Monday, February 23, 2009

Shard Fourteen - Featured Artist: tsukijin

Alright everyone, I'd like a little change of pace now. Rather then focusing on me (to my rabid fans, don't worry, that'll still be a priority), I'd like to focus on some fellow artists and general people whom I know, like, or both. (yes, yes, it's normally both.)

Today's feature is a fellow artist I've known for some time on deviantART, and who I've had the pleasure of collaborating with before.
he was also the first person to support my idea of artist features, and as many of you know, agreeing with me is a very quick and easy way to get on my good side. Of course, I'm only featuring him because he's a great artist. =D

Tsukijin-icon ~tsukijin

tsukijin's got a really great drawing style; very detailed generally, with some influences from American comics, especially in the shading. His backgrounds are especially impressive; I remember first really seeing his work in an immensely detailed drawing of a haunted-esque house on a block... I can't seem to dig up the old image, but the detail in the sidewalks and the house itself was quite stunning.

But enough mindless flattery! We have an interview to get into now. I sent tsukijin a small list of questions, which he graciously answered.

Geo: What would you say was it that first got you into art and drawing?
tsukijin: hm... As far as I can remember, the thing that got me into drawing was a show called "knights of the Zodiac" and the posters that were for sale at the local store. Me and my friends would trace the images from those posters onto our notebooks. That was the first instance of me picking up a pencil for something other than writing. Then a few years later when I picked up a Spider-man comic... that sealed the deal, I knew I was going to draw for the rest of my life.

You have a very detailed drawing style. What would you say inspired your drawings to have such a level of detail?
haha, I suppose it all goes back to when I first picked up a history book and saw those old Portrait paintings that looked like they were photographs, there was one that really impressed me the most, It was a painting of King George the 8th, in the book it had so many details, the attention to light was amazing and over all the painting was extremely badass.

Then I got a chance to see it for real in a museum in New York city. And I was severely disappointed... The painting was like 12 feet tall, and all that amazing detail I saw in the book was nothing more than hastily applied smudges on the canvas, the whole thing was an embarrassment. All my life I had been trying to recreate the amazing detail of that painting only to see it be painted out of smudges. so I decided that if I was going to draw or paint, the detail would be cool to look at from up close as well as from far away.

I personally find it hard to spot mistakes in a lot of your work, but the artist generally disagrees with such comments. In your eyes, do you have any weaknesses in your art that you'd like to fix?
of course, there are many things that I would like to fix in my art. The most noticeable in my eyes is the hair, I've been struggling with drawing hair for many years now, and I still don't feel comfortable with the way I draw it, so that area is being currently developed the most.

I guess I also have to work some more on extreme perspectives. A lot of people(including myself) enjoy watching wicked action scenes with crazy cool camera angles so I'm working hard to be able to draw that type of thing with minimal effort.

Alright, that's about everything I can think to ask, now. Any parting thoughts?
Well, I want to thank you for interviewing me. haha I had never really thought about my origins of art and stuff, so it was refreshing having to reflect on that aspect of my life. I tend to let things happen and then forget about them, but it was nice to reminisce I suppose.

Oh, one last question. Geo; great person, or greatest person?

...hmm. I seem to have forgotten to send that last question. I'll mark him down as answering "greatest". bonus points to anyone who can tell me what that's a reference to.

A fun guy to talk with, and a great artist to watch. I don't think I can say much more on the subject, so I'll leave the parting comments to some of his art, which has happily volunteered itself as a final bit of flattery. (click on an image to view it full-size.)

Just Sitting Halloween Mage Roof Ninjas Kishi Style



Friday, February 20, 2009

Shard Thirteen - Getting Stuff Done

Heya everyone.

Alright, no excuses in this post. I'm not keeping up with my goal of an entry a day. But hey. I'm certainly keeping more active then I was before, right?
And I've got some good content upcoming. I plan to start "interviewing" and featuring fellow artists here, along with my normal rambling posts. Those should be fun; for me, at the very least. I've already got one almost finished, that will be Shard Fourteen when it's done. Look forward to it.


Alright, let's cover a fun topic now. That is, my art.

