Thursday, September 8, 2016

Progress 12 - Back to faces again

Right now I'm sitting in my garden, using my own laptop for the first time outside. We have a lot of traffic though since we got a detour through the city. I've got some headphones on, so I don't hear a lot of the surroundings anyway.

I'm aware, that my last post is some days ago but covering many interests is kinda hard to manage. Recently I've been applying for a voluntary job as reviewer for an anime site.
Long story short: they liked my review about Assassination Classroom Live Action, which is nice. In the end I got the "job" what makes me really happy. This means, that I'll receive free anime dvds or blu-rays from time to time, that I also can keep. I didn't expect that to begin with, but that's the "payment" - I'm cool with that.

Back to topic: I finally managed to draw a face again and this time I've to say, that I'm pretty satisfied with the resut:

I know, I know, it's still just from the front. The old routine: I want to become confident in that, so it's necessary. But that's more what I'm talking about. I put a lot of effort into the eyes and tried to create a sad expression - I can't deny, I think this is my best piece so far.

I wonder if I should continue that path or try something new, like other angles, maybe a smirky expression from the side or a pretty evil guy, once for the change.

Also I'm aware of that blog not being popular, but if there's anyone that might help me to improve, I'm happy about any given advice.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Progress 11 - One last eye before I quit

Currently I'm done with eyes solo. There's a lot to learn, but I'd like to keep making progress all over, so what's coming up next is using the experience with eyes on faces again.

So as the last of them for now, I'd like to present the recent one:

I like it, but it looks better the more you move from the monitor. I'll keep on working on details though, since that's one important thing about eyes.

So coming up is another face drawing. I already started it and I'm working on - you've guessed it - the eyes. It's gonna be a saf expression, but until now I didn't use any template or examples from google images. That's one step ahead!

Being ill the last week, I wasn't really able to draw a lot since staying awake seemed to be challenging enough. I'm well again, so the voyage will continue.

At least I observed some images drawn by deviantart-users and the many details in the drawing kinda seemed to make sense now. By that I mean, that I think I got a grip on how it's all done.
That won't help my shaky hands, but the theory is easier to understand now.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Progress 10 - All eyes on me

I was able to find some spare time here and there, so I continued to increase the routine on drawing eyes. I'm still no creative mind so the most work was plagiarizing.
It's the second day off now and we're expecting guests again in the evening. That's why I post that in the morning (10 am). Knowing the guests, I have no idea how many days it'll take to recover.

These are the results:

I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with most of them.
The new pencils make it a lot easier. There are still moments when I'm in the flow and suddenly get to excited, resulting in drawing a thick line over the boarder. Cleaning up that mess is always tricky, because you don't want to ruin the whole piece.

The lack of visits of this blog gets me a bit down and a lot of questsion pop into my mind just as "is this interesting at all?". Even if that might be the case, posting results motivates me to continue to draw and to make progress. In the end you might consider this as documentation. Furthermore I'm doing this for myself. Showing off might be a funny idea, but clearly not at this point. Somehow far, far .. away from the current moment.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bachelor Party

Returning on sunday evening, I kinda figured out that I'm getting too old for bachelor parties. I still feel every bone in my body. Being 33 actually means, you're not dead yet, but being out until 6 am has been more fun ten years ago. It seems you have to recover the whole next week.
I mad, as I mentioned, the mistake not taking the monday off. Since it wasn't an option in first place, I'm not gonna whine about it any further.

Innsbruck (Austria) is a really lovely city. Small alleys everywhere, filled with small stores, restaurants and a lot of bars. What made worry, were the clubs we visited - they all looked like a two room apartment. Ordering a beer took you to turn around, going to the toilet took you to turn around again - very strange. Since we didn't visit all clubs, there's still hope we just chose the wrong ones.
Still had fun though. The people were open for conversations, but since Innsbruck is a typical tourist spot, we just got to know a few residents.

The austrian dialect is pretty close to the bavarian, which all of the Germans know. Especially for me it's a pretty fun sounding one. I just have a hard time taking the ones serious with that dialect.
They seem to me harmless and cautious. That is why I couldn't take off the grin while we discussed with the bouncer, why we had to get into the club. As he heard that we're on e bachelor party, he let us in, ignoring the fact, he told us a minute ago, that we couldn't enter, because there's already a sausage fest. Well, he was right. I still can't explain, why everybody was just standing there at 5 am, looking at each other, while probably thinking "why am I still here?" - everybody was tired. We had just decided on 1 am to take a look at the night life.

We walked home that morning, because every taxi refused to take us to bed. Under that circumstance 6 Km can be a long walk.

The next day we went off for a rafting tour. After asking the instructor, if being able to breathe is important, while looking like a star fish, I got a little bigger size. Like second skin. Mhh.
5°C are indeed pretty cold. Especially as you realize how the water starts entering all of the small holes in your suit. "Refreshing" is one way to describe it. We all knew what Leonardo DiCabrio went through.
Our sweet, blonde, scottish instructor lady asked us a few time on our way to jump into the water. Knowing she'd pull us back on the boat, we all spent more time in the water.

Going back to the hostel, we repeated yesterday's routine. This time we woke up the next day on 9 am. I'm still happy, I didn't have to drive back by myself.

The region was a gift, there wasn't any way you wouldn't enjoy the fresh air and the view on the Alps.

In parallel I'm working on drawing eyes. There didn't come a lot around so I didn't want to post anything of it yet. I just wish I had more time for that right now. I guess Sunday might be the day.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Progress 09 - Eye routine

Recently I wasn't able to take the time I wanted for drawing since I'm in the middle of some preparations for a couple of birthdays that will be held at our house.
In addition I won't be near any drawing material because a friend of mine's gonna be 30, also he's about to get married. So .. we're about to witness another bachelor party. I have no idea in what state I'll return, but knowing my friends for some decades, it's easy to guess.

I should have taken that next damn monday off. Well, it's too late now and this is one of some rare occasions to celebrate that kind of change in life. We'll be going to Austria, that trip includes a rafting tour - I'm looking forward to it!

Wanting to improve in drawing eyes, I returned to my old routine and I did this:

I'm actually pretty happy with the last one, but it's all another experiment.

The eyes are one of the most important and characteristic parts of a manga face so getting experience with that is very important. I took some google images as template. I simply love the details, you can put into that part of the body, especially regarding still images or, well manga.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Progress 08 - Missing creativity

Since I didn't practice since few days and I didn't want to go down that road, I decided to try another one freehanded. Trying something different here and there, I wanted to see how objects might come out - in this case a scarf. A kind of a scarf .. something pulled up to the nose in any case. Might look like a kind of a  plastic wrapping..

There are a lot of things that didn't look well imo, but I'll come down to the main point.

In general I think I understand now how the anatomy of the face has to look. That understanding ends pretty much and literally on top - the head. It looks really flat and I didn't figure out by myself yet how to make it look better.

In the end I will make some more tutorials and take a peek into the "How to draw manga" books. Expressions are a point as well. I was trying to draw the eyes with a risen eyebrow but that might be the least problem.

Everybody's rocking Pokemon Go right now and so am I. The bad thing is what many people experience as well is, that there's just no chance using pokestops on the countryside. My village doesn't even count 1K people - it's like a desert.
I have to drive at least 10 minutes to come anywhere near a pokestop or even a arena.

The only chance I get to play a little bit more efficient, ist at work. Guess how much time I'm able to spend on the game - yep, not enough. Not mentioning that the work as such has to be done, so .. my biggest success until now was breeding a Magmar. Pretty neat I gotta admit. It has around 800 WP right how, the rest of the critters is below 600 WP.
No big challenge for others you might say.

I hope they'll add some stops. That won't keep me from running around, but in the evening, after being around 12 hours from home (~9 hours of work, ~3 hours to drive to and return from work) all I can do is beyond my work at home a little bit of workout. In the end it doesn't leave much more free time.
Since we have 12 little critters .. well they have needs too.

I'll stop with the complaining right here, it's actually all fine since I chose it all that way.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Progress 07 - Sad attempt

I figured I might try to draw one without any kind of help. So I turned away from the monitors, just in case it might be too tempting to look how this an that looks again.

