Concept: Feeling the Blues

This piece was something of an experiment in style. Being urged to leave my comfort zone and use new techniques I suppressed my usual crosshatching tendencies and tried something different.

Drawing Scratch I attempted to integrate some of the noir aesthetic I’ve been researching recently, creating heavy areas of pure black shadow across her figure to give the impression of depth and stark lighting. While I was basing this on the look of genre films I additionally drew on comics featuring appropriate high contrast styles such as Sin City and Savage, sacrificing detail for intensified mood. The trench coat she’s wearing resembles the kind Bogart wears in Casablanca and The Big Sleep, a new design which pushes her appearance away from that of traditional sci-fi with the prominent cyborg fixtures being concealed beneath it. This may seem illogical given my setting, however I feel it counterbalances by introducing intriguing themes of concealment and deception. Dressed like this Scratch could almost pass for being a regular human being, were it not for jagged circuitry mark on her neck and unnatural shine to her eyes.

The background interior was loosely based off one of Marchand and Meffre’s photographs of downtown Detroit – somewhere suitably bleak for the tone with a few additions to suggest a futuristic scenario. However, as with Scratch I’ve toned down the more obvious cyberpunk facets in favour of a more credible scene, with only the slightest hint it take place in the future. The focus being on the ambience rather than technological wows.

In relation to this I considered how Eduardo Risso’s artwork in 100 Bullets would often be given a specific colour palette for different settings and characters, giving stories their own distinct visual flavour and creating a vivid atmosphere. Here I wanted to reflect Scratch’s cynical personality with cold blues, also approaching the appearance of monochrome inherent in classic noir cinema.

My biggest complaint of the final image is that the lighting of the subject and setting don’t quite mesh with the background lacking the same sharp definition of light and shadow Scratch has. I’m pleased with the brooding atmosphere and look of the new trench coat, but I think I need more practice getting to grips with digital colouring and convincing lighting.

4 Responses to Concept: Feeling the Blues

  1. Ushio says:

    Looking good! I find digital colouring really hard so it’s interesting to see how you’re approaching it. :-)

  2. Ozy says:

    @Ushio: Thanks! :D Part of my motivation making this piece was to get some practice with colour as I felt like I was playing it safe with all the B&W stuff.

  3. demontales says:

    I dig the cold palette and the spooky mood! My only critic is that the lighter shadow outline of the darker crisp shadows on the character give a somewhat little pixelated look. Otherwise it’s looking promising :)

  4. Ozy says:

    @demontales: I see what you mean about those highlights, it’s one of the dangers of colouring on a computer – Still I think I can smooth them out a bit given a little more work, I’ll keep it in mind for my next colour piece. Cheers for the criticism anyhow :)

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