Wednesday, April 30, 2008

back from Pittsburgh Comic Con 2008

so i find that it's about 4:30am and i'm only just now getting to update this. what a goober. i try my best to do things during the daytime, but i guess i'm just a night person. blah.
AT ANY RATE, Identity Comics just came back from a surprisingly successful Pittsburgh Comic Con in Monroeville, PA from April 25th- 27th. a lot of us speculate that due to the drama surrounding the con (if u don't know, check this out - article. now u know.), not a lot of people showed up - both vendors and con-goers alike. there were empty tables at small press right behind us. but with the lack of bodies at the con, we still managed to come out with a very positive experience. there was a bit of hatin goin on with some fellow artists, but i guess being hated on ain't always bad. ;P no real famous folks i saw except for some wrestler dude named Virgil who said he was going to cut my hair with some kiddy scissors as he walked by (the weird things people say when they have nothing better to say). and some old guy named David Prowse who played Darth Vader at some point.
this convention, though it's not very big, is so worth going to because the folks that run the show are just so hospitable to the artists (and i assume vendors too). no other convention we've ever gone to on the east coast has ever walked around and handed each person at a table drinks twice each day and mcburgers or chicken mcsandwiches for lunch. now that's real generosity. and as if that's not amazing enough, they even have penthouse parties with an open bar for any vendor/artist that care to come up. FUN TIMES!
after SOME of us made spectacles of ourselves at the bar doing karaoke saturday night (ahem - flash and the franchize - ahem), we went up to the penthouse party thingy. packed shoulder to shoulder, we squeezed in but it was so worth it for the free drinks. we get to a table of very snooty artist guys drawing for what i can only assume is supremacy against other non-famous artists. mind u, there's a suite full of drunken folks having a party all around them. so what is a bunch of fairly-normal folks like us to do when coming upon such a sight? why, show them how it's done, of course! these dudes had to be shown how to remove the sticks from their posteriors by having the three guys of ID draw caricatures of each one of them. hating ensues. but again, sometimes being hated on isn't the worst thing.
anyway, fun times. saw a lot of familiar faces. it's always a treat to see Pat Carlucci. nicest guy around! if there's one guy u should get in good with, it's that guy. he's not fake like most folks. he doesn't forget u when u try to say hi to him on deviant. then there's the Scott Derby guys which consists of Scott Derby, Tom Whalen, Dave Perillo, and new guy Pat (didn't catch his last name). those are some down-to-earth cool folks whose love for comics and star wars is just enough that they're not too geeky. much like the ID guys! luv those guys! i hope we get to hang out more. also met up with Jaime again. nice guy, as usual.
we noticed that we were approached by a lot of people, con-goers as well as fellow artists, talking about how they've heard of us from someone else or that "Identity Comics" seems to be on everyone's lips. some said that after the karaoke and caricature draw-off, but most said they saw us on deviant or knows someone that has seen us there. feels good to be recognized. means the global takeover is working. KAKAKA. (just kidding, really. we're not doing that, i swear.) but a guy from one of the more prominent comic media online outlet called Comic Geek Speak came to our table and basically said "so i've been hearing about all this 'Identity Comics' talk and wanted to know if we could interview u." flippin sweet! so we did. well, flash and jerry did for us. Listen to our interview on their Episode 427!!!

