Making of a Heroine

In designing production artwork for use inside the game, I feel compelled to take extra care and make sure all the details are sorted out. For Arashi’s case, one question I get (and sometimes think about myself) is regarding how her armor is actually put together. So here I thought I’d walk through the process of how I finish a piece of art.

All the phases of a drawing of Arashi
All the phases of a drawing of Arashi

First, we start with her base model. One of the key pieces worn under her armor is her dark leotard, so that’s the first phase I’ll share with you here. From there, we add her gloves and leggings, made from a padded cloth. Then, in the third step, her first pieces of armor, her do-maru and nodowa. Arashi isn’t a full samurai yet, more like an enthusiast of them, so her outfit is basically replicated from the Kinshutai armor worn by those she is apprenticing under. They don’t have women in the Kinshutai, so there is no suitable armor for her to copy available. She then has some added protection added and straps to keep her do-maru sturdy. Metallic pieces are attached to her gloves and leggings, as well as guards for her chest and shoulders, then she gets her kyahan/sune-ate boots and reinforced kote gloves. Finally, her kasazura and haidate are added, giving the appearance of a skirt, but still retaining the elements of samurai armor. Her last rough sketch adds her bokuto and her decorative cape.

With the rough draft complete, it is time to start finalizing lines. At the third stage, I realize that I don’t like something about her expression, so I change the focus of her gaze more towards the viewer. Also, for fun I added cat ears on this drawing, since my friend was talking about catgirls at the time. Now that the lines are solidified and thickened, it is time for the final flat color layer. After keeping everything between the lines, I realize that her haidate and cape are too light (I had this problem last February, so I must have been using her previous key colors before I darkened them by mistake).
Then all that’s left is shading and airbrushing each color to reach the end result. This drawing is intended to be used as her base dialog drawing, so being a bit more detailed and accurate was fine with the time budget. I hope you like her and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share!

2 thoughts on “Making of a Heroine

  1. I’m always curious about artists an their processes, so an interesting read!

    How long would an illustration like this normally take you? What sort of resolutions do you prefer working at?

  2. I can finish a full portrait in about 12 hours from the rough sketch to final coloring. If there’s design elements I haven’t quite worked out it might take a little longer. Usually I stick to 600dpi images at roughly 4200×6000 pixel dimension, but if it’s pixel art that I’m working on for sprites I don’t need that much fine detail and go to lower resolutions and don’t worry as much about the really small details.

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