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Author Topic: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)  (Read 97856 times)

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Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1425 on: December 15, 2019, 02:07:40 PM »
So I figured that I'd use Sunday as a bit of a weekly digest, as I'm trying to keep my browsing time down for productivitys sake.

Drawing in public - part 2.
I'm not really sure what's changed in me since I last commented on it, but I really don't feel any problem drawing in public now, I don't know why. So I'm using my travel time on trains and buses now to do a little drawing here and there when I fancy it. Quite varied sketch pages but it's a nice little doodle. If the journey is long enough I can do a whole page. So that opens up a bit more avenues for me to get exposure and practice as well.
Spoiler




I've been focusing on core skills again with a larger focus on copying/studying than I have been doing over the last year. I'm doing all sorts of clothing and body studies, hands and shoes and so on. I'm not quite doing as many WIPs as I would like, considering my huge backlog.

WIPs - I have been focusing on linearts this month so far, and I've done 16, of various levels of quality and styles. Picking a standard for my linearts as been a little tricky, especially as my older WIPs are a bit lacking in details and accuracy as well. Here are three different styles that I have tried out: (click to enlarge)

Very high detail - I've used quite a high level of zoom and taken my time to add the details. This resulted in a high quality line piece, but the original undersketch had proportion issues that show through, so overall it was a bit of a waste of time to process it at this high of a level. It's my longest lineart at 31 minutes.


Very sketchy detail - I figured since the previous one was really sharp that I might as well use my older WIPs in a bit of an experiment, especially the ones I don't care much for, so I tried a sketchier inking style, at a much lower zoom. The overall quality was pretty low, and a thicker brush would probably have suited this style I think. It was certainly a lot faster, which is a key factor for me, but not at such a loss of quality.


Medium, careful but quick - I tried to combine careful and quick, into a similar drawing feeling to how I resolve my sketches, and the result was basically a good quality, as long as you don't zoom in much. which in most cases, especially a standard level piece, is probably the most desirable level. The line quality was a lot better, but I didn't spend so much time on it. It's hard to compare to the first one as there was less time consuming frills, but I think it was a faster style. I didn't zoom in as much as I did for the first one. Usually I count how many times I click zoom in, to make sure I'm working at the same sort of level for each piece. The top one was 4 times, and this one was 2 times. So for the time being I'll probably try and keep this style up as it's fast and good enough detail. As I get to my better WIPs, I might increase my quality to match.


I've processed 66 WIPs this month so far, and spent 49 hours drawing in GIMP. so I'm quite chuffed so far, although time isn't everything, it's something. And I'm on target for 100 in a NORMAL month!
My average continues to rise which is great, here's my usage graph again. "Consistency" is how many days I have drawn in the last 30, divided to fit the scale. So a 5 means I've drawn every day for the last 30 days.
Weekly average is staying strong just above 3 hours a day, and the monthly average is still rising to match. I've not been this active for quite a while as you can see.


I didn't realise how useful a daily schedule was, being that I am quite motivated and draw quite a lot normally (my weekly average spikes a few times at more than 2 hours a day, so I'm not lazy by any means), I didn't think that it was possible to draw even more. But a fortunate rebalancing of the schedule and looking at my actual statistics made me realize that I was nowhere near my maximum performance (which I kinda guessed). I'm still nowhere near my maximum, being that I don't spend ALL my time drawing, and I do spend a bit more time than I would like in organizing my art, generating statistics, programming little apps for me to use, and finding more reference images of every kind. But I would put my productivity at at least 35% now.

I'm very pleased with how my new workflow is going, that of having lots of semi-finished GIMP files, and adding a bit more each day until they fill up. I generally don't do the same ones each day, usually just 3 or 4 study ones, and then some WIP ones as well. My daily sketch survival actually takes up the most time per item at the moment.
I've got 49 canvasses at the moment, and I'm trying my best to not let it rise any higher, otherwise I wont even be able to finish each one in a single month XD.
I have changed some up a bit, and combined some into a single file. Like I had hats in a separate one for a bit, but combined it with the normal clothing study one.

Another dangerous game I have been playing is having a file for drawing new sketches, which are casually inspired by my own older sketches. It's really good at generating new sketches, "unfortunately", as I'm trying to not make so many new sketches at the moment. But it's a lot less stressful knowing you can just open a file up, do a bit, and close it wherever you're at. Whenever I hit a WIP I dont fancy working on, I just close and move on to something else. Then later in the day, I'll have a eureka moment and know what to do with the sketch, and I can carry on.

I also said previously that I would cull my WIPs by about 10% at the inking and colouring level. I'm increasing the range to include every level of WIP now, so up to 10% of my WIPs will go into a "Dropped" folder, and not be counted in my remaining counts. I've got so many, and I'm improving so fast now, that I'm more ready to take on the better ideas and not keep focusing on my worst sketches for "practice". Of course I'll still keep them around just in case, and for trying out new styles with perhaps.
This also helps to account for the fact that at each level the time to process a piece increases, so I can't process as many linearts as I can finished sketches, for example.

