NEW: Arcade Game Section Added to the Site

There’s not much there now, but I’ve added another section to my website accessible from the menu (or right here) that I affectionately call the Arcade. There you can play ‘Flight of the Stratos Guardian’ (a touch/one-click based endless flyer) and the work-in-progress of the Jet Dancer game (an action platformer). After having some trouble uploading ‘Stratos Guardian’ to the Windows store, I decided to try plopping my stuff right here. Just a fun little idea I had.

Try as I could, I could not figure out how to get the ‘iframe’ any larger on the pages for the game, so I included links to the games on the Arcade page to play them full sized.

By the way, the Jet Dancer game supports both keyboard and XBox controls, so if you have the latter, plug one in before you try it. The controls shown in the options menu will reflect whatever buttons you press to get there.

The Jet Dancer game doesn’t work on mobiles, since I didn’t add any touch controls, but Flight of the Stratos Guardian does (although at least on my smartphone, it took forever to load and the music didn’t play).

I’m just trying things out. Let me know what you think of my games!

Thicc Hammer Chick – Coloring Video

Some folks have been asking me about making videos going into how I color, and while I haven’t quite had the time or ability to make a full commentary video yet, maybe this will do for a start.

I made up a time-lapsed video of my coloring of one of my recent Random Practice Babes, which I call the ‘Thicc Hammer Chicc’. It has a little text commentary and it condenses about an hour’s worth of coloring into three minutes or so. You can view the video here.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Jonathan

September Update – WCL, Patreon and More

Hello all! It’s time for an update (I really should do this more often but I get so caught up in working…) As of yesterday, I finished “Clipped Wings”, the second chapter of WEAPON Combat League in comic form. It’s short for a single comic issue at only 16 pages, but given the overall size of the WCL tale, I thought it best to keep individual chapters as short as possible. I chose 16 pages because when I was a kid and I first taught myself how to put comics together, I used to make them with exactly 16 pages using 10 sheets of paper–one sheet for each cover and the front and backs of the other eight for the pages. A bit of self-homage I guess. Plus 16 is a nice round number for me; given my schedule and other responsibilities (family, day job, etc.) being able to produce four full color comic pages in a week (16 pages in around a month’s time) is something of an accomplishment, and I’m proud of it.

Quinn Royce prepares for combat. In his suit, he's known as Saber.
Quinn Royce prepares for combat. In his suit, he’s known as Saber.

Clipped Wings introduces one of the story’s most prominent characters, Quinn Royce, and the folks that are (and will be) connected with him as the story goes on. I dare not say much more, though those who read the prose novels already know what’s going to happen. I reworded some things and changed some occurrences slightly, but the story turns out the same way.

Now I’m on the fence as to what to do next. I want people to read my work, and I want to put as few barriers up as possible, but I also want to try to profit from it in some way if I can. So I was thinking of putting the comic on Patreon–but before you get up in arms, I am NOT planning to put the comic behind a paywall. I’m confident in my concept, but I’m not ignorant of the fact that, based on likes, favorites, comments, views and direct feedback, there are other things I create that some fans of my work would prefer to see (cough Jet Dancer cough) so if I’m going to focus on WCL, I need to, again, make it as easy to get to as possible. So I was thinking with Patreon, I would put the comic up there for free (as of now there are actually two complete chapters, 32 pages total, the first of which is already online) and enable patrons to support me if they wanted to see layered files, the occasional coloring video tutorial, or if they just wanted to support the work in a tip jar kind of way.

Another option would be to post the comics here, on my site, in their own section, with ad support. But I wonder if I should just make a domain just for WEAPON Combat League instead. But then again, a Patreon doesn’t just have to be for WCL–those who follow my Instagram see that I still have plenty of “RPBs” in me and I’ll be posting those here and there too (and perhaps those will be behind the paywall–with NSFW content).

I know what I’m leaning towards, but if anyone else has other ideas, I’m all ears.

July Update

It’s July, and I’m having a very creative summer so far.

I actually finished putting together the 100 Girl Art Book, officially titled R.P.B. (which stands for Random Practice Babes), cover and all. I’ve submitted the files to Ka-Blam, a printing company, and as far as I know, there aren’t any problems. I could put out a digital version right now, but I want to see what the print copy looks like first. When I’m comfortable with everything, I will likely be making the book available through Amazon, IndyPlanet, Gumroad, and eventually through direct sales when I can afford to order enough copies.

