Fake's birthday

Procreate drawing of Fake, an original character.

Digital illustration of an original character wearing a suit, holding up a mask against the right side of his face. The background is dark and textured, with some ambiguous human figures, and a 'police line do not cross' criss-crossing the illustration. The image is primarily brown, beige, and yellow.

June 2 was Fake's birthday (from HWA). I started the sketch on his actual birthday, but didn't have time to finish it until the weekend. Another attempt in procreate, but I'm still futzing around. His airtime in the comic so far is pretty limited, but it seems like he is more memorable because of his personality.

Since it was done in Procreate, there was an auto-timelapse-video:

Today's music post: Orange Nectar Returns by Seagullmoine. The album art is by cool friend Wai Au!

Ferris's birthday

Painting of Ferris from my webcomic.

Image description

May 19 was Ferris's birthday (from HWA), so I drew this picture to commemorate! Super plain portrait, but this was the 1st time I tried to use procreate in any meaningful way. Still a lot of unknowns, but it was interesting to just mess around. I always enjoyed drawing him in the comic, even though he hasn't gotten much airtime since the comic began. Maybe that will change...?

Since it was done in Procreate, there was an auto-timelapse-video:

Yesterday I got my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine!

Today's music post: Nightflyer by Allison Russel.

Populus tremuloides

Watercolour painting of an original character in a quaking aspen forest.

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Populus tremuloides, or quaking aspen, or trembling poplar, or...many other names.

I don't think it really comes out in the comic (?) but Austin's last name is Poplar. He is a forestry grad and a tree nerd, so at some point I did a bunch of research about trees that were native to where the story takes place: fake Alberta! A lot of poplars are found in Alberta (like Populus balsamifera, but I've always been enamoured by the super bright yellow leaves of trembling poplars and the white trunks with black knots/markings! One of many things I appreciate about Alberta is how you get to experience all 4 seasons distinctly.

Recently, rurupoi, wai, and co. encouraged me to try out 100% cotton paper (Arches 300gsm hot press). I didn't really know what to do with my paper; I'm not much of an illustrator! Long time ago I put down a thumbnail of Austin doing field work in the forest in my notebook.

photo close-up of a rough thumbnail of a painting, focusing on pose and composition

So this thumbnail turned into the basis for a not particularly well planned (as usual) painting. Drawn directly onto the paper with red col-erase pencil.

photo of a sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

I ended up changing the pose and scale a little bit. Maybe I regret changing the pose, but I don't regret changing the placement/scale.

photo of a sketch of poplar trees, with an even small figure in the bottom left corner. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

Originally it was meant to be a rainy picture, but I really wanted a super blue sky against yellow colour scheme. I also bought masking fluid and wasn't ready to use it yet, haha.

photo of a partially painted sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. Colours used are primarily yellow and orange for the leaves, and blue for the sky/background. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

I have a tendency to overwork drawings/paintings, so I tried my hardest to not do that here!!

photo of a painted sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. Colours used are primarily yellow and orange for the leaves, and blue for the sky/background. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

In natural light.

photo of a painted sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. Colours used are primarily yellow and orange for the leaves, and blue for the sky/background.

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this paper, but I can tell it's better than the scrappy stuff I used before.

OH speaking of Austin, Fluffyfied drew a very sweet pic of Austin and Jake together!

Today's music post: RAIN(비) - 나로 바꾸자 Switch to me (duet with JYP). What a good 80s/90s pop vibe!

HWA snow scene final

Final HWAnimation snow scene

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IT'S HERE!!!!!! A scrappy animated scene from the non-existent anime version of my webcomic, Here We Are! It's a scene from chapter 9 of the comic.

There are soooo many things that could be refined about this, but I have to turn my attention to my many other projects. I hope people enjoy it despite how rough around the edges it is. I really fumbled around at the beginning, but as I approached the final scene I figured out better ways of working.

