Here we are again at the end of the month. We are just a few days away from Emerald City Comic Con and I am super stoked. I look forward to this all year. When one ends, I already start looking forward to the next one. Sometimes, when things get really rough at work, I can tell myself that there's always Comic Con around the corner. That is what made the pandemic so hard for the years it was happening. No Comic Con. No gatherings of fandoms anywhere. It took a really big toll on my mental health. Creating art was the only thing keeping me sane most of the time.
But enough about that! ECCC is upon us! I get a chance to meet so many great artists. I rarely get such concentrated time chatting with people about their creative process. It truly fils my bucket. I am going to post again at the beginning of March to break down all I did. I hope you'll come along with me.
More art has been created however.
February Art Dump
I did not finish as much art this month as I would like. I got distracted with some projects pertaining to my day job (not art related at all). I did manage to finish a couple of pieces so I'll share them here.
A Possible Collaboration
The first piece I am sharing is the first maybe in a series of works. I am in talks to possibly collaborate with someone on a future art show. I won't say anything beyond that as nothing has solidified into a real project yet. But this possible collaborator wanted to see some of my original character and what it would look like with text. I'm am no graphic designer when it comes to font choice and composition, but I think it gets the point across even without the specific skillset needed.
I initially started out with what I do best which is character design. So I drew each of these characters individually. Here are the full bodies of these individual characters.
These next pieces were just little studies to keep my skills up and practice little things like angle and hands. Oh god...the hands. Every once in while you have to challenge yourself. For me, there is nothing more challenging than hands. So the first piece is specifically for the complex position of the hands. However, I was also able to experiment a little with the coloring as well. I wanted to mess with different hues of light while at the same time having the skin look more naturalistic. I think the coloring turned out a little more stylized than natural, but I still liked how it turned out.
I think the hands are almost what I wanted to accomplish. The fingers on one of the hands seem too short for some reason. Not enough knuckles. 😅 Still, the face looks great and the piercing gaze was captured. So I chalk this one up as a win!
The next portrait was more to practice angles that I rarely practice. I dabble a little bit in angles, but I need to keep trying to be more dynamic with the placement of my "camera" when it comes to my art. This isn't exclusive to my portraits, it is something I am trying to incorporate into ALL of my art. You will see some further experimentation later on in my Complete Compositions.
I really like the design of this character. It happened solely by accident. It was a study, so it didn't really need to be a full fledge design, but she just kept peering into my soul and needed to be a more fully fleshed out character design. Despite that though, I think I nailed the angle I was going for. Why a cyberpunk elf? Why not? 😛
The next two pieces are completed compositions for this sourcebook I'm making for "Void's Edge". They're going to be full page spreads at the beginning of a few chapters.
Definitely playing with angles here in this last image. Top down has always been a struggle for me. I think I did a pretty decent job. I'm making progress at least! The shared challenge is forcing myself to do the backgrounds. I'm seeing progress slowly. I'm waiting for that moment where everything "clicks". Right now I'm not thinking with enough detail. I think I should focus on more scenery studies. Stay tuned!
This month also some works which stated out as something, but fizzled out midway through for one reason or another. I want to include them because there are som many artists out there who can feel discouraged if they struggle to finish a piece. There is no shame in leaving a project incomplete. If it is not inspiring you and there is no client with a deadline, then you are totally empowered to let it sit. Maybe I'll revisit these at a later date.
This one I left unfinished because I only created it to practice realistic skin tones. I am focusing more on a more painterly color theory when it comes to skin tones and I am hoping that it will eventually allow me to diversify the many shades and hues of human skin.
Anyway, I drew this piece specifically to try out a color theory with skin tones where one takes a main color and to create the shade one increased the saturation and bring down the brightness in very specific percentages. Then you add a little red to the midtones to create the sense of translucency of the skin. After playing around with this, I was trying to force my self to finish this piece only to realize, I didn't have to. The pose wasn't particularly inspiring and I was mentally exhausted trying to get the skin right. So here this character is, in all her unfinished glory.
This one was a tough one to abandon. I love the story and narrative this has without saying any words. It's great visual storytelling and a happy accident. This is where it became a problem. I got invested in this piece and became obsessed and hyper-focused on the details. So things like the angle of the figure in the foreground not looking right or not matching 100% with the reflection made things so frustrating. Even with a reference image (Thanks @theposearchive), I couldn't get the details I think this piece deserved right.
It was very frustrating to say the least. So I chose to leave it be. I want to give it the full finished treatment I think it deserves. I'm just wondering if I'm capable of pulling it off. Maybe I will come back to it at a later date. If you want to chime with your take on whether I should finish or leave it, please leave a comment down below. I'd love to hear you opinion.
