Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Special 2017- Hilda Hekate

Here's a super spoopy addition for the gallery to help usher in this year's All Hallow's Eve.

Featuring an OC of mine I created all the way back in 2006 (named Hilda Hekate) she's a sultry succubus who wanders the land looking for new pleasures to indulge. Primarily she acts as a friendly rival/foil to my other OC Bast Katt.

If nothing else, my good friend Shonuff44's Elvira Cosplay Line-Up inspired me/gave me a fantastic reason to resurrect Hilda from the sketch pile. I figured she would be perfect for his piece, seeing as how when I initially created her, one of my biggest influences was Elvira herself. Never mind that by doing this piece I can kill a few birds with one stone. I'd like to think that I made good on Inktober in some way, as well as doing a Halloween image.

Overall think of Hilda Hekate as my blatant Elvira analogue for the Bast Katt Inc. story/world, and this will certainly not be the last you see of her, as I'm sure I'll depict Hilda and co. getting into all sorts of sexy hi-jinks.

I had a blast creating this piece, and I'm very happy with the way it turned out in the end. I'm also surprised at how quickly I managed to manifest this one, given that I went from a loose concept sketch to finished work in just a few hours.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Shina Arakawa- Commission

Here's yet another commission officially done and taken off the list. This here is my good friend Michael Surbrook's character Shina Arakawa, a wandering sell-sword dedicated only to the purity of her skills with a blade.

This piece (while certainly time consuming on some of the finer details) was an absolute blast to do. More than anything else though, I'm glad that Mike loved it so much he immediately had it framed and mounted on his wall within a matter of hours.

My favorite part of the image is easily the details in the armor and Shina's hair. It isn't often I get requested to draw a character wearing Japanese style armor, let alone a character with two-tone hair/colored tips, so it was a very nice break from my usual pace.

Materials used were Micron Pens for the inks, Copic Markers/Prismacolor Markers for the colors, Watercolor Pencils for the hair, and all on my custom 11 x 17 in. art board. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Mane 6- Fanart

Power-Lifter Apple Jack
Animal Care-Taker Fluttershy
Major League Gamer Pinkie Pie
Dare-Devil Rainbow Dash
Lounge-Singer Rarity
General Twilight Sparkle

During my time at Bronycon 2017 I had the distinct honor and pleasure of being a part of the Roan RPG booth, where I took the liberty of creating/selling some custom pieces of the "Mane 6" characters from the cartoon show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

My idea going into the image series was that the characters would not only be in human form, but would be working modern jobs that were fitting to their character. Of course, I always feel like I have to be somewhat subversive, so I tried to think of them being outside some of the more obvious vocations for them to have.

While I'm somewhat pleased overall with the final results (as each picture's composition I enjoyed rendering) I also fundamentally think I didn't do the best job exactly of evoking the concept for some of the characters.

For instance, Apple Jack (who I initially envisioned as a power-lifter) just looks like a cowboy-themed fitness model. Twilight was supposed to be a cute government official who honestly just looks more like a stereotypical "sexy secretary" trope, and Fluttershy is simply a woman with a puppy, that I originally intended to be a park ranger.

I guess this just goes to show that while an image can be fun to create, not every idea manifests onto the page flawlessly.

There is another series of images I'm currently working on that I think more effectively embodies the concept that I'll be sharing soon.

Materials used were Micron pens, and Copic/Prismacolor markers on custom cut 3.5 x 5 in. bristol board.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Oracle- Commission

This here is yet another commission piece off of the long long list of "Things N8Dogg5k Needs to Finish Yesterday Dammit!"

While I can say that I had a great deal of fun working on this picture, I can also say that I didn't have a whole lot of enjoyment getting it to the final stage of its completion as you see here now.

I can state with absolute certainty that no other commission I've worked on out of the whole list gave me as much trouble as this one did. I had easily done no less than nine different versions of this character before I finally came upon a composition that I felt not only looked cool/sexy, but also felt right by the character.

Despite the nearly endless struggle I had with this image, I'd like to think that I managed to capture the character's essence. Oracle has a somewhat interesting (albeit brief) character profile you can read here, that I feel alludes to a "sad and tortured soul" type of personality. Always knowing the results of how things are going to go isn't exactly a nice ability in certain contexts, and I think the chains that wrap around her body create a nice motif of a "bound by fate" theme.

Overall, I'm glad that I was able to complete this one after so long, and I can only hope that Densuo feels it was worth the wait.

