Each year −more or less− I try to paint a Pepper&Carrot artwork for the holidays.
So here is one for 2022. I'm still doing my drawing researches and studies, so I took a break this week and finished this piece.
You'll see in this artwork where I am right now in my researches: I stretch a bit more my style for the shapes and volumes to something more cartoony. The exagerated facial expression of Pepper and the design of the dragon here is a perfect example of that. You are probably familiar with this aspect of my work, because design like the "Dragoncow" of Episode 3 or many episode of Pepper&Carrots have this type of designs. I unfortunately abandoned this way to design things over the last years to draw more realistic and with adult proportion my characters. "Episode 34: The Knighting of Shichimi" is a good example of this other possibility I have. I'm trying to find a good in-between. Tsukasa Hojo, one of my favorite Manga author, really succeed at drawing his characters sometime as super deformed, sometime very cartoony, and sometime very adult and serious. So, that's probably a key here: to stop worrying about the design consistency of the character accross the panels, and deform them to serve the story and the tone of the panel.
Another aspect of my research is a big desire to totally drop the line-art or line visible (even painted) around the volumes. That's a constant in all my recent training, and I had no idea how to make things to work for the happy/bouncy/humor shapes without any 'comic lines'. When the volumes are more adult, I have no problem about it, but in case of cartoony design, I had many failures of rendering. There is not a lot of examples in this field, except for the CG 3D cartoons (Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks), so I had a look and I figured little tips here and there. Creasing a bit more the shadows totally occlused, lighting the scene as a Cinema set (rim light, athmospheric foc, depth of field blur, glow around over exposed objects). That made me reconnects with my old work of Art Director and Concept Artist when I worked on the Blender Movies.
All in all, that's probably a keyword that became more central in my brainstorming: "cinematic".
I'll continue to share soon, my adventures in this quest. Thank you for your patience about the episodes.