As March begins.
This should be a month where things settle down and will be able to put even more focus on my art. I am trying new things with my social media presence to see if I can garner more eyeballs on my stuff. I've seen a little uptick on site traffic here as a result. I have to keep going and take advantage of the momentum. It's just...social media is not my passion. For the last decade I have used social media as a means of consuming media. It takes a lot of hard work to actually cultivate a following.
My goal, of course, is to not make social media the priority. However, the more I can get eyeballs on my work, the better. So if you're here because of clicking on a link in one of my posts or my bios, welcome. I hope these little looks into my artistic process and mindset is something you find engaging. Tell your friends.
In the meantime, keep on trucking. There is a lot wrong with the world right now, but there is also so much beauty and community out there as well. Let's help each other out there. Be excellent to each other. I will post again soon. So long!
The new year is almost one twelfth done and I have been super busy. Professionally, things have gotten crazy, but that means I need to create art more than ever. Drawing characters is the best way I can to unwind. So, of course, my brain needed to make it more complicated.
I decided to get more ambitious with my art. Not all of the pieces I drew with month were ambitious, but I wanted to challenge myself with a few. This is all thanks to a couple of content creators I stumbled across called The Pose Archives (https://linktr.ee/theposearchives). They specialize in creating reference images for artists! They have a treasure trove of poses over on their Patreon. If you are an artist at all and always struggle with finding good references, check them out!
Here are a few characters using their poses as references.
I have always struggled finding dynamic poses online. There are only so many images google searches can yield. There are hundreds of poses over on The Pose Archive and I highly recommend them. This post is not sponsored or endorsed in any way by The Pose Archive, I just want to point as many people in their direction as possible.
Other Art for January
I have more art inbound since it is almost mod February as of the time of this writing. Here are some of the random arts I drew while still in January. Kind of a hodgepodge of different content, but I had some fun with them.
Game System Update
I am getting closer to putting together all of the different rules to create my TTRPG system. Since I am one person, things are processing slowly. We are inching closer to some actual play testing with my gaming group. I am hoping to keep you updated as things progress.
Currently, I am writing out the history of the setting. It's been super enjoyable creating worlds and seeing things come to life. I am looking forward to sharing soon!
Signing off for now! I hope you all have a wonderful February and stay tuned for the next Episode of "I Have Something to Say About That" (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/i-have-something-to-say-about-that/id1613282824) where we talk about aliens and their depiction in Hollywood cinema. That should be dropping mid-february. Cheers!
Posting the art I did during the month has started to become a tradition. In keeping with that tradition, I am posting my December art here.
I decided to try something new with a couple of the pieces. A friend of mine, Tryfe (Check his stuff out at https://www.instagram.com/tryfe), suggested I try my art style with logo or branding to see how they mesh. Now, this is indeed a completely different art form so I gave it a good college try. I also didn't really have any actual logo or saying to actually put into the art so I just have placeholder text. 😅
I thought I'd use a character I had drawn before. I think it would do me some good to redraw my original characters every once in a while. They can't all be improved on the spot. Maybe that is what some of my art blocks have been in the past? I am trying to come up with a new original character every single time I draw and maybe I should draw someone I've already created just in different situations. Maybe that's something worth thinking about. 🤔
As far as other pieces go, I tried different character designs, but mostly I wanted to experiment with different kinds of poses. Especially these two pieces where the character is sitting on the floor. There are certain ways humans have to sit if they're sitting on the floor and this was good practice. One looks natural while the other looks a little contorted. Not sure what happened there, but it's practice so I'm posting it here. 🙃
The next piece I drew in December was an exercise in baggy clothing. I've seen a lot of cozy art over on Threads and I wanted to recreate that. Of course, I added a more sci fi and mysterious flare to it though.
I also did a few more concept art prices for the tabletop game I'm designing. I'm really leaning into the cosmetic and designer side of technology when it comes to body modification. It was been super fun to explore that in both subtle and extreme examples.
The experimentation is really the point here. I am really happy with how all of these turned out. I am hoping to explore this more as time presses on. The one on the left is exploring body modification in the form of skin coloring as well as technology "tattoos". The picture in the middle is more based out power and is a little more subtle (minus the power cells coming out of her back of course). Lastly, the piece on the right is meant to really encompass the vibe of the world I'm creating. I drew someone powerful, but also in a relaxed stated.
Lastly, this next piece is an honorable mention for December as I started her but did not finish her in December. She is my first official completed piece of 2024. I the world I'm creating there are synthetic humans that are both artificial but alive. They need to recharge on occasion and I've drawn a few of them in the past.
