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 The Guide to Spriting in the Dragon Request Boards

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Kazujo (Kotonashi Akuma)
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PostSubject: The Guide to Spriting in the Dragon Request Boards   Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:17 pm

I suppose this thread can also be titled: The Newbie's Guide to Spriting in the Dragon Request Boards, but that was far too long to fit. I also wanted to post this in the Dragon Request board, but new topics can't be created until further notice.

Recently I have noticed several new members entering the Dragon Request threads and editing sprites without permission. It stirs up trouble that could have been well avoided. Well, in an attempt to stop this I am typing up this little guide to help new spriters enter the board in a peaceful manner.

This is life in the big spriting city, and all spriters should come in knowing what might happen, along with the ins and outs of this part of the forum. Arm yourself with knowledge now, rather than later.

Getting Started:

Read

The most important thing that I can stress to you is this: Read the thread you plan on entering! It's the polite thing to do, and will fill you in on the progress of the concept inside.

When debates are covered in a thread, it's hard to return to find five people asking about an answered question or a settled issue.

If you are too lazy to read, politely ask for an update of what's going on.

Editing a Dragon in Progress:

The Request board is full of them. Unfinished dragons just waiting to be completed. I know you're all excited to jump on in and help out, but taking someone else's sprite and editing it is like jumping into shark infested water.

Never ever ever edit someone's sprite without their permission!

This includes, flood-filling lines with colors, fully coloring lines, editing lines, adjusting wings, smoothing lines, ect.

Editing without permission can be considered art theft, even if your edit made the sprite better. It's not your sprite, it's theirs. Artists can be very sensitive about their work, so remember to always ask for permission before editing a sprite.

If you ask politely, you'll avoid getting scolded and everyone will be happy.

Collaborative Work

Collaborations happen here. It's a huge part of public spriting. But there are a few things that need to be addressed to avoid problems.

The original artist has the final say.

Artist A draws a sketch, Artist B outlines it, and Artist A colors it. Artist A holds more power over the sprite, but would be silly to ignore critiques on color, shading, etc.

Artist A draws a sketch, Artist B outlines and colors it. Artist A still has a say in what goes on, because it is originally Artist A's concept.

If Artist A is not happy with Artist B because Artist B will not make any necessary changes and is ignoring critique, Artist A reserves the right to revoke Artist B's editing rights. Artist A has every right to want their sketch to be the best sprite it can be, and if Artist B isn't fulfilling their obligation to make Artist A's sprite shine, Artist A has every right to pass the sketch along to someone else without being harassed by Artist B or anyone else. This is life in the big city. Learn from past mistakes and make sure they do not happen again.

If Artist B ignores Artist A's wishes, then it can be considered art theft, and as we all know, art theft is a huge DO NOT WANT.

Suggesting a New Idea or Sketch in an Existing Thread:

Phew, that was a long title.

It's common to see many, many ideas in a developing dragon's thread, especially within the first few pages. If you don't like any of the current concepts, feel free to ask if you can post yours. If you ask politely, more often than not, people will say yes and you can proudly display your idea.

Okay, so you've asked politely and posted your idea. Some people love it, others don't.

This is an all too common scenario in the Dragon Request threads. If some people favor your idea, sprite it! You never know if you'll sway some minds with a completed sprite.

In some threads, your concept may be chosen, and in others, another concept will be favored. You'll just have to take it with a grain of salt and try again next time. Getting angry won't get your idea accepted. This goes for all stages, Adults, hatchlings, and eggs.

Proper Etiquette

When a dragon sprite is completed, descriptions and all, don't suddenly throw in your concept sketch. Not only is it rude to those who have spent weeks working on the completed dragon, it will most likely make them angry. Put your drama detectors on high, guys, 'cos that's what'll follow!

When a sprite is halfway done, it's polite to ask if you can throw in your sketch. Especially if yours is very different from the current sprite, since most recent threads have a male/female pair.

Remember your manners, eager would-be spriters! Muscling your way in is no way to go about your business, especially in times when the Drama Cannon has its lasers set to "Explode".

Requesting a New Dragon:

Okay, the Dragon Requests are finally open again. You've been waiting for this moment for months. You can finally suggest that dragon you've been brainstorming!

