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.
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.