Line by Line

Necessity: Comic page one posted

Posted October 18, 2020

Page one of the comic is now, finally, complete! I got excited and posted it to DeviantArt Friday night before I had everything ready to post it here.

So now it's here, too. You can find it on the Other Writing page, under the new Comics section. (As a bit of housekeeping, I also added links there to the two one-off comics that I posted to the art gallery a few years back.)

Now that the first page is out there, I really, really want to get the rest of it done and get the whole story told! I think by this point I've learned not to make promises I can't keep, though, so let's just say I'm working on it. I'll try to get a blog post out before too much longer with my updated game plan.

In the mean time, Go ahead and check out page one!

Alphonso Dunn and InkTober

Posted September 16, 2020

Tags: art, InkTober

September is upon us. October is now only half a month away. I'll set aside the whole pandemic-time question of how it can possibly be September already when it was just March only eighteen years ago. What matters is that the time is fast approaching when artists around the world will be picking up their pens and brushes and taking up the now-traditional InkTober challenge of thirty-one ink drawings, one for every day of October.

Since we're all going to have ink drawing on the brain, I think this would be a good time for everyone to check out the work of Alphonso Dunn. He's the author of Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide, and he has a YouTube channel full of tips and tutorials.

So far, the videos that have been the most useful to me are “Top 3 Cross Hatching Mistakes | Tips on how to avoid them,” “Pen and Ink Crosshatching | A simple introduction,” and “How to Avoid Overworking Your Drawings | 3 simple tips.” The main things that jumped out at me were the importance of pen control and of not rushing. You can certainly point to my InkTober drawings from 2016 and 2018 and find drawings that suffer from the exact pitfalls Dunn warns about.

Naturally, this inspired me to get out my trusty microns and a sheet of paper, and practice. I played a few more of Dunn's videos while I practiced creating even, consistent strokes and tried out some crosshatching techniques. Here's what I came up with:

Read the rest of this post.

Black Lives Matter

Posted June 26, 2020

Tags: Black Lives Matter, current events, morals and ethics

There are a lot of things that happen that make you wonder, just how many more times does this have to happen before something is finally done about it? To name just a few: Mass shootings, sexual abuse cases, privacy violations, workplace safety violations, maltreatment of laborers in general, formation of monopolies, and companies and governments kowtowing to tyrants.

And then there's the example that's been in the news here in the US (and worldwide) for the last few weeks: Police brutality against black people, which has sparked worldwide protests.

I wish I could come to you with a strong thesis statement and a solid plan for what we need to do about this problem. But I don't have that. As a white guy with a sheltered upbringing surrounded by only people who look like me, and with little to no contact with the black community, I have to admit that if I did have that, the odds that it would be worth your attention are effectively zero.

But I can't just say nothing, either. Even if you don't believe that silence is complicity, you have to admit that it sure is helpful to those who try to pass off their hatred as representative of the “silent majority.” So I'm not going to be silent.

You want a thesis statement? Here it is: Black lives matter.

Whatever you think of the BLM movement, or of a particular member or spokesperson thereof, you have to admit that the cause is just and the statement is true: Black lives matter, no less than anyone else's.

All lives matter, and that means that instead of saying “All Lives Matter™” to people who have been told that a million times but consistently shown something else, we need to say “your lives matter”—and then act like it.

There's more to say about the ongoing protests, police behavior, proposed solutions, and everything else that's been going on these past weeks, but I don't want this main point to get lost in the shuffle, so for now I'm going to leave it at the one thing that most needs to be said, and believed, and lived:

Black lives matter.

WIP Report: Sorceress Comic: Page 1 inked

Posted May 25, 2020

Tags: art, comics, WIP report, writing

I finally made it past a huge milestone in the comic project: Page 1 is now completely drawn and inked! As it stands, I'm almost finished converting the lineart to pure black/white, which is more laborious than it has any right to be because my scanner is apparently garbage. Once that's done, I'll be able to start coloring.

I had planned to finish the whole comic and upload it all at once, but I think you've all waited more than long enough, so I'll post the first page as soon as it's ready.

In the mean time, here's a sneak peak at the raw scan of the lineart:

The raw scan of the fully inked first page, at old-school 72 dpi “Web” resolution.
An excerpted panel 3 at medium resolution. Click for high resolution (direct link to image)

Art Gallery: Slash Attack Colored

Posted May 16, 2020

Hey, remember that last drawing I posted?

I colored it!

See the creatively named Slash Attack Colored in the gallery, or see it in my DeviantArt gallery.

Art Gallery: Slash Attack

Posted May 04, 2020

In December, I did a quick little ink drawing in a couple sittings. I scanned it in and then basically forgot about it, since it required what looked like a lot of digital post-production to knock out the pencil lines. I finally got back to it yesterday and it turned out not to be so bad.

You can head on over to the gallery to check out Slash Attack, or see it on deviantArt.

Since it's the second piece featuring the Viola, the sorceress from the comic project, I added a tag for her.

Tenth Anniversary

Posted March 18, 2020 (Written March 17, 2020)

Tags: site

[This site went live on March 17, 2010, which makes yesterday the tenth anniversary. Obviously, celebrating the anniversary should be done on the anniversary if possible, and I did manage to get this post written in time, but I didn't have time to post it. I apologize for posting this a day late, but it is the anniversary post with no further edits beyond what was completed on the actual anniversary. Enjoy!]

Today marks ten years since the grand (re-)launch of this Web site!

I wish it were under happier circumstances. This virus business has us all a little nervous. Or a lot nervous. There is a lot of talk of what to do about religious obligations (Just receive in the hand, already, people), whether hoarding supplies is appropriate (don't take more than you need, because someone else does need it), and whether or not the response to the crisis reflects the bogosity of many of our supposed rules and requirements (I have mixed opinions on that one).

But that just means now is a perfect time to find something not horrible to focus on. So let's focus on how horrible my writing was 10 years ago. (What?)

My first blog post was possibly the only time I've ever really commented on current events (unless you count two paragraphs ago), and if not, then certainly one of very few. I still stand by pretty much everything I said in that post, though if I were writing it today I'd probably be a bit less ranty and more explicit about why these things bother me.

Read the rest of this post in the blog.

Year in Review 2019

Posted January 12, 2019

Tags: WIP report

I don't guess I need a reason: I'm just in the mood to look back on the past year, what I've accomplished, and where to go from here.

Let's start with my comic project. It was supposed to be a small project, just seven pages, that I could complete within a year's time. The beginning of 2019 marked the passing of that deadline. Now, nearly two weeks into the new year, I'm wrapping up the pencils and almost ready to start inking.

On the bright side, I've been making reasonably steady, albeit slow, progress over the last few months ever since I got past the costume design hurdles. Page 1 wasn't ready to ink by January 1, 2020, like I had hoped, but it's still pretty darn close.

Read the rest of this post in the blog.

New art: Viola

posted October 11, 2019

'Tis the season for ink drawings! I'm not doing Inktober this year, but I did happen to put together an ink drawing while procrastinating working on my comic just before October began!

It's also the official reveal of the name of the character, who first appeared in “Lioness Sorceress Line Art” and is (more or less) the main character of the comic.

So check out “Viola” in the Art Gallery!

WIP Report: Space Shooter Game

Posted August 26, 2019

Tags: programming, video games, WIP report

I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Two weights, actually, but I already wrote about the other one the other day so let's just focus on this one for now.

I haven't posted much about this, but I've been working on a computer game for a while now. In fact, I've been wanting to make video games since I was around ten years old. I remember having a bunch of different ideas written down in notebooks. Some were original, others were what would now be called fan games. One time, I even drew up a plan for a Sonic game that had the player switching on the fly between Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, with Silver Sonic as the main antagonist.

At some point in my early teens, I picked up a copy of Windows Game Programming for Dummies, about writing games in C++ with DirectX. I intermittently puttered along trying to follow along, but I didn't really understand it (and truth be told, the book's “Here's how this is done, just use the code on the CD-Rom” approach doesn't match my learning style).

About ten years ago, after some modest successes, I decided to get serious and try to learn and understand how to write C++/DirectX games. A few reasonable tech demos later, I decided the best thing to do was to try making a full game. Since I had collision detection more or less figured out (thanks to Ron Levine's swept SAT algorithm for AABBs) but not collision resolution, I decided to make a scrolling shooter. This let me get away with just destroying one or both of any two objects that collide instead of figuring out how they push or bounce off each other.

Read the rest of this post in the blog.