The Four Gardens

Birds in the Garden

Apart from my latest painting – although connected to it – there actually is something new about my internet presence. I mentioned before that related to one of my Valentine’s prompt paintings („Daydream“) there also was an alternative version.

Since it features artistic nudity in implying poses, it wasn’t allowed to be posted on this website or pubilcly somewhere else, I couldn’t share it so far. To be able to do this, I now created a Patreon account.

To be able to do this, I now created a Patreon account. For now, it’s for supporters only. You will find the link for a small tip in my coffee jar in my most recent post on Ko-fi. So far I shared only three paintings there, alternative (and the real) versions of past drawings but also several ones of a new one.

As mentioned last week, I planned an aftermath of the Arcryla City Summer Fantasy Festival. Well, I didn’t only plan it, I actually drew it.

Birds in the Garden

In the end of the Summer Festival, our OCs were sent home to their own realm. They woke up again in their rooms in steampunk Arcryla City and didn’t remember what happened in the fantasy world. And, of course, Paula wasn’t able to take Sparrow with her (or to keep the elf’s ears).

All that was left were vague, dreamlike feelings, dejavues at the most. Still, I got this idea to connect Sparrow with the steampunk world. There are no big bird mounts in the steampunk realm, of course, but there is the African secretary bird, a bird that comes next in appearance to Sparrow.

With this piece, I wanted to try out some new things. Again, I managed to do Paula’s updated haircut (although ruffled by the night) but I also found a new way to draw abs. I always wanted her to have visible abs but wasn’t able to sufficiently. I think, I will stick to them the way I did here.

The second goal was to practise anatomy, going into the very details, including full frontal nudity. Yes, in one version of this painting you can see her boobs and then, there is a version in which I cut out one of the plants pots, so you can spot her genital piercing (she always had one, but, well, no nudity on this site, you know). Both are among the paintings you can see on above-mentioned Patreon channel.

But let’s keep speaking about creating the SFW versions of this painting. The original, the most genuine version, the one that I had in mind when drawing the painting, is the one featuring the big plant leaves. It depends on your point of view, if it just doesn’t tell if Paula is wearing anything or if the leaf covers her up.

My intention was, yes, it implies nudity (therefore you won’t find it on Ko-fi) and with „most genuine“ I mean that it fits Paula’s „I don’t give a fucking shit about what other peoples think“ attitude most. So, in the real universe, she is standing in full nuditiy on her balcony, „So what?!“.

First I thought of covering it up by adding another big plant right in front of her but as it came to painting this part, I was too proud of my newly drawn abs and they would’ve been covered as well along with a big part of Paula’s upper body. Besides, it would’ve been to obvious what I was going to hide. Still, I had to add some vines covering her hips, so nobody would be able to tell if she wears some kind of panties.

„Chirp, chirp, chirp …“, the birds outside the windows awakened Paula.

Still dozy she left the bed to look after her plants on the balcony. She felt like she’d had a weird dreams but couldn’t recall anything. She stepped on the balcony and gave herself a good stretch when she heard some flapping sounds.

Opening one eye, the second one still half closed, sleep in the eyes, behind a wall of blurry dream dust, she noticed a big, long-legged, talon-armed and sharp-beaked grey and white bird. She immediately got the feeling of familiarity, although she couldn’t say where this came from and the bird appeared to be docile enough.

Paula didn’t read a lot – in fact she didn’t read at all -, so she didn’t know what a secretary bird is or where they usually live, so she didn’t question it. She also didn’t remember the adventures in some weird fantasy realm, but she knew that she got a new but somehow familiar friend.

She called her „Sparrow“.

  • Digital paintin, comic style: The setting is a warm and bright morning, Paula (young woman, short turqoise hair in sidecut, toe polish in rainbow colors, nail polish in Lesbian Pride colors), standing on her balcony, stretching, one eye closed, the other one opening, the hair messy, she doesn't wear any visible clothes, hips and pelvis are covered by the railing and the pots and plants attached to it, her breast by a big leave of one of the several carnivorous plants of different types around, their twines winding the railing; at the right edge of the painting a big secretary bird is landing, looking towards Paula; in the background an open balcony door with windows, curtains flapping outwards, behind the door a room with a canopy bed, someone with purple hair lying in it, one leg peeking out from under the blanket, pictures on the wall; in the foreground tow blurred birds and flying blossoms; the look is a little bit washy, blurred at the edges.
  • Digital paintinc, comic style: The setting is a warm and bright morning, Paula (young woman, short turqoise hair in sidecut, toe polish in rainbow colors, nail polish in Lesbian Pride colors), standing on her balcony, stretching, one eye closed, the other one opening, the hair messy, she wears a short, thin pink top with the lineart of the head of a bear on it, hips and pelvis are covered by the railing and the pots and plants attached to it; there are several carnivorous plants of different types around, their twines winding the railing; at the right edge of the painting a big secretary bird is landing, looking towards Paula; in the background an open balcony door with windows, curtains flapping outwards, behind the door a room with a canopy bed, someone with purple hair lying in it, one leg peeking out from under the blanket, pictures on the wall; in the foreground tow blurred birds and flying blossoms; the look is a little bit washy, blurred at the edges.

This became important with the full SFW version in which she wears a shirt. Still no hint of panties (and being Paula there won’t be any) but by looking at the painting, you may imagine some. To keep this version SFW, I had to shade Paula’s boobs a little bit darker, so there won’t be any visible nipples.

If you look close, you can see that there is the head of a waterbear on the shirt, indicating that it’s one of Crissy’s. If you look even closer, you will spot her in the background, lying in the bed, there is even a part of her leg sticking out of the blankets. I even put her waterbear plushy into the painting, but this one is fully covered by the bed curtain, I fear. Another detail that details got missed due to the background blur are the two pictures on the wall.

One of them you still may recognzige as the photo taken on the Zeppelin Ride that I presented as Valentine’s entry in the beginning of this year. The second one is a photo taken by a speed trap as they both were riding Paula’s jetbike during last year’s Summer Festival. Since it turned out a nice picture, Paula decided to put it on her wall.

