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I like anime figures- I think I like the ones I have to build a bit more, but all figures are pretty neat. I like the challenge of converting a 2d image into something 3d, and it's impressive to see what a talented sculptor can achieve. Then we move onto the harder part- mass producing those sculpts. That's a skill in of itself.

Right now, in Japan, Winter Wonfes- the Wonder Festival is on, and there are a whole bunch of new releases that I think are pretty neat. If you'd like to see pics, you can check out twitter, using the #wf2018w hashtag- or visit your favorite sites. I did want to mention a few figures below, but I'm sure there are many others that you would be interested in.

Max Factory has announced a Megumin Figma, and has a prototype Aqua up.

And for our cozy camping fans, I spotted Nadeshiko and Rin Nendoroids.

No pics, but Kotobukiya is expanding their Bishoujo line by adding G.I. Joe.

For those of you who like building kits, there's a Frame Music Girl Hatsune Miku. In the Volks Charagumin kit line, they'll be releasing a Kurosawa Dia, as well as Ruby (to go with the You and Chika they've already released).
Secret Society BLANKET is inspired.
I've been doing a bit of thinking about where to take my art. I want to improve my art, but I also want to get to telling more stories with my art. To that end, I figured that I could set some goals- not big goals, but maybe just little things I can do every day.

I broke it down into three basic goals:

1. Draw one comic page a week

I've done some practice drawing single panels, and I think I've learned a bit from it. Now I want to build on that with full pages. I know I've drawn full comic pages before, but there was a lot of room for improvement. I had to take it down to the basics and build up. I've also wanted to draw some short, "one-shot" comics of about 30-40 pages. That will have to wait as well.

Right now, my aim is to draw a nicely-done comic page per week. It doesn't have to be anything in particular, just that it is drawn. I've already started planning some various shorts that I can make. I'll also make some shorter Shiori comics to go with it.

2. Draw my regular work (pinups, etc).

I don't want to let go of my color works, so I'll try to get some of these done as well. I'll probably stick to simple stuff for these pics in order that I'll have time for the comic pages. That should be a nice balance between the complexity of a comic page and a simple pinup.

3. Learn about new techniques.


I'd like to learn some new techniques for coloring and painting, along with the various other things I'm doing. Sometimes I struggle with how-to videos and tutorials, however. Have you ever seen the "how to draw an owl" image? That's where on the left it starts with "draw a circle", and then on the right it's "now draw the rest of the owl". It feels like that to me a lot. I think I just need to focus a bit more.

As for other techniques, I still want to learn more about proper perspective and comic layout. That's something I have a few more resources on- but I think the real key will just be practice.



Anyways, that's pretty much my thoughts for the moment. In many ways, this journal is to help me work out my ideas as it is to let you know what's upcoming.
I haven't been able to upload anything lately, so I better write something to let you know I'm still here. I had a bunch of extra work, a few friends to help out, along with a cold. All of that cut into my time to get art done. I hope to get some more stuff done soon.

As for this journal, I had intended it to be longer and more meaningful, but I suppose this is good enough for now.
Not content with the children, teen, or adult market, I see that Nintendo is going after the cat's entertainment dollars.

Edit- how about an explanatory Youtube Link:

[link]
There were a bunch of anime series that released last year. Can you write down your three favorites (or more if you like)? Assuming you found three new ones that you liked, of course. Alternatively, or together with that, were there three other anime series that you saw last year (but weren't originally made in 2017)?

I want to get a better feel for what my viewers have been watching, and what they like anime-wise. To be perfectly honest, I don't think I know enough about my viewer's tastes in anime, and I wonder what someone who visits my gallery would like.

As for myself, for 2017's new series, I'd pick Kemono Friends, Konosuba, and Sakura Quest as the big standouts, with special mentions to Animegataris, My Hero Academia, and Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Theatre. There were a bunch of other shows I liked, but I'll stick with those for now. For older shows that I watched in 2017, I'd go with Last Exile,  Non Non Biyori, and a bunch of shorts like Aiura.
I probably should have written this earlier, but here it is. While I wasn't as productive as I had wanted to be in 2017, I did learn quite a bit, and I'm glad that I did make that progress. Of course, I still have a long way to go, but I made some key improvements that can help in the future. Thank-you for stopping by and having a look at my art. I hope you found something you enjoyed.

