Hypothesis: I really have just one original character, and my gallery is a result of failed attempts to reproduce it over the years.
But in all honesty, this is something that's been bugging me recently. I have difficulty drawing my own characters consistently! I don't know if this is the reason I keep making one shot characters or just a result of the practice.
Maybe if I practice drawing crappy manga I will get better at this.
In case anyone going through my gallery was like "John Su, why are you someantocats?" I can point them to this picture and say "no no, you are mistaken. See? Looove cats."
Oh yeah, I haven't written a story for you guys since the end of September, huh? Let's try a short one for now:
Majime Magao is normally an easy-going student who couldn't care less about life and the stuff in it - with one exception. He is buttery soft for cats. Whenever he holds one, his heart melts and the tension washes from his face, now filled with the joy and peace that comes from holding a small warm animal. He can do this for hours.
--- This was an experiment with a trial version of Paint Tool SAI. It was fun! I will probably try more SAI pieces in the future.
Remi Niscence is a digging spirit that spends most of her time exploring the crust of the earth, excavating historical relics and crude caveman erotica. Equipped with pick and shovel, she tears through rock at such a rate as to earn her the nickname “Rock Diver.” Her pick is named Persson, and her shovel is named Spinks. The box she doesn't call anything, but its name is Tarnzach.
Remi mainly looks for two things as she goes through the earth: 1) spelunkers to rescue/flirt with, and 2) junk. More specifically, “junk” of sentimental value, which she hoards in the box on her back. She loves this stuff and will go out of her way to collect buttons and broken glasses and anything else that might have been associated with some sort of precious memory. On the other hand, she couldn’t care less for naturally occurring ores and gemstones.
Anyhow, Remi is able to kind of "Sherlock Holmes" a history out of the artifacts she collects, and maybe even converse with the ghosts of the past if she can figure out enough of the back story. Here are a couple of her favorite figures from her collection (starting from the closest to Remi in the picture and then moving up and out):
The Tin Knight - an automaton from the Tin Age. He has hearing loss in his right ear, and is bothered by a constant ringing. His model was discontinued in favor of mecha musume. (artifact: tiny fork)
Sylphie - an avant garde seamstress. She invented the Surprise Dress. The surprise is that it bursts into flames when exposed to sunlight. (artifact: chicken cage)
Ayah (sp?) - not really sure what the deal is with this one; maybe a scholar or something? Remi is unable to pinpoint which time period and country she's from. (artifact: bookmark)
Mendelgrove - a gardening spirit who used to tend to a hundred trees, right up until it was taken over by a hundred bees. He was like “**** it,” and left. (artifact: ribbon)
Dom Dominic - a dragon! Also an agricultural professor and a trader. He likes young ladies and smoking meats & cheeses in his pipe. (artifact: mesquite smoking pipe)
Saburo - a once noble and chivalrous warrior. He got lost underground while chasing a gopher. He never did get to eat it in the end. (artifact: the handle to his blade)
Sparrow Kid - emissary from the Heliotropics. Was really excited to visit the country, up until he learned about the indigenous giant land spider. (artifact: tear stained sky boat ticket stub)
Hanasaka Ojou - Princess of flower girls. Wears spaulders to protect her from beggars and arrows. Cannot sell flowers to save her life. Might be how she died . (artifact: tin beetle)
Lion Herschel - the blind king of the Underground, which apparently was a kingdom that nobody knew about. There were dwarves, and he ate them. (artifact: mustache comb)
Somnia - how the goddess of sleep ended up losing anything down so deep in the earth is a mystery. So is the item she lost. (artifact: moped)
Whew! That took a while. I spent almost an entire evening just trying to come up with these characters. I started sketching this thing at the start of the month, and now we’re already more than 2 weeks in! I will hopefully have this as a print at AX (did I mention that, by the way? I’m going to table at AX again this year!). I ended up switching back and forth between Manga Studio and Flash several times to get this done:
1) sketch in Flash 2) paint background in Manga Studio 3) try to paint characters in Manga Studio, then give up 4) go back to Flash, drawing the characters there 5) export the character colors and lighting as separate layers 6 ) import them into Manga Studio and do some touch-up work to make it look a little less “vectory”
It was a long process, but I think it was worth it and I am pleased with how it turned out.
