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:star: Painting Process - Solitary

Hi guys! Here's the process behind the recent painting - Solitary. And just letting you know that I feel much better after speaking to my friends about the issue. Thanks for your well wishes. Let's move on and see how I have approached this painting!

Step 01Thumbnailing

It's always handy to do rough thumbnails of what you intend to paint! 

for DA Solitary by darkspeeds

Whether it be a portrait, a landscape, still-life, every drawing starts out as a sketch and it is encouraged to do at least a couple more thumbnails to explore your concepts further - you can even do some sketch studies of how each element will be presented in the final drawing. In my case I was got lucky with my first doodle without further study. I was very pleased with the overall composition and my focal points. Once you're invested you can move on to the next stage - a value study.

Step 02Value Study

Again I was lucky to have found a light and shadow combination that worked for me on the first go. Relying on my instincts I decided to keep it simple and apply my teachings on atmospheric perspective to create a visual interest using depth and distancing of my subjects. The closer the subject the darker in value it gets, and the further away the subject the brighter the value.

Take note that the change in values will also effect your composition which ultimately effect how your eyes moves around the drawing. Make sure you plan well so that you can get the eyes to move to the focal point effortlessly.

Solitary 01 values by darkspeeds

Step 03Color Study

This is an opportunity to create some interesting drama in your drawing using light and color without sacrificing time on getting the mood correct at later stages of your painting. Simply create another layer and set it to 'OVERLAY' 'SOFT LIGHT' or 'COLOR' mode, depending on your preference, and paint away. I used a combination of options to create the colors I was looking for.

Also it helps to have an understanding on color theory and how it works for visual development. I have my Color and Design instructor Michele Goodwin to give thanks to for her instruction on the subject. If you do not have a qualified art instructor to teach you then I highly recommend you to look into James Gurney - creator of the Dinotopia series - and his works. Get his two books on painting realism with light and color - I guarantee that your work will improve by a milestone if you apply his practical theories and instruction on your next painting project.

Solitary 02 colorstudies by darkspeeds

In the end I decided to stick with the limited cool palette - with a warm color accent to highlight areas of interest. The thumbnail I used as a guide would be the third thumbnail on the bottom-left hand corner. A warm back-light and red-orange accent was added in later to the final painting. 

Step 04Start Painting!

Do take advantage of whatever you can get to be inspired and well prepared prior to painting. I will say that I had watched the following videos in the past to learn techniques and be inspired by the methods used to create stunning artwork.

On this video I learnt alot more on how to apply light and color into a painting to create drama. This kind of stuff I have already learnt in school, as well as in James Gurney's books - the ones I mentioned earlier, but Jeremy Vickery here shows those principles in real time based on a simple landscape illustration he did for a tutorial featured on #124 of ImagineFX. Also I have Jeremy to thank for his awesome CUSTOM BRUSH he provided in the tutorial - I was using it over and over again on my painting!

On this video, the incredibly talented Feng Zhu has taught me how to use textures from stock photos and apply it on digital paintings - it is such a time-saving, cost-effective method on adding visual interest into any painting very quickly. However be warned, if you abuse this technique your painting will look cluttered, unnatural and overall a mess.

One last bit of inspiration that I gathered for the project was an American illustrator and master painter of the early to middle twentieth century - Mead Schaeffer.

I love his paintings because of the limited palette he uses to create such striking impressions of his subjects. I had decided to use one of his paintings as a guide to help me in the painting process.

Mead Schaeffer painting by darkspeeds 

And so I started out blocking the big shapes with the biggest brush possible.

Following the original thumbnailed color study and Schaeffer's painting I used the EYEDROPPER to borrow colors to use on the canvas. Stay true to what you had originally planned for colors otherwise you'll get carried away and create some funky colors you don't need for the painting.

Solitary 03 color1 by darkspeeds Solitary 03 color2 by darkspeeds

From here I used a big soft brush (set opacity to 15-20%) and with a new COLOR DODGE layer I slowly painted in the warm light that is exposed behind the large structure. Technically Ashworth shouldn't be hit with the orange light as he is far behind the large structure that is blocking the warm light. I fixed this later on the painting but you can already see there is a nice visual contrast with the cool and warm colors. If you know your color theory blue and orange are compliments and when used properly you can manipulate a visual interest in your painting real fast.

Take note that I also decided to change Ashworth's posture and kept his arms asymmetrical so that they don't look the same - in other words I wanted his posture to look a little more dynamic. You can see the change from the bottom left to the bottom right image.

Also, on the images below, you can see that I've applied textures from stock photos. What I used for textures were photos of European architecture, abandoned buildings, and secret gardens. Make sure you use Gaussian blur on those photos, set the layer to COLOR DODGE and adjust the OPACITY levels and let it blend naturally into the painting. If you are unsure on how to do this check out Feng Zhu's video above - i.e. Design Cinema Ep. 80 - Mixing Surroundings.

Solitary 03 color4 by darkspeeds Solitary 03 color5 by darkspeeds

To help me define Ashworth's posture as realistically as possible I used a photo reference of myself. 

Solitary 03 color5b by darkspeeds

At this stage of the painting I blocked off the big shapes and worked on the details - such as the stone blocks, the angel wings, the steams of water trickling down the cistern, Ashworth's anatomy and boots etc...

Solitary 03 color6 by darkspeeds Solitary 03 color7 by darkspeeds

Looking at the two images above you can tell that there is a change in scale of the foreground. I did this because I wasn't too happy with how small Ashworth is in comparison to the landscape. I needed to enlarge him (along with the foreground elements) and bring him closer to create the depth I was looking for in the thumbnail - after all he is a primary focal point.

Step 05Making Final Adjustments

From time to time, throughout the painting process, I make sure that I stay true to my values from the very beginning by desaturating the image and squinting. I also made sure that my composition works with the values so that the eyes won't have difficulty reaching the focal points as it wanders around the canvas.

I've reached to the end of the painting (the image on the top right) and decided to enhance the values to boost atmospheric perspective of the foreground and background elements.

During adjustment of the values I use this technique where you flatten the image and go to IMAGE> ADJUSTMENT > POSTERIZE > Value of 4. This is what it looks like.

Solitary 03 color9 by darkspeeds

Thanks to the enhanced values I managed to achieve my intent of having the eyes wander around and hitting at two focal points starting from the top to bottom. The focal points are the head and upper torso of the angel statue and Ashworth.

Solitary 03 color9b by darkspeeds

Don't be afraid to use shapes and curvatures to help guide those eyes. Look how the curvature on the top-left corner is darkened (it wasn't present in the thumbnail but I added this towards the end for an adjustment to the overall composition) and naturally guides the eye to move from Point 1 to Point 2 very easily. The triangular darkened shape (just above the slant is the highlight of the pillar) helps direct your eyes to move from Point 2 to Point 3 with little effort.

Design is very important in any illustration. Take advantage of it and develop a composition that works during the thumbnail stage.

Speaking of composition, let's see how the rule of thirds apply.

Solitary 03 color9b2 by darkspeeds

I made sure that my points of interest hit close to either of the four intersecting points (see POI 1 & 2).

If you look at it from another angle at how the rule of thirds can make a painting work really well visually is how you create portions of the canvas for the eyes to wander, rest and pay attention to. Check out the image below for a scan of the portions used in my painting.

Solitary 03 color9b3 by darkspeeds

As you can see on the top right I kept that area deliberately as breathing space or a entry point for the eyes to wander. Next you see the orange part as a second priority - I want people to move their way to the angel statue and study the details within it. Then the red-orange box is an area of greatest interest - this is where I would like and would expect most viewers to end up. So to generate that interest I added Ashworth in there as a primary focal point - who doesn't like to see a face and a body in a lonely place? Furthermore I wanted to direct the attention of the viewers to the peculiar but very inviting warm light in the background and make them study it, get curious and ask questions about the details.

Now I mentioned about my focal points - I made sure that those elements are where I would spend most of my time to get the details right. Use a smaller brush and paint away the details. Having an aim and purpose will serve your time wisely in any painting project.

Solitary 03 color9bc by darkspeeds

Solitary 03 color9d by darkspeeds

So once again, a reminder about the benefit of developing a composition that works for your painting - it makes your eyes wander around the canvas to embrace the subtle details as well as the focal points.

Let's have a look at all the possible pathways my viewer can make during observation. I found ten ways for the eye to make it's way to the primary focal point. Having multiple paths in your painting can be exciting and add visual interest!

Solitary 03 color9e by darkspeeds

So there you have it, I hope this painting process will help inspire you and give insight to techniques you haven't used before on your artwork.

Do plenty of research, plan ahead and paint with purpose. 

Doing this will give impact to the final painting.

Solitary 03 color8 by darkspeeds

:star: Lately I've been feeling like shit.

(at work that is...)

Never have I imagined that I would find myself feeling this way about it - maybe once in a blue moon, but it never gotten so bad that it became a potentially long-term issue.

I had great fun. I was professional. I was dedicated. I took initiative. I was happy

Not anymore.

I'm currently in the process of a looking for a solution to the problem.

Also there is another thing that still bothers me a tick. First I'm going to express myself with a painting. Starting off with this sketch.

for DA Solitary by darkspeeds

Last but not least, a big thanks to the following for their mentions on a recent questionnaire - you've been most kind: :iconleonarstist06: :iconmechanized515: :icon7marichan7: :iconbloomblitz: :iconiammemyself: :iconquad-pulsation: :iconkamira-exe: :icongpainbringer55: :iconsonicpikapal: :iconmbboxen: :iconzero20-2: :iconkassanovas: :iconsheezy93: :iconskyminhazboz: :iconscintillajin: :iconnetraptor: :icontri-jean: :iconarianatheechidna: :iconcarokitty: :iconarianatheechidna: :iconchaotixfangirl11: :iconjimmyt1996: :iconcalculusmaster: :iconthepenvsthesword: :iconsonicboom403: :iconsoftmonkeychains: :iconsonicrocksmysocks: :iconemseeare: :iconkodjo1: :iconproboom: :icondragontamer272: & :iconinu225:

Whatever the gesture, be it brief or extended, whether you've been inspired by my works and persona, or simply admired some pieces of my art throughout my history as a hobbyist illustrator, the thought is very much appreciated. 

:star: Lackadaisy audio sample - Wake up Rocky!

Here's a sneak peak of my latest audio adaptation project based on the hit web-comic series - Lackadaisy - created by Tracy J Butler!

This was done in a couple of hours - it was lot of fun! Shame Rocky's 'unconscious' presence wasn't heard on this sample - Tyler who will be playing him is currently on a short holiday to Texas with friends (who are also casting in the project)!

Big thanks to the wonderful Kate Halstad who voiced Ivy Pepper, she simply nailed her role and as a bonus Kate has finished most of her recordings already for me to start editing! Amazing.

Big thanks also to TheTigerwolf55 who played as Abelard brilliantly, and will also be the voice of Mordecai! He's gonna knock you socks off and he's helped me write some ad-lib for a scene in  'Coercion'!

Super shoutout to MrsArkban (who will be playing as Serafine, and boy does she do a bloody good impression of her), we had a very interesting consultation today and I'm looking forward to her recordings!

Furthermore, super shoutouts to Wolfblade96 (who will be playing as Narrator, Viktor, Wes Clyde and Young Mordecai, and had recorded pretty much 98% of his stuff) and to the people whom I've caught up for consultation, as of late, receiving instructions on the project!

Keep up the awesome stuff guys and gals!

And of course, this project is not only dedicated to the fans of the Lackadaisy, and to my VA team, but especially for Tracy who created this amazing series in the first place!

Let's rock on and finish this within the next couple of months!



: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!