*DISCLAIMER: I don’t own RWBY – Rooster Teeth does. About the Chinese cut paper – that’s not mine either. No copyright infringement intended*
Paper and Paint Cutout
I think I first saw RWBY either in 2013 (maybe). I really liked it and am glad that it is still ongoing. I also really liked how the main characters: Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang are designed. The teaser art for the show is perhaps one of my most favourite pieces of digital art.
This can be found in Monty Oum’s deviantArt page: http://montyoum.deviantart.com/
I really liked the way Monty Oum used portrayed them as silhouettes backed with the background of each character’s respective colour and their complementary coloured hair. The whole theme is very simplistic, yet it effectively brings the image to the eye. Visually powerful indeed.
I thought it would be interesting to recreate this using traditional materials such as paper and paint. Looking at the negative space reminds me of Chinese paper cutting in terms how they have made use of lines and simple negative space to produce an image:
I don’t intend to do such a complex and sophisticated paper cut since it takes quite a lot of time and my patience is limited. What I intend to do is cut out the negative spaces of the background to create something that would resemble the main characters.
There will be four layers of paper
– The bottommost one would serve as foundation
-The next layer would serve as the backgrounds – red, white, black and yellow respectively
– Then it will be the cut out that would resemble the main characters along with the cut outs of hair
However that order wouldn’t apply to all of the characters since Ruby has a red cape and Blake has cat ears (which will be tricky if I include that to the third layer).
1) I divided the foundation layer into for sections that are approximately the same for each character.
2) I chose to use black sugar paper for the third layer and quickly plotted out the negative spaces to cut out.
However whenever I tried to cut it out, the paper tears and rips. Since this wasn’t satisfactory, I turned to use a tougher alternative: 300gsm watercolour paper (Winsor & Newton, Mould-made, acid free) as it has a higher tensile strength compared to sugar paper.
Before cutting, I had to paint the other side black.
After that, I cut out shapes of each main character’s hair from the same type of watercolour paper I used for the frame.
Nearly there: now all we need to do is to colour the hair. I’d personally prefer do that by painting. Also we have to sort out Ruby’s ear rings, Weiss’ tiara/crown/thingy and Blake’s cat ears and her sheathe.
Also cut out letters for each character.
This took way more time than I anticipated, mainly due to the cutting. The painting wasn’t an issue since acrylic paint dries up really quickly. Apart from having a paint bottle exploding in front of me and having myself covered in blue paint, all was good.
I’d thought it’d be helpful to explain this piece of art by going through the process step by step of how I made it. It isn’t very perfect since there are quite a number of miscuts and rips – easily spotted as well. Though very time consuming, I think I should further explore this route by perhaps doing a slightly larger piece on other characters or even façades of real people. The background could be replaced with patterns rather than having plain colour though that slightly defeats the whole point of simplicity Monty Oum had portrayed in his original piece. Might be worth a try.