This mimic is supposed to be a little sad or worried.

I'm OK with the eyebrows and the mouth. I kinda like the hair though. In the beginning it looked a bit crappy but with some details here and there it came out quite nice. I just wish I had left more space to the top. That way I wasn't able to make it look better regarding the perspective.

The eyes were a little experiment. Looking at it right now makes me think I had peanuts on my mind. Because that's exactly what it looks like. The jaw and the eyes didn't come out the way I'd like it.

During the process I became nervous as I somebody was watching me. I repeated to myself that it's only training. Nothing to worry about, nothing can go wrong. And if you don't like any particular part, erase it and do it again.

It's nothing but training - the masterpieces can wait. Ha!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Progress 06 - POV

A quick sketch. Thought it might be interesting to try a different view. Always drawing faces from the front is a necessary thing to do, you need to get the routine in how basic proportions work.
The more frustrating it gets as you watch yourself try do draw a moron-like shape over and over from the side. So that one didn't take me long, about 20 minutes. I didn' clean it out aswell that much. I was simply curious what woudl spontaniously happen if I tried to draw a face from the side. I have to admit that I took a quick peek into toe google images search.

So this is the result:

I don't want to judge it really. It's ok I guess - for a sketch.

Didn't have that much time recently, next week well give me the rest I guess. I'll be helping on an event which will be held the next weekend so there's a lot to do. You don't want to miss a chance to help!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Decoration and customer service

I finfally managed to hang up those displates. What's a displate?, you might ask. Basically an image printed on a metal plate. It's connected to a magnet you'll have to place on a wall or a even surface.

Here are 3 of 4 I got recently:

Got an ad on facebook and it kinda looked interesting. Usually I study everything I order until I'm completely convinced by the product. Appearance of the merchant/product aswell as opinions of people who already bought it are most relevant.

This time I decided to order something completely spontaniously. In the end: no regrets.

You might not like the motives and they might not match in particular but the images each represent something I'm deeply and mentally connected with. The motive is up to you, so basically you can order a custom plate. It still needs to fulfill some requirements (size, quality, etc.).

Here's how great customer service works:

I got all 4 plates and didn't recognize any conspicuities. After hanging up a plate which is not displayed on the picture above, I did suddenly manage to see a tiny drop-like spot where some paint appeared to come off.

After letting the team from displate know about it, I sent them some pictures to show what I was talking about. I no time they replied that they would send me another plate and communicated and such a transparent way there was no room for any questions. I didn't have to ask for any information - they did keep me informed about every step. I'm just used to that kind of communication by very little companies.

Receiving this hilarious confirmation mail about the tracking number made my day:
Our employees have finished manufacturing your Displate which was then carefully examined by our Production Master for any signs of imperfection and who gave it his blessing. Afterwards our whole team put it on a pedestal and danced around it for a full day & a full night asking the gods of shipping for a quick and safe delivery."

On top of that I was allowed to keep the damaged plate and received a nice goody by mail.

That's how it works. That's the reason, that wasn't my last order.

Be sure to take a look, there are already tons of marvelous motives, but remember you can order a custom image anytime. See:

BTW: No, I wasn't asked to write that.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Progress 05 - No tutorial?

They say that if you were asked a question, the chances are high that what comes up to your mind first is right.
I was about to browse youtube when I suddenly stopped the attempt. I thought that the "test" I might do be done at this very moment.

Mentioning that I struggle with trying to imitate the tutorial as best as I can, I thought I might give it a shot spontaniously. What can go wrong? A bad drawing? Sure - and practice.

This time I didn't start with a circle and positioning the mouth, the eyes, etc. I tried to draw it as fast as I could ending up feeling more confident about what I've learned so far.

The lines went more smoothly and I forgot everything arount me. You need to know that I smoke a lot of cigarettes, but even that was completely out of my mind.
If there's something that distracts you from this kind of habit it must be worth it.

The most important thing: it was lots of fun!

So here it is, the comments are below:

I brought up the contrast a little bit so you can see my lines more clearly. The scans before weren't edited much, but realizing I couldn't see much myself I might keep it that way a bit further.

