Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fun with Watercolor and Ink

Hey guys! This week, my sister and I decided to do a little experiment with watercolors. After watching the new DBZ movie, I've been looking at a lot of artwork from the series and I'm always impressed with the traditional old animation cels. When I was in Japan, I visited the International Museum of Manga in Kyoto and picked up a few new art supplies that we've been wanting to try out. So I figured a watercolor and ink version of Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 transformation would be a fun project.

I don't delve into traditional art very often (I like being able to ctrl + z!), so this was a pretty unusual experience for me. So my sister brought out her old watercolor set and we both got to painting (you can see her results over on her blog). The white watercolor tube was all dried up so we had to substitute in some acrylic... which was kinda weird but still worked well enough for color mixing.

First I drew out a sketch. I normally do this on a layer underneath the drawing in Photoshop, but since I didn't want a mess to erase, I did a practice doodle on a separate piece of paper. From there I did the line art in pencil on the full sheet of paper.

The watercolor process itself was pretty slow and tedious. I don't know how people manage to mix their colors consistently for an entire painting! I felt like it was really hard to repeat the same color again once my brush dried up. But it was an interesting process and I was pretty happy with the results.

After letting the watercolors dry overnight, it was time for the inking! This was my first time ever using a manga pen and inkwell, so it was definitely a learning process. I found a great guide that walked me through the process. I would have never thought to clean the nib off with rubbing alcohol before starting, so it was good that I did some research first!

Even with the guide, the inking was a bit unexpected. I never knew if I had the right amount of ink on my nib and sometimes the lines would get a bit scratchy (could have been from my low quality paper!). But when it started flowing smoothly, I really loved the pen! I was able to get some really fine lines that are nearly impossible with a regular ballpoint pen.

Without the crutch of an undo button I was constantly afraid I was going to mess something up. I managed to avoid any big mistakes for almost the entire process until I was nearly at the very end... and disaster struck! I must not have wiped enough ink off my pen because a huge gob dripped down right onto Gohan's forehead. Luckily it was close enough to the blood spot that I could kind of make it look like it belonged, but I was pretty bummed out when it happened.

Lastly, I filled in the word bubbles with his dialogue from the Japanese manga. It says "mou yurusanai so omaetachi" which translates roughly as "I will not forgive you." I thought it sounded a bit cooler than the English Viz translation (plus I wanted to practice writing Japanese kana) so I went with the original.

And that is the finished version. I feel like digitized images of traditional art usually don't do them justice, but my new camera captured it pretty nicely. Overall, this was a really fun project (and it counts towards my New Year's resolution of more personal art projects!). Hope you enjoyed seeing the process behind it. Until next time... Adios!

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 - The Year of Fullfilled Dreams

Hey everyone, Happy 2019! I know I'm a few days late, but I spent the last few days of 2018 out of town so I didn't get the chance to write this up before the end of the year. I always like doing a recap around this time of year though, so today I'm going to take a look back at my 30th year on this planet of ours.

2018 was an incredible year for me, probably one of the best ones ever. I did a lot of traveling and throughout the year I made my way to Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver, and Lexington KY. Most importantly though, I achieved my lifelong dream of visiting Japan! You may remember from last year that my big goal for 2018 was to start studying Japanese in hopes of making my way to the Land of the Rising Sun some time in the future. Back then I viewed it as a crazy pie-in-the-sky goal, but I turned that crazy possibility into a reality this past September with a 2-week adventure to Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, and Kyoto. It was an amazing experience, and you can read all about it over on my new travel blog, Nimbus Travels.

Speaking of which, this past year I made a travel blog! (I know, I barely manage to post on this one. How am I going to update TWO blogs!?). I think that one will be a bit more casual than this blog, so it will mostly just be full of goofy photos from all of the places I visit. I definitely want to go on more crazy adventures in the near future with hopefully some more trips abroad, so keep an eye on the blog to follow along.

That said, it's time to evaluate my overall goal for 2018. While I originally hoped to learn enough Japanese to play Pokemon Green (a Japan-only Gameboy game), I don't think my reading skills are quite good enough for that yet. I did master the Hiragana and Katakana alphabets however, plus I actually bought a copy of Pokemon Green from a used game store in Japan. Couple that with my real world experience of practicing Japanese with locals and navigating the largest public transit system in the world... I think I more than met my expectations.

