Heirophant – WIP

hierophantThe first drawing is from March 2013. The second drawing is from today (September 27, 2014). I’ve learned a lot since then. I always wanted to color the original, but I never liked the way it was drawn. Fortunately, I’ve been on a drawing spree and I was in the mood to redo this.

Image and character © Indira Jainanan

Walking the line

digitalcomparisonThis is where I get to sit in my little corner of the internet and talk about my feelings.

I’ve went through a long period of time where I refused to do digital art because it never looked the way I wanted it to. Back in 2004, I was happy with my digital work up until about 2008, when I decided to switch to traditional media. Traditional media always felt more ‘free’ to me because I wasn’t limited to the functions of a program and my lack of how to make said functions work for me.

Towards the end of 2012, I decided to invest in a (refurbished) tablet PC to draw on because I certainly couldn’t afford a cinitq. I still can’t. I bought a Motion Computing LE1700 and while it made digital art a bit easier, I certainly wasn’t happy with the quality of work I was producing versus what I was capable of doing on paper.

I spent a lot of time, sitting around and dissecting other people’s photo-realistic digital paintings and thinking “why can’t I do that?” And then I tried doing that and while the lineless art with smooth shading looked pretty good… it didn’t feel like something I would normally produce.

After a while of giving up on that, a couple of nights ago, I sat around with my tablet and I wanted to do something. I wanted to use loose, sketchy lines because it was a style I always felt comfortable with.  Every time I’ve tried to ink digitally, it always looked static and boring. It didn’t look like something I would normally produce. I felt like some sort of poser who didn’t have a trademark style and that was a result of me trying to do what everyone else was doing.

So last night, I gave sketchy lines another try and the final picture from this comparison is the result. I was really happy because it looked like something that I did and it didn’t feel like torture to draw or color it. It had my ‘flavor’ to it because my lines were clearly visible.

This is something I hadn’t realized. Today, it dawned on me that all of my favorite works since I started doing digital involved color thrown over sketchy lines. That style just became more and more refined over time without me even realizing it. It’s crazy that it’s taken me over 10 years to get to this point. It’s also crazy that I’ve stopped myself from doing what I was comfortable with all these years because it didn’t look like what all the other artists were doing.

So that’s what I learned this week.

Lord of Murder – Progress

evilpallyprocessStep-by-step thingy of how I did this. It’s not a tutorial by any means whatsoever and I’m definitely not a shining example of how to do digital art, as I tend to work with as few layers as possible.

There were 9 layers total. One for the red sketch, one for the black outlines, a layer for his skin, one for hair, one for clothes, one for the blue and yellow highlights, one for the grey background and one for the pattern on the background.

This took me about 2.5 hours on Manga Studio. So far, it’s the only digital art program that makes sense to me for coloring.

I’m also happy to be able to find a balance between having a more ‘realistic’ coloring style without sacrificing my line work. I feel like once I lose my lines, it no longer feels like something I did. There needs to be lines.

Image and character © Indira Jainanan

Black Magic Woman – Inked

sorrowswornIt’s been a while since I drew any stuff. So here’s some spoopy goodness! She’ll be colored in watercolor. For some odd reason, I feel like I haven’t inked this fast in a long time, as I actually managed to ink the whole thing in one sitting. Maybe I just really liked working on it, even though inking on textured surfaces feels like pen abuse :(

Image and character © Indira Jainanan

Boston Comic Con was Amazing <3

I have to admit, after being screwed over by Special Edition NYC, a street fair thing and then KawaiiLand, I was feeling very apprehensive about going to another convention. My apprehension grew exponentially with the untimely death of one of my beloved guinea pigs and the fact that the past 3 events left my bank account severely depleted (I didn’t even make ONE sale at the street fair and it cost me $100).

Why didn’t sales go well? It’s not because I make shoddy merchandise (because I don’t!). It was because the events were poorly advertised so I would literally go for hours without talking to a customer. Boston Comic Con scared me because it was competing with Otakon, which is one of the largest conventions on the east coast.

I grit my teeth and headed off to Boston with my partner in crime, Luca, who is in charge of the awesome Simply Comical Network. Friday started off slowly and remained pretty slow. I was afraid that Friday would set the bar for slowness. It was so slow, some of the artists didn’t even show up yet. The table next to me was half empty, because I’m a pessimist. Ramon Gil, the gentleman who occupied the other half of the table said his friend whom he was sharing the table with would show up on Saturday.

On Saturday, I could not believe my eyes when I saw Dominic Sparano, the EIC of Pronto Comics sitting at that other half of the table, right next to me. What a small world! In addition, other Pronto members had a table 2 tables away so it was kinda like a super awesome reunion. For those who don’t know, I’ve done some work for Pronto back in the day, mostly coloring stuff. They’re a great bunch with a lot of heart and creativity.

Sales went pretty well on both Saturday and Sunday (not as well as sayyy AnimeNEXT) but the convention itself was so much goddamn fun, I didn’t even mind. Between having an artist alley table near awesome people and reuniting with an old friend that lived around the area, the trip was definitely worth it.

The convention center itself was so packed, you’d need a machete to cut through the crowd. The downside was, our table was stuck in a bit of an alcove and didn’t see as much traffic as tables in the main area. I suspect this is because we were wait-listed and our tables were thrown in as an afterthought. We still saw sufficient traffic, but I did feel we were at a bit of a disadvantage – not enough of a disadvantage for me to cry and leave negative reviews of the con or anything of the sort, though.

