Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Classes

The Summer Semester

The summer semester started Monday in Sequential Art's Norris Hall, and most of the kiddies have gone home to see Mumsy and Daddums. For those of us staying, the building is sleepily quiet, empty hallways tread by a skeleton crew of professors and a few devoted students, mainly seniors intent on graduating, and grad students desperate to keep student loans down.   Norris Hall belongs to the graduate students during June, July, and early August, those of us too indebt to return to the natal nest, and too far gone in our work addiction to take a break. I found myself sitting in the grad lab on that first day of classes at 11 AM, working on pencils and waiting for my Studio III class to begin at 2.

New semesters begin well with reflection and aspiration, and I intend to do both today. My time here at SCAD is winding down, I won't graduate til Winter semester, but that only leaves six classes, two of which are art histories. Now is a good time to put heavy thought into that loaded phrase- "My future".  It's a scary thought.

I have found that I cannot follow in the footsteps of any one cartoonist in my journey to become a professional, though that's not to say I haven't tried.  The get popular schemes that seem to pan out for others always ring hollow for me, and  the advice that works for many others seems to fall flat.  I have finally learned that this is perfectly ok.  We all have to find our own paths.  The time of comparison to my peers is over as I struggle to make my own way. To do this, I need to tailor my goals to my strengths.

This semester marks an increase in workload, both assigned and self inflicted, that I welcome. My portfolio, skill set, and blog will all grow as I meet these challenges head on. After Anime South East in July, my convention schedule will die down, giving me time to work on new projects, build better content, and make new contacts, as well as an opportunity to reflect on my marketing strategies, both online and off. This is very much needed, as I feel like I'm floundering.

The Summer Schedule

I take classes year round, with these hot summer months being no exception.  I'll be spending every Monday and Wednesday at Norris Hall, either lurking in the grad lab, in Studio III with Ray Goto, or in Advanced Inking Techniques with our departmental dean, John Lowe.  I've gotten a little taste for these classes on Monday, and I'm pretty excited (and a bit intimidated) about the workload.

Studio III- Monday/Wednesday 2:00-4:30
Advanced Inking Techniques Monday/Wednesday 5:00-7:30

Studio classes at the graduate level are fairly free form, with a pace set by the students.  The intention is to give graduate students an in class opportunity to work on pet projects (or thesis comics), with the benefit of instructor guidance and in-class critique.   I'll be working on finishing up another When I Was 13 story (this time, I Rediscover Cartoons) and then I'll be doing some serious concept work and script writing for 7" Kara.   By concept, I don't mean just sketches (I have a lot of that already).  I mean turnarounds for the remaining characters (Naomi, Kara's parents, Tanner), character expression sheets, environment and object concepts (I have some sketches for these already), and color renders.  By the end of this semester, I hope to have a finished 10 page comic (When I Was 13: I Rediscovered Cartoons) and a basic pitch book for Kara.

Advanced Inking is a graduate level requirement and an undergrad elective, and a necessary course for me in more ways than one.  One of the major criticisms I've received about my work recently is about the inking (lineweight is too heavy, too static, ect), and I hope this class will break me out of my inking rut.  I've relied on Multiliners in the past because I know they are Copic safe, but Cassie (@ferretparty) has recommended I give the Kamei Drawing Ink a shot, as it's also Copic safe.  The workload in this class is pretty heavy, with 8 1 hour long assignments due weekly, in addition to other classwork, but I've seen the improvement in the work of my peers after taking this class, and I look forward to leveling up.

