Salamander³ + Titans = Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! May you have some relaxing and calm holidays!

When starting writing the this month‘ PaintLog I thought it would turn out to be a end of March recap about only two art pieces. How wrong I was! I finished a third one and then, within one day, even a fourth one. The first three of them are Witchphibians Art.

Because we are in the next Zodiac season by now, Aries season, the first one is a new ZodiOC piece. The second one introduces a new character plus Samandra’s origin story and the third one depicts a scene I was working on for two weeks (and far longer in my mind).

And finally, there is my debut in Attack on Titan fanart.

ZodiOCs: Aries

So, Aries it is. Aries is the ram, the male sheep. With sheep I associate wool and with wool (or any other fabric) I associate Samandra Elvennewt from the Witchphibians series. Moreover, mythologically, Aries honours the ram that provided the Golden Fleece. So, it was an easy choice to show her bewitching threads of wool forming into aforesaid fleece (and again, there is a version that would be too risky for WordPress on you know where or how to get there) .

This time I drew her without the salamander’s tail and showing her from behind, looking over the right shoulder. I not only wanted to practice this particular pose but also to show the trousers mechanic.

As mentioned before, Sam or parts of her every so often turn back into salamander parts unintentionally – the tail being the most prominent one. Therefore, Sam tailored trousers which’s back part would flip open by the force of the growing tail without revealing her buttocks when it isn’t around.

In a previous painting you also could spot the threads at her hips heigth which she can pull to get this mechanism back in form once the tail is gone again.

Another detail in the background is the star constellation in form of a frog. Perhaps you remember that I already included a constellation in form of a salamander in the Sagittarius ZodiOC piece (featuring Samandra’s friend and main protagonist Raven). This should’ve been a hint in which direction their relationship is going to go.

It wasn’t intentionelly but when drawing the Aries piece, I noticed that this very salamander already had this „looking back over the shoulder pose“ just like Samandra now. So, my first attempt of drawing the frog constellation was to recreate Raven’s pose.

However, these attempts resulted in a way too fat and confused frog instead one who is looking forward to see her friend.

Witchphibians: Changing Tides

After drawing some of the younger witches and witch apprentices of the Witchphibians series, I wanted to show the older witches for a change, beginning with Mirro, Samandra’s master. It turned out to also show Sam’s origin story.

It took me a while to figure out how to manage this, on the one hand showing Mirro in full body size, on the other hand the transformation of Samandra into a human being. Both should’ve been recognizable but except for drawing them in side view it only could’ve been managed for one of them. Because we already know Samandra since I have drawn her several times, I chose to show Mirro full frontal and Samandra from behind.

I initially thought of a rather quiet scene at a small pond, but this may have gone being rather lame and boring. Then I got the idea to make it more dynamic. However, I didn’t abandon the peaceful pond scene completely. You still can see the plants on its shore and the one or other inrecognizable blurred dot through the roaring waters where one of the salamanders or tadpoles is swimming around.

The choice to do it the aforementioned way led to practice perspective. So far I am not very familiar with figures looming above other figures, of a POV way below the looming character. I had to look up references to get Mirro right but to enlarge her arms and hands to give the impression of depth (I’m still not 100 % satisfied with them but I think it’s okay for my first try).

Sidenote: The role of mirrors in the world of magic is heavily inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novel „Witches Abroad“. (In general, I highly recommend to read the Discworld Witches series for a better understanding of the Witchphibians universe).

Witchphibians: Enchanting Moonlight

This piece felt like it had taken me way too long. It was two weeks of work with several edits to get the composition right.

The initial idea of the moonlight rite already originated in my last year’s 200 followers celebration DTIYS. It basically shows the same scenario, although in the meantime I underwent Raven and Sam some small design changes.

  • Digital painting, comic style: A scene on a forest clearing; in the center a big bonfire, dancing in front of it Raven (young woman, rosy skin, short white hair as sidecut, wearing a simple brown dress) and Samandra (young woman, brown skin, red, shoulder long hair, wearing a grey apron and brown leather trousers), they are holding hands, blue light runes (Raven) and yellow polar lights (Samandra) following the curves the bare feet are drawing on the ground; light runes resp. polar lights also are covering both, taking the forms of dresses, shoes and gloves; they also cover the connected hands and are flying through the air like fountains; in the background four other witches, a red haired riding a big floating battle axe, a tall purple dressed rolling eyes, a small chunky one looking towards the tall one, one white haired dancing with someone who is hidden by the fire; in the air in front ot the moon the pure black silhouette of another person spreading their arms; there are more silhouettes of people dancing or talking to each other in the further background and the tops of conifers; in the foreground shadows of three other people (two of them standing very close to each other) and blurred vegetation; blurred yellow blossoms flying through the foreground.
  • Text sheet (blurred and faded version of the painting) with an explanatory text: Enchanting Moonlight; Every once in a Blue Moon, the Enchanting Moonlight fiest was held. Witches and moon have a strong connection, full moons and new moons in particular. But the greatest power came from a moon that shouldn't be there by definition, and yet it was. An additional moon in a month was able to evoke powers that still slumbered within a witch. Not a few witch apprentices discovered their special magic knack during their first Enchanting Moonlight ritual and those who already had discovered them learned to better understand to control them better to make the utmost of them. Every witch apprentice was looking forward to their first Blue Moon in excitement. It was initiation rite and treshold to a new stage on their witches path. All kind of witches of all shapes and ages were there. As it was a night of tradition and celebrating it also was a night to party and for bonding in one way or the other. And, of course, there was the dance.
  • Digital painting, comic style, cut out of the DTIYS announcing painting, focussing on the main characters: Samandra (left) and Raven (right) in sideview (hip height) back to back in front of a bright full moon; Samandra being a young woman with brown skin and gleaming yellow frackles and spots, neck long red hair, wearing a grey apron-like dress held by some ropes as straps, needles tucked into the of front part; Raven being a young woman with light rosy skin, short white hair in sidecut, combed to her right half of the face, wearing a golden brown dress, tied with a rope in the middle and a necklace with an amulet, the left hand is the hand of a pink frog; there are magical threads coming from Sam's hand, weaving a pattern in the air and gleaming blue circles and runes hovering above Raven's right hand; both are ecompassed by a shiny yellow light; added to the background are flying yellow blossoms.

