Tag: Sketchbook

August 2022 Sketchbook – Tattoos, Persephone, & more + Moving Update!

August has been another hectic month of negotiating house contracts, inspections, and more after losing multiple bids.  Things are looking up as we finally close on a house we love in just a few days!  That means, barring any last minute disasters, we’ll be relocating to our very own place with room enough for a studio, game room, and more over the course of September.  It’s been an unexpected dream come true to find such a big place within our budget!

We’re so relieved and excited!  I can’t wait to have space again so I can resume my big plans for my Birthstone Goddesses.  It’ll be time to wrap up this project which has been on hiatus during this whole process.

In the meanwhile, I’ve let the muse off the leash to explore whatever helps soothe my brain during all of this chaos.  That’s included more D&D character exploration, a Persephone concept, character class homework, and more.  Join me for an August sketch dump of wondrous variety!

More Fire Genasi Gal!

You might recall the sketch of my Barbarian gal, Rabs, from last month’s sketchbook.   I’ve decided to render her in a more painterly style to match the overall mood of official D&D art.  I usually work in a more line heavy style, so this is a challenge, especially in Procreate where I’m still somewhat unfamiliar with the painterly tools.  I’m getting some great results with the Acrylic and Gouache brushes, thus far!  I love the blending and subtle texture of them.

Before I could finish up Rabs’ armor base, I figured it was a good idea to actually define her tattoos in a template so I’m not always drawing them by hand every time. Radinsky’s template provided an amazing resource for this!  Here are all of Rabs’ bits and bobs shown together.  Hooray for being able to copy and paste these tatts as needed from here on out!

Sidenote:  The emergence of a hibiscus flower was accidental as it came about from mirroring her forehead sigil 5 times. I love happy accidents like that!

The captions read as follows:

Rabanne’s Tattoos

Limned in glowing ink that appears like molten lava in Rabanne’s skin, these tattoos symbolize her accomplishments & the decorative flare of noble class Genasi from their oasis city-kingdom.

Back Tattoo – Symbolizes the 5 ruling sisters of the Arore family, with Hibiscus as their symbol of state.

Arm Tattoos – The V-shaped emblems of the Tempest Heart Barbarians

Dread Queen Persephone

Over in the Fine Art section of my brain, I’ve been chipping away at a portrait set of Persephone to practice my traditional methods once I have a fully unpacked studio again.  I’ll be doing a portrait set of Persephone’s Summer and Winter forms showing her changes from Summer Maiden to Dread Queen.  

Of course, I wanted to work up her spooky Winter look first!  These thumbnails play with the concept of making parts of her form skeletal and translucent through her clothing.  I have my favorite right now, but what’s yours?

Hoping to work this one up in acrylics, color pencil, and possibly gouache in the hopefully not too distant future!

Character Mentor Doodles

I’ve been dabbling in character design as a supplement to my illustration, which brought me back to reading Tom Bancroft’s Creating Characters with Personality*.  His book challenges you to design a cast of characters from an old west setting and this was the first lesson where we define the overall silhouettes utilizing our understanding of shape language to give them each their own look without the details.

This was a fun diversion and a good way to test my comfort zones! I’ll probably circle back to this book later on after Even Amundsen’s Character Design Class.

*(Clicking the book link gives me a little kickback, if ya like!)

Fantasy Indies August

Finally, joining this month’s Fantasy Indies August hashtag event on Twitter allowed me to share a little bit of my writerly side!  I’ve been sharing snippets, mood boards, and more about The Uncrucified, a ttrpg inspired story I’ve been writing for the past few years (and that has inspired much of the side project art you’ve been seeing around here lately!).

Feel free to check out the full thread to learn more about this story and more.  I’ll be sharing an article gathering all of the posts in one article for your convenience once the event wraps up.

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That’s all for now!  My muse has been in overdrive all over the place, as it usually is with stress and chaos around our living situation.  Here’s hoping that by the next post, I have some good news about the new digs and future prospects!

Catch ya then!

♥ Ang

July 2022 Sketchbook – D&D Doodles & Kalara’s Sigil

It’s been a tough journey so far with house-hunting.  The market is crazy right now and we’re still on the hunt!  And so I’ve been channeling my woes into various comfort projects, mainly my D&D and Exalted TTRPG characters.

D&D Doodles

Ever since The Unmerry Band‘s adventures in the Black Pits wrapped up, I’ve been meaning to mine our campaign for practice, starting with a level progression chart of all our characters showing how their armor and wardrobe evolved over time.  This will feature our characters from their wee fragile Level 0 forms all the way up to Level 8 where our story ended (for now).

(The Unmerry Band lineup!)

I started off with the character I played in the campaign, Rabanne, a Fire Genasi Barbarian with a big heart and a big hammer!  I had some excellent pose help from Jookpubstock that acted as a base for her hammer pose.  Rather than stick with the Vox Machina inspired style of the party banner, I’ve returned to my more default semi-realistic style which is the one I want to nurture should I ever submit a portfolio to Wizards of the Coast.  Sketched in Procreate on the ipad with the Peppermint pencil brush in the Sketching category.

Rabs has been bulked up a bit for this image, as I wanted to accentuate her tall and imposing figure more than her initial rendering.  The pose on the left is going to be the base ‘paper doll’ pose I’ll be repeating for Levels 1 – 8, while the gesture sketches on the right represent an exploration of her younger level 0 self where she was training in secret as a gangly teen in the harem.

