Finding my own way ( Chapter 4

I really love Finding my own way’s story, Akira is just so relatable and you can really empathise with her character. Which is why I enjoy drawing for it so much. But before I get carried away and go into a long ramble, I thought I’d let you all know that Anjani has posted chapter 4 of the Audio comic we Collab on.

As you probably already know, I voice the character Yukina (the one with her hair tied up). Voiceover wise, this has been my favourite chapter so far. Hope you all enjoy.

My Utopia

I know I am late but here it is chapter 4 of finding my own way.

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Weird Art Habits (Part 1- Staring at Stuff)

Since taking drawing more seriously, I’ve picked up a few strange habits, that I didn’t have before. The main one being, staring at art and intently studying the artist’s brush strokes, linework, shading, colour palette and how they captured light. It’s a bit on the weird side I know, but you’d be surprised by what you can learn from just looking closely at a piece of art.
It was while doing this that I discovered a few techniques, that looked incredibly fun to try out. So, in this post I will try out one of these techniques. One which is used in pencil drawings, for shading and creating texture. Saying as I learnt this from staring at pencil drawings, I’m not sure of the actual name for this technique, but would describe it as a messing scribbly scratchy way of shading, which uses several different grades of pencils.

thumbnail_20180901_114837Originally, I wasn’t going to make this post and only wanted to see how the technique worked. But the results at the ¼ way point looked kind of good, so I decided to turn it into a post. At this stage, some of this picture maybe too lightly drawn to make out, but what I had drawn was half a face and flowers. That may sound a little disturbing, but I couldn’t decide whether to draw a face or flowers, so settled on drawing both as I wasn’t planning on sharing the drawing.

thumbnail_20180912_223437Luckily the finished piece doesn’t look all that disturbing. It looks more like the woman in the picture got really drunk and fell into a flower bed, where she slept with her face half planted all night. Then in the morning, woke up with her face half covered in soil, flowers and foliage. Putting that aside, I really like how this technique turns out. It gives the skin a very nice texture and looks more realistic than the other techniques I’ve used and gives the drawing some life. As for the flowers, it works just as good as the other techniques I’ve used, but is more fun. So, with all that in mind, I would definitely like to dedicate time to try and perfect this method of shading.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and….
As always, Thanks for reading.

Doodle Fun

We have finally made it back to the land of the living (okay that might be a tad on the dramatic side). What I mean is I’m feeling a lot better now and nearly fully recovered. Thank you all for the lovely comments and well wishes while I was ill.
As promised I’m making a post of the best doodles I did while flu ridden. Apologies for the random writing around the doodles. These doodles were done while professor YouTube was educating me on the workings of Hangul (the Korean alphabetic system) and Katakana (one of the Japanese syllabic writing systems) and I sort of practiced a little on the page while doodling and watching YouTube videos (Had to do something to occupy my mind. Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling was dreadfully boring, so I might as well have used the time to educate myself. Also writing systems are really interesting).

thumbnail_20180918_175958So, this is the first page, I was really into doodling little men that day. If you’re wondering about the Hangul (writing) on this page, it’s mostly just random words and me using what I learnt to complain about having the flu.

thumbnail_20180918_181119This is my favourite doodle on this page. There are a few guidelines showing, but it’s still really cute.

thumbnail_20180918_181350Although, this turned out a little crooked (probably because it was drawn from a weird angle), I still really like this doodle, too.

thumbnail_20180918_181226Not a fan of this doodle, as you can tell (but in saying that, high fever me thought the speech bubble was fringing hilarious. God, I must have been delirious, at that point).

thumbnail_20180918_180448The second page is a little busier. I’m a little more familiar with Katakana, so was listening more than watching the screen (meaning more doodling). Katakana is phonetic and is used for translating non-Japanese words into Japanese. This includes names, so I decided to give my doodles names using Katakana (boredom was very strong at this point).

thumbnail_20180918_182422I’m extremely proud of this little dog, Tobi. I doodled him in under 2 minutes and he turn really good. (If you’re wondering what the fox and fish are called, I named the fox Toboe and the fish Tuna.)

thumbnail_20180918_182936 (1)A little close up of the stick people tree. Stick people are a hell of a lot of fun to doodle. If you’re feeling stressed or horrible, I highly recommend doodling stick people. It’ll cheer you right up.

