Category Archives: Ramblings

Sometimes I like to talk and I don’t like shutting up

Life and things

I haven’t had a lot of time to talk about things because I was at Special Edition NYC on June 6 and 7, I had my nephew and his wife visit from the old country and I was at AnimeNEXT this past weekend on June 12-14. It’s been crazy. Here are my thoughts about what’s been going down.

Special Edition NYC
I know last year I said I wasn’t sure if I was going to try to have a table this year but I gave it a shot and it turned out to be quite profitable! There were way more attendees this year, since last year was a total ghost town. I saw people who commissioned me last year and they ended up commissioning me this year, which totally made me feel special.

I shared a table with the funny and talented Carlos Abdu and we had a blast, chilling out, talking nonsense and drawing stuff.

I wasn’t too crazy about the new venue. It’s a good idea to not have an event that involves lots of paper in really humid conditions. We were at a pier, which means we were by the Hudson River and the humidity wrinkled a lot of people’s prints and comics. We also got that authentic Hudson River smell which kinda smelled like urine. Gross.

If Special Edition would have me next year, I’d gladly go back, though. It was small, but fun and it will only get bigger from here.

I always love going to AnimeNEXT. Hands down, it’s my favorite convention to AA at. I’m super sad that my table partner couldn’t make it. I miss her and I hope she’s doing well.

On the lighter note, AA is always packed and sales are always amazing. I did lots of commissions this time around and I got lots of compliments on my art style. I was pleasantly surprised at how well my original prints sold this time around, as it’s been a running gag that they never sell. Believe me, it’s not a self-confidence issue of “ohmagad my prints suck” it’s just that I’m a realist and I know it’s harder to sell original prints when most people are clearly looking for fan art prints at conventions.

I also saw a lot of repeat customers and old friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I can’t quite describe it but this AnimeNEXT made me feel quite special and I’m still on a high from that.

Other than that, I took my nephew and his wife to Lower Manhattan and we went up into the observation deck(s) of the new World Trade Center and did touristy things. It was fun and quite visually stimulating.

That’s it for now. Artwork posts coming soon, as well as major updates to my portfolio stuff. Also, more jewelry coming soon :D

Sinister Kid

sinisterkidwebI realized I don’t like writing blog posts because I find them tedious, but it’s a necessary evil.

I’ve been trying to get myself to finish more things, even if I don’t like the way they’re going, to try and improve my coloring techniques. I love coloring, I just don’t do it enough.

I wanted to color this without overthinking it, adding way too much shadows or working the colors until they got muddy and irreparable – which are some of the carnal sins I’ve committed when coloring in the past.

This was inked with prismacolor pens and colored with copic markers and prismacolor pencils.

And in case you were wondering, that’s a girl. Female characters don’t always have to make pretty faces, have their boobies hanging out or be contorted in ways that the viewer can see all their girly parts at once.

Image and character © Indira Jainanan

Lord of Murder

evilpallyI realized I haven’t really talked about this picture that much, but as silly as it sounds, it means a lot to me.

I’ve mentioned this before, but for the longest time, I’ve struggled with digital art. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt confident with something I’ve drawn and colored digitally, and I didn’t think that was possible. I’ve always told myself that I’ll never be able to do anything digitally beyond a cartoonish combo of crisp lines and cel shading.

One day, I sat down with my refurbished Motion Computing tablet (because I can’t afford a cintiq) and I told myself that I was going to stop sucking at digital art. One thing I’ve always liked was drawing and shading with ballpoint pen, so I tried to get the same effect with digital. You’re looking at (probably) the only idiot who likes to ink with the rough pencil tool.  But it works for me and I like the way it looks. And the entire struggle has been to try and find something that feels comfortable and has my signature style to it.

This is the first of many more good things to come. I’m already working on making more elaborate drawings with even more complex rough pencil shading. I’m just surprised at how quick I was able to get this done (2.5 hours). I’m used to spending 10 hours not knowing what the hell I’m doing with digital and then realizing I wasted 10 hours on something I didn’t even like.

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


speedpaintingA while back, I ran out of my usual Borden and Riley Paris Bleedproof Paper for Markers and Pens. It sounds fancy, but it’s pretty inexpensive and I like it because ink doesn’t smudge on it. I had a hankering to color something with markers at some odd hour of the night and I didn’t have my usual paper, which made me really sad.

I desperately tried to search for something else that was marker-friendly and remembered that I had a random book of Copic’s own marker paper. I decided to use that and see how it works. I drew something before this, inked it and when I tried to color, the pen ink lines smudged all over the place. That made me angry. So I was sad because I didn’t have my usual paper and I was also angry because other paper was smudgey!

BUT – I discovered something awesome. The smudgeyness works really well with the markers alone in the sense that the colors blend together really nicely. I immediately scrapped the old inked thing I was working on and tried to do a ‘lineless’ black and white portrait like how a CG artist would do.

I gotta say, it worked pretty damn well! I know the face isn’t totally symmetrical or whatever, but this was just a test. The paper definitely has potential to do really awesome things, even though it’s not useful for what I originally wanted it for.

I’m in a mood to experiment with the same line art, a lightbox and  a bunch of different types of paper to see what can be done on what paper. I just have to wait until I get different types of paper.

I’ll post the results and my findings when I’m done :D
Image and character © Indira Jainanan

It’s a Process…

baahisketchesIt’s been a while since I posted anything, methinks. I should remedy that.

I’ve gone through a bit of time where I haven’t drawn anything. Maybe about a week or so? I haven’t come up with any finished pieces since the beginning of October. Other than that, it’s been mostly sketch sketch sketching away. I truly admire artists who can totally finish a piece every week or so, but I’m just not like that. I’d love to be like that, but at this moment, I’m not. I don’t know how they do it. Whatever they’re eating or drinking… I want it.

More often than not, I feel like I have to bash my head against my desk to get ideas to tumble out. It’s not to say that I dislike drawing and it’s a chore, because the situation is quite the opposite. I love to draw. It’s my life. I can’t see myself doing anything other than that.

The first image, all in red and white, I literally had to beat out of my head. You don’t even want to see the previous attempts. They were rather sad. The second drawing that looks like a funky mock-up for a band t-shirt (or so I have been told) came much more naturally. I wanted to redraw the face I had been struggling with the previous night and it clicked. Then I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of the picture. I wish this sort of serendipitous moment happened to me more often.

I’m not a doctor, but I do believe the prescription is more drawing. More drawing, more fucking up, more realizing what works, what doesn’t work, how things are supposed to look, more reference, more trial and error.

I know this blog is supposed to be about me saying “Hey, look at me, I’m awesome!” but I’m only human. I’m also a melodramatic perfectionist, so that definitely does not help.

I don’t remember where I was going with this, but I think the bottom line is that art is not as easy as people always assume. It’s not just “Oh you get paid to doodle all day! that’s not a real job!” A good friend of mine, who wanted to get more involved in drawing, once told me “I’ve been trying to take up drawing and you know what I realized? There are a lot of things that can go wrong!” It was so simply put, but I have never heard anything more accurate.