Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bram Stoker's Douglas

After completing a 24-hour comic (err, pencils) and feeling proud of the accomplishment, I found myself craving "productive" art more than my typical doodles, and my Nausicaa fan art was an outlet for that. Also coloring the comic -- which I'm doing on the side now (about 8 pages in, in my spare time) -- has helped. But random doodles still exist in the cracks, and craved a posting.

This one was done shortly after the 24-hour comic, I think. I struggled with inking my comic -- I'm constantly disappointed by the reminder that inks are a separate craft that needs separate attention devoted to it -- so it weighs on my mind. This page was done with a .05 micron, which was one of the pens I liked for getting tighter control and results. The page wasn't a very conscious exercise, though, as much as random fiddling. The thick lines are the result of a Sharpie being within my line of vision, and the sitting kid is a absent-minded reaction to some thoughts I had thinking about "the Marvel way" of doing inks, with constant black shadows inhabiting all manner of corners in the drawing, without serving as much an "iconic" purpose, if that makes sense. It just seems like throwing down thick blacks is fine but kinda defeats the purpose of high quality paper and colors, whereas it might have once been very fitting -- even iconic -- in comics when you have really basic colors, as they were when limited by newsprint paper. Regardless, it's hard to deny the utter sexiness of a finished page of inked pencils. Ryan has them littered all over his office, and it's all drool-worthy. And then there are the Sean Murphy and James Harrens of the world, but I'd like to make pretend they don't exist, thankyouverymuch.

Quick doodles. I think I've mentioned before that I like toying with the idea of getting much more explicit with my art, but still have a hard time diving in. Again, the drive is not to satisfy a base urge so much as just master an aspect of human figures that I can't say I'm good at drawing... but yeah, just sketchy innuendo for now, and there are a million other things to get better at, like non-people and inking, to name the tip of the iceberg.

Before doing my Nausicaa piece, I doodled a bunch of costume and equipment to make sure I didn't mess up anything. Lately I've been in a Miyazaki mood, and I really feel like re-watch all of his movies. It actually depresses me that so many people watch those movies and only output a "meh," or just dump in the "bleh anime" bucket. I love how many amazing, character-driven moments are in his film, and Spirited Away might be my favorite; in it, I see a perfect combination of a singular vision, a "Through the Looking Glass" classic storytelling feel, a powerful character arc, and the perfect balance of un-insulting elements of danger and triumph that parents and kids can enjoy at the exact same level.

After doodling up equipment, I was going to dive right into a fan art piece but I stumbled into another problem with having done the 24-hour comic (err, pencils), which is devaluing solid pencils. Because I approached the comics with roughs before finals, I became sloppy with my pencils for layout purposes even without plans to then re-pencil them later. But perhaps more than that, the approach in this sketch just looked like most of the moments I see with Nausicaa -- always kicking butt and never really doing the wrong thing -- and that's why I went with the "Nausicaa effed up" approach with the final piece.

After awhile I just wanted to do my the usual thang. It was nice to just bust out some figures and play around. I'm sure going back to what you know has some rejuvenating merit, though I also hope it doesn't also mean feeding habits instead of growing past them. I'm too busy anyway. Blerg.

Showing my latest comic effort to friends has been interesting because the content is so heavy. I got in the habit of showing both 24-hour efforts -- the Zombie Bean and my new one -- to reassure them that I'm not just brooding with spooky angst. I really just wanted to do a unique take on the fight-to-enlightenment story and it happened to be heavy. But yeah, it reminds me of how many more comments and seemingly better reaction I got to the Zombie Bean story. People love the beans. And I do too, it's just not what I'm most proud of in my art. I suppose those things don't have to align.

