Sketches: Kia

Overdue contest prize for JillLenaD. Redrawn because I was unable to find the first one I did (go house fires), and I think I did a better job, anyhow. I like her body a lot. I am not used to drawing skinny, athletic females. Meet Kia:

Writing: Eventual Goals (Prince Project, Otakon Trail)

The end of Otakon marks the end of summer for me. Meaning school should resume in a week or two. I am very wrong. Try "it will resume in a month." Thus, I am motivation-ally lost. I suppose, in a way, it's time to a) complete all the junk I owe people and b) get down to something more personal. So, let it be known, here are my ideas: a fine art book and a Flash game. So very different.


Everyone loves messing with Fairy Tales, but in my opinion dark and modern and adult fairy tales are so trendy, they're overdone or at least, much better done (read "Fable", anyone?). So, a joke that got larger ended up being Genderbending Fairy Tales. However, not in the sense that the character only visually switches, but their societal roles switch as well. The intellectual challenge is to create an acceptable story which still possesses the same moral and plot development whilst shifting the sexist power balances inherent in these stories. I have lovingly, and a little mockingly, titled it the "Prince Project."

I have selected only stories with traditionally female protagonists because I wanted to make them male. I think one of the more commonplace themes of modern fairy tale rewriting is female empowerment. Jane Yolen et al. have done a bang up job of it, so I don't need to do it again.

Thus, I have also eliminated stories such as Hansel and Gretel and Goldilocks which, if I re-told with a gender swap, would pretty much be the same. The defining attribute of those characters is their age. Their sex makes no real difference in how the story plays out because the characters are pre-pubescent.

I feel the most interesting challenge is the "female-rescued-by-male" model, so heavily embedded in this sexist genre. Thus, the natural choice would be things involving princesses - the ideal model of femininity and beauty. Fortunately, these are also some of the most well-known fairy tales in the Western hemisphere (partially in thanks to Disney). I feel, the more iconic and known the story, the easier it will be for people to relate the swapped version to the original, even if the connection is only hinted at via illustration. I am going to use, though, the original Grimm and Andersen versions if I can find them (yay, internet).

As you can see, I haven't ironed it all out, but here's what I have so far. If I get more, I'll update this journal. It is as much a personal reference for me as anything.

Beauty and the Beast - While it is still appropriate that their hero's elder siblings still ask for riches, I feel a rose is probably too feminine a gesture. I think it will be interesting to play with ideals of ugly (beastly) women. It is seemingly, in society, harder to get a man to love an ugly woman the other way around.

Cinderella - I think one of the interesting points would be here, the hero's mother re-marries to another man. Because it becomes the hero marrying "in," it gives license to his step-brothers to be crueler since this is a male-dominated society and thus they are the more "rightful" heirs. As for what item the princess uses to find her beloved stranger-from-the-ball, I am at a loss. Mens' shoes don't fall off so easily.

Snow White - I wanted to keep the theme of step-parent jealousy. Long ago, a king wished for a son to inherit his kingdom. Finally, he had one born with hair dark as ebony, skin pale as snow, and lips (eyes?) red as blood. Upon the king's death, the queen must re-marry his brother to preserve royal lineage (I know I can do something with this). This uncle is jealous of the prince's strength, intelligence, etc - basically qualities that would be approved of for a male. The woodsman character also - because it must be female - must now use other ways of subduing the Prince to put him in a life threatening situation. I can only think of seduction. As for female equivalents of dwarfs, I'll probably use nymphs.

The Little Mermaid - Inherently supernatural, I think I will keep the protagonist as a merman. However, I am in the air as to what he loses when he becomes human. I will adhere to the Andersen ending of the heroine's body turning into seafoam.

Little Red Riding Hood - (Red Cloak) Two of the possible interpretations of this story are rebirth and sexual awakening. Instead of being a girl, Red Cloak is an under-aged military private in his first few months on the front. He has to deliver medication to a senior officer when persuaded by an older woman to... and uhm, then I ran out of ideas.

Sleeping Beauty (Briar Rose) - I am not completely sure what to do with this one, but I know a prince would not be working a spinning wheel. To keep with tradition, any naming conventions should be based on the sun, moon, dawn, and stars. The prince protagonist, though, must be cursed at birth through his parents' desire for a child.

Unfortunately, I'd like to have seven. Since that is a magic number in fairy tales. I just can't think of a last one. I am tempted to use Alice in Wonderland, but it is far longer than most fairy tales and does not have the same taste of folklore. I personally like Bluebeard, but no one's ever heard of it.



I know, once I begin the projects, I will keep working on them until other things get in the way. The problem being that initial first step. Someone remind me, when I get back to school to speak with Scott. Either of these, if uncompleted, could become an independent study. However, I'd like to do a visual re-design of Rivek or a series of sculptures as independent studies as well.

