For my Digital Painting course, I decided to do a character reference piece. I had been telling my friend and WoW guild mate for years that I’d do a piece for her, so I decided to create her character for the piece.
I started with a wide layout. I usually work at 8×10″ to more easily conform to the dimensions of my Cintiq and for more adequate display.
Because this is a reference sheet, the character will be standing in a static pose. The emphasis is on design and detail to create the character’s aesthetic. The pose– body at 3/4 angle and the arm slightly lifted away from the body– has been a staple I keep returning to.
While reference sheets are informative, I thought adding a bust would help zero in on the character’s personality. Unfortunately it didn’t make it through to the final product.
I applaud Blizzard for their game engine and model design, but unfortunately armor designs have to be limited to just a few basic shapes. Sometimes the concept art and the in-game texture of the armor betrays those constraints. The gauntlets that the character wears, I felt, would be better suited flared out around the elbow and wrist in the ways I’ve depicted it.
This was a second pass of the line work. Proportion lines help me make sure that the character’s scale is consistent. I made the armor a lot bulkier in this version of the line art to create a more dynamic silhouette.
I’m still learning about what ‘process’ I’m more comfortable with in Photoshop. I created clipping masks for individual parts of the character and her armor. There’s no rhyme or reason to the colors, I just need them to stand out from other parts of the character. The pauldrons and the leggings are separate sections. In hindsight, I’d have made the boots separate from the leggings as well.
Base colors. The character looks ‘normal’ now. Additional clipping masks were made for the smaller details. To my memory, the stitching in her tabard and the bindings in her hair are on their own clipping masks.
The belt eventually got its own clipping mask, as did the trim on the gauntlets and separate elements of the leggings and pauldrons. I’m not sure if I’m making more work for myself like this, but there’s a sense of security about it. You know a mistake in one place won’t necessarily carry to another part.
Close up of the face.
The final piece. I’m proud of it, but there’s a ton of things I’d give more attention to. Would probably go back and unify the color of the fur on the boots with that of her pauldron as well.