January 9, 2014

Long Term Project #1: By the Roll of the Die

First off, happy new year to all of you! I've been busy restructuring things and surprisingly enough WORKING on things.

Secondly, I made it into Anime Central's Artist Alley, much to my relief. I had been suffering from denials and rejections from some newer cons I tried and I was having a crisis of faith of my own work, but I was able to make it through ACEN's new Semi-Juried artworks. I'm working on new artworks now in hopes of making a more prolific portfolio so that I won't have as difficult of time at other shows. But that's for later discussions.

I wanted to focus on a few of my current "big" projects here to let everybody know what I'm working on (and why I'm so busy so I'm not nearly as talkative!).'

The first big project I'd like to talk about I've titled:

"By the Roll of the Die"

Which, for those paying attention is ALSO the name of my tumblr blog devoted to my tabletop RP game characters. (found at bytherollofthedie.tumblr.com: Hilarity and weird jokes may ensue)

I've been in a lot of tabletop roleplaying games (think like D&D) over the past 13 years, so I have built up quite a library of characters! I've enjoyed drawing them, and I thought, what better topic for an artbook than a bunch of old RPG characters. If I'm able to crank out enough artworks, I'd love to have the book ready for Anime Central which is in May, so I have about 5 months to do a bunch of color artworks and archiving and the like. (on top of other comic projects. See why I can't do commissions right now? :P)

I came up with the idea after I started archiving my old sketchbooks. Which I thought I had talked about on here... but I'm not able to find the post for some reason... maybe I *thought* I wrote it but didn't actually write it... oh well! ANYWAY, I decided to start digitally scanning in all my old sketchbooks because as I go flipping through them for reference, they're starting to fall apart.

WE CAN'T HAVE THAT! So I'm going through each book, and scanning any page with anything big enough to worry about. I'm up to book 16 (and still have at least 10 more to go of the 9x12, not including any really old small/big ones, AND my 4 photo albums full of doodles). Each book so far has about 80-90 pages scanned, which brings my scanning total to over 1300 scanned pages - and the scanner is still going strong. YOU GO SCANNER! *tosses confetti* (for those curious it's an Epson Perfection V300 Photo scanner. It's just a regular flatbed, but it's been really nice)

So why am I even bothering with all this for just a book? Well I've always wanted to make an art book, and I can't make em for my comics just yet because SPOILERS! And why my old RPG characters? Well, surprisingly I've evolved in my artwork over the past 14 years, and my body drawing and character design has improved IMMENSELY. (and some of these were just so bad ... augh! I needed to fix it)

So here's a preview of some of the things I'm working on (also posted to karmada.tumblr.com)

Katrina Athas

First up, we've got an oldie, but goodie. I liked Katrina, she was a great character, and I got pretty darn attached to her. I made her sometime around 2002 I think (my dating wasn't the best on my images all the time - NOTE TO ARTISTS: at least put a little date in the corner of the page. Maybe just a year. Please! You'll forget. I PROMISE YOU)

She had these ridiculous puffy pants/chaps thing and wore this bodysuit underneath. GEMS EVERYWHERE. BIG CUFFED BOOTS. (No, I'm not a CLAMP fan, noooOOOoo)

Would you believe she was to be an airship pilot? I WOULDN'T.


I even redrew her in 2007 in hopes I could draw better! It was a valiant effort.

So when I was at Anime Crossroads this year, I finally bit the bullet and decided to start redesigning these poor poor characters. I loved her big coat to death, so I decided to keep it, but I simplified a few other things. I think it mostly maintains the previous look, but more... functional.

Still wanted to keep the breadloaves for shoulder pads though. Couldn't help it.

Lance Tavera

Next up, is one of more hilarity... Lance. He was my first male tabletop RPG character I was able to play. It mostly came about for two reasons: I ran out of good tropes/ideas for girl characters, and our entire party was female. I wanted to mix it up.

He was an engineer character (the first of many. I'm stubborn and will come up with one number-wise one of these days), and gawd I didn't think I was this bad at drawing dudes, but EGADS, feast your eyes on this...

Rumiko Takahashi isn't exactly the best reference
for torso-to-leg ratios.

 So much is so very wrong with this picture. I was totally proud of his design back in the day. I was like "YEAH, AWESOME". Not to mention I ended up hating those triangles, I totally stole hair from Edward Elric, AND, AND I thought longer legs = taller human.

He was supposed to be muscular, and tall to balance out all the ladies. Looking back at it, I feel like epic fail. HOWEVER, I have given him new breath, new life, and a possible new design:

I'm still tweaking this. I also accidentally made him a Lefty.
...I'm okay with this.

While he didn't come from exactly a "medieval" kind of world (they had some sort of modern clothing conveniences) I tried to make it more of a mishmash. He's still gonna have some goggles somewhere... but I just don't know where yet (neck, head, hanging on belt, dunno). AND THOSE TRIANGLES ARE GONE.


Up next is actually an NPC (non player character) I had made for a chat based RPG a long time ago. (Please don't ask, it makes me feel old, and I just had a birthday too). He was the son of the main goddess in my pantheon of goddesses. She apparently wanted to know motherly love, so made a kid (goddesses can kinda do that), but was then forced to leave him in the hands of mortals.

Let's say that when he found out he wasn't happy. So he's kind of a mini-god, he's grumpy, and he's tired of your crap. (He also got stuck in a cloned human vessel of a small kid for a while, so that definitely doesn't sit well with ANYONE ... it was a weird game...)

He was also one of the first characters I gave a midriff shirt to.

I clearly had no clue about armor (and hey look, it's those GIANT LEGS again!), let alone how fabric worked. Gosh, I wanna say he was made from somewhere like 2005 or something. I was getting better? I was also beginning my OMG NOSES MUST BE SO FAR FROM THE EYES phase, so it was just an interlude.

I wanted to give him more of a "robe" motif. He's a friggin' demi-god thing. He don't need no stinkin' armor unless he wants it.

I actually drew a sword in this time too!

I really like how his pose came out.

...and for those who are fans of my other works, he might look a little familiar...

it's kind of a running gag now

So that's the first batch! Until next time, where I talk about other old characters I have had and updates I've done to them!

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