  • Digital painting, comic style: A photograph in sepia colours slightly askrew showing a ballroom inside of a Zeppelin with Paula and Crissy in it; Crissy: young woman, short purple hair, big round glasses, skirt, bellyfree top, toefree kneeboots; Paula: young woman, light green hair, a big bang combed to the left side, knee long dress, parted at the front, many frills, bellyfree shirt, plateau kneeboots, holding a bottle of wine to hide it behind her back; they are standing close together, Crissy looking blushing to Paula, Paula looking to the wine bottle out of the corners of her eyes; chairs, a table and a window showing a star filled night sky in the background; the photo is laid centrally over the (coloured) version of the Zeppelin's ballroom.
  • Digital Painting, comic style: My OC Crissy Faith (young woman, short, purpley hair, big round glasses, blue overall, green and yellow striped leggings, a pocket watch dangling from one pocket, toe-free boots) sitting on a flying steam and jet propulsed bike behind a young woman (short, light green hair, safety glasses, black neckband, black wristbands, brown belly free leather top, brown tigh leather trousers, brown toe free laced boots) who is laughing and stretching the arms to the sides. In the left bottom corner is a gloved hand which tries to grab a tophat, in the foreground petals which are blown up by the slipstream, a sheet of paper likewise flying in the wind, text: "Arcryla City Summer Festival"

In my first approach to the background, I didn’t want to bother with it a lot. Therefore, I tried some lineless airbrush … well … you have to call it „diffuse airbrush blobs“. It didn’t really work out without lineart, so I skipped the seemingly „fast and easy“ attempt and drew the lines.

I often got asked, if it’s Crissy’s appartment or Paula’s. Admittedly, it’s not that obvious. Still, I already mentioned Paula’s carnivorous plants and here they are. I exaggerated a lot and played arount with my fantasy rather than taking references of real carnivorous plants in their actual form or sizes.

They are taken from several popcultural sources like Little Shop of Horror (the small Audrey like plants) or Pokémon (there is a Victreebel-like plant hanging around), inspired by real plants (like the sundew or the „cactus“) or just made up as I went along (the big one on the balcony’s railing). And as often this days I also hid a tiny but happy frog in this painting.

Another detail that got invisible are the reflections in the door’s glass. I actually did some, I really did. I didn’t want to bother with them a lot, but I did. They basically were parts of the painting put on an extra (clipping) layer above the door’s glass and lowering the opacitiy really low.

Because this way it never would’ve been an accurate way of reflecting this was an advantage on my side and well, I just wanted to to hint at them, not get them recognizable. However, the other background details are covering most of them anyways, not to speak of the reflection of the morning sun (and the whole morning sky) in one of the glass tiles.

Btw, I’m really proud that I managed to get this bright morning feeling and the dizziness after waking up after deep dreams, when there still is sleep in your eyes and a blur in the corners of your field of vision.

A Mango, an Elf and a Wyvern Rider go into a Bar

Rise of the MamangogoRider’s Talk

Two weeks of vacation are coming to their end. On Monday I will be back at work again. Therefore, it’s time to show the so far last two of my Arcryla City Summer Fantasy Festival entries.

I still have plans for more, I even already created an aftermath that I’ll show you next week, but since there are also other projects and ideas around for now, here they are.

Rise of the Mamangogo
(The Mother of all Mangogoes)

Some weeks ago, Crissy discovered in one of the festival stalls some weird fruits called „Mangogoes„. After sharing this painting, I joked around with my best friend via Whatsapp about scary mangoes and „Mama Mango“.

This led to the idea of Paula and Crissy fleeing from a giant mamangogo.

Here the potions prompt of the general prompt list came in handy and for the general scene I remembered an approach that came to my mind when I planned the Lanterns prompt but that I abandoned back then.

Now it seemed to be perfect to my purpose. At the same time, the intended perspective was an excercise in its own right. Furthermore, Crisssy should be looking scaryfied backwards. This meant there had to be an unfamiliar pose, too.

The hardest part was to get her legs right, though. While Paula’s ones were directed forward, representing her wild ride attitude, Crissy’s should be clinged to the mount, representing her need for security. But this meant to draw them seen from front and above – you easily can get this wrong.

The attempt for lineart saw Paula looking straight forward, concentrated on the flight. However, at one point in time I thought it would be a good idea to also visualize the magic potion that brought us the Mamangogo in the first place. Enter a second unfamiliar pose, the upper body turned back, the arm stretched out to the flying potion flask.

To get all those things right took 2-3 days just for the lineart and even more problems occured during the coloring process. Sparrow’s saddle has a pommel and a hook up front. But since I colored the saddle red, initially the colored pommel and the colored saddle looked like something you got to see only in movies for adults above 18 years old. Therefore, I had to change the lineart to keep it SFW.

Also, I didn’t plan to draw Paula’s bow but the space in front of the saddle appeared to be quite empty and, well, although I always painted this hook, even in the one painting he came to its purpose, it wasn’t this visible that the hook is there to hold the bow.

So, I finally got an opportunity to make it clear. Luckily, I happily could skip many of the other details due to the perspective. Still, I again had a hard time to achieve an impression of movement but motion blur saved the day (again).

The last struggle I had was to get the painting in suitable proportions. I actually wanted to focus more on Crissy and Paula, to have them bigger in size but I already made the Mamangogo too big, so I stayed with the one you can see below in the end.

Rise of the Mamangogo
(The Mother of all Mangogoes)

– General prompt No. 1: Potions –

To tend her carnivorous plants back home more effectively, Paula bought a growth potion at one of the stalls of the ongoing Summer Festival (she would’ve nicked one, but … well … never mess with someone who creates potions). She didn’t waste time and tried it out with one of the Mangogoes that she has nicked from „Wyrd’s Fruits and Vegetables“ stall.

It actually worked.

Well, she must have remembered the dose wrong, but it worked …

Rider’s Talk

As the end of the festival came near, the main challenge for the last showcase emphasized again that we can draw other artist’s OCs and/or Sir Alexander and/or Lynette into our paintings. Therefore, I asked vitranas_art (Instagram) if I could take her Archie for a painting corresponding to one she was working on.

She depicted a scene showing Archie with my OCs Crissy and Paula in a tavern that inspired me to the painting below.

There were only a few days left and I managed just in time – except that I didn’t bother with a detailed background. Still, I like the lights giving this dim tavern atmosphere. To be perfect I perhaps shpuld’ve added some tavern sign (the tavern is called „The Golden Hoof“), but I think it’s good as it is.