This past Tue's draw night was more silliness. I drew an old man with a big dong because those two things don't meet up often enough, and the character had kind of a celestial quality to him. But any resemblance to the big guy is coincidental, dammit. The girl without pants has kind of a Keira Knightley (sp?) vibe to her because of the underbite (?). In my opinion, Keira has a very un-traditional look at certain angles. The last doodle-figure of note is Douglas. He had a hairdo that kinda reminded me of Dracula's do in Bram Stoker's Dracula, so I pinned him with a similar surname. Thank you, Doug. The scribbles on the page are notes from playing RoomBreak on the iPad -- a kinda fun / irritating puzzler.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nausicaa Fan

I recently brought Nausicaa to work for Ryan to read and it's reminded me of how much I love it. It really is one of the best comic series I've ever read, and expands hugely on the content of the movie. The art and story -- by Miyazaki himself -- are absolutely breathtaking and the world it explores is mind-bogglingly cool. While my Nausicaa bug was still buzzing, I thought it would be fun to do some fan art at this past draw night. The end result is a bit hard to dissect without some visual aids, so I decided to employ some grays to lend a helping hand; after scanning in the drawing, I went to work.

And this is the result -- a quick-and-dirty job with a bit of subtle lighting thrown onto the various layers. Her sandwich received a bit of color and focus because I worried it would be hard to spot. I tried to get as much of her equipment as "correct" as possible, but I noticed her plane had a few details missing when I was perusing the manga later. Other weird errors include a lack of dark-patches on the tips of the critter's ears, and getting the date wrong... I meant for it to read 11-1-11. The biggest issue I have, however, is her squirrel-fox (or whatever) not being that clearly in the foreground -- it might look like a human-sized rodent sitting on the tree.

After coloring the sandwich, I was curious what the two main character focuses would look like with similar, simple treatment, and gave it a whirl. Fun.

Monday, October 17, 2011

24-Hour Comic: The End

Follow this link or scroll down to read my comic from this year's 24-Hour Comic Day. Warning: it contains male nudity, graphic violence, and adult themes. I have lots of commentary but read the book first to avoid spoilers.

Process
All done? Let me start by confessing that I cheated. I spent the week leading up to our marathon writing, drawing roughs, and printing them in blue on letter-sized paper to pencil on the big day. I never expected to get more than halfway through but I pulled it off with a bit of rushing and the next day I spent about 8 hours doing minor touch-ups and adding dialogue and sound effects on the computer so I could post the final result here. The blues were left in so you could see them, but if I go through with my urge to color it, I'll post a nicer version later.

Why Cheat?
My previous 24-hour comic was completed under the official rules, which require that you go in empty-handed -- without a story -- and exit with a finished comic. I'm really proud to have accomplished this in the past, but last year I aspired to something more than I could do within the time frame, and hated the taste of failure. Now my attitude towards 24-Hour Comic Day has changed -- because a 24-hour marathon takes so much out of me, I want to stack the deck to make sure it ends with something to be proud of. Since I participate primarily to actually produce a full-blown comic then I have no qualms with cheating if it helps me do so. In this particular case, cheating made me really happy.

Idea
The idea used for comic was the same one I failed to execute on at the previous year's 24-Hour Comic Day. It's basically my take on the "reach enlightenment to become the ultimate combatant" from stories like Matrix, Star Wars, and Karate Kid, drawing inspiration from a moment in the Avatar: the Last Airbender cartoon series, where Ang was being trained and was told to abandon his desire for someone he loved to reach the final level of power. This thread was abandoned during the series, but I thought it would be fun to create a hero with the same hindrance, only to have the person he loves overcome his problem for him.

Setting
The pit fight seemed like a natural setting for the idea. Roughly, I knew it would be about a pit fighter sentenced to death via combat, and a girlfriend who was in the audience, and who eventually killing herself to help him overcome his desire for her so he could save himself and wipe out everyone responsible. I worried that it would be too hard to sell everyone on the protagonist's rapid ability to fight through his own grief in a matter of panels, but I felt the idea was interesting enough to shoot for it.

Writing (~24 hrs.)
Writing was the time consuming part of the process. I used Excel to map out all of the plot structure beats I wanted to hit, and then paired each one with page descriptions and dialogue that matched, fleshing out the in-betweens as needed. I tried to picture the dialogue and events of each page as best I could, but had sections of broad strokes for things like the Rat Pack fight. If you want me to post the Excel file, lemme know.