I also just need to write down character profiles and world information in general - the Magnum Opus goal is five books: 3 illustrated novels, 1 companion artbook, and 1 alternate-universe artbook (for when I feel like drawing Rivek as a cowboy). One thing is for sure, though. I am taking Painting I in the Fall. I am intimidated.

PS - Michelle, goddamn, your posts are more eloquent and thought provoking and personal than mine. I'm jealous.


Sketches: Happy Birthday, Ana!

Happy birthday, Ana! Haha, I'm so old school. Sorry it's kind of bad. I drew it on the plane when I was pretty tapped out of art juice.


Art: Draco Malfoy Portrait

I got really bored of doing so many shading pictures, and with the new Harry Potter Film coming out (Half Blood Prince, nonetheless, where he's actually somewhat less cardboard-like!), I decided to paint Draco Malfoy. Final decision was influenced by hearing Melinda gush over Tom Felton at Anime Expo. She helped me out so many times, but I didn't want to jsut draw Sasunaru for her.

It was good practice for me to work entirely in color and eye structure, even if it meant re-starting several times. Also, the PS file ended up being 380 MB! Egads! I'm worried over how he'll appeal as a print, but my style lends itself better to Harry Potter than to anime. So, we shall see. Then again, Draco's just a guy in a suit with white-blond hair. I can bet a lot of people will buy it thinking he's someone else.

I friggin' love HP. Midnight showing, here we gooo~!


Art: Kamui Collaboration

This is the full progression for the collaboration between myself and Melinda for Anime Expo 2009.

It took us a very long time to decide what we were going to draw. I remember Date Masamune from Basara and Vincent Valentine cropping up. We were so close to doing Ritsuka, too. Finally, we went with one of her initial suggestions - Kamui. Even if someone doesn't recognize him, he's generic enough and holds enough stereotypically appealing elements (read: dark hair, school uniform, wings), that people would purchase it anyhow. So she sent me two sketches:

I thought they were both kind of stiff because the arms were so straight down, so I tried frankensteining them together and coming up with something new. I liked the globe aspect as well, but I really wanted to add a sword. Partially to complement the linearity of the bar he's sitting on, and partially because I"m good at swords.

We also went through some value trials. We decided no dark backgrounds since I was shading on limited time. I loved the idea of birds, but I really didn't want to shade them.

So, here's a little closer. I wanted toe front-facing view so he'd be more confrontational. I also added come bandages and feathers to show movement (Haha, we forgot about the birds).

Finally, Mel straightened him out and took out the globe which had become too distracting. This is the sketch I worked off of. A bit tough since it wasn't a line drawing, but it was a fun challenge.

Here's the shaded version. Sinc eI didn't have much guide for the fave, I practically re-drew it using her proportions as guidelines. I fixed the proportion of the arm and added bandages with the names of the other six dragons of heaven. Man, this would have been fun if it had more than two nights.

Melinda then colored it over again, especially re-working the face back to its original style. She removed the halo-y moon and earth I added in order to show the light coming from behind him.

And there you have it, the creation of a print which sold out its second day at AX. :O

Art: Bas-Relief Style

Oh, and I did get to some finished pieces I might add. These are the refults from the sketch work you saw a couple posts earlier.

I'm very happy with the D. Grayman one, maybe because it's one of my favorite series (despite my Allen looking a little wonky). I wish to draw portraits of all the characters now! I went for a more musical theme because of Allen's relationship to Mana and performances and masks. Also, I altered the Rose Cross to say "Linali" and "Marian" - two people I think Allen hold as the most important. Also, if you notice, the final number on the circle part of the cross is "14," which I swear makes sense if you read it. "Indemnis" means "innocence" in Latin, which is pretty self-explanatory given the storyline.

Also, Harry Potter! This one's been doing pretty well out of my prints. In addition to the items I prevoiusly mentioned, we have a snake and a lion and an abstracted Forbidden Forest and Ministry of Magic. Also, each character is matched up to their animal - Hermione to Crookshanks, Harry to Hedwig, and Ron to Scabbers. There are a wand and a broomstick crossed in the background, and it says "Dracon dormiens nunquam titillandus" - "never tickle a sleeping dragon" - Hogwarts's motto.


Art: Anime Expo 2009

I forgot to take my camera to AnimeNext, so I don't have any photos from it. So, we have to skip right to AnimeExpo. I raised my commission prices here. I got some color work to do, which was exciting, but no one wanted full bodies, which is a shame. I need to adjust the psychology of my commission prices.

Someone wanted her OC with Kiba from Naruto. I couldn't remember where his headband went, so I had her hold it because I thought that would be cute. I was warming up and praciticing the anime style, so it looks a little off.

Her friend requested Ulquiorra and Orihime. She spent a long time deciding between that and another pairing.