Assuming I do cut out 10% at each level, this is how 1000 sketches would make it through to the end.
I'll probably increase the cutoff to 20%, or probably something like 50% eventually


also also, my WIPs are not (and have never been) the main output that I plan on generating. They are like my main regime that keeps me fit, but there's a lot of other art that I want to make that doesn't fit into the WIP scheme that I currently have. Fanart, homage styles, manga stories etc.
And I think that my open-canvas workflow is suited to creating a new page of sketches in different styles, and then finishing them off in the same canvas without putting them into a WIP folder, similar to my daily sketch regime.
Did you know that my daily sketches are all done in the same file? well now you do :P


In short (yeah right), I've got a lot of plans, I seem to be incredibly lucky with how my path has gone so far, I'm incredibly ambitious, and I'm currently incredibly productive. Roll on 2020 I say. I suspect I'll crash within 3 weeks :P
« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 04:10:10 PM by suuper-san »
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Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1426 on: December 18, 2019, 01:31:58 PM »
"Quick" update - I finally crunched my drawing data per hour, to see how my drawing habits have changed over the year as to when in the day I draw. Its quite interesting, for those who like statistics haha
You can clearly see the larger consistency I have at the moment, which I hope to keep.
Man I love statistics. Especially when they are useful it's awesome.

Spoiler

I'm also rolling out the linearts as I changed the quality and my pen settings. Basically working with a bit more of a thicker line, and it's faster.

I'm moving up my next regime(s), which were 100+ linearts, and 1000 colour/shade studies of body and clothing each. Since I'm working with a lot of things at once in parallel nowadays, my regime of finishing my requests is dragging out now, and I don't feel like doing them faster so I'll be adding to my workload overall instead. I think once I've added those I wont have space for anything more, for a while. The shade studies will also help my linearts to be more accurate in terms of clothing folds and so on (I experienced a boost in my linearts last time I studied shade)
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Offline Slammer

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1427 on: December 18, 2019, 01:34:46 PM »
How have you been tracking this? Thats so interesting

Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1428 on: December 18, 2019, 01:39:31 PM »
I wrote my own data logging program a year ago. Basically whenever I am using a program it logs how long the program is open for, and when. It helped me to see how I was using my time and where I could improve. It's always open, hidden in the icon tray :)

Here's what it looks like. What great is whenever I want to have a feature, I can just write it straight in, because it's my program. It's a bit glitchy but it works :P
The graph is currently showing statistics for the last 30 days of usage btw


For my stats in the previous post, I crunched the numbers in Excel, and used the formatting options to give the cells colours based on value.

The data on it's own looks like this XD:
Spoiler
I have 600k entries of logged information which is ridiculous haha

Given it's a new year soon, I should probably sharpen up the code and add some more useful features XD
« Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 01:49:22 PM by suuper-san »
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Offline Slammer

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1429 on: December 18, 2019, 03:11:44 PM »
thats so cool super! If there was an easy way to graph the software id ask for it : ) That's bad ass

Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1430 on: December 18, 2019, 04:13:08 PM »
haha thanks :)
well, there is an easy way, I just need to write it lol
For me, as much as I like writing my own graph drawing code, it's much faster to export the data to Excel and use Excel's graph drawing features haha
When I spruce it up I'll make it available, maybe :P

well there are plenty of other programs that are avaliable online for free, I just automatically make them myself because it's more fun XD
in fact it was a youtube ad for a tracking productivity app I saw that inspired me to write it in the first place I think.

ugh gotta do my daily sketch. I've done a bunch of other drawing but not that haha

Edit:

22/100 Linearts done btw.

Started up body and clothing shade study pages as well, done 6/1000 for both.

Edit2:
woop 5k posts milestone.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2019, 12:34:36 AM by suuper-san »
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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1431 on: December 20, 2019, 03:53:12 AM »
I didn't get much drawing done yesterday or this morning, I've been working on improving my writing, and methods of recording information, getting inspiration and learning how to write/what to write.
So it's thrown my drawing routine out the window. But writing is just as important and I've neglected it for basically forever. I've got plans for working on writing in a similar way I work with my art, having lots of ideas and working on them all in parallel to improve them.

I also want to work at how I can combine art and writing in the most effective way - like how to have character sheets, how to add sketches to a manga draft, but still have everything adjustable so I can make changes to anything at any time. I used to copy my art images into a word document with text but it's annoying to keep track of all these word files. notepad doesn't hold images and wordpad is a bit clunky as well, and both still have the problem of having lots of files everywhere, and I need to open up word to see whats in the file, not like an image that has a thumbnail. So really, whats the best way to quickly see what's in a file, like at a glance?

