Monday, January 21, 2013

Playing with Fire...

Er, FireAlpaca, that is... heh, heh...

About last week the homie Jaime Hernandez told me about a freeware drawing and painting program called FireAlpaca and I've been practicing with it the last few days. I'm a total newbie when it comes to drawing/painting digitally and FireAlpaca seems like a fine introduction for me. I got my tablet only about a month ago and I've had some trouble adjusting, but with a little practice I'm getting better.

A while back I had found a great reference via the Muddy Colors blog that I had been wanting to use for a long time, but instead it sat in my pictures folder almost forgotten. After fiddling around with FireAlpaca for a couple days, I found the image again and decided I was going to do something with it. My original intention was to paint it, but I ended up with a slightly different, but overall more satisfying result that more closely matches what I'm trying to aim for in my drawing. How'd I do?

Original reference and "penciled" layer. Photo by Greg Manchess.

Final "inked" result.

I had quite a bit of fun trying to work this out. It took me several tries to ink the linework to a point I was genuinely happy with it (not really too different from inking normally for me, sadly). But once I got that, I ended up trying to do block shading using a much darker color. The darker color was really flattening out the image, so I messed with the layer settings, and I really liked how "overlay" gave the color a lighter shade and tone that actually worked better with the drawing. I think the more graphic look I ended up with would clash a little too much with the original "painterly" look I wanted to go for, so I abandoned some initial painting I started before I did the shading. As I said already, I'm quite satisfied with this result.

All in all, I'm really liking FireAlpaca so far, and for a newbie like me, it's perfect to get me started.

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