Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The science of old-school RPGs...

So, I was testing emulators on my vaio netbook today. Now as some of you know, the best emulators run most games very well. You'd have no problem playing Super Mario World on any emulator. The problem comes in with Squaresoft RPGs. Now, I loaded up Final Fantasy 1&2: Dawn of Souls for the gameboy advance. The emulation was pretty bad for the intro, but I wanted to see how it would handle the actual game. Pressing start about 257209562 times lead me to the "opening cinematic". It began with this operatic score...I mean, this music was epic! But the visuals behind it was a bunch of cutesy 16-bit sprites. I particulary recall a scene that just had a rinky-dink tower on barren desert world map with a partical system covering the wholescreen and moving left to right. At that moment, I thought "I actually like that these simple graphics and symbols let my imagination handle this 'Tower standing in the sandstorm image. I thought "This is why I still like these games". Now you think about it. You thought Magus was cool in '96. The rinky-dink graphics of Chrono Trigger only nudged you in the direction of how to invision that character, but your imagination, powered by all the things you'd seen and experienced at the age of 15 made him cool for you. Now think of how differently you might have envisioned that character AFTER seeing Ninja Scroll or Princess Mononoke. Now think of how you might see him in the present, after seeing more recent animated awesomeness! Point is, i realized that the way I see a game like Final Fantasy VI changes as i change. It grows with me. Final Fantasy X does NOT. And neither does any other RPG made after....Maybe Wild Arms 2074523056 is old school style, but who cares about Wild Arms. A lot of you missed out on this experience because you only really got into RPGS with FF7, But I think that you might all be able to relate this concept to RTS/RPG hybrid games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea.

Monday, October 25, 2010

335 Days of Scetches!!

So I've been watching a lot of TV since the invention of Hulu and Netflix Watch Instantly on my ps3 & wii. One of my guilty pleasures is a fox show called "House". Structurally, its a terrible concept for a show. Basically Greg House is the Sherlocke Holmes of medical maladies...literally, he's Sherlock Holmes the way Neo was Jesus. Even though it can be predictable, I still like mysteries and i love Love LOVE Sherlock Holmes. This is a sketch of that character painfully scanned on my piece of crap all-in-one. Find me in real life if you want to see the ACTUAL drawing :P As a side note the original title for the show was "Everybody Lies" :)

336 Days of Scetches!!

As you've probably guessed, i managed to get a scanner up and running so there will be more post daily as i try to catch up with the ridiculous goal of posting a sketch a day for the year 2010. The explanation for this pic is "Sometimes you just wanna draw a ninja turtle...what else can i say?"

336 Days of Scetches!!

So I was on a subway train leaving University City and the car was kind of packed. I wound up just standing by the door. Facing me and about a foot and a half away was this really hip looking girl. She was wearing those huge sunglasses and a black t-shirt with the name of some trade school I'd never heard of (and don't even remember for that matter). I asked what the school was and she said "Cosmetolegy!" I thought to myself "Of course your hair is so neat and shiny, you a artist of making people pretty"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

337 Days of Scetches!!

Another of my Warcraft avatars, Qlippoth! She's a gnome deathknight. This pick isn't finished, she's actually staring down a huge dragon, but that drawing was "unscanably incomplete". Its really fun to draw gnomes in clunky armor. fact.

338 Days of Scetches!!

This is Totoroh, one of my World of Warcraft characters. He's kind of like a bear-bull beast thing. One of my favorite ideas in WoW is that you can play as a 4-legged creature, which seems novel to me :)

339 Days of Scetches!!

Playing catch-up on the skatch-a-day project, so you guys are gonna see EVERYTHING for a little while. This is an idea that has been lingering in the back of my mind for some time. Basically, Lane is a swordswoman from a sci-fi space opera i was working on last year. I wanted to make her kind of tomboyish. Like, she's not a "romantic interest" sort of character, so in the design, i tried to make her more androgenous and eventually had the idea to give her a mohawk that falls on one side. Plays on the idea of a kind of androgeny where instead of look like either male of female, she'd look masculine on one side and feminine from another...

Monday, August 9, 2010

340 Days of Scetches!!

Working out the design for an unnotable character in my comic. Also, i tapped into the old super-deformed style to work out a costume for Dark Detective...nothing past the mask really :(

341 Days of Scetches!!

Sometimes I just copy photos from magazines to study lighting or anatomy...but sometimes I just wanna draw someone i think is cute :P

Got a new sketchbook recently. A Moleskine...a BIG moleskine. Its like 9x10. Don't really like the yellow paper, but otherwise its really cool and i can't wait to bombard its pages with sketches!

Artstream: Olivier Coipel!

