Category Archives: Art

Posts featuring fanart and original artwork.

Anime NYC Part Two

As you already know if you saw my status update, trying to attend a huge, huge convention didn’t work out so hot for me. That said, there’s still some stuff I did at the con that I wanted to write a little about before we get too far past it. Besides, whatever problems I was having, at least I had tons of cool cosplayers like the above gender-flipped Sailor Moon Boy Band to cheer me up.

Saturday, Nov. 17 was unofficial Manga and Light Novel Day at the con, since most print publishers had their panels that day. I was able to attend panels for Kodansha, Denpa Books and Vertical, Inc.; I wanted to attend the Viz Media panel, but that was full to capacity before I even got there. Curses! It’s like Viz has mega-popular franchises in their catalogue or something. Yen Press also had their panel that day, but unfortunately, I was getting sleepy and dragged my sick ass back to the hotel instead of staying for it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend nearly as much as I wanted, but on the plus side, I found the panels I did attend to be quite interesting.

Manga Library

They had twice as much manga as this, but I didn’t take a pic of the whole room because I didn’t want to get photos of people reading their manga. Privacy, yo.

Not a panel, but I wanted to at least duck my head into the Manga Library while I was there. For a while, I didn’t really get the point of manga libraries at conventions, to be honest. It’s like, “I just moved heaven and Earth to get to this convention, at great expense; why don’t I just squander this opportunity by ignoring all the con programming and reading Fruits Basket in a corner for four hours?”

What I didn’t realize then, but has become increasingly obvious to me now, is that it’s really nice to have a quiet place at a major con where you can just relax, without being surrounded by thousands of other people. I don’t think the main purpose of manga libraries is to cater to people with anxiety, but if you do happen to have anxiety, being able to tuck yourself away somewhere nice and quiet with a favorite manga for distraction can be extraordinarily helpful. I know some cons have instituted “quiet rooms” or what have you for this reason, but I like the manga library better specifically because it serves multiple purposes. Even people who really like the hustle and bustle of a big con can benefit from spending a quiet hour or two in the manga library, and then people with anxiety aren’t effectively segregated from everyone else.

The manga library at Anime NYC was provided by the Carolina Manga Library. Carolina doesn’t just do conventions, but also schools and libraries, so check them out if you want to set up a manga book fair in your neighborhood– because why wouldn’t you?

Kodansha

The Kodansha/Vertical, Inc. panel was a long list of manga and light novel announcements, which are by now old news, so I won’t detail all of them here. They did spend some time talking about the new Sailor Moon Eternal Edition, which kind of annoys me; I just bought the complete English-language Sailor Moon manga that Kodansha put out a couple of years ago, and now they’ve got this whole new version with interior color pages and all that great stuff. Similarly, they’re releasing a hardcover “Collector’s Edition” of Card Captor Sakura in spring 2019, right after I just bought the omnibus editions of that series not long ago.

This is like when you rush out to buy a great JPRG, only to have it come out later for PSP or Vita with better graphics and added dungeons and all kinds of new stuff, and I’m getting tired of it. I guess I am happy for fans who get to buy these better-than-ever editions, but I’m not buying either magical girl series again; do I look made of money to you? Anyway, my personal regrets and bitterness aside, it’s a good time to be a magical girl manga fan (who isn’t me).

They also talked about a title called Gleipnir, which is supposedly like  “Pokemon meets Prison School,”; Kodansha editor Ben Applegate confessed to being “deeply ashamed” of how much he enjoys this manga, so if nothing else I’ve got to find out what’s going on there. Gleipnir comes out March 5, 2019.

Denpa Books

I didn’t even know Denpa Books existed until Anime NYC. They just started up this year, and considering that I haven’t exactly been watching the manga industry like a hawk, it’s not surprising that they’ve been kind of under my radar. But I was really impressed by what they had to show at the convention. Their publishing schedule for the next six months or so is full of unusual, quirky manga that you might not expect to see published stateside…and the manga version of the especially fluffy Fate/Stay Night spinoff, Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family.

