Do It Yourself

This year one of my goals is to colour more. I find I do a lot of detailed, inked, pin-ups, but then leave it at that. I always say I’ll go back and colour it but instead I just move on to the next drawing. I suspect this is because I colour infrequently enough, that the idea of it is daunting, so I always put it off. I’ve also lapsed on the Stranger Than Friendship comic for almost a full year now if I don’t get a new one out before April. I just need to sit down and think of some ideas. I did have one ages ago regarding Wordle, but I fear that fad has passed. Maybe I’ll do it just to get it out of my system.

So yeah, back to colouring – I think doing the colour step more regularly will help keep those skills sharpened, and allow me to work more efficiently as I continue to improve. And to make the idea of it less daunting. And less time spent on the actual figure/ink steps, so I don’t burn out.

With that, since this is the first update this year, I’ll share what I’ve done, in order:

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What I’m Drawing

Fenyx Rising

I started this year playing Immortals Fenyx Rising (more on that below in the gaming updates) and I really enjoyed the art style, so I kicked off the first drawing of the year with Fenyx herself. This version is her most basic starting gear before I even realized the many, many, different customization options available. I do want to colour this piece, but I may go back to the gear design first (there’s so many more ideas).

Another quick drawing, in Lollipop Chainsaw. And a work-in-progress update of The Gwen Who Laughs. As it had been a while since my last Spider-Gwen variant I figured it was time (my wife would say never again is too soon), and the idea of a Batman Who Laughs version was really intriguing to me. Very fetish, latex look. Corset and belts. Very harlequin type look. Could pass for a Harley Quinn variant instead almost. It was after struggling with this WIP that I decided to take a break and focus on more colour for a bit.

Gender bent Johnny Bravo. Modern day Miss Bravo if you will. There’s actual an episode where Johnny Bravo does get turned into a lady so that he knows what it feels like to be hit on incessantly.

Sasha Banks / Mercedes Mone. Former WWE wrestler who made her debut recently in New Japan.

And Supergirl. Got excited after watching the most recent Flash movie trailer, with Michael Keaton and the reveal of the new Supergirl.

So yeah, colour. A little less focus on the ink outlines. After the sketch is cleaned up, I basically just jumped right into colour. And a simple background. Supergirl probably has the most detail as I did a semi-rough ink version to go with it. The other big change is I am working 100% in Photoshop for these which I don’t typically do. I usually sketch and ink in CLIP and then move over to PS if I need to for colour. But it felt kind of refreshing to stick with the one program and explore some new brushes. Hopefully more to come.

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What I’m Playing

Immortals Fenyx Rising: A very solid adventure game, very much like Zelda Breath of the Wild. In art style and gameplay. This is the game that’s kept me the most busy between January – February.

The game is a very vibrant soft coloured game and there are lots of different arena and puzzle style challenge rooms to mix up the standard-type combat. Ability to fly and ride a horse for traversal. And the collectibles usually involve some sort of challenge puzzle as well. Story is decent, and a good length – a humorous take on the Olympus Gods and Titans stories. Basically a big evil has been released and has turned everyone to stone and taken away the godly powers. Zeus and Prometheus are the two narrators of the story. Prometheus is more of the lead storyteller, and Zeus provides his colour commentary. Telling the story of how this mortal, Fenyx, will save the day. Combat is fairly easy to understand once you get used to the light attack and strong attack button mapping.

As I mentioned above, there is a lot of customization options with the gear you unlock throughout. Each gear item has its own perks, etc, but you can always change the look of that gear while it’s equipped to another style, if you wanted to stick to a theme, but needed the perks.

Roughly 40hrs to beat the story, but I didn’t stick around to finish all the various dungeons, or DLC packs.

Returnal: Returnal which was a PS5 launch title exclusive was recently ported to PC and I wanted to give it a try. I’m not a big fan of rogue-like games. But I thought I’d give it a shot.

I understand the appeal of the genre, and this game is gorgeous, and from a die-repeat-die-repeat perspective it’s not actually that bad. It is, however, difficult, and that was a turn-off. I understand that this genre does require a certain level of difficulty to ensure the player improves and advances and unlocks new stuff, but I unfortunately don’t have the time to dedicate to a game like this when I have so many others in my queue. A friend invested over 100 hours into the grind, and still hasn’t “finished” the story. That’s just not my style. So, I am content with the fact that I did “trial” it, but it’s not for me.

