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:star: Bloodborne, Commissions, and Comics!

Thanks big brother, you've got me hooked on BLOODBORNE for a whole week, NON-STOP.

I just finished the entirety of the game, minus the chalice dungeons and co-op, leveled up to 105 with a maxed out Hunter's Axe. 

You heard all about it, the raves, the top scores, is it all true?


Let's go back one week ago where I told myself to take a break from commissions and have some fun playing video games. About three months ago I completed 'The Evil Within'. Recently they've released some episodic content that fill in the gaps the story had, I couldn't miss out. So I paid full price and was in the process of downloading both episodes - knowing that in Australia, the internet connection can be slow - it'll take at least a day to complete the download. Prior to my brother lending his PS4 (with much thanks), he also threw in some games like MKX, Dying Light, and one other particular game in which he highly recommended that I gave it a go.

Now you all know that I'm into my survival/psycological horror (like RE4 and Alan Wake), action/adventure (like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us) stuff but I wasn't too keen on the fantasy RPGs (and I was assuming that Bloodborne was that kind of game, where you would spend hours on end to complete it).

12 hours left into the download, I was playing some MKX. I think I had enough gore for one night. Then I did something unusual. I said to myself: "Aww heck, it's not gonna hurt to give the game a go, and if I didn't like it the first hour I'll not look into it ever again". Boy was I wrong. BIG TIME.

Do you know what it's like when you're really invested into the game's universe?

It's one of those very rare moments in your gaming experience where you're genuinely excited, intrigued and wanting more.

What was it that caught me? There was something in the air that caught me so badly in the first few hours.

What's the word I'm looking for... Ah yes. Atmosphere

This game was mind-blowing. I lost count of the wow-factors I had, there were so many that I kid you not.

It was a perfect combination of exploration, action, Gothic horror, and, once again, atmosphere (oh and the musical score is bloody brilliant too). Here, get a taste of it right now while you're reading this.

I can't stress this enough but the level designs, the hunter/creature/boss designs, enemy placement, intricate combat and leveling up system, it was all so beautifully crafted. 

And just to let you know right now, I haven't even touched a Souls game before. Yes you know what I talkin' about.

So that made me a Souls (and Bloodborne) virgin at the time. Not anymore. Hell am I happy to have played the game and got in on what the fuss was all about.

Play it people, even if you're not into the RPG fantasy games, I encourage you to explore your doubts in gaming. And to be fair, my first 15 minutes of the game was like: "WTF? Why am I playing this?" ~ well let's just say that I got raped by the werewolf at Iosefka's Clinic and hadn't a clue what to do at the time.

So yeah, give Bloodborne a go and be immersed into the world, the characters, and the lore that will leave you with impressions unforgettable. 

And to the Soul's/Bloodborne veterans, please give this guy a watch, VaatiVidya, his videos of the series are amazing. I can't wait for his next Bloodborne lore video, it brings the game to full circle for people like me who ain't smart enough to piece together the deep and intricate details of the game to form a complete vision of it's universe and story.

Right, onto other news!

Now that I'm done with Bloodborne, I don't plan to play the extra episodes of 'The Evil Within' because otherwise I'll be stuck for another week playing games and I'll be keeping my client's waiting on their commissions - which is a big no no.

So apologies in advance to the clients who have been waiting very patiently.

I was at work these couple of nights and during my break I looked into Geoff's brief and sketched out some poses to work with for his character Hal from 'The Wayward Astronomer'. Please check it out because it's a BLOODY GOOD READ!! Start from chapter one:  The Wayward Astronomer: Ch1
Halcyon Adhil stared up at the nighttime sky and marveled at the sheer explosion of color pouring down from the heavens. He could see the gamma ray bursts from supernovas, the fiery ultraviolet from a young main sequence, the smoldering infrared from an ancient red giant in the final stages of its existence. He was looking into the past as he looked up at the heavens, a silent witness to events that had transpired eons ago.
Hal blinked his orange reptilian eyes and squinted as a fierce gust of wind pelted his body with stinging glittering flecks of snow and rock. His tail turned away from the wind, coiling up tightly to conserve body heat. Among the DreamKeepers of Anduruna he certainly had not met any that looked much like him, a body with origins as ancient as the heavens themselves. Halcyon was a feathered reptile; a raptor. Neither dinosaur nor bird, he found himself on the terminus between two eras of evolution. His dark green scaly skin was almost entirely covered by jet black pl

I've been reminded from artists like Tracy Butler, Evan about starting loose and putting less focus on details when drawing quick poses. I know it sounds fundamental but sometimes I can't help but work on an arm or a face in detail first when doing sketches of poses to use for any project. So with that idea in mind I did some loose sketches of Hal for his dynamic pose. Brace yourself, it's not much to look at! lol

Hal sketches Geoff Commission 2 by darkspeeds

Last but not least, remember how I told you guys that I've stopped subscribing to Sonic comics? It's been a great feeling so far! And now I can use the extra money to invest into other graphic novels that I can get into. Here are some titles I've purchased from Keith's store:

Untitled by darkspeeds

Recognise some of them? Bet you don't know the one at the very bottom - though you should know the author if you're into 'making comics', ha ha... ;)

Just finished reading Scott McCloud's long-awaited graphic novel - The Sculptor and it was bloomin' brilliant. What a clever concept and it was well illustrated. In fact it just made me smile so much because he's showcasing everything he's taught in his critically acclaimed: "Making Comics" - buy that book if you haven't already - whether you're a comic artist or not!

And that's a wrap for this week! Again sorry to those people I've commissioned since last month, I'll be getting back to your request soon!

Last but not least... Something has been frustrating me to no end...


I've been playing around with so many ideas for my next comic to feature Ashworth. There are new worlds to create, characters, themes et cetera et cetera... I just can't find the right fit.

It's frustrating as hell and it's not fun at all. ARRRGGHHH! FUCK!!

Edenspell concept sketches01 MAY2015 by darkspeeds

:star: Story Tips by David Lillie

Video: Be Clueless, Write Awesome. by Dreamkeepers

If you didn't know already by now how I'm a big fan of David's work then here's a reminder.

Not only does his critically acclaimed graphic novel/web-comic series impress but it's also the fact that his values, opinions and wisdom on the story-telling subject that continues to blow my mind.

His honest, easy to digest and no-nonsense approach gets me hooked every time and I strongly encourage you all to watch this video now. 

Best eight an a half minutes of my day, it may just be audio but the delivery of his personal advice with this format keep things intimate and less distracting from the flash-bang of visuals on other videos that offer similar advice. I'm looking forward to hearing more from him on future videos. 

If you're currently stuck somewhere with your writing, whether you're procrastinating, walking in limbo, need encouragement or just need some tips to hit you off in the right direction when it comes to writing stories, you can't go wrong. Listen to what he has to say.

Also! I've been busy at work lately so I haven't been able to go full pelt with commissions.
:iconkafelnikov: is next followed by :iconfriskecrisps: :icontwintailfirefox12: and :iconsupersonicfa:.

My apologies for the delay, you can also blame my older brother for convincing me to play BLOODBORNE on the PS4 - I played it for 2 nights after work and omg, it's a lot of fun! It's a nice break from drawing and working on commissions after work!

:star: Bettah watch out for these cool cats!

Here's the original version without the sepia tones and additional rendering using Photoshop!

Hitmen of the Lackadaisy Speakeasy (original ver.) by darkspeeds

There's something special about penciling your illustrations, a unique quality that can't be replicated when drawing digitally on screen.

After this exercise it made me realise that I should take full advantage of my strength in traditionally penciling and rendering my illustrations on paper and apply it to my next comic project that is Edenspell.

Anyways it's time to get back to commissions! Catch ya'll next time for more updates!

:star: Vodka and Cute Cats

I'm almost there...!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Hmm.. But something's missing...



Oh that's much better!

Untitled by darkspeeds

:star: Drawing cats is a lot of fun!

I've been taking a short break from commissions these past few days whilst workin' on my six shifts in a row at the casino this week. So what better way to use my time in between jobs by improving on my pencil strokes and building confidence on constructing full bodied characters. The theme? Cats!

But it's not just any ordinary bunch of cats. Take a look below to see what I'm up to this week by analysing some quick layouts of certain characters in their poses.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Can you guess who those are? For those who have been watching me, and know my affair with awesome comics of the anthro-cartoon kind, study the expressions and posture, you should be able to recognise some instantly even with the limited visual information.