Just so you guys know, Olivier Coipel is my current favorite comic artist. Just saying. This guy's stuff is AMAZING! He has masterful control over lighting techniques and inanimate objects. A background in animation shows through in his comic work in a wide range of physical expression...and the action? omfg.

You know, what i really like about Coipel's work is the ambition. He just tackles these huge concepts with everything he's got. I feel like I'm 10 years old and looking at Jim Lee stuff in the 90s again. Sometimes I even say out loud "Does this guy live next door to a thunder god he can constantly use as a reference!?"

Monday, July 5, 2010

342 Days of Sketches!

I've been messing around with these copic markers :) If you guys remember the character...its Star Angel! (Yes, these are the official colors)

343 Days of Sketches!

...lot of trouble posting today.
This is Shera. She's a murderous thug...say's that on her business card.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Artstream: Masakazu Katsura

Around my second year of college I was introduced to the work of this Japanese comic creator. Since then, Masakazu Katsura has been a huge influence on me as an artist. What I liked the most was how subtly the over detailed work goes together. His backgrounds are like photos but he seamlessly blends them with these manga characters. His action is great, too, and his romance illustrations are unparalleled. What I think other people will easily notice though, is the strength of his storytelling. This guy does AMAZING panel work. I uploaded a scanned/translated page from on of his more popular mangas, I"s. Also, and as a side note, Katsura worked closely with Akira Toriyama in their Shonen Jump days, and just like how I sometimes draw Triumph for Henry, I guess he did the same sometimes :)

Keith is probably the only one who can really appreciate that Goku.

On a related note, I've recently started watching the I"s Pure anime. Katsura had his hand in the production, just like with Video Girl Ai, but I"s is really an epic so crunching it down to 6 episodes, kinda hurts. I'd like to hear someone's opinion on the anime who hasn't read the comic.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

344 Days of Sketches!

Here are some redesigns for the Studio Monster mascot "Mister Monster". Wanted to try something with a bigger head, but that turned out to be too cute, so I settled on the left version.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

345 Days of Sketches!

Went to the Wicked Faire last weekend. Its kind of a Steampunk Ren fair, and this year it was Alice in Wonderland themed. Lots of fun. My favorite part was the performers who were just skulking around in the shadows waiting to jump out and entertain me with belly dancing or magic tricks. Also, there were lots of Top Hats with goggles around them...very Victorian style sci fi.

346 Days of Sketches!

Little Big Planet is a blast. I recently got this red cape and I just want to put it on every costume!

John K is weird...

So i was in the supermarket the other day and passed by this really cool looking 50s retro cereal box called Quisp... I flipped it over and there was a John Kricfalusi comic strip on the back! It was 3 bucks, so I grabbed it for "artistic inspiration", but when I sat down in front of a bowl, it was not inspiring at all! It was Captain Crunch in a cool box. I don't regret it though, because the box is reeeeeeally cool.

347 Days of Sketches!

Every time I get a new sketchbook, I draw a character on the first page and write a letter to myself. The letter includes words of encouragement, advice, and sometimes a P-Wing to get through those tougher stages...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

348 Days of Sketches!

Sometimes you just feel like drawing Goku. Annoyingly, I kept pushing the pose by hunching him over, but if I had moved the drawing up on the page, i could have probably got that foot on the page :(

Shuffled into Jupiter Jazz while drawing this, so now I'm in a good mood :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

349 Days of Sketches!

Running a behind schedule do to lethargy and metal gear solid 4, expect multiple posts in the next couple of days.

I draw Wonder Woman a lot these days. Maybe more than the Hulk, Captain America, or even Wolverine (who holds the all-time record for me at like 0285698565 drawings). I hope to color this once I get a computer that can handle Painter :(

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Artstream 101: Construction 2a (or Crisis on Infinite Art Supplies)

I ran out of col-erase blue lead, so I couldn't finish the drawing..but this should be enough to get the point across.

Today we talk about fleshing out a character from basic lines of construction. On the right, there's a quick sketch of the basic arm construction I use and to the left of that is the same thing fleshed out with arm muscles. From years of studying musculature (for drawing super heroes and the like), I have a pretty well formed idea of how I'd like them to look. This is something I recommend even in the early stages of an artists career. You'll notice in the sketch to the left that I've done the construction in graphite and the fleshing is in blue. I usually make the head about the size i want it to be in the finished drawing, but the rest of the body's construction is a bit smaller as to function underneath the flesh like bones.

This particular blog article will be discontinued as I'm writing a book from the subject matter I'd planned to cover here.

