Acidgirl, making reference images for the purely imaginary.

As you all know I own a webcomic, Acidgirl. But for the past few months I’ve been letting it sit idle simply because I have been permanently emotionally, and physically exhausted. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working on it.

Some of that work has been based around tightening up the storyline, improving the characters, and above everything else improving my artwork. And yup, you guessed it, the latter is what we will be discussing today.

One of the hardest parts of improving my artwork has been getting reference images which will not only stretch my abilities to their limits, and beyond, but also make me want to draw. This is made doubly difficult by the fact that most of the characters in, and planned, for Acidgirl are, sort of, based on my close friends.

What do I mean by sort of?

Obviously ignore the clothing, but very much how I see him in my head.

Knower how he really looks, ignore the clothing, but very much how I see him in my head.

Well unless you’re sitting right in front of me, I don’t really remember what you look like. I’ll have a very vague sense of how you should look, but the image in my head is virtually always a world away from the reality. In a way, my mental images of the people I love, are very much idealised and more reflect how they make me feel, rather than how they actually look.

Now just try finding a Goddess damned reference image for that!

Well I did. Sort of.

There’s a game called Perfect World. It’s a pretty standard, though very fun, Korean grinding based MMORPG. But it’s character modeling system is quite simply ridiculously flexible. You can, with pretty limited skills and just a touch of patience, take a photo of anyone and recreate how they look before taking them out to hunt giant spiders. Or you could just take the way you see someone you love in your own mind, and make that a visible reality. And that’s what I decided to do. Better yet, because you have limited character slots inside the game, you can save a characters look as a template, that way minor characters can be easily stored, while leaving space for more detailed work on major characters.

The end result, as you can see above, is a somewhat cartoonish image, which can be rotated, and even posed in-game if you wish. Way above of course is Carl “Knower” Orten, based of course on my favorite boylesquer. His character model was created in under 20 minutes, and can be viewed from basically any direction.

And below is a potential image of a future character. (Yes is has catgirls, which is kind of just as well.) And while it is only a potential character model, it does show how much flexibility there is in the Perfect World system.

This one is really only potential.

This one is really only potential.

So with many of these, and a lot more practice my artwork should some day reach where I want it to be.

And yes, this does mean that my comic will be returning sooner, rather than later. I’m currently working on a few new pages, which will be uploaded as they are finished, for now I’m not going to put more pressure on myself than I can cope with. But I do fully intend to continue the story, taking webcomics to new heights of insanity.

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