creating poses

I decided to do a little video of creating poses in different ways :) Do you have another interesting technique of creating poses? Please tell me in the comments :D

Lighting with Copics (part 1)

First of all - Copics aren't an easy tool to color something. It's really hard to get their full potential out of them, but I'll try to explain how to get it. I don't have many copics myself (around 40 in total - which is honestly not much :D) but since Copics are based on alcohol, they're easily mixable with other colors. They're also a great combination with pencils, pastels or even airbrush! For this little step-by-step I only use Copics, some standard soft pastels (the really cheap ones XD) and a white Ink marker for all the highlights.
So let's start by doing some lines, which we can later color :D

Lichtsetzung mit Copics

Allem vorran - Copics sind nicht das leichteste Werkzeug um einem Bild Farbe zu geben. Es ist recht schwer deren ganzes potential auszuschöpfen, aber ich versuche zu erklären wie das am Besten geht. Ich habe nicht besonders viele Copics (ca. 40 insgesamt - was wirklich nicht viel ist :D) aber da Copics eine Alkohol-Basis haben, lassen sie sich recht leicht mit anderen Farben mischen. Außerdem lassen sie sich sehr gut mit Buntstiften, Pastellkreide oder Airbrush verbinden! Für dieses kleine Step-by-Step benutze ich nur Copics und ein paar Standard Pastellkreidestifte (die richtig günstigen XD) sowie einen weißen Marker für alle Highlights.
Lasst uns also erstmal mit den Linien anfangen, die ich dann colorieren kann :D

I had no special paper or anything, this was just plane copy-paper from my printer :) I really like it when copics have more of a water-color effect so I had to use thin paper, that soaks up everything, but since I'm very bad at lighting with traditional materials, I always start like this:

Ich hatte kein spezielles Papier oder so, das war einfach nur Kopier-Papier aus meinem Drucker :) Ich mag es, wenn Copics mehr einen Aquarell-Effekt haben, also musste ich dünneres Papier nehmen, das alles aufsaugt und da ich immer etwas Probleme mit Lichtsetzung bei traditionellen Materialien habe, fange ich immer folgender Maßen an:

It's a quick painting in Manga Studio (about 15 - 20 minutes) so I don't have to remind myself what I wanted to do with the lights. Especially when you work the whole week and just have time for (personal) drawings on the weekends. So after that I just work through that piece. I already explained in one of my older postings how I think about lighting itself, so I'm gonna skip that part and just show you some of the steps :)

Ich mache ein schnelles Farbschema in Manga Studio (ca. 15-20 min) damit ich nicht immer wieder vergesse, was ich mit dem Licht geplant hatte. Gerade dann, wenn man die ganze Woche arbeitet und nur Zeit für (eigene) Zeichnungen am Wochenende hat ist das ganz praktisch. Also nachdem ich das Schema fertig habe, arbeite ich es nach und nach ab. In einem meiner älteren Posts habe ich schonmal erläutert wie ich über Lichtsetzung denke, also überspringe ich den Teil und zeige euch nun einige Zwischenschritte des Bildes :)

As you can see, I already start with a lot of colors. With 4 copics permenantly in my hand and 4 to 5 lying around, which can be easily switched everytime, I'm doing just one "type" of material, e.g. the girls hair. Thinking in "pieces" is always easier for me than thinking about the whole ( that's what I do the PC-colo for - so first the whole than the details ;p). Since copics are multipling I also start with the brightest color and then get darker by appling more and more different dark levels. What I also like to use: my socalled "third color" You have one color e.g. braun, you have the shadow-color e.g. greybrown and you have the third color that gives your coloring that kind of touch you may have searched for ;)

Wie ihr seht fange ich direkt mit recht vielen Farben an. Mit 4 Farben permanent in der Hand und 4 bis 5 die einfach rumliegen und jederzeit ausgetauscht werden können, fange ich mit einem "Material" an. Wie zum Beispiel den Haaren des Mädchens. In "stücken" zu denken ist immer einfacher für mich, als an das große Ganze zu denken (das ist ja der Grund, warum ich mit PC colo angefangen hatte - also erst das Genze, dann die Details ;p). Da Copics addierend wirken fange ich immer mit der hellsten Farbe an und arbeite mich dann immer weiter ins dunkle. Außerdem benutze ich gerne die von mir benannte "dritte Farbe". Ihr habt eine Farbe z.B. braun, ihr habt die Schatten-Farbe z.B. dunkel-braun und ihr habt die dritte Farbe, die eurer coloration den gewissen Touch geben, nach der ihr vielleicht gesucht habt ;)

unfortunately I lost some of the photos I made with my camera during the process, so I just can show you what's left (photo's taken with my phone -_-"). That's why I show you the progress of the fur. Actually I couldn't decide which kind of fur I wanted to use - so I ended up using a more curled and a straight hairtype. I didn't wanna use both, but it just happened ^^" so I usually start with the light and shadow-color that's also what I did with the face and the hair here:

