Digital Painting: Falling (finished!) + Thoughts on Improvement

"Falling" - An Alice in Wonderland-inspired digital painting by Studio Luminessa's River. Postcard size version.

Last night I had a strange dream. Wearing my favorite dress, I was falling through the air. Was it to Wonderland or. . . ?

Today I am happy to share with you the final version of “Falling”!  It took a bit of work, but I think I finally managed to get the dream-like atmosphere I was aiming for.  \(^o^)/

Stats

  • Time: ~20 hours
  • Materials: GIMP 2.8, Wacom Intuos 3

“Falling” is definitely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but personally, I don’t think the girl in the picture is Alice herself.  Perhaps Alice in Wonderland was one of her favorite childhood books. Perhaps she’s always longed to go to Wonderland.  Perhaps that’s why she looks so calm. What do you think?

If you asked me if I’m happy with “Falling,” I would have to say yes – and no.  In many ways, “Falling” represents the current level of my digital painting abilities.  It was also an experiment and a challenge: Different style, focus on shading, and the sheer number of objects to paint gave room to explore and hone my skills.  I’m quite proud of how much I progressed just in the painting of this piece.  Yet at the same time, I felt myself bumping up against the upper limit of my skills.  It was a delight to paint, and yet frustrating at the same time.

At some point, though, you just have to say: “It’s done now.”  No, it isn’t perfect.  Yes, I’m sure with more time/energy/practice it would be more polished.  But I feel that right now, this is the best I can do with this piece.  So rather than going over it again and again and again, or putting it away where it will be forgotten, I’d like to share it with you. 🙂

So, yes, I’m happy with “Falling.” Happy and proud both. And no, I’m not.   But I will take everything that I’ve learned in the hours that made this piece and use them on the next piece, and the next.  No painting, no matter how dissatisfied I am with it, is useless.  Each one takes me closer to my dream.  Hopefully I can just remember that. . . 😛

How about you? Are you a perfectionist?  How do you decide when a piece is “done”?  Let me know in the comments below!

Header for Cloud’s Blog WIP

cloud-header-sketch-watermarkedLast Thursday I shared a sketch for my new header design.  Today I’m happy to show you a sketch for Cloud’s new header design!  \(^o^)/  And again we have a nice gradient background, so the sketch isn’t so monochrome; I think even a splash of color helps bring an image to life.

Just like Strike A Spark’s design features comic!River, the new header for Cloud’s World Of: features comic!Cloud!  I think her design turned out very cute, and somehow more elegant than River.  Maybe because her hands look a little better. . . ?

By the by, Cloud helped me with the concept for both our headers.  That’s why they match, which I am ridiculously happy about!  \(^o^)/

I’m hoping to finish up the coloring on both pieces within the next week or so.  It largely depends on whether I can continue working around that bug.  For now, plugging in an external keyboard seems to have fixed it, so we’ll see~ !

Art from the Archives: Great Fire Dragon

Happy Friday!  Are you looking forward to the weekend?  I know I am! =^w^=

Welcome back to the third installment of Art from the Archives!  Today’s picture is the companion to last week’s post.  It’s the Great Fire Dragon!

Great Fire Dragon by RiverJust like Blue Mountain Dragon, Great Fire Dragon looks better in print than on my monitor.  It’s a mystery~

The process was much the same for this photo.  I started from a sketch, but skipped clean inks and went straight to blocking out colors and layering complementary shades.  The glowing blue light from the orb was a little more difficult to do – deciding where the light would probably be reflected took a while.  I should have added more lighting from the fires surrounding him, too.