Melinda said the girl's face was nice, which was a super compliment because I think faces are the major turn off on my pieces. She told me that I do eyes too close together when drawing anime. Upon further analysis, it was pretty obvious. Usually, I match eyes to the edges of the nostril. When I distort the anime nose to make it smaller, the nostril distance obviously shrinks so the eyes get too close together! Man, I'm an idiot some times! I've done that for years!

I was intimidated by the reference I got of this original character. It had a lot of detail, so I kind of wanted to do it regular, but they wanted chibi. :( I think it turned out good, though. It's better than my A-kon ones.

I like how this chibi turned out, too! It's meant to be Kiba from Wolf's Rain, but I think the clothing is inaccurate. Adding ears and tails to chibis increases their cute proportion.

Ritsuka! He's so adorable. Argh, I spilled some ink on the other side of this - just when I had finsihed inking, so I traced it onto the back and started again. That was depressing. I felt so bad because I was already taking a long time.

I think this was one of my favorite's from the convention. I like how the cybernetic arms turned out, as well as the scar. I was worried the girl had forgotten since she got it on Thursday, but she came back on Sunday to my relief.

Ah, then again, I liked this one, too! Somehow, original characters pose so much more of an intellectual challenge to me. This girl was really nice and had art from a lot of people. I hope I did her character justic.

Some girl asked me to draw her with Marth. She was carrying a Marth print I had favorited on DeviantART. I like Marth. Unfortunately, when drawing late at night, my proportion sense goes wonky, and I don't realize until I upload it to my blog.

Another OC chibi. I think the commissioned liked it. Two-colored eyes are very fun.

Another original character, based off the Cheshire cat. I think this was my favorite sketch style one. I think I over-shaded the face too much. It didn't leave me enough time to...

... do this piece justice. It was an elven (?) sky pirate, so I was really excited. Unfortunately, I think I could have done better, but I was particularly rushed. Awkward hand is awkward. I shouldn't attempt the long, CLAMP, spaghetti-finger, style.

Chibi Michael Jackson! Yay! I'm a little conflicted about his passing. I am not a fan of his voice (falsetto is not for me), but I like individual songs of his (Smooth Criminal, Beat It). Nevertheless, there's no denying he was a huge influence.

I like the guy's face on this one. I think the "anime" thing finally clicked. His proportions are a little weird, but the commissioner (whose original character is the girl) was happy, and that's the important part.

Gah, this was the one that I thought had the most potential, but I screwed up on the most. I love Mekania. She is one of those characters whose design isn't too complicated but still remains likable and radiates personality. And I know her owner knows I can do a better job than this (specifically on that arm and the face proportions). I just hope I didn't charge too much. I think it was a matter of burnout. If I had gotten the job on Friday, it might have been better. Mek, if you're reading - I'm really, really, really, embarassed, and I hope I can do you something nicer next year.

Another one which had potential, but I got too rushed. It seems like something about spacing gets lost when I don't concentrate. I thought these two characters were really cute. I wondered if they were twins.

Another one of those original character commisions. I had actually forgotten if they wanted a bust or a chibi, so I had started a bust on the back. That wasn't correct. He was cool, so I guess I just subconsciously wished to do him in my style. That, and I think I'm faster at busts...

So, that was AX in a nutshell. Less commissions, but of higher quality. I didn't do as well as last year. I"m not sure why - whether it was location factors, time factors, or competition factors. But it was fun, and I laughed until crying on multiple occassions. That said, I'm also glad Toby wasn't hit by a car.

Art: Akon 2009

A-kon came and went with minimal profit. Either I've been miscalculating the other years I've done this, or my profitability is getting worse. Anyhow, I did a huge number of commissions at this con. These are just the ones I managed to remember to photograph.

This is someone's bard OC. She also commissioned my table partner, Korilin. I feel I could have done better, but I was undercharging since I panicked.

A chibi commission. They sold like hotcakes at only $5 each. I'm beginning to regret making my commissions less than my prints.

Another one. This guy was dressed as Wario, so I went for a different style.

The next two were commissioned by two people I knew from Gaia, who commissioned me the year before. I liked how these ended up. Enough that I wish they had bought color so that they would turn out better. It's two gay couples.

They had some nice reference art, too. The lady seemed surprised I recognized and remembered her characters names - I'd drawn them in high school before! Man, I don't suck nearly as bad now. Just somewhat.

This guy never came to pick up. Every time I called him, he sounded half-asleep. He said it was his first con, so U wonder what trouble he got into.

One thing, is when someone brings me a moe ref, I get really confused and I tend to draw something out of my comfort zone to try and recapture that moe feel whether the client actually wants that or my style. I feel my prices sometimes lend myself to being a commission Wal-mart, that people aren't getting my work for my work - they're getting it because it's inexpensive. So, commissioned, if you were reading this - a) nice Lelouche costume and b) I apologize if I misinterpreted your reference.

