Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Syrielle & Nadia cosplayers

A friend suggested the idea, and I had fun sketching it :) Nadia & Syrielle, my original fantasy characters, are cosplaying as the two way more famous superheroines, Storm and Black Canary. It was very fun to use some old markers I bought so many years ago. Glad to discover they're still very good! The sketching paper I used is really too light for markers, but I like the sketch result afterall. The good thing of these kind of markers is that the color gets darker if you keep coloring over the same area, so you can achieve various effects like that :) Also, I didn't used it so much in that pic, but I gave a couple touches with a white pencil to do a couple highlight effects in Storm costume!

Monday, January 30, 2012

[BookReview] Deleter Manga Techniques Vol.5

When I reopened the blog, I also decided to expand it a bit adding some reviews, mostly for How to Draw manuals I liked.
Learning how to draw is also a matter of practicing a lot, but these manuals could contains some useful suggestions and clarify some points. So let's start :


Deleter Manga Techniques Vol.5 (80 pages) is a very good starting point for a newbie artist who want to know more about drawing manga styled stories. Despite being "volume 5", you don't need to own the previous books in order to understand this one as it works nicely as a standalone manual. What I really liked about this book is the quite unique (or at least rare, but of course Scott McCloud did it before and it became his trademark approch for Drawing Books) approach: the whole book lessons are showed in the form of a manga, featuring two characters (you can see them in the cover) learning themselves how to draw manga together: the guy seems to be slightly more expert and the girl is more than happy to ask him infos while she builds her own manga story.

 At first I thought this approach could lead to not-serious explanations on techincal matters, instead the book surprised me on covering a wide range or drawing topics in a good way, and not making them boring, thanks to the comic characters.

It starts with drawing basis (the same ones you'll fine in many other manuals): human figure proportions, perspective, placing characters into a 3D space and such, and then dives into the basis of making a manga comic; the size of the page, the "cage" for the page layout, then the various steps: from the storyboard to the penciling, to inking and screentoning, everything is covered giving useful infos on materials and specs for page sies and so on. From this book for exmaple I learned the names of the various inking pen nibs, so I could order them :) If you're wondering, when I ink with pen nibs, I most often use G-Pen nibs: very elastic and allowing a good range of differently sized lines, from thin to thick, without problems. Usually inking like this needs some practice but it really gives satisfying results :)

If I can find a critic to make to this book, is the fact it can cover enough each topic, due to the wide amount of topics listed: if you are already used to perspective and proprtions stuff, you won't find much help from the complete but quick lessons on the book. So it's really a wonderful book for beginners: very complete and absolutely not boring, a well crafted idea; here, after many years owning the book, I decided to give it to a friend who wanted to learn more about drawing manga. It seems she liked it and found it very helpful, so I confirm my impressions on it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Stormy saturday

Outside the weather is stormy so why not sketching Storm? The above sketch actually was done some time ago. Quite a silly concept for a pic (poor Storm, not finding her classic costume long boots!) I know but was fun to sketch XD

This one is more recent (as, some mins pefore posting). The approach between the two sketches is quite different imho. The first one had a more cartoon/anime influence in Storm design, while this second one is strongly inspired by John Byrne classic design of the character. Byrne, along with writer Chris Claremont, contributed to some of the best X-men stories. One of the most famous (not my very fav, but surely a great story) is the Dark Phoenix saga, wich heavily inspired the third X-men movie (the comic is very different form the movie anyway).


One of my very fav stories instead is the famous two parts storyarc "Days of Future Past", wich notably anticipated Terminator movies concepts by some years:


In both these stories I just presented, Storm role isn't central, yet she already appears as the very strong character that made me like her a lot :) And Byrne design for her still remains one of my very fav!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Zelda: Skyward Sword

Some days ago I finished the Wii game Zelda: Skyward Sword. I got the game some days after its release, around the second half of November. I'm not a big videogame player, meaning that I usually am quite busy with other things to sit down and play, but if I have a new game, I usually find some mins every now and then to have fun with it. And this was the case of course.

I got caught by the style of the game: it's way more colorful and cartoonesque than the previous chapter for the same console, Twilight Princess, and while I like both styles equally, the colorful style really adapts well to this new story, wich someway reminded the feeling of anime movies like Miyazaki's Laputa! The characters and locations are various enough, and fans of the series can have fun finding new version of some classic characters like Impa or, of course, Zelda and Link. Zelda in particular has a great cute design in this episode, and her role in the story is more active than usual; she surely appears as a strong and determined girl, with a very sweet side as well. I definetly liked both her design and her characterization.

Zelda can deal with some bullies without Link help ;)
The story is epic enough and the series trademark inventivness for puzzles and items to be equipped is at its best here imho :) The wiimote controller is fully used and you really feel the game wouldn't be the same on a different console :) In any case, was writing this post also because yesterday I sketched a couple Zelda: Skyward Sword pics, there you go:
I liked the idea of Zelda relaxing after all the adventures she had in the game, chatting with Fi, another very nicely designed character (but she isn't a great talker I admit).
This is just a random sketch I did, to practice a bit with Zelda face, and to sketch chibi Fi, just for fun!

