The Prince and the Fox- Timelapse Video

General / 20 September 2021




Time lapse de la ilustración de regalo en la revista Comicongrios, de la CNGC https://www.facebook.com/cngchilena/ Gracias a Neoisi por la nueva intro: https://twitter.com/DrawNeoisi 

Music: Ultimate Eternity by Nomak ¿Quieres saber más? 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/novanim.oficial



  

Thank you for all your Arcagen fanart!

General / 11 September 2021

Fanart by Sid Ven Blu

During these last months I've been receiving excellent fanart from readers. I will be sharing these at Tapas and Webtoon. I also did a #drawthisinyourstyle challenge last month and received some nice versions of Paloma. Feel free to join the challenge!


Arcagen Journal Entry #5: Unexpected Events

General / 08 September 2021

(Repost from my old blog)

Hi,

I know I haven’t been around much lately. Even when the development of Arcagen keeps advancing at a steady pace, I’ve had some setbacks during the last two weeks. First, my desktop computer has been failing continuously, being a defective RAM stick the primary reason. Thank to my younger brother, I could replace this component, and reinstalled Windows 7 just in case. The second setback was that some muscles in my face started twitching by themselves. This never happened before, so I reserved an hour to a general doctor as soon as I could. The doctor told me this was common among many people, and most of the cases occur due to stress. I chose to take a couple of days off just to fully recover. From now on I’ll have to change some habits if I want to keep a good health. For example, I’ll make an effort to sleep 8 hours daily instead of 6, and cut the amount of caffeine I consume by half.

As you might imagine, these events affected my productivity, including the writing of new blogs. I hope next week I can start writing these entries once again. I’m currently listening to the audiobook “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Hopefully I’ll get new ideas on how to be even more productive..

For now, I’ll leave you with another preview of Arcagen. This is the third page of the comic. Enjoy!

Remember you can already read the comic on Webtoon and Tapas.  Now that chapter 2 is complete, the team will be taking a couple of months until we have enough pages to start publishing once more. Please follow my Blog, Newsletter, or Patreon for the latest updates on this grand project. Linktree

I want to extend my gratitude to my patrons on Patreon for helping us along the way. 

Optimus Prime- Time Lapse

General / 02 September 2021



Check out this illustration process in two parts. You can also get this design on my apparel store at https://www.redbubble.com/people/novanim/shop and https://www.teepublic.com/user/novanim 


If you like my content, you can join my monthly newsletter  and receive exclusive updates on my current projects.

Thanks for watching!

Arcagen Journal Entry #4: You don’t have to go all out on every page

General / 31 August 2021

(This is a repost from my old blog)

Managing resources is something we comic artists must do. And from all the existing resources out there, time becomes more and more important with each passing year. How to balance the quality vs time spent? It is really worth it to work two or five extra hours on details only a few will notice? When should you stop drawing this element before passing to the next? It’s easy to become obsessed on making your art look nice, especially when there’s so much good art out there. More than once, thoughts like these have appeared on my brain: “How can I be relevant if my art isn’t remarkable?” and “How can my art be relevant if I don’t spend huge amounts of time on it?”… really dangerous thoughts… 

Spoiler maybe? This is one of my favorite sequences so far. Here, I started experimenting with the new watercolor brushes from Clip Studio Paint. I liked the result, but it probably added an extra hour or two of experimentation. I decided to leave these textured effects for illustrations, covers or key panels in the story. Otherwise, the story would never advance at the expected pace.

As I mentioned on my latest blog, you must remember you are making a comic, not a painting nor illustration. Your art is an important part of it, no doubt, but it’s only one factor. Sometimes, putting the best of your ability means knowing where’s your limit, when to stop, when to let go. Forget about grinding for hours until you have the “perfect page”, or else you could never move to the next one. This is about mileage, not about showing-off a single page on the internet, just to feel as relevant as your favorite artist, for just a moment. Also, be mindful about which parts of the story will need an extra effort. And don’t bring the “all parts need extra effort” because that’s working hard for the sake of it. You have a limited lifespan on this Earth, so use your brain to prioritize, just like you do in your everyday life. Read the script and determine which parts will need need spectacular backgrounds, over the top action, or super detailed figures. Deliver those key panels with full force, and for the rest, keep a consistent quality, without going overboard with detail or effects.

When I started Arcagen, I told myself I would do it in black and white, with some grayscales here and there. But with every page, I started trying different things. And don’t get me wrong, a personal project is supposed to allow this kind of liberty, but now I see I went overboard with it. In my obsession to make a remarkable product, I thought that adding more and more effects could be a clear benefit: “Let’s add these occlusion shadows here” “Let’s try there gradients there” “How about we add some color here?” “This wall  needs texture!” “I can make this look like watercolor!”… All these new effects, while effective on certain panels, where just dragging my progress on the overall story. And I’m writing this when i’m only on page 14! Not to mention, I already put a lot of effort and details during the inking phase, so all these effects could be a detriment to the lineart itself. 

You know what? I’m happy to have written this blog. I started it wanting to write about backgrounds and atmospheric perspective, but then, it allowed me to have more revealing insights about my current process. Writing your ideas is good. So yes, I’m going to limit myself on how many effects I will use on most panels. For now, after applying inks, I will use grayscale and some gradients here and there. Colors, effects and texture will be reserved for key moments only.

To be continued…

My deepest thanks to my supporters over Patreon

You can always support my work by visiting my Store and my Ko-f


 

My first Youtube Video

General / 28 August 2021


Just wanted to share here the first ever video I uploaded to my Youtube Channel. This is when I just started to learn about screen recording and editing. Why a Jinjo from Banjo-Kazooie you ask? Well, when I was young I loved that game, and coincidentally, my younger sister really likes these Jjnjo creatures. So I wanted to create stickers of these characters, in different colors, for her amusement.


Arcagen Update. Chapter 2.4

General / 27 August 2021

The fourth and final part of the second chapter of my webcomic Arcagen is already available for free.


Remember you can already read the comic on Webtoon and Tapas.  Now that chapter 2 is complete, the team will be taking a couple of months until we have enough pages to start publishing once more. Please follow my Blog, Newsletter, or Patreon for the latest updates on this grand project. Linktree

I want to extend my gratitude to my patrons on Patreon for helping us along the way. 

Arcagen Journal Entry #3: Design choices for a comic

General / 19 August 2021

(This is a repost from my old blog)

Flashback scene from Arcagen-Chapter 1

Whenever you start a new comic, it’s a good idea to make reference sheets for your characters, locations or props. Remember, you will be drawing these elements many, many times during the story, and if you’re like me and care about design consistency, you will want to keep them “on model”. You might want to make a little research first, gathering inspirations, references, and trying different iterations before coming up with a final design. 


A very old design of Paloma. Back then, the story was going to start before the city was devastated, when Paloma was still a normal student. Later, I changed the script so the story would start with Paloma already trying to survive in a dying city.

But wait! Don’t fall on the mistake of spending too much time on this stage, because you might end obsessed on “how unique and original” they have to be. It’s important to have a memorable design, but your comic is more than pretty art. Think about the character interactions, the narrative, the pacing, the plot, and the soul of your story. 


Old design (left) vs New design (right) of Paloma. Notice how I reduced the amount of detail from the original design.

Also, be careful with the amount of detail. Every extra line you add to a character, location, vehicle or accessory is multiplied by how many times it appears on the page . Sum all that up, and you have many additional hours of work . Most people will overlook small details after the first time a design is introduced,. Remember, you are creating a comic to send a message, and more detail doesn’t mean more virtue . And by this I’m don’t saying “be lazy” with your art, just be aware of your designs decisions and how they will affect every panel you will create. During the development of Arcagen, I was aware of this “detail factor” for character creation, so I tried to simplify their designs as much as I could. For example, Paloma had black and white hair, and a zig-zag pattern on her hoodie. Now, her design is even more simplified, while maintaining a similar silhouette and theme.


Example of  simplification: I can see how Kishimoto wanted to reduce the number of lines used on Naruto after the timeskip. You can see how the new suit is a bit less complicated. Not to mention, most of the supporting cast ended using the same uniform to reduce production time.


But what about the environments? Here’s where I stumbled. One thing is to make a post-apocalyptic city full of worn buildings, rusty billboards, broken streets and crushed vehicles. And then there’s a post-apocalyptic city that is being consumed by giant plants. The overgrown vegetation was part of the plot all along, but I never quantified how many extra hours I’d be drawing all that. After I developed the pilot for Arcagen, I knew I had to reduce the hours put on those backgrounds. I’m glad I watched this video by Lars Martinson, where the comic gives us tips on productivity after spending 13 years on a single comic project. Now, even when I kept the overall scenario of a city consumed by plants, I have greatly reduced the “stages” my characters will visit, and I’ve also reduced the detail on the vegetation. As you might have noticed, most of the plants in my story are black shapes made with a custom “bush brush” I created, and the giant roots of the first versions of the comic will be present only at key moments in the story. 



Technique and detail comparison between the first panel of the comic. Old version (left) vs New version (right). Notice how I used a less controlled, more loose inking technique on the new version.

I’m sure I could simplify even more elements in my story in order to finish it faster, but since I’ve already started (for real this time) I’m sticking to the decisions I made after the first pilot. If I’m going to make new design changes, I’ll make sure to: a) They respond to a need in the plot or b) Add them gradually, so you won’t notice it immediately. Now that I’ve somewhat solved the design dilemma, the next big challenge is to write believable characters . I’m already thrilled to start lettering the dialogues between Paloma and Lechuza…

To be continued…

Remember you can already read the comic on Webtoon and Tapas. The new release schedule will be 1 episode per month. I want to extend my gratitude to my patrons on Patreon for helping us along the way.

Felipe Toncio, Tessa Wii, CQ, Chamakoso, Andres Blanco, Réka Rónay, Gonzo, Jacqueline Arévalo, Maxwell Wright, Victoria

Arcagen Journal Entry #2: Why a personal art project might be beneficial

General / 12 August 2021


(This is a repost from my old blog)

Do you think about your stories or characters while waiting in a line, walking on the street or looking through the window? Well, I do, even to this day. Arcagen, my personal comic project, has always been a way to distract myself. To think about the story and sequences within it, and how they will be constructed by the time they reach the paper. In a way, whenever reality is not interesting enough, I travel to this world I created, putting an additional brick or too to the overall structure, hoping that someday, I will see it beyond my daydreaming. However, thinking about it is just the first, and easiest of many steps that will follow. Having the drive to make it a reality represents a heavy, auto-imposed challenge.

Why do I keep making this personal project? Why make a comic book if I earn more with illustrations, or teaching? Why not spend that time playing the latest video game or watching a movie? Well, this could be a long, long answer, but let’s try to keep it short. We can agree that most artists that make a living through their creations didn’t start because they wanted to become wealthy. There’s this strange drive that makes me prefer this activity over many others that society tag as “fun”. Even sex, an activity that is promoted everywhere, falls short compared to the excitement of creating a new chapter of this story. In a way, I see this as a testament of my life. The proof that I lived, grew, and learned, in the form of sequential art. Something that came from myself, and extension of me, my memories, my experiences, and my abilities. As Scott McCloud would say, a pathway to “immortality”. I feel good when creating it, and I’m also hyped to know what people will think about it. Will my message be understood? Will this story resonate with others? Will there be fanfics about this?

Ok, that last part was about my feelings (a subject that will be touched again and again). But there’s also technical benefits, that may overlap to your daily job in case you are a visual storyteller:

Writing better stories:

Before putting this idea into the paper, Arcagen was probably the best comic never created. This is a common place to most ideas, until the moment when you start implementing it. Then you realise how many inconsistencies and gaps your story has. Suddenly, your idea wasn’t as great as you originally thought. This forced me to learn new methods of writing, search for new tools, and find new books that could assist me on this challenge. I currently use Celtx to write comic scripts, and I highly recommend authors Brian McDonald and Robert Mckee if you need help writing a story.

Having a better understanding of comics

You can make a great human figure. But how do you make a clear sequence of it over a page? What about the backgrounds? And the overall composition? When I started this projects many years ago, I showed the samples to my friends, who were amazed by my “level of skill”. However, it wasn’t until I showed my work to other professional that I realized how much I didn’t know. For example, I didn’t know how to balance blacks and white over a panel, nor flow between one panel and another. Many panels were full of unnecessary details that cluttered the composition, and so on. One of my colleagues recommended me the book “Framed Ink” by Marcos Matteu-Mestre , and I must say, it really helped me into making better pages. So in the end, it was better to start with a limited knowledge, that trying to know everything before even started. Failing faster meant to get better faster as well.

Not a bad first page. However, the excess of jumps between black and white ended adding unnecessary noise to every panel. I wanted to go all “Mignola/Fegredo” here without understanding framing nor value composition.

Here’s a another “first page” that got scrapped. I still like the concept, but the execution is boring, and the technique is lacking. However, I learned about a pigeon’s anatomy, so it wasn’t a waste in the end.

Building a visual library

Why this first sketch doesn’t look like what’s in my mind? At first, everything looks perfect in your head. Each scene flows and looks like a masterpiece (you even have the OST figured out!) Then, when you make those first drawings, you see how your hand doesn’t follow the instructions perfectly. Sometimes, it’s a lack of skill, but others, it’s a lack of visual a library. Sure, you can imagine exactly how a person looks, but how does that translate into paper? Whatever it’s in the script is not always easily drawn, as it was the case with many elements in my story: children, soldiers, plants, vehicles, animals. I didn’t have a complete domain over these elements, so I had to start looking for references and studies. Spending enough time with these elements increased my capacity to draw them from memory, not having to use reference, increasing my visual library . This exercise represents a great advantage for the professional, since who knows when your next gig will require a similar subject. My tip: You can never go wrong studying human figure for most comic projects.

Here’s where I had to start building a visual library for soldiers, weapons, etc.

So tell me. Do you have a story you want to tell? Have you already started? What have you learned while doing it? Please share it with me on the comments below.

Peace!

Remember you can already read the comic on Webtoon and Tapas. The new release schedule will be 1 episode per month. I want to extend my gratitude to my patrons on Patreon for helping us along the way.

Felipe Toncio, Tessa Wii, CQ, Chamakoso, Andres Blanco, Réka Rónay, Gonzo, Jacqueline Arévalo, Maxwell Wright, Victoria

Arcagen Journal Entry #1: The Never-starting Project

Making Of / 07 August 2021

(This is a repost from my old blog)


“Document, don’t create”. I receive this idea from Ahmed Aldoori, an accomplished artist that I follow, though I think the quotes is originally from Gary V. The idea behind this is that everyone can be a content creator with a cellphone and an internet connection in the current age. This means you can always document almost everything that happens throughout the day, on whatever activity you like. So, how about making a journal of my current projects? Let me share with you the journey of creating this “neverstarting” comic project. Let me talk to you about Arcagen.

Heck...I’m already doubting myself if I’ll be able to make more than one entry for this journal… but certainly is fun to write once you are in the flow. 

Arcagen is a graphic novel that follows the journey of Paloma, an eleven year old girl who looks for her missing mother, in a city where all adults have fallen asleep. The only clues to find her mother lie in old murals, scattered throughout the city. Paloma, searching these murals high and low, will encounter a strange creature that can be the definitive clue to find her mother. However, the mere discovery of this creature reignites the conflict between two factions who seek dominance over the city, and its dying heart.

Page 02 of an Arcagen “pilot episode” done for a contest. Paloma seeking for clues. Circa 2016

How was this project born? Well, this was a prequel of another comic, called “Netcontrol”. That story was created on 2002. 17 years ago! By that time, I already got “infatuated” with my own story, which was the typical “This will be my 999 chapter magnum opus” . Then, obviously, I didn’t wanted to mess that “grand creation”, so I created a prequel for it…just to “practice until I got good enough to make Netcontrol”. Guess what happens next: I fell in love with Arcagen too, and it has been so many years, that this “prequel” ended being more important than its progenitor. The years passed, and I used Arcagen as an excuse to create worlds and character, and to hone my craft. At least, that’s was the story I told myself…

When I started Arcagen, Paloma wasn’t the protagonist, but a very important figure within the story. This was one of her first illustrations. Circa 2008

There’s this big problem with Arcagen: The comic was reset almost every year! That’s right. Every year I advanced the story, layouts, character designs, and even some pencilled  pages…just to abandon the project and starting over just because I told myself “this is not good enough”. And of course, a graphic novel can always, always be improved, but can also be finished you know? Maybe I was too worried about the negative impression my comic would make on other people (specially with social media nowadays. That’s an idea for another blogoid)….and let me tell you, thinking like this is wrong. First, I’m not a famous artist. My work wouldn’t have enough visibility to be noticed at first glance until many, many issues after. Even if I had a huge following, thinking on what bad things others would say about you, or your work (which is hard to separate when you are an artist) should never be an impediment. In the end, resetting the comic was a safe way to silence myself, to have an excuse to never finish anything. It was the way of a coward. 

Pages from “Netcontrol”, with its obvious anime estereotypes. Circa 2002.

Now, I’m a professional, 10 years of experience. And you know what? I still think I’m not good enough, simply because I can always compare myself to a better artist. But that is not an excuse. So why publish my comic anyway? What’s so special about it that I want you to read it? Maybe it’s not good…but maybe it is!  As an artist, you want to share your vision with the world! Don’t you?  “But I’m too young..too inexperienced…my hands look awful…my writing sucks…I can’t compose a scene…my proportions are inaccurate” all excuses…in the world of Shia Labeouf: JUST DO IT! And that of course, is a message to myself. Every year I grow in confidence, and every year I find out how ignorant and unprepared I am…but to hell with that! Do you think those who make your favorites stories where stopped by their inner demons? Hell NO! 

Paloma drawing with markers. I still kinda like it. Circa 2015



Early character sheets for Paloma, from 2015.

Another good thing about all these personal project thingies, is that they are your personal laboratory. A personal space where I’m able to commit mistakes, experiment, and have only my personal creative limitations. I’m glad I had this idea, being able to play for some many years creating worlds, characters and stories. I just regret not making it early. It is now that I was able of willingly creating habits to advance the graphic at a better pace than ever before. In addition, making these journals is a good way to make myself accountable, and of course, a window to the past for my future self….Hello future Novanim!

Here’s one of the latest iterations of the character, from 2018.

Working on this personal project also makes me feel happier than any other client work, so it’s a great motivation to get up early. When I wake up, sometimes I think: “what is going to happen to Paloma today?” I have discovered that I’m more efficient during the morning, so after working out, showering and eating, Arcagen is the first thing I do in the morning. I work on it for a couple of hours, and then I start my client work. 

Well, this was a faster blog to produce than others, maybe because I’m really enthusiastic about my creator owned story.  With this, I’m closing for today. I hope you enjoyed this entry . Next time, I’ll post more advances of my comic, and I’d also like to talk about character design for this story.

Remember you can already read the comic on Webtoon and Tapas. The new release schedule will be 1 episode per month. I want to extend my gratitude to my patrons on Patreon for helping us along the way.

Peace!