Friday, January 2, 2009

2009

2008's been a rough year. Lots of things that had happened irl and over the net. The biggest gripe was the fall in quality of the art I was putting out towards the end of the year.

I was aware of this happening, but I kept it to myself, mainly because if I did say something that suggests I'm no pleased with the pics, I'll get random people coming up telling me that it isn't. It annoys me slightly partly because I'm not getting the proper and truthful feedback, and partly because I begin to get the impression that my audience lacks the ability to pick out inadequacies of the pictures. It's slowly ceasing to be a problem as of recent. Anywho, lets reflect back. I always never used to be able to draw.

Back from 2005 three years ago, I first began drawing KP fanart (drawing malformed characters in MS Paint) I didn't get proper feedback either. It's probably likely that if I did get advanced critique at that early stage I might have given up. Regardless, it didn't matter at that time because I was improving at an exponential rate.



My grasp of drawing the characters began to stabilize and 3 months later I had decided to try out manually inking my pencil sketches over with 0.5 and 0.8 fine liner pens. They were incredibly difficult to do, mainly because they don't stick to the paper well over the graphite sketches and because I made very coarse sketches.



Up till then I also figured out how to color my lineart, which proved useful for Ron's blonde hair and Kim's red outline for hers. It's also quite noticeable that I didn't make use of any proper construction lines back then for consistency or proportions. That came at a surprisingly later date. Why I decided that I didn't need that technique, is a mystery to me. My coloring had also improved a bit and became more consistent and decisive.


3 months later I had rapidly discovered the pen tool. I had searched feverishly over the internet and with the help of another artist *Jao, began to use that opportunity to refine the way the pictures were made. I was also slowly beginning to use basic construction lines and still depended heavily on model sheets and screenshots to get around.




I drew the line with the advent of SFToon who had appeared on the scene with his first submission of KP in that elegant KP outfit, the LBD. I decided after that, to never go back to making sub-standard art.

It was a fun LBD challenge and I learned more things down the line, especially on how to draw legs and the dreaded shoes and heels. Of course I was no match for his excellent output of art, however just watching him submit new awesome art was a big enough reward for me.

I was happy that I was beginning to handle and get a grasp of her circular face better and that the proportions were much better, because I had decided to add a new tool to my arsenal of drawing.

The ruler.

Yes, together with the 0.5 mechanical HD pencil and Pentel HI-Polymer soft eraser, the ruler has become an equally important tool for me to measure the head and adjust the body size accordingly. Since then I had always use my ruler to feverishly measure and compare and to readjust.

I began to focus more on backgrounds later on, trying to refine the way I draw them and trying to make use of the custom shape tool the pen tool was able to provide me and the lasso tool. Later on it became apparent that backgrounds were just as enjoyable to render as the characters themselves.



Being a relatively innocent 19 year old, I encountered another artist that went by the name of Enigmawing. By which I commented one of her pics that I found quite very artisticly done. After which she grabbed my hand and dragged me into an unknown murky place known as the Jabcomix forums. As I was back then, I wasn't sure what to make of the 'unspeakable' things I found there about my favourite heroine toon. I certainly blushed to an extent, but it wasn't my nature to force my beliefs on others, especially when it appears to be harmless fun. Jab, being a former animator at Disney, made some comments about my art. Being unsure of wether the people at the forum there appreciate art that isn't in less clothing of some sorts, I opened a thread there.


I then began to experiment with variable line thickness, with varying success, until I came accross making the Memo Pad, based on a season 4 episode. By which I decided that technique, would be the one I would adopt.



Pretty much onwards from that my progress has plateaued and the series of pictures I put forwards were either hits or misses. It wasn't long before, I decided to expand my portfolio to other styles, which included Atomic Betty and Buzz Lightyear. After those pictures, I had realized a very serious flaw that KP style, or at least the stylized version of Stephen Silver had been solidly burned into my brain and most of my newer pictures of other toon styles were beginning to be affected by it.

I had to then take a few months to effectively 'deprogram' myself from the excessive KP'ness from my style and to allow more flexibility when drawing other toons. Head size was the biggest factor, as I had to readjust it constantly between toons.

The easiest I suppose, was adapting to Danny Phantom's style later on. Only to discover later that the basic cartoon concept design artist was also Stephen Silver. It shocked me none the less, but in a very exciting way.

It wasn't very long until DarkDP contected me through MSN, and we have been friends since. Thanks to Maniacalcarrot, he would always organize a 4-way chat of EW, DDP, me and him on a regular basis. These are the people I would now go to for critique and to help spot mistakes on my art. Then they would continue to corrupt my mind and help redirect my art into that fantastic Kigo pic, which I have kept to only show the original to a few selected individuals.