I hate to burst your bubble, but you can't. Not without using the handy-dandy Search feature! -motions to the Search feature with several neon lights-

The Search feature will make sure you aren't suggesting a dragon that's already been suggested. The Progress List features dragons that are a Work In Progress (WIP), and the Completed List features dragons that are completed and ready to add into the cave whenever Kazujo/Itazuk27 feels like it. Remember, there are sprites that have been removed from the completed list. They are either going to be released, or they were removed by the artist.

Okay, you've got your idea for a dragon and you're ready to post it. Do you have a concept sketch? If you're not an artist, do you have a very detailed description of what you had in mind for the dragon?

If you answered no to the previous questions, don't think about posting until you've got a concept sketch and/or a very very detailed written description. A detailed description can beat a poorly drawn picture any day (note, this is not meant to offend those who can't draw well).

Ah, now the previous steps all apply once again. And here you all were probably thinking this was going no where.

Now comes the issue of running a thread when you can't draw, sprite, or any combination of the two. I'm going to take this chunk right out of Komodo's guide (hope it's all right with you, Komodo.).



Spriting and Critique:

Critique is a part of spriting. It helps a sprite turn from rough, unfinished pixels into a beautiful dragon. Like Cinderella's carriage, only it won't turn into a pumpkin upon completion.

Remember, getting angry when getting constructive criticism, or ConCrit as it's sometimes referred to, won't help you improve as an artist. Every spriter here recieves ConCrit, not just you.

All right, you know the basics, you've read the guide, now you're ready to take the plunge. Just remember the basics and turn back to the guides if you ever need help.

I hope this has helped all the would-be spriters, and thank you for taking the time to read this.

Mixing Animals and Dragons: How Much is Too Much?

We've all seen them, and possibly want to request them. Animal-like dragons. Nature has provided us with many amazing creatures to base our dragons off of. Not to mention the plethora of creatures that exist in myths and legends. Unicorns, WereWolves, Vampires, et cetera.

But how much is too much? How can you mix something real with something fictional without leaning too much in one direction? Well, hopefully this section of the guide will help.

When combining the idea of an animal with a dragon it should never be a hybrid. Your dragon should first and foremost be a dragon, not an animal with wings. If you take your sketch, erase the wings, and see the animal, you're most likely too far on the animal end of the scale. The tip to overcoming this is very, very simple.

Give your dragon traits of the animal you're basing it on.

All of these dragons are still exactly that, Dragons. In fact, some don't even have any relation to the animal in their name. It is also advised that you avoid such things as "Golden Retriever Dragon" or "Dalmatian Dragon". Most subspecies tend to be incredibly similar aside from a few key factors, and I highly suggest avoiding them so that the requests aren't filled with dragons that will, in the end, be very similar.

Mythical Creatures

The same issue can come up when crossing other mystical creatures with dragons. Some creatures cannot be crossed effectively with dragons. Vampires can be crossed with dragons because the most noticeable trait is that they suck blood, something easy to have a dragon do.

Human-like Concepts and Dragons

I will be covering a few things in this section, and will first start off with anatomy.

Dragons with human-like anatomy aren't bad. I tend to use human-ish arms for my eastern dragons, and others use different parts of human anatomy as well.

Anthropomorphic dragons are an iffy, touchy subject here. While it may work for some concepts, it will not work for all. I strongly advise you to avoid anthropomorphic dragons concepts. Some artists pull them off very well, and make them look like dragons, not humans trying to be dragons.

Now I move on to human-like concepts. For these kinds of concepts I strongly advise you to avoid dragons trying to be humans. We have a lovely example of a Warrior Dragon that has a human "profession" while still being a dragon. It is not a dragon wielding a sword and bearing armor, it is a dragon that is named for the traits of a warrior.

Remember, dragons must be dragons. Not dragons in human clothing.

This brings me to another topic of discussion: Dragons holding objects.

Most, if not all of us, know how much Pa Tone objects to dragons holding objects or having objects in the sprite. Well, as much as I love Pa, I'm going to over rule him this time (sorry Pa). Objects add to the sprite if they are sprited well. If you can't sprite a leaf without it looking like a leaf, leave it out of your sprite. A well sprited object can really add to a sprite, while a poorly sprited one will massively detract from it.

I hope I've clarified some ways to avoid issues the Request section is currently facing. If I've missed anything, or if you think an animal-like dragon should be on the list, please let me know, and remember, some are not on the list simply because the list runs on being long.
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