I'm hopeful for what 2024 brings. There seems to be turmoil in the horizon, but I can see it coming and I'm ready for it. This year promises to be one for the history books (for better or worse) and I am going to face it head on. Look forward to a preview of my tabletop game during this year and I am hoping that I can garner enough play testers to figure out how broken it is and learn as I go. I am not a game designer by profession and I am mostly learning as I go. Wish me luck.
As far as 2024 goes for everyone else, I hope that it brings nothing but joy and prosperity to all of you. If you are finding this blog for the first time, welcome. Let's make 2024 the year for the ages. Farewell for now and hope to have more art soon.
We have another month almost in the books. With that comes time to reflect on what has happened thus far. I have some new art to show as well as some successes to share. So let's get started!
First of all, art.
The first piece I tried something new with the way I colored. I didn't use hard inking lines and instead went with a more painterly style. This is the first time I've done something as detailed as this without line art. I was pretty pleased with it.
The second piece I drew while watching sports on tv and I thought it was a fun take. I do like how vibrant the coloring is. I also added a little glitch effect to give the vibe of watching it on a tv or something like that.
The third piece is an actual character commission I did for someone's D&D campaign. I was all too happy to draw their character and I hope it stands them in good stead. I also did a little experiment and drew a mirror in the background which would reflect the character's back. It was super ambitious and I love how it turned out.
Over 100 followers on Treads!
I’ve never had much luck in social media. For a long time it felt like I was just posting a bunch of art with no one seeing it. The only time I would get any engagement it was usually just from bots. I’ve mentioned this before. It was very demoralizing. Lately though, I have found quite the artist/creative haven over at the most unlikely of places.
I have been fairly active on Threads as of late. It seems that, at least to the algorithm, Threads has been completely taken over by artists. I have met so many amazing creative people over there. I am doing my best to engage with their content the same way they have engaged with mine. I hope I am living up to the challenge. For the first time on any social, I have over 100 followers! I technically have as much on Instagram, but a huge chunk of them seem to not be real people so I struggle to count that. It was hard for a while but I'm starting to build a community over there. If you're reading this because of discovering me on Threads, welcome! Please throw a comment down below and let's interact!
This month has been a tough one. Not necessarily because of any hardship, but just a lack of energy. I am trying to devote all of my creative focus on my art and I think I'm hitting empty. I only did three art pieces this month. Maybe that means I need to take a couple of weeks off and just consume other people's art. I need to reconnect with my inner artist. If you're an artist, and I am not following you, let me know in the comments. I need to see more of other people's work.
Anyway, thank you of reading these ramblings and I hope you all have a safe and wonderful December. I will leave with these final thoughts, you are not the sum of your work. You are so much more than that. Don't let the lack of inspiration dissuade you from putting in the work. Create something every day even if it's hard. This is advice I am following myself.
Some of the newer social media sites out there have a trend going on...
Due to the lack of hashtag support for social media sites like Threads and Blue Sky, many users have taken to trying to manipulate the algorithm to get the right people to see their posts. Basically, people are specifically listing off the type of people they're wanting to see on their feeds. Examples include "Dear algorithm, bring me artists, illustrators, plumbers...etc." The super interesting thing is it seems to be working. I have been getting a lot of those posts showing up in my feed looking to connect with artists and art appreciators. I have been doing all I can to interact and engage with those posts to try to get more eyes on my work.
And it seems to be working!
Especially on Threads, I am approaching 100 followers. This is the most engagement I have ever gotten on ANY social media platform. I haven't had a chance to check numbers, but I think I pretty much cap out at 30 on most sites and that usually consists of people I know in person or tangentially. So 100 followers is an amazing improvement in terms of visibility.
If you find this site via your recent Threads follow, welcome! I super glad you're here. 😃
I am going to continue to work on my visibility online. That includes making a serious attempt to go into my artistic process here on my website. This place allows me to go way more in depth than the character limit on social media. I want to drive engagement here as well. So if you're making you're way here from one of my socials, sound off in the comments and lets get a conversation going!
TTRPG Under Construction...
So I have been continuing work on my concept art for my TTRPG setting. I really want to explore themes such as what it means to be human after Earth is long gone and what the next step in human evolution looks like in the face of that. Will it be technological or biological? Will it be both? At what point to different factions augment themselves to the point where they diverge from homo sapiens? I also what to explore themes of the cosmic horror of deep space and the existential dread that comes with it.
It's a pretty dark and gritty setting, but like any TTRPG it will also have the appropriate amount of levity as we deal with what everyday mundanity looks like in the face of these huge themes. I have been obsessing about this setting for a while now, and things are starting to come together as I get close to honing in on the exact visual style of the setting.
