Friday, February 5, 2016

Yesterday You Said Tomorrow

I just put the finishing touches on the 5th Underfeet strip for next week and I'm exhilarated and exhausted all at the same time.  I've been getting this lovely endorphin and serotonin cocktail from drawing.  Like Rob Thomas says, "I get this funky high on the yellow sun."

It's hard to believe that just a month ago, the Underfeet comic was only a hazy dream and some nervously scratched sketches.  The fears that I had - that I couldn't draw well enough, or that I couldn't pull the story off - have simmered to a low boil on the back-burner.  Unlike previous comic attempts in the past - if I have a panel idea that fits the story - I DRAW IT.  I don't adjust the story to images that I think I can draw.

One of my big hang-up with drawing goes back to my childhood days tracing Peanuts cartoons - a fear of not being original.  For years, I've had this idea that I should be able to plop down, alone in an empty room, with pencil and paper and spew out anything in my mind.  Well, you know what?  That doesn't work.

I need references.  For each panel that I work on, I have between 5 and 10 pictures open on my other monitor to stare at.  A body shape reference, a pose reference, a face reference, and several style references - pictures by artists that I like who do noses or ears or eyebrows in a way that I find pleasing.  And I've also got my own strips up there too as a reference, so I can aim for some consistency in character model.  I 'cheat' off of the entire world - even myself.  The better I cheat - the happier I am with my art.

So, are references really cheating? Well, no.  They are a crutch, sure.  Like using a car to get from Texas to Colorado.  I could hoof it.  But honestly, I'd prefer to use a tool to get me there more quickly.  A crutch is just a tool.  References are a tool.

No duh.  But I had to learn that.  Over and over, apparently.

Each weekly strip is taking 8 days to complete.  Yeah - the math is bad on that.  I've got to figure out a way to do a weekly strip in at least 7 days.  I don't want to cut corners, but I'd like to cut down on time.  Not sure how to do that, but I'll figure it out.

Currently, Underfeet is being posted to five places:

Rather Gamey Blog -
Studio Arkhein's G+ Page -
Studio Arkhein's Tumblr -
Arkhein's deviantArt Gallery-
Underfeet Hentai Foundry Gallery -

Some of those places only get like five hits per strip, but as long as people are reading, I'll keep on posting to those places.  Others, like tumblr, never say how many hits - just likes.  So, if you are enjoying the comic, please comment or like or thumbs up or heart or share or repost or whatever.  That gives me a good gauge on what and where I should be posting.  Feedback helps. :)

Again, a big thanks to all of those who have supported me - my family, my gaming group, blog readers and art looker-at-ers.  I appreciate it!

- Ark

Monday, January 18, 2016

Yahfi by CowsGoMoose

CowsGoMoose did this amazingly awesome picture of Yahfi the wild child.  She can be seen here at a Menzoberranzan nedeirra, or sweat dance (rave) that the young drow indulge in.  Well, that is in our D&D game in which I play Yahfi.

The comic strip Yahfi isn't located in the Forgotten Realms, has never heard of Menzoberranzan, and is instead a dökkálfar from Norse mythology.  You know, for IP reasons. :)  Although with the new OGL, she might be completely legal.  Well . . . no . . . most likely the comic would violate 'community standards' . . . okay, the comic will violate ALL standards, so no, Yahfi has nothing to do with WOTC.

Again, CowSoMoose did an amazing job.  Go visit her tumblr!

- Ark

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Blog Header Image Change (NSFW, of course)

You may have noticed a slight change around the blog.  I updated the header image for the first time in like five years.  The previous image was drawn for me by the wonderful artist Angel Ureña.  But this blog has become increasingly about my art, and my foray into comics, so I felt a change was needed.

It's been a fun, scary, and hectic time working on the Underfeet story.  I'd like to thank everyone for their support of my arting over the years, and this current comic in particular.  It meas a lot.  For me, drawing is like trudging into a dungeon and taking on a fire breathing dragon.  The armor chafes, my hair goes up in flames, but when I look back on what I've done, the carnage makes me smile.  I'm glad I can share the experience.

- Ark