Posted in Art, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Commissioned Character Artwork!

I don’t often commission artwork, but I do like to support fellow creators and artists, especially when they’re such kind a friend and FC-mate as Bean Baguette.

I was stoked at the opportunity to have her draw my FFXIV character. I requested her wearing the birthday gift I got from my FC – the Eastern Garb. Not only did Bean do that, but she drew some of the other gifts – the Doman Magpie and a pose inspired by the Eastern Dance.

I’m all ready for Stormblood! Woo!

What’s even more incredible is that I was able to watch her stream the art as it came to life yesterday. Just magical. You can check out that stream here!

Thank you so much, Bean!!

Posted in Art, Gaming, Webcomics

New Year, New Creative Goals

I’m finally back home after a good chunk of time away on holiday vacation… which means I’m going through that readjustment period where there’s no food in the house and I have to clean up the messes the cat made while being cared for by someone else… and that kind of thing. I’m also shaking off the cobwebs on my blog like I do every year.

I already wrote about my gaming goals for the month, but I also want to talk about some creative goals I have in mind for 2017.

RPG Making

I didn’t buy a whole lot during the Steam sale this year. In fact, my only big ticket purchase was RPG Maker MV… something totally unexpected. Mostly because it costs $80 when not on sale.

I’ve puttered around with many of the older RPG Makers in the past. Some of my best memories were while making a game using the fan-translated RM2K by Don Miguel back before it officially came to the English audience. I also messed around with the RPG Maker VX, but didn’t like the limitations I found in that version.

The new MV is supposed to fix a lot of the things I didn’t like in VX. It has a lot of nice features that I feel are essential, such as side-view battles. But again, it’s so pricey that I didn’t consider purchasing it until this sale.

Nefol RPG

So what is the purpose of purchasing the new version of RPG Maker? Well, because once again, Syn and I have started kicking around the idea of making a Nefol RPG game.

This is not the first time this idea has come up as it’s something we both really want to work on. I hope we can put some time into it, because it could be fun to have a long-term collaborative project like this again.

“But didn’t you just start posting up Nefol as a webcomic?” you might ask.

Well, yes, I did. And if we do start developing a game, obviously, I won’t continue working on the webcomic version because of the time trade-off.

The webcomic really just came about from me messing around with Inktober last year and the fact that I really want to make some progress on the Nefol story in one form or another. To be honest, I haven’t had much response to the comic, anyhow. So I don’t think anyone will be too sad to see it discontinued in exchange for a game.

Inking Explorations

On the other hand, I also don’t want to give up inks just yet. Practicing using more traditional media is a challenge for me as I’ve become too reliant on digital art tools. If anything, I really want to make time to practice inking more.

Obviously, if I’m nixing the Nefol project, then I need to find another project to ink. Now don’t hold me to it, but I’m considering the possibility of reviving the old Shimmer webcomic project. Only, if I did, it would be a complete remake that followed the revised Shadows of Zot storyline with a darker tone and inked style.

When Shimmer first started back in 2004, it was meant to be an experimental art project. Just something I did on the side when I felt like it. But I got a lot of strong positive feedback, which encouraged me to make it a weekly comic, so I managed to keep it going while I still had the time to do so during college. After graduating and getting a full-time job, I ended up having to cut back on a number of my creative projects, and Shimmer was one of them.

I know that Shimmer is still some folk’s favorite story, so it’s one that I’ve tried to keep around in some form or another. Novelizing it has helped flesh it out a lot, and I think that it would be a fun story to practice inking. I can’t promise I’ll color it and all, though.

We’ll see where it leads.

Posted in Art, Geek Stuff

Krita: Digital Image and Painting Program (Free)

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I’m always keeping my eyes open for new digital art programs to try, though old Photoshop remains tried and true for me. Anytime I find a solid art program that’s an affordable alternative to Photoshop, I try it out and pass the word around.

Krita has been around for a good while, but I didn’t hear about it until this past weekend. There’s two versions of this program:

Krita Desktop which is “a professional FREE and open source painting program. It is made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone.” You can pick it up at the official downloads page.

Krita Gemini which is “painting application which adjusts to your needs – with a powerful, feature-rich interface on your PC, and a streamlined touch-friendly sketching interface on your tablet or convertible. With a range of tools and features suitable for novice or professional artists.”

Interestingly, you can purchase this on Steam. Priced at $9.99, yes, this is very affordable art program.

There seems to be two upgrade packages:

We are offering two options for purchasing Krita Gemini – a cheap “2 releases” version, which provides around a year’s worth of feature updates, and a “lifetime upgrades” package which will receive all future releases.

So if you don’t mind dropping $10 a year on the program, you can get the newest upgrades. Or, if you try it out and fall in love, you can buy the lifetime upgrade for $119.99.

Personally? I’d try out the free desktop version first. I’m not quite sure how an art program tied to Steam will perform as I always turn off big ticket items like Steam when I’m painting my digital work. The less running in the background, the better for my art.

I found the Desktop version to be pretty easy to learn, but that’s also coming from someone who’s known the ins and outs of Photoshop for 15+ years. It looks and feels like I’d expect from a paint program – somewhat a cross between Photoshop, Illustrator and Painter. I haven’t sat down and actually tried to do any heavy art in the program with my tablet, but it has all the features of modern paint programs – layers, masks, brush stabilizers for inking, etc.

Even if all you’d like to have is a program that’s better than MS Paint to touch up images, crop, resize, edit and such, the free version is something to look into. If you’ve ever used Krita, let me know what you think about it!

Posted in Art

Attempting InkTober, Nefol Style

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So it’s been years since I’ve actually drawn in ink. But, yesterday I picked up a new set of pens and a new sketch pad, though I’d forgotten about the whole InkTober thing until today.

I know that I said I wanted to write out the story of Nefol, but then I decided to see what it would be like if I rough inked by hand and painted the outcomes frame by frame instead. So every day this month, I’m going to attempt to draw a frame from the Nefol story. If I like it, then I may continue it in a comic form. We’ll have to see how much time it takes!

The first frame is a young JinRai sitting at a campfire where he is responding to his father after a story. The top is the plain ink, the bottom is the quick paint version. Not too terrible for a first ink in many, many years. I could certainly use some practice to get a bit more line confidence and structure, though.

Posted in Art, Webcomics

Wayrift – 14 Years of Webcomic Change

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This past week, our ongoing webcomic, Wayrift, celebrated 14 years of being online. This is not just online time, however, but 14 years of consistent updates, 3 times a week (now in full color). Every now and then, Syn and I take a week off for vacation. But even then, she sometimes draws humor comics or I post a sketch to fill in the blank.

Rather than post something sappy about the whole thing, I decide to post an art comparison of my style evolution instead. Inspired by a post about Twitter folks who are showing before and after shots of their work, I chose one of the oldest frames of Ben, drawn in 2003, to compare to one of the newer frames, drawn just a week or two ago.

Before someone does the math and says 2016 – 2003 = 13… not 14! The earliest comics from 2002 were scrapped and redrawn. So I don’t have 2002 stuff to show without digging for it.

Don’t laugh too hard at either of them! 😀