Also, I now have an Etsy store: Curious Creature Designs
I currently have my store stocked with jewelry and hand-made foam-rubber cat ears. I've also made molds for Dragon Fin ears, a number of different types of barrette/elastic band mounted horns, and a pair of bat wings with over a 3 foot wingspan.
I've also figured out the basics on how to run a livestream. If there is interest, I will set up a drawing livestream once a week.
Sorry that I've been so quiet. I'm still having trouble with keeping my mind in order. I keep having very bad panic attacks with no good reason and dropping into deep depression without provocation, that I cannot work myself out of, and just have to wait for the depressed state to pass. I think the stress from being sick for years is finally having some detrimental effects on my brain chemistry. I'm probably going to have to see a psychiatrist about this, because I can't just 'think' myself out of these attacks, and end up withdrawn and useless during them >.< It's really really really frustrating. This has made it nearly impossible for me to talk to anyone, or even react to positive feedback. It was really hard for me to get myself to reach out and post this at all!
Brain chemestry is a weird thing. I know my family carries a gene for a bad serotonin receptor. Serotonin is the hormone that signals the brain to feel happy. Having a bad gene for the serotonin receptor means some of one's receptors don't work right, and it makes it hard for serotonin to send that happy signal, so when something good or happy occurs, you don't feel as happy or relaxed as someone with two normal copies of the receptor gene. Environmental factors, like high stress, can aggrivate problems by making it more difficult to produce serotonin, causing clinical depression. This is why some types of clinical depression run in families. It's really frustrating that mental diseases aren't treated like other physical diseases in my area of the USA. Insurance companies serving individuals do not cover mental illness, even though most forms of mental illness are actually a physical problem, no different than heart disease.
On a happier note,
How I Learned How to Draw
firedrive24 Recently asked me about how I learned to draw. I figured that others out there may want to know about this too, so I'll write it up here.
My first real lesson in drawing came in a short tutorial on pencil sketching I found in a gaming magazine when I was 10. It was written by a Magic tcg card artist and was a step-by-step guide on how he sketched a monster portrait. Back in the days before an image-friendly internet, I collected loads of books about drawing. I started up a regimen of drawing frequently and picked up the habit of always carrying a sketchbook.
Once I managed the basics of drawing, I started to study photographs, first copying them, then using them as inspiration for original pieces. I would also frequently study the artwork of people whom I admired and try to figure out what it was I liked, looking at how they handled face or body proportions, how they depict movement, etc. Study and copying things one likes has been the best way to learn how to draw throughout history. One can find sketches of Greek and Roman sculpture in the sketchbooks of many Renaissance artists. The key is to take what you have learned from others and mix and modify your style into something you are happy with, which will be something unique to you.
The artists from whom I took the most inspiration from as I was learning to draw were:
- Wayne Barlowe - A science fiction and fantasy artist who puts serious scientific thought into making fantastical creatures that were physically possible. He's probably best known for the book Expedition, a scientific guide to the bizarre life on a very alien world, and for his recent work as the creature designer for the Hellboy film franchise and James Cameron's Avatar. His influence lead me to carefully work out the behavior and ecology behind any creature I design.
- Nobuteru Yūki - An illustrator, animator, and character designer with a very interesting mix of realism and large eye stylization and his work with really unique human/animal hybrid and mythological creature designs. I was fascinated by his use of fully detailed noses with large, expressive eyes. He's probably best known for his design work for the original Record of Lodoss War o.v.a., the Battle Angel Alita (Japanese title is Gunm) o.v.a., The Vision of Escaflowne (though the ridiculously long noses were something he pitched as a joke in response to being told that he needed his characters to look more delicate; unfortunately the producer liked those designs), and Chrono Cross. He's probably the reason why I love giving my characters such ridiculously thick eyelashes.
- Michelangelo - The renaissance artist responsible for many notable works, like the Statue of David and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. His beautiful balance of proportions and fluid grace of his subjects have always absolutely taken my breath away. He also frequently played with the theme of an enhanced musculature as an indication of purity or divine justice (a reason why David is so buff). He's the artist who inspired me to work with drawing large musculatures.
- Hirohiko Araki - Mangaka for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. His artwork is filled with very dynamic poses, high fashion, and another interesting mix between manga and western comic book stylization. His influence probably lead me to favor giving my protagonists pouty lips.
- Masamune Shiro - Illustrator, mangaka, character designer, and author. He's best known for Ghost in the Shell. He was my main inspiration for trying to use the computer to illustrate. He also tends to work with getting the science right behind many of his mechanical designs. I also find his wealth of creativity as a writer and world-builder extremely inspirational.
I still consider myself a constant student and am constantly finding more inspiration and influence from new artists I come across.
I have also found useful knowlege for art from my studies in physics, biology, and computer science while in college. The physics of light has been important to my current understanding of how to draw. I also have dabbled in 3-d modelling, and setting up a scene's lighting and understanding how computer rendering works really helped me to figure out how to set up shadows in my own drawings and how to make things in the same scene feel like they are interacting with each other. You never know when you will find something that will help you with your art.
Now, I frequently follow tutorials that I find online and experiment with new techniques. You may find that my Favorites section is dominated with tutorials that have helped me along the way.
When drawing digitally, having the most expensive new version of photoshop is not required. Digital drawing gives one quite a bit more freedom in how you can work, but it does not do the work for you. Paint Tool Sai, The Gimp, and obsolete versions of Photoshop are my preferred tools.