Okay, I’ve been busy for a while. Life and stuff. But, since everyone is clamoring for it (well, no one is actually doing any clamoring…other than imaginary people in my head. No, that’s not sad, it’s, um, practice. For when I actually have fans and followers. Who clamor for things. Yeah. Definitely practice. Not sad…), I thought I’d throw together a quick process post for how I’ve been going about my manga self portrait exercise.
First, I snap a reference photo of myself and open it in Photoshop.
I create a new layer and start roughing in reference lines and shapes similar to how one might sketch a head without the reference material. I’m trying to get a better sense of the specific shapes and proportions of my head, so I don’t need to rely on the photos. I use red just because it shows up better.
Next, I lower the opacity of that rough shapes layer and add a new one. Now I start following some of the contours and figuring out just how many lines I’d need to draw in order to capture an expression and define major features and shapes. I’m really striving for simplicity.
I usually trace in my glasses on a separate layer so I can concentrate on creating the structure of my head independent from the glasses.
Once I’ve got my lines, I hide the photo under a fill layer, usually a desaturated, dark red, just because it looks nice with the red lines. At this point I’m done in Photoshop, it’s time to take out the actual sketch book and a ballpoint pen.
Using the Photoshop work as a reference, I do my best to translate that onto a page, tweaking things to develop more of a cartoony look.
And there you have it. My magical method of mangafying myself (Ah! Alliteration!). After I’ve done this exercise, I try drawing a self portrait without the reference photo, often calling it my “response” to the referenced image. Here’s the response on that particular day:
I think I have improved since starting Inktober, and then moving on to this mangafy me exercise, but I still have a long way to go. I still slip into lazy, old habits when trying to draw faces. But, progress is progress. Life has been hectic, as usual, so my update schedule hasn’t been as consistent as I’d like. I have a lot of projects waiting for my attention and more rattling around in my head. At some point I’ll do a little retrospective-y kind of thing with all these portraits, similar to the Inktober post. Maybe for next week…