Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
×
Hi there everyone,

This week, I finally achieved my goal of making 100 Spark Comics! Spark Comic's 100th page is the biggest comic yet and also happened to be released exactly one year after I finished my Masters and An/Other. I wanted to make it special and deliver a special message. I hope you enjoy it. I'll be taking a bit of a break from comics to work on other projects and to create a buffer, but rest assured, Spark Comics will be back.

sparkcomic.com/pg100.php

Additionally, I also launched my Patreon! For those unfamiliar, Patreon is a service that allows you to voluntarily donate to your favorite artists for the work they do. My Patreon will support all of my multimedia projects, including future comics, illustrations, videos, and video games. If you like my work and don't mind sending a little bit of money my way, I would really appreciate your support. Nonetheless, whether you decide to contribute to my Patreon or not, I deeply appreciate the support of all my fans.

www.patreon.com/JSparks

Finally, I'll be on the radio talking about An/Other tomorrow (Sunday, September 4th) on Mediation Station (1610AM) from 8pm - 9pm. Feel free to tune in! If you miss it, I'll update this post later with a link to a recording of the show. Update: You can now listen to the interview on SoundCloud. My segment begins at 12:36. soundcloud.com/transformag/med…

Until next time, stay Sparktacular!
Heyo,

I hope everyone reading this is doing well! As you may have been able to tell, I've been back at making comics and artwork over the past few months and I hope everyone has been enjoying that. It's good to be back making things.

I've been meaning to post here for the past several days, but this past week has been extremely insane for me, in a good way. Let me start from the beginning. As seen in my gallery, I made a video game and research paper for my Master's Thesis last summer on Games for Social Change. My game, An/Other, and research have been available online and have drifted into obscurity ever since... Until late March. I applied An/Other to an exhibition called Comics Vs Games at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF). I didn't think my game would make it in, but I submitted it anyway. The people who run that exhibit, the Hand Eye society, surprisingly asked if I wanted to showcase and talk about An/Other for an event called Game Curious in early April. So I did and that was a great experience. I was soon also told that An/Other was accepted into TCAF's Comics Vs Games Exhibit, which really surprised me. I've always wanted to be in TCAF (and was planning to apply for next year) so I've been excited for that, even though I'm ironically won't be featuring Spark Comics. I was allowed to officially announce this last week. Then I eventually had 2 journalists ask to interview me about An/Other, which I thought was interesting. They had become interested in my game through that Game Curious event. I did the interviews and didn't think much would come of it... And then last Wednesday happened.

Last Wednesday, one of those journalists, Al Donato, published their article about An/Other on for local online news site The Torontoist. I was happy to be featured and thought it was really cool. Then the insanity started. Less than an hour after the Torontoist article got published, I got contacted by the Toronto Star and another news publication (will update when their article has been released) for an interview about An/Other. I was incredibly shocked. I spoke to journalists from both publications soon after about An/Other. By Thursday afternoon, my interview with Evelyn Kwong was featured on The Toronto Star website and it was published in print in The Toronto Star newspaper the following day, last Friday. Several of my friends and family saw it in the paper and I promptly bought several copies of it. It felt so amazing to be featured in the newspaper like that. Then I began the weekend long game making event TOJam last Friday and was tirelessly working with my team from Friday to Sunday on a small game project. All the while, I've been getting contacted left and right by certain news outlets and other people ever since. Needless to say, I've been getting an overwhelmingly surprising amount of attention over the past 2 months, this past week especially. I'm proud that An/Other has resonated with so many people and that it's getting noticed. I hope I can make something even better in the future. :)

In the meantime, I've been preparing for TCAF amidst all this craziness. If you're in Toronto this weekend, TCAF is a free comics festival at the Toronto Reference Library from this Saturday May 14th and Sunday May 15th. In addition to all the main attraction of fantastic comic creators from Toronto and around the world, I'll be there showing An/Other alongside other awesome games from cool developers for the Comics Vs Games exhibition. Additionally, while I won't be featuring Spark Comics, I will be selling some small Spark Comics merchandise in the form of buttons and bookmarks! Feel free to come say hi, check out my game, and talk comics with me! I hope some of my Watchers can make it!

So that's all that's been going on with me! You can also check out my Facebook Fan Page to better keep up with me and see my reactions to the past week. Until next time, Sparky fans, have a Sparktacular Day! :)
Hi there everyone, 

    As a multimedia artist, I work in a variety of different capacities and programs and am always looking to learn more and streamline my workflow. I began making a few threads in on Reddit asking for “little known tips” that perhaps I didn’t know. Many people responded and shared their own tips, some I knew and some I didn’t. It then occurred to me that this would be a great kind of resource for anyone who wanted to learn more about these topics, so I’ve been gradually creating more of them with the goal of sharing them for people to learn from and enjot. I asked for little known tips in for various programs I use as well as different fields I’ve participated in or would like to learn. Some communities were more responsive than others. This turned out to be a great opportunity to allow people to talk to each other and share their wisdom with the community. I think this would be a great resource for anyone interested or presently working in these fields/programs.