As far as the system goes, I am building it using the Cortex Prime system. It is actually a TTRPG system designed around the idea of giving you the building blocks to create your own system from the ground up. I have been having a lot of fun building my own system and setting. If you have any desire to build a TTRPG system but have no idea where to start, then I suggest giving them a look here: https://www.cortexrpg.com/
Yes, but where is the Art...?
I mentioned some concept art. Here is the latest. 😊
Once again, feel free to comment and give feedback. I would love to talk some art. See you soon!
I have been radio silent here for the entirety of October because I had been deep in a passion project. Currently, I am playing in a Hunter: The Reckoning TTRPG where we are all paranormal investigators. Even though the themes of the game world are super dark and serious, we've adapted a more "Scooby Doo" vibe while we are hunting ghosts. We call ourselves the Pacifica Paranormalists™.
So this became great inspiration to draw ALL of our characters. So I took almost the entire month drawing eight characters with various designs and moods. I drew one at a time and them complied them all together into one "Promo Shot".
It wasn't until I was in the middle of this that more inspiration struck. The general vibe and action of the game lended itself well to being a movie so I leaned into it and took my art and created a movie poster as well. It was a big hit with my gaming group.
They thought the "Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Director was a nice touch.
So my October art dump is going to mostly consist of characters from this game. Eight characters in a month is something I would never have dreamed of even a couple of years ago as it used to take me a week or so to complete one drawing. I have really nailed down my process.
Other Art for October
2023 has really gotten away from me. Though I knew Halloween was just around the corner, I didn't really KNOW Halloween was right around the corner so aside from the Pacifica Paranormalists™, I didn't really do any art that was Halloween themed. I did, however, work on more world building for the TTRPG setting I'm creating.
Two concepts around cybernetic enhancements which will be a big mechanic in this systems I'm building. I'm wanting to do something a little modular where enhancements can have different mod slots to use certain powers. It's still not ready for prime time yet, so more to come. In the meantime, enjoy my character concepts!
Wrapping up the month.
As I mentioned above, I have begun work on trying to reach out via social media and engage with the larger art community. I have already seen a huge uptick in traffic so I think it's working. If you have found yourself here reading this via any one of my social media accounts, welcome. I will try to make it worth your while.
As my TTRPG setting and system begin to take more shape, I will be posting about it here and bringing people along the journey with me. I'm still working on what framework I am going to base it on. Right now, I am building things out using Cortex Prime which is a TTRPG "engine" that allows people to build there game system from the ground up, but I don't know if I'm going to stick with that. Right now it is serving my purpose and I think it is flexible enough to work with my setting. We shall see.
In the mean time, everyone stay safe out there and make good choices. Remember, you're enough. Also, Happy Halloween and eat some candy for me. ^_^
After getting back from a little vacation, I am ready to get back into doing some art. I managed to finish this one piece and I am currently working on another. It's been rather busy since I got back so it's been a little difficult to buckle down and get some characters done. I'm rather enjoying being a little more focused in what I'm creating. This world building is fun!
This next piece brings us back to space. The Outer Worlds are a dangerous place to fly as well. You have pirates, you have the Commonwealth military ready to board and inspect you, and you have strange anomalies ready to tear you apart without a moments notice. If one captains a vessel flying through or bound for the Outer Worlds, then one had to be prepared for anything...
"Here they come"
The red lights pulsated as the alert sounds blared their intent. The intruders cut through the hull a little more than 5 minutes ago. Ahlia knew they were heading for the bridge and poised herself in front of the sealed door.
"Take the short cut," her navigator said. "It'll knock a whole two weeks off our journey," he said.
Well, it turned out no one comes through this sector because this is where the pirates' hideout resided. These bandits had caused no shortage of angst in this star system for a while now. From small settlements like Little Bastion to big Space Ports like Atlantis One, these bastards sewed more than their fair share of havoc.
And now they're on Ahlia's ship.
The attack didn't even set off any long range sensors which completely blindsided Ahlia. By the time she noticed something was wrong the hull had already been breached and the outlaws were on board. This didn't mean the captain got caught with her pants down. She had been preparing for just such an occasion. At the first sign of strife, she activated an response automation that sealed off all of the doors within her ship, The Ace, which would funnel them into the direction she would want them to go. Since their first stop would be the bridge anyway, they wouldn't notice they're being funneled. The safety protocols were then disabled so the maintenance hatch that led directly out to the void could be opened even with people in the main pathway.
