personal accomplishment ftw!

citygroup-sm
(bigger version of this image on this page)

My lucidity is waning and it’s almost my bedtime (work early in the morning), but I wanted to say AHHH!

One of my biggest challenges as of late is finishing a traditional project — if it isn’t obvious enough. So I did this big group picture of the RE cast (including Andrew AND Sotoka — for once!) AND it had a nice cityscape backdrop AND SO I inked it, and then I was like omg forget this, I’m just going to do it digitally. But then I couldn’t get Danyil’s stupid face right digitally (gradient shading ftl), so that became my motivation to follow through with coloring this image oldschool with colored pencils, because the shading therein is so much easier to control.

SUPER HAPPY I DID.

I’ve been working on it since, like, Friday. I really took my time on each person AND the background, and I’m so glad I went with a much more saturated blue than I originally planned for the sky/shadows. I think it gave the piece a really thick, good atmosphere as opposed to washing it out like I usually do. All I did to it after scanning was upped the contrast and applied this new “salt/pepper” filter that I had which did exactly what I wanted it to in terms of cutting back on the graininess that results from colored pencils.

So, anyway, I was inspired by that pretty-colored character line-up I did from October 2006. I was hoping to outdo myself, but I outdid myself AND surprised myself. So I put them together to show off:
lineup-comparison
Okay so the only downside is that they all look really grim in the new one. But I’ll justify that by saying that the novel is much more serious than the manga was. >.o;
The only character missing from the new one is Tamae. I eliminated her character pretty early on in the novel version, which I think led to Danyil and Ingrid’s relationship (in the manga, the very conceited and rather useless Tamae is head-over-heels for Danny, who gives her a pity kiss after the ball at the same place in the story where Danyil and Ingrid now make love o__O; *weird thought*). Anyway, a lot of the cast is lined up in both pictures except Sotoka and Lacy are pretty far from their originals. In the top picture, from l-r we have Sotoka (far background), Danyil, Ingrid, Micah, Julian, Lacy, and Andrew (seated). In the bottom l-r we have Danyil (then Eripmav), Ingrid (then Mikara), Lacy (then Shani), Micah (then Myoku), Julian (then Takai), Tamae, Sotoka, and Andrew (then Darrin).

—-

I realized (or have for the first time felt capable of articulating this fact) that the way I obsess over then-and-now’s seems a little self-absorbed. Like, “ooh, look at me, I’m so good now” but inside me, it’s (usually) nothing like that.
In some ways, the growth of my artwork/characters is something I can document — “Look, I learned how to do backgrounds/add depth/work with a light source” and it says that I’m not moving through life without any progress.
Even beyond that, it’s just simply that I love my characters. It’s quite clear I’m incredibly committed to this cast. I was committed to them even prior to getting accepted by PYP, which is how it ever got accepted for publication in the first place. I believe in the stories that these people have to tell, and by this point it hardly feels like I’ve concocted them myself.
As one of my all-time favorite authors put it (Jonathan Stroud on his facebook page in reference to Bartimaeus),

the character just pulled me happily into the story. Which is what all good characters do, I think, whether you’re a reader or a writer…

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