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Author Topic: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)  (Read 234238 times)

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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1500 on: March 21, 2020, 12:14:48 PM »
I'll check it out. PS Saw your colouring tutorial again and for 4 minutes super informative. I know you can't churn them out like a regimen but it's really cool to have it out there. Wish I could teach something like that.

Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1501 on: March 21, 2020, 01:13:16 PM »
Meh, teaching is just conveying information. If you have it then you have it. I overthink things so it's easy to put down my thoughts into exact steps, because that's my entire being. Plus regimens, or anything if you look hard enough, are also just series of very simple commands. "Draw a figure" "Draw a face on the figure" "draw clothes on the figure" etc.

Oh I've made my Lace tutorial in the Tutorials board now anyway.

And, well, at mach speed it takes less than 10 minutes (5 at top top speed) to churn out a coloured sketch so it's well within regime territory. Plus working in bulk speeds things up really well.

I've got 4 I think colouring pages in my project list, 2x colouring old sketches for practice (1 at the fastest speed known to man, the other in a generic low quality style), 1x redrawing and colouring in different sketch styles and 1x colouring linearts, and 1x colouring linearts masterpiece, so that's 5 I think. wow I have so many projects haha.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 05:13:49 PM by suuper-san »
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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1502 on: March 31, 2020, 01:58:54 PM »
I haven't done much in terms of showable output since my last post tbh but I've been majorly busy in my art nonetheless.

logging off from MR helped with staying away as it made it harder to reply to something when I lurked, and so I eventually stopped lurking after a couple of days. I don't know how often I'll post now but at least at the end of each month you'll all hear from me.

I did another page of coloured sketches, took less than an hour to colour this time. I'm doing 20 to a page now because I try and keep my pages lasting longer than an hour.
I need faster ways of making patterns and stuff.


I managed to hit 80 hours of drawing this month which is great considering I almost didn't draw for a whole week when I temporarily did full-time to cover at my work. Like mostly everyone else I now don't have to go in to work, and it's Easter holidays anyway for 3 weeks for me. So it's been full go for the art.

I've been pushing my boundaries in workload to get to about 6 hours drawing in a day, but it's not perfectly consistent yet. I tend to sleep a lot when there is a major change to my routine or I'm learning something big, so I've been sleeping a bit more than normal.

I rambled a little back about how I'm starting to change the way I see my WIPs and what their purpose is, well I'm still not 100% sure, but I've made a couple of big changes. First of all, I've dropped over 1000 unfinished drawings from the different stages because they were not interesting enough - just a girl standing or something. So I'm aiming to increase the diversity of my output, and by taking out all the non-interesting sketches I give myself a challenge with harder concepts, and also produce more varied work as well.

It was an absolute pain to sort them out - I had to go through each sketch individually, and I've got 3000+ sketches.
I now only have 2.2k WIPs remaining. It was 4k a couple of months ago so it's getting a lot more manageable.

Secondly, I've made a big adjustment to the levels of quality that each stage of WIP processing generates. I've doubled the time taken for the "finished sketch" stage, and made it more of a resolving sketch stage - with a higher focus on getting proportions right - there is a triple figure iteration to get them really good and then it's easier to clothe them and get the face proportions right. My cleaning stage is now a sharpening stage - although I can't start it until I have enough sketches finished to the new quality. But I suspect it will be similar to inking, but less neat. I'll be trying to add more details etc.
The finished stage now produces the same quality pieces as the original cleaned stage, which was meant to be after it but has now been made obsolete. So a huge jump in quality per time as the 2 stages have been combined. Saves processing them twice too, which is nice.

Here's how the quality differs:
Left - Finished sketch from January
Right - finished sketch from today.
The figure has been erased where it goes under clothes and overall everything is a lot more confident.
It comes with a +100% time spent price tag. But it's worth it, as it's now a much higher quality.
Incidentally this workflow was stolen straight from my masterpiece workflow, so it helps to try and work at a very high quality to see what actually makes a difference to consistently producing high quality.


I've also added an extra stage of "Finalizing concept" - i.e. you might have a good idea, and it's clear what the diea is, but the lines and proportions are so all over the place it's not clear how to actually execute the idea. I'm not sure how to deal with this stage so I tacked it on to the start of my finishing sketch phase. I'm also doing more towards backgrounds in my sketches as well, keeping it simple for now but working on the best methods to build up details.

Also because of the confusion and work being up in the air over the Corona, I kinda dropped all my regimes. Not cancelled them mind you, but I'm not doing anything at the moment. Still been doing tons of drawing though, so all's good.

I'm almost able to consistently get into the zone for drawing. It's a funny one but basically you've gotta have a good control over your thoughts and focus. And not trying to rush can help.

I'm almost getting it together with my mid-long term projects and should have something to show for it next month.

I upgraded my timer app, obviously. Nothing like a bit of programming to boost productivity.
Now I can choose different types of timer, one is a grid as normal, one is a stack of categories, and one is a grid with categories. So it records the time spent for each sketch but also the time spent on each individual iteration of the sketches. Very useful for spotting where my time is being spent the most, and probably much more useful than knowing how long it took to do an individual sketch. I don't think I even want to record the time spent now and just record the average once I have my total time. It's a bit too micro-management, especially as I can time the stages themselves now. I've future-proofed it a tad as well so I can grab more statistics later down the line when I can be bothered to write the code.

The box at the bottom you can select what stage you are on in the sketch and it will put the lap times into that category.
Also see how one box has a thicker outline? that's the last box I clicked on. So it's easier to see what box I should click on next as I always work along the rows. And when loading the project I can quickly see where I left off last time, sometimes I've had to skim each one to see what hasn't been done yet.


A stat report for how much time is spent on each stage, and the average for each sketch.


Just a category version, mostly for my very fast WIP pages where it actually slows me down to measure each sketch individually.


I've been playing with brushes and line styles a bit more as well, making new dynamics and brush settings for when I work in different styles. but so far, I'm still working with my normal styles.
I've got quite a few tutorials for GIMP and general workflow that I'll make sometime.

