Aeon Flux
Charlize Theron as Æon Flux
(Æon Flux [2005])

Still stupidly using a mechanical pencil on printer paper.

Drawn from a publicity still for the movie Æon Flux (compliments of IMDb). What can I say? I liked the pose. I’ve always liked over-the-shoulder glances, plus there’s something serpantine about this one—just the flow of Charlize Theron’s curves, the way her body makes a subtle inverted S-shape—I think it looks neat.

I’ve actually drawn from this same still a few times before, although past versions have been smaller, faster, drawn from a crappy printout (and not very well done, I might add.) This one, by contrast, was drawn from the screen (which has a greater range than the printer) and my render fills the page. More or less I’m satisfied with it.

One of the challenges with a drawing an outfit that’s all black is that there’s a temptation to make it inky-dark through and through. But that’s how black clothes really look. Even with an all-black outfit, there’s lighter areas, darker areas, yet they all have to look like it is the same base color. Plus the black fabrick of the outfit looks completely different than the black gun-holster which looks completely different than her black hair. I think that’s the strong point of my render.

It’s kinda hyptnotic rendering something like this because the deeper you get into it, more and more subtle value differences and gradients start to emerge ... and after awhile, it’s almost like your mind is playing tricks on you—“is there really a light patch there or is it just glare on the screen?”

When I drew the picture of Wrenny, late in the game I remembered, “Oh yeah, turn the source upside down and draw that way.” I remembered that early enough with this one, and did so. Turning the page upside down is one way to defeat your mind’s overactive tendency (way overactive tendency) to fill in blanks, and it helps you actually register what’s in front of you (you’d be surprised how little you percieve the things you see.)

Usually I do a number of warm-up sketches before beginning—a few drawing exercises to get myself acquianted with the source. However, this time I just jumped right in to the final render, and it really felt awkward. Like, “where do I start?” But things came together.

And I can’t leave this commentary without naming off the drawings weaknesses so here goes: my biggest gripe is with the face. It just doesn’t look right. Something with how the right side of her face recedes into shadows. There’s a number of details that are close but not exact which bug me (the exact position of the arm, the torso is a little stumpy, the pattern along the front of her outfit, the exact curve for the hair that hangs in her face, etc.)

Oh yeah, and note to self: get another sketchpad and pencil set and keep them at work so I can draw there without wanting to slit my wrists with that crappy mechanical pencil that takes way to friggin’ long to shade.