View Full Version : Darklord's Inkscape Template Tomfoolery

Darklord Bright
2011-01-19, 04:55 AM
So, since my style of Inkscape art isn't really appropriate for the Iron Avatarist competitions (being neither Order of the Stick styled nor Erfworld styled), I figured that it would be a terrible waste to Ink things up and not have anywhere to put them. So, well, here's a place, I guess.

Most of it is fairly uninteresting, largely due to template usage, but it's still fun to make templates of new characters. They look very different in any case, even if they do use the same base, so that counts for something. I also, however, make some specialized things just to be standalone products, some of which are half-decent. These will go here, too.

I will also use this thread for the questions on how I do things, or just general questions about the style and templates - mostly because I've never gone into depth about it before.

So without further ado, here are some examples, I guess.

Standalone Image: NOIR

Lazy Standalone Image: The Father


Character: Anathema

Character: Kate

Display of my art progression over the last year or so

That's all for now. Any questions are welcome while I mess about in Inkscape some more! :smallsmile:

2011-01-19, 02:32 PM
Nice. Love your style, itīs sad about the IA thing.

2011-01-19, 05:13 PM
I'm surprised it's not allowed. I'm sure I've seen plenty of non OOTS/Erfworld entries that won awards.

Darklord Bright
2011-01-19, 05:22 PM
I'm surprised it's not allowed. I'm sure I've seen plenty of non OOTS/Erfworld entries that won awards.

Eh, I've asked a couple times, and both times were met by vague "Only if they're these two styles" strings of comments. Since I don't particularly like drawing in either of those styles, and my only entries of non-OotS, non-Erf stuff in IA were almost completely ignored, I just figured I should make my own place for them. :smallsmile:

Darklord Bright
2011-01-22, 05:47 AM
I scanned something I drew a while back, and decided to trace over it in Inkscape and do some colouring and such. Nothing special, but still fun!

Nexus FFRP character: Trix

2011-01-23, 02:55 AM
Aww, cuteTrix!

:smallsigh: everyone can draw but me

2011-01-23, 04:37 AM
Aww, cuteTrix!

:smallsigh: everyone can draw but me

Everybody can draw.

It's the fact that we draw horribly that's the problem.

Anyway, D'AWW Trix is cwu~te! ^.^

Darklord Bright
2011-02-15, 07:17 PM
Just a little show here (after a while of not posting) showing how my Inkscape style has progressed over the last couple years using my female templates.


There was a dramatic (and admittedly quite ugly-looking) jump in my style in the 6th step there - and it happened right in the middle of a webcomic I was writing at the time. The style progression, at the time, was a cause of much contention, to the point where I had actually gotten so frustrated with all the rampant voices of dislike in my style that I discontinued the comic - something which, looking back, was an incredibly childish reaction of mine, even if many of the 'criticisms' were fairly destructive in nature - and as such I progressed the last two steps entirely on my own, without really worrying that much about what other people thought of it.

This turned out to be a great choice. Having finally reached that last point, the one where I really have no further place to go, I really have to smile at what brought me here. My own, single-minded refusal to take that 'one step backwards', as I put it, though the source of much drama, was ultimately what led me to this style I so very much enjoy.

In a way, I'm both glad that my comic died so that I could truly be allowed the freedoms I needed to improve, and I am also a little sad that it never lived to see the improvements itself.

As a pet-project, I did begin redrawing and rewriting the comics, but I don't intend them to surface on the forums again. I will, however, leave you with this:

Dialogue removed to showcase art only.

My original first comic:


2011-02-15, 07:33 PM
This turned out to be a great choice. Having finally reached that last point, the one where I really have no further place to go, I really have to smile at what brought me here. ...


I'm sorry, sir, but i'll have to ask you to hand me your artists licence. :smallcool:
You aren't even close to being at the end of your line. Don't just sit down now and stop improving. There is always "better". :)

Darklord Bright
2011-02-15, 07:40 PM
[Unwhitetext'd]->You aren't even close to being at the end of your line. Don't just sit down now and stop improving. There is always "better". :)

With Inkscape, you will notice that I am now tracing my real life drawings - the ones I am constantly improving.

My Inkscape art is something I am satisfied with. I don't want to change the templates anymore. I am happy with where I am.

There's nothing wrong with that. :smallsmile:

Lord Raziere
2011-02-15, 08:03 PM
anyways I was one the people who criticized ya and I just like to say I'm sorry for that. Since when the did the Great Lord Raziere criticize something for being good?

instead now I'm also gonna try making my art better.

....I just need to figure out how to do actual eyes.....

2011-02-17, 03:54 PM
I loved the art upgrade you gave the comic.:smallsmile:
I read trough the whole comic before realising that the thread was closed:smallannoyed:;I was so mad that i couldnīt tell you how great the story and art was.:smallfurious:
For a long time i thought that you had left the playground, so when you returned i was happy.:smallbiggrin:
You are one of the artist wich we canīt live without, you are something of your own, in a good way.:smalltongue:

Darklord Bright
2011-02-19, 05:40 AM
To be honest, I kinda dislike that comic now. The only reason I was going back and rewriting/re-arting things in my spare time at all was because I kinda think the original moves too fast and is generally of poor quality.

