Shout out of the Week 5

I almost forgot to do a shout out of the week! This week’s shout out goes to  Laura Brouwers AKA: Cyarine! She’s a huge instagrammer, but I originally discovered her from DeviantArt way back in the day.

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She often draws from real life, using herself as the subject. Her grasp of the human anatomy and different poses is exquisite.

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She’s also a fashion icon. Her drawings are often based on the outfits she is wearing for that day. I’m pretty terrible at drawing clothes, and have awful fashion sense so Cyarine is definitely my inspiration for what looks good since I just can’t be trusted in that regard.

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Her work ranges from the sketchy, and stylistic in a Disney-esque sort of depiction…

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…to the intensely realistic, and beautifully rendered shadings. She’s very versatile, and no matter what she’s drawing it always seems to have a certain quality, and style that is unique to herself.

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Interested in seeing more of Cyarine? Check her out below!

https://www.instagram.com/cyarine/?hl=en

https://www.patreon.com/cyarin

@shortandnotginger

Hillbilly Book Review

Hola!

I have just come back from my vacation rejuvenated and ready to go! All it takes is a little break to feel refreshed. And while I was on vacation I bought a few books. One of them is the delightful graphic novel, “Hillbilly” by Eric  Powell.

If you like horror and fantasy, this is a fantastic book for you. Hillbilly is about a…well…a hillbilly. The main character is named Rondel who is a wandering witch-hunter. A witch tricked him as a child, so ever since then he vowed to make witches his prey. He would act as judge, jury,  and executioner in doting out punishment to the wicked of the Southern lands.

There are multiple stories in volume 1. Each depicts a different period in Rondel’s life. 1 story is the beginning, where we learn of Rondel’s past and how he acquired his cleaver. It goes into detail on how his eyes came to look the way they do (pitch black and stained with tears), and his first encounter with a witch.

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Another tale depicts Death riding a pale horse, and how he follows Rondel in his journey to save an innocent soul. The Fiddle that Screamed for Blood is a great story within the book where we see Rondel actually having fun at a party, but it is crashed by a possessed fiddle interrupting his good fun. Finally, The Flesh Eating Witch Child of Hoodoo Ridge is my favorite as Rondel gangs up with a team of his friends for some good old fashioned witch hunting. But it doesn’t go quite as planned…

The stories are interesting. The characters are darkly humorous. But the real reason this caught my eye…is the absolutely wonderful artistry in this graphic novel. Eric is an extremely talented artist. It’s evident in the characters he portrays with what seems like effortless craftsmanship.

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I also just really love monsters, and magical creatures. In the world of Hillbilly it seems that evil is lurking just around every corner. You never know if the person you’re talking to is really a human, or if a tree is just a tree. With witches afoot chaos ensues in the South.

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5 stars from me! I highly recommend this book to any avid fantasy/horror fanatics out there. It’s also just a great tool for artists looking to have a reference book for ‘how to draw monsters/creatures/comics’ in general.

Beginner Animations

Hi!

It’s been awhile since there has been any activity on this blog. Courtney, Brandon, and I have all been working our butts off on other projects. I can’t wait to unveil more details about what we’ve been cooking up, but for now I figured I would just post some of my old projects on here as a blast from my past as an Animation student. I’ve always loved animation thanks to great films from Disney/Pixar, Dreamworks, and LAIKA studios.

But guys, animation is hard. It’s a lot of drawing. A lot of erasing. A lot of wondering, “How would this *insert activity* actually look in 2d motion?” I don’t think I am terrible at animation, but I’ve definitely got looooots of room for improvement. These are my thoughts on my past animation projects.

Here is the classic head turn. Any beginner typically starts with this. Looking back on this animation now I can see where I probably needed to fix some things. I think I was so focused on the hair, and the facial expression he made that I didn’t notice the abnormality of his neck. Look at how the neck moves when he turns his head. It’s not normal. Lol. There’s also a few frames where…for some reason…his head has a dent? Whoops. But hey even though this is only like 2 seconds I think I made about 30-40 drawings here. 40!

