dcomic a13 a14

[080729]

Nothing to say today.

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J204 – Sudden Recognition?

[7/23/2008] And, welcome to the second away update! This rant was written just minutes after the previous one (w00t, linking to an update that didn’t exist at the time of this writing!

Caramelldansen. The Lesser Demon’s last line in today’s comic was originally going to be “UA-UA-NO-O~!”, but I ditched it. Ah whatever, you can pretend it’s there. The last panel doesn’t even have to happen for the plot (?) to work…

Anyway, on to some other stuff! Dark secrets ahead~! (?)

So, in a past IM conversation, Derek told me something to the effect of, “I like the little fuzzies in the Lesser Demon’s ears.”

Fuzzies?

Thassright, fuzzies. (he actually did use that word. I thought it was kind of cute.) Not sure what they are. They aren’t a particularly original thing anyway — a lot of animal-girls have them. Actually, I have to admit that the ears on the Lesser Demon were basically lifted from this character (I have no explanation for the filename. That’s what it came as (though converted to jpg from bmp (!) for internet use).) I was trying to avoid doing the exactly the same thing, which is why in the early comics the Lesser Demon didn’t have the fuzzies. I guess I just gave in and added them at some point.

Well, you know what they say of things that aren’t broken…

J203 – Sudden Recognition

[7/23/2008] So, the first of the away updates! Man, it’s been a long time since I drew Cachiera. No panel-breaking for 518 this time…

So, in last update‘s rant, I mentioned “J” style characters (crazy and active) and “D” type characters (the “straight man”), in my half of Nonsense Wars, bascially creating your usual comedy duo. An interesting observation I made the next day: All of the “D” characters wear glasses, and almost none of the “J” characters do. (I could say all of them, but Grav’s under development. She might be another character type entirely.) Weird.

J202 – Parsing

[7/21/2008] Moar panel-breaking with 518! Breaking panel 4, 6, and the corner of 7! Heck, even her speech bubbles are breaking stuff! It’s a complete break-fast!

Crap, I totally ran straight into that pun without thinking about it. No, really, I mean it!

So, I’ve been waiting to do the joke in today’s comic for a long time. Basically, it was initially supposed to run something like this:

Unit 518: Let’s work together!
Sam: Bite me!
Unit 518: *chomp*

I thought this way was pretty awesome, though. However, it brought up one problem which I hadn’t really addressed: How much taller than is Unit 518 than Sam?

Taller?

That’s right, taller. See, because of her wolf-feet, Unit 518 is digitigrade, meaning she walks on her toes. So, after some sketching, I determined that Unit 518 is about half a head taller than Sam. Of course, she’s bending her knees and ankles, so she could probably be quite a bit taller if she stood up straight.

Anyway, in an IM conversation with the real-world Sam, I articulated the thought that my half of Nonsense Wars fundamentally only has 2 types of characters, then blew up part of my observation so I could feel better about my characterization skills. Make what you will of that. The conversation (formatted for the web) appears below. As usual, kenocolin is me, and SmallestInfinity is Sam.

kenocolin: hmm
kenocolin: I think I like character-driven sturff
kenocolin: *stuff
kenocolin: like
SmallestInfinity: I enjoy it
kenocolin: if you can do an entire plot
kenocolin: with
SmallestInfinity: but
kenocolin: okay
kenocolin: yeah
kenocolin: I underrstand
SmallestInfinity: I can’t create it real well
kenocolin: I don’t think I’m too good at it either
kenocolin: see
kenocolin: for example
kenocolin: Nonsense Wars
kenocolin: effectively hinges on two character types
kenocolin: one is the J type: crazy and active
kenocolin: and the other is the D type
kenocolin: which is
kenocolin: the “straight man”
kenocolin: in the J group, we have: J (obviously), Chris, Lesser Demon’s Co-Worker, Unit 518, and to an extent Grav
kenocolin: in the D groupp we have: D (obviously), the Lesser Demon, and Sam
kenocolin: Cachiera doesn’t fit anywhere
kenocolin: but that’s because
kenocolin: I’m kind of characterizing her robotically
kenocolin: as in
kenocolin: she’s bascially had no lines
kenocolin: the few lines she’s had are in
kenocolin: Store Defense Mode
kenocolin: and those are recorded messages
kenocolin: so basically
kenocolin: writing dialogue for Sam and 518
kenocolin: is essentially the same as writing dialogue for J and D
kenocolin: I don’t know why I do this
kenocolin: but
kenocolin: my characters tend to fall into these molds
kenocolin: come to think of it, that happens a lot with two-character interactions
kenocolin: probably because
kenocolin: with 2 crazy people, the plot is uncontrollable
kenocolin: and with 2 “straight man” characters, nothing happens
kenocolin: okay, you can comment now
SmallestInfinity: I have absorbed the rant
SmallestInfinity: I feel spongy
kenocolin: hmm
kenocolin: I should just post this today
kenocolin: nothing to say in response?
kenocolin: or do you feel that the observations are accurate?
SmallestInfinity: the latter
kenocolin: well, it’s time to play around with the characterizations then
kenocolin: I think 518 is less
kenocolin: completely crazy
kenocolin: and more
kenocolin: “likes teasing a lot”
kenocolin: contrary to what I said earlier
kenocolin: I think
kenocolin: he dialogue between Sam and 518
kenocolin: is not the same
kenocolin: as the dialogue between D and J
kenocolin: see
kenocolin: a J and D conversation would go like
kenocolin:
J: <random crap>
D: You’re stupid.
kenocolin: and
kenocolin: between Sam and 518 would be more like
kenocolin:
Sam: <something> (with conviction)
518: Oh, really~?
Sam: (uncomfortable) um….
kenocolin: I don’t know if that makes any sense
SmallestInfinity: a little
SmallestInfinity: well
SmallestInfinity: very little
SmallestInfinity: but i get the idea