Please don't ask me what I was thinking during the hair - as I mentioned: pretty much nothing. Considering I did it freehanded the hair is the only thing I might rise my righ eyebrow .. in dispair.

Oh well, it's all about practice.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Progress 04 - How about an arm and a leg?

So today I was watching two tutorials which handle the problem with drawing extremities. Long story short: I decided to put that on hold since I have no mentionable experience with faces which are one of the most important eye-catchers in manga or anime.

Especially today it wasn't easy for me because I'm still fighting with the relaxation from todays visit at the spa. Basically I'm sleepy but since it's 9:30 pm right now there's no point in thinking about the bed. So all of the left energy went in today's drawing. Which was not much.

I stumbeled upon a tutorial which handles big eyes (by TheBloodyMermaid):

The result:

The eyes didn't come out that well and the hair is a mess.

I'm not really confident with free drawing, you can see that pretty well when looking closely on the outlines.
You can observe that aswell looking at the hair structure. Sometimes they're thicker, sometimes thinner.That's because I don't draw the lines in one go but instead draw them again and again until the result is halfway acceptable.

For my current level though: I think it's okay. I hope that I can present a completely self-drawn picture in the near future. I could consider that as a test what I've learned so far.


Progress 03 - New equipment

The tools I used weren't that satisfying  to begin with. So investing the vast amount of 8€ for two new pencils and a rubber from Faber Castell was the right thing to do. It felt weird to use the paper from the printer, so I got me a sign block aswell. I was quite sure it wouldn't improve my skill but making things easier ok right now.

This time I didn't use a tutorial but a regular video - as I know from Photoshop, imitating at the beginning is one way to go (by Sophie chan):


Here's my result, the comments are below:

What I tried to do was not caring so much that I do exactly what was done in the video. The hair was drawn more freestyle. I'm not happy with the thick lines I "had to add" mainly on the outer left side but at least I liked it more than the previous results. Still the head looks a bit flat.

The eyes got way bigger which I have to admin kinda like about it.
The shape of the chin didn't turn out that well but at least it leaves a more clean impression.

So these are the three pics I've drawn so far. I'm pretty sure the next one will come within the next few days, maybe even tonight. That depends on how my condition will be after spending the whole day at a local spa.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Progress 02 - I promised

At the moment I'm able to provide three finished drawings. That's the second. After the following post it'll take some time till ne next one is finished. I just want to make sure there's a little content.

Again I felt the motivation running through my fingers. I removed one piece of paper from the printer, placed it in front of me. Completely ignored the fact that it was past 11 pm. Since the motivation train lacks interest wether you should go to bed, it didn't matter at all.

So I looked at the first drawing and decided that anything from chin to nose isn't the worst I've seen in my whole life. The last tutorial helped me to walk through the door, so I thought it might be not the worst idea to look up what Sophie's tutorials else have to offer.

I barely have ever drawn any male characters or faces so I gave it a shot (by Sophie):

Though I didn't succeed with the last one, this looked more like a challenge to me. So here's my result, the comments will be below:
Took me around two hours.

Too late have I realized that there was one main problem. The ear.
It looks like he ripped of a midget ear and attached ot to his earless head. Perspective seems to be a thing.

The hair looks a lot different from the original but I thought it wasn't that bad at all for a second try. I miss the wild factor in here, it looks way too much like painting by numbers.
It also lacks visible shades. You can see them better when looking at it in original size but it rather leaves an implied impression.

The lips didn't come out I hoped for aswell. But I wanted to leave them there .. as a cautionary example for the future lips.

In the end your most honest critic is yourself and the aftermath.

Nevertheless I guess I've made some progress in understanding the male face structure and how to create better hair design.


Progress 01 - Let's get started

Through recent events (Comic Con in Germany, talking to many guys who introduced their dōjinshi) I remembered that I once used to draw manga-like charakters. Or at least they were supposed to be.. the memory is fading. And I'll let that happen.

I was sitting in front of my computer, paused the youtube video I was watching and started to draw with a ballpen - anything that came into my mind. With anything I mean eyes. Lots of eyes in different shapes and emotions. That was one thing I never had overcome. The obsession of drawing eyes. I shook my head and I was sure there was a better way to start it.

