DNAngel Fan Art

I made some fan art today. Well, I have a little trouble thinking of it that way, because I did copy it from manga panels. But I didn’t trace, and I did tweak, and I only referred to the originals while I was sketching. And anyway I only made it because I really want a DNAngel shirt and I couldn’t find any licensed ones for sale. So I drew this.

I was just planning on doing a sketch so I could copy it onto a shirt with my fabric paints, but then it was so cool, and I wanted to see it colored, and I forgot how much I enjoy digital inking. So I inked and colored and even did some quick highlights.

There are a lot of things I’ve read and seen that have influenced my new comic, but DNAngel played an especially important part, in that I was reading it when I decided “OK, I really need to design my own cool guy character.” So I got out a piece of paper and went about inventing Keller.

I like the art style of DNAngel when I look at it, but when I’m drawing it I realize how odd it looks to me. I’m trying to incorporate more manga elements in my drawing style, but the first rule of my style is clarity, and that often translates to realism. I like how this came out but it was very hard for me to get myself to draw Dark’s hair this way, because it makes so little sense in real world terms.

I’ve talked about the influences for Keller’s character in terms of personality, but not as much in visual terms. Dark was the first push, and that counts for a lot. The Sandman comics are also a definite source for his look. Morpheus is basically one of those pretty long-haired manga guys, except he happens to be in an American comic book, so he’s usually drawn in  a way that’s more similar to my natural drawing style. So that’s been helpful to have around. Also I think that’s where I got the idea to combine that visual type with the big boxy leather coat that looks like it came out of Firefly.

Blythe’s look sort of sprang naturally out of Keller’s, as the character with long dark hair of course has to have a companion with short light hair. I’m not sure how ingrained this is but visually Blythe has actually kind of turned out to be a fusion of the two male characters I’ve drawn most often, Syblai and Mahkai, who both hang around with dark-haired girls on their adventures. So I guess it’s something I do a lot, but at least I switched it up a little this time. And it just makes design sense to have that contrast. I notice it in other people’s work too.

Well, it’s nice to draw in someone else’s style once in a while, and notice both things I wish I could do better, and things I appreciate more in my existing style. So this was a lot of fun and good practice. It’s nice to keep my digital art skills sharp.


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