Let's look what happens 20 minutes later...




Untitled by darkspeeds

It's Rocky from Lackadaisy! His grin is unmistakable, as well as his large cartoony eyebrows!

I'm taking my time with these because I'm considering this exercise as a study. I really want to nail not only the visual style that Tracy used in her wonderful web-comic series but also I want to get all the visual elements that bring a character to life done the best I can (e.g. getting the gesture and line of action feelin' right, the use of tilts on the head, shoulder and torso to create an almost contrapposto effect for a more dynamic feel to a pose, emphasis on facial expressions etc...)

So far Rocky has been a lot of fun to draw (and he's lookin' rather handsome)!
Next we have Freckle but he's only half-way done.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Nevertheless I shall continue this exercise to get a better sense of illustrating cartoons and embracing the things that give a cartoon illustration the energy and vibrancy it deserves!

Oh and regarding references, as it is something that I constantly encourage people to use to tighten details (and in this case it's the folds of the character's lovely suits of the Prohibition/Art Deco era, and props), DON'T FORGET TO USE THEM!! It ain't cheatin' when done properly!

 Untitled by darkspeeds

:star: Step-by-Step with Leonarstist's commission! (edited!)

Remember how it started as a thumbnail?

Untitled by darkspeeds

I sketched it out at work during my break. I wasn't too happy with the initial 'Spider-man-esque' poses (look at the thumbnails on the other page and the sketch on the left I drew on my workplace's notepad).

I then decided that the thumbnail I drew at work was the one to go with. So I went back home to scan the drawing, import it into Photoshop and used my Cintiq for the rest of the way (in other words it'll be a digital illustration compared to the more traditional method of full pencilin' on paper, scan and import for a complete render on Photoshop). I got my image, pasted it on a new canvas, flipped it, and quickly laid out the elements - Elliot's main character (Jacob), the thugs, and the logo. Elliot intended to use the final image for his comic cover so he conveniently provided his title logo for me to use as a guide). I then added some tones to get a sense of the values. 10 minutes later and you get this...!

P1180288 D by darkspeeds

Okay not too shabby, but I still got a long way before I get to the final artwork! 

So I started off by refining the details on the thugs. I also added the sky to give me an idea of how the background will look like (skies are awesome to paint and they are most rewarding when done right).

CM36 leonarstist06 a APR2015 by darkspeeds  CM36 leonarstist06 b APR2015 by darkspeeds  

CM36 leonarstist06 c APR2015 by darkspeeds  CM36 leonarstist06 d APR2015 by darkspeeds

Okay good! At this point I was pleased with how the thugs came out - with thanks to some Mad-Max references on Google!

However I felt that the composition wasn't strong enough, so I decided to seek the advice of the good ol' 'Golden Spiral'. Check it out!

CM36 leonarstist06 db APR2015 by darkspeeds

And viola! It looks and feels much better placing Jacob just a little more closer to the left and just above thug number two, we can use the main character's head as the prime focal point.

If you need some pointers on composition you can check out the tutorial I made that also received a 'Daily Deviation' for it: Darkspeeds' Tip on Composition by darkspeeds
Anyways it was time to refine the details of our main character!

CM36 leonarstist06 e APR2015 by darkspeeds  CM36 leonarstist06 f APR2015 by darkspeeds

I was happy with how he came out, soon it was time to add some color into the digital illustration! Now keep in mind I didn't want this to have too many funky colors, I just wanted to keep the color palette simple with mute colors of sky blue, burn sienna, and burnt umber.

CM36 leonarstist06 g APR2015 by darkspeeds  CM36 leonarstist06 h APR2015 by darkspeeds

If you were wondering what coloring method I used you can review it on this tutorial I did for painting gray-scale rendered images with Photoshop. TUTORIAL: Painting on a Grayscale Illustration by darkspeeds 
Once I was happy with the colors I decided to play around with the values a little more and making sure that the lighting made sense. I also had to be careful not to overdo the values. Last but not least I added more emphasis on the main character by blurring out the thugs and added noise for some texture. Here's the final artwork done!

CM36 leonarstist07 FINAL APR2015 by darkspeeds

Well hope that helped give you some insight to my approach to Leonarstist's commission!

There is one last thing to share and that's this!

CM36 leonarstist07 FINAL2 (cover version) APR2015 by darkspeeds

On the cover version extra contrast is evident as the details are kept on the thugs by not applying any blur/noise effects, also the main character is enlarged for extra emphasis. Play around with your options should you face a similar exercise, and don't be afraid to experiment and bend the rules a little in order to find a result that brings impact to your comic cover!

:star: Thank you, for your kind words & encouragement.

Guys and gals, I will keep this brief right here before I get to my main topic - I'd like to share a thank you to all of you who wished me a happy 30th birthday this year. I've already had an excellent time with family back home, work colleagues and my special friends from overseas (three of whom I still plan to catch up on my days off for a Skype call).

I'm going to give some shout-outs (from the deviantART community) before I move on to some special comments that I've received and saved up since coming back home to Perth, Western Australia. The comments that I speak of revolve around my other life as a proactive freelance illustrator working on art commissions; sharing creative projects, blogs and videos that still continue to inspire others to this very day.  

To the talented writer :iconkafelnikov::iconfreakova: for their extended comments on my recent journal. Turning Thirty Tomorrow!:star: Just posted this on my Facebook...!
Just got back from work everyone, it's almost 5AM and I still got one more shift to go before three days off! :D
I really had an AWESOME 30th birthday day with my family in the mornin' - dim sum lunch followed by cake, tea and looking through travel photos of a recent trip by my sisters and family in Japan, then Warmachine with my big bro and nephews towards the evening. During the evening I went to work and was invited to another cake and birthday wishes from colleagues - you guys were fabulous.
I'm going to wake up later at noon to reply back to family and friends who posted on Facebook and deviantART. Much love to you all, may you continue to inspire others and live life to the fullest. 8-)
:star: Turning Thirty Tomorrow!
Gonna post this now before I get bombarded with birthday messages on the front-page. lol Please feel free to post them here instead!
I will share my message of thanks the day

To the ever so lovely :iconashie-kins: and her friends from StarPostProductions for their gift of an extended DA subscription.

And to the following artists who shared a kind gesture with me by illustrating a little something that's beyond awesome:

Busted by YeyeiAlba Ashworth- Darkspeeds Bday Gift by ashe-the-hedgehog
ashwoth: for darkspeeeds by TWONIONSElson by Saphfire321
Ashworth by EUAN-THE-ECHIDHOGBirthday gift: Ashworth by supersonicfa
Happy 30th Birthday Darkspeeds !!! by leonarstist06

Okay now that I've gotten that out of the way here's something I really want to share with you all...!

:star: Who I am at Thirty Years of Age - it's time to reflect back on my identity & what I know about friendships.

Being thirty right now I've come to learn a whole lot more about myself as well as to better understand what makes me, me.
More importantly, identifying yourself is only half the battle, accepting who you are is another ball game altogether.

I lived a very fortunate and interesting life, even to the point where I've managed to convince others (ever since I debuted online as 'Darkspeeds' over 15 years ago) to think that being an artist seemed like my ultimate goal in life, when really it wasn't. And sure I may be wrong in saying that because of the fact that I've made an effort recently to test the waters overseas by studying at the Academy of Art University with my own investment of time and finances, however I found out that what I want out of life is to do the things that I'm happy with and be around family. I wanted security, I wanted to be home. That is why I came back. 

Here's another thing that I learnt about myself - I still remember when I was studying in San Francisco, I caught up with :iconchemb0t: :iconevanstanley: & :iconcirotin: IRL (and their families) whenever I got the opportunity to do so. I've learnt that I'm actually an introvert. I had :iconironhedgehog: to clarify that for me more recently on a few Skype conversations over the past few months.

I'm not exactly 100% introverted because of my outgoing nature (based on my travels around the world for the past 8 years catching up with friends online and family relatives), energetic and proactive personality (this shows when I was attending five Summer of Sonic's, catching up with the Archie Publications panel with my own publications at two Comic Cons etc.) - so I do have some elements that extroverts have.

This was a real eye-opener for me when they made me realise the kind of person I am, there was actually a definition for it! Mind blowing. 