I've hacked my writing/worldbuilding program to just about handle images so it's a start while I figure out what I want. Really my program is an abstract version of a hacky version of windows explorer, what you view your files with. But you can edit the files instantly rather than having to open them in a different program, and all the files inside a "project" are all inside one giant file, so it's kept orderly in itself. I'm thinking to make it a bit more like explorer in the look and how the search works and so on.
Basically the "preview pane" is editable, rather than just showing whats in the file. So you can edit straight away, any file you click on. and not have programs on top of each other, which is the thing I'm trying to avoid.
Here's what it looks like at the moment. It's open on a file about itself.
Spoiler

Also, it's hard to draw and type at the same time since my keyboard and tablet get in the way of each other, so I'm working on how my desk should be laid out as well, especially since I'm redecorating.
And also how to time how long I spend typing, and on which stories and ideas? I'd really like to be able to record that, not just for the sake of statistics (which I do indeed love), but also so I know what's achievable in a certain amount of time, and it helps for working out how to do a long running manga.

I'm trying to break down story elements so I can work on different parts separately, as that has worked well for me in art. So far off the top of my head I can think of:
-Characters (emotions/goals/personality etc)
-Setting/world/environment
-Items
The above work well with art as well, so it's a bit of a mix.
-Scene List > Event list > Plot flow > Plot idea
-Manga Script > Manga Chapter Script > Single Page Script > Single panel description > Dialog/Narration
-Good Writing/Vocabulary/Grammar

I might have broken that down a bit strangely or too much, but I think for me it's essential to attack the problem at the base, since I have virtually zero experience in it. Plus I want to look at it from a fresh viewpoint, as otherwise I'll be copying other writers styles/opinions. So I'm trying to be original if I can.

Hopefully it doesn't take 5+ years to figure out a decent method, as it did with my art :P

Talking of years, I just passed 9 years of drawing manga since my first page out of a how-to-draw-manga book in November 2010. Hopefully by the time it's 10 years I'll be solidly on my way towards some goal of mine, he said, vaguely :P

As always, I feel like I'm on the verge of a breakthrough, but I'm wondering if it won't just end in a breakdown instead haha
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 05:11:10 AM by suuper-san »
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Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1432 on: December 22, 2019, 04:17:27 PM »
Another hopefully shorter Sunday dump
This week was going well but I stared to slow down a bit, I'm super stiff , probably because of the decorating as that always has you working at funny angles and stuff, so I've got tired arms and don't really feel like drawing as I'm tired the last couple of days. Doesn't feel like burnout, just super tired. Gonna try and get an earlier night to catch up my energies. Not much time of the holiday left :O

Did some more linearts. The quality of the undersketch is sub par so I'm blazing through them at a bit of a lower quality for speed and coordination practice, just trying to get lines to meet up and stuff and not worrying about them actually being in the right place, because it'll be an endless circle of improvement with my huge WIP folders.



I filled up a while page of my daily sketches. I realised that having 20 on a page is kinda strange when it's one a day, so I'm making the page size 32 to fit a whole month, then each set is for a single month.

Here's a workflow gif to show how I've worked through them.
-I created a grid to use as a template - this is on a separate layer.
-I start every sketch with a tiny thumbnail - this is mostly just the pose and helps me to plan the perspective and camera angle - mostly how their feet touch the floor, which really helps in making them balance properly and get the pose looking right. It's been invaluable and also gives me 30 seconds of think time for the costume and whatnot while I'm sketching it
-I then do the initial sketch on the same layer. sometimes I have changed the pose already from the thumbnail. I don't add too many details at this point - mostly the face, base hair and clothes, and especially trying to get the figure and pose right. I draw at whatever size suits me at the moment, including going over the template grid lines. I resize and reposition the sketch to fill the box and not go over the edges.
-I then redraw the figure to get the pose as good as I can, and then on the same layer add most of the details minus any patterns on clothing. Since I'm working within my comfort zone a lot of these things I can draw without guidelines at all, so I'm not super sharp with this. I also resize this layer if needed as sometimes fixing the sketch proportions makes it smaller again.
-On the next layer I do my lineart, still fixing details and proportions as I go.
-half way through I figured it was better to have the shading and colouring on a separate layer, to make erasing where i go over the edge easier. so the shade and "colour" is the final step. It's hard to differentiate between colour and shade when I'm hatching, and sometimes the lines overlap and give a bad Moiré effect which I try and fix. Still working on how to do that better.

sorry the gif is so fast the gif maker didn't like me today. click to enlarge.


You might also notice because of the dates that I snake through the grid (left>right then right>left) rather than starting on the left for each row. That's because I do my WIPs like that - it saves scrolling back each time if I just scroll down from where I am, left or right side. So confusing I love it :P

And looking back, wow - 20 whole finished sketches for just ~20 minutes a day. Impressive for self confidence, as my WIPs don't give me anything to show for my hard work, they seem to always be sketches or poor quality linearts haha.

