I’m looking at the final version of that Drowning City test image I did yesterday and I am delighted: it looks exactly like the way it looked in my head when it started coming together in the winter of 2001. It always needed to be painterly and messy and modelled, in a way that I simply did not have the skills for back then. I could maybe mess it up a tiny bit more; I’ll have to think about ways to do that quickly and efficiently.
I feel like I could make this look happen about as quickly as I do Rita once I get into the groove. Which feels like a big speed-up from the somewhat similar look I was chasing in Absinthe – I really hadn’t learnt to simplify a lot of the process yet, and I was having to constantly think about things like “how opaque do I want this shadow to be, and what blending mode should I use?”. I should revisit my Absinthe templates and codify a bunch of stuff the same way I did for Drowning City, so that I can hit the ground running when I resume dong that, too. (Absinthe was also slow because of all the elaborate backgrounds I was doing, of course! That probably won’t change. Though they might go a little faster with what I’ve learnt in the time doing the Tarot deck and Rita.)
It’s going to be really exciting to actually get to use things like “blurs” and “textures” and “smooth color transitions” again. Though I’m sure I’ll be aching to return to the simple flat colors of Rita by the time I finish Drowning City. Or maybe not; maybe I’ll want to start doing something even more visually ambitious. Who knows?
Anyway. The immediate future of my drawing hand mostly involves more Rita. And more pre-production work on Drowning City – more character portraits, website design, and research. There is mythology I need to read!