I've got super high plans for the next month. I'll hopefully hit over 100 hours of drawing a month for the first time ever. If I'm lucky I'll hit 120 or something stupid.

Also a super useful thing I have been doing and something that I would totally recommend to my past self, is to take a huge collection of inspirational art, photos, wallpapers and stuff, and go through them, copying small elements and seeing how to get the same effects and look as what you're copying. So it might just be the glint of a sword or something, but you're trying to work out that one detail and make methods to create stuff. Pretty much how my lace ideas spawned. I'll do the same thing for patterns later as well.
I mean this can be applied generally or very specifically, looking at something that's too complex for you, picking a tiny manageable detail, and saying "now how on earth can I do that?"

And I'm on 103 ongoing projects, be it feet studies or WIP pages, I'm opening each one on average once a week. Very good for keeping up with studies and knowing what studies you've been slacking on.
Once my manga gets going it'll jump by another 10 projects as I do more studies and manga wip pages. haha smh.
I'm not sure if I'm going to start doing a manga soon because I have a huge amount of time to tackle a project, or just use this time and just do more of everything that I was doing already.

Talking of manga, here's a batch of random page concepts. There's no solid idea for each page, although I had a sort of idea when I was creating it. The idea is to go over these and finalize the concept with text/speech, and then finish it in stages like my normal sketches, but in a manga specific bulk page.
Took 45 minutes to finish the page once I decided what quality I was aiming at. I'll probably work in a higher page count next time, and also do a tiny bit more sequential like 2 page story fragments and just keep working up.



edit:
forgot to mention that I adjusted my end of month sorting so rather than having to be done on the last day, it can basically be done at any time, so every 2/3 weeks or every 8/10 doesn't matter, the same statistics will get made. So I can sort when it's convenient to me.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 12:59:28 AM by Suuper-san »
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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1503 on: April 02, 2020, 09:05:40 AM »
Boss-level stuff that you're doing here dude. I knew this situation would bring out the best in some of us haha. I really wish I had this level of control over my routines. I have a lot more dead hours in my day than I anticipated, and getting into bulk work would be so useful now. Love those pages first and foremost - They beg to be completed. Nice sense for panneling and expressions too.

Also pretty ballsy tossing out a lot of unfinished sketches. It's hard to do but it's every bit as useful as learning a new skill. In fact  a lot of my slow-down is related to me being hung up on past projects that I absolutely do not want to throw away, but when all is said and done I probably should (I won't, but I should haha.)

Awesome stuff all round dude, with programming to boot.

Love the colourwork too. I'm still on the fence about getting into colour because it always turns out so not-cool, but it's inspiring to see nonetheless.

All praise the bulk-lords! And good luck on getting those hours in, take care and see you around. Great stuff, suuper.

Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1504 on: April 15, 2020, 02:16:30 PM »
Thanks.
Yeah the old sketches had to go. I mght use them as inspiration for new sketches though, just to get the maximum use from my stuff. I've tossed another 500 or so now so I'm really working with the better quality stuff now.
Yeah getting hung up on old projects and stuff is an annoying one, that sort of baggage isn't great. My best advice would be to either finish it off quickly, shelve it indefinitely and finish it when you're much more skilled and can do a better job, or convert it to a new project (like taking an unfinished story and converting it into new character ideas). So it's not wasted, it's just used in a different way to the original plan.
The trouble is if you're anything like me, you generate 100's of unfinished ideas to 1 finished idea. And because you are always growing in skill, your unfinished ideas become comparatively worse over time. Until, like recently for me, my WIPs are a lower quality than what I can generate consistently now. So it's not in my best interests to work with, what are now, bad ideas.

If you're avoiding stuff, make sure you know why. If it's because you think you're bad at it, then it's something you need to be doing, not avoiding. But I totally understand the feeling. I think your colour stuff looks alright though!


Here's my halfway through the month report:

My routine hasn't been great the last 2 weeks. I'm averaging 4 1/2 hours a day but really it's not my best. I keep getting distracted and stuff. Been gardening a couple of hours a day which is nice. Good exercise.
But given the time that I still am putting in to art, it's been productive.

I'm only at 60 hours drawn this month so far, I was hoping for a miraculous 100 so far tbh but it's already higher than almost every full month last year, so it's not to be sniffed at.

I've been hacking my brain as hard as possible to get the exact conditions that allow me to be "in the zone". And I'm getting closer to the conditions. I can't explain it fully otherwise I'll talk too much, but I've noticed my ideas seem to flow really well when I'm in bed waiting to fall asleep, and it's been bugging me for ages why that is. And the answer is quite simple really. It's the same reason why going downstairs at night time feels like you're making a huge noise. There's less background noises. And inside your mind, when you're falling asleep, there's less background chatter as your brain shuts down. I've also noticed that when I'm in the zone my sense of time becomes less accurate, and hours can go by without even noticing. So really being in the zone is both 1) Focusing really well on your task, and by definition 2) NOT focusing on other things. The less non-relevant things your brain is thinking about, the more space it has to process your task, and as a result, perform at a higher capacity. That's also a possible reason why I can play the piano better when there is noone else in the house, as I'm not focusing on processing sounds they're making as they move around the house etc. Which also explains why my mornings have gone rather well, as there is minimal distractions.

It can be hard to reduce your distractions to zero because sometimes (mostly?) it's not a physical distraction, like a ticking clock or something. It's your own thoughts, and worries. "What's for dinner", "This corona virus is scary", "I need to reply to someone who texted me yesterday". A depressive mood compounds the lack of focus. So to get the best level of focus you need your own little bubble that you enter where nothing else enters. but how.

I've done a whole bunch of art and WIPs and stuff. A bit more copying than previously, but I've found it's a good warmup when I'm not feeling 100%, and after half an hour I'm more prepped to start on my WIPs and Projects.

I've still not done any of my regimes. I'll probably pick that up when I start working again when the school holiday ends. I think I just got a bit fed up of constantly doing learning stuff, and not producing anything to show for it.

Here's some nice quality sketches, not from WIPs, but from scratch, for a change.




