Do You Even Videogame?

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So a few weeks ago I had a bizarre conversation with a guy about some of my video game fan art. I couldn’t quite figure out what he was asking until a few sentences in, at which point I realized he was asking if I really play video games.

 

Short answer: Yes, I play video games.

 

claptrap-FLATSMALL

 

Long indulgent answer:

 

I typically play on console (Xbox 360, and XBone) because my computer skills aren’t great, and I have a tendency to drive my computers into the ground doing art, to the point where more knowledgeable friends wonder how I’ve not yet set the hard drive on fire. They are also universally appalled by the amount of dog hair trapped in the fan.

 

I did once manage to get a version of Fallout 1 to run on my work computer, and even managed to install the necessary mods to allow it to play without crashing. I was very proud of myself for this achievement.

 

While I played a bunch of xbox games with my husband and friends, I didn’t actually own my “own” console until the Xbox 360. I inherited my husband’s hand-me-down console, and as a result it’s a bit older and has trouble sometimes running in the summer. (The weather has been in the upper 90s lately, and sometimes in the low three digits.) I’ve played so much Borderlands that my friends will no longer play it with me, and I started soloing with Krieg and the Baroness. Because my 360 has a tendency to overheat at the drop of the hat, I finally had to call it quits for the season, but will resume play as soon as the weather turns cooler.

 

(Oh! I just remembered: John and I were also working our way through Earth Defense Force: 2025. I can’t tell if the writing is supposed to be that goofy, or if it’s just that goofy by accident. Either way, I adore EDF games!)

 

However, after Bethesda’s announcement of Fallout 4, my husband and I splurged on buying anniversary gifts for one another in the shape of matching XBones. We also each picked out a game that we could play together. I picked out Elder Scrolls Online, and he picked out Dying Light. Our XBones also came with the Halo collection. We wanted to pick up the Borderlands Handsome Collection, but missed the sale – but we WILL get it sooner or later!

 

So what am I actually playing these day?

 

I’ve been playing a lot of ESO on my own. While we’ve talked with friends about playing it together, it’s hard to find time to really dedicate to it, and ESO takes a LOT of time to really immerse yourself in. I typically play only a few hours during the weeknights – I try to keep it under six hours or less. On the weekends all bets are off, and if I can shirk all responsibilities and play from sun-up to sun-down, I will. This is far more rare than I’d like it to be, though, and only happens once every few months. John was out with friends the other week, and I had a great time running around Tamriel, trying to figure out how to manage my inventory and find skyshards.

 

Typically on the weekends I can talk my friends and/or husband into playing Dying Light. We’ve only recently made it to the second map in the game, and any confidence I had in myself as a zombie killing machine has evaporated. (I didn’t have a lot to begin with.) I have only played a few hours of this game on my own, and typically get so freaked out when I play it that I have to wait for friends to sign in, or else I’m a wreck of nerves.

 

I’ve been really impressed with how the controllers work with Dying Light – I know so little about game programming and design so I can’t use technical terms to describe what I’m feeling, but I can tell you that sending Crane running across rooftops feels good. And when you manage to land a jump that you shouldn’t have, or when you manage to save yourself from splattering on the asphalt by a timely grappling hook intervention, it feels even better.

 

So, there you have it: yes, I play games, but no more than six or so hours a night, and only if I can get away from doing chores, running errands, or being social.

 

 

 

Patreon Update – July 16th, 2015

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(Typodblog note: Sometimes I post public stuff at my Patreon blog as well!)

Hi all! (I’m leaving this as a public post because the art is on youtube anyways)

Instead of doing a series of screen caps with me blathering on about them, I thought I’d switch it up this week and show you a sped-up video of my work for next week’s page. I’d already done most of the upper left panel and only had to work on the soldiers walking through the city.

Back to work for me!

-Jenn

 

Patreon Update – July 9th

posted in: Art Making, Patreon | 0

(Typodmary blog note: I’m still really behind on moving my posts from Patreon to here! Sorry for the delay!)

I’ve been trying like crazy to complete as many page spreads as possible a week. Yesterday I managed to finish this one, which was a pretty simple job: a group of soldiers exploring a destroyed storefront.

I started out with the above soldier. I was using references, but they weren’t quite right, so I did a lot of “making stuff up” because that’s what I do. I also have a tendency to start inking before I’ve finished penciling everything, as you can see below.

I think I need to do a series of turnarounds for the soldiers, a series of drawings that show them from every angle, and what their gear and supplies look like. I want to have a basic design (knee pads, knife at belt, backpack, camo cape) but also have little modifications that each soldier might have made to their equipment.

Drawing the soldiers was the hardest part of this, mostly because I know so little about soldiers OR guns, but I know a LOT of strangers are more than willing to come up to me and tell me why I drew an AK47 wrong. I guess I just don’t care enough to draw all the little details, and I make up stuff a lot – I think that drives some people crazy.

Also, I just realized as I was writing this that I used two different gun references in this drawing, which is why only two out of three guns have similar end barrel thingies.

Hiding the inked soldiers, I started working on the backdrop. I wanted to add graffiti and more signs to the storefront, but I also didn’t want to lose the soldiers in the clutter of lines.

Above: the finished page spread. I forgot to draw the camo pattern n the middle soldier’s cape, so I might have to go back in and fix that. Or I might leave that for when I color it.

My computer is headed over to a friend’s house later tonight, and he’s going to fix it up so it runs a little smoother, so I may not be updating much this weekend, but I’ll return next week if nothing else!

-Jenn

Patreon Update – July 7 2015

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July 7th’s Patreon update was a little short, but I still want to share it here. It’s neat to see the double page spreads all in one piece, sometimes!

I wanted to share a sneak peek of xxxtremor – the giant monster that helps the kids save their city. All that stuff happens later, right now, just a first real glimpse of her:

These pages will be going up later this week, but I’ve been holding on to them for so long it’s been driving me crazy!

-Jenn

Patreon Update – July 6 2015

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Please consider pledging to my Patreon! And now, on with the update:

 

I am uncertain if I’m updating too often, and flooding your inboxes with junk email, so I’m thinking of just updating before I update comics, or maybe twice a week instead of five times. Let me know if any of you have thoughts on this.

Back to our regularly scheduled update: today I finished the last of the current page (and I still have to upload it at the website) but you can see some shots of my progress:

Above: I fixed Jame’s face to look a little more like a kid’s face. I need to go and fix Eugene’s now that I’m looking at it. Dang it, and here I thought I was done!

Below: James and Eugene waving to Bethany. I know I want her sitting on a broken building, so now I have to add the pencils and inks for that.

Below: forcing myself to add more pencil work before I start getting carried away with inks. I have a tendency to ink before I really pencil and I think it’s a bit of a bad habit.

Starting to fill the page up with shadows and highlights, plants and little details to build the world.

Started adding spraypaint on the buildings, and if you look to Bethany’s left (our right) you’ll see a teeny tiny little spray paint bottle. I’ve been telling a story in my head that it’s Bethany that’s been adding to the graffiti of the city, but instead of “pro-monster” slogans, she’s been rebelling against her cultist family by writing things like “squidies suck.”

Later tonight I’ll finish formatting the page, and upload it to the Era of Great Wonders site!

I also need to scan in my weekly monster drawings, as well as send out the pdfs for those of you in the $5+ tiers!

-Jenn

Patreon Post June 29 2015

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Super quick Patreon Reminder: You can read all these posts as they become live by donating as little as one dollar to my patreon fund! Every little bit really DOES help!

Now, onto the update:

Patreon 6-29-15 Update:

While I normally update Era on Mondays and Wednesdays, I’ll have to upload the finished page tomorrow. I did just finish inking most of the page (I still have incidental background art to do, the sort of stuff that bleeds over from the facing page and has no bearing on the current page.)

This is where I was starting from today:

I’d finished the first two panels on Friday, and while I should have -easily- have finished the last two today, I spent most of my day chasing down flight plans and hotels. I’m going to be traveling quite a bit from September through late October, and I’m glad I’m planning this all as early as I am!

Above: a scary looking soldier. I’m not sure if he’s a civilian refugee sympathizer, or if he’s pro-military all the way. This lack of knowing where you stand with him is what makes him scary, I think.

I knew I wanted a big image of Eugene’s dad on the phone in the bottom panel, but I wanted to draw it so it was different enough from the panel on the next (facing) page. Below are the two panels, side by side:

I plan to eventually color Eugene’s dad’s hair, so it won’t look as pale as it does here in the colored version, but for now I had to leave it white.

Tonight I will be formatting a bunch of sample art from Era of Great Wonders to include John’s name and contact information. Then, as soon as I get that done, we’ll be sending the packet of art, a pitch, an outline, and a sample script to Oni. I’m hoping that we’re a good fit for them and that they decide to work with us. I really think Era of Great Wonders is the best thing I’ve worked on, in a long time.

Wish me luck, and I’ll see you all around tomorrow!
-Jenn

Patreon Update – 6-26-15

posted in: Art Making, Patreon | 0

What is Patreon?

Seriously, the biggest problem I’m having these days is explaining how awesome Patreon is! And yeah, I’m going to be begging people to go look at my Patreon, but again, this is the closest you’ll ever see to advertising on my site. (I loathe the idea of putting paid ads on here, which is why I’ve never gone that route, traditional though it is.)

Patreon 6-26-15 Update:

I wanted to write a quick post about where I’m at on next week’s pages of Era of Great Wonders:

The above image shows you all the blank pages I have to fill to get the next two issues of Era finished. I’m also feeling pretty confident that after I finish these pages, we can collect our first trade paperback for Era!

You can also see where I’ve worked ahead in the comic, and have penciled (and even inked) in some of the future pages. I’m pretty excited about the one two page spread that comes after next week’s updates – the one that looks like a giant turtle head in the upper left hand corner. That’s the first time we really see much more of the giant monster XXX-Tremor than just her eye, or a pattern of scales in the background.

I’m currently working on the pages before that, and have finished the first two panels:

and:

John tends to leave the imagery of Era up to whatever it is I want to draw, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I thought would show the division of a group of people, without showing them fighting and arguing like I did on the last couple of pages. Barbed wire fencing, trespassing signs, and armed guards were what I came up with for this scene, although I’m never sure how well it works. We’ll see when it’s all said and done, I guess.

What the heck is Patreon?!

posted in: Art Making, Patreon | 0

Hey all!

So as those of you on my Newsletter know, I’ve been doing a Patreon.

And as I’ve heard from a few of you, the most common response is, “What the heck is a Patreon?!”

Patreon is another way to support artists and creators. While John and I make enough money at conventions and various shows to “make table back” as well as buy ourselves coffee and maybe dinner, it’s not a very consistent source of income. It doesn’t really even pay for printing (yet! But it will! IT WILL!)

I make most of my money doing commission and freelance work, which means that when I’m doing that stuff, I’m not working on comics.

Patreon is a way for those of you that enjoy our comics to help support us, even when we’re not at comic conventions. You can pledge as little as a dollar a month, and there’s some pretty decent rewards for doing so (everything from sneak peeks of works-in-progress, to complete PDF copies of our books, to having original sketches mailed to your doorstep!)

Money is collected on the first of every month, and you can cancel any time you’d like, and sign-up is really, really easy! And just so you know, Patreon is a “real thing” that even famous authors, musicians, and artists are using it to help stabilize their incomes.

What do I get when you donate to my Patreon?

Seriously? The biggest two things I get from my Patreon are accountability and encouragement.

More than money, Patreon represents the idea that someone(s) care enough about my work that I shouldn’t give up. Not that I’m going to give up – only that all artists and creators go through stretches of intense soul-searching that usually revolves around the question of “Does anything I do actually matter?!”

Patreon has also helped me with my accountability, and maybe it’s related to that last part: even during my bad days, where I feel like there’s no point in drawing a comic no one ever reads, I’ve found myself motivated to create work, even if it’s so I can show my Patreon people that I’m working, that I have something to show for myself. Patreon has really helped me refocus on my work, and it’s helped me get out of a rut I hadn’t realized I was in.

TL:DR;

All that said, at the encouragement of some of my Patreon followers I’m going to start reblogging (here at Typodmary,) the stuff that is on my Patreon-only blog.

It’ll be on a bit of time delay because while I don’t mind sharing spoilers and in-progress art with Patreons, I don’t want to spoil the comics for those of you reading it here. After the relevant pages go live on the site, I’ll reblog here!

Patreon: 6-24-15 Update

I’m still getting into the swing of things, but I finally finished and posted today’s Era of Great Wonders page. I’m still working on getting the Typodmary eLibrary turned into pdfs and distributed, but it IS in the works, and it will happen! (probably in a week or two?)

I spent most of today struggling with this one panel. Yes, just ONE panel took me all day! I erased, redrew, erased, and finally gave up and drew some guys fighting. Here’s what it looked like this morning:

It’s that top, right corner that was driving me nuts. I finally settled on a fight scene, between two administrators with MP holding them apart:

You can view the finished page on the website, but I’m still not super thrilled with it. I thought I could go in and add dramatic shadows, but I really just want this page to be over and done with. I want to get back to drawing monsters, and I have at least two more pages to go before I get there.

Here’s what I’ll be working on tomorrow. As you can see, I have the top left panels done (more or less). The bottom right is going to be fun to draw, because the boys are meeting Bethany out in the ruins, where they’re going to go get into some mischief! Also, all around the kids in the last panel are going to be baby-handed monsters. I”ll draw some of those for this week’s monster drawings, and you can see how creepy they really are!

Okay, that’s it for Wednesday’s work! I’ll see you all tomorrow!

Con Season

posted in: Conventions, Stuff I Like | 0

I’ve been quietly working on comics over here, mostly Era of Great Wonders. John really wants to get a full graphic novel out this year for it (although, honestly, I’m only 1/3 of a way through the script he’s given me, and it’s taken me two years to get this far!).

I’ve also remembered that I need to be producing posters, because sadly, original characters don’t really help you make your table money back. So to that end, I’ve been drawing more Borderlands characters, and hope to have a few more before we are well, and truly, into convention season. Here’s one I started last year, and finally dusted off, inked, and colored:

salvador

Before Krieg came around, I was half in love with Salvador. Maybe a little more than half.

Also, wow, these colors look way different on my monitor. I may need to tinker around with them to get them as rich as they look on my cintiq. Mind you, the printer always prints it up another way, so… at a certain point you just have to let go.

Right now I have a RakkMan I started, that I hate, and need to redo, and I also promised my husband I’d draw him some Claptrap images, one of which has to be the Disco Claptrap, because our play-through when he discovered that skill was one of the happiest I’ve seen him in a long while!

What I’ve been upto

Sorry about the silences on the site, it’s one of those deals where I’m really not paying as much attention to time as I should be.

I’ve been sketching and doing layouts for the next issue of Era of Great Wonders, and then I got distracted drawing and inking pages that are at the end of the next issue without bothering to finish the ones in between! I’m a bit of an organizational mess right now! Still, I have stuff to share with you:

This is me drawing page 32 of issue 4 (or maybe 5… having 40+ pages in ONE comic seems a bit extreme, so we’ll see where it ends up when it’s all said and done.)

In order to keep the video under 4 hours, I’ve sped it up 16x so it goes pretty quickly. One of these days I’d like to do a more “true to how slow I draw” video, where you can see exactly how much time I spend drawing and erasing, then redrawing and re-erasing things. I wanted to show just how much I mess up, because I think it’s important to show that pages don’t come out perfect from the get go.

Not that they ever come out perfect, but there are some pages I complain about less than others! Which is a sort of perfection!

I’ve also been trying to come up with a shirt design for All the Growing Things.

I want something that says “Monsters and Garden Society” or, “Urban Gardening and Monster Hunting” or something that implies a bunch of old ladies sitting around, drinking tea, and fighting monsters. I just can’t seem to get the wording right. I feel strongly that if I could find the right words, the art will fall in line, but I’ve been struggling. Instead, I’ve been looking at a lot of Mucha’s art, and am thinking maybe I’ll just with something along those lines.

garden-tshirt

She started out as Matilda (or Young Maude as she’s sometimes called) but I’m thinking this might be another gardener, who is maybe also dealing with the same monster infestation! Who knows? I like the idea of doing a couple different designs with different women in the design. Maybe even a dude or two. Print On Demand is an amazing thing these days!

Tomorrow Pen and Stylus will be doing another show at 8:30pm (or more likely, 9:00pm) MST where we will all be showing our responses to Ben’s Random Character Generator. Tomorrow’s subject will be “Male Alien Heavy Weapon’s Expert”.

I’ll be showing how I drew this, as well as probably talking about why I drew a worm-alien. Spoilers: It’s because I received a worm composter for my birthday, and I haven’t shut up about it since!

worm-gunnerFIN

Alright, later alligators! I need to get some more pages of Era done so I can at least pretend I’m going to make my deadlines and start uploading to the webcomic!

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