d378 Chikara 2013


This painting was actually done back in July. It has a couple “first in a while” elements: the first Chikara painting since 2007, the first digital lineart since 2010, and the first cell-shade painting since, well, last year. Also of note is a from scratch, no lineart background that isn’t just a tree. Or a shadow. Or a rectangle.

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d377 GT1 Test Painting


Non-figure paintings are generally pretty few and far between, but I think I may be on the verge of changing that. Non-fanart paintings are also in the same boat. The GT1 is a car I designed for a project prompt that J proposed (more on that in the future if it goes through). It’s called the GT1 as I took design queues from the Pennsylvania Railroad’s GG1 and T1 locomotives. I didn’t intend to do a painting from the start, but this test has been in the pipeline and the GT1 became an appropriate subject at time.

The GT1 painting is new in that it is a “custom” painting with no final lineart. Like the ink comic from last time this painting was basically an inevitability since London Waterloo, which was my first actual painting without any final lineart despite being a copy. The roots go a little further back to the Pieces painting, but I definitely wasn’t ready for this back then. Nonetheless, as with ink drawings, I don’t think anything has fundamentally changed about my drawing; apparently I just needed to do these things to get there.

The process is the same as that of the Pieces painting: I paint in a sketch and remove the sketch afterward. Unfortunately it’s a mediocre painting that might still look better with the pencil sketch, and it’s made worse by the really crappy no-lineart figure. Like it’s really no better than just removing the lineart from the Estelle 2013 painting, and in that painting I never intended to remove the lineart. The one bright spot here is the shrubbery, which is done completely from scratch and doesn’t look half bad. Then again, I’d already done something similar for the tree in the ToG crossover painting from last year. So I’m becoming more convinced that no-lineart painting should be relegated to backgrounds, but I’ll hold that thought for a while longer.

And of course, in my effort to document process, here is the lineart with extra backdraw, and here is the painting at an intermediate point.

While I was reading through old posts, I realized I hadn’t talked about computers or computing for what is probably a record long time now. I think the glut of project-specific posts over the last half a year have focused my attention and prevented me from letting loose and rambling, so I’ll take the liberty to do that now.

The fleet is actually down to just two laptops now, the x220 tablet and the t430. This is a low that hasn’t been reached since I got my D830 way back in 2007: I recently sold my second MBA because I still don’t have a use for it… just like the first time around! When I bought it I was still in school and thus taking it to class, and for that it was fantastic, but I now I no longer travel enough without wanting to have my tablet, so the niche was apparently gone a long time ago. Maybe this time I will learn.

I’m more and more dissatisfied with the x220 tablet as time goes on. I’ve been really wanting a thinner and lighter traditional convertible tablet with longer battery life and a 1080p screen since forever, but in this day and age of shitty “pure” tablets, no manufacturer is willing to give me what I want, so the x220 tablet stays. I’ve been considering getting a ThinkPad Helix because it is basically the closest thing out there to what I actually want, but the Helix is stupidly expensive (compared to an x220 or x230 tablet) because it is full of stupid features that I don’t want. So that sucks.

The t430 does what it needs to do as a desktop replacement. I’m generally satisfied with it. They even released a BIOS update that fixed some of the issues in the fan profile… wow!

On the other hand USB3 has a complete and utter shitshow. Back in 2011, I defined my current storage solution and bought those USB3 peripherals looking forward to the day that I would finally be freed from the limits of USB2. Well, first I found out that the ExpressCard USB3 adapter was a piece of crap, and after moving to the t430, I found that the USB3 to SATA adapters were also a piece of crap. Thus, I am still using old and slow USB2 hardware to do all my external file transfers. I can’t even replace my USB2 external hard drive because I can’t find a USB3 drive or enclosure that powers down when idling, and I am now super fond of this feature. So that sucks too.

My setup actually hasn’t changed for more than a year now… I think the only thing I’ve done is run a USB extension cable behind the monitors such that I have an easier way to connect USB stuff to the t430. I have considered replacing my speaker set as it occasionally seems to have issues, but I’m not really going to do it unless someone has extra speakers or the current ones die completely. They are making a new version of my lovely Corsair keyboard with backlighting and clicky switches, so I’m definitely going to buy one of those when it comes out. They claim in July but you never know with these things.

