A Mint Word: January 2022

First and foremost: Happy New Year 2022! So far the year is getting off to a…start… I don’t know if it’s good or bad yet so far but I’m willing to go along with what life throws at me at this point! So for the first blog post of the year, I’ll be doing a monthly review of my work, and giving you all previews of what’s to come.

Ray’s Been Getting a Bit of a Redesign

A pen and paint drawing of a woman with bright red hair in an oversized sweater. She's holding a necklace in her right hand.
Did this one when I felt like painting. I actually didn’t have anything to paint with except for body paint, so…yeah.

Well, maybe redesign isn’t quite accurate. Ray before was very close to having a finalized design back in July, but when I was editing her character sheet, I just wasn’t in love with the final version of her. As I mentioned in the last blog post, I wanted to change up my art style a bit, mostly with coloring but at this point it seems inevitable that the lineart/drawing aspect is going to change a little bit too. This has meant that I’ve been playing with Ray and trying to get a design that I feel is a bit more interesting and fancier. So far, this has meant getting a control of what rules should Ray’s hair follow, what kind of fashion she’d going to represent, and generally figuring out what her style is. So I have been doodling her… a LOT.

First, as you can see, there’s me playing with her expressions and doing quick doodles just experimenting with various already-established elements about her. The bottom of her hair has gotten more quirky and curly, as I felt that could lend itself to some funnier expressions of hers down the road. When she’s drawn in a more chibi, goofy style, I’ve come to like the idea of the mouth being at the very bottom of the face and the eyes to be in a simplistic oval shape. I think this makes them look pretty funny. As for the limbs being like Spongebob rubber, I’m still working on that…

Somehow I have never established that Ray wears part of her hair in a barrette, and that’s why some of her hair is straight pulled back. I’ll have to actually design it at some point.

Next, I’ve been practicing figuring out what fashion Ray’s official design should be. I’m currently thinking of a halter top with skinny jeans, but I’m also curious about an asymmetrical shirt on Ray. Either way, I really like the idea of her in white skinny jeans and heels. In order to pump out these drawings quickly, I’ve been using a drawing book called Premium Fashion Sketch & Illustrating Book, from ArtShip Design (I would link it but my searches keep turning up dead links). This book has a lot of pages of blank, naked cis-women bodies so you can easily draw some quick clothing ideas on top of them. As someone who takes a lot of time to sketch and buff out anatomy, this sketchbook is extremely helpful.

I’m also trying to figure out if I should use more line shading? It looks a bit more comical and less realistic, but I’m trying to find a happy medium between something stylish and something that can lend itself to more comedy. We’ll see.

I like how Ray is looking softer and softer the more I draw her.

The Grey Kya Drawings (Hopefully) Coming to a Close Next Month

I think I mentioned this before, but in my grey Kya drawing series, I needed to do blue, pink, and white illustrations to finish the set. I had also decided on Twitter that I’d upload the last three of them together so I don’t just have three posts in a row of the same type of thing (yes I’m self conscious about that). Well, the bad news is that despite my own goal, I don’t think I’ll be able to get all three finished this month. The blue one is done, and I have a preview for my lovelies below, however the pink and white ones are both still in the sketch editing phase.

The OG Sketch

The blue one ended up coming out quite nice I think, however I will always be heavily amused when I end up changing a majority of the sketch from paper to digital almost completely. The above illustration was originally going to be ocean and horoscope themed, but I changed it in the editing phase because I thought the water looked too boring.

The two sketches with the flowers are supposed to end up being the pink Kya illustration. I think I’m ultimately going to combine the two somehow for the final piece. I really like the middle apple blossom border on the bottom sketch, and like Kya’s expression and head better in the left piece. I don’t like either outfit though, especially since the middle one looks more like a swimsuit…

That leaves the sketch on the right being the last Kya illustration: the white one. I’ve known for a long time what I wanted this one to look like: Kya with her back to the audience, in a wedding like veil and a hint of a dress. My idea was that this would be a good illustration to do as a “send off” to this series of illustrations. I imagine when I finally get around to editing the sketch, that the veil will be more exaggerated and flow outward more. Maybe she could even use a hand or two.

I can’t wait to put them all together once they’re done!

Other Ongoing Projects

There’s a couple of patterns from my past illustrations of 2021 that I want to refine and sell on my Ko-Fi page. I probably won’t be able to start fixing those until mid February. I also have the goal to lightly re-texture some of the first Grey Kya Drawings I did, such as the black holly, the purple clouds, and green mountains pieces. I can see myself tackling these mid February as well, assuming I don’t get a new system until March.

Life Stuff

So obviously Omnicron went around like wildfire, and while I can’t say definitively whether my partner and I caught Covid since we weren’t able to get tested, I can say for sure we came down with…something. I was basically battling between a runny and stuffy nose for three straight days, on top of having little to no energy to do anything. Eventually I got to a point where I could do basic household tasks, but then of course my partner finally caved into the sickness, developing a fever and sore throat. We’ll make it out fine, especially since I literally got my booster shot the week prior, but it was very annoying to lose two weekends of time to booster recovery and then more sickness.

But I guess that’s okay! I at the very least got a lot of sketching done. Somehow I got a lot done despite having nothing to show for my socials…

On another note, I have a horrible goal: I’m trying to save for a new computer. My laptop is a Toshiba running on Windows 8, and I primarily use Medibang to make my art. However, I’ve had it since 2014, and its age is really starting to show. Just typing on the screen is starting to develop lag, and my laptop’s fans run pretty good just by using a couple tabs on Firefox. Thankfully, I should only need a new CPU, as my partner has a spare monitor he’s willing to part with, but that’s still an expenditure I’ll need most likely another two months of saving for. It doesn’t help that I had to replace my 5-6 year old phone since the battery was crapping out really bad.

But will I be ditching Medibang? Absolutely. I’m sorry if I’ve already brought this up and you’re tired of hearing it, but something absolutely horrible happened to one of my art pieces. On my lady slipper gijinka piece, Medibang had somehow completely deleted the finished colored file that had all the layers. I had initially searched all over my computer and checked my back up files, but it was just gone with no explanation. I was really bummed over this one, because I imagined it would have made a nice print in a square frame, but this is now impossible to make, as the only full color file of this piece I have is the compressed PNG one. Since then, I’ve been making multiple files when I create full color illustrations, and sure enough, Medibang has been corrupting a couple of them and making it so I can’t save them. I have no idea what the problem is, all I can say is that I’ve only had this problem with Medibang. With that, and the developers behind Medibang single-handedly destroying any good will they had with their mobile users with their changes last year, I am not willing to stick around and see what they fuck up next. (Yes I know that link is a Reddit thread, I couldn’t find any actual news sources that covered the topic)

My current plan is to get Clip Studio paint for desktop once I get my new system.

Unfortunately my tech problems don’t stop there. I’m still battling getting my all-in-one printer fixed. Since I moved back in October, my printer has simply refused to scan any documents whatsoever. I’ve tried reinstalling drivers, sending my scans via email, and messing around with the printer settings, but there seems to be no other way to fix this than to get a Canon representative to fix it remotely. The weird thing is that it still prints like normal, so it clearly detects and spools properly from my laptop. I have no idea why moving messed up my printer as bad as it did…

As for current events to commentate on, there really isn’t anything that happened in January I wanted to remark on… the only thing I noted were all these various gaming studios trying to make NFTs happen.

Conclusion

I think that’ll wrap it up for this month! I’ll try and format these new blog posts better as I go along and see what works and what does not. If you guys have any feedback, I’d love to hear it. Anyways, thanks for reading all this far, I greatly appreciate those who’ve stuck with me. I wish you the best, until we meet again.

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