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CON - first of all, there was a dude that came up and said they saw someone's blog. apparently, nobody else in ID has one of these fancy blogs besides me but i was in such shock that someone actually reads this besides me and my husband (only cuz i force him to) that i didn't really respond. then he said "peng" and i nearly peed in excitement. nearly. every so often at these conventions, i get to taste a tiny bit of celebrity status. people having heard of me or looking for me specifically at the table. the feeling is really quite nifty.
then some guy that was mostly focused on joe throughout the whole con (of course, which dude wasn't) brought over his granddaughter (or neice or something) to me directly. she apparently is taking art classes at the community college and he thought i'd be able to share some words of wisdom to her. that always tugs at my heartstrings. it's such a cool feeling to be able to inspire those younger than u and add to it that she admires u because ur a girl and so is she. girls can draw cool stuff too. it doesn't always have to look like disney or be paintings of still life. it can be kick-ass comics or pretty ladies too. it such a special feeling to be looked up to.
lastly, this couple (they may have been cousins) bought lots of prints from us and one of them was my chun-li drawing. they had me draw a couple of Ryu's for them and their friend but what was really cool was that the guy said that he actually saw my Powergirl print hanging up on his friend's wall. then as he walked around the con this weekend, he peeped it on our display and was like "OH! so this was where got it from." and knew he had to come and look at our stuff. wow. i'll tell u what, wow. how cool is it to have ur stuff hangin on someone's wall!?! it's like i'm semi-well-known or something! i mean, it's one thing to have ur stuff hangin on their wall if they commissioned u for a piece. i mean, duh. but to have a print they bought at another convention and then have a friend come by to tell me, it's really nifty. i'm sure there are others saying "wow, peng, ur a dork. lots of people have lots of things on their walls." but i say, SO! i'm allowed to be excited about it. i don't deny it, i'm a nerd. =P

so phew! to recap, ID did good at Pittsburgh. had lots of fun. hopefully, next year the people will be back but who knows. we basically saw the same 35 people walking around all weekend. =P and even tho i got the lowest amount of commissions at the convention, my art did get recognized and that's quite phenomenal for me. so yay!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

i need sleep

man, i really gotta get some sleep.

i wanted to make a quick update of the blog since coming back from the Pittsburgh Comicon this past weekend. i don't have the energy at the moment to write all about how cool it went so i figured i'd just upload what i was able to finish right before we left for the con. i didn't have time to upload it before this weekend because i was busy trying to get it finished and pack stuff up so we could leave at 2am. wow. luckily, that happens to be prime working time for me seeing as how i've turned my days upside down and sleep at 6am. don't worry, u wouldn't be the first to call me crazy. =P

so here are the mostly finished pieces i completed before i left. i say "mostly" only because there's a very minor change with the Fear image in that i need to make her nails purple or red. other than that, these are all good to go. luckily, there's just enough man-chest to pass the prudence test from the publisher of this lady's novel so no need to make changes there. yay! (unfortunately when i try to upload the finished Conscience colored image, the colors get all wonky and i'm not sure how to fix it. and since i'm kinda too tired to figure it out right now, i'm just not going to include it. sorry!)

i've gotta get some sleep and i'll write all about the convention - with pictures! - tomorrow when i wake up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

see, i did stuff!

so all this ink on my hands makes me feel better about the fact that i haven't updated this over the weekend. i accomplished something at least! =) so here's the inked version of Jester. the other one with the heart is Conscience. i drew him yesterday and inked him today, hence no previous upload of his pencils. inking seems to have gotten a lot faster for me now that i've switched from Microns to nibs and ink. it's a little messier but, like i mentioned before, i feel more of a sense of accomplishment when i've got ink on my fingers. might be like what painters feel after they paint a masterpiece or something. besides, it could be a lot worse. i just remember that the carpet isn't mine so that deters me from making more of a mess. ^__~ i'm finally starting to get a bit more comfortable with the nibs though i've still got a little more ways to go as far as comfort. i gotta remember to let the ink DRY!

now this is Fear redrawn to look more like the original sketch. unfortunately there still seems to be a bit of a discrepancy with the face not being quite like the sketch was. i have no idea what to do to make it look more like it. it's frustrating! not because the request itself is frustrating. that's not the problem. the problem is that i can't seem to get close enough to my sketch. i mean it's my sketch! i should be able to get it! i mean, who better to draw like me than me?! at least i have the comfort of knowing i'm not the only one that experiences this. lots of folks have this problem. my husband says that happens to him a LOT when he draws thumbnails of stuff. he hates that the finished product turns out to look not as good as the thumbnail no matter how hard he tries. still....doesn't make it any less frustrating. -___-

oh, so we saw Forbidden Kingdom on the 18th when it opened. one of the perks of not having a day job. u can go to the movies during matinee hours when everyone else is at work or school! tho, that doesn't always apply around here. it's like nobody here works during the day either! weird.
at any rate, if ur a Jackie Chan fan like me, u'll like it. it's so cool to see Jackie Chan and Jet Li in the same film. they're so different but they both fight so beautifully! it's definitely corny because of the plot itself. i mean, anytime u have a time-traveling kid from Boston whose only experience with kung-fu is through movies, it's bound to get a bit corny. not to mention, Jackie Chan flicks tend to be that way. but once u get past the beginning, things start to look cool. but u know what i realized after this movie? the only thing scarier than Jet Li kickin ur ass is Jet Li smiling. it's almost like a scary warning. it throws off ur defenses cuz it's so rare to see, then he proceeds to kick ur ass. =P it was fun tho. i'll probably still buy the DVD cuz of Jackie Chan. i'm sorry, he's my hero!

