Thursday, April 17, 2014

Digital Costume Sketch

For a long time, well not quite an aeon, but certainly a year or two, I've wondered how concept artists, game artists, character designers and costume designers were able to draw these lifelike figures that somehow all were in the same position or looked the same. Here are some examples from the "Massive Black" concept art catalog. This is the level of artistic quality I aspire to. But as you know I constantly struggle with drawing human figures.

Why were they all in the same position, I wondered. I realized it must be some kind of template, a pre-drawn figure that you can just trace when you need to design a costume over it. These are common in the fashion industry and in graphic design but are completely forbidden in the artistic world where you are expected to draw all your figures from scratch with a live model. Tracing is outright cheating. But this is what the concept artists do. So I found and sent away for books of fashion templates. And there you go. These figures, with their exaggerated proportions, were what I need to make decent-looking character and costume designs. 

The young prince above, who is vaguely inspired by the comic-strip "Prince Valiant," is my first experiment using a template. The line-art template depicts a fashion model in that standing position. 

Using the magic of Photoshop (which replaced tracing paper) I digitally drew my own "prince" costume design over a faded-out version of the template. After I had done my own drawing, I discarded the template and finished the costume design and added a reasonable head and face.

Eventually I hope to be able to draw decent figures all by myself but given my endless struggle I am glad to have this resource to "draw on" even if it isn't "good" artistic practice. When I put the costumed figures into action positions I will still need to be able to draw rather than trace from templates. 

You see, I still have not given up hope that someday I will do digital art with the quality of "Massive Black." I don't know whether I will ever professionally do concept art or illustration, but that, and comic book art, are the types of art I really care about.

Template and design are 2 1/2" x 6 1/2", digital something.

1 comment:

Cortney Skinner said...

Nope, it's not cheating, Pyra. Whatever it takes to get the art done for the client and the check in the mail is what an artist/illustrator needs to do.
Only those who have the luxury of time or a generous income in reserve can afford to linger over their work. The rest have deadlines and bills to pay.