I'll break this journal down to make things simpler:

1. Art. I'm getting a lot closer with my "fake anime screenshot" look, which also doubles as the look a lot of cel-shaded posters in magazines use. A lot of this relates to why I learned to draw- I wanted to draw pics like I saw in those mags or those screencaps. Now I can do that- or at least, close enough for now until I learn some more and improve. That only partway applies for backgrounds, because I have a huge ways to go for them.

2. But now that I've learned that, what to do? Well, I need to learn more about manga inking and all the bits that make up a comic. I really like the work in the earlier Dragonball manga. It's lively and fun, with lots of characterful inks and easy to read action. Everything flows so well. That's something I need to learn to do. I have no idea if I can, but it's worth a shot. I'd like at the very least to produce some pages that I can feel that I've done my best with.

3. So what to do? More and more, I want to tell my own stories. I think I've said this before, but my stumbling block has been that I don't know what those stories should be, but I know I want to tell my own stories. That seems like a big thing to figure out, so I'll have to see what I can do. I haven't managed a "one shot" short comic yet, so I'll need to go even shorter, I figure.

4. A quick aside- the internet and the way we used it in 2007 had a lot in common with the way it was used in 1997. In 2017, with the mass market penetration of the smartphone, things are different. It's difficult to express just how much has changed. This affects you as an artist, writer, or even as a viewer. The desktop computer is one of the most amazing content production tools ever created. The smartphone, on the other hand, is primarily designed for content consumption- and it presents unique challenges for those people who create that content, to ensure it can be viewed properly. My big fear is that this new change has put up a bigger wall between creators and viewers.

5. The one big tool I found this year was the Makegirls.moe website: make.girls.moe/#/  . There are many different uses for an AI driven anime character generator. By generating a bunch of different characters in different styles, I can practice quickly and easily. It showed how I had gotten stuck in a rut, especially in my own designing of characters. Quickly creating new designs from scratch is not one of my strengths. Seeing an AI rapidly generate a bunch of different hairstyles on interesting characters challenged me to improve, and showed me how to.

When you see a generated character, you don't have any preconceptions about them like you would with fanart, which would limit the way you'd depict them. Generating a bunch of characters can give you lots of new ideas and challenge you to try new things- even if they aren't that different to what you normally do. If you haven't visited the site, you should, and you should take some time to see what you can generate. Try it a few times before giving up, and try changing the settings a bit if you keep getting messes.

6. Another thing I've found handy is looking up fashion, whether new or old. Again, I needed to expand my repertoire. Interesting clothing for characters is as important as interesting characters- it helps let the reader know a bit about them. I doubt I'll ever have a designer's good sense, but I can at least get a wider variety of costuming when I do draw.

7. And to finish off, a quick note on some anime series. There were lots of good series last year, and Kemono Friends was one of the standouts for me, along with Sakura Quest, Animegataris, Konosuba, and I think this list is going to go on for a while. If you have a chance, check out Kemono Friends, and put up with the CG animation. It is remarkably well constructed, and one of the most satisfying series I watched that was made in 2017. By that I mean it was well-written and plotted, with interesting characters in a unique world, never talked down to the viewer, and had a good solid ending. Most series struggle to have one or two of those elements. I suggest watching if for no other reason than to see how to make a solid, consistent series in a reasonable amount of time.
 
The makegirls.moe website has been enhanced with some interesting new options- 256x256 image generation, and the ability to set the "style" of a character (from early 2000s to present day). As before, the website can be found at make.girls.moe/#/ , and I created a few example images here:
Makegirls.moe 256 Example by wbd


Let's say you're a writer and you want to visualize a character better. Well, just input certain parameters, and generate until you see the character. But as you generate characters, you may see whole backstories popping up when a new character appears. This is useful if you need a bunch of characters- friends for a main, or background, or whatever.

It's also useful if you need a bunch of characters for an RP.

Here's another option:

What if you're requesting or commissioning an artist to draw an original character of yours, but no one has ever drawn them before. Well, generate a bunch of similar looking characters to the vision in your head, and then send them along to the artist. Make sure you describe what should be different, of course! This will make the creation process much simpler and faster for them.

