tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
So get this: I drew something... that isn't fan art!

I know! I, like, had an image in my head that wasn't rooted in my love for a comic book or a video game or a training app, and then I... I drew it! And now that I'm posting it I've spent several minutes fretting over the title of this entry because, okay, usually fan art is a suitable term for the things I do, regardless of quality. But art? Do I make art? That sounds like I expect it to go in the Tate gallery or something.

Anyway, some satyrs/fauns (traditionally there is a distinction between satyrs and fauns but in modern English the terms are used interchangeably so for once I'm not going to be a stickler for proper language) for the Tumblr Satyrday challenge.

All dressed up )

It's not very often any drawing of mine goes from idea to relatively finished product in just one day. Heck, usually I'm so paranoid about missing any obvious anatomical errors I force myself to wait another day to post it, just so I can look it over with fresh eyes. Yeah, I can spot of a few things with the satyr boys up there I could have cleaned up but sometimes it's nice to not spend days fiddling with an image.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
I was so annoyed by hardly having drawn anything in December, so yesterday, with just a handful of hours of 2014 remaining, I told myself "You know what, just draw. Draw the first idea that pops into your head."

I already made a post about how much I like the Superman-villain-turned-fourth-wall-breaking-trickster-character called Ambush Bug. Besides, I've been drawing so many beefcake characters this year I quite enjoyed the slender simplicity of A.B. I even finished it in just a few hours, so for once I kept to a deadline with several hours to spare.

The teleporter must be broken )

As for looking back on 2014 -- I'd rather not. I'm gonna post my art progression through the year because I'm pretty proud of that, but as for everything else... 2014 was probably the worst year of my life. Complete shit. A downward spiral from beginning to end. I spend so much time crying about the stuff that happened in 2014 I see no reason to write it here while crying some more and then seeing the post later and crying about it again. It was a terrible, awful, no-good year and I'm hoping 2015 will be better, though to be honest I'm not very optimistic about it. Maybe things will change, I don't know.

But I did draw!


(I'm Slett, it's become another one of my internet aliases these last few years and I couldn't be bothered to change the graphic.)

Okay so maybe I haven't pushed myself artistically or experimented as much as I intended to this year -- seeing a lot of busts and people in profile here. And I still don't draw enough so that you can clearly see a progression month to month. But you know what, I'm a better artist than I was a year ago, and there's this thing that has started happening when I draw, where I sketch something out, and I think "Jesus Christ this is looking better than I thought it would! I had no idea I could do this!" and I'm excited about drawing, about seeing my own skills improve. That's something right.

And I'm still so proud of that Blue Beetle image from May. The hardest I've ever worked on a drawing. And that eighth Doctor from July is looking better than I remembered it, I should definitely revisit that style again.
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Still not dead! Life is admittedly a little extra shitty these days, which means my dumb goofy escapism is all the more important to me. Whaddyaknow, I'm still weirdly stuck on this one sleazy miniboss from this one goofy hack-and-slash video game.

All those years ago when I first got a tablet pen I would draw exclusively in Photoshop and it was fine by me because I didn't know any better. Then I discovered Paint Tool SAI and after a bit of a steep learning curve I fell completely in love with it and its multitude of brush settings. Now I have found something to surpass even my beloved SAI and it's called... Manga Studio. You can select and manipulate several layers at once oh my God! There are a ton of other features but that alone is, gosh, completely amazing.

So this was gonna be a quick doodle to figure out Manga Studio without fiddling with any of the brush settings, but it kept on going even though adding and expanding a drawing without a sketch underneath is not how I usually work at all. It was a fun experiment though.

stop me if I ever imply I'm gonna draw another motorcycle )

I feel like nothing sums up where I'm at art-wise than me going "yes I'll meticulously recreate this RL polish logo" immediately followed by "ehh backgrounds, who needs'em".
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
More Metal Gear! You know, Revolver Ocelot is a character I have a lot of affection for but in a kind of "Jesus Christ you little shit" kind of way. When I discuss Ocelot with other fans I use about twice the amount of expletives I'd use than when we talk about villains I actually can't stand, so I see how it can get confusing.

He is a piece of trash bastard after all. He's great.