So that was my doodles. Hope you enjoyed them. I have to take it easy for the next while (don’t want to get really sick again), so thanks for your patience and…
As always Thanks for reading.

Finding A Little Animation

While searching deep in the memory of my computer trying to retrieve lost drawings, I came across something kind of funny that I had completely forgotten about. It was a little animation I created well over a year ago, when I had gotten really curious about how animation worked and decided to try it myself. Granted this animation is only 4 seconds long and the art work isn’t spectacular (my art skills have greatly improved since then). But, I remember making this little animation and it taking forever (several hours) to create just 4 seconds. Then being all chuffed, when it was finally finished and played through smoothly.

To make it easier to watch I uploaded it to YouTube, but don’t worry I’m not leaving you all to become a YouTuber. Videos just upload nicer on YouTube and load a lot quicker, making it the better option.

It might not be that pretty, but it was my first attempt at animation and I thought it would be cool to share with you all. Looking back on this, it’s rather funny because I made it just after watching Cat Soup and was inspired by the wee boat the cats sail in. All I can say is that it could have been worse, I could have made an animation about that Mickey Mouse impressionist from Cat Soup. Which would have been creepy and messed up on so many levels.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little find and if I ever find the time, I’ll try to make another little animation like this one (hopefully it’ll be a little better).

As always, Thanks for reading

Suffered for Art and Learnt So Much

thumbnail_20180816_175727It’s not just a dramatic title, in this little art adventure (more like misadventure) I actually did suffer trying to better my art. But more about that in a bit, I’d first like to tell you all why after working so hard to master acrylics and Gouache paint, am I now messing with soft pastels. Well, kind of for sentimental reasons. Firstly, away back in the day my mother was really into art and her main medium was pastels. So, I thought it might be nice to try my hand at pastels and learn a little more about it. Secondly, my mother gifted a set of soft pastels for my birthday a few months ago and I wanted to use them before she started to think I didn’t like them.

As helpful as having a parent that also into art sounds, sadly I can’t ask my mother for art tips. Our styles are miles apart and so very different and we draw completely different things. My mother creates mostly things with flowers or landscape pieces (which I’m terrible at) and as you all know, I mostly draw characters (which my mother is rubbish at) and animals. So, as you see it would quickly become an exercise in futility. Therefore, I teach myself by experimenting (messing around) with art supplies and learning what works or by watching YouTube and to be honest soft pastels had a very steep learning curve.

So, getting back on track I give to you what I learnt from suffering for art:

Don’t breathe in the dust and soft pastels are probably not suitable for asthmatics-
This wasn’t the first thing learnt from this experience, but was the most important lesson and explains why I suffered. So, to emphasise the point, don’t breathe in the dust that’s created by soft pastels. I wasn’t aware of how dusty or dangerous this medium could be and accidentally breathed in the dust and near coughed a lung up (but luckily, I always keep an inhaler close by). So, art responsibly and don’t half kill yourself like me. It’s probably best to wear some type of dust mask while using soft pastels.

thumbnail_20180816_150530Try not to drop the case of pastels-
If dropped the pastels break into pieces. Looking on the bright side, I will repeat what I tell my nieces and nephew when they accidentally break their crayons. “Hey, at least there’s 2 of those colours now, which makes sharing so much easier.”

thumbnail_20180816_151344Soft pastels are really hard to control-
Due to their unusual shape it is incredibly difficult to draw even the basic shapes or thin lines. Not to mention it’s also rather difficult to predict what will happen when the pastel is blended or rubbed. Drawing a character with these would be way beyond my soft pastel skills, so instead I decided to create a bit of an abstract nature themed piece.

thumbnail_20180816_152103Soft pastels are incredibly messy-
Merely holding a pastel and applying it to paper will cover your fingertips in pastel dust. Also using your fingers to blend or rub in the pastel is a really bad idea. Your hand will quickly become unrecognisable (I would share a photo of what happened my hand but it was too gross. It looked like old mouldy cheese).

thumbnail_20180816_153450Drawing with pastels is a little like painting with acrylics, except it’s a lot harder-
You can lay down the basic plan and colours of your drawing like acrylics. However, unlike acrylics you can’t prevent colours mixing or looking muddy, by waiting until the paint is dry before adding another colour. With pastels the colours always have the possibility of blending and muddying. Making working with more than one colour really difficult.

thumbnail_20180816_175338

Keep trying until you create something you like-
Despite choking half to death on rainbow coloured dust in the beginning, I kept going and eventually made something nice. Not bad for a first attempt, though if I hadn’t feared choking on pastel dust again, I could have keep going even longer and made something better.

Pastels are actually very difficult medium but they’re also a hell of a lot of fun-
I have a new-found respect for pastel artist, soft pastels are so hard to work with. It must take so much time, skill and effort to create something amazing with soft pastels.
Pastels are a lot of fun to mess around with, so I would like to try to master them. However next time I’ll use better judgment and wear some type of dust mask.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little art adventure and as always,
Thanks for reading.       

Quite Possibly the Darkest Thing I’ve Ever Drawn

thumbnail_94c85aad-a778-45c9-95c8-f411abb1694eHave you ever had an idea, that at the time seemed great but later realise it wasn’t so great and might actually have been quite a bad idea? It’s safe to say we all have at least once in our lives. So, let me introduce you to my bad and rather morbid idea, Ninander (Glob, naming it really doesn’t help).

So, what possessed me to draw just a dark thing, you ask? Well, I was having trouble coming up with something to draw for the last Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood review and decided to draw the first thing that comes to mind, when I think of FMA: Brotherhood. Sadly, this was the little girl, Nina and her dog being blended together by her disturbed father, to make a human animal hybrid. At the time, this seemed like a great idea but after drawing it, I realised it might be a little too dark to include in the review (or even add colour to). It took a lot of time and effort to draw and I’m kind of proud of it, so I’m sharing it now in a separate post in case it isn’t used in the last review.

Although it isn’t coloured, I hope you’ve enjoyed one of my darker drawings
and as always, Thanks for reading.

A Fish Named Finny (Part 2-Let’s Make Finny Look Fabulous)

20180721_201231At last, the second half of the requested simpler step by step post. I’ve had to give some serious thought, to how I was going to add colour to Finny. Between wanting to keep things simples and not overload peoples’ brains with information and fatigue (I fell asleep 3 times at my desk last week, it was embarrassing), it wasn’t easy. But I think I’ve found a solution that’s a good balance between keeping things simple and ending up with a beautiful fish. That solution being, colouring pencils.

Considering how easy it is to get your hands on a good set of colouring pencils and that they’re something most people will be familiar with and have used before, I figured they were the best way to do this post. Also compared to paint, they’re far less messy (just getting that out there, as an added bonus).

So, with that all explained let’s begin:

Step 1: Choose your colours and test your pencils

Sounds weird but it’ll save you a lot of bother later. The aim is to know what the colours look like on paper, before using them to your drawing. Personally, I like to cross the colours (as seen above) to see how they blend with each other.

Step 2: The hard part-The Scales
So not to overwhelm people, I’ve decided to demonstrate a more decorative, simple way of adding colour to the scales. Instead of a more realistic looking way, because that would most likely put a lot people off giving this little project a go themselves.

For the scales, we use a blend of 2-3 colours, which gives the scales a nice wee decorative look at the end.

thumbnail_20180724_160331First lay down one colour quite generously at the top of one scale.

thumbnail_20180724_160530Then lightly use another colour on the rest of the scale.

thumbnail_20180724_160826Go over the whole scale again with the first colour and second colour if necessary….

and hopefully you’ll end up with scales that looks something like this.

thumbnail_20180724_190318Tip: Going over scales with a white pencil can lighten areas and helps blend colours better.

Step 3: The Fins

thumbnail_20180804_150718(0)For this you pretty much use the same method as the scales, except you start at the base of the fin, you try to keep the colours light and use darker colours for the linework on the fin.
Tip: Using the white pencil is great for keeping the colour light. Also using more than one colour, for the linework will give a better effect.