Okay, then is gets kind of ridiculous but kind of awesome. There were identical triplets at A-Kon, and the first day, one of them bought a chibi from me (not displayed). The next day, they all came back again - each one wanting one, and then one of all three of them together! Then, they came back again on Sunday and each bought another one. So, effectively, I drew the same character eight times. T

Someone wanted herself with Roy Mustang. I like the short, dark, hair, types, so I was happy to oblige. I am trying to post my chibis is less boring manners.

This is more ridiculous than the triplets. Someone asked me to draw McCoy from Star Trek (not pictured). Someone else then asked if I could draw Spock - shirtless. Someone else comes by and is like "OMG"... and asks for their own shirtless Spock!

Someone wanted an angry Pikachu. This was ridiculously fun, even though it took around ten minutes.

At A-kon, I tend to get a lot of parents asking for portraits of their children.

Finally, this was another oneof my favorites. It was an original character commission, and I was working from text description. I hadn't gotten many OCs, so I went a little over the top. My forte, if I do say so myself. She was very happy with it and even used it as a reference to commission Allison! I was honored.

Art: Fanart Sketches

Long time, no post, huh? Well, I need to get back into the habit. The only thing I can say is that con season has started, so there will be fan art and badly photographed commissions ahead. Although, the latter will be in another post.

This is? was? for a collaboration with Kheleksul. I don't know where she is on it right now.

I did a Harry Potter picture, based on the final book. I'll post the finals in another entry. As you can see, when doing crest-style work, I draw each figure separately and piece them together on the computer. Harry is holding all three Deathly Hallows (and the Snitch from his first Quidditch game). Hermione has "Beedle the Bard" and that Bag of Holding. Ron has the sword of Godric, and the Deluminator. The bird-like thing is Fawkes which represents Dumbledore, and the four heads are the four ghosts Harry walked to his "death" with.

Oh, this was something I came up with back in January. It's a Steampunk Alternate Universe Romance for Mondigan, titled "The Bow and the Rose."

The world is made up of floating cities - divided into two classes, those that power the engines and those that live on the ships. Ari Kovalev (Rivek) is a the son of a mechanic who lost his eye, arm, and his father's life in the engines. A romantic in the chronological sense of the word, he takes his revenge by becoming a vigilante. But why use a bow in a world full of guns? For the message, that is hearkens back to a more peaceful time when everyone lived, equally on the ground. Wilhelmina Solaris (Willowren) is a rich girl, sporting no visible body modification as a symbol of her purity. But her desire for a more exciting life has drawn her inevitably towards a particular one-eyed bowman, and she leaves roses on her doorstep, hoping he will come. Baron English (Bohren) is her lifelong friend and guardian, head of the royal guard, who cannot help but worry about what her head full of fantasies has gotten her into this time.

Samuel Jenner (Sorian) is Wilhelmina's power-hungry uncle who has nearly replaced his entire form with mechanical parts. He murdered Kovalev's father and thus, is the prime target for revenge. Jerry the Hand (Kaiaden) is the leader of a street gang of teenaged boys who sell mechanical parts and body modifications in exchange for modifications on themselves. He works directly for Jenner since no one suspects the young. Jhiri (Mirab) is one of Jenner's experiments, a princess from another island whose 'ghost' has been imprinted on a mechanical body, so she will stay beautiful forever. It is unclear whose side she is on - or if she has the emotional capacity to even chose a side anymore.

Back to fan art, though. I friggin' love D. Grayman! The character designs appeal so much to me. Lavi is one of my favorite characters, but I admit I dig eyepatches in general. I did another bas-relief style picture with them. Here are the initial sketches:

I decided my style wasn't "animu" enough for the next fan art pieces I wanted to do (pieces I have wanted to do for a long time, characters which I will put to rest once this is accomplished). So, I looked at ProdigyBombay and Korilin's work for some visual reference. I don't think I got it, though. I need to keep trying.

I went on and did the sketches anyhow.

The only organ not removed from the body during mummification was the heart. Therefore, I thought it would be very appropriate to do a Bakura piece, since his trademark card is the "Change of Heart." I really loved YuGiOh when I was in high school. It was the only reason I would wake up so early on Saturday morning (and simultaneously do my chemistry homework while watching). I want to re-draw everyone except Bakura and the Millennium Items. Yugi looks like a plant.

Finally, this is a piece I've wanted to do for ever, but could never find a decent way to do it. EVA is one of my favorite series, and for his seventeen minutes of screentime, I absolutely adore Kaworu. I need to draw a lot more elements for this, though. The seated Rei and Asuka are the ones I am not using in the final. Upon further analysis, the piece should center on the (much more popular) girls, rather than Shinji.

Anyhow, I was happy with my art when I made the last post, but now I'm not. I feel obligated to move into digital color for the wrong reasons - to please other people, not to better my own skills.