These are basically failures because I didn't follow my plan at all, and so the quality got messed up and so the final quality was mixed masterpiece and sketchy haha.
Basically this is the first attempt at my masterplan sketch generation process. I was meant to generate 20 ideas, pick 4 and then finish them properly. But I "accidentally" only drew 4, and then finished them as they were, but then half way through upped the quality. So it missed the mark by a lot. I'm on the second shot now. here's the 20 concepts as a sneak preview:
The theme is "Cute Overload" lol
Each row is a different body style just for fun, but I'm drawing the final 4 all in the same style.



I've already picked 4 and I'm finishing them to maximum masterpiece level. It's a level that I don't even know what's at the top yet. I'm 4 hours in and not even on the lineart. I'm aiming at maybe 4 hours each sketch but whatever happens happens.

I also got inspired by Lego's greebles (I had been planning to do my own for ages but this was the final straw :P) and managed to make this as a first attempt:
(click to enlarge)
Took just over 2 hours.



As a bonus it's easy to make a night version by playing with brightness settings etc.
Spoiler

I lost the perspective a bit on the edges but overall it was a solid attempt. I've started another and I'll try and fill a whole page to make 20.
Actually I was so surprised by the quality , and the quality of the other 4 sketches previous that I got depressed for a whole week afterwards because I got confused at how I could suddenly generate a sketch of something that I've never done before anywhere near that level. So a lot of brain stuff is going on and I'm probably at the point I kept thinking that I would hit, of sudden growth caused by focused effort. It's opened my eyes to the next level of art that I haven't been able to grasp for a very long time, that of "details". And you're not gonna like hearing this (Lego!), but the secret ingredient is TIME. Literally I can make anything good just by spending 4 times as long on it. And that makes me angry and depressed as well. I don't think I will spend too long doing top level pieces because now I know what I'm aiming at I can now focus on generating more complex concepts and sketches.
My WIPs are getting lower and lower quality in comparison and my normal WIP workflow is a joke comared to my masterpiece level. But I think it still has a place, because for a manga page I can't spend a lot of time on it, so I still need a decent way to quickly draw OK stuff.

And then I recently drew this as well. About a 1/4 of A4. Drew it while watching TV haha.
Pretty rubbish lines and I didn't use an ink pen, just my ballpoint. Cheap pencil colours.
I darkened it digitally but even on it's own it looks pretty amazing. If I had just put in the effort to the basic shapes it would have been really cool.
It would be super easy to do this digitally btw with my lace method in my tutorial. I might try that too :P



So that's another completely new style that I've never done before. So my theory was correct, that as an artist grows they can draw new concepts/styles with a much higher skill than someone just starting out. The number of base skills that cross between different art styles is immense, in fact I would hazzard that nearly 80-90% of any art uses the same skills and concepts, just in a different way. I mean that once you become a "pro" in one area, you will "automatically" be 80-90% pro in another area with a very minimal learning curve. Just my ramblings but it's also my experience as well.

Ironically I tend to suffer the most in my art when I produce my best work. I think that's because I wasn't planning what I would do next, like everything I do is to get to the next level, so when I hit the next level, it's like uhhhhhhhhh now what? so I need to keep my nose to the grindwheel and just keep at it and raise the goal every time I reach it. Especailly when I'm not expecting to produce something good, like with the scifi background, I get really confused like "did I do that?", and I'm all wishy-washy for the next couple of days. When your art is bad it's easy to see what you need to do next and it's a push to keep trying, but success isn't really a great driving force for me. But at least I know that I'm on the right track. or, at least, one of many.

I did a tiny bit of programming too, I made my timer round the minutes for each box, because I round it in my head every time and it's slightly annoying to look at the seconds and do mathy stuff in my head for every single sketch, no matter how simple it is.

With my increased time spent on sketches I'm starting to be less interested in how long I spend on each sketch, and in a lot of cases, like the current timer above, the sketches all take a very similar time to do, because I'm working at a very similar quality. So it would be easier to just time the whole thing and divide by 20 at the end. For sketches less than 10 minutes long that's what I'm moving towards doing. It's less distracting when I don't have to keep clicking my timer, even if it's only a second lost, it's still something that can be improved.

It's been super useful to not be on MR tbh because it's another distraction, but I think catching up once every 2 weeks works well.
I've had a mixed 2 weeks but overall it's a 4/5. I really want to say 3/5 because I always imagine a "super level" at 5/5.

My plan for the next 2 weeks is to finish my 4 good sketches and move on to loosely manga page and story related stuff. A bit more writing if I can manage it, otherwise more background stuff, maybe a couple of greebled spaceships for background and detail practice.
I want to play with a lot of greeble styles, as I suddenly realised that there are different genres of greebles and different styles. I might even attack the mecha genre, which I totally failed last time I tried it. I really really like machinery and detailed backgrounds but I've always avoided it because of not understanding the breakdown of the levels and details. So I might go into backgrounds for a while as a proper illustration. Maybe even combining my 3D stuff as a guideline base for buildings and stuff. super exciting.

Hopefully everyone is doing good as well!!
« Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 02:52:17 PM by Suuper-san »
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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1505 on: April 16, 2020, 07:08:17 AM »
Yeah, being on MR constantly can be a distraction, and it seems to be working out even better because you have a lot of fresh insights to share when you come back. Definitely nothing to sniff at here dude. Man, you've been busy as heck. Those 'failures' of yours blow me out of water. Great coloured pieces, and the greeble scene is everything I wish I could pull off. Makes me want to read more Tsutomu Nihei for inspiration on that part. I like scenes like that especially when the lineart is good because if you fancy it and look at it slower rather than give a cursory glance the story of the city builds itself. It's even better with sci-fi, and the night scene adds more character to the day scene with the different coloured lights and the like.

Distractions are a pain. I've found my main problem is my inner editor. The less I forget about what I'm actually doing the better I am. That's why I'm horrible at recieving critique even now. It's why I enjoy working with mspaint the most really.

Programming and mandalas too. Noice. On the mandala thing it's encouraging that one skill translates to another. It's always been my hope too not only in terms of drawing, but in other aspects of my life. If I find a routine and a goal for my art in a reliable way as reliable as sketch survival then I'll be able to apply that discipline to my 'normal' life as well. I like that you can focus on one skill and train something else simultaneously.