Friday, April 18, 2008

uploads - and lots of 'em


Chauncy's not very good at staying still for the camera. even with the "Kids & Pets" setting, she still manages to stick her nose in the camera before the shutter closes.
at any rate, i'm just up late uploading new images to our printer's servers to make new posters and cards for the coming Pittsburgh con. i really wish we didn't wait till the absolute last minute to send our printers images. i know how frustrating it is to be on that end of a transaction where the client takes forever to give stuff even though they're own deadline quickly approaches. then u have to scramble to get it done in time to keep the customers happy. still, they're such a great bunch of folks and they manage to finish it up just in time. they tell us they need at least 10 business days to complete something and we give it to them 5 days to finish. i think that's just how artists work. i believe Gandalf the Gray put it best - an artist is never late; we finish precisely when we mean to. =P (at least, i think that's what he said.)

since i have a few more files to upload for the printers, i'll make this short. this is simply another illustration for my current client's novel. it's a jester (if u couldn't tell from the diamonds and the bells). she sent me an image to base it off of so hence the long hair and serious face. the reason behind the mask and the serious face is that when i read up on jesters in the middle ages, i found out that they were the only folks that could speak freely (in a sense) about high political folks because everyone thought of their blabber as just foolish talk. they were more jokes than anything serious. kings hired them to say things like that to others to sort of get away with making fun of other royal families since some truth is said in jest. BUT unlike comedians of today, they could still get prosecuted or punished for going too far. so they really had to pretty much be the opposite of a "fool."
not to mention, her description states that he's meek and quiet. hence, the mask and the serious face. =P

Thursday, April 17, 2008

i blame tax day!

wow, so it's been a good long minute since i posted. i'm quite disappointed at myself for not having posted for so long. but as the subject states, i blame tax day. it was so much more stressful for us this year what with the wedding and the honeymoon. i didn't think we'd make it. oddly enough, it turns out we paid half of what we thought we would. i can't even begin to elaborate on how elated i am that it's all over.... until next year. T__T

still, i haven't done much stuff art-wise to post so even if i did post, there wouldn't be any images to put. so i just waited. ah well. i was bound to miss a few days. it's all good tho. i'm back and drawlin again. this image is the pencils of Fear. i drew a sketch of her for the client, which she loved. then when i finished the pencils, my silly self decided perhaps a new pose would be better (which is this one). i should have known that the first instinct is usually the right one. so i need to change this back to what it was before. that's what i get for trying to fix something that wasn't broken. d'oh! clearly, her design is heavily influenced by a character in Tsubasa (one of the mangas i'm currently reading) and Queen Amidala. can't help it. i love that crazy hairdo stuffs. its so bold and daring. guess tomorrow i'll have the updated (to a previous version) pencils. gotta do what the client says! ;)
i've also started to work on some kitten illustrations for a brand new client but i'm not yet allowed to show anything of it since he wants to get the copyrights and whatnot for his business beforehand. i can respect that. so for now, this is all just a mention. nothin more. =P

