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GameArt Spotlight #17

"Journey of Nostalgia" by Mechafreq

Image 17

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Alright, to start off, this is NOT a pic that uses a heavy amount of PhotoShop work. With that in mind, read on.


  • 1 sheet of 9"x12" generic paper (Still attached to the pad cause I like to draw laying on my bed.)
  • 0.3mm mechanical pencil for general drawing and shading (Pentel Q1003 "Smash" 0.3)
  • 0.5mm mechanical pencil for shading larger areas (Tombow SH-DNA "Dimple II)
  • Stanford "Tuff Stuff" eraser stick
  • Pentel "Clic" eraser ZE-21
  • Flatbed scanner (UMAX Astra 1220U)
  • Computer. (duh...) :P
  • Adobe PhotoShop 4.01
  • My imagination
Ok, the first thing I did was sketch in the character positions; where I wanted them, and their pose. I then drew in their heads, as you use heads for measuring the rest of the body's proportions. After that, I got in a general rough sketch of how they should look like. At this point, I drew in Cloud, on the right.

The reason for drawing Cloud in first is since I'm right handed, I draw from left to right to prevent smearing of the pencil, as I have a tendency to keep my hand on the paper and have my fingers draw in the details. (I don't work off of an easel.) I pretty made a lot of this up as I had no reference pics. Bah, who needs em' after I spent 100+ hours playing the game. (I like getting everything in the game.) The sword attachment is made up, the glove is too. I changed Cloud's forearm cause I didn't' like the big ones that he had in the game-looks like gorilla arms (giggle). I also added in seams along his clothes for more detail. You can't see too well, but he's holding Aeris's staff in his left hand.

After that, I started to think about the Chocobo. Since I've had a bit of experience drawing birds it was a pretty easy crossover. It's just like a really big baby chicken. (I'd say chick, but females may take that as an insult. Aaaaa! Please don't hate me! ;_;) Back to the point... I sketched in the approximate proportions in nondescript ovals for the head and body, then attached the neck and added the feet, wings, and tail. (You may want to look up birds pics for reference, but I didn't cause' I'm lazy. :P)

Then (hehehe), I turned my attention back to Aeris cause' I like drawing her more than the chocobo. (I am a guy ya know...) Besides, the chocobo is easier to draw for me. Also I needed to draw in Aeris because I wasn't sure what parts I had to erase on the chocobo, mostly the wing where Aeris's legs are. Drawing Aeris, I pretty much made up how her hair looks like. It's not really accurate to the last detail, but it's all I could remember. I also re-made her boots to a more feminine look with the cross type lacing. I originally had a lot of creases on the clothing, but they got stepped all over by the shading so you can't see them anymore-too bad cause they looked pretty good. If Aeris's face looks funny try drawing in a face within the confines of 2cm^2. Now you know why I draw with a 0.3mm pencil.

After that (this is getting too long), I drew in the chocobo. Nothing special. Just drew it right in-yesiree... Except I had to make up a saddle for it. I have no idea what a real saddle looks like, so just sort of made one up. How many chocobo saddles have you seen?

Finishing the chocobo, the pic needed a background. I just drew in my trademark generic mountain-hill-clouds background since it was similar to the terrain in FF7. (Just look at the fight scene background on your trip from Kalm to the chocobo farm - I'm sure that's Hawaii though; square has a big office located there.) Anyhow, no real tips or tricks to drawing this. Just have to be able to. I did the mountains first to take up 2/3 of the pic, (You do know about the 3rds rule right?) then did the hills and added clouds for depth. Oh yah, added the blades of grass in the immediate foreground so it'd look even cooler, cause' that's all that matters. :)

At this point I did all the final shading for the background, reworked the lines, and clean up a bit with the erasers. Ta-da! Finished, except it's hard to show this off to people on the web while it's like this. :(

Ok, I scanned it in as B&W, then proceeded to clean up my scanner's terrible scan job with the airbrush in PhotoShop. Oooooo, the clouds look so fluffy now. XD I also removed all the big splotchy spots that the scanner got from somewhere, and erased all the dust particles that got in too. Tried to even up the shading a bit. Sat back and squinted. Hmm... a photographic sepia look would be nice. Tinted it a tan-ish brown color. Hmm... needs words to increase the coolness factor. Added words: Final Fantasy 7, Journey of Nostalgia. How much cooler can it get?

After that I was finished. Proceeded to shamelessly post it at strategic locations on the web to attract traffic to my website. O_o

Problems with my pic? Every good artist should be able to self critique their work. Ok, starting, the first thing that comes to mind is Aeris's legs-they're a bit too long. Second, the shading is inconsistent; Aeris's shading on her skin is too dark, and the shading under the chocobo barely shows up. Bah... there are others, but less prominent. I think I'm finished yakking. :P

Text written by Mechafreq for GameArt.com