Why was it mind-blowing? Well this comes to the subject of friendships.

How do you define a true friend?

Do you need a lot of friends to make you a happy person? Do people find you weird if you don't go out and socialise and do social activities on a daily basis?

This was something that was important to me as I wanted to truly understanding the concept. I already have my family (which I'm very blessed with), but what happens when they're not around? Who do you count on when you need help in future? Living a lonely life is not the end of the world but it sure is sad.

I don't have a lot of friends in real life back home, true fact. 

I have the luxury of spending quality time with my family (and it's awesome being an uncle and a sibling at the same time), I do try to make an effort to take pleasure of interacting with family on a daily basis, however let me tell you this: when was the last time I went out of the way to spend more time with the people outside of my family?

I may be a shining star to my work colleagues (and I always show how happy I am to work with them, with a smile, and how rewarding it is to work well as a team and deliver excellent customer service everyday), I may be showing off how awesome I am at street-ball (urban term for real basketball outdoors) but do I make an effort to extend my time for them (like say go to a movie or go out with for dinner)? No. I'm very selective with who I spend my time with. And this is where I was questioning myself about whether I should be having more friends back home, friends whom I will be making the effort to spend time on a regular basis. Is it okay to not have friends? Can one live happily without them? How often do you have to spend time with your friends to maintain friendships? How does one perceive a friend? 

Well according to my conversation with various work colleagues of different backgrounds and experiences (seriously, if you're young and you have the privilege of working with older people, do listen and learn from them - this is coming from experience) the answer is: there is no right or wrong answer - it's completely up to you on how you live your life.

Hearing that piece of advice really helped me to accept that it's okay to be someone who doesn't go out of their way to meet new people and make friendships out of it - it's actually normal practice. Can you imagine the burden of my confusion on friendships being lifted off my shoulders after hearing that? Furthermore you only really need a handful of friends in life, enough that you can count on one hand, even if you meet them once or twice a month, or if you're in a long-distance relationship then keep in touch once in a while, so long as you have a connection with them in the first place. Because at the end of the day when it comes to friends it's all about the quality, not the quantity.

Anyways, going back to my discovery of being an introvert, I've come to accept that I'm a very selfish person - in the fashion of: "I'd rather spend time for myself and doing things I really enjoy doing that doesn't involve extending your social life elsewhere" - e.g. exploring new places in Perth, doing my art commissions, working on the next comic drama, spend time with family where possible. This is a quality of an introvert because they would rather focus their energy elsewhere for self-reflection and self-discovery, and if lucky, you'll be able share your discoveries with the small handful of friends you can love and trust.

This is where it gets a little frustrating for me - to you lot I don't seem selfish at all. Because of all this enthusiasm that I have, my artwork, videos, tutorials, blogs, and comics that I've created over the past decade - they have been, in your words, 'an inspiration', and 'an act of giving back to the community'. And hearing all these wonderful things from you guys is what keeps me going as being a creative individual and I thank you kindly for your words of encouragement - genuinely. However to further justify my frustration my family doesn't really see the things I have achieved online based on your feedback because what matters to them more are the results I achieve back home in real life - i.e. my progression and stability in my employment at Crown Perth, my well-being and how I treat and respect my family (and when you come to think about it, they're absolutely right).

Anyways the point is I've learnt recently to accept both views and move on.

I've come to accept that I'm a creative, outgoing, enthusiastic, talented, and introverted individual and that it's okay to be selfish and not have to worry about not having so many friends back home in real life.

In these thirty years I've learnt that it's important to life live to the fullest, in your own way. And also, don't ever take things for granted.

Here are some more tips to share from my experiences as a not-your-usual introvert:

i) Love yourself - your personality, your values, and the natural talent that's in you that moves you forward in life.

ii) Accept yourself, the good AND bad. You're not perfect, sure as hell will you come to know how much of hypocrite you can be in real life at some stage. Don't feel bad about crying, even if you're a guy, just let out the emotions, it'll make you become a better person. Do your best to smile and inspire others with a positive attitude but at the same time a realistic outlook in life.

iii) Keep doing the things that make you happy. As mum will tell me: Look after yourself, then look after others - this way you learn to keep doing things that will make others happy.

iv) Spread happiness by developing yourself, respecting others and giving back without asking anything in return (~ this I'm still trying to work on as it's a true weakness of mine that I still continue to experience ~ something that I've learnt will make or break family bonds and friendships if you're not careful).

If you follow these tips your quality of life improves and you'll become a better person over a lifetime.

:star: Feedback from you guys in thanks for my inspiration and enthusiasm!

Last but not least I want to remind you all that I really appreciate feedback that genuinely reflects back on the things I do as a creative person online and offline. Let me go back to what I mentioned at the beginning of my write-up regarding: "some special comments that I've received and saved up since coming back home to Perth, Western Australia." And here they are.

From Dib, a very talented voice actor and audio engineer from the StarPost Productions team, had this to say on Skype one day:

[15-Dec-14 12:56:44 PM] Ability Phoenix:

Hey, I just wanted to say thank you so much for that shout-out and your best wishes for all of StarPost in your Issue #49 Comic Drama. One of my life long dreams is to give back to the Sonic Community in any way I can. I'm really glad that you, someone that I looked up to in the community as I grew up is noticing all of our hard work and wishing us the best! Thanks so much, Elson! Keep Smiling!

~ aka Dib

Now I didn't know Dib until Ashley told me about the Starpost Productions team. I caught up with Dib for a live-audition for my NORDGUARD the Movie project one day, and though it was only brief, I found out how how amazing the guy is for the skills he had for the performing arts and his passion for audio engineering (all self-taught!). He was very approachable and shared a lot of things in common (Sonic the Hedgehog being one of them), but what made it special was the fact that he told me all about how I had been an inspiration to him from way back - that to me was truly humbling.

And last but not least there was this artist on deviantART who wrote to me one day, and I totally didn't expect what I was about to discover. He goes by :iconultimatelife234:, here was his message:

Thank You!
from: UltimateLife234
to: darkspeeds

Hello Elson. My name is Ryan Lai and I personally wanted to thank you for all of the work you do. My first introduction to your artwork was through the Sonic Adventure 2 manga that you posted. That comic and your storytelling was what got me into comics, and soon enough I started making my own.

I'm sure you receive messages like these all the time, but I felt it needed to be said anyways. Back then I was fueled solely by passion, and your art to this day provides me with the quintessential spark that brings that passion to life.

You have been an enormous source of inspiration to me, and your SA2 comic especially was an excellent motivational boost. It really got me through some rough times in my life. It was a part of my childhood, and I don't think I'm ever going to forget it or the effect it had on me.

Thank you again, and happy drawing!

With Sincerest Respect,

Ryan Wai-Kiong Lai

Now while I was flattered by the things he wrote I did the usual round of researching on the person to get a better picture of who wrote to me. Turns out that this guy has committed to a career in story boarding and visual development in the multimedia arts & entertainment industry and already has under been taught by animation legends such as Disney's Art Director, Ellen Jin Over, and Disney Layout Artist Robert St. Pierre. He also worked on professional projects for Dreamworks TV and internships at Hoax Films and Pipsqueak Films. You can check out of the full details on his personal portfolio.

I mean, holy cow. He's gone a long way into the 'art game' and I'm thanked for being an inspiration to him. Man, what more can I say? I'm really proud of the guy, I'm impressed and deeply humbled by his feedback and I would like to wish him all the best in his career. 


Nevertheless that is all I have for today, thank you for reading, thank you for your encouragement, and may I continue to inspire you guys till the very end.

:star: Just posted this on my Facebook...!

Just got back from work everyone, it's almost 5AM and I still got one more shift to go before three days off! :D

I really had an AWESOME 30th birthday day with my family in the mornin' - dim sum lunch followed by cake, tea and looking through travel photos of a recent trip by my sisters and family in Japan, then Warmachine with my big bro and nephews towards the evening. During the evening I went to work and was invited to another cake and birthday wishes from colleagues - you guys were fabulous.

I'm going to wake up later at noon to reply back to family and friends who posted on Facebook and deviantART. Much love to you all, may you continue to inspire others and live life to the fullest. 8-)

:star: Turning Thirty Tomorrow!

Gonna post this now before I get bombarded with birthday messages on the front-page. lol Please feel free to post them here instead!