350 Days of Sketches!

Here we have some doodles from my moleskine of an original character from my "League of Defenders" project called The Wraith. I wanted to fiddle around with the hood a bit with different designs, but really just winding up.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

351 Days of Sketches!

Lisa Simpson dresses oddly. Anyone else notice she wheres a Flintstones dress? Groening says that The Simpsons were named after his own family, so maybe his daughter Lisa liked to play cavewoman...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

352 Days of Sketches!

This is an older piece that I recently unearthed and decided to blog about. Its Makoto from Street Fighter III: Third Strike. She's has an awrard build, kinda stocky with big hands and feet, so she's A LOT of fun to draw. Watercolor is not my favorite medium, but its fun and I hope to work with it more in the near future.

Artstream 101: Construction!

Ok, so This is the first installment of Artstream 101, a crash coarse in character art conducted by me, Brian Charles. Disclaimer: If you feel as though you're a "better" artist than I am (AND don't have the intestinal fortitude to challenge me to an art battle) rest assured that the information included in Artstream 101 is regurgitated from wise masters of the character design craft. Thusly speaking, if you've studied The Illusion of Life, Chuck Amuck, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, and Constructive Anatome, you can probably skip this coarse and meet up with us for Artstream 102 :P
I hope to build up from very basic breakdowns and sketching tech to sequential art, animation, and eventually I'll teach you guys how to play Rival Schools.

First order of business is construction. Everyone who draws characters well uses construction, and I know that you might think you've seen the pros NOT using construction, but lemme tall ya, you're wrong. Think of it like the basics of a sport. When you first tried to dribble a basketball, you did it with two hands and probably bounced your whole body with the ball. As you become more advanced, you learn to practice dribbling with one hand, so that you can switch hands to avoid defenders (your first crossover). Stay with me, this is the important part... Once you've mastered switching your dribble from hand to hand, to the point where you can do it through your legs and behind your back without looking, you're not even thinking about the day you learned to NOT dribble with both hands. Your body remembers the practice and activates everything you learned whenever needed. Drawing construction is like that. The more you do it, the less you have to think about it, to the point where you don't even have to lay down a sketch all the time. But lets not jump ahead :P

The image in this post will be referred to as fig-1. In fig-1, you see my basic construction for a character. You can probably expect to develop your own style at some point, and bare in mind that it took me years to settle in to doing it this way. I first learned this specific style of construction from the book "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" when I was 12 or 13. It involves using circles and lines to map out a stick figure that can be posed in different ways before fleshing it out to look like a specific character.
I start with the head by drawing a circle at the point that I want the cranium to be. Then I round out a jawline with a half oval underneath. A horizontal line drawn about the points where the oval jawline and the cranium circle meet gives me a basic idea of where the eyes will go, and a vertical line crossing that will show where the nose will go. Yes, drawings of characters that are not referenced with photos or models should have that sort of symmetry. I know everyone's eyes don't line up perfectly and all noses are not in the center of the face, but drawing is about making something that "looks" correct, not necessarily something that "is" correct (more ranting about this later).
From there, I draw a line from the head down that will basically indicate the spinal column. A large circle represents the torso.Toward the top of that on each side are small circles where the shoulders will be and lines going down the sides representing upper arms that go into small circles which are for the elbows, another line segment for the lower arm and a circle at the end for hands. The spinal column line goes down to a horizontal oval which will be the pelvic area, with circles on the end where the legs meet the pelvis and lines that drop down from there for the upper leg that go into circles for the knees. Another pair of vertical lines that rep the lower leg and a jumble of circles for feet. Now, I know that pelvises don't actually work that way but in years of development through my personal style of construction, I found that using a triangle (with the singular point facing down) which is the "normal" way to handle this area lead me to drawing REALLY tiny waists, so I came up with this to give my characters a more solid feel.
The feet are composed of a very small circle for the ankle, a bigger circle for the heel, and a sort of triangular oval for the front of the foot. The reason for all of this is that the position of the feet REALLY balances out a pose. Much like how the head requires a lot of construction to determine the direction the face is pointing, the feet also need a lot of fleshing out at this stage.
You'll notice that most of my lines are curved slightly in toward the body or out away from the body, and that the directions of the curves alternate. This is a technique sometimes referred to as "controposto" that gives character drawing a more relaxed and natural feel. I'll do a lesson on "line of action" later, but for those of you who know about it already, this controposto construction gives a line of action to different parts of the body and helps to make dynamic poses less mechanical.
Ok, that's part one of construction. Next week we'll discuss fleshing out the body and talk about how to use this construction for dynamic posing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

353 Days of Sketches!

The other day, Tess handed me a pamphlet for the online Japanese culture clothing store called It had some cool costume ideas and when I saw this one in particular, another idea i'd been sitting on surface. And so I give you creepy-eye-faced-lolita!