More importantly, my art process.
This is a first for me, but I've promised to post this sort of stuff already, a while ago, I believe. For those of you who don't know, I use a strange process now when I'm creating an image from scratch; I first make a rough of the image in DAZ|Studio, in full 3D. That allows me to adjust and mess about with the pose before I start drawing, and also serves nicely to circumvent my horrible grasp of human anatomy drawing. Don't get me wrong, give me enough time and I can draw a proportionate picture of a person, but I spend so much time erasing and re-doing body parts, it's just not worth it for me. Not yet; the hope is that with enough work like this, I'll get better at drawing.

Anyway, the rendered base image looks a bit like this one (click on the image for a larger view):
Kishi style

...that's quite detailed and good looking on it's own, but it's got very little "personality". (do note that the 3D models do actually have realistic textures, I remove those in favor of blank white textures to make it easier for me to use it as a base.)

And image such as this one gets shipped off to Photoshop once it's rendered and I'm happy with it; in Photoshop, I start the actual drawing process, generally right on top of the base render (seperate layer of course, and often with the opacity on the base image turned up so the lines are easier to see).
The drawing now can be a few different styles, based on what sort of result I want. I generally sketch roughly with my tablet for the image, but I generally come through later with the eraser to clean the lines up. In some cases, I'll use the Pen tool to make vector-based lineart instead, although this is generally time-consuming, and I'm not the most patient artist. (from previous experience, I tend to get bored of the project before it's done if I take too long.)

As you may have noticed, the base image is sans-clothing; there are 3D clothes for these models, but generally not specific enough for me to use, since I'm attempting to design my own outfits for my images. I draw the clothing in later from scratch; once the figure has been drawn, it's not too hard to draw the clothing in over the figure.

Once the lineart is done, I color it using my usual style. I haven't quite got a coloring style set in stone yet, so I can't really explain that part; but perhaps that will be a good topic for another post, yeh?
I'll try to remember and take some "in progress" screenshots of this image in particular, and perhaps make a more detailed blog entry on that when it's finished. I'm sure that'll be a fun one.


Alright, and that's it for now. Look forward to my next entry, which will be my first featured artist; of course, all the artists I plan to feature are artists I like, but this guy in particular is quite deserving of a feature, I'd say.



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Shard Twelve - Of Holidays and Sicknesses

How many of you have missed me. No activity whatsoever for a full week. Surely that's not normal for me.
And it certainly isn't. I've spent the week laid out on the couch, with the flu. No computer at all for that period of time; can't think think straight enough to stand a bright screen, let alone write anything meaningful.

But I'm back now. Still lightheaded and working out a stomachache, but I'm just about done with that six-day long flu. Horay.


And just in time to talk about Valentine's Day. Happy V-Day to all of you, first off.
*accepts a few hugs*
Thanks. Now let's begin to complain, shall we.

It wasn't all that long ago, I remember Valentine's Day being the sort of day you'd get a handful of flowers for your girlfriend/boyfriend, maybe buy/bake some chocolates or cookies... spend the day hanging out.

Now I see commercial after commercial, all with the same message attached to different products... buy these $49.99 flowers, your girlfriend will love it. Buy this $79.99 teddy bear, your girlfriend will love it. Buy these pajamas, your girlfriend will love it. Buy these chocolates, your girlfriend will love it.
Somehow, it's only the boyfriend who needs to buy anything now. In most cases, it's insinuated that failure to buy such gifts will result in trouble. In nearly all the cases, it's insinuated that the girlfriend will be magically compelled to "put out" in return for the gifts. (the pajamas especially.)

I can understand the commercialism a bit, it's to be expected. People want to make money. But it seems like the whole point of the holiday has gotten lost even more so then most other holidays. The whole "love" theme seems to have been boiled down to the "make love" part.

I suppose I'm not much of one to be talking, having been single for all of my life so far. But I guess I'm a little old-fashioned; I'm not really liking this "new" relationship standard.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?



Friday, February 6, 2009

Shard Eleven - Virtually Musical

Alright, no excuses. This post's late. But I apologize for nothing. NOTHING., good news. I'm back on schedule. (if I was going to make an excuse for why this post is late, that would be part of it.) Took a full day of sleep and a fun night and day of being awake to get me back on track, but I am. Up in the morning, off to bed at a reasonable time. Just need to make it last now.