Feel free to spread to read through them and spread them around. If you're also on Reddit, feel free to contribute too. I hope this helps people and ignites your interests. 

Specific Programs

Adobe Photoshop: www.reddit.com/r/photoshop/com…

Lightroom: www.reddit.com/r/Lightroom/com…

Illustrator: www.reddit.com/r/AdobeIllustra…

Flash: www.reddit.com/r/flash/comment…

Indesign: www.reddit.com/r/indesign/comm…

Premiere Pro: www.reddit.com/r/premiere/comm…

After Effects: www.reddit.com/r/AfterEffects/…

Autodesk Maya: www.reddit.com/r/Maya/comments…

Zbrush: www.reddit.com/r/ZBrush/commen…

Unity3D: www.reddit.com/r/Unity3D/comme…

Unreal Engine: www.reddit.com/r/unrealengine/…

Logic Pro: www.reddit.com/r/Logic_Studio/…

Audacity: www.reddit.com/r/audacity/comm…

Arduino: www.reddit.com/r/arduino/comme…

Microsoft Office: www.reddit.com/r/Office365/com…

 

General Fields

3D Printing: www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/co…

Photography: www.reddit.com/r/photography/c…

Graphic Design: www.reddit.com/r/graphic_desig…

Video Editing: www.reddit.com/r/VideoEditing/…

VFX: www.reddit.com/r/vfx/comments/…

Voice Acting: www.reddit.com/r/VoiceActing/c…

Twitch Broadcasting: www.reddit.com/r/Twitch/commen…

Science: www.reddit.com/r/AskScienceDis…

Electronics: www.reddit.com/r/AskElectronic…

Cosplay: www.reddit.com/r/cosplay/comme…

Cooking: www.reddit.com/r/Cooking/comme…

Game Design: www.reddit.com/r/gamedesign/co…

Web Design: www.reddit.com/r/web_design/co…

I hope people can learn a lot from this. Enjoy! :)

    ...When I met you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.

    Last week, on August 31st, just before 3pm, I finally handed in my major research thesis project and paper to the office at Ryerson University to complete my Masters degree in the Media Production program and end my experience as a University student.

    ... I was then dead to the world for until the next day since I had not slept at all for over 24 hours.

    The thesis project that I've been working on all this time is available to the public for all to play. Yes, I said play. My major research topic was Video Games for Social Change, and thus I made my own video game based on much research. The game I created is called An/Other. What is it about? That is something I encourage you to see for yourselves. You can play it and access my research paper at the following link: sparkcomic.com/AnOther/WebVer.…

    Going to and graduating from University has literally been my biggest dream since I was 3 years-old. Now, I've proudly achieved that dream not once, but twice. It was hard work, but it was worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in University, including all the triumphs and hardships. I've achieved far more than I've ever dreamed these past 5 years and I've made many friends and helped a great many people along the way. I'm sad its all over, but I think I'm ready for a new chapter in my life to begin... Right after I get some sleep. I've slept in for a week after 4 months straight of little sleep working on my thesis research and I'm still exhausted.

    I hope to create more artwork, comics, and media experiences for everyone soon.
Happy Holidays everyone.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy whatever you celebrate. Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the holiday spirit.

See you all in the new year.
    Greetings fellow Followers,   

    It's been a long time since I've made one of these. Like, a REALLY long time: Not since the last day of last year. So what have I been up to?

    I proudly graduated my undergrad back in the spring, ending my 4 years in the New Media Program at Ryerson, otherwise known as the best 4 years of my life. I learned so much these past few years and feel so liberated because of it. I am still legitimately sad that it's over and my friends and I have gone our separate ways, though we still keep in contact. It also resulted in me finishing my Thesis project, Who Are You?, an interactive psychology game that you can play online by clicking the link. It may be a short experience, but I poured a year's worth of passion into it, so I hope you enjoy it. If not, I hope the experience at least meant something to you.

    So with the completion of the New Media Program and my obtaining of a Bachelors of Fine Arts, I have accomplished the dream I've had since I was 5 years-old to go to University and get a degree. That literally has been my biggest goal in life since I was five and at times was the only thing keeping me going through various hardships growing up, I'll tell you that. Now that I have achieved said goal, I do admit, even long before I actually finished my degree, I was at a loss for where to go next. So what is a person to do when they've fulfilled their accomplishments? Make some more I say! To that end, I've gone back to hit myself with the proverbial academic brick by immediately going to get my Masters in Media Production. If all goes well, in a year's time, I will be Master Jordan Sparks (I kid, I kid). Education is important to me and I want to learn as much as I can about the field of media of which I am passionate about. I especially want to push different types games and interactive experiences into the spotlight of my research and my projects because I do sincerely believe they are amazing tools and platforms to bring about social change and I want to prove that in my own way with experimental types of game that explore ideas, the self, and other topics. It does sound corny, I think it's the truth and I hope to use that logic achieve even more milestones soon enough.

    Unfortunately, my busy schedule has trouble accommodating comics so I will be posting them less and less over the next year. It's not that I don't want to make them, I have stockpiles of scripts and ideas I'd love to make, it's just a severe lack of time. The masters program, work, and other responsibilities are kinda tearing me apart right now so much that I don't have too active a social sphere or time for any hobbies. I will try my best to post comics and other works soon though.

    Overall, I'm much more confident in my abilities and my never ending dream to positively change the world through media and entertainment and hope to further my education to increase my skills. Meanwhile, I hope everyone reading this uses their own passions and skills to find a way they can best benefit our world in their own way and do the same.

    Until next time followers, have a good week, achieve great things, and learn everything!
Wow! I haven't done one of these Journal entries in a while. How is the Internet doing. Did it crash while I was gone? No? Good.

The end of 2013 is coming and what a year it's been. It's been a very dizzying whirlwind and despite its ups and downs, I have to say that it's been the most successful year I've ever had. Between having Sparky Konga shown at the Maximum Exposure 2013 gallery and all the events and community groups I've been a part of and everything else I've done this year, I've accomplished more than I ever dreamed a year ago and helped a lot of people. I hope that I can do more good for people this year and we can all surpass whatever expectations we have for ourselves in the upcoming year of 2014!

I've been rather silent on my DeviantArt and my artwork in general for the past several months, though not out of laziness I assure you. Among other things, I've been exceptionally busy trying to do my Ryerson New Media thesis project and have been researching and working on it since the summer. My thesis is called Who Are You? and it's a video game that acts as an interactive personality test. Seeing as I was never taught how to make games and have had to start from scratch I've had a lot of sleepless, frustrating nights to work on it, as well as a great amount of help from friends, professors, and colleagues, and now I'm filling out a Masters application which has made me hard pressed to put any effort into other pieces of artwork I'd like to make. I'm currently still working on it with the aim of getting it into the 4th year New Media gallery in 2014, so if you would like to keep up with it, feel free to follow the new Who Are You? Facebook Page I made for the project. Also, while Spark Comics is still on hiatus at the moment, there is a Spark Comics Facebook Page that I post funny things and updates in regularly so that's a good way to keep up with me. I also launched a new portfolio site at GrindSpark.com. It's still a work in progress and a bit disorganized and barren, but I'll be updating it very soon.

I hope all of you had some very Happy Holidays and have a Sparktacularly Happy New Year.
Phew, it's been a LOOOONG time since I've made one of these journal entries, but what's up people? It's summer break and I'm excited to be rid of course assignments... So I can get to a billion other pet projects of mine. I even started making my Spark Comics again. Even when I'm not busy, I'm busy.

So I finished my 3rd year of University in April, now with one final year of challenges awaiting me. I'm both both excited and frightened for it. Excited since I freaking love University so much and can't wait to create new things, but scared because I kinda don't want to graduate since I'm enjoying my courses so much and because it's thesis year and that creates a lot of expectations. Also, because my new dream for the past few years has been to get into META, the 4th year New Media show, with the best of the best in the class and it's been one of my motivations for doing all the wacky stuff I do in my courses. It's for that reason I've been doing a bunch of tutorials and different kinds of projects, independent and course related, since the end of 2nd year and took so many chances with things this year and 3rd year.

So, this past year has been a rollercoaster. So many things have happened and it's been insanely hard, but I'm thankful. I needed the kick in the groin of difficulty this year to push me to more than I had ever demanded of myself before. I've been doing a bunch of different projects, each different from the last. First, my professor Steve Daniels gave my class an assignment to create an interactive Pong controller. I eventually developed my Pong Drawing Machine Controller. This project opened my eyes and inspired me to further investigate gaming and interfaces, which has driven my entire artistic practice of the past year. Starting with the Falcon Draw and Falcon 3D Drawing projects hacking the Novint Falcon interface.

Immediately after the Novint Falcon project, I began independent work on Sparky Konga, an original project I started during the Winter Break to hack the Nintendo DK Bongos in an attempt to make an open source library that anyone could use for their own applications. Eventually, I not only made it a class project, but Imade a Sparky Konga Beta Video a few months ago as a proof of concept. It's become my biggest recent project, especially since it got into Maximum Exposure 2013, the Ryerson end of year art festival where it was featured in the New Media show over a weekend. Currently, I'm getting it ready for release later this month.

I also did some other experimentation with the Kinect by hacking it for a few different projects. I did one where I turned 2 Kinects into opposing distance sensors that made different baby sounds (crying, laughing, etc.) depending on a person's proximity between each Kinect (So if you went to one, it would start laughing... But the other would start crying). I also did another project with a friend with similar principals that created an interactive experience in a confined space and linear path that triggered different fear-based sounds and animations based on distance. Unfortunately, I don't have much records on those ones, but I did have some documentation of my 3D Portrait project where I scanned my grandmother it and used the 3D data and created a bust of her via 3D printing. It was her birthday a few days ago. I sent her one as a gift.