After getting her crew locked into the bridge, Ahlia stood outside the door and waited for her guests. She moved forward preparing to put up a fight. All she needed was to buy enough time for the enemy to all make their way into this hall. She would then blow the maintenance hatch and take as many of the assholes out in one swoop as possible. The trick: not get killed as well.
A small smiled flirted with the edges of her lips. Ahlia loved a challenge and if she made it to the other side with was going to be one helluva story. However, the moment of musing passed rather quickly as she heard the sounds of boots hitting the metal floor just on the other side of the hallway indicating how close they were.
"Here they come..." Ahlia said, to no one in particular.
Another week, another piece of concept art. It am going to do more of these little story blurbs to accompany my concepts. They add a little something to my work. This one works in tandem with my previous post. If you haven't read it, check it out!
Despite the thin atmosphere, gentle wind blew sand across the rocks. It was this slight breeze that shaped the Valley of Giants over the course of eons. As the morning suns broke out over the horizon, the silence broke by a heavy pair of boots landing on a stable slab of rock.
Mira had been tracking the bandits all night. She had lost visual sight of them a few hours ago, but she had ways of finding the trail. She was, after all, a competent hunter. A talent that has since become sharper as the rage inside her boiled under the cool her exterior. They were going to pay.
It had been a few cycles since Mira was made a deputy—an honor she didn't even know she wanted. Ora, the Sheriff, saw something in Mira that she couldn't even see in herself. The time to return the favor had arrived.
When the bandits came to Little Bastion, Ora and Mira held them off, but injured Ora in the process. The pirates then ran off with whatever supplies and medicines they could.
Now Mira was going to take it back.
The deputy kneeled down, took a pinch of dirt from the ground, and rubbed it through her figures and thumb. Opening her scanner, she began a chemical analysis of the soil. Though it only took moments, she could feel the tension crawl up her neck. Indeed, a chemical residue consistent with motorized vehicles permeated the ground here.
It was fresh. The bandits were here recently. Mira was close.
The sound of pebbles falling off a rock wall behind her took Mira out of her train of thought. Something had moved in this little rocky locale. The deputy was not alone.
Mira slowly pulled her twelve-shooter out of its holster. If it was a fight they wanted, they were going to get it.
This week I am exploring the Outerlands of the Commonwealth. The loosely organized star systems that make up this tabletop setting I am creating. The farther you get from the central worlds, the more lawless things get. All in all, I am loving how all of this turned out. One of the things I am trying is coming up with a story to go with these pieces. I think it will help out a lot in fleshing out the scenes in which these characters occupy. Hope you enjoy! If you like this piece and/or the story, comment below or head on over to my Commissions page to request you own!
See below for an accompanying short story.
Sheriff of the Outlands
Ora never wanted to be the law.
The small settlement of Little Bastion had barely any need for law and order when she was growing up. The most conflict she ever saw were petty disputes over land and property. For that, Little Bastion looked to Ora's father for guidance and moderation of these disputes. For that, he became the defacto "Lawman" of this little Outland town. It was a peaceful life.
When Ora's father passed, the town looked to her as the clear successor. At first, it seemed like a great gig. Without much happening out in the far reaches of the Commonwealth, being Sheriff was an effortless job that came with a great deal of respect.
Then reports started coming in from other settlements.
Joseph's Port was the first settlement to go dark. At first is seemed like a downed transmitter. However, some local traders who came out to Little Bastion confirmed the unthinkable. Joseph's Port wasn't there anymore. The months that followed became more and more worrisome as town after town on the little border planet disappeared. Ora tried to keep the townsfolk from panicking, but even she was scared.
One dusk, a smoke cloud appeared over the hills to the south of Little Bastion. Taking a speeder out to check it out, Ora saw her worst fears come true. A ship, flying near the ground, was heading right for the town. From this distance, Ora couldn't make out what model of ship it was. One thing she knew for sure, no one on this planet had that kind of tech. Judging by the dust and dirt it was kicking up, it was heading right for Little Bastion.
Ora never wanted to be the law. Today, she had no choice...
In the last couple of days I finished up two pieces. Both are more concept art for my TTRPG setting. I have been focusing on the "ships computer" character concepts like "Star Charts", as well as military pieces like "Commander". See my blog post here and here for more info about those pieces.
This week I have been focusing more on these concepts. Like what would happen is a "computer" freed themselves and began to walk around as well as more military concepts. The military piece, "Forward Breach" is in greyscale as I have not done a lot of grey scale lately and it's good practice to get those gradients right. I will be doing more time-lapse videos of those this week.
Hope you all have a good one!
The thoughts, musings, and postings of a character designer. Subscribe to never miss a curious inner monologue.