6-Hera Syndulla

A Collection of Art Experiments

Although most of them came out of a whim, or because I was sick and had some down time, or else on a road trip and seeking to redeem the time.  🙂

So it turns out that I’ve drawn Ezra more than any other Rebels character (as of now), with drawings of Kanan taking second place.  Which is a bit odd, considering Kanan is my favorite character which may or may not be obvious, but I have a lot scenes, both from the show and from my imagination, that I want to draw.  So the ratios will probably balance out soon.

What’s really interesting is that before Rebels fan art, I never used to draw faces from the front.  It was too hard to get the proportions lined up and looking accurate to the character.  But front-view and almost-front-view angles account for about half of the portraits of Ezra I’ve drawn–and it’s actually not too hard!  And I’m learning tips and tricks about drawing from this angle, which I hope will carry over into my drawings of other fictional characters!  (I really need to get back to A Tale of Two Cities artwork…)

(Referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com.)

This is one of the drawings I started in the car (and finished once we got to my grandparents’ house).  Doing anything in the car, except listening to music and staring out the window, used to make me carsick–but oddly enough, drawing doesn’t.  Maybe it’s because I’m paying too much attention to my work to notice the scenery whizzing by.

I have a headcanon that Sabine draws while eating her meals (like I do sometimes.  Okay, a lot.)  I also have a headcanon that when she isn’t wearing her armor, she puts a brightly colored shirt over her black jumpsuit.  Which never happens in the show, but probably only because it would be too complicated to animate a variety of costume changes.

Ezra, grumpy because he is sick, and therefore not allowed to join the others on their mission.  Also, Kanan may or may not have confiscated his lightsaber so he would be less tempted to sneak after the crew…

(This is a scene out of my head, and not from the show.  🙂  )

A sketch to practice drawing Hera.  (Referenced from a screen cap from cap-that.com.)  I started this one in the car as well, but then we hit some winding mountain roads, and I did get carsick and had to quit until we got home.

Drawing of Poe that I did for Gingersnap’s birthday present–because once again, I was too sick to decorate an elaborate cake the way I usually do.

So this is the first artwork of 2018, and I drew it kinda on a whim.  I was playing Scrabble with my parents and brother Chris, and they were taking a long time to finish up their turns.  So I grabbed my sketchbook and started work on this.  And then finished it at 5:00 am the next morning, to do something slightly more productive than staring into space and bemoaning a second round of sickness.  🙂

It’s Kanan from Season 3, soon after A Plot Twist That Completely Wrecked The Fandom and shortly before Some Very Important Character Development.  Desperately trying to avoid spoilers here, though the picture itself is kind of a spoiler.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kanan deserves so much better than he gets.

(Also referenced from cap-that.com‘s fantastic collection, and no, they’re not sponsoring me.  I’m just raiding their gallery.  🙂 )

Sabine from Season 3.  I initially just wanted to color her hair, but Chris suggested I add touches of color to the rest of the drawing, rather than coloring one element and leave the rest monochromatic.  This was the result.  I’m still trying to decide whether I’m pleased with it; kinda, yes, but I definitely need to improve my colored pencil rendering.  🙂

(Guess where the reference photo came from.  Yay, you got it!–cap-that.com!)

One of my 2018 art goals is to learn to paint portraits in watercolor.  So here’s a portrait of Durant, although I painted it the other day because I was sick, and bored, and just wanted to paint something.

I suddenly realize that most of my depictions of Durant have him looking down at something.  Hmm, I’ll have to fix that….

Aaaaaand I finally finished my portrait of Thrawn!  Eh, sorta.  The humanoid species* are actually hard to draw–they’re close enough to human proportions that you think, “Oh, this’ll be easy”….but they’reactually just different enough that no, it’s not easy.  *headdesk*  It’s why I struggled to draw first Hera and now Thrawn (though I had no problems with Asohka.  Go figure.)

