Deviant Login Shop  Join deviantART for FREE Take the Tour
If you have a Facebook account you can view our amazing journey here!

Sonic and Tails having fun in the snow... Or is there more meaning to it...? Credit to Evan for the sketch trade during the trip!

EVAN's Sonic and Tails by darkspeeds

Oh and yes, I'm back home. Still in California at the Cuenco's but I will be dropped of at the San Francisco airport on Tuesday where I'll be flying back home to Australia by Thursday.

I won't have access to the net for quite a while but I'll be sure to make a come back when I'm settled in.

It's been an amazing year in San Francisco but it's time to move out...!!

My god it's frickin' warzone in here!! lol And I managed to sell two appliances - woot! Better than nothing. That money will be used for dinner tonight with Jason.

Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds

Those photos of my close friends (and my immediate family that are behind the pile) were on my fridge the entire time...! I'll have to get Devin's in when I find my next apartment to stay - I'll try to get a nice shot in us in our Oregon trip!

:star: Tails Singing in the Snow...!

All I can say is, right at this moment while I'm editing my new song from the Sonic Lost World musical series...

"OMGOSH! TASHA! You're FRICKIN' AMAZING AS TAILS! You talk AND sing as him so well!!"

20131211223152!Tails in Sonic Lost World by darkspeeds

Hope to post this song out before I head for the Oregon trip with my friends. 
:star: Double Down and Get Lucky!! ("Come on Mr. Sonic!")

Yeah that part's definitely my favourite bit... "Come on Mr. Sonic!" ~ I just had to throw that one in there. X3

Alright back to work on getting my resume, cover letters and job applications done! 

:star: I need a break from updating my CV...

So what do I do? Record a new song for:


I was in the mood to sing and I remember when I was taking the train down to San Jose to get picked up by Devin and Evan for the Sonic Revolution field-trip, I was writing lyrics already to this song!! 

It's just one of those days where you get inspired, and especially when I've worked in a casino for close to 4 years! Time to do some scat! :D

I should have the song up by this evening. 8-)

:star: Moving Out! Stuff to Sell! Job Hunting.

Hi guys and gals!

It's been a really slow week after a fantastic weekend with my friends in LA for the Sonic Revolution (I still have a write-up to prepare!).

Anyways I've just created an ad on Craigslist. If you happen to be a student or know some friends in San Fran downtown who would need the following items please pass this link on to them. ;)

Moving out! by darkspeeds

These past few days I've been job seeking in advance before I head back home in mid-July. It's not long to go so I'm going to really make full use of my time in California and spend quality time with friends like :iconchemb0t:, :iconevanstanley: & :iconcirotin:. In fact I'll be on an awesome roadtrip to Oregon in about a week's time so from there there won't be much activity on my deviantART.

In fact not much will be happening during my transition back home - I'll have to set up an internet connection back home, unpack all the stuff I got from America and keep in touch with family and friends.

Of those whom I owe commission work I'll be hold till I get back home and have my studios set up ready for work ~ expect things to get rollin' in late July/early August.

Finally, I'll do what I can to come watch you all from time to time - keep up the awesome stuff and keep on inspiring! *thumbs up*  
Finally... It is over!
WATCH and DOWNLOAD (promo) 13-06-2014 by darkspeeds

:bulletyellow: :bulletyellow: WATCH AND SING-ALONG TO THE SONG HERE! :bulletyellow: :bulletyellow:

:bulletyellow: :bulletyellow: DOWNLOAD THE HIGH QUALITY AUDIO HERE! :bulletyellow: :bulletyellow:

It's almost 2AM... But I made extra sure that everything sounded right, the lyrics showed up on the video in SYNC with the song, and last but not least one final quality assurance check-up to make sure that it's well presented. I am done for the day...

And I MUST SLEEP! For you see, I shall be taking a train down to San Jose to get picked up by :iconevanstanley: & :iconcirotin: (with a friend of theirs too), head back to Evan's place, stay overnight (and possibly playing Sonic Lost World for the first time!!) AND.... WE'LL BE HEADING DOWN TO ANEHEIM, L.A. TO SEE YOU GUYS AT:


I know I'll be seeing some old friends from a previous Sonic convention in the UK (many years ago) - in fact it's a Canadian friend and his mate from the UK who will be visiting us on the Sunday! Can't wait to catch up - and I can't wait to see you guys over there too! Hell let's SING SONIC SONGS together and we can also do SONIC VOICE IMPRESSIONS TOO! Let's record them. XXP XXD

Take care and have an EXCELLENT WEEKEND! WOO! I'm still excited by all of this! I can't wait to let you guys hear this! XXX3 

Bye now! *finishes packing for the trip and heads to bed*


And if you're wondering why I drew those images - well listen to the song and you'll understand. Well there's only one exception though - I randomly threw in Silver and Blaze for kicks for the X-mas scene.

Also... My FAVOURITE moments - Tropical Coast Zone, the Sonic and Tails one-on-one moment, Knuckles getting annoyed at Sonic, Sonic saying: "I love you to Amy", random X-mas moment, and that very last part where I got Tasha and myself to sing all four characters to end the song. WOO! ^_____^ Okay really now Elson, GO TO BED!

:star: I'M... ALMOST... THERE!!!

....... Adding lyrics in sync with the song is taking MUCH LONGER than I thought!! X___X;;; lol! Almost there! One more push!

:star: Team Chaotix joins in at the last minute!

Yup, I decided to throw these guys in at the very last minute... Just for kicks. X3

Sonicheroes 120303 Teamchaotix 01 Inline by darkspeeds

I'm also trying to promote this at the end of the video - it's almost been a year since we heard from SONIC PARADOX on their next big Sonic Heroes musical hit!

If you haven't watched them yet then I suggest you do - like RIGHT NOW! XXD

My favorite is still Metropolis Mayhem! Which one's yours? :)
Just woken up, it's a CLOUDY DAY in San Francisco downtown and I'm feeling great!

I'm already halfway coloring my illustration for the Sonic Lost World musical and will have it done by this late afternoon/early evening.

I can't wait! ^__^

But for now, I NEED FOOD! *makes his way to his favorite Vietnamese cafe down at Stockton Street*

Oh and before I go...


"Yeah I'm looking at you...! You better stay tuned for me and the gang singin' the next great number!" :giggle:

:star: Almost There...! (And Knuckles New Side-kick!)

I LOVE THAT SHOT of Knuckles and Sonic at HQ, it's like Knuckles is Sonic's psychiatrist or something... XXD

So what else do we have that's crazy and epic?

Dr. Eggman having a race using an airboard to prove that he's better, faster or the fact that he CAN air-board?

Amy juggling balls? More cute Tails. Awesome plane chases (and crashing again!) BEAUTIFUL settings. Evil ham (want eggs with that too?)

I think this is the first time I will officially go out of my way to BUY the DVD/collectors set when it comes out. I've never purchased a Sonic cartoon before in my life. I had the notion where you can either: download it or watch it online. But I think I'm going to support this series by getting the real thing. Heck, I can learn so much from it based on the 3D renders of real-time lighting and shading of the characters (in various situations).

Anyways those are my thoughts.

There are other videos I'd like to share with ya that you should check out - the animation quality and cinematic detail/narration in video games keeps getting better and better:


Last but not least, I'm almost done! Once I've completed the illustration (which I'll be using for the video) I can finally upload the latest Sonic Lost World musical in the works! I plan to do it by tomorrow afternoon/evening! ;)

P1140984 - Copy by darkspeeds

P1140985 - Copy by darkspeeds

:star: Have a Listen to this sample! (feat. Donniegirl)


To promote this musical project, I'm going to have to work on a quick illustration to go along with the video. 8-)

P1140982(da) by darkspeeds
:star: OMG! This Just In - SONIC BOOM STATUES!!!! X____X

10403450 658067537620584 4409797056930117098 N by darkspeeds

[Photo courtesy of Naota-san at E3]


*imitates Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and does a sing-a-long*

"I want it now.... Sonic and Tails and Amy and Knuckles... I want them NOW!!!"

lmao! XXXD

Seriously is anybody here (besides my awesome friend :ironhedgehog:) know how much a Sonic statue like this cost on Ebay? You guys remember the 20th Anniversary one? Did it sell for like 2,000 GBP (ie $3,350 US)? Anyways do let me know cuz I'm thinking of investing one in the near future and have it in my room back home in Australia... lol

:star: OMG YES! And it is not about the Movie or Trailers

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! ^________^

And don't get me wrong, I'm super excited about the new Sonic Boom trailers recently released on E3 as of recent:

I'm also excited about the prospects of a new Sonic Movie coming in 2015-16.

Oh no...

Today, I'm excited for this personal project of mine that has been in captivity for months. I was waiting for Tasha to record her lines for the song but she was super busy with college work (and it's cool to know that she's doing really well after making those sacrifices - studying and working hard). Now she's finally free and have just finished recording all the lines I needed for the project. 

Remember this little number based off Sonic Lost World that I did with Tasha last time:

(Daymn! It's almost reach 10,000 views! Thanks to everyone for checking out the musical!)

