Sunday, 27 February 2011

Convention Wares

I'll be selling some of my stuff for an upcoming Minicon in Vancouver. I've been thinking about what the people like and how I should sell my stuff accordingly. I've learned from my friends how fanart is more likely to get sales than original works and while that's true, I've been wondering: Do people go with familiarity when it comes to buying things or with how much the piece appeals to them aesthetically.

I guess when starting off, fanart is a way to get people to notice your stuff. It has a lot of bad connotation with it though and it can be difficult for people to see you differently than 'that person who did the such and such thing'. But at the same time, only doing original works can be a long, long process of people not noticing as much and then you get frustrated at the people who do fanart and wonder why their original works don't get as much attention as fanart.

I suppose it's because fanart already has a solid fanbase (more than likely) and anyone who likes the series will give the picture at least one view if it has a familiar face on it. If it's silly, funny or well made, more than likely, it'll have a bunch of views and favourites (going off of DA mechanisms). My reason for doing fanart is not just for views and favourites though, I felt strong enough towards something that I wanted to try my best to draw them out in a tribute. That's how I feel fanart should be made and not just so you can be popular. I tend to spend a lot more time with fanart than my normal, original works and while that's a bit depressing, it's not like I'm wasting my time and effort on it.

Original works can be a difficult ground to tread because not everyone's going to look at it like fanart. If you really have a good idea on how to captivate people with the story you have going for whatever's in the picture and have the ability to execute it, then it shouldn't really be too much of a problem. If you can't, then keep at it. My original works sure as hell don't get the same amount of views as my fanart (looking at the top three favourited pieces in my gallery, they're Homestuck fanart, Yume nikki fanart/gag comic, and Endzone fanart/work piece) but I'm still working on my technique either way so I don't really care.

But yeah, when it comes to conventions, all of that kinda is thrown out the window. When it comes to shopping, especially for an anime convention, more than likely the customer will want to get something specifically. So unfortunately, unless you're a huge name with an established huge fanbase, fanart is the way to go. Maybe occasionally original if it's appealing. Izukitty is going to be a pin staple haha.

This was probably a bad topic but I hope not! Give me topics you want to read about so I don't keep rambling about weird stuff!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

My Views on OCTs pt. 2

OCTs, as I mentioned last week, was my life for 3 years. That doesn't mean I always joined the best ones - OH HO NO, I joined some weird ones too. I always tried to inspect which one was going to be the most interesting to me and what I can do with it but it's usually the management or the approach to the storyline that turned me off. Or if it was just a really stupid idea.

It might be slightly biased of me and kinda conjures up the egg or the chicken conundrum but I always feel it's better if the host had experience in an OCT as a participant or a judge before starting up one themselves. I just feel that they would understand how OCTs would be run or should be run better than someone who, on the spur of the moment, wanted to do something 'wacky' or 'random'. Sometimes it works! But more than likely not.

I personally would never host an OCT because it takes astronomical amounts of responsibility, time and effort that I'm pretty sure I'm not ready to take on. Which is why I'm finding that a lot of young teens are trying to start them up because they probably don't have as many commitments to anything to deal with it (or that they don't know about it.)

1. Run the idea with your friends to see if it's a solid idea. I've seen many a half baked story cooked up in a half hour that's been thrown out in attempt to be a 'tournament idea'. This isn't to say that a simple idea is a bad thing. But something stupidly convoluted won't do anything productive.

2. Keep the rules simple and easy to understand. The rules for OCTs have usually been the same all around but I've seen people who add the weirdest twists to everything that make it difficult to understand.

3. Have reliable people be your judges. It's all well and fun to have your friends in your OCT but if the judges are also your friends, then no matter how reliable they are, there will be instances of accusations of biased. Sad as it sounds, the accusations will happen more often than not. Of course there are times where it's blatantly obvious which then, it's up to the host to not let that happen! (If you're a good host of course.) A solution would be to either just deal with what may come. If the entry's good, then it's good, or to get people who aren't your friends but are reliable to judge.

