New art!

Hey guys!

It’s been a while. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been sick of reading lately so I haven’t really picked up any books that I want to talk about. I read a few graphic novels — the first two volumes of I Hate Fairyland, a humorous, cartoonishly violent story of a girl trapped in a magical world she’s desperate to escape; and the first volume of Jonesy, which is about a girl that has the power to make anyone fall in love with someone else and the inevitable antics that follow. I enjoyed them, but I probably won’t go into too much detail on talking about individual volumes of graphic novels. Maybe once a series is finished I’d talk about the series as a whole, though.

So even though I don’t have any books to talk about, I do have a few art-related things to share. I got a nice case of markers from my sister for Christmas, so I drew a character named Annie from Splatoon.

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Annie’s got this really funky coral-like hair, complete with a snarky fish swimming in it. Between that and all of the colors in her design, I felt a strong urge to try drawing her and I thought she would be a good way to test out my new markers.

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I also made a fairly big Bowser out of Perler beads. I’ve been watching a let’s play of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story lately and… well, I’m not exactly sure what it was, but I was really impressed with Bowser’s sprite work. Like, so impressed I dropped everything to go make a Perler Bowser!

He wasn’t too bad. I had to substitute some bead colors here and there, but overall I’m really happy with how he came out! And if you’re curious about the let’s play, it’s being done on YouTube by lucahjin, so go look her up if you’re in the mood for some fun, silly commentary for a fun, silly game! πŸ™‚

And finally, I’ve been working on a huge cross-stitch project since New Year’s Eve. Last year I learned how to cross-stitch and I thought to myself, “Hey, this would be a cool alternative for doing pixel art for projects too big for Perler beads!” I also thought there were a lot of cozy, homey areas in video games that would make good cross-stitch projects. So I started my first in hopefully a series of cross-stitch projects, Pallet Town from Pokemon Red/Blue. I was going to wait a little while longer before revealing my progress, but since today is Pokemon’s 21st anniversary…

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It may not seem impressive now, but I’ve put a lot of work into it! This is Oak’s lab, and I’m hoping to have this portion of Pallet Town finished within a few weeks! I debated whether or not to go with the classic black and white color palette of the Game Boy, or the color palette of the Super Game Boy. I eventually decidedΒ  to go with the Super Game Boy palette, mostly because I obtained a newfound appreciation for it when I played through Blue last year with my friend and completed the Pokedex for the first time.

I feel like the colors I’m using are blending in too much with each other, though. I feel like I picked up the right colors, and when I looked at the game itself and compared it to my sprite sheet it feels like I’m doing this right, but… I dunno. Maybe I need to get a little further to really tell. It’s just one part of the entire town, after all.

Well that’s all for now. As for books, I did start reading a really interesting one that plays a lot with structure and layout, so I think there’s a good chance I’ll make a post about it one I’m done! Until then, I hope everyone’s having a great week! πŸ™‚

New Perler bead art! (Pokemon, Splatoon, and Legend of Zelda)

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s been a while since my last post, and I was hoping to have one final book discussion before 2016 was over. I read through the ttyl series (or Internet Girls series, as it’s apparently been called) last month, but it took longer than I thought it would. I just finished the final book the other day and I’m hoping to have a post about it before the week is over.

However, I’ve also made some new Perler art in the past month that I wanted to share! The first three were made as Christmas gifts for friends, so let’s take a look!

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The first one I made last month was the Pokemon Espeon, who was first introduced in Pokemon Gold/Silver. It was one of the new Eevee evolutions, and a counterpart to Umbreon, Eevee’s other new evolution. While Umbreon was one of the new dark types and represented the moon, Espeon here was a psychic type and represented the sun. The friend I made this for loves Espeon, so I looked through sprites of it from different games and chose one I thought she would like. This particular one is from Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, and I chose it because it looks like a meowing cat, which my friend is also a huge fan of.

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The next Perler project I did was another Pokemon one. Here I made Vileplume and Oddish attached to each other. The friend I made this for loves Vileplume and used one in her party when we played through Pokemon Red/Blue together last year, so making this particular project held double the meaning for me. I made an Oddish with it because I had an idea to make a mommy and baby Pokemon together and wanted to see how it came out. I was originally going to have Oddish on top of Vileplume’s head, like it was riding on the petals, but I thought it wasn’t going to look good so I ended up putting Oddish slightly in front of Vileplume instead.