For 2019, my goals are a little bit less tangible. Mostly just little personal guidelines to keep in mind throughout the year.

Draw more personal illustrations - This seems to be a goal every year. But as someone who does art professionally 40 hours a week, it's important to remember to draw for myself as well. Hopefully 2019 is full of lots of drawings and animations of The Nays!

Continue studying Japanese - Even if I learn this at a slow pace, I really want to keep up my Japanese studies. Hopefully I learn more useful phrases this year, and maybe even move onto the dreaded Kanji at some point.

Take the stairs more often than the elevator - I work on the 5th floor of an office building. I usually try to take the stairs one day a week but I want to bump that number up to 3 days a week this year.

Vegetarian week - For one full week in 2018, I followed a strict vegetarian diet. It was a fun challenge and helped me discover some new healthy foods that I enjoy, so I'd like to try that again in 2019.

And there we go. Should hopefully be pretty realistic new year resolutions. Before I wrap it up, I want to leave you with a handful of drawings I did in 2018. Not a ton of fully detailed, "finished" pieces but I did come up with a bunch of character designs and other related concept work for The Nays. If you're interested in reading more about this ongoing story that my sister and I have been working on, check out our website.

This past year, one of my favorite Twitch streamers (Kyle Bosman) played a weird old Gameboy game called  For the Frog the Bell Tolls. He encourages viewers to send in fan art each week, so I made this little animated gif.

Inspired by a scene from DBZ World's Strongest. I always thought that movie had a weird art style so I animated my character Coyote making strange faces while getting zapped (a scene from the Aiml World Eventure).

Speaking of unique art styles, this is Gojo in the style of one of my other favorite anime films, Tekkonkinkreet.

Just a few concepts trying to figure out what Malik looks like. He's the creator of The Worlds and is pretty much the most powerful character in The Nays.

This is a locale from a new place that The Nays went to called Psyciao World. Everyone in this place is obsessed with taking spoon baths because they grant you mystical powers.

A scene from a recent eventure I just finished, the Ziroma Eventure. As The Nays go on their first big mission, they discover a giant mech emerging from the forest beside the Party TV broadcast station.

Concept design for a character that helps The Nays out on their mission during the Ziroma Eventure. She actually appears much later in the story as well, but I went back and did this earlier introduction story for her.

These are characters from an Eventure that's still in progress. I don't want to go into too much detail yet, but I liked their designs a lot so I wanted to include them in the post anyways.

Just a random activity with my characters wearing the outfits of different characters. (We called the event the "Clothes Chamber of Secrets"). Aquina dressed as Ralphie, Summer dressed as Scott, Gojo dressed as Spicco. I also tried to color them in a style reminiscent of colored pencils.

Speaking of colored pencils, I decided to make my sister's birthday present entirely in that style. I made an animation about the aforementioned Psyciao Spoon Bath Eventure, all in the style of a colored pencil story book. It was a pretty fun project.

Another shot from the Spoon Bath project. This is Urom celebrating her victory in the contest.

Another fun project that my sister and I did was re-creating scenes from Eventures in the style of old video games. If you couldn't tell, this is in the style of the original Legend of Zelda, depicting Iggy in his first visit to The Worlds.

Yet another weird drawing activity we came up with. For this one, we watched a random episode of a new anime we had never watched and tried to draw a Nay in the style of the animation. It was a fast, messy project as the goal was to finish the drawing throughout the course of a single episode.

I can't even remember the names of the shows that I watched, but this one was about a military and had a pretty neat art style. We also plucked quotes from the episodes so we tried to tie that into the fake screenshot as well.

Over the summer, I got really into Octopath Traveler for the Switch. Alfyn was one of my favorite characters, so I decided to do this quick doodle on my Cintiq during a lunch break.

Last but not least, this was my Christmas present for my sister this year. We both played a lot of Persona 2 this year so I thought it would be fun to make an animation in the style of the game.

I based the story of the animation on the Dusty Dimes vs Bleeding Libras Eventure where Yaro faces off against Lonny's gang.

I tried to make the style as close to the game as possible, using very similar sprite poses and UI elements.

At the end it is revealed that Topaz was the one playing this game on his PSP. It was fun contrasting between different styles.

And that's about it when it comes to 2018's 2D drawings! As always, thanks for reading my crazy ramblings. I hope you have a great 2019 full of completed goals and fulfilled dreams. Until next time... Adios!