I’ve opened up some extremely low-cost commissions for folks who want to see characters drawn or designed fast and easy with cel shades. For only $25 you can get a character drawn in full color by me, no limit for now. Here are a couple I’ve done so far:

Viper 6 for Mina Korzan
Viper 6 for Mina Korzan
Exces for Chris Turner
Exces for Chris Turner

You can contact me here and make a $25 deposit for your spot through this link: PayPal — make sure you mention it’s for the commission sale and send me references or descriptions of your character.

As for the future, after much deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m going to resume game development. I thought about making comics but that path just is not for me. Game development lets me continue problem solving, which I love, and I’m still drawing and designing characters. I love retro 2D games and I want to make a library of them featuring my characters and ideas.

While the Jet Dancer game is foremost on my mind, I’m also thinking that it’s a bit ambitious and I need to train myself to actually publish games, so I want to make something simpler as well, like a shooter or something. But I won’t enjoy creating it if it doesn’t have a sexy element, so…I’m pondering some unique approaches.

And as a reward for reading this all the way through, you get an exclusive look at one of my hundred girls!

Mid June 2017 Art Update

I’ve been busy making art! Not only is my 100 Random Practice Babe art book/100 somethings challenge nearing the end, I’ve also done some commissions as well.

First up: some illustrations I’ve done for a coworker. She wanted some ‘toon’ likenesses of models for her upcoming book covers.
     

I also completed a coloring art commission for my frequent client Montreal Mack, this time featuring Mei from Blizzard’s popular FPS Overwatch in a holiday-themed pinup:

Christmas Time Mei by Montreal Mack

And I recently finished an action pinup featuring a gun-toting black action heroine who goes by the name of Dice, for a novelist/screenwriter named Marlon McCaulsky:
Dice by Marlon McCaulsky

Last but not least, I finished several illustrations for my 100 Girl Book as I mentioned before. I’m not showing every single one, but my Facebook, Instagram and DeviantART audience saw this, so I’m showing it here as well (even though at this point, I’ve exposed so many images I’ve done for the art book that any attempt at protecting its value–at least online–is all but meaningless I fear. Oh well…)
The Battle Pirate -- don't ask

(It’s also available in my Redbubble store!)

However, I did have a minor setback. On Facebook, I earlier announced that I completed the thumbnails for my ‘last 12’ girl drawings (I’ve since completed seven of those last 12 entirely). However, I went through the library and saw one that I pulled from the past to include was just too small for print, and I no longer had a high-resolution art file to replace it with. Therefore, I have to produce one more original art thumbnail to finish the 100. That’s not a big deal though; chances are as I get closer to the end, the thumbnails I’ve produced may lose their luster and I may come up with better ideas anyway. I’ve replaced several images I thought were good enough in the past and…well, it’s all just drawing.

I’m eager to be finished, but I’m also eager to make this as good as I can. Once done, I’ll be selling it digitally and through Print-On-Demand sites until I can afford to print some copies and sell directly. Links will be added to my Products page when ready!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for further updates.

Number 66 Done

Having completed the 66th girl for my 100 Girl Art Book project, I felt it important to remind myself why I am doing this and what direction it’s going in.

What is the point of the 100 Girl Book? What is it for? Why am I doing it?

To produce a tangible product to sell on and offline. The idea was to produce and/or collect 100 unique illustrations of black women I’ve done, put them in a book, print it and sell it digitally as well, along with prints of the more successful illustrations from the book. I originally started the project because I realized that one part of becoming a professional artist is putting myself out there at conventions and such, but I had no tangible products to peddle. I spent so many years making art and starting projects, but never finishing anything or taking things to a real physical conclusion; despite having over a thousand images online (at my deviantART for instance), I literally have nothing to take to a convention and market as something that represents me as an artist, and I’ve attempted so many things (novels, comics, pinups, commissioned colors, even some 3D) that I don’t know who Jonathan Price the artist really is.

