Art: Morbid Ending

LOL... Happy birthday to my favorite character ever! Ironically, I've drawn you dying. I've been playing around with my story's ending, but I don't want to write it up for you all just yet. Minus a few egregious anatomy errors, this came out just how I wanted it to. Unfortunately, the colors are so subtle it looks so much better in real life!

"Argia dena pilio. E leva ei senta ni pienara. Em korvi reduka ta tari en sinera."

Wrath begets Pardon. I depart and feel no pain. My body returns to the earth in ashes.


Art: 028/100 Themes - Sorrow

Sororea.” – Sorrow. 28/100 Themes.

This is an immediate, temporal, continuation of the “Breathe Again” picture for this same series.

I think there are some things that might cause readers to question the consistency in my characters’ personality designs, but all I can say is like any human being, Rivek does things that are contradictory, things that he will ask himself later why he did them. Like, instinctively save the life of someone who he feels betrayed him. I want to convey the idea that he’s not an innately “good” or “bad” character and often does good things for selfish reasons or bad things for someone else’s reasons. We all have difficulty making decisions, and I want something more complicated than the standard “good because society says so” hero or the not-so-standard “self-serving but coincidentally good” anti-hero.

I removed the rope situation for continuity – assuming the pair has floated quite a way down the river by now, there’s no way Bohren would be on shore with a rope. That would assume Rivek had been able to swim upstream back to the bridge. Nevertheless, Fenne’s dad is a douche.

Rivek surfaced from the water, lungs raging and gasping for air just as cold as the water itself. The initial shock froze him momentarily before he remembered to lift the prince’s head above water. With one limb incapacitated by the other man’s weight, he struggled to find some patch of underwater ground he could at least walk on. He kicked around for a minute, often losing to the current and winding up a few inches further downriver. Finally, his feet made contact with soft, but stable, earth, and he used the resistance to throw the body over his back. Through the cold, wet, skin and cloth, he had no way to tell the prince was still alive.

As he trudged back toward dry land, he had a thought that sickened him slightly. He found he personally didn’t care in particular whether the prince survived, only that he feared the repercussions – likely, violent – he’d face if he had let a member of the royal family die, no matter how much trouble that family member had been.

He collapsed to his knees and unceremoniously threw the prince off his back. He paused as his body re-accustomed to the weather, causing him to hack blood and water onto the ground. Despite having come from inside a warm, living, body, the mixture exiting his chest was completely frigid, but at least the cold minimized the blood from burning the insides of his trachea. As his eyes and throat cleared, he noticed the prince still hadn’t moved. “Fuck,” he rasped, but the speech caused him to enter another coughing fit.

After recovering again, Rivek crawled over to the still form and put his fingers against Fenne’s neck. Whether he felt a breath, a pulse, or his own shivering, he couldn’t tell. Either way, he wouldn’t take the chance. He pushed down on the prince’s chest, awkwardly forcing some water from his lungs through compression. Fenne’s eyes stayed closed.

“Get away from my son.”

Rivek stood up and backed off on his knees. He crouched, ankles now submerged into the icy river again, and watched as the king and his envoy marched through the nearby trees. The ruler motioned toward his family medic. The healer rapidly placed his hands on the unconscious boy’s chest, and the water flowed steadily out his mouth. As the last bit ran down his cheek, he began to breathe normally again. Shortly after, he sat up and opened his eyes. First, he looked to his father, who only responded with a stony glare, and then to Rivek. He lifted his eyebrows as if to say something, but thought better of it. Instead, he turned away to take the dry towel the healer and offered him.

Rivek knelt on the riverbank, shivering, and watched as Fenne’s father put his arm around his son’s shoulders, and the pair walked away without so much as a glance backwards in return. Sopping and stumbling, Rivek got to his feet. He knew if he wanted dry clothes, he’d have to find them himself.


Art: Blast Radius

Rivek, with some Fallout 3 Influences. An exercise in rendering dirt.

Not happy, and I lost the original idea (the empty space had another character), so this picture will be re-made soon.

We just hit $1,000 for the Boiled Fish Art Book project, coming Spring 2011! At least forty pages of illustration, sketches, and walkthroughs from ten great artists. Also include exclusive content - and you get more exclusive bonuses if you preorder. You may even win an original sketch! Please support us - through donation or advertising - here!


Art: Voici, le Moulin Rouge!

Unless I come up with something suddenly tons better, this will be my second submission to our Boiled Fish Art Book project, coming Spring 2011! At least forty pages of illustration, sketches, and walkthroughs from ten great artists. Also include exclusive content - and you get more exclusive bonuses if you preorder. You may even win an original sketch! Please support us - through donation or advertising - here: http://kck.st/c8Afi8

I was very active in musical theater in high school, and it's left a mark on me today. Moulin Rouge maintains its place as one of my favorite movies of all time (Ewan's voice!). I love the vibrant, over-the-top aesthetic, especially of past ages.

I colored this in two days with marker and gel pen. This is the most elaborate marker piece I've done, focusing on lighting (and some design detail). It's not as soft as I had hoped, though. I'm a little unhappy with the overall saturation-everywhere feel, but I hope others will like it. My hands are stained as if they did bloody battle with an army made of colors.


