dupdate 061031

Well, two giant rants leaves me speechless for the most part. Today’s update consists of some sketches I’ve already had uploaded for a bit and a bit of commentary… but I think only J will understand most of it, as I still haven’t written anything substantial about the Confederate League here..

CL1885, BKS06, Senatorial Capital. There are two sector express trains passing in the foreground, one in bound and one out bound. Senator Kaska is looking at the view from the top of the Senate Chamber. The perspective down there is kinda bad, but the hovercars are supposed to be passing over the local rail line.

CL1922, BKS Jungle Planet. Bradly and Keno surveying their troops, shortly before the first rebellion. The ships in the background are pretty much the direct ancestors of the PASA class modular cruisers from Starcrossed.

This was actually supposed to be colored. That’s why the lineart is pretty clean. But I haven’t had the conviction or the time to get around to it. So.

This one actually joins TIAIIS and Starcrossed in CL2236. Fleet admiral Doughty is in the center, he was the vice admiral of the Enigma task force in Starcrossed – apparently he has been promoted. Virginia Wolf, on the left of Doughty, is probably the captain of one of the Enigma’s ships, as is captain Tzui, on Doughty’s right. Doughty will be promoted again to the military staff in a number of years, and captain Wolf will eventually be the fleet admiral in his stead – just before the events of TIAIIS.

Raine! (A redraw series)

Ok, I’m out.

dcomic 410


(This rant is actually being written EARLY!)

So here I am, about four years down the line from my first experience drawing in the anime/manga (A/M) style. Now, this may seem like a contradiction to my rant in “episode” 96 (When I say “episode”, I am not referring to the number in the dropdown list, but the one in the url, each of which is n-1 where n is the number in the dropdown list – thus when I say “episode” 96, I’m referring to this: d79) which sets this date at 03/04/11. The 4/11 date refers to my first freehand attempt at the A/M style, whereas this new date… which I cannot pinpoint to a more accurate time than “December, 2002”, refers to my first attempt, period. The details of that attempt are delineated in the first few paragraphs of episode22.

In the “episode” 22 rant, I refer to three DMG drawings that I did across Dec02 – Jan03 (Dang, that was a long time ago). Here they are:

Recently, I did a couple of redraws (I really do like redraws) after running out of original ideas. Among those were my Raine series (Referred to in d48) and the aforementioned DMG (Dark Magician Girl – Yugioh) series. Here it is:

Well. There’s certainly a difference. Now at this point I want to differentiate between two types of the quality. There’s the quality of a drawing in and of itself and there’s the quality of the image being depicted, but I consider these types of quality two ends of one spectrum, rather than two seperate things – it’s hard to explain, but my brain works in wierd ways, and this just happens to be one of them. You can ignore this paragraph if you’re lost. I know I am.

Now I like to do redraws because it is a good way of gauging artistic evolution (But you have to gauge by my quality criteria – if you’re me, which you aren’t) By comparing two pictures of the same thing drawn at different times, you can kinda see what has gotten better, what has stayed the same, what has gotten worse, and so on and so forth. This is particularly true of DMG whom have I drawn at rather key points in my figure drawing “career” (For lack of a better word). These “key” points are:

1. The pre – April 2003 period, before I started freehanding in the A/M style.
2. The April 2003 – Starcrossed interim period.
3. The Reflection period, which is by far the ugliest period so far.
4. The “Sloppy Lines Period 1” of early 2005.
5. The Summer 2005 period, which I have always stressed as a “local max” for those of you in Calculus.
6. The Summer 2006 period, tentatively named the “Sloppy Line Period II”.
7. The current period, which who knows what I’ll name.

I made up those period names on the spot. Sue me. I’d post the DMG examples from each of those periods,but you know that I hate negotiating with my scanner. If you want to see continuous evolution, refer to d94.

The point is that I think I’ve come a long way since 2003, which is still only three… well, almost four years ago. Every year that I keep at this I think I’ve surprise myself by getting a little bit better where I thought improvement was impossible the previous year. Granted, I’m nowhere near the top of the pile, and I say that with the utmost conviction, so don’t think that I think I’m all that good – I’m not, every year I see more flaws in pictures I thought were flawless. Hell, when I drew Starcrossed, I thought my work was ready for PRINT. Nowadays I’m a bit more pessimistic about my absolute ability level (Which is still a relative level, but relative to everyone, period), having been exposed to a lot more A/M drawings/works, but I find that doing redraws gives me a bit of sometimes needed confidence to keep at it.

Like I said, I still surprise myself. I can vaguely remember a time when I thought I would never be able to reach the relatively moderate drawing level I am at right now, way, way back in elementary school. We’ll have to see what this is all like in another half a year or so. Until then, I’ll have a few more quick redraws in the next rant, I’ve got a hella lot done right now.

Well, that wraps up another uber-long rant. I’m sure I missed stuff that I originally wanted to put in.

dupdate 061016

[100607: Two dead links]


Well, the first picture was supposed to be a parody of J’s Mecha Musume, but not being very much the parody type, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Nonetheless I think it turned out pretty good.

But today’s story is about the cyclicality (Is that a word) that my drawing has apparently been an innate characteristic of my drawing (For example, those dead days I used to have with immediate “high”s afterwards, I dunno if anyone ever remembers me ranting about it). Though how I define a “dead day” or really a “dead period” these days is not quite the same, I still fall into this cyclical pattern with drawing.