I will share my message of thanks the day after so just before I run off to work, and get ready for birthday celebrations with the family in the following day here's a quick mention to those who have already posted B-day gift-art to me this week! Thanks guys!

Happy 30th Birthday Darkspeeds !!! by leonarstist06ashwoth: for darkspeeeds by TWONIONS

:star: Lackadaisy on Patreon (Congratulations Tracy!)

Logo by darkspeeds

Awesome news to share, Tracy J. Butler has exceeded beyond her milestone goal of working on her Eisner-nominated webcomic series full-time, all thanks to the support of fans and an initiative called Patreon. A big congratulations to her for making the brave and bold step into creating comics full-time whilst quitting her job (from the gaming industry) in the process. Here's a video to check out as an introduction to her initiative:

If you haven't heard of Patreon then I'm sure you're familiar with the concept of 'crowdfunding' or initiatives like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The elements are similar but the difference is that the money you put in for the initiative is focused more-so on the individual/creator rather than project as a whole. The money you put in will support the creator directly each month to have them deliver content in good faith, whereas in a Kickstarter the money you put in involves the risk of not getting anything in return if the project fails. Here's an article on the differences if you'd like to review the concept in more detail.

I got word from another highly dedicated and talented comic artist, David, who is working with his wife Liz on the webcomic series called Dreamkeepers (which you guys already know I'm a big fan of). He's just posted an article in support of Lackadaisy and his support for indy artists goes far deeper than just throwing money into an initiative you support. What we have here is something that is revolutionary for many independent artists if all the right steps are taken and we need to see more ambassadors of this initiative to make it work - and as a result of the process may it help inspire others to do the same and make a success out of it (in fact I know some very talented friends who are seriously looking into this option if the typical 'work for a studios' route doesn't work out after graduating from their illustration/animation studies). David's article on the subject can be reviewed below:

Lackadaisy ThunderclapThunderclap here:
   Tracy Butler of Lackadaisy has started a Patreon!  
( )  
If you're unfamiliar with the Eisner-nominated Lackadaisy, click this and enjoy one of the finest comics ever committed to paper:  
( )
This is a momentous occasion to me for a couple reasons.
First, of course, Lackadaisy is among my favorite comics of all time. Tracy's art and wit has been a colossal inspiration, a monument to what a spark and a pencil can bring to the world.
And secondly, I see this as a milestone on the way towards a better future for all of comics.
The past few decades mainstream comics have been, by and large, more of the same.  More capes, more spandex, more reboots.
Now I like Professor X as much as anyone.  It's not bad that this stuff continues- what IS bad is that it has continued to the delibera

This is why I personally feel the need to share this with you all, even though I made a decision not to live the 'art game', I can still admire and support as a 'patreon' the truly hardworking and talented artists to achieve their dream - quality works like Lackadaisy (and Dreamkeepers) who are already creating amazing content but need the backbone of funding to support them full-time. 

So to review, if you have a real passion to support artists of excellent caliber and you have some funds to invest into their creative content and services, then by all means head straight for Lackadaisy's Patreon and show your support (I know I have, and I know that there'll be good karma out of this eventually).

If you're not convinced on the quality of Tracy's work, or haven't seen her stuff before, check out this sketch compilation she's done for previous clients who chipped in extra for illustrations along with the sale of her first book

Lackadasiy sketchcompilation by darkspeeds

Two words: world-class (and years of mileage for someone to get this far into the 'art game').

In other news I've still got the following clients to complete commissions for:

:iconleonarstist06: :iconkafelnikov: :iconfriskecrisps: :icontwintailfirefox12:

With regards to Leonartist06's commission here's what I've snapped for thumbnails and a reference for the pose I'll be using to help me out on rendering and details:

Untitled by darkspeeds

I decided the 'jump-down-on-the-bad-guys' Spider-man-like pose wasn't dramatic enough, so I was at work yesterday during break and sketched out another pose which can be seen at the bottom-left of the photo (ha ha, I used a Crown Perth notepad, the company's logo is there to be seen!). Anyways, it looks much better right?

Okay let's get to it!

:star: Progress On Jaka's Commission and ARTPOSE!

Here's a prime example of when to apply realistic anatomy into an illustration of this style... In the case of my current client's characters, and the way he depicts them in his drawings, it works perfectly. Here are the original references (species-wisethe man is a Mandrill whilst the woman a Flying Fox):

The Crimson Lady by Ja-The-Shadow-Hunter Servant of the 2 Masters by Ja-The-Shadow-Hunter

And here are some progress shots to share around:

Untitled by darkspeeds

Untitled by darkspeeds

You will notice that I got help on tightening details regarding the structure of the human anatomy (male and female) as well as the lighting for rendering the final image by using a really handy app called ARTPOSE.

The program is quick and easy to use, and it's super affordable. It allows you to custom-make poses with limited of options for body types and hairstyles - what's even cooler is that it features over 20 different types of pre-rendered poses that you can use and tweak from!

I tried to manipulate as closely as possible to my client's request for the pose he was looking for on his commission and it took me about a few minutes each to re-create the poses for both genders. Here is the male version:

Untitled by darkspeeds

I have :iconchemb0t: to thank because he was the one who introduced this program to me when I was studying back at the AAU. I didn't get to using the program until now! Thanks bro as always!

Hope this will encourage others who own an I-Pad and are serious about improving on their illustration work to download the program and fully utilise it for your own benefit. All the best!

:star: Tonal Composition Studies ~ Try It Today!

I recently stumbled upon a really awesome article (by art instructor Chris Legaspi) covering an aspect in composition for illustration and paintings.

I STRONGLY recommend you to check it out because understanding composition and value are some of the keys to constructing a truly captivating and beautiful piece of art - and these principles can be carried through not just illustration but other areas of visual arts like photography and graphic design!

When I have time I'm going to post some studies of my own in future and hopefully inspire others to just take an hour or two of their week to grasp the basics, or if you're an intermediate level artist, capture the essence of an illustration using the elements of composition and value.

Right now I'm working on my second client's commission which involves two characters - depicted in a portraiture. :iconja-the-shadow-hunter: was very fortunate to provide me a direct reference (FYI the illustration is not my work) on how he'd like his final artwork to look like. I took the liberty of analyzing different compositions for before I begin my sketch. Here are some options) with quick tonal applications to establish value and mood.

CM34 Jaka 3C APR2015 by darkspeeds

My client has chosen the first option which is not a bad choice at all! The only thing that I feel would be breaking the rules a little is that the points of interest (i.e. the lines intersecting with one another the create a point) are not hitting areas like the face, hands or (in the lady's case) the breast.

Nevertheless it'll be interesting to see how it works out in the end! Art is about following certain principles to achieve perfection but sometimes breaking rules and making happy mistakes can also lead you to unbelievable results.

For those who have read up till here and are able to spare a couple of hours this week, I kid you not on the fact that if you do this study you will see improvement in the way you illustrate your next drawing. Hot tip: Just like the instructor says - LOOK AT OLD MASTERS PAINTERS or GOLDEN AGE ILLUSTRATORS - that would be one of the best places to start. Chris, in his video, mentions Anders Zorn, Edgar Payne and Dean Cornwell. I will also include my own for your additional studies: John Singer Sargent, Mead Schaeffer, Rembrandt, and Norman Rockwell.

Have fun and please by all means send me a link and I will post up and give feedback on your studies if you'd like! 8-)

:star: What a difference! Making changes to your artwork.

Whoops! Just woken up from a long nap! XD However I will share with you something that I've learnt and it's so important if you feel that something just doesn't 'feel' right when it comes to your illustration.

Earlier I was sketching out my client's first character Bonnie - she's quite the gun fighter! Sketch Commission:SirBurnout 1/2 by BubbahPop 
I was applying the usual style that I've been developing since my experience at the AAU - a higher focus on anatomical structure on anthro cartoon figures.

I quickly realise that there was something wrong... It just didn't look right.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Why though...? I've been drawing in this style recently with success, but on this occasion it just didn't 'feel' right. 

Then it struck me. I remembered this exercise I did on Shadow the Hedgehog (please refer to the middle section).

Hedgehogs in Underwear (Part 2) by darkspeeds

I then decided to scrap the usual style that I use on my illustration work and place more emphasis on a looser/toon approach whilst taking note of corrective anatomical structure on the figure. Here is the result.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Phew-wee!! MUCH BETTER.