In any case a strongly suggested game, if you were looking for a great adventure to play with you wii :)


And here also is a link to Laputa anime movie DVD. Among other things, it inspired one of my very favorite Gainax series, Secret of Blue Water! Laputa is a great classic of animation, by the amazing director Hayao Miyazaki:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Poll 1.2, and the charas are...

There we go, the first poll is complete :) It seems the winners kept the first place for the whole time :) I think it helps that it's the current new designs featured i the current manga and anime episodes. I like a lot those new designs so I'm more than happy of the result :)
I'll do the DiD pic in the next weeks and it will be posted on next site update or sooner, hopefully :) Thanks a lot again to everyone for voting!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nami and Nico Robin

While waiting for the poll results, here is the inked and colored pic of Nami and Nico Robin :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Poll #1 results. And the winner is,,,

No doubt on the winner of the first poll here:
At first Dragonball was on top but two days ago One Piece started increasing quite fast 'till the result you see there :) Not a big problems for the other series anyway, as they'll be reproposed on other polls, after this one is complete on its character selection as well :) In the meanwhile, here we do have a sketch representing our happy winners ;)

Nami: "Yay, we'll get our DiD pic...oh, waitamin!!!" è__é
And also, here is the new poll to choose the characters for the pic (to be inserted on the right side of the site as soon as I complete this post) :) Thanks a lot for voting, everyone :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zee

While we wait to know what series won the poll, here is a chibi Zatanna sketch :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Poll #1

Just added a poll on the right side of the page :) Please suggest me a series for the next DiD pic. The poll closes this saturday. Once the series has been choosen, there will be another poll to choose the characters :) Thanks a lot!

Syrielle's home

I just found the early sketches I did for Syrielle's home in the wood. This is where I started:
Early sketch for Syrielle's home. Notice how I can't even write correctly the name of my own character!!!^^;
Despite liking a lot this solution, I considered it was too much "sylvan elf" for Syrielle character, who ran away from her home city (and from the huge elf king and queen palace) just to stay in peace alone in the wood. But since she's a princess and all, I thought it was more appropiate for her home (of course built with magic by her) to look more like a gothic mini-castle. I still like the effect:
Second sketch


And that's ore near the one used in Fantasy Frontier comics, definetly! Her isolated castle...too bad her sister Serena couldn't help following her and settling there too!

Sirielle first complete design :)
Serena first complete design as well!
I liked the simple but effective color palette used for their outfits. I think it's effective and helps identifying the characters.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chibi Mys and her cat (and drawing software thoughts)

It's always fun to draw my friend original character, Mysidia and I found this old sketch of her in chibi style with her cat XD  I think I did many sketches like that, here is a colored one:

I think this one was colored way many years ago, before I switched to using Photoshop full time. Back in the days I used Open Canvas by Portalgraphics, a japanese (available in english, no worries!) digital painting software which I liked for having just the essentials, complete tools for painting, in a clean interface, for a lightweight memory using program (unless you're working with huge images of course). This at least was my impressions on versions 2.06 (if I'm not wrong) and 3.0, but I read here it got up to version 5.0 now :) Browsing the website, I'm seeing it mantained all the basic functions I liked, like the very easy to use screentone tool:
I often used this tool back in the days, was usful for doing nets for example.
The color picker seems to have been expanded for being more in line with standard other softwares color pickers: you can now choose between 4 different kind of color picker methods as you can see here:
Confused? In any case I usually use the top left method :)
Then it has Layers, customizable brushes/gradients/patterns...everything you need to have fun in digital painting. You may consider this software in case you need something lightweight and easy to use. The site has a free trial download ready for you in case you wanna test it before deciding :)
And woah, wasn't planning to do a mini-review here but lemme know if you found it useful :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chara design sketch


I don't recall the backstory of this character, but I like the overall cool look she has and the outfit :) Hope you like too!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Avatar The Last Airbender related design

A sketch I did some time ago for my friend OC Mysidia, supposely in Fire Country outfit, from Avatar - The Last Airbender series :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Storm :)

I'm big fan of X-men's Storm and just found this old sketch I did of her in movie version :) Not bad costume design I think^_^

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bunny-bots

I found this old mecha design sketch for the "Bunny-bots" XD cute rabbit robots usually seen around Rid's (Link to his blog) original characters ;)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Furry designs

 Found these old sketches for furry chara design :) First was an unused design for a tickling/furry comic. Who knows if one day I'll use it for a one-shot issue or such :)
Second one was the very veyr first sketch for Afterland chara design. Actually this was done for a furry tickling picture contest wich was run by  PawFeather on deviantart :) Soi yes, these are the very first sketches I did for Akisu and Souku: