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Nice to meet you and thank you for sharing and taking the time to look at my critique! I hope that it is helpful for you. The colors an...

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YumeSprite
Andrea
Artist | Professional | Varied
Japan
Tools: Prisma Colored Pencils, ink, Sketchbook Pro 6
From: Montana, USA
Niche: Full color illustrations, line work
Education: Graphic Design, Japanese history and language
Working towards: Animation, concept/character design
Working with: You! Send me a private message with questions about larger projects or individual commissions, or anything else on your mind.

I use DA for posting all pieces I create, from sketchy and conceptual to as polished as can be. This is also where I occasionally journal and enjoy chatting with many people casually about art - so all questions and thoughtful critiques are welcome. For a more cohesive collection of my work, follow me on Behance:
www.behance.net/andreanagai
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This journal details the decisions I made and links to sketches of my process for the making of my contest entry into the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 contest which was held by DA and SquareEnix in February 2014. Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, please do write them in the comments and I'll get back to you.

I've decided to write a journal because not everyone wants to see this under the posted DA, and my explanations can be lengthy. It's an explanation! ;)

Here is the actual piece itself (when the contest is over, I'll add a link to this journal, but right now I'm just terrified that if I edit the submission in any way, I'll change the date stamp and disqualify myself!):
Lightning Returns  - The Creator by YumeSprite

Here are the links to my brainstorming pages (all in my sketches folder in my gallery):

sketch designs 1: Lightning Returns Contest sketch designs 1 by YumeSprite sketch designs 2: Lightning Returns Contest sketch designs 2 by YumeSprite sketch designs 3: Lightning Returns Contest sketch designs 3 by YumeSprite

You can even see my process here with these thumbnails without really clicking on them. I start out planning with writing my basic ideas down. Then I sketch images that come to mind related to the ones that interest me. Because the format of this entry was so long, I began designing poses and layouts that could only work with that shape from the beginning. All standing poses were simply for me to figure out how the outfit would work.

I chose the concept centering on a sun and moon, realizing quickly that it can become "Mother Nature" and "Father Time". Mother Nature is nurturing and life giving, so it was represented perfectly as the shield as a sun. Father Time as a person always walks around with a reaper, so the moon-based weapon having a circular shape really complimented the crescent moon, and fit in numbers to represent both time in general and the Roman numerals for Final Fantasy 13. 13 is also often a number representing death, so it all went to together very nicely as a concept. I pondered making the weapon a giant axe, but I decided that a fully circular weapon was more unique. I also designed the hole in the weapon to be the exact same size as the circle of the shield - when not in use, they fit together perfectly. I almost used this concept as the background image! But I really wanted to show Lightning in action and large on the screen, so that won out. Maybe I'll put the fully colored pieces together in a completed drawing someday because it's quite beautiful and powerful without someone holding them, but to also understand that they aren't just decorations, they're weapons.

The weapon and shield were my strongest concepts. It was the outfit that got me. I'm not good at armor, and on a very quick deadline for a contest piece, no wasn't the time to try and submit next to artists who's armor is their forte. That's why in the end she didn't have a shoulder piece which held a half-cape (See in the bottom of sketches 1), which lead to a half-skirt. I *really* liked this design! But I couldn't get it to work in a logical way. I know Lightning is a magical video game character, but everything I do is still grounded in logic. I wanted to design something that could actually be worn and made, so I couldn't create "floating" pieces or accessories that are just...there. I also knew for sure that I wanted one shoulder to be completely exposed. I think it's because my original designs had her more covered up with her capes/skirts, and it would show off her feminine side. I also very much liked that her feminine arm would be the one holding the weapon. ;)

The mosaic patterns came somehow subconsciously with the sun-and-moon design. I think I had Greek imagery in mind the whole time. I created a brush that would randomly change brightness, saturation, and slightly hue, then colored in the tiles quickly. I didn't even have time to go back and add highlights/shines, so I hope that it's somehow portrayed by simply light and dark and the light outlines.

