Archive for ‘artist’

26/07/2014

A space to call my own.

*HAPPY INFECTED DANCE* I may have a really awful infection, but on the plus I’m gonna get my studio space. It’s been decided that the “work” room which is more of a dumping ground is going to get a revamp. More vertical storage, less crap on the floor. An old computer desk rebuilt as a workbench. A load of old melamine units taken out, and a new drawing desk with an adjustable drawing surface built into a corner.

Badly needed too, right now I have to pack away everything as I finish. Which would be fine if my health was more robust; but it isn’t. Right now if I have energy to draw for half an hour I’m losing 20 minutes of it to setting up, and packing away each time. Which this change I’ll be able to start something and walk away if I get tired; but also be able to just pick right up where I left off, even if it’s just for five minutes.

Anyway the end result should be more storage, less clutter, and a space where I can lay out drawing stuff properly, and leave it there.

In other news, a space will be created in my bedroom for recording my video blogs in the next couple of months. So yup, things are startin’ to look up for this creative puppygirl.

Oh and in, other, other news next vlog will go up in the next couple of days. Antibiotics kick my ass every time, so I’m just barely able to stay out of bed, much less record. So patience please.

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01/07/2014

The shock of realising you’ve grown.

As most people who follow my bits ‘n’ bobs know by now, I have a webcomic. What many may not know is that I’ve had to teach myself to draw, essentially from scratch. It’s been three solid years of going through multiple sketch pads a month, as I try to create a link between my mind and body; all so that what I see in my mind is, more or less, what appears on the page.

It really hasn’t been easy. Add together the facts that my eyesight is very…unbalanced, with some nerve damage in my hands, and a general lack of graphical artistic talent; well you can see the problem.

But last week, and again today, I’ve found it all much, much easier. Something had just clicked, and I suppose after 3 years of struggle is should have by now. And with that click came the realisation that I needed to change a few of the ways I do each webcomic page.

So today has been a first day for a few things…Acidgirlish.

I’ve switched from roughing out on A4 to A3. This was so I could mark out the proportions of the box the comic sits in on the site. I got rather sick of doing shitloads of drawing only to end up with it cut out at the end.

I’ve also switched from using a 2b pencil for everything to a 3h for rough out, and 2b for lining…that’s proving very, very awkward after 3 years of doing everything with 2b’s; but it’s actually lending a pretty cool finished product. (or as finished as the rough outs ever are.)

I’ve started working in a well-defined “hard” box. Meaning that everything I draw on paper ends up in the comic on the webpage. This is a little odd feeling in a good way. It gives me a very defined space to work inside, which makes laying out so much easier.

And finally this is my first time very harshly limiting my rough out time. 1 hour per panel to do the four stages of rough out I use. I just managed it with the 1st panel of the next page, I actually had 30 seconds to spare. And guess what? My rough out work was so much better than usual. The time limit means I don’t have time to mess about trying to get this line, or that line perfect. The rough lines end up more…real because I’m just letting my mind and body to get on with it; much less conscious thinking involved, and far less worrying about whether it’s “right”.

In short in the past two weeks I’ve progressed so much as a developing artist that for once even I can see it. Me, the super self-critical creative person can see genuine progress in the development of my own artistic style…hell one of these days I might even feel comfortable describing myself as an artist!

So all that said, the new page will be up on Thursday the 3rd. And for the second time ever (last week being the first) I’m finding myself feeling confident in my own creation. It still feels, surprising to actually feel nearly as confident in my artwork as I usually am in my writing, alien even. I’m so used to not being sure whether something is right or not, that feeling instinctively that even if it’s not how someone else would do it, it is right, my version of right, it’s shocking. And hugely enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

25/06/2014

Webcomic Update…

After way too long, and WAAAY too many completely redraws the new page is up! Enjoy page 8 of Acidgirl.

Acidgirl Page 8

22/06/2014

Waking up can be rough sometimes…

So last night I had a dream where my PTSD had vanished, I was my old self again, and the really gorgeous goth girl who gets off the bus across the street from my house most days had asked me out; AND it gets better…

I had just bought an old 2 door cinema, and was converting the two theatres into a house for myself, with these insane multi-tiered mezzanine floors, and enclose spiral staircases between them, two walk in wardrobes, a 100 square foot artists studio, a command centre of my own with a custom dual motheboard, 4 graphics card, 32 gigabyte, liquid cooled gaming rig. Oh and a 16 foot projected screen with 7.1 surround sound for my 360…AND it got better.

The following morning I was travelling to ComicCon as a panellist, because not only had Acidgirl become huge, but it had been made in to a cartoon. The dream ended with my PiC and I having a pint with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Then I woke up…rough morning man, rough morning.

