

Render

After the flats, I begin rendering. Contrary to popular belief, it actually does not take me as long to finish rendering, mostly because I choose to go with a simple cel shading technique combined with some parts of soft shading instead of rendering in a painterly manner. It takes less than a day to finish this stage. Keen eyed readers will spot that I changed the expression of Allie, the character on the top right corner while rendering. I think in the previous lineart version, I gave her a really scary look that I didn’t intend to.

Final

Final

Finally, putting it all together! Once the rendering is done, I added effects and other layout elements to complete the piece. It is very important to me that the characters in the foreground stand out from the characters at the back. To achieve this, I employed various techniques to make that distinction such as placing in fog as well as using more subtle means such as lightening the lineart of the characters in the back.

If you’re still reading, thank you so much for your interest in this post. I would love to hear your thoughts on this little process walkthrough, whether you’ve enjoyed it and would want to see more of such stuff or if you’d like to see other things related to the comic we’re producing. If this is your first time checking out our site and you think you might enjoy a comic book about tabletop rpg, I’ll appreciate it if you would check out our Roleplayers comic series. You can read the first 3 issues for free here.

Have a great day and be awesome! ”

– Derek Chua

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