Anyway, this was kind of a commission from Chris, who really, really wanted me to draw Thrawn, and still really, really wants me to depict him in color.  And I really, really want to draw Thrawn in colored pencil particularly, but I have to improve my portraits of him first, and then improve my colored pencil technique.

*Thrawn is a Chiss

Testing out my colored pencils on the new drawing paper I got recently.

Painting various Star Wars species counts as  portraits in watercolor, right?  Of course right.  🙂

This was also done kinda on a whim, and for the same reasons as Durant’s portrait (sick/bored/wanted to paint).  The camera actually messed up the background; the colors are less blue and more red-violet/purple.  Other than that, I’m pleased with this one!  I actually think it turned out better than my pencil drawing…

And I definitely want to paint the rest of the Rebels characters now!

6-Hera Syndulla

Year-End Art Meme!

(Meant to post this closer to New Year’s; then the new year got off to a crummy start.  Still, better late than never!  🙂 )

Time to thumb back through the portfolio and either celebrate or cringe!  Or both.  Or get inspired to create better art.  Or get annoyed that the brand-new portfolio you bought yesterday is almost full thanks to the slough of Rebels fan art months from the last two months and I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to bring my personal problems into this.

Ahem.  I created and posted this meme last year, but I’ve updated and expanded it a bit since then.  It’s a good way to keep track of progress.  🙂  If you’re an artist, feel free to snag the tag and fill it out yourself!  Or, if you’re a writer, feel free to grab it and adapt it to the art of creative writing.  Go nuts, and have fun!


First piece of artwork finished in 2017

This was my attempt to draw more smoothly with colored pencils rather than the”sketchy” look with visible lines going everywhere.  Didn’t quite succeed…

Last piece of artwork finished in 2017

This quick drawing of Poe Dameron for Gingersnap’s birthday–because once again, I was sick and couldn’t decorate her birthday cake the way I usually do.  We’re very generous people, but we draw the line at sharing germs.  🙂

A new medium/style/technique you tried this year

I actually tried two new media this year!  Of the two, my favorite was…

…watercolor and gouache on toned pastel paper.  An odd combination, but it worked far better than I’d anticipated.  And it recreates the look of an old sepia photograph, which is cool.  I’d like to try other watercolor/pastel paper color combinations soon: indigo watercolor on blue paper,  green watercolor on green pastel paper, and see how those turn out!

Then I tried my hand at charcoal drawing…

…and I liked it well enough, though improving my charcoal technique isn’t my top art priority at the moment.  (This character is Lennox, from Empty Clockwork.)

A subject/medium/technique that took you out of your comfort zone

Drawing faces from the front was always a challenge–to the point that I was too nervous to try,  especially with characters I liked.  Because there was no way I would risk making Sydney Carton, or someone other literary hero, look like a humanoid-goblin-thing thanks to inexperience.  (#perfectionistproblems)  But drawing Rebels fan art forced me to try, and succeed, and even improve.  🙂  And oddly enough, about half my portraits of Ezra have been from  front or near-front angles.

The piece of artwork that others liked the most

Um…I’m not really sure!  I guess this one?

It’s a setting from Christine Smith’s The Nether Isle.

3 ways your artwork improved through 2017

I finally learned how to draw smoothly with colored pencils!  (Thanks to a book I picked up from Hobby Lobby.)  The technique requires a lot of layering and blending, but the results are definitely worth it:

I also improved the light and shadow in my pencil drawings–many of my earlier pictures didn’t have enough contrast and looked too pale.

(This character is Durant, from my story Gentle Fire.)

And, as mentioned before, drawing faces from the front.  🙂

Your personal favorite piece from 2017! (Explain why!)

This portrait of Ezra Bridger.  Not only did I capture an angle I’m not used to drawing, the picture turned out to look (a) very much like the Rebels  character and (b) in the realistic style I was shooting for just ignore the unfinished hands, please.  So yeah, definitely my favorite piece!

