Blog Update v.01
It’s time for our weekly Freeday post. Today’s theme is, again, a bit different as I try to get into a groove doling out these topics. I think I will do some sort of artist highlight once a month. I follow some really interesting people that are working on fascinating projects that I believe deserve more eyes on them. If you’d be interested in that, leave a comment below. Anyway, without further ado...
Artist Spotlight | Shawna Mills
Shawna is an animator and storyboard artist with an impressive body of work and experience. She has contributed to projects at Lucas Films(Star Wars Rebels season 3-4), Nickelodeon(Invader Zim, 2017 & Rise of TMNT), Disney/Marvel Animation(Guardians of the Galaxy), Sony, Dreamworks and many more. What’s even more extraordinary, Shawna is currently the Showrunner/Director and Founder of her very own media development company, Soda Monkey Entertainment.
And this where we get to the meat and potatoes. For the past few years I’ve been watching Shawna develop her own original animated pilot for a series called “Boom Tag X”. Instead of me describing the contents of the project, take a look at the full trailer she released a few weeks ago.
As you can see, the premise shares a likeness to cult classics like The Running Man(1987) and Battle Royale(2000). However, Boom Tag makes some nods to hip hop culture, with Shawna at the helm developing her own unique story and dynamic drawing style. Those familiar with cartoons/anime in the vein of Invader Zim/FLCL may recognize the influence of those expressive motions in her work above. At the same time, I think she has some of the most creative and unique looking characters for a project I’ve seen in recent years. Since I consider myself to be a character designer as well, I hold her skill in high regard. Shawna Mills and Soda Monkey Entertainment should be on your watch list for 2019. Stay up to date by following her Instagram and subscribing to the Boom Tag X YouTube channel.
Who is an artist you think I’d be interested in? Would you like to receive more recommendations in the future? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
Japanese | Word of the Day
It’s time for another random Japanese lesson. I’ve had a theme surrounding spring for the last few days, and since yesterday was the first day of spring, why not continue the trend?
Yesterday’s weather was incredibly pleasant, if not a bit windy. So, today’s word is directly related to that specific weather event. Tbh, yesterday was the first time I encountered this word/phrase, so we are in the same unfamiliar territory this time around. Special thanks to my lovely girlfriend Yui for putting me on game and introducing us to the phrase, 春一番/はるいちばん/haruichiban.
She explained to me that the strong warm winds that battered us up and down the streets of Shibuya, were an indicator to the arrival of spring. How timely! But how is it translated? Let’s break it down
If you were to look up 春一番 in a dictionary, you might find the definition “first storm of spring” or “strong winds during the transition from winter to spring”. How either of these definitions were pulled from this phrase is a mystery to me but not everything is as direct as they seem. I have the sneaking suspicion that this phrase may have a story behind it. Sure enough, after some digging, I found the answer online. On March 17 1859, off the coast of Nagasaki, a crew of 53 fisherman were shipwrecked due to the strong winds. Since it was the first time that such an incident happened during the season, the phrase 春一番 was coined.
Of course, this weather phenomenon has a meteorological explanation but it’s not nearly as interesting. Should you be interested in learning more, you can view this article through a translator or ask many any questions below!
That’s all for today. Do you have any interesting weather events in your country at the start of spring? How about a strange phrase to describe them? Leave your thoughts below and don’t forget to like and share this post.
Until next time,
WIP Wednesday | Marble
Whats up guys,
Today's WIP isn’t a logo, but an illustration. Yay!
Finally, something in my wheelhouse- not to say my logos aren’t good. But, there is a certain level of fun and subsequent comfort that comes to drawing and rendering.
This week, I was commissioned to illustrate someone’s dog. Her name is Marble.
Marble is dead. That’s right, today’s WIP is a memorial card for a dead dog. I don’t have any experience drawing dogs, so a bit of research went into understanding general dog anatomy and the special characteristics of golden retrievers.
