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Submitted on
January 12, 2007
Image Size
140 KB


10 (who?)
The State of a Mind... by cinnamonjames The State of a Mind... by cinnamonjames
Idea by Gemma Fricker
Execution by me =')


So this one time, Gemma was telling me about an idea she'd had for an image, and I really liked it, so I asked if I could draw it...

In case you need help reading the image: it's a tiger (Chinese astrology) trapped in a cage which is too small, on a stormy sea, failing to catch the mocking Pisces-fish.


You know how you can sometimes chart an artist's development over the course of many drawings? Well, in this, you can see me getting to grips with Inkscape over the course of a single drawing...
...And it does rather bug me that the last parts I drew (i.e. the texture of the tiger's fur) make the early parts (sea and sky) look really sparse. I might even go back to it one day.

Like I've mentioned, this was drawn entirely in Inkscape [link] so yes, it's all vectors...


I welcome crit - be as harsh as you like...
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varanid64 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2008
oh god thats tweaked....
bwansy Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2007
Wow! A truly awrsome work! Did you use the calligraphic tool and a pressure-sensing pen (I don't know what exactly it's called) to draw this? I am a beginner to Inkscape, despite that I started using it more than 2 years ago), so please tell me some tips about using Inkscape if you don't mind.
cinnamonjames Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Thank you! Yes, a lot of the image is done with the calligraphic tool and a Wacom tablet.

I started by drawing an outline of everything, which I kept on a separate layer so I could refer to it, but hide it when I needed to, and when I was finished.

Then i did the sea and sky. I like to do the background first to make sure my foreground colours "work" on top of it.

For the fish and tiger, I used the freehand tool to draw their body shapes - no stroke, flat fill, full opacity. Then I switched to the calligraphic tool and used hundreds of little strokes to get the texture - none of these strokes are full opacity though: for example, the tiger's fur is one shade of brown, one shade of creamy white, and one shade of blue (for the shadows) but I kept on reducing the alpha channel to blend them on top of the orange shape I had laid down.
(The stripes are black, about 75% alpha, which i put on a different layer in case I messed them up!)

This technique requires a lot of computing power. Unfortunately, I had to do this on the AMD K6-2 500MHz computer I built in September 2000! While I was doing the tiger's fur, the computer would take several seconds to show the strokes I was drawing, and would grind to a halt for 15 - 30 seconds if I tried to zoom in/out or scroll the screen! It was worth it though...

I hope that's helpful. Any other questions, just ask.
bwansy Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
I see. Thanks for the tips. It must have taken a painfully long time to complete it, hasn't it? I too draw the rough sketch in a seperate layer. But since I don't have a tablet, I think it would be hard to draw elaborate pictures like this one. I usually draw cartoon-styled pictures (actualy there are only 3 of them =_=), in which I keep the lines (strokes) in one layer, and then paint (drawing coloured shapes without stroke) in the one below. But it is tedious draw a shape to match the region needed to be coloured. Is there another quicker way? I know that there will be a paint bucket tool in the next version, but right now I have to do it the hard way.
This leads to another question: do you know whether Inkscape still uner development? Since perhaps last month, the development news and other thins on the front page suddenly disappeared, and I am a bit worried that the project had stopped..
And I am still wondering what the meaning behind this picture is...
cinnamonjames Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007
It did take a long time, and it was hard work, but I didn't mind because I liked the way it was going.

I usually colour my drawings in the tedious way you described, but recently I did 20 drawings for my church, and it was just too much work, so I drew the lines in Inkscape, then exported the pages as png files and coloured them in the Gimp [link]
You could then import the colour layer* from the Gimp into Inkscape and use the Trace Bitmap function to convert the coloured regions into vectors. You might need to play with the Trace settings until you get it right, and even then, you might have to tweak the nodes a bit, but it's still faster and easier than matching the shapes by hand.

* The Gimp lets you have your linework on one layer, yet fill the colours on another layer.

(If you want me to explain any of this in more detail, just ask...)

There's plenty of activity on Planet Inkscape [link] so i don't think we have to worry about the project being abandoned. And the beauty of GPL'ed software is that even if the team did quit, someone else could continue the work.

As for the meaning... I'm not going to be too specific, but it's about anxiety, feeling trapped, and not being able to attain the things you want/need.
bwansy Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007
Thanks again. However, I think your colouring method doesn't suit me very much, for I usually use blur, mask and clip to make (still not quite) realistic pictures. I am now experimenting a new method, and it works quite well.
One more thing. Would you like to have a collaboration with me? Currently I have a drawing that lacks a background. Please tell me if you are interested.
cinnamonjames Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2007
Yes, I am interested in a collaboration. Note me the details. Sorry it took so long to get back to you: I get busy sometimes!
bwansy Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2007
No problem. I am getting busy, too. I am so excited, for this is my first collaboration.
Here's the file: [link]
Ah, and please upload as svg. I am not quite familiar with DA so I am not sure if it's possible. If not then e-mail the file to me. Thanks.
Oh, and should the finished picture be in my gallery or yours, or both?
FreakyChicken Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2007
I am suprised no one has commented on this yet! Its probably because poeple just don't appreciate surrealism anymore. Oh well. I love your anatomy and facial expresion on the tiger and fishies.
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