I figured, since I was doing all these “Random Practice Babes”, and I was enjoying them, it was clear that this theme was the driving force that compelled me to keep making art. It was clear that I was either unwilling or unable to keep telling myself I was some sort of comic book artist when drawing comics is something I basically had to force myself to do, while drawing these women was more enjoyable, led to my art getting more attention and sometimes commissions, etc.

However, the more of them I do (and the more I find myself refining old drawings instead of making new ones), the more I start thinking, how many is enough? If I want to use this as a portfolio of some kind, 10-20 of them would have been more than sufficient. Are these drawings really showcasing my skill? Are they at all marketable? Am I doing the wrong thing with my skill? I’ve entertained the thought that maybe I’m not much of a ‘fine artist’ and I should devote my art to being part of something greater, like a comic book, a game, etc., and trying to sell something on the strength of my drawing alone is hurting more than helping me. Hell, if I said the goal was to produce 50 images for a book, no one would be saying “no, go for 100”. The only reason that number is mentioned is because I originally mentioned it, and the plan can change.

I have other ideas that I could visualize being used to represent me at conventions and such, comic ideas, story ideas, and a part of me is like “Finish the girl book first” while other parts in my mind are like “Life is short, do things now, it’s time to move on.”

The words “Follow One Course Until Successful” (F.O.C.U.S.) have been repeated to me often over the last few weeks, but I’m always caught up in trying to decide what that one course should be, and I’m not sure I’m patient enough to wait to get to 100 to see if this course is the right one.

But I won’t know until I try. I just wish I could come up with a definitive answer to the question: is 66 enough, or should I keep pushing to 100?

Although…it should be noted that I’ve asked myself this question a lot over the course of the project. Is 30 enough? Is 48 enough? And that number keeps getting higher.

I really just need to stop worrying about it and get to 100, right? Haha.

Short Game Review: Curses N’ Chaos

Curses ‘N Chaos is a 2D wave-based brawler in which you control one of three characters (the third has to be unlocked) and beat up monsters. It has platformer mechanics (X and Y axis movement, double jumping), but there is no platforming. All you do is fight enemies and bosses with your fists, your feet and the occasional sub-weapon.

And shake your belly if you’re the dude, or twerk (I never thought I would type that word, let alone use it in a sentence) if you’re the girl. This taunt gives bonus points, which is a neat addition.

It’s a very simplistic game, but it’s also quite retro-charming and fun to play in short bursts.

The game is straightforward and elegant; every time you hit anything, your combo counter goes up. Hit 10 enemies and you get increased score for hitting enemies and more money. The more you do this, the higher your multiplier goes, but get hit once and it’s back to the bottom. Money can be used to buy items to start the game with or mixed to create new items. You’ve got five hearts and five lives to make it through ten waves of enemies and beat the boss, and near as I can tell, there are several worlds (but each level is a single screen, so there’s not much to it). It can be quite challenging and even a bit unfair, but it’s still fun to me. It also has 2 player local and online co-op.

I only wish the visuals were better. They work (and look better in motion), but they’re really cheap.

I played the game thinking, this is simplistic fun that would be fairly easy to mimic in a game IDE, like, say, Construct 2 or Game Maker. I should try making something like this, realizing that my Jet Dancer game is perhaps too complicated to develop any further on my own. I could see myself building a game like this with my WEAPON Combat League concept at the core, perhaps giving every character some simple but diverse attacks–only a few–and have many of the characters unlockable. Maybe even include a versus mode.

About Ghost in the Shell…

Just my opinions here…

I’m silent about ScarJo playing the Major in the GITS movie. I haven’t seen the movie. And to be perfectly honest, I do not believe the movie would have done well even if it did have an Asian-American lead (which is all the more reason it should have, honestly, but I never saw the Major as an Asian woman–an Asian name, yes, Motoko Kusanagi is very, very Japanese, but the appearance could be anyone because prosthetic/cyborg bodies, and ScarJo’s look nailed it.) But why would it have bombed? Tell me, how many non-anime fans in America are familiar with Ghost in the Shell? I’ll wait. I don’t think it’s that many, percentage wise. I just don’t know if there’s a huge crossover between anime fans and American cinema-goers.