Finally, I became the Public Relations executive of a club at Ryerson called the Game Maker's Union (GMU) at the beginning of 3rd year which myself and another friend of mine helped transform it from a small club of about 10 people, as it had been previously, into a growing club with MANY people joining and learning about us over the course of a year. Now we have plenty of people coming in and grew from 10 to over 160+ people on our Facebook group. It's because of this that I've met hundreds of people over the past year, so much that I often forget names, and have made many new friends since. I helped advertise and organized many events, including one called Checkpoint, which brought 5 local game developers to talk to students. It's been a rather exhilarating experience. If anyone reading this lives in the Toronto area and would like to get involved, feel free to contact me, as anyone is welcome. I look forward to developing games, helping & teaching prospective developers, and assisting with club growth and events as the new External Vice President of the GMU going into my 4th year.

I've been highly enjoying myself otherwise. I'm learning a bunch of stuff in preparation to make an interactive experience video game for my upcoming thesis for 4th year and I went to Anime North last weekend, which was a total blast! Now I'm doing a bit of relaxation, research, and planning for new projects, games, animations, and more. Life is good!

So yeah, a lot of learning, experimentation, and meeting people over the past year. It's been a blast and a great challenge I've enjoyed tackling. I can't wait to release Sparky Konga and create many more new projects that people can enjoy. I hope the world enjoys my work. :)
  • Listening to: Digital Tutors
  • Reading: Unity Game Development By Example - Ryan Henson
  • Watching: Attack On Titan
  • Playing: Metroid Prime Trilogy
  • Eating: Shepherd's Pie
  • Drinking: Water
Hello everybody, I'm finally back. I've finished all my assignments, I'm on Winter Break, and now I'm getting back on track with all the projects and research I've wanted to work on for ages now, including Spark Comics! I'm very happy to finally be done this semester, it was insane and I had A LOT of work on my hands, but like always I found some way to finish it all in the end. My marks have been trickling in and so far I'm doing very well (LEVEL UP!). This has been my first full week post-finals and I'm so grateful I can now relax. So, what's new with me? Let's see...

Back in October, I made my first interactive drawing machine controller that both plays and draws the classic video game of Pong! Despite it looking flimsy, broken, and, quite honestly, extremely ghetto, it was very stable, successful, and it actually worked! I unfortunately don't have any video footage of it right now, but you can check out pictures and a description of it here: Pong Drawing Machine V1

I was working with a specialized haptic video game controller called the Novint Falcon for a few months. I borrowed it from the laboratory I work it since I've seen that thing in the corner for years and nobody ever seemed to use it, so I took up the challenge. It was HARD to work with, but I managed to use it for 2 of my final projects. I made some video documentation for both projects that you can view at the following links to see exactly what I was working on.

Falcon Draw Documentation
Falcon 3D Drawing Documentation

With the world prophescized to end yesterday, I spent most of my first week of freedom making fun of it by finally making a brand new Spark Comic! That's right, Spark Comics are back and while I may only make a small bonus comic for Christmas due to being busy pre-holiday, there should hopefully be a more consistent schedule with Spark Comics after next week, with Tuesday being the usual comic day again! I've got a bunch of ideas and am glad I finally have some time to make comics again! This week's comic is a commentary on the so-called Mayan Apocalypse on December 21st, 2012. I released the comic the day before, on December 20th, to both get the jump on the date and to show how BS it was by laughing at it in the face of our "impending doom". Most of the time for this comic was spent with the 3D render on the last panel. Not going to spoil it, but it was much more effort than I bargained for due to things constantly going wrong and my computer acting up when rendering certain things, but I got it done! Anyway, check it out and see all the fucks I don't give when it comes to the end of the Mayan Calendar. Tell me what you think about it! :)

Spark Comic #53 - December 21st, 2012
SparkComic.com Link
DeviantArt Link

Yesterday, with the end of the Mayan Calendar and my comic laughing it in its face, I did what any sensible person did: Went about my day as usual. Nothing happened! SURPRISING ISN'T IT!? What did I do on December 21st, 2012? I finished my Christmas Shopping, did all my gift-wrapping, went out of town for the weekend, and, most importantly, DEFENDED THE EARTH... From Galactus... In Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3. I had to do that, just to feel SOME sort of sense that the world was ending. Afterwards, I went around to my friends and asked them "So, how was your end of the world", with many funny replies. Tell me, readers, how was your end of the world? Mine was great! Man, I'm really tearing apart this Mayan myth to shreds aren't I? I had a pretty good and productive day and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. YOUR MOVE MAYAN CONSPIRACY THEORISTS!

