My Snowman Story

My Snowman story, War With WYNTR, is currently in production. The story is about the bond a child forms with the creations that they create from the snow, their friendship, and sacrifice.  Additionally, I am testing the limits with this story about how far that bond can go between creation and child. I have been working on the cover, the storyboards, and story maps for the story this morning. I saw this image in my mind, title and all. Out of compellation, I decided to run with it even though typical covers can be done last.  I am looking for your thoughts though. What do you think of the font and the design? Please let me know what you think!

snowman

War with Winter

War with winter. Are you ready? The air is freezing cold and the ice of the night is biting at your nose. Despite the warmest of warm clothes you have on, the wind just blows through you with a torrent of discomfort and chill. You walk and you walk but your legs are numb with cold and the blood moves so much slower causing you to be almost paralyzed by the weather. Can you make it home you wonder? Why can’t you feel your fingers or toes? You know you have to so you force yourself to stop thinking about the pain the outdoors is causing you to endure so you take one look at your final destination in the distance, grit your teeth, and force march your way back home. This is war.

You just won your first battle…but will you win the war?

War with Winter

 

About this Piece

This piece was designed with three layers and a glow layer. There was a pencil layer but it doesn’t count since it was deleted very quickly. I used pencil layers to lay out the composition and then I draw almost exclusively with the G-Pen and some others. Depending on the complexity of the design, I will tend to use more pencil and build off of it. I consider myself a Bob Ross of Clip Studio Paint. I like to have a lot of “happy accidents” when I create. I have learned so much about this software creating this way. I am sure Bob, who was my first artistic influencer when I was child, would agree…but I digress.

Inking

I made sure to use a 600 dpi layer when I did my final inks for this piece. My goal was to have each element stand by itself and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave any unsightly spaces. This is a bad habit of mine but I am getting better about that. Why is this important you ask? Well, when you flat your colors in you will find that color starts to go wherever it wants to and you start to lose control of where your color is going. It is quite frustrating and can be a pain in the butt to go back and fix the layer to close all of the gaps.

I set my inks up as a reference layer and I was complete in no time filling in the colors.  Snow scenes don’t usually have a lot of color in them other than whatever else is in the snow with them so no a whole lot of time spent on coloring. Because I took the time to clean my inks, I was able to bypass the earlier problem that I mentioned.

Coloring and Animation

Colors finished and time to go to highlights. I copied my flats layer and dragged it down below my line art. I locked the flat layer so that I didn’t accidentally select it. I set my first flat layer as a reference layer and then went it to highlight my new flat layer. I also used the fix pixel option so that I didn’t dribble into my background….no dribble is not a technical term.

The very last step in this process was to create some animation cells. What? Did I say animations? Why yes I did.  This was the fun part. I love bringing my designs to life. I added 24 cells and then added some magical shimmers and some snowy rain. I think it gave the piece some feeling of movement…well it is animation after all.

Finished Animation

Below is the final animated design. I think he is a little foreboding if you ask me. Those beady charcoal eyes will just stare right through you if you let them.

 

snowman war

If you enjoyed this tutorial, maybe you’ll like the one I did during the fall. I also did an interest autumn piece earlier this year as well. If you liked this, my latest book discusses all of the pieces from 2017 and how I designed them.

I hope you enjoyed this piece. Please let me know what you think! Your comments are important to me.

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Pilgrim in the Woods visiting a Thanksgiving Dinner near you.

pilgrim

 

Pilgrim in the woods is visiting a Thanksgiving dinner near you. Halloween is over but are all the spooks really gone? The ghosts aren’t screeching and the werewolves aren’t yelping but the woods is not empty of danger.

The Pilgrim

How is it this pilgrim is here and what does he want? It’s been many long years since the Puritans first came to America and shared the first Thanksgiving. Was someone left behind or is this would be wanderer plagued with unfinished business? Time will tell when the truth is finally uncovered. I could write horror stories all year round. My goal this year is to come up with a horror idea that ties in with every major holiday. I don’t know if I will ever write a full story or not but ideas are where more ideas come from. Let me know if you have any special requests out there.

About this Design

I hope you are all enjoying my latest design. Please let me know what you think by commenting on this post or dropping a note through a form.

I used 13 different layers to design this scene. I didn’t start with a pencil sketch. In fact, I clicked on the oil paint tool and went right to work painting out the scene. The scene background was painted with the oil paint flat brush tool. The digital oils provided a nice blending affect to build the background just like playing with Play dough. I alternated shades and used the blending tool as well to get the lighting effect I wanted.

