Some more teaching material (feel free to remove this caption if you’re just here for the picture).
If you’re serious about learning sketching and realism, try to add this intermediary step after drawing the outlines.
Before shading, divide everything into two tones: white for places the light hits, grey for places it doesn’t hit. Forget the nuances for now. Just think about the binary: either the area is in shadow or it isn’t.
Of course, shadows in the reference won’t be as clear cut. Where the shadow line is ambiguous, you’ll have to make a decision where the line should be drawn. Think about the angle of the light source, the shape of what you’re drawing, and how theoretically the shadow should fall.
By doing this, you’re forcing yourself to understand the structure of what you’re drawing, rather than just copying what you see. It’s one thing to just mechanically replicate how dark the tones should be, it’s another thing to actually understand why they are that way.
Drawing with understanding allows you the freedom to make educated guesses, to make little changes/enhancements, and to draw with “feeling”. The result is often a lot more natural and convincing than a drawing that’s been copied without the same understanding.
I’ll have to do some explaining for this one: I’ve been messing around with vertically layered music composition, and wanted to do something with problem sleuth (that OTHER mspaint adventure). Feel free to skip my blathering below and just listen to the music though!
I always felt like PS was at least partially a callback to 90s point ‘n click adventure games along the lines of Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, Sam & Max, etc. so this song is intended to reflect that. If you imagine PS as a video game, this is the song that would play at the very start of the adventure while our heroes are messing around in their offices and getting caught up in all kinds of shenanigans.
Now, the nice thing about PS is that the three main characters (Problem Sleuth, Pickle Inspector and Ace Dick) all have some strong themes that make it easy to come up with appropriate musical motifs. In fact, the three musical instruments that appear fairly early in the comic ( A trumpet, a clarinet and a tuba) all are pretty obviously intended as metaphorical representations of the three heroes, which means that as a composer I have my work cut out for me.
The idea with vertical layering in this song is that depending on which of the protagonists is currently ‘on screen’, the theme uses different motifs and lead instruments: when more than one protagonist is on screen their motifs are played at the same time and combined. Normal playback methods don’t support this kind of interactive music (many game engines do, however), so this particular version is more of a proof of concept that just demonstrates the different layers and highlights how they interact.
The first section after the intro belongs to Problem Sleuth. He’s the leader of the bunch, and to reflect his mario-esque all-around average strength, his motif is played on a muted trumpet in the middle register with a combination of short and sustained notes.
After that we come to Ace Dick. His motif consists of short notes played on a tuba and backed by trombones and timpani to throw some appropriate weight around.
Pickle Inspector goes third with sustained notes played in the higher register of a clarinet. He’s a bit of a loopy character so there’s some glockenspiel and a lot of chroma… chromatics? chromaticity? to give it a bit of whimsy
The fourth loop combines the motifs of all three characters to demonstrate the interaction between layers when all three are present. The final loop is a variation on the Problem Sleuth motif with an added theremin and a delay effect on all the instruments to give it a ‘spacy’ sound: we’re entering the realm of imagination and the music becomes appropriately screwy.