Paula by default is an extroverted and Archie also always curious and eager to get to know new people while Crissy is an introverted and her social batteries will come to an end quick. Plus, Archie is a Wyvern Rider and Paula got to love her giant bird mount Sparrow. So they naturally had a common topic.

This automatically led to the following scene: Paula and Archie still talking while Crissy slumbering away. However, I wanted to show that Paula cares about her girlfried. Therefore, she is holding her in her arm, the arm lying around her shoulders with a hint of leaving with her any moment now.

I also wanted to include one of the mangogoes (the waterbear shaped) to indeed appearing to have gotten drunk. Originally, I draw a toppled wine bottle to this purpose but since it would’ve been somewhat in front of Crissy too this would’ve looked as if Crissy had too much wine and got drunk. Well, she had too much, but it was only the wine in her actual cup (she doesn’t tolerate that much alcohol before getting tipsy).

Therefore, instead of a toppled wine bottle I just drew an additional toppled cup. To fill up the space and to indicate that there also were other guests around at some point in time and it is not one of Crissy’s cup toppled on the counter, I also draw a second cup in front of Archie.

Perhaps you also see the difference of the volume of wine already consumed in the two opened bottles. Here I wanted to show that Paula could drink (and tolerate) a good amount of alcohol. Apropos wine bottles – you also can spot that Paula nicked one again.

And perhaps you can see that I changed her hairstyle, too. Well, not really changed, I finally managed to paint it the way I always wanted to. I’ll elaborate this further in my future drawings (in the one I already did I, well, I already did).

Regarding Archie, I fear I drew him a little bit too bulky. I think he was supposed (and is depicted by others) to be more slender. This way he reminds me a tiny bit too much of Mario (Mario Brothers). The ponytail is too shot, too. But may it as it be, they indeed have a good time.

If you look close, you perhaps will spot the two details I took kind of a shortcut. The waterbear shaped mangogo is taken from the first mangogo painting, I just added the „X X“ as eyes and the red nose. The second one is the counter. It’s the same counter like in the above-mentioned piece, more shadows added and a little bit of structure in the front side.

Last but not least, I wasn’t that unlucky that because of the setting I didn’t have to draw too many of the details of Crissy’s (and Archie’s and Paula’s) clothes. Because they were inside, I even could skip Crissy’s cape.

Rider’s Talk

– General Prompt No. 10: Tavern –

After an exhausting day at the Summer Festival in this weird fantasy realm, Paula found a tavern and talked Crissy into stopping by to finish the day. They both got something to drink and they met Archibald Featherstone, a Wyvern Rider of the Kingdom’s Wyvern Riders Guild. Paula asked a lot about Fortuna and in turn was eager to talk about Sparrow. However, as the evening continued, Crissy slowly dozed off.

Paint me Home

Spelling Backwards

The Arcryla City Fantasy Summer Festival officially is over now. In the course of the last one and a half weeks I finished three more prompts before the final showcase and I still have got ideas for more of them.

Howerver, I only will share them on social media one after another and same applies to present them on my website and in my PaintLog. So, today I will start with the painting that sort of concludes the comic from the previous main challenge.

Spelling Backwards

The admins of the Arcryla City Discord server announced another, a fifth main challenge added to the initially four ones. In the end it narrowed down to hand in all the other prompts we still were working on but there was a story to conclude the festival, too.

In the end of the fight Lynette, the kingdom’s princess in the fantasy realm, intervened and sent our OCs back to their own world.

I took the opportunity to paint an entry for the general prompt Spell. At the same time it concludes the comic from two weeks before. It’s the final page of the comic, if you’d like to say. To this purpose I even kept the exact size of the comic pages.

  • Digital painted comic, cover page "A Mayoral Fight": The black silhouette of Crissy (young woman, short hair, big round glasses, cape) in front of a perspectively enlarged Mayor Alexander; the Mayor is ripping his shirt off, beneath there is a big muscular chest and abs; white hair pointing upwards, he is wearing a striped skirt, dark trousers and a striped tophat; gleaming green-yellow light covering wide parts of his body (marked with "Mayical Armor") and coming out of his eyes; action lines focussing on the Mayor, blue sky and blurry cylindrical objects in the background, Mayor: "Are you ready?!", Chrissy: "no?".
  • Digital painted comic page, 3 panels divided by angled white bars, mostly black and white (except fireballs): 1) front view, Crissy almost gotten hit by a fireball (Crissy: Aaaaaaaaaaah!!!"), 2) side view Crissy (a black silhouette) jumping around the arena, dodging fireballs, cannons in the background (marked "! Fireworks"), 3) side view, clos-up of Paula, legs resting on the railing of the audience area, holding a bag wih nuts, nail polish in the colors of the Lesbian Pride flag ("Ah. She'll manage" - "Dang.").
  • Digital painted comic page, 6 panels divided by angled white bars, mostly black and white (except fireballs/fireworks and the Mayor's Mayical armor): 1) front view, Crissy hiding behind a cannon, eyes closed, 2) Cannon going off ("BAAMM!!!"), spewing fireworks (marked "Magical Fireworks"), 3) Crissy with open eyes, 4) silhouette of Crissy running ("huff huff huff") towards another cannon (marked "! Fireworks"), 5 using a wrench to loosen a screw of the cannon, 6) mouth of the cannon rotating ("*squeeeeeek*, Crissy: "Ooof!") and facing the Mayor who is casting another fireball spell towards Crissy and the cannon.
  • Digital painted comic page, 6 panels divided by angled white bars, mostly black and white (except fireballs/fireworks and the Mayor's Mayical armor): 1) sideview Mayor holding his tophat and facing a wave of fireworks ("BAAAMM!!!") with his mayical Armor, 2) the way of an arrow (Crissy: "Hey!") shooting the tophat from the Mayor's head ("Ziiiiiiing!!"), the Mayor shaking; 3) close-up of Crissy's arm-mounted crossbow with a loaded arrow 4) view from ground level, Crissy ("Let me out!") from behind, running towards a door marked "EXIT", next to the door a female guardian with a curved staff ("No!"), a shaken "THUMP" indicating something landing, 5) Paula (young woman, short hair, barefoot, only wearing some bellyfree bands as top and leaf-like loinclothes, "Care for a ride?") on the back of her big bird "Sparrow", tossing a rope ladder towards the silhouette of Crissy ("Of course!"), 6) the Mayor ("Not so fast!!") landing on the ground, smashing ("SMASH") the right fist in the ground, in the foreground his torn, burnt and smoking tophat, he also is smoking and charred, a few strokes of fireworks still leaping of his hair and ears.

