Here’s the rough for the Bee and Puppycat fanart I’m working on. I’m trying to expand my repertoire of tools, so this was tightened up on my Surface Pro 3 in PhotoShop. I printed the bluelines onto my favorite watercolor paper, Canson’s Moulin du Roy, and I’m going to pencil that today, maybe even stretch it and tone it if I have time.
Shout out to this incredible color resource site! They give you anything and everything you could ever want to know about a color from color schemes to RGB percentage makeup. There’s even a color blindness simulator for help with using visible/accessible colors for all viewers.
So keep this site in mind if you’re a graphic designer, interior designer, artist, color enthusiast, or whatever! It’s quite awesome.
Follow your heart and dip that delicious chip. (Hey look, post# 150!)
Whoops! These were supposed to go up yesterday, but somehow I forgot to post them here? The last four painted pages I have time to finish before I leave for Anime Weekend Atlanta. Top two are illustrations for a children’s book I’m illustrating for Lenore Salazar (Gizmo Granny), bottom two are from Chapter 5 of my comic, 7” Kara. It’s the introduction of a lengthy narrated flashback sequence, and I’ll be adding some elements digitally later on.
I made a big batch of my sassy buttons for Anime Weekend Atlanta weekend after next. No two buttons have the same glitter/flowers/rhinestone combination, but I do have multiple of popular bases, such as:
You Don’t Know Me
Cuties Makin’ Comics
I’ll be at table A09 in the AWA artist alley, so come say hi!
How long has this one been here? Sorry if this is even later in reply than the others ones!
Everyone likes to trump up what they do, and creative folks are no exception. Take a browse over Tumblr to see artists post elaborate pieces and call them, “just a quick sketch.” Uh huh, sure.
It helps to ego to present art as something that is the product of hard work and a magical creative blessing that only chosen folks have. The truth is more about hard work than anything. Natural talent is a thing, or at least a born inclination to creative stuff, and those people can do more earlier. Eventually, however, a prodigy can be indistinguishable from someone who simply worked very hard to learn an art.
I’m both a good and bad example of learning creativity. I’m an old dog learning new tricks, after all. Most of the cartoonists you follow were drawing comics at age 10. I started at 27, and had to learn an entirely different way to approach art in the process. My art is shakier than you’d expect from someone my age, but the comic’s possibly ahead of where someone who started as late as I did should be. A good sign is that *I* did it. The bad is that I’m not the most elegant example! I’m persistent, though!
Of course, I was a fine artist before this. Even though I almost never worked with figure drawing, I still had *some* background in composition. (It turned out that learning by theory is useless in comics, though. You simply have to draw bad comics to learn how to make better comics.) Still, I have never had the “touch” when it comes to cartooning. Some people seem to be born with an ability to give even a stick figure dynamic movement - and I struggle mightily with trying to capture something even close to that. As long as those with more “natural talent” keep working on their art, they’ll blow me out of the water. If they’re lazy, though, my hard work can eventually overtake them! Oh, wait. This isn’t direct competition. We can all excel and what we do in different ways, with different products/audiences/goals/etc.. That other artist and I both work very hard and reach a point of dual awesomeness!
As for comic writing, that’s training too. Daily comics are about endurance, and building up observational skills so you can take in constant comic fuel. To do a comic a day, I have to be open to whatever comes along, and be able to record those stray observational thoughts for the future. Most ideas are dumb and get discarded, but I need to be receptive enough to catch the random good thought. I had to learn an openness that I didn’t have before - and, as with everything, the process is ongoing.
Maybe there *is* a special spark in the best artists/writers out there - maybe it’s something similar to Michael Phelps being born with freakish arms that give him the natural tools to be an awesome swimmer. Still, if the dude never trained, he’d be the fat guy with long arms who works at the sunglasses hut in the mall. On the negative side, some people aren’t born with swimmers’ bodies. They can still swim, but it’ll take a lot more hard work to gain swimming power - and it will have a lower limit than someone Phelpsian. Back to positive, a guitar virtuoso can play a boring song, while a kid who knows three chords might write a simple, but infectiously catchy tune. Technical skill alone is a poor measure for creative impact.
You gotta do the work. Absorb media. The best writer is also the best readers. (I’m a terrible reader, and that hurts my progress and flexibility.) You have to practice, both in repetition to make the basics ingrained in you and in technique/approaches, to make sure you practice the USEFUL things. (Again, I learned in a vacuum, so now I have to unlearn a lot of those bad habits before I can improve.) Next, you have to just do it. When I decided to make a comic, I drew something maddeningly incompetent - enough to make those reviewing it very uncomfortable. But I learned more doing that atrocity than I did reading and playing in my sketchbook.
No one has to see your early attempts - but you darn well better be making them. Write to completion. Review it. Put it away and never look at it again. Write something else to completion. It’s gonna suck. It’s gonna be fanfic or something super-derivative that might as well be fanfic but you had no idea how much you’re copying other writers. It’s gonna suck for a long, long time. It’s gonna suck beyond your ability to comprehend suckiness. But then you WILL comprehend your former suckiness, and instead of being embarrassed you should be excited - because that means you just leveled up again.
The harshest ingredient here is time. You can get to creative from what you think is nothing, but it takes time and effort to reprogram a brain. If you want to do it - then give it a shot! Write the anime-influenced short story about sexy zombies that’s been in your heart for so long!
But don’t show me the first draft. Please. No.
I’m going to talk about publishing—specifically, my publisher, sparklermonthly. But first, I’m going to talk about apologies.
The word sorry leaves my mouth a lot. And yet, never often enough. Sometimes, it’s fear that stops me. Or ego. Usually ego, especially because the fear is often there…
Today’s progress. Just 4 total pages, 2 of 7” Kara and 2 Gizmo Granny. I was serious about the mochi container making a great larger wash palette. I’m going to have to hoard more of them, they’re super useful!
My review of Mechacon 2014, a convention I’ve attended three years in a row in my home state, Louisiana. This was an exciting year for me as I introduced a lot of new products at Mechacon- my sassy buttons, Volume 1 of 7” Kara, and the outer sensei ribbon badges.
The third (actually, the FIRST) of the three panels Heidi and I presented at Mechacon this year. This is a totally revamped Introduction to Watercolor presentation, and not only includes a video of the presentation and demos, but the presentation itself (with loads of new images) and a download link for the handout. We cover basics like papers (weights, brands, textures, ect), watercolors (pan, tube, pigment, dye), brands, brushes, and basic techniques (stretching your paper, applying washes, different types of strokes), and open the panel up to audience participation by handing out pieces of coldpress watercolor paper and allowing the participants to use our paints and brushes.