My monthly average is almost at 3 hours a day finally, but the last couple of days have pulled it down a a bit again. still doing better than ever before so meh :/

I went though a couple of fashion websites to get a nice range of clothing references - but it's all depressing colours at the moment. I can't wait for spring and summer fashion to be out. It's easier to see the folds and shading on lighter colour clothing. But I still got some useful stuff, like shoes and hats etc.

My writing is going well for small beginnings. I'm writing very short paragraph descriptions/dialog/monologue using my old sketches as inspiration. Quite meh at the moment but considering I'm at level 0 it's brilliant haha.
I'm also flicking through random manga pages I have saved and literally copy-typing out the dialog/actions. it's good touch typing practice and it seems to give me a boost in my writing ability when I do it just before writing my own stuff.
If it worked art-wise by copying artists, by trying to draw exactly what they drew, then trying to type exactly what people have written should do the same thing for me writing-wise. its foolproof XDXD
small beginnings for sure. Literally less than a week of starting it up. I'm sure I'll make changes to my writing workflow all over the place as I figure stuff out. But fun so far :P
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 04:25:02 PM by suuper-san »
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Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1433 on: December 28, 2019, 09:20:46 AM »
well, still trying to recover data and fix stuff so no art done for a while now.
weird how a day of no art feels like an entire month gone by.

anyways since my decorating is nearing completeion I put all my manga back on the shelves. i couldnt find the members manga collection photo thread so here it is instead.

It's currently very unsorted since I took it off the shelves and put it back in random handfuls (including some upsidedown), so I'm looking forward to sorting it properly. until then, here you go!

Spoiler

I actually want more shelf space but I have no idea where to put it in the room. I have an idea, but we'll see.

also since starting to use the reference that I have collected over the years I see now that there is no need for anywhere near as much as I have collected. Even though each image or reference might be unique in itself, once you have copied 100 different images of a genre you start to see patterns and similarities between them, so you probably need maybe a couple hundered decent quality reference images for any genre that you want to learn how to draw (even that might be too much really). just my thoughts. at least compared to my 1000s, I certainly don't need that many. Having to salvage all my references from my dead drive has me thinking "I seriously didn't need this much, what am I going to even do with it all?" I'll never have enough time to copy every image that I have collected, so my reference collection could do with a trim for sure.

also preemptively collecting references and resources that I will never sue could do with happening less often as well. Lately I just google what I want, when I want it, and it saves a huge amount of time.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 03:25:46 PM by suuper-san »
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Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1434 on: December 31, 2019, 05:12:40 PM »
had a decent day today, drew for about 3 hours. still ill but recovering, almost. probably at the worst point in my cold today I think.

I drew for 82 hours this month which is pretty swell. Nothing compared to a full-time artist though, I can see why manga apprentices can grow so fast if they do it 24/7 and are paid.
That being said a normal full time job is 40 hours a week, so 160 hours in a 28 day month. So 80 in comparison is actually not bad. I'm wondering how high I can go now :D

I eventually did 28 linearts this month which isn't bad. I'll be doing way more next month, along with more WIPs as a priority as well. I'm wondering how many of my linearts to upload to DeviantArt and stuff now. I wonder if I'll start doing commissions this year. I think I'm leaning away from the idea as a primary income source.

anyways I'll save my 2019 art review for later. I'm trying to talk less on MR, but I find talking actually is part of my learning, it helps me to figure out problems and to find answers by talking out loud. So i'll keep doing it as long as I find it productive. Plus I'm happy to share any useful tidbits I come across. Bit of a shame MR is so quiet these days as some discussion would be nice here and there :/

I couldn't sleep last night and wrote 1.5k words just figuring out how my WIP processing could be improved and how the levels and quality can be more consistent. My to-do list is stupidly long, it's actually so long I have an organised "to put into a to-do list" list of all sorts. It's fun but I have no idea how to deal with all these ideas.

Here's a little of what I have been doing lately.
Trying to figure out proportion sets for different ages and styles. Both body and faces





Also working out my different line styles/brush styles and how I want my sketches and linearts to look. Each style has a speed/accuracy tradeoff and some look nicer than others. Once I properly figure out an exact line style I'll try and ink the same sketch but in different ways. should be fun.



Also loosening up a little on the fast-as-lighting sketching, as spending more time does result in better sketches. Still trying to work at a pace, but not a breakneck pace. It's not "fastest wins", it's "best wins", for me. But I equally don't want to take a very long time so I'm trying to just keep going forward.

I'm also close to unleashing my top-level sketch ability, something that I have never even seen myself. It's taken a while to figure out how I will efficiently and consistently produce an illustration at my top level ability so I've been thinking about combining sketch layers with extra guidelines, as well as "analysis" iterations, where I don't sketch but I work out areas that can be improved. Also I'll probably be doing some artwork flipping to get that top-end sharpness.