Anyways... Get ready for....!

Sonic the Musical 2 Darkspeeds by darkspeeds

It's ALMOST 8 minutes long.

Can you guys guess which track it is? :giggle:

Anyways I plan to release this on the Friday, 10th JUNE 2014 - just before I head over to :iconevanstanley:'s and follow her, :iconcirotin: and friends to SONIC REVOLUTION down in Anaheim for the weekend. Can't wait to fine tune this number and share it on Friday. 8-)
:star: FINAL ACT! - Full Render and Finishing Touches

This four day project has been an insightful session of learning new techniques and finding efficient ways to speed up the rendering process without compromising quality. 

Like I mentioned on the deviation page this experiment was both a success and a not a success. 

My aim was to see if I could simply pencil rough an illustration, scan it and create a painting from it. I was aiming for something that you'd find in War Hammer - my favourite being the image below:

16398 Warhammer 40k Chaos by darkspeeds

A masterpiece don't you agree? Notice the atmospheric perspective on this - the level of depth and detail on both the foreground, middleground (aka focal point) and background.

Look at the limited color scheme of cool blues and warm yellows - it blends naturally into the blizzard and snowy mountains. Notice how clever the artist has implemented an accent in contrast by adding hints of red (part of the primary set of red, blue and yellow - when placed next to each other there is a contrasting effect, but not as strong as you'd get from a legit color contrast with primary x complementary colors ie RED x GREEN, BLUE x ORANGE).

Also take note that the artist created a TRIAD composition with the reds to make our eyes look back and forth at different sections of interest in a circular motion (the team leader's glowing stare, the wizard's aura of his magic attack, and the decapitated head of the opposing faction.

Finally going back to atmospheric perspective and design of this illustration the artist added a strong contrast of SHARPNESS + LIGHT & DARK to emphasize the team leader (his HELMET aka FACE, CHEST and SHOULDER ARMOUR). 

This is art at it's excellence and I was stubborn to think that I could achieve something close in these four days.

Well at least I tried and I will say that it's been four days of useful studies in art appreciation and application.

So going back to what I've done see what happens when I got to the secondary stages of rendering.

08 Lyric Means Business 03bSHADED 09-06-2014 by darkspeeds

At this point in time I wasn't too keen with the color palette. There are too many conflicting colors, the atmospheric perspective is weak and the glow from the foreground is too jarring for the eyes. What I like about what I did here was the fact that I was able to render the robot up front (the one in yellow/gold) close to a robot that's been aged - you can see the wear and tear from the many battles it had with intruders (perhaps it made an encounter with the Sonic Boom gang and had to retreat to report news of their intrusion to his boss aka LYRIC).

Anyways I whipped up and decided to go with the color scheme below - an accented analogic with yellow as my primary.

Color Scheme by darkspeeds

After a few adjustments this is what I got.

08 Lyric Means Business 03cSHADED 09-06-2014 by darkspeeds

Another 3 hours later I decided to stop and go no further - sometimes an artist must know when to quit before going overboard and adding too much/making too many adjustments that it may ruin the final illustration (another way of looking at this analogy is - "too many ingredients in the soup will spoil the broth"). Granted that this rule is not always true, because alot of the masterpieces takes weeks, even months to complete. For me, personally, I'd rather utilise the spare time to work on new illustrations, which gives me more opportunities to try out new things and PRACTICE & APPLY techniques that already work and do justice for your final artwork. 

08 Lyric Means Business 04FINAL(DA) 10-06-2014 by darkspeeds

My main goal in the final is to have my viewers look at LYRIC as the focal point (aka his FACE, followed by his TORSO). 

Anyways in the final above you can see that I've de-saturated further the BG and ancient wheel-like stonewall of a throne. I emphasized the violet and dark blues on the hence-men robots and Lyric to create HARMONY in the middle ground and background. And finally the robot in the forefront bowing to his master/boss has been given a BOOST in TEXTURE, BRIGHTNESS, AND SATURATION to make him pop out in front. 

The greatest down side to this final illustration is that there are too many distracting points of contrast (the orb eyes on the hence-bots, the golden robot's cyan glows on nearly every inch of his body, Lyric's mechanized claw-tail with the glowing orb, the highlight in the BG in between the pillar and curved structure, and the list goes on...) What does this mean? Well that means my eyes are too distracted from looking solely at the focal point at first glance - i.e. LYRIC. You can see these distractions much better by checking out the images below that present themselves at pure value and no color.

A by darkspeeds

Last but not least, I will close by showing you guys what I did to implement a technique called 'SPOKE-WHEELING' (from Dave Gurney's 'Imaginative Realism ~ section on COMPOSITION). Check out all the elements that I've designed to get your eyes moving across the canvas and into the focal point.

B by darkspeeds

A2 by darkspeeds

Hope you've learnt something from this weekend project of mine. Oh and one more time - LYRIC is bad-ass, don't go dissin' him you haters! lol

:star: ACT 3 - Shading and Basic Values

08 Lyric Means Business 03SHADED(DA) 09-06-201 by darkspeeds

:star: ACT 2 - Color Blocking

08 Lyric Means Business 02COLOR(DA) 08-06-2014 by darkspeeds

It's almost 12AM and I ain't sleepin' till I get this done by sunrise!!

Time to listen to some Tee Lopes - bringing back the good music in oldschool Sonic!

:star: ACT 1 - Penciling!

Lyric's Throne by darkspeeds

:star: ACT 0 - Concepts Sketching & Thumbnails

Lyric Concepts(DA) by darkspeeds
I love it when people naturally utilize their own unique drawing style and re-create/reinterpret a new way at looking at our beloved Hedgehog and his friends!

Credit goes to :iconcigar-blues: for the image below! They look adorable (and beautifully stylized)!

Sonic the Hedgehog doodles by cigar-blues

And here's another one by :iconrollingrabbit:. Inspiring!

Sonic the Hedgehog by rollingrabbit by EHH123

:star: My God, Mechs are a Pain in the Butt to Draw!

I'm going to say that Lyric and his henchmen are some of the toughest to draw out of all the Sonic villains. They're mostly inorganic and are made of several detailed parts based on mech technology - aka robot parts and designs.

But if you can pull it off the details can really shine through!

Lyric and Hencemen (DA) by darkspeeds

Anyways it's time to head off to the John Pence Gallery and do some watercolor studies. I think this little field trip to the fine arts still life gallery will help me understand better about how I can balance the elements of composition and color to create a striking image.

My aim for this project is to create a HIGH CONTRAST + LOW KEY presentation. Let's see how I go!

:star: Ah Screw It. Let's Reveal My Weekend Project!

Lyric threatened me to do an artistic impression of him at his throne.

I grabbed my sketchbook and micron-pen and came up with these impressions when I was at his hi-tech inspired HQ.

Lyric Concepts(DA) by darkspeeds

Let's hope he'll be happy, otherwise I'll end up in the molten lava pit at his refinery for my incompetence.

:star: Lyric, On the Wall, Who's the Baddass of Them All? 

People naturally take the mickey out of SEGA Sonic villains:

But it's also a welcoming sign, based on first impressions, to see some fans embracing this new villain.  

That will be the inspiration for my project this weekend.

But here's a question to all of yas watching me, and I challenge:

"How does one make a snake-like character sit and looking badass?"

Lyric by darkspeeds

Think about it.

I'm not going to give too much away on what I have planned to finish up by Sunday evening/Monday morning but it's time to try out something new to my current rendering style and also solve the problem of how to make Lyric looking cool while 'resting'/sitting down... 
:star: Bring Me The Rolling Thunder!!

P1140924b by darkspeeds

Compare to all of the other commissions this lineart rough took about an hour or so - much quicker since it's within my comfort zone.

Now, why the thunder? Well... You know that eerie feeling you get from a stormy night and you're inside a spooky mansion of sorts (you're most likely either dreaming or watching a scary movie), then suddenly... CRACKABOOOOOM!!! You turn around and see a few flashes of light coming from the window and whatever you see that is surrounding you is reflecting obscure silhouettes for only a few seconds.

THAT is the kind of atmosphere I'm going to try to recreate here in this one shot. I really hope I can render this just right. Probably give me another few more hours to get the job done. 

And thanks to everyone who commented and shared their thoughts on which composition to go for - I went with what my gut told me as well as what you guys had suggested (including my client). 

Let's start rendering!


Actually... I just remembered something...

THIS would be the perfect reference point.

Who remembers this film about the Werehog? Cuz I do, and I love it.

:star: I Can't Decide!! Which One??

Onto the next commission! This one's for :iconjokerxmint: where his request involves the stabbing of Sonic's brother, Zalost, in a tragic scene from his fan fiction. 

This is how he looks like based on one of JokerXMint's drawings:

Zalost Bio by JokerXMint

Looking at his other character references I noticed that he was wearing a half mask to conceal his identity. 

Based on what he is wearing and that mask of his I was instantly reminded of the Phantom of the Opera musical (even though I haven't watched it, I know of the character).

