Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

:star: Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation (Auditions CLOSED!)

And that's it! Ladies and gentlemen it's been a pleasure listening to your auditions and I'm very pleased to welcome the official cast to my latest audio adaptation project based off the hit web-comic series: Lackadaisy by Tracy J Butler! You can also visit her deviantART page via :icontracyjb:

Thanks once again to everyone who have taken the time to submit their auditions to the project and didn't make the cut. 

I will be spending the next couple of months working on this project whilst working on my web-comic series Edenspell

To those who have been successful in getting a role please add me to your Skype (via darkspeedselson) and we'll arrange a one-on-one consultation to do a run-through of your character alongside with me and receive feedback in real time.

To the successful applicants who are working on a minor role do send me your e-mail so that we can keep in touch. I will give you instructions on what to do next!

Okay then, let's get cracking! 8-)

Lackadaisy at the studio booth by darkspeeds

:star: FOUR CHARACTERS LEFT! (Lackadaisy Audio Drama)

Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 10Bobby by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 04Mordecai by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 06Serafine by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 10 by darkspeeds

Think you know someone who has a knack for voice acting? 
Does that somebody also love compelling stories and richly diverse characters to role play as?

Then look no further, the Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation project has... 


:star: Auditions Close One Week! (Lackadaisy Audio Drama)

There was a total of 60 submissions at the end of the first week and I've been listening to them all critically.

Here are the next batch of characters who have been chosen for a voice actor to be assigned to:

Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 01Zib by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 05Ivy by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 02Rocky by darkspeeds 
Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 12LodgeGangster01 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 14CollegeGirl01 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 15CollegeGirl02 by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 16CollegeGirl03 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 19Charming-Marigold-Lady by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 04BYoungMordecai by darkspeeds

Congrats you guys and gals! 

Also I'll be looking for someone who can imitate close to a Joe Pesci accent for this guy: Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 13MarigoldMobster by darkspeeds 

And more importantly for the character Bobby aka  Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 10Bobby by darkspeeds, if you are able to imitate/now someone who can imitate close to the voice of the Narrator to this Lackadaisy comic drama then you're gonna get the role! 

Good luck and looking forward to the remaining auditions to be reviewed!


:star: Congrats Willow and A-log (Lackadaisy Audio Drama)

To the two who have auditioned as The Bellboy and Elsa, congrats! You made it into the project. ;)

:icona-log: as Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 18Bellboy by darkspeeds
:iconwfengs: as Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 12Elsa by darkspeeds

Right now there are some excellent candidates who have portrayed some of the other characters to my standard and my interpretation but I'm still holding it off to encourage others to have a chance to get in and have a shot at this opportunity to voice act in Lackadaisy.

Do spread the word to other VA's (especially those who have read up on the series) to audition! 

Audition closes in 3 weeks time! Good luck! ;)

Oh and Viktor is added to roster too, he has but a couple of lines and plenty of violent grunts to record! Have fun!

Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 20Viktor by darkspeeds

:star: 28 Auditions & Counting! (Lackadaisy Audio Drama)

Great Scott! It's been fantastic listening to your auditions thus far! Thank you and do keep them coming! 

Also if you want to listen to how I preach like a madman to a poor little girl then head to the link just below you and
look for Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 11Abelard by darkspeeds


:star: Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation (Auditions Open!)

Lackadaisy - Audio Contemplation Darkspeeds2015 by darkspeeds

Hi ya'll!

It's been about four months since I worked on Nordguard the Movie that involved 15 cast members including myself as a voice actor and director of the project. 

It was my best audio drama production to date, from picking the cast to engineering the sound to film quality.
Now it's time to give Tracy J Butler's web-comic series - LACKADAISY the same treatment.

I can't confirm that it's going to be in comic drama format but I can guarantee that it will be an audio adaptation of a choice selection of her stories.