Miscellaneous trivia: - Remi was originally sketched as a boy. Then I was like “I want to cast light on breasts,” and so now she is a chick. - Drawing is FUN! - I had just finished watching YuYu Hakusho when I started this. Her baggy shirt and high-waist pants are a tribute to the fashion of the early 90’s. - Saburo’s original name was “Bonin’ Ronin,” but I decided to keep that to myself. Until now! Now you know my secret! - Sylphie and the Tin Knight were originally sketched to be Remi’s parents. Maybe it would have been cooler if all these people had some sort of personal ties to her? Too late for second thoughts now, though - I need to upload this thing! - sketch and unpainted characters can be seen on tumblr here
Shingo is a waitress at a Ninja Cafe in dreamland; it is an establishment that caters to the unconscious otaku. She is not actually a ninja. The same applies to all of her coworkers (except for two, who really are ninjas, but nobody knows about it).
In this scene, Shingo is getting ready to go home, as the sun is rising and her shift is ending. She commutes by Amano fish.
Tenchou (her boss) is pleading with her to stay a little longer because it's just about time for the college students to be going to sleep and she is popular with that demographic.
Papaya (the chef/baker) wants her to take some oily bread with her because it's about to go bad and he'd rather give spoiling food to his coworkers than throw it away. A true gentleman.
Daimonji (the bouncer) is an enigma. He's trying to say something, but nobody can quite understand him. It could be poetry, or it could be profanity. Or it could be both.
So, why did I draw this?
While listening to some chiptunes on Youtube, I saw this in the related videos and was like
"He who holds the golden pig Has in his hands A golden pig"
but when a woman holds one, WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN?? Similar question for when a robot is involved.
Cathy McPigtaker was eating breakfast one morning when she had a crazy idea: Steal the golden pig, and have gold eggs and ham. She knew somebody who had the goose that lays the golden eggs, so she was already halfway there. All that remained was to find out if there was such a thing as a golden pig, and then to take it!
Now she is a criminal, and she is being chased by a flying motorcycle cop as well as her mailman who is trying his best to deliver her letters but she doesn't want it because she's fairly certain it's just junk mail (it is).
How will all this turn out? We will never know*
I tried returning to dynamic poses and lots of action, and it was fun. Except I got carried away with perspective, and now Cathy has tiny feet and the mailman has huge hands. Guys, learn from my mistake!
This was born from a recurring error in execution of the word "definitely." But now you can see what it looks like to side with someone against their wishes!
I call this man Edfried Jones. He is a defiant but cooperative man of the court. I suppose he could fit into the world of Ganbare Bengoshi-san? He would play the role of the ambiguous rival who is kind of opposing them but also at the same time helping them and AUGH WHAT THE HELL MAN
I tried to make this dude like an old battle manga character, with spiky hair and spiky sideburns and everything.
Chespie Rhinehart got lost while hiking in a park and is now being chased by a lion in a white suit. She is trying to escape with her new friend, Lockhead Martin - a shy boy with no nipples and no face. With his help, they've managed to find a way for her to return home, but the Key to Getting Out of Here is quickly getting out of here. And all the time this lion guy keeps huffing along behind them, gasping something inaudibly.
Oh yeah, the lion's name is Lady Killer. His associates call him "Mr. Killer," but he prefers to go by "Lady." He is very popular at the club he works for.
Well, here's my first "serious" illustration of the year, for lack of better words. Normally the subject I enjoy drawing most is the girl, but this time I think my favorite is Lady Killer. ~swoon~
Anyhow, I tried something new this time in that I drew the foreground in Flash, but painted the background in Paint Tool SAI.