The sketch and a fair bit of rambling about character designs )

Man I just really hate this trend of making video game characters look exactly like the actors voicing them. It took me out of Mass Effect when the Illusive Man looked exactly like Martin Sheen, it takes me out of Ground Zeroes when I notice how Kiefer Sutherland-y Big Boss is starting to look around the eyes. I know I just said I liked it when Ocelot used to look like Van Cleef, but at least the rendering technology at the time didn't make it a 1:1 likeness.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
A week back I wrote a lengthy entry that LJ promptly ate about my unlikely but overwhelming love for Metal Gear Rising's Jetstream Sam. It's too bad because it would have prepared you a little for this entry, but it's gone so I'll try to explain it real quick.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a ridiculous video game about a cyborg ninja and its core gameplay is slicing robots and cyborgs into very very small pieces with a sword. Jetstream Sam is a villain -- not even the final boss, mind -- a Brazilian samurai with a smarmy attitude and an armour that accentuates his thighs and butt to a mind-blowing degree. In the entire game Sam only has about three important cutscenes (plus a DLC game that was pretty awful).

And I am so smitten with him it's embarrassing.

Oh and his armour also has these weird plastic bits that cover his ears.

That's you up to date )

Once upon a time I hit a point where I thought "my art is terrible anyway, I should only ever use it to tell corny, low-effort jokes", and it's really through these last two years I've made an effort to tell myself "no you know what, I'm allowed to attempt to draw genuine things, and even if I don't pull it off it's good practice". And now this; "Okay but I'm still allowed to goof off and have fun drawing too, though".

And the neat thing is that I realized that if I showed even these corny doodles to myself five years ago, I would actually notice my art skills had improved considerably. So thank you, dumb video game samurai that inspired me to draw him as Princess Leia.
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
So I got a PS3 for my birthday and finally played Metal Gear Solid 4. It was terrible. Nonetheless, it reminded me how much I love the non-terrible parts of the franchise, so now I'm back into MGS in a major way, apparently making up for my awful lack of obsessions this year.

I played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which was a lot of fun, and then I took a deep breath and watched all the trailers for MGSV in a single evening (I haven't played Ground Zeroes yet but I plan to very soon). So that's my excuse for this: I got so upset about Kaz Miller I felt a very real need to imagine him safe and warm and content and not being tortured and look he has all his limbs as well.

This is what these games reduce me to.

Don't you hate it when you fall asleep with your glasses on )

The funny thing is Kaz is from Peace Walker, which after MGS4 is my least favourite game in the franchise. I've just really taken to the guy and realized I've always been more invested Big Boss' goings-on than Solid Snake's.
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
Last year I decided I should finish one drawing every month and it really helped me get back in the creative swing of things, but after a while it had me going "Ooh I have an idea for a drawing but I've already finished one this month, I better wait in case I'm at a loss for ideas next month" and it got silly so now I try to draw whenever the mood takes me.

So more Doctor Who -- I'm relistening to all my Eight audios (wow, The Stones of Venice and Minuet in Hell are even worse than I remember them) and in the future I'd like to make fanart of the stuff that happens in them, but first I wanted to see if I could draw the eighth Doctor at all. And I was frustrated with my inability to draw curly hair and decided I needed the practice.

A hopeless romantic )

Now that I've been staring at a lot of pictures of McGann I'm a little bit surprised at, well, how good looking he is. I know, "duh", but like, individually his features aren't very striking, but they're put together in a very pleasing way. Even when I'm drawing him I get the urge to tidy up his eyebrows and soften those nasolabial folds but then it doesn't look like McGann anymore.
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Whoa, two pieces of fan art in one month? This is unprecedented! It's all thanks to that Tumblr palette challenge making the rounds.

I've mentioned before I'm really bad at visualizing characters from non-visual media. It's only through drawing fan art I actually sit down and have a good think about how I'd like the characters to look. That said, I've adored Good Omens for nigh on a decade now and I have never ever tried drawing fan art of it before, go figure.

Apocalypse boyfriends )

I thought working from a pre-chosen colour palette would make the drawing process easier, because I'm really bad at colours. But then turns out, I'm still really bad at colours and with a limited palette I suddenly have to think about readability and contrast and ugh. So it's not a very creative composition but I genuinely had a lot of fun making it.
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Every time I try to watch new Doctor Who I get disenchanted with the entire franchise and can't be bothered to watch any of it for months. I literally haven't thought about Doctor Who after the anniversary show last year when my only reaction was "Ugh, never mind then."

Until now: My love for the show has been reinvigorated in the most unlikely way: The sixth Doctor! Yes, the single most hated run in Doctor Who's history. I'm almost finished with The Trial of a Time Lord and you know what? It's mostly terrible, but Colin Baker as the Doctor is so good.

Not that it came as a big surprise -- I'm already familiar with Six through the Big Finish audios and the classic Who fandom loves him (yet still recognizes his run on TV was godawful), but I had no idea he was so much fun to watch as well! He's a lot more energetic and physical than I'd come to imagine him in the audios and Baker is obviously unable to deliver a half-assed performance, no matter how terrible the script is.

So for all of that Six deserves some fanart. This is literally the first time I've drawn Doctor Who fanart since, let's see... 2009!

Another voyage 'round the English language )

At this point the only TV Doctors I haven't given a fair shake are Five and Seven. Who knows what the future will bring.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
Shh, this is totally my art for April. I have no idea how many hours I've spent on this at this point, it's probably the most complex piece of art I've attempted (I had to figure out how to draw floral patterns, just that took a couple of evenings).

Bottom line, I'll never stop mourning this dumb comic book hero that was killed off years ago.

Batman lied, Beetle died )

I learned so much doing this picture though, I had to wing just about everything, and even figure out a new computer program (Alchemy) for the patterns. Even if there's stuff I wish I'd be able to do better, I still realize I wouldn't have been able to pull anything like this off, say, two years ago.
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
I've been looking too much at Phil Noto's brilliant "Avengers through the ages" drawings, which look like casual photographs -- people are out of focus, or out of frame, or in conversation. They're great. I'm no Noto, but I did say I wanted to experiment more with my art this year.

Of course, he does them as warmups and quick little asides. I've been working on this dumb image all week and it's still not what I wanted it to be, so I'm just gonna cut my losses and post it.

Instant photo )

I remember as a kid we had a Polaroid camera. I can't quite remember what kind, I don't think it was one of those where you had to peel the paper off. To this day I love the excitement of instant photo cameras.
tilly_stratford: (LS: Please run)
After my knee stress injury cleared up I returned to my beloved Zombies, Run! 5k fitness app and I'm happily running myself ragged again.

I've never been very good at mentally picturing characters I have no visual frame of reference for -- when I read novels or listen to audio plays I only have this cloudy vague humanoid blur in my mind's eye, it's much more important to me how they feel or act. That's why I hardly ever make fanart of those things, even though I consume a lot of non-visual media and fanart is my usual reaction to falling in love with a piece of fiction.

But then ZR happened and hey, time to just plain decide on a look for these characters because I feel a MIGHTY NEED here. Especially Sam Yao, the sympathetic and traumatized radio operator who acts as your link to the safety of Abel Township.

It was never about the zombies )

I don't run as often as I'd like, which means I don't get to listen to as many ZR episodes a week as I'd like. But still, it's pretty funny to me that an audio drama can make me do an activity I spent all my formative years hating.
tilly_stratford: (Kaizer: Humping Terje)
Lately I've been delving more into DC's Elseworlds and Multiverse stories. I'm just tickled pink by the entire phenomena of taking these established characters and changing one detail (Batman's a vampire! The Justice League lives in the Wild West! All the heroes are villains and all the villains are heroes!), and seeing how the story develops from there.

One thing I've noticed is that boy, does Wonder Woman shack up with Superman a lot. There's something weirdly incestual about DC wanting all its heavy hitters to hitch up. And nowhere is that more effectively pulled off than on Earth 2 -- the Antimatter universe, where alt!Wondy is married to alt!Superman while having an affair with alt!Batman (though strictly speaking he is the older brother of a deceased Bruce Wayne).

And they're all bad guys and vaguely fetish-y, of course. Good old antimatter trope.

Light bondage )

Last year I said I wanted to experiment more with my art. Experimental it is.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
So what did I do this year? I moved. I spent the summer all alone painting the family cabin. Got hooked on gardening. Got hooked on knitting (again). I was best man in a friend's wedding.

To be honest just about everything else about 2013 was pretty dismal. Depression, unemployment, insomnia, more visits to the emergency room than ever. At least 2014 can only get better.

Here are some more good things about this past year:

I watched 175 films through the year (not counting rewatches, documentaries and short films). I think my favourite movie experiences this year was watching Le Petite Monde de Don Camillo, and Cleopatra on the big screen -- which is why there's been a lot of Taylor/Burton films this year. There's also been a lot of George Sanders, and DC animated films.

175 films is admittedly pretty weak. My excuse is that I started knitting, and when I knit I've found I prefer to watch TV shows, because chances are I won't miss as much information if I glance away from the screen for a moment. I went from hardly watching TV at all to bingewatching all of Breaking Bad, Community, and Downton Abbey.

I also stuck to my last New Year's resolution: Finish at least one drawing every month! So here's one of those "my art year in summary" things:

Superheroes mostly )

So that's 2013 for me. Happy new year!
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Been dealing with insomnia all month long, which makes for a collection of very blurry December memories. On those nights I've started thinking "fuck it" and replayed Ghost Trick on the DS. For a game I love so hard, it's amazing I've hardly made any fanart of it -- though I guess it's probably because the characters are so VERY stylized it's kinda hard to do your own thing with them and still make them look recognizable.

But hey, how many Ghost Trick characters wears a long white coat with a bright red scarf, not to mention a half-open shirt and a medallion like something out of the last days of disco? Inspector Cabanela's not very interchangeable.

Mr. long legs )

Glad I managed to squeeze in one last drawing this year!
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
So I while I was working on this drawing some startling Blue and Gold news hit the net.

1. Ted Kord and his Charlton buddies are gonna feature in a new DC comic titled Multiversity, which is gonna be Nu52 but with alternate universes. Am very ambivalent. I'm happy about Multiverses and Ted being alive again, but I have so little faith left in DC I'm almost certain they're gonna screw this up.

2. If the rumoured Booster Gold TV series is gonna be made it's going to be DARK AND GRITTY. I did not know it was possible to feel so much hate.

So anyway, just wanted to draw a cute decowled Booster and Beetle pic.

Trouble brewing )

On the other hand, I love when superheroes take off their cowls and are left with that tight little spandex turtleneck. I'll never figure out how either Ted or Booster's cowls are actually attached but -- any excuse to draw spandex turtleneck.
tilly_stratford: (Lupin III: Go getter)
Drawing will never be anything other than a sometimes hobby for me, so I know I'll never be churning out professional-looking things -- but even if I'm never 100% happy with anything I draw, I usually like some detail in it and feel proud about my improvement (I wish I could be as laissez-faire about my writing, but that's for another day).

Now I've reached this odd point where I'm fairly content with my art skills (I don't like using the word "art" for the things I do, "drawings" sound more appropriate to me), but I wish I was faster. I wish it didn't take me everything from six to ten hours to finish a simple drawing from sketch to render (and then, as I said, always with a lot of obvious flaws).

Anyway, this was a Tumblr prompt, so I tried to see how quickly I could do a drawing and still be fairly happy with it. I think it took me upwards to three hours or so.

The prompt was to draw my favourite Lupin character )

Anyway it's a break away from the big beefy superheroes. I'd forgotten how much fun it was to draw tall, lean Lupin characters.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
I've discovered the Metal Gear Solid games, and I'm hooked. I'm forever cursing having the play them out of order (I've played three games, but not the first one which sets everything up), but a minor issue like fully understanding the plot isn't going to stop me from enjoying these games!

See, prior to this my knowledge of the MGS franchise amounted to: The protagonist is named Solid Snake (and after a while you forget to snicker every time it's sasid aloud), he's a clone, he's a spy, the cut scenes are longer than the gameplay parts, the auteur behind the games is kind of pompous and insane, and characters pee their pants a lot.

Okay so none of that is incorrect, but it's really the insane, convoluted story that has really grabbed hold of me. Also the fact that the game designers have put a lot of work into making the characters attractive to both sexes, so for once in a game the male characters serve as much as eye-candy as the female ones (Snake's lovingly rendered ass is a sight to behold).

MGS3: Snake Eater is by far the best of them I've played so far. It's set in the sixties so it doesn't feature Solid Snake -- instead it's the original super spy (who they cloned later) Naked Snake (pfffhahaha) who has to go to Russia to stop World War 3 from happening.

And so fanart happened and I am much ashamed.

Non-gory torture scene because this is MGS )

Haha wow, this is a terrible introduction to the MGS franchise. Just trust me, it's good.
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
I don't read Flash comics. Like, I don't go out of my way to avoid it, I'm just not familiar with them. I like Speedster superheroes as an idea, but my path hasn't crossed them too often. I didn't even learn until this year that Wally "Kid Flash" West was Barry "The Flash" Allen's nephew (though I did know West took over as the Flash -- pre-Flashpoint anyway -- from the Justice League Unlimited cartoon).

But this year I've actually read my first Flash comics -- a handful of issues from the sixties! And that begat this drawing anyway, which lies a bit outside my comfort zone, technically.

The Scarlet Speedster )

Maybe someday I'll make another go at that drawing I intended to make. But still, happy accidents are fun.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
After all these years I can't believe I've never drawn my favourite superhero duo together. And after that heart-rending final issue of 52 I really felt like drawing some fluff.

(And this is totally my drawing for June - it was juuust about finished last night, I just had to put on some finishing touches.)

So happy, so happy to meet you )

Now I've decided to more on to Countdown to Infinite Crisis. I've been dreading it for years - so there's a chance there'll be more Beetle/Booster fluff drawings in the future!


tilly_stratford: (Default)

March 2015



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