In the beginning, I assumed I would have to do flash-backs of the protagonist's love, training moments with the master, as well as some story of what brought them to the arena, but all of this was ditched because it seemed unnecessary to say what needed to be said. Having things as trim as possible was an objective not just for a honed message, but because I wanted plenty of room for combat -- I love when action has lots of panels to breath with little time passage between them, because it seems to flow better, like a movie. I ended up with decent space, though not as much as I wanted. For this same reason, I made a point to run the story past as many people as I could, and listening to their feedback really helped (thanks guys).

Layouts (~20 hrs.)
Layouts took about 16 hours, plus an additional 4 hours or so on 24-Hour Comic Day. Working in Ryan Ottley's office lets me mimic his layout method and use his tools to do it. Each page started as a thumbnail that became the basis for layouts done on the computer using the Cintiq -- basically a sloppy stab at each page. The advantage to this approach is letting you move, zoom, rotate, or paste in reference content until everything feels right without having to erase or make a big mess on a physical page. Then everything is converted to blue and printed. I chose letter-sized paper because that's what I usually draw on. Why mess with a good thing?

Page 01 was going to be a splash of Ben with the camera looking up at the crowds around him, but it didn't offer me the scale I wanted so I was going to go with a straight arena shot (as seen in the right panel). Though an establishing shot seemed fine before zooming in to the protagonist, I like it when heavier movies begin with extreme content so you know what you're getting into, and I wanted to introduce the protagonist, so I decided to put the male nudity and violence front and center, preferably with a top-down shot that suggested someone other than Ben was in control of his fate. The decision to go with a nude protagonist was a simple matter of doodle habits. I first drew Ben nude and kinda liked the idea of using it to enhance his sense of vulnerability, but then worried it would be too much for the reader and gave him some jeans. When I told Ryan about my waffling, he was confused why I wouldn't go with my initial instincts, so I just went for it. I can't say that I feel that strongly either way about the end result, but an angle I hadn't considered was that some readers would find flailing privates distracting enough to actually detract from the story, and that kind of thing can be hard for me to predict.

Page 02 is where I introduce the antagonist and Maria. I never named him because it never seemed important. For his design, I wanted someone visually irritating so even on first viewing you wanted to see something bad befall him. At first I tried making him "fluffy," with garish robes with feathers and other fanciness, but it started to "make a scene," so instead I went to a big hat and elegant curls, and hoped that a juxtaposition of (a) responsibility for horrible events (Maria's tears, the torn bodies, Ben worried about dying and his master dead) with (b) boredom or disinterest in current events would do the trick. He was probably, personally my least favorite design but I didn't see the point in noodling him. At least one friend commented on how they liked him, so that's good.

Page 03 was mostly stat (repeated) panels, so it took more time in post than in penciling. But this page is seemed to be one of the more confusing ones, with people asking whether the corpse was either (a) Ben's master, (b) someone that reminded Ben of his master, (c) someone Ben killed, or (d) Ben's master killed by Ben. I probably could have done a better job to reduce the confusion but it never disrupted the story enough so I let the error sit. It felt kinda like a "B" bug in video game development, where the bug can be nasty but not a show-stopper, and the game has to be shipped, so oh well.

Page 04 sets up Ben's first challenge, and introduces dialogue from the Master to deliver the story premise -- that Ben needs to remove all desire to win. As I mentioned earlier, my original thought was to show training flashbacks with the master to illustrate this concept, but this narration approach let me stay in the present action so I preferred it. The design for the enemies was a riff on the design of the larger, following gladiator, who was nicknamed Shark. An animal theme seemed okay, so I went with a "Rat Pack," probably inspired by a previous draw night where I was toying around with the idea of using mice / rats in the game I'm working on in place of humans.

Page 05 leaps into the action, and though the first panel got quite a few compliments from friends, it's an example of something I dislike in comic action -- unclear motion from one panel to a next. Comics, especially American comics, often feel like martial arts in movies where the director cuts the action too much and hurts the choreography of the fight, but either for time, panel economy or laziness, I ended up jumping from the introduction of the pack to one of them getting knocked out of the scene. The transition from panel one to panel two is closer to my preference, where the action from one to the next is pretty easy to follow. I also enjoy little details, like the middle rat spitting out his toothpick before his attack.