All in all impressive and awing stuff here. As for the time thing I definitely don't like hearing it but it makes sense. Learning that with the lineart stuff anyways.

Keep at it dude. You're making amazing strides and it can only get better from here!

Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1506 on: April 30, 2020, 11:14:02 AM »
yeah having every panel in the manga as an actual art piece appeals to me, although it is very time and effort intensive to pull it off continuously. I'll probably slowly add more detail in my mangas as I gain experience ans skill, so for now it'll be a lot of white backgrounds haha.

Yeah my productivity and creativity is very often limited by being too self concious, so just throwing ideas down and not worrying is really good for being creative, but it's hard when you automatically start observing the proportions and trying to make technical corrections rather than idea corrections to make a more interesting piece.

I'm thinking that my masterplan will be the final form of my art output, but the masterplan itself will evolve to include different styles of art and also manga stories. I do try and pick out things that work in regimes and apply it to general illustrations, and it works to a degree.


2 Weekly report

I regrettably didn't reach 120 hours, but I made it to 117, which is 3.9 hours a day. Not to be sniffed at but very sub-pro levels. I'll be pushing to get 5 a day for the next month, at least 4.5 I hope. 2 times in the month I reached a weekly average of 5+ hours a day, so it's certainly possible.

have a graph. this has been my best month of activity on record by about 30%
Spoiler


My main achievement since the last post, and also for this month has been my maximum masterpiece project. I have been trying to do this for at least a year, but I didn't even know how to reach my maximum, it was just a vague concept. But recently I have been able to break down skills and my workflow to see what is the maximum I can achieve.
So here they are. I'm actually still working on them to add a lace background like some illustrators do like on DA.
Click to enlarge as the quality is very high resolution.
I hope it's clear why I viewed the previous set as failures when compared with these :P




Overall I am very happy with the result. I did face quite a few issues with my methods and knowing exactly what I was doing, especially when shading, but really they are fantastic as far as I am concerned. Already I have ideas that will improve my speed when working at this level, as well as improving the design (patterns etc), so my next set will be hopefully even better. I did probably work at too high a resolution (3000px height) for the overall final size, but that's taught me that I will automatically add more details when I am working at a higher resolution, which means that I can control the detail amount just by working at a different resolution. I went well over my 4 hours per piece estimate, and have spent 32 hours total so far on these 4 alone, so 8 hours each.
A lot of things didn't quite go right, because it was my first time working to this level, so I didn't know what I was aiming for and didn't get the result I wanted (like the eyelashes).
So while it's my best, it's only my best so far. I'll be working to balance quality and speed for a less masterpiece version, but also pushing my maximum to know what's achievable.

This might be the first time I looked at my art and thought, damn, this looks pro.

And also for one of the first times, I was able to deliberately control my style, proportions, lines and so on, to get almost exactly what I was aiming for. there was nothing left to chance, I was a lot more in control.
And I've gained the confidence to say that I could have taken any of the original concepts form my previous post, and done the same level of illustration with them.

Hands were still a pain though haha I have much still to learn (T_T;)

After making this I fell into a slump for a few days because they are so much better than anything I have ever done it threw off my evaluation skill for a while. I trashed a lot more WIPs, and I have improved my WIP processing methods with the bonus skills from my masterpiece work. Hopefully my WIPs will now produce half decent illustrations from now on.

And I also have a new plan for improving speed of high quality sketches by maybe double or triple with a minimal drop in quality, more on that later.

I've been doing a lot more copying and studies of all sorts of stuff, buildings, faces, photos and so on. Even on bad creativity days, after drawing copies for an hour or two I inevitably pick up and start working on my own sketches.

I also cancelled my body and clothing 1000x shade copy regime, because I found it hard to say what counted towards the 1000 total or not, and so it was limiting how much I was able to learn. So I have converted both into just a normal study page of shade, and it's been more productive.

Other than that I haven't really done anything else since my last report.
I'm still working towards doing some one-shots but it's taking a very roundabout path. Either way it's gaining skill all the time so it doesn't really matter.

I am sort of half seriously trying to work towards a masterpiece level background now, but still not enough information to do it yet, so I'm just working on basic construction and perspective, as well as greebles, which are super useful.

And also I fancy getting off level 0 for painting faces realistically (not photorealistic, just good shading), so I'm working some sort of study regime into place there as well.

Also to my surprise, despite the fact that I can sort of work from home I have been told that I don't have to work, so until the schools go back, I dont have to work but I still get paid.
So it's full steam ahead for me, I wont ever get this chance like this again.

I see this as a chance to redeem myself from the time I lost an entire year from a really bad virus and a depressive period that followed. I was meant to have a gap year to become a pro artist, but my plans fell apart on becoming ill and I always was angry at myself for not being able to recover faster and regretted the whole thing. But now I have the time to do all the drawing I want, I'm pushing myself to the maximum.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 11:19:49 AM by Suuper-san »
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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1507 on: April 30, 2020, 07:02:12 PM »
yeah having every panel in the manga as an actual art piece appeals to me, although it is very time and effort intensive to pull it off continuously. I'll probably slowly add more detail in my mangas as I gain experience ans skill, so for now it'll be a lot of white backgrounds haha.

Yeah my productivity and creativity is very often limited by being too self concious, so just throwing ideas down and not worrying is really good for being creative, but it's hard when you automatically start observing the proportions and trying to make technical corrections rather than idea corrections to make a more interesting piece.

I'm thinking that my masterplan will be the final form of my art output, but the masterplan itself will evolve to include different styles of art and also manga stories. I do try and pick out things that work in regimes and apply it to general illustrations, and it works to a degree.


