I finally, finally, finally did a concept sketch for Dark Ruby. You know...kinda the whole thing that inspired me to do Red Hood Rider in the first place? Now, mind you. This was a drawing done mostly to test if I was still capable of drawing. So, I wasn't going for absolute technical precision.
Instead, I decided I'd use it to show off one of my two drawing styles. See, these drawing styles are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they're basically mutually inclusive, but I'll always favor one over the other when tackling a particular drawing of mine.
One version is free-form: the lines curve as I need them to. I use multiple strokes to "feel" where I need to go. This approach is largely dynamic, but also incredibly inaccurate with regard to precision. I basically am improvising when using it.
The other version, the one I focused on, is geometric: constructing a base which should, in theory, be solid, to be adjusted in subtle ways as needed. This is the technique most artists tend to use, though it does have the minor downside of frequently being stiff, rigid, and stale.
So! Like most artists, I start with a skeleton, to outline what I want to do. Regardless of free-flow or construction, I do this, though the shape of the skeleton differs between the two. This is a construction-based skeleton:
In this case, inspired by the impaler stance, I held my right hand up to my chest, and with my left hand gripping a ruler (which has the diameter of a thick staff handle, making it a fair approximation for a staff), I tried to post myself in a position where I could feel my hips, feel my knees, and see where my legs were pointing.
You'll see it in the end product, but at some point, the stance shifted from having my weight on my back foot to having it on my front foot. The positioning of the knees and feet didn't change, though this did arguably make more sense than the original.
So! The skeleton's there. Now, for the geometry.
You can see with these overlapping shapes here that I was bringing some free-form into things. I couldn't quite fix this, but I had figured out by this point that the proportions weren't going to mesh perfectly. Rather, more specifically, the torso compared to the rest of the body: the arms are perfect for the legs, which is a rarity in my drawings, but the botched torso kinda ruins the enthusiasm.
Ultimately, this led to the finished product:
Her pinkies are both claws. She's wielding the blood staff. She's wearing black shorts instead of her skirt. But her socks and shoes are exactly the same.
The image is not without its flaws. The neck is too long. There's virtually no shoulders. The torso is completely wrong, and was botched too much to fix. An extension of the botched torso reaches down to the natural consequence: a botched hips, which leads to an awkward joining of the legs, which are now a bit too small and awkwardly joined, not quite having the same level of naturalness they had before.
But while the joined legs-to-hips are bad, thanks to the bad torso, overall, this is a fine rendition of how she's supposed to look as Dark Ruby. She's a bit tall (six and a half heads, about), her hips are too small, her legs are a bit too small, there's the awkward neck and torso, but...
...Given that this is,
-Done in an unusual way for me,
-Done after months of no real art,
-Done fairly quickly (it took me something like 2 hours?),
-And done without ANY help...
...I'd say that, overall, it is a good image.
This is what inspired Red Hood Rider. Her image, here, the one I've wanted to draw for a year and a half, is now, finally, made. I'd have to refine it if I EVER wanted to use it in an actual episode cover, but it's definitely a fine start!