Articles

Naomi Osaka Portrait – MS Paint Pixel Art

September 18, 2019


Hey there, folks! Kevin Tracy here with another 1 day pixel
art challenge… well, maybe one and a half day pixel art challenge. I may have bit off a bit more here than I
could chew in a single day. But it was worth it – because this week, I
decided to draw one of the few athletes I consider a role model – Tennis pro Naomi Osaka. Now, before this video goes too far along,
I should probably confess up front that I really don’t follow tennis. In fact, I pretty much know nothing about
the sport… including how the score works. Despite having it explained to me multiple
times from 2nd grade gym class through a few months ago by my wife and father, I just have
a hard time remembering how it works. Tennis just isn’t my sport. In fact, the only sports I understand less
than Tennis are Cricket and Buzkashi. And if you don’t know what Buzkashi is,
you need to Google it. The truth of the matter is that Tennis just
doesn’t interest me like football, basketball, hockey, and curling. You have no idea how much I love curling. But I digress. This is a video about Naomi Osaka, not about
guards, draws, and takeouts. So, if I’m not a fan of tennis, you may
be wondering why on earth I consider this tennis star worthy of role model status. And I hope you are wondering that, because
it’s an awesome question that intelligent people would wonder… unless they’re already
familiar with who Naomi Osaka is; in which case they may already know. When I was a kid, my role models were Ninja
Turtles, Ghostbusters, or NBA superstars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neil, Charles
Barkley, and Larry Bird. I kid you not, I prayed to God every night
from the time I was 8 years old until I was 12 that I would grow up to be 6 feet, 6 inches
tall so I could be as tall as Michael Jordan and play basketball just like him. And sure enough, God answered my prayers and
I ended up exactly the same height as Michael Jordan. Only, I didn’t keep up my end of that bargain,
partly because being naked in a locker room with 11 other dudes was gross. Yeah, I was a prudish American even as a kid. Anyway, since becoming an adult, the characteristics
I admire in people have changed significantly. Those who I consider role models today are
people like Saint Augustine, whose humble and yet profound confession of faith and theological
studies have shaped the world and inspired millions. I’ve talked about her before, but my mom’s
example of unconditional love and support for my artistic creativity enabled me to be
the artist I am today and when my wife and I eventually have kids if that’s part of
God’s plan, I’m going to lean heavily on her example. And my father found a profession he loves;
which alone is inspiring; but it’s a profession that he loves because it requires a lifetime
of learning. It’s because of him that I first used a
computer when I was 4 years old when most home’s only computer was a simple calculator. It’s because of him that I learned how to
write HTML in Notepad and program websites from scratch when I was 12. He taught me that this new technology wasn’t
for consuming, it was for creating. My grandmother’s constant presence in my
sister’s and my childhood was something that I think we both took for granted at the
time. After working various, often stressful full
time jobs, she still drove 2 hours every weekend to spend what little free time she had with
us. Now that she’s been gone for almost 10 years,
her example has taught me that the most valuable thing I can give someone isn’t money or
presents – but my time. And that’s something that inspires me as
an uncle to my nieces, as a son to my parents, and as a husband to my wife. These are the kinds of things that matter
to me now. Next to these, stuff like “Practice” now
just seem overrated. I mean, granted, practice is relevant to me
as an artist and my wife as a musician, but just putting in the effort is all it really
takes to excel in most professions and even in other aspects of life. “Talent” is wonderful, but there are some
really bad people have some really good talents. “Dedication” is great, but the people
I admire are people who have dedicated themselves to their families or to the service of God
and His Church. Dedicating yourself to something as trivial
as a sport or game, regardless of whether it’s basketball or badminton or competitive
Texas Hold ‘Em poker on ESPN, just isn’t something that I personally admire. That’s not to say that dedication to those
things is wrong. Maybe God has called someone to be an Olympic
curler or professional golfer, and dedicating themselves to that is part of God’s plan
for them and those they do influence. But, for me personally, athletic greatness
isn’t particularly inspiring to me anymore. What inspires me now are virtues like love,
piety, purity, wisdom, intellectual honesty, and – what I find admirable in Naomi Osaka
– grace. I’ve talked about Grace in a couple of my
other videos, including the one where I made that wooden American flag. If you’ve seen this one, some of this may
sound familiar, but I want to talk about grace in a lot more detail here. The word Grace itself has a lot of definitions,
including the spiritual, the material, and the political. It’s a noun, a verb, a title, and so on
and so forth. I suspect when I say that Naomi Osaka exhibits
grace, at least some of you will assume that I mean she has “a pleasing appearance or
effect” or “an ease and suppleness of movement or bearing.” And that’s not what I’m talking about. Again, I know nothing of Tennis, she could
have a the most wonky, awkward game of any professional tennis player to have ever played