Leider habe ich einige der Fotos verloren, also kann ich euch nur zeigen, was ich noch gefunden habe (schlechte Fotos, die ich mit meinem Handy gemacht habe -_-"). Deshalb zeige ich euch ein paar Schritte des Fellstoffes. Tatsächlich konnte ich mich nicht wirklich entscheiden welche Art von Fellstoff ich wollte, also habe ich ein mehr gekringeltes und ein mehr gerades Fellstück gewählt. Ich wollte eigentlich nicht beide nehmen, aber es passierte einfach ^^" und so fange ich mit der Hellen- und der Schattenfarbe an und das selbe mache ich dann mit dem Gesicht und den Haaren:

so everything else got lost :( I'm so terribly sorry! But I'm trying to do antoher - more detailed - making of next time! Promised! :)

Here's the finished picture :)

Alles andere ist verloren :( Es tut mir so unendlich leid! Aber ich versuche demnächst ein neues - detailierteres - Making Of zu machen! Versprochen! :)

Hier das fertige Bild :)

Fun with sculpting! How to Ludroth!

First - I'm not a good sculpter. I never learned how to properly sculpt, so if you have any suggestions what I can do better after reading this step-by-step, I would be really thankful to hear them :) Hopefully you'll find this entertaining anyway :D

So let's start by showing some materials I used. For this I wanted to use white modeling clay, but there was just the original sculpey (usually I prefer to use super sculpey, because it's a softer clay than this, but it's a personal thing ;p). Other materials I used: thin wire (the green ones are a bit more solid than the silver ones), thick green wire, aluminium wrap, some transparent solid wire I found in the hardware store (and ended up never using it, but I'll explain what I wanted to use it for) and some starter sculpting utensils you found in any art supply store. Oh, and some nippers to nip of the wire ;)
Since the clay is also a bit "greasy" when stying in one place, I also used a piece of paper for the ground.

At first I cut off a long piece of the thick green wire and wrap the aluminium around it as I form the body of the creature.

I started putting some clay around it and here I also made my first mistake ;) I forgot to add some wire for the feet attached to the body, which resulted in them falling off a bazillion times :/ but I'm still learning, right? ;p

The first details are carved in :D for that I used the wooden knife and the pointy-metal-thingy (you can see lying there at the lower right corner) which are both in the starter-kit :D

As I progressed I added more details by wrapping some more aluminium around wires and attaching them on the body - since the scupley package says that you shall use the aluminium foil for every object that's thicker than 6mm (0.2 inches). I also attached my thick green wire again for the front feet and as you can see one of the feet are lying on a sellotape. There I wanted to use the thick transparent wire to hold the foot, but it turned out not needed ^^" (see at the end)

Here you see one of my many, many failures of the foot falling of XD and some progression in the head and the mane :) 

Finished and ready for baking! :D At this point I was really afraid. This was supposed to be a gift and I always imagined it to explode in the oven XD so I took many, many picture, in case of explosion :)

Finished the baking - it didn't explode :D yay!
ah, yeah, the sculpey-package says to bake 15 min at 130°C (260°F) but I don't think it's enough ö_Ö I did it anyway and it was still a bit soft at SOME places - not everywhere. Next time I'll try to bake a little longer :) A friend also suggested to cook it in boiled water, but to be honest, I'm a bit afraid about that, too XD (will it explode? you never know…)

Time to paint! :D for this step it's sometimes better to hire someone who has many years of experience and some better tools and knowledge (I don't have both, but I did it anyway ;p).
I have an airbrush-pistol so I did the groundlayer with a mix of some yellow and green :) For airbrush it's always important to start with the brightest color and then get darker and darker as you progress, except you have acrylics in your pistol which are covering.

After the ground layer I added the details with a usual brush (I had a really thin one and a bristle brush for the effects on the mane)

And finally I decorated him :) For that I visited my mom, because she has always very nice ideas for decorating (well, it's her job, so she's much more creative than me in that case ^^"). That way we found a nice solution for  the front-foot, which was still braking at that point, so we glued it on to the wood and stapled some plastic-leaves under it :D

TADAAAA - finished :D

I hope you liked my step-by-step and see you soon for more step-by-steps from drawings again XD


it's all about contrast … part 2

There are so many different types of painting a picture and it's not just split up into the medium, but also the technique. Today I'll show you one of my techniques - I have more than this one, but they depend on the composition of the picture, or the mood I wanna convey and so on.
It's been a while since I uploaded my Part 1 Tutorial, but now I can finally show you the finished version of my little tutorial picture:

When I first decide on drawing a picture, there  are several things I think about first. And it all has to be clear with the first color-test I'm making:

This took about 10 minutes and it's pretty rough, but as you can see the mood and all the colors I want to use are already there. When I think about painting something, it always looks a bit like on a film-set. There are some bright orange lights and some darker blue lights and so on.