2 Weekly report

I regrettably didn't reach 120 hours, but I made it to 117, which is 3.9 hours a day. Not to be sniffed at but very sub-pro levels. I'll be pushing to get 5 a day for the next month, at least 4.5 I hope. 2 times in the month I reached a weekly average of 5+ hours a day, so it's certainly possible.

have a graph. this has been my best month of activity on record by about 30%
Spoiler


My main achievement since the last post, and also for this month has been my maximum masterpiece project. I have been trying to do this for at least a year, but I didn't even know how to reach my maximum, it was just a vague concept. But recently I have been able to break down skills and my workflow to see what is the maximum I can achieve.
So here they are. I'm actually still working on them to add a lace background like some illustrators do like on DA.
Click to enlarge as the quality is very high resolution.
I hope it's clear why I viewed the previous set as failures when compared with these :P




Overall I am very happy with the result. I did face quite a few issues with my methods and knowing exactly what I was doing, especially when shading, but really they are fantastic as far as I am concerned. Already I have ideas that will improve my speed when working at this level, as well as improving the design (patterns etc), so my next set will be hopefully even better. I did probably work at too high a resolution (3000px height) for the overall final size, but that's taught me that I will automatically add more details when I am working at a higher resolution, which means that I can control the detail amount just by working at a different resolution. I went well over my 4 hours per piece estimate, and have spent 32 hours total so far on these 4 alone, so 8 hours each.
A lot of things didn't quite go right, because it was my first time working to this level, so I didn't know what I was aiming for and didn't get the result I wanted (like the eyelashes).
So while it's my best, it's only my best so far. I'll be working to balance quality and speed for a less masterpiece version, but also pushing my maximum to know what's achievable.

This might be the first time I looked at my art and thought, damn, this looks pro.

And also for one of the first times, I was able to deliberately control my style, proportions, lines and so on, to get almost exactly what I was aiming for. there was nothing left to chance, I was a lot more in control.
And I've gained the confidence to say that I could have taken any of the original concepts form my previous post, and done the same level of illustration with them.

Hands were still a pain though haha I have much still to learn (T_T;)

After making this I fell into a slump for a few days because they are so much better than anything I have ever done it threw off my evaluation skill for a while. I trashed a lot more WIPs, and I have improved my WIP processing methods with the bonus skills from my masterpiece work. Hopefully my WIPs will now produce half decent illustrations from now on.

And I also have a new plan for improving speed of high quality sketches by maybe double or triple with a minimal drop in quality, more on that later.

I've been doing a lot more copying and studies of all sorts of stuff, buildings, faces, photos and so on. Even on bad creativity days, after drawing copies for an hour or two I inevitably pick up and start working on my own sketches.

I also cancelled my body and clothing 1000x shade copy regime, because I found it hard to say what counted towards the 1000 total or not, and so it was limiting how much I was able to learn. So I have converted both into just a normal study page of shade, and it's been more productive.

Other than that I haven't really done anything else since my last report.
I'm still working towards doing some one-shots but it's taking a very roundabout path. Either way it's gaining skill all the time so it doesn't really matter.

I am sort of half seriously trying to work towards a masterpiece level background now, but still not enough information to do it yet, so I'm just working on basic construction and perspective, as well as greebles, which are super useful.

And also I fancy getting off level 0 for painting faces realistically (not photorealistic, just good shading), so I'm working some sort of study regime into place there as well.

Also to my surprise, despite the fact that I can sort of work from home I have been told that I don't have to work, so until the schools go back, I dont have to work but I still get paid.
So it's full steam ahead for me, I wont ever get this chance like this again.

I see this as a chance to redeem myself from the time I lost an entire year from a really bad virus and a depressive period that followed. I was meant to have a gap year to become a pro artist, but my plans fell apart on becoming ill and I always was angry at myself for not being able to recover faster and regretted the whole thing. But now I have the time to do all the drawing I want, I'm pushing myself to the maximum.

RIGHT So this is what I meant on the quarantine thread earlier, DAYUM! Maybe my memory has failed me again but I don't remember you to be a type to render or heavily detail most of your study work (which was fantastic because studies are practices to refine a specific set of elements, and should not be treated as illustrations as many an artist do) but to see you at "full power" is epic.

You've definitely surprised me with the rendering, particularly on the hair, you bring out the colours beautifully! You're clearly aware of local colour shift and when to use saturated and desaturated tones for more pop. The intricate details on the clothing I think are what make your girls look gorgeous the most, though. I'm struggling between number 1 and number 4... I feel like number 4 is an aesthetic (colour wise) I'd push for more in an illustration of my choice but you've done so well with the green on number 1 it's won me over.


On your chart of productivity, I didn't know GIMP tracked usage time! I think you actively tracking your time is excellent, and somethign I'll take into consideration and I try and make more effective use of my time working.
I'm using this app called Forest, it keeps you off social media but allows you to use other essential apps on the phone, you might like it I strongly recommend!

It was a treat seeing your work at "full powa" Suuper ! xD
Hey there, I am using WhatsA- ... oh

Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1508 on: May 01, 2020, 01:48:16 AM »
thanks!

I actually use a productivity tracking app I programmed myself, it's unfortunately not a feature of GIMP (^_^)
Generally it's hard to increase your efficiency when drawing unless you overhaul your entire workflow, which can be a pain. it's worth it in the long run but it can be hard to see where to improve unless you stand back from your art and look at what's specifically taking up the most time, like the sketching or inking, colouring etc.

and thanks, I think if I redid #4 it might be my favourite (the hair is my favourite on #4), but #1 is a strong favourite for me too. maybe because it was the first on my page it always got a bit extra effort. Design-wise #3 is my favourite and was the closest to my original concept for Super-Cute girls :P #2 was the most out of comfort I've done a serious design because it's sort of punky, so it was really fun to do.

Yeah I hardly do high quality renders of either studies or original illustrations so it was a treat for me as well actually haha. It took an entire week of doing nothing but that project every day for 5 hours though haha. I found myself just slowing down and enjoying the process, which I hardly ever do much. Normally I'm in a pulling-my-hair-out-panic-driven-gotta-get-good state, which works quite well for me, but relaxing isn't so bad once in a while either.