Friday, April 11, 2008

a little something for me

with all these illustrations for the novel that i've been working on lately, i felt like i needed a break and do a little something for myself (and coincidentally for i wanted to try something new with the painted coloring effect which i've been trying to obtain but so far unsuccessfully. however, i think this may be the closest i've gotten yet. i took one of those chunky brushes in photoshop and basically used that throughout the piece from the flat colors all the way to the highlights and even the background. it was tough not to smooth things out with an airbrush like usual. i used another artist's work as inspiration - Pepper Sunshine
one of these days i'm going to get that good. but i really have a long way to go. heck i don't even know how to work Painter yet. i need a book which sucks cuz i hate to read. =[
at any rate, i pretty much just took the brush opacity and fill down around 20% (give or take a couple percents) and went for what i know. one big change that i did do which i will continue to do from here on out is create a color palette in the very beginning. i read in one of my photoshop magazines that it's a good idea to start out with that and darned if they ain't right! keeps things uniform and helps me to not deviate from my original vision. u can really get carried away when ur working on personal illustrations. u start to experiment with different settings and color combinations and before u know it, the piece starts to look like a bucket of easter eggs. also, i used pink and deep orange to create the shadows instead of my usual brown or whatever color is produced when i multiply the skin color to itself. worked out really nice. i'm having my personal issues with her mouth. it's probably more the art itself than the colors cuz i think i may have drawn her lips too big. oops. ah well. i never said i was the world's greatest. (that would be the hubby. =P)
to offset all the warm yellows and oranges, i even dabbed a bit of turquoise as a faint secondary light source. interesting...well, for me at least. ^__^
man, i've really gotta try to sleep at a normal hour. it's 6:30am and i'm just about to go to bed. sheesh!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

birds chirping

birds chirping outside the little window in my lab means i've stayed up waaaay too late. it's morning and people are going to work while i've been sitting here working all night long on one flippin piece! gracious! i think i've really begun overworking these images lately and i really need to get a proper groove going if i'm ever to finish them by the deadline. *sigh* ah the life of an artist. it's really quite neat as long as u try not thinking about bills.

this took me so long to figure out what i want to do with it simply because it was probably the one with the most potential to look ridiculous or cheesy. not to say that the characters are cheesy but just the way i drew it. i was trying to go for an old victorian-ish look with the vines and stuff since she was some queen of england or wales or something like that. (clearly, i'm no good with history.) i tried to give it a worn look by layering a golden brown over the entire illustration. then when i changed the layer to Vivid Light and brought the opacity and fill down, it created this yellowy glow. which was surprisingly what i wanted! funny the things u find out if u press a button enough times. =P then again, there is something to be said about the one that's mostly white. it certainly helps with the fact that the event where this character shows up is in a dream.
not sure what the different-colored smoke coming out of the perfume bottle means. i was told to put it there. as soon as this book comes out, i'm (obviously) going to get at least 2 copies (one to read and one to keep of course) and finally understand why i've drawn what i did. kekeke i guess i won't really need to worry about any questionable content considering the publishers is a Christian publishing company. of course, they did say my art was far too sexually suggestive. what?! my art?! sexually suggestive!?!? feh, well when they're right, they're right. =P

other than this, i didn't do very much art-wise. had lots to handle with personal stuffs at home like doing some pricing for wedding favors i'm making with my sister and calling the Office of Employment Services. boy talking to those folks is like walking on pure sunshine if by sunshine you mean a deadly lava pit that melts your flesh on contact. it's amusing because they're so rude initially but the longer you talk to them, the more you realize they're really nice people. i guess if i had to listen every day all day to people talking about how they can't access job listings because they don't know how to turn the internet on or they can't find the "Any Key" when asked to press it, i'd probably be spittin frustrated too. on the bright side, getting this one image done is a rather large accomplishment for me.

enough complaining! gotta get back to work! i swear, there's not enough hours in a day. yikes!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

i dream in color

really, i do, i dream in color. doesn't everybody??

so pretty much, all day i've done just this. (and laundry.) which seems like not much but there's so much that goes into thinking of what would something looks like that it takes forever! i don't know how people come up with masterpieces in a day cuz i swear i'm just not creative enough to do that. sure, if i'm motivated and have a vision before i put pen to paper, yes i can make something worthwhile in a day. but these have really been cooking my noodle. in a good way tho. helps me explore different techniques. i always was a firm believer in hands-on training. =)
i've created two versions of each to see which one the client prefers. initially i was asked by the client to keep things mostly about the lineart and not about the digital colors. she felt that the lineart should be strong enough that it wouldn't need color except for a splash of colors to keep the focus on the lines. plus she didn't want it to look too cartoony. hence, the greek lady on the cloud is quite flat. but when i showed her the flats of these images, she had a tough time picturing it without all the colors and frankly, i have too. i'm trying to keep the main colors of reds, yellows, and a small bit of green or blue but doing that makes Clarity (the bellydancer) look like a zombie or a statue come to life. hence the need for choices. hopefully she'll like at least one of them.
with Instinct, i tried to go for an art nouveau (which, by the way, is a really hard word to spell) with the border patterns. she's french and all. the colors choices i made were more of an experiment. i don't know which i like better, the red drop shadow or the yellow. i like how both colors pop against the blue.

did i mention i am a bit indecisive??