Great Fire Dragon is the second and currently the last in the Elemental Dragons series.  I also planned to do an Earth dragon, a Water dragon, and a Air/Wind dragon, and maybe one day soon I’ll get back into it. Goodness knows that these two were among the most fun I’ve ever painted. 😀

Don’t forget, next Friday is the last Art from the Archives installment for now!  Check back then to see what else I found!  Though I can give you a hint – it’s not a dragon, unfortunately. 😉

Art from the Archives: Blue Mountain Dragon

Hello and welcome back to Art from the Archives!  Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite pieces that I made, oh, about five years ago, I think?  Simply titled Blue Mountain Dragon, it took about 8-10 hours to complete and was the first in a planned series of elemental/nature dragons:

Blue Mountain Dragon by RiverThis picture (and the one I’ll post next week) actually looks better in print than on my monitor.  I don’t know why?  I feel like it’s usually the other way around, but eh!  I’ll take it. XD

The process for Blue Mountain Dragon was the complete opposite of structured.  I was really only just getting into digital painting and used it as an opportunity to try whatever I wanted.  I blocked in the dragon first, then used complementary blues, purples, and greens on various opacity settings to get that translucent, flowy look.  The setting, sky, and moon were all done afterwards.  As solid objects, it was hard to achieve that same layered look and still make them relatively realistic.

I’m really happy with how it turned out, considering my skill level at the time. So if I ever re-do this picture, it will probably be more of a touch-up than a from-scratch deal.  I’m actually looking forward to it, but gotta finish the Gemstone series first~!

Don’t forget to check back next Friday for the third Art from the Archives post!

Art from the Archives: Angel

Angel, a digital painting by River featuring Cloud's original character Alicia.

Hello hello and welcome to the first in my series that I’ve suddenly decided to call, “Art from the Archives!”  Basically, old art that I recently found again.  Most of it’s never been posted anywhere, and only seen by my family and friends. . . because back when I drew them, I was not posting regularly. . . .

AHEM.  Anyhoot, the first piece I’d like to share with y’all is titled Angel.  It features Cloud’s OC Alicia from the Tales From New Bruntum role-play.  It’s one of the few pieces of art I made for that project before it went on hiatus, and I think the only finished one.  The style is very different from my current style, no?

As it’s been a few years since I drew Angel, there are naturally things I’d do different now: more delicate lines, update the style, correct the perspective. . . . The one thing I’m very happy with is the color scheme!  I think the soft tones and gentle shading convey the mood very well. =^__^=

I hope you enjoyed this look into the archives!  Tune in next Friday, when I reveal another piece! XD

Onyx and Sardonyx wip

Hi everyone!  How’s it going?

Since the end of the Gemstone Challenge, I’ve been focusing on the webcomic buffer and on another project Cloud and I started just recently.  I’ve also been working on painting the Gemstone sketches, starting with the last one, Onyx and Sardonyx!  I’d hoped to have finished it by now, but as I continue painting, I find more that I want to change or improve, so it’s an ongoing process.  Here’s what it looks like now:

Onyx and Sardonyx work-in-progress by River

(There are more in-progress pics on my twitter, so check that out if you’re interested.  ^u^)

I think it looks a lot better than the last WIP I shared on my twitter about a week ago:

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Still, I think there’s a lot to be done, so the painting continues! I’m not sure how much longer it will take, but. . . maybe more than a week. .  . ? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the meantime, I don’t want to leave y’all in the lurch, so I’ve got some things planned!  I’ll be posting my daily warmups on twitter, and I have posts lined up for the next few weeks.  They’re all old paintings that I’ve never posted anywhere before!  What could they be. . . ? 😛  They’ll post on Fridays, so keep an eye out!

‘Til Friday, then!

Gemstone Challenge, Day 13: Tiger Eye

A digital painting of a woman modeling a tiger-eye pendant.  Made with GIMP 2 by River.

Day 13’s theme is Tiger Eye.  I intended to stop after doing the sketch, but I was having so much fun that I kept going until I finished the flats!  I had fun painting the tiger eye pendant and trying to capture the way the colored bands seem to glow within the gem.

Tools

  • GIMP 2
  • Wacom Intuos 3

Don’t forget to check out the Gemstone Streak Club page!  There are a ton of creative submissions – over 70, last I checked – and everyone is doing such a wonderful job.

See you all later tonight for the final theme, Onyx!