Anyway, I leave Thursday on a trip to Europe, but fear not! I have drawn updates in advance for the next two weeks!

MEANWHILE IN HELL:

What‽ (Interrobang‽) You don’t think I’m capable of that?

Tsk, tsk. Unbelievers.

dcomic a11 a12

[080717]

This update actually being written pretty damn early. Anyways, here’s two of two paintings I was doing last week and the week before that. It’s another “benchmark” painting if you will.

Highlights of this illustration over the one two weeks ago: I kinda pushed this red thing I like to do a little further; all the light areas are done with the same three or four reds whilst the dark areas are done with their respective blues, browns, yellows, pinks, etc. The darkest areas also all have a bit of the same red as well. Lineart is done a bit differently from the past few paintings; in that characteristically cyclic way, I’m back to doing linearts more or less the same way I did ’em in early 2007. It’s better though.

Ultimately I think lineart and painting (that background is a great example of lazy) are both slightly better than so-so, but the combined effect seems to have turned out pretty damn good. I’m tempted to displace Yuki as my “best” illustration on my DeviantART, but I ain’t done it yet. If you zoom in about 200-300 percent it actually looks pretty sick. In an I’d almost use it as a desktop kinda sick.

In general linearts could use more work, but so could the painting. I think it looks pretty nice the way I’m doing it now, but it’s really kinda “fuzzy” if you will. Lineart wise I’m going to try to start scanning comics and re-inking them digitally. It’ll be time consuming, but I have time and should be “stepping out of my comfort zone”. I hate those words, but sadly I think it’s true…

Anyways, a quick trip down memory lane again for the sake of the “benchmark”. 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007. The 2004 one is actually pretty damn good for the time; I’m still kinda surprised. On the other hand, the 2006 one is pretty shitty for the time and I’m pretty surprised again. I always thought that 2006 one was pretty good until I looked at it now. 2005 one I’ve always liked quite a bit and the 2007 one is just meh.

Anyways, that all for now.

J200 – Monster

[7/8/2008] Late again, yeah, I know.

So, it’s back to 518 and Sam~! Looking back on it now, the dialogue is pretty awful. Gah~. Anyway, I get the feeling that last part of the dialogue is very Inuyasha-esque (thinking of the first volume/episode here). Speaking of which, the series finally wrapped up. I stopped following it long ago though — I’ve got no real patience for things that just drag on and on. (Neither did the animators, apparently; they just stopped to wait until the manga finished.)

In other news, the first episode of Strike Witches is out! Mecha musume fans everywhere, rejoice! They’ve even got official english subtitled versions, produced by the animation company! Woo~!

Okay, I’m going to watch now. Bai~!

dcomic a05 a06 a07 a08

[080707]

Yes folks, today I’m posting four comic pages. The catch is that they’re pages of the part 2 remake and therefore somewhat shoddily put together (though at the same rate that meant I was able to them very quickly whenever the hell I did ’em). I decided that 2 remake pages was worth 1 regular comic page and since I didn’t put up a comic page with the last update, I figure I’d post the equivalent of two standard comic pages… so four remake pages. Right. Great logic. Ok.

