In my mind, I was thinking that this summer was “the summer of code” for me. I would hunker down and do a lot of coding on my own to make up for my deficiencies and get hands on again with things that I haven’t touched in ages — graphics, linear algebra, some systems coding, etc. You learn on the job, but the contents of that education is for the expressed purpose of the job. Sometimes the job gives you a chance to break out and when it does you snatch it up like a hungry beast because an opportunity like that doesn’t come along often. I like to think of Miyazaki’s words when he talks about working at Toei Animation. To paraphrase: you do well at the job you’re given and when the chance comes along to prove yourself, you take it. (This is from his Starting Point book of interviews.)
Currently at work, I get a chance to prove myself and do other work. So I’m content and it’s probably for that very reason why my interest in coding in my spare time has diminished. I was monkeying with building my own gameobject system and somehow that tangentially lead to a few weeks of studying and copying template code from Modern C++ Design. I get some of the basic template metaprogramming bits, but damn that stuff is hard to read. If something goes haywire you’re SOL unless you really know what you’re doing. Still, I figured it doesn’t hurt to play with the idioms presented there and I was trying to incorporate them into my gameobject system to make it as generic as possible. It’s an experiment I need to finish up at some point so I can prove out the idea to myself, but I’m finding my interests pulled and pushed in other directions.
Every year, without fail, I get the urge to start drawing again. It’s an indelible part of who I am. At some point all these different avenues of creation that I meander from have to come together. I wrote for two and a half years every morning and concocted two story ideas; I’ve drawn a great deal in the past; and I code. One day all of these individual paths need to coalesce into some ultimate creation. Until that point I’ll have to be content with the nuggets that I can pan out of the flotsam in my scatterbrained thoughts. Hence this new bit of artwork:
At the top of the post you got to see the final version. I originally drew this in my sketchbook and scanned her into my computer. She’s an original character of mine from a short comic I did a while back. She is a girl who becomes a god. Her name is Kamiko (god-child). I’m still in the process of figuring out the story, but I’ve taken a back seat from it for a while to let it simmer in my subconscious while I focus on more pressing matters.
To take a break from all of life’s little things, I decided to play with Inkscape and began to vectorize my drawing. The motif I had done for the comic was to draw everything in one color, which makes two colors: black and white. Well color and non-color and that’s how I wanted all of the images formed. I thought it would be like a yin-yang thing since this is a story about a newly minted god. I spent a lot of time in Inkscape producing her. It wasn’t the whole two weeks, just an hour here or there to twiddle with the spline curves and to wrangle Inkscape into giving up the goods when it came to manipulating vectors.
Inkscape’s pros: unlike Illustrator you can actually select the handles and nodes of the vector shapes and it was easy to figure out. It’s cons: I find the GUI slow, but it lets me do what I want to do without getting in my way. I’d like to try my hand at a cel-shaded image using Inkscape.
As for the high-contrast look. I do love the final product from this drawing. She feels light and free-floating through the air. I like her heels and her expression; sexy and cute just like I’d expect from Kamiko. So it all worked out in the end and it’s very nice when it does. I want to do more with the high-contrast style and Kamiko so I’ll probably continue to focus on that primarily and really try and create some interesting artwork. I’ll admit though, it’s a lot of time to create something like this, and in my mind, to do a comic with this style, would take ages, but each time I approach the style and come out with some art from it, I believe it’s the right way for it to go.
So, it started as a summer of code. Then it became art. Eventually the writing bug will hit me again, it’s just a matter of time. It’s lingering in the back of my mind, especially now that I’ve read Story by Robert McKee I feel like I can begin dissecting stories and TV/anime series I like and figure out what makes them tick and add that to arsenal of fiction writing and creation in general.