Page 06 initiates the transition from falling to rising action. On paper, my entire story tries to follow a three-act structure in very compressed form. Act I was introducing the main characters and conflict (Ben, antagonist, and Maria; Ben must survive the arena) and Act II would be rising and falling action leading to a big disaster (ups and downs of fighting, with Shark defeating Ben). Everything is compressed out of necessity but I liked starting Act II with falling action (the Pack hurting Ben) because it set up the lethal nature of the fight and let me show Ben tapping into the source of his power ("desire nothing...")  for rising action. I wanted to make sure to have Ben seem a bit super-powered when he taps into this reserve so his final abilities (i.e., running up walls, etc.) didn't appear too much like "mumbo jumbo" (left-field moments that are hard to swallow, like vampires appearing in the middle of your zombie movie). Ideally, everything you want the audience to swallow is front-loaded in Act I as part of the story premise, but his actions are close enough to the beginning that I hoped no one would be bothered by it. This page has another uncomfortable leap in action, from panel 4 to panel 5.

Page 07 has been picking off the second member of the Rat Pack, and I thought the action here was a rushed but easy enough to follow. Originally, I had the "charging rat" reappear on Page 06 to tackle Ben, who then concentrated while avoiding being bitten while pinned. Ben then grabbed the upper and lower jaw of the rat and rips his head in half. You can see this sequence in the thumbnail sketches, but it required too many panels to set up the action in a way that was readable, so I went with a quick-intro-then-easy-kill (x3) approach to conserve panels. The Rat Pack fight was actually the last thing that I did the layouts for because it was the least important part of the story. As long as I had a fight with the narrated words in x pages, I thought things would be okay, so I finished the suicide and intro pages long before getting to the rat fight.

Page 08 offers a brief reprieve before the introduction of Shark. Sound effects are something I don't have enough opportunities to play with, and they were fun to add after the fact (in Painter, bleh). I like having sound on the page, and it's fun to struggle with the exact letters to use. There are a lot of four-letter, "BOOM"-like onomatopoeia's around but my favorite sounds are the three-letter ones because they remind me of Orc Stain, an amazing comic that Ottley introduced me to. I love the way sound effects are handled in that book, and the pages where I keep repeating three-letter sounds are inspired by it.

Page 09 intros Shark, who was the third character I designed (after Ben and Maria). He was a pretty straight-forward brute but I liked how he turned out. All the pink scars on him were there not just to suggest being in tons of battles, but to approximate gills down his neck so it made him just a tad more shark like. In my original design I had him holding a big cement block by a handle but it was awkward to illustrate that idea, so I just gave him a kind of prosthetic arm with a cement block at the end, which seemed to read okay...

Page 10 is the end of Act II, where everything goes wrong for the protagonist. When I showed Ryan the page (prior text), he asked if it would be better to start with Shark's attack before Maria's reaction, but I explained that I wanted it because her face follows the "but there is someone... that I desire..." narration. This was also an example of me trying to limit text as much as possible. The amount of dialogue I used in the end was greatly reduced from the first draft of the story. Though the action here is okay to follow, it feels really compressed, and I wished I had more panel space for the beatdown. In the end, this was all the room I felt like I could (conveniently) afford.

Page 11 was given space to highlight and emphasize Ben's failure. Designing non-fight pages first probably squeezed fight scenes, and it makes me wonder what the book would look like if I had designed them in reverse order. Hopefully it was the right expenditure. Describing this reminds me of a story technique I heard Pixar uses, where they allot 100 popsicles sticks to a story and place them throughout story beats in order of importance, stacking multiple in one scene if it was more important. This way, they have a kind of "story payoff" chart they can use to know whether they are expending too many company resources on a scene that has too little value, or vice versa. Ryan mentioned that he liked some of my economical shortcuts as I did very little with backgrounds. For the most part, I felt like once I had established the arena, very little needed to be drawn since the audience would know where it all takes place, but there were moments I wanted in my head, like the cheering audience. In panel 4, I knew drawing a bunch of detailed little figures would be too time consuming, and I hoped a bunch of head circles and action lines flying into the air would suggest the cheering crowd.