the sport for all I know. The definition of “Grace” that I’m using
is “a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.” It’s a virtue that, at least in my opinion,
is sorely missing in this culture we live in that’s dominated by social media controversy
and conflict. There are people of every walk of life and
every ideology, trolling around the internet, waiting for any opportunity to be offended,
simply because Social Media has taught us that outrage is the best way to have your
5 minutes of internet fame. It’s how you get subscribers and followers. It’s how you get people to take notice that
you exist. For a while, I was annoyed and frustrated
by this, but as time has gone on, I’ve realized that it’s costing us our grace; which is
really just sad and unfortunate. And as this disposition to kindness, courtesy,
and clemency is becoming increasingly rare, I find myself valuing this virtue of grace
more and more. When I first learned who Naomi Osaka was,
it was the day after she won the US Open because of a crazy, sensational headline on the Drudge
Report about her much more well known opponent. I clicked the article and Naomi Osaka’s
name was mentioned just once or twice as a caveat. I didn’t really pay it much mind, but when
I logged on to Twitter a couple days later, a few of the people I follow were retweeting
her. And from what I saw, I was instantly blown
away by the grace Naomi Osaka was exhibiting. So, just out of curiosity, I clicked to view
her profile and took a look at her other tweets. And you know, those retweets were just the
beginning of a wonderful repository of graceful responses, joyfilled pictures and videos,
and incredible optimism. Anyway, I followed her on Twitter then and
have always felt inspired by the grace she’s exhibited in both the news stories that have
come out about her and what she’s demonstrated in the Twitterverse. Even if you’re not a Tennis fan, do yourself
a favor and follow Naomi Osaka on Twitter. Your Twitter feed will be better because of
it. You see, regardless of whether this person
was a professional athlete, a homemaker, a factory worker, or a Fortune 500 CEO – That
grace Naomi Osaka is demonstrating is something I believe is truly inspiring and worthy of
emulating. And that’s why I wanted to take the time
and draw a high resolution pixel art portrait of her in Microsoft Paint. Now, granted, as I’ve said before, I’m
not a Tennis person. But I tried my best to recreate an action
pose of someone having swung a tennis racket at full intensity. Her form here and how she’s holding the
racket are both probably terrible. I’m breaking one of the first rules of art
and creating something of which I know virtually nothing about. I haven’t even held a tennis racket since
High School PE class my Junior Year. So, if you’re a Tennis player, or even just
a fan of the sport, please let me know how I did in the comments below. My goal with this piece was to illustrate
Naomi Osaka’s inspirational grace. Initially, I thought of doing a close up portrait
of her face in a vibrant, almost surreal fashion – similar to how I drew my dog Porthos earlier
this year or my own pixel art self portrait a couple weeks ago. However, after sketching out some concepts,
I had the idea to express her grace – the disposition to kindness, courtesy, or clemency
– as a different kind of grace… the ease and suppleness of movement or bearing. And since she’s a tennis player, what better
way to demonstrate this than with a full body tennis pose? Now, in hindsight, this probably would have
been easier had I just drawn her face in a relatively low resolution image of just 600
by 900 or even lower. However, because I wanted to draw her face
at a high enough resolution that it looked legitimately like Naomi Osaka and not just
a pixelated sprite of her, I ended up increasing the resolution of the image to 1065 by 1600. So, even though this was a day and a half
project, it’s actually one of the higher resolution pixel art pieces I’ve created. Anyway, I wanted to create an image of Naomi
Osaka in a pose such that she was swinging the tennis racket with an incredible amount
of power and intensity, but to illustrate the grace, I wanted the product to be lacking
any sense of “violently” striking the ball. This was kind of tricky, particularly because
most of my art like this is for a comic book series that features sword fighting and, by
design, features characters violently swinging things. Firstly, I wanted the clothing itself to imply
a lot of the intensity of the movement. After looking at some reference images, I
realized that Osaka, and I think most modern professional women tennis players, tend to
wear tighter fitting tennis outfits. However, if I drew tighter fitting clothes,
I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough flow in them to imply that intensity. So instead, I opted for a slightly looser
fitting shirt and a more flowy, mildly pleated skirt. Although the pose of her body should suggest
she was running forward and attacking the ball, the movement of her clothes, especially
her skirt, I think suggests how quickly she was running up and twisted to accomplish this. Then, to reduce the violence, I opted to give
the piece a more illustrative style. I used a 4 pixel thick outline around her
and a 3 pixel thick line for most of the inside lines. In a few places, such as the rim of her visor
and her shoe laces, I decreased the line thickness to 2 pixels or less. To imply depth, I decided to give limbs overlapping
other body parts a full 4 pixel thick outline instead of 3. Really, I did this with her arms and right
leg. In keeping with the illustrative cartoon-like