You guys have seen Hunter x Hunter right? you know how a Nen user has a compatibility with a certain type of Nen rather than others? so they will be better at using their type rather than one they are not fully compatible with? And it will be very hard to use the Nen type that is opposite to their type?
Well I sometimes feel that artistic skill itself is opposite to my natural ability. It feels like I'm forcing my body and mind to learn art to make any progress, and having to be so logical to figure out things rather than just "feeling it" or learning it by rote. I'm not sure if that's how everyone feels, but I certainly feel I'm not compatible with art, it's certainly not my talent, like programming is. I do have a tendancy to overthink things, so it might just be that. It could also be that because I overthink things, that I have to do things the way I am doing them. So it might be that I'm doing fine, for me. But certainly I don't think I'm on the easy path.
Maybe my goals are just too stupidly high, maybe I have an ambition for a skill that I don't fully understand, or I don't even know what I am aiming at.

here's some of my overthinking, I also drew this last night when I couldn't sleep lol
just trying to figure out what on earth I am doing XD



And I'm also wondering if I'm trying to do too much. Not too many sketches, but too many different categories of things at the same time. Like studies, sketches,manga etc.
Like I feel like I should just chose one and specialize, not jump around like an indecisive harem MC. I mean technically illustration is my main, I guess? But I have so many things I want to do I don't know if I can even fit it all into my life. well, could be worse issues to worry about for sure XD

Onwards and upwards, into 2020!!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 06:17:40 PM by suuper-san »
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Offline Ryan

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1435 on: December 31, 2019, 09:00:15 PM »
Quote
Well I sometimes feel that artistic skill itself is opposite to my natural ability. It feels like I'm forcing my body and mind to learn art to make any progress, and having to be so logical to figure out things rather than just "feeling it" or learning it by rote. I'm not sure if that's how everyone feels, but I certainly feel I'm not compatible with art, it's certainly not my talent, like programming is.

I think there is a thing such as talent in art. But, I also know that even talented people don't start out with a high-level artistic mindset. Compatibility is something you earn over time and reflection.

Values change when you have an experience that strongly invalidates your previous preconceptions. The simplest example is the relationship between a stove and a young child. At first, there will be no value present; the stove is just a blank slate. After realizing the stove can hurt them, the child now holds caution around the stove.

The same works in the opposite direction for positive experiences. If changing your process results in better drawings, it's hard to not start valuing whatever the change in process was.

Art is like that. You'll become who you need to be as long as you don't get stuck using the same approach or method all of the time. So don't be afraid to try things out. Try your best to make trying things out easy for yourself.

Drawing is logically simple, but difficult to execute. That's because a large amount of stuff is arbitrary. For example, the angle of the nose is, from a global view, arbitrary. The angle of the nose is created by the bones underlying it, sure, but the way the bones are is also arbitrary. Surprise surprise, as a result there is a large variety of the possible angles a nose can take.

So, draw things as they are, and put to memory what looks good to you. Learn what else you can to help you internalize these arbitrary visual details. At the end of the day, putting the focus on what things look like in 2D and 3D space is what produces results

I think you are doing very well. There is no easy path to improvement. No one's got it easy. Really.

I urge you to figure out who you want to take influence from. Most good anime artists, mangaka, most artists period are very much inspired by others (myself included). Sometimes it's hard to see because there's a ton of manga out there and a ton of different styles. Nobody out there is really original. There are unique artists but they are often just a blend of a variety of influences. So while they're not a carbon copy of one person, they take influence from various artists and end up with something that is unique despite not being original.

At times it can be easy to doubt one's influences. Is this really the person I want to take influence from? What if I end up not liking the way I draw? Perhaps one way you can avoid that is by dedicating a finite amount of exercises or studies to a particular artist. For example, you might set the goal of doing 15 studies from a particular artist. Your goal is to stick with it despite being unsure if this is who you really want to take influence from. After reaching the goal, you can either continue to take influence from them (renew the goal) or move on to something else.

Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1436 on: January 01, 2020, 08:41:50 AM »
Quote
I think you are doing very well. There is no easy path to improvement. No one's got it easy. Really.
Thanks Ryan, that's cheered me up a bunch. I was really feeling lost and questioning everything :P
I think my mindset has been both a help and a hindrance in my progress, so it probably evens out to quite average XD
It would be good to have you round a bit more with your useful tips! plus I'd love to see how your art is coming along, got any projects you're working on?

Previously I have heavily struggled to accept taking influence from other artists, or from almost anywhere to be honest, because I had a unrealistic view of what being "original" was. Fortunately I'm settling into the idea of taking information from everywhere and making it my own, even other artists styles. And partly I feel more justified doing it because as you say, they took inspiration from others as well.

