While style tests aren't a new concept to me (I've been doing them for years and did quite a few of them my first semester at SCAD), it was Zack Turner's suggestion that I do them that really pushed me to produce them in finished batches. I've been accused of being one-note on a few occasions, and style tests not only allow me to hone skills but to prove to others that I'm capable of flexibility. For the most part, I try to do tests from artists who have inspired me in some capacity, which means I've done a lot of manga tests. These tests have forced me to really appreciate the great variety in styles that mangaka utilize to create their works, but I haven't limited myself to just mangaka. I've also done style based on American webcomic artists like Jon Griffiths, Isa Melancon, and Carey Pietsch, as well as more classic American influences like Mary Blair and Glen Keane's work on The Little Mermaid. These style tests are at the very end of this post, way below the cut.
The watercolor studies have been a fun way to push my ability to portray contrast with a watercolor medium. I started it when noodling around doing nude studies as a way to improve my ability to light a figure, and it progressed to rendering food. From food I went to doing doodles of my cat, Bowie, and from there I went to doing Kara illustrations. Since I've been so busy, these little illustrations are a great way to help me stay limber without worrying about producing something finished. The method is really simple, almost self evident- I put down my darkest tone of the image with the market itself, then wash over it with my waterbrush. I use the lighter tone for less intense areas. If necessary, I make a palette to draw fresh color from straight on the page- its a little like the watercoloring books available when I was a kid. Just add water, and the color appears (not quite)!