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Mar. 15th, 2015

Fops with canes are teh sex

Art: Fancy satyrs

So get this: I drew something... that isn't fan art!

I know! I, like, had an image in my head that wasn't rooted in my love for a comic book or a video game or a training app, and then I... I drew it! And now that I'm posting it I've spent several minutes fretting over the title of this entry because, okay, usually fan art is a suitable term for the things I do, regardless of quality. But art? Do I make art? That sounds like I expect it to go in the Tate gallery or something.

Anyway, some satyrs/fauns (traditionally there is a distinction between satyrs and fauns but in modern English the terms are used interchangeably so for once I'm not going to be a stickler for proper language) for the Tumblr Satyrday challenge.

All dressed upCollapse )

It's not very often any drawing of mine goes from idea to relatively finished product in just one day. Heck, usually I'm so paranoid about missing any obvious anatomical errors I force myself to wait another day to post it, just so I can look it over with fresh eyes. Yeah, I can spot of a few things with the satyr boys up there I could have cleaned up but sometimes it's nice to not spend days fiddling with an image.

Feb. 3rd, 2015

Blue & Gold

Back in this game again

I'm finally reading Justice League: Generation Lost (a.k.a. "oh God is there some way to salvage Infinite Crisis"). Yeah. Remember when I fell into the Infinite Crisis rabbit hole, desperately searching for some kind of in-universe fallout following the murder of Blue Beetle? Remember how there was none? That's what Generation Lost was for. Allegedly. I only started reading it today.

It's only five or so years old, which is shockingly current cape comic reading on my part. Of course, the storyline piggybacked on one of those huge unwieldy cross-title events I can't stand (Brightest Day). Basically a bunch of characters came back from the dead, including poor retconned Beetle-mudering Maxwell Lord. So Generation Lost is about getting the ol' Justice League International gang (well its few surviving members) back together to take him down again.

I adore this cover. Just a cute callback to JLI #1, except Booster is starting to realize something's wrong...

First issue was quite good in that kind of "whoa did shit hit the fan VERY FAST" kind of way, Lord broke both mine and Booster's hearts in one fell swoop. It's been going sort of downhill after that (both writing- and artwise) but luckily I get to read the concurrent Booster Gold issues (written by the original JLI creators) inbetween and it's fantastic so far. It deals with the fallout of the dramatic stuff happening in Generation Lost so well and asks all those questions I've been pondering about Infinite Crisis too:

How could Maxwell Lord go from morally grey but ultimately kind-hearted father figure to maniacal blood-thirsty supervillain overnight? If he was evil all along, why weren't there any signs?

There's also Booster passionately defending JLI as something more than a punchline. "We weren't a joke! We mattered!" I might have choked up a bit. Reading my garish super soap opera.

Jan. 1st, 2015

Cat: Miyazaki handle with care

Fan art: Ambush Bug, plus 2014's art summary

I was so annoyed by hardly having drawn anything in December, so yesterday, with just a handful of hours of 2014 remaining, I told myself "You know what, just draw. Draw the first idea that pops into your head."

I already made a post about how much I like the Superman-villain-turned-fourth-wall-breaking-trickster-character called Ambush Bug. Besides, I've been drawing so many beefcake characters this year I quite enjoyed the slender simplicity of A.B. I even finished it in just a few hours, so for once I kept to a deadline with several hours to spare.

The teleporter must be brokenCollapse )

As for looking back on 2014 -- I'd rather not. I'm gonna post my art progression through the year because I'm pretty proud of that, but as for everything else... 2014 was probably the worst year of my life. Complete shit. A downward spiral from beginning to end. I spend so much time crying about the stuff that happened in 2014 I see no reason to write it here while crying some more and then seeing the post later and crying about it again. It was a terrible, awful, no-good year and I'm hoping 2015 will be better, though to be honest I'm not very optimistic about it. Maybe things will change, I don't know.

But I did draw!


(I'm Slett, it's become another one of my internet aliases these last few years and I couldn't be bothered to change the graphic.)

Okay so maybe I haven't pushed myself artistically or experimented as much as I intended to this year -- seeing a lot of busts and people in profile here. And I still don't draw enough so that you can clearly see a progression month to month. But you know what, I'm a better artist than I was a year ago, and there's this thing that has started happening when I draw, where I sketch something out, and I think "Jesus Christ this is looking better than I thought it would! I had no idea I could do this!" and I'm excited about drawing, about seeing my own skills improve. That's something right.

And I'm still so proud of that Blue Beetle image from May. The hardest I've ever worked on a drawing. And that eighth Doctor from July is looking better than I remembered it, I should definitely revisit that style again.

