ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
[personal profile] tassosss asked: "Do you have a process for how you approach your fanart? Certain things you do first? How you work with ideas?"

(Also, please, if you have a question or prompt for me in the January Talking Meme, you can comment here. Most remaining dates are still open.)

I have an art process tag for posts with in progress stages of several fanart pieces, so there you can see some of the specific details.

In more general terms, I think the central thing about my approach to fanart is that I'm lazy, that is I experience a great deal of inertia before doing anything, and also I have real trouble to self-motivate, which is very bad for something that only truly thrives with practice like drawing/painting. So the problem is that I know in my head that I would need to draw a lot more to gain the ability to draw and paint the kind of thing I would like to produce, but that that would take a lot of effort.

And I don't have any real inner urges to draw or anything like that, which is why last year and the year before I only managed any fanart for exchanges. And it is not that I have a bunch of drawer scribbles or unfinished WIPs or drew non-fanart stuff. I did not draw at all otherwise.

I often have ideas for things that would be cool to draw or paint as I engage in fandom, whether with the source or with other fanworks. These sometimes are a conversational impulse, and that usually results in an uncomplicated doodle that I don't refine further and that takes only a very short time, because the point is just the reaction, or someone said something funny and I want to sketch it or such. Examples for that are this cracky doodle I did for one of Beth H's stories or this reaction to a posted chat transcript.

Far more often I have ambitious ideas for awesome art, both in reaction to canon and illustration ideas for fanfic, or sometimes just daydreaming cool scenarios with characters. Those ideas usually die, because they would be hard to realize and I can never make it look like in my head anyway etc. Sometimes I put them in my "fanart ideas" textfile and then they die.

Looking at that file right now, there are about two dozen fanart ideas I felt strongly enough to make a note about, and then I never did anything further, though in one SGA case I actually started some pencil sketches and intended that to be a reversebang piece where I had signed up, but RL stuff happened and I had to drop out, and then I became less interested in SGA soon after, so that got abandoned even though I had some scribbles. Usually once I start to invest some time into a piece I then bring it at least to a point to show, because one thing I loathe more than making an effort is wasting it, and not have anything to show for the time I spent. Though larger projects can be abandoned in the middle, like I did an SGA/ATLA fusion with Teyla as Waterbender, and in my head I had a full set for the team with John as Airbender, Rodney as Earthbender and Ronon as Firebender. Obviously the last three never materialized, because sadly we still don't have the brain-interfaces to make images happen as you think them.

My fanart ideas are often scenes of fanfic that stuck with me as I read them, same with written canon sources, and then I make a note of the scene with a link to the fic in case of online fanfic. For example while reading the Dresden Files, I found numerous scenes compelling to imagine in my head, so I made notes in that file like "Dresden and Michael at Union station, the hobs (baboon monsters) surrounding them visible in light of the newly drawn sword. (from Small Favor, p 185/186)" or "Dresden in church, standing in shadow (from Proven Guilty)" and such. Of course none of these compelled me enough to actually overcome inertia, but that's how I jot down ideas.

Same when I read fanfic, for example one that I eventually painted was the illustration for [personal profile] basingstoke's Unalienable (I did a process post about that here), and that started as a note "X-Men/HL xover illustration for basingstoke, Methos with mutant baby" with a link to the story.

Sometimes I have ideas for scenes or scenarios that are not illustrations for something existing, but ideas for something I'd like to see. Those are often AU or worldbuilding ideas, because my imagination runs in the worldbuilding direction rather than imagining plots for characters I like. Examples for this from my fanart idea file are (translated from German, my notes file is bilingual): "AU: Erik as Celtic druid (romano-celtic Britain, power over metal seen as magic? Charles as upper class Roman?)" or "X-Men AU, Erik & Charles meet in the Spanish Civil War in the international brigades".

So those are pretty vague ideas. The next step is that I look around for images for further inspiration and ideas, like for example I googled for images of the international brigades and the Spanish Civil War for potential ideas of what I might draw to visualize that AU idea. So in this case I ended up with a folder of mixed historical pictures on my hard disk, from propaganda posters to group photos, but nothing really grabbed me, so thus far it hasn't gone any further.