But, as you easily can spot, I also took the silhouette of Crissy that’s in the foreground (and added a silhouette of Paula). To hint at the cover page of the comic I even took the same background, the same clouds minus the cannons and plus some more clouds to fill the gap in the bottom right corner.

Lynette’s design and color palette is derived from the general prompt list and the Fantasy Festival announcement sheets. As those were published, the fantasy AU design of Lynette wasn’t finished yet but we got the information about the fairy wings on the Discord server, so I added them too.

The candied apple is depicted in both of above-mentioned announcement sheets. Therefore, I included it into this painting and even made it a magical artefact. Right from the beginning I thought of something like a Sailor Moon like pose and the apple even looks like the stick she changes with into Sailor Moon.

A running gag on the Discord server is the phrase „With the power of friendship“. Candied apples in Germany are called, literally translated, „Love apples“ (not to be confused with the old term for „tomatoes“). Now, it’s „the power of friendship“ and not „the power of love“ but „it’s“apple of friendship“ still is near enough to be a reference to this local name for candied apples.

Still, something else was missing. The rays are reference back to the ones of the cover page of the comic. Then I remembered that I love to add glitter and blossoms to my paintings. In this case I painted the latter one spiralling through the air towards the apple, this way giving the apple a moving look.

Last but not least I added those „chirp“ sound words. The narration of the summer event started and ended with birds chirping outside the window, the first time when our OC awakes in the fantasy realm, the second time when they awake back home.

You could say, we now have come full chirple.

The Fight against Sir Alexander went better than expected but worse than desired. But before every hope of returning home flew away (literally, Paula was just about to carry Crissy away on her giant bird mount Sparrow), Lynette intervened.

With the words „Please, travelers. Close your eyes“ and with the power of the apple of friendship she reversed the spell that brought them here in the first place.

Bridging the Pain(t)

Bridging the Pain(t)

Good news and bad news. The good news are, I am on vacation now. So, I’ve got a lot of time just to sit down and to get my art shit done. The bad news are, although I actually was working on some new art the past week, there is nothing finished that I can show you (yet).

On the Arcryla City Discord server, a fifth prompt has been announced that simply goes like:

Finish all the (general) prompts that you didn’t finish yet and they will be shown during the next showcase.

So, you still have to stay patient. However, to fill the gap for tody I thought of giving you some insights into my artist workflow, the steps it takes to create a finished painting. At least the way, I’m doing it.

Bridging the Pain(t)

As hinted in the introduction the following steps are the steps I usually go. Others may do it otherwise and this is okay, I am most comfortable and it worked out best this way for me.

The Painting

I only seldom keep track of my wip process. I just forget too often to save the single steps and when I try to activate the automatical tracker CSP provides, my Pc goes into the knees. So wip videos of mine are very rare.

Luckily, there was one artwork I saved step by step. Therefore it is an excellent shot to go with this one, the Arcane sort of The Owl House fanart crossover painting „Dressing Up“.

Pre-step: Sketching

I rarely do this step, although I do it more often recently than I did it in the past. Most times I start with the lineart (see next stept). I do this step when I’m abroad from Pc (this also including lying in bed and being to lazy to being up again). I thought I did this with this painting too but it seems I only did it on my tablet in CSP. This would make sense since as I started the painting, I just bought the tablet and tried out some things. It also seems like I only sketched Vi – Cait already being finished, but for our purposes it will suffice.

You easily can see how terrible my sketches are and that in the beginning I had another pose for Vi in mind than I actually switched to. Those sketches are only crutches for my thoughts, I look on this messy lines, I don’t even recognize something in them but those lines are leading my thoughts back to the painting I had in mind. And they can lead mit fingers when the actual painting process starts.

1) Lineart

Often I start with drawing the lines. I once read that digital artists like to start drawing them in bright, saturated colors. With Autodesk Sketchbook this wasn’t possible since I never saw a feature to swap the colors once the lines were finished. CSP though has a whole one button function to do this. It actually was one of the reason I switched the graphic software.

And, well, it turned out, it really is very helpful to get the lineart right. I now easily can color separate parts in any separate color I want. Another helpful function are the vector layers. Until the beginning of this year I usually forgot to paint on them but after keeping them in mind, it helps a lot when it comes to resizing parts (or the whole) of the lineart. Whereas normal layers just enlarge the lines and this way also make them thicker, vector layers keep the width and still enlarge what has to be enlarged.

Although I try to draw the lines as straight and tidy as possible, there also may be parts which weren’t that easy to draw, so the lines got blurry and there were flying fragments around. There is a trick to fix this too: Change opacitiy of the blurry lines‘ layer and add a new layer above. Now you can trace the once blurry lines into some new, fresh, tidy ones.

Last but not least, I would like to point out that, once the lines are tidy and finished, I often color all of them with the same saturated color, so I can switch to other parts of the painting and do the same again.

At least, this I did with this artwork. In the meantime I started working simultaneously at the lineart of more than one objects (including parts of the background).

2) Basic Colors

As you could say the lineart is the flesh, the basic colors are the skin.

You often may hear, you should stay with a small color palette and, well, I’d second that. In CSP you can build and save different color palettes to different purposes. Nowadays I mainly stick with one big which colors have turned out to work nicely togeter. But of course I also have a color palette for Arcane fanart that I composed as I drew an earlier fanart piece.

However, the main reason I use a narrowed color palette is that I normally use a separate layer for any different color and body/clothes/whatever part while coloring the respective lines in a darker tone of the underlying basic color. So, I try to keep their numbers low – if only to reduce work (it still could get somewhat out of hands, I have to admit).

3) Rendering

Now there are flesh and skin, they have to come to life. Rendering (adding shading and lighting) makes a big difference to plain basic colors.

Shadows and highligts give depth to a painting. I also use this step to add structures were structures are required to make ouf of a plain brown area a leather armor or a metal surface (depending on the lighting). Or decorate with blood, dust, dirt (you name it). Since I learned how to manage clipping layers, they very well do the trick. They are layers between the lineart layer and the basic color layer to which they are clipped. Or in my case rather folders.