Page 12 has some crowd, though, since it was close enough that only a few simplified, faceless figures could probably get the point across. The gore on Ben is something that seemed fun and appropriate, but it haunted me for continuity because it disappears as Ben becomes more powerful. I was aware of the problem as I was drawing, but I ultimately decided to skip over the problem and hoped no one would really notice or be bothered by it, because I felt leaving it there would detract from him "powered up" moments. I reasoned that blood cleanup happened as Ben spun around rapidly, but "older" blood (e.g., cuts from the Rat Pack) was dried up by then. A cop out, perhaps...

Page 13 features a flower in Ben's hand and believe it or not, I made a point to try to make sure Ben's right hand was clenched into a fist throughout the comic up until that point. I'm not sure how the flower managed to get through the fight so nice-looking. I can't draw guns from my head but did the gun here sans reference because I had done the layouts for page 14 earlier, so it was fresh in my mind. One of the neat things about doing layouts in the computer is that you can scan in items like guns and play with the contrast until it looks a bit like a line drawing, then just print it out to draw on later with your pencils. I love that.

Page 14 was meant to be manipulated a lot in post, on the computer. The starting idea for this page was a splash page of Maria blowing her brains out, with the panels appearing to break apart like glass so it felt like reality itself was shattering for poor Ben at this moment. The lead-in panel was added later when Ottley mentioned that seeing Maria in the page prior with the gun in her mouth would spoil the surprise on page turn (Page 14 was an even page so turning it in a book would leave the surprise). In the end both panels happen on one page, and it worked out just fine. I struggled to get the breaking glass looking okay quickly -- most of my time in post-processing was on this page -- but in the end I was reasonably happy with it.

Page 15 was the the biggest source of worry in the entire book because it was here that I would either keep my audience because they got why Maria killed herself or lose them because they didn't, at which point they are reading just to finish. I wanted the audience to figure things out alongside the protagonist, so I was overly vague in almost every version of the story, but in the end too many were still struggling with the concept, so I chose narration that spells out that Maria was removing his desire by killing herself. Hopefully if the other connection was strong enough -- that "no desire" meant "super-fighting" for Ben -- then the story concept would click. The visual idea may or may not come across correctly, but the gist is that the glass would still be shattered and messy where Ben was panicking, but appear to be mending and turning white where Ben was beginning to understand Maria's gift.

Page 16 is the last turning point in the story. In Act III the protagonist is wanders (defeated and held up by Shark) without a hope before discovering a new path which is pursued rapidly towards a fulcrum of conflict. For better or worse, I skipped the "discover a new path" part and went right to the point of climax, where the antagonist appears to have won and the climax is peppered with some enhancing tricks I learned about from working with story people. Trick One is the protagonist taking a left-field action (think Luke turning off his targeting computer, Neo standing up to Agent Smith or Daniel-San standing in the crane pose). Ben holding up the flower doesn't have the same impact because it has no skepticism-inducing shot of helping him win but it was my best shot on short notice. Trick Two is a secondary character taking a left-field action that enables the protagonist to succeed (think Han Solo appearing to blast Darth off course, Trinity kissing Neo or Mr. Miyagi using healing powers on Daniel's leg). Maria committing suicide does a fine job, I think. After these events (in any order), the defeat of the antagonist is best done in as little time as possible (in my pages it feels drawn out because Ben takes time to kill Shark before defeating the antagonist) but it was fun to attempt hitting all the beats and think about how it could have been stronger, time permitting.

Page 17 was originally drawn with Ben having normal eyes, as do the pages following, but while on the computer, I liked the idea that Ben goes through some physical transformation to reflect his internal growth (think Gandalf the White). If I get to coloring these pages, it would be fun to add a nice eye-glow until Ben kills No Name at the end. As edited, I worried Ben ended up looking somewhat like a zombie. Hopefully no one reads it as Ben returning from the dead to avenge Maria (but I wouldn't fault anyone for thinking so).