Right now I've got the following casts available for audition (in order of appearance):

Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 01Zib by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 03Mitzy by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 07DomDrago by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 05Ivy by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 02Rocky by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 10Bobby by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 11Abelard by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 12Elsa by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 04Mordecai by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 12LodgeGangster01 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 12LodgeGangster02 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 12LodgeGangster03 by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 13MarigoldMobster by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 10 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 14CollegeGirl01 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 15CollegeGirl02 by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 16CollegeGirl03 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 17CollegeGirl04 by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 18Bellboy by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 08Nico by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 19Charming-Marigold-Lady by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 06Serafine by darkspeeds Lackadaisy-audio-pictures 04BYoungMordecai by darkspeeds

So as you can see there is a wide variety of roles to play, whether they are minor or major roles I do encourage you to audition! Just click on the link below to make your way to the BTVA page and start submitting your files! Auditions close on the 10th AUGUST 2016, or prior if I managed to find all the people I need for the project. Looking forward to listening to your auditions!


:star: Eye on the Prize

EDENSPELL concepts7 by darkspeeds

Damnit! Why can't I sit down for three to fours hours straight a day (during work week) to get these illustrations done faster!?

Hope to get this two-parter done by tomorrow!

:star: The 5,000 Krims Bounty

Here's the next work-in-progress to showcase!

EDENSPELL concepts6 by darkspeeds

I'm really starting to dig into this sepia tone and sketched world of Edenspell - I'm starting to develop my own voice for the series in terms of visual presentation (i.e. the way I brush my stokes to create each illustration). I'm lovin' this new application of hatching lines and curves to give definition and form to the 3D space of characters and the setting, I usually do it in one direction but I've got my Clothed Figure Drawing teacher (aka Thomas Gronbukt) to thank for reminding me to follow the form while rendering.

Think I'll sleep in for today and aim to finish this by tomorrow - hopefully before I work in the evening! Can't wait to show the contrast between adolescent and adult Ashworth!

(Oh and last but not least - ASHWORTH, YOU DAYUM SEXY!! Can't help it! XP XXD)

:star: Cocky Bounty Hunter

Only the fearless (and perhaps foolish!) will take on the big guns.

The other bounty hunters are using some sort of i-phone technology to take pictures of their bounty for record. Ashworth does it the old fashioned way - without a care what other's think!

EDENSPELL concepts5 by darkspeeds

Also I just finished reading up on the latest of Bryan Talbot's GRANDVILLE series: Noel. Loved it. I'm going to draw a badger on the left to pay tribute to his main protagonist to the series aka Detective Inspector LeBrock! XXD

Finally, another thing to share photo-reference-wise is this: illustrating a tricky scene where the hand grabs the poster and scrunches it up! 

Untitled by darkspeeds

Not planning on ordering pizza anytime soon! lol

:star: What It's Like To Be Broke...

Thankfully I've never been in that situation, I've seen what it's like for others around the world (bless them).
Ashworth shares the same pain. It's a tough out there.

Concepts4 by darkspeeds

:star: This Will Suit Me Just Fine

Concepts3 by darkspeeds

Drawing angel statues is a lot of fun! They can express so much emotion even for an inanimate object. What I also like about angel statues is that you can totally derail it's symbolic meaning by smashing it to pieces.

Let's illustrate the point. Above you see two statues. One standing and one fallen. What does a broken down angel mean? All hope is lost perhaps? What does that tell you about the setting where an adolescent Ashworth is atm? Pretty creepy to be there all by yourself don't you think?

:star: A Question About Your Character's Outfit

For those who have already taken initiative of designing their own original character have you ever asked the following questions:

What is your favourite outfit?

Why is that important to you?

Is it?

As Chris and Lora had discussed on their Paperwings Podcast episode, it made me think just how complex (and fun!) character design can be. Sometimes we miss out on the simplest of details and dive straight into the design, specifically in this case, giving a character a piece or full set of attire to wear, but for what reason is there behind it?

You gotta ask yourself some questions: is your character dressed to impress? Are they wearing rags or riches to distinguish their social status? Or are they wearing very little? Does that portray a lazy personality?

The more questions you ask about a character's outfit the more you get to know about your character based on just the element of 'what they wear'.