It is so true that art is both completely logical but also completely arbitrary. amazing how it does that :P

RE picking an artist-Funny you should say that as the night previous I wrote a whole paragraph for my to-do list about finally picking one or two of my favourite artists and actually spam studying their style. And also picking and choosing what parts I want to keep and how to blend it with my normal style, or to have it as a separate new style. So I'm super close to doing that I think, finally.

I think because I am quite analytical I probably wont worry about whether I'm taking influence from the right person, but for me it will probably be more "what parts do I want to be influenced by?"
Even artists who might not be as technically skilled as me have things I can learn from, like composition,colour choice, diversity of characters and so on. I would hazard that if you look hard enough, there is never nothing you can learn from someone.

I'm also quite keen on being influenced by real life, and I think photo studies have really helped lately to give my art a bit more realisticness and I'm starting to have "oh! that's why artist X does that, it's just like real life!" moments a lot. So knowing why something is done is a lot better than just knowing it's done. you get a lot more control over that piece of information.



Anyways, time for a look back at the year and see good things and bad things. Hopefully I keep it short and don't hit the character count limit lol

For starters, here's my drawing activity over the year, digital only of course.

Spoiler

Last week or so I've been ill but also spending time with family and stuff so haven't drawn as much as I would have liked. But it seems that a new workflow and mindset have kicked me into high gear for productivity.

I think having high expectations of yourself is not a bad thing, but if it prevents you from being productive because you are scared you wont hit your expectations, then yes that's a terribly bad thing. Having several outlets is a good idea so you can chicken out of doing that big art thing, but not of doing art itself. So I've often backed out of doing WIPs and done some manga studies instead. And then I might have done some WIPs afterward after all, so it's not been bad.

Starting the sketch survival has been good for producing sketches that I can show my family and friends, otherwise it's a little frustrating with my WIPs, having nothing to show for hours of work. (Once I start colouring them then it'll be different because they will finally be finished) And it's given me a nice feel for working straight through an idea beginning to end in one session rather than waiting months to complete it.

Some statistics:

I only did 2 regimes this year, 1000 finished sketches and 365 cleaned sketches. I wanted to have done more really but my workflow and atitude was a bit fluffy. I am super more determined than ever to get at least 1000 of every type of WIP done this year, except maybe coloured linearts, but we'll see :P
I'm still working on 1000 hands :P

Overall this year I have produced:
1400 Finished Sketches
479 Cleaned Sketches
95 Linearts
26 Coloured Sketches (rough)
21 Coloured Linearts

which isn't so bad when I look at it. Really though I want to do wayyy more, especially at the more completed end of the spectrum.

I currently have remaining:
898 Rough sketches to finish
396 normal sketches to finish
1151 sketches to clean
352 sketches to ink
321 sketches to colour (rough)
115 linearts to colour

I haven't yet started sorting out which WIPs I want to remove from my queue because that will take time away from actually doing art.

I drew for 573 hours digitally (plus a bunch on paper) in 2019, which is a tad on the low side, really I should be aiming super high.

I am very keen to start doing manga pages, because this is not only a source of good experience and out of the comfort zone learning, but it's also a productive outlet for ideas.
And I am especially keen to figure out how to process manga pages and control the quality at different stages. I wonder if I will work on pages somewhat randomly, like with my WIPs, have different stages of quality control and levels of sketches, how long will each stage take compared to a normal sketch, and so on.
And that leads into the larger question of how to organize myself when it comes to world building and serious manga story development.

Doing statistics is very fun, but a lot of my programming and playing with numbers has taken a huge chunk of time away from drawing. So I've got to prioritise the art, and reduce the number crunching done on a daily/weekly basis. Especially if I can do the number crunching on the whole year in one go, it's a super waste of time to do it in little bits each week or month. So I'm moving into "macro" statistics rather than micromanaging my stuff.

To compensate I try and programmatically generate statistics so I can keep an eye on my productivity, but not waste time working it out. Here's a productivity digest that my open-canvas workflow organizer program generates for me. Notice the stupid number of current canvasses.
Spoiler

I've been trying to crack down on the magical "being in the zone"
It's still magical as far as I can tell. It's pretty much when all the dice roll in your favour, all at the same time. Like a fluke event.
But I've noticed that I am consistently better and more focused when I:
-am warm (I cant move properly if I am too cold)
-have slept well (I cant think at my maximum if I am tired)
-have a positive attitude (I cant be at my best if I'm negative)
-take frequent breaks
-have less distractions
-am sufficiently inspired (my drawings lack creativity if I'm not inspired by something, anything)

out of all of those, sleep has been the largest influencing factor. sleeping at 9:30pm and waking up at 5:00am consistently has me waking up almost at full power instantly, with minimal lag or drowsiness. which is super nice. Also working in the mornings is better in general as you are the least exhausted and have the most energy.