Page 18 is where the action gets a bit confusing. I get overly excited with speed and action lines -- anime-influences from childhood. That's not to say that anime or is confusing, just that my art can be confusing when trying to emulate it. I so badly want to see Ben as a blur cutting his enemy in half like a spinning buzzsaw that whether or not it's actually readable falls a bit by the wayside. I know some people had to pause to understand what was happening to Shark but everyone eventually seemed to get it. Even the last panel confused some because the silhouette-shot wasn't all blacked in, but I think if it were all black it wouldn't be hard to figure out.

Page 19 continues the suerhero spree. It's worth noting too that at 19 hours in -- at 5 A.M. or later in the morning -- things can get pretty sloppy. I mentioned earlier that I spent some time doing touch-ups after the fact, but it was more fixing continuity (missing gashes or scars) than it was touching up bad art. Though I did do touch-ups where it was particularly cringe-inducing I tried to keep the spirit of the 24-hour endeavor, despite my cheating ways.

Page 20 is both my favorite page and the most confusing to anyone who read the book. The effect I wanted was Ben pushing all of his super-power-y-ness into the antagonist, causing his flesh to expand and eventually explode like Thunder in Big Trouble In Little China or Tetsuo in Akira. I always wanted to draw it and just went for it without enough explanation. At first I considered adding a halo or fire around Ben that shoots into the antagonist to help make it clearer, but it seemed to complicated to add effectively at 6 A.M. in the morning after a drawing marathon, so I just let it go. If I color things, I might make the glow from Ben's eyes mentioned earlier surround Ben during the swirl and flow down his body in the punch, shooting out of the antagonist's eye sockets and lighting up his interior as he expands.

Page 21 is also confusing, but the sound effects from the previous panel and the big "BOOOOM" here were helpful to friends struggling to understand what was happening. Prior to the sound effects, people struggled to understand what they were looking at after the sound effects, people at least knew there was an explosion even if they didn't understand why. It seemed that the more a friend was exposed to the same crap I was as a kid (i.e., Big Trouble..., Akira), the less confusion the whole expand-explode thing caused. No excuse, but an interesting side not.

Page 22 was tricky. When I first wrote the resolution, Ben was really broken up about the death of Maria and talked about how he would trade everything just to see her smile again. But friends felt robbed, as though Ben had regressed from his "enlightened" state and made Maria's sacrifice feel like a waste. I thought it was a great comment so I removed words and went with a more respectful approach, where Ben acknowledges her sacrifice and puts her to rest without revealing the innermost feelings at that moment. It seemed to do a better job of showing love and acknowledgement of her sacrifice while preventing the perception of a regression.

Page 23 needed touch up more than any other on the day following, and even the touch-up was iffy. Maria's head was really warped at the angle I chose so I spent some time trying to fix it without damaging the feel of things. It still feels screwy but it's better than I left it around 8 or 9 A.M. Maria's right arm was also altered. At first it disappeared under her dress but that made a bad silhouette, so I laid it out instead, just beneath her gun.

Page 24 is the end. The entire experience was really amazing, and Ryan deserves thanks for putting on an awesome event. I was driven and after I finished -- an unexpected result -- I was on a real high that's lasted for awhile now. I even started painting the book and hope the momentum lasts. I don't know what I'll do with all this work but it was a fun ride that I wanted to share with you, and if you've read this far you have my respect and admiration. Seriously -- thanks.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fan Gnome

This past draw night was particularly fun because a close non-artist friend of mine brought his 10 year-old aspiring artist son to join us. It's always fun having fresh blood, though I obviously worry that customary adult language around our table can get too lax. He was drawing dragons and such, and telling me about a game he likes called Realm of the Mad God (noted for perusal later). To inspire him to do more doodling, I asked if he would draw a character that I could then interpret. His doodle was a gnome-like stick figure with a beard and a curly hat and a massive sword and shield, the former of which had a happy face scrawled on it. Awesome doodle.

After that it was just a bit more light sketching, and I decided to do a little more "no-erase drawing," which is in the lower-left corner. I typically don't erase much to begin with, so a lot of drawings might technically be "no-erase drawings" without knowing so. Regardless, I find it interesting that when I approach drawing with this "no-erase" in mind, that my lines really thin out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Redos

More work doodles, this time with some notes on conversations Ryan and I have been having about the state of mainstream comics and comic retail. Ryan encouraged me to post my thoughts on these topics but I haven't gathered up the courage yet. I felt a lot more in my element writing about games.

While thumbing through artist sketchbooks Ryan has bought over the years, I was enjoying me some Wendling and I read that she doesn't like to erase when she draws, preferring instead to doodle the same pose over and over. I believe the thought behind it is that there are positive elements in art that come from not retracting that can be disrupted when erasing to achieve something else -- as though twisting the arm of a drawing can hurt it. It was an interesting notion, so I started doodling without erasing to see what it might look like -- the drawings numbered 1-3.

At work, after reading some Joe the Barbarian, I wondered if mice / rats would be good for my game and I fiddled around with them without getting much traction. Also, on the lower-left is a guy with his hands gesturing. He was my attempt at drawing someone that gestures like I do. I don't think I got the effect quite right, as my hands flop around a lot while I talk.

At draw night it was time for lots of random stuff. The thought occurred to me that I don't draw tattoo'd people that often, and apparently I'm not that good at it when I do. The most fun on the page, I think, is the soldier on the bottom of the page. I wanted to give him a name but have no idea how that one popped in my head.

Monday, September 19, 2011

No Touching!

More random bedtime doodles. It looks like I was trying to practice some punching there, towards the bottom of the page. I've been reading a lot of comics since sharing an office with Ottley, and I notice a lot of my favorite artists are much better at presenting me with "iconic poses" than "snapshot of real action." I still wish I was better at it myself.

I'm pretty sure this one was a work doodle -- scribbles while I think about mind-numbing code.

This last one was from draw night. I asked Ottley for a rough pose that I could fill in assuming he would give me some iconic action, but instead I think he was trying to "out-Alan" me and gave me a really weird figure. He looked sorry after he roughed it in and offered something more "Ottley," but it looked like a challenge to fill in, so I went forward with it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sleep or Doodle?

I'm slightly behind so I hope to have some updates pretty near each other, covering the past couple of weeks. Now that I'm around Ottley every day and doing a bit more regular doodling, and since I don't have a book to read of late, I've been doodling in bed before sleep. It's a decent way to wind down, but now there are eraser bits on my side of the bed.

This second bedtime doodle illustrates one of the problems with trying to tie drawings together with speech balloons over the course of time on a page. I was too lazy to rearrange and rewrite content so I had to number which balloon came first. I had a fun time drawing the hairy mess; after I had finished the lady it looked like she should be holding something in her hand but I really didn't want to think about it and her expression was kinda "grossed out," so I just started making a mess.

When it got to Tue night I was still playing around with figures. Derek made a comment that he liked it when I drew characters that were a little more relaxed and not in crazy poses -- that it better brought out subtleties in the figure that he likes me drawing. I was just happy to finally draw a banana raping a cookie.

Next up was a face that I fiddled with after glancing over at a nearby artist's (sorry for not knowing names!) sketch of a black woman. I drew some bigger lips and the rest pooped (not popped) out. I need to draw people of differing race more often. And more naked ladies jumping out of bubbles.

This was a tired-er nighttime drawing. I asked Jen what I should draw and she asked for a hamster. I don't really know what a hamster looks like off the top of my head but I went for it. Maybe she was just tired but she started laughing uncontrollably at it. With all the laughing going on, I added a hamster wheel and someone giving him a carrot. Shoddy fun. After fending off the giggles Jen complained about the cold, so I wanted to draw a lady that looked chilly.

More work doodles. The line quality of some of the drawings is a little different than my usual fair, so I kinda like looking at it. I imagined someone pinning their palms to their chin and making a weird pose with their hands and head, but after the fact I realized it just looks like I tried to put someone's head in their hands and did a horrible job of it. Oh well. As for the check boxes: it works fine, it detects the sphere, and it's because I had a logic problem with how I was reading my collision trigger options. I know you were dying to know.