Breathing Life

I’ve found this accidental habit of posting about every four days or so.  I really like posting things.  We’ll see how long this pattern persists.  I’ve been fortunate lately that I’ve had work that I can share.  My biggest project now, with We Did It Games, is pretty hush-hush.  By the way, click that lovely little hyperlink.  I’m mentioned in the most recent post.

WELL.  It has been a most interesting week.  Finding a steady source of income (freelancing could pay the bills, but I like security), finding an apartment for the coming year, and doing that “freelance” thing has kept me busy.  There have been periods over this summer where I was suffering from the “post college” blues.  It was hard to focus on a task.  I’d start it up, and be constantly flicking back and forth to the internet or iTunes or get distracted watching TV.  FRUSTRATION.  Simple projects could end up taking all day.

But no more.

Something about working a day job doing non-art this past week has made it a BREEZE to stay focused when I’m drawing at home.  Having a schedule and something to focus my attention on has gotten my brain back “in the zone” and that has transferred into my off-the-clock time as well.

That’s why, despite my larger-than-normal workload lately, I still had time to finish up the first piece of background art from my Akira project, the initial progress of which I posted last week.  It took about four or five days, but the work was very spread out over that time.  I guess it’s time to shut up and show the pics.

Original comic frame

And that turned into this:

My colored version.

If you really want you can go check out the previous post about the “flats” that serves as a middle-ground for the process.  And that image up there is 1920×1080 if you want to use it as an HD background…

The original frame was taller than it was wide, so there was some tweaking that needed to be done.  I had to imagine the sides of the frame, which was pretty easy on this one since it’s just walls.  I’m really satisfied with the way the walls turned out.  Everything looked really sharp and jarring until I went in and added the soft shadows to give the shot depth.  This is my first attempt at a more traditional style of “painterly” background art.  My previous short, “Pearls”, had backgrounds outlined sharply with ink.  It was still colored semi-painterly, but I’ll be honest, I was never much of a painter.  I had only a very basic understanding of color theory until recently.  I actually caught myself starting to fall into some of my old habits with this Akira piece, and went back in and recolored the back walls when I realized that they were too blue/green.  It was jarring.  This short will be all about the warm, earthy tones of a well-stained alley.

The Motorcyle and crate are colored in a different style because Kaneda will actually be interacting with those.  The bike is split into two layers so he can get all up in its business as he repairs it.  I know that every time I do a new drawing I say “this has more layers than anything else I’ve ever done” but I really mean it this time.  I’ve been finding out over the past year how more layers, if you stay organized, can keep you much more flexible.  Every new project is a chance to learn.

Anyway, I think it turned out pretty well.  I’ll be starting on the background art for shot 2 next, so stay tuned to see how that’s rolling.  Just as soon as I finish this freelance…