Drawing: Giant Tess

Sketch of Giant Tess circa 2010.

I’ve been kind of obsessed with drawing very tall, thin figures so that I can cram them over to the side of the page and make stationery out of them, for a long time. I never dated this sketch because I never finished it but I scanned it in 2010 and it looks like my art style/skill level from about that period, so we’ll go with that. Maybe even 2009.

I never did anything with her until 2018, when I finally made lineart out of her. I uploaded her to the now-defunct PortraitAdoption.com but nobody bought her, so I get to keep her. She’s a very exaggerated version of my usual cartoony style but I seriously dig her face, hair blouse. The main difference between the initial sketch and the original lineart is that, at some point, I decided that she was a giant and added a human for scale. I also finished her left arm. I wanted it to be very long and thin, like the rest of her, to show that the proportions were exaggerated on purpose.

Today, I was on YouTube and found an artist named Sinix who paints over his Patreon supporters’ drawings and paintings. He took a fairly bland giant, warped it quickly using the Perspective tool, and — boom! The drawing was instantly more dynamic. I remember Tess and the fact that she never really looked like a giant, so I opened her up in Photoshop and played around with her.

I tried a few different things, but ended up shrinking her head before using the Perspective tool on her. The tool also adjusted the climber’s proportions, so I ended up copying and pasting the original climber over the warped one.

I finally learned how to use Illustrator a couple of years ago, but I’m still more comfortable doing lineart in Paint.NET, especially for finishing touches, so I opened Tess up in Paint.NET and got to work.

Initially, I was just going to fix her neck and have the bottom of the rope fly across Tess’ pants, for a bit of movement. But after I did that, I realized that the hem of her shirt should flare out toward the viewer, so I worked on that for a bit before I realized that the focal point was her waist, instead of her face. So, I thickened her waist (which is still ridiculously narrow but more in proportion to the rest of her body) and simplified her shirt. I also made the climber’s rope swing away from the viewer, instead of toward.

Lineart: Giant Tess in Perspective, 2020.

At first, I was really sad at the idea of making Tess’ face so much smaller because that’s my favorite part, but simplifying the bottom half of her and making her waist more proportional lets the eye immediately find her face. I also super dig the way that the pearls get smaller at the top. In the initial sketch and lineart, they’re all the same size.

I thought I was done but I ended up adjusting her chest, a bit. It’s far from perfect but it does look like you’re looking up at it instead of at the profile. I’m still not sure how to put the face in perspective without completely ruining it, but, hey, there are limits to my genius.

I’m overall happy with the changes, especially since it’s obvious that she’s a giant, now. She never quite read that way, even with the climber for scale. I might color or paint her at some point, but I’m good with this for today. I think it’s much easier to appreciate the details without having them compete with each other. I also think she’d make badass stationery, now. 🙂

Here they are together so that you can compare the changes. Essentially, I shrunk the head, warped her using the Perspective tool, thickened her waist, simplified the bottom part of her top, and had the lines of her breast curve up instead of down. I tried adding a second arm, but — neh….

Giant Tess Before and After

Oh, and bonus points if you can tell me what I modeled the climber after (Hint: a particular episode of the original 90’s MacGyver). You won’t actually win anything, but you’ll make me smile.

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