It's good to know your limits because you can start to break through them once you know where you're at.

see you all in 2 weeks :P
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 02:01:12 AM by Suuper-san »
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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1509 on: May 01, 2020, 03:02:26 PM »
This is simply phenomenal work suuper. Totally been blown out of the water here, and its brilliant to see! This is the tangible no-nonsense visible improvement I've always wanted to be able to see in my own art work. You've legitimately using your own research and drive and efforts become a better artist! I don't think it's just a matter of 'I had more time to work on this' but all of the above tweaking and hemming and hawing that you've done to make your progress look so much better.

First and fourth are my favourite, but damn where do I even start. The freaking hair of the fourth one blows me away but mostly it's just how awesome all the frills (on all of them, btw. I can only by my gut be sure I like 1 and 4 the most)  it's just... Wow. This is the sort of detail I love to see. Strangely enough even though photorealistic pencil drawings blow me away at this level I find this even more impressive because it's made by yourself. Serious props dude!

Will be curious as to how that upgrade in time looks too. And by the way, yeaup, this is hands down commission level stuff for sure. I'm a bit flat for the next year but as soon as I get an influx of cash I'm hands down ordering a commission from you haha.

Keep at it and see you around!

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1510 on: May 14, 2020, 01:33:15 AM »
thanks :)
It started off as me just saying "OK let's spend a super large amount of time on these pieces, and use every skill I have to push their quality to the maximum, no shortcuts allowed at all". Naturally the skills used were ones that I have gained over the years, but seriously dont underestimate the time aspect. That alone probably accounts for at least 50% of the quality. But it was good use of time (if I do say so myself) that makes the difference, not just randomly spending lots of time on the sketches, but having a solid plan for each stage, how to improve between stages, and having a target quality. So yes just throwing time into something won't always guarantee a better quality, but it's hard to get a high quality without time. So a good workflow perhaps was the MVP here.

I actually wanted to have them in more natural poses with backgrounds (my target "true masterpiece") but I decided that it would take too long, as I'm not great with backgrounds at the moment and don't want to waste time if I seriously don't know what I'm doing. So plenty to improve for next time.
(I'm still trying to add a simple background to them but I think I sort of burnt out that project for the while)

I would love to do original photorealistic sketches. That's something for the far future I think.

thanks, I think this is the first time I would agree that it is commission level, although my other good pieces have been pretty decent there's always been something that nagged at me "couldn't you even get X right?", but these were very solid in my opinion as well. But still stuff to improve on. A friend said the poses felt quite stiff, so even something that early on in the sketch I could have improved.
I dont even know how much I would charge for pieces of that quality considering the time spent. If I took my normal hourly wage that would make them $100+ easily. Feels a bit unreal, thinking that if I actually had commissions coming in that I could actually make a living off it.


Latest:

I've done mostly studies in the last 2 weeks, so nothing to really show for it, here's some animal studies.


I haven't really spent as much time drawing as I would have liked, only about 2 hours a day, way below my massive target of 6. But I blame most of that on the shock from making that set of masterpieces last time I posted. I really was a huge surprise that I could work at such a high quality, and it really made me rethink the quality I work to at my standard level, and especailly my WIPs. it really put a lot of my WIPs to shame for the low quality, and especially highlighted the poor methods I was using in my resolving sketch phase of the WIPs. I've adjusted my WIP processing stages to increase the diversity and level of detail in my sketches, and also increase the accuracy when resolving. I'm also not too keen on the disjointedness that comes from working on an illustration only one step at a time (with maybe 6+ months in between steps). I don't know if that's just impatience in wanting to finish it or what, but it's not that bad a feeling.

In the middle of one of my study pages I suddenly had an idea for a new style, mostly as inking style I guess, so I spent maybe 20 minutes on this.


I've been working on making sure that I don't spend too much time on studies instead of working on my own sketches, which is very easy to do, just copying other stuff, but it's not great for improving your art if you dont draw original sketches at the same time, you'll just forget what you're learning. So I'm trying to get a nice balance and get my WIP count lower still as a semi goal.

I'm starting to have backgrounds in my resolved sketch stage very soon (they're in the queue), so that will be my first major attempt to process backgrounds in my WIPs, and figure out what workflow/style I'm going to use for guidelines or 3d or whatever. After a couple of rounds I should have an idea what I'm doing I hope haha.

So I'm just about back on track, I drew for 10 hours in the last 2 days so I'm picking up speed for my next burst of work. A manga is in the pipeline, but I'm going to wait until I start processing backgrounds in my normal WIPs to figure out what's going on with that before I attempt backgrounds in my manga. So it'll be a while before anything happens with that unfortunately, but it's all progress, just about :P
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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1511 on: May 31, 2020, 02:47:57 PM »
Ugh prepare for an absolute wall of text while I sort out my thoughts.
It's been a messy huge month for me. Lots of thoughts.

I wrote like 500 words in notes just for what I wanted to talk about.

Prepare for utter gibberish :P

Well it's the end of the month, so here's a little productivity digest:
Spoiler
Unfortunately I didn't hit my targets AT ALL for this month. Fortunately I did get 2nd highest month since my boosted routine started, otherwise I might have been annoyed if a normal month was better than a lockdown month :/
I was affected by a little bit of depression, which snuck up on me when I least expected it. Basically just a bit of an emotional low from seeing all the news, corona stuff, protests and so on. I found it hard to focus on anything and I was starting to sleep more. I managed to catch it in time and I'm back to normal now, but I've got to be careful not to be on news channels too much, timewise and emotionwise.

I've been trying to balance my WIP levels and standards of work, so I've been shuffling around pieces in my folders and working out how to move pieces up a level of quality. But the next step has been avoiding me the last few months and it had started to get to an annoying level, until I asked the right question. Just as a backstory, I am decent at problem solving and self analysis, but often unless I ask myself the right question, I just get static as a response. So until I look at a problem from the right angle, it's often a dead end.

My arty friends irl were doing a zoom chat and we made a week challenge to design like a dream home/environment. Both of which are outside my normal art skills, so I wasnt feeling particularly up to it, but a good challenge nonetheless.
Here's my environment:
I went for a farmy feel

I was a bit annoyed at the quality, that's a lack of experience in sketching scenery, and also a lack of direction, like I didn't know what style I actually wanted to draw it in, so naturally it failed. But it was good to try it out.
Next was a dream home, I sort of went eco-farmer and tried to make it natural and scenic-ish. It took 6 hours in total, so close to a maximum level piece for sure.

