Level Up! 2016 to 2018

I’ve wanted to go back to some of my older pieces and re-do, largely born out of both a dissatisfaction with my treatment of the subject and a desire to see if my skills are sufficiently “leveled up.” Ironically, I keep psyching myself out worried that maybe I have not grown enough to warrant the effort. Well, I stumbled on a post from May 2016 and realized I had inadvertently already done just this.

The Reference Photo

I have already shared the below photo a few times recently. But its central to this story, so begrudge a bit of a repeat.

Both my partner and I first attended Norwescon at its 38th anniversary. While I consider (considered?) my the alpha-geek in our relationship, it’s she who convinced me to attend Norwescon for my first time even though I had been in Seattle since 1998. But I digress, here’s the photograph in question.

Me and my partner at Norwescon 38. We’re still waiting for Ikea to sell this so we can bring home our own throne for our library.

It was right around this time her own passion for writing stories that I got fired up to get back into artwork after a nearly two decade hiatus. And similar to eyes being bigger than the proverbial stomach, I had a vision (I still do) of translating this into a set-piece with dragons laying around us set within the Red Keep itself. But every time I run at the idea I find my skills (still) not sufficient to match my vision.

Me in 2016

While you can go back to the original post, here are my original attempts at duplicating just our portraits.

May, 2016 – my first attempt at reproducing the reference photo.

While the above is not horrible, everything about this needs correction. Granted, I did post it under “roughing it” but the brutal truth is that at this time this is likely as about as good as I could do sans adding some color and some slight improvements to values. Still, it would not have been significantly better.

Me in 2018

So what does 24 months of improvement look like? I will admit, given I do not have as much time as I would like given my other responsibilities, I really did not think I had progressed significantly in that time. While I readily admit I still a very long journey in front of me, I was a bit surprised when I stumbled upon the above sketch this morning recognizing that the following two pieces are from late 2018, or approximately two years since I originally attempted our portraits.

Dragon Warden – created on iPad Pro using Procreate.app around October of 2018.
Dragon Doula – created on Wacom Cintiq using Corel Painter 2019 in late December of 2108.

So there you are: progress! I admit that finding this nugget has me quite peaked (in a good way), and very excited for what 2019 and beyond will bring.

Author: Ward

I’m the creator and operator of this little corner of the internets, writing on all things related to art and more specifically my experiences trying to figure this whole thing out. I guess I’m trying to figure out life, too, but mostly I just post about art here.

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