It would be after my last reasonably well drawn pic, the Spectra/Jazz pic that the quality of my art began to take a sharp dip. Either because I was running out of motivation, or that I was becoming complacent, I'm not entirely sure. The worst being the latest TDI picture.
I hate it so much now, but at the same time it has my thanks, for drawing the line and telling me 'Hey, this is as far as you go. This is the shitty type of art you're not supposed to cross since SFToon'.


DLT entered the scene albeit quite suddenly, with some very remarkable art. While being adult in nature, I enjoyed his thick and variable tapered lines which gave his art so much character and life. We got off to a rocky start, but DLT and I are strangely related in terms in our thought patterns with the only difference where he described that I have slight self-esteem issues. Which has a ring of truth to it since I realized that I hate my art with a passion if I think they are sub-standard and blame myself constantly for it.

DLT has told me he has been lurking around my art since 2006-2007 and said he a fan of my art. This makes me feel extremely uncomfortable because his art obviously surpasses mine in terms of quality and how well it follows a cartoon's style, while subtley adding in curves. It becomes absurd why he wants to be a fan of someone who has nothing better to offer to him to learn. My art lacks the variable lines I sought in his and it lacks the curves I've been wanting to emulate.
It made me give him a lecture on to never calling himself my fan ever again, because it should really be the other way around. I have a lot to study on his art.

With the dawn of 2009, I've been working on a new pic. It's been a tough choice, but I've decided to come to a decision to learn the ropes of more erotic art. I'm extremely apprehensive because I don't know if my art is ready for that trip on the slippery rope downhill, and I'm very worried if SFToon may disapprove.
I know Mr. Toon isn't in charge to say what I can or cannot draw, but it matters a lot to me on what he thinks about it and his support will be a massive boost to my morale. If he chooses not to comment, it's fine by me as well, but I hope to continue to talk with him via DA. Tasteful pinups will ALWAYS be my number 1 thing, and I'll never forget that.
At the same time the curiosity of learning a new set of skills and with the push of 2009 for a change in my art, I feel would be beneficial for me to explore this genre and to see if I can incorporate it subtely into my pinups in the near future.

2009 will be a year of change, but Obama stole that line already so it sounds really corny coming from me. So, I hope I will redeem myself to my watchers and start to produce better art from now on.

15 comments:

Rick said...

The important thing is have fun, Chun!

Also, you've probably heard this before but just keep drawing, you can definitely see where you've been, I'm in the same boat, you know and only recently am I now to the point where I'm reasonably satisfied with my stuff.

One thing I've been doing is going through my earlier rough sketches and interpreting them differently. For example, my latest Britney-Britney picture was based on a quick napkin sketch done for a friend, I liked the pose so just reworked it plus I got to draw BB :)

One other thing, my New Year's resolution is not to put up with stupid-ass comments anymore on DA, constructive criticism is great but if I smell a troll, that's it.

I understand you're building a new site so keep me in the loop.

All the best in 2009.

SFToon

levelord said...

It's awesome to hear from you!

Thanks, I'm happy you're coming along with this quite well :)
DA's becoming a lot more like mysace, and with the advent of the new interface around the corner, it'll only become worse.

The site is coming along slow but surely. I am very keen on having you on board as my partner on the site. I would love to provide you with your own server space to post your art alongside with mine.

Have the best of 2009 my friend :)

hasu13 said...

One thing to understand is that the average viewer of your art has the artistic ability of a three legged chipmunk. If you expect insightful criticism from people like me that aren't experienced in the realm of drawing, you will be disappointed. I, myself, try to give honest comments about what I see and the truth is that I tend to like your art very much.

It is clear that you've progressed so much from your first KP piece. To be able to get better and better like that is a wonderful thing.

It does sadden me, though, when you try to downplay your own ability. My opinion may not have much weight with my very limited artistic skills, but I do know what I like and your art falls under that category. After all, I don't commission an artist just for the heck of it.

Well, good luck with your artistic pursuits of 2009. As I've done for the past year and a half, I will continue to watch your art and be amazed.

levelord said...

Thanks Hasu13,

It originally confused me why you wanted to commission me last time. But congrats, you are so far the only person in the history of my art to have commissioned me :)

I hoped that pic was up to standard for you.

I'm glad you still watch my art, and the last thing I want to do is to disappoint you in 2009.

I have a secret project in the works... Well in actuality it's finished. If you would like to see a preview in private you are more than welcome to contact me about it.