I think that the 128x128 image generator libraries are a bit more useful for artists, as they generate a wider variety of designs. The main  thing that running this program has helped me with is seeing new and unique hairstyles. At the 128x128 size, you have to do a lot more guesswork and use your imagination more to understand the look of a particular style (especially twin-tails, as the AI doesn't really get them). It's helped me to break away from similar-looking hairstyles and to try new and different looks for characters. That's something I struggled with. The 256x256 is almost ready made for the other ideas I noted above.

The only other issue is that the AI doesn't really understand clothing or shoulders, but I think that's a trivial thing- you can always just edit the image afterwards to fix that.



If this sounds familiar, I've talked about the makegirls.moe character generator before:

More Uses for Makegirls.MoeI wrote a bit earlier about the Makegirls.Moe website (here:  http://make.girls.moe/#/ )  and how it could be useful for artists, but I used it a bit more and I think there are some other great uses for it- for writers, RPers, requesters, commissioners, and more.
First up, however, I uploaded a little sheet showing some of the stuff I've been making using the site, and what I did with the output.

I posted that to help you understand the potential of the site. It reminds me a bit of Vocaloid when I first found out about Hatsune Miku (Miku has been around almost 10 years now).
Let's say you're a writer and you want to visualize a character better. Well, just input certain parameters, and generate until you see the character. But as you generate characters, you may see whole backstories popping up when a new character appears. This is useful if you need a bunch of characters- friends for a main, or background, or whatever.
It's also useful if you need a
One of the most important things you can do is build enthusiasm for your work. It doesn't just help the reader once it's been made. It helps the artist you want to draw your comic. It helps you visualize the scene. But what can a writer do to generate that enthusiasm? Well, let me start with a story:

Every so often I get requests from people who are looking for an artist for a comic idea. I can't take these requests or commissions, but that's beside the point. It works a bit like this:

-someone asks if I can draw their comic

-I go to their deviantart page, and there's nothing there. Sometimes there might be a couple drawings of the characters or part of a fic.

So, what can you as a writer do that will help? You need to start thinking about the comic and how it will look. Imagine if you could show your propsective artist some roughed-out comic pages. That would really catch their attention and help them. But wait, you aren't an artist- so what can you do? You'll need a script, and you need to learn a bit about thumbnails and layout. You don't need to master art to do these steps. You're familiar with a script, but what about thumbnails and layout?

Thumbnails are basically quick little sketches of the comic pages. This helps you figure out what can and can't fit on a page, and what can look good or look boring. Combine this with the script, and an artist can quickly figure out what you're looking for. They will tweak and adjust the layout to improve it, but that first rough thumbnail will get your ideas across. You'll also quickly figure out what doesn't work in your planned script, and adjust accordingly. This will save you and your artist time.

If you have some money, or you have a library nearby, check out "How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way". It has a great section on comic layouts and thumbnails.

If you don't, then there are a few websites that might help. These are designed for an artist to go through the whole process, but you can see how the first few parts are what you need to learn:

www.lackadaisycats.com/makinga…
webcomicalliance.com/featured-…
design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/…

You don't need to learn how to draw, because the quick thumbnails will just set the scene. They can be as simple as you'd like, as long as they are understandable. The thumbnails will also let you see if the page flows properly, and also warn you when you're trying to cram too much in.

For a small amount of effort, you can lend a big hand both to a prospective artist, and also to yourself. You'll have something that will draw the eye, and make what you want so much clearer to see.

Want an example? Onepunchman was originally a fairly rough webcomic:

galaxyheavyblow.web.fc2.com/

The excitement and energy of that webcomic shone through, which led to the development of the manga and anime you may be more familiar with.

Worth a shot, I figure.
A while back, I picked up a really nice action figure for my art- the sh figuarts "body chan". It's got decent range of motion and has come in handy when I'm trying to get tricky angles and whatnot right. It's well proportioned for anime-style art as well, which is handy given my main style. I had been using a blank Figma body, but it doesn't quite work as nicely as the SH Figuarts one. They seem to work better as finished figures.

Have you been using action figures, and have you found anything useful for your style, or are you still looking for something in particular?
So, I went to the "fan art mashup challenge" page, and clicked on the mashup generator. Each time I tried I got something like this:

Character I don't know  at Place I'm not familiar with doing somethingorother.