Naturally I created a Pinterest board for this project much like any other. Because of the client specifications however, an unusual amount of the photos focus on the bust of the dogs instead of the rest of the anatomy.
Since the deadline for this commission is relatively soon, I didn’t spend as much time on the sketch explorations. I decided to just focus on how I’d execute the rendering and describing my values.
I originally only planned to draw Marble in profile but I’m considering adding a story moment below the head to design the space more elegantly. The floating head is really bothering me, so I’ll probably do more story sketches to bring out the dogs personality and make it more personable for the client.
This is the render I have so far. I’m not quite satisfied with the values so I may go over them again digitally or with the pen. I think if I do this in certain areas I can age the dog up significantly. She looks a little to hound at the moment. I’ll also reorient the text horizontally to allow the dogs silhouette to breath. As it appears now, the dog’s snout is creating a tangent with the letter ‘R’. On the brightside, I do like how I managed to capture the movement of the fur with the crosshatching technique. That’s probably the best part so far.
What do y’all think?
Leave your comments below and don’t forget to like and share!
Until next time,
Japanese | Word of the Day
It’s time for another random Japanese lesson. I often question if I’m even qualified to be doing this, but fake it till you make it right?
Today’s word is deeply related to the changing seasons; 花粉症/かふんしょう/kafunshō.
花粉症 means “hay fever/pollen allergy”.
This is one of those instances where the kanji combination makes sense in an intuitive way(something I’m super grateful for when expanding my vocabulary). However, the most interesting thing about this word isn’t so much the word itself, but the image below.
This is a map projecting the daily amount of pollen in the air around different parts of Tokyo. Since many Japanese people suffer from 花粉症, it’s common to find these reports attached to the weather forecast; often appearing in apps and on train screens during your daily commute.
Some of you may be familiar with the common sight of people wearing medical masks here in Japan. The common misconception in the west is that the air in Japan(and a few other Asian countries) is heavily polluted. This is incorrect. Instead, it’s common courtesy to keep your snotty nose behind a mask so you don’t contaminate the people around you. Crazy, I know. However, this isn’t exclusive to when people are suffering from hay fever, but also the flu, lack of makeup, or maybe your face gets cold in the winter; the point is, it’s not so weird when you really think about it. Tofugu covers all those reasons in-depth here.
Does your country offer a hay fever forecast? Do people wear masks for cold prevention? It’s honestly a really good idea. Would you consider using a mask in daily life?
Leave your comments below and don’t forget to like and share~
とりあえずTuesday | Google Stadia
It’s time for a brief Toriaezu Tuesday. I was contemplating between several things to talk about until news broke about Google’s newest “game console” at GDC a few hours ago. That’s incredibly big news considering there hasn’t been a new console manufacturer since Microsoft entered the industry around 2001; effectively removing Sega’s viability to be competitive in the industry(to be fair, Sega had a lot of missteps leading into the new millennium though).
First of all, what’s GDC?
GDC stands for the “game developers conference”. It is a yearly conference held in San Francisco(and a few other places) intended to host a variety of round tables, lectures, tutorials and networking events for game developers.
What is Google’s newest console?
It’s called “Stadia”, but I wouldn’t call it a console per say. It’s more of a streaming service in fact; similar to Netflix, but for games. That isn’t to say there is no hardware whatsoever. On the contrary, Google unveiled a wi-if enabled controller.
Why would a controller need wi-fi?
Well, that’s probably one of the neatest announcements from the conference. Since all the games are streamed from a cloud at Googles data centers, they can be accessed through the browser of most devices. Gamers won’t be limited to a tv or pc any longer, but tablets and cellphones are accessible as well. That means you would be able to pair the controller to any mentioned device and run the game remotely.
I think that announcement was extremely impressive because it means that the technology running the games would be infinitely scalable. Developers would no longer be tied to the limitations of a specific consoles technical specifications. This also allows for cross-platform playing. For example, current owners of a PlayStation, Xbox, or Switch aren’t usually able to play co-operatively because of the individual technical specifications and security lockouts of each console. However, on the unified network offered through Googles data center, that is no longer an interesting issue.