3 things to improve in your artwork in 2018

  1.   Um…probably more realistic-looking hands.  🙂  Along with more varied poses and facial expressions.
  2. My colored pencil technique and also my watercolor technique…the values in my paintings lately have been unbalanced and with poor contrast.
  3. And drawing more out of my imagination and not relying quite so much on reference photos.

3 new things to try in 2018 (such as styles, mediums, poses, backgrounds, characters to draw, contests to enter)

  1. Keep working with the watercolor/gouache/pastel paper combination (not exactly new, but still…)
  2. Painting watercolor on wood.  I found some pictures of that style the other day, and it looks really interesting.
  3. And I want to learn to paint people in watercolor…a daunting thought, but we’ll see how the process turns out!

What do you enjoy most about creating?

Both the process and the finished product (usually).  I also love being able to capture the characters and scenes from my imagination!

6-Hera Syndulla

More Rebels Fanart, Multiple Mishaps, & Concept Art

I’m still at it, and I still want my show back and may or may not still be mad at The Last Jedi for booting it off the TV schedule.  Also, I will not be seeing The Last Jedi, because when Chris returned from the theater today, he told me the movie wasn’t something I’d like.  If he’d thought that I would like it, I would have gone to see it, probably, but my initial misgivings were justified and I hate being right sometimes.  So that’s that.

Back to Rebels.  I am very scared that someone is going to be killed off before/during the Season 4 finale.  Most of the fandom is betting that the victim will be Kanan.  If that is the case, I will probably cry.  On the other hand, that seems like such an obvious plot device, that I wonder if the filmmakers will actually go with it–and due to Kanan being a mentor character (though he’s also a protagonist in his own right), the fandom predicted that he would be killed off in every new season.  Which didn’t happen.  Kanan was put through a physical and emotional shredder each season, definitely, but he’s still with us.

And yet there’s just enough uncertainty that I’m very scared.  And going into a nervous breakdown over the hiatus.  I may also be taking this way too seriously.  🙂

To balance out all this nail-biting panic, I like to draw funny stuff–because, let’s face it, the SpaceFam is just as quirky and realistic as any family here on earth.  So Hera discovers, with some annoyance, that the rest of the crew hijacked her grocery list.  And kudos to anyone who can figure out which handwriting belongs to each character!  Answers at the bottom of the page.  🙂

Mama Hera comforting her Space Baby (i.e. Ezra).  For some reason, the Prince of Egypt soundtrack perfectly fits the Rebels show–at least in my mind. I’m not sure why–the animation styles are totally different; the stories are different (parallels exist here and there, but you have to stretch both situations to get them to match up), they were produced by different studios, have different voice actors, etc.  However, after listening to the Prince of Egypt soundtrack 383 times, and watching Rebels 135 times, I gave up wrestling with the logic and just ran with the idea.  🙂  These particular lyrics are from the number “Deliver Us” (and if you listen to nothing else from the soundtrack, listen to that song!), and they sound like the kind of thing Hera would say.

Also, have I mentioned Twi’leks are hard to draw?  Hera still looks a little disproportionate to me…

Ezra is such a cutie.  🙂

Another Rebels/Prince of Egypt crossover.  I almost gave up on this piece because after Attempt #224 to draw Hera correctly, I was almost literally blowing steam out of my ears (did I mention Twi’leks are hard to draw?!?!?!?!).  But then I looked up some Rebels screencaps (from cap-that.com), and studied the reference photos closely–and tried again.  Had to erase and redraw Hera’s face a few more times, but it wasn’t too long after that she looked semi-correct.  And so I’m content.  🙂  Actually, I’m glad I didn’t give up on this piece because it turned out beautifully!  The lyrics are from the number “When You Believe”–and quite frankly, that song fits Hera perfectly.