About a month and a half ago (About the time I started making those random updates with comic updates in between, with the comics being pages I drew in mid august) I had a “dead period” during which I pretty much gave up on figure drawing. So I did the obvious – I stopped drawing figures, telling myself that I should go on a month long hiatus concerning figure drawing – (For J – this is when I started to do all those BKS drawings).

Now, I’ve done this before, resulting largely in the rather rapid and sporadic style changes characteristic of Starcrossed and even the first 20 to 30 “episodes” of NWars, especially if you consider the test comic that adorns my section of NWars “episode” 1. However, I don’t think I’ve ever done it intentionally, it was more of a practical problem than anything.

Well, times change and other things do as well, while some things stay the same. Descriptive, huh?

These days, the slumps don’t really cause all that much variation in my drawing. You look at the characters in 407, and you notice they really aren’t that different from my drawing at about the NWars half way point – or, at least the change is certainly not as great as my drawing from the start of NWars to about the half way point. But I still find my drawing to be, for lack of a better work, a bit more “crisp” (Ok, that’s really not a good word choice, but the next alternative was “refreshing”) after a slump.

When I started doing figures again after my month long hiatus I was thus surprised to find it more “refreshing” than usual. I also found I was able to integrate figures and machines into the same pictures, which I hadn’t been able to do very well up until this point. In turn, that prompted me to go overboard on the “parody”, a similar styled drawing not having been done since my summer 2005 series (Example), and even then, the S2005 series is a bit more high quality.

On a slight tangent, I’m finally beginning to notice a lot more flaws in the S2005s, which I always used to think were really top of the line. Hopefully that indicates that I’m actually getting a firmer grasp on my anatomy (Erm… don’t interpret that).

So I had some troubles on the “parody”, most noticeably on the feet, which I ended up erasing and omitting (Largely due to the paper starting to give way) – if you look closely you can see the scars that multiple pencil marks made on the paper. Surprisingly, Chikara’s foot turned out decently. Aerith’s left shoulder is also kinda screwed up – both arms should have formed a uniformly curved arc had I followed my outline better (Oh, gives me a good idea for the next update), but by the time I noticed it was pretty much too late to change…

AND FINALLY, this in turn made me think, “Hell, I should practice more. Just freaking draw. Especially while my art is on a “high””. And that led to the second drawing you see up there. It’s one of a couple I did over the weekend, focusing more dynamic/complicated poses/perspectives. I was also focusing on cleaner lines and character differentiation, but it kinda took a back seat.

Hmm. Yeah, I’m done. J’s getting his new machine. I look forward to his receiving it.

dupdate 101006


Everytime I make a new html file, Windows tells me it might become unusable. Right.

So I’m here to rant against my scanner/printer unit today.

It’s an HP, of course, an officejet some number or another. I have to say the hardware is pretty good. Despite being made of mostly plastic, it’s pretty robust. I’d know, because I end up hitting it a lot.

However, with every succeeding generation of HP officejets, I despise the software more and more. The bundling these days is absolutely ridiculous. The first color printer my family bought was an Epson Stylus 400. It came with maybe a couple megs of software. Pure printer hardware, very reliable, very clean, very elegant in my book, as far as consumer software goes. That printer is still working, along with the software.

The software for current generation of HP officejets, assuming you install the full hardware bundle, takes up 500+ megs. 50 of it is the dedicated printer software. The rest is for an updating program, an “Image Zone”, and some other stuff that I never install, God knows what crap it does. There isn’t an option to install the Image Zone. I have to manually remove it everytime I reinstall the printer software.

When I scan a picture with this *wonderful* new software I have to do several steps:

1) Select “Scan Picture” from the home “console” for the HP officejet.
2) Select how I want the image to be “routed” after it is scanned: ie, saved directly to the disk, sent to the (Oh noes) Image Zone, etc. and hit “Scan Now!” (My exclamation).
3) Then the officejet scans the image.
4) But I can’t just save it yet: I can choose “Scan New image” or “Accept”.
5a) If I hit “Accept”, it asks whether I want to scan a new image.
5b) If I hit “Scan New Image”, it rescans.
6) So say I hit “Accept”.
7a) It asks whether I want to scan a new image. If I do want to, it tells me to go to “Scan New Image”.
7b) If I’m done scanning and I say no – here’s the killer – it exits the program!
8 ) Several minutes later, AFTER the program is closed, a window will pop up and ask me what to save the images as.

Now the biggest issue I have with this is 8). If I’m unlucky, the window WON’T pop up, and I have to rescan everything, which usually involves the officejet being “busy” and thus a reboot of both my laptop AND the officejet.

What happened to the good old fashioned “Save As”?

j114 – Mecha Musume


Happy Leif Ericson day!

So anyway, my desktop computer (which, ironically, is under my desk) died. The Dell indicator lights in the back of the machine mark describe the error as “System board failure”. Fortunately, with the help of a casing provided by AK, I was able to rescue myh files from my hard drive. Hopefully a semblance of order will be restored sometime soon…

So, today’s drawing involves Mecha Musume, the personification of military hardware. (A high-res version of today’s update is available here.) These two girls are not any planes in particular, I just drew them freely. They have elicited the following responses:

D-san: Pssh!

Charles Esseltine: “Cliché, Cliché!”

Well, I don’t know about that. Personally, I love the mecha musume concept. I even have a few of the figurines put out by Konami…