Monday, January 30, 2012

Art Dump

This is in no particular order, because I've broken my images up between several folders.  This isn't inclusive of everything I've worked on since the last art dump either, as I spent a fair amount of time working on little but Momotaro, and a couple of tutorials have been left out, as they'll be posted later.

I'm currently working on two semi-large scale projects.  One is a daily outfit drawing of myself, that ties in with a personal goal, so there's going to be a lot of that in this post, and probably a HUGE post of that in maybe six months.  The other is a pick 3 character traits character design campaign I'm doing on Twitter and Facebook.  Users suggest three character traits (can be personality or appearances, or a mix) and I draw a character based on those traits.  There's going to be a lot of that in this post, and probably a huge post of that later on.

The remainder is just a lot of Kara stuff.  I'm thinking about doing a series of cards featuring her doing itsy bitsy cute things, and since I'm between projects (kinda sorta), now is the best time to get things like that under way.

I've always been a fan of paperchildren.  Kara, being 7" tall, lends herself to it.

Studies from a Skydoll production book

I've been accused of being anti-fanart.  That's a pretty unfair accusation, I've drawn a lot of Yotsuba and Ayu Yamada over the years.

And maybe a little fanart of my three favorite Sailor Scouts.  I tend to prefer the boy crazy ones.

From here on out begins the Pick 3 entries. "hawkish features, self loathing, retro dressing" from @groundchux

"An overly enthusiastic food lover/gourmet with crazy unkempt hair" from @invPaperclip

"A nerdy kleptomaniac with waaay too much self esteem" @techgerbil

"Adventurous, intelligent, and charismatic" @Aisazia

Multiples!  From the top: inquisitive, asymmetrical, repugnant. @TheJade Prince,  "squishy dumb lump" @frankiesamba, and "Shy, paranoid, panda" @Ceiling_Cow

From the top: "Effulgent,absconder, serpentine" from @sometimealone (by the way, I love GRE words.  Lookin' em up was fun) and "rough, tough, HOT-BLOODED" @ericlide

"precocious, eccentric, paranoid" @TheJadePrince (it took two tries to capture him)

"Weasely, lanky, punk" @Ceiling_Cow

 "inquisitive, terrified, starving."@wigglytype

And hey, a bonus Ceiling Cow!
Lastly, the Momotaro character designs:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soliciting Critique

Most people do their best to avoid criticism. A comic artist thrives on it. Art criticism is vital to the artistic growth of a creator, and its important to get feedback from a variety of sources. While critique from willing friends and family can be good, critique from working profesionals is even better, as it can really zero in on weak areas that others may miss.

Theres a number of ways one can get such criticism; attending editor reviews at conventions, attending art school and hounding your professors for feedback, taking advantage of opportunities like workshops, comics art forum, and editor's day. Its important to keep soliciting such criticism and helpful take notes. Critique can be overwhelming, so its helpful to take notes, both for retention at the moment and for future reference. Keep an open mind, and dont try to justify everything you've done, but do ask questions for clarification.

On Friday, Heidi, Alex, and I drove the four hours to the SCAD Savannah campus. We spent the night so that we could attend Sean Gordon Murphy and Eric Canete workshops held by their sequential art department. I have a post all about the SCAD Atlanta campus in the works, so I wont focus on that in this post. We attended both workshops (notes on that soon), and the portfolio reviews afterwards.

My critiques and portfolio reviews have mainly focused on the positive aspects of my work lately, so I requested that they really let in on me. I got a lot of great advice and insight, and instead of being upset that I have so much work ahead of me, I'm excited about the challenge.

It takes awhile to build up a thick skin, to utilize criticism instead of being defensive, and the best way to do it is through practice. Dont wait until something is finished or perfect to get advice and feedback. The earlier in a project you get feedback, the easier it is to change, and the better the final product will be. If you wait for perfection, you'll be waiting forever. Ask for examples and elaboration, if you walk away confused, you've wasted your time. Dont be disappointed if you get a lot of negative feedback, comic craft is a journey. You havent gone backwards, they've just removed the scales from your eyes. You now know what to work on.