Somebody stop me from doing these crossovers.  Actually, don’t, because they’re too much fun!  Kanan vs. Inquisitor #1, a minion of the Empire trained to hunt down the remaining Jedi.  The lyrics are from the Prince of Egypt number “Playing with the Big Boys”, and that song actually does fit most of Kanan’s interactions/fights with this guy.  (So maybe the soundtrack doesn’t fit the whole Rebels story, and does match individual situations…)

Buuuut I don’t want to draw the Inquisitor again, ever.  He’s freaky to look at and even freakier to draw.  Emmet was incredibly helpful, however, as I muscled my way through this, critiquing how I depicted our dear Sith employee, and how well I’d drawn the lightsabers, and the overall look of the piece.  (I used a screencap from cap-that.com as reference.  And I may or may not have looked at nearly all the Rebels galleries or checked 2,385 screencaps for other art references.)

Kanan’s messy hair was oddly satisfying to draw.  Maybe because it never falls out of place in the cartoon, a break from reality that drives me a bit nuts?  (Actually, it’s because individual strands of hair would be too hard to animate, but whatever.)

So um…what can I say about this?  A scene from the Season 2 finale “Twilight of the Apprentice.”  I can’t decide if I love this or hate it because KANAN DESERVED SO MUCH BETTER HE’S BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH AND DESERVES THE HAPPIEST OF ENDINGS ahem, was that out loud?   But on the other hand, the artwork turned out really well, though I added or removed aspects from the scenery for dramatic effect (e.g. Kanan’s lightsaber is actually not in the frame during this shot of the episode).

(Referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com.)

I randomly wanted to draw Sabine with her Season 2 hair–she gets a new hairstyle/color each season, though I noticed there’s always blue/purple in the mix somewhere…

(Referenced from another screencap from cap-that.com., and I may or may not spend too much time browsing their Rebels gallery for reference/inspiration…)

Emmet pointed out that I need to draw Captain Rex, to add to my collection of profile portraits.  So I did.  🙂  I now draw these portraits facing the opposite direction as the characters appear in the reference photo–that is, Rex was facing the other direction in the screen cap.  It’s a good exercise to train my eye to assess the proportions and shapes of the face rather than just copying directly from the picture.

(Referenced from another screencap from–you guessed it–cap-that.com.)

And then Chris said I needed to draw Asohka Tano, so here she is!  And I am beyond thrilled with how this turned out–I was honestly scared to attempt Asohka because of the complexity of her head and the patterns/stripes on her face and head.  And they’re not even 100% accurate, but her features (a) look like Asohka, and (b) I didn’t want to spend half the night erasing and refining stripes.  So Clone Wars fans, please don’t murder me.  🙂

(Referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com.)

On a totally different note, I mentioned in this post that Christine Smith gave me permission to draw art inspired by her story’s aesthetic, and I have now finished a couple pieces of concept art!  You can read about her story here, and read snippets from the draft here!

This is graphite and white pencil on toned pastel paper.  It was also my plan B, because I had finished a gorgeous drawing of this exact same scene in one of my small sketchbooks.  I was pleased with it, so the next step was to pull out the page and scan a copy into the computer.

So then this happened:

I was less astounded by the rip and more by the fact that I’ve literally never torn my paper taking it out of the sketchbook.  In 6 years of drawing, this was the first accident of that sort.  (Priorities, no?)  Taping the paper proved impossible–the rip was too visible, and so I finally traced the old picture to create new line art and rendered the scene on pastel paper.

Ruins in a forest.  There was a mishap with this one too; I started painting the scene, but didn’t lay down my values correctly.  To get the lights and darks to stand out as they should, I added layers and layers of paint…which eventually turned the layers “chalky” and not transparent the way watercolor should be.  Hoo boy.  Though I’d been painting for hours, and it was 4:00 p.m., I prepared new line art as soon as I realized my first picture couldn’t be saved.  And started painting Version #2 with some trepidation–but it turned out much better!  At least until the scanner ruined the quality of the colors.

So, have any of you readers seen Rebels?  Do you have a favorite picture from this batch?

