As I've mentioned before, my new painting program, Manga Studio 5, is far more versatile and has a lot more going for it than anything I've previously worked with, and as people have seen, I'm getting much better results. And as such, I've been able to abandon some of the tricks and shortcuts I've previously used to achieve my previous artworks for new techniques that have gotten me much better results.
However, at the same time, there have been a few hitches.
One of the tricks I've abandoned was simply using black as my catchall shading color and relying on different blending modes to make a piece work. The benefit of this is that my pieces have been turning out much better. But the problem is that I now have to manually choose different colors for each layer of shading and highlighting. And while Manga Studio 5's capabilities make putting the colors in place a piece of cake, choosing the colors has proven to be a trickier.
To aide in the selection, I've been tracking down swatches for hair and skin colors, but even so, it does take time to set up entire color palettes for a piece. But then I realized that perhaps I can save myself some future aggravation by setting up color, shading, and highlighting palettes for characters I routinely draw. So I've been working on setting up such character references to save myself trouble. So far, it seems to be working, though I do expect that it will take a bit longer to get everything down the way it should be.
On the subject of art, I'm going to be spending some time, focusing on clearing up the commissions that the mess that is my life has slowed me down on. Again, I appreciate the patience everyone has shown me, and I vow that I will get everything done as soon as possible.