Imagine what James Bond would wear (and take with him) and why. You would think 'sophisticated', 'suits', smart toys (of the weapon kind that is...), pair of black Crockett & Jones diplomat shoes, 'black and white'... All of these elements may and may not, but do on a common scale of cliche, associate with the outfit of what a spy would wear.

Now try to apply what you learnt here to your character and see how much further you can develop in terms of design, and making them more dynamic and believable!

For more notes on this topic head over the Paperwings Podcast link above and download their cheat sheet via PDF.

Right now I'm taking the time to work on Ashworth's outfit and emphasising on the reasoning behind his choice (please excuse my messy block handwriting, I was on break at work with not much time at hand to jot down some critical notes about my character!).

Edenspell concepts24 by darkspeeds

concepts2 for Happyaggro by darkspeeds

:star: Designing a City... And Imitating Bast??

First and foremost thank you to all who have been postin' their feedback and words of encouragement on my previous journal! It's really nice to hear your thoughts on the Edenspell project, it's something that I don't take for granted. Do be patient as in the following months I'll be focusing on building the foundations before I even hit any of the legit sequentials to the story.

I'll be starting off with the most important thing that will connect the reader first-hand - the characters (you would have seen a portion of it for Ashworth as I try to answer the 'Ten Questions To Ask Your Characters To Make Them More Dynamic & Believable').

I mean, why would you even invest your time in my story if you know nothing about them? It is my job to make them feel believable and interesting. 

Also equally important is the premise (i.e. what is the story about it and why am I telling it to you?). I'm starting off with 'characters' because I feel that I can communicate with my readership more effectively with engaging illustrations via the visual development process. I can draw my characters in terms of design and also illustrate scenes that can answer the 10 questions that I've mentioned earlier. However if we look into illustrating the 'premise' - you wonder 'how' when you don't have the players to guide you along. It's possible but I may probably have to illustrate concepts of the idea that can span several pages and I don't think that's time and energy well spent. So characters first! Anyways...! 

If I could sum up Edenspell (at this point in time) in a sentence, it's this:

"How does one ascend from the depths of torment?"

I feel that would be a good start as I'm curious and motivated to find out how my characters who will be/have been experiencing personal hell(s) can find salvation - that very light at the end of the tunnel. I have a personal stake on this too because of my own experiences IRL that have put me through some very daunting times with family (though it's not in the extreme case of perhaps something like suicide but I know what it's like feel hurt emotionally when circumstances in life don't go accordingly to how you see it). I will use this premise as a guide for now but as the story progresses, it may alter, who knows. Perhaps you may be able to find your own meaning behind the story and the characters that live through it, that'd be another interesting prospect to look into too!

Anyways I decided to break away from character development this evening and build a setting for the story. 

Right now as we speak I'm thinking of a periled metropolis that has experienced endless cold wintered nights... The city is vulnerable, helpless, but from what? I don't have a solid idea yet but all I know is that they are feeling troubled and insecure, and Ashworth's story begin in the middle of it all while he is a small child.

During the day I've been Googlin' for specific images and also downloading textures from that will help me on my quest to building this city. Included in my search were abondoned, church, Victorian/Gothic architecture, angel statues, snow, winter, and Czech Republic (a city I visited way back in 2007!). I find that setting appealing for what Ashworth will be going through along with the citizens who live there. Here are a couple of photos of my progress with different angles of the metropolis of which I named it: Argoyle.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Untitled by darkspeeds

So that's a preview of the thumbnails, I plan to bring them up next time for an upload on DA (whether it be in color or the special sephia/historical scroll & textbook tone) and hopefully it'll reach a standard that is presentable. 

In fact, allow me to indulge you a channel that ALL artists should check out. I can't get enough of Feng Zhu and his awesomeness... Just WATCH and LEARN.

Oh and last but not least... This one's for David and Liz and the Dreamkeepers fans... :icondreamkeepers:

I'VE JUST FINISHED DOWNLOADING DK Volume 4!!! (Took about half the day! Damn!! lol)

Oh and will I be reading the PDF? HELL NO...!! I'll be waiting for the real thing, by post! XD Just like the previous three books... I CAN'T WAIT to read it.

