For my character illustration, I decided to do Street Fighter’s Chun Li. Majority are male superheros, so I wanted to showcase some girl power and focus on a very powerful woman. I contacted an artist on deviantart and Matiassoto was so gracious enough to give me permission to work on his original Chun Li sketch. Check out his site to see the rest of his amazing artwork.
After many hours of doing this project and just having learned the Mesh Tool (never used it before I took this course), here I will post my progress and go over some of the major difficulties I experienced as I completed my final assignment for DMA101.
Phase 2: Tracing Shapes
Getting started, I thought of tracing the head and face first but I had trouble with the eyes. The image was a lower resolution, so I really had to Zoom In to see where the line would fall into place. I used to always make a new layer for each shape made, but that took too long. I decided to change it up and put everything in one layer instead with the mixture of lines and shapes.
Phase 3: Selecting a Colour Palette
The original Chun Li character is depicted in a bright, royal blue colour, with golden trim. There are different versions of her with the brown tights and and without, showing her bare skin. I decided to change it up and give her a colour swap. There are a very limited amount of vector illustrations with Chun Li in red, so I stuck with the traditional Chinese red and gold colours instead of using pink (I over use pink way too much). I used these photos as my reference.
Phase 5: Shading
This was probably the most difficult task for me. I am not used to shading a lot and dealing with this sketch, it was very intimidating in comparison to other vector illustrations of her that I found online. I wanted to stay true to the artist’s work and not make it look too 3D. The reference photos did help a lot, just so I had an idea where the shadows can be placed. Without any shading, there is no movement in the character and it looks very 2D. Since the original sketch was done in pencil, I wanted to integrate the cross hatching techniques and shading. When I added the Strokes, it looked too random so I decided to add some shapes behind it. It then looked too obvious, so I played around with the Opacity and Blur. In my screenshot above, you can see I selected all the dark areas and I used a dark brown colour instead of black.
Phase 6: Highlights
I thought highlighting would be easy but to make it blend nicely, I had to add more than just make a shape and make it a lighter colour. I changed the shade of yellow to make it creme and almost white to show highlights. I copied the original shape and repeated it and added a Gaussian Blur.
Phase 7: Meshing
I tried to mesh around her thighs to add some curves to the character. I didn’t want to use too much meshing for her as it would then look too realistic instead of a cartoon. I tried to do some for her legs and thighs, but there was mostly cross hatching. I also played around with the Mesh tool for her metal spiky bracelet instead of using the Gradient tool. I still have a long way to go as I wasn’t too happy with my meshing. I added different styles of the Brush Strokes to add some shadow and changed the Opacity. I placed it on the very top of her thighs where I wasn’t able to get a good mesh effect on. I would need to spend more time doing this and using a mixture of more than two colours to get it just right.
I did try to make a realistic eye but I was having a lot of trouble. The tutorial I saw online didn’t work when I used the Distort and Transform > Roughen tool to make the iris of the eye. I fiddled with it for some time until I had to move on. I tried to make a mask but failed! Instead it came out as a pattern and it got saved to my Swatches. In the end, I just made a normal eye but there isn’t much depth to it and looks very plain.
Phase 8: Cleaning Up and Organization
I reorganized my layers and properly named everything. At first, I had only a few layers, but once it got into more intricate shapes, shading and highlights, I didn’t want to redraw everything so I basically just layered everything so it can be hidden. There was some layers that I had to make separate as they were missing closed shapes or shadows that I missed from before.