I'd keep a comic going again, but so far I just cannot enjoy writing comics like I used to, so they never get very far. Plus they take up a lot of my free time, and I don't want to waste free time on something like that unless I really enjoy it.

Darklord Bright
2011-02-19, 07:53 PM
I'm not really sure what to call this. If someone can tell me what genre I just drew... :smallconfused:


2011-02-19, 08:22 PM
Noir cyberpunk perhaps ?

Anyhow, that's awesomme.

On one hand, I'll be honnest and say I don't like your templates that much.
I think it's the legs that particulary bother me. They feel too thin for the hips. I'm not a fan of the three fingered hands either.

On the other hand, I must say I do however really like the designs.
This character , particulary, ' has a je ne sais quoi' that really appeals to me. Perhaps because she feels like a blend of different archetypes yet still somewhat natural

Darklord Bright
2011-02-19, 08:28 PM
A lot of the issues like the hands are simply because once you zoom out, a hand with the correct number of fingers looks like a featureless black blob. Too many lines from too far away. When I want the fingers to do something, you might notice they take different shapes.

The legs are an interesting one, mostly because no matter how many times people say they're 'too long' or 'too thin', they always look fine to me. I can't fix something if I don't perceive it as broken - especially when my body shapes are based off of actual body diagrams, except for my personal stylisation.

The head shape thing? I have a few different head shapes, it's just if they're too noticeable, they tend to be, well, too noticeable. I have square-jawed and more round-jawed male templates, for instance. Also, reshaping the features for drastically different head shapes is finnicky, and ultimately not worth it in my opinion.

It's kinda unfortunate, but I think most of the problems people have with my style are things I actually either can't avoid, or are things I enjoy.

Mad Mask
2011-02-19, 09:01 PM
Don't get too self-assured, the only artist that never improves is a dead artist. With all due respects, you're still at the beginning of your artistic journey. :smallsmile:

Seriously now, I too have to agree about the legs; they are too widely spaced. Look at this silhouette of the female body (http://catalog.nucleusinc.com/imagescooked/10480W.jpg). The legs actually converge towards the body, and the space between them is akin to a triangle. (Finding board appropriate artistic figures is hard, do a google image search for more results.)

Also, I'm unsure of the perspective you're putting your characters is. The head is in a three-quarter view, the body and the arms are from a front view and the legs are from a side view. I would personally recommend a three-quarter perspective, but the important thing is being consistent, even with a cartoony style.

Your arms are currently very flat-looking, much like a paper doll. Real arms don't just move in one direction like a child making a snow angel; they can also rotate towards and away from the viewer.

Regarding the hands, how about you smoothen the tips of the fingers, making them more rounded instead of pointed?

Darklord Bright
2011-02-19, 09:11 PM
Unfortunately, I can't have both wide hips and close-together legs in this style.

It's also worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, there is a gap between people's legs. Not as wide as what I've got, but that's mostly a mixture stylistic choice and inability to actually close them up and keep the hips with inkscape templates.

Also, I have stated already that I'm improving my pen and paper art, but my Inkscape is something which I do not personally wish to drastically change anymore. So I'd appreciate it if you didn't start telling me I "have a long way to go!" and "not to stop here!", since I've already explained this.

As for perspective, the whole thing is mid-way between 3/4 and front-on. The legs are not "Side view" in any way shape or form.

As for the arms, I'm not going to completely redraw a forearm just to have it facing at a different angle when I don't need to. I appreciate the thoughts, Mad, but I'm totally honest right now that I am completely happy with what I'm doing, and would appreciate it if there wasn't this presumption that I suddenly need a whole bunch of artistic advice out of nowhere, when I've previously stated that Inkscape is what I do for fun, not like my pen-an-paper art. Please? :smallsmile:

Mad Mask
2011-02-19, 09:46 PM
I am not trying to attack you, denigrate your art or turn you into a zombie. I'm just offering my help in an attempt to help with your style. Why are you so dead-set against improving your Inkscape art? :smallconfused:

Anyway, I have to disagree upon your anatomical observations. Your legs are from a side view; else the feet would be pointing towards the viewer rather than lying flat on the side. However, on a second inspection, the chest seems fine.

Concerning the arms (and much of your Inkscape art, I now realise), I'm not sure I understand your point-of-view. You're essentially saying that you don't want to expand the amount of effort necessary to draw your figures in deep space foreshortening, an unnecessary aspect of art to you, but in fact one of the most important facets of drawing. In the words of Donald Holden, "Drawing the figure in deep space foreshortening is not a mere technical trick, [...] it's the essence of figure drawing as perfected by Leonardo, Michelangelo, [...] and the other great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque eras."*

Once again, I am confused. :smallconfused:

*From Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Figure Drawing, a book I heartily recommend.

2011-02-19, 11:45 PM
EDIT: Critique retracted.
I've been watching this thread for quite a while now and am a bit concerned with where this seems to be heading. So I'm throwing in my proverbial two cents. Pardon the intrusion. ^_^

Quoted for reference:


Here we see your interpretation (or more aptly, chronicling) of your Inkscape art style evolution.