Except, there is one glaring problem.
Many parts of the United States, moreover the world, lack high speed fiber optic connection to the internet. Area lacking fiber may have access to data, but ISPs aren’t necessarily the most liberal in granting unlimited access to high volumes of people, especially if a game a transferring 7Gbs of data a minute. That sounds like a pipe dream tbh. But maybe Google has something up their sleeves. Since the service is slated to launch later this year, expect to hear more information around June at E3. In the meantime, check out the 5 minute highlight reel of the press conference below!
Are you excited for a new player in the game industry? What do you think Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s response will be? What are your concerns with the “Stadia” platform? Leave your thoughts below and don’t forget to like and share~
Master Copy Monday | Gesture Drawing
You guys are getting a double-dose of master copy Monday, but that’s cool, hope you enjoy it. This one, like all the ones before, is gonna be different.
Recently, I came across a trove of really clean gesture drawings on Pinterest and felt I needed to replicate them.
What’s a “gesture drawing”?
A gesture drawing is a quick and simple sketch that is meant to capture the movement of the model. It’s intended to be an excercise in showcasing an artists’ knowledge of anatomy and posing. Typical gesture drawings are captured within a short time frame, usually between 1,2, or 5 minutes(sometimes 30 seconds if you really bout that life).
However, the drawings I came across were on a completely different level. In fact, I would probably call them “key frames” now that I think about it from an animator’s perspective. The trend seems to be developing sketches based off dance video tutorials. My YouTube feed is occasionally littered with these videos but I never once thought about pausing to draw the poses until I saw the results below.
Breh. Is that not dope af?! So, I saw these and thought it was about to get lit. I tried it out myself but didn’t want to commit to this level of finish. I still appreciate the raw unfinished quality of the first image much more, so I combined the two styles.
What do you think? I’m considering just adding this to my regimen. It’s super good practice for character design, reminiscent of quick studies from college. Do you watch dance videos or listen to trendy music? These poses came from a dance tutorial for Ariana Grande’s Needy. Such a good song btw.
That’s all for today!
Until next time,
Master Copy Monday | Lauren Tsai
As promised I’m delivering the master copy I promised you last Friday. It’s a week late, but it’s here and quite different than what you might have expected.
Unlike my previous MCM post, I decided to shift my focus from painting techniques to value rendering. The purpose of this was two-fold. First, I was recently commissioned to draw someone’s dead dog. The specifications requested a certain level of realism, so I figured this would be a decent warmup to get started on that project. You guys can see that progress on Wednesday. Second, I wanted to expand on the idea of what a “master copy” could be. So, I figured “why limit myself to just paintings? Photographs are just as artistic and informative-especially when the lighting is as good as the example I chose.” And that’s how we ended up with Lauren Tsai’s photo for TODS.
There isn’t much to explain here. I used a black ballpoint pen, the type you might find in a typical office, and went to work hatching out the planes. The idea was to simply get used to gradiations with a pen and inform how I approach plane changes in anatomy.
What do you think? I definitely exaggerated some features and boosted the character aspect a bit. It started with the glasses and more expressive features, but eventually moved to more frazzled hair, a lighter coat, ID badge, etc. I suppose I was imagining a doctor or a scientist, but I didn’t quite commit to anything; I think it’s still an ok render though.
Anyway, that’s all for this post.
If you are an artist, do you like rendering? I know many hate it, others love it. Who are some models I should be following on Instagram? Share your thoughts below, and always like and share this post!
See you next time,
Japanese | Word of the Day
Today’s random word of the day is closely associated with my current occupation. As some of you may be aware, I work as an English teacher in the Japanese public school system. Usually, teacher is translated directly as 先生/せんせい/sensei. I normally wouldn’t think much about this word. It’s fairly simple and one of the first vocabulary words Japanese studiers learn. In addition, this word has already been adopted by American pop culture in some ways as one of the few Japanese words people know, without actually knowing. I would qualify さよなら/sayonara in the same category. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “sayonara suckers!” at one point in time. In any case, I’d like to talk about the word 教師/きょうし/kyōshi.
