Celestosphere’s Inscription

Atop the edge of the final layer
By Celestosphere’s roses
Dawn approaches
And she meets Duality;
A reflection, a revelation
As water reveals Light
So does she achieve true ascension.

Just finished this digital painting, I experimented with style a lot here and went for a more indie game art style. The easiest way to do that is to simply remove the outlines; paint backwards, so to speak. Using negative space as the positive space, yet not quite. It’s really the outlines that can change a style drastically I feel, with simple line variation techniques. I kind of blurred the two worlds in Empyrean Pet.

However, I realized subject matter becomes harder to pinpoint, and color becomes much more important in distinguishing that. Sera is just sitting at the edge of the clouds (now that I think it, I think of DreamWorks), and there’s definitely some major juxtaposition between sky and aquatic elements. The ripples above imply a reverse underwater scenery, like walking through an aquatic tunnel in a marine museum, and the bubbles are interchangeably clouds by simple negative shapes. Falling, yet already high in the sky, I love themes of duality and reflection. Growing up as an artist in high school, I often studied a lot of juxtaposed works as my teacher loved them, and I guess in a way it’s passed down to me.

My inspiration for this piece was based off of my favorite artist’s new remake version of their song, Hemisphere. I actually sent an email recently thanking him for essentially, saving me from my art block. ARForest is one of the reasons why I was able to get back into drawing again, rekindling that fire through music. I felt that this was the least I could do, since I’m too stingy (but I have debated and thought on this) to spend money on albums.

Thus, Celestosphere was created! Based on the remake, I was reminded of a few key elements: rain drops, soaring, skies and clouds, and underwater scenery. Particularly, I remember specifically a scene in The Ancient Magus’ Bride manga where Chize was looking up from a void of black. I absolutely loved that scene.


And this is why I save references on my phone for anything I can get. 😀 A loooong time ago, I also saved this reference of a Google image, I think maybe it was the splash image of a YouTube video, but I loved this artwork. I couldn’t find any other source for it. But I imagine one of these days (actually I did do a sketch with this in mind I think already) I’ll be using this as a more concrete and solid reference.


As you can see, music dictates a lot of my inspirations. A Midsummer Dreamer is an old favorite of mine, particularly the DJ Noriken remix.

One other thing I realized is that no matter what, I think I always need to start from paper. It’s kind of interesting that it is almost impossible for me to just start pouring ideas onto the screen instead. I think the bigger reason why I can’t really do that is because of the mechanical disconnection — if I had a Cintiq tablet, I think that would eliminate this issue. But because I started my artistic roots in traditional drawing, just like every artist, it’s also my beginning for visualization of basic ideas, which then gets immensely manipulated digitally.


Don’t mind that sketch outline in the background, it’s just another sketch I made in a previous session, during class. 🙂

Sometimes, it doesn’t turn out the style that I wanted, but this time, it turned out almost 95% the way I intended from beginning to end. In my artistic process, I also realized that there’s a lot of improvisation that occurs. The wings for instance did not exactly turn out the way I had originally imagined. But I just went with the flow, and I created a new pair of another visualization I had while I was blocking in the base color.

This was fun, but I also really itched on getting this done. Like with many of my projects, once I’m inspired, I want to get started, lay down the colors, finish it in one session. I’m a binger. Of course, that doesn’t quite work out when I have a class the next day. So tonight I finally finished it. 🙂 It probably took a total of… I wanna say, 10 hours? From concept to finish. Not bad for a tall painting.

Speaking of length, I realized later that it was also perfect for my phone wallpaper. I put it on there, and it fit perfectly. At least the width wasn’t too much of an issue. It’s actually a rather large painting — actually if I had not modified the image size closer to the beginning of the coloring, it would have easily exceeded 70 inches as the highest dimensions. I tend to work large in Photoshop so I don’t have resizing nightmares, but storage space and loading times can be a pain too if it’s too big. *sigh*

In any case, this was my first hand at trying something new and experimental. I also wanted something that I could display that wasn’t always character driven, this time focusing a lot more details on the environment. I think it’s not only healthy to experiment and expand horizons, but also fun to test the waters, push the limits. I still feel that my core style is present, in some shape, form, element.

Hurray! One Step Ahead Now!

YAY!! Last night I just got approval to use a song for an upcoming personal video project! I can’t wait to get started, but until I get bored of Sera’s current (final) life, I can’t exactly work on it 100%. It won’t be anything special but I think it would be a lot of fun. This is my first time actually asking an artist for permission, and they are foreign even, so I’m thrilled that they actually said yes within an hour of my email! It probably helps that I emailed at 3AM my time which is afternoon or somewhere close to that on the other side of the globe. Now, to start the “filming” process — well, I need to finish Sera’s life first ASAP! Ahhh shoot, and I also have Milo’s TR going… I should have waited!! Hahaha. At the very least, I’ll have something to work on at the start of the next semester! 🙂