Monday, April 7, 2008

fallen from grace

eh. not really feelin too good lately. tax time really takes a big toll on me, especially when i'm broke. not to mention i took that Udon rejection a little harder than i expected. went through the usual motions like "i'm not good enough" or "i should just quit and go back to a desk job" or "there's no point in me trying to get better because it will never happen." again, the usual. so i decided to draw something for myself that's a bit more emotive and self-expressive. out came the sketch above, tentatively called "fallen from grace." just sort of what i'm feelin. obviously it's not all deep but that's what i felt.
i'm starting to use photo references because my stuff really lacks that realism that i would like to eventually achieve. i've been reading the ImagineFX magazines lately and these great digital artists use photo references all the time. i've read some artists' comments on deviant about how they think people who use references for poses and such are cheating and can't make up stuff on their own hence questioning their creativity. but i'll just be blunt and say that's stupid. what the heck are models for?!? it's necessary to study lights, shadows, textures and folds in your subject matter and since i don't have naked ladies just prancing around the house (sorry guys), i gotta do what i can to get reference. luckily for me, deviant's got lots of photographers and some of those photos are amazingly lit and composed. really helps me set my own moods when i draw it. (did i mention that those ignorant folks that don't believe in photo references are also the ones with the some of the most anatomically-incorrect drawings of people??) i'm hoping someday i'll get good enough that i won't need it, but i seriously doubt it. we can always get better.
i'm also trying to see if i can draw straight in photoshop from start to finish. i've never been able to do it before because the surface of the tablet is too smooth. the lack of friction between the tablet and the pen causes it to pick up all of my hand shakys. but i've been practicing and this is what i've got so far of a Nariko piece i'd like to get somewhere with. again, i've got a photo reference. Nariko is from the game Heavenly Sword. not too shabby for a first (real) try.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

a moment to reflect

can i just take a moment to pout just a weeee tiny bit? =(
i just read Udon's journal posting of the winners of this Street Fighter tribute thing they're doing and sadly i didn't make the cut. this cammy image was one of the things i submitted (the other being the chun-li) and altho i knew deep down that my stuff isn't the best most original thing, it was still quite a punch in the gut to be told so by the very people that i'm trying to impress. looked down the long list of winners and not seeing my name felt almost as bad as not being accepted to a college or something. its times like these that makes me doubt my talents more and more. i even looked at some of the winner's deviant pages just so i can say "this guy got in?!!? i'm better than him, aren't i?!?" but truth be told the ones i did see were really cool. can't blame Udon for doing their job right. i guess i'll just mope for a bit and hopefully bounce back sooner rather than later. T___T

blah, i'm gonna get over it. gotta get better at some point, right?! OR i can do what others do and make my own book! KAKAKA ....sometimes i can be so sad.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

open mouth - insert foot

just a quick note to my self (and perhaps others), don't take me too seriously. i rant and yak and that's all it really is. i luv what i do and i can't really complain. i'd much rather draw at home than sit at a human resources department inputting data any day of the week and TWICE on mondays!!! and sure, i say a lot of things about this request or that request but i like the challenge. i like the different quirks. otherwise everything will start to look the same and that's very boring, especially for an artist. not too many things are more fulfilling than to draw something someone wants and have that person be satisfied, regardless of the subject matter. my words might come across more abrasive than i really mean to but the reality is that i enjoy everyone's quirkiness. keeps things interesting! (which is why i like watching Secret Lives of Women on the WE cable channel. man that stuff is crazy!)
and shshsh....just between us....i kinda like drawin naked ladies from time to time. women, as a species, are sexy. i'm not saying i'm gonna start swinging the other way anytime soon but i think most women would agree that we are generally more sexy than men. and i happen to like drawing women that are sexy and strong.
also, i may have failed to mention in my previous post that i don't think the inks came out bad in that drawing. for my personal preference, i prefer my other way better.