What is 教師/kyōshi?
Kyōshi simply means “teacher/instructor”.
Eh, what? How’s that different from 先生？
To be fair, not that much. The word 先生, functions much like a “title”. As such, there are many occupations were the title can be applied often denoting an amount of respect or acknowledgement of accomplishment above mere mortals(ok, maybe not that dramatic- but you get the gist). Let’s breakdown the meaning to clarify.
That definition may seem vague, but if you think of the individual being called 先生 as “the one who came before”, it kind of makes sense. The logic really starts to fall in-Line when you consider the word for student(生徒/せいと/seito) as well. So, alternatively you could consider the definition to be “one whom was previously a student”.
Who can be called 先生? 教師？
Doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, authors, even artists can be called 先生.
Where as 教師 is strictly regulated to school teachers. Let’s break that word down as well
As you can see, this definition seems much more direct and static. The word is simply more technical, so you’d likely see it in a more descriptive context than a colloquial one. For example, government documents like my visa, say “教師“ not ”先生“.
How would you use these words?
No one goes around saying Touré教師 at work, however Touré先生 is heard countless times. Personally, I think there is some nuanced grandeur behind the word 先生. I think it’s presumptuous to describe myself as such, so I often insist on using 教師 when introducing myself. I.e;
“I work as an English instructor at an elementary school.” It’s literally the difference in perception of “teacher” and “instructor” when it comes to the English counterparts.
That’s all for today,
Hope you learned something useful!
What do you consider to be the difference between a teacher and an instructor? What are some of your best teacher memories? Share your thoughts in the comments and share this post.
Until next time,
Freeday | 3 Design Channels to Watch
It’s Friday, time for a free-for-all post about some interesting things I saw this week. (P.S. I do have a TBT and MCM post I plan to share when I get home. Look out for those to be published sometime on Monday.) Moving on~
Like most people, I consume the majority of my entertainment online; typically via YouTube or Netflix. Recently, out of necessity to curate content for the blog, I’ve been watching a ton of videos related to art and design. Of which, I would like to share a few with you today!
Obviously Netflix naturally has the upper hand in long form series or documentary formatted video, but since the service does require a subscription, I will abstain from recommending their content in this post. However, Youtube is much better in delivering a significant quantity and diversity to art and design oriented videos than Netflix anyway. The quality really depends on the individual channel, but I find the short form video edits much more beneficial in absorbing the information presented. For example,
I don’t recall reading vanity fair to any extensive depths, but if their magazines are anything like their YouTube channel, I may have to re-evaluate my life decisions. I’ve become obsessed with their movie centric breakdown videos lately. None more so than the movie poster design critiques. If you’ve ever wanted to understand the formulaic and psychological decisions designers establish to create movie posters, then look no further.
I think many people are familiar with vox videos by scrolling through their newsfeed on Facebook. Though the company often publishes videos political in nature, they actually have a wonderful playlist of videos entitled “Behind the Design”. This playlist introduces viewers to how design is incorporated in infrastructure, architecture, society, art, and everything else that contributes to the human experience. Check out how designers use nature to elevate and improve technology with the bullet train. I thought it was especially personal since I see these trains daily. Still impressive.
Among the three on this list, cheddar is by far the most recent addition. However, it’s familiar editing format(like genius or seeker) is ideal for delivering some really intriguing content largely related to social science and technology. This video about the effects of low-fi hip hop on study patterns came across my feed earlier in the week. I think it was especially interesting because myself and many others are subscribed to the 24hr streaming low-fi hip hop channel, often listening along as we create our art.
Hopefully you find some great gems as you dig around on YouTube! What kind of videos do you watch on the platform? Do you have any recommendations? Leave a comment and share this post!
Until next time,