Huh. I guess even artistic, boutique publishers need to milk the Fate cash cow every now and then to keep the money flowing (and who am I to judge?) To be fair, Denpa Founder Ed Chavez straight-up admitted at the panel that some of the titles that his company would be licensing would be done for financial reasons, despite the company’s general preference for more obscure titles with high artistic merit, so there’s no obfuscation about this.

Anyway, what’s particularly impressive about Denpa is that they’re a standalone company; they aren’t a subsidiary of Hachette, or Penguin, or any other large publisher, which is what you would usually expect. Out of their upcoming releases, personally I’m most interested in Maiden Railways. The fact that someone made a josei manga, focused on love stories, but said manga is also all about trains, sounds like something I would make up as a joke for the podcast, but no, apparently it really exists. I’m fascinated by the prospect of examining fanatical railroad obsession through a uniquely feminine lens, and if you’re not…well, let’s just say I question whether or not you know how to party.

In any case, I want to read pretty much everything Denpa has in the pipeline, so don’t be surprised if you see reviews of some of their manga pop up here in the future.

Vertical, Inc

Most of Vertical’s panel was dedicated to the forthcoming release of the Katanagatari light novels and uh…I’m not a fan of that series. I watched the first episode of the anime when it came out years ago and was hella bored, so I’m not that interested in going back to read the source material. Translator Sam Bett of BestBettJapanese had a lot of interesting things to say about the translation process though, so it was still interesting on that level.

Just to give you an example, Bett replaced the term “deviant blades” in Katanagatari with “mutant blades,” because in his opinion, the term ‘deviant’ brought up moral, Christian associations that weren’t appropriate to the setting. I liked this anecdote because it goes to show just how complex the process of translation really is; you’re not only dealing with the literal meanings of words, but also their connotations, and where those connotations came from.

He also noted that he decided to use a lot of footnotes in a “Jokey, kind of postmodern way,” which almost makes me want to buy Katanagatari despite my general lack of interest in the series; I’m a sucker for footnotes. Perhaps I will review it just so I can talk about the footnotes…stranger things have happened.

That’s all for my Anime NYC experience; it may not have been a good time for me, but I still feel comfortable saying it was a good convention in general. It has pretty much everything you could want at an anime con, and then some.

 

Anime NYC: Day One

I’m going to level with you all: I didn’t actually do that much at Anime NYC today. I was really tired by the time I even got here, and I only ended up making it to maybe half the panels that I’d planned on. I’m hoping a good night’s sleep in our (tiny) hotel room will help, and I’ll be able to see more of the sights tomorrow. Also, you can bet I’m loading up on that complimentary Continental Breakfast, so I should be well-fueled. Screw keto, I’m all about the free carbs.

First, I dropped into the Arc System Works Panel, where they were showing off their upcoming Kill La Kill game. The trailers and such they showed have already been posted online, however, new characters are now playable that were not ready at previous conventions, including Nonon. I hope I get a chance to make my way to the Arc System Works booth in the exhibition hall and try out the game tomorrow.

Next, I checked out the How to Live and Study in Japan panel, presented by Go! Go! Nihon. Frankly I think I missed my window of opportunity to study in Japan (*sniff*), but the service also offers Study Trips that combine a vacation with Japanese learning, so that’s a possibility for me– not right now, but maybe someday.

Presenter Christopher Lee detailed his own experience, and gave some details about the schools this program is affiliated with. I was interested to learn about Nihon Kogakuin Japanese Language School; it’s actually a top school for animation and design, but it also has a Japanese language program that’s open to total beginners. For Westerners who want to become fluent in Japanese and perhaps work in the anime industry someday, it sounds like about as good a deal as you’re going to get.

Next I sat in on a spotlight panel with voice actor Toru Furuya. Furuya has had about a billion different anime roles, including Yamcha from Dragonball Z and Sabo from One Piece, but he’ll always be primarily known to me as Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon. In fact, when it was time to put in interview requests for the guests for this con, I didn’t even try to get some time with Furuya, because if I tried to interview him in any capacity, I’d just be sitting there bug-eyed like “OH MY GOD IT’S TUXEDO MASK,” and that would just waste everyone’s time.