Some learnings:

  • Vector layers: a good friend that makes getting rid of intersecting lines very fast. Also good for preserving line quality when constantly resizing and rotating things (which happens a lot in animation, it appears). I didn't leverage this until wayyyy to late, but straight up editing vector anchor points, simplifying lines, etc. were useful, especially if you can't draw strokes properly.
  • Mesh transform tool: Warp all the things to save you re-drawing time!
  • Listen closely: I accidentally listened to the voice/dialogue on high volume through earphones (maybe I should've been doing this to begin with HAHA) and discovered I didn't crop some audio cleanly between takes; I ended up fading out the edges of most of the audio in lieu
  • Gap between taste and skill: The gap is quite pronounced, relative to the other creative endeavours I take on. Regardless, it was all good practice. I give myself 5 gold stars for perseverance, and 2.5 stars for drawing.
  • Solid drawing: I don't have this skill! I don't like drawing graduation caps in rotation. Please!! No! MORE! I should've really nailed done my key frames first. I should've drawn 180 degree rotations/character sheets instead of going by intuition. Lacking a lot of consistency across scenes because of this.
  • Incremental efforts: I'm a "futz as you go" kind of person and that likely led to some un-made decisions that couldn't be undone without 40+ frames of rework later on.
  • Reference: I should've looked at reference earlier than I did. I should have relied more heavily on it, though I suppose it's also of merit to try to draw from your imagination too (though the results are likely subpar if aiming for realism). I mainly relied on intuition and whatever brain data bank I had. For the hat and mouth movements, I did record myself. It's amazing that technology (cameras on phones) is so readily available for artists to get reference that they need quickly.

As celebration, I got fries and fried chicken for dinner, and ordered myself stationery (ink samples! fountain pen!!) which I'm sure I'll talk about later.

Today's music post: Whiskey and Rhapsody from Yakuza 4 OST. Listened to this song a lot while working on the final scenes of this animation!

HWAnimation storyboard

Storyboard for HWAnimation snowy scene

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Spoilers for Here We Are chapter 9!

When I first conceived of the HWAnimation project, I confidently said to myself "I don't need a storyboard! The comic IS the storyboard!", but I was wrong. Ultimately I don't draw comics as if you're looking through a camera; at least, not all the time. Sometimes I do for specific panels, otherwise I tend to vary angles, layout sizes, and zooms, which would've made a horrible, nauseating viewing experience when translated to motion.

It took a little bit more effort to move from the comic to the animated sequence. I'm not convinced it is a good translation, since it looks very simple in storyboard (left). The scene itself has a lot of subtlety in expression and body language, so I kept shots pretty clear and static so viewers can focus their attention on the minute motion. Secondarily I kept angles simple because I'm a beginner who doesn't really know how to draw or animate properly.

In the comic (right), the subtlety is done through focused panels and close-up shots.

photo of storyboards for animation on the left, and the representative comic pages on the right photo of storyboards for animation on the left, and the representative comic pages on the right photo of storyboards for animation on the left, and the representative comic pages on the right photo of storyboards for animation on the left, and the representative comic pages on the right

I used these super loose storyboards and made the v2 animatic and then v2 was further refined into v3 animatic.

Some current stills from the next iteration, which I'm slowing working through.

Drawing of Austin in graduation garb, entering a snowy outdoor scene, surrounded by other graduates Drawing of Austin in graduation garb, looking around a snowy outdoor scene, surrounded by other graduates Drawing of various characters in graduation garb, except for an out-of-focus person in the middle of the frame, wearing a maroon/wine coat Drawing of various out-of-focus characters in graduation garb, except for an in-focus person in the middle of the frame, wearing a maroon/wine coat Drawing of Austin walking towards Jake, in a snowy outdoor scene, surrounded by other graduates and pine trees Drawing of Austin hesitating to reach out to Jake, in a snowy outdoor scene, surrounded by other graduates and pine trees

I've definitely learned a lot about drawing and workflow through this experience. Truthfully some of the later scenes are better than the earlier scenes because I learned some new tricks along the way, but don't have time to go back and futz with the earlier parts. I'm also trying to steer clear of Adobe in production; so far I've only used:

  • Clip Studio Paint EX for all the drawing and compositing
  • Audacity to crop up audio files into shorter bits. CSP's audio capabilities are pretty limited, so I will admit that I won't be spending too much time on getting fancy with the audio (I'm already very tired from DRAWING......let alone audio leveling and mixinggggggggggg ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)
  • Affinity Photo to blur some bgs to make it more lens blur effect (instead of the gaussian blur effect I found in CSP, which are shown above)
  • Sometimes the default video editor that comes with Windows to quickly string together disparate clips (to see how it flows, preliminarily)
  • Handbrake for compression, though the file size and export quality straight out of CSP is pretty impressive though (it does take a while...).

Today's music post: Technology by Fatima.