2018 was the first time I heard about Linktober. At the time it had been a few years since I did any artwork, and I was planning to start doing more art anyway, so I took the challenge. When I began doing the prompts, I had a free schedule in the evenings of the work week, so I could count on coming home after my shifts and having the time to draw. That changed around the second week of October. My shifts turned into me frequently working overtime, and by the time I would come home, I barely had time to eat dinner before going to bed at a reasonable time to do the grind all over again. It was exhausting, so I would put off the Linktober prompts until I had days off. I would speed draw the prompts in my off time to try getting caught up. I successfully completed all the prompts that year, but the overall result was pieces with mixed quality. Some were acceptable, others were, frankly, stinkers.

I fully intended to complete Linktober in 2019, but when October rolled around I couldn’t muster the energy to do any art, and it was extremely disappointing. The same thing happened last year. This year I bought a graphic tablet a month ago, and installed Krita, a free open-source digital art application. I have no excuse not to do Linktober now. I have a convenient means to create art, I need to get better familiarized with Krita – pretty much all the tumblers have fallen into place for me to take on Linktober once again!

My goal for this year is to not fall too far behind on the prompts, and to maintain a decent quality bar that runs consistent with all 31 pieces. If I can do this I will feel accomplished. Throughout this editorial series I will share my works in progress and finished pieces. I will post an update on each Sunday of the week, with the final update being on October 31st!

But enough writing, we are here for the art! 

Day 1: Witch

One of the things I’ve been practicing on the tablet lately is line art, so that style worked its way into my first piece, featuring Mapel as she is out on a cruise during the full moon. This one came together pretty smoothly, barring some minor hiccups with my first attempt at using the color fill tool. I originally had the moon as a solid dark grey color in an early stage of the piece, but later on wanted to change it to the color in the finished piece. I would use the fill tool to try adding the color, but it would cause the color of the sky to change color as well, which I found strange. I could not find out what the issue was, sadly. My solution was to just trash the layer and create a new one with the moon as it is now.

Day 2: Moon

I knew I wanted to at least draw the moon from Majora’s Mask for this prompt. So to spice things up I added Skull Kid and his “scream” effect from the game. Although this has color, I consider it a work in progress. There are some extra details I want to add to Skull Kid, and feel like I can make the distorted color effect better. I had to break away from diving into that, otherwise I would have fallen behind on the other prompts.

Day 3: Favorite Character

This one was a challenge because I couldn’t decide who my favorite character is. I briefly considered drawing Link, but that wouldn’t have felt right (however in retrospect Link with the Zora Mask on was always a favorite of mine, and could have been fun to draw). I ended up choosing Ganondorf. As a child I was afraid of him, eventually I started to appreciate his design, and that led to getting immersed into his story. The Wind Waker has the best characterization of him, plus I really love his visual design in the game. 

For this piece I used a digital Sumi Ink pen to make it feel like an authentic ink wash painting, albeit with color.

Day 4: Boss

For this prompt I had a sketch ready in advance that I decided not to use. So really quickly in the evening I sketched Windblight Ganon. I want to possibly ink him before the month ends, but that depends on if I can devote the time to it.

Day 5: Knight

The Hero’s Shade seemed fitting for this. I feel like this was where I started to make a breakthrough with using the advantages of digital art optimally. Before I would try inking everything on the same layer and erase any lines that overshot their mark, which is risky because it can mess up the line quality of an area that you want to keep. It was with this piece I realized I could make a new layer devoted to a specific strand of the wolf’s hair, for example. I can draw the hair on it’s own layer and then erase any overlap without having to worry about messing up the lines I don’t want to erase. Afterwards, I can merge the layer to the main ink layer, and the result is a very seamless product. A few changes to the Hero Shade’s helmet will give this one a finished polish, otherwise I am happy with it.

Day 6: Island

Like most, when I think of an Island from Zelda my mind immediately goes to Koholint. For this drawing I wanted to depict the Wind Fish breaking free from the egg. I call it The Windfish Awakens. Later on I’ll add color, and I think a rainbow in the background would be a nice touch.

Day 7: Species/Race

Going into this one I was considering drawing a Zora, but for this same prompt back in 2018 I ended up drawing Laruto from Twilight Princess. I talked myself into drawing a Rito for this year, specifically Teba. The sketch I made for this one came out so clean that I had to include it. Typically I am a messy sketcher, in the past I have had rare clean sketches, but it has been a very long time since I had something turn out like this. The sketch only took like 5 minutes too, and inking went so fast I was able to find time to add color. I used an airbrush tool for all the coloring, and I am really happy with the results!