These particular sprites came from Pokemon Silver. An interesting thing about the entire Oddish family in the earlier games is that although their artwork depicts them as having grayish-blue body tones, some of their sprites depict them as all black. These sprites did something interesting and kept hints of the blue in the otherwise black bodies, and I thought they looked really stylized and pretty badass. I knew my friend would appreciate something like that, so I chose these sprites to go with.

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My next project is the squid mascot from Splatoon, a team-based game for Wii U. I finally purchased one last year, my first new video game console in eight years. One of the games I’ve really enjoyed is Splatoon. You’re paired up with other players to form teams of four, and your goal is to cover the most ground with a paint-like ink. You play as Inklings, characters that look mostly human with the exception of their hair, which are squid tentacles formed to look like hairstyles. However, you can turn into a squid at anytime, which is mostly used to travel quickly through ink you’ve splattered on the ground.

One of my friends and I have been playing Splatoon online together once every week or so lately, and I thought he would appreciate a Perler piece from that game. Since it’s an HD console game, however, there are no sprites to use, so I took an image of the mascot squid and put a grid over it like I’ve done a few times before. I think it came out rather nice, although I think the spots on the bottom came out a little too blocky.

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Finally, I made some smaller Perler art for myself. These are some characters from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. Link’s Awakening is a game I haven’t played through entirely since I was a kid, despite being a big Zelda fan. There was no real reason why, either; for the past few years especially, I’ve always said I should replay it soon but for whatever reason I never did. Three or four years ago, I started a new file but stopped halfway through, again, for no real reason.

So about a week before Christmas, I was getting nostalgic for some of the games I got for Christmas in 2002. That was probably the best Christmas for me for a number of reasons, but gift-wise, I got very lucky and got three Game Boy Advance games and four Gamecube games. I wanted to play one of those Game Boy Advance games again, and I chose the port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, originally for the Super Nintendo. Now, I’ve played through this game many, many times since then, and although I always enjoy revisiting it, it’s unfortunately one of those games that I’ve played to death and feel like I just go through the motions while playing. I beat it in a few days, but I was still feeling nostalgic and still in the mood for a 2-D Zelda game. So I finally decided that this was the perfect time to finally revisit Link’s Awakening after so many years.

I could go on about my recent experience playing Link’s Awakening, but that’s probably better saved for its own separate post. The short version is, I loved it! It was so charming for a Zelda game, and since I haven’t played it fully since I was a kid and only had vague memories from then and a few let’s plays I’ve watched, it felt new. Anyway, I really wanted to make some Perler characters from this game, so I made a bunch of either my favorites or from characters I thought looked interesting. I think my favorite part of making these was that I had found this slightly off-white, almost ivory colored bag of Perler beads that I usually reserve for shades of gray, but here it’s perfect for how white appears on the Game Boy, making these Perler pieces feel extra retro. πŸ™‚

Well that’s all for now! Stay tuned for my Let’s Talk Books on the ttyl series, and possibly even a Link’s Awakening post shortly after that! Thanks everyone for reading, I hope you’re having a great week, and I definitely hope you’re going to have a great year! πŸ™‚

Late InkTober Drawings!

Hey everyone! While writing the Dracula post last week, I forgot to make a post showing the rest of the drawings I did for InkTober.

I cheated a little with some of these final drawings. InkTober is supposed to use, well, ink. And while I did use ink for all of these drawings, I started using colored pencils for some of the last few (I got frustrated doing so many drawings in only black and white).

Part of the reason I wasn’t using color in the first place is that I don’t really have any colored markers. I have a few in varying shades of gray, and a few colored India Ink markers, but I was never happy with how they came out. I would have bought some, but good markers are pretty expensive and now wasn’t exactly the best time to drop money on something I probably won’t use too often. πŸ˜›

However, one of my friends lent me a few copic markers to try out, and I used those for my final two drawings. I was thrilled with how they turned out! They were very thick, consistent, and left no streaks. I really want to invest in them some time!