Dec. 8th, 2014

Deadpool day

Fan art: Jetstream Sam loves that motorcycle

Still not dead! Life is admittedly a little extra shitty these days, which means my dumb goofy escapism is all the more important to me. Whaddyaknow, I'm still weirdly stuck on this one sleazy miniboss from this one goofy hack-and-slash video game.

All those years ago when I first got a tablet pen I would draw exclusively in Photoshop and it was fine by me because I didn't know any better. Then I discovered Paint Tool SAI and after a bit of a steep learning curve I fell completely in love with it and its multitude of brush settings. Now I have found something to surpass even my beloved SAI and it's called... Manga Studio. You can select and manipulate several layers at once oh my God! There are a ton of other features but that alone is, gosh, completely amazing.

So this was gonna be a quick doodle to figure out Manga Studio without fiddling with any of the brush settings, but it kept on going even though adding and expanding a drawing without a sketch underneath is not how I usually work at all. It was a fun experiment though.

stop me if I ever imply I'm gonna draw another motorcycleCollapse )

I feel like nothing sums up where I'm at art-wise than me going "yes I'll meticulously recreate this RL polish logo" immediately followed by "ehh backgrounds, who needs'em".

Nov. 25th, 2014

HB: Steampunk Bush

That other superhero best buddy duo

Tiger & Bunny is a really good anime. I was gonna say "TV show" but I need to get over this weird misconception of mine that "I don't like anime" (I like several animes! Lupin III, Baccano!, Cowboy Bebop, most recently I fell completely in love with Space Dandy, the list goes on). I've been binge watching Tiger & Bunny this last week; I laughed, I cried (a lot), I fell completely in love with the universe and the characters.

A superhero buddy comedy/drama? Hey, I love superheroes! And I love superhero buddies!

Furthermore I love superhero stories that aren't just pale imitations of the DC and Marvel universes. Still, when I try to explain Tiger & Bunny to others I keep comparing it to those universes because hey, these are tropes I'm familiar with ("It's a bit like X-Men, people develop powers, but they use sponsorships sorta like Booster Gold, and the drama is quite like Infinite Crisis, except, well, it's actually competently told").

First, I fell in love with the concept -- superheroes are sort of like reality TV stars, and their sleek mechanical armours are covered with logos to earn those sweet sponsorships. Second, I fell in love with the protagonist Kotetsu, a.k.a Wild Tiger -- a middle-aged deadbeat single dad with a waning superhero career (he's been in the business so long he still wears a cape!), he's a complete loser and yet so sympathetic. All of Kotetsu's superpowered friends are great in their own way (not to mention his foil, Barnaby a.k.a Bunny), and most of them get spotlight episodes that are surprisingly non-annoying amidst the major plot developments.


The thing about Tiger & Bunny as a show though -- and I'm surprised I didn't know about this considering this show was all over both LJ and other social sites when it premiered three years ago -- is that it's all fun and games with mostly self-contained episodes until the season is about halfway done, then plot threads you hardly noticed in the earlier episodes come together and it get's DARK and HEART-BREAKINGLY EARNEST. The change of direction was definitely thoroughly planned and elegantly executed, but it was quite a surprise.

In summary, Tiger & Bunny is a really good anime.

Nov. 2nd, 2014

Deadpool day

Gear shift

I wore out my beloved running shoes, a pair of black Asics Gel-Kayano 20. It was a difficult concept for me to grasp, because to me "worn out shoes" means they're either coming apart or there are actual holes in the sole. These looked fine -- no bits flying off -- and when I put them on, they felt the same as they always had (I think). But I was suddenly injuring myself running in ways I recognized from the time before I got the Asics. I'd been using them for a year, which I later learned is pretty much the life expectancy of a pair of running shoes, particularly when you're not switching between several pairs.

I went to the super intimidating specialty running store, the one I usually feel too self-conscious to even browse in, because let's face it: I don't look like the people who are usually in there. I'm about twice as heavy as the other women in there, and probably most of the men as well. But I went in, I explained I needed a new pair of running shoes, and the clerk was helpful and supportive and professional. It was a great shopping experience! Fantastic, in fact -- she did a gait analysis of how I run, and I'm doing great! Keep in mind everything I know about running form I've only read about and then had to figure out how to implement... But apparently I've still managed to get rid of a ton of bad running habits even semi-professional runners might struggle with for years.

In the end I got a pair of blue (men's model, I'm SO SICK OF PINK RUNNING APPAREL for women) Saucony Omni 13. I'm still getting used to them -- I really loved my original Asics -- but my knee obviously appreciates running with fresh shoes again.

Oct. 14th, 2014


Fan art: Furious Ocelot

More Metal Gear! You know, Revolver Ocelot is a character I have a lot of affection for but in a kind of "Jesus Christ you little shit" kind of way. When I discuss Ocelot with other fans I use about twice the amount of expletives I'd use than when we talk about villains I actually can't stand, so I see how it can get confusing.

