Hello everyone! Today I am posting a picture that is a part of a series of illustrations I’m doing. I really enjoy magical girl shows and just generally coming up with characters so I thought designing my own magical girls (and boys? :3c) as a personal project might be a fun idea. The goal with this project is to *hopefully* be able to release some kind of art book with all the illustrations made from this.
This girl here is named Primula, she’s just starting her magical girl journey at the age of 17. The building in the back is the magical “agency” she’s apart of. If you are thinking, “Why does that kind of look like an office with a castle-like tower on it??”, I would tell you, because that IS an office building with a castle-like tower on it! In this world, magical girls & guys are a lot like Japanese idols. Whaaaaaat! Later I’ll have a post that gives a little more detail on the world of these characters but for now, here are some “process” pictures for this illustration.
So, first off, this isn’t really a tutorial on how to draw or how to use Manga Studio. This is just showing a bit of the process I go through with pictures. I’m also going to talk a little bit about what’s going on in the pictures/why I did this or that/etc. (This also shows why this picture took so long to finish… orz) So for the first step, obviously, is making the sketch. I actually had done a few sketches of other poses but I decided on this one. The second picture is the start of me putting down the main line work.
And here is the finished line art! As I work on pictures, I tend to continually make adjustments to the line art as I go. So this picture of the line isn’t going to match up exactly to the final image.
I wasn’t actually intending on making a process post when I was making this so there’s a lot of gaps in the process of this picture. (sorry!) As you can see, we jump right to Primula not only having her base colors down but also some shading, highlights and a bit of the background. The second picture shows more details added to her costume as well as more details/refining added to the shading.
Whoa! A building! So, this is actually where the picture ended up taking way longer than it should have. I wasn’t very smart about the background and didn’t plan it out at the very beginning… I DID do a separate sketch of the building to decide it’s design. In the end though, this building was scrapped. I got feedback from a friend and realized it looked too much like a school rather than a cross between a castle and an office building. (Again, I’ll have more details on the world of the series later.)
After scrapping the other building, I redesigned it in a separate sketch and then did a sketch of it on the main picture. I got fairly far with this building but I found the perspective just wasn’t matching up with Primula. So you know what happened next? Scrapped this background as well. The lesson here kids is to plan your pictures out completely before moving too far forward.
After much frustration the building got pushed into the back of the picture and trees were added. I was kind of disappointed at not being able to have the building closer but I also liked the idea of you just seeing a glimpse of the place Primula is headed to. I got some feedback from a friend and they said the sparkles made them think of sparkly anime sweat so, I went ahead and got rid of them. (they weren’t giving off the look I wanted anyway) Next I eliminated the gradients I had added for light effects but instead were making parts of the picture appear washed out. Next was to fix the sky, changed it to show more deep blue than light blue and then it was decided the clouds looked to uniform and boring. And so…
… that leads us back to the final picture! From the last picture, what was changed/added: varied clouds, some more costume detail, and basically a lot of minor adjustments. One goal with this picture was to not let myself be lazy or to let myself just “settle” on something. If the eye looks funny, fix it. If the clouds are boring, make them better. I don’t want to look back on a picture and think, “Wow, there are so many things I could have done better.” I want to look back at my work and think, “Wow, this is where I pushed myself to start doing this.” or “Wow, this is when I started improving on this.”
I hope you all enjoyed this process post and I hope it was a little informative? If I ever do one again, I’ll make sure to have more pictures from different steps. I’m not really sure when you can expect a post on the world and characters of this illustration project. In fact, I might end up posting another character or two before I have that post down. Either way, I hope you will look forward to seeing more pictures from this project. Oh! I’ll still be posting other drawings as well! I’m not switching to just magical girls or anything, I’ll still have fanart and other original works.