Friday, December 27, 2013

Final Fantasy Collab

click for larger view

Monk from Final Fantasy I


This week I joined a mega-collaboration! It's really fun to work together with others, I am looking forward to when we are all finished and get to see our accomplishment. The project is organized by Edward Recinos(http://edtertainer.tumblr.com) and we will be drawing nearly all the characters from all of the Final Fantasy games, and they will be put together when every artist has finished drawing his/her character. There are a few more characters available and nearly anyone can join, so rush to the previous tumblr link and grab yourself a character! I joined the effort later than many others so I had to race through the selections until I got a slot, which I was quite happy about. My character is the Monk, from Final Fantasy I. The earliest version I played was Final Fantasy II so I'm glad to have expanded my knowledge of the series.

There are loads of characters and just as many artists involved in this project and while the concluding picture will be really big, we are each doing a little piece of it. This is a wonderful reminder of how powerful we are when we utilize teamwork! Let's keep up the positive buzz so we can create a richer community.

Thank you again goes to Edward for putting in the time to organize this and giving back the community.

Have a good day. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Kaayla Christmas


I made this for people to enjoy
it was enjoyed upon creation
much like opening a new toy

If I did it again
it would have the same spirit
Although both would remain unique
about how one would feel it

I'm an artist
if I couldn't create
then I would miss this
So I seize holidays
to procreate
and say Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Genesis of denz


I think the beginning of this story may be similar to many others but I used to only draw Dragon Ball Z! Surprised? Probably not.. Around year 2000, when Toonami introduced me to DBZ, I was hypnotized and would spend much time drawing what I saw from the awesome series and dreaming of the adventures that were taking place. All my drawings revolved around DBZ for many years, so I wanted to show off some of my genesis into the art world:












It took me seven scattered days to finish the one on the right, haha.










This one was done on the day I turned twelve, dedicated!
















I thought this one was EXTREMELY cool when I did it.









I didn't want to spend the time to draw Trunks' face, so I hid it behind Gohan's hair=). I still like this one though.






At the time I made these, between 2001 and 2004, I was happy with the results, but now what I am happy about is that I got these out of the way! I enjoy seeing my old work, and I enjoy seeing others' too, so maybe you can show yours off as well. Do it.

I'm not much into fan-art, I only do it on rare occasions, but I don't want to leave you with those pictures as your last thought, so just look at this one more time:



Thank you all and have a good day.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sometimes I Get High

In the pursuit of a long term goal, we all experience the draining lows and the dizzying highs and one of the most important things to do is stay on the correct path during both seasons. Both states of mind have their way of presenting temptation to wander away, but confronting the situation head-on has always helped me to continue moving forward. 

This may seem cold, but I have found that maintaining a certain amount of indifference is a key to perseverance. Because working alone can feel lonely, having less concern for the effects aids in moving past it. That is a difficult thing to do sometimes because it feels torturous, but this reminds me of a statement made by my favorite comedian:

"Find the torture that you are comfortable with." - Jerry Seinfeld

Let's take notice that I am a visual artist and he is a comedian, these are very different roles, but the path to reaching excellence is so similar. We all get high and we all get low, yet we keep working, how? Each person has to make their own way, and build their own ladder. No person that I look up to can make me them and I cannot make any person looking up to me me. Here are five top tips I use for staying focused:

- When the work is all good, I receive positive energy and I can spend it and flaunt it on some fun activity, until I need to work again. Instead, I reinvest it by putting all the positivity back into the work, to make it better and promote a greater return in the future.

- Love the lows: How can anything be positive, if there are no negatives? I dream of the greener grass when I feel down, I know it is just over the hill and me attaining it is inevitable.

- Surround yourself with what is good for you. Just like food, whatever we put into ourselves, becomes a part of us. If we eat loads of fat, we get fat. If we fill our vision up with other people who are positive, kind, and peaceful, all that becomes a part of us.

- Analyze from the inside and from the outside. When I am judging my performance, I think about it as my own actions, but then I also look at myself as if I were a different person. This simply provides two points of view.

- Always keep in mind that past success is in the past, we have to make new successes to enjoy in the present.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Beautiful Mistakes

I want to share my thoughts about mistakes. The ones I am referring to are not so much having to do with life in general, but those made on the path to success. For me, that is being a great creator. I love what mistakes have provided for me, even when they cause so much headache. I don't intend to do things incorrectly, but I am aware that they are inevitable and help me become a more efficient version of myself.

Here is a specific example: I am a beginner in 3D modelling, so as I am working on it, I know what I am doing may not achieve my desired results, but is necessary to do so I can make grand discoveries. This process can seem frustrating, but it is part of the 10,000 hours. Keeping that in mind, the difficulties can actually become a delight! If what we are doing is uncomfortable, then that may be a sign of growth. Thinking about this reminds me of the movie Meet The Robinsons, by Disney http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0396555/. In that story, the main character, Lewis, is an inventor who eventually goes onto create things of magnificence, but during the path, he kept on eating dirt until he was finally able to stand up. The philosophy of embracing mistakes is really displayed in him and his family. Essentially, they throw parties when each other messes things up:

 

I am always aware that I may be making mistakes, but as long as I remember how to handle them, there is no negativity.

Friday, November 22, 2013

CTNX 2013 Summary


Saturday, the 16th, I attended CTN in Burbank, CA, and had a wonderful time! I met so many fantastic artists, it was wild. It would have been difficult to walk around and not be impressed with the work that was being displayed. And not only did the artists' booths look amazing, but many people brought some of their own gallery with them, which was great. Every person I met was kind and offered to show their work and would ask to see others'. There was a pleasant amount of diversity available to the attendees, so I'll give you the run-down, from the beginning:










 We road-tripped from Stockton, CA!










And I saw a 1-pound Snickers on the way...








As I was walking around I saw these on the side of some buildings and learned that there is a team of artists that painted this and paint new pictures here every month, that's pretty wild!










Waiting in line...










10:00 AM, finally entering!






I was instantly smacked in the face with a rich atmosphere of raw and creative talent! It felt like a dream being around so many artists at the same time, these are the same people whose work I view online, but it feels so different in person. It was thick, like I had to squeeze in between all the skill in front of me.








Throughout the convention center there were various areas to observe live work. Here was a station where some artists were showcasing and teaching about traditional animation.








Next to that was another station where a tablet was streaming on a television while various artists took turns working so people could watch.






Just behind those two, was one of my favorite features of the convention: the live model stage. For the entire day, this lady and man would skillfuly hold poses and change costumes for artists to draw them and work side-by-side. I love this! 'Tis a very nice way to approach others, because the work is already out and ready to show around.






This was a surprise to me, and a big one! Here, we got to question Drew Struzan, the artist who has been in the entertainment industry for a very long time, making many iconic pictures that nearly all of us know. The conference was about one hour but mostly open to audience questions, so that was nice. Here are some of his recognizable pieces:











LUNCH







Sean "Cheeks" Galloway had art displayed that I quickly recognized. I have seen his work online but it's nice to see the person. He gave me a quick critique and we talked about one of the stories he did the art for called Pearl of Pandaria! Him online: https://twitter.com/cheeksgalloway






J Scott Campbell is another artist who I immediately wanted to meet. I've seen his work all over online and was delighted to have a brief conversation with him. He told me about his experience in the creation of art before we had the internet as a tool. Him online: http://jscottcampbell.com/





Near the center of the alleys was another staged display of an artist having his work streamed for people to see, while being interviewed at the same time. It was nice to listen to him talk and work simultaneously but I started feeling for him when one of his answers to a question was explaining how difficult it was to focus on the work and questions at the same time!

This was one of my favorite parts of the entire convention. The Z-Brush area was constantly full of 3D artists showcasing the numerous capabilities of the software and providing us with techniques and answers to questions. One of the artists was telling us about his 3D printer that he recently acquired and the models he was able to print with it. They are different colors, because there are different types of materials that can be used for printing. He also told us about certain ways models need to be created so that they have the ability to even be printed. From this, I got the feeling that 3D printing is still infantile and will be getting heavily improved upon in the near future. This was a special thing to witness, because I think 3D printing will be huge. 3D Modeller - Robert Vignone: https://twitter.com/polysculpture




I was really happy to visit this booth! I loved the atmosphere of this area because these folks were particularly nice and relaxed with good conversation. Not only was Chris there but many of his students too, which was very cool because they ranged from beginner to advanced. This was helpful to passers because they could have conversations from various perspectives. Chris also provided me with a nice critique. Him online: http://www.chrisoatley.com








I had spent so much time walking and talking that I didn't even know it was dark outside, so I said my goodbyes to the people, for the time being, and shoved off.

As I was leaving, my buzz was still really high with the spirit of creation. I am very glad that I started attending CTN and plan to continue as long as I can. Overall, my favorite part was simply meeting other artists, we all may be on similar paths, but it seems like we are far apart when we don't work together and communicate. I will still be contemplating my attendance, but for now, what I learned from this convention just backs my belief about how important commune is. Work becomes loads easier when we are together. I am thankful to all the people who put this wonderful event together and to all the people who attended and made it how awesome it was! I urge anyone who can to be a part of CTN 2014 =). Now back to work.

Friday, November 15, 2013

CTNX Bound

This weekend I will be attending Creative Talent Network Expo(CTNX) in Los Angeles, an art convention with emphasis on illustration and animation! This will be the first convention I make appearance at and have high hopes. Taking my first steps into the entertainment industry, mingling with other dedicated creatives, and being able to add my own ideas to the mix has me really psyched to jump into some work. Nearly all that I have done has been a solo effort and I constantly dream about being in a creative-rich environment, not only to get some fantastic work done, but just to enjoy the company and conversation of other open-minded and innovative people.

I have a very small amount of friends who are artists, so I get very excited whenever I get a chance to meet new ones. Not to just conversate similar interests, but to feed the flames of ambition. Sometimes, when I work alone for a long time, I get the feeling that no matter how skilled I get, nothing will change or it gets difficult to gauge how much I am improving. I absorb that which is around me, so if I am in a lazy and apathetic environment, I will be spending all my time in pursuit of greener grass.

So let's get juiced up for CTNX and I look forward to all the wonderful people I see there, and to those I meet in the future!

I'll be posting my activity via Twitter @ http://www.twitter.com/denzelajackson

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Burden of Triumph

As I progress up through the art community, the list of people I look up to increases. I will eventually look to them as equals and we can work side-by-side, but another feeling increases with that: respect. In the past, I understood that people were more skilled than me, but I didn't fathom the path between us. I didn't understand all the focus required to reach the level they were at, which made sense because I had not found it. But I'm travelling it now, and like a safari-tour, I see all the beasts that need to be slain to achieve high-level work. So as I approach my seniors, my admiration grows because I am discovering all that they have accomplished. It seems ironic, but the closer I get to equivalency, the larger my field of view is.

While we all may be producing our own ideas, often someone else's idea is so powerful and agreed upon that I feel the longing to manifest my version of the concept. This is a way I show admiration to other artists, by enjoying their ideas enough to use them in my own work, thus, like a chain, the rich idea passes through the community more than once and provides multiple interpretations. I have made nice friends this way too because we both contemplate similar things, so by no surprise, there is more we have in common and enjoy to discuss. Therefore, I encourage you to also interpret other people's work and if it has impact and meaning, create your own version of it. This sounds like fan-art, but I am referring to the deeper meaning of people's work, rather than a specific visual design. With an idea, it needs to be analyzed and reproduced with a new vision.

Like all forms of art, many people put themselves into their work, so informing people that you like what they put out and what is good about it is a really nice thing to do, but too much sugar can make a person sick. If I only received compliments, then my mind would be saturated with the interpretation that my work is already pleasing everyone! Criticism is worth much more than compliments to the person who seeks improvement. When I receive 3 out of 10 positive reviews on a piece of my work, then that is 3 reasons to keep up the good work and 7 reasons to work harder. So I love having my flaws pointed-out and for those that do that for me, thank you very much.

Review: three ways to breath more respect into the community is to take the time to realize what superiors have accomplished, really observe other people's work(give credit where credit is due), and be honest in critiques. Hard work pays off.

Skill is undeniable.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Style of Greatness

I use to want to draw like everyone else. It seems silly but I would get 

that urge quite often. It was uncontrollable and I just didn't act on it, 

because the only thing I can do properly is be me. Coincidentally, artists 

discover similar techniques and methods which may look similar, but each 

person has a lovely interpretation and understanding of things. And when 

reality enters our thoughts and comes back out in a medium, the world gets 

more colorful. We can all add to our home's wonder. That is why I believe 

staying true to yourself is important.

As for abilities of different styles, I found that different methods of 

rendering can sway the subject towards a certain feel. For example: it would 

be difficult to draw figures with thick and black lineart and maintain a 

regal and sophisticated result. On the other hand, it may not be practical 

to render cover-quality work for the small panels of a graphic novel. What 

do you think of style limitations?

I'll write again: each person can add their personal value to the world and 

make it more beautiful. Maybe one of us will stumble upon something wild and 

become the setter of a fresh style! One of my favorite artists is Jace 

Wallace (http://wakkawa.iseenothing.com/ or http://www.jace-

wallace.deviantart.com), he draws the female form so well, it is crazy. But 

even if someone put all their effort into making their work look like his, 

if people want Jace Wallace, they will look for Jace Wallace, not the 

imitation version. 

From time to time, I still see another person's work and think to myself, 

"Damn, that distinct style is really cool and easily recognizable as his/her 

own." But I will my feelings to change, instead of envy and longing, I get 

excited looking forward to how unique my own style will be since I will not 

imitate anyone else. 




Don't pretend to be something you're not, just be who you are, that's what's 

really cool. - David Starsky

Have a good day!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Coffee and Teams

I love coffee, but something rather unfortunate happened recently:


     I lost a member of Team, this is Marylin and I accidentally knocked

her over and created a crack. Sometimes teams separate, it can be because

the team has completed its goal and no longer needs to be in alliance, or

for disagreements. Regardless, hopefully the members can remain friends.

As for me, I really enjoy teamwork. It seems strange, but sometimes

completing  big accomplishments and receiving praise as a team feels better

than doing it all solo. I'm not on any art-related team right now but I am,

so very much, looking forward to it in the future. Stuck in a studio with a

group of artists and a goal...sounds fantastic. Until then, I will remain in

my dungeon, continuing the pursuit.

     I am aware that, in my time, I'll be part of numerous teams but, right now,

the one I am most excited about is the one in which I will commence my giant

library of cutting-edge animation.

New Introduction: This is Miss Smith, replacing Marylin.



Have a good day!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The X Sites

I compiled these helpful sites into a list, each one has proven to be worth visiting many times:

http://www.ctrlpaint.com

Ctrl+Paint is a free learning resource dedicated to the basics of digital painting. Here, Matt Kohr does such an excellent job in providing comprehensive lessons about digital painting that can be useful for all levels of artists. Some of them are short and quick, while others are longer and more in-depth. With the convenient organization and quality exercises this is a fantastic online resource to begin learning about digital painting. 


http://www.artists.pixelovely.com/

This is a site I have been enjoying for a long time. One of my favorite things to draw is gestures/actions. Here, there are quite a few amenities to help those of similar interest. The figure drawing practice is what I like the most about this site and the reason is because real photographs are used and there are some options for what type of models the user prefers. If you cannot attend a live figure drawing class, this may be the next best alternative.


http://www.illustrationfriday.com

Illustration Friday is a weekly drawing challenge and participatory art exhibit brought to us by Illustration Age(http://www.illustrationage.com) This site is really fun, every Friday a topic is posted and we have until the next Friday to come up with our interpretation of it and upload it here. Tis a nice place for light work and community building!


http://www.freelanceswitch.com/

FreelanceSwitch is a community of expert freelancers from around the world. If you are a beginner or are experienced, this is a wonderful site, full of valuable knowledge to gain some seasoning in the industry. There is so much rich opportunity here, such as opinions from other freelancers, forums, job boards, and referrals to other helpful resources. There is almost too much to cover here, but this site is like a piece of gold, now go grab it.


http://www.chrisoatley.com

Chris Oatley is a very kind artist who, genuinely, wants to build up the community, he does his part in this through teaching. He has lessons available online that people can purchase, at very low cost. He also puts out articles and newsletters that are quite interesting and helpful. It is inspiring to see people who put in loads of work, so this is an artist to look up to.


http://www.maijintheartist.com/

The art of Drew Lewis: this is a dedicated artist specializing in sci-fi work. If you feel stuck at your desk working and not having much contact with the outside world, he puts together articles about activity throughout the entertainment industry, so its nice to read what he has to say. Allow his articles to be your life-preserver.


The remaining sites are not art-specific, but still enjoyable:

http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/

I love audio books and this site is FULL of them, and completely free. Also, many of them are old classics that can be listened to and learned from. What is so nice about this site is that, if you are an audio book fan, you do not have to maintain your own organization or library, they are already well-organized and easily-available.


http://www.make-me-successful.com/

This is a site that can be helpful to anyone who is chasing greatness. The articles of Amtej Dosanjh are hardcore. They can really help people push towards their goals and decimate barriers. If you want an inspiration boost, definitely check these articles out. Keep it up.


http://www.yakitome.com

Pronounced as 'yack it to me,' this is a text-to-speech site. It is really convenient if you want to enjoy some writing, but your eyes are occupied. Just paste some text on the site and it will be read aloud. This is helpful for when I want to read loads of articles, but also want to work, now I can listen to them all with time-effeciency.


https://www.denzelajackson.blogspot.com

Yes, this site too, where else would you get all these sites in one place? I put up a new post every Friday with the hopes of meeting new artists and enjoying more of the community. You can subscribe and follow via e-mail and become aware of every new post!

If any of you are attending CTNX next month, let me know and
Have a good day. =)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Archive Fest

Archive ideas so when we cannot come up with a new one, there is a list waiting to be utilized because waiting for some material can be painful =(. That sounds quite simple, but I have still messed it up... I have noted ideas only to return to them in the future and not even understand that which I had written. For example: I walked by an outdoor recreation center with a really nice gazebo and mini-fencing, I felt the hunger to draw a party in that setting. So I noted "Outdoor party with white fence," and left it at that. Some time later, I viewed some of my notes and saw "Outdoor party with white fence." I  did not understand the vision and received no inspiration or inclination... That was a bad attempt at preserving an idea. Therefore, now I allocate with a bit more detail and clarification. Maybe a quick photograph, or I'll stop what I am doing and sketch until I feel that the idea will be re-understood in the future.

I have another version of ideas I keep. They are really vague visions of something that I don't see in its entirety, but still has potential value. I feel the best way to showcase this is to present some examples:










To me, this looks like a fat caterpillar/reptile with a dome-shaped hat or maybe a laughing worm with shoes.









A falling person, but the scribbles around give me an idea of falling down the eye of a tornado or into a cloud.










I see a bunch of settings that can be put into this. Someone lecturing, telling a joke or two people arguing? Any can do.










This one doesn't seem to have as much freedom as the others, but it can be tweaked to fit different versions. 


Each one of these took a very short amount of time to manifest, but we can get cool ideas from them in the future. Also, they are quite beneficial when we want to do some warm-up sketches to loosen up, why not take dual-advantage and make new and wild ideas?? Yee?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Purchase My Insurance

A common disappointment we all seem to face is thinking that we are not good enough or improving fast enough. This feeling comes and goes, but when it does come, it can really make an artist feel down. It can be a triggered thought or just come about suddenly. Occasionally, this happens to me when I look at much better artists' work. I tend to analyze myself against them and wonder if I work hard enough to get better or if I will ever match the artist, then it all starts... But having gone through this pattern countless times I set up reassuring thoughts that I can use like insurance.

3 Remedial Tactics:

1. Look at your own progress: When feeling down about your own work, I suggest taking a step back and looking at how far you have come! This can be done by simply flipping through sketchbooks or through your gallery. Maybe it is your attitude and confidence that has improved. I use to dislike drawing anything without loads of lineart to separate every plain, now I work with or without lineart, at my leisure(I am extremely glad that I have moved past that). Here is an example of how I use to sketch figures right after I first learned anatomy in 2009. Below it is some sketches I did in the last few weeks. I have more knowledge of the figure's mass, but my seasoning helped me create more interesting presentations:



2. Look at other artists' progress: The reason I think this is a good idea is because some fantastic artists seem to be perceived as never drawing like the average joe but having always drawn very well. But when I look at their past work it shows me that at some point in their progression, they were at the same level of quality that I am at now. Styles may be different, but each one needs to be refined to get better. I believe that if we work hard enough, we can stand next to our idols. Here is an excellent example of long-term progression:


art by Stanley Lau(Artgerm) of http://www.artgerm.deviantart.com


3. Swim in the positives: Something that I love so much is that there is ALWAYS work to do and ALWAYS potential improvement. At no point will we ever reach the maximum level, something can be improved. Some may perceive this as depressing, but I think it is wonderful that the teeth of accomplishment can always sink deeper. We have the freedom to go as far as we will.

This is a very common feeling, but check out these determined artists who committed to improvement:


art by Alexandria Lomuntad(akirakirai) of http://www.akirakirai.deviantart.com

art by Kurunya of http://www.kurunya.deviantart.com


"We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better." -Walt Stanchfield

Friday, September 27, 2013

Unexpected Reference

   When I am busy at my desk, and work permits, I enjoy listening to something other than the normal sounds of a day (lawnmower, fan, etc.). Regularly, it is music, audio books, or documentaries. The subject matter isn't specific, but whatever is interesting and readily available. I do this during tasks that don't require heavy concentration, such as flatting in colors, so that I can liven the mood. If I listen to quick-paced music, then it can hype me up and I work faster, or if I'm working in slow and delicate movements, then relaxing music suits. Anything not music just needs to be interesting.

   It is nice to gain new knowledge, regardless if it is applicable to one's self, but I use everything that I know to make my work better. For example: from listening to lectures about the study of light, I came up with new ideas that I can experiment with in my usage of light and color, such as different surfaces' characteristics of handling light. Fortunately, visual elements are not all that can benefit! If I wanted to design an underground environment, I can pull from my, previously trivial, knowledge of ant colonies and how they form their underground tunnel system. It is always a wonderful surprise when the discovery is made of dormant knowledge being put to practical use. Sooner or later, I can use it all.

   I always keep my mind open to take in new content so I may enrich my library and become a better artist. I do not know how some learnings will be beneficial, but I am certain they will, and it may even happen without me being aware. This has been something helpful to me and perhaps it can for you too.

Regardless, we have minds and should fill them up!

Friday, September 20, 2013

ResQ Process

All artists create their work differently. We all interpret the world in our own fashion and with the process of translating our understanding into personal creation, breed a multitude of results. Everytime I speak with another artist about this, it is such an interesting experience because I learn about their techniques. I have discovered really helpful tips, therefore, in appreciation to the community, I'm sharing some of my work in hopes to return the favor.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hillusion

http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2013/233/1/9/hillusion_by_denzelajackson-d6j70o6.jpg
Lately, I have been experimenting with stylized techniques, usually with simple compositions so I can focus more on rendering. I was doing some studies of rich expressions and decided to take this one further. I was trying to capture a feel of a realistic cartoon. I'm going to keep tweaking this method to see where it takes the work. I'm keeping an eye out for a place where this fits in. If any of you are aware of a niche that this style would compliment well, I would appreciate the words!


Have a good day friends.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Peace Rocket

Peace Rocket


This is a short I did which started out as a boomerang sketch, then a few hours later I was sitting in front of all this sketched out. I was caught up in the zone and kept this going until it was done. I decided not to add words just because none came to me naturally, and these illustrations are simple enough to where each viewer can come up with their own fun story!

Have a good day,
Denzel

Friday, August 23, 2013

Denzel, New Illustrator

Hello everyone,
I'm a new illustrator and am looking to get involved in the cyberspace of artists! I love cartooning and doing community projects, so let me know what's going on.

Denzel A Jackson