For all intents and purposes, it came out really well, although I was annoyed that I couldn't get the feel of the lines that I wanted. Again, because I didn't actually know what feel I even wanted. So that was insightful, sort of. At least I know what I can do at my maximum for landscapes and architecture/backgrounds.
I used Sketchup to give me the basic perspective lines to trace for the buildings, but pretty much just the main blocks, everything else was by hand.

oh I also did another space greebled BG

night version:
Spoiler

Back to my WIPs. Producing my super cute high quality girls a month ago really threw me off track regarding my WIPs and their direction/purpose. I've made a couple of big changes but they don't really sound big. First of all, my "Masterpiece" WIPs are now intended to be final piece illustrations, as part of my portfolio and general output. They will be more themed to my personal tastes/design and comfort zone (i.e. nothing but cute girls lol). My standard WIPs are now lower quality, and are closer to a manga page level pieces. They will be more diverse, and also contain more difficult poses/clothes/props, primarily as practice for resolving information and realising what I can't draw. They will have a much higher change of failure, and failed WIPs will be removed and not worked on anymore (no point inking a failed sketch). However, removed WIPs will be used as inspiration for new pieces, so failed ideas will likely get a second chance, and so I'll be practicing the things that are difficult.

So a summary of changes:
Dropped WIPs:
Do nothing -> Use to inspire new pieces
Standard WIPs:
mixed themes/concepts -> difficult themes/concepts
mixed detail amount ->lower detail amount
Masterpiece WIPs:
skilled pieces -> favourite pieces
mixed detail amount ->higher detail amount

"Finished WIP" quality:
Last month I increased the quality of this stage, to have much more correct proportions and sharper lines. However this clashed with the purpose of the Clean/resolve stage (which converts a concept to a pre-ink stage), so I have changed the quality back to how it used to be. The major change is that there is first a "finalise" iteration to add extra details to the starting WIP, and then a thumbnail figure/BG sketch to get the perspective in balance for both the pose and the BG. The resulting image is a rough quality but relatively accurate sketch, i.e. a "complete concept". I think the quality is still a little too high actually. By aiming at a relatively low quality, I am able to add more ideas and make an interesting concept (much like my daily sketches started to do). In some cases, I add entire characters, such as the one below.

"Resolved WIP" quality:
Last month I changed this stage to match the "finished" stage. but it was more of just tracing the previous sketch, and I wasn't able to make any changes or improvements, and it felt like a weak inking stage. In line with the change above, I made this stage more of a full resolution of concept to pre-ink stage. Each iteration has multiple stages of increasing quality - the pose starts as a thumbnail, then a first clean, then a checking stage to redraw just the mistakes, and then a much sharper redraw. I flip the image in between iterations to make sure I'm not drawing at a slant, and it helps to correct maybe 70-80% of my slant. Overall quality might be mistaken as a lineart at first glance (I suspect that with time, this will become my normal manga lineart style, simply for quickness and saving doing a whole redraw again)

One main problem I have with my sketches is that I jump between multiple sketching styles, such as chibi/loli/realistic, and this makes it difficult to guage how much details to put in the sketch. Mostly, it's a case of not knowing what level of piece I'm aiming at for a final image. But now I have a split with my standard and masterpiece levels. Standard is aiming at more generic manga level quality, but varied themes. Masterpiece is aiming at a high quality and also highly detailed pieces, for illustration/cover level etc.

I've had a new boost to my concept level WIPs
With the efforts to standardize the quality of my levels, I've suddenly noticed that my concepts are now more varied, and are lacking in the main proportions. This is perfect, since I will definitely fix the proportions later, so what I want is a quick , raw, varied idea.

I can sketch consistently at this level, almost indefinitely (would love to know how many I can make in an entire day!)
And each sketch will almost always take 2.5 minutes, so I've stopped timing them individually, and just divide the total page time by the number of sketches. There's no point micromanaging my time when the range of error is less than a minute, especially as my higher quality makes my pieces take longer at the later stages. I'm trying to avoid timing individual pieces if I can now, as it's not great for maximum productivity. It served a very good purpose of helping me work to a standard, but now, I can work to that level naturally. Looking back to when I originally started timing my sketches, it was to keep me active and not daydreaming while drawing. And now I'm not affected by that issue. I still like knowing how long a sketch takes, but my quality is so consistent that often an entire page of WIPs will be like 15/16/15/14/15/15/17 minutes and that's not worth the effort when they are so close.

With regard to generating varied ideas, I have added a new feature to my random idea generator (when do I ever not program, I hear you ask?)
I found that because I could skip an idea if I didn't like it, it defeats the purpose of getting me to try out new ideas, so I needed to embed the idea inside my WIP page, like a text WIP. So I made my program export a bunch of text images like this one

And I put them all in a folder just like my other WIPs. And now I have a page with each square having a different random idea in it. Sometimes the random words clash and dont make sense. But otherwise, I will try to make a sketch that matches the words as much as possible. So it's immediately proved successful. But interestingly is that on a logical level, I didn't change anything. But by approaching the problem in a way that took into account my own personality, I was able to reach a better solution.
Like so:

Because each sketch only takes 3 minutes, I am working on a 6x8 page of sketches. Saves exporting all the time.
I'm working on making the random generator make more seamless prompts, but that's too much effort at the moment, I can make do with what I have for now.

Also here is a new regime I have started. Technically it's a 1000 regime, but it will roll over continuously as I generate pages of 100, until I decide to stop it. Maybe it's not a 1000 regime, who knows.
A low quality small character sketch. This is intended to form part of a generic character crowds background practice, and in time I may add more than one character per box to form a crowd sketch. Took less than a minute for each one. Also as a bonus, I could use these as an initial point for new sketches, so they also count as first draft WIPs if I want. I draw the characters at a low zoom so they are about an inch tall on my screen.




Anyways that's just what I've done on a normal level.
I've also had some major revelations, on things that have been bugging me since the beginning of time.