Rant: To The Passive-Aggressive, Socially Awkward, Teen-aged Asian Female Living In the United States

For those who deem this "TL;DR", the overall message is "nut up or shut up."

You are not your grades.
You are not your SAT scores.
And whether you like it or not, you will fail.

And you probably will stubbornly refuse to learn anything until you do.

Your parents grew up in a nation where everything was defined by test scores and money. If you wanted to be powerful, you did perfectly in school. Or, if that wasn't your thing, you could just buy your way to whatever you wanted. So what your parents have taught you is to be smart and be cheap. Except, you're now in a country with an entirely different set of values which tout anti-intellectualism and luxurious spending. As a result, you are merely a nerdy cheapskate, and you are wondering why you're so unhappy.

You want to believe that you are a good kid, so you try really hard - because you think what you lack in talent, you will make up for in effort. In Japanese cartoons, screaming harder always helps the good guys win! Surprise, surprise, exerting effort just makes you tired. You sacrifice sleep and food to attain that perfect grade - because self-sacrifice is glamorous. And what you make when you're tired certainly isn't worth that 4.0 that you keep striving for, so you're never going to get it. Seriously, just drop an assignment. The best lesson the you're going to learn is that no one cares, so manage your time and just do what is a priority. Don't lose sleep over it. When you don't turn in your homework, you get marked down, and the world goes on.

Always forced to study - potentially since you were in elementary school at places like Kumon, you've been socially deprived for many years, and you can't imagine how anyone could like you (or if you're so arrogant, how anyone couldn't like you). The thing is, people don't like you for quantitative reasons - that you're good at math, or that you can draw pretty well - they like you when you are fun to be around. So get out of your study hole, and make some friends, even if it costs your grades to slip a little. And you shouldn't expect them to be perfect-numbered people, either. You're looking for friends, not employees, right? Those six-figure jobs your parents keep pestering you about are obtained through interviews, anyway, and if you spend your life talking to a computer, there's little likelihood you can talk to a person. Otherwise, no one will notice you, and the world goes on.

Oftentimes, you are a financial hypocrite. Part of you wants to do that thing your parents do where they fight for the check and then pay for the entire meal, but you're a student, and you're cheap. Somehow, it hasn't sunk in that Americans usually split checks, and when people pay for everyone, it's because they're genuinely nice, not showing off some familial status. So while you make these shows of being rich, you take your cut back through the little things by forgetting your cash, borrowing a few bucks here and there, mooching your friends' food or asking them to drive you places (because, as an Asian girl, you were never taught to drive - your brother was your chauffeur or your parents didn't have the patience for it). Just be fair and split your bills. If everyone pays their share, you don't stir up resentment, and the world goes on.

You're good at a lot of things, but you're not great at anything. And your history of never messing up on top of your parents' endless demands has led you to need a lot of positive reinforcement. Your drawings or violin solos are good, but they're nowhere near professional quality. You seek attention to make you feel good about your perceived-as-childish hobby, to validate why you continue to do it. However, you have become so callous from shrugging off your parents unrealistic comments that you've immunized yourself to honest critique. The thing is, no one in the real world is going to waste their time giving you praise or feeding your ego. People have better things to do. You have to find a deeper, inner drive, for what you want to do because no matter how desperately you need a hug, you can't be sure anyone's going to stop to give you one. Besides, those Ivy League schools like people who do interesting things, and pure test scores aren't interesting. If you define yourself by what other people say, people will get tired of reinforcing your self-image - the world goes on.

Finally, because your parents stressed how terrible boys can be, you are deathly grossed out by the mere concept of sex. Make-up is practically foreign, but what's worse is that you have no confidence in the way you look. It doesn't matter that you're 5' 8" because you grew up drinking cow's milk - you're a size XXL in Asia, and that means you're fat. And now that you're in college, your parents are asking you why you don't have a boyfriend, and why he's not a doctor. But, you can't have a healthy relationship because you have no idea what one consists of. You expect American guys to act like the mirror-boys in Korean dramas. So when that guy asked you for your number after class, he was certainly a "creeper" with no intention to actually study with you, and even if you did find him cute, he could never, ever, ever, be a nice person because he is the one asking you out. But, on the other hand - you have no confidence in yourself, so you'd never ask a guy out! Even worse, your low self-esteem might be so detrimental that you have turned your self-life into a series of highly unrealistic, sexless, boy-boy romances played out on internet forums with other girls. BL is fine - and can be pretty hot - but it's still just fantasy. So, within reason, take care of your looks and treat guys as friends, and then maybe you'll get your doctor - but he probably won't be a doctor. Or look like a Korean supermodel (that's all plastic surgery anyway). Otherwise your would-be special someone find a girl who actually treats them like a human being. The world goes on.

All I can say is I speak from experience. You can tell me this advice is crazy, but hey - I'm happy and learning when I make mistakes, and you're moping about how much you suck - so you tell me now, who's crazy?