Now the next milestone is the dreaded walk cycle. I hated the walk cycle. It was just so repetitive. I remember the critique I got on this in class was that her boobs were too bouncy. And that wasn’t even an effect I was trying to go for, but since I was trying to get that A+ I remember arguing with my teacher saying, “What if she’s not wearing a bra? Those things bounce around!” Lol. Her boot strap things also slide a little bit as well if you look closely. I know one of the aspects in animation that I struggled (and still do) with is making the sizing and shape of the body the same throughout the course of the animation.

The lip sync project….*sighs* This wasn’t a bad animation necessarily, but it just needed more time. What a lot of people don’t realize about hand drawn animation is just how much time it takes to create. If I gave this another pass with inbetweens (frames in between the key animation points) this would be much smoother, and flow better. Also, the other aspect that I should have changed is that the first frame I started with was with his mouth open. Instead of beginning on an action shot(speaking), I should have started from a neutral position because otherwise it is jarring for the viewer.

This was probably my lowest graded project. The purpose was to show a character exhibiting force on an object. The issue here is the way she bends. Her back sort of leans down as if she’s a robot. She doesn’t bend in the knees at all, which if you’ve ever tried to lift a heavy object you know the importance of lifting from the knees. Otherwise you’ll throw your back out. Once again, I think I was more focused on her hair, and expression than the actual mechanics of how a person’s body would move naturally in that situation. It was a learning experience though.

What do you struggle with the most in animation? Comment your own learning experiences down below!

Sword Art Online – What went wrong?

I have many opinions that are not necessarily popular ones. One of them is my dislike of Sword Art Online. This is a different post than what is typical for me, but I am a big anime fan, so it was only a matter of time before I ‘came out of the closet’ so to speak.

I would like to say that right now I am directing this post to my co-blogger Brandon. I know he LOVES Sword Art Online, so if he feels like countering me on this he’s more than welcome to.

When I first saw Sword Art Online I thought it would be a really cool anime. People trapped inside of a video game? Sounds fuckin’ rad.

And it was cool…at first. I enjoyed the first few episodes where the anime sets the setting of the video game universe, introduces the characters, and really sets up the story for an interesting plot as the goal is to reach the highest floor level in the game without dying. The underlying mystery of why they were trapped was compelling as well as it had you questioning if there was a hidden reason behind this malfunction in the game or not?

I think the anime started to go downhill for me when Asuna and Kirito’s relationship really took the focal point of the anime. Instead of a psychological thriller, where the people trapped inside of a game have to fight for their lives it became a shallow romance between two high-schoolers instead.

Don’t get me wrong. I love romance. But instead of an interesting perspective on humans and how they would react to being trapped inside of a video game where the consequences are real, and their lives are on the line it became a dating anime where the main male character meets cute girls in an exotic setting. Because it wasn’t just Asuna who fell in love with him. I slowly realized SAO was starting to take on some harem-like qualities as a lot of the characters other than Kirito were attractive young girls that were just there to fall for him or progress his character development.

And that’s just not my cup of tea.

That’s really my main issue I had with the anime. Other than that yeah, I liked Asuna. She’s cute. Kirito is a bad ass. But then they get married in game, and apparently have a child…uuuuhm what? You lost me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exciting News for the Future!

Good day everyone!

Typically I don’t post anything going on in my private life here. I tend to focus on advice, other artists, or how-to’s. But I couldn’t keep this to myself anymore, and wanted to let you know what is happening with the LiveWritely gang.

We are creating something…exciting.

It’s not ready for launch yet, as we still haven’t set a date but don’t worry. We won’t be keeping you out of the loop as this progresses.

I have wanted to do my very own podcast for some time. But it had always just been this far off dream. I never thought of really trying to do it. But when I told Brandon my idea, he got all excited. He was 100% on board with me on this, and somehow we came together to form this podcast. He’s a very talented writer and I appreciate all the work he has put into this.

We are in the process of working out the rest of the episodes, and recording them (featuring Courtney’s lovely voice). But here are a few quotes pulled from Episode 1 that I would like to share with you all.

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Listen to our story unfold as this sci-fi, mystery unravels around the recorded tapes of recovering addict Micah Taylor. Beware the voices in the night.

