Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman

So one day I’m sitting there, wanting to work on the render of Jessica Harper from Dario Argento’s Suspiria, but having not brought that drawing with me, I was forced to do something else. I did, however, have my Dark at the End of the Tunnel CD, so decided to take another crack at that Danny Elfman render which I butchered some six months ago.

It didn’t take long for me to tell that this render would come out infinitely better than its predecessor. For one, I dared to fill up the entire page with the image and framed it within the working space better. For two, this render shows attention to detail that the first one severely lacked (especially in the hand). Before I mistakenly thought that since half of Elfman lay in shadow, and the other half is well illuminated, it would make rendering him easier (in truth: there’s less room for screw ups.) For three, the shading, the texture, the use of value and contrast is just flat out superior to the first render in everyway.

Another dramatic break (technique wise) from the original render is the intact pencil strokes. With the original, I opted for a smoother look (accomplished by going over the pencil strokes with tissue, Q-tips, or fingertips). Here I decided that the image’s power comes from its sharp contrast of light and darkness. To smooth out the pencil strokes means some of the graphite inevitably gets wiped away, resulting in value dilution. Besides, lately I haven’t eliminated my pencil strokes in awhile and the look is starting to grow on me. Although this render has brought up a question that I do want to see answered: can I eliminate the strokes and maintain the values? Something to screw around with in the future!

I like the lineless quality my work is starting to take on, a quality I never thought I’d ever be able to say about my work considering my line-addiction a year ago. I don’t know if I’ll ever completely crossover to lineless (other than for experimentation); I like the line/lineless duality. Unfortunately, I do think at this time that the duality of styles is really an instinctive cover-up for my weaknesses in both departments—where my line work falters, I subconsciously rely on shading to cover up and where my shading is lacking you’ll find lines. In an ideal future, I’d explore both tangents in their pure forms so that my style evolves more out of conscious choice for effect and not as a means of covering up my own inadequacies.

Anyway, I’m very happy with this render considering where I came from. I mean, look at the two side-by-side. I couldn’t exactly do much worse now, could I?

Also available: Danny Elfman, Take One