Theoreticall you could do everything on just one clipping layer (and sometimes I do), but I still keep the different shadings (hard vs. soft) and in particular the lighting and the highligts separated to be able to change things later if necessary. The shading again is done with a darker tone of the same basic color, the lighting and highlighting with a lighter one. The greatest part is done by a soft airbrush but I also use a waterly like brush for the highlights too to add some shine.

This step is the one with the greatest change regarding the output but it’s also the most repetitive one since it consists of several smaller steps which are alway the same for every part and every area of the painting. Therefore it’s the most time consuming one and the one I like the least.

4) Post-Production

The above-mentioned steps are done for every figure and object in the painting, the painting has living flesh and skin. Now I’m going to style it a little bit.

I call this step the post-production since I usually now would add some more effects like a blur effect, motion blur, glitter and flares, reflections, mist, diffuse backgrounds or whatever comes to my mind to give the painting a last makeover. Adding my signature and my logo also is part of this step (if I don’t want to share the wip sooner along the way) as well the text said in a comic like this one.

For this painting, indeed the post-production consistes of the background, the background shadows and the text:

Editing the background and resizing the canvas to get both as paintings of their own likeweise counts under this step (although I did this with Cait as soon as she was finished and so I did with Vi).

Fight to the End

A Mayoral Fight

Sometimes, I’m allowed to take a little time off and to do other things apart from my job and my artist’s ambitions. Last weekend was this kind of weekend, so this PaintLog comes with delay – but with a healthy delay.

Plus, it isn’t as if there was nothing going on on the art’s level the past week. The fourth of the main challenges of the Arcryla City Summer Fantasy Festival has been created, submitted and shown. So, here it comes:

A Mayoral Fight

This time, the premise was that our OC that had been stranded in the Fantasy AU realm wished to talk to „Mayor Alexander“, he surely would be able to help you getting back to your steampunk world. But in this realm it is Mage Knight Alexander and our OC’s were dragged into an arena fight facing him, the most powerful knight in the whole kingdom.

This situation had to be put into a dynamic comic or manga („just 1-2 pages“) but without a conclusion of the fight since that is planned as topic for a 5th main challenge. So, sorry folks, it ends with a cliffhanger.

Initially, I actually planned to do „just 2 pages“ but soon I noticed that these won’t suffice. The cover page, for a start, indeed only worked as cover page – no distractions by other panels.

Secondly, the story I had in mind just needed the space. Crissy should learn how to fight the mayor by coincidence, yes, but then she should use what she’d learned by coincidence, so she actually succeeds by using her own brain and mechanic’s skills.

To show this, some extra panels were needed. And then, there is Paula of course (I’ll come back to her later), she too took some extra panels. So, in the end it boiled down to four pages.

However, I didn’t went for a full color four page comic. The cover page is the only fully rendered one. I just didn’t had the time (and the patience) and the black&white style with spare colored parts worked out nicely. Initially, the angled white bars made it easier for me to paint them (I hadn’t to bother with right angles) but this way they also added a nice dynamic to the comic.

As for the fight … Crissy is no fighter. In the fantasy AU realm she owns an arm-mounted crossbow but she is no use in direct confrontation. Therefore, I had to think of something to give her an unexpected advantage – enter the fireworks cannons.

I wasn’t sure about gunpowder in the fantasy realm, so I went for some magic stuff loaded in cannon-like contraptions at the edge of the arena to celebrate whoever (supposedly the mayor) wins the battle in the end. They of course are triggered by fire and so by the magic fireballs the Mayor throws at Crissy.

Crissy running around headless at the beginning of the comic was one of the first pictures that came to my mind. Paula commenting this while sitting in the audience and eating some nuts, was the result of some fun talk in the Arcryla City general chat. This also led to the idea that she comes to help in the end.

Topless Mayor is a recurring theme. Last year, it also came up as fun talk in the Arcryla City chats and my entry to the Mayor’s prompt only could hint at his abs. This time, now, I had the opportunity to go all in.

I gave him a „Mayic Amor“ (of course, you spotted the pun?) and with this a saiyajin-like appearance, inspired by the the calamity forms of the trio in the show Amphibia – those themselves inspired by animes like Dragonball, obviousy. Yes, I exaggerated – a lot! – but I don’t regret it, it is the whole point when creating a comic and it was the most fun.

Crissy shooting his tophat not only shows that his magic powers lay in this hat. I also wanted to make use of this crossbow I gave Crissy in the beginning of the festival but often didn’t even care to draw when depicting her.

Then, there is Vannie. She is one of the Arcryla City council members. In the storyline of the Fantasy Festival, she drags Crissy into the arena. Therefore, I dragged her in my comic as cameo appearance, keeping guard at the door. And if you look close you will spot several items from previous Fantasy Festival entries fixed to Sparrow’s saddle: bags with nuts, a wine bottle, a mangogo, a plush water bear. Don’t ask how she got them …

A last remark to the title „A Mayoral Fight“. This of course is a reminiscence of my last year’s Mayor entry „A Mayoral Wind“:

Side Glances in the Garden

Secrets in the Garden

Another … well, I don’t want to introduce my PaintLog with „Another week went by“ but I think, you catch the tone. I’m really looking forward to my vacation planned for mid to end of August.

Last week I mentioned another of the Arcryla City Summer Fantasy Festival general prompts that almost was finished. In the beginning of the past week, I finally was able to share it.

Side Glances

However, before I’ll start with that one, I’d like to draw your attention towards the entries to my Moonlight Magic DTIYS challenge.

There already have been some beautiful art pieces. Please go to Instagram to the hasthtag #Kritz200 and give them some love!

Secrets in the Garden

As soon as the general prompts and the setting of the Arcryla Citiy Summer Fantasy Festvial were announced, this image came to my mind with the wishing well and Crissy and Paula approaching it in their respective very own style.

Paula tossing the coin on a string of course is inspired by all those cartoons depicting characters exactly doing this with all kinds of machines, may it be vending machines, gaming machines or just the mechanism of the entry lock to a public bath room.

Althought I don’t know, if this ever worked with any of these machines, I’m sure, it can’t fail when tossing a coin down a well shaft. – Leaving aside the if a wish actually will become true when pulling the coin back on a string afterwards.