I'm liking SAI, but I still need to get the hang of making things not look...muddy. Blending colors is fun, but I want to keep the contrast that makes things interesting. I also need to figure out how to handle the brush to get strokes the size and shape I want. Maybe I'll have to watch a digital painter paint one of these days...
Oda Nasumame was berating his daughter about how no man would marry her because of her freakish cartoony appearance ("no doubt inherited from your mother"). He was about to suggest an otaku for a suitor when an EVIL SAMURAI rose up from the river, bellowed at them in the devil's tongue, and began chasing them across the country.
What you see is day 2 of the chase, where Mikan is carrying her father because he cannot run and eat breakfast at the same time (they managed to buy a pouch of beans from a vendor while running laps around him). Oda has the idea to deter their pursuant by throwing beans at him.
Mikan thinks her father is just trying to exacerbate her and his efforts are futile, while Oda is genuinely doing the best he can out of love for his daughter.
EVIL SAMURAI, however, loves beans. You could ask him, "Ingemar, what is best in life?" and he will immediately answer "Bönor!" - which is presumably devil-speak for "beans."
This was a fun one to draw - Oda in particular feels like a Dragonball character. The other two maybe not so much like Dragonball. But fun nonetheless. I'm trying a more "billowy" style with clothes this time, with emphasis on more lines that bend outward.
I fear the anatomy of these characters may be a bit wonky (apart from the style, of course) because this is one of those times where I just sketched the characters as they are instead of laying out their poses before hand. I'm more error-prone to this sort of thing when I skip that step, but it also lets me explore the "feel" of a piece more directly this way. I suppose there isn't actually anything stopping me from doing "skeleton correction" after the initial layout...
I actually made because I wanted there to be something for Edfried Jones to agree with.
The subject of this picture was made with a similar theme: the misspelling of words into words that are spelled correctly but are still different words.
When I first drew this, I thought that barley grew really tall - like as tall as a man. And then when I was working on the background and looking for references on barley fields on Google, I learned (much to my horror) that barley grows only about 2-3 feet tall.
I had already colored the main barley and everything, so I just had the background barley at normal height and left the main barley alone. It is a special barley, okay? One that can teach you things and wears a face and makes sense.
I am experimenting with this piece to make it look like watercolors using only Flash's built in bitmap filters, but I'm afraid I can't nail the textures without actionscript or imported bitmaps like I did in my flashbook. I think it's kind of there, but I'm also afraid the blurriness will just make you want to wipe your eyeballs or something.
Arbalest is a pirate gunner's daughter who was accidentally left behind on an air island after they had concluded a raid (her father is very negligent). By the time the crew realized she was missing, it had already been several weeks (very negligent) and no one could remember when they had last seen her, so they're having a hard time of figuring out where to look. They might not even be trying, actually, since apparently nobody cared enough to notice she was missing for so long... *emo emo*
So now she spend her days on this island as a leech on a pastoral community. The locals do their best to ignore her, but she keeps eating their ruined produce and trying to be part of everything. She is like the annoying kid sister of the island who somehow manages to thrive despite everyone's attempts to get her to leave. How they expect her to do that is a mystery, as there are no airships on the island. Perhaps they are just hoping that the pirates will come back one day and take her back with them. Good luck with that, everyone!
But in spite of her unearned unpopularity, Arbalest does have one pretty cool specialty: she can throw an arrow pretty hard. Perhaps not as far or as accurately as her namesake can, but she could probably wreck a bird from a good distance. This ability is a secret, though.
Because nobody pays attention when she's trying to show off. *emo emo*
--- This is my first painted work in a long time (I don't count my previous submission as a "paint" job since it used pretty much the same techniques I used in Flash). The last time I tried digital painting was probably...six years ago? I like to imagine I've learned some things during my ventures in Flash and while envying *joodlez's work - namely, that separation of colors is important! Being able to blend colors shouldn't mean I blend all the colors. Otherwise I just get this muddy / noisy piece. Hopefully, moving forward I will continue to learn when to color sharp & flat, and when to color soft & smooth.