So glad I made the right decision! The moral here is, if somethin' don't 'feel' right, CHANGE IT.

Let's get back to drawing!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Oh and thanks for sharin' your thoughts on my previous write-up! Happy to see you guys and gals takin' a moment to appreciate what you got back home!

:star: Be thankful...!

I just want to tell you all that at whatever point in your life you should always spare a moment, even a couple of minutes, to reflect back and admire what you have in life right now. I know not all of you are lucky enough to live in fortunate circumstances (e.g. you may be involved in a war-torn nation, live in poverty or disease-ridden places, have a family that's abusive and unsupportive, or the fact that you live with a long term and painful disability that will deter you from doing the things a normal human being can do).

On the inside I feel very lucky to be blessed with a loving family, a small group of friends, a roof over my head, a good job, a healthy mind and body, a beautiful country and money to spend on little luxuries. I'm currently on my third day off work, Autumn has come and I dearly miss the rain and overcast days (god it was a beautiful overcast today, makes me want to go out and start painting plein air with acrylics), caught up with certain friends lately, spent quality time with family and finally I got six commission requests in less than 4 hours last night. Life feels amazing right now.

I got myself some artbooks while I did some shoppin' this mornin' (the other two books on the second photo were bought on another occasion last month), I'll be using those for inspiration as well as building up my knowledge on creative fundamentals and techniques. I feel that I need to get myself into watercolors after experiencing the wonders of what my Clothed Figure Drawing instructor Thomas Gronbukt can do with the medium (while I was at the AAU in San Fran last year), and also how beautiful sequential art can look and feel in watercolor - NORDGUARD and BLACKSAD.

Norguard01 by darkspeeds
Norguard02 by darkspeeds

I got myself a starter pack and a mixing tray to get me prepped for a watercolor session anytime this month to try out.

Untitled by darkspeeds 
Untitled by darkspeeds

Anyways, just needed to get that out of the way and hopefully it'll make others feel a little more humble about where they are at right now.

Righty then, it's time to get back to the drawing board! Starting with :iconsirburnout:'s commission! Gonna keep it action packed for his piece!

photo Gareth and Bonnie by darkspeeds

:star: APRIL-MAY COMMISSIONS - CLOSED! (Order of Clients)

Geez that was super fast! Thanks to everyone who have approached me within 4 hours of posting this journal entry!

Here are the confirmed clients and ORDER I'll be working by

:iconsirburnout: :iconja-the-shadow-hunter: :iconleonarstist06: :iconkafelnikov: :iconfriskecrisps: :icontwintailfirefox12:

Looking forward to putting my pencils on each of your requests!

:star: APRIL-MAY COMMISSIONS OPEN - 6 slots available!

Pretty much what the title says! First come, first serve basis! 8-)

A special thanks to my previous clients on their offers! A friendly reminder - not all commissions are accepted, please understand and respect my final decision on that. 

I made an update on commission types and I shall bring it up once again over here regarding a brand new option:


Bullet; Blue [Description]

You can have as many or as little as you want! I can fit a maximum of 5 characters per page.

Bullet; Red [Cost] = $10 USD per character bust

COMMISSION #25 Ezioauditore97 ($50) by darkspeeds

The advantage of the character busts option is the fact that you can have many more characters drawn for the same price of two CHARACTER ILLUSTRATIONS. The the only exchange is you'll lose out on the unique individuality that ONE or TWO character illustrations can have in the final artwork.

Happy hunting!

Darkspeeds' Commissions Info (Updated APR 2015):bulletgreen: WHAT'S ON OFFER? :bulletgreen:
Hi everyone! I've been meaning to make a page dedicated to what I can offer in terms of commissions! I'll keep this updated as my portfolio grows. Commission prices may change at any time but I'll try to keep it as fair as possible. Without further ado let's see what's on offer!
:bulletblue: [Description]
A drawing of one character posed on white background. This is done in a drawing style similar to what you'll find in a sketchbook!
:bulletred: [Cost] = $30 USD  (+$20 USD for additional characters. Depending on volume and detail of additional characters after two, price will drop to $10-$15 USD per extra)

:star: CHARACTER BUSTS :star:
:bulletblue: [Description]
You can have as many or as little as you want! I can fit a maximum of 5 characters per

:star: Mr. Pieces in the Woods...

Untitled by darkspeeds

Okay getting there! Keeping the sketch as simple as possible since most of the work will be re-created digitally with custom textured brushes. The sketch is a guideline - I'm still making sure that the composition is in check, I want Mr. Pieces to be the center of attention with hidden subtle details in the background to suggest a sense of unease being with the character - afterall you may think that he's the hero/survivor in some horror flick, I don't want that!

Alright when I'm done with the sketch I'll show some WIPs on the digital side of things. Oh and if you're wondering what I'm listening to during this exercise...

:star: Mr. Pieces... from 'AMONG THE FOG'

Currently coming up with concepts for 'AMONG THE FOG' ~ psychological horror themed short stories based off rural towns and forests of West Coast America.

Here's a quick write-up to kick start the idea:

Those who are among the fog, live in a selfish world of doubt, curiosity, and danger.

 The ones who see beyond the fog learn the truth and survive, and to those who don't are consumed by
the madness of the fog and are trapped forever in fear of the unknown.

The victims among the fog eventually die a fool, a puppet, or simply perish with regrets. 

These are the stories of the missing and the knowing. 

I'm going to start off with a character whom I was going to create as the protagonist to a previous concept called 'HUNTER' who is a survivor of his own personal demons whilst enduring threats that seemed supernatural. Now he's going to be an antagonist in 'Among the Fog' - with a visual design of an everyday man, however he is someone whom you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. He's the one with the glasses pictured on the very left hand side of the photo.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Here's a closeup to what I'm about to draw - I started out with sketch using a 0.7mm 2B mechanical pencil. I created a scene that would portray this character nicknamed Mr. Pieces (for now) because he is one of those who are lost among the fog, blinded with an ambition to dismember people he find in the forest and stitch them back together in hopes to find an exact match of his dead 10 year fraternal twins (drowned previously by a misguided and jealous ex-wife). He is also keeping a very close eye of women who match the looks of his ex-wife who killed his children.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Hopefully I can complete by next morning using speed-painting techniques used by pros from the concept design (character and environment) industry. It'll be an exciting prospect since it's something I've always wanted to learn to improve my workflow as well as creating set pieces that will help illustrate my ideas of my next graphic novel idea effectively.

Now then, let's grab myself some dinner and get started right away!

To :iconezioauditore97: ~ I'll begin your commission tomorrow afternoon! I look forward to drawing those twins from the :icondreamkeepers: series that you've commissioned me to work on!

:star: Raaaaaaaaaaaaarrrraaawww!!!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Sonic has Tintin eyes! XXD

:star: Back Into Illustration!! (Part II)

Oooo yes! Easter day off tomorrow! Hope ya'll have a wonderful Good Friday!

I just got back from work and an excellent game of street ball. Took a shower, rested a bit and decided to celebrate the late evening with my next freebie sketch, this time it's based of :iconsaphfire321:'s comic series 'The Murder of Me' ~ go check it out if you haven't already!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Anyways I kick-started my illustration session with my beloved SEGASonic radio series: The Sonic Hour by the Joscelyne brothers - Svend and Rory.
It is pretty much the thing I listen to every time I work on a commission or an illustration exercise. Not the best thing to listen to when you're trying to think creatively but it's just so much fun when you're working on tedious details! I'm still stuck on Season One because I can't get enough of their improv show they created throughout the season called: The Police Lieutenant Smith.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Okee-dokee time to get cracking!

:star: Back Into Illustration!!

Holy cripes... IT'S BEEN TWO MONTHS of a break since I really got myself back in the habit of drawing and painting! 

I've been really distracted by the fantastic experience working on the NORDGUARD project, with voice acting and audio production as a key motivator of my recent creative initiatives.

However I will say that I've missed picking up a mechanical pencil and drawing away on a good piece of cardstock paper...

It's about time I got back into illustration - not just the physical application of it but also get back into discussion on what makes good art. I also want to share people's art too and give them the exposure they deserve. As artists we are here to help each other and inspire - let's make an effort to achieve that this coming April!

In fact let's start off with a freebie that :iconprincessjey: won from answering my question on this journal about :iconevanstanley:'s comic series that has been constantly a hot topic within the DA/Sonic community. PrincessJey requested that I draw - in here own words: "Ok um... Can you do Bone scourge from issue 10
floating around evilly grinning?"

Here's the result! HE-MAN reference for the win btw!

Bony Scourge (GotF) by darkspeeds

He was fun to draw! Because it was a combination of four elements: flesh, bone, aura, and mineral. I love the details and overall complexity of this character design by Evan.

May I also remind you the importance of having references for the more tricky poses, or when you want to place more emphasis on details and accuracy of a particular section of the illustration. Secondly HAVE A CAMERA and MIRROR handy (even an I-pad will work)! In today's case let's look at Bony Scourge's right hand and compare to the photo below.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Okay now that I've given you a useful reminder let's move onto the next thing...

I've got another challenge and a free sketch to give away that links up to the series I'll inquiring!

You ready?

Take a look at this comic page below:

TMOM Issue 8 page 8 by Saphfire321

What is the name of this comic series, who is the artist (make sure you paste the icon on your message/reply) and just what happened to Sonic? How did he end up in bed, waking up from unconsciousness with Bunnie by his side? Last but not least, who were the other two hedgehogs that accompanied him throughout his adventures?

If you answer correctly then you get a sketch of TWO characters from this series interacting with one another.

Oh and I almost forgot! I meant to show what the artist drew for me the other day as part of her exercise to illustration portraits of her friends!

elson by Saphfire321

Pretty neat huh?

Last but not least, to my wonderfully patient client :icontwintailfirefox12: here is a progress shot of your commission! I'm getting straight back into it right after I post this journal! It's been alot of fun and it's been insightful colouring Sel with a new painting approach on Photoshop!

CM32 Twintailfirefox12 2-Color5 APR2015 by darkspeeds

Phew! What an update! I'll be posting another update tomorrow since it'll be my day off work for one last run for the week! Keep on drawing and inspiring everyone!

:star: BLACKSAD: Amarillo (Behind-the-scenes recording!)

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd time to get silly and have fun! X3


"Noooooooooo... You ignorant PIECE OF SHIT! ARTAUD is the greatest!"

I think I had too much fun with that line, so many takes...! XXD

Bonus points to the ones who can spot a PRINTED comic page in the video and can name the title and artist of the comic! (hint: it features my one of favourite hedgehog!!)

Okay then...

Time to get back to commission work! 
:star: SPARK OF LIFE comic drama & Archie Comics sales

Just woken up, had a long day at work and the rest was much needed for more on-stage work tomorrow for the next few days! Resting the vocals is paramount for this job and I'm started to learn the limits of my projection on stage per shift which has been an enlightening experience.

Nevertheless it's raining outside in the evening, one of my favourite feelings of the day, and I just got on and found out that my friend Tasha's (aka Donniegirl12 - my go to for Tails' voice and she also voiced as Freki recently on the NORDGUARD the Movie project). Do check it out as she is considered in my books to have some of the best audio productions in the realm of comic drams (most of them being Archie Comic's Sonic the Hedgehog/SONIC UNIVERSE series).

The character that I played is slowly becoming a bad-ass... (I still haven't read book three or four yet so I'm sure he's got his reasons for his behaviour towards the end of book two). I mean look at him! 

Snopping Around by darkspeeds


"You got any last words for me... Punk?" He's doing a dirty Harry over there mate!

Nevertheless do check out Tasha's latest comic drama, you won't be disappointed! In fact, I'm going to do that right after I finished writing this journal - there is one last thing to point out and that's the recent post on TSSZ news on Archie Publications sales figures on the comic book series (post-reboot). You can read all about it here but I shall share with you my personal thoughts.

 vtDRbeY by darkspeeds DSwXSxj by darkspeeds
uVUearm by darkspeeds

I used to have that complete optimism for the series where regardless of how good or bad the comic is making it's run for it's money but you know what, I'm keeping an open mind this time.

Keep in mind that the figures you see up there are sales figures from DIRECT DISTRIBUTION to mainstream comic book stores (of all sizes from across the United States). The sales, from my assumption, are not a complete reflection as we have yet to consider distribution through magazine stands at giants like WAL-MART and digital sales through e-commerce. However if you use these figures to compare to what's out now - February 2015 Comic Book Sales Figures  - you'll get an idea of what they're up against in the competitive comic book/graphic novel industry.

I'd say they are hitting the mid-minor-to-low range in comparison to the other IP's available - is this a good sign or not for the future out Sonic Archie comics? Well it's something for you to think about.

I believe it's surviving on four factors:

i) It's Sonic, the IP in itself is hugely recognised worldwide and it's been going on for over 20 years. Every kid on the block should recognise his face.
ii) Pre-Genesis Wave era (starting from the time team Ian/Tracey/Paul was on).
iv) The quality in the artwork has improved by miles when compare to the golden age stuff.
iii) Worlds Collide IP

Now that you have some info equipped I can share with you my thoughts on how the series (based on the figures) is going.

So far what I've read in the past 6 months, it just doesn't have the same magic as it did pre-Genesis wave. I remember vividly that I've always looked forward to purchasing the comics at the comic book store in person and proudly unwrapping it at home and reading it in my favourite spot over a nice cuppa. I smiled at the fact that I'm a proud fan of the series and that I support the artists and publishing team every step of the way... Until my experience in the United States.

After coming back to Australia I've been trying to generate the same magic in hopes to embrace the stories and new content post-Genesis Wave and sad to say that I'm in line with some friends who don't find the characters or stories as exciting or that great as all.

With respects, Archie Publications has done ALOT to get it's two feet back into the game post-Genesis Wave, no doubt about that, but in my opinion it's going to take some time before it may perhaps reproduce the same magic as I once saw in the series.

Also, there have been people asking me on my thoughts on World's Collide - I'm not interested in that concept to be honest and I'm certainly not looking forward to the next. I'm an adult fan of the good stories that came out during the Ian/Tracey/Paul era... Like just when we were going to find out if Team Freedom and Fighters will bring Sally back from robotisation, and how will that collide with the conflict that Silver has in tracking down and eliminating the traitor; the Secret Freedom Fighters, the Mercian Freedom Fighters, Knuckles saga, St. Geoffrey and how he may get out of that horrible curse that is Ixis Naugus playing host in his body - and perhaps his wife Hershey Cat may have been key to breaking that curse (I had a feeling she wasn't dead, yet).

So there you have it, that's my two cents on the matter for the moment.

Oh and don't even mention about SONIC BOOM the comic, I've unsubscribed it last week. It's great with the kiddies but it sure didn't stick with me for long. Here's hoping that the following issues of 'Sonic the Hedgehog' and 'SONIC UNIVERSE' will get me back in a healthy mindset to continue supporting the series.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject, I'm curious to learn what you guys think on Archie Publication's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series!

:star: NORDGUARD - The Movie

It's been three years since it started as an idea, and until now it took about one and a half months worth of preparation, work, and enthusiasm to complete the dream.

It's finally here...!

2 weeks of auditions, 1 month of audio work and 1 week of graphics & video editing, I present to you NORDGUARD the Movie (...  technically a comic drama!).

Here's the original BTVA page for auditions from February:…

Thanks once again to the creators of this graphic novel: Tess Garman & Teagan Gavet, their publisher: Sofawolf and of course to the StarPost Productions team for delivering stellar performances throughout.

May the fans enjoy this and the creators too - we hope this inspires you to continue working on Book 2: Under Dark Skies!

:star: Change of Plans...!

Nordguard comic drama - ready in an hour...? You bet!

See you soon for the premier tonight!

:star: NORDGUARD comic drama - Premier time and date!

Nordguard comic drama promo MAR2015 by darkspeeds

See you guys for the premier in a week's time! It's gonna be one hell of a comic drama, probably one of my best works so far in terms of audio production. The length of this comic drama is close to a feature film - so be sure to bring your friends and nic-knacks for premier night! See you there on my 'Darkspeeds' Youtube channel!!

:star: Kaze Base Colors Done! Sel's Next!

WIP Sel and Kaze 1 by darkspeeds
WIP Sel and Kaze 2 by darkspeeds
WIP Sel and Kaze 3 by darkspeeds

Only one more evening before I head off to the Philippines! Hope to get Sel colored by then!