He is a piece of trash bastard after all. He's great.

The sketch and a fair bit of rambling about character designsCollapse )

Man I just really hate this trend of making video game characters look exactly like the actors voicing them. It took me out of Mass Effect when the Illusive Man looked exactly like Martin Sheen, it takes me out of Ground Zeroes when I notice how Kiefer Sutherland-y Big Boss is starting to look around the eyes. I know I just said I liked it when Ocelot used to look like Van Cleef, but at least the rendering technology at the time didn't make it a 1:1 likeness.

Oct. 8th, 2014

Astaire: Wry smile

Technicolor tights

Remember when I had that idea of watching all the major Robin Hood movie adaptions chronologically? Well many, many months later I got around to rewatching the second one on my list, the definite article, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).


Admittedly as a film it doesn't offer a lot of nuance or character growth, but the thing that makes it so enjoyable I think is how it has a real sense of progression. It's not a collection of loosely connected episodes like most Robin Hood adaptions tend to be, instead plot point B follows plot point A in a fairly satisfying manner. And even before becoming an outlaw, Robin is unmistakably Robin (not the blushing flower of the Fairbanks version) -- even clad in green and a master archer. This movie knows what you're here for and it gives it to you right away.

It goes through most of the essential story beats you'd expect too, but with a few twists to keep it interesting. It dispenses with the Robin-in-the-Crusades origin altogether; Sir Guy of Gisbourne (played by Basil Rathbone and his amazing eyelashes) is the main villain -- the Sheriff seems to mysteriously disappear halfway through the film; Will Scarlet is, much more than Little John (played by the same guy as in the Fairbanks version, by the way), established as Robin's companion, even before they're outcast; And Much the miller's son is middle aged and has a fairly important part in the plot (and is probably the most underrated part of the movie).

Sure it's got its problems. As mentioned earlier, there's not much storytelling finesse or subtlety. There are some questionable acting choices here and there (like Claude Rains -- usually an AMAZING performer -- queer coding Prince John so hard it becomes a little embarrassing). I'm not crazy about the wigs (Flynn's pristine Marcel waves bother me) and there's something about those costumes, man. For such a lavish production I can't understand making fabric choices that make your costumes look this cheap (so much sheen and bunching, so little texture).

But in the end any Robin Hood movie stands or falls on its lead actor, and Errol Flynn, with his mischievous grin and muscular thighs, carries it pretty darn well.

Sep. 17th, 2014


Fanart: Jetstream Sam

A week back I wrote a lengthy entry that LJ promptly ate about my unlikely but overwhelming love for Metal Gear Rising's Jetstream Sam. It's too bad because it would have prepared you a little for this entry, but it's gone so I'll try to explain it real quick.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a ridiculous video game about a cyborg ninja and its core gameplay is slicing robots and cyborgs into very very small pieces with a sword. Jetstream Sam is a villain -- not even the final boss, mind -- a Brazilian samurai with a smarmy attitude and an armour that accentuates his thighs and butt to a mind-blowing degree. In the entire game Sam only has about three important cutscenes (plus a DLC game that was pretty awful).

And I am so smitten with him it's embarrassing.

Oh and his armour also has these weird plastic bits that cover his ears.

That's you up to dateCollapse )

Once upon a time I hit a point where I thought "my art is terrible anyway, I should only ever use it to tell corny, low-effort jokes", and it's really through these last two years I've made an effort to tell myself "no you know what, I'm allowed to attempt to draw genuine things, and even if I don't pull it off it's good practice". And now this; "Okay but I'm still allowed to goof off and have fun drawing too, though".

And the neat thing is that I realized that if I showed even these corny doodles to myself five years ago, I would actually notice my art skills had improved considerably. So thank you, dumb video game samurai that inspired me to draw him as Princess Leia.

Sep. 1st, 2014

HB: Steampunk Bush

Fanart: Basically a Kazuhira dakimakura

So I got a PS3 for my birthday and finally played Metal Gear Solid 4. It was terrible. Nonetheless, it reminded me how much I love the non-terrible parts of the franchise, so now I'm back into MGS in a major way, apparently making up for my awful lack of obsessions this year.

I played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which was a lot of fun, and then I took a deep breath and watched all the trailers for MGSV in a single evening (I haven't played Ground Zeroes yet but I plan to very soon). So that's my excuse for this: I got so upset about Kaz Miller I felt a very real need to imagine him safe and warm and content and not being tortured and look he has all his limbs as well.

This is what these games reduce me to.

Don't you hate it when you fall asleep with your glasses onCollapse )

The funny thing is Kaz is from Peace Walker, which after MGS4 is my least favourite game in the franchise. I've just really taken to the guy and realized I've always been more invested Big Boss' goings-on than Solid Snake's.

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HB: Steampunk Bush

March 2015



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