Friday, February 17, 2012

Mars Vista

I can draw Dejah Thoris all day...

This one was relatively quick, which usually means it comes out good.  It's the slow pieces that usually suck.

Anyway, here are some snapshots along the way.

The first roughs:

A refined version of the sketch:

This is the first attempt at painting.  Note how the body has changed significantly.  It's more apparent at this point also that the foreshortening isn't working.  There's no sense of depth.

Better depth now, but I spent way too much time futzing with her face.  I couldn't get it in a natural pose.  I kind of like the expression here, but the flow didn't seem right.

This one has more tension and action to it, but it seems unnatural.  That flat side view especially doesn't go well with the flow of the body.

Here's the final.  Rocks have been detailed, the face is now a more natural angle.  The overall lighting is more subtle.  I erased the hair and started over again.  Sometimes it's easier to do it that way to get the shape right.


  1. You are a truly amazing artist. Do you work with traditional mediums or just digital?

  2. You're too kind, Dan. I wish I knew more about traditional media.. I used to do a lot of pencil work, and I've dabbled in watercolors. I've never understood how to use acrylics, and have never touched oils. So the short answer is: just digital.

  3. So you learned to paint almost entirely on a computer? Sign of the times, I suppose- nothing wrong with that, though. It is the artist that counts, not the tool.

    Personally, I wish to learn to use a variety of traditional mediums- digital painting is cool, but smeary stuff is just fun. I find using actual physical tools helps loosen me up. I've always used pencils and colored pencils from early childhood, and I hope to explore watercolor, gouache, and acrylics.

    By the way, I really like your rendition of Dejah Thoris. I've seen some paintings of Dejah that show her being as white as John Carter, but the book described her having a pleasant copper-reddish color, just as you painted.

    Christopher Phoenix

  4. Thanks, Christopher. I reread the books recently to make sure I could get it right. The funny thing is since this is intended for us Jarsoomers, the challenge is finding a color that is true to the story, yet appeals to us pale folk.

    I actually prefer the look of analog media, but as you said, it's all up to the artist to make it work.

    1. This Jarsoomer doesn't mind a pale copper-reddish color at all. After all, we have a variety of skin colors on Earth, so why should differing colors on Barsoom be a problem?

      One problem with acrylics or oils is finding a workspace where you can make a mess. My grandmother tells me that the garage is always a good spot, but that means moving some of the boxes out of the way to make space for an easel. That, and some people are allergic to the chemicals in paints.

      What did you find confusing about acrylics? Whenever I read about them, I am bewildered by the array of paints, binders, solvents, and who knows what else- I can't help but wonder if the big advantage of digital is avoiding the chemical laboratory and getting down to painting right away. As I said, the tool is just an extension of the artist, and you should use whatever works best for you.

      Christopher Phoenix