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.

Knight Sister–Girl Number 83

Knight Sister is the latest illustration for my art book that I’ve uploaded online, but I’m not showing every single image I’ve done since the last entry–I’m actually up to 86 images now.

How I put the Knight Sister together

This one was kind of a process. Still getting used to drawing on my Chromebook Plus, I decided to start it in an Android drawing app called Infinite Design, a vector app that’s really awesome. (It has an infinite canvas! Started your drawing too close to the middle and feel like you might have to cut the feet off? Not with this…just zoom out.)

Digital rough sketched in Infinite Design.

But after I got comfortable with it, I said “eh, I think I want to go traditional” so I printed the rough out.

Then I said “nope, I need more clarity”. So I opened the digital rough back up and cleaned it up a little in Clip Studio Paint on my Cintiq Companion. Then I was like “okay, NOW I’m ready to go traditional” and I printed out the clearer rough on cardstock paper and inked it with a Sharpie Pen.

Traditionally-inked version on cardstock paper.

I liked it, but even if I wanted to color Knight Sister traditionally, I wanted to protect the inking first. So, I scanned it into the computer so I could AGAIN take it to Clip Studio Paint and do the final rendering. I decided to get a little looser with cel shading to give her armor a sort of weathered, not-smooth look. Honestly, I think the lines suffered a bit from all the back and forth, but I like the color.

The scanned and flatted version, in Clip Studio Paint.

Moving Forward…

The road to 100 Random Practice Babes continues, including a basketball player (see my Instagram for that) and something much more mythical (you probably won’t see that until the whole book is done though).

Production is going to slow down a little as I’ve picked up some client work. I’ve been enlisted to create some toon likenesses of models for a series of book covers, and it’s going well so far. Grateful to have gotten some commission work again, and I need to be sure I’m putting my all into it. The subject matter suits me perfectly; it focuses on beautiful black women.

Jon

Latest Art–See the Derpy Angel!

The number of illustrations has gone up: 82 of 100, the “Derpy Angel”. I named her that because my son is always calling silly expressions ‘derpy’ so it popped in my head.

Derpy-Angel

I’m getting close to the finish line here. Thanks to my Facebook friends, I have a fresh amount of inspiration and ideas, so while I won’t promise the exact words will see the light of day, I should be able to mix and match inspirations and come up with some interesting images. I should be able to get through the remaining eighteen images in decent time.

Truth be told, a lot of them are wearing very little (by my count, some 40%), so for the last set of illustrations, I’m going to strive to add more detailed attire to my girl drawings, just for the sake of balance. Armor, clothing, or perhaps different textures entirely–a metal girl, another one with fur but different from my FoxBunny, maybe more beastly. Maybe all of the above.

Feel free to chime in if you get any unusual ideas. I only have eighteen illustrations to go, and I’ve already started two, but I still think I should be able to squeeze in some suggestions in all the last 16 pics.

And don’t forget, if you can’t wait for me to finish the 100 Girl Book and you want to support my art, I have several already-finished productions, all of which can be found by going through my Products for Sale page.

February Update

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been hit with a wave of indecision again.

My wife feels I need to complete something, get a quick win, focus on the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ so I can have that feeling of having completed a project again. And I’m inclined to agree.

It’s easy for me to sit back and work on tweaking things on my Jet Dancer game. Just earlier today I found myself doing a bit of fiddling with animation speeds and transitions so she’d look a little better in motion and when coming to a stop. I’m really quite proud of what I’ve managed to build so far, but I started asking myself if I could see the light at the end of the tunnel for the Jet game, and honestly, I can’t.

Sometime around the middle of last month, I started working on the game’s first planned boss, a gal named Striking Sphere.

Like Jet, she’s a scantily-clad superhuman female warrior with a special weapon. But while Jet wields her rocket boots, Striking Sphere’s weapon, as her name implies, is a ball. Building her sprite parts was easy enough, as it always is, but when it came time to animate her, I started suddenly feeling extremely exhausted. Every time I opened the file, it was like I was in a blind haze trying to push myself to make things happen with her. I managed to produce an idle pose and a run cycle, but after that, even opening the file made me feel like I hadn’t slept in days. It was weird.

So I assumed my body was trying to tell me it was time for a break from the Jet game. After all, I made a lot of changes since I picked it back up in late November or so…added new enemies, reorganized the code, created some hazards and background objects, even removed some of Jet’s attacks for a more streamlined feel. So I felt maybe some time off was in order. I got interested in traditional art again, even did some fan art for a few of my friends on Facebook:

I went and bought new markers and Bristol board to draw on, inspired by the many awesome traditional artists whose work I see on Instagram. But I didn’t actually create anything worthwhile. And now I’m once again wondering what it is I want to do.

One can be a game developer, or a pro illustrator, or a graphic novelist, or a ZBrush 3D artist, but it’s highly unlikely one can be all those things at the same time, and yet, I keep trying.

I try to trust my feelings. I really, really enjoy making sprites. Made a new one just yesterday, based on my WEAPON Combat League concept:

…And I fiddled with Construct some more, figured out how to make a character move and jump in the traditional ‘beat-em-up’ style of play reminiscent of games such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight. So I got it in my head to try to make a WCL beat-em-up game…never mind that WCL consists of over 24 characters that need to be playable. Never mind I’d want multiplayer, and character/team selection options, and maybe even a versus mode. Never mind I know so little about other aspects of that type of game, like how to make blows connect when the target is on a different y-plane or how to manage grapples and throws. Sure, I could teach myself, just as I taught myself how to make animated sprites and how to make them dash and cling to walls and spring off enemies heads with explosive effects and make certain foes block attacks…

But while I’m doing all of this testing and learning, what am I accomplishing? When is the last time I finished something? Really put it out there? The answer is Jet Dancer #1, which I think I released in 2015: https://www.comixology.com/Jet-Dancer-1/digital-comic/144132.

I was of course working on the 100 Girl Book as well. Full disclosure: while I have 47 girl drawings prepared for the book, only 33 of them are ‘new’ art (meaning, art that I actually produced in 2016 FOR the book) and the rest are old drawings I pulled up from the past to beef it up. Not a bad idea I suppose, but it goes against the original idea which was to challenge myself to make ‘100 somethings’. I also made the mistake of sharing most of them online (there are a few that no one has seen, but that’s like single digits at this point). A good idea for me would be to get back on that project and be more deliberate about it, stop trying to be ‘random’ and actually plan my drawings around themes, and not show a single drawing for the book until it’s done. That would mean more than half of the book’s content would be ‘truly’ new to viewers/buyers.

I also got the idea of producing an e-book detailing my sprite making method. A lot of people seem interested, and it pretty much is my favorite part of this whole game-making shtick I’m on. The desire to bring my characters to life was the whole reason I wanted to be a game developer. I enjoy making sprites and I feel I could show others how I go about it fairly easily, but the problem is I use outdated and potentially pricey software to do it (like Flash…does that even exist anymore?) and while I’ve been thinking about finding alternative methods, the fact is Flash CS4 is the most flexible animation software I have at my disposal right now.

I suppose the best thing to do is to simply pick a project and force myself to stick with it. It’s not about goals or building a bright future or selling something at this point. It’s about reminding myself that I need to stop working randomly and focus on deliberately planning and finishing projects, like I used to…