Furuya graciously answered questions about his roles in a long list of anime productions, but naturally I was most interested in his comments on Sailor Moon. When asked about his favorite part of that show, he noted that the actresses playing the Sailor Senshi were all very pretty, and he liked attending the recording sessions because of that. Heh. Gotta love the honesty.

Probably more interesting for long-term anime fans were Furuya’s comments on Gundam. He talked about the possibility of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series being remade with modern animation techniques, which prompted the question of whether or not he’d reprise his role as Amuro Ray if such an opportunity presented itself. Furuya answered in the affirmative before his translator even had a chance to translate the question. In general, Furuya seemed very enthusiastic about his involvement in the Gundam franchise (although he denied wanting a cameo in an American Gundam movie, should one ever be made.)

Next, like any self-respecting otaku with the desire to burn money I don’t have on keychains, plastic swords and wall scrolls, I checked out the exhibitors hall. Actually I behaved myself (for once) and didn’t buy much at all, but there was some interesting stuff going on in the hall aside from all the cool merchandise on sale. Yen Press has a bunch of little events going on to promote That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, and as a pretty big fan of the show right now, I was pleased to see it. First, they had a “draw your own Rimiru” board:

Many slime fans had come this way before me.

So you know I had to get in on that:

There may have been better-drawn Rimuru’s on the board, but were any of them happier than this little guy? DOUBT IT.

Finally, I got to hug Rimuru! Yen Press is running some kind of contest where you get your picture taken with Rimuru and post it on Twitter and then you could win a prize or something, but honestly, I just wanted to hug Rimuru. Maybe I’m no Elven tavern wench, but I like to think that my Rimuru was reasonably happy with this turn of events.

He’s so squishy!

That’s it for Day One of the con. “But where are all my licensing announcements? Where are my copious cosplay photos?” We’ll get there. I just nearly started an electrical fire in the hotel room trying to make a cup of decaf, so I think I’m going to cut my losses for today and GO TO SLEEP.

Sketchblog: Sailor Moon

SMsillysketchI was really unhappy with the stiff and awkward sketch of Sailor Moon I did for my Sailor Moon Crystal post, so I decided to give Usagi another try. Naturally, I have produced another drawing that I am unhappy with, only in a different way; it’s much less stiff an awkward than the first one (yaaay!), but the poor girl has a bad case of Chipmunk Face and I can’t seem to fix it.

Okay, one day I will do a sketch of Sailor Moon that is complete unto itself, and I will feel warm and fuzzy inside; today is not that day. But I’m getting closer, err, maybe.

Final Fantasy, Part 1

FinalFantasy

I figured that it was time to make good on my ongoing threat to start blogging the Final Fantasy series from the beginning. I’ve played many of the games, some of them multiple times, but there are several entries I’ve either left unfinished or never even tried. This seems like a good opportunity to raise my FF fandom level from “considerable” to “nuclear,” and that kind of upgrade is always appealing.

However, trying to think of any kind of structure for this beyond “I am playing the games and writing stuff down,” felt pretentious, so I’m just going to do this in the form of sharing my notes as I play. This may change as I get to later FFs that I could probably write entire books about; I will try to restrain myself (but not very hard.)

Continue reading Final Fantasy, Part 1

Sketchblog: Yet More Riorla

Riorla_leaflJust a sketch I did of Riorla the other day that came out pretty well. It was weird, because I started this drawing all wrong– no stick figure or anything– but it didn’t seem to matter in the end. I should probably try starting the “wrong” way more often and see what happens.

Even though I draw her differently pretty much every single time, Riorla has become my go-to character to draw when I feel like doodling but don’t have anything particular in mind. Back in the day, it was Aeka, but my favorite Dryad has replaced her. I’m still working on Riorla’s game, but it’s been hard to find the time to finish it now that I’m back at Japanator. One of these days I need to sit down at the computer and bang out a few more illustrations for the opening cut scene, because that’s the main thing I still have left to do at this point.