I'll be using the below references/tutorials to help me out with the painting and rendering process!

Step by Step - Hatsune Miku by alchemaniac Nissa WIP by Quirkilicious HAHA by BBrangka 11.11 by Lenmeu

:star: Ready To Be Painted!

CM32 Twintailfirefox12 1-Sketch MAR2015 by darkspeeds

Wow, this was actually a breathe of fresh air... Keep in mind I haven't drawn in over a month and it feels good to be able to illustrate something so quickly. 

This was fun to draw and I'm really enjoying the rhythm in this (almost like an ad infinitum flow around the canvas). Once again the emphasis is on Sel's fire fox powers hence her stretched left arm and hand as one of the focal points. Kaze looks smug. X3

Anyways it's time for bed! I'm gonna try a different painting method and aim to imitate something like this:

Zone Runners - Angel Roots by KetrinDarkDragon

If I can get anywhere near the above painting I'd die a happy man. *SHOT* :giggle: 8-)

:star: Nordguard Update, Commission and a Holiday!

Wow, it's been a while since my last update!

I've been really busy with Chinese New Year celebrations with family, work at the casino and time spent on the NORDGUARD comic drama project.

To keep it short I had spent quality time with family for Chinese New Year which was wonderful, I've recently completed my probation at Crown Perth meaning that I'm accepted there for the long term - and on top of that I've been accepted for a higher duties position as a promotional host (training starts in two weeks, it's gonna be quite nerve racking to do promo work on stage in front of a live and large audience!), I'm more than 70% complete with the NORDGUARD comic drama (had an amazing time with the StarPost Production crew who helped voice acted the characters in the project), and finally I'll be heading out to the Philippines with my brother for a friend's wedding this Thursday for four nights - it's gonna be great spending time with my brother outside of home for a change! 

Regarding commission work I've just managed to get my ass back into gear this evening to scratch off the previous ideas (cuz I wasn't happy with it, poses and composition too boring - you can find them here Fox Fire Sel - Fast thumbnail, value + color study:star: Fox Fire Sel - Fast thumbnail, value & color study
Twin decided to opt out Sel's sword and have her character focusing both hands yielding her Fox Fire powers. She also had a specific colour palette that she wanted me to follow. I improvised with a colour combination that I felt would work using Paletton.

Just some visual notes on eye flow and prioritizing on which character pops out first in the illustration can be seen on the photo below.

I transferred the sketch into Photoshop and did a quick painting.

Doing these quick studies can really help alot in terms of giving the client an instant idea of what the final illustration may look like. This took me about a little less than an hour to create - you can do this instead of spending hours on end coming up with something that the client may not like.
) and replaced it with some new thumbnails that have been approached with a new top-down perspective. You can check out them out below.

New thumbnails Sel and Kaze by darkspeeds

I consulted :icontwintailfirefox12: and she says she's happy with either #1 or #2! I stuck with #1 and utilised the facial expression found on #2! I just finished drawing Kaze (a visual design based off :iconevanstanley:'s). Also I gotta thank ya Evan for making me use the 0.7mm mechanical pencil straight on for sketching - it feels great to be bold and loose at the same time - I've been stuck on 3H graphite since Academy of Art days for preliminary sketch-work on final illustrations!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Anyways see you guys back next week! Have a brilliant week ahead of ya!

Oh and the SONIC BOOM comics from Archie Publications - ........... Wtfudge am I reading..?? *takes note to unsubscribe from his local comic book store*


Woo-hoo! It's out! :D This is just a snippet of the entire graphic novel. X3

It's been a month's worth of research, initiative, auditions, motivation, and hard work.

This fan-project that Nate and I have always wanted to work on is finally coming to life.

Based on the original graphic novel by Tess Garman and Teagan Gavet, we hope this preview will inspire you onwards to book two. The full (almost!) feature-film length version is soon to come!

And to the amazingly talented team at StarPost Productions I thank you for your contributions - it is such a joy to be working with top quality performances based off your assigned characters for the project. I tip my hat to you for your commitment!

:star: Fox Fire Sel - Fast thumbnail, value & color study

Twin decided to opt out Sel's sword and have her character focusing both hands yielding her Fox Fire powers. She also had a specific colour palette that she wanted me to follow. I improvised with a colour combination that I felt would work using Paletton.

Just some visual notes on eye flow and prioritizing on which character pops out first in the illustration can be seen on the photo below.

P1180243b by darkspeeds

I transferred the sketch into Photoshop and did a quick painting.

Sel-and-Kaze thumbnail-with-values by darkspeeds

Doing these quick studies can really help alot in terms of giving the client an instant idea of what the final illustration may look like. This took me about a little less than an hour to create - you can do this instead of spending hours on end coming up with something that the client may not like.

:star: Fox Fire Sel - A look at Twin's next commission!

Twin's been generous to offer me to do two commissions in the past few months, now she's onto her third one - with an upgrade to full color!

Previously she received the following illustrations:

COMMISSION #21 TwinTailFireFox12 ($50) by darkspeeds 

 COMMISSION #23 TwinTailFireFox12 ($50) by darkspeeds

This time round we're revisiting her character Selena Fox who explores her Fox Fire powers.

CLB - Selena (Twintailfirefox12) by adagadeprata

She will be accompanied by her friend Kaze. :iconoriganlgaming: and :iconevanstanley: were kind to draw her a reference - each with their own very unique designs!

Jiyu (Kaze) OC by OriganlGaming kaze-sketch---Copy by darkspeeds 

So far I've focused on thumb-nailing multiple options of poses for my client. I wanted to get a feel for how her character Sel will be expressed in form and pose with her sword Lilium and Fox Fire powers. She will take priority in terms of getting the most attention in the illustration while Kaze will compliment her in the background. 

Quick poses Sel by darkspeeds

After asking Twin for her favourite she picked poses #4 & #5 in which I further developed in sketch. Using my micron-pens I added more detail which resulted in this.

Untitled by darkspeeds

The next step is to incorporate Kaze into the picture and doing some value studies. Let's see how I go!

:star: Evelyn's "Worth the Effort" Sonic comic drama!

This was actually a pleasant surprise! The music selection was what got me hooked instantly into the drama for this particular short story from an issue of 'Sonic the Hedgehog'! Well done Evelyn!

My feedback:

Wow, that was really refreshing!!

What's beautiful about this mini Sonic comic drama of yours is the simplicity behind it - the SFX's were not overdone and were carefully place on parts of the narrative where it required it, the sound levels were balanced for all three elements - including SFX, voice-work and BGM, the sound track selection was perfect and the performances were very good (I instantly knew that was Michael154's Sonic voice)! This minimalist approach will inspire me on my next comic drama - this is the kind of thing I need because the animation was easy to follow and there wasn't the need for all that flashy effects or transitions that I've seen on other SCD's (including my past ones). 

This was entertaining and sincere, I loved it! Thanks for sharing this Evelyn, you continue to improve on your comic drama projects, do keep it up!

P.S. (Also, lovely job voicing as Julie-su and Amy!)

P.P.S. (Oh it's time I gave you some upgrades for SFX's - here's more power to you to use for your next SCD. Good luck and have fun! ;)…)

:star: Tasha's SONIC UNIVERSE #71 comic drama!

My feedback:

"You know after watching this... I think something magical happened. 

I think... I like Sally now!


Wow, where to start? I mean this was an SCD that I genuinely enjoyed watching in a long while - not because of the fact that I also played a part of it in the project but I'm talking about the overall production of your work, as well as your casting and highlight performances from the cast.

Aena WAS Sally, she sounded sincere, not over the top like most other Sally VA's I've heard (professionally and fan-interpreted), and she naturally lead the story with a head-strong performance (and you even played a younger version of the character very convincingly!). Aena, your VA was incredible, to the point where it convinced me to give Sally another chance to enjoy who she is in the reboot series (only Tasha and a few close friends would understand what I mean by my thoughts of Sally and this was kind of the breakthrough I needed) - so thank you for that!

FairFieldFencer as King Max... Ho hooo! Holy crap. You over-delivered in terms of my expectation for his voice, spot-on dude. I never heard this interpretation of him but you totally convinced me. Awesome job dude, I really felt that fatherly figure in your voice, I really enjoyed listening to it as he was having conversation with his daughter and his old friend Dr. Ellidy.

