Everyone has something that they do that is helplessly addicting that they truly enjoy.
Despite being a gamer, I can regulate gaming time and I can't play video games when I'm tired because I'll die a lot and I like to win so that won't feed my ego.

My enjoyable addicting activity reading manga and some comic books.
For example in the past few weeks I read 19 volumes of comics and manga. Q__Q
I don't remember how many chapters but it has to be more that 120.

By suppressing the urge I totally splurged. For the most part I keep up with a few series so I don't do that. It's more detrimental when the series is finished because there is no end until the end until you are done.

It's one of those things I'll binge and doesn't take much energy to do and next thing you know I stay up all night and its 6am the sun is rising and my back hurts because I sat or laid down in a weird position. I don't know about the rest of you when I get like 2-4 hours of sleep my back hurts.

It took this past week to recover from my binge and be on the right path to finishing this project I was doing. Feels great to be a productive member of society again.









The last video game game that made me stay up for like 3 days was the Last of Us. I avoided that game for the longest time I thought it was overhyped and overrated but turned out to be an excellent game. One of the best games I've played thats a incredible emotional journey. Even though the story is very similar to Enslaved. I probably would of done what Joel did in the end.  At the time my neighbors were being idiots during the day and they got to experience the journey with me...I had my stereo up on blast so they can hear me snipe and shotgun mushroom zombies.

Honestly the game shouldn't have a part II, its best as a standalone game. One game full of mushroom zombies is good enough. The Last of Us 2 trailer #2 is disturbing.

































Usually I read manga but this comic called Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley caught my eye when I saw a preview somewhere with Lis's interactions and behavior towards Katie. Lis is a house spirit who is quite helpful and not menacing despite her glaring looks.

Katie is an established chef with her own restaurant but decides to open another and leave her first restaurant originally started with friends called Seconds behind.  Meanwhile her life is in ruin but finds a magical way to fix her problems and damaged relationships with the other 
characters in the story. 
Of course there is always a severe serious consequence when messing with the natural time flow.

Seconds is a one standalone volume. It took me a couple days to get through it. Each chapter highlights a single character and Katie's involvement with each person. All the scenarios and encounters do come together and each standalone incident is part of something greater. The panels and pacing was crafted elegantly and flowed well. The story was good and does have easter eggs for those who look or re-read. The color palette of this grapefruit orange color sets the tone and un-natural supernatural mood of the story lingering in most of the pages, even if it was an undertone.




I look very similar to the character Hazel.
Usually my hair is pinned up like hers.
 Even have a green sweater too. The pen she is using
is a Copic Multiliner SP




















After I finished Seconds I moved onto Scott Pilgrim which is also by Bryan Lee O' Malley. This comic was the breakthrough hit of O'Malley's and even became a film I've never seen before. Reading this after Seconds I was a little disappointed. Then again this was one of O'Malley's older works. The artwork, pacing, panels, characters and story improved tremendously. Comparing the first and last volume there is a lot of improvement. At times when I wasn't paying attention I forgot the names of the characters or confused them with someone else.


The story is about Scott Pilgrim who is an unemployed hipster who is part of a rock band that sucks a lot. He is the likable freeloader naive jerk. While Scott is exploring the worlds of his dreams he keeps running into this mysterious beautiful woman named Ramona Flowers. Who constantly makes jabs and comments about the contents of Scott's dream. After some time Scott sees Ramona in real life and realizes she isn't just in his dreams and exists in real life. He actively pursues her and eventually asks her out. Thing is Ramona comes with baggage and for the right to date her one must defeat her 7 evil ex-boys to have the true right to date her and live happily.

At times the series does drag on but does conclude. It is comedic and at times the world is like a video game where the characters get power ups and downgrades. I did not know what to expect and when the first fight scene happened I was surprised it was like a fighting game. Another highlight is Bryan Lee O'Malley is Asian Canadian and one of the specially crafted moments and inside jokes of the series is when Knives Chau talks about her friends, family and day to day life. Growing up as Asian there are certain jokes and slang one wouldn't understand or get if you didn't grow up, know or identify as Asian/Canadian/American.



























Anything written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata is a winning combination. Anything they work on together is bound to be good. Heck Obata sensei makes artists and drawing look so dramatic and montage looking. If only every time I  draw and turn on some music its some masterful montage of colors and images and then bam beautiful drawing or in this series boom manga!

Even though the art is beautiful I got bored with it and dropped the series years ago and never finished it. It is about a writer and mangaka getting into the manga/anime business while competing to be #1 out of their friendemies. One peeve had is I couldn't get into Mashiro's promise. If I was Miho I wouldn't of waited as long or simply left Mashiro. Maybe I am missing the point or something or its cultural thing I fail to understand. I didn't find it believable. One of my friends mentioned to me he didn't find a problem with it and thought the opposite and thought it was believable and romantic.




I really can't over the way Obata sensei draws artists is awesome. Back on track I re-read Death Note. Which is written by Tsugumi Obba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. I read this back in my early years of high school before the series finished and before it really got popular in America. I couldn't remember the series and the details of how it concluded and read it again.

A lot of people consider Death Note the holy grail of manga. Like it is the best one and pinnacle to look up to. Or it's the series that got them hooked onto manga/anime. I think its great but despite it's greatness there are some plot holes. I don't remember what series roped me in. My favorites that still remain after all this time is Gintama and Blade of the Immortal. 

Death Note is a dark supernatural psychological thriller. The main character is Raito (Light whatever version you read) Yagami who is a genius  highschool student who is a senior. He finds a mysterious notebook called the Death Note. The note has conditions and rules and one of the main points being that if a person writes down a name and recalls the face to that name in the notebook they will die of a heart attack within 40 seconds if no other cause of death is listed. This awakens Raito's psychopath side and awakens his god complex to cleanse the world of evil so he decides to kill off criminals with the notebook.

Within a few weeks a renowned detective named L who works on impossible cases discovers these deaths aren't coincidental but is connected to something larger and actively pursues the identity of what the public call Kira which means killer. The cat and mouse game of L and Kira is captivating and interesting and several times over the roles reverse. Its a good series as much as I like the art style I think as far as psychological thriller and intrigue go despite the art style and more unrealistic elements I think Code Geass the anime does it better. Only thing is I'm not to big into mecha anime.  Then again the appeal with Death Note raises the question is Raito the hero or villain? He definitely loses his sense of vision, purpose, and humanity along the way. As L says if Kira is caught then that is justice. If Kira kills L then Kira is justice.








Thanks for reading. I grateful to share my love of graphic novels.
Reading and looking at manga, comics and graphic novels do get the creative juices flowing. I love so many different forms of art and relishing it. When it comes to drawing and rendering what you see and recall helps better and improve your own artwork. I felt like I took a vacation even though I stayed at home. With this small break I am more motived than ever. :]
At times an artist can feel guilty not doing art but rest, recovery and recuperation is all part of the process. I mean if its all pedal to the metal all the time one can run out of gas or creative spirit.













































Drawing from imagination has its perks and limitations.

Don't make it hard on yourself. Work smarter not harder as they say. An ongoing Work In Progress.

Even if something is drawn from imagination at times it  needs elements to ground it to reality. Like if one draws hands or feet without proper anatomy or structure even if it is an alien. Hands, Face and feet are things that a non-artist can pick up that something is off or not anatomically correct and can immediately tell that something is not quite right. 

I was fiddling with the character's hands for like 15 minutes or more before I just stopped and took reference photos of my own hands. And bam! Tada!  Less than 3 minutes that part of
the sketch was done!


Usually I'll take more than one just to explore my options. 
With #1 I liked what the fingers had a natural relaxed expression and with #2 and #3 I can see the sides of the hands better. 

When you struggle with a specific part of a drawing it just best to stop what you are doing take a break and go take or find a reference photo of your subject to help better your understanding of what you want to draw.

Reference is not a crutch to a good drawing, but it can be if you let it.
Another topic for another time is do not be a slave to your reference and copy it to a T. Makes your drawing stiff and totally looks like you just used reference. 
I brought the images into photoshop.
Used the [L] lasso tool hit
[V] for the move tool to drop
the reference directly onto my drawing without cross referencing multiple tabs

 I have 3 cameras. 
A Sony DSC-H300 the one on the left
Panasonic Lumix FZ100 on the right. I like how this one has a screen that tilts like a camcorder. 
and another Panasonic cybershot in a drawer somewhere.  

Nothing fancy is needed. You can even use a phone or a tablet device. 
Cameras are so cheap now in days. That Sony camera was only $85.
A table top easel I got a long time ago. It is usually somewhere on my desk. 
I used this to shoot my reference.













With this drawing I haven't decided if I want to commit to this angle or the other one. With the hands and the head I need to take a reference photo .
That rounded scribble on the right is supposed to be this giant cat monster. 

























Happy Easter Y'all!
:]
 







































Happy first day of Spring. 
Yay for longer warm days.


Not my favorite time of year. I stay indoors a lot. Although I like indoor plants with
 not much pollen on them.
 It's extremely difficult to tell if you have allergies or have a bad cold until you are extremely sick.
I hope to feel better to post something better later this week.

Best Regards
&
Happy Spring Drawing
-K