So the remade part 2 doesn’t really add anything new to the story, it just sets up better for the direction in which I’m ultimately taking this thing. When I first drew the original strips that became part of part 2 (and at this point I might want to mention that part 2 doesn’t really mean anything because there’s no “official” part 1; the assumption is that part 1 is all the little bits and pieces of whatnot before the actual story started) I didn’t really have the ending I have now in mind. Hell, I prolly didn’t even have an ending planned by then – I’m guessing I was still planning to use more of Pier 666 and the DeLorean, etc, etc. For the most part we just leave out a lot of what I think was ultimately useless information.

This remade doodad is like just under twenty pages (forget the exact count and I’m not on my main machine – I’m once again typing this during a break in class) and about two thirds of those are all new pages. The rest are taken from the end of the original part 2. I think I’ll just post the pages that are new and leave the non-redone pages unposted (well, technically they’ve been posted already, just real long ago).

That the story is flowing again pretty much means that I finished working out what I wanted to work out with the plot. I was prompted to take a look at it after one of my friends said that they were totally lost (after an update just like two or three weeks ago), but after going through al the parts again, I didn’t think it was too confusing. part 3 and part 4 compilations have only had 3-5 lines re-written, each. part 5 (still incomplete, really), has had a significantly higher number of lines re-written. I can actually reupload those and they will show updated versions in the archives.

I tried to make some of the explanation parts more obvious (they always do that in anime; I guess there’s a reason) and some parts now sound kinda cheesy (granted some parts are already cheesy to begin with). Hopefully it worked. I wish I had something like a beta tester or something along those lines XD. The entire Part 2 will be packaged and all once I post it all. Maybe sooner if I feel like getting the main part of the story going again sooner.

That all for now.

C080629

[080702]

Well, again, best time to write these entries seems to be during lunch breaks and stuff. Here’s number one of two paintings I’m planning to do this time around and it’s the first “formal” painting I’ve done on the TC4200 as well. The second one will prolly go up for next week and hopefully I’ll feel like taking care of the story mess before the update after the next.

So really, the TC4200 might be the best art investment I’ve made since buying my original Wacom (The TC4200 was $50 more expensive, but as far as inflation and the devaluation of the dollar goes, it might as well have cost the same XD). Seriously, it is just that much intuitive to be drawing lines where you can see them, rather than on a standard tablet and looking at a screen. Whether or not this makes a significant improvement in art quality is still to be seen.

In general the TC4200’s not an extremely powerful machine and at least in general drawing, XP Tablet edition seems to give me a bit more lag than my Intuos 3 and my old 500m. Furthermore, it doesn’t do a great job processing those really large brush strokes either, and image manipulation (rotating, resizing, blah blah blah) take significantly longer than on the D830. Ah well. Pentium Ms are still cool in my book.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. My paintings starting from C071120 have been following this trend of increasing brush sizes and especially with the last series of paintings have been looking – for lack of a better word “impressionist”. C080126 is pretty much the pinnacle of this trend. After considering it a bit, I’m really against this trend, so I’ve brought the brush size back down to 10-15 ish for this illustration. Not that the TC4200 can happily render anything much bigger than, say, 30px. Small improvement over the 500m.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve also reached the conclusion (and I don’t really know if I concluded this in the past) that it is much harder for good color to make up for bad lineart than it is for bad lineart to make up for poor coloring. Like in the case of Yuki I think the lineart was pretty fluid and it made up for the whole “impressionist” mess, but with Fate here, I feel like the lineart is pretty stiff and the painting (which I consider to be slightly superior) doesn’t do as good a job of covering up. Maybe just me though. Next painting is going to move away from my current lineart tracing strategy, though there doesn’t really seem to be a good fast fix for improving the quality of linearts in general XD. If only, if only.

Some other annoyances with painting on the HP. When you flip the thing into tablet mode, the screen covers up both the keyboard and the mouse. You don’t really need either of these when you’re doing the actual painting, but they’re nice to have. Keyboard moreso than mouse. A lot of times with the Intuos, I find myself keeping my left hand on the Ctrl + Z combination for quick undos. I’ve set one of my tablet hotkeys to do an undo, but it’s really annoying to keep reaching over to it. External keyboard you say? All my keyboards are PS/2 and the TC4200 is too new to accept such stone age devices.

It’s really annoying trying to keep the screen clean as well. I end up putting a square of tissue or paper towel under the side of my hand when I write/draw on the thing so as to prevent smudges from getting on the screen. One reason I really don’t like standard touch screen devices, all you’re gonna do is get smudges all over that freaking display.

Ultimately a tablet pc seems a nice thing to have for art. Maybe I’ll consider upgrading to like an X60 or X61 tablet somewhere along the line. The lowest X60 tablet I’ve seen has gone for an amazing $650, down from like $950 when I was looking for the TC4200. Prolly when the battery here starts giving out (Which seriously may not be long considering how heavily I’m using it).