Re-prioritizing My Goals

Goal setting has always been a valuable tool for a disorganized me.   By comparing my current progress with my past goals, I can see how far I've come, and re-evaluate what I need to focus on in the future.  The last time I shared my goals with you guys was at New Years, and revisiting it, I still need a lot more work particularly in the areas of:

  • Grow my blog
  • Set more goals
  • Devise a better overall design for my blog- I’ve worked on this, but I’ve recently been informed that my blog is still too hard to navigate easily.
  • Publicize/advertise more- Time to shift focus away from the fashion bloggers, as it hasn’t had the intended affect.
  • Be a force for good- Ahaha.  I try.
  • Loosen up artistically (and socially)
  • Do more gesture sketches/sketch more from life- I feel like this should be ongoing.
  • Promote positivity- Could always improve on this.
  • Form alliances with other artists- Ongoing
  • Sell out at MoCCA- I didn’t, but I did make back my table costs, so I’m pretty satisfied.
  • Work on 7" Kara- Ongoing.
  • Do more Follow Fridays- Ongoing
  • Interact with those who inspire me- Ongoing.
  • Do more commissions
  • Talk to Scholastic- Sadly, they couldn't make it to Editor's Day this year.
  • Keep the apartment cleaner
  • Share more
  • Start Livestreaming again
  • Look for inspiration
  • Ask more questions
  • Have more adventures
  • Be more honest
  • Create a personal brand- Ongoing
  • Smile more
  • Be nicer to Tech Boy
  • Utilize website
  • Be positive
  • Streamline commissions
  • Live the life I want
  • Be grateful
  • See the good in others
  • Study art for me, not just for comics
  • Challenge myself
  • Work faster
  • Focus
  • Be more zen
  • Contribute more to SEQAlab

As you can see, I still have a lot to work on, and a lot of these goals are ongoing.  For this summer semester, I'm going to focus on:

  • Livestreaming (the weekly inking assignments are perfect for that)
  • Sharing more (again, weekly inking assignments will hopefully fulfill this goal)
  • Asking more questions (somehow, this inking class seems tailor made to helping me achieve  my goals)
  • Working faster (cough, see above, cough)
  • Challenge myself (always)
  • Look for inspiration
  • Hopefully, the improvement in my art will lead to Doing More Commissions, and I know my time in Studio III will lead to Doing More Comic Pages
It seems I have a lot of topics to write about, but not a whole lot of time to write them in.  I'll do my best to keep up with my past schedule (all even days of the month), but should that fail, I promise to at least update weekly.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Watercolor Process- Disney Princesses

I did these pieces awhile back, and wanted to wait to post it until I'd finished the set, but unfortunately, the originals and the watercolor book they reside in got lost, and rather than wait, I decided I'd go ahead and post the first three now. If you're interested in the sort of watercolor supplies I work with, I did a post awhile back about that here, and there's only been a few changes to my supplies.

I begin with an image transfer. I've prepared a sheet of regular printing paper by coating the back with graphite. I then cut the image I want out, and tape it down using low-tack blue painter's tape.

Once the image is transferred, I tighten it up a little. I'm not really concerned with the graphite showing through.

I begin with the skintone. Paint always dries lighter than when it's applied, so unfortunately, my Jasmin ended up a little on the light side. My apologies, I'm still learning how to manipulate the medium.

After the first application of skintone dried, I added another. I like working in subsequent layers to build up shadows and tone.

As the shadows progressively grow darker, I add a little red to the apples of her cheeks.

Next comes the blue of her outfit. Again, I start out very light, and progressively add layers.

Her black hair isn't a true black, it's a blue black

Golds are actually fairly hard for me to render, but at least with watercolor, it's fairly easy to scrub it out.

I add highlights with white gouache.

And details with brown and black gouache. I'm sorry this photo is so blurry, I wish I could post a scan of the original.

I proceeded with Belle in much the same way.

7 Inch Kara Lineart

Inked With: Copic Multiliner SP's Inked On: Strathmore 500 Series Bristol, Plate finish

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Heroescon 2012

I may have neglected to mention it sooner, but this weekend I'll be up in Charlotte, North Carolina, attending Heroescon! I'm volunteering with SCAD, so you'll see me helping out at professor-led panels and occasionally manning the SEQA booth. I've put together a capsule collection of con stuff, including When I Was 13, Momotaro, and this year's sketchbook, as well as buttons and charms, and I'll be giving away promo postcards. I'll also be offering $5 sketches, so you should stop by and stock up. I may or may not try to get some small press interviews during my off time, but as always, there'll be a con report after.