The dance is new, though. I wanted to show Raven dancing with Samandra like Luz Noceda and Amity Blight did in the Disney show „The Owl House“ in the amazing Grom dance scene (especially the drawing circles part). I didn’t even had to think about this happening during the moonlight right and even the title is a reference to the related episode „Enchanting Grom Fright“.

I even gave them similar „clothing“. Their magic forming festive clothes was another new idea I got when thinking about this piece. However, I swapped them, added gloves for Raven and gave her another kind of „shoes“. Like the witches in the background (you may recognize some of them) they still are in their „standard“ dresses because even behold the importance of the fiest, witches usually aren’t rich, they stick to what they have until it falls apart.

Only Kimeira showed up without parts of her armour and weaponry (aka I was too lazy to draw this too). However, if you look close, you will spot green lights in the background. This is her gear patrouilling the dancing ground to make sure nothing unintended will disturb the fiest.

It is no coincidence that I drew Mirro before I drew this art piece. When drawing Mirro I already had the idea to this one, but I wanted to introduce at least her before starting „the big one“.

All the other characters in the background who are not mere silhouettes are characters who already are living in my mind rentfree, though. Some of the m already for quite a while (the one floating in front of the moon since aforementioned DTIYS, for example). They will be introduced to a later point in time.

Speaking in technically terms of drawing, there were two, well, three challenges:

1. I had to get the pose of the dancers right. Interacting characters are a challenge as such, not only the touch of body parts like hands and fingers but also the directions of their eyes etc. But you also have to get the pose right, the anatomy. The lineart toll me several days before every leg, every feet, every knee felt right.

2. The size of the background characters and their composition. The farther away, the smaller in size a character appears. Kimeira should be more in the foreground than the two older witches and the white haired dancing witch behind the fire further in the background. Mirro is a tall woman, her companion a small and crouched one. It wasn’t that easy to avoid Kimeira looking like a giant in comparision.

3. Color scheme, lighting and shading. The night has a blue overall scheme and of course it has shadows, it is one big shadow. And yet, there is moonlight and there is the bonfire, of course. I added several gradient layers (most on multiply), added dark blue, yellow and dark green or erased parts of it to get all these right.

Attack om Titan fanart: The Only Regret

There are few shows that are as intense and thrilling as the anime Attack on Titan with an amount of loss of characters you are relating to that I never saw before.

It was time to do fanart about it.

Because I hate to get spoiled on social media and the Attack on Titan fandom is notoriously spoilering all the time (yes, Karon, I know you read the Manga, you don’t have to give away the death of a beloved character, though!), I tried to be careful to not doing this. Therefore, I did two versions. The first one only contains mild spoilers, things that have been quite obvious right from the beginning. The second version, however, gives away season 2 character developments and fates.

Therefore, please only read further if you are prepared for this.

Perhaps, there also should be a content warning: Grief, Loss, a romance without happy ending.

Ymir is somewhat like one of my secret favorite characters. She and Historia are no main characters and their subplot is only a small one among others. Still, their story, their characters, their relationship intriguited me, intriguited the part inside of me that responses to romance, to romantic tragedy, to drama.

It was hard for me to understand why Ymir made the decision she made. Then I realized, she perhaps figured that in the life in which Historia is going to be who she really is, there simply won’t be a place for her at her side. (Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean that she would’ve been right with this conclusion, but it may have been enough to let her act the way she did.)

I know, the Ymir we know wouldn’t show tears in public, but I wanted to show that she (supposedly) has a softer side, though, I wanted her to show emotions, grief, well, this The Only Regret.

Surprisingly, this piece only took me one afternoon and the evening, I learned that I am very much able to draw something in less than two days. I also think I met her design quite well in my style. And again it was a welcome exercise in lighting and shading.

At first I though of showing her in her final scene, her words to Historia from earlier episodes and her final words of the letter hovering in the background. Then I thought it would’ve been more impressive and more tragic to show whole passages of the letter and then to show the whole letter.

Another decision I had to make was if to show or not to show a writing utensil – and what kind of writing utensil. On trial I added a quill in some point of the drawing process. When searching for the look of the letter’s paper (which format, how many times folded etc.), I stumbled over a screenshot of Ymir writing this very letter. There was no quill, there only was a pen. So I changed it to a pen.

My initial idea didn’t contain any writing utensils. So I tried out to switch it off. But in this case it may have looked as if the letter was addressed to her. Fans of the show would’ve known (but perhaps they could’ve been confused), people unfamiliar with it would get the wrong impression. Therefore, I switched it on again and kept it this way.

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