Ashley as Nicole has become a standard to my ears already - you've done a fantastic job with her performance as always, it's become natural just like Tasha's Tails. 

Hearing Shaun doing Rotor was completely new for me - it was exciting and an interest point while listening in attentively (especially being a fan of his Megaman and Beauregard aka The Baron voices). He embraced his role and I really appreciated that, however I'm still a big fan of the Wolfblade93's Rotor! X3

Doomerang's Big the Cat was interesting to listen to too! But what put me off a little was the audio quality! X_X; Until he upgrade's his mic the clarity will come through as exceptional.

Chris's digitized villain's voice - that was just killer. He nailed it. What made it more clever was his pacing of words to make it sound foreign and sinister. Masterful.

Last but not least, Tasha, your Tails has become the standard already, it's like I'm watching my favourite cartoon with my favourite voice actor playing on it. :D What wowed me more so this time round was your Cream!! I didn't hear your Cream before, until now, and wow--! You can transform from mature-adorable (aka Roll and Amy) to a young-adorable tone!! That's madness man, great job!

Need I to tell you about the audio quality of your production? It's ace as always, when we Skype I can tell you the specifics of what I really enjoyed listening to - actually I will say now that some of the most beautiful parts in your SCD were the interactions between certain characters with Sally - e.g. Sally and Nicole, Sally and Dr. Ellidy, the conversation flowed naturally because of Aena's incredible performance complimented by the other VA's performances. 

Great job to everyone involved and a big thanks to Tasha for this amazing comic drama production! I also thank you for including me in your project for a voice and as an advisor on which BGM/scores to use! I will say on thing though - I noticed that you opt out the Spirited Away track for a repeat of Shadow of the Colossus. Now I'm not sure if it was an error there or the fact that you made a directorate decision to use the SotC track for better effect (and it actually still worked well!) Just curious to know what happened there cuz I was really hoping to hear the Spirit Away track being played. XXXD

Alrighty! Time to post this on my deviantART. ;)

P.S. Oh I forgot to mention - that was one kick-ass intro, something new and refreshing - very Sonikky since you've added in that Sonic Adventure vibe for a SFX! 

P.P.S. Pssst That Rotor wasn't me!!! Honest! *SHOT*"

71 by darkspeeds

What do you guys think of the latest story in the Sonic Universe arc? It's nice to see them exploring back-stories of main characters for character development - as you can see this is arc is focusing on Nicole.

Having said that I'm going to also let you know that STAR-POST PRODUCTIONS team are almost complete with their CHAOTIX QUEST comic drama epic which spans ALL FOUR BOOKS (that's over 84 pages of content!). It's practically like a movie length feature. So when it comes out be sure to grab some friends who are fans of the series and popcorn and enjoy the show! 

Chaotix-Quest by darkspeeds

Nordguard - AUDITIONS and Behind the Scenes!

Okay! Just had a lovely one-on-one auditioning interview with Tyler for characters - Iluq and Geri. The session was productive and a bunch of fun - talkin' about Sonic comics, voice acting and past SCD projects with other VA's involved in our little community.

Anyways if you guys are willing to send in your auditions do post them on this website - it's easy really, just record your lines and upload it next to the character you're auditioning for: Behind the Voice Actors project page.

Alrighty! Time to start recording my lines for the character London. Here I go!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds

:star: Nordguard - AUDITIONS for a strong  VA female role!

I just cooked this up last night, I've been meaning to work on my next comic drama after much debate on which comic to choose. I want to thank my friend Nathan for the inspiration, it's time we made this a reality!

Ng01-2 by darkspeeds

Here's the list I wrote up last night. I spent the next 4 hours doing the write up on my 

Behind the Voice Actors project page.

Untitled by darkspeeds

I picked specifically who I wanted to cast for this massive project. It's gonna be a long one as it's 74 pages long!

The characters involved include the following faces:

NG Character01 Pi by darkspeedsNG Character02 Nickel by darkspeedsNG Character03 London by darkspeedsNG Character04 Oleg by darkspeeds
NG Character05 Lt.-James-Mckay by darkspeedsNG Character06 Mac by darkspeedsNG Character07 Iluq by darkspeedsNG Character08 The-Captain-(Tiger) by darkspeeds
NG Character09 Lewis by darkspeedsNG Character10 Geri by darkspeedsNG Character11 Freki by darkspeedsNG Character12 Lee by darkspeeds
NG Character13 Victim-3---Hare by darkspeedsNG Character14 Victim-1---Bobcat by darkspeedsNG Character15 Victim-2---Dog by darkspeeds

Now then, I did mention on the title and header about auditions for a strong female lead - the character I'm referring to is PI - the one who is dominating the cover as well as the story. I'm looking for someone who can deliver a voice quite close to Sigourney Weaver's finesse, dominance and assertiveness. Think you or someone that you know can handle such a character? Then please help me out by posting a link to the recommended actress in mind so that I can make an inquiry.

Thanks for your time and to the team who I'll be involving in the project I look forward to talking and working with you on my two days off starting today! 8-)

:star: Psychological thriller or psychological horror?

Once again it's been difficult deciding on how and what I'll be tackling for the next graphic novel project. In fact I haven't done one in a long while - since the release of GRAND HUNTER back in 2010, and ten years further back it would have been the SA2 Fan-Comic and Tails Away projects. 

I'm currently doing research on the sub-genres mentioned on the title of this journal and trying to understand the core meaning behind it - I think that would be a good start to the journey of my new graphic novel.

Why these particular sub-genres? Well I've always had an interest in them.

I've experienced the excitement and intrigue from playing games like Alan Wake, The Indigo Prophecy, & Silent Hill series (The Evil Within just recently), and watching movies like Shutter Island, Paranormal Activity & The Blair Witch Project. 

I really dig the plot twists, the protagonists overcoming all odds (mentally and physically) in places of strange and disturbing reality, the mysteries to be solved, the supernatural forces, and the stakes involved in a PT/PH story that will push the character till breaking point. Oh and let's not forget the anatogonist/evil force that is stalking/outsmarting the protagonist - every step of the way until the very end.

So I think the best thing to do is to invest my time into something that I have a strong interest in the subject. I know that sounds easy on paper but to actually do it is no simple feat. I'll give you an example - originally I wanted to work on Ashworth and was very keen on working on a fantasy/action/adventure themed story but I was only bluffing myself because I really lacked solid complete ideas and content for it. I will have to rely on all of my past experiences reading graphic novels, watching films, and playing video games for inspiration and knowledge but I personally don't have that strong of an interest right now.

I'm saving Ashworth for next time and opting for a new character, named Hunter.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Okay so we have a character named Hunter, and Elson wants to come up with a solid story that emphasizes the psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states. Will it contain the supernatural elements where the protagonist has discovered her uncanny ability to communicate with ghosts but is being hunted down by a religious cult who believes that she must be burnt to the stake just because she is accused a witch? Will it be revolved around a true reality where an every-man is accused of murdering his own family, is mentally disturbed from a case of schizophrenia, but he denies any involvement, declares he is innocent and is on the run from the police while trying to uncover the true killer? Who knows.

One thing's for sure, my setting is in North America, and in a small town called Pleasure Pines.

And I've doodled around some more of my protagonist and other characters with various expressions. Hunter will be a German Shepard, cuz, I see police use these dogs all the time - they're excellent dogs, known for their strength, intelligence, and obedience. Does that mean he's a cop? Nope, not at all. I just want my readers be able to define him instantly because for a fact he is second-most popular breed of dog in the United States (lol)! 

Untitled by darkspeeds

Anyways it's been a good start so far, I've purchased myself some non-fiction material for inspiration and content - Murder Cases/Master Detective magazines.

 Untitled by darkspeeds

Read a couple of cases and I'm really hooked to the stories (which are real life), the psyche behind the perpetrators, the victims involved and the investigation process - usually ends up with a conclusion and closure for all parties involved, but in predominant cases a mystery still unsolved. 

While I'm at it I'm going to make an effort watching the following movies to build up on content and creative inspiration:

List of Psychological Thriller Movies to… and

If you guys and gals can help touch base on this sub-genre I've discussed I'd appreciate it! Feedback on what movies you've seen, books you've read, games you've played - feel free to share and recommend! 8-)