Crissy, not believing in superstition or anything supernatural, is sceptical, if a coin actually can fulfill wishes. Of course, she knows that they are in a fantasy realm and she has experienced magic. So, her critical mind is exploring the possibility that it may work. But she is overthinking, whereas Paula doesn’t bother at all, she just goes for it.

The easiest part of this painting at the same time was the one that took the most time. There are enought references to paint Crissy and Paula. I actually took the one from the second main challenge prompt (that itself was taken from the Phone Call painting earlier this year) to paint Crissy and the fantasy version character sheet to draw Paula.

But, you know, the more details the longer the shading process. Therefore, it took several days to render Crissy. Plus: Half way through the lineart process, I noticed that I draw Crissy’s right hand the wrong way around.

Background and foreground were a one to two days work but most of them were last-minute decisions and a lot of experimention. I didn’t have to think about the grass on the floor right from the beginning, it already was in the initial image in my mind. The grass in the foreground also came quite intuitionally, blurred of course.

Still, as I started the rest of the background for a short moment I was lost. Should it take place on the festival ground? As another showplace of the festival? Then I (re-)discovered that I’ve got some nice tree brushes, oh, and brushes for leaves (for bushes), too.

In my first attempt, the trees stood that narrow to the well that it was hard to spot that Crissy is holding a coin in her hand. Trees and bushes already has been blurred but luckily, I was able to shift the ones in the left part of the painting further left without doing any harm.

Next issue was that, now that the place evolved to be „a hidden garden“, I had to get a shadow over Crissy. Normally, I would have done a clipping layer above the Crissy folder and filled it with black with an opacitiy of perhaps 5-10 %.

However, by coincidence I realised that the multiply effect creates an even more shadowy, err, shadow. After noticing this, I experimented with a leaves brush in the same manner to get a nice leaves pattern. Initially, it didn’t work the way I thought (by erasing part of the shadows) but in the end I was quite proud of the result.

The next problem was that the sky looked so empty (sounds familiar, huh?). I didn’t want to dig out the petals in the air again, at least not as only „air filler“ but I rememered a painting that got added some birds in the sky to make look it better. So, I searched for some bird brushes and I found some. I had to choose between flocks of birds and only a few ones. I chose the letter ones since together with the petals, they are not only dividing the sky in handsome bits, they are also leading the eye from Crissy to Paula in the background.

And as last problem, I had to answer the question „Overall blur or no overall blur?“.

I did an overall blur over the painting, but in comparison, the non-blur looked better. Since the foreground already has been blurred and so has the trees and bushed in thebackground, there was no further need for even more blur.

Secrets in the Garden

After entering a hidden garden, they discovered an old wishing well. While Crissy – a strong believer solely in physics and stuff – still being skeptical about whishing wells at all, Paula had her very own approach to it.*

*Artist’s note: For some moments I also considered to put the text into the painting (party to also fill the sky), but after adding the birds and petals, it just didn’t fit anymore and it wasn’t necessary, too.

Moon Dancers

Moonlight Magic (II) | A Familiar Face
(DTIYS Kritz‘ 200) | (Main challenge prompt 3)

Another week went by, another weekend is almost over. On the every day’s life front there is nothing new, I’m just looking forward to my vacation in three weeks.

At least I could host my DTYS by now, finish the third main challenge prompt and I’m almost done with another of the general prompts.

Moonlight Magic (II) – The Background

As promised last week, today I want to take a closer look at the background of the Moonlight Magic DTIYS painting.

The full moon you already know from the „Weaving Magic“ painting should be background again, even bigger, even shinier. I got several full moon brushes but they all are looking like I cut the full moon out of a photo or something alike, whereas I wanted to be painted in my style again.

So, the full moon brush just served as reference layer for a clipping layer on which I followed the colors and shadows to create „my“ moon. To distuingish my OCs better from the bright moon, I added another yellow glow.

Well, the painting was big enough to add the announcement text of the DTIYS, too. However, this led to the problem that without the text there is definitely too much space in the upper half. I tried to fix this a little bit by adding the flying petals.

Although this worked in some way, it’s still a lot of space that isn’t filled and draws the attention from the two protagonists of the painting. Therefore I also did a cut version of the painting.

I like this a lot more and somebody said, it looks like a scene right out of a movie. Tbh, I can’t disagree.

Leaving the background behind, I also added tome text sheets to the DTIYS. The first one describing the terms of the challenge, the other two giving information about Raven and Samandra.

  • Text sheet, the announcing painting as faded background: "Draw my OCs, Raven Frogfeet and Samandra Elvennewt, in your style; Use the hashtag #Kritz200, feel free to tag me (@DerKritzelFaZke), so I can see and share your artwork; You can change pose, actions, background or other things, just keep them recognisable; You can draw both or only one of them, honor points, if you draw or add their amphibian forms*; No deadline, no prices, just for fun; *More information, lore and reference pictures on the next slides, in my gallery and on my website".
  • Text sheet, the announcing painting as faded background: "Former thief, now witch apprentice; A light rune mage, she's a special knack discovering, inventing and combining light runes, this way - in theory - able to conjure nearly everything - if she remembers the correct and often quite complex combinations; Since her witch once turned her into a frog, she (or parts of her) still occasionally turns into one unintentionally; Her raven amulet is the only thing that's left from her family, to not to lose it, her friend Samandra bewitched it to become part of her frog body whenever Raven changes forms; More details on: https://zumkritzeleck.com/raven-frogfeet/ ".
  • Text sheet, the announcing painting as faded background: "Samandra Elvennewt; Witch apprentice, originally a fire salamander turned into (and raised as) human being; A fabric mage, found her knack in bewitching clothes, textiles, technically any kind of thread and tissue, in theory even the fabric of space and time - if she ever will be able to mastet this level; Her spots are gleaming when she's doing magic; She (or parts of her) still occasionally turns back into salamander form unintentionally (although she has better control of it than Raven); More details on: https://zumkritzeleck.com/raven-frogfeet ".

You by now get to know what Sam actually did with Raven’s amulet in the „Weaving magic“ painting. Following this, I also had to update the character descriptions on the subpages and (som e of) the paintings showing Raven in frog form.

