Earlier this week I woke up and felt like what I needed to be working on was a picture of Stella sitting in a library, reading. This may be a sign that I need to do some research before doing the next few pages of her grimoire; I’m feeling the kind of resistance to working on them that usually means “something needs to be nailed down more before I get into drawing”.
There’s a lot of stuff going on in these bookcases. Firstly, the books are just simple straight lines drawn in various colors with an assortment of art brushes I made:
They’re all drawn flat, then warped into goofy cartoon perspective with a distortion mesh. Which is the weird shape highlighted in red in the above screenshot.
You may also notice that a lot of the sets of books are just a couple of lines in the outline view above; that’s done with a blend between two lines. And a little randomness is added by putting the Transform effect on each of those two lines, with a small vertical transformation, and the Random box checked:
And finally, I use Astute’s Block Shadow effect (in the Stylism plugin) to give some depth to the books by extruding them:
Each shelf has different angles to create a vague sense of perspective. It’s kind of sloppy, but all the lighting effects hide that. If I wanted them to be clearer I’d spend some time thinking about a way to get the edge of a page block in there between the covers. Good enough for now, though. And it took a ton less time to give the books depth with the Block Shadow plugin than it would’ve taken to do it manually.
The whole thing took about five hours, spread out over three days. I shudder to imagine how long it would have taken if I’d had to individually draw every book by hand. I think it was like an hour and a half of work from “I have empty shelves placed where I want them in the composition” to “I have shelves full of books and a few knick-knacks”, thanks to thoughtful use of art brushes and the block shadow effect.
The AI2021 source file is available over on Patreon, if you wanna poke around. It may be weird if you don’t have the Astute plugins. And if you want this on a shirt or a laptop cover or a mug or something, you can get that over on Redbubble.