This piece was done for a friendly challenge over at Pixelbrush.com. I wanted to use it as an exercise to take ArtRage for a spin; see what it was capable of. It's a very handy bit of kit, especially considering the very modest price tag. It has limitations like all software, but I actually like how it makes you rely more on old fashioned drawing skills rather than trying to solve all your problems for you. The donkey work for this piece was done in ArtRage, but a need for speed, particularly near the finish, had me opening up Painter and Photoshop, too.
Given longer I could have accomplished all this in the one software.
I'm on aPentium4 3GHZ processor with 2 Gig RAM, using a Wacom Intuos3 now - but I used to have much less powerful kit and got away with it.
Starting in ArtRage 2.5 (full licence), I accepted the default document size (32.5x24cm-100dpi approx) to start sketching and slapped in a blue background with the roller set to maximum size. This was for a Halloween-themed image and a night-time palette with blue/purple biasÂ seemed appropriate. My idea was about a kind of mini version of "Super-Buffy" in the scene of her latest slaughter, with a tiny dog clamped to her leg. Yes - I used to watch a lot of cartoons. I blocked in a few shapes (paintbrush) and lines (precise pencil) on several layers. Save stages regularly, labelled in a way that suits you (Fig.01 and Fig.02).
A need for speed had me bypass making thumbnail sketches (not recommended - slap my legs for being naughty!). I had a loose idea but no solid composition at this stage. Adding elements on separate layers allowed me the flexibility to play with the composition throughout the process. I firmed up the forms in the girl a bit, remembering to name a few key layers and taking advantage of the software's ability to have layer groups. I grouped all the layers for her character together, which meant I would be able to move her about more easily, later on. Typically a group will contain a layer for the drawing on top of a shading layer and a base layer of opaque local colour (Fig.03).
If you're going to use a lot of layers you must keep organised. Name layers as markers and merge together whenever you feel you can.
Compositionally I decided the girl would be more impressive if she had a higher body-count at her feet, so I expanded the canvas vertically to make space for more victims. (Note: In Artrage - Edit/Resize the Canvas - remember to un-tick the keep original aspect box, if you're changing the canvas shape). A great reason for starting off in ArtRage is the ability to add scaleable reference images on screen. You can paste your original idea/s up to look at, or reference, of course (Fig.04, Fig.05 and Fig.06).