InkTober was very fun. I try using my creativity to make different things as often as I can, but this was the first time since college that I actually worked on something every single day for a month straight. Even when I didn’t feel like it (and trust me, there were a lot of days I wasn’t feeling it), I powered through. There was something really great about starting and finishing something every day, too. I’ve got a bad habit of spending too long on certain things, trying to make them perfect, or even giving up on them if I convince myself there’s no way I could make them look good in the first place. Forcing myself to start and finish something within one day made me more comfortable with myself. Even if something didn’t turn out well (and I definitely think some of these didn’t turn out well), I had plenty more that I was proud of. It became easier for me to understand that if something I was working on wasn’t working out, that’s all right. Because there will always be something next time.

Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone’s having a great week! πŸ™‚

New S-P-O-O-P-Y Perler art and InkTober drawings!

Happy Halloween everyone!!

I feel like a broken record by this point, but once again… I don’t have as many Halloween Perler projects to share this week as I wanted to. In fact, it’s one again. :/ It took a lot longer than I anticipated, and it was sort of complicated too. But it’s better than nothing, right? So here it is, the last Halloween Perler project until next year — Death, from Super Castlevania IV!

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I’ve never actually played any Castlevania games before, so I can’t tell you much about Death here. It’s the Grim Reaper, and… well, I hear he’s super hard in the first game. I’ve seen some let’s plays of a few different Castlevania games though, and I know from those that they’re full of spooky monsters that are perfect for Halloween. I browsed some sprite sheets and went with Death because I just thought it looked cool.

Super Castlevania IV, like the Donkey Kong Country games, is one of those SNES titles with more complicated graphics. A lot of different colors, more realistic looking sprites — that sort of thing. I’ll admit, I was hesitant to even do Death. Honestly, I just wanted to make Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar from Pokemon and call it there. But I forgot that there aren’t many shades of purple for Perler beads, and I knew I was going to need more than was available, so I went here instead.

Which was stupid, because I ran into the exact same problem here except with blues. 😦

Yeah, I run into this problem a lot. And I’m still surprised, since there are actually a lot of blue shaded Perlers out there. But I never find any blueish purples or blueish grays, and those are the ones I always need. In this case, I had to improvise about half the colors, so it doesn’t look exactly like the sprite. I still think it came out all right, but it’s definitely one of my pieces I need to step back from to actually appreciate the details.

I’ve also got some more InkTober drawings. I didn’t hit 31, but since I started halfway through the month and still did at least one a day, I’m happy with where I’m at. I’m actually going to keep going with the InkTober challenge even though it’s over, so expect to see more in November. But here’s the next batch:

Anyway, Happy Halloween everyone! Dracula‘s about three quarters done, so hopefully I’ll have a review of it next week! πŸ™‚

New Perler Bead Art!

Let’s jump right into this!

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First is Hitmonlee from Pokemon Red/Blue. Why Hitmonlee? I don’t really know. I like him as a Pokemon, but I’ve never really used one before. Honestly, I came home from work one day, I was pretty tired, a stream I wanted to watch was just about to start, and I thought an art project would be a good way to unwind and do something productive for a couple of hours. I picked Hitmonlee at random; I honestly just wanted to make something that day.

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Next up is Sandslash from Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire. This one was a birthday present for someone, Sandslash being their favorite Pokemon. It was a lot of fun to make, too! I haven’t really used many yellow beads since my Princess Kenny project, and it’s nice to see a little more color in something I made.

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I also made a Wooper from Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire. Lucahjin is currently playing through Pokemon HeartGold blind on YouTube, and when she caught a Wooper I was overcome with awe. I forgot how absurdly cute and derpy this little guy is, and I just had to make one.

You know, it’s funny. There are a lot of shades of blue beads but I often find myself never having the right shade. This project was an example of that. It still looks like a Wooper, but I had to make some different choices off the sprite sheet I was using to make it look like this. It looked awkward before because none of the blues were mixing well with each other.

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The first three were my major projects during the past couple of months. Other than that, I’ve been trying to produce smaller pieces to trying selling at flea markets. A lot involved Super Mario Bros. 3; here I have Mario, a super mushroom, Super Mario, a racoon leaf, and Racoon Mario arranged on my fridge.

