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


  1. So long as you post them here, I'll always see them. Because I don't follow tumblr closely, I lose a lot of posts there. The galleries are nice for looking at things later, but I'd have to remember to check them. This blog is on my RSS feed, and I check that daily.

    1. Yeah, tumblr can be more like a waterhose. :) I'll definitely keep posting to Rather Gamey until they pry it from my cold, dead, banned hands. Thanks for the feedback!


  2. I worked at an animation studio for a few years and pretty much all the artists used references.

    We even had an expert on small animals come in and teach the CG folks about how a squirrel skeleton and muscles work so they could animate a squirrel properly.

    This one guy had a drawing app on his Nintendo DS and would spend several hours a week drawing on it, usually copies of stuff like Rembrandt, Monet, van Gogh, etc. And this guy had movie credits out the arse. Even a front movie credit when he worked for the big mouse.

    So don't beat yourself up over using reference artwork.