so i've been taking it easy these past couple of days. haven't done much because i needed a small break. been a bit stressed out, as most folks are around tax time, and i needed to chill out. so in lieu of any new piece, this is the flats for the 4th page of that 4-page backup story that the husband and i are workin on. the flats aren't even finished on this yet but i needed to post something. i should be done with it by tonight or tomorrow. still have plenty on my plate so i gotta get out of this slump sooner rather than later.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

tried something new

so this is all inked up and ready to be sent out. i had to go back in and give her bigger boobs because the client asked for it. which, on a personal level, is quite disappointing since i liked her more natural-looking breast size. but i suppose a guy who asks for a drawing of a naked lady can't really be going for the natural look, eh. maybe he sees "natural" day in and day out. again, i find myself saying "eh. whatever floats his boat i guess." that's been the answer to my questions since i started in this commissioning business. its unfortunate that everytime i try to draw something of this nature for myself, it doesn't turn out as nice or isn't as well received. maybe i should just bask in the glory of my Powergirl. (which i'm starting to get tired of seeing at every convention.)

i tried something new with the inks on this. mainly her hair. i'm not too thrilled about it. took a look at a bunch of Ed Benes artwork and the inkers he has are so amazing! most people tend to think inkers are tracers (which i really resent) but without good inkers like these guys, everything will have a definite sense of half-assed-ness. at any rate, i tried it out. i'm not happy. plus it took forever to try and figure it out and even after about 2 hours, i'm absolutely certain i still didn't get it. guess my art wasn't meant for that style. no skin off my back tho cuz it took so long to do i'd much rather avoid it altogether.
not to mention those buckteeth are killin me.

i had to look up some Bettie Page images for reference since the client said he'd like it to look like some of her stuff. i found the Bettie Page website and the images taken of her - wow! i mean, the things she's doing isn't anything u wouldn't find in ur Maxim or Playboy (except for the bondage ones. wowsers.) these days but the wow factor is that it was taken in the 40s and 50s which, if we need to be reminded, is around the time that Elvis was getting flack for shaking his bonbons on television. with pants on! if u haven't seen it yet, check it out.

Official Site of Bettie Page

i just think it's interesting. in these times of sexually laden media, she must have set men's groins ablaze when society was dictating that her skirt cover her knees. and she's still alive! in her 80s!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Chuck Norris doesn't sleep. He waits.

well, aside from flatting those images for that lady's book, i also flatted this page. it's page 3 of 4 pages for another company's book that my hubby and i are working on. tho, more him than me. =P i think the comic is called Wings and this is a back-up story. and oh yes, that is indeed Chuck Norris. it must be an inside joke with the guys that are writing the book. jerry just draws what he's told. kekeke

then this is a new commission i'm working on of someone's original character Tammy. i normally wouldn't draw her mouth smiling so big but she's got buckteeth and i felt it was necessary to show that. it's part of who she is, apparently. it's just an inked commission so i should be done with it soon. thanks so much to Gil Elvgren for his amazing girly pin-ups. i mean, practically any artwork u've ever seen of a pin-up girl from the 40s to the 70s he probably drew. unless it was Olivia. she's amazing too. what would i be without these greats!?

for April Fool's day

i'm so glad April Fool's is over. i don't like it. i don't like practical jokes or surprises either. unless they're good surprises like unexpected gifts. those are always fun.

well, so i skipped a day. but it wasn't because i didn't do any work! on the contrary, i forgot to put one up yesterday because i was working so hard. so HA! anyway, i was busy putting the flats on the stuff i've drawn. i don't know how it happened but all of a sudden everything was due all at the same time. keeps things interesting i suppose. still got a lot of tweaks to do with these so they're not done.

then i had to add some extra cloth the Fate which i've already finished. apparently, she was showing too much leg for the book's publishers. (of course, they're a Christian publishing company. goodness knows i'm not meant for that audience.) it wasn't too bad of an alteration. it looks a bit wonky for my taste but that's might be cuz i know what it was supposed to be.