A Familiar Face

Yesterday, the third main challenge of the Arcryla Citiy Summer Fantasy Festvial took place. This time we had to do a collab challenge, randomly picked by the admins. I did a collabd together with _ghostbam00zled_, featuring his OC Raven (painted by me) and my OC Crissy (painted by him).

He also did the background whereas I added the people in the foreground since I found a handy brush to do this. Additionally, I laid a blur over the background and added some glitter.

It was nice to be forced to draw an OC I wasn’t familiar with. There were enough refernence pictures around but I struggled a little bit with the colors of the clothes. Plus, I first didn’t really know what to make of this white vesty thing around the taille since the reference pics only show Raven’s upper body. Same applied to the trousers.

Another challenge was to adjust the style so the two OCs don’t look too different. Therefore I had to do the lineart in black, not in the darker tone of the base color as usual.

I also had to shorten the narrative POV text regarding Crissy so both POV text’s lenghts are more or less even. The long version (in comparision to the one you’ll find below) is this one:

After the encounter with the mangogoes (and after she took the water bear shaped one with her), Crissy arrived at some kind of dancing area. Before she could retreat – and despite her lack of dancing abilities – she felt dragged into the crowd. Suddenly, she realised that the guy she was dancing with was Raven. She’d seen him one time or the other back in Arcryla City and had been fascinated by the mechanism of his mechanical wings. She didn’t dare to tell Paula, though, fearing she’d wanted to try them out by herself. The wings didn’t seem to be around today, instead there was another threat: She had to dance in public!

A Familiar Face

After the encounter with the mangogoes, Crissy arrives at some kind of dancing area and before she can retreat she feels dragged into the crowd. Suddenly, she realises that the guy she is dancing with is Raven, the merchant with those mechanical wings which Paula surely would love to try out by herself. The wings doesn’t seem to be around today, instead there is another threat: She has to dance in public!

From dealing with customers all day Raven heads out and ends up with a crowd dancing! He is pulled to the center realizing Crissy is right next to him feeling a bit embarrassed. To lighten the mood raven dances and encourages Chrissy to join along!

Enchanting Moonlight

Moonlight Magic
(DTIYS Kritz‘ 200)

Tbh, I miss the home office. We still are allowed to but to a smaller extend. I notice how much less energy I’ve got after one day in the office with all the community travel before and after. This also affects my art creating process, I just can’t keep my planned time schedule anymore because of … zzzzzzz.

Still, I finally finished the painting I created to host the DTIYS I planned to celebrate 200 followers on Instagram. There are still preparations to be done before I can host it, but at least I can give you early access to the painting. It features my two main characters Raven Frogfeet tale.

Moonlight Magic

Perhaps I chose those two to catch two birds with one stone. I created them a short time before this year’s Mermay. I always wanted to continue their tale as soon as possible but every time something else interfered (and I only managed to draw the unicorns for Samandra’s Fabric Journal). So, the 200 followers event is a welcome opportunity to draw them again.

It’s the first time I draw them in sideview. This always feels a little bit weird because it creates an unfamiliar shape that at the same time is supposed to be recognisable as the same person. Regarding Sam, I think, I managed this quite well. Regarding Raven, the sidecut was an additional challenge.

Before I started drawing, I actually thought of switching places to avoid the strands that fall over her right half of the face. However, this is a challenge, to me too. So I kept the first approach.

I placed Samandra’s salamander tail in the center of the foreground because I one more wanted to show her „ability“ to change back into a salamander. Same should apply for Raven who occassionally turns into a frog. But because she cannot do magic in frog form, the hand conjuring the light runes couldn’t have been in frog from. Therefore, I added the second hand.

As for the magic, I finally came up with the light rune magic for Raven. It’s similar to the glyphs and their combinations in The owl House but she can conjure the runes by herself in light illusion form. She still has to combine them and first she has to find them and to learn the combinations. Apart from this, she – in theory – will be able to conjure nearly everything.

Honestly, it tool me a while before I came up with a fitting type of magic for her. And then I noticed, it was right before my eyes all the time, since she already conjured light runes in her very first painting, by accidant, though. I remember at this time I already wanted to paint them gleaming blue but it didn’t fit into the (given) color scheme.

This said, it’s no coincidence that the light rune magic also resembles the hex magic (especially the portals) of the show Arcane. Sam’s fabric magic on the other hand are supposed to resemble some threads weaving tissue. Only quite late in the drawing process I noticed tht the threads also form a shape reminding of a heart. Well, I left it that way because it isn’t that wrong, it fits for reasons not to be mentioned yet.

As for the background … I will come back to this one next week – when the DTIYS will be hosted.

Wyrd Food

Wyrd’s Fruits and Vegetables

Another busy week ended, although not that busy and the next one hopefully will be more relaxced. The reason that I managed finishing only one artpiece was to an equal part that I got carried away.

The approaching deadline for the second Arcryla City Summer Fantasy Festival main challenge prompt may have been a cause to focus on this one, too.

Wyrd’s Fruits and Vegetables

Yesterday the second of the biweekly showcases of the Arcryla City Summer Fantasy Festival took place. Since I needed such an unusual big amount of time to finish my last week’s painting, I was worried to make it in time for this one. Luckily I made it one day before the deadline. So, yeah, I could relax more on Saturday.

The prompt was „Magical Foodie“. Our OC’s got hungry and were roaming the festival for food that we should put into pictures. Since „mangoes“ have been present in Arcryla City since last Summer Festival, I gave them a magical makeover (and invented the „TomatToes“ at the same time). You can read the narrative text on the text sheet in the next column.

The reason I almost went out of time (see above) was, quite obviously, the background.

Paula should be in there plus a wine salesman and I planned to give my OCs Raven and Samandra a cameo too, right from the beginning. But after putting the characters and the stalls in places, I got carried away with the inventory. More and more ideas popped up in my mind that wanted to include, including Perry the Platypus and his hat.

Things you probably recognised from my OC’s universes or from my fanart: As prices of the Catch the Frog game a „Raven in frog form“ plushy, the water lily blossom she and Samandra exchanged this year’s Mermay and which Swampgirl and Amphimaid exchanged in Mermay 2020, Hooty (The Owl House), Perry (plushy) and his hat, the waterbear plushy in the steampunk Arcryla City realm owned by Crissy* (just without the mechanic’s overall). As sales article at „Hex’R’Us“ a deck of Hexes Hold’em cards (The Owl House) and the Amphibia Calamity Box.

