Revisit, pt. 1

One of the things I’ve believed an artist should do from time to time, is revisit an older piece and redo it to use as a barometer for how far one has grown in their skills. It can be quite surprising at times and for some, a helpful affirmation that yes, you are improving as an artist.

Or if you’re art blocked to a point where the usual means aren’t working, it’s at least something to help break out of it.

Sometimes, it’s because you feel like doing it.

tl;dr: There’s a lot of valid reasons for doing the exercise.

My typical reason is a sort of “want to see how much I’ve improved” (spoiler: I’ve barely improved at all since I started posting art online) and “take that, ‘what I imagined vs. how it turned out’ meme!”

Did this just recently, in fact!

My fan redesign of Sweet Bee from “She-Ra: Princess of Power”.
Left is 2022, Right is 2002.

… I feel very, very old.

That said, it’s one thing to redo a simple character pin-up picture. Those in of themselves are easy enough to do, though not any less impressive.

When you decide to redo something with a background, which is what I plan on doing with this one…

2005 v. 2006

Yeah, big fat “oof” right there.

The image in question was done back in 2005 for, of all things, a really, really terrible F-Zero fan fic (that, thankfully, is no longer on the internet because I have a tendency to DFE every few years). Scene in question was the GX/AX character, Lily Flyer getting into a fight with some bad guy person in a junkyard, which was in no way no how ripped off from the entire Ord Mantell sequence in ‘Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire’.

(it totally was)

It was, at the time, something I was pretty proud of. I didn’t really do many backgrounds and perspective was a concept I often struggled with: programs nowadays that offer perspective grids/rulers (Clip Studio Paint and Procreate) didn’t exist and 3D programs had various stigmas attached to them in the 2D art world (but that’s for another day) and aren’t as integrated into a digital artist’s workflow like it is now.

Seeing as I was largely self-taught, I had to go off of what my brain had picked up around me back then. And… it shows. Oooof.

A year later, new techniques were picked up and thus for some reason long forgotten to the mists of time, I redid the piece a second time.

ehhhh… somewhat better but not quite.

Disregarding the horrendous anatomy, it is a step up from the year before. Not by much, honestly. You can tell a beginner digital artist has discovered new techniques and toys when it’s glaringly obvious in a piece and boy, it’s glaringly obvious here: the shine, the drenched in warm color hues, and the ugly texture on the train bed. It lacks a sense of foreboding that the original suggested, since the perspective has changed from looking down at Lily to, uh, whatever the hell this is.

Over the years and fandoms, there’d been times where I entertained the idea of revisiting this and a couple others once more. Given that I’ve learned a lot since the then (though whether I’ve gotten better is up for debate), I think it’s about time I revisit this a third and final time.

For starters, I’m not sure I’ll be using Lily Flyer, though, since I’m not into F-Zero anymore and that’s a period of time I’ve put behind me otherwise, but I do have a player character in a game that is somewhat visually similar in terms of skin and hair color. So she might change.

I do plan on using a 3D program to to set up the scene and figure out proper lighting and perspective, most likely in Blender. How that’ll turn out remains to be seen, since I want this to have the look of a 2D animation scene (a painted/rendered background with a flat-shaded character) you’d see in some Netflix cartoon or anime.