(in fairness, every so often I got "character I sort of know but am uninterested in" at "place that I have a vague recollection of" doing somethingorother)

If I made a generator, I wonder if anyone would get the references.


Edit- I'm not saying this as a positive, or as a negative, but rather as an expression of surprise. I mean, I'm going along happily and then I notice that hey, I have no idea what these references are. Maybe if someone explains them by using analogies to Idolmaster or Love Live I'd get it. Or something like that.
It's time for a new journal, if for no other reason than Miku's August birthday has come and gone, and the reminder from the previous journal isn't needed any more.

My main goal this month has been to keep up my rate of art production from August. I don't have a lot of free time, but I need to use what I have effectively, and cut out the waste. The next goal has been to get better at my imitation anime screencaps or promo pieces. When I mean promo pieces, I mean like the images in Newtype or Megami or similar magazines/online sites. Getting that cel feel is something I want to do a better job of. Right now, it's the linework I need to get closer on, but I think I've gotten close enough for my needs (for now, at least). I'll start building on what I've got, both fanart and original characters.

So what's next? Well, I want to get more practice comic pages done in addition top all that. So now it's just something I need to get working on.
On August 31st, 2007, Hatsune Miku appeared. Well, that was the initial release. Ten years of Hatsune Miku.

I'm sure you'll find lots of other posters who can give you more details or tell some interesting stories about the development of the character and whatnot. This is more a journal to remind you that if you were planning on drawing something to commemorate the ten years, you'll probably want to start doing it now. Assuming you haven't already,  of course.
I wrote a bit earlier about the Makegirls.Moe website (here:  make.girls.moe/#/ )  and how it could be useful for artists, but I used it a bit more and I think there are some other great uses for it- for writers, RPers, requesters, commissioners, and more.

First up, however, I uploaded a little sheet showing some of the stuff I've been making using the site, and what I did with the output.

Examples using Makegirls.Moe by wbd

I posted that to help you understand the potential of the site. It reminds me a bit of Vocaloid when I first found out about Hatsune Miku (Miku has been around almost 10 years now).

Let's say you're a writer and you want to visualize a character better. Well, just input certain parameters, and generate until you see the character. But as you generate characters, you may see whole backstories popping up when a new character appears. This is useful if you need a bunch of characters- friends for a main, or background, or whatever.

It's also useful if you need a bunch of characters for an RP.

Here's another option:

What if you're requesting or commissioning an artist to draw an original character of yours, but no one has ever drawn them before. Well, generate a bunch of similar looking characters to the vision in your head, and then send them along to the artist. Make sure you describe what should be different, of course! This will make the creation process much simpler and faster for them.

Returning to artistic uses, you've seen what I've done so far, but there are more uses beyond that. Just trying to draw something in a different style is fun- and this makes it easy. I know that everytime I generate an interesting design I can see a story for them. Maybe you'll find the same thing yourself.

I'm certainly not saying you should reproduce the art precisely, but it can be a good starting point for investigation. I know that I have trouble making "new" designs- I end up going back to a handful of things I like. Looking at a computer-generated variety helps me to break up that monotony. It's a lot like all the other creative tools in your toolbox.
(This isn't really about art, but it is art-related. I want to make sure that my viewers can not only to keep viewing my work, but to keep viewing things in general)

On August 21st, there's an eclipse over North America. Some places will see a total eclipse, some places will see partial eclipses. Whatever happens over where you live, it's important to know how to safely observe an eclipse. Even if you won't see the eclipse this time, there will certainly be a time in the future when you will, so safety is still important.

The American Astronomical Society has created a page on safely viewing the eclipse:

eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/saf…

There are some specifics about whether you are in or not in the "path of totality", and that gets complicated quickly. If you are unsure about anything, DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN.

One safe alternative is the pinhole camera. You can make a simple one yourself, using these instructions by NASA (Again, don't look at the sun through the pinhole!):

www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/pro…

Another safe alternative is streaming online. There will be a number of high-quality streams to watch the eclipse on, many using decent magnification.

Finally, check out your local Observatory, and see if they have a program to watch the eclipse.
Edit- Now that you've had a chance to run the process a few times, have you seen anything interesting? Feel free to link up some images of what you got.