Step 4: The Head

thumbnail_20180804_152955This is probably the easiest part. The aim is to give the bottom of the head a slight shadow by colouring it a little darker, than the rest of the head. This will make it look less 2D.

fin3Then concentrate on the little details on the head.

Step 5- Finishing Touches

complete 2Touch up the linework and sign your work.

If you’ve made it this far in this step by step, hopefully you now have a beautiful fish (if not, don’t worry. It’s probably down to me awful description skills and not your art skills).

Thanks for reading and hopefully this step by step post has inspired you to create a Finny of your very own.

A Fish Named Finny (Part 1)

Raise your hand if you think fish are kind of beautiful in their own shiny scaly way. If your hand is raised, you have awesome taste and have just found yourself a fellow fish enthusiast (Okay, you can put your hand down now). There’s just something about fish swimming around, glistening and shimmering as the sunlight hits their scales, that is rather beautiful. They’re like sparkly moving leaf creatures, that live in water and in a way, are hypnotic when watched (not to mention they taste really good, too). But enough about my weird fish fascination and back to this post.

A while ago, I got a request asking me to do a more basic to step by step art post, showing each stage of my sketch. I’m happy to oblige, so let’s do this and create the best darn step by step of a fish WordPress has ever seen (Okay, that might be a little too enthusiastic). To keep this post to a reasonable size, I’ll split it into two parts (the first one drawing the fish and the second adding colour).  So, let’s begin!

Step 1: Lightly draw your basic shapes

20180720_221347In this case, a weird banana shape, with triangle shapes for the fins and a long skinny one for the tail. A weird squidgy circle shape for the head and a curving line starting from the head, down the back and towards the tail.
Tip: Hold the pencil further from the lead and keep your hand and wrist relaxed. You’ll achieve better curved lines that way.

Step 2: Make the lines you want to keep darker and draw in some details.

20180721_181646Give your fishy some lips, a nice moustache, some gills and use wavy lines when drawing the fins.  

Step 3: Go mad with the details

20180721_183923You pretty much have free rein on this. You can add as much or as little detail as you want. However, a few tips I would give you are, draw in the fish’s eyelids and pupil and add a few lines on the fins and tail to get that webbed look.

Step 4: Make your fish look Chargrilled

20180721_190448Yeah, draw some criss-cross lines on the fish’s body. Make its skin look nice and crispy.
Tip: Curve the lines with the bend in the body.

Step 5: Do the line work, while feeling immensely stressed and try not to cry if to mess up. 

20180721_201231Use a darker pencil to go over the outline of the fish and some of the details on the head.
On one side of each diamond shape, created on the body in the last step, draw a little curved shape to get a scaled appearance.

Step 6: Name your fish
Everything needs a name, so why not. I named mine Finny.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this more detailed art post. Thanks for reading and of course, feel free to use this post to draw a fish yourself.

In part two I will do a step by step on adding colour to your fish. I think I might make Finny yella (yellow) or orange.

Valley of White Birds

44e9925a-3968-44d2-8400-8afa01465f0cTime to get back to my roots and get stuck into a review. Truth be told, I haven’t done a review in quite a while (well, other than Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but it’s awesome and incredibly easy to talk about). Like what happens to many bloggers from time to time, I kind of burnt out review wise and started focusing more on my art work. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I feel like I’ve made some progress in bettering my art skills. Anyway, back to the task at hand, I thought I’d ease myself back into the swing of things, by reviewing a very beautiful short film called Valley of White Birds, from Wolf Smoke Studio.

Being just over 15mins long, Valley of White Birds begins with a young man walking through a forest alongside a stream. He is then joint by an old man and they both walk together along the forest path, as white paper-like birds fly around them. They soon reach a village, where suddenly the young man takes an awful disliking to the white paper birds and goes on a mad paper bird killing spree, turning a large number of the birds into Autumn coloured leaves. These actions must displease the forest spirits, because soon after the boss white bird shows up and appears to taunt the young man. The young man attempts to stealthily attack the boss bird but is distracted, by what was most likely a vision of his younger self. The vision quickly vanishes and the young man chases after the boss bird, whilst using his magic bean-shaped pebbles to tries to kill it. The boss bird leads the young man to a shrine, where the young man engages in a boss battle.