And finally, I just found out, much to my surprise, that Halolz posted my Halo REACH picture and that it got popular off of Reddit. I'm not angry. Anything but, I'm glad my Halo REACH picture is getting so much exposure (Heck, I've always been surprised by its view count on DeviantArt), and I'm happy that people are enjoying it. The only thing I'd like though is to get some credit for it. I know it's merely a joke picture I made for fun without much thought or care for quality, but I'd like to have people see where it originally came from. I tried messaging Halolz a few ways (Their e-mail is broken) tonight to try and add my link to that picture out of courtesy. Not sure if they're going to actually listen, but I tried. I know they post random stuff from all over the internet and I have no problem with that, but hopefully they're respectful enough to credit the original creator (Update: They did, thanks Halolz!). You can view my picture from its original source in my Gallary here: Halo REACH

Well, that's all for me right now. Enjoy your Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/Winter Break. I hope its filled with joy and cheer! Happy Holidays to you all!

P.S. Gangnam Style reached 1 BILLION Youtube views on December 21st, 2012... WOW! If you want to give the Mayans credit for something, maybe you can give them credit for predicting THAT. :S
  • Listening to: Parov Stelar - Catgroove
  • Watching: Psy - Gangnam Style
  • Playing: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
  • Eating: Steak
  • Drinking: Water
A few weeks ago was the Toronto, Ontario stop on the tour for The Legend Of Zelda – Symphony Of The Goddesses, a symphony orchestra assembled to create a concert of music from the titular series. A friend and I had long reserved our tickets and attended the concert so I decided to make a review of it.

I've never been to the Sony Centre venue, before but I must say it's impressive. The entrance is rather small, but the theatre itself is big and fit lots of people. Even more than that, I've never been to a concert before, so the mere spectacle of the event was enough to impress me.

The concert itself was amazing. Basically, it was a symphony orchestra playing various tunes and medleys from various Legend of Zelda games, with corresponding clips from the games playing on the screen in the back. This was extremely effective as it added humor, personality, and emotion to themes that we've all heard time and time again. If you were an early adopter of The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword, you'd notice that a good chunk of the themes played by the orchestra are from that disk, but these tracks are very much enhanced being played live and the scale of it puts you in a sheer state of awe. The music was varied, perfect, and top notch, which made the 3 encores even better. It's truly a blessing to your ears.

A concert is only as good as its attendants and we had a very vast and excitable crowd. We were all fans who shared our love of this franchise and everyone was typically nice all around. I met a few new people while I was there and surprisingly saw a few friends. The audience laughed, cheered, and clapped respectfully. Sometimes, certain loud people in the crowd yelled out funny catchphrases like "HEY LISTEN" to the creative director when he came on stage to speak. You can tell the staff had fun interacting with the audience, encouraging us to cheer louder than the Montreal crowd. The staff are incredibly talented, especially the musicians. It's performances like this that make me appreciate musicians so much. My personal favorite moment from the staff was when the conductor used an actual prop of the Wind Waker stick to conduct the Wind Waker Movement, especially since Wind Waker is my favorite Zelda game.

The entire concert was perfect… Except for one minor gripe: Skyward Sword was almost entirely absent. I expected the Skyward Sword theme to be played considering that it was practically made for an orchestra performance, the Nintendo 3DS Orchestra video, the Skyward Sword Music CD, and the fact that the game is half the reason these concerts exist. Skyward Sword made a brief appearance in the opening music arrangement for the concert, but it was non-existent for the rest of the concert. I was disappointed since I was looking forward to Skyward Sword's main theme being played live. I would've expected it to have some sort of presence. This is only a minor gripe though, as the concert was a vastly worthwhile experience.

Overall, The Legend Of Zelda – Symphony Of The Goddesses was an unforgettable experience and I am so glad I went. It captured the passion and majesty of The Legend Of Zelda and made it such a joy attend.

Score: 9.5/10
  • Listening to: The Legend Of Zelda 25th Anniversary CD
  • Reading: How Things Talk
  • Watching: Digital Tutors
  • Playing: The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of TIme 3DS
  • Eating: Falafel
  • Drinking: Water
Hello. I'm still on a hiatus from Spark Comics until probably next week. In the meantime, could you all do me a favor and fill out this survey about your opinions of Spark Comics?
  • Watching: Digital Tutors
  • Playing: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
  • Drinking: Water
This Tuesday, I did it. I finally reached my goal of making 50 Spark Comics. It's very hard to believe considering when I made this summer pledge, it was around April/May and I was at page 35. Considering how much time and effort I put into every comic, how long it took to make just 35 comics, and my difficulty trying to have time to make 1 comic a week with my busy life and priorities, I hardly thought it was possible for me to make 15 more comics within the span of 4 months. This was especially hard considering a few personal things and my skin problems that popped up over the summer which kept me far more occupied than I had expected. However, that didn't stop me and now I've finally reached that goal. It feels strange hitting this milestone since I've been working so hard to get there, but I'm glad I did it because it was certainly no small feat. I hope everyone enjoyed Spark Comics up to now! I'm going to take a 2 week break, now since classes are starting next week and I need to prepare and get adjusted to that... Plus, I really need the break from comics or I'm gonna burn myself out.