In case you followed the Game Over Anthology Kickstarter, many of the participants will be tabling at Heroescon, as well as Sarah 'Pickles' Dill (creator of the webcomic Distillum), Heidi Black (who's also volunteering with SCAD), and Sarah Benkin (who's Star Power Kickstarter was a big success). All in all, it'll be a good con for SCADdies, with lots of new art to discover.

The semester starts next Monday with Inking and Studio III, so updates may become a little sporadic as I settle in, but there'll be lots of new art, reviews, and tutorials in the very near future. I have a few SEQA anthologies that I'd like to give away, so keep your eyes peeled for that as well! I'll be attending Anime South East in July, so hopefully there'll be lots of new stock available. I'm presenting a panel on anatomy, and that'll be up after ASE.

I'd like to thank you for your support, especially as I strive to make this blog a better resource. As always, if there's something you'd like to know, just ask.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Art Dump

It's been awhile since I've shared some of my stuff, and what better way to break that streak than with a sketch dump! These sketches were completed from late May (around the time of the Mini Comics Expo) through July, and include a variety of subjects, from Kara concept to life drawing.  The media used range from non photo blue lead and graphite to china marker.

Working on some paper children for my convention setup.  I'm a sucker for them, I think they're really cute.

Just some noodling around, trying to find an idea I like.  I don't like sketching with pencil, but with pen or china marker, that way I can just get down the gesture without trying to perfect it.

A thing for a thing.

Gesture studies- china marker.

Character concept for 7" Kara.

Sartorial sketches.  Originals were photos on the Sartorialist.

Lolitas!  Even though they give me the stink eye at conventions, I love lolita style.  Sweet, hime...

Wa-loli, and kodomo.

More sartorial sketches.

I was reading Dororo at the time, and really liked Tezuka's moth onis.

It's important to get some life drawing in.

Joseph drew the umbrella at the top!

The sea-monster girl is for Sarah Benkin, as part of her graduation present.

Link!  I've been playing Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past lately!

I've always thought he ate the fairies to get hearts.


Noodlin' with Copics in my sketchbook. 

To Kara, a slice of apple would be HUGE.

Zoning out at the coffee shop.
I really love sketching with china marker, but the ones made by Sharpie are pretty crummy.  Do you guys have any suggestions for decent china markers?  I bought one in Japan (long gone now) made by Mitsubishi, and I loved it.  It was fantastically creamy and glinded on really well.  The Sharpie china marker I'm using right now skips a  lot, which is awful for sketching (awful for ANYTHING, really).  It's very waxy and tends to transfer.   I also like sketching with Hi Tec C pens, which I've noticed have made the  rounds on the pen blogs lately.  That's pretty cool, they're a great series of pens ranging in a variety of sizes, my favorites being .25 and .4, and if you let them dry, they're fairly Copic safe.  I use them for those Copic doodles I'll do in my sketchbook from time to time.

I'm pretty persnickety about what I draw with and what I'll draw on, although I'll try anything.  I dislike Moleskin sketchbooks (paper's too smooth, pricepoint's too high), and have been using some form of Strathmore Sketch for years.  I've favored the spiral top sketchbooks for awhile, its a great combination of features, although the paper's a little thin.  I feel that with more expensive sketchbooks, you have to overcome the actual quality of the product to get any work done-- there's this expectation of perfection in this perfect product.

Even though I haven't been posting art or sketches lately, it doesn't mean I haven't been working.  I'm doing roughs for a new installment of When I was 13, and I spent  A LOT of time writing a post for Copic Marker that'll be up on July 3rd.  I appreciate all the guest writers who've contributed lately, but me soliciting them for posts isn't because I lack my own material, but because I feel like they have something valuable to offer that should be released in a timely fashion.  I look forward to sharing my projects with you guys in the future.