Saturday, December 31, 2022

Hello Friend. I'm Still Here: A Recap of the Past 3 Years

Hello friend. It's uh... been a while, I know. Just about 3 years in fact. Probably the most world altering 3 years in recent memory. Knowing what I know now, it's almost comical to look back at my last post and see how optimistic I was to be entering the 2020s. This decade certainly didn't start off how most people imagined that it would. I'm sure you're sick of talking about it so I don't need to provide a ton of commentary on current events. But I will say, like most people, the atmosphere around me has caused me to behave differently. It's like there's been a dark cloud surrounding everything, and with that looming in the air I haven't felt as motivated to share my art. I haven't been going out and doing things as often as before. I haven't been posting on social media much these days. Life has just been different.

But after 3 years, I think it's finally time to move past this. I'm not saying that "we're out of the woods" and everything is back to normal again or anything. But it's time to start looking forward to the future again. It's time to get back to improving myself. It's time for me to get back to doing the thing that I love - making art and sharing it with the world.

Maybe that was a bit overly dramatic, but the point is that I plan to post more regularly here again. Probably just my yearly recap posts, but who knows... maybe I'll go deeper into some of my processes like I've always wanted to as well. So that's this year's resolution. Nothing crazy, just: I am going to share my artwork again.

So let's kick things off with sharing some of the stuff that I've worked on during my absence. Even though I wasn't posting it on here, I've certainly still been creating art.

2020 - 2022 Art Summary

I continued my new love of traditional art. The first one that you see here is a piece showing off characters from the Sega Saturn game Soul Hackers. This one was mostly created using the new watercolor markers that I bought. They work a lot differently than regular watercolor paints do, and this was my first time using them so I hadn't quite gotten the hang of balancing some of the rich, saturated colors. I do like the way that I blended them with traditional watercolors to get the skintones though.

And speaking of traditional watercolors, that's how I created the second one. It's the character Abby from Great Pretender. I think it might be my favorite watercolor painting that I've done yet! I've gotten a lot better at blending colors, and I'm proud of the way I achieved the water droplets running down her skin. I've added a few more traditional art supplies to my arsenal (Posca markers, some skin tone markers/pencils, etc) so expect to see more pieces like this soon.

This is a random assortment of things, all pictures of The Nays. Doodles that I did as gifts, a scene from an Eventure that I wrote, and a continuation of The Worlds Portrait Project.

This is from December 2020. I drew portraits of my sister's main characters, the M Nays, and had them printed out on a physical canvas. I'm not sure if I have a photo of the actual canvas on hand, but once I get one I'll share that as well.

This one's still a work-in-progress, but I'm not sure when I'll ever get around to finishing it so I wanted to post it even if it was unfinished. It's a digital painting of Rosie Redknees managing her bar. I like that I managed to get lots of process shots of it. Hopefully I can finish it at some point.

An assortment of prompts about The Nays. We have Topaz drawn in Ghibli style, Chiz drawn in shoujo anime style, Kaenah, Yaro, and Elfno drawn mimicking some concept art from the Venture Bros art book, and a couple of characters from our old " Channel 6 TV shows" that we used to make with action figures.

These next 2 were part of a similar event where we tried to depict scenes from The Nays in the style of various classic video games. I've done a few of these in the past but these were done in more of a "speed" method where I tried not to take too long. It's Gojo in Suikoden 2 and Animale in Toe Jam & Earl.

One of my favorites of the bunch. For this activity, I drew each Nay in the style of a manga panel from current-ish Shonen Jump series. There are quite a few of these in the collage that I'm really happy with.

I normally don't share these much outside the family, but I did some pretty interesting stuff with a few of these so I thought I'd put a few together. For every major holiday (birthdays, Christmas, Mothers/Fathers Day), my sister and I make photo compilation videos for my parents. I usually put together some kind of interesting title sequence in Cinema 4D and After Effects, and these were a few of my favorites over the past few years. I'm especially happy with the last one. I tried to make it look similar to the 2D-HD style seen in Live A Live on the Switch (even parodied the logo for the ending sequence).

Animation Scenes

These are from an animation that I made for my sister called Ralphie and Ted's News. I recently learned how to use Adobe Character Animator for a project at work, so I decided to take those new skills and make a 2D rigged animation about a newscast set in The Worlds. The characters are lip synced and animated like puppets. I also made a short "commercial break" a hypothetical new video game with a parody DLC character pack. It was a fun little project to work on.

So one thing that happened during this time period was that Final Fantasy 7: Remake finally got released! I got really into that game for a while, so a gift that I made for my sister in 2020 was a parody animation of a few scenes from the original PS1 FF7, using our characters in their place. It's pretty goofy but I really enjoyed replicating the original PS1 style.

Global Game Jam

Lastly, we get to our entries to the Global Game Jam. I've participated in this event for the past 9 years and I intend to keep that streak up for 2023! This is one of the few things that I actually posted about on social media during the year, so I'm not going to devote too much time to it here. I'll just link to each of their project pages if you want to check them out.

2020: The Note Competition. This was a tower defense style game where you rapidly try to build up your base before your opponent. Game mechanic-wise, I think this is one of the more fun ones to play.

2021: Slumbered Apart. This is an adventure style game where you switch back and forth between two characters, Pam-chan and Gojo, to solve puzzles and progress through the story. I really like the look and feel of this one. It feels like one of our most complete games that we've worked on!

2022: Prisoners of Time Fabric. Probably our best GGJ project yet! It's based on an Eventure about alternate realities, which is represented by two parallel worlds - one modern and one in the style of an old Gameboy game. This game has a hunger system and crafting mechanics, so it's one of the more technically advanced projects that we've put together as well.

And on the topic of Prisoners of Time Fabric, this is a big project that I put together for my sister's birthday in 2022. It's probably the highlight of this whole blog post for me. So I built a diorama out of an old shoebox based on elements of the game/eventure. Megumi (the girl in front) is double sided so you can see her from multiple angles. As is Gregorn (the man in the suit). In the story, the timelines split based on whether he wears a green suit, or a brown suit, so I put him on a rotating chopstick so you can spin him around in both directions. On the right side, you can open the time traveling refrigerator to find Clove inside eating popcorn. Pressing the corner of the door will play a sound byte from Clove and then part of the music from the game. This is a recording that I did with a little microphone. On the left side of the diorama, there is another sound device, but this one is loaded up with an mp3 file. It plays music from Chrono Cross, which was a major inspirationn for all of these alternate reality ideas. This was a pretty involved project but I'm really happy with how it all came together.

And that's just about everything! Thank you so much for reading this novel of a blog post. The next one will definitely be less than 3 years from now, so it should be considerably shorter and easier to digest. I hope everyone has a wonderful and productive 2023. Until next time... Adios!

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