Nature's Ways [Art Masterpost]

Jan 23, 2014 19:44

Title: Nature's Ways (read it here)
Author: annie46
Artist: soserendipity
Genre: SPN Gen
Rating: PG-13
Word count: ~12.5K
Warnings/Spoilers: Animal transformation and show level violence. Set in the early seasons.

Summary: A run-in with a witch leaves Sam and Dean transformed into animals. Not only do the Winchesters have to learn how to defend themselves in the wilderness but they have to learn how to defend each other. To avoid being animals forever, the brothers have to trek across country to find Bobby Singer who may be able to break the spell. Will they make it in one piece or will the hunters become the hunted?

Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own ideas. No money made, no insult intended. This is purely fictional.
Artist's Notes: Created for the 2013 round of spn_reversebang. The lovely annie46 claimed the prompt for this set back in October and it has been a wonderful collaboration ever since. She wrote a charming story for my cracky prompt. Please leave her some well deserved love if you like what we cooked up. This was my first reversebang; amazing, all of it! I can't wait to read the fabulous stories that sprang to life from all that brilliant art. It's been truly humbling to be a part of such a talented crowd; much ♥ to all those creative minds! For those who are interested in such things, more technical notes and details about the work process can be found below the art.
Acknowlegdments: I'd like to thank the mods for all their hard work and for running such a smooth challenge - they deserve all the cookies! Also, a huge thank you to lightthesparks for her invaluable advice and encouragement on this set - it's always amazing how her observations turn my dilettantism into something that might pass for art - and to siennavie, the most enthusiastic art buddy anyone could wish for. Last but not least, a heartfelt thank you to zomzoms, posting mastermind and generally a delightful person, who can take full credit for picking the title of art and story.

Without further ado: art.
[Click on each picture for bigger size.]


Looking back now, I'm amazed it even got claimed. Again, much thanks to my wonderful author! Original prompt:

Below is the additional information that came with the submission.
Rating of Art: G
Highest Rating Fic Can Be: Any
Pairing or Gen: Het or slash or gen. In case of slash: Sam/Dean. (Whichever genre: No sexual explicit scenes when they're transformed, please.)
Characters: Sam and Dean, two OFCs, Bobby
Warnings: Animal-transformation if that's a big no-no to you
Short description of art: I got this idea when I saw the SPN Paleyfest panel of 2011 - the care bear question, to be exact. It's utter crack (my idea, not the panel). In this AU, the brothers hunt a witch or something else with magical/reality-altering powers. They have to attend a Halloween party (or a masquerade event or...) to get to the thing. Of course, the hunt goes sideways and they get turned into their costumes. Which wouldn't be so bad, really, if only there hadn't been these two girls Dean had to flirt with that got hit by the spell(/curse/...) too. The four of them (bear, fox, swan, hedgehog) make their way to Bobby's. On foot, uh, paw. Dean thinks it's hilarious when a big ass, blue Kodiak bear tries to do the camouflage thing. On their journey they run into lots of trouble, cue h/c to go with all the crack and humor. Author's choice whether they get turned back.




Part One - Title:

Part One - Divider:

Part Two - Title:

Part Two - Divider:


Main Art:


[Feel free to snag what you like and don't forget to credit, please.]

And one more because let's face it, Bobby had a way with words.


Original Prompt

Yikes. It's true, when I look at the original submission, I'm wondering why anyone would ever want to write something for it. For the longest time even after claims, I wasn't sure where to take the prompt, stylistically speaking. This is the first time I tried my hand at a comic and I had absoutely no idea how to color it, what kind of textures to use (if any), or how to tackle light and shading and grittiness and all that jazz. Also, for someone who admittedly sucks at anything anatomy, doing people was quite the challenge.

There are a lot of unbelievably talented artists out there and in my mind, the comic would have looked amazing if it just remotely resembled their seemingly effortless style. Well, that dream was nice while it lasted. The actual result doesn't even come close to what I envisioned but I guess for a first try you can't expect too much, really. For all the tough times and sleepless nights spent over it, however, it was still a lot of fun, and what more could I have hoped for? I also learned tons of new things which is always positive.

The line art was based on a variety of pictures that I found either via google search or Pinterest. I must have pinned several hundred pictures of hedgehogs, swans, bears, and foxes in the last few months. Dean from the first picture is based on a red carpet shot of Jensen Ackles, Bobby in the third picture and his porch in the last one are modelled after Supernatural screenshots, also found through google. More picture references went into the fox mask, the bear costume, the hoodie (never would have thought it could be so difficult to draw a single piece of clothing), and all the cars in the junk yard. At least six or seven just for the latter.