Day 8: Goddess

I knew in advance that for this day I was going to draw Hylia, but what it turned into was not what I envisioned a week ago. My first concept was a clashing of swords between Hylia and Demise, Hylia being in the air like she flew in for the sword strike. When I sat down to draw, however, nothing was going right for me. After multiple hours of sketching and feeling lost, I got to the current pose and settled to depict her flying away from Demise instead. I never got around to adding Demise though, instead I opted to spend time doing some experimental line weights. The goal was thicker lines for what would be closer and thinner lines for what is not as close.

Day 9: Desert

So many ideas can work with this theme. I thought maybe I’ll do the eight heroines, my friend pitched a desert nightclub idea to me, and after talking we got a desert nightclub that serves sundaes with a desert aesthetic, featuring Knuckles in a vai outfit, because why not! This is definitely a favorite of mine because of how unique it is, I just wish I could have had more time to go on to coloring it all. Sadly, I kept getting interrupted while sketching this, and didn’t manage to finish it yesterday. Earlier this morning I got done with the sketch phase, and only added color to the parts that absolutely needed it. The caramel topping was crucial to the sundae’s desert theme; while I was doing that I decided coloring the cactus would be fine since it’d be quick too. I also didn’t want there to be doubt on what kind of rupees were thrown to Knuckles, so they got colored. 

I am ok with having only slipped a day behind, and I had enough of the sketch finished yesterday that it did not take long to finish it up this morning.

Day 10: Outfit

Once again, I had a few ideas days in advance, but I saw a lot of similar art to what I was thinking of based around the theme. Drawing The Wind Waker Link’s pajama outfit was my first thought. When I saw a lot of stuff already based on that, my second idea was just drawing the Hero of Time’s tunic. I decided against that too, eventually landing on drawing Breath of the Wild Link in the Fierce Deity set. I also left this piece at the sketch phase on purpose; I want to build a little bit of cushion on the prompts again.

First Week Takeaway

I am definitely starting to get the results I was hoping for out of doing digital art pretty much every day. The tablet is beginning to feel more familiar, and I am getting slightly faster while working in Krita. There have been a few snags I have hit that I haven’t fully resolved yet, though. This could just be a settings issue I need to mess around with, but I have noticed that while making a stroke with the tablet pen, there is a slight delay between where the pen tip physically is on my screen versus where the tablet is registering the pen tip to be at. It’s not egregious, and I certainly don’t feel like it is hindering the quality of my work either. Like I mentioned, it could be a problem I can remove by tweaking some settings, so I can’t assume it’s a problem with the tablet itself yet.

The other issue is more annoying. Oftentimes I’ll leave the tablet plugged into my computer with Krita running and walk away from things for an hour or two. My PC goes into sleep mode, and the tablet also goes into a “power saving mode”. I’ll return to the PC and jump right back into Krita to find that a bunch of problems are suddenly present. For example, the pressure sensitivity will be out of whack. I will do a light stroke, but on the screen it appears as if I was using a lot of pressure. Another problem I found was returning to the software and my pen’s dedicated eraser end seems to think it’s the same as the regular pen tip. Manually assigning an eraser to that end also makes the pen tip believe it should have that same setting. Sometimes it can just be one of these problems happening, other times both are going on together. I have exited and reloaded Krita while experiencing these problems, but they still continue. This leads me to believe it is a problem with the tablet, and it seems to only happen if I let the tablet go into its power saving mode. I could try powering the tablet on and off again, but to be absolutely sure it will stop, I restart the PC, and that seems to fix everything consistently.

I’d rather not unplug the tablet if I’m only gone an hour or two, but that’s what it seems like I will have to do in the future. The brightside is even if I don’t, I know how to solve the problem.

Problems aside, I do like the tablet overall, and I can’t wait to produce more artwork with it! I haven’t planned too far ahead for the upcoming prompts, but I do have some definite ideas for a few of them. Like tomorrow’s prompt, which I will use to draw Horsehead from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The Night theme has me wanting to draw a landscape scene from Breath of the Wild, and Redesign Zelda’s Outfit sounds very challenging! 

Check back next Sunday to see my next 7 pieces! In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter to see me post each piece daily, and I oftentimes retweet other artwork that catches my interest!

Charles is a Senior Editor at Zelda Dungeon. He is a massive fan of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Marvel Comics. He enjoys Skittles immensely. Follow him on Twitter to see all of his latest artwork throughout Linktober and the rest of the year!

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