Here's my entry for this month. Fantasy is not necessarily my thing, so it took me a bit longer to find an idea that I thought would work.
@Kevintreaccar I see what you mean, thanks!
Also, I've been out of the loop over the past few months on SVS contests, so I didn't even know that the December 2020 contest was for a character design as well. Looks like the guidelines for what they are looking for are basically the same too. I'll look through those submissions too and see what kinds of things others did. (I could also watch the critique arena for that one as well I suppose.)
@Braden-Hallett Yeah, it was mainly to set up the story a bit, so that when you see the character you know what kind of world and situation they are in. (I know we have the basic story of goblins invading a village, but since fantasy isn't so much my thing and in an effort to differentiate I'm considering pushing the strict interpretation of the story.)
Does anyone know if we can include some text with our images? As I'm coming up with ideas, I kind of have to come up with the basics of a larger story to give the character context. When I present the character design I'd also like to have a short synopsis to give some context as to why the character looks the way they look. Or, are we to just let the images themselves stand alone???
Maybe it's up to us? In that case, is anyone else planning to include a bit of story with their images?
1. How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn?
The main way I've made use of SVS this year has been submitting artwork to the monthly contests. Getting critiques from professionals during the monthly critique arenas has probably been the most valuable thing for me. It is also interesting to see how others approach the prompt and how the judges react to those entries too.
2. How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece?
While I do know that things like composition and color choices were impacted by what I either picked up in SVS courses or in monthly contest critiques, the thing that stays with me the most is the idea that WHAT you draw is more important that HOW you draw it. I'm not exactly sure where I heard that – an SVS course, the podcast, or maybe during the critiques. In fact, the sentiment has probably come up in all three places. So when I'm brainstorming ideas for the monthly prompt I'm always trying to find a unique or interesting take on it. For me personally, the April 2020 prompt was a good example of this. I discarded a number of early ideas, but I eventually landed on this one that I was pretty happy with. (For reference, the April 2020 prompt was "Lisa's robot invention worked great, until it did this...")
Getting this one in just in time. I kicked around a few ideas for this, and had two of them pretty far along. But, in my infinite wisdom, and with a bunch of other projects happening, I decided THIS PAST WEEKEND that I just had to do this other idea I had. It's actually kind of a "sequel" to my April 2020 entry with the prompt "Lisa's robot invention worked great, until it did this ...". (So, maybe the robot wasn't such a good idea, so she moved on to a mechanical dragonfly suit instead. What could possibly go wrong?)
I think you'll also see this referred to as "errors and omissions" insurance. I do have this, mainly because when I was setting up my business I saw enough suggestions to get it. I didn't get it due to a contract requiring it though. Is it overkill? Could I get by without it? Possibly. But, I like to err on the safe side usually, so it's a worthwhile business expense for me.
Ok, going to call this done.
@Kevin-Longueil I do think the black and white one does work better. I certainly understand the desire to make the bricks yellow though.
What if you made all of the bricks yellow? I took a screen cap and did some rough Photoshopping.
(Not necessarily saying that's the answer, but just trying things out. It may be too much yellow???)
@Pamela-Fraley I'm working on a comic, and I'm finding that it's easier for me to get my head around it if I take significant characters and objects and design them out individually first. I suppose that makes sense for characters, but even ships, vehicles, etc. Initially I just went in and figured I'd work it out as I drew the entire thing, but it just felt a bit overwhelming. So, I'm carrying that idea over to this project too.
@Kevin-Longueil Yes, you are right! I can't believe I forgot that detail.
Either JPG or PNG would work fine. I don't have a really great reason for choosing PNG other than that I just like it. My thought process on the three file formats is:
Backblaze is one that got good reviews when I was searching for a backup service. There are definitely others out there that are good too. I'd just do a search and look for reviews for different services. (Carbonite is another one that I've heard is good.)
For Astropad, I do have an annual plan for Astropad Studio. And I have an education discount, so it's like $45 a year I think. Still, even at the normal price it's a relatively inexpensive alternative to a Cintiq. But ... if you have a Cintiq then there's really no reason for it. (You may have mentioned you had a Cintiq in an earlier post and I just missed it.)
Looking for some comments, feedback, and critiques on two cover concepts for July 2020 Wizard of Oz book cover.
There were a number of ways I thought of going with this, but in the end I wanted to focus on the characters. I just don't think my art style works quite as well when trying to convey something metaphorical or symbolic (if that makes sense). So, I first drew my versions of the four main characters.
Then I created a couple of mockups.
(In version 1, the tall rectangles on the path would be the four characters facing away and walking on the yellow brick road towards the Emerald City.)
(Edit: Wow, I didn't realize how long this is. Hopefully there's some useful info in there.)
As an iPad Pro + Procreate user, I'd echo much of what has been said so far.
I like the idea of a larger Cintiq type screen and the freedom of Photoshop, but the portability of the iPad Pro is really nice. And Procreate is very good and so far worth the minor inconveniences.
I opted not to get cellular because when I'm out and about I have decent access to wifi. But, if you rely on wifi at the places you are visiting (coffee shop, library, etc) you really want to also get a VPN service like NordVPN or ExpressVPN or something like that. Public wifi is convenient but not the safest thing to use without a VPN of some kind. (Good VPN services will still cost money, but it will be cheaper than a data plan for an iPad and most VPN services let you connect a number of devices like phones, tablets, laptops, etc.)
I went with the 12.9" iPad Pro for the larger screen. I have used smaller iPads as well and I like the larger size.
I got the smallest storage, which is 32 Gb. Since my iPad is not my main device, I end up archiving or storing my finished artwork files on my main computer. So, I really only need enough storage to keep my "in progress" files. So far I've had no space issues. I should also note that I do pretty much just artwork on my iPad, and don't have music, movies, etc on it to take up space.
When I backup or archive from my iPad to my main computer, I copy three files of each final piece:
I will then delete the files off of my iPad.
A note on backups. I do a regular onsite AND offsite backup of my main computer. I'm on a Mac, so my onsite backup is a Time Machine hard drive and my offsite uses a service called Backblaze. It may seem like overkill, but backups are like insurance. It's a pain to deal with when things are going well, but when you need it you're glad you had it in place.
There is an app called Astropad (www.astropad.com) that lets you use your iPad as a drawing tablet for your Mac. It allows your iPad to basically become an extended display for your Mac, and so you could use Photoshop (or any Mac app really) with the Apple Pencil on the iPad. If I run into a situation where Procreate on the iPad is a bit too limiting, I can export a PSD file, open it in Photoshop on my Mac, and then use Astropad (I use Astropad Studio) to continue working on it without the limitations of Procreate. Of course using Procreate and Photoshop is different, but I've done some experimenting and found that I can create the same artwork in both and it looks and feels the same. So, just something else to consider. (Also note that the latest version of macOS does have a feature called "Sidecar" which is like this, but it's not really tailored to artists. Astropad has refined the process and so it's a pretty seamless experience.)
@deborah-Haagenson Thanks! I was hesitating whether to put the pineapple, papaya, and bananas in there as I thought it would be packing too much in. But, in the end I thought they kind of blend in with the jungle background and they didn't feel like they were drawing too much attention.