Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Art from January.

I figure it's probably going to be easier if I split the monster art dump post up into sections. Plus, that way it's easier for me to know what's been posted and what hasn't. I don't have much for January, but it's a start.


This was the first art thing done in 2014. It's a scribble in the A6 sketchbook (which is totally unsuitable for watercolours, but it's what came in the set), referenced from a photo I took of some flowers my mom was given. I used watercolours and white gouache.

The next two are the traditional art tutorial piece that was done for the January goals. I followed a tutorial by Wendy Jelbert, and apparently I only bothered to take one photo of the process. Mine is 10"x7" and landscape and I'm pretty sure the one in the book was bigger and portrait, so I struggled a little with that because I didn't have the same space to work with. The tutorial used artist's watercolours as well, something that REALLY REALLY ANNOYS ME, so I had to improvise with my own colour mixes in places. I flatly refused to use masking fluid because all it seems to do is fuck whatever I'm doing up for me, and I figure that I do an excellent job of that by myself, so I ignored all the steps involving masking fluid. I still can't paint foliage, even with the help of Wendy Jelbert. I kinda like the end result though.



The tutorial was finished on the 10th January - I didn't want to scar the front with the date, because it was one of the few things I've done that ended up looking "finished", so I wrote the date on the back instead. This was (I think) the first time I used a watercolour block.

I did do another A6 painting in January of a fish, but it's awful and my blog is really better off without it. Sometimes I do a quick watercolour sketch and I'm happy with the result, and then sometimes I do a quick watercolour sketch and it ends up looking like that fish.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

June goal recap and July goals.

June's Goals:
* Do two art challenges.
Done! This month's challenges were "lost" and "android". I should be able to upload them and all the others this month. I have SO MUCH ART to upload, the idea of finishing my exam seems a little bit daunting because of it. But it will get done! Probably in stages though, as I said before. It's far too much now to do all at once.
* Do 20 Japanese lessons.
SMASHED!! I reached the listening sections in my JLPT-specific books and they take hardly any time at all to do because there's a lot less for me to write by hand, so after saying that I wasn't going to set this month at 40 goals because it was too high, I've now beaten that too and almost doubled it. The final score was 79. The more I study, the easier it is, I guess. I still don't think I will pass, my vocabulary just isn't at the level that it needs to be, but it will be good for me to take the exam and see where I get points and where I don't. Plus I get to wander around where I used to live for a couple of days.
* BONUS: Completed three video games (Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Game Dev Tycoon and Portal) and read a book (Before I Go to Sleep).

I didn't do any art apart from the scribbles for the art challenges this month. It's not that I didn't have time - my brain fries if I do too much Japanese for too many days without a break - but when it came down to it, games were a better way for me to relax in my breaks. I did some art at the start of the month, I worked on my little sprite, but I only finished the base for the head so I didn't count it. Chances are I'll go back to it another time, but my mind just wasn't on art this month. Art for me is still studying because I'm learning how to do it, so it's hardly a break from studying. It just means I'm studying something else. Then my brain shuts down entirely. So, I did some games instead!

I finished three games, but I actually worked on a few more, too - I progressed through FFVII quite a bit (Red XIII's hometown next I believe), and I also reached the halfway point in Deponia (the junk yard). I got myself to a critical stage of FFX (Evrae is looming) and I'm right at the end of Ys I (two bosses and then it's done). The only game on the currently-in-progress list that I didn't really touch this month was Skyrim.

Whenever I update the games post I get a sudden rush of pageviews from people looking at the last art challenge post, so just to reiterate in case anyone actually reads these: I'm not posting art challenges or any art until after my exam. My exam is on the 6th of July. The updated-every-ten-minutes post is the games post, not me adding any art challenge posts. I'm adding/removing games quite a lot lately, and I like to keep track of everything in that blog because it's nice to have it as reference.

July's Goals:
* Do two art challenges - this month has a bit of a twist to it though: the first challenge of the month also happens to mark six months of art challenges (already!). I proposed an idea to Derf and he agreed to it, so every six months the challenge will not have a word. Instead, the challenge is to redo a previous piece - NOT the word but the piece itself - to see if it can be improved. The challenge after that, towards the end of the month, will have a word as usual.
* Do 12 Japanese lessons - my exam is this month (this week, actually) so the lesson count goes back down as a result. Part of me is tempted to drop it right back down to eight, which is technically two a week, but I might do some more before my exam (I doubt it though, I'm just revising now) and as I may have mentioned previously (or not, I don't remember), I'm on a roll with them right now. Going from studying all the time to hardly studying at all might be a bit much: it would be nice if I did end up remembering some of it after my exam instead of it all just disappearing. So, the goal is twelve. Reduced, but not by too much I hope.
* Finish the owl figurine - zero shits will be given about it hurting my hands too much to study once my exam is already out the way, so hopefully I can get this little guy finished, baked, painted and varnished at last. I've been staring at it for two months.
* Play a lot of video games - I accidentally finished three of them last month, after all, and I'm at the end of another. I'm not putting a specific number on it because progress is progress whether they're finished or not, but I'd certainly like to try and get a lot done. I won't be able to go out in the sun much because with my exam in London comes tattoo touch-ups in London, so while I'm babysitting that it'll be nice to have an indoor thing to do. Plus, at the usual three-a-month rate, it will take me nearly six years to finish all my games, and that's provided I don't get any more in that time. 

Edited to add the list of games currently in progress:
* Deponia
* The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
* Final Fantasy VII
* Final Fantasy X
* Ys I
I'm not setting any art goals apart from the challenges and the figurine. I really don't at all feel like painting or drawing lately, and I don't know if I'm going to feel any different after my exam or if it'll take me a while to get back to it. I don't want to force myself to do it and end up creating a lot of crap, so whatever I do on that front is optional.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

May goal recap and June goals.

Another belated post: studying has taken over my life. I probably won't have time to post any art here until after my exam, but I am still doing the art challenges. I'll be posting them (and the rest of the art done this year) after my exam, but since it involves a lot of scanning and Photoshop wizardry, it'll probably have to be done in stages.

May's Goals:
Do two art challenges.
Done! The words this month were "time" and "battle". For "time" I did a sketch on cartridge paper of a would-be painting. I don't have time to devote to the art challenge at the moment, so sketches and scribbles are the best that I can manage. I know I won't have time to ever finish these, so there's no point in doing them on watercolour paper or anything. I also don't have time to scan and post the art challenge backlog that I have, so with that in mind, after "time" I strayed away from traditional art. I don't have to scan digital art, so it'll be easier to upload it later.
For "battle" I did a sword design from a WIP character design. This was easily the hardest art challenge word we've had so far: the word itself implies something huge and incredibly time-consuming and I couldn't do that. The sword design kinda feels like cheating, but I suppose it is battle-related in some way and now, if I ever go back to drawing that character, he's got a sword!
Do 20 Japanese lessons.
SUCCESS! This goal was absolutely smashed and almost doubled: I did 37. I started doing these tick-box things for Japanese with the goals in January, so at the end of June I'm going to calculate how many I've done for the first six months of the year and how many I have left. I'm getting through my books quite rapidly, and I have nowhere to go after that: both series end around N3 level (I think). Finding things for upper intermediate and advanced level online is proving to be a lot harder than I'd thought. I know I'm nowhere near that yet, but I like to know where I'm headed.
Read a book.
Done! I read Race the Wind by Lauren St. John. It's the second book in the One Dollar Horse series. I hated the first book. I hated the second book. Everyone else seems to love them, which is quite confusing. I did write a review for the first one, but I never put it up on Amazon because it isn't possible to say why I hated it without spoilers. But the second one was no better. Not sure what I was expecting, really. And now that I've read Badminton and Kentucky, I'm stuck with reading the Burghley one at some point just to finish it off. And then they will never be read again. 
* Finish every painting that's left on the watercolour blocks.
Or not. They weren't touched: I've had no time this month for art, really. Poor deathclaw.
* Finish the owl figurine.
Nope again.

I did a bit of thinking about my various projects this month. When I return to it, my novel is going to be written in a notebook (probably several). I'll write up until the point where I got stuck, and then continue from there until I reach the end. I'll use separate notebooks for the separate POVs and I won't split anything into chapters: that's something to be worried about later. When I've reached the end I'll type it up and edit it then. I need to get my story done before I drown myself under edits, which is what happened last time I was working on it. When I write in notebooks I usually just write. There's no space for edits, so I can't make myself get stuck in them.

For my game, I joined the official RPGmaker forums. I found a huge PDF tutorial and am going through that at the moment. It follows on from the last tutorial I did, pretty much, so it's filling a lot of knowledge gaps for me. I'm also working on my art skills as an occasional end-of-day break from studying. I could cope with having pre-made things for some of the game, but then I have to match my additions to that art style so they don't look strange and I won't be able to do that without a great deal of difficulty. If I need to make one character myself then I'm going to have to make all them to match, I think. Recolouring and redrawing things has taught me a lot about pixel art already. Most importantly, it's fun. My first game project has been shelved as it isn't a good idea for someone new to the software, and I'm working on a much smaller project instead, so that's a fun thing for me to jump into after my exam.

Japanese forcing me to put things on hold has been a good thing: I can't wait to get back to them and I have a lot of new ideas. I can't paint until after my exam either, so I can't wait to get back to that, too. I'll finally have the time to sort out my art challenge backlog and get the huge art post out of the way so I can do more regular updates. I am really getting into studying though: I'm not having to force myself to do it and I'm studying more than I would be working if I had a full-time job. Cutting down a bit after my exam might take a bit of getting used to.

June's Goals:
* Do two art challenges - I'm keeping these as they're the only art that I really get to do, and I'm hoping that I can do them during breaks from studying. 
* Do 20 Japanese lessons - I was going to set this at 40, just for kicks, but I count the boxes ticked if I've written it all up and it's gone in my ring binder. For some of them, this has been a total waste of time where I've known every single answer and I could have just skipped it and done something more useful to me. Nearer my exam, I won't have time for this and I learn better by just reading the material anyway. I also have a lot of vocabulary work left to do and that's an app on my phone and not something that I can tick off. I don't want to put any more pressure on myself than is absolutely necessary, so I've left it at 20. If I smash it again then yay, if not I don't care, as long as I get the time to study what I need to. I'm not expecting to pass the N4, I'm going to use it as a guide to show me where my gaps are, but that's no reason for me to waste my time. I want to get as close to passing it as I possibly can. 

Optional Goals:
* Make a sprite - not necessarily all the frames, but a sprite base with my own design on it, even if it's just one frame. 
* Read a book - I'm halfway through one, so this is possible if I use it as a break from studying.
* Finish everything that's left on the watercolour blocks - this is extremely unlikely to happen, but oh well.
* Finish the owl figurine - see above, I suppose. I'm put off doing it in case it hurts my hands too much for me to be able to study afterwards.

Everything that isn't studying is going to be irrelevant this month, so other goals are optional. If I don't get to do them, I'm not going to care very much. I'm so late posting this that my exam is now in two weeks!