I still follow these influences when I draw my pictures, but I'm looser now and finally on the crux of developing my own house style. I still have more I want to try and experiment with, but I now have a list of techniques and problem solving methods I employ that satisfy me, or at least, result in a picture that I can be satisfied with for now. In all honesty, it was the work I've posted in this very gallery, of topless girls punching themselves in the tiddies, that got me as far as I have, and I will eternally be grateful for my time here and the response I have received.
So it's good practice for an artist to look at where they have come from, where they are now, and where they want to go. For this I'm going to take a quick look at two of my personal favorite drawings on here: this Atelier Totori fanart ...
and this recent commission.
At first glance, there are definitely differences and a clear progression in my technique, but there are even more similarities than I had realized.
Totori vs Ceci features the two sisters from the game boxing topless in a bar, ostensibly Gerhardt's from the same game. Admittedly, I mashed the background up from a couple photos and textures and placed in some glowing lights. As ramshackle as it is, it's actually kind of effective. There is a definite contrast of harsh light emanating from the bar and hanging above the spotlights when placed above and around a dark, sparse, seemingly empty room. Actually, the lighting is very analogous to the harsh lighting and spartan darkness of a boxing ring in an arena. Was it intentional? I don't remember. Maybe it was subconscious. Now, I rendered this close to what I've seen of Atelier series artist Kishida Mel's own technique: he will sketch out a character with incredibly fine linework, clean up his roughs with a balance of line weight (which were already quite tight and fine), and then begin placing the primary color of the figure beneath. He would begin by not picking a dark or neutral shade of skin, but a light shade, and sparsely applying shadow afterward. He actually applies gradual strokes of warm pink hues to establish shade, and his darkest skintones still resemble a neutral mocha. This evokes a much lighter, even airier feeling in his characters. In spite of the anime aesthetic, if you ever analyze the shapes of his characters limbs, they are quite detailed. Kishida Mel is a deceptively excellent draftsman.
I was able to get more realistic detailing from the older sister Ceci's beige skirt than I thought I was going to achieve. Totori's blue skirt however was a challenge due to its material (its metal, I believe), and I didn't yet have the technique or a drawing tablet good enough to be able to patiently and intricately draw the pattern of it. Actually, its the skirt she wore in Atelier Meruru. The reason for this is because in THAT game, Totori is very definitely an older young woman, as opposed to the teenager she is in her own game. So this is DEFINITELY LEGAL AND BETWEEN CONSENTING ADULT PARTIES. I also went overboard on Totori's wounds...uh, I assure you, she made a full recovery afterward.
Lily vs Rosa is a drawing which comes from a different place and a different time, both in subject matter and my own place as an artist. Now, this was a commissioned work by a gentleman who I'm not entirely sure wants to be identified. He wanted to see a series of pictures about young (and deceptively athletic) women from the turn of the 19th century, engaging in fisticuffs for the first time. Lily is based on the silent era film actress Lillian Gish, whose waifish appearance and performances of demure young women made her one of the most iconic, enduring stars of that era. What was also interesting was how she was apparently a magnificent snarker with one of the nastiest sarcastic streaks I've ever heard of coming from an actress of that era; a Hollywood executive tried to offer her roles after receiving sexual favors, and Lillian just looked at his penis, laughed, and walked away. She also totally dissed Cher in the 70s. She's pretty awesome. Rosa is based on, uh, the mom of mad King Henry VIII. He was in the Tudors. Also, she was pretty hot.
There's a shroud of fog enveloping the English country side. Actually, there's going to be a different weather condition in each picture, if you haven't noticed in this series already. There's grass growing on a rock. A dying tree's branch looms overhead, parallel to Rosa's left jab. (THAT WAS INTENTIONAL DID YOU SEE THAT SHIT?!) Lily doesn't look too good right now, but Rosa has a hint of a shit eating grin. This is loosely based on the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites, a small school of artists who painted these emotional, allegorical works in the 19th century. I specifically looked toward the work of Waterhouse and Thomas Gainsborough, especially Gainsborough's landscapes. I studied his strokes carefully to try to capture his approach in those paintings. Rosa's face I carefully rendered based on John William Godward's portraits.
In both of these pictures, two women, family members, fight in secluded, intimate settings. The composition of each is similar; the figure on the left is struck before she lands her own hit. They're dead center in the triangular composition. Influenced by very different artists, drawn by the same guy, across a couple of years.