I even went back to the same desktop backgrounds. For a long time in high school and college I was changing desktop backgrounds two or three times a year, but somewhere along the way I got tired of that. I think my standards eventually increased to the point where I couldn’t find anything that sufficed, and that was that. I will force myself to find a higher-res wallpaper if I get a Helix though.

d374 dcomic a63 a64


Lolwut, comic pages. This post has been pending since April, but other stuff got in the way.

So this year marks the 10th anniversary of the end of the legacy era (regardless if I consider 185 or 193 as the end of such), the point at which I decided to “get serious” about drawing. At the beginning all of my drawing efforts were concentrated at improving comic pages, and those eventually got better in fits and bursts before the quality leveled out at about comic 500-510, the start of the “great consistency”.

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d375 USS Melvin Part 3


I was only planning on having three posts for the USS Melvin saga, but at this point I really do need four to document all the crap that’s gone on with this thing. I last left off after the Melvin’s first real test run, which unfortunately took place in much less than ideal conditions. Nonetheless, I was able to determine that the performance was pretty good and that the boat was a little too heavy with four D batteries.

Thus, the first of many modifications were made.

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d373 5AT 2013


I apparently didn’t have much to say about the old 5AT back in d93 (yes, the old 5AT had been sitting around for seven years, which is almost as long as the Kagurazaka), so I’ll start from the top.

Much like the ACE, the 5AT is an advanced steam locomotive that was developed and not built. The difference is that the 5AT is a much more recent design, and that the construction has only been recently shelved (obviously it could still be built – with a higher probability than the ACE). It seems to me that the 5AT was also much further along in development than the ACE ever was. There are a lot of detailed calculations and CAD models on the <a href="5at.co.uk"5AT website.

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d371 ACE 3000 Part 1


One of the themes of my art has always been the juxtaposition and combination of ancient and advanced technology. As long as I can remember, I’ve had space trains and space ships. Those outrageous shenanigans continue into the present, but I am just as fond of more subtle shenanigans like art-deco space or steam intermodal.

As such, I’m a big fan of modern steam, or attempts to modernize steam, and that’s where I’ve gone with my more recent Lego train models such as the 5AT, SR Leader, and even to some extent the venerable FF7 Locomotive. Today’s MoC is a continuation of this “series”; the American Coal Enterprises (ACE) 3000 is an advanced steam locomotive concept that gained some traction in the late seventies and early eighties during the oil crisis and lost it all when gas prices came back down.

The ACE has been kinda-sorta done for a while. You can see the beta version in this USS Melvin pic from March.

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d365 Rita and Estelle 2013


Well, I lied. I said there’d be another Lego post this time, but the hoverbarge I was building kind of got stuck, and it isn’t done yet.

For a lot of paintings I often have something in mind some time before execution, but this one kind of rushed its way into my queue. This is actual the fourth in what is now a fairly long string of Rita and Estelle paintings (the first one being 2008, most of which have unfortunately been rubbish. 2013 deviates from the “paint-heavy” direction I was going with Rita 2013 and Estelle 2013, and takes another stab at “hybrid cell-shading”.

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d363 Kanako and Ayase


Last year I built some Lego ships for the first time in many years. They were effectively direct replacements for older ships that I no longer found satisfactory (in much the same way I do paintings) and they were quite successful at that. Between then and now, trying to capitalize on this win streak, I once again tried to replace the venerable Kagurazaka, but I only almost made it.

The Kanako would have been the 10th of my big named ships (though now that they are getting smaller, I question whether they “deserve” names anymore). I planned, designed, and built it in much the same way I did the Maehara and Konoe, and I tried very hard to stick to the plan. The layout was intentionally unconventional (for me) such that the ship could do forward broadsides, in accordance to some scenarios J and I had discussed in the past. The styling is intentionally conventional (for me again) for development simplicity and parts conservation (and because I didn’t have enough of the “art deco piece”).

In the prototypical incarnation, I think the Kanako would have been something like 80 to 90 studs long and 30 to 40 studs wide. This is actually comparable in length to the 88-stud long Maehara, but the fact that the Kanako would have been entirely enclosed means that it would have been much bigger parts commitment. The fully enclosed Konoe comes in at just 48 studs. Given these numbers the 100+ stud Kagurazaka is simply massive – and I’m pretty sure at one point I said “100 studs isn’t that many”.

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