It’s been quite a few months since my last post on my friend, Kevin, and my joint endeavor, a children’s book about a the adventures of a young troll and her human companion. This is my latest illustration, a showdown of sorts between the Sorceress, Karakow, and the Dragon King.
The Dragon King
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
My first hundred or so sketches of dragons looked either like anthropomorphic dinosaurs, or “Bowser” from Super Mario Brothers. The problem, as the quote so eloquently states above, is that I tend to draw what I know. Fortunately, as luck would have it my family and I visited “Book Off!”, a used book store in the Kearney Mesa area of San Diego a few months ago. While my daughters searched for Manga and Anime, I dove into the art books and discovered a used, tattered, and very cheap copy of “DragonArt” by J “NeonDragon” Peffer. For a couple of bucks Peffer’s illustrative step-by-step book showed me that there were other tools at my disposal than hammers. It still took a few sketches but I finally got a design that I liked for the Dragon King : Haggard, yet powerful. Intimidating, but intimidated.
Karakow was a little easier. She’s an aging sorceress that’s one of the main antagonists in the book. I couldn’t help but lean heavily on Disney’s villainess’ such as Cruella de Vil and the evil ( unnamed ) stepmother from Cinderella. What I came up with is the vain, unyielding woman below. She has sharp, angular features, a big crooked smile, and a wardrobe that is conservative yet loud at the same time.
As always, I like to include some of my rough sketches and design work. As a budding artist I always try to remind myself that behind every finished work is lots ( and lots ) of hard work and mediocre barely-coherent scribbles. Admittedly, the “scribbles” shown here are some of my more refined ones. Trust me, there’s a lot more in the trashcan on the floor next to me.
In other news, I broke down and bought an iPad Pro and have started working in Procreate. My old setup was a Surface Pro 7 running Clip Studio Paint. Why the change?
First, although compact, the Surface Pro 7 is far bulkier that the iPad. Although it’s a fully functional Windows machine, it makes for a mediocre tablet, a jack-of-all-trades / master-of-none, per say. Menus are tiny and finger gestures ( pinch-and-zoom, for example ) aren’t always responsive.
Second, the Surface Pro 7 only supports the original Surface Pen, a instrument that requires so much software-enabled “line correction” to function that I never really felt like I was working with a drawing instrument. The Apple Pencil, aside from a slippery glassy screen, is remarkably better in every way.
Third, Clip Studio Paint went subscription-based for it’s latest version. I blame Adobe for this trend and I refuse to subscribe to any of its software products because of it. Clip Studio Paint, like Procreate, was initially a one-time purchase. Now? No longer, so bye-bye. Subscriptions are for magazines that have new content each month. Software, by nature, is far more static; even if new features are introduced I seldom use them. And if they’re good enough? I have no problem buying a new version. Outright. Without a subscription.
Take care. Stay healthy. Live life.
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