For now... Here's my impression of Bast - scarf included :giggle: 8-)

Untitled by darkspeeds Untitled by darkspeeds

:star: A Fresh Start...

Hi everyone! There's been a bunch of stuff happenin' these past couple of months, one of them being a family-related matter that has been resolved as of recent. It was pretty stressful but thankfully I was able to move on from it. I have a clearer idea on how to deal with situations like it in future, and in the process, I've learnt a lot more about myself and how to accept myself for who I am, and how I live my life, happily.

Secondly I'm going to apologise in advance to my clients: :iconfriskecrisps: :icontwintailfirefox12: and some others who have already requested for a commission slot weeks after, but as of today I'm going to have to cancel my commissions. The reason for this is that I'm at an exciting period of building the world of Edenspell - the ideation phase is something that I cannot ignore and commissions have been a burden on the process. So my apologies once again to you guys for the cancellation. 

Last but not least, we are half way through the year (and it's tax time! Woo!). But besides that bit of factoid, I'm going to make something clear.

It's been at least a few months into it and I feel that it's taking effect (for the better). 

I'm moving away from Sonic the Hedgehog.

I'm not gonna go into depth on it, but I'm just going to let you know in case you weren't aware of it. 

The Sonic Archie comics, the Sonic comic dramas, Sonic fanart...

I've been told by fans to watch their SCD's, e-mailed to join them for a Sonic-related project, even ask me what I thought of the latest of the Sonic Boom series.

I'm just... Not as interested in it anymore.

Having said that, it doesn't mean I've lost touch with friends I've made through the Sonic community (especially those whom I've met IRL, many a time, bless you) and it doesn't mean that I won't be doing the odd bit of Sonic fan-art from time to time. I'll still be keeping watch of friends who are doing wonders with Sonic-related fan projects and perhaps there are times where I still get a kick out of bits of Sonic news or some bad-ass fan-art/fan-comic/fan-fic, but just lettin' yas know that I'm not as proactive as in the past, and thankfully many of you are understanding of that.

Anyways thanks to everyone who have been supporting me on the Sonic stuff, my creative projects and my illustration work in general (and this goes from way back).

If I have some parting words to share as a proactive Sonic fan I strongly encourage those who are inspired by the blue hedgehog to continue to share that positive energy and compassion of the series for the like-minded friends you've made and for the new generation to come too.

Thanks Sonic by darkspeeds 

:star: I could literally stare at this for hours...

Sonicstare by darkspeeds

Sure you may have seen Sonic drawn a gazillion times, but not the way it's presented here!
Credit to Hogfather @ TSS for the discovery!

Oh and uhm, Happy 24th birthday Sonic the Hedgehog!

:star: Redesigning Marcus (updated)

Trying to get Marcus to do a villainous speech while holding onto his staff was quite the challenge! Should I have his mouth wide open in mid-speech? How should his head be tilted - high up to look smug or lowered down to look sinister? Side or quarter view for the pose? Should he be carrying his staff at all? So many variables to play with but ultimately I think having him hold onto the staff with the mouth open (indicating that he's in mid-speech) adds drama to the final pose - hands raised with a posture that is not too stiff. What do you think Geoff? Stick to the previous pose that showcases his DK power or these ones where Geoff prepares for his speech to an audience?

MARCUS for Geoff preview3 JUN2015 by darkspeeds

While I wait for a reply I'm going to take a power nap and hop back onto rendering the first two poses! 

:star: Redesigning Marcus

Just postin' progress on :iconkafelnikov:'s second commissioned character sheet! 

MARCUS for Geoff preview JUN2015 by darkspeeds

It's gettin' late and was plannin' to sketch out some ideas for his dynamic pose. Little did I know that I got stuck on one and kept on going. This was the result.

MARCUS for Geoff preview2 JUN2015 by darkspeeds

He's a lot of fun to draw! I wanted to showcase his Dreamkeeper power rather than havin' him studying schematics on a table. lol I can still look into that option if you wish but I think this is more dramatic. What do you think Geoff? 8-)

:star: You Guessed it Right!

It sure was Ashworth! Here's the original illustration!