I remeberd having tons of pencils which were kindly and unknowingly sponsored by Ikea, which looked kinda good for scetches or shades. I still hat a pencil we one took from a hotel which was a better pick for outlines. An old rubber borrowed from the Misses did the rest.

Lots of artists told me that youtube might be the place you want to start with. The search didn't take me long, the preview thumbnail looked very promising.

This is the tutorial I used to make my first step (by Sophie chan):  

I'll present my result first, so please be sure to read my comments below:
I know. Also I want to apologise for making a parody out of a clean and nice looking manga-girl. I'm especially sorry for the uneven eyes. And the hair ..

It does pretty much look like I had some important appointment but still wanted to finish it. Took me around 1,5 hours. In my defense: it was pretty late that night.
I'm not happy with the result at all, but at least I figured out how to use a circle as a starting point for the position of the eyes and the mouth.

In the end, looking at both results, I pretty much nailed it:

I promise the next one is better..


Coming back after all these years

So .. it has been some time. 17 years to be honest. But I'll begin a bit earlier.

As a kid I watched Saber Rider, Mila Superstar, The Kickers and so on. There was plenty of material, but at that age they're just cartoons. You have no idea, what an anime actually is.
It didn't matter. The only thing that mattered: it was fun to watch.

Later on - in the meantime I was focusing on school, what didn't turn out that well, while watching Dragonball, Z and One Piece - I was introduced to Fullmetal Alchemist.
By that time the internet became faster so I was able to obtain the series in a short period.
Every sunday I'd go for a swim with a friend of mine, but before: 1 Episode of FMA.
I was concerned that it would become boring if I watched episode after episode so that became a habit.Two months after improving my stamina and watching one episode beforehand, I "accidentally" watched another episode that day. I finished the whole series before the following weekend arrived.
Realizing what I had done, I became hungy. Hungry for more FMA, for more anime. That was the point I knew I would treasure this anew discovered world a lot. Later it turned out similarly with Japan in general, but I guess many people found their fascination for that country that way.

That was actually a bad timing because I had lots of trouble at that time. Finished school, no job, just hanging around for a longer period. By the age of 19 I went to the military boot camp (in German: Bundeswehr) what pretty much fucked up my whole worldview.
Sometimes you need to fall in order to rise. That's exactly what happened.
For few months I shut myself in and afterwards my friends didn't recognize me. That's not troubling at all. I don't know if I had recognized myself if I saw that suddenly > 30 Kg lighter person in a mirror. The military did a great job on that, I have to admit.
In combination Scrubs aired at that time, which is my all time favourite show. It helped me realize some things in life and made me question a lot. Mainly anything about myself.

After the boot camp was over I didn't have many perspectives. The plan was to study at a university but my education level wasn't high enough, so .. I decided to not give up.
I didn't want to study anyway, that I had to confess to myself. It wouldn't make me happy.

I guess I had some luck on that one. Thanks to a coincidence I became an intern at a very small company. Making coffee, putting through calls and so on. They told me they didn't need a trainee unless he can make himself indispensable.
Back in the days memes were just about to boom, so we didn't have that catch phrase, but today you would explain my reaction with the "challenge accepted"-meme.
After 6 months ripping my ass off, they began to realize that what I do makes things easier at the office. It wasn't easy for me, that time was filled with self-doubt, not wanting to begin the monday working for such a demanding boss, but: that's life and I had to deal with it.

I signed the contract as a trainee after finishing the internship. I still work there today so .. it wasn't all that bad.

Being in a stable job I suddenly had some time to spare.
I browsed through youtube - we're in the year 2012 now btw - and saw a preview thumbnail of a video that caught my attention. I've heard that this anime is the reason many people started watching anime, so I guess you won't be surprised when I say: Elfen Lied.

Yes! Lucy got me back on track. Lucy in particular was the reason I didn't stop watching anime anymore.

Status quo: I have no idea how much money I've already spent on dvds, figurines and merchandise. That's cool, I treasure all of it a lot.

Now I'm beginning (to document) my new journey with dragin manga characters. Wish me luck!

Please don't forget to read the About this blog post.