Oh, and of course there’s balancing the battles and whatnot, but who needs that? Meh! Details!

Sketchblog: Daughters of The Eyrewood

DOTE2Seeing all the great Daughters of The Eyrewood fanart linked on Twitter made me want to do my own version, plus I just got Manga Studio 5 and it seemed like a good way to practice using the program. Everyone seems to be drawing their DOTE lasses with long hair, and for some reason I kept thinking of a girl with short, honey-colored hair.

The problem: I wanted to do a quick color sketch, but “quick” and “learning to use new software” do not go together AT ALL. As simple as this is, it took forever because I couldn’t get used to the pressure sensitivity settings in Manga Studio 5. Maybe I need to adjust my Cintiq’s settings, but the line thickness was all over the place and it wasn’t looking good. Eventually I just used a tool with no pressure sensitivity, which is kind of a shame.

On the whole I’m loving Manga Studio and what it can do, but right now I’m really bad at using it. I’d like to do another piece of this character, only this time a full-body pose and (*crosses fingers*) with pressure sensitivity for better lineart.

Sketchblog: Maylee

Maylee_colorI know I really shouldn’t be tagging things as “Sketchblog” when they aren’t really sketches, but meh– tagging them “Finished Colored Character Designblog” would sound stupid, so we’ll all just have to make do.

This gal started out as a doodle in a graph paper notebook that I really liked, and for some reason her design just screamed “pink!” to me, so I colored her in a range of pinks and purples. At first I tried making the boots the same yellow that I used for the trim and some of the accessories and it looked awful– I don’t know what it is about yellow, but it’s a color that doesn’t seem to play well with others. I’m not sure if these are going to be her final colors, but at least this is basically what I had in mind for her palette.

Right now, I think she could be a good friend for Riorla— Strip Search Home Edition has caused me to dust off some of my comic ideas and look at them in a new light, and while I’m not sure if I’m going to end up using Maylee in a comic, she’s still a lot of fun to draw. Her hair’s got a Medusa–thing going on; it looked much more like tentacles in the rough sketch, but I toned that down here…because pink tentacles just look so WRONG. Not that it can’t be done well, I guess? Maybe? Color beguiles me.

Sketchblog: Country Gal

Girl_and_dog

From the frequency I post drawings lately, you’d think I wasn’t doing much drawing. Actually it’s quite the opposite, but most of my drawings are perhaps best left alone in my sketchbook…not because they’re bad, but because a lot of what I’m doing is really rough stuff that doesn’t look finished at all. Which is probably how it should be; I think I used to waste way too much time in the past trying to make stuff that looked like a finished piece that I could post on a website and not enough time, you know, drawing.

I keep drawing this girl with twin tails and a simple, polka-dotted dress in my sketchbooks for some reason, so I figured I’d fire up ye olde tablet and try to draw her that way. One of the things I’ve realized lately is that I get upset that stuff doesn’t come out the way I want on the tablet, but I don’t spend that much time just sketching on it. Too often, I go to the tablet to try to produce something finished after doing all the sketches on paper; it’s not really surprising that it’s taking a long time to warm up to the tablet if I never just use it casually.

So here’s a super-simple Sunday sketch blog for you; nothing amazing, but it was fun to draw and I think the doggy is cute. I actually need to use some reference material to practice drawing animals like dogs and horses, but for a quick little effort like this I think he’s fine– you can tell he’s a dog, right? I mean, what else would he be?

Looking at it now I see her legs are a little weird, and that’s an issue with the tablet– I have to zoom in to draw the black lines, and then I have trouble seeing if stuff looks right/ is in proportion. I’m definitely going to be looking out for that going forward.

Sketch Blood: True Blood Summary

TrueBloodsummaryIn anticipation of True Blood Season 6 starting this month, here is my handy-dandy summary of the first five seasons of the show in one convenient .jpeg file. After seeing this image, you will be prepared to jump into Season 6 with both feet. Don’t thank me; enabling your HBO viewing pleasure is all the thanks I will ever need.