Somerville: A quick 4-hour game, like Limbo, or Inside. Same idea, with the puzzle mechanics that allow progression. A cool alien invasion story too. And very cool looking – I really liked the art direction with this one. And its a little bit more 3D level design than those of its kind. Which made it a little bit clunky to play, but still fun.

Far Cry 6: Oh man, finally, finally, knocked this story out in co-op. There’s one thing that can be said about playing in co-op with ILLESTRADER, and that’s when we start a game, we know it’ll take like 6 months to finish. Since we only get a few hours per week, if we’re lucky, and that if we play that game. Sometimes we switch it up, like jumping into Halo Co-op campaign, for example. But it feels good to say we finished the campaign. I think our next outing is Gotham Knights, but we’ll wait for the next sale. In the meantime, we’ll play through some of the DLC in FC6 and some more achievement collecting.

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What I’m Reading

  • Less: A Novel
  • Grayson: Agent 37 Omnibus

What I’m Watching

  • The Last of Us (HBO)
  • Andor

Be good.
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-iRogan

Most Wanted

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has me hooked. I’m trying to complete at least one chapter a night as I steadily make my way through the game. Hoping to wrap it up by the end of the year.

The game is a fun play through, with solid writing. And besides that actual story writing that drives the narrative, there’s just a lot of dialogue that is mostly background noise between crew mates. You really get the impression that this crew has been together for a long time and their banter just sounds natural. I stepped away from the computer at one point while the characters were just sitting on the ship awaiting me to progress the story to the next mission, and when I left they were talking, and when I came back they were still talking. It’s mostly Rocket and Drax that talk the most. With the occasional “I Am Groot”. But to be fair, its mostly Rocket.

And the game includes a surprising amount of “swearing”. It’s not true swearing because its mostly “flark” and “flarking” but I guess they can get a way with it because its not English. Sounds pretty close. I guess it’s similar to Firefly, where they were able to get away with swearing in Chinese without upsetting the sensors.

Speaking of the end of the year, it has been a pretty solid year of games. I have my curated list of games I played this year, ready to go for my year-end Games Reviewed Quickly post:

  • The Gunk (2021)
  • Watch Dogs Legion (2020)
  • The Pedestrian (2022)
  • Borderlands 3 (2020)
  • Far Cry New Dawn (2019)
  • Golf Club Wasteland (2021)
  • Grounded (2020 early access)
  • Shredders (2022)
  • Mortal Kombat 11 (2020)
  • FAR Changing Tides (2022)
  • Dead Cells (2018)
  • Sniper Elite 5 (2022)
  • Grand Theft Auto III Remastered (2021)
  • Hitman 2 (2018)
  • A Plague Tale – Innocence (2021)
  • GRID Legends (2022)
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed
  • Riders Republic
  • Death Stranding
  • Forza Horizons 5
  • Fall Guys
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Far Cry 6
  • Halo Infinite
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

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What I’m Playing

As I mentioned above, I’m playing GotG (hoping to wrap it up by the end of the year), Halo on co-op nights, Fall Guys, Lego Star Wars with my 4 year old, Far Cry 6 on co-op nights, Need For Speed Unbound, and even tried Gungrave GORE.

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What I’m Drawing

I haven’t been drawing at all, sadly. I put like an hour into one of my comic pages, just flatting one of the panels. I also tried re-drawing the first panel in my book, as black and white, kinda like a manga to see if I like the style. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with the idea of continuing where I left off or starting over in the format below, in the interest of saving time. Drawing, inking and colouring is a huge undertaking, and I don’t know if I’m cutout to actually progress. I might have to make some sacrifices to my original vision just to actually move ahead and make progress. Whether that means changing the art style , or changing the colour method.

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What I’m Reading

I recently picked up Ducks which is a illustrated memoir about Kate Beaton’s 2 years in the Albertan Oil Sands. Paints a very real picture of what life is/was like there, how lonely it can be, how being a woman in a male dominated industry is like. A very good, honest, bleak, book all around. On the top 10 lists for non-fiction books for 2022.

Also picked up the Classic Collection of Spawn Batman, the combo DC and Image published books, as well as the latest edition that Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo did, that released this month. Among my many other comics that I pick up every week.

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Below is the most recent (3 weeks ago) episode of our Halo playthrough. Unfortunately after finishing this episode, the next two nights that we played, the capture get messed up as it didn’t encode properly. So I got 2 hours of audio, and no gameplay :(. They were some good sessions too. So the series will have a little gap, but hopefully our next session I’ll be able to pick up the recording again and jump into more editing.