DarkDP said...

Very well said, bud :D It's very interesting to read into your past and your continuing evolution in your artistic talents. I especially like how you mention all the artists you've met that helped you on your way to becoming a fantastic artist. We've all hit the wall before in terms of art blocks and sometimes self-perceived failures, but as we figure them out, we can make our art better eventually. Continue to make fantastic art for years and years to come! :D

BigWayne said...

Hi, I am one of those people Hasu13 mentioned, the inexperienced toon enthusiast. I'm more of a fan than an actual doer. You've probably seen my sparse cheesy looking attempts at drawing over at WWOEC. But I'm nowhere near yours, nor the other great artists responding here's calibur when it comes to drawing, and I would have no business critiquing your fine art. I'll leave that to the ones who have artistic experience. I just hope my humble opinion encourages you to keep making your terrific art.

First off, let me start by saying that I can find no fault with your art myself. As you mentioned, some of the others posting comments here will carry more weight than myself, mostly because of their high standing in the art community and the quality of the art they put out. I can see that you have improved 1000% over that bitmapped KimP pic you posted at the beginning of this thread. I would be hard pressed to be able to tell the difference between your images and a still from the actual shows your drawings are based on.

The characters are very on-model, and the backgrounds usually look as if they were screencapped from the shows themselves. There are some subtle differences, like the way you give the characters some well placed curviness to them, but nothing that detracts from the original characters. If anything it helps make them even more sexy to us all. That's what instantly made me a fan of your work the first time I looked at your art when DDP posted a link to it at WWOEC.

I think you once stated (it may have been in this blog-I'm too lazy to check) that you preferred the exotic over the erotic, mostly due to the fact that you wanted to be able to show your art even to your family, or something to that effect. I like your art either way, clothed or nude(well, maybe I lean a little more toward the nudes-lol^__^). I hope you continue to post both kinds tho.

Try not to be too hard on yourself as far as thinking you need to improve. I think it looks fine already myself, but nobody is harmed when they strive to better themselves. It keeps the art process interesting and enjoyable.

I'll end my ass-kissing here by saying thank you for sharing your art with us all. **insert thumbs-up smiley here**

George said...

Whenever you told me about a piece of art that you had completed that you were not happy with, I always seemed to respond in a manner like, "Well, I wish my best was as good as your worst."

I wasn't trying to be condescending or untruthful when I made statements like these. I'm not that great of an artist, and to see art that you were unhappy with that I'm still striving to reach, it kind of discouraged me. I don't recognize the flaws in others' art most of the time, because I'm still struggling to discover my own artistic flaws.

I know you and I suffered a serious blow to our trust and understanding, partly to which I accept blame. I'm not asking for a second chance at our friendship, but I would like to put the mistakes I made behind me and I hope that someday we can at least be civil, if not friends again.

I'm looking to start over. If you cannot bear it to give me another chance, I will not bear you ill will.

I also will not bother you again if you don't wish to hear from me again.

Bobman32x said...

i feel kinda like a moron after posting that comment on dA before reading thins, as its going to come as a very obvious "DUR...." moment.

Anyway I thought it was a good read and its always great hen people can notice that theyve been improving on their own stuff (ive learned myself that while my actual drawing and artwork is not NEARLY as good as i thought it was, Ive grown to accept that some of my designs and such are actually quite good, so maybe i should continue with that).

The thing is, that moment when you truely realize that "wow this sucks, i need to do something new" like how i assume you feel with your TDI pic (and personally, i agree. I left a comment on that giving it a very big meh in the nicest way) is one of the best points because it forces you to change, and it seems your doing that, so i cant wait to see what you have in store in 09.

I started watching you in the middle 2007 and ive definetly seen the improvement in your work, but I agree that ive definitely seen the laziness or uninspiredness (if thats a word) is some of your more recent pics over the months. Thats not an insult by the way, thats artistic nature. your not going to work as hard on something you dont care about as much. Anyway, im starting to ramble, so i ll cut it short. its nice to see you taking a new direction and i cant wait to see what youve got coming up.

Bobman32x said...

oh one more thing. who is this DLT you speak of?

BigWayne said...

DLT has a blog here: http://dltart.blogspot.com/

and also has an art thread in WWOEC's forum.

levelord said...

DarkDP: Thanks man, you'll always be the major corrupting factor in my drawing hobby :D

George: If being blocked on DA is what's been bothering you, then I will remove it. I have issue with the type of people you associate with on DA, who hates my art with a passion and report them whenever they get the chance.

I have no right to decide on who should be your friends on DA, but neither should you expect that it's my responsibility to be obligated to talk to someone who associates with them either.