PROTIP!  The rectangle under her feet helps me to ground the figure and keep the perspective plane in check, as it’s easy to lose track at what angle the feet are supposed to be at if you don’t ground the figure somehow.

The rest of the characters will get this treatment too and will most likely follow the poses of the party banner, with the exception of Calumny (the Tiefling), because booty out does not make a good pose for showing off most clothing, though usually I wouldn’t have Cal any other way!

I also want to shine a light on the art that inspired me to do this.  How cool is this classic party line-up from Frida Bergholtz?  I hope mine will come out this fantastic!

Kalara’s Sigil

My gal, Kalara, has popped up on here a LOT lately.  She’s definitely a comfort to my muse with her story of overcoming adversity and working towards goodness in the world!  I’ve been working on and off on a novel featuring the events of her life from our Exalted RPG campaign for years now.  I’ve been pushing for a return to this endeavor while I have this nexus of ‘in-between projects till the move’ and so it occurred to me to finally put an official ‘label’ on her project.

It was time to make a brand guide and a logo!

Not every project needs this, mind, but I wanted to do this for The Uncrucified since I have larger plans for its future, including art packs and Storytellers Vault resources for players inspired by her story.  And thus, The Uncrucified needs a logo so I can elegantly tie all these parts together!

It also works so beautifully because this symbol will serve as Kalara’s in-world mark of her Guild as well.  I’ve shared a deeper look at this story’s brand guide in my Patreon’s Discord server, for those who might be curious.

For now, enjoy the many iterations I made as I attempted to channel Kalara’s themes of the Eclipse Caste mark (the glowing symbol that represents her magical abilities), the phoenix feather which represents her resilience, and the flame which represents her cultural identity and rebellious personality.

For me, logo design is a bit like obsessively writing all over your walls going slowly insane until the secret verse is revealed.  I don’t enjoy it much, but I wanted to design this one, myself, and so I was happy when I finally arrived at something that felt close to the ‘truth’!  More often I know what I don’t want than what I do when designing logos, and so the process is more about exploration and elimination.

And here we have the 3 semi-finalists!

I’ve already chosen a final, but I’d be curious which one resonates most with you all! It’s always fascinating to see what shapes others interpret in these mutable symbols.

That’s all I have for today!  It’s been a slow month as we tour houses as often as we can and try to plan these important next steps. I hope you all don’t mind my randomnness here!  I’m always worried it makes this a very confusing Patreon to be at hah.

Till next time!

♥ Ang

Sketchbook June 2022 – D&D, Gideon the Ninth, & OC Art

I’ve been slowly edging back into working for longer on art, but still haven’t managed to do more than a few sketches lately.  I don’t mind it, though, as not being able to work on serious projects has given me the ‘excuse’ I needed to let my muse off the leash to explore whatever fun topics came to mind!

D&D Sketch – Rabs the Fire Genasi

I really fell in love with my Barbarian from The Unmerry Band from the campaign we recently finished playing.  She graciously volunteered for a warm-up sketch to explore an extreme perspective shot.  Her tatts and eyes are always my favorite details to draw with their dramatic glow!

I hope to re-visit the band again sometime with more explorations of the dramatic scenes from their campaign as well as a level progression chart so I can practice drawing armor.

Gideon the Ninth – Harrow & Gideon Portraits

Lately I’ve been trying to catch up on my Fantasy genre reading.  Gideon the Ninth was high on that list (check out my spoiler free review if you like).  It was a fun ride full of skeletons, sarcasm, and murder and I really enjoyed it!  The combination of mystic necromancy and scifi really inspired me and thus these sketches were born!

I chose to draw Harrow as she appears in full Ninth House pomp in Gideon the Ninth.  Her goth skelly aesthetic really appeals to my sensibilities!

I’ve pictured Gideon here with her rapier, claw, and signature badass glasses.

My idea was to make portraits as if they were from a visual novel like The Arcana.  These were so much fun that I may have to properly polish them up sometime!  If you’re a Locked Tomb fan, who would you like to see me sketch next?

OC Art – Redesigned Kalara

Some of you may remember Kalara from my Exalted ttrpg adventures.  I had a lot of fun coming up with fashions during her Shirt Cut Meme, which made me realize she hasn’t had a new look in 8 years!

[WIP of the line art for Kalara’s revised look.

I hope to do a whole other article talking about her new design later once I’m finished with a new reference sheet, but for now, enjoy the sneak peek of the line art for her new design.  I’m stoked for how much more sophisticated and dramatic this new look is for her!

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Lastly, all of these sketches were done in Procreate, as curled up on the couch with the ipad has been the most physically comfortable way for me to draw lately.

And this has been another month of rest, healing, and stress-free sketching!  I hope to inch back into more serious work in July.  I’d love to keep practicing with warm-up sketches when I can, however.  It felt good to do fun things that don’t have strings attached to any major launches or paychecks.

The Locked Tomb has been an especially inspiring series, so I hope to keep doing more portraits!  Have you all read these books?  What other cool Fantasy books should I be reading right now?  Let me know in comments or feel free to come chat books with me in my Patreon Discord server!  There’s a whole channel for geeking out about books and media.

That’s all for now!  I’ll have another announcement soon about this Patreon’s move to temporary Tip Jar status.  I know this isn’t much, but I hope you all enjoyed the art treats anyways!

♥ Ang