If you would be so kind, I would really like it if those reading this could fill out this survey. It's hard to really get feedback about my comics and gather what people think about it. I get some feedback from the DeviantArt comics, but I very rarely get an idea on what was so great about a comic and how I can do better. I'm certainly not the best artist/comic creator ever and I want to improve. I'd love to hear your opinions in that survey telling me what you think, even if you tell me I suck, so I can get an idea of what I can do to get better.

Speaking of people telling me I suck, recently I was in a lobby with Maximillian, the guy who makes those popular videos about Marvel Vs Capcom and other fighting games. I happened to see a tweet saying he was gonna open a lobby before I went to bed and, being a big fan of his work, I stayed up for a bit to try and get into his lobby. I barely got in and was last on the list to play, but I watched some amazing matches and waited. Finally, it was my turn to face Max. I went into the game fully expecting to get pancaked and die on the spot seeing as how he's definitely an infinitely better player than I am (I may play the game a lot, but I'm not that good by any means), it was 3AM, and I hadn't played the game in about a week. I was especially nervous since I never actually thought I'd ever play the guy, and he's one of the people who inspires me to at least try to better understand fighting games. But whatever, I play the game for fun, win or lose... But somehow I won. I sort of gasped in disbelief when it happened since I see no way that a guy like me was able to win that. I messed up all over the place while playing due to being nervous and slightly tired and didn't even want to try and risk the few extended combos I can kinda sorta do (And those combos rarely pan out online due to connection and such so I usually stick to simple stuff). But still, I won against an infinitely better player, and better yet a person I find inspirational and admired. I never thought that would ever happen. I would've been just as happy, and much less weirded out, if I lost. To make it even weirder, I ended up winning 2 more times against random people in the lobby, which surprised the hell out of me, though after Max left, I lost to the next opponent. It was an honor to face Max and I'm glad I finally got to play against him. Good game to him and the other people I faced online that night.

Now for the part about me sucking. If you've dabbled online gaming, message boards, or certain parts of the fighting game community, you'd know that most people their aren't generally nice and love to insult, backtalk, and pretty much harass everybody at any opportunity for no reason. Like I said, before, while I try to get better at some games, I generally play video games for fun. Nothing more, nothing less, and if it's anything more it's for the story, intrigue, and the unique experience of the game itself. However, the above groups tend to be very elitist, as in "if you can't do every move in Street Fighter without thinking by the age of 3 you have no reason to be playing this game"-type of elitist. They often insult and make fun of other players specifically because they didn't "Hadoken" themselves out of the womb. The elitists biggest problem is that they feel entitled to insult everybody who they go against even though, whether they admit it or not, they were once as bad as the rest of us and that's nothing to be ashamed of. Harrassment of all kinds has long been an issue in the gaming community that needs to stop, especially the fighting game community since it's become quite infamous because of it. The fighting game community of all things has been built from new players coming in, having fun, and trying something new. If the there were no new players of lower skill, nobody would learn anything and nobody would buy, play, or have fun with these games. I will admit, I'm often on the receiving end of this harassment and this game is no different. My matches are near the end of THIS 1ST VIDEO and the very start of THIS 2ND VIDEO. Max himself wasn't rude about it, but look at the comments. You'll see a lot of them are insults directed at me and people saying how much I suck. Personally though, it doesn't bother me at all and I actually mostly agree with it. In fact, I'm sort of proud of it, because, for better or for worse, I was "remarkable" enough to be talked about that much amongst people and while it's not positive comments, at least I won and I was unique and just not in the fact that I'm one of the only people in that game who mains Spider-Man, which is more than most people can say. Hooray for my 15 seconds of infamy!

While I don't usually play exactly like I did in those videos, the general strategy is the same. Play some keepaway with Spider-Man and Deadpool, only striking and going in when I see an weak spot in their strategy or an opening and usually waiting for THEM to mess up before I got on the offensive, with Ryu being the only character I play mainly offense and can work miracles on X-Factor. I don't do much rushdown unless I see an opening because rushing towards something like an angry Sentinel is going to get you killed, hence why I stay the hell away from most characters until I can find a weakness (Which is one of the main reasons I stay away and do mostly defense against Strider because I'm just waiting for a Vajra H to counter and against Amaterasu because I have some trouble fighting her). A main reason I use TACs often because I have a lot of difficulty with extending combos with my characters, especially online where the connection is bound to screw me up somehow even when it normally would work and I have a lot of difficulty with Shoryuken motions very fast which is terrible since most characters have their most important move mapped to it. I get a lot complaints for not being a rushdown player. However, if I could choose to be a rush down player who stupidly runs headfirst into an obvious trap or counter and gets pancaked all the time because he didn't think or a player who does keep away and comes up with strategies to defeat tougher opponents than himself so he has a chance of winning, I'm definitely choosing the latter, despite the hardship of it. While I do try to improve, I find ways to triumph despite my skill handicap, which is perhaps my greatest achievement in that game. I'm not playing to impress anyone.

I often get a lot of hate messages online (mostly when I trounce them) playing this game because I don't play like the average player, and even though I don't have a lot of skill, I play in a way where I can win despite it. Overall, none of these hate messages really make me care about what they think, especially since so few of them can actually spell and have BEYOND terrible sportsmanship. Despite people's constant whining, I still won, and no amount of angry messages or elitist comments is going to change that. I concede that I'm not a good player. I admit that everyone in that lobby was a better player than me. I've gotten enough hate from people online and in real life to really care about what people think of a few fun video game matches I played at 3AM at this point. After all, I love my life, I do great things, have a dream job in media production, and, in this case, I play for fun and won not just 1, but 3 games against people who were much better players than I am (and more than 400 wins in Ranked Matches). After all that, what do I have to be ashamed of?

If that's wrong, I don't want to be right. :)

Update: At the very beginning of his 3rd lobby video, posted earlier today, Max showed a message I sent him about how I enjoyed fighting him and I mentioned SparkComic.com. With his videos being as popular as they are, I've gotten over 300 views a few hours and counting. What's more, most of the hateful insults from the first 2 videos have been turned into happy compliments for my comic. It's funny how things change, so fast. 3 videos and I'm still one of the main topics of conversation in that weekly series, so the haters can SUCK IT. Thanks for the week of publicity, Max! :)
  • Watching: Digital Tutors
  • Playing: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
  • Drinking: Water
I released Spark Comic #49 earlier this week on Tuesday. One more comic until we hit Spark Comic #50. So close... Yet so far... Gotta start drawing it soon. After it's done, I think I'll take a break. Summer's over and while I'm not quitting Spark Comics, I have things to do and I've been firing on all cylinders all summer to get comics done and I need a break of a Kit Kat bar.

In other news, at exactly this time last weekend I was mentoring a video editing workshop by Ladies Learning Code. Gotta say, I really enjoyed myself. I was able to help some people completely new to media production gain a fundamental understanding of the process. I know all about how and what to do since it's my forte, but you only know how well you know your stuff after you teach it to someone. After doing that, I must say I know my stuff very well. It was a pity when it was over, I was having a lot of fun helping out. I hope I can get the chance to teach people again!
  • Watching: Digital Tutors
  • Playing: Persona 4 Arena
  • Drinking: Water
After a bit of a delay, Spark Comic #48 is live!

My apologies for the late comic this week, but I've been incredibly busy as of late. Work has picked up and there are certain things I've put myself responsible for which are taking up a lot of my time. I'm gonna try and keep a schedule for the rest of the summer. I have many goals to finish by the end of the summer in a few weeks. Many of them won't be fulfilled, but I at least want to reach my goal of reaching 50 Spark comics. I'm very close... It's only two comics away.

One thing that will be keeping me busy in the near future is that I am going to be a mentor in a Video Editing Workshop this Saturday, sponsored by Ladies Learning Code. This is one of my specialties and I look forward to teaching people the joys and constant frustrations of editing. Hopefully, I can find time to craft next week's comic on time, but I am actually up to stuff and not slacking off... Okay, maybe a little...
  • Listening to: Sonic Adventure 2 - City Escape
  • Watching: Digital Tutors
  • Playing: Sanctum
  • Drinking: Water
Well, I'm back to making comics again. As you may have noticed, I posted Spark Comic #46 yesterday. My rosacea has cleared up a bit, but it's still there. It doesn't really hurt most of the time but it kinda looks painful to have a red face some of the time. The only time it hurts is when it messes with my eyes. Thankfully, this cream my father recommended is working great and has been keeping the rosacea at bay. Hopefully there won't be any more break outs and I can continue making new content without another break out.

On an unrelated note, I'd like to note down something that happened to me yesterday. So I was playing Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 online earlier yesterday when I ended up facing this one guy. I remembered his Gamertag so I knew I had played him before and I recalled he was pretty fun and challenging to fight against. So I played him and won, but afterwards I got a message from him. Typically messages from people after you beat them on Xbox Live are people whining the fuck out of themselves that you won and they lost, so I was dreading to go read it...

I was surprised to see that their message said simply:

"Don't get hit by Dante."

They were referencing my comic! They had seen my work! They liked my joke!!!

I was so surprised and stoked after seeing that. After going through a very frustrating "incident" earlier, that made my day.

Thank you, "Ezio Frauditore". :)
  • Watching: Digital Tutors
  • Playing: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Water
Unfortunately, I'm gonna have to take an unwanted break from making Spark Comics this week and possibly next week depending on what happens due to sickness. Let me explain.

I suffer from various skin problems. My skin is very sensitive, even to seasonal changes in weather, and I have ocassional issues with eczema. However, over the past few weeks, I found out I have a new skin condition called Rosacea. I recommend you google those just so you know exactly what they are (and because knowing is half the battle) but essentially, it turns my face into a red, swollen, dry trap that often burns, among other things. It is reported to be triggered especially by hot temperatures and while Canada is often stereotyped to be always cold (it isn't), we've had a constant heat wave going on for weeks, consistently pushing near the 40 degrees celsius mark.  Because life decided I didn't have enough skin problems to deal with, the rosacea made my skin flare up all over my face. At it worst, it's pretty painful and my skin can get so bad that it hurts to open my eyelids or move my mouth. The first time it happened was when I was making Spark Comic #44 (that's why it took so long) but I eventually got it cleared up. This is the second time it has happened. I wanted to make a comic for this week, but I can't really do it being effectively blind. I apologize for there not being a Spark Comic this week. If it clears up soon and I have some time, I'll make one for next week. Unfortunately, I can make no promises at the moment.
         
In the meantime, show Spark Comics to your friends, like our Facebook Page, and also check out Spark Comics on MangaMagazine.net.
       
         Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with some face cream and an icepack...
  • Watching: Digital Tutors
  • Playing: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
  • Eating: Pecan Butter Tart
  • Drinking: Water
It's the dawn of a new week aaaaaaand I'm still busy and hot... Then again, technically it is the middle of the week now. There I go being crazy again. :D

Last week I was busy and caught a break with my friend :iconmystayre: doing a Guest Comic for me. In any case, I did get Spark Comic #43 done in time yesterday about Anime North 2012 last month, which is great. It was almost exactly a year ago that I made Spark Comic #14 about Anime North 2011. When I look at them, I see how my art has changed and I can't help but be a bit impressed with myself. I'm not perfect, but I've definitely gotten better, which is something.

Next week, Sunday, July 1st in fact, is also the 1 year anniversary of the launch of Sparkcomic.com. While I had made Spark Comics before I got the website, the website became a big driving factor in me continuing to do them for the past year and is still a big motivation. Look forward to an anniversary comic next Tuesday, assuming my busy life doesn't tear me apart from doing so.

In other news, remember The First Day animation I made last year? Well, guess what? The First Day is now on Newgrounds!. If you haven't seen it before, click either of the previous links to see it on either Newgrounds or DeviantArt. You can comment (and rate, if you're on Newgrounds) it if you like. I wonder if The First Day will get me on the Newgrounds daily for today, like how The Legend Of Shad got me the Daily 9th when I first released it on NG. *hinthint**nudgenudge* *VoteTheFirstDayOnNewgrounds* *WinkWink*

Have a nice week everybody! :)
  • Reading: A bunch of books
  • Watching: The Legend Of Korra
  • Playing: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
  • Drinking: Water
That's a good question. The truth is I was way too busy to do one for this week, so my good friend , :iconmystayre: is helping me out by filling in with my first guest comic! You can't find it on DeviantArt though. It's exclusively on Sparkcomic.com.

Go check it out! :)
  • Listening to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgQWp_Hlius
  • Reading: A bunch of books
  • Watching: The Avengers - Earth's Mightiest Heroes
  • Playing: Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
  • Drinking: Orange Juice
Today I posted Spark Comic #40.

Wow... I am currently flabbergasted that I've been insane enough to release over 40 comics right now (Technically 41 with the hiatus comic). Personally, I never thought I'd make it this far, but I have. Never thought I'd get so close to 50. I'm only 10 comics away! :D

Currently, life is going Sparktacularly well. I have a job. I have enough time to do some of the things I want most of the time and I just got back from Anime North this past weekend. Readers of my comic will remember I made a comic about Anime North last year. I'm happy to announce I'll be doing the same thing this year. I probably won't have it for next week, but most likely the week after.

Anyway, I hope your summer (Or your schooling if you're still in grade school or taking summer courses) are going really well. If you really like Spark Comics Like us on Facebook!

I hope you all enjoy my work and life treats you well, and, as always, stay Sparktacular! :)
  • Reading: Bakuman & Legend of Zelda Minish Cap Manga
  • Playing: Kid Icarus: Uprising
  • Drinking: Lemon Tea with Honey

Spark Comics on Facebook!

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 26, 2012, 3:34 PM
Sparks


Hey everyone! There's now an official Facebook Page for Spark Comics! If you like Spark Comics, check it out and Like it. Spread it around to your friends! :D

Spark Comics Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Spark-C…

  • Listening to: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker -Outset Island
  • Reading: ART BOOKS!!!!
  • Watching: Persona 4 The Animation
  • Playing: Assassin's Creed Revelations
  • Drinking: Lemon Tea