I ended up buying a lot of stuff – Including comics! I’m thinking of doing reviews of the comics that I got because I’m the kind of asshole that wants to make my opinions known. We shall see!

KawaiiLand Verdict: Not very cute

So, as some of you may know, I attended an event in NYC called KawaiiLand.

How did I end up there? Shortly after I attended AnimeNEXT 2014 as an exhibitor in Artist Alley, I received an email from one of the organizers from said event. I thought it was pretty cool that someone invited me instead of me having to beg for a vendor space. I figured since my small business was getting… less small, it’s natural that people would start contacting me instead of vice versa. However, looking back, it seems they contacted a lot of artists who regularly exhibit at conventions.

Anyway, I got more info about the event. It was to last from 6pm to 11pm and the tables were $300. You read that right. $300 for 5 hours. Do the math: that’s $60 per hour to rent a space there. Keep that number in your memory, for it will come in handy later.

As we do in Artist Alleys, I asked a friend if she would like to split a table. It made it less painful since it’d be $150 each. The weird part is.. vendors had a choice to either sell tickets that added up to the total for the table, or just.. pay for the table by buying tickets. Mind you, tickets were $15 each, meaning me and my pal Avi would be having to sell 10 tickets each…. or buy 10 tickets… or something… it was weird.

This should have sent up a red flag, though. This means they were relying on vendors to bring in a crowd, even though they claimed to be advertising all over the place. Whatever, I went with it.

Another red flag should have been that they weren’t providing tables.  Apparently, the best they could do was give 2 of the nightclub tables which were 2’x2′. That’s pretty stupid. You can’t expect people to commute to your venue AND bring their own 6′ table in NYC. That’s goddamn impossible. But I went with it because I’m a stupid optimist.

I got to the club and the security was strangely lax. Any idiot could have walked in and said they were a vendor and nobody would bat an eye. There was no proper designated area for each vendor. You just set up camp wherever. Since it was a first come, first serve thing, Avi and I ended up getting stuck on the upper level – meaning there’d obviously be less traffic.

The bad thing about this type of event is that there’s a lot going on at once. There was a concert followed by a fashion show and people are so fixated on what’s happening on stage that they’re not walking around and buying stuff. The first group, Rainbow Bubble, was generic cuteness. The second group, Nylon Pink, was unexpectedly badass and set the bar pretty high. The third performer whose name was Kitty Pride or some shit was awful. She rolled around like a moron, spilled her booze all over the goddamn stage, sang bad karaoke/rapped horribly for way too long and can best be described as a “Hobo Ke$ha on drugs.” People cheered when she left the stage.

The fashion show began at around 9:30pm. Coincidentally, we were told at that time that after the fashion show, we would have to pack up and leave. Wait.. what the flying fuck? That meant we had to pack up at 10. But we were told that the show would end at 11! Remember that $60 per hour that I mentioned for renting the vendor space? Yeah, we got gypped of $60 right there and there was nothing that we could do about it. Most vendors were hoping that at least they would get some traffic after the fashion show.. but that was not meant to be.

So the fashion show happened and it was mediocre and we had to pack up and get the fuck out. They also rushed us while we were packing up, like they really wanted us to get out of there. From what it seems, the nightclub was going to be used for actual night club stuff and we needed to get out of there quickly, meaning these people had no idea what they were doing (or were skimping financially) when it came to renting venue space. In fact, I’m fairly certain that they money they milked from the vendors was what they used to rent the space in the first place.

Many vendor friends that I know made little to no sales, and mind you, these are no amateurs. They’re artists that know their shit and have been in the business for longer and more consistently than I. Most barely made enough for the train ride back home, let alone paying off the $150 for their half of the table.

Final Verdict: KawaiiLand was a total scam. The tables were way too expensive for a 5 hour event that actually turned into a 4 hour event. I will definitely not be returning if there’s another one next year as it was a waste of time, money and sanity.

The Unusual Suspects

unusualsuspectsThis is a bit of D&D sillyness that I did to compare different heights and builds (and personalities!).

Characters from left to right:

Brother Wigglesworth: The cowardly cleric who owns an orphanage and spoils the hell out of his orphans by buying them diamond encrusted rocking horses and caviar. He’s on a never ending quest to keep funding his orphanage without sacrificing quality of care. He doesn’t have much experience in the outside world and gets lost and confused quite easily.

Devyn Darkmoon: The wannabe death metal bard with the voice of 1000 dying angels. He’s the only one who likes his singing and he has the personality of a bag of rusty nails to match his terrible voice. He travels the world in search of an audience who can appreciate his ‘music.’ When he’s not traveling, he can often be found writing sad poetry in his diary.

Bunny-Chan: The 9 year old noble girl who inherited the powers of a dying valkyrie and became a paladin as a result. Bunny-Chan is blessed with the strength of a full grown adult but still remains with the brains of a naive 9 year old girl. She usually solves all of her problems by screaming and hitting stuff with her greatsword (which is bigger than she is). Her battle strategy has yet to fail her.

Creighton Snyder: The paladin/fighter hybrid that usually works as a mercenary in order to make a living. Sadly, he seems to be the sanest one here.

Image and characters © Indira Jainanan