Materials used were Micron Pens and Faber Pens for the inks, Copic markers for the majority of the colors, with a touch of white Pigment pen for the highlights, and watercolor pencils for the hair, all on my 11 x 17 in. custom card stock.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kula Diamond- Fanart

Here's yet another fully fnished piece from my regular Picarto live stream sessions, this time featuring none other than one of my favorite King of Fighters characters, the ice princess herself, Kula Diamond!

While I don't exactly fashion myself as a "fanart" artist to any real degree, I'd be an outright liar if I didn't admit that there are plenty of characters in pop-culture that I draw quite often, but usually in private. This was just one of the few little numbers that (once I began sketching) I simply couldn't resist finishing, let alone sharing with everyone.

Initially I thought of doing Kula up in her old KOF duds from previous years, but there's something about her current design that jives with me. If I'm being honest though, as much as I enjoyed figuring out all the minutia of her hems and fabric cuts, it was a little tedious at points to render. Oddly enough, this is also probably one of my better examples of organically building out a picture. When I started, there was only an idea of what i wanted Kula's pose to be (which was to pretty much evoke Elsa from Frozen) and essentially nothing else. I had no idea of what I wanted the background to be, what I imagined the colors would be, or how the finished product would emerge. Even her magnificent hair was ultimately an experiment.

All told, I'm somewhat satisfied with the results, although I would never recommend anyone do this sort of image building, especially during a live stream. I spent a solid twenty minutes of explaining my process to my viewers, simply because I was at a loss at where to take the damn thing after I had Kula fully colored. After I couldn't stall any longer, I had to admit that I didn't know where I was going with the background, and dropped the biggest pro-tip I think I could give to all aspiring artists.

Always go in with a plan, and have a good exit strategy.

As for materials used, there is a combination of Copic markers, Prismacolor markers, and Pigment pens used for the colors. The inks were done using a combination of Micron and Faber pens, all on a 9 x 12 in. Bristol board.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Phunny Bunny The Ronin- Art Trade

One of the many items that was on my incredibly long list of things to do, was an art trade piece for Udon Comics mega artist Edwin Huang.

When we first met up at Otakon last year, we hit it off, and thus set up an art trade. After nearly a year's wait, this is me making good on my half of the agreement. Edwin really seemed to like the final results, and with his permission, I'm sharing it with you all now.

As I'm sure you can already tell, I had an absolute blast working on this one. Most of my efforts were in trying to evoke that awesome sensation of movement and dynamics that Edwin puts into all of his pieces, and while I think I may have captured some of that essence, I'm especially satisfied more so with how her hair came out. I've come to the conclusion that from now on I'm going to use only water colored pencils to do hair, as I feel they give me the best textures and colors for a more tangible follicle styling. Detailing the ears, while somewhat tedious to an extent, was also immensely enjoyable, and personally may be my favorite part of the image, outside of the mop of hair on Phunny Bunny's head. The colored background was meant to look like a sort of typical anime-esque energy wave cascading around her, but if anything else, I'd like to think it just makes the image pop that much more to the eye.

Much to my dismay though, my scanner does seem to pick up on a lot of the marker strokes, making them look pretty obvious here. Trust me when I say the color blends look a lot better in person. I'm also sorry that this seemingly took an internet century in forever land do to, as I could only afford to work on it in between all my regular job hrs. and my commission list pieces (which are all progressively getting done as you'll soon see) so I'll extend my apologies to Edwin for the exceedingly protracted delay. All I really just wanted to do was give you something that would impress you my friend...

Materials used were: Copic Markers, Water-Color Pencils for the hair, Faber pens for the inks, and a custom 11 x 17 in. board.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Thank You Undertaker- The End of a Phenomenal Era

Words, possibly one of my most loyal and effective tools I've ever come to use, almost fail me at this exact moment... I ask that you please bear with me, as I feel like my mind is still floating from what I have just witnessed. There are without a doubt a metric ton of thoughts and emotions swirling in my skull right this instant as I desperately struggle to find the correct locutions to write in the following paragraphs.

While I could type at a severely in-depth length about the respective highs and lows of Wrestlemania 33, the big take-away (and what's sure to be the talk of the town for easily the next month in the wrestling world) is how at this year's major pay-per-view event, The Undertaker, a veritable living legend, an icon of the sports entertainment industry, a monolithic fixture of which there is no equal, and one of my all-time favorite wrestlers ever just symbolically announced his retirement less than a mere twenty four hours of me writing this very post.

A legend stands tall one final time.
As my friends and I watched the near eight hour long show come to a close, we were all racked with frustration on some level or another as Undertaker lost the main event match he had with Roman Reigns.

It was far from a great bout on any level for sure (seeing how there were at least two botched spots that derailed a good deal of the fight's momentum) but as that final three count was made, and the cameras lingered, I think we all knew deep down in our guts that something else was about to happen. Something we didn't really want to see...

Undertaker stood up, dawned his iconic black hat/coat attire, and stood solemnly in the ring for a solid three minutes as the audience cheered over his 'Graveyard Symphony' theme music. As he began his slow exit from the squared circle, all seemed to go as normal, like Undertaker would carry his loss like a man, and come back ready for combat another day.

The Undertaker leaves it all behind.
That is until Taker stopped his exit mid-stride and returned to the center of the ring. He unwrapped his gloves and lay them on the canvas. He shed his long coat, folding it small, and placed it on top of the gloves. Then with a solitary deep breath, he discarded his hat, setting it atop the pile.

We all watched in a nearly stunned silence as Undertaker was quietly performing the classic (as well as traditional) ritual of a in-ring retirement.

They say that when your career is coming to a close, you go out putting another person over, and that you leave your gimmick in the ring. Taker did the job by putting Reigns over in the match, and as is per tradition, left the character of The Undertaker in the ring where he belongs. In that last moment as he stepped through the ropes, he wasn't the phenom, the embodiment of Wrestlmania, or even THE UNDERTAKER anymore.

He was simply just Mark William Calaway now, and as Mr. Calaway took that crowning look from the grandest of all stages, it was clear that perhaps the greatest of superstars in all of professional wrestling's history was officially done. The emotions painted on his face said all there was that could ever need to be said without saying a single damn word. As he walked with a tired and haggard gait, he kissed his wife (former wrestler) Michelle McCool, who was sitting in the front row, while gently patting their young daughter Kala Faith Calaway's head.

The somewhat comically elongated ramp-way that we spent most of the night making in fun of, seemed that much more lengthened as the former seven-time world champion made his concluding walk amidst the ceaselessly cheering 75,000 fans. The copious chants of "Thank you Taker!" "Please don't go!" and "One more match!" echoed throughout the sold-out arena. With a protracted glance over his shoulder, one could tell that this alone could be up there as one of hardest things this man has ever done, but it didn't stop him from raising his fist.

Not as a sign of a personal victory, but as a sign of a legacy. This was a salute to us, the passionate fans who made him one of the truly greatest names to ever grace a card over the course of his amazing twenty five plus year career. This was a salute to an industry that has enriched so many people's lives, and it's something we all built together with him. This ultimate gesture was just as much ours as it was his.

This was a shared legacy. One that will never be repeated.

Do please pardon my long winded recounting of events there, as I feel I needed to write it down, so as to make it real in my own mind.

The Undertaker (as I mentioned earlier) is my all-time favorite pro-wrestler, and it's with a heavy heart I bid farewell to someone who (I never had the honor of meeting in person, or seeing live) has been so immensely influential in my life. I don't type these words lightly either. I truly do mean it when I say that The Undertaker is right up there for me with the likes of Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, and a select handful of other things that defined not only my childhood, but would affect my own personal development as a human being.

When I first started watching wrestling, I was just five years old. As my brother and I saw The Undertaker's debut at the 1990 Survivor Series, where he was introduced by Ted Dibiase, I recall how I immediately gravitated to Undertaker for (to be blunt) shallow reasons. At first I didn't really understand who Undertaker was. There was no concept in my head with regards to faces and heels, good guys and bad guys. All my young mind could fathom was that he looked somewhat like my dad (mostly because of the intimidating size and long dark hair) so I just liked him for that reason alone. The Undertaker reminded me of my father, and that was enough to get me cheering for him.

The many faces of one man.
As time went on, and I grew into my adolescence, I came to appreciate all the subtle little nuances of Taker's work far more due in part to his totally awesome, yet incredibly versatile "Dead Man" gimmick. From his glorious ring attire and entrances, to his campy over-the-top promos, to his mind-game shenanigans, there wasn't a single time I didn't enjoy Taker to the absolute fullest.

What can I say? He was like witnessing a dark-hero type comic book character come to life before my very eyes! What's not to love?

I can still vividly recollect some of my favorite Undertaker moments from the past quarter century as if they were still yesterday. The sensation of a chill running up my spine, along with my hands trembling when he made his triumphant return to face Kane at Wrestlemania for the first time (all the way back in '98) remains as one of the best promos I've ever had the privilege of watching on a live Monday Night Raw. I couldn't sleep the night that one happened, or all the following Monday nights leading up to that Mania.

That original feud with Kane (along with pro-wrestling as a whole) is what taught me the fundamentals on how to write characters.

Even when the gimmick jumped over to a far more realistic tinge with the "American Badass" and "Big Evil" monikers I remained a fan through and through. Despite the dreadful Limp Bizkit entrance music, the somewhat lame motorcycle riding, and the talk of "big dogs" and "yards" and shouts to "old-school" and such. It was nice, if not refreshing to see Taker become more akin to his real-life self.

I'll openly concede that despite my love for the more campy, comic style silliness of old-school wrestling, the more realistic edge to the gimmick did add a certain degree of authenticity to his actions, but at heart I knew eventually not only I, but everyone else wanted to see him do a return to being the proper reaper of men.

High time to get back to diggin' holes and takin' souls.

I have no shame in admitting that there are inarguable visual ques and aspects I've taken directly from the Dead Man himself. I wear a long black trench coat with a black wide-rimmed fedora, purely because it makes me feel somewhat like The Undertaker whenever I adorn them. Hell, I even make it a point to grow my hair long with a goatee, just so I could emulate him and my father as much as I can.

It's a regular part of my fashion that I joyously indulge presently, and will continue to do so until I no longer can.

My love doesn't stop there either, as I honestly do have characters that I've created in my past (as well as current) fiction who were deliberately pulled from my adoration of this lone character. The very first fanfiction work I ever attempted to write was an Undertaker comic book that would chronicle his feud with his kayfabe brother Kane. It was in a much more supernatural setting, but one that would stay true to the emotional essence of the phenomenal story line that was being told in the ring every Monday night on Raw.

I still have all those original notes and sketches for the idea to this very day...

Amusingly enough, practically less than a year later Chaos comics would legitimately kick out an actual Undertaker comic book, and it was (oddly enough) not too far off from what my immature mind had concocted. This comic was easily one of the coolest, yet dumbest bits of 90's era comic schlock I ever did read, and I absolutely loved it. Taker was the ruler of a Stygian Hell Prison, he had awesome lightning powers, fought demons disguised as wrestlers, and even had his rivalry with Kane recreated (along with Mankind for good measure) so that they could have superpowered brawls. I did so many extra chores around the house during those days, just so that I could get the allowance necessary to buy the special edition of Wizard Magazine that had the issue zero to that series attached, not mention the rest of the issues.

All because of my undying fandom for The Undertaker.

It can never truly be understated how much of a cornerstone Undertaker has been not only in my life, but that of my friends, and family too. We're all Taker fans at the core, and just over the course of dealing with the wake of this announcement, my best friend/roommate Matt and I were driven to near tears reflecting on our love for this man and his performances.

Having the likes of Jim Ross (a damn good legend in his own right) return to commentate on Taker's last match hit us both right in the feels. There was no better man than J.R. to convincingly pull off the job, and getting to hear one last "By Gawd!" from the BBQ man was enough to get us waxing nostalgic. Never mind that simply us stepping back (while taking a few shot of liquor in honor of Taker's career) and reflecting for a moment, had us really contemplating on the long term affects Undertaker's career has had. From his influence resulting in tons of cross-pollinated gimmicks, to so many other legends he's helped make by his own hand, it's downright awe inspiring at the least.

As surviving 90's kids this truly is the end of an era, but proof positive that we lived through one of the best periods in wrestling ever.

I can almost hear the future generations of fans asking about The Undertaker. Who was he? How did his goofy gimmick ever work? I'm sure to them he'll almost seem like a fairy tail when we recount the stories, like something we made up to lord over them about "The good 'ol days of when we were young" or some such, but deep down I think we all know what The Undertaker ultimately is. He IS wrestling. He's the spirit of wrestling made flesh, and only once in a lifetime can someone bear witness to the majesty of something that intensely pure.

There will never be another Undertaker in this lifetime, or any lifetime for that matter.

In this closing statement I want to take one last opportunity to simply say Thank You Taker directly to the man myself. I don't think I'll ever truly be able to articulate all the sentiments I wish to share, or could ever impart. It's just too surreal right now, but if it's all the same...

Thank you Undertaker/Mr. Calaway for all the long nights you spent on the road, for well over two decades of your life. Thank you for pushing through the near countless injuries, only to come back and put on a spectacular show for us all to see and remember. Thank you for inspiring an entire generation of new wrestlers, as well as an entire generation of fans. Thank you for being exactly what wrestling needed when it needed you. Thank you for all the moments of blood, sweat, and tears that will last with us for a lifetime. Thank you above all else for being there for me, that one lonely kid, who had that dark, yet noble hero I could always look up to, and aspire to be like one day.


"The spirit of The Undertaker lives within the soul of all mankind. The eternal flame of life that cannot be extinguished. The origin which cannot be explained. The answer lies in the everlasting spirit. Soon all mankind will witness the rebirth of The Undertaker. I will not Rest... In... Peace..."