GITS is popular. GITS is big. But GITS is not Marvel/DC Comics big. It’s not anything Studio Ghibli big. It’s not even Dragon Ball Z big.
They did a big budget live action remake of an anime movie that came out before HD was even a thing (which itself is not exactly on the tips of the tongues of general audiences. Heck, I’m a big GITS fan and my own wife has no idea what it is). Half the potential audience is divided on whether ScarJo should have played her, many are too old to care (Speed Racer also had this problem to a much larger degree) and the other half has no idea what it is. The audience for live action movies is far different than the closet anime fan who subscribes to Crunchyroll and goes to all the free websites to watch anime they can’t find there.

There was nothing about this film that said ‘success’. That it was going to be critically panned was all but guaranteed just because of the whitewashing–which I am not at all diminishing. Again, the movie might have been better served with an Asian lead, but it wouldn’t have made the movie any more successful commercially, because honestly, Ghost in the Shell is…kind of obscure compared to other properties. Maybe the movie was an attempt to change that (worked great for many American comic characters) but…oh well. And then you throw in a plot that may have worked fine in animation but needed too many changes for a movie studio to deem it acceptable for the U.S….

When a movie like this comes out, my mindset is “It’ll probably do great on DVD/Netflix.” Scott Pilgrim bombed in theaters too, but I think it was a good flick, and now it’s known as a ‘cult classic’. GITS is probably a perfectly fine, well-made movie too. Thing is, even with ScarJo at a role that would have perhaps been better served with an Asian lead, I want comic/cartoon/anime movies (and shows like Iron Fist) to do well. Someone will spin it and say women can’t headline an action film (ScarJo has done it a few times with Lucy, GITS, her role in The Island and her prominent role in the various Marvel films, so that’s certainly not it) and someone else will say ‘we’re not greenlighting anymore anime properties (or properties with women leads) because they don’t sell tickets’.

There’s a bigger picture here than whitewashing, and I think that makes an easy culprit to blame. Whitewashing is the norm in this country, and white people are the majority. They didn’t choose not to go see GITS because ScarJo was playing the Major. Many, I’m sure, chose not to go see it because they weren’t interested.

I’m still glad the movie exists.

Been busy with Rendr 

I’ve been drawing a lot of traditional art lately, energized by getting my hands on a Crescent Rendr sketchbook. It’s a pricey but high quality sketchbook whose claim to fame is the bleedproof paper, resistant to pretty much any media. I’ve been trying to find paper that made me enjoy drawing with pencil again, having gotten burned out with digital for a while, and this paper fits the bill nicely.

One drawback is the book I bought isn’t spiral bound (they are available) and the binding doesn’t lend itself well to scanning, so for now, photos will have to do as far as showing what I’ve done. Once I’m done with it, I’ll likely use some sort of cutter to sever the pages from the book neatly and scan them. Many of the images I’ve done so far will make fine additions to my 100 girl book project.



The paper is excellent for marker coloring too… I’m going to use a few of these for practice.

UPDATE: Managed to scan these pics in after all. Took a bit of effort. I decided not to bother with the spelunker girl right now, but with a bit of elbow grease and a lot of Photoshopping, I managed to scan them in and clean them up enough to be colored digitally.

Now I can take the markers to them with…a little less fear.

In other news, I recently hit a milestone with the Jet Dancer game: I have a working title screen and a help screen that shows the controls based on whether you’re using a game pad or keyboard. Won’t be long before I have a playable demo for you guys. 

Thinking of doing random game reviews

I don’t generally play what everyone else is playing. Sure, I get my hands on the occasional AAA game (and often find myself bored with them, as I did with The Witcher 3, Fallout 4 and Final Fantasy XV), but I spend more time playing (and getting engrossed with) lesser-known games that often don’t get mentioned by the big review sites, games like Dex, Stardust Galaxy Warriors and 7th Dragon III: Code VFD.

I was pondering doing brief reviews of such games here on my site. It wouldn’t be done with any regular frequency, but as I want to be an indie game developer, I feel it prudent to study indie games that get my attention, regardless of when they were initially released. Maybe I’ll point you in the direction of a game you hadn’t heard of, or were on the fence about.

I’ll do a trial run, maybe featuring one of the three aforementioned non-AAA titles, and see how it goes.