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Fan Art: Sapphire and Torchic [Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald]

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I drew a picture of Sapphire from Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire! I'll be using this for... a project I'm working on. 

This is what I experienced through the process, with some work-in-progress pictures.

First, I started with a rough outline depicting the proportions of Sapphire. 

Next, I added the facial features -- I was pretty excited to do this part since I've been working on understanding and studying the head. I placed where Torchic would roughly be as well. (There was an earlier rendition of this stage, but I deleted the layer in Procreate.) After adding the Torchic, I saw that her arm placement didn't look quite right. I don't think Torchic would be able to comfortably fit in there like that! So, I modified the outline once again.

That looked a bit better. I decided that, at this point, I was ready to add some color. (I also outlined the hair, but I haven't included that.)

I knew that something looked a little off to me... It was the proportions! So I took another look at the image that I had of Sapphire (the official art -- I won't be attaching it here, but I'm sure you'd be able to find it) and decided that, after all of the coloring, I should modify my base outline.

I also noticed that the arms simply did not look correct. So I flipped around in Roberto Osti's Basic Human Anatomy book that I'm borrowing and found a couple of pages where he focused on the forms of the arm. I haven't studied the arm and its muscles quite yet, so I winged it.

There were other steps I took during this process, such as adding some rendering to indicate forms, but I have not included that process here. I haven't focused on rendering techniques -- that is, understanding how forms interact with a given light source in a 3D space -- quite yet.

One concept I picked up on in regards to the topic of rendering was the importance of contour lines. Contour lines are what help define the planes. In order to achieve accurate contour lines, an understanding of perspective must be achieved. My understanding of this concept emerged while I was studying planes of the face and struggled with cutting and extruding forms. I simply couldn't wrap my head around what I was looking at when I saw plane changes. I then realized that those very plane changes are what create a form. Start with a base, say, a sphere, then find points on that base and feel free to cut or extrude them. A lot of these concepts are available in Scott Robertson's How To Draw, chapter 6, which works with creating those 'contour lines' to create volume

This is how I understand the notions of perspective. Of course, I wouldn't be able to realize this without trying and drawing for myself. Try, finish, reflect, repeat. Learning is an iterative process. 

One of the most difficult things about doing this on my own with only a light hand in online art communities is critiquing my own work. More often than not, I find myself thinking, 'I know there's something not quite right with it... but I can't put my finger on it!' That is the value of being within a group of folks from all sorts of art backgrounds... you can learn from them.

I am currently going through the anatomy book, and it made me realize that I will eventually need to understand how to render. So... that'll be my goal after I study anatomy. I'm not entirely sure if I want to study rendering earlier though.... the reason being, I don't apply what I learn from studying often enough, which is certainly a pitfall trap. However... I don't want to use my time trying to do something I have a very primitive understanding of - RENDERING.

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