Day 6: State of the art.Art is always a strange thing. When you make art regularly you fall into patterns and work methods and grow used to a a routine approach. I've been drawing and sketching for a decade or so, and I've gotten very comfortable with my workflow.
But... I'm not a graphic designer. I draw comics by hand on physical paper, and my normal approach is very slow. When I draw art to show on a website, here are the normal tools I use:
I go through the following steps, and here's an image of what some of those steps look like with one of my character drawings
- Make a Pencil Sketch on artboard
- Using pigment liners, carefully draw out the important linework in permanent ink
- Wait for ink to dry (several hours)
- Erase pencil marks
- Second ink layer (this is used to make lines properly black, thicken up important lines etc)
- Wait for ink to dry
- Colour the art with special pigment coloursoft pencils
- Digitally clean up mistakes and minor tweaks and fixes
- Add transparancy, resize, export.
This is... not a fast process. An image like this would take several days to work through, and that's fine! I'm drawing to relax and have fun.
Pyweek is exciting because everything about how I normally draw has to be thrown out of the window. In past events, my workflow has been terrible, and nearly everything I learned from the event was in the form of what not to do.
This event is my fifth pyweek, and the fourth where I was producing the majority of the art for the game - but also, this event was the first time that I felt like we were working with an art style I was comfortable with (hand drawn pencil drawings, rather than graphic design.) As a bonus for our coders, it meant that I could give them pencil scans early to place on the screen and play with during the coding process. I was surprised how helpful it was to me though. Seeing how the asset appeared on the screen really helped me better visualize how the drawing would behave in the environment. More importantly, much less of my time was spent trying to understand how to make an asset that could be incorporated into the game.
However... this is still a very slow process, none of the steps are missing. It's an extremely valuable experience to me to make these pictures to such a tight deadline, to learn where I can cut corners, to figure out which parts need to match my expectations, and which parts you can kind of just fudge and still have them come out okay.
For the first couple of days, this was an extremely stressful situation, how could I draw enough things to make a game? Where should I be spending my time? But as the days ran on, I settled into a groove and started working faster. All of the art has mistakes and issues and problems that I'd like the time to improve, but the result is something about 90% as good as I wanted, but in 10% of the time. It's bolstering to know that if I really need to, I can work faster.
It's good to do things that put you out of your comfort zone. That's how you learn and grow, and coming back to pyweek after years of drawing the same way has been a good experience.
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