I ended up using a lot of different textures and I found all of them on deviantART. I used one for the wallpaper in the first two pictures; one for the wooden wall of Bobby's house; one for the cracks in the floor of pictures four and five (but I also drew some of them myself which was really enjoyable once I figured out how to do it); one each for the rusty cars and general junk yard components, the heavy clouds, the porch, and the floor in the last pic; one to give the bear costume in picture one and two a little more feel; one for the carpet in the second pic; and one grunge texture as general, faded out overlay for all the background textures to give the panel a more united look.

The tree line in the last picture was done with a custom brush set, also found on deviantART. In addition to the textures and the basic colors of people, animals, and other picture content, a lot of subtle hues were added to each picture; from greys and blues to bring the set even closer together to dark reds and rusty browns to lend a bit more diversity to the otherwise reduced color palette. Lastly, the same grunge texture that I added to each background went into the design of the speech bubbles; pure white would have looked really strange in contrast to all the subdued colors and gritty textures. Here, the off-white color of the texture was kept, though, while in the one used on the picture backgrounds everything white was set to transparency so only greys and black remained.



I drove myself into a bit of a corner because figuring out how to compromise my glorified vision of the comic with my skill set took much longer than I anticipated. So I decided early on - well, late actually, but as soon as I had a minute to think aobut it - that I had to do something different for any additional pieces I might get around to do. I came to the conclusion that I needed strong, simple imagery that wouldn't take too much time to bring together. Ha! Can you hear the muses snickering? It was quicker than line-art in need of coloring, granted. But it took me a good seven hours to just create the city background for the first title. And the windows. Ack. But to be honest, I still had a blast with it. Crazy, I know.

Anyway. To develop a concept for the additional art, I boiled the story down to it's basics: four people turned into animals. In the banner, I tried to combine the two - and I loved the very clean, crisp lines of the first draft. Unfortunately, that style didn't match the comic in the slightest, so I went all out with three different textures (and a lot of their duplicates), overlays, reduced opacitiy and layer modes in GIMP. Again, I added a lot of manual touch-ups to add more depth to the textures and to highlight some spots. All these textures were found on deviantART, too. I still worked a bit on that very first concept and made an icon out of it, though. It would have been too sad not to it use at all.


Title & Dividers

The story was posted in two parts, dealing with the before and the aftermath of the transformation. I mirrored that in the titles, split apart both groups from the banner - people and animals - and added a bit of stylised imagery of each their usual surroundings. For the first part that resulted in a city and for the second part in natural elements. I know that the boys mostly hunt in smaller communities, but I loved the idea of layering all those buildings and of the lit windows at night so I just went with it. The urban profile was inspired by the many typical skylines that can be found for many cities worldwide (usually black on white; I'm sure everyone has seen at least one of those). Once I understood the basic concept, it was really just a matter of playing around with geometrical shapes. In the second title, real trees posed for the two background layers, and some of their details as well as all the grass and the flowers in the foreground layers were done with more custom brush sets in GIMP.

In the additional pieces, too, a lot of picture references went into the creation of the animal shapes. Unfortunately, there were no single images that matched exactly what I had in mind so I had to combine aspects from different pictures for each silhouette. I apologize if that lead to faulty anatomy. Also, it's really hard trying to hint at bowlegs in a fox. If you've wondered why the heck it looks so strange, that might be it. As a general observation, I was pleased with the way the straight, clean city lines as well as the organic chaos of nature supported the idea of the story - in the first part, the characters are standing strong and self confident, even towering over their urban surroundings. In the second part, nature seems to swallow them whole.

For the dividers, the layered background of each title was developed even further and a bit more details were added. I had a lot of fun with that. The butterflies originated from another wonderful custom brush (deviantART) and for the stars, I actually followed a map of our night skies. For all you astronomy guys: you should be able to spot Ursa Maior and a part of Cassiopeia, as well as a bit of Gemini, Taurus, Cancer, and Orion. And yes, all the little stars should at least be close to their exact spots, too. However, that's still no accurate depiction of our actual night sky because I had to use the upper part of the map for the left side of the divider and the lower part of it for the right side. Just in case anyone was wondering.


art:nature's_ways, @ spn_reversebang

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