Also there is something to be said for drawing daily. I don't think that it's enough to just "do something every day" (but it's certainly better than nothing for sure), I really have an hourly requirement for each and every day now, because It's going to take a lot of time to not only get the experience to get good, but also to actually produce any work, illustrations, manga and so on. For a long while I have drawn consistently, even regularly, but not every day. I didn't think I needed to, but boy was I wrong. For starters, you are incredibly more productive, simply because you are doing it more (stupid right?). Also for me it takes advantage of the fact that I only have so much "creative stamina" each day, and now I can use all of it up, every day. I'm aiming at 3 hours a day (2 morning, 1 evening), but really as long as my morning isn't upset, 2 hours a day minimum should be easy.

Being ill is something that did impact me a little more than I expected, so I didn't have the preparedness to fght against the grogginess to try and do just a little art while I'm not well. I know that rest is important to recovery, but not sit-in-bed-all-day kinda rest, right?

I won't comment much on how my WIP processing workflow has changed, as not only do I not shut up about it, but a month ago I already wrote a whole page on that after a year had gone by of doing WIPs. needless to say, I've changed how I work with them, been open to seeing faults in my workflow, adjusted to new ideas, and learnt how to control my quality much better.

I have also found that super deep problem solving thinking has been useful. Maybe because of the programming influence I can think quite logically and can look at problems to find solutions. So every now and then I stand back from my art, close my eyes for 30 minutes, definitely listen to my powertrack playlist, and properly break down my progress, my path, my goals, my workflows, my inspiration, creative ability, etc. I look for faults, problems and inefficiencies with the systems, and try and think outside the box to come up with solutions, different ways of tackling the problem, as many different ideas as I can, and usually I can find something or some way of doing things better that I can immediately take on board.

Last time I did this seriously I came up with my "open-canvas" workflow, and a couple nights ago I found a whole bunch of little pointers on my WIP workflow to control the quality of my output. Also several times in the past I have found the solution was to write a program, such as my WIP Timer, to make things that I did manually, automatic.

So not all learning is done with a pen in hand, is what I want to say. You can have those "fridge moments" where you're doing something else and suddenly think "oh hey I could do XYZ to make ABC" better, but sometimes you need to actually spend time thinking about what you might be doing wrong. It helps to have experience and try out new things, as this can help your problem solving to be more on point.

My art skill has increased quite a bit this year. I can't really give any concrete examples because my skill has been spread out on many different things. But the lineart I posted a few weeks back is a good example. Overall I have seen an improvement in proportions, expressions,clothing accuracy, clothing design, pose variation, perspective in poses and pose balance, line control, coordination, variation in composition, (even programming has improved haha), definitely hands and faces, workflow, attitude and time management.

My goals are always pretty much the same - get good, get rich.
lol just kidding XD
Getting good is my priority. and then I fancy doing all sorts of manga and illustration. I might even lean back into game design, because, as I keep reminding myself, the whole reason I started to learn to draw was to make my own game graphics. I still don't know how I would like to make a living from my art, commissions or publishing manga, or what. To be honest, I still think that making games has the best chance of actually working, considering my skillset. again, that's long term and I'm still working on fundamentals, I haven't even started to specialize yet haha

As for 2020, I really want to whittle down my WIPs to about maybe 200 of each, pretty quickly. I don't want it going too low, but stupidly high is no good and depressingly slow for getting a sketch through the system.
I have new ideas for trying out new styles and fanart as well.
And I think I want to start a regular manga, something slice of life like Yuru Yuri or Lucky Star or something. I say those because it's cute girls and that's pretty much all I can draw :P
Really I want to regularly (but not constantly) evaluate my progress and targets, and see how I can reach them efficiently.

onwards and upwards!! :dance:
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 08:49:49 AM by suuper-san »
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Offline suuper-san

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1437 on: January 02, 2020, 10:51:27 AM »
8 posts in a row lol

So here's another different inking style.
-increased brush size
-lower accuracy (but following a decent undersketch)
-highest speed

I did 6 linearts at this quality and it took only 35 minutes for the whole lot.



I've been wanting to try out this style for a while but it takes a really unique mindset to work at a deliberate lower quality. That being said they turned out fairly alright. A better undersketch would result in a higher quality automatically.
I like the line variation but the blobby brush is a bit of an issue, I don't know what brush settings I could use to avoid that. It's my hand pressure that causes it when I start to speed up, I jump between hard and soft pressure uncontrollably.
It's kind of webcomic level inking I think, although there's lots of variation there as with anything else.
Not good for a high level piece but it might just do for my manga style I think. Would help to keep the quality at a controllable level.
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Offline Ryan

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1438 on: January 02, 2020, 01:53:02 PM »
Regarding the blobbiness of your lines, I recommend getting a pair of pen tablet drawing gloves if you haven't already. This will get rid of the excess friction of your hand when drawing, getting rid of any subtle changes in pen pressure that may occur. I feel like I may have mentioned this already before, so I'm sorry for my bad memory.