…..

Okay, the answers for the handwriting mystery: the items “waffles” and “caf” (coffee, basically) are in Hera’s handwriting.  Then the others take over; the explosives and paint requests are Sabine’s handwriting; the droid restraining bolts request is in Zeb’s handwriting; and the earmuffs and meilooruns request was Ezra’s (though that last item was also a prank).  And Kanan’s handwriting is at the bottom of the page–not requesting a grocery item, but a little peace and quiet aboard the Ghost.  🙂

6-Hera Syndulla

Artwork Post – Star Wars: Rebels Edition

Also known as Brace Yourselves Because Christine Is Going All-Out Fangirl Now (you have been warned! 🙂 )

So, in my last artwork post, I mentioned I’d been sucked into two different fandoms; the second is Star Wars: Rebels, and that is the one I’m passionate about at the moment.  Actually, I’ve been a fan of Rebels for some time,  but what sent my passion into overdrive was the news that Season 4–the final season, moreover, and the one no doubt most heartbreaking–is on hold until after the release of The Last Jedi.

I’ll be upfront: I do not care about The Last Jedi, because Mark Hamill hinted he did not like how Luke Skywalker was written, and now because it preempted my show.  We’re not pleased, oh no Precious, not pleased at all. In fact, I meant to boycott the film, but then changed my mind and told Chris I’d go see it if he thought I would like it.  Though I’m betting Chris will come back from the theater and say, “Well, you’ll like this aspect, but you’ll definitely not like this one.”

In the meantime, Rebels is on hiatus, and I’m going nuts.  I’ve tried filling the void by looking up screen caps, head canons, and fan art.  And by creating head canons and fan art of my own.  And creating a Pinterest board for the show.  And binge-watching the available seasons.  And noticing new things about the characters and themes.  And talking enthusiastically about the show to anyone who listens.  Did I mention I want my show back?

Oh, and did I mention fan art?  *drops folder; sheets of drawings spill out*

Kanan Jarrus is my favorite character.  Also, he has a unique face structure that I wanted to capture in a realistic art style.  #artistproblems  Anyway, Kanan never finished his Jedi training (he was still a Padawan when Order 66 happened) and now lives in hiding from the Empire.  Well, sorta, given that his crew and motley space family causes trouble for the Empire wherever they go.  Way to keep a low profile; then again, nobody except his crew knows his true identity, and he apparently hasn’t used his lightsaber in years. So, way to hide in plain sight.

Kanan is cool because he maintains an odd combination of being relaxed and tightly wound (the latter more so when he doubts his abilities or he’s worried for someone).  He also has a protective instinct for the younger characters, yet trusts them to do their jobs (provided they’re not being reckless).  When they’re are being reckless, expect a hilarious yet-totally-relatable facepalm.  And then expect him to jump into the thick of things to pull the kids out of trouble.  While being a Deadpan Snarker to the nth degree.

Internally, however, he struggles with a lot of insecurity and scars from his past.  His master sacrificed herself so that he could escape during Order 66, and he was still a teenager when that happened.  13 years later, he still struggles with survivor’s guilt, believing himself a coward for running, even though his master ordered him to when the clones turned on them.  He also has massive self-confidence issues when it comes to training Ezra, is clearly stressed about the job, and repeats sayings/advice from the Jedi masters without fully comprehending their meanings.

Despite all that, Kanan is Team Dad and a father-figure for the younger characters, and though he gets stern or cranky when he’s worried for them, he is also very understanding.  His nickname in the fandom is Space Dad.  And I love it.  🙂

This is Ezra Bridger, street rat-turned-Rebel-fighter, youngest member of the crew, brave but reckless, determined but afraid of losing who he loves.  He’s tough and resourceful, but on the other hand, doesn’t always think things through.  Totally thinks he can handle business himself, but totally needs Space Dad Kanan to help him out a good deal.  Ezra’s fan nickname is Blueberry, because his hair often looks blue in the light, but I’ve dubbed him Space Baby.  🙂  (Even though he’s about 14 when the show starts.)

