Update 07/09/2014 - When I originally wrote this journal yesterday, I did so after hours of procrastinating and started about half an hour before needing to sign off, buy food then go out to get drunk with friends to celebrate various things. Upon reflection I felt I may not have fully covered or properly phrased the things I wanted to bring up, so I've decided to go back and re-phrase a few things.
While I've slumped a little into a block/post picture break - which I am hoping to get out of soon - after my recent Norika picture, this last week has left a number of interesting bits of food for thought and concept exploration.
Exploring my characters
For starters, earlier this week I had a few discussions with CMBaggs
about the direction my characters are going in. For years I've had a story I wanted to tell with them and in the past have achieved this through mediums like writing and creating sprite comics. However ever since I was a child, drawing has always been something I love and wanted to pursue, so once I started to get the courage and confidence to actually learn how to draw, making a drawn comic to carry on telling a narrative has become my main creative dream. Alas with the evolution of my own artistic skills being hampered by various things including art block and the inability to constantly maintain motivation, a draw comic is in many ways a far off idea. In our discussions, CMBaggs
pointed out that I've been "telling not showing"; instead of drawing a scene or situation to show and express these aspects of them I'm instead flat out spoiling aspects of the character's history and drive, labeling them with personality traits and concepts and that in many ways they're nothing more than two dimensional concepts rather than giving them deep, meaningful and fleshed out personalities. It was a bit of a hard hit but she's right. I'm not really showing people anything for them outside of generic/reference shots and that's it, no other way to evolve or explain them the way I want. I always thought things like the "Ask my OC" or the "Who Is ___" journals were a good way to bridge the gap but in reality I'm just dumping exposition and potentially showing a great poker hand to soon.
A possible solution I have in mind for this is to borrow a leaf from my good friend thompsonakatom
's book and use a concept he did a few years back - writing a scene to accompany a picture. For example, I have in mind a scene in which Silrun meets the plant manipulating, Avatar of Wood Deathrose. What would happen when two elemental avatars met? How would sunlight fare against plants? My intention would be to draw a scene from that situation then write a couple of paragraphs to explain what happened before, during and after. Writing both the "Who Is ___" journals, as well as some of the responses for the "Ask My OC" journal was a lot of fun and reminded me a little of why I enjoyed writing when I was younger, coming up with the best ways to explain the situation, the emotions people were feeling and so forth, and while this may seem like a tangent from my try intention - producing a drawn comic, I've grown quite keen to explore this idea as an intermediate until I'm more confident and skilled with my art.
A few days ago, my good friend thompsonakatom
asked if I wanted to adopt his old characters off him. We've been friends for a little over eight years now and for as long as I can remember I've enjoyed not only his work but the way he's created and evolved these characters so it is certainly sad to see he has ultimately decided he has no further need for them. It's a sad day to see this chapter in his creativity come to a close, but as he put in a recent journal
"why not pass them onto someone who would fine more use for them
", something I'd expressed an interesting in doing IF
he ever wanted to retire them. Due to our friendship, his characters and mine have had a long and interesting relationship since the sprite comic days, due to how easy it was to have one creator's characters appear in your work. I've always enjoyed working with them and exploring what possible relationships, friendships and interactions could come from it and this is an idea I'm looking to continue moving forward.
Now some of you may be thinking "That's great your friend is letting you have his old OCs, but if you're struggling to fully portray the characters you originally created, wouldn't adding more on top make it more difficult?
" and that is very true. While I am thinking about how they'll fit into my universe and am likely to re-cast the "Avatar of Earth" to one of the characters I've inherited, my main plan is to make my characters the primary ones, probably use at least some of the villains I've inherited to flesh out my villain roster a little more (and maybe add a few more "factions" to add some variety) and make the rest more secondary characters, similar to people like Mewrah's father and Reilly. For example, a keen friendship thompsonakatom
and I would often wrote involved the interactions between his character Typhoon and Yuno. Both of them were portrayed as skirt chasing, booze drinking twenty something British lads and while I have a more serious angle in mind for Yuno these days I am looking at reviving their old friendship. Likewise I'm also going to look at further developing a close friendship between Hazel and Mewrah, an idea I've often considered but never really gotten around to writing or portraying. Like I said, I am aware that adopting his characters may over bloat my roster a little and I will be looking to figure out how best they can sit in my world and get a good degree of development without sapping too much away from others or overshadowing them.
Finally I've been strongly tempted to do a pin-up/ecchi/artistic nudity style piece for a couple of weeks. One such idea I have considered would be to do a "topless on the beach" variant of the Norika picture once it is finished, but I'm a little hesitant as I do feel that could be seem as me taking a lazy approach, hence my hesitation. I have alternatively considered doing a similar concept with either Norika or another character, particularly as I am fond of both the "topless on the beach" and top freedom concept. Another would a topless female warrior piece, inspired by a picture I saw of a female skin for Kratos in one of the God of War games which was later cut
. I know in the past I've said I'm hesitant about doing ecchi of some of my characters due to the way I handled it in the past over on Caracal007
but frankly, I've grown quite fond of some of the pin-ups I've seen, commissioned and/or requested recently:
I think context plays a large part in it as I feel there's a lot such a thing can say if you take sexuality out of the equation; is the person initially shy or flat out confident? Are they exposed due to other circumstances (i.e. it was ripped to shreds in battle) or because they want to express a degree of freedom? As I have said before I love the appearance of the female body; I consider it to be a sign of absolute beauty and slightly dislike the way society views it as purely being a sexual thing. I may also be tempted to do pin-ups of other people's characters (although the last few times I've tried drawing pictures for others hasn't quite turned out well
). I should mention however that out of respect for my friend thompsonakatom
and his viewpoint on pinups, none of the characters I've recently adopted would be drawn minus so much clothes.
I hope to get back to work on something soon but until then all the best and I look forward to seeing what amazing art you guys have in the store for us in the future