So, what's new. First off, I've gotten around to trying out my demo version of FL Studio (previously known as Fruity Loops)... it's actually much more user-friendly then I had expected. I've yet to make much with it (being a demo version, I can't save project, although I believe I can save music files, providing I can make the whole song in one sitting.

But I'm certainly interested in it now. Every time I start it up I get at least a little something up; generally just a simplistic beat, but it's a start. I'm running into the same problem I have when working on graphic art; that is, I can't get the project up and running fast enough to beat my shifting mood (by the time I'm halfway through getting the layout, I don't feel like doing the artwork anymore). But I believe that's something I can fix with practice; less stumbling around the program, more actual progress. It's the same way with my graphic art, if I can doodle or pose a rough of the image I'm planning to make, then I have enough on paper (or screen) to make the project more feasible for me to finish.

I'm excited to see how this all works out. The demo version I have is of the full "XXL" version of the program, with all the little features; it's the most expensive version, but happily, I can still get it for a fair price, so should I get into that, it'll cost me about the same as the electric guitar I was going to get. (although to be honest, I haven't quite ruled out an electric guitar as an option yet.)
There's a lot of fun stuff in the program; virtual piano, synths, various drumsets, electric and acoustic guitar samples... with enough time and work, I think there's a ton of musical genres that can be squeezed out of it all. It's just that time and work thing I'm still getting the hang of. I haven't even played around with half of the instruments and samples that are in there yet.

I still really want a keyboard as well, but I'm willing to wait a bit on that one; the ones I want the most are fairly expensive, for my budget at the least. The virtual synthesizer options in the program are enough for me for now.

And hey. If I can figure out some actual music, perhaps I'll be showing off some of that here sometime, eh.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shard Ten - Shattered Schedule

Yes, yes. This entry is a day late.

...Or is it.
You see, my schedule is currently quite funked-up. For those of you who don't know me that well, I'm alternately an early bird and a night owl; more often then not, I'm almost completely nocturnal, while still attempting to follow a normal schedule.

Today, I got up at eleven P.M., having been up the entire night working on a bit of fancy wiki-coding (redesigning an infobox template for Bulbapedia, a rather large Pokémon wiki I'm a sysop on).
Technically speaking, if I go by my own awake/asleep cycle, I don't think this entry is late at all.

But enough excuses. I've got topics to cover. Just as soon as I can think them up.

...We'll be right back after this short line break.


Alright, I think I have a topic now.

Ever have so many projects that they all stop you from getting any projects done?
I do. Almost all the time. I'd list the various art and work-related projects I could be doing, but that in itself would be a rather large project. Just know that there's a good number of them.

On a slightly related note, I really dislike winter. Don't get me wrong, I love snow. I just dislike the cold.
If it's all snow-covered outside, then I'll happily bundle up and go sledding or just shovel the walkway. That's enough to warm me up and keep me amused.

But lately - the past three years or so - there's been hardly any snow. Just a good amount of freezing rain and occasional slush/ice. Not at all fun to go out in, so I spend most of the season trapped indoors.
Of course, when you can't do something, you tend to want to do it more. I really want to go outside. Perhaps ride my bicycle. Release some pent-up energy.

I enjoy when it's raining in the summer, that's not so bad. If you don't like the wet, sit inside and work on art until it gets sunny again. but in the winter, it's weeks, months before that sun starts to really shine again. After a while, you get sick of working on art and reading books.

That's why I have projects piling up, in my opinion. That's the reasoning I've come up with, at least. I can't prove myself wrong until spring, anyway.
"Seasonal art block", one might say. I could be working on music (messing about with trial programs), I could be learning more 3D modeling, I could be finishing up on multiple digital drawings and paintings, but my mind's just not in it.

...I don't think I have much of a point to this entry, today. Just something to keep me busy.
Anyone else feel the same way? Maybe you hate the heat, and love the winter? Tell me about it, I'm in the mood to listen to stories.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shard Nine - Train of Thought

Yes, I actually don't have much to talk about today, so I'll simply let you all take a look at my latest deviation. It's a self-portrait... or it was going to be when I first took it. I spent the next hour-and-a-half making it look pretty.

...perhaps that was an hour-and-a-half more then it needed, but ah well. It looks pretty, alright. (In my opinion.)