Ha. I feel that the name is more risque than the image. This post was originally on my deivnatArt site, but I’m posting it to my blog too with some edits and moving of text around. I’m plagiarizing from myself!
Everything is cel-shaded best I can. I used gradients to give the base colors a little variation in addition to two darker shades. The hair I rendered differently. If you remember some of my past illustrations, especially recently, the hair has a lot of strides of mixed light and dark. It looked too busy. I studied some anime screencaps and changed how I shaded the hair. I gave the tips some shade. To do the highlight I actually draw a vector shape for the area I want highlighted and then Gaussian blur until it looks mixed in with the base color. Using a really bright hue of the base color I draw a few lines for the highlighted strands. I think it works better than what I was doing before. Also easier.
For Catherine’s dress and Alice’s hat I did a bit of texturing using various cloud and leaf brushes I had created a while back. The brushes are made from photographs I took, of, well, clouds and trees. To texture, I stamped the brush at various low opacity settings to give it an uneven light/dark look.
So here’s a look back at the work in progress. Believe it or not this image is dated 2/18/2004. That was the night I drew it all those years ago. If you compare this to the final version you’ll notice there are some changes here and there, specially to Megan (she’s the girl on the right). Her face is jacked up and I didn’t like the way the chopsticks looked in her hair.
First thing I did was to adjust the hue to tint the image blue so I could put a layer over top and start inking it. Below is a work in progress of my inked image. It’s all done freehand using a 1-3px solid, non-tapered brush — I switch between the sizes based on how thick or thin I want the lines. To taper, I use the eraser tool and trim down lines here or there. It’s pretty effective. Sometimes I can get the line on the first few tries. Other times, I just scribble out a line I want and then erase the excess. I’ve read up on other ways to do inking, but this is the one that works for me, so I’ll stick with it for the time being.
This one was a hard one to outline since it’s three times the work and a lot of changes came into play during this phase. I hated Alice’s original hat (she’s the girl in the middle) so I redid it after looking at some reference via google images. I also hated Catherine’s hat (girl on the left) so I made it look more like a beret. I made Catherine and Megan’s bodies a bit curvier too since they my 2004 self wasn’t good at drawing nice curves. I’m probably still not but that’s why we have vector tools. After a lot of flipping back and forth, correcting skewed parts of the image, correcting others, I think this took about a week, I had a final inking that was fairly decent.
Below are some of the flats. Since the majority of the spaces are all enclosed I’m able to use the magic wand to select large chunks of the image. I don’t bucket fill what the wand selects or I’d end up with noise along the edges. What I do after the selection is to use the selection expand tool and expand it by 2 pixels. this way sections that are nearby but not connected merge together. If there are ink lines within the space I want to color fill those extraneous shapes will get removed with the expansion. I then contract the selection by one pixel to fit it nicely within the middle of the inked lines. On a separate layer I then fill in the color. It’s somewhat tedious but keeps things clean.
There were some areas I left uncolored since I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do them — in this case, the lace around the top of Alice’s dress wasn’t filled in yet. I figured I might try and draw a piece of lace and warp it until I got it looking as if it were wrapped around her shoulder. Ultimately, I found a texture and used it.
For Catherine (left) and Megan (right) the colors were easy. Since it was still Christmastime when I started, Catherine’s got the red and white going on. Megan has that kind of “AZN” bleached colored hair going so it looks more orange-ish, and the blue complemented that nicely. It’s funny, but the dress Megan is wearing isn’t new to my pin up gals. You can see it here on deviantArt with Catherine.
Alice was trickier. Originally I thought pink, but then she might look naked. Of course she’s kind of naked in the final painting anyway. I thought it could only be green since her hat and hair were brown. It also has a nice RGB thing going for it too. If you do any computer graphics programming, RGB are the primary display colors. Each channel gets 8-bits (0-255). Yeah.
Once I finished, I began to shade each girl. Alice was the trickiest since she’s wearing something that’s translucent. So I had to go back and add more to Catherine and Megan’s dresses to sell the illusion that her’s was sheer. I think it mostly worked.
And there you go, that’s how it’s made.