The color scheme is pretty close to what I had in mind from the beginning. Not a lot of color because the weaponry was the focal point, and even the weapons became much brighter than what I had in mind. This happened because I wanted to keep the art as a whole pretty flat. From the beginning I wanted something that was mostly flat and beautiful, not 3D realistic. So the weapons were much more saturated and colorful than what I had in mind. I was also able to represent the crystals on the weapons using screening, but I was in such a tremendous hurry (40 minutes before deadline) when making the moon's crystal edge that I didn't see how lopsided it had actually become until it was too late. I had spent so much time drawing the original circle as perfectly as possible, but the computer coloring kind of ruined it. :( My hand and arm had almost stopped listening to me by that point.

I also didn't have enough time to create the exact background that I had wanted: a beautiful cosmos. Since there aren't stars represented directly on her outfit other than the star-burst crystal on her chest (which is from where all lines in her outfit radiate), I wanted her to be spinning out of the stars. It also really grounds the whole concept of her being "the creator" of all things. Alas, all I could do was put in the clouds/fog (which I DID want and had planned on) to separate the side outfit designs with the background, then darken the edges.

Technique notes: I drew with pencil, scanned them in and cleaned them up (enlarged her head which was too small on paper! :p ), and arranged and colored them using Sketchbook Pro. Again, I thought about using Photoshop to color and use some new brushes, but now wasn't the time to try something you're not good at. For all three poses, I took photos of myself. :) When I finished drawing the front-facing pose, I traced the outline, flipped it, and retraced it to make sure that the back-facing pose would have the same silhouette. Because I don't have a light table, I stacked up some DVDs, took apart an 8x10" photo frame, and put a headlamp underneath it all to improvise just for this one step - which really helped save me some time *and* ensured accuracy.

Thank you very much for reading about my process! Here are some more links:

Final pencil work for the main background: Lightning Returns - The Creator main by YumeSprite  animated process: Lightning Returns Contest process animation 2 by YumeSprite
Final pencil work for the side poses: Lightning Returns - The Creator sides by YumeSprite  animated process: Lightning Returns Contest process animation by YumeSprite

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:icontoshinden-fanclub:
Toshinden-fanclub Apr 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello can i ask you for an request or arttrade or collab??? Painter
And would you be ok if the theme is bellydancing?

:P (Lick)Oh and before i would send then the note (if you like doing the RQ/AT) which styl of bellydancing yourself and your OC ladies would like to learn:
Turkish bellydance (wild, less acrobatic) or Kurdish (slow but majestic)??? :p (Lick)
Reply
:iconyumesprite:
YumeSprite Apr 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
You may make a request if you'd like. :) I'm a little busy working on some new deadlines, but I'm sure I could draw something you'd like in my spare time. If you send me a note, we can probably work something out.
Reply
:iconyumesprite:
YumeSprite Dec 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
Hey! A llama! Thank you for adding to the herd. :)
Reply
:iconlanceeh:
Your welcome, plan on doing the rest of the characters?
Reply
:iconyumesprite:
YumeSprite Nov 21, 2013  Professional General Artist
Oh, I'd love to - and totally felt like it when I was done - but if I did I'd rather try do do it in a more unique style. I also have other projects I'm working on, so basically the answer is no. :/ I did this one specifically as an exchange with my younger sister. But...you never know. :)
Reply
:iconlanceeh:
Do you think SM could work as a live action movie?
Reply
:iconyumesprite:
YumeSprite Nov 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
Oh, I meant to give you this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrp6O9…
It's a pretty well done attempt by a private group with new style ideas. The acting was a bit embarrassing at times, but it was still quite fun to watch.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconyumesprite:
YumeSprite Nov 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
Hmm. There have been real attempts made, you know. They all flopped because they were all missing key elements, either in storytelling, camera/fx work, or acting. As it is known for being now, no, not really. I don't think it will work. It would have to be rewritten by a very intelligent writer to be adapted for the big screen. I think that we take live action movies too seriously for the mood that is Sailor Moon.
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(2 Replies)
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