style, I decided to make her head slightly larger than if I was going for full on realism. This had the added benefit of allowing me
to draw her face at a larger resolution while keeping the overall image at a more manageable
resolution. This is kind of a big deal because you can’t
zoom out in the XP version of Microsoft Paint. So keeping proportions and in check is difficult
when you’re working with images significantly taller than 1000 pixels tall on a standard
1080p display because you can’t zoom out to see the entire piece. As it was 1600 pixels was difficult to work
with, but once I got her legs and upper body proportioned correctly; which involved a lot
of saving and viewing the file zoomed out a bit in Windows Photo Gallery; I was able
to pretty much compartmentalize the upper and lower parts of this drawing without one
side affecting the other too much. I don’t like doing that because you risk
the art work looking like two different pieces awkwardly spliced together, but I think I
lucked out here because you can’t really tell here. I also knew that I wanted the illustrative
style to reduce the violence further by using a more cell-shaded coloring approach. Initially, I planned on only using 3 tones
of color for her clothes and skin. However, as is typical for me, I couldn’t
stop at just 3 tones. It quickly became 4 tones for the skin and
by the end, I was using 5 tones. I think this was the right decision as it
allowed me to draw her face in more detail, create more dynamic lighting, and just make
her look more alive and prominent than her clothes. Finally, I wanted to convey both intensity
and non-violence with her facial expression. This was the hardest part of the whole thing
and why I started with the face way back at the beginning. Her face was really what was going to make
or break this piece. If it wasn’t going to look like Naomi Osaka,
it wouldn’t be worth doing the rest of this. Anyway, you know how everyone debates whether
or not the Mona Lisa is smiling? It’s such a weird facial expression that
nobody really knows what she’s thinking and I think that’s what’s contributed
so much to it’s perceived greatness in the art community. Well, I wanted to do something like that here. My goal with her face was to draw her simultaneously
yelling as though she was releasing a ton of energy with this swing and, at the same
time, relieved, smiling, and joyful. I’m by no means a modern day Leonardo DaVinci,
but I think I got it. When I finished this piece, I was worried
that her expression lacked that happiness and was entirely too intense. However, looking at it again now that I’m
editing this video, I see that joyful relief a lot more than the intensity that dominated
my perception of her face earlier. With the foreground done, it was time to draw
the background. As I was looking at reference images, there
were a couple of tennis outfits she had when endorsed by Adidas that I thought looked like
a modern, tasteful take on some of those those horrendously goofy patterns that were so popular
in the 1990s. I also remembered a picture she shared on
Twitter of herself near a mural of Kobe Bryant painted in triangles. I kind of wonder whether that was an artist
silently crediting Kobe Bryant’s greatness at least in part to Phil Jackson’s triangle
offense… but that’s not really important. Either way, I kind of decided I wanted a background
that incorporated some feel of those 1990s patterns along with some subtle triangle pattern;
which was often part of those geometric patterns in the 90s. So the background featured shapes that looked
almost like lightning bolts drawing attention to her face – in particular her mouth. And overlayed on that were going to be triangles. At first, I was thinking of going with yellow
triangles, thinking that it was a good complementary color for her clothing. However, after layering everything in GIMP,
I realized that I didn’t really care for the yellow. I adjusted the hue a bit and eventually settled
on a violet hue more red than her top, shoes, and visor while still helping her shirt stand
out above the more cyan-blue hue in the background. After I finished recording, I got the idea
to fill the background with her name in both Japanese and the Latin alphabet. Anyway, this took a bit longer than expected,
but I really like how it turned out. What about you? If you like it, then let me know by hitting
that like button. Also, if you like these kinds of art videos
where the artist tries to share with you their inspirations and ideas behind the art rather
than a long, drawn out how-to tutorial, then consider subscribing. I try to post one new video a week and I’d
love it if you joined our growing community. And if you didn’t like this video, or think
my art looks like crap, well I want to know that, too. Let me know what you didn’t like in the
comments. I do take the time to read all of your comments
and I really do appreciate all of your feedback, even if someone’s just trying to be a jerk. And as always, even though these aren’t
tutorial videos, if you have ANY questions about anything you’ve seen in this or any
of my other videos, please feel free to ask in the comments or message me from my website
at KTracy.com. If I can help you in your artistic journey,
I’d love to be of assistance. Either way, thanks for watching and I’ll
hopefully catch you again next week! HEY HEY HEY! Before you go! On the left is a playlist of my other timelapsed
pixel art videos. And on the right is a video that YouTube thinks
you’ll like based on all of their nerdy computer science stuff. Either way, I think you’ll have fun.

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