After completing the Scrap Heap final trophies, which I will probably talk about later in the week, I had some free time between projects to work on something for myself so decided to finally get around to turning the Lightsworn sketch into a mat.
It has definitely been a long time in the works, January the first 2003 if the date stamp on the original image file is to be believed, which its not of course all it actually indicates is the image was created during my PC’s ‘I keep forgetting the date and time’ phase. Still its a good few years and quite a bit has changed in that time.
After the jump I will discuss just how I went about finally finishing this design.
Here is the original sketch so you can get a better idea of where I started. Considering when I created it it would have probably been the most complicated mat I would have done at the time if it were not for the fact fate intervened or rather the person that asked for the design decided they wanted a Bleach mat instead. Even now I could have simply moved the design to the mat and it would have looked fine. Fine however was not what I was aiming for.
After the usual flip to clean up the most glaring errors I went back to the original source material and added in as much detail as I possibly could. It’s worth pointing out though that you start to get diminishing returns after a certain point the material being unable to maintain distinct edges something that only becomes more problematic when you apply the colour. As you can see where as the original sketch was merely gave a feel of the level of detail of the originals the final image matches it more closely, the book Aurkus carries for example goes form a series of squiggles to something that contains wings and a face. I also add the last two remaining members of the team to the mat at this point, while they don’t see play as often as the others did I felt that everyone should be included and also it helped weigh down that side of the image since Lumina doesn’t stand exactly at the center.
In some ways its a shame to colour over the line work at this point, part of me quite likes the stark contrast and simplicity, still a black and white mat was not the objective of this mission so we press on.
At this point quite a lot has been done yet its obvious there is still quite a way to go, for starters theres no lighting effects and the red is a tiny bit to bright in comparison to the rest of the colours especially considering how little there is of it. The background could have gone a number of ways from using the image of the Lightsworn field card to just random fill effects, somehow though the large number of Lightsworn insignia I ended up having to draw and the style from Aurkus’s book combined with a clockwork theme to form the end result, My guess is that it has something to do with time or milling your deck but you can probably read whatever you want into it and at least it gives me a way of including Honest, he’s not a Lightsworn creature but at least he gets a statue!
Still in my war on white space theres no way I am stopping here and so the journey continues.
The background gets more detailed, and darkened to punch it back somewhat and on character side we start to see stronger shading creeping in as well as some of the reflections such as the cogs on Jain’s shield. Things are taking shape now though there is still to much lightness for my liking and I am chomping at the bit to start on the lighting effects. I am also trying to get a bit more blue into the image as JD is quite heavy in it and like the red it could do with being spread out a bit more.
The sections that I haven’t started colouring yet are made more apparent now that I have started on the lighting effects. Some of them wont get coloured until the last moment while others are only left because my Dyslexia, which in my case is mainly to do with sequencing, tends to have a habit of of leaving one area untouched as I work my way around the image in a very strange order. In this case it seem like Celestia’a wings will get done last but things don’t actually work out that way.
As an aside the complex figure test is an interesting way of seeing how your brain handles and deals with visual input, memory, and recall. At least I found it quite interesting when it was used while I was being tested for Dyslexia the results in my cause being, non standard, shall we say.
As much as I like the glows and light rings as well as the way the green plays on the other characters clothing and armour the image still isn’t dark enough for my liking On top of that the line work which uses the same base as the colour has been somewhat eaten away at this point. On the one hand this is quite useful as it means any errors in the lines can be removed and you can move away from lines to more complex shadow and light based edges, on the other hand if lines is what your after it does mean you have doubled your workload redrawing them.
When we get to this point in the production we suddenly find that I have remembered that since the majority of the lighting is green many of the shadows should probably be red. Which is handy really as it gives me an excuse to expand its use across the whole image. I have also now spent quite a bit of time working and reworking how the light plays on JD and have finally started to get the large dragon to a point I am happy with especially the plumage on his lower body. Honest is still no more than lines at this point though and Shire still needs a lot of work including starting the wings.
We are getting close to the Finish line now, Honest is finished and Shire’s wings are done, as it turns out the last thing I actually did, even the little green energy blobs got done before them. the transparent effect on them and the blobs turned out to be a lot simpler than I had expected too. I have also gone in and re-done all the lines as well as started adding in more detail which means things are starting to tighten up all round.
Which brings us back around to the final image, it turned out to be a long project in the end, much as this has ended up being quite a long post, but something that I consider well worth the time investment and not a bad way to close out an interesting year. I wonder what crazy ideas, interesting designs, and how many orange sky’s are in store for the year ahead?