4. Be reliable yourself. If you're the host of an OCT, then your attention will be needed nearly 24/7 to answer questions or explain clearly or just anything that the contestants need. It's your responsibility to do what you can for them.

5. Once you've made the rules, you better flipping stick to them. Nothing's worse than a flip flopping host.

Those are my general rules for these sort of things. I've seen them broken so many times, I couldn't care to count.

There've been a bunch of debates about Animation vs Writing vs Comics. They're all their own style of art and they have their own strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes things are better portrayed animated but that doesn't mean it's the ultimate form. I never liked how people seem to think that animation means auto win. It doesn't. It still requires the same amount of arrangement effort that comicking does (I think a bit moreso since transitions from one to another have to be somewhat consistant I guess). It's up to the host to decide whether they want animation or writing or comics. I'm fine with all of them (although, I don't have as much paitience for writing).

I think those are my views on them! I'm sure I'll think of something else to rant about next post. (or maybe a continuation of themes to avoid..)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

My views on OCTs pt. 1

A friend asked me to post my opinions and my views on OCTs. This will probably be in multiple parts since OCTs were a big part of 3 years of my life. Personally, it's how I first learned how to manage my time and process with a deadline. I never had to deal with the 2 week deadlines like how it was in Endzone but 4 weeks, while a blessing, was still a trial to have things done. In this installment, I'm going to just say about my progress in quality and organization made. In retrospect, I should have used an entry piece instead of the audition pieces but WHATEVER.

My first OCT was survivor and it was.. it was an experience. I never thought I could lose twice in the same OCT but somehow I did it. I started out with greyscale and I was obsessed with doing everything handdrawn. Not so much obsessed than I just didn't know how to do it. I probably lost a lot of time doing all of that when I could have used the marquis tool. The organization wasn't too bad but it was usually everything popping out of the panels. It's a good tactic but I used it far too much without having anything to fill on the outsides. Absolutely no backgrounds. Also slanted text is horrible.

And ahhaaaa, the format got smaller here and somehow I thought that was a good thing. This is Infractus Fatality. It turned out to be a bad idea but at least I learned about the ellipse tool. And I got to the point of colours! Sometimes I think that was a bad idea. Colours in my rounds turn out to be a lot of work and I learned not to do that again. At least, not with my own lines. My own lines are crap when it comes to OCTs. There was little organization with the text bubbles. I'm improving on backgrounds but I think this is the point where I tried drawing on paper and then scanning. I won't be doing that anymore.

This is the Colosseum! This is the first OCT that I've actually passed the first round in. I've actually given a crap about backgrounds (to an extent at least that I'll texture it. I should have gotten brushes for it or something). Somehow bubbles went back to being handdrawn and the text is typed. I went ass-backwards for this tournament but hey, maybe that's a good thing. I went overboard with shading and it ended up not working too well. It took me a long time to work with it when I could have just worked with darker shades instead of opacities. Anatomy was better though. At least in these panels. (Don't look at the other panels.)

Heyyy Law of Talos. Even though the tournament itself was really awkward (more to see in the next post), I really had fun attempting backgrounds and panel views variations. Didn't pop out of the panels like I used to (didn't do it in Colosseum either) but shading was ok! It was pretty weird how I did solids for the shading instead... Oh well. I think the major improvement here is that I tried more with the effects of steam and water and that sort of thing. Again, it was still within the timelimit (4 weeks, I'd cry if I worked on anything for a longer period of time). This work wasn't so bad if it wasn't for the weird anatomy I had in the first part of this audition. Panel organization wasn't really all that creative which I regret because fun things could have been done. I was still lazy and cut out squares for panels instead of drawing them out.