10 Questions - Ashworth (WIP)3 DarkspeedsJUN2015 by darkspeeds

Time to post the full thing...! 8-)

:star: Character Question - "What do you want more than anything?"

"And how do you act when this is threatened?"

Arrgh... One more illustration to go before it's complete!

10 Questions - Ashworth (WIP)2small DarkspeedsJUN2 by darkspeeds

Can't go to bed till I work those details! ;__; I'll render it tomorrow afternoon. :giggle:

Oh and can you guys guess who that is cutting his way through in battle? ;)

:star: Comic News Galore!!

It's my second day off work, and I spent the whole day helpin' mom with house chores - it was very therapeutic! Life back home in Australia right now couldn't be more sweeter.

In other news let's talk about a few awesome things that need updatin' and sharin' - comic related news that is!

Dreamkeepers Kickstarter - 60K reached!!

Jun01 by darkspeeds

To David and Liz - CRICKEY!! What a stella achievement so far and with only a week to go on their campaign to release their latest Dreamkeepers graphic novel! Their KS campaign has also reached the top-100 most funded comics projects in Kickstarter history so a huge congratulations to them on that front!

If you're into your epic fantasies, richly detailed comics, highly engaging cartoon characters with depth and personality, and stories with purpose then you can't go wrong with purchasing yourself a copy of their book (you can even go digital, but seriously you'd rather go for the real thing!).

Super proud of you two! And as I've always said, you've got a true fan for life.
Can't wait till I get your latest book as well as the one I've missed out on last time (aka the PRELUDE Collection 1! Fire ain't going to destroy it! HA HA!).

A reminder to those who watch me here (and there's a lot of you out there!) you can check out their devaintART page via :icondreamkeepers: as well as their official website. Let the descent begin!!

Son of the Thunder God 

I've been approached by :icondragonblitzstudios: several months ago and he shared with me his story behind publishing a comic book featuring a character who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I admire his honesty, openness and vision to send a powerful message about respecting and embracing people with disabilities through his comic. In fact, he was even featured on the local news (how cool is that? Watch and be inspired)!


Furthermore he managed to commission one of my favourite 'pre-Genesis wave' Sonic Archie penciling artists: STEVEN BUTLER to pencil his story! They're locals and Steven took the initiative to help and encourage Adam to get it pitched to some comic publishers (what a top bloke)! Here is their pitch of 6 pages, beautifully illustrated and rendered. Please do check them out (take note also that the comic pages were colored by Matt Herms - veteran colorist of the Archie Action comics)!

Son of the Thunder God Comic Short Page 1 by DragonBlitzStudios Son of the Thunder God comic short page 2 by DragonBlitzStudios Son of the Thunder God comic short page 3 by DragonBlitzStudios
 Son of the Thunder God comic short page 4 by DragonBlitzStudios Son of the Thunder God comic short page 5 by DragonBlitzStudios Son of the Thunder God comic short page 6 by DragonBlitzStudios

You can find out more about Adam and his ambitious comic project on his deviantART page: :icondragonblitzstudios: Wishing you, Steven and the team all the best!


Lackadaisy for those who don't know already is a web-comic created by Tracy Butler and "OH. MY. GOD." is what I'll be saying to you if you haven't been following her work!

Jun02 by darkspeeds

I posted a DA journal months ago congratulating her efforts in jump-starting a brand new PATREON page so that she can support her creation full-time (and boy did it happen with great success!). Dreamkeepers comic creator and artist David Lillie endorsed her initiatives too!

Do me a favour and watch her stuff if you haven't already. Be a Patreon to her cause, support her masterworks and... OMG!! NEW PAGE!!

 Lackadaisy Thaumaturgy by tracyjb

Two words to describe her work. 

Sublime quality.

Three words?

Simply the best.

And if that's not enough, look what's sitting right next to my studio table?

Jun03 by darkspeeds

Support this artist, NOW. lol You can learn more about Tracy via PATREON or conveniently on her deviantART page via :icontracyjb:

Ghosts of the Future, The Murder of Me and The Vulture!