*Apropos: Crissy loves water bears, for sure she took the water bear shaped mangogo with her, although not for eating/drinking – probably.

By the way, it is no coincidence that Raven and Samandra are playing „Catch the Frog“ and that Samandra indeed catches the frog.

If you look close you will see the glitter around the fishing line which is a thread and therefore, technically fabric. I don’t have to remind you that Samandra is a fabric witch, right?

„Hex’R’Us“ of course is a reference to „Toys’R’Us“ but even „Joe’s Wineyard“ is inspired by a real wine seller. I don’t know the situation outside of Germany, but here „Jacques‘ Wein-Depot“ („Jacques‘ wine depot“) is a well-known wine selling company. The name inspired me to „Joe’s Wineyard“ for the Magical Foodie prompt (this by itself being a pun since you only have to change a few characters to change the wineyard into vinegar).

If you look close, you will be able to spot Paula nicking some bottles (that are missing in the stall). Seems familiar? Just take another look on the Photograph prompt of the Arcryla City Valentine’s event.

And then, there are the pennants and flags, of course. The colors are Pride flags‘ colors honoring the orientations of my OCs. The colours of the Lesbian and the Pan Pride flags are interwoven since Paula and Crissy are a couple but you also will spot the colors of the polysexual Pride flag – although I won’t reveal whom’s flag this one is yet (but remember: None of my OCs is straight). Plus above them all the colors of the Progress Pride flag, the last two colours not unintentionally being the same like in the Bi Pride flag (plus the petal’s colors creating this one too).

Do I have to emphasize how tricky it was to render the background? I put this lot of details in it but I also had to blur it. It’s hard to achieve this without getting all these details beyond recognisation, you still should be able to spot them.

Hot Weeks

The PyrocornSparrow on Fire

Not that much in terms of weather (although there were some hot days too), in retrospective it indeed was a hot week in more than one aspect. It was a very busy and exhausting week that prevented me from keeping my drawing time schedule (see below).

On the other hand, I managed to finish two paintings, both more or less under the topic „fire“. Firstly, the last of vitranas_arts‘ Junicorns, secondly my second entry to the Arcryla City Summer Fantasy Festival general prompt list.

The Pyrocorn

The last one. The fourth week of the vitranas_arts Junicorn challenge stood under the topic of the element of Fire. One more time I included it into Samandra’s Fabric journal.

Right from the beginning I got the idea of something resembling a fire salamander, this way honouring Samandra’s very own existence too. Fiery mane and tail and finally the horn also popped into my mind quite soon as well as the background.

Since the prompts for the fire theme also contained „Coal“, the rocks at the lower left edge of the painting were supposed to be coal, but then I got the idea of the Pyrocorn feeding on coal, so some were falling out of its mouth.

I thought of adding flying sparks where the hooves touches the ground but didn’t really manag that. Instead I quite like the small flames in the foreground.

Btw, the scene doodled in the upper right corner is a similar scene I thought of for the very first Junicorn painting, there Raven hanging off a branch, trying to cut some vines from the tail, Samandra holding her.

Both would’ve been in amphibian form, though. You can read my struggle with the first Junicorn painting in the respective paintlog but apart from that, this way is more dramatic, so I kept it for the fire theme.

„In the middle of the now burnt lands the Pyrocorn emerged, bringing fire, flames and fear.“

Not intended, but perhaps you registered a „growing“ of the background in every of the Junicorn pantings, from a minimum of grass and a tree to an image filling background:

Sparrow on Fire

This week I posted my second entry to the Arcryla City Fantasy Festival, my first fully rendered entry. The server community suggested this scene of Paula and Crissy riding Sparrow and Crissy screaming in the back – and I loved the idea. Still, since I plan to serve the general prompt list, I had to think of which prompt would fit best this scene.

It was a great opportunity 1) to paint Sparrow and 2) to show what those protection sigils on Paula’s braces are all about.

1) was a little bit tricky and I sat several days to get the lineart right. Sparrow shouldn’t be that big but big enough to carry them both. But simply drawing the bird looked kind of boring, so I thought of this perspective with the blurry wing in the foreground.

Paula and Crissy being late for a lantern festival and this way getting into a main bunch of sky lanterns while Paula’s braces‘ protection sigils proving that hey didn’t have their name for nothing.

Another challenge was to create the impression of speed. Thanks to whoever is in charge of the universe, CSP comes with a motion blur effect and the by now well known blossom brushes. Together with the Gaussian blur effect I got a nice result.

The lanterns in the foreground, however, were a last minute idea to create more depth, the smaller one even more since I came up with it only after the final blur and everything already had been finished. It also fit in nicely with the other lanterns, beginning with the big one in the lower right corner building kind of a helix.

At some point in time painting this got really frustrating, though. Not because I didn’t love this idea anymore, it just was a rough and exhausting week with appointments every day that lasted from the morning into the afternoon hours. I thought „well, there is a new main challenge going on but I could do this one first, it won’t take longer than 2 or 3 days“ and, well, in the end it took a whole week.

So, it was a relief that it finally turned out so nicely and I loved to write the narrative text again:

  • Digital painting, comic style: 1) Crissy and 2) Paula (fantasy versions) in the saddle of sparrow, a big brown-orange bird with a sharp beak; 1) young woman, short purple hair, big round glasses, bellyfree leather top, leather skirt, purse and quiver with arrows on her girdle, orange-brown striped trousers, toefree boots, blue cape, 2) young woman, short turqoise hair; toe nails painted in rainbow colour, finger nails in lesbian Pride flag colour; she's wearing some kind of green leaf-like loincloth that only covers breasts, lap and butt, green braces, a knife in a sheath of leaf optic, a bag also in leaf optic, turqoise wrist bands, a pink shell band at her left ankle and a golden neck band; Sparrow is nosediving fast into a school of sky lanterns, fending them off with her wings and the beak; 2) is holding her reins with the left hand, raising the right arm into the air, her braces a illuminated green, creating a green shield-like light in front of her wrist, bashing a sky lantern into pieces; 1) is sitting behind her, holding fast on her belly, eyes closed, screaming; more sky lanterns and blossoms in foreground and background, washy in their movements, a likewise washy night sky with stars in the background.