Takeaway tips:
Be polite- they're giving up their time to help you improve.
Dont argue, no matter how much you disagree, its their OPINION, and they are entitled to it.
Explain your work, if they know what you were trying to do, they may know a more efficient way to achieve that goal.
Take notes.
Thank them for their time.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Color Test-XRite

This has been floating around the web for awhile, so I thought I'd share it here, for those of you who may have missed it.  For the sake of transparency, I'm also going to share my results, which are less than stellar.  If you happen to know of a better color blindness test, or a good monitor calibration utility, please let me know.  If I share it on the blog, I'll be sure to give you credit.

XRite's Color Test is fairly simple, you arrange the tiles by hue, and they score your arrangement.

This is what the unsorted test looks like.
After scoring you, they provide you with you results:
A lower score is better, with zero being perfect.  As you can see, my eyes have trouble differentiating between some colors.

And this is how I stack up against other artists.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Productivity on the Road: Google Cloud Print

As a comic artist, I do the vast majority of my work at home. When I do venture out into the sunlight, I find it frustrating that I can't instantly access the comforts of home, and I quickly develop artist-desk withdrawls. My smartphone does a little to alleviate the symptoms- I can pretend to be productive by inundating my Twitter with by the moment tweets or spam my Facebook with cellphone quality photos of doodles, but I'm not ACTUALLY producing anything. If you're anything like me, the thought makes you a little nervous, so hopefully this new feature will help us both with our jitters. Productivity on the Road focuses on web apps an artist can utilize to increase productivity while away from the safety of the home computer.

I'm a pretty big fan of Google, but then, I've already accepted our fate as a race and welcome our robot overlords. There are even rumors that I'm dating a robot, which I can neither confirm nor deny, but the majority of my tech gadgets always work and my computer is generally virus free, so there must be some validity to that claim. Lately Google's been winning some major points with me, partially due to their stance on SOPA and mostly because they're just generally awesome. An example of this awesomeness is Google's Cloud Print, which allows you to print to your home or work computer from anywhere there's a wifi signal (unless you have an iPhone. Doesn't seem to be an iStore app for that yet, but there is one for Android). You merely need to install Google Chrome, sign in to your Google account, and begin setup.

I went with "Add a Classic Printer".  My Brother printer has been set up to work on my wifi network already.

At this point, my usual printer has yet to be added to the queue.

But after some clicking around, I find that it's in my list of options.

After hitting print, I went to check, and lo and behold, it worked.  I'll have to try this the next time I'm at a coffee shop.
So why is this fantastic?  Let's say that you're like me, the only time you get out of the house besides attending class is to get coffee at the local coffee shop.  The only reason you buy this overpriced coffee is because it gets you out of the house for a good hour or so, and lets you work around non-comic making humans, which gives you a little perspective.  But hey, you really oughta print this webpage, or this paper for your thesis, or a mockup of your mini comic, or the bluelines for that new comic, and you don't really want to wait til you get home to print it.  As long as your printer is set up with the right paper and is set to your wifi network at home (or to a computer that's on and connected to the internet) you can print from wherever you are.   This might seem like a minor nicety, and maybe it is, but don't we DESERVE minor nice things in life like magical printers that print your work while you're not even there to make sure it happens? 

I'm currently researching iPhone options for printing on the go, and when I find a solution that works (and is free), I'll let you guys know.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kara Marker Render and Process

Rendered with Copic Sketch markers on Strathmore Plate Bristol.  Inked with Copic Multiliners (since they're Copic safe).  Before rendering, I always let my inks dry an entire day, to ensure fastness.

Before making a marker mark on my plate paper, I always swatch several possible colors on sketchbook paper.

For me, skin is the most important thing to render realistically, so I often use the most colors.  I tend to stay in the E's for actual skintone, but for blush I'll use YR's and R's.  I blend my skin using the lightest R possible, its superior to using a colorless blender and gives the skin a healthy pinkish hue.

When applying shading, I go for compliments.  Skin gets a light BV (blue violet), the dress got an RV (red violet).