Tips and Tricks

Below are some screenshots of layers that I used. The first one is a 33% opacity layer that I drew the trees on in the distance along with some shrubs. I used a very light brown within the pallet that I was working with. This effect created some of the white noise that comes with designing wooded areas. A G-Pent was all I needed to design the trees. A darker bleed tool brush was used for the shrubs. I like to keep things murky and then pull the details out.

Background

background

 

This next section is of just the trees themselves. See how they are on their own layer? I can manipulate the depth of the piece easier this way and control the highlights and shadows without creating digital mud. Using the selection tool helps to keep the overspray from going out of control. I still have a little. Through color discipline practice, it becomes easier to paint in this fashion. The airbrush highlight and shadow tools create nice textures on the tree. I selected where the light was coming from and then I just stayed consistent until I got the trees completed. Additional texture was created by using a darker pencil to enhance the bark.

Foreground Trees

 

As I go over each part of the tree, I can slowly pull out the natural texture of the tree along with other minor details such as the roots and growth defects in the tree that make it look more interesting.

I used the ink pen tool to design the Pilgrim and then I sketched out lightly what I wanted and then filled it in. I already knew that I was going to use a silhouette so I didn’t worry about every detail with the character.  Extra grass created the mired affect. The woodlands known to be wet.

The Pilgrim Design

 

I used the polygon line tool to detail the parts of his outfit that I felt viewers would need to see to understand he is a pilgrim. I used Google to find a some good ideas for what I wanted the pilgrim to look like. Again, not a lot of serious detail required. Using my G-Pen with white pigment, I colored in some wrinkles and added some buttons. If I did my job well enough, you can tell that it’s a pilgrim.

Some additional details I added were the sun beams shining through. The line tool is awesome to get this detail. I changed the opacity on the beams so they look more transparent and played around with the color. True yellow just wasn’t covering it.

I designed the bridge with just blocks of grey matter that I blended together. I used references for this too because I just couldn’t picture the bridge the way I wanted in my head alone.

Summary

That is all for tonight. If I left some things out that you may want to know more of, please ask. I am always happy to help everyone out.  Also check out my book. You can find it here. Amazon Prime holders can get it for free. It is available in hard copy and E-book format. The book has a lot of these types of tutorials designed to help you come up with design ideas.

 

The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree

Halloween Spirit

Happy Halloween from J HUNT GRAPHIX.  The air is cold and the sky is dimly lit. The colors of orange and yellow dominate the night as they permeate from lit pumpkins and harvest lights. There is a minor wind blowing across your shoulder. It is just enough to make you think a ghost is notifying you of its presence. There are just enough clues to let you know that Summer is gone and won’t be returning anytime soon.

Enjoy the Night

As you walk from house to house this Halloween take in all of the holiday aura. As you see the day wane into dark blues and blacks and the horizon fade into a blur of trees, bask in the revelation that Halloween brings forth all of the scary things at once. Little specs of white or yellow eyes peek at you from hidden bushes and the sounds of skittering bugs hiding from the colder air echo from the grass. Was something trying to grab at you or was there something on the sidewalk causing you to trip?

About the Picture

The scene above was created using Clip Studio Paint. The objective of the scene was to capture all of the cool colors of Halloween and accentuate the look of a brightly lit pumpkin by having it reflect off the tree. What do you see?

Five layers were used to create this piece. I used two flat color layers to help pull the tree away from the background of the scene. The tree, inks and colors, is on one layer and the background is on a separate layer. By doing this, I was able to use a blur filter on the background to make it more misty and mysterious without disturbing the look of the tree.  I really wanted the tree to be the most distinct object  in the scene other than the pumpkin of course.

The glow layer amplified the light from the pumpkin and made it look brighter against the darker background. I didn’t put a lot of detail into pumpkin other than the face as a composition strategy to keep the primary focus on the tree.

Instead of using basic flat colors, I used many colored pencils and colored inks to create the color effects that I was seeking. I wanted the scene to look more of a painting than a regular digital image.

The Future

I hope you enjoy this scene as well as other scenes that I have at Jhuntgraphix.com.
In the months to follow, I want to focus on the “How” of my designs and not so much the “What”. This means more instructional posts and not just images themselves. I have a video on YouTube that you can watch here.

As always, I want to know what YOU want to see more of. What kind of content can I produce that is more useful to you? Does anyone like comics? I can do those too. Let me know.

I wish youHappy blogging!

The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree