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View Profile RedMarlin
Perfectly unremarkable

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RedMarlin's News

Posted by RedMarlin - August 13th, 2019


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I'm not nearly as good at perspective as I should be. It took a couple of hours just to settle on this, and that's with Carapace - though by some miracle if someone reads this, definitely download that if it's still around because it's super useful. Made by Epic Games I just noticed - of all people!


I'm also considering cropping it since there's a lot of background going on right now compared to the actual subject.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 11th, 2019


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Not much today - painted Navi, went through and deleted some older layers which shrank the whole file by about a gig and a half. Still think I'll redo how the table is angled. I have to think about how I want to tackle this background. Right now my plan is to use an outside program to lay out a perspective grid and then rough everything out in black and white. I always forget about that process, but on the other hand I do think going straight to color gives you more control than relying on blending modes.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 10th, 2019


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Went through a minor breakdown at the beginning of this session, but once I got my composure and sunk into it I wound up coming out with Zone finished, making for 4/4.5. I want to add Navi in as a finishing touch, but for now I feel like I need a break. I'll probably also go in and add some more highlights to Shantae since she's looking a little flat compared to the others now. The more I look at it the more I see things that pop up that I want to take care of, but I think I've reached a point where I'm going to get diminishing returns.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 8th, 2019


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Not much today, just a bit of work on her sweater. I can tell I'm pressuring myself to do something good quickly, and that never pans out well. I feel like my good sessions are often followed by bad ones, probably because I have the expectation for myself to perform as well as I did the last time. That's no good for two reasons - one, that means I'm in the closed mode, focusing on completion rather than having fun, which doesn't produce good results. Two, I have a hunch that viewing your results in a positive light in the open mode is crucial to accepting it even after going back to the closed mode, and especially if you do see something else that needs work. You're more open to being willing to jump back in the open mode and play around with it more rather than letting it burn a hole in your skin.


I think a major source of the stress comes from the fact that I want to make the most of what little free time I have between work and general upkeep, but I also want to be able to take some time to relax and enjoy myself. It's that pressure of not having anything finished that gets to me. I feel like there is an invisible audience sitting and wondering why I'm dragging my feet. In the case of SPNATI, I feel like there is an actual audience doing that. Part of me really regrets taking up that project in the first place, even if I do enjoy it. I know Cleese suggested spacing your days out, but I feel like I'm atrophying when I do that. Maybe I just don't manage my time well enough to do both in one day. But is that a good way to enjoy life? Just robotically going through your routine, fitting in your schedule-mandated fun day after day? Who knows. I envy those who enjoy their job.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 7th, 2019


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I'd say it's turning out well so far! This stage of the painting is definitely the most fun - you can jam out to some good music and just let go. Probably the best thing to do, now that I think about it.


I might not have very much time each day to work on this, but I'm still going to do the best I can at it.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 6th, 2019


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Didn't do much today, but I at least finished blending the line art. So at least only the fun part is left for Zone.


No one ever talks about how boring art is. I feel like artists are often seen as these wizards standing in front of their canvas waving some magic wand and pretty pictures appear in a flash of colorful sparks while fairies dance around and whisper sweet nothings into your ears, but it's more like a mixture of frustration and tedium with the occasional accidental epiphany. That Chel drawing I did a while back is still one of the better things I've made and that was such a spur-of-the-moment creative experiment that it makes me wonder if the other 99% of my art has been overthought. I guess it's mostly a matter of the final rendering process, now that I think about it.


Perhaps I'm too focused on completion and the attention that comes with releasing a new piece that I forget the real purpose of art. But are other artists the same way? I look at so many other people's work and they're all such wellsprings of creativity that it makes me feel like there's some untapped inspiration that maybe I just don't have.


I wonder if the fact that I don't feel like I'm having fun a lot of the times when I work on this means that I'm not cut out for it. But something in me keeps going, so maybe I am. I don't know. Playing video games and browsing the internet all evening doesn't leave me with the sense of fulfillment that art does. I want to show things to the world, even if it's just a bunch of smut. At least it's my smut.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 5th, 2019


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When it came time to paint her sweater it finally dawned on me that I hadn't, nor have I ever in any of my work, kept in mind the color of the light source. I tried shading it using warmer highlights compared to the rest of her and I think it turned out much better - looks a lot less plasticey. I don't know if I'll go back and color every other person over again with that in mind, but I will try to make a note of it for future paintings. Maybe I'll play around with a color balance filter, or at least touch up the highlights themselves. I know I've tried coming up with a step-by-step formula for my work in the past to no avail, but maybe now that I have some more experience I can at least come up with a checklist of things to remember before going, particularly this and also going from broad shading to more precise rather than starting on the tiny details first.


I also completely forgot about the placement of the light source, so I shaded her hair yet again and modified her skin a bit. I may have to reshade Shantae, which would take a lot of time... I'm going to see if it looks okay first. I'd rather chalk up the lesson and move onto the next piece, honestly.


You can see too that I've started blending in the inks around her legs. I tried to speed up that process using a content-aware fill in Photoshop, but I couldn't get it to work the way I wanted so now I just do it by hand. It takes a lot longer than it might seem but it's still a much quicker process than my previous methods.


Right now the skin still looks pretty plastic, but usually that changes once I add in some underlying tones and give it some painterly texture. We're getting close to having all four characters painted, then comes the long arduous process of doing the furniture and background.


One more thing... I don't know if this is really the best place for these, since I feel this widget is made more for larger news posts rather than a personal blog, but until I can come up with a better system then this is where they will go. I still feel like Tumblr is better for this sort of thing, but since they axed adult content there's no point in using it, since that's half my work that I can't post. I would like to make my own site some day, but since I don't really have a fanbase there's not much point.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 3rd, 2019


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Didn't do much today because it was Friday and I just didn't feel like it. But then at around 1:00AM I started feeling bad about it so I tried to do a little something before bed. Her hair looked too smooth and plastic-ey so I tried redoing it. I don't think it's much better.


I never achieve good results when I have the mindset of having to do something well in order to feel fulfilled. When that happens, nothing looks right. I think the mistake was in not setting a specific time aside and instead treating it like a household chore, something to put off for as long as you can before forcing yourself into it.


In fact, I'm starting to believe that when you do something in the open mode, even if it doesn't look very good you're still more likely to accept it as satisfactory once you're in the closed mode, because you had that initial reaction of it being good enough. But in the closed mode, you're set on achieving perfection which is of course impossible, so it's more difficult both to settle on what you've achieved and to turn off that restless nettling in the back of your mind that you get when something isn't finished.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 2nd, 2019


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Shaded Zone's skin and hair today, plus some cards and part of the Zone logo itself. I tried adding the faces on the cards but I was in a rush to leave soon and I only got shoddy results. I'll try again later.


My go-to brush has always been one that applies color with higher pressure and blends it with lower pressure, similar to SAI's water brush. For a while it only sort of worked, blending very blotchily (is that a word?) but I finally got it to give super smooth effects. I see other people's work and I like how painterly it looks with all the different strokes and textures, but for some reason something in my head just won't let me do that with my own work. Everything has to be smooth and creamy, at least until the very end when it's time to give finer details and add effects. The challenge for me is to make them not look like they're made of plastic.


Posted by RedMarlin - August 1st, 2019


It's about midnight and I should be going to bed. It's also about six and a half years since I posted a news post saying that I never use news posts. In general I don't much use this NG account, but I'd like to change that. There are a lot of things I'd like to do.


I've mostly put a stop to all of my social media postings and purged what I can from the past because I don't like the permanence that comes with putting something on the internet. My thoughts and feelings are prone to change, and what was acceptable to me in the past can very much not be acceptable in a short span of time, either for moral reasons or more likely because I just hate my past self and 99% of what my past self says.


That's besides the point. I'd like to start using this news thing to chronicle my art activities. Ever since I graduated and started working full time it's felt like my production has slowed to a crawl. I do work on things, but because I don't actually release any final products it often feels like I've done absolutely nothing. Say nothing of all the times I've thought of projects I've wanted to work on and have barely even started. Even worse when people ask about what I've been up to and I can't really answer them, either due to having not actually worked on it or due to the nature of what it is.


How does a porn artist talk about their work with others? There's really no good way to introduce that concept to your peers. "Who's got two thumbs and draws smut on the regular? This guy." For some reason we're totally okay with sharing it with complete strangers whom we've never met, but suddenly when it comes to people we know it is a huge judge of one's character to be involved in such things. At least that's how it feels to me.


Regardless, because I can't really talk to people about my progress on something ("Today I worked on getting that masturbation pose juuust right.") it can feel like I haven't actually done anything even when I have. That is the purpose of this endeavor, should I actually have the motivation to do it more than once or twice. The hope is that by recording and showing exactly what I've been doing, I can look back during moments like these and realize that I really have been up to something.


And who knows - maybe that will help someone else out there, some random passer-by who shares in the struggle of trying to drum up the motivation to continue working on your projects after being drained of energy from the daily grind; trying to carve out the time between your work life and your social life, between eating and sleeping and cooking and exercising; struggling with the forced secrecy that comes with this line of work; struggling with long-term projects that are simultaneously making so much progress and making no progress at all.


Let's go over just what's been happening over the past few years.


In 2015, I made a short webcomic as part of my graduation project. I look back on both the art and writing as being just okay, but it was fun.


Then in 2017 my entire art career got sidetracked in a massive way on a project which continues to this day. One night, I happened to come across a little browser game (nsfw) called Strip Poker Night at the Inventory, a rule34 porn parody of Poker Night at the Inventory. The concept, for the unaware, is that all your favorite characters come together and play poker. You can piece together what happens next.


Despite the characters looking ramrod stiff due to the paper doll creator they were made with, I was instantly enamored by the concept. I have this bad habit of wanting to try my hand at anything I become interested in, so once I learned that the game was open source and that anyone could make a character for it, I immediately began playing around with the creation tool. While I was not and still am not a huge fan of the art style, I admit the whole dress-up doll concept was charming to me. I made a model to play around with and the next thing I knew several months had passed and my own little Marceline had joined the fun.


I thought it would end there, but I couldn't stay away. As more people learned of the game and began making characters of their own, the quality skyrocketed until the older characters began to look hilariously outdated. Chara (from Undertale) in particular was not very popular amongst.. well, anyone, so when an anonymous user on /aco/ proposed a different look to replace her old model, a fire lit up in me and I jumped on the opportunity.


Little did I know that this would carry me on until today, two whole years after making that proposal. What was supposed to be a simple image asset swap has blossomed into a full on redesign, at first a maverick attempt at pitching a remake to the unknowing audience, and eventually a well-known, fully endorsed attempt.


In that time, the assets used to create content for the game have expanded greatly as well. It's gone from a hackjob effort to a full on production kit with its own software, albeit still working in tandem with that paper doll creator. The quality of characters has gone from robotic and stiff to complex, well-thought-out, and.. still pretty stiff, if I'm being honest. That's what you get when you need a consistent artstyle and a creation tool that anyone can pick up and use.


Many new features have been added, and this has gone from being a fun little game to being a full-fledged game.


Watching this game flourish the way it has has been both fascinating and at times frustrating. I say frustrating because it does feel like as that bar goes higher and higher, it becomes a constant race for me to keep up in the minimal time I have to work on it. A few months becomes a year, which becomes two years, and who knows how much longer I actually have until this is done. And in the meantime so many new characters pop up that you wonder if they have some kind of hyperbolic time chamber that they can go into and just work all day every day on these things.


And in the meantime, my own artwork suffers as I spend more time on SPNATI instead of drawing or writing. Sure I enjoy doing it, but it's not exactly something you can put in your portfolio, is it? Granted, half the stuff I draw can't be put in a portfolio anyway, so I guess there's that. It's a good thing I'm not trying to get into any game or animation studios (too stressful), but when your mom and your coworkers ask you what you've been working on and if they can see, suddenly you have a problem.


I do wonder what people think as time passes, wondering what on earth that one guy who said he would work on Chara is doing. My greatest fear is that it will all build up to a great big "meh" in the end. But I press on anyway. As long as I enjoy doing it, I will press on. I want to finish what I've started.


What I enjoy about it is all the unusual challenges that arise from it. Linking dialogue trees together, thinking of all the different possible variants in conversation, working with the strict parameters set by Kisekae to come up with creative solutions and get what I want, even drawing certain poses in Photoshop to mimic the look and feel of Kisekae. I have a lot of fun doing this... It's just that for some reason it feels like it has no value to me. Now that I write this, I don't know why I feel that way or if it's even justified. I'm working on a game. That's pretty cool.


So there. That's what I've been doing for the past three years. But just because SPNATI has taken up the majority of my time doesn't mean I haven't been working on other things. I still sketch quite a bit (which maybe I'll start uploading here?) and I'm actually working on a finished piece for the first time in a long time.


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It was originally going to be part of a fan art contest on the SPNATI subreddit but it wasn't finished in time. Still, it's felt good to take a break from the game and work on some good old-fashioned art again. And I have to say, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out so far. Sure I see several areas that still need improvement, but I feel like I'm starting to find a rendering process that I'm happy with, and my inks are starting to get better, especially with the hands and feet, which I've always had trouble with (they're still not perfect here as you can see). I just need to find a way to do it faster - I like the final result, but I feel like there's a shortcut waiting to be discovered that I can take to get to the final step of adding in the finer details. We'll see.


I think that about brings everything up to date. If I can be bothered, I'd like to start logging what I work on each day just so I can prove to myself that I actually am doing something. Ever since Tumblr nixed porn, I've felt like I don't have a central platform that I call home. Closest would be FunnyJunk, but they don't really focus on the individual user like other places do. Maybe Newgrounds can fill that niche. It's not like I have a hoard of fans to talk to on Twitter.