That wraps up the last few weeks for sure. Next update should have me completed GoTG, a new Halo Episode (fingers crossed) and my 2022 Reviews Done Quickly.

iRogan
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I Won’t Break

I’m up to 14 drawings now this month for Inktober/Drawtober/Artober…whatever. So many names. I remember a few years ago, someone came up with Pouchtober, and the prompt list was just a bunch of Rob Liefeld characters who were overburdened with pouches.

Here’s week two:

Tira is a redraw from a 2003-2004 drawing I did back when I worked in Flash. I never finished that drawing as I accidentally wiped my HDD and always wanted to try again. This year’s drawtober is all about 2nd chances.

Fragile was really just me inking a drawing I had completed earlier in September and more or less needed a night off.

Harley Quinn, another attempt at trying to make my evening a bit lighter. Not a full pose.

Usagi Yojimbo and Leonardo. The tortoise and the hare. But really just a Turtle and Rabbit, but that doesn’t sound as cool. This one was spread over 2 nights as it was 2 characters. So it counts as 2. My rules after all 😉

Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans. Obliviously wanted to torture myself with some hair. A lot of fun to draw though.

Felicia, from the video game Darkstalkers. Another re-draw, or inspired for an old drawing. This character I had previously drawn in 2011. Funny story, re-reading my 2011 post, I had wanted to draw Felicia and then Morrigan, but never got around to the latter. Well 2022 me resolved that.

So that’s week two. I feel like this set has some strong entries. More better than not. Harley’s corset lacks any type of detail which I feel is hurting the piece, and Felicia could benefit from some shading or colour or something as it is just very fine line work right now. Fragile’s face got lost in the inking. i feel the pencil was stronger, and I ruined it. Another post-October fix I think. Due to cold (still ongoing), I’m actually 4 days behind schedule, but that’s OK. I still intend to complete the full set. Just maybe not exactly on time.

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Otherwise, I haven’t done much else. Playing Fall Guys in my spare time, and “watching” a lot of movies and TV in the background as I draw.

iRogan

Doc Oc-tober

Shit, do I have to draw Doc Oc now? But my prompt list is already overfull.

Drawtober or Inktober, however you wish to call it…I have been calling it #drewtober. Included in the gallery below are the first 7 additions to this months drawing festivity. Pretty good start so far. Some hits and misses, which is to be expected and accepted by myself as I need to learn to let things go, and I’m drawing and completing one of these per night. Perfection isn’t a guarantee.

My favourite so far has got to be Poison Ivy. Partly because it has more detail. I was able to take a day off for that one, but was able to put in some work in the afternoon, so that piece was almost two sittings. But the results speak. Also this year I wanted to try out some watercolour rendering, when time allows for it.

I’ll be adding a photo album to house all these drawings, and posting weekly with each batch. Wish me luck as I try to actually complete the whole month. Every year I’ve made an attempt, since 2013, and never done 31 drawings. The most was 15 or 16 I think.

Also, as an updated from last post, Crush, fully inked:

iRogan

Self-Improvement

So one of the big changes that happened over the last two months was the purchase of a Wacom 24″ Cintiq.

I previously had a Huion 22″, which I’ve gotten great use out of for the past 5-6 years, but I finally decided to invest in the upgrade. And I love it so far, but haven’t really gotten the chance to explore. There definitely is an adjustment period. For starters, its much higher resolution, and much bigger and far more sturdy. I also purchased the ergo stand with it, so I can adjust/tilt/rotate as I feel. Which also works because it has double duty as my main work-from-home monitor.

It also comes with this handy little remote control for quick keys. Now I just have to figure out the most efficient way to program them to speed up my work. But the nicest feature is the stylus that I no longer have to charge the battery. So nice.

What I’m Drawing Cont’d

Another addition to the X-Ladies group, with Mystique. I think this will be the last addition too. 6 is a good round number for the group. Balances well. Now I just need to work on the background and overall character placement to fit a background. And then colour. I got quite the backlog of things to colour now. I should probably stop drawing new stuff for a bit and actually finish stuff. Like Harley Quinn, Angela, and this group. Better get started.

Plus I have another Stranger Than Friendship comic queued up. Plus reading comics, plus playing video games. There’s just a lot of hobbies, not enough time.

Be good,
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iRogan