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I also made Megaman from his NES games. I don’t really have a lot to say about the original Megaman series, except I have little experience and the little experience I have involves dying a lot. I dunno, like the Mario games on NES, the Megaman series was something I never felt completely used to. However, I will say he makes a pretty cool magnet. πŸ˜‰

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And finally, I wanted to try making some Legend of Zelda magnets, so I chose Link and an Octorok from the first game. I think they came out all right enough, but I was never a big fan of sprites from NES games that didn’t have an outline to them. They kind of come off meh to me. Oh well.

And that about wraps up all my new Perler projects. I wouldn’t expect many new pieces anytime soon, as I’m currently working on a new writing project for NaNoWriMo. This is my first major writing project since last year, and even though I don’t expect to finish it by the end of the month, I’d like to give it my full artistic attention until it’s over. (It’s not even a novel; I’m more or less just using NaNoWriMo as an excuse to work a lot on this project).

Anyway, hope you’re all having a great week! πŸ™‚

New Perler Bead Art!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I originally had a different post planned for this week, but I wasn’t really liking what I had written. So here’s some more Perler bead art instead! πŸ™‚

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First up is Storm Eagle from Megaman X. He’s the boss of my favorite stage (a lot of people’s favorite stage, actually), and it’s my favorite because of the music. Anyone who appreciates retro game music who hasn’t heard it before should probably go look it up after reading this post. πŸ™‚

Anyway, this is definitely one of my better ones. I’m learning how to iron together bigger projects more effectively, and I think this one didn’t have any issues whatsoever. Finding the right shades of purple wasn’t easy, though; Perler doesn’t seem to offer a great range of purple shades, so I had to improvise. If you look really closely, you can even see I used some striped beads to give the illusion of another shade of purple. It actually worked out pretty well! I have a bunch of spare striped beads, and while I don’t want to get into the habit of relying on them, it’s good to know they can get the job done if needed.

DSCN1320Next up is Cloud from Final Fantasy Tactics. Although I haven’t been pursuing it very well, I’d like to make each character from Final Fantasy Tactics out of Perler beads. I chose Cloud next because… well, it’s Cloud! Final Fantasy VII was a big part of my high school experience, and seeing the main character show up as a secret one in Final Fantasy Tactics blew my mind back then. These days I can’t help but wonder if his inclusion was shameless promotion for Final Fantasy VII, but…

… I don’t care. :X

Cloud was pretty easy to make. He’s not particularly big, so ironing went well too. It was kind of weird using so many browns and golds in the hair, considering he’s blonde, but in the end I think it turned out well. πŸ™‚

DSCN1326The next few are all from Pokemon Sapphire, a game that also played a large role for me during high school. As anyone that’s read this blog for a while could tell you, Pokemon was a huge interest for me when I was a kid, as it was for virtually everyone else. When Red and Blue were released, every kid in school was super into it. But by the time Gold and Silver came out, the kids’ interest was fading. Eventually it came to a point where if you liked Pokemon, you were a loser. I still played Silver and my best friend next door played Gold, but a big part of the charm of Pokemon — the communal interest — had been lost. We had to like it in secret for a while.

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire came out when I was a freshman in high school. To my surprise, one of my friends got it and really loved it. I actually saw a handful of people really interested in it. It wasn’t a popular thing to like, especially as a high schooler, but there was enough of a following that bounced back to make my interest peak again. I got Sapphire for my birthday that year and ended up putting close to 200 hours on the game by the end of high school. :X

Between learning the game’s new mechanics, training up level 100 Pokemon to battle against my friends, keeping an unnaturally close eye on growing berries, challenging the Battle Tower, attempting to fill up the Pokedex, and faffing around with secret bases, it’s no wonder Pokemon Sapphire took up so much of my time back then.

Like Cloud, the Pokemon trainer you play as (his name is Brendan, apparently) didn’t take long to make. He’s really small. So small, I’m thinking about turning him into a keychain. It’s the pose from when the trainer uses an HM move; back then, I thought it was the coolest thing.

Besides from Ralts, of course.

DSCN1329Early in the game, you take a new trainer named Wally out to catch his first Pokemon. Out pops this thing. I don’t know why, but I thought this was the coolest, most adorable little thing in the entire game so far (all 20 minutes of playing it). I searched for an hour in the tall grass before I found one of my own. Later that day, my friend told me it evolves into one of the best Pokemon in the game.

I’m not sure how this one came out, though. Something I’ve noticed about Game Boy Advance Sprites is that they’re more complex than Super Nintendo and surprisingly PlayStation sprites. There’s a lot of smaller differences in color shades that you probably wouldn’t even notice until you saw a sprite of one zoomed in. As a result, sometimes some of the Perler art I make from medium-sized Game Boy Advance sprites looks a little weird unless you’re looking at them from far away.

DSCN1331Ralts’ fully evolved form, Gardevoir, became an instant favorite of mine. Ralts took a while before he could hold his own in battle, but by the time it became a Gardevoir it was one of my best Pokemon. Not to mention this Pokemon looks classy. It’s so elegant, it almost looks like it’s wearing some kind of gown. It was usually my go-to Pokemon.

Maybe because it’s bigger, so more shades can spread out a little more, but I think Gardevoir came out much better than Ralts. It’s definitely one of my favorite Perler pieces so far, nostalgia aside.

Hope everyone’s having a good week. πŸ™‚

New Perler Bead Art!

So, I wasn’t planning on showing off more Perler bead projects this week. I wanted to write a new Let’s Talk Books post about the Harry PotterΒ series, but I don’t think I would have been able to make it as good as I could have unless I gave myself another week. Then I was going to write something else, but I began wondering if it would have worked better as a blog post or a very experimental short story, so that may or may not be posted at some point in the future.

Blah blah blah who cares, let’s get dorky with Perler bead art!

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Tellah from Final Fantasy IV.

First up is a Final Fantasy character, Tellah, from Final Fantasy IV. I never grew up with the Nintendo or Super Nintendo Final Fantasy games; my first experience with the series was Final Fantasy VII for the original PlayStation in 2002, almost five years after the game was released. However, I’ve played many of the other games since then, including FFIV. Actually, my interest in playing this particular game came from one of the first Let’s Plays I ever watched. It sounds weird, but I have more memories with that Let’s Play than from playing the game itself.

Anyway, one of my coworkers really likes FFIV, especially Tellah. This was a very spur of the moment project, and I ended up giving it to him. It wasn’t very big; it easily fit on a single pegboard, and it probably took less than an hour to make, too.

Setzer from FFVI.

Setzer from FFVI.

Next is another Final Fantasy character, Setzer from Final Fantasy VI. I played this game for the first time last year, and while I don’t agree it’s the best Final Fantasy game, I really liked it and can see why it’s so many people’s favorite. Setzer was one of my favorite characters to use, and I always loved this pose of his. When I finished Tellah, I went straight to making Setzer. They’re both about the same size and took about the same amount of time to make.

Kirby from Kirby Super Star.

Kirby from Kirby Super Star.

I’ve always enjoyed Kirby games since I was a kid. They’re very casual, which suits me perfectly. They’re great for when I’m in the mood to play something, but only for a couple of days. Sometime last month, that exact situation popped up and I played through two games. And sure enough, I got the urge to make Perler bead art from the series.

I chose a sprite from the Super Nintendo game Kirby Super Star. This was also another game I didn’t grow up with; I had the Nintendo DS remake Kirby Super Star Ultra. I’m not sure why I picked a sprite from the Super Nintendo version, but what’s done is done. I’m not exactly thrilled with the way it came out, and I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be when I started. I didn’t seem to have any of the exact colors used in the sprite sheet I referenced. This isn’t the first time something like that happened, though, so I tried it out anyway.

Eh.

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Morty from Pokemon Gold and Silver.

I’ve already talked about the influence Pokemon had on me as a kid in the first part of my anime retrospective, as well as many other posts, so I won’t talk about it too much here. Since making the protagonist, rival, and Prof. Oak from Pokemon Red and Blue last year, I wanted to eventually make all of the main characters and gym leaders from the series that had 2-D sprites. I used a random number generator to decide who to make next, and I got Morty from Pokemon Gold and Silver.

It came out okay, I guess. But I don’t know, something about it didn’t wow me like the monochrome Game Boy sprites.

Sonic from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

Sonic from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

Tails from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

Tails from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

Knuckles from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

Knuckles from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

Dr. Robotnik from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

Dr. Robotnik from Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

And finally, we have the main cast from the Sega Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog series: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Dr. Robotnik as seen in Sonic 3 and Knuckles. This (or Sonic 