If I have a specific scene in mind I look for references I could use for my picture and collect all sorts of stuff. With elaborate scenes I sometimes do thumbnails and such for composition, later on sometimes studies of bits (like a hand pose or such) and then I sort of try to assemble it into my first pencils. It's sort of like using photoshop layers but in traditional media, i.e. I often do things on transparent paper and move them around, and use my self-made light box too.

If I was lucky enough that the reference matches closely what I want in the scene, I sometimes even trace it in that step to get the posture right (see the whole lazy part above), though it usually morphs from that later on. As side note: I know tracing is contentious (much more than even photo reference which some life drawing proponents don't like either), and it just doesn't work for faces, as anyone who traced a face hoping to end up with a reliable character likeness will have noticed (because unfortunately humans don't really have lines, and to get likeness you need to either faithfully copy all shades or actively do some abstraction towards cartooning, mere "edge detection" won't do it for our finely tuned face recognition). But if you want to draw, say, a human jump, and have found a picture of such a jump from the perspective you want showing a human of roughly the right body type matching your character, and you trace where the arms and legs go that works well enough to have something in your draft quickly. Of course to not end up with some kind of Franken-drawing of mismatching parts, you have to watch that whatever you traced at some point will coalesce with the rest, i.e. the morphing I mentioned above, same as you do any time you reference things in bits and need to make them fit.

Anyway, looking at pictures on the internet (for backgrounds, actions, costume, character likeness, even just moods) is a big part of clarifying an idea for me, and usually at that point also my vague ambitions of gloriously complicated, epic scenes get broken into something that I might be able to draw in some way at least. Naturally at this point once again many fanart ideas stall.

But if I arrive at something workable I eventually assemble the parts into a whole, this process post about my Star Trek reversebang piece goes into the details, and is an example of the most effort I go to. Often I do less.
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
I'm not sure whether anyone is interested, seeing how the art itself got very little reaction (only two comments and one kudo so far *sulk*), but since I took the pictures of the in-between stages, I might as well post them.

many images of the work in progress )
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
I made a process post in the [livejournal.com profile] fanartivation comm for my previous SGA fanart "Offworld Team Camping". I haven't made a process post for that art here back when I posted it, so if you like process photos you might want to check out the post there.
ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)
Because I'm procrastinating on my SGA Reverse Bang piece, I've decided to do a process post about my last fanart, the one for the Trek Reverse Bang. That painting took me a long time, and quite a lot of work spread out of over three months, and maybe some are interested how I get from the first idea to a finished painting.

image heavy )
ratcreature: navel-gazing RatCreature (navel-gazing)
I'm not sure whether there's even any interest, because the painting itself got less comments than usual for my fanart posts, so I guess there will be ever fewer interested in the unfinished inbetween stages. But I already made the photographs after all, so I decided to go ahead with the art process post.

very image heavy )
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
Because some people find the production process interesting, I decided to do a sort of "making of" post. If you'd just like to see the finished fanart, go here.

very image heavy )
ratcreature: Who needs talent? Enthusiasm is fun!  (talent/enthusiasm)
Subject: some random dragon
Media: pencil, fine liner pen with waterproof indian ink, acrylic paint, a bit of color pencil
Rating/warnings: G, none
Notes/comments: lengthy notes on my process, because this is the first time I used acrylics to color a drawing and felt rambly, feel free to skip if you just want to look at the picture. )

Preview: preview of a dragon drawing

the finished drawing and a detail of the head in a larger size are behind the cut )
ratcreature: navel-gazing RatCreature (navel-gazing)
In my previous post a couple of commenters said that they find commentary on the process for art and fic interesting, and don't mind the creator expressing their "these things suck in my work" lists as part of that as long as that isn't all they talk about.

So in light of that I decided to do a kind of commentary on my recent picture of Dresden Files' Bob, which is also interesting to do for me, because I worked a bit differently here than usual. I did more of the work and also effects digitally than I usually do, resulting in some things that worked and others that didn't.

long navel-gazing, also very image heavy )

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