That's the part which take the longest - to think about the right lighting. Everything else is just "work" - to add details and to blend the colors into each other but that's just the main part, I guess. There's something else I'd like to use: Every objekt is reflecting light, which means that all the objekts beneath it are lit by this objekt (just a tiny bit, of course)

There are some skin-colors on the chest, some tiny blue reflections from her chest on her skin, and so on. That's very important for a soft blending and for having a more realistic picture :)
Another thing is the highlights (or light-accents) you can see e.g. on Korra's hair, her cheek, or her breast, etc.

I also prepared a little video for you. It's a bit embarassing, but I hope you enjoy it somehow :D (my english suuuucks ~_~"...)

"Schattenspringer"-Cover Presentation from Vicky Danko on Vimeo.

That was all the magic behind my coloring with a digital medium. Maybe I'm doing a traditional one, too, but right now I have to do some other things ;)

See ya!

It's all about contrast! ...Part 1

As an artist you hear things like "it's missing some contrast" or something like that very, very often. For me personally this was always a sentence I didn't understand, because I always used contrast in my pictures. So I think some of you think/ thought the same and so I'm trying to explain it today :)

When people say "it is missing contrast" they don't mean contrast most of the time. Well, maybe they mean contrast, but what they actually whant to say is 'you need more variety!'. Variety is something very crucial if you want to do interesting drawings/ animations/ etc. 
Let me explain it on some examples I googled for you ;)

So the easiest and most known contrast is obviously black and white. But even with a simple "color" like black and white you can add variety to make a picture more appealing.
This example shows not just contrast in light and shadows, but also in body "movement", facial position/expression and even contrast in stroke width! Especially the width of a line is something very important when expressing depth in a picture:

Thick lines = Foreground
Thin lines = background

This picture from my own gallery is a good example, too:
Thick lines in the foreground (hand), thin lines in the far back (headband). This also brings me to my next contrast:

Contrast in placement

This is not just about posing, but placing details like hairs and creases the "right" or appealing way. So I cut out a little example for you:

So placing some hairs right next to each other with different types of thickness or length makes hair look more appealing to us. There is no light-contrast in this little cutout, but since it has variety in it's structure it's something we like to look at :)

So, if you please take a look at this example I prepared for you :)

So this is (hopefully ^^) appealing to you, because I used the types of contrast I already explained, but of course there are a few more! :) (please ignore the monster in the upper left corner - it's not finished, yet XD)

If you had art or animation-lessons before, you probably already heard about "lines of action". When talking about lines of action, it'll be 
referred most of the time to poses. They can also be referred to placement, as well.

The red lines are my "lines of action", but as you can see they're crossing my blue circles, which are the points of interest I (the artist) want you (the audience) to look at. So placing points of interest in a specific line leads the eye and so it is not just easy but also comfortable to look at.
As you can see, I ignored the monster in the background, only because I know how I want to color it and it's going to be dark, so that's why my monster isn't and won't be a point ot interest when you first look at it.


Coloring a picture is irrefutable one of the hardest thing an artist can face. There you have to use everything I said now with a lot more colors than just two. Black and white is hard enough, but I'll try to reduce your fear. Well, I'm always frightened by coloring my pictures, if you are not, than you are a much better artist than me :D

Let's start with an example most of you started with: two-color-shading (or 
Cel-Shading if used in 3D ^v^)
So basically cel-shading (well, I use this now for drawing, too, makes it easier for me ;) ) is one color, e.g. red and it's darker or brighter sister dark/bright red.
But you can take that even further! You can not just use two colores, you can let them fade in one another! Awesome! My favourite cel-shading artist can show you what I mean:

kishishiotani at deviantart

So you see for example the turquoise hair as the ground color and the the darker strand for defining the hair and the light-direction. But not only the darker version of turquoise, but a soft gradient from bright to dark defines the light perfectly. So, of course you have more than two colors in the gradient, but I wanted to point out that the "simplest" shading can be gorgeous, when added some contrast even in two colors.

This was my part 1 of my contrast "tutorial" :D
Part 2 will be updated, when I finished my example-picture from above XD

I really hope this helped some of you and there's not just confusion left... ^^"
Have a great week and see you soon!

newest reel!

finally I can show you my newest reel! ^__^

Vicky Danko - Animation Mentor Reel from Vicky Danko on Vimeo.

hope you liked it and see you soon! :D

Stewie Compilation

I always loved compilations from other animators and always wanted to do my own one. So this is what I tried to throw together :D Hope you like it!

Stewie Blaze - Compilation from Vicky Danko on Vimeo.

Just put on a cool shirt to be less embarassing and everything's alright ;D
I think I'm going to do some more of these in the future and cut them together!

Here's one of my favorite compilations from Jeff Gabor (awesome animator at Blue Sky)

I love this video! It's always inspiring and fun to watch - even the 100th time :D

Next day I'm going to update my reel, so be prepared for more funny things to watch ^__^/)~

Hope you all have a great time and stay inspired!