Monday, July 10, 2017

Expressions of Link - "Ecstatic"

Version without kana
After a very long break from digital art, I decided to continue my Expressions of Link series with "Ecstatic." As the name implies, I drew the face of a very happy Link. The original purpose of the Expressions of Link series was to experiment with eyes, and while I have done that, the main reason that I drew this was to experiment with my style. While I kept my usual filled-in line art approach, I decided to model the art style after manga drawings, using Mark Crilley's Mastering Manga book as sample images. To keep with the Japanese "authenticity," I also made a version with the Japanese kana "リンク~さん" (Rinku-san), meaning "Link." I kept with using a single layer for all of the coloring, which helped with the small blending I did around the shadow. I also spent lots of time picking out colors, making sure that they worked with each other and were true to life. The shadows do feel a little light and there's not as much base/shadow contrast as there was in my previous digital art. Overall, I think that it turned out pretty well. I apologize for not updating the blog for a long time; obligations, trips (with blog-potential photos), and misjudging the amount of time this would take contributed to the extended hiatus.
Version with kana

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Post-it Art #31 - Quiver

The next ammo holder in Ocarina of Time is the Quiver, which holds arrows. In this one, I get to continue to experiment with different types of textures, namely metal, feathers, and wood. There are metal caps on the two ends of the quiver as well as a small piece on the upper half, and I decided to use shading with direct tones and little gradients. I wasn't able to tell exactly what the middle was made out of, so I drew a generic leather/wood material. It looks fine, but it looks like it stays light or too long and its transition to shadow is too quick. The feathers are a bit light, but still noticeable, and the wood seemed too thin to put any actual texture work into it. This might be the last post-it art for the school year, but I might have time in the next couple days to make one or two more.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Blog Update 2 - One Year of Lkj

Exactly one year ago, on 10 June 2016, I created the blog "lkjhgfdsa_77" and wrote the blog post "Hello.," as well as two digital art posts. Now, my blog has 63 posts, including a series of every single item in Ocarina of Time. Over that time, I have explored with countless media, dealt with many creative challenges, and continued to improve my more comfortable media.

I never thought I would make it this far. Before making this blog, I had a bad habit of forgetting about new projects and quitting them days or weeks after I thought of them, many times unaware of the damage I could have done to others. When starting this blog, I wanted to break this habit, and show to myself that I could keep a promise, that I could persevere, and I believe I have done that. Even with my newfound courage, maintaining it was not always easy. The commitments in the summer hindered me from giving my undivided attention to this blog, but it paled in comparison to what happened when school started. I found myself in a constant battle to make a choice – whether to give attention to the class or the post-it. The amount of homework I received, as well as the extracurricular activities I participated in, made it hard, if not impossible, to do any art at home. The art class I took, whose homework made it up here, might have saved the blog. Having almost no blog visitors also didn't help with my motivation, but it could just as well be my fault for not publicizing enough. But summer vacation is at the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am again reminded that situations are never permanent.

Over this year, I have gained many new non-blog interests, leading to four arrangements on the NinSheetMusic main site and my very own YouTube channel. I have expanded my musical and artistic repertoire and met amazing people along the way. However, despite all of the distractions that kept me from giving more attention to this blog, I still kept up with it, and that tells me a lot. Above all, it shows that I have finally outgrown my old habit and I know now that I can accomplish anything I want to do. The blog may have come second to other activities, but it still survives.

Despite this long, heartfelt, retrospective blog talk, I do not plan to abandon this blog. It will be a challenge to try to fit everything I would like to do into my schedule, but with summer coming up soon I don't know if it will be easy or hard. Hopefully digital art will make a comeback, and I will make larger, more elaborate works worthy of my increased free time. As for next school year, I will likely continue with the Ocarina of Time post-it arts and move on to a second series if I have to.

I am safe to say that I have come a long way both in my art and my mind.

Post-it Art #30 - Deku Seed Bag

The next post-it art, and the first of an ammo holder, is the Deku Seed Bag from Ocarina of Time. The seed bag is primarily made out of leather, which gave me another excuse to practice the leather texture. Instead of starting the small "scales" on the leather, I tried varying the direction of the pencil strokes, which is something I don't do normally. I think that it still resulted in a decent leather texture. I also paid attention to the shadows of the strings on either side as well as the subtle crease marks and loops on where the strings close the bag. I put shading on the bottom of the bag to signify seeds being in the bag, as well as part of the top which was folding over. Today is also the one-year anniversary of this blog, so I'll also be making a celebratory post.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Post-it Art #29 - Kokiri Tunic

The second post-it art in the exclusively-equipment series is the Kokiri Tunic. This rounds off all of the starting equipment received at the beginning of the game. Being a tunic, the main challenge in drawing this post-it art was creating a realistic fabric texture. I first created an outline of the tunic and mapped out where the creases and folds would go. I then added a crosshatching texture over the entire tunic to mimic threading, and I added shadows and highlights as well as creases. To show that it was specifically the Kokiri Tunic I added pieces of grass and clovers coming off of the tunic, but these have overshadowed the more subtle creases. I was unable to find a good reference of clothing laid flat on a surface, so much of the crease patterns were original. The problems with the fabric are likely why this one took so long, but with the end of the school year coming I should have enough time to make a few more.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Post-it Art #28 - Kokiri Boots

The next piece of equipment from Ocarina of Time is the Kokiri Boots. On this one there was a variety of textures that needed to be shown clearly, such as the leather which makes up the outside. The inside of the boot which wraps around to the outside is never shown to be fur (and many models display it as leather), but I put it in for some more contrast in shading and texture. I have never properly drawn fur before so I didn't know any specific techniques. I tried to balance the shading on both the surface and the fur and it turned out nicely. I didn't look at any pictures of leather so I didn't know exactly which direction to go in; I added some subtle lines to emulate the "scales" shown on leather. I even added some crease lines around the heels and toes. For the sole I went with a cork-like texture (again not based on any model) and used stippling for the texture. I haven't been putting the most focus into this blog, but I'll try to keep up with the post-it arts.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Piano Cover - "Lanayru Sand Sea" from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

After arranging "Lanayru Sand Sea" I decided to make a performance video of myself playing it. After a long while of video editing and waiting for rendering, the video is finally up on my YouTube channel. I wrote a lot about the editing process in the description so I won't go into too much detail here. As I said in the description, I didn't have much time to rehearse due to a project, so there are a few pauses in the playing. I might reupload in the future with a better recording. I myself am proud of seeing this arrangement through to the end; I helped it go from an arrangement to a semi-professional performance.