12/02/2014

Webcomic Update Page 2

A week already?! Wow, well here I am shilling my second page of the revamped, rebooted Acidgirl. This time I managed to draw it in about half the time last weeks took. Who knows at this rate I may even find the time to do two pages a week…but not ’til after my birthday hangover next month at the very least.

Acidgirl Page 2

05/02/2014

Webcomic update.

After a forever of waiting I’ve relaunched my webcomic, Acidgirl. The time seemed right. This is a complete, and total restart. And it starts…well, now. Enjoy.

http://acidgirl.thecomicseries.com/comics/12/

14/09/2013

I’ve got an idea. Oh crap, why won’t the ideas stop?

In the past week I’ve had the following major ideas, and a myriad of minor ones which I’m not going to list here, an airsoft gun built in to a pre-existing nerfish body, a design for my ideal drawing lap-board-thingy, how my ideal Siren would look, how Acidgirl’s ship should look and work, and a set-up for a review vlog that would be both doable, and enjoyable for me to make. I should point out that I am excited about all of these, and really want to make them happen.

But even so I’m starting to feel like “my” character in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is more and more becoming Leonard of Quirm, but without the healthy body. Seriously, this week wasn’t even a good week for inventive thinking. In a good week that list would be four or fives times as long, and I’d already have pages of research and working out done for all of them aside from the ones I had last night. And do you know what? It’s getting fucking old.

Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m alone in this, (Oh Gods I hope not.) but this hyper creativity is really fucking annoying. I have over 30 ideas for full length novels. I have maybe 3 times that number of ideas for short stories and novellas. I have multiple designs for airsoft guns each with it’s own innovation. Parts of five different pieces of music written (Only 1 finished, and that one is flamenco of all things). Graphic novels? Yup got 4 or maybe 5 of those planned out in immense detail. Ukulele designs, yeah…check. Video blogs, 5 different ones worked out and ready to go.

And I am so sick of having all these things ready to go, but not being healthy enough to run with any of them. Seriously, today I can write (a little), tomorrow I may be lucky if I can manage the climb the stairs to the toilet and still have enough concentration left to remember to wipe afterwards.

So I’m left with a deep sense of frustration, and a theory that it’s a demon, a dancing demon, no, something isn’t right there. Damn it Giles is right, it’s a Muse. I’ve obviously pissed off some member of the Greek Pantheon, and so they’ve inflicted a Muse with verbal diarrhoea to speak in my ear. To, not so slowly, drip so many ideas into my fevered brain that eventually it will collapse under it’s own sane insanity. Yeah, that’s it.

AHA! I’m on to you, you sons of…Gods!

Incidentally, Acidgirl is coming along, whose of you on my Facebook can expect some new pictures of my rapidly developing character models, and the story is much, much better.

Oh and this is stuck in my head now. Have a good weekend, I may be saner by Tuesday.

10/08/2013

An update on my many and varied projects.

After over two years, and 300 articles I feel it’s time to shake things up a little in my creative life. I will still be blogging, but I am frankly running out of handy topics to write passionately about. So starting next week I will be writing a regular, normal blog article for each Tuesday, and when I have a topic that enthuses me Saturday also. But those weeks where I find myself struggling to find a topic for my Saturday post I will instead be setting up a linkstorm of the various things that really caught my eye over the previous week.

This is to reduce the amount of wasted time, spent staring at a blinking cursor with no absolutely idea what to write about. This time is going to be used on getting back to my webcomic.

The past few months have definitely not been wasted in that regard, I have been working hard on my drawing skills, as well as experimenting with different page layouts, lining styles, and even *gasp* colour. Beside this I’ve been developing the storylines so that they mesh, and hopefully read better. I am planning to get back to posting finished pages by the end of the Summer. I intend to restart with an honest to goodness cover page, and by redrawing the original 5 pages with my new skills, before moving on with the story. (The originals will still be on the site, more as a testament to how far I’ve come than anything else.) I’ll be putting up new pages as I finish them, rather than having a regular posting day.

Video blogging will also be restarting, I hope, in the Autumn. Again I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few months experimenting with lighting, editing, and generally brushing up those skills I was seriously lacking in in the past. The end result, I hope, will be a better quality vlog, that will be more enjoyable for the viewer, while being more fulfilling for me to create. I currently have four separate streams of vlog I intend to make videos about. So, rather like with my webcomic, I won’t be adhering to a set rota, I’ll make what interests me in the moment, and post as they’re finished.

Which brings me to the main thing I’ve learned in the past 6 months of reduced output. I need to work on what I feel passionate about at the time, rather than forcing myself in to an artificial time-plan. That path leads me to slowly losing both the plot, and interest. Much better to stick with what I feel a passionate need to create at the time. Much better work always results.

And that’s what’s going to be happening from next week on.

Thanks for sticking with my blog, and don’t worry there’s still plenty of madness to come.

16/07/2013

Acidgirl, making reference images for the purely imaginary.

As you all know I own a webcomic, Acidgirl. But for the past few months I’ve been letting it sit idle simply because I have been permanently emotionally, and physically exhausted. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working on it.

Some of that work has been based around tightening up the storyline, improving the characters, and above everything else improving my artwork. And yup, you guessed it, the latter is what we will be discussing today.

One of the hardest parts of improving my artwork has been getting reference images which will not only stretch my abilities to their limits, and beyond, but also make me want to draw. This is made doubly difficult by the fact that most of the characters in, and planned, for Acidgirl are, sort of, based on my close friends.

What do I mean by sort of?

Obviously ignore the clothing, but very much how I see him in my head.

Knower how he really looks, ignore the clothing, but very much how I see him in my head.

Well unless you’re sitting right in front of me, I don’t really remember what you look like. I’ll have a very vague sense of how you should look, but the image in my head is virtually always a world away from the reality. In a way, my mental images of the people I love, are very much idealised and more reflect how they make me feel, rather than how they actually look.

Now just try finding a Goddess damned reference image for that!

Well I did. Sort of.

There’s a game called Perfect World. It’s a pretty standard, though very fun, Korean grinding based MMORPG. But it’s character modeling system is quite simply ridiculously flexible. You can, with pretty limited skills and just a touch of patience, take a photo of anyone and recreate how they look before taking them out to hunt giant spiders. Or you could just take the way you see someone you love in your own mind, and make that a visible reality. And that’s what I decided to do. Better yet, because you have limited character slots inside the game, you can save a characters look as a template, that way minor characters can be easily stored, while leaving space for more detailed work on major characters.

The end result, as you can see above, is a somewhat cartoonish image, which can be rotated, and even posed in-game if you wish. Way above of course is Carl “Knower” Orten, based of course on my favorite boylesquer. His character model was created in under 20 minutes, and can be viewed from basically any direction.

And below is a potential image of a future character. (Yes is has catgirls, which is kind of just as well.) And while it is only a potential character model, it does show how much flexibility there is in the Perfect World system.

This one is really only potential.

This one is really only potential.

So with many of these, and a lot more practice my artwork should some day reach where I want it to be.

And yes, this does mean that my comic will be returning sooner, rather than later. I’m currently working on a few new pages, which will be uploaded as they are finished, for now I’m not going to put more pressure on myself than I can cope with. But I do fully intend to continue the story, taking webcomics to new heights of insanity.

09/04/2013

Easy to use character modelling for the budding comic artist?

Had a moment of, what passes with me for genius, the other day. Of course it’s something that I’m totally, absolutely, completely certain every artsy-sketchy geek type person has had before, but just in case it’s a trick that has passed some of you by, here it is.

If you’re kind of an inexperienced artist like I am, creating the look of a character, faces, body-type and all the rest  from imagination is kind of tough challenge. I mean sure, once you know what they actually look like you can, with considerable effort, do it. But it’s creating that first, something lifelike from nothing, that kills brain cells.

Well anyway, there I was playing Skyrim. I’d decided to make a new character and had just made it through the opening. I was standing in front of the executioners block, and the game had just asked me to create my character. So I started building how she looked, dark hair, white eyes, pale-dirty skin, kissable  lips, ox-blood war-paint and of course a nice sexy scar running down her right cheek, when it suddenly hit me. The games character generation, and even more so the preceding game Oblivion, gives you the ability to create life-like faces that you can screen-capture and use as baseline references for drawing character faces, and even bodies.

You can then modify them as you wish to make them unique, but the crucial part, creating the basic face has been made much easier. Best of all even creating the models themselves will give invaluable experience in understanding what makes a face look more or less real.

And while I am sure there are plenty who will moan and say that this is cheating. But is it really? Yes, you are using an existing system in a way it was never intended, but you are creating the look of the model even if you don’t necessarily understand how the system itself works. And don’t most artists use references? What makes a photograph purer? Surely it’s better to use an image of someone who never existed. To learn by manipulating a malleable, resettable model when a character starts, and stops looking real?

Anyway thought I’d share that. Maybe it’ll help someone else out.

Oh and an afterthought. So many games have this sort of character creation now, but there’s actually one particular free-to-play PC based MMORPG named Perfect World International. It’s okay to play, a pretty standard Korean grind-fest. But it has the most near-infinitely adjustable character creation system I have ever seen. You can with effort make character models which are anything from divinely beautiful to hideously ugly with it. And as I said free to download, free to sign up, and free to play (if the grinding madness happens to strike.).

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