I would like to focus on the figures (starting from left) 4, 5 and 6.

4 represents your deviation from the OotS format, adding definition to the body and neck. 5 sees the added thickness on your arms and legs, the changing of the head shape, and the simplification of hand digits to mitten-like form. 6 is the definitive departure to OotS, with marked muscular structure and the three digit hand design. And that's where the problem starts.

I think, and if I read Mad Mask correctly he would agree, that the issue being pointed out here is that your art style violates the verisimilitude of form.

The issue with your style is that, while your form is decidedly more advanced, you still operate on OotS's rules of verisimilitude which, sadly, no longer holds true for you. Where OotS could get away with sideways feet, you can't because you have decided to add mass and definition to your legs. Your musculature now demands that you either draw your feet accordingly (not twisted 90 degrees to the right/left), or you rework your figure's mass and musculature to represent your sideways feet properly. As for the hands, you wished to forgo the mittens form in favor of the claws when the mittens is the more appropriate technique with regards to your "fingers zoomed out become a mass of blob" problem. Once again, where OotS manages to get away with the three digit stick hands, you cannot because you have decided to add mass and must therefore conform to the viewer's notion of the hand. The wide-set legs I can somehow relate to, as it is a most common form in anime, but again it conflicts with the truthfulness of your design. Your torso implies a 3/4 orientation (by dint of one arm and one leg in front of the torso of figures 7 and 8) which would then imply that the gap between the legs is much wider than we see now. The calves and feet being of equal depth does not help the perspective, too.

By figure 6, you have left the realm of the "cardboard world" and are now subject to the rules of form in space. Your form currently enters Uncanny Valley, where things just look "wrong". Now it is entirely possible that this is exactly where you wish to be, to which I will advise against. The Uncanny Valley might be unsettling (which is ALWAYS a tempting appeal to artists) but it is never beautiful. The mark of a successful art style is when it manages to pull itself out of the Uncanny Valley. Think Salvador Dali. He defies the people's expectations of form, but he does it in such a graceful and consistent way that the viewer is able to easily ride on to his perspective and suspend their disbelief more to accommodate this new reality. Yours is indeed unsettling and has great potential to be a distinct art style, but right now it is--to put it bluntly-- clumsy and inelegant.

And your reluctance to move forward is indeed puzzling. Do you think that if you advance, you won't be able to go back to your current style? An artist can have as many art styles as he can and wish to acquire. Nobody is forcing you to leave this style which you currently love so much. All we ask is that you do not stop your Inkscape there. Look for another direction. Translate your pen and paper art style to Inkscape as faithfully as you can. You'll be surprised to see the changes that arise when a style is transferred from one medium to another. Who knows, you might discover something that you'll love even more.

As an aside, your style reminds me of ball-jointed dolls. What I'm seeing right now, however, is more akin to rag dolls. Which one do you wish your art to be closer to? :smallsmile:

That is all. ^_^

Darklord Bright
2011-02-20, 12:56 AM
The problem is, quite simply, that I don't see a problem at all. I appreciate the time taken, but in the end I don't see a problem, and will thusly ignore it.

I don't see the 'Uncanny Valley'. I don't really see why it matters at all. I was, emphasis on was, having fun working on this, but the instant I start showing other people what I'm enjoying working with I get people telling me my art is just flat out 'wrong' and 'clumsy and inelegant'.

I'm sure it's not meant that way, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

I do try to adapt things, and alter bits and pieces to where they look better to me - but that's the thing. It looks better to me. Evidently what I like the look of is not what other people like the look of - which would be fine enough if I didn't have people constantly telling me it was wrong to like my style of choice, or that their way would be a physical improvement from what I think is fine and enjoy.

Yes, I will slowly expand bits of the current templates to slowly patch up the holes that exist, but it's not because I'm being asked. I'm trying to make something easy to work with and still enjoyable for myself. The next step 'forwards' I make will take me into flat-out drawing with inkscape, if not simply because this is the mid-point between my actual style and my inkscape art - or as close as it can be without being dreadfully complicated and unfun to work with. This isn't something I want to do.

I'm sorry if it disappoints you to learn that I'm doing things the way I want to do them, but that's how I work. I'm sorry if there is some perception that my vector art is trying to in any way emulate the great painting masters - since I'm afraid it is not. That's really all there is to it. Can we please move on to something else?

2011-02-20, 06:22 AM
Ah, well then I sincerely apologize for any offense incurred, however inadvertently. I was under the impression that you wish for constructive criticisms, maybe in the wordings of your first post inviting questions and whatnot.

Let me thus retract my previous critique and allow me to say instead: Very nice! Your artwork is very unique and something which I haven't come across before. It actually inspired me to try something different. Please keep it up and post more! ^_^

On another note, can you do this style in various positions, say sitting on the ground, sitting on the chair, lying down, legs crossed, arms crossed, etc.? Part of the critiques so far is based upon the limited pose (usually just standing) by which the style is presented. That feeling of "wrongness" can be easily dispelled when the style proves to be capable of portraying a variety of positions, implying that it has, in fact, a very solid and thus believable form.