Escape from Nevara is probably my most well known OCT and I do like this one more. It took place 6 months after my fall from the previous OCT and hey, I actually like how I handled this one. The panels were more organized in a fashion that was somewhat creative and it didn't look as messy as my previous stuff. Since this actually got towards the finals, I can actually talk about the plot. I did have an initial plot but to be honest, I didn't expect myself to get far in this tournament since my previous attempts have been fruitless so after round 3 or so, I felt conflicted about what the hell I was going to do with my story. Roz's story wasn't all that developed sadly so I unfortunately had to pull something out of thin air. Needless to say, I wasn't too content with how the plot went but other people seemed to have enjoyed it.

And I did join another tournament and attempted another one but the first was a collaboration so it doesn't really count in this OCT post and the second, I withdrew so that doesn't count. I do think that OCTs helped me improve my art within a time limit and they are pretty helpful for developing characters and potential stories. Things to look out for are GOOD OCTs that will actually allow you to do that. There are a few that are iffy and I'll be talking about management and rules to OCTs that I've learned over the years.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Old vs. The New

I think I basically know how everyone feels about their work when they compare the stuff they did a few years ago to the picture they just finished. It's a pretty natural feeling of awe, disgust and relief if you've improved and chances are, you have.

Posting up a new picture on DA somehow puts deviations next to the recently posted picture that are from your gallery no matter if it's in your main or in scraps and that caused a lot of distress for me XD. Suddenly I post up what I really liked and there's all this old crap from 2003 right next to YEAH SURE PEOPLE WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THAT AND WATCH ME. The concept is nice but somewhat flawed if they take from scraps too;;

But it got me back to reflecting so if you don't mind me posting up some bad crap, I'll post up nice stuff too.

Now if you'll let me gag a bit first, this is the first picture I've ever posted on DA. It's from 2003 and I drew it with a mouse on a dinky monitor (I'm seriously thinking the numbers were 800 by something). Back then I was so proud of myself of this picture that I thought it'd be good enough that people wanted to see it. Right now not so much. This thing's in storage right now and I haven't quite gotten the handle on how DA works so it's staying in storage for now.

Stuff from the next few years wasn't as great as I thought as it would be now but I must have felt proud of myself. I would never allow myself to delete images. Hide them away when DA's being stupid yes, but getting rid of your past doesn't allow you to show through to your future's progress. Plus it's always funny to see how wonked out I thought anatomy was back then. I swear to god when I see my old pencil drawings the shoulder was a tumor-esque thing.

It also lets me see how I've been influenced. Needless to say it's anime, anime, anime, JTHM, Invader Zim to an extent, more anime. It wasn't until I broke out of doing fan characters for ever series I could get my hands on that I actually could do something that wasn't just mimicking a style. I took everything I learned (and stole) and made it into something solid. Well. Solidish.

This is the first OC that I had after my tossing of Fan characters. (You guys should probably know that my username was the name of my Naruto Fancharacter. I never posted pictures of her on DA and now I feel so relieved about it. I also feel relieved that I never tried to paint over anime screenshots or manga panels to draw them out. That always seemed stupid to me no matter what age.) I was a bit of a stupid kid even by this time (2007) but I wasn't a bad kid so no harm was made here. It had some semblance of anatomy (it wasn't until forever later did I realize that heads weren't supposed to be that big. I'm pretty sure that I'm still struggling with it now.) I just figured I'd toss in everything I enjoyed about the Internet in one picture and make a character out of it. That appeared as this 4chan amalgamation of fish and tacky colours.

From then on, there've been several attempts at further designing more interesting characters, I've quickly learned that Mary Sues = no no and that I had a penchant for details. So many details. I let myself attempt to learn deadlines by joining OCTs and I'm pretty glad to say that I've never gone past a deadline. I'm a bit so so on the quality of the pages I dished out but they seem to be liked nevertheless. I've posted out sketchdumps only in the past year or so and they're a pretty good sampling of progress within months. I've worked on bigger and bigger canvases and I'm pretty sure that if the little me could see what I can do now, I'd be in awe. And then ask for piggy back rides.

Also here's something nice. I did promise you that.