I took inspiration from the protagonist of the PhtO and sketched my design below. Along with the design are some thumbnails to give me some ideas on how I can approach JokerxMint's commission.

Blessing In Disguise concept sketches for Joke by darkspeeds

Now the question for you guys (and I'm just curious) IS:

Which of the TICKED thumbnails do you like? PORTRAIT #7 or HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT SHOT?

I like them both but I think the Horizontal one would be a nice challenge and a good change of pace (since my previous two commissions were done in portrait style).'

Ha ha I should be asking JokerXMint this question but I'm sure he'll see this. In fact I think I'm going to give myself a challenge this time... 8-)


Sticks the Badger12 by darkspeeds

To celebrate her debut this week I'm going to race you on drawing Sticks fan-art until this SUNDAY, 1st June 2014.

Here's your a great opportunity to get your artwork displayed on my journal as soon as you're done with it! Journal will be updated every morning till Sunday.

Remember you MUST have Sticks on your artwork, otherwise I won't be postin' it here. 

So come and join in the fun! Get exposed ,show us your kick-ass art skills, and celebrate with me on this festive occasion! GO NUTS!!! 8-)


Sticks Sonic boom by zeldalegends4525 Sticks and her Violin plants by GameKitty
new BFF by chibiirose Wild girl by PokeSonFanGirl
Sticks and Stones WON'T Break My Bones by Nif-T Sticks the Badger! by AimyNeko
Pile of Wood. by A-R-Q 

Sticks the Badger by Sweetcorn-chan Team Screw You Guys I'm Going Home by HappyAggro
AWE! by Sonicguru Sticks the Badger! by DanielasDoodles
Sticks the Badger by PokeSonFanGirl Sonic boom animation (ft. Sticks) by Silvori
Sonic boom Sticks by Ugh-first-aid Here comes Sticks by CrazyCrumbCake
Throwing Some Sticks Into the BOOM by SailorMoonAndSonicX

Darkspeeds' comments:
What a great start once again - :iconzeldalegends4525:'s active portrait shines through with a never before seen dynamic pose. The rhythm and flow could be improved, as well as the overall design of her gesture - her left hand should show in my opinion. Think of it as a silhouette, will we fully understand what's going on? Nevertheless good job dude!
Sticks and her VIOLIN PLANTS....? Dude... Genius!! I love how she played up her oddball personality into this. Strewth :icongamekitty:!
:iconchibiirose: has done it again and wins the award for a DOUBLE ACT - meaning she did TWO fan art entries within the few days we had of the marathon. Splendid work and I can't help but adore that illustration of Amy and Sticks of hers - we can see a powerful relationship and bright future for the two!
This just in! :iconpokesonfangirl: has managed to produce this stunner on time! I love the color combinations of dark-green and red-orange, it really meshes together and her charming expression simply melts my heart.
icon:Nif-T: decided to join in the bandwagon and produce her interpretation of Sticks - she looks rather shy, I wonder what she's thinking!
:iconashie-kins: was very kind to suggest to me :iconaimyneko:'s awesome fanart of Sticks - just look at her fly! Wait... Skid? Uhm calling on the boomerphone? Oh whatever it still looks awesome.
PHEW-WEE! Will you look at that!! :icona-r-q: blew me away with this rendition of Sticks in her own little world. The dynamic pose (just look at how he did her pose, she definitely has a good understanding of anatomy - probably the best pose I've seen out of all the collection we had so far). The colors work beautifully - I can feel the atmospheric perspective as he distanced the active foreground (Stick's blurring boomerang in mid-air), from the focal point (ie. Sticks swinging away her boomerang), and the background. Excellent rhythm and flow and last but not least, he did a KICK-ASS typography of the characters name. Well done a-r-q, I'm gonna dedicated a space of it's own for your artwork. *faved*.
:iconsweetcorn-chan:'s Sticks is simply adorable.
Now this is an interesting one... :iconhappyaggro: did toon-spoof inspired illustration which is a nice change of pace. Check out the full story by clicking on her image - pretty hilarious stuff!
:iconskyminhazboz: kindly showcase a whole bunch of Sticks fanart in one go! Do check those out! In fact, :iconsonicguru: did pop by and post his link here and that self-initiative deserves a comment. His rendition of Sticks and Marine is adorable, I'd say there is some anime/manga influence on those expressions - very fitting for capturing the moment of those two gushing together - "kawaii"
Oh god.... LMAO!!!! HA HA HA HA!! Dude! DUDE!! I love this!! I can't help but smile and watch this over and over again!! Sonic being cocky didn't get him any favors! Great job on the animated piece :iconsilvori: *favs*
:iconugh-first-aid:'s Sticks fan art is rather... Uhm... Seductive? lol What were you think girl? "Raarwwggh!" *SHOT* Kiddin', I'm kiddin'. :D I will stand by what I said though if you had Stick's eyelids half closed. Anyways I like the soft features on this piece - it really adds in a feminine quality to it - and regarding her pose, it can definitely be improved, however keep in mind that THAT is a very difficult pose to draw. Great job overall and the rendering is fantastic too!
:iconcrazycrumbcake:'s extreme TOON version of Sticks is absolutely spot on. I feel the energy on this, so much so that the smile on Sticks is matching mine right now. Great job dude. Sticks waving hand is also putting me in a trance, I can't help but smile with glee and say 'HIIIII!!' back to her!
Last but not least, (and what an awesome way to end this marathon with a bang) we have :iconsailormoonandsonicx: epic group shot of the prominent Sonic boom characters - all in one! And I can tell that Kyla has put in the time on this, she planned out the way this was going to structured and also paid attention to how they will relate to one another after rendition. The colors work well, their expressions are full of life and I can't help but smile and be proud. The only thing that I will honestly say, bugs me a little, is watermarked illustrations. I can understand the intent but it kinda destroy's the impact of the piece with a distracting piece of semi-visible text stuck in the middle of the drawing. Nevertheless I love this drawing and it's going to my favs! *faved*

P.S. Woah! This just in! The moment submitted this, two more entries came in! Talk about just-in-time!

:Whas this?: Sticks by Blader3000

I'm a fan of this rendition of Sticks fanart by :iconblader3000:. Why you may ask? Storytelling.
Even the composition is done pretty darn well - it invites the viewer a sense of intrigue and mystery. I love how he made Sticks inspect what's possibly an abandoned/crash landed aircraft. Also I'm giving extra props for watercolor usage. Excellent job mate. *faved*

SONIC BOOM : Let's welcome new friends by Tiara-C

Last by not least (really this time) is :icontiara-c:'s absolutely adorable group shot of the entire gang (the good guys that is) of the Sonic Boom series!! What a way to end this once again - and hell this looks hot for the fact that she used such sophisticated traditional wet & dry media to produce this - ala Sephia ink, Copic, White pencil, & Deleter White 1. I'm so happy this came in just in the nick of time, I can also tell that she spent a lot of time on this. The group dynamics and overall structure works, there's a diverse range of expressions and what's extra special is the meaningful interactions with certain characters. Amazing. Faving this one also! *favs*

:bulletyellow:  FRIDAY'S BUNDLE OF STICKS!  :bulletyellow:  SATURDAY'S BUNDLE OF STICKS!  :bulletyellow: 

And that's it everyone! THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all of you who have participated in this marathon and have been good sports throughout.

Hope to do another one of these next time, it's nice to get the community involved, getting together as a collective and make something creative for the long weekend! Great job everyone, see you next time!

Oh and also... Some photos to share!!

Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday everyone!! Stay safe and stay active!
:star: Grand Finale (Stick's Fan-art Marathon) REMINDER!

Tonight's your last chance to send in your awesome Sonic Boom STICKS fan-art to me and have them posted and commented for tomorrow morning, Sunday.

In fact you can still post them early in the morning, I won't be getting up from bed till 11AM so you got till about 12 noon to send in your entry.

New rules!

i) If you are an artist who have previously submitted you can submit another for review! 
ii) Just in case there aren't too many entries for the finale, feel free to RECOMMEND me some good ones. Link them here and I'll post them up if I like it enough! ;) This would be a nice way to get your friend or an artist that you've admired who has done some STICKS fan-art to get exposed!

I'll be posting my piece tomorrow morning. Good luck and see you to the finish line! 8-)

Also... I know STICKS in not in there but CHECK THIS OUT:

Sonic Boom by ChibiGuardianAngel

SICK. I'm printing this out and sticking it on the wall! I'll take a photo of it while I'm at and show you guys what it looks like to have a top quality print on my wall tomorrow. :giggle: Awesome job :iconchibiguardianangel:!

:star: Stick's Fan-art Marathon (ROUND 2 - Saturday)


Sticks the Badger12 by darkspeeds

To celebrate her debut this week I'm going to race you on drawing Sticks fan-art until this SUNDAY, 1st June 2014.

Here's your a great opportunity to get your artwork displayed on my journal as soon as you're done with it! Journal will be updated every morning till Sunday.

Remember you MUST have Sticks on your artwork, otherwise I won't be postin' it here. 