354 Days of Sketches!

Ok, I'm sick as a dog, so this'll be short. Had the strangest compulsion to draw anthro. This is the first time i've tried this in a while, and while I like the way this fox character came out and feel like I'm getting the hang of how this style is supposed to work, it'll probably be a while before you guys see a finished anthro piece from me :(

Monday, January 11, 2010

355 Days of Sketches!

Here's a little diddy I sketched for They do a weekly sketch jam called "Character of the Week" (or CHOW), where the moderator posts a character concept and everyone is invited to post their interpretation. This one was called "The Observer"
and was supposed to be some entity that roams around exploring. I thought of some crazy stuff, but in the end I just felt like drawing a chic with wings :P


Ok Briamaniacs, I've been throwing up sketches exery day for the last week or so and I'm wondering if that's enough to satisfy you guys. Remember when I used to do a weekly artstream post where I'd talk about a different artist every week? I'm thinking about starting that up again. Maybe more about other things I'm into like boxing and video games...

How about comic reviews?

356 days of sketches!

"I thought you were made of sterner stuff"
Keith and I were shooting the breeze the other day and I mentioned how if I could cast an Avengers animated series, I'd have Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime) voice Captain America. Then I got carried away with who would direct and write and other voice talents...It was fun, and lead to this cap sketch. 616 Cap is hard to draw because you have to capture his physical youth and his psychological age (I mean, I guess you don't have to, but I don't see what the fun in drawing would be if you weren't trying things like that all the time).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

357 days of sketches!

This was a Queen of Hearts costume I was asked to design. Before you start busting my balls and saying its uninspired, you should know that it had to include a conventional skirt and top. Also, I had the idea that there would also be a cloak which would ramp up the coolness exponentially. All that being said, it was fun to draw :P

Friday, January 8, 2010

358 days of sketches!

Pipeline was a human paladin I used to play in World of Warcraft. Really this is a drawing of his sword and shield. The sword, Titanguard, Is this thick, stocky claymore that tapers out from tip to hilt. It really feels like a tank weapon...i love it. And the shield, I think its called Shieldwall of the Breaker, is just magnificent looking. It has the creepy old-looking gray face in the middle...very clever.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

359 days of sketches!

Super Brian Charles! This is a quick drawing of the main character for a platform game I'm working on in flash...And when I say "working on" i mean "lazily animating and scrounging up codes". I started the project after playing New Super Mario Bros. on the DS.

360 days of sketches!

This is a sketch of the GroundUp studio mascots Nu and Star. I asked GroundUp's Senior Mascot Correspondent, Henry, for some information about the characters. He said "One of them is Asian and the other one is Black" so I worked with that :P

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

361 days of sketches!

Here's one I did for my buddy Keith. He had a toy line and designed this sort of urban ninja guy called Katana (its actually a lot cooler than that, but i don't want to let cats out of bags). We batted a few ideas around relating to the property, and when I went home, I sketched this up. Someone else saw it later and spun her own story out of it. Kind of like a modern day fairy tale that i won't tell you about because it is also not my property... I feel like that bill from the Bush administration that was practically illegible because of all the redacting :P

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

362 days of sketches!

This was a comission i did recently. The client wanted a girl holding up her fists to count from 1-10 and to be able to edit the hands in order to show different fingers.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

363 days of sketches!

A lot of my friends (particularly the ones who quit drawing after college) have "Dark Detective" superhero stories that they'd like to tell. Mostly they come off as fan fiction or revamps of the more popular dark detective superhero who will remain nameless at this point. I tell people "make you're own character for that story! Think of how you would personally handle that archtype and let me tell you, creation is a slippery slope!".

Here's an example of one such creation. Don't have a name for it yet, and haven't really settled on a costume, but I wanted to try it with really dark eyes in the mask. Read the notes on Gary Frank's Batman: Earth one sketches, where he mentions that he's going to make the eyes "visible" through the mask for a fresh take on the character. I thought "That's the dumbest shit i've ever heard. Batman aint Captain America...but now that I think about it, what if the eyes were soo hidden that it frightened people? Like the abyss staring back at you." Anyway, this is my first take on this idea.

364 days of sketches!

Been watching a lot of Southpark lately on and sometimes they break model for special actions. One of these is crying. When Cartman cries, he opens his mout really wide, and I wanted to draw it. He didn't really survive the transition to my style, but it was fun anyway :P

Friday, January 1, 2010

365 Days of Sketches!

So 2010 begins and I have a goal to post on my blog every day this year with drawings from my sketchbook. That being said, here is a sketch of two characters from my upcoming League of Defenders comic. The tall one is Amazona, and the bespectacled one is Whizz Wilson. I actually did this a little while ago and intended to color it before posting, but my inking pen broke...really! stuff like that happens :P