Otherwise, it may be a problem with the pen pressure calibration/chart you're using. I'm unsure how much control Gimp gives you for this. Generally, I set it so you can achieve maximum pen output with around only 80% of the maximum pen pressure input. It's harder to control pen pressure when you're pressing down hard.

You can, hopefully, also modify the pen pressure chart so that in the pressure zones where you're seeing a lot of instability, you can flatten the curve.

For example, this is the Clip Studio pen pressure settings.

By using an exponential curve such as shown above (which is flatter near the beginning), the increase in pen input to output doesn't have a linear slope. As such it takes more pen pressure to cause noticeable increases to pen output at lower pressure levels, when compared to a pen pressure chart that has a linear pen pressure chart. This is generally advantageous in my view, not to mention drawing with lighter pen pressure is easier to control.

------------------------

The image you drew on the right has a good balance in line weight in my opinion. The interior lines are drawn lighter than the exterior lines (a.k.a. lines that exist on the silhouette of the character, or along the outline of important elements). You did this well most noticeably in the area of her torso. However, you didn't maintain the same inking style for how you drew the skirt. In this area the interior lines of the skirt and the exterior lines have the same thickness, so the consistency of the image is lost.

------------------------

As for what I've been up to, I have started my own regimes recently. I am aiming for 500 5-minute sketches, putting an emphasis on coming up with a variety of ideas/expressions (a big weakness of mine is coming up with the concept for sketches, drawing the full figure, and getting the whole concept down quickly, so I am attacking it directly). I currently have ~80 of these sketches done. About a week after I started doing this I also decided to start a regime doing studies, approx. 5 (maybe 10) minutes each, although I am still revising the process I'm going to be using for this, since I want to test out using spaced repetition for these. I am still thinking about what would be an effective spacing for this, how many new studies to be introduced each day, and after how many repetitions to stop studying an image; all without causing a massive amount of repetitions to be done at some point.

Aside from that, I have not posted anything recently because I am procrastinating on creating a imgur album with all of my drawings from the second half of 2019. This has proved troublesome because I want to show the order of drawings chronologically, and a lot of my image files are in a .csp file, so I need to export all of them.

I just want to see clearly for myself how my drawings progressed this year. And also to more clearly show my skill level in order to better see the effectiveness of the methods I'm starting to try out.

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Re: Suuper's manga (+digital and 3D)
« Reply #1439 on: January 02, 2020, 02:42:19 PM »
GIMP does have a lot of control over pressure curves and all sorts. I've generally not played with it much because I don't know what I want. But at the moment it's similar to the curve you posted.
As you say, it's more the pressure that I'm using that's the issue. I'll suddenly drop pressure or increase without warning haha. My drawing setup is a bit iffy since I redecorated a few weeks ago, so I'm hoping that's the issue.

And yes I have a whole bunch of artists gloves. They are seriously awesome.

Ahh yes internal and external lines. I've only recently been getting that hang of that. Since leveling up I haven't been able to get a handle on all my skills at the same time :/

Ahhh awesome you're doing regimes too? you should definitely post them here so we can share feedback and inspiration!
coming up with a variety of ideas is certainly a challenge. I find that if I break down the composition into say pose,expression,outfit etc, then I can look at each area to try and think of new variations.
These days I don't run out of inspiration or ideas, but I could certainly be more varied in my designs. I look through fashion websites for general inspiration sometimes.

I am also doing shade studies finally, although it's a bit slow getting the method going at the moment.

I recommend drawing multiple sketches per page. It makes it a lot faster for saving images and dealing with the file side of things as you don't have to save/export each image individually. I have several grids of 16,24,32 etc as template files which I can just open up and draw a sketch in each one. It's good for getting resolution consistency as well - each sketch will always be the same dimensions. And it's fabulous for counting how many you have done quickly, just count the pages and multiply by the grid size.

On that point I actually name my files the exact same way with a ton of information that my statistics programs can scrape. A normal file will be something like "2020-01-02 1937 089 sketch originals +16.png". The format is always "Year-Month-Day 24hrTime SketchTime(mins) (sketch/copy) content +(sketchcount)"
I have a hot key that types the current date and time so I never have to type it which is nice, and it won't make typos like I do :P

I automatically export all my images when I finish a page - especially if they are a single layer a lossless .png format is actually very efficient for storing them, and you also get a thumbnail when browsing to see what it is. And mostly I dont actually save a GIMP file at all to be honest.

spaced repetition is a pain the neck. it's very useful but it can be annoying to get the spacing right as you say, and also to actually implement the spacing. I've done a similar thing programatically with flash cards for when I was learning Japanese. And that was just as annoying :/

it's very good to have a progression of your art to see progress but as you say, it can be a pain to deal with actually making it presentable. These days all my work is in a very similar format which makes it easier to deal with. and organisation is my strong point because I literally overthink everything.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 02:58:54 PM by suuper-san »
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