Just get used to Rebels fan art until I get my show back.  🙂  This is Hera Syndulla, pilot of the small Rebel crew, Team Mom to the younger characters, one of the most determined and resilient characters, and devoted to the idea of resisting the Empire.  On the other hand, she is definitely a mom-figure to the younger characters, sympathetic but firm, supportive of Kanan but also steps up to the plate herself to get stuff done.  She also pushes her crew to step up to the plate, and usually has a lot of faith in their abilities.  Unless they’re acting stupid.  Then expect her “mom voice” and a well-deserved rebuke.  On the other hand, don’t mess with her crew, especially the kids, or it will be the last thing you regret.  Hera’s fan nickname is Space Mom, and my sister Enkie dubbed her “Mama Hera” when we were first watching the show.

This character is Sabine Wren, and though I accidentally drew her looking vulnerable here, she’s really tough, both a demolitions expert and an artist.  Which is an interesting combination.  Actually, Sabine is vulnerable beneath her tough exterior; though still a teenager, she made a lot of mistakes that resulted in her family’s disowning her.  And Sabine is an odd combination of cautious and reckless because of it, and she does have trust issues.

I still need to draw Zeb and the droid Chopper, the last two members of the crew, but I can’t find a picture of Zeb that I like enough to use as reference.  Once I do, the last two members of the crew will get their portraits done.  🙂  In the meantime…

…have a happy Kanan.  Happy Kanan is good.  🙂

I tried to add Hera in the picture, but her features weren’t turning out right.  Twi’leks are hard to draw.   Maybe I’ll go back and try again later, but for now, this picture goes in the folder of shame unfinished pictures folder.

Kanan warming up with his light saber before starting to train Ezra.  But he’s not too sure of himself, hence the stiff pose.  As I re-watch the show, I noticed that Kanan is good at using his light saber to deflect blaster bolts and cut through stuff–but he’s not so good at sword-to-sword combat with various ex-Jedi/sSith characters.  Which is good continuity, given his backstory.

On a totally different note, I am thankful for my brothers’ help with this drawing: Chris critiqued my depiction of the light saber and patiently put up with my thrusting my sketchbook in his face every few minutes to get feedback.  And Emmet posed for me so I could sketch Kanan’s left hand (and also pointed out that Kanan’s light saber comes in two pieces that have to be connected before he can use it, so I filed away the information for future reference.  🙂 )

Ezra in a pensive mood.  I can’t believe how well this one turned out; faces from the front are hard (though I’ll get better with practice), and on top of that, I used a screencap from show–which is animated–for reference.  Long story short, this is my new favorite drawing.  🙂

Strike that; maybe this one is my favorite.  🙂  I wanted to draw Sabine’s brightly colored hair from the moment I started these portraits…but I also wanted her to be recognizable in my initial drawing by her face structure, not her iconic dyed hair.  But here, I let myself go all out–and her colored armor was also fun to draw!  I love that Sabine paints/decorates nearly everything she encounters.

One thing I love about Rebels is the protectiveness Kanan has toward others…particularly his Padawan.  And the Les Mis lyrics fit the dynamic, so here’s Kanan, thinking over the difficulties the kid will face in joining the Rebel crew, and wishing a better world for him.  Meanwhile, Ezra is conked out because he actually feels safe now, as opposed to be constantly being on alert while living on the streets.

FEEEEEELSSSS.

This was supposed to be a doodle and ended up being a detailed drawing.  Ezra is so cute and adorable.  Even when he’s being fierce.  I just want to give him a hug.

So now I’m curious: have any of you readers seen Star Wars: Rebels?  If so, what do you think?  Favorite character?  Favorite episode? (Twilight of the Apprentice is mine, hands, down, from Season 2, even though it also breaks my heart.)  Any predictions on where Season 4 will go?