For a very long while, I have been concerned (for want of a better word) about the variation of quality when I sketch, even at different WIP levels, and when copying things. There has always been a huge upper and lower level that I haven't been able to control, until now.

Since at least 2 years ago, I have been trying to figure out line control, and why I suddenly change line pressure when I sketch. I've been able to make do just because most of my sketches aren't final, so they can be mixed quality and just about pass the quality test.

Here's an example from a recent face copy page
Spoiler
You can see the bands of different styles and line qualities, desprite being drawn with the same pen settings and the same zoom. Each day I draw in a different style, and I had no idea what the unknown variable was, that was making the difference. Until now.

Also as another example here's a closeup of both of my space greebled backgrounds, the line quality and even detail level is quite different.
     

And finally I realised the difference. It's a little hard to explain because it relates to attitude, so I will call it "focus scope". It breaks down into several easy points:
-How long you intend your sketch to take
-The quality you are aiming for
-The actual speed you are intending to move your hand.
-The mental zoom you are drawing at (sort of, the accepted mistake threshold before you correct, partly related to  the intended size of the final image)
-How careful you are
Up to this point I had just "drawn", I didn't have an idea of how long I would take or what the end result would be. So perhaps I've hit a level of perception where I can percieve the qualities and styles a little better.
I realised it while I was having a good copy session, and I thought to myself "why can't I draw this carefully if I can copy this carefully?" And it hit me like a ton of bricks. 2 years ago when I first started my WIP processing, it was based on a false assumption - that the primary way to achieve higher quality was to use higher zoom. This is NOT true, although zooming in can enable you to reach a higher quality. The best way to achieve higher quality - is simply to be more careful. You can hit me now.

Here's a comparison of a lineart before I had this realisation and after. The zoom and pen settings are the same for both.

I have been able to draw at the latter consistency ever since. A secondary side effect is that you are also careful to the pressure you are using, so your lines become more consistent, and also you have less gaps in your lineart because you are starting and ending in the right places.

It's not an omnipotent method though - although local accuracy is increased, the hands and so on are still out of proportion, so it doesnt fix errors or anything.

One interesting thing that I noticed, is that I don't need to warm up at all any more, I can go straight into an inking piece, by activating my "careful mode". A strange side effect, but very welcome.

When working with a careful attitude, you need to avoid rushing, which is the enemy of carefulness. So patience is key as well. It feels like you're working on a larger canvas because you are focusing on a smaller area in your mind. At one point I focused so hard I could see the different parts of the pixels on my screen, and for the most part, I actually found that I was trying to work at a sub-screen-pixel quality with my movements. So the limit for the quality is the quality of your tablet, and this is fixed by zooming in more, and you can fix pixel-level issues more easily.

This also explains why the pieces that I tried the hardest in came out the best. Although it sounds obvious, you are more careful when you want the end result to be good, and the reverse is also true. When you dont really care about the end result, your quality starts to drop, and that is the issue when you are working on say a manga and you don't like doing backgrounds - you try and rush it to get it finished quickly, and it ends up a lower quality.

The advantage of being careful instead of zooming in, is that you are sill viewing a larger area of your work, and so  you can limit global proportion errors more, like one arm being longer than the other, simply because you can actually see both while you are drawing (instead of zooming in on one too much).
Then on a second iteration if necessary, when zooming in, you can ink with much more confidence knowing that your lines are really good.

In all this has also proved a couple of other points to me, one being that sometimes you dont have access to all of your skills at the same time, in the past I have been more careful, but in a attempt to work out other hitches such as improving concepts, I lost the ability to be careful somewhere along the line. So really a skilled artist is someone who can access all their skills at the same time, or at least, when they are needed. I always felt like I was losing skills as fast as I gained them, and really true skill is having all your knowledge and experience at the front of your mind ready to use. So high exposure (doing a lot) is probably a factor in gaining high skill.

So I imagine that most of that sounds obvious to most of you, and it is a pretty obvious thing. But it's easy to lose sight of the obvious when you start focusing in on different areas of your art to improve. And so it's always good to be self conscious and analyse stuff all the time.

Basically it's gone from being a random variable, to being a controlled one, which means I should have much more consistent art at every level now, even on the lower quality side.

So I think with this I have improved and jumped up a level again, but it'll take a while to show because of all my WIPs in the way. I'm both finding my way and losing it just as fast.



So that's enough rambling for now. I actually had more to say but I've had enough of talking about myself :P
My goals for next month are:
-do more space greebles (3 more and then I'm doing a different type, perhaps a different perspective BG or spaceships)
-do more finished and resolved sketches, to cut down the queue to a more manageable length (especially now that I know what I'm doing quality-wise)
-work on masterpieces a bit more as a regular thing
-maybe try more normal BG stuff - I need this for my manga to proceed. Maybe a masterpiece BG sketch is in order.
-work on improving sketch variation , and adding extra details such as jewellery, BG, patterns and so on.
-do way more every day (4+ hours a day average is my aim)
« Last Edit: May 31, 2020, 03:36:59 PM by Suuper-san »
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Offline Coryn

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1512 on: May 31, 2020, 05:17:00 PM »
I love the scifi city! This is definitely my engineering brain thinking (and is definitely a tall order), but that place breaks just about every OSHA guideline there is by not having guardrails! Well, maybe only some specific guidelines about guard rails, but seriously! Why don't cool scifi settings ever take safety into account?!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1513 on: June 01, 2020, 04:11:27 AM »
thanks!
I think partly the scale is to blame for that, if it was zoomed in more there *might* have been more railings and stuff, who knows :P
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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1514 on: June 03, 2020, 07:08:43 AM »
I have always enjoyed your character art, which i think you have refined recently in a really nice, almost stylised, way. But those environments, they are something else! They really do bring you in, even the sketch feels homey! And even with the fact that the field of view is quite narrow for the sci-fi scape, I still get a sense of verticality.

If there was one thing you could add that might help the sci-fi environment, it might be adding some darker/ more solid shadows between the buildings/ under the platforms. That might help to make it feel a little less M. C. Escher!