I don't have the original image right here, but I did draw this character based on one pic I generated:

Ready For Work by wbd


Original Post:

I worry about background characters, because I fear that I'll make them too repetitive looking. That
s why it was handy that I just found out about a neat website- it uses an AI routine to generate anime-style characters:

make.girls.moe/#/

There's some interesting information on the site if you want to learn how they trained it, and if you fiddle with it long enough you can get a feel for what characters and designers it looked at to learn how to generate faces.

Anyways, it could be helpful if you need to quickly make a few background characters, or for any character generation needs. I initially looked at it for background characters, but I quickly found out that it's a great way to practice drawing other styles.

A quick tip-to start, set everything to "Random" until it generates a character that looks okay/not messed up. Then change noise from "Random" to "Fixed", and experiment. Set it back to random when you want to try a new "theme".
I'm on vacation, and this is a good time for me to do some planning. I haven't been able to get much art done lately, but I should (hopefully!) be able to get some more stuff done now that I'm on vacation.

I got to thinking about that- how more free time means more time for art. What I should do with this extra time is practice some more. I can see a lot of room for improvement, and I'd like to see what I can do to get better. I'm not sure how much I'll be uploading in the next couple weeks, but I am hopeful that I'll make some artistic progress.

Having said all that, I do want to at least upload a few things, if for no other reason than to let you know I'm still here and working. Ideally there will be more comic pages for practice, but I'll see if I can slip in some single images as well.
I haven't gotten a lot of work done lately, and that was because I was feeling pretty burned out (a lot of outside issues weighing in probably didn't help much, either). It did, however, give me a chance to think about how I can turn things around. To that end, I've got a goal for my pinup art. Pinup art is nice in that it is a lot faster than other stuff, and many viewers like it (or at least they seem to, as they fave and comment).

I fear that my technical competency has far outstripped the other aspects of my art. I feel like the liveliness, the energy, the creativity- that's gone backwards.

I want my pin-up art to be lively and interesting. I think I've done too many pics where the characters are just smiling for the camera. I need to tell more of a story with my pinups. The best pin-ups I've seen were the ones telling a bit of a story, making it more fun for the viewer- and maybe for the artist. Maybe my big fear is that this will show up my lack of imagination, which means I should do it.

So there's one goal- livelier and more interesting pinup art. I'll try to take more time out to think up little mini stories and themes for my pinups going forwards. I have a couple simpler ones to finish up, but once that's done, hopefully you'll enjoy what's next.
I haven't been able to get too much done lately- a bit burned out in general. I should be able to get back to work on art soon enough.
I want to learn more about making comics, beyond what I've been doing. My idea was to write a bunch of stories for "one shot" comics- a comic that is self-contained and not a complete series. That way, I can practice writing a complete story, but don't have to worry about making a long-term series. I know that a lot of new artists grow to dislike the work they did at the start of a series- because over the long term they get a lot better.

If I do one or two or maybe three or however many one-shots, I can avoid that worry.

This journal is a collection of the "splash pages" for my comic ideas. By having a splash page, I can show the viewers who the main characters (or some of them) are, and give them a feel for what's going on. I'll give a brief description above each one, just to give you an idea about what they are, well, about. I'll also include the stories I've finished but don't have a splash page for just yet.

Also, the titles are "working titles"- I'll need to make something a bit more decent later on.

This page is a work in progress, as I need to type up the brief descriptions. I'll just leave the working titles here in the hopes that they will get people interested even before I can write the blurbs up.

The titles and descriptions aren't the only work I've done. Each story is a basic description, and around 5-10 pages. I've tried to be descriptive so that I can turn it more easily into layout and make some dialogue. I just want something I can easily visualize when drawing. Might be a bit dry for anyone reading them over, however.


1. Magical Janitors
Monster Janitors by wbd

2. Princess Idol

The Princess Producer by wbd

3. Secret Agent Chase
Secret Agent Chase by wbd

4. Space Based Solar Power
Space Solar Power by wbd

5. Planet of Heroes
Planet Of Heroes by wbd

6. Rebel Base Defense
Rebel Base Defense by wbd

7. Ghost Story

8. Magical Girls Raid

9. Colony Breakthrough

10. Water Planet Battle

11. War's Widow

12. Magical School (I even forgot I wrote this one)

13. Watchlandia

14. Some sort of Harem