EXPERIMENT: Alternate Color on C-3PO

There are things that you know how to do, and there are things that you don't know how to do. It's much much easier to do the things that you know how to do. However, you don't get better unless you try to do things that you don't know how to do. The unfortunate thing about doing things that you don't know how to do is that since you don't know how to do them, you're going to suck. 

So basically, you need to accept the fact that you're going to suck. As a matter of fact, you need to suck. It's an obligation. So, what you have to do is sit down at your computer or drawing board and get that sucking out of the way. Just tell yourself, "It might suck, but that's okay, because it's a law of the universe that before things are awesome, they suck."

Anyway, here is a failed experiment with color (and coloring is something I have struggled with)(if you've seen something I've colored and thought, "That's awesome," just look a this disaster from 2009 to see the suckitude that had to come before).

This dancing C-3PO from my tumblr is an example of coloring that I know how to do (the color is a little better on the tumblr).
However, there is a problem. The problem is that metal looks like this:

It's got all these different colors. It shines. It's kind of reflective. I look at it and it's clearly gold, but there's dark browns in there, some almost white spots, it even looks like a bit of green (so brown, white, and green, but clearly gold)(what?).

I don't know how to do that.

So as practice (and in the hopes of getting a little bit of sucking out of the way), I attempted to get my metal a little bit more metallic. Basically, it's a couple layers of the brush tool in photoshop.

Layer 1:
Layer 2:
And then those two layers combined with that flat color layer from the top at varying opacity.

And it's all right, but it still kinda sucks. I think it succeeds in looking more metallic, and it also has a loose scribbly freehand style about it, which I like, but it's not as smooth as I want it to be. It's loose and messy, and I want loose and smooth. Ultimately, it's not done with as much skill as I would like (because I don't have the skill yet)(but I will).

So with the finished 3PO on the tumblr, I went with the coloring I know how to do.


Clay said…
You know, honestly--I know you're doing it to practice, but I feel like the flat color works better with your style. I mean, the other ones you've done haven't been crazy complicated color-wise, and they look great!

But that being said, I completely agree with you on the suck-to-awesome timeline.

Lindsay said…
I think I have to agree with Clay on this one. While I like the shiny look on C3PO, I think that flat color works best for your style.
Anonymous said…
I've been staring at the process gif in this blog entry of Lee Hasler's, through several repetitions:


Wonder if all your alternate C-3PO needs is maybe an additional layer or two of highlights and some of the black lines colored white or a lighter shade of immediately neighboring colors, the way Lee Hasler treats lines in his process gif illustration.

I think the metallic richness in the alternate coloring is really nice. C-3PO's gesture and pose totally rock, too. And I love that you limited the palette in your Spring 2009 piece. It's cool. :)

Jesse Lonergan said…
Thanks, guys! Always good to hear that what I'm currently doing works.

And I'm definitely not about to change the way I color the dancers. With the clean lines, the flat color works well. It's more about just getting a little more skill with color.

Like with that awesome gif Cherry posted as an example, I think my coloring skill is somewhere around the second iteration.

Also, this coloring style might work well with a little bit rougher art.