Screenshot Redraw: Hot Shot and Red Alert

Feeling quite stressed and a bit bored from the beginning post-production of the FYP, I decide to start some exercises, where I would choose some screenshots from the TFA series and redraw them. It is a thing in the fandom, so I decide to give it a try. The screenshot I drew today is a still of Red Alert amputating Hot Shot’s injured legs before she was pulled away by Spittor. I chose the screenshot mainly for the mood and the composition.


Like the Bumblebee painting, I start the sketch by greyscale, then colour through overlay. Compared to the previous paintings, this one is quite tricky, since it included environment as well, and I had to consider the composition and lighting / value of each background to make the picture look better.

As for the characters, it took me several drafts to get the post and the character right. At one point I drew a lineart for convenience, but because the lines did not mesh well with the lighting, I went by the lineless painting style instead.

Pose Drafts
Basic shading

It took me days to complete the greyscale version of the painting, complete with refinement and adjustment of the value and lighting. I used the oil paint brush for some textured backgrounds (eg. smoke and ground), and the hard brush for the rest of the part

Monochrome Version

When I began the colours, I realized that greyscale + colour overlays didn’t really equal to good coloured sketch, since colours are more than just values, and also with the interaction among them. Seeing how the colours did not mesh well, I add a purple overlay on the characters. It look much more harmonious in colour¬†and prove to be more atmospheric.

Basic colour for characters

In conclusion, colour is more than just colour overlay + greyscale, and more studies in lighting and colours could help me grasp them better. Also, better stop redrawing and focus on the FYP until graduation.

TFA Bumblebee Painting

Today, instead of spending time resting my hand or at least completing the post production of FYP (Which I am doing right now), I decide to test out digital painting with another TFA character, this time with beginning with a greyscale rather than palettes themselves.

I noticed that due to the muted palettes provided, the lighting of the previous painting seem uneven and not emphasised enough. Considering the idea, I decide to start another digital painting, with greyscale, since from what I see in some professional illustrators, greyscale is a more effective way to create a better atmosphere and lighting when compared to just colours.

Greyscale ver. of previous painting, which look too soft in lighting contrast for my taste.

I consider it a mere practice, so I chose a simple neutral pose of head-and-shoulders framing. I start with the basic gradient of lighting, then refine each parts with the shading. Like the previous painting, I made some parts darker to make them seem disappeared into the backgrounds.

Monochrome version

Afterwards, I use the overlay to add colours. I choose¬†the purplish-blue for the background colour, for it could contrast with the character’s yellow colour.

Monochrome, with blue eyes
Coloured version

Now think about it, the colours may look too garish in contrast. But then again, I am still not good with colours, and I haven’t got any references for the colours. Maybe I would take care of the references and colours next time.

TFA Arcee Painting

After finishing the rough draft for the Final Year Project, I decide to take a rest for while, During the time a tumblr request based on a colour meme was sent to me, and so I thought I could try finish it today. While I plan it to be a cell-shaded sketch, circumstances and my reluctance of drawing precise lines due to fear of strain made the project snowball into a full-blown digital painting. This is the first time I drew a proper TF digital painting.


First I drew some sketches to decide which pose to draw. Then once I finished the draft, I use the brush tool, the lasso tool, and fill tool to decide the colour key of the character. It took me a while to figure out the suitable background colour.

First sketch
Final Draft
Basic Colour Keys

Then I move to the lighting, first by shading. Realizing the potential of lighting, I opt for a chiaoroscuro method, where the part further away from the lighting source are in the darkest colour. Insofar, my tactic is pretty much refine one part until it looks perfect, before moving on to the next one. I go for her legs, then the head, then the sword (which I drew the base colour first, then the highlight and the translucent part from the body behind), and finally the back kibble.

Leg finished and most colour key completed
Head refined + base colours for sword

I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, seeing I still have a long way go to create the most compelling lighting and composition, not to mention how to make the sword look appealing and more convincing. Still, I am surprised by the result, given that this is the first digital painting I had attempted ever since the boat illustration, along that most of the drawings I made insofar are linearts. I could only thank the previous life drawings lessons for giving me an experience to know how to draw lighting.

Perhaps once I had completed the animation project, I can try more experiments in digital painting with OCs or TF characters. Maybe I could try improving my digital painting skills after graduation (if I could, of course).