What do these four artists - :iconevanstanley: :icongigi-d: :iconknockabiller: :iconsallyvinter: - share in common? Well they're creatively talented in their own right but they also have developed personal comic projects that involve a fundamental denominator: Sonic the Hedgehog! (actually... Not in Knockabiller's case character-wise but you get what I mean! lol).

In brief:

Get ready spirit-believers cuz Evan's in the process of rendering her latest in the GOTF series (I've seen samples and they look freakin' amazing). Chapter 13 will be unleashed in the first half of Summer (i.e. late June/early July 2015) so be prepared for a climatic clash between the good guys and the bad guys! Also Evan is officially writing for #79-82 of Sonic Universe, bringing Silver the Hedgehog back into action! Looking forward to it. 

Gigi's 'The Murder of Me' series has been constantly updated these past couple of months, and pages have been posted on the regular! Find out what it's like to be the hedgehog trio as they're slowly discovering their true destinies and the powers that be to be harnessed to defeated Gods! Also, her comic is available in Spanish & French! Sacre bleu!

It's been a while since I've seen a comic about Silver the Hedgehog that is drawn in a manner that's captivating, funky and... I don't know... Sexy I guess? Sexy as in super-awesome-cool! Or... Uhm... Nevermind. Knockabiller has done everything right to create a kick-ass story that embraces dynamic artwork and dialogue that connects at a human level.

Last but not least a big congrats to Cooper for recently completing her Penpals comic which embraces the relationships of Sonic and Amy Rose! I can consider her the queen of Sonic fluffy relationships cuz her pages showcase some very telling pieces, with just the right amount of it for any fan to go "Awww....". All the very best to Cooper on her next Sonic comic project where she states: "It's going to be more action/adventure oriented and it's also going to take place in the Sonic Boom Universe".

GOTF Issue 12 Page 27 by EvanStanley ------------> [ARCHIVE] 

TMOM Issue 8 COVER by Gigi-D ------------> [ARCHIVE]

Tvult 1 title by knockabiller ------------> [ARCHIVE]

Pen Pals Cover Page by SallyVinter ------------> [ARCHIVE]

:star: GOTF Metal Sonic + Scourge [SPEED PAINT]!

:star: Metal Sonic says....!

I'm sexy and I know it! by darkspeeds

One and a half hours left to go on the challenge (yup I paused the timer so that it's not cheating! X3)

:star: 2HR ART TRADE entries! Also, my next trade is...!

If you haven't heard about this idea of sacrificing two hours of your time out of the week to art trade with someone then check out the journal entry below:

TWO HOUR ART TRADE WEEKEND CHALLENGE!:star: Evan Stanley x Gigi (Human Sonic!) 1st Art Trade!
Awww yeah! Look what just turned in?
This is a perfect example of what I'm looking for; open communication between artists/friends, committing to the art trade, sticking to the rules and having a blast while at it over the weekend - and look what came out of it?
What I really liked about these two talented artists are the fact that they share a web-comic series about Sonic the Hedgehog and shared a common purpose in their exercise. On top of that, why go for something predictable and do something different for a change? How about illustrating a human version of Sonic the Hedgehog of their comic series? Super neat.
Hope to see more soon! And don't forget to link it back to one another of your art trades in the description! Have a kick-ass time and draw something bad-ass!!

I highly encourage you to do this at least once a month to get involved with the online art community that is deviantART. If you're up for a challenge try to do this on a regular - 4 times a month, making it a commitment to do 4 illustrations in 8 hours. You'd be amazed to see what you can come up with if you and your art trading partner really dig into it.

Here are the entries from the first challenge with the theme: "Bad-ass".


:iconevanstanley: x :icongigi-d:

2 Hour Art Trade: Human GOTF Sonic speedpaint by EvanStanley 2 Hour Art Trade: Human TMOM sawnic by Gigi-D

:iconarianatheechidna: x :iconlunaticsnivy:

2 Hour Art Trade: Luna +Speed Draw by ArianatheEchidna .: 2 Hour AT - Chenana R. Saga :. by LunaticSnivy

:iconcrazycrumbcake: x :iconfreedomfightersonic:

Venice the Mink by CrazyCrumbCake in your DREAMS by freedomfightersonic

:icondarkspeeds: x :iconknockabiller:

2 Hour Art Trade: P I N K A L I C I O U S by darkspeeds Lemme Ax You Something Real Quick by knockabiller

:iconauroblaze: x :iconmissyuna:
2HourArtTrade:Kicking ass with style by Auroblaze 2 HOURS Art trade with AuroBlaze by missyuna

:iconiammemyself: x :iconrexmobianmix:
Badass Challenge by iammemyself So Badass by rexmobianmix

:iconhappyaggro: x :iconmanjer-art:

Two Hour Art Trade Challenge - manjer-art by HappyAggro Kane [Two hour art trade] by Manjer-art



 The Coolest by MorayK



Way Badass by risesatspring 

It is truly terrific to see each and everyone's entries, I'd like to thank you all once again for participating in the challenge and gaining something out of it!

I'm going to see if I can make it a regular thing for me personally so my next challenge I've invited :iconevanstanley: over to draw some of my characters for my upcoming graphic novel.

In exchange I'll be drawing characters from her amazing Ghosts of the Future comic.
Time to reveal who those two are!

GOTF Metal Sonic and Scourge by darkspeeds

:star: Darkspeeds x Knockabiller (BAD-ASSERY!)

Both Knockabiller and I shared two things in common with this art-trade exercise. One, we both stuck to the theme of "bad-ass". And two, we agreed to focus on two of our very own OC's. And this was the result!

2 Hour Art Trade: P I N K A L I C I O U S by darkspeeds Lemme Ax You Something Real Quick by knockabiller

See what two hours of your time out of the weekend can do? 

If you're artists, there ain't no excuse to kick back for a couple of hours and get creative! The two hour time limit really makes you think, it forces you to think.
And believe me, if you know what you're doing, and you have done a little bit of research, the results can be uncanny.

Give it a go everyone! There is still this Sunday to submit your entries in for my next journal post where I'll be compiling people's entries! 

For those who are unable to commit to this weekend, fear not! I'm going to give everyone an opportunity to get their artwork exposed by next Sunday, 6th JUNE 2015 - that's one more week which is plenty of time!

During that period I'm going to do perhaps one more trade with another artist of my choosing (sorry, but I gotta be picky with my choices!).

So grab your pens (digital or graphite) and start drawing!!

:star: PINKALICIOUS: Speedpaint Video + Bonus Drawings!

This was crazy fun to do! It started out with these early sketches!

Knockabiller ART TRADE First Impresssions Darkspee by darkspeeds  Knockabiller ART TRADE Idea 1 Darkspeeds MAY2015 by darkspeeds
Knockabiller ART TRADE Idea 2 Darkspeeds MAY2015 by darkspeeds Knockabiller ART TRADE Idea 3 Darkspeeds MAY2015 by darkspeeds

Check out the entire process of my art trade with :iconknockabiller: on the video below - all done in just under two hours!

So far we've had some brilliant examples of the 2 Hour Art Trade Challenge - the theme being "BAD-ASS". I'll post them altogether on a separate journal!

Keep up the awesome stuff and don't forget to link them to me so that I can showcase the ones I feel deserve a feature!

:star: Evan Stanley x Gigi (Human Sonic!) 1st Art Trade!

Awww yeah! Look what just turned in?

2 Hour Art Trade: Human GOTF Sonic speedpaint by EvanStanley 2 Hour Art Trade: Human TMOM sawnic by Gigi-D

This is a perfect example of what I'm looking for; open communication between artists/friends, committing to the art trade, sticking to the rules and having a blast while at it over the weekend - and look what came out of it?

What I really liked about these two talented artists are the fact that they share a web-comic series about Sonic the Hedgehog and shared a common purpose in their exercise. On top of that, why go for something predictable and do something different for a change? How about illustrating a human version of Sonic the Hedgehog of their comic series? Super neat.

Hope to see more soon! And don't forget to link it back to one another of your art trades in the description! Have a kick-ass time and draw something bad-ass!!


Seriously, who here can't have two hours to spare to do an art trade during the entire week? 

Go on, challenge yourself - and a friend! You two could come up with something "bad-ass" for a couple of illustrations! 

Here are the rules, let's keep it simple!

Arttradechallenge by darkspeeds

And here are some tips to share!

  • Keep your drawings loose! Don't commit yourself to details too much at the start of your drawing and spend more focus on a dynamic looking pose or gesture of the character.

  • Try to keep it to one character per trade, in other words, keep it realistic to your ability. However if you two are ambitious and skilled enough to do more than one who's to say you can't?

  • I did this drawing as an exercise to see what I could come up with: Supersonic Boom (One Hour Sonic) by darkspeeds And it's proof that you can do something pretty neat in an hour. I just didn't spend the extra hour on additional details - if you're that good, feel free to utilise that extra hour on details!

  • Be respectful of each other when communicating for an art trade, it's also a skill to communicate well with another artist and have both get something out of the exercise - not only a kick-ass drawing but extra mileage on your illustration technique!

  • Try to really time your two hours. It's harder than it sounds. Use something like ONLINE STOPWATCH to keep track. If you're that cool, try to print-screen your progress and show it to your friend the various stages of your art trade (assuming that you're working on it digitally!)

And that's it! Have fun and good luck!
I'm going to be tagging someone right now, and that someone is you :iconknockabiller:!

I CHALLENGE YOU TO A "BAD-ASS" ILLUSTRATION, like right now!! XXD *note sent*

:star: Posing as Hal (Camera, Mirror, ACTION!)

Mirrors are AWESOME!! 

P1180347 - Copy by darkspeeds

Oh mirror, thou art a wealth of references for customised poses, thou have saveth the day yet again! lol

I wasn't too happy with the pose that showcased previously (the one of the top-right of the bottom image).

HAL2 MAY2015 - Copy by darkspeeds

After playing around with Geoff's notes on the gun and adjusting a few elements on the original pose I've evolved it an improved version as featured on bottom-right corner of the image. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, Hal feels much more dynamic while trying to load his gun!

The point of this journal update is a reminder to you all that a camera and a big-ass mirror are super helpful tools for an artist who is looking for a particular pose for a character (that is when you don't have someone around to help take the snap for you at the time). You'll be spending hours on Google search if there is a very specific pose that you are aiming for so don't be afraid to experiment with the tools mentioned earlier, and have fun while you're at it!

:star: Dreamkeepers KICKSTARTER (Volume 4 is out!!)

I can't stress enough on how awesome this series is, David Lillie is an incredible story teller of this new generation of web-comics and had successfully campaigned a set of high quality self-published graphic novels since it's humble beginnings in 2005. I mean just look at how much they've raised in two days on their Kickstarter - it's an incredible result!

DK-Kickstart by darkspeeds

A huge congratulations to David, his wife Liz and their team of art assistants who have put in a ton of effort these past couple of years into the project and it's time they got what they deserved.

Do me a favour and buy the book, in fact, buy all FOUR volumes.

And if you're extra nice, spread the word to friends who dig great stories and love reading comics.

For daily updates you visit their official website and subscribe to their newsletter. You can also check out their work on their deviantART page :icondreamkeepers:

Okay time to hit the hay and get some sleep! But before that, some behind-the-scenes with my latest commission (:iconkafelnikov: being my client).

Quick sketches of Hal's extra pose.
Hal sketches Geoff Commission 2 by darkspeeds

Revisiting Hal's extra pose using elements from poses #3 & #7.
 Hal sketches 02 Geoff's commission by darkspeeds

Reworking the above pose - a very nervous Hal who is high on adrenaline and confronting danger.
HAL forDA2 MAY2015 by darkspeeds

Finished line-art to front and side shots of Hal's character sheet.
HAL forDA1 MAY2015 by darkspeeds

Let me know what you think Geoff. Speak to you on the evening - if I managed to wake up on time! lol 8-)

: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 darkspeeds by TWONIONSElson by Gigi-D
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 darkspeeds 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!