COMING SOON!

Texture Tuesday

Hello fellow artists and designers!

I thought I would try my hand at something a bit different today. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but do you ever see a photo that is really satisfying? There is just something about it that is complete, and whole, and simply wonderful? I decided I would post a bunch of textures and patterns that I found to be tantalizing. Think of it like ASMR for the eyes.

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And there you go!

12 photos that just exist to make you feel good. I hope this helped all those anxiety-ridden, OCD people out there feel a bit more relaxed. I know it helped me.

Shout out of the Week 4

I don’t know why I keep calling these shout out’s of the week when really, I post them maybe once a month….and they always seem to fall on the same day? Exactly? Without myself even trying to do that on purpose… The world is a mysterious place.

Ehem.

This shout out goes to an artist I’ve been following on Instagram for quite a while. Her name is Maruti Bitamin. She is an exceptional watercolor artist who creates these really detailed patterns and textures in most of her artwork. Here are some snapshots of her work.

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The attention to detail and precision with which she manipulates watercolors is astounding to me. Those who have ever dabbled in watercolor painting know that it’s next to impossible to have controlled line-work. The water dilutes the paint, and when it is put onto a piece of paper it spreads out and goes everywhere. But somehow Maruti seems to have mastered this technique as you can tell from the pictures above.

Maruti is very connected to nature, and all of her drawings have this theme. She tends to post several drawings at least once a day, and they are all usually centered around water, earth, death & rebirth theme, Spring time, animals etc. She also has a very surrealistic style, sometimes going into the abstract as you can see below. I love how creative she is, and is always coming up with new designs like…every day!

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Maruti has a store where you can purchase some of her prints, and various apparel items. So get yourself a T-shirt today! You can view more of Maruti’s artwork on her social media accounts here:

https://www.instagram.com/maruti_bitamin/?hl=en

http://www.koyamori.ca/

http://maruti-bitamin.tumblr.com/

 

Art Block Excercise

Have you ever been stuck in an art block before? You just have no motivation or inspiration to create anything? I often find myself sitting in front of a blank page wanting to create something, but having no idea what to draw.

Well, I found a way to combat the art block blues. Grab some paper, and some watercolor paints firstly. And then just start indiscriminately dabbing random blob shapes onto your paper. Let it dry, and see what you get. My example is below. Oh, and don’t mind my messy ass paints. I’m just a complete wreck. 🙂

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Just this step, by itself, can be pretty freeing. You don’t have to think about what you’re doing or why. You’re just making random shapes with no rhyme or reason to them. But that’s only the first part.

Next you will try to come up with a drawing for each color blob shape you made. I used this as an excercise for character creation, but you can really draw whatever you feel like. My doodles below are an example of what I’m describing.

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And the important aspect of this is getting creative as you design something to fit the shape of the blob you created. Try to be as true to that shape as possible and really test your imagination. I think this is also a good exercise if you find your art style growing stale or if you’re not improving at the rate you would like to be. It gets your mind back to the basics of shapes & colors without the pressure of coming up with some grand masterpiece.

Let me know if you tried this exercise, and how you felt about it! I would love to see other people’s blob works as well.

Melting Your Artwork in 4 Steps

Ever since I joined this blog I have been wanting to do this DIY project. Melted art. I’ve created a few pieces in the past using melted crayons as you can see below.

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It’s a really relaxing technique since you don’t have to try so hard to get something just right. You just let the melting crayons go where they want to go, and there’s a certain freedom in that. You’ll understand what I mean by that as I explain the steps of this art style.

Step 1. Getting Your Supplies

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1.) Hair Dryer

2.) Canvas. I’m assuming you can use wood blocks or any other surface too. Just nothing too flammable as we will be applying heat.

3.) Crayons. It doesn’t matter what kind as long as they are the colors you would like.

4.) A utensil to hold your crayon in place. I used a plastic fork as that is all that I had on hand, but I’m sure toothpicks or pliers would work too.

Step 2. Pick Your Colors

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These are the colors I chose for this example, but it’s good to have some sort of plan in advance as the melted colors will be blending and mixing as you go. For every color you add to the mixture the muddier your overall color collage will be, so it’s good to plan out when to add your darks and lights.

Step 3. Start melting!

Set up your canvas, and plug in your hair dryer. Secure your crayon with your utensil because if you don’t it will roll all over the place. Now just position your hair dryer close to your crayon, making sure it’s blowing air directly onto it. It may take a few seconds, but you’ll see it start to melt a little. You can keep it still if you like, or spread it around like a paint brush too. It’s abstract art, so just do what you want with it!

Step 4. Blending

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Now again, this is art. So it’s totally up to you to decide what you want to do with your piece! But this is a great technique for blending colors in a really cool way if you do it right. Try mixing complimentary colors to achieve some interesting shades. The crayon will melt wherever you point your hairdryer, so you do have a bit of control over it. I recommend starting with your light colors, and then adding darks as there is no way to erase anything once it has been melted.

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And voila! It’s done! You’ve got a cool finished piece, and you didn’t even have to struggle with drawing and erasing over and over, or mixing 10 different shades of blue to achieve the color you wanted. You just plug in, go, and hope for the best.

This is super easy, and I honestly finished this piece in about an hour. I recommend this for people who are interested in art, but don’t know where to start. You can really let your creativity flow and be very free form with this exercise with no pressure on ‘doing it right’. I find it therapeutic as well. It relaxes me for some reason? So, if you struggle with anxiety, and want to keep your hands and mind busy why not give this a try!

 

Coworkers: The good and the bad

Getting along with co workers in a small space

 

*I write this with a pain in my shoulder from where Brandon was stabbing me repeatedly in the same spot with his finger.  I was sassy, and he retaliated.*

As a disclaimer, I am talking about my own personal experience. Other jobs are much different than my own. Brandon, Meagan, and I are good friends, and have been for a long time, and now we just happen to be working together too. 

Tight spaces are hard on everyone, and even harder when it comes to working with people you have a good bond with. We are shoved into a small office, with just enough space for our desks, and some floor-nap space. We are very different people- despite how many times I hear “You and Brandon are the same person.”- and we have different ways of comfort. I like sunshine and soft music, whereas Brandon likes the cave setting and The Office playing in the background (Courtney finds sounds with words distracting and will often turn up her volume to extreme levels, because Brandon’s corner somehow amplifies sound at her) (and Courtney speaks in third person from time to time). We have learned to compromise; aka, the blinds are shut and Courtney’s headphones are noise-cancelling-ish because Courtney is nice (I’m kidding don’t hurt me).

NOTE: Take a floor nap. They suck, but they are oddly reviving.

Coworkers are like siblings. They will get on your nerves and drive you crazy from time to time. Just hearing them breathe will set you over the edge. You fight like cats and dogs, sometimes verbally, and sometimes non verbally.  The air will get so thick that you think you can reach out and pull at the ropes between you and smack the other person in the room. And this time, when you are bubbling with anger or irritation, is when you learn what kind of angry person you are. In our office, we are passive aggressive. “What are you working on over there?” “Who are you talkin’ to?” “Have you finished so-and-so’s project yet?” And the tension rises.

And then there are days where there is more kinship than working (Like after I told Brandon that his arm-poking was like Chinese water torture, we sat down and reminisced on high school times and made Meagan angry, to which Brandon granted me the greatest compliment: “You are naturally very smart.” Which I will promptly get tattooed somewhere on my body to commemorate such a day). You chat away and discuss the future and dream so big that you inflate the small amount of space that you occupy. You smile and you laugh and you tell stories and get side tracked in your time. Those are the days that make the hard days okay. Brandon and I have had some awful down moments and said some awful things, but I believe that it has made us a closer team.

At the end of the day, when your partner is your friend, all you can have is faith. Faith that he/she will get done the things they have set forth to do, and not hold your random bouts of frustration against you. It’s about knowing who you are working with, and trusting what you have established and what you are aiming to accomplish further on down the road.

My advice to you is: befriend your coworkers. Make them hate you and make them love you.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” –A tale of Two Cities