I'm cautious about you and talking with you, especially someone who wants to talk to me more personally, because it appears that when I do say something incorrect or something that displeases you, you refer my words and actions back to those 'people' you associate with, where they become more agitated and use it as more vicious material against me.

If they dislike my art for technical inconsistencies or anything in that manner, it's fine by me, but for purely hating me just because of what I draw... Sorry, it spells moral elitism and arrogance beyond my level of tolerance and I've learned to give ZERO tolerance to people like that.

Bobman32x: The uninspired feeling did come along within the last few months of 2008. I wasn't sure what it was about, or why it came about either. But I was definitely getting a bad vibe from the pics that were coming out. I didn't pick up on your disapproval of the TDI pic the first time around, but I'm glad I eventually came around realizing that I needed to STOP it with being lazy and uninspired.

I hope my newest submission will be proof of that. Hang tight.

George said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer me, and for telling me your side of the story. First of all, let me say that being blocked on DA was not the cause of what was bothering me. It was just another symptom of the real problem.

The real problem was trust. You cannot trust me because one of my friends spoke out against your art after I posted that journal decrying those who were in an uproar after your ban in the first half of 2008. One person. Not "the type of people" I associate with. I accept blame for the journal because I shouldn't have posted it. She wouldn't have said anything if not for the journal, because she doesn't hate your art with a passion. It's not her cup of tea, and she frankly doesn't even visit your art when it's something she doesn't like. There's a lot of my art that she doesn't bother with because it's not something she's into, but our friendship is not about that.

I would never be friends with someone who would actively pursue such a vendetta, someone who would go out of their way to make someone else's life miserable, and who would ask me to join along in a senseless crusade to get rid of someone's art as if it would cure the world's ills. She simply doesn't like the subject matter of what you draw SOMETIMES. It doesn't come up in our conversations, because it doesn't have to.

As for referring your words and actions back to you when something displeases me, I've done that a grand total of one time. And yes, it was another journal, which I'm sure you've already read. I wrote that because I was hurt and angry, and as anyone who has just lost a friend to something as meaningless as our friendship was lost over would be. It does not reflect my opinions or state of mind NOW, as I've had time to get over it, and reflect back on my own part in the break-up of what I considered a friendship. I felt betrayed, because even when I tried to make amends, even when I tried to explain my side of things, you coldly shut me out.

And the thing that angered me the most was that you told me things were cool when I FIRST apologized for the journal. I readily admitted that I was wrong for writing the first journal, that I was sorry, and you told me there was nothing wrong between us. If you'd have told me how you felt up front, rather than waiting months and months to finally snarl at me about it, it wouldn't have been as big a deal.

Bottom line: I don't "associate" with "people" who passionately hate you and your art. I have ONE FRIEND who disagrees with your subject matter, and who doesn't have the interest nor the time to seek out everything you've drawn and report it blindly. The others who have spoken out since then have spoken out against your actions toward me, not your art.

And no, I don't expect it to be your responsibility to be obligated to talk to me again. I don't expect us to be friends again, and I don't even expect you to unblock me on DA. I just want the slate to be cleared, I want resolution, and I don't want us to be enemies. If you don't want to be friends, I will respect that.

Thank you again for the taking the time to resolve things between us.

Weary_Traveler said...

Although you're a harsh critic of your own work, it provides the best perspective for self-improvement and - more importantly - self-realization (what kind of art you feel suits you best).

I usually try providing good feedback, but when it comes to the internet, you never know if you're going to seriously tick off someone. I still liked the TDI pic though, but that might be because TDI art doesn't have much going for it right now.

Your art along with DLT's and DarkDP's has been a huge inspiration for me. In your case, it's because I see where you used to be in terms of artistic skill.

Coming from a family of artists I've always felt discouraged, feeling that art cannot be learned (they're all naturals Grr..). But like you, I look back and see considerable changes over the years. I like to always tell myself:

"I may not be that good yet, but 4 years ago I was drawing stick figures"

All the best for the new year! You seem to have high hopes for your art in the coming year, and I can't wait to see!

Peace,
Weary_Traveler

Dagang Costa said...

Dude, your latest pic rocks! Keep in mind the nipples though (I have a nipple fetish, heh). I am a fan of your work and is waiting for ya to go to the deep end. Good luck, and God bless.

Or the blessings of all the Gods that inhabit the recessive consciousness of all that is sanely weird.

enigmawing said...

Yeah, I'm a little late here, lol.

Anyway, that seems so long ago! Glad to have corrupted you. XD