As you may have guessed from that description, this short film has no dialogue. In my opinion this doesn’t take away from the film and to be honest, the young man was fighting with a bird. Having him scream things at the bird, would have just been weird and destroyed the peaceful and intriguing feel the film creates. Story wise this film is pretty easy to follow and the creators have done an excellent job of leading you through the tale, with visuals alone.

125fe3f1-8ce1-4182-80cd-518c6f024bb5In saying that however, trying to understand this film on a deeper level (what it means and is about) is another story. I can only guess that it might be based on an old folk tale or book or that the whole thing reflects the young man’s fear of getting old (based on black birds covering the boy, turning him into the old man, then turning him back to a boy when the shrine was destroyed) or his loss of innocence (base on the boy innocently following the boss bird and seemly worshiping it. Then things turning sour, when the boy gets to the shrine. Also, the young man seems more angered and untrusting of the boss bird, than the boy. As if he’s more aware of the boss bird’s intentions). It could also be a play on the stages of life (the bird representing life and each version of the young man representing the common mind sets at each stage in life) or a play on the balance between yin and yang (black and white were used a lot and very symbolically). It’s very hard to pin down exactly what this film is about and these are only examples of conclusions I could come to while watching Valley of White Birds.

One very notable aspect of Valley of White Birds, is how beautiful and visually stimulating it is. The backgrounds are just stunning, you can tell a lot of time and love went into making this film. Without getting all artsy, I’m aware of the techniques you’d need to use, to achieve the backgrounds on actual paper. But the fact this film was probably done digitally, has me completely flabbergasted and makes me love it even more. The amount of work it must have taken to achieve that look, would have been crazy. You can really tell the creators were giving it their all while making this film. Even just on face value the animation and backgrounds, completely suck you in and sets the tone very well. The colour palette and use of shape, is incredibly pleasing to the eye and bring the film to a whole other level. It’s just one hell of a beautiful short film.

Overall, Valley of White Birds may be a little difficult to work out but is definitely worth watching, if only for its beauty alone. It an incredibly cute and stunning film, that will draw you and capture your attention, for the full 15mins. I would highly recommend checking Valley of White Birds out for yourself and seeing what you can conclude from this film.

Rating: 4/5

If you’re interested in watching Valley of White Birds, I’ve left a link to the film here
and a link to Wolf Smoke Studio’s YouTube channel here.

Muddled (Mini)

Before anyone panics, I haven’t given up on Cold, Lost and Left with Sal. I’m still going to continue to make it. It’s just that I’m working on a few projects at the minute, that take priority over that comic strip. So, I can’t bring it to you guys, as quickly (without the strip losing quality, of course).

Nevertheless, I still needed something just as fun to fill its slot, until I have the next chapter finished. Therefore, I bring to you Muddled. A mini comic strip that is a comical yet darker (only at times), take on the “little people inside your head” concept, used in such things as The Numskulls, Meet Dave, Herman’s Head and Inside Out.

What I mean by this is, that the characters in this strip will each represent an emotion/frame of mind. However, as I want it to be more realistic and set in the mind of an adult, there will be a lot more characters and it’ll be slightly more complex (still plan on making it fun, though).

Hope you enjoy and before I forget, this Comic Strip reads left to right.

thumbnail_349b3923-a5d5-40cf-8b72-e6ed4e3183e6thumbnail_9040cf3e-5e58-41a7-8c53-46c32e1060e9A little heads up, due to this heatwave and lack of rain the mountains around where I live keep catching fire (one is alight as I write this post and one was on fire last night. It’s pretty much looks like the apocalypse is happening here right now). So, if my blog goes quiet, it’s because I’ve been made relocate or I’ve been cremated.
I’m surrounded by mountains on every side, so being made relocate is very likely. Apologies in advance, if I miss any of your posts because of this.