So come and join in the fun! Get exposed ,show us your kick-ass art skills, and celebrate with me on this festive occasion! GO NUTS!!! 8-)


Sticks The Badger Fanart 2 by Renee-Moonveil Sticks the badger! Sonic Boom by XxConrlxX 
Sonic Boom by SonikkuFan94 Sticks the Badger by Sonic-Stardom

Sticks the badger! by pandalana SWISH-BOP-SNAP by TheFatPanda

Smile with Sticks by adamis Sonic Boom - Sticks The Badger by Flam3Zero
Sticks the Badger by SilentSoulAri Sticks the Badger by Piplup88908
The New Kid on the Block by miitoons Sticks by risesatspring
Sticks 'N Roses by IonicSonic hello 911 operator by Amaranth-Pink
Sticks the Badger by RAWN89  Sticks the Badger by Amalika
Sonic Boom: Amy and Sticks by Chaotixfangirl11

Darkspeeds' comments:
Another awesome effort by everyone who decided to flex their creativity muscles and post an illustrated tribute to this wild badger! I like :iconrenee-moonveil:'s dynamic action pose, looking like Tarzan swinging on the jungle vine! :iconxxconrlxx: also when for an action shot and this time she's throwing her boomerang! Blimey watch out!!
:iconsonikkufan94: pushed herself to pencil, ink AND color her final! Great job on that! And no matter how detailed or precise the fanart of Sticks is :iconsonic-stardom: still made an effort to produce the above sketch, lovely!
There's something about :iconpandalana:'s entry that made me stare at it with impressed eyes. Striking pose, great lineart variation and atmospheric rendering with a minimal space on canvas. Gallery quality. Love it! *faved*
The gem to :iconthefatpanda:'s piece is the comedy element, I adore the style and storytelling in this! 
Moving on to the next two portrait pieces are :iconadamis: and :iconflam3zero:. Adamis' watercolor approach is no easy feat - I really admire his warm palette, the warmth really brings out the smile on his piece (clever job accentuating it with her boomerang!). Flam3Zero went for the class Sonic Rush styled artwork approach, he recreated Marine's pose and replaced it with Sticks to symbolise her spiritual takeover of the her predecessor on the canon Sonic video gaming series! Nice!
:iconsilentsoulari: says that it's been a long time since she drew Sonic fanart - goodness me, that sketch is killer! *favs* :iconpiplup88908: rendition of Sticks is adorable - traditional color pencils for the win!
Sick! Look at :iconmiitoons:'s fish eye lens perspective on this one! He even added in the jungle/beach background for atmosphere to support the action and drama happening between the heroes and bad guys! Love how he added in Sonic the Hedgehog in there for support! Cheeky and playful! *also favs*
:iconrisesatspring: made an interesting choice by drawing Sticks with her own unique style - she almost looks like a panda, I can't quite tell but it's still a good effort!
What made me smile with :iconionicsonic:'s is showcasing the close relationship that Amy and Sticks have in the game. The news made it official by text, but having a visual is even better (great job too on the B&W and selective color emphasis approach)! The thing that spoke out to me immediately with :iconamaranth-pink:'s drawing is... THOSE EYES!! Darn, I can't stop looking at them! lol I also love the concept of how all three of the girls - Cream, Marine and Sticks are in there - go figure out the significance.
Sticks on her banjo - brilliant! :iconrawn89: must have been doing her research and saw something of significance inside Sticks burrow (via Sonic Boom official concept artwork). I really like it when somebody takes their time and think up of an official element from the game into their artwork.
Last but not least we have :iconamalika: for her lovely portrait of Sticks and :iconchaotixfangirl11:'s combined effort of Stick and Amy - showcasing their friendship in any situation!

:bulletyellow:  FRIDAY'S BUNDLE OF STICKS!  :bulletyellow:  SUNDAY'S BUNDLE OF STICKS!  :bulletyellow: 

Okay that's it! One more day to go to have a chance to get your artwork posted on my journal and have it commented (and faved too should it impress me!) Great job everyone! Looking forward to the last batch.


Sticks the Badger12 by darkspeeds

To celebrate her debut this week I'm going to race you on drawing Sticks fan-art until this SUNDAY, 1st June 2014.

Here's your a great opportunity to get your artwork displayed on my journal as soon as you're done with it! Journal will be updated every morning till Sunday.

Remember you MUST have Sticks on your artwork, otherwise I won't be postin' it here. 

So come and join in the fun! Get exposed ,show us your kick-ass art skills, and celebrate with me on this festive occasion! GO NUTS!!! 8-)


Sticks the Badger by MegaPhantaze have you heard the good news by knockabiller Sonic Boom WIP by SonikkuFan94
Sticks the Badger :Sonic Boom: by TwisterTH MEET STICKS! by chibiirose

Darkspeeds' comments:
What a great start you guys! I think the freaky award goes to :iconknockabiller: hands down. You can thank :iconevanstanley: for grabbing my attention - I'm scarred for life *SHOT* XXD!

:iconsonikkufan94:'s still a WIP but I can't wait to see if full inked and rendered! :iconmegaphantaze:'s chubby Sticks is somewhat adorable! 

I love it when people put extra effort into their Sonic Boom fanart! :icontwisterth: & :iconchibiirose: are no exception to that rule. Love the lush South American inspired/Mayan jungle piece on TwisterTH's, and that ruin in the background completes that majestic feeling I have visiting those places. Chibiirose's sketchbook approach with several doodles and ideas on one page is a treat - her drawing style is rather adorable too! 

Keep them coming! I'd love to see what's in stall for Saturday morning. ;)

:bulletyellow:  SATURDAY'S BUNDLE OF STICKS!  :bulletyellow:  SUNDAY'S BUNDLE OF STICKS!  :bulletyellow: 


This was originally going to be a two page comic idea. I had this concept of showcasing Sticks being completely surrounded by the an important boss figure and his henchmen from the game/TV series. I'm going to assume that it's these guys below:

Darkspeeds' STICKS Fanart thumbnail2 29-05-201 by darkspeeds 

So the ideas was Sticks was just about to escape with something like treasure that happens to be an important thing that the big boss was looking for. "You've got nowhere to go child, hand it over and your life will be spared," he says. 

Sticks: "Like I'd believe a sly snake like you!"
Big Boss: "And how do you think you can escape with your life intact?"
Sticks: "You'll see...!" *speaks confidently* "With this!" *does an odd pose with her boomerang*
Big Boss: "Prfft.... Ah ha ha ha haaah! Please, what can a little flying stick like that do to me?"
Sticks: "THIS!" *Sticks throws in fiercely into the air and with strategic precision, knocking a few of the Big Boss's henchmen, who are also present on the second floor. Sticks boomerang manages to hit a loose part of the rock face in the ruins creating a rather impressive explosion of loose soil and debris that crashes into the first floor where the Big Boss is with his first batch of hencemen*

*A wave of cloud and dust sweeps the entire hall, you can hear the Big Boss coughing off the feeling annoyed with the fact that the little girl could create disorder with that tiny little thing in her hand*

*The wave of cloud dust slowly dissipates in the the air, a silhouette of the tiny brave girl stands tall and directs the following to the Big Boss*

Sticks: "It's not JUST my boomerang."

*Suddenly from behind her, four figures emerge. As the dust cloud settles they slowly reveal themselves with Sticks standing in front as if leading the group*

Sticks: "It's more than just my boomerang," she said proudly. *Sticks gets into an offensive pose with four of her close friends from behind who were ready to protect their friend and kick serious butt*

 Darkspeeds' STICKS Fanart thumbnail 29-05-2014 by darkspeeds

Darkspeeds' STICKS Fanart WIPl 29-05-2014 by darkspeeds

But I think I'm going to save this comic idea for next time and work on just the final scene with all five characters in full frontal view, it's the least I can do for now. I've got commissions to attend to first! ;)
:star: How About I Race Ya? (STICKS FAN-ART MARATHON!!)

Upon a comment made by :iconugh-first-aid:, I was inspired to offer this challenge.

As soon as I'm done with a Sonic Archie Comics quick study that I'm currently working on I'm going to move on the following celebration:


To celebrate I'm going to race you on drawing Sticks fan-art until this SUNDAY, 1st June 2014.

Here's your chance to get your artwork displayed on my journal as soon as you're done with it! Journal will be updated every morning till Sunday.

Remember you MUST have Sticks on your artwork, otherwise I won't be postin' it here. 

So come and join in the fun! Get exposed , show us your kick-ass art skills, and celebrate with me on this festive occasion! GO NUTS!!! 8-)

STICKS! by darkspeeds

:star: YES, YES, YES!!! It's Sticks The Badger!!


I want to see her in action!!

Sticks the Badger00 by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger00b by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger00c by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger00d by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger00e by darkspeeds

Also... CONCEPT ARTWORK!!! My head explodes with joy looking at these!!!

Sticks the Badger01 by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger02 by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger03 by darkspeeds

I think this is the only Australian thing that I can associate to her most... lol Sadly no Australian accent, but Nika Futterman's voice over still works for me! I gladly invite her in.

Sticks the Badger03b by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger03c by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger03d by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger03e by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger04 by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger05 by darkspeeds

Daymn gurl! Watch where you're swingin' that boomerang of yours!! XD

Sticks the Badger06 by darkspeeds

Nice catch!!

Sticks the Badger07 by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger08 by darkspeeds


Sticks the Badger09 by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger10 by darkspeeds

Sticks the Badger11 by darkspeeds

She was only complaining about the lack of banjos around the house...

Sticks the Badger12 by darkspeeds

What I love about her addition is the fact that there is now a good balance of genders in the team - the gals aren't singled out now and Amy has a friend who can talk to, trust and relate to. Sure it's 3 to 3 but at least Amy is not alone, the addition of Sticks is going to bring a whole new dynamic to the team.

Notice the color combination of the whole cast - what a lovely palette! Sticks has a darker/reddish tinge (perhaps it expresses her potentially explosive nature?) whilst Tails has a brighter yellow, as warm as the sun (a color that would brighten my day). I feel the harmony in these colors and they blend especially well in a green/lush tropical setting.

I... Want... To do... Fanart.... NOW.
I've been commissioned to draw two of :icontrash-meta:'s original characters from a series he's working on.

This is going to be fun because I get to draw humans instead of anthro-cartoon characters for once.

I did some thumbnails to get a good idea of the scene that Trash-meta wanted me to draw them in, I personally liked E & F and will be combining elements from the two for the final.

Also, fear my quick sketches of Gustav and Nadia's faces! Mua ha ha ha! Good they look terrible and out of place. lol

David Bosch concept sketches(small) by darkspeeds

Darkspeeds' Commissions Info (Updated JUNE 2014)

:star: Composition Studies

Do me a favour to any artist who are watching me now and would like to improve the way they design and present their final artwork.

Go to your local museum/fine arts gallery (preferably the national branches or the ones in the big cities), make it a field trip and learn something that may perhaps be a significant benefit to your art studies.

Book your student discounted fare online, grab your backpack filled with sketchbook and whatever drawing tool you're comfortable with (graphite, microns, watercolors etc...), get that bus ticket, go get some fresh air, and some exercise while at it - make this an investment worthwhile.

Be sure to check out the policies of the art gallery/museum before you do any sketching in public, some have very strict rules about drawing in the public galleries, while some are more flexible. Be aware and be prepared on your field trip at all times.

When everything is good to go, walk around the gallery, observe and find paintings that you feel emotionally subjected to or feel that there is something in there that catches your eye or something that tells you: I really like this painting but I don't know what it is...

Look at it closely, look at it from afar, take it in.

Whip out your sketch book and draw what you see. Don't draw the whole thing, don't do a full render. This is a study, so try to capture what you see on site and the thing that compelled you to like that painting.

When you're done, ask yourself questions.

Here is a quick sample of what I did during my visit to the Legion of Honor Gallery with :iconevanstanley::iconcirotin: and friends on their class field-trip organised by their painting instructor Inga.

Legion of Honor - Composition Studies by darkspeeds

Some questions you may ask include:

i) Why did this painting become famous?
ii) What is it that makes it unique from all the others?
iii) Is there something that you can about it that doesn't work?
iv) Why did this painting come to your attention compare to all of the other paintings in the room?

Observe, ask questions, study your analysis.

Tomorrow I'm going to check out the De Young Fine Arts gallery to do the same exercise but this time I'm going to spend at least 3-5 hours in there with one classmate of mine to see what we can get out our study together.

I aim to produce at least 40 thumbnails and share them with you tomorrow evening.

Maybe then we can find something that is common ground and apply it to our artwork.

Now the other thing that I'm going to bring to your attention, before I continue with my commission work is an artist that I've been watching named :iconglitcher:.

He's done some really stunning Sonic Archie inspired fan art, concepts that are usually canon to the story (which I, personally, really like to see in Sonic Archie fanart). Technically he's pretty much ticked quite alot of the boxes already - in terms of line quality, full render and the concept of the artwork.

He's been asking critique all the time, I feel the need to point something out mate.

I'm in no shape or form an artist who have done time in the professional industry like the old-timers and masters who have gone beyond a decade's worth of experience but it's fair to say that this point in time studying and applying myself with the arts I can safely say that I know what a good composition is in people's artwork.

The only thing that I feel Glitcher is lacking is his COMPOSITION (the overall design of the canvas). This I feel is something that he can improve on. I'm going to use the following examples to indicate where I feel that my instructors would say constitute bad design choices.

Sonic Origins: Nicole and the Sweet Man by glitcher Nicole's Favorite Movie by glitcher Lost Memories by glitcher

  • Everything/most of focal points are centralised
  • Flow and rhythm to be reconsidered
  • Tangents

I've used these examples to illustrate the above points. We'll start with Antoinne and Bunnie:

Lost Memories Small by darkspeeds 

Everything on this picture was beautifully executed, his greatest strengths were the concept (which leads to a high level of required DETAIL to pull it off ~ via the flashbacks), and render.

What kinda killed me when I saw this for the first time was his composition. He tends to centralise his focal point which creates a bland design for the position of the elements. What I feel would help is apply the RULE OF THIRDS. Go to any Pixar/Disney/Videogame concept artbook and look at their storyboards - that would be a good place to start and appreciate what constitutes good design on any given canvas.

The bottom edited version I did on Photoshop should give you an idea of what you can potentially aim for. Add more memories to the right and perhaps emphasis some details on the bottom right hand corner to give an interest point there (e.g. blades of grass/flowers). You need to give the viewer a full rotation of the canvas (in which my instructor Jasper has taught me - as the INFINITY CANVAS) - your eyes will continue to circle all over the canvas because you have given each element, that is carefully dotted around the canvas, a curious quality where the eyes can go to.

Granted this is easier said than done and not always will you be able to achieve the pinnacle that is an INFINITY CANVAS.

This example is much better where Glitcher managed to make my eyes wander around the room to full appreciate the intense drama that is quietly unfolding before our very eyes. Notice that Sally's spiritual profile (which I reckon could have been improved with 40-50% opacity applied) is not exactly in the center either - it's slightly off to the right side which still made it work.

Cry in the Dark by glitcher

Next. Flow and rhythm. I'll let the image and edits do the talking (Glitcher's originals are the first two images from top).

Nicole's Favorite Movie composition studies by darkspeeds

Oh and I forgotten one other thing - tangents. Try your best to avoid them! However, sometimes tangents DO work but it depends on how the well the overall design has been executed on canvas.

Last but not least. His most recent edition to the gallery.

Sonic Origins: Nicole and the Sweet Man by glitcher

Another fantastic concept that is well executed in alot of technical aspects. 

Once again, reconsideration of the overall composition could have been desired, but it's not as significant as the example on Antoinne and Bunnie. Ask yourself this question - what are the focal points? For me it's Nicole's face, followed by Robotnik's hands, then it was the little boat (which is smack bang in the center again!), and finally that evil man's face. Review the image below and follow those arrows, good flow and rhythm can make or break an illustration - rendered or not.

Now onto a different point, I decided to see what it looks like when you apply realistic reflections on the water (and by realistic I mean in the most technical method possible based on what I've learnt from school). I have no problem with the original, I was curious to see what it'd look like if it was done in real physics. And Glitcher I know you'll be reading this, I'm here to help give suggestions that may improve your technique, not diss it. Like I said you pretty much own the rest, but if you fix your composition I think you'll add more depth to your repertoire and evolve to yet another level.

And because you stay on to read this far let me hand you some vital info I got from Perspective class, here take my instructor's notes and learn anything that isn't a solid foundation in your current skill-set.

In fact, check this particular document out and see how I approached with the reflections on your original.  

Reflection Exercise 3 by darkspeeds

Hope you guys and gals learnt something from today!

Please don't hesitate to reply and tell me if anything I said didn't make sense, art can be very opinionated and what I've shown today may very well not be a good approach. Though I honestly stand by what I said and presented here.

And for the record, I'm by no means someone who can recreate great art every time, I'm striving to learn too. 8-)

:star: A Moment of Two Lovers

:iconarianatheechidna: assigned me to work on the next commission which is a scene showing am intimate moment between two characters in love - Doshi (an ace gunman) and Rilly (a sweet and innocent girl who has an affinity with nature).

I spent the next 25 minutes to plan out how I'm going to approach this sketch:

Untitled by darkspeeds

Here is how Doshi and Rilly looks like in their original designs:

 Doshi Bee  By Arianatheechidna-d75ppoe by darkspeedsRilly The Rabbit S New Design Colored By Arian by darkspeeds

I think the song that fits my mood to draw these two characters is the remixed version of Metallic Madness from Sonic CD (by the OC Remix team who created the Temporal Duality album). I feel a zany sense of love in the air listening to this, I can't describe the feeling but it puts me in a happy mood and I just want to show the special relationship that these two characters have.

Let's see how I go with this tonight!
I'm having a lot of fun with this and I'm actually spending more time than I should! XD

I'm a big fan of the Dreamkeepers series (aka :icondreamkeepers:) and I've just been a recent of Geo's (aka :iconkafelnikov:) fan fiction based of that universe.

So 11 hours into the commission and this is what it looks like. I'd say I'm 50% done.

(Last night - 10PM)
P1140875small by darkspeeds

(This morning - 9AM)

P1140878small by darkspeeds

I'm taking longer than usual because I'm giving myself time to experiment with my new pencil set and how I can utilise my new tools to create the atmospheric perspective I want without the luxury of a digital edit during post production.

So I'm breaking away from my usual method which would have allowed me to get very close to finishing point by now. I have to carefully plan where to use my 3H & 5H for bacgrounds and H & 2B for middleground and closeups. 

The perspective was a little challenging at first because I didn't quite get how certain convergence lines meet up with certain points in the drawing but I figured it out now.

Also I've taken the extra time to put in a couple of Dreamkeepers references, try and find them when I post out the full drawing. :D

Anyways I want to get this done before I head out to :iconchemb0t:'s tonight. Let's see how I go for the next 9 hours!

:star: Lookin' Good Jonny! (Use those references!)

When I was really early into drawing I always had the notion that it was not okay to use references to craft and build your illustration, and that it all had to come out of your imagination.

Boy was I wrong about that notion!

It is OKAY to use references - in fact alot of pros use them. They have their own personal visual library - magazine cuttings from National Geographic, posters, artbooks, personal photos and last but not least GOOGLE (lol).

Here's a look at how I help strengthened Jonny's pose and appearance on this commissioned piece based on Geo's beautifully written chapter that introduced the character.

First study the animal!!

SuperBigZebraSmile 640 by darkspeeds

In this shot I felt that Jonny had that kind of brotherly welcome approach - warm smile, droopy eyes and a genuine reception with wide open arms ready to share an embracing hug to his long time friend.

The most important part for me was not only his pose, but his face. After studying how a zebra's face looked like up close you'll notice big and small details that will help accentuate his expression. Compare Jonny's 'happily greeting' expression from the previous photo to the current one. Big difference right? I didn't even know that the zebra's gums will show quite a lot when they leave their mouth wide open!

Also the mouth/lips doesn't leave a wide gap, it's a pretty small one compared to a reptiles.

Oh and it was fun drawing those zebra patterns. :D


Elson's reference for right arm by darkspeeds 

I took a photo of my right arm from that angle because I wanted to make sure that I got the proportions and angle of the way that arm was posed accurate. Take note of the hand and fingers too when comparing the old and new photos.

Now how about the clothing? I was thinking that he'd dress up semi-formal, looking slick and modern but a hint of eccentricity. I used a male gangster image from Google to help me out.

Ato-tax2014 by darkspeeds

I substitute the black jeans for a white one. Imagine how Jonny would look like in color! :D I didn't want the black to overpower his presentation, I see him clean and presentable and white being a dominant color that represents his personal flair and guile.

Last but not least, STUDY HOW FOLDS WORK IN CLOTHING!!! I used the image below to help me out (also found on Google).

Legs Out by darkspeeds

Combine all of those elements and you get:

Looking Good Jonny! by darkspeeds

Lookin' good Jonny! ;)

Took about half an hour to forty minutes to get those clean pencils down on him.

:star: Progress Shots on Geo's Commission

I love 'behind-the-scenes' stuff - don't you?

Here's how I set up Geo's commission on the 11' x 14' bristol board. Take note that when you're doing two point perspective you got to have TWO VANISHING POINTS and at least one of them MUST BE OUTSIDE the shot. Hence you can see that I stuck 2 x US letter sized paper to act as my guideline. You can see one of the vanishing points near the bottom right hand corner - a circled 'VP2'. Oh and don't forget your horizon line too - in Geo's commission I've tilted it on an angle to give the shot an interesting view point!

Untitled by darkspeeds

So if you're approaching your illustration this way do utilise your blank pieces of paper that are used as your vanishing point guidelines. 

What I did was did a very quick thumbnail of the overall scene played out with purely perspective guidelines and my key focal points (i.e. the characters in Geo's story, who are represented by the tall rectangles). Doing this will build a strong focus on how you'll lay out your foundations on page - which is pretty much one of the most important steps in creating your desired illustration.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Take note about the vanishing points I've created on the small thumbnail and relate it to the left and right blank pages and where they're situated (refer to circled VP1 on the page to the left and VP2 on the page to the right)

Untitled by darkspeeds

I will say that I'm genuinely enjoying this commission because not only am I fully invested in Geo's story, characters and concept, but also I'm finally able to utilise what I've learnt from school - it really helps me in so many ways.

I'll give you another couple of examples besides what I've learnt from Leandro in Perspective class.

Figure Drawing with Carla and Introductory to Anatomy with Valerie - I had so much trouble posing characters in the past, I always wanted to know how to make it look dynamic and at the same time accurate to the best of my ability and experience. I got Carla to thank her for that. Also because I know how certain parts of the body work I can create an even more convincing and accurate pose based on that knowledge - e.g. how Hal and Jonny are spreading out their arms wide open and getting ready for the intimate reunion hug that long time friends would do. Jonny's arm can be adjust on his right because it's almost creating a tangent on Cassi's nose and forehead - it's not a good design practice to have tangents in your illustrations.

Also I have to point out Thoma's class for Clothed Figure drawing - he made me care ever more so on the clothing the characters are wearing and how to create convincing fold lines and patterns that you'd expect in real life. Anyways that stage will be more prominent as I get into the details.

Hope you've learnt something today! I'll be back with more updates and tips that may help you with your next illustration!

Untitled by darkspeeds
:star: Commissions Closed (until further notice!)

Darkspeeds Commissions List for June 2014

:iconkafelnikov: :iconarianatheechidna: :iconfriskecrisps: :iconironhedgehog:

Thanks guys, that's pretty quick!

Keep in mind I've kept it to four slots a month so that I can dedicate time to these commissions in my schedule. I have no reason to rush nor do I have any reason to procrastinate. If I'm lucky and I have completed my schedule of commissions for the month I'll release another set again and start the process once again.  

Darkspeeds Commissions List (ADVANCED INTEREST BACKLOG)

These are potential clients who on the wait list. They will have next priority in getting a commission from me as soon as I've completed a previous job or a whole set. If you'd like to be on the list, please send me a note containing the details of your commission and what category would suit your needs.

:iconjokerxmint: :iconchicago-pd-stars: 

[Roster breakdown]

:iconkafelnikov: Title: "Look What The Lovely Rabbit Dragged In?" Commission Type & Cost: GRAPHITE ILLUSTRATION (digital & original drawing), $135 Due dateSunday, 25th May 2014
:iconarianatheechidna: Title"Flowers For You" Commission Type & Cost: SKETCH WORK, $25 Sunday, 1st June 2014
:iconfriskecrisps: Title"Incalculable Journey Ahead" Commission Type & Cost: COMPLETE DRAWING (with Detailed Background), $70 Due dateSunday, 1st June 2014
:iconironhedgehog: Title"[TBA]" Due dateSunday, 8th June 2014

:star: Commissions Open (3 slots available for JUNE 2014)

Hi everyone! Now that I'm free from university studies I'm going to be utilising my time in California to do studio quality work by applying all the things I've learnt from school. 

Commissions are open for the month of June so if you're interested please check out my current rates.

So far I've gotten some potential clients but one of them in particular, :iconkafelnikov: has given me a very interesting job to work on and is already paying upfront for it.

To give you an idea of this job he's paying me $135 USD for a GRAPHITE ILLUSTRATION (11' x 14' bristol board) based off a scene from his Dreamkeepers inspired fan fiction - The Wayward Astronomer

Why am I telling you this? Well I got nothing to hide and I'd like to teach you how I approach my commissions, and maybe it'll help you decide on how to handle your next paid assignment.

I did a cost breakdown and analysis of the commission at the negotiation stage - keep in mind of the number of key characters involved in the illustration, you can charge a premium on those since they will be your focal points in your drawing, extra minor characters can be charged at a collective price (say you charge $20 per key character, if you're drawing 3-4 minor characters to fill the crowd then keep it fair and charge perhaps $20 for the lot).

Think about the amount of detail involved in the drawing - if it's a full blown illustration with intense detail in the backgrounds (with atmospheric perspective applied to it) then try to set a base price to keep things clear before any add-ons. In Geo's case I'm charging him $80 for the base price because I know I'll be spending at least 8-10 hours minimum on it (this equates to $10/$8 per hour depending on how efficient you are). Also keep in mind that my client wanted the original to be sent to him to keep too (take note of postage and handling costs when calculating your final cost). 

As soon as we settled on an agreement then it's off to the drawing board. Use your sketchbook at this point to do some roughs and quick studies of the details that your client's requests. What I did was a bit of research, planning, and preparation - and this included reading his fan fic (which btw is amazing, please go do me a favor and check it out), doing sketches of his original characters in the story and scene concerned, and identify the setting with clarity - you need to know what elements will create details that will add atmosphere to the final illustration, bringing it to life.

Character sketches
Geo's commission Concept sketches 01 by Darksp by darkspeeds
Geo's commission Concept sketches 02 by Darksp by darkspeeds
Geo's commission Concept sketches 03 by Darksp by darkspeeds

Thumbnails (2-Point perspective used)

 Geo's commission Concept sketches 04 by Darksp by darkspeeds

Once you're content with the concept and you've got all the references you need, start working on the preliminary roughs. I'll probably be able to show you a work-in-progress by tonight.

Anyways hope that helps for those who are curious about the commissions process. The tough question you'll have to ask every time is - how much should I charge my client? Well this really depends on your experience, your reputation and your client's request. I can't give you a definitive answer, you will be more clear on what to charge your client when you do a ton of commissions, once again it's all down to the mileage (ie. the hours you put into your personal development, practice, studies and work). Be sure to have a good work ethic too, otherwise procrastination will tarnish your reputation as a responsible commissions artist!

Last but not least, a reminder:

3 slots open for the month of JUNE. Get in quick if you want an art exclusive from me. 8-)

Darkspeeds Commissions List for June 2014

:iconkafelnikov: :iconfriskecrisps: :iconironhedgehog:Question mark by darkspeeds
"Be brave, learn and try new things, and more importantly, live life with no regrets. This I did."

Red  Black  And Blue By Darkspeeds-d772049 by darkspeeds

At the start of June 2013 I arrived to California to live with :iconchemb0t: and his family for a while before moving to the heart of San Francisco downtown to prepare my first semester (and first ever experience studying at an art school at university level). Jason and his family are considered my second family, that's how special they are. At the same time I caught up with :iconevanstanley:, :iconcirotin: and Evan's family for a rafting trip for week long stay in Santa Cruz. I feel privileged to have known those two better and in person, especially when they are passionately driven and talented artists in their own right. Then I went to Mexico for a short trip, it was there that I've been able to appreciate the beautiful heritage, cultures, food, and landscapes, at the same time it was also a time when I got to appreciate my morality more-so than ever since I had two occasions where I could have potentially died.

Fall classes began in September and it was definitely an exciting time for me (despite the Student VISA application and ridiculous administrative paperwork to be resolved), it was time to prove that I had what it takes to show great potentially in my artistic talent and technique. 

3 months later I've learnt how color works, how to draw figures, how to sculpt with clay and how to render with better precision in any illustrative works. In those three months I've been able to appreciate the level of talent in the school, admire the professional reputation my school upholds and most important of all, I got to know some of the most amazing instructors (more on them later)

Fast forward the winter break and we hit semester two at the Academy. Once again I had an incredible time learning from my classmates, the curriculum and from my amazing instructors. During Spring I've learnt how to paint still life with traditional wet mediums (ala oil and acrylic), learnt how to draw figures in clothing and the dynamics behind it, learnt more about the human anatomy - bones, muscle structure and function and the important parts and planes that we use to help improve our understanding of the people we see everyday, and last but not least, I've learnt how to significantly push my knowledge on perspective and creating an invigorating atmosphere within any given scene and setting. 

I want to get back my instuctors - to me they are more than just mentors and artists who teach to better the craft of the curious and dedicated student, they are considered people I can respect as human beings, as friends, and I know that they will be a part of me for a lifetime. I will be in touch with them in future visits. 

Semester 01: (FOUNDATIONS)

(click here for their full profile)

Jasper Figueroa by darkspeedsCarla Crawford by darkspeedsMichele Goodwin by darkspeedsCarol Tarzier by darkspeeds
(click here to view photos of final week, Facebook required)


(click here for their full profile)

9032 324417m by darkspeedsMe In Studio by darkspeedsT Gronbukt by darkspeedsLeNg by darkspeeds
(click here to view photos of final week, Facebook required)

I've made a strong decision to go back to Australia and you can find out my reasons why here

I want people to be clear about something, of all these years as Elson Wong or Darkspeeds, I've put in ALOT of time and effort to perfect my craft and at the same time indicated how I'd like to give a shot at making a career out of the arts/entertainment industry one day. At the same time I've constantly made a strong point about how I treat art as an important aspect to my life because of what the joys of creativity can do for others and personally.

After all these years I haven't thought about how it may impact on some people who look up to me for what I've done. I can see clearly now that I have been drawing a very fine line between PROFESSIONALISM and RECREATION when it comes down to the things I've done with art.

Please do know that I've treated my art seriously over the years, however I can also say that there are times where I may have slipped and treated my art just for the fun of it, and this may have offend some people because art can be a highly sensitive subject. For that I apologise, and if you don't like how I'm treating my art and how it may influence others then you'll just have to deal with it. I'm going to put this down for the record just in case there are people out there who feel this way and need an explanation on my behalf.

From my point of view I've done art because I really enjoyed doing it (and there is no denying that Sonic the Hedgehog had be a huge influence on that part). As I evolved on my art I continued doing it because: a) I help inspire others, b) I teach others, c) do it because I feel the health benefits of self expression. And so far I've had a lot of support from all walks of life. You guys have taught me to see things from many different perspectives and I will do what I can do honor those perspectives the best I can, however the reality is in the art world I'm not exactly a good example to follow, I'm a very unique case where I can have the option of making art like a professional but at the same time, make art where I am able to still live life happy without financial burden, responsibility, or stress that come from expectations of the commercial world. So having said that I am not going change who I am and my decision to live a life where art can be treated both from a professional and recreational standpoint.

Nevertheless let me break down what I've learnt from each of my instructors this very important year in my lifetime at the Academy of Art university. I'm also going to share a few things that I remember them for personally, no matter how trivial or odd it sounds, what mattered is that what they said or taught me had created something I will never forget and it will help me on my artwork significantly (and this is where the benefit of going to school is, you can't learn these things on your own or online, because such a unique experience may help you speed up the process of an important technique that may very well improve the way you problem solve and create something more efficiently and productively).

Jasper Figueroa by darkspeeds
Jasper taught me how to RENDER any kind of illustration and breath life in that illustration with a given light source and 3D space. The technique I've learnt was the 5-Value system. Ever since learning this it made me think twice about where and what to shade, tone and lighten for any subject matter.
"Light and mid tones, core shadow, reflected light and cast shadow"
"Treat your art with care"

Carla Crawford by darkspeeds 

Carla was the first to teach me how to draw the human figure using charcoal and with a Fine Arts approach. She also pointed out techniques that masters have used over the centuries and also things that she's learnt from her own personal journey in pursuing a successful and meaningful career in the Fine Arts.
"Half-way points"
"Check for tilts"
"Check proportions and compare to other parts"
"Animal shapes"
"There's no such as talent, it's all about how strong your willingness to work is - your dedication."
"There is no set path in life, your fate will eventually figure it out on its own"

Michele Goodwin by darkspeeds
Michele blew me away on how warm light creates cool shadows and cool light creates warm shadows - she did a live demonstration with a fluorescent light and color plastic discs. Also she is the first to teach me about ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE, something that needed improvement in my detailed drawings.
"Warm and cool colors"
"Atmospheric perspective"
"Mutes and compliments"
"Consider the design principles when approaching your art - short or tall, pattern or simple, high contrast or low contrast, straight or curvy etc..."

Carol Tarzier by darkspeeds
Carol showed us how fun it can be to model your own creation using clay, some tools & your imagination. We started with basics like body parts of the human figure & ended up with our own unique portrait sculpture of a character. The thing I can take away from her class is having a strong appreciation for all things 3D.
"Check for plane changes"
"Trapezius, deltoid, latissimus dorsi, sternum, clavicle, flank pad or love handles..."

9032 324417m by darkspeeds
Valerie reinforced out understanding of the human body, from bones, muscles to the tendons. She made me think about how to create a more convincing pose by ensuring that I was made aware of the structures and parts of the body visually. She also made me appreciate how the body and body parts move and functions individually and as a whole unit.

"It's important to know not just the placement, shapes and planes of parts in human anatomy but also how they function (e.g. how does one bend their arm? Twist their waist?)"
"Skeleton, Muscles and tendons"

Me In Studio by darkspeeds
Sheldon made Still Life Painting fun and a whole lot more. It was my first time every painting in the style of the fine arts. I've a new found appreciation for oil painting - not just creating the artwork but also appreciating other paintings in galleries. My proudest moment is on my final project, I finally learnt how to mix colors and make them work on the canvas.
"Number one rule: start with the big shapes and then work on the details later"
"Big brush first, small brush later "
"Don't be tempted! Just block in the bigger shapes first"
"Sneak up on it"
"Warm to cool, cool to warm"
"Make sure you got your values down solid, it you don't then your painting won't look as convincing with the local colors of your subject that's being painted"
"Check your ellipses guys..."
"Elson you're strongest with low key and a limited palette"

T Gronbukt by darkspeeds
Thomas showed the importance of creating a strong impact to the viewer on the characters you'll be illustrating for whatever purpose it may be. To be able to do that you need to know how to draw a solid pose, convincing folds, emphasis on the face and focal points & add details that will help accentuate the likableness of your character.
"Watch out for those ellipses"
"Follow the forms, don't render unnecessary with additional information that won't make sense"
"That foot... Bad!"
"Take your time and slow down on those details"
"Check those proportions on the face, one third, one third, one third"
"Your eyes, curve it in a little more, and the mouth, don't show the line that indicates the plane, fade it out like this..."

LeNg by darkspeeds
Leandro acknowledge my talent and knew of my potential but I will never forget that he was the one who not only taught me the various kinds of perspectives used in story-boarding and comics, but most important of all, he helped me enhance my understanding of ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE in any line art illustration.

[Atmospheric perspective - enhanced by showing me how much detail I should put in areas, line quality of inks and how much I should fade as we move ourselves into the background]
"It's all about the mileage"
"So it's the end of the semester, what's the first thing you do tomorrow...? .... Sleep. Hibernate for at least a week. Forget about the parties, get some rest and then enjoy yourself!"

Now that I've explained to you about what I've learnt at the Academy of Art university (majoring in Illustration) what have I achieved in terms of grading? 

Here's the following results:

Semester 01: (FOUNDATIONS)

  • FND 110: Analysis of Form [+B]
  • FND 112: Figure Drawing  [+B] 
  • FND 125: Color and Design  [B]
  • FND 131: Figure Modeling [-B]  


  • FA 213: Introduction to Anatomy  [A]
  • FA 110: Still Life Painting 1  [-B]
  • ILL 120: Clothed Figure Drawing 1 [+B]  
  • FND 116: Perspective [-A] 

I also got three entries into the SPRING SHOW (a prestigious event that celebrates and showcases A level work from students of all departments at the Academy of the Art. Industry professionals, special guests, instructors and students alike congregate to admire, do business and enjoy the red carpet atmosphere. It is also a gallery that will be open to the public for the coming weeks and possible the whole month. 

Untitled-1 by darkspeeds

According to the statistics of my instructor Leandro (who is also the Head of FOUNDATIONS department), he told me that 25% of all students will submit one entry to the Spring Show, but those who submit more than 3 are considered to be the top 5-10% of the entire school. Hearing that further justifies that I have very strong potential to do well in the arts/entertainment industry but I am still content on living the good life with family back home in Australia. Furthermore knowing personally that I'm a strong contender within the competition is very satisfying, I'm humbled, proud and will take this as a motivator to continue learning the arts at a recreational pace. I mean, why not? Why not have both: the satisfaction of living life to the fullest knowing that you'll be paid a very fair wage working at another industry other than the arts, use that money to pay the bills, travel the world, and entertain yourself, your family and friends, you don't need to be stressed about low pay, deadlines, and long hours that can potentially to kill your love for art, and be close to family who will help you out in times of need and in times when they need it you help them. It's almost like a family/love affair. Anyways I digress and will point out that not all art jobs are low paying and long hours with little satisfaction from the effort put into it, it's just a common thing I've seen so often in my lifetime analyzing the industry (through conventions, instructors, professionals, friends who are freelancers or who have been laid off, first party business like the comic book stores, etc...) that it's very difficult to get to the top of the pie and make a happy living out of it.

Here are some photos to share of the event (and group photos of my class taken on my last week of school, before the event). If you'd like to see the FULL RANGE OF STUDENT/PROFESSIONAL WORK at the the Spring Show, and you have a Facebook account, check them out here - seriously they got some really AWESOME stuff down there. Blows my mind at what we all achieved in school.

Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds
 Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds IMG 6682a by darkspeeds
IMG 6682c by darkspeeds

Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds

So, any more thoughts or advice I can share with you on this journey of mine...?

Regarding grades for those who are studying at an art school right now (and I continue to stress this anyone who are in currently in a program) that grades are one of the least important thing in art school (unless you are studying from overseas - you do need a C average to pass or you go home and have your VISA revoked!), it's all about your portfolio, your networking skills (be sure to know ALL of your instructors and faculty at your department, and also students who are supportive, honest and competitive enough to push you to the best of your abilities) and your interpersonal skill (i.e. your confidence to make an impression, you ability to managed yourself, stick to a regime, stay disciplined in what you do, and set yourself up for initiatives and opportunities).

Art school is worth the investment only if you're seriously motivated, willing to spend the extra time into your drawings after class, attend all workshops, and rarely have an instance where you'll find an assignment boring or not useful. EVERY assignment, no matter how trivial, is important and worth your time. The students who succeed are highly disciplined in their work, have good time management, are solid on their presentation and be 

If you don't tick any of the boxes above, there is no point giving shouldering the burden of a 5-10 year debt of $150,000 to $200,000 USD in your lifetime, it just ain't worth. 

And yes, don't worry, it's a fact, that art school is tough, can be frustrating and it will burn you out. Everyone goes through that, even the best students at school who eventually make it to the top.

Desperate and lacking the finances to pay such astronomical tuition fees? Check these alternatives out - besides going to an ATELIER styled studio setting and building your foundations there lately there have been an up-rise on online art schools conducted by industry professionals who will set you up with a curriculum that requires a lot of self initiative to make it work. The advantage? You're learning quality stuff for a fraction of the price when compared to attending art school and learning hands on, in person, with an instructor like I did at the Academy. Here are some sources (Noah Bradley and Tom Brancroft) you can check out to make a more rationale decision at any point in your life should you plan to go to art university.

As a closing I'll leave you with some advice from my instructors.

Like Carla says there is no such thing as talent in this world, those who succeed are the ones who are truly motivated and persistent in what they do, and like Leandro says, it is all about the mileage, if you put in the hours you will get the results.

That's how it works in the art world. Hope you'll enjoy it and show us how far you've come in your journeys! 
Once again my instructors from the Academy of Art university are amazingly talented, patient and passionate in what they practice and teach. Here's a rundown of the instructors I've had privilege of learning from during the course of Spring 2014.

Semester: Spring 2014

  • FA 110: Still Life Painting 1

  • Time: W 08:30 AM - 11:20 AM, 12:00 PM - 02:50 PM 
    Location: 60 Federal Street, Room 205

    Lecturer: Sheldon Greenburg
    Me In Studio by darkspeeds


    0ae7f0f3011a60afc098804a4a48fb16 by darkspeeds
    Abed98f8a44b3df44f7c8fadf98b8bcf by darkspeeds
    6d46fdeaad27546b88ee15281a1d292d by darkspeeds

  • ILL 120: Clothed Figure Drawing 1

    Time: Th 08:30 AM - 11:20 AM, 12:00 PM - 02:50 
    Location: 540 Powell Street, Room 020

    Lecturer: Thomas Gronbukt
    T Gronbukt by darkspeeds


    WebThomas-11-13004 by darkspeeds
    WebThomas-11-13003 by darkspeeds
    WebThomas-11-13006 by darkspeeds

  • FND 116: Perspective

    Time: F 12:30 PM - 05:30 PM 466 
    Location: Townsend Street, Room 205

    Lecturer: Leandro Ng
    LeNg by darkspeeds

    Website/Portfolio: N/A

    M6 S12 Local-light by darkspeeds
    m6 s12 Local-floating by darkspeeds
    m6 s12 Local-elevs by darkspeeds

Sonicrevolution2014 by darkspeeds

Sonic Revolution 2014 will be held on SUNDAY, 15th JUNE 2014 (almost less than a month's time from today) at the Holiday Inn Buena Park Hotel & Conference Center in Buena Park, California.

Doors will open at 10:00am and will come to a close at 6PM in the evening.

Also, if you have a Facebook account you can get the latest updates from their official Facebook page.

:icondarkspeeds: will be a special guest along with Ghosts of the Future and Sonic Archie comic artist :iconevanstanley: and furry artist :iconcirotin: at the event so do come check us out at the table!

Joining Devin, Evan and myself for the long road trip to LA will be two of their friends so I'm really looking forward to spending some much needed quality time with them before I head back to Australia in July.

While we're down there that is a possibility that we will be selling stuff at the table (Buena Park business trade license pending), if all things work out well then bring in some cash, a smile and expect some awesome stuff in exchange for your support.

I'll be bringing these to the event on the day:

SONIC BOOM: UNPLUGGED PAGES - ORIGINALS, 11x 17 in Graphite (for display and for sale?)

Untitled by darkspeeds

SONIC ARCHIE FANART PRINTS - Printed in 8.5 x 11 INKJET PHOTO QUALITY PAPER - Super gloss (for sale)

Untitled by darkspeeds

GRAND HUNTER - BOOK (rare!) and PRINTS - gloss finish (for sale)

Untitled by darkspeeds

One Happy Sonic Nut and Academy of Art artist (not for sale but...!)

Photo (1) by darkspeeds

Come to our table on the day and say hi, talk about stuff (whether it be about the Archie comics, Sonic Boom, Evan's GOTF, whether doing art school is a good investment etc...)

If you need help on some art stuff - like how to thumbnail your comics for example, I'm more than happy to sit down with you, get a piece a paper and a pen and show the process.

All day long we'll be sketching and doodling, eating food, singing and probably do some live read outs/voice acting for kicks.

It's gonna be fun.

Hope to see you all there. 8-)