I probably should have written this earlier, but here it is. While I wasn't as productive as I had wanted to be in 2017, I did learn quite a bit, and I'm glad that I did make that progress. Of course, I still have a long way to go, but I made some key improvements that can help in the future. Thank-you for stopping by and having a look at my art. I hope you found something you enjoyed.
I'll break this journal down to make things simpler:
1. Art. I'm getting a lot closer with my "fake anime screenshot" look, which also doubles as the look a lot of cel-shaded posters in magazines use. A lot of this relates to why I learned to draw- I wanted to draw pics like I saw in those mags or those screencaps. Now I can do that- or at least, close enough for now until I learn some more and improve. That only partway applies for backgrounds, because I have a huge ways to go for them.
2. But now that I've learned that, what to do? Well, I need to learn more about manga inking and all the bits that make up a comic. I really like the work in the earlier Dragonball manga. It's lively and fun, with lots of characterful inks and easy to read action. Everything flows so well. That's something I need to learn to do. I have no idea if I can, but it's worth a shot. I'd like at the very least to produce some pages that I can feel that I've done my best with.
3. So what to do? More and more, I want to tell my own stories. I think I've said this before, but my stumbling block has been that I don't know what those stories should be, but I know I want to tell my own stories. That seems like a big thing to figure out, so I'll have to see what I can do. I haven't managed a "one shot" short comic yet, so I'll need to go even shorter, I figure.
4. A quick aside- the internet and the way we used it in 2007 had a lot in common with the way it was used in 1997. In 2017, with the mass market penetration of the smartphone, things are different. It's difficult to express just how much has changed. This affects you as an artist, writer, or even as a viewer. The desktop computer is one of the most amazing content production tools ever created. The smartphone, on the other hand, is primarily designed for content consumption- and it presents unique challenges for those people who create that content, to ensure it can be viewed properly. My big fear is that this new change has put up a bigger wall between creators and viewers.
5. The one big tool I found this year was the Makegirls.moe website: make.girls.moe/#/
. There are many different uses for an AI driven anime character generator. By generating a bunch of different characters in different styles, I can practice quickly and easily. It showed how I had gotten stuck in a rut, especially in my own designing of characters. Quickly creating new designs from scratch is not one of my strengths. Seeing an AI rapidly generate a bunch of different hairstyles on interesting characters challenged me to improve, and showed me how to.
When you see a generated character, you don't have any preconceptions about them like you would with fanart, which would limit the way you'd depict them. Generating a bunch of characters can give you lots of new ideas and challenge you to try new things- even if they aren't that different to what you normally do. If you haven't visited the site, you should, and you should take some time to see what you can generate. Try it a few times before giving up, and try changing the settings a bit if you keep getting messes.
6. Another thing I've found handy is looking up fashion, whether new or old. Again, I needed to expand my repertoire. Interesting clothing for characters is as important as interesting characters- it helps let the reader know a bit about them. I doubt I'll ever have a designer's good sense, but I can at least get a wider variety of costuming when I do draw.
7. And to finish off, a quick note on some anime series. There were lots of good series last year, and Kemono Friends was one of the standouts for me, along with Sakura Quest, Animegataris, Konosuba, and I think this list is going to go on for a while. If you have a chance, check out Kemono Friends, and put up with the CG animation. It is remarkably well constructed, and one of the most satisfying series I watched that was made in 2017. By that I mean it was well-written and plotted, with interesting characters in a unique world, never talked down to the viewer, and had a good solid ending. Most series struggle to have one or two of those elements. I suggest watching if for no other reason than to see how to make a solid, consistent series in a reasonable amount of time.