Wednesday, July 1, 2015
It's supposed to be Beowulf hanging up the arm of Grendel in the hall Heorot, having ripped it off with his bare hands. That's pretty fucking hardcore, not to mention a bit gruesome. I guess it was a simpler time or something.
This was my first major effort at a completely digital illustration. I'd done a lot of digital stuff before, but up until this point it had always started with traditional media.
It's mostly Painter VIII, with some support work from CorelDraw and Photoshop. The files no longer exist; the disk they were stored on corrupted and they were unretrievable. So all that's left is a single laser print-out, of which this is a fairly poor scan — there's a lot of reflection screwing with the tonal values in places.
One of the perils of doing (what was then) large-format digital illustration on the weak and puny computer I had at the time is that I hardly ever saw the image as a whole, but only in disassociated tiny areas. That's mainly why Beowulf's proportions are so out of whack, with his tiny short legs and his busted-looking right knee.
It's much easier now; I have a machine powerful enough to be able to work fluidly with the whole image displayed. I haven't approached its performance limits yet; the largest pixel dimensions I've worked with is about 10,000 by 10,000 pixels (which, at 300dpi, would print an image nearly a metre square), and the largest file size has been about a gigabyte. Neither of those seemed to cause any slow-down issues — except that it did take a bit longer to save the images. Now I just want a couple more monitors. Maybe some of those nice 4k jobs that are starting to appear now.
I scanned it mainly to try out Photoshop's Photomerge feature, which I have to say works pretty well. I wish I'd known about it sooner, it would have saved me a lot of effort.
Actually, now that I come to think of it, I did know about it, but ignored it because I could never get it to work in my old version of Photoshop.
These are the double-page spreads for a children's book without words, an illustration project I did back in 2005 or '06. I haven't done anything with it since then. It's a simple story about the trials and tribulations of being a friendly but big and scary monster in a world filled with prejudice and fear.