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Elf Girl Dancing

I love elf girls. I just like how slender and elegant they are. They are strong willed, but appear delicate. They have silky blonde hair and smooth skin. If you knew the habits of an elf, you probably wouldn’t think they were that great, but I’m just speculating… what would the habits of a forest elf be? Very animal-like? Not very becoming of the elegance they portray. But, the typical anime elf girl usually comes from mystical origins with elegance and civilized panache. The idea to paint this came to me in a flash, while chatting with a friend on a completely unrelated matter. It was then that I feverishly did a quick sketch to capture the idea.

Positively mind-blowing isn’t it? This is indeed the start of my drawing. I had the vision clear as day in my mind, and this was how it translated onto paper. Obviously it wasn’t a very good representation. At the time, all I kept thinking was “hands forward, must have lots of swirls, must aim focal lines.” From there, I added some color so that I could more clearly distinguish what I was looking at.

Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?! Can’t you see the elf girl in such a glorious image? I should have considered it finished from there! I had originally done this rough sketch to act more as a “reminder note”. But fortunately, I didn’t stop. If I did, I’m sure the vision would have vanished, and I would be staring at this piece of garbage just like you would be right now. I decided to take it one step further and add some sketch lines before stopping.

See? Told you there was an elf girl in there! This is how my thought process usually works, though more often than not, it stays in a tangled mess and doesn’t get this far. I had mentioned “lots of swirls” just now. Before I proceed, here’s a quick look at what I’m talking about

All artists try to use these, whether they’re consciously doing it or not. The red lines are motion lines. They’re the pathways to show where motion is going. These lines are effective in creating the blue lines, which are what you want the viewer to focus on. The red lines create a motion that sort of guides the eye in a certain direction, which is the blue lines. You effectively end up being guided around a drawing, typically towards the focus of the composition. I wanted the viewer to see the face even though it is subtly embedded in the image. So I used the dynamic lines to guide the eye to the hand, which leads the eye to the face. Later on, I use detail, and line thickness to make the hand pop out more 3d, and use the lines there to guide the eye to the face. The other hand is used to effectively frame the face and keep the eye within that area. The next thing was to clean it up a bit. What? Isn’t that enough cleaning? How many rough sketches can there be?!

The great thing about photoshop is the ability to layer things, and to keep whatever I wanted. I really really loved the outcome of the face in the rough sketch, so what I did was duplicate the sketch, and then erased everything except the face and hair. I then traced over the rough sketch to get my cleaner lines. From there, I proceeded to add rough color.

With the base color added, you can say it actually looks fairly complete. A little rough around the edges, but overall kind of gets the point across. I’m actually quite surprised I was able to get this much variance in the rough painting alone. I need to do this more often in order to speed paint.

Cleaning up the colors more, and smoothing out some of the gradients as well as getting rid of some stray brush strokes brought it a little closer to what I wanted. It certainly looks cleaner, though not much different from the previous image. Now to clean up the lines, and add shadows for some depth.

At this point, you can really see the hand pop out. The crazy patterns on the elf girl’s skirt is subdued, but not forgotten, and the hair is cleaned up. Lines for the hands were cleaned up as well. To finish it off, a tone wash was added to give it atmosphere and more emphasis on the upper half of the painting.

The thing is, if you squint, you’ll notice that the area that catches the most attention isn’t the face. It’s the white background behind. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to do that just to see the color values. Or, you could apply a blur to the image.

The blur in itself is actually quite interesting to look at. There are no line distractions, and only color. This gives a better idea of where the focus is, and if colors are actually working well together. With that, I decided to add a dark background. I think the white is cool and creates a certain clarity/etherealness to it, but it did detract from the face a bit too much.

That concludes another drawing. Be sure to check out my other drawings on my website – http://www.radiantdreamer.net

  1. March 15, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    The way you start your drawings is really weird, never seen a draw being started like that O.o. Those lines are really interesting indeed it helps viewing where the action is flowing.

    Unfortunately my drawing skills are only used to copy other draws by looking at them, I can’t create a thing out of my mind πŸ˜›

  2. March 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    The intial sketch is used to block in very very basic elements. Not even recognizable as anything other than shapes. It’s useful to do that to get a very rough and quick idea of where things are to be placed, and makes it easy to move things around to make a better composition, and to compare proportions. At the base of it, it’s called “Gesture Drawing”, quick 30-second hand motions to get a rough idea across.

    Normally, my gesture drawings don’t look that rough. You should try it too, if you’re inclined to draw stuff. You’d be surprised at how much more accurate your drawings will look when you do that!

  3. March 16, 2008 at 2:32 am

    great CG

    Your way of drawing is new to me (gestures), and I learned something too πŸ˜€

    this one is 100% using computer right? no pencil and paper involved? πŸ˜€

    I really like the coloring style πŸ™‚

  4. March 16, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks Ron

    Gesture drawing isn’t a new thing though. It’s a basic skill that is learned from life drawing. Very useful for doing quick drawings of something that is temporary – like a person in motion, or in my case, a fleeting image.

    Yeah, it’s 100% photoshop. I used to think “how is it possible to draw using a tablet like that? it seems so counter-intuitive!” but with practice, it’s the best drawing tool I’ve ever used. πŸ™‚

  5. March 17, 2008 at 3:18 am

    Lovely elf you did there πŸ˜€ I want her in PVC >.<

  6. March 18, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Nice one. I really like her face.

    I could never get drawing with a tablet. I actually get nauseous trying to draw that way. ^^;

  7. March 18, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Sbebiwan, PVC figure would be sweet! Maybe I should hit up Danny Choo and ask him to hook me up with GSC! πŸ™‚

    Thanks, super rats. Tablet drawing definitely takes getting used to. But if you use it often enough, it becomes a natural tool to paint with. … though getting nauseous when using a tablet isn’t that great. ^^;

  8. Caradryan
    January 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    This is simply beautiful! Would you mind if I took part of your picture as a mod that I’m making for a turn-based strategy game? She’d look absolutely wonderful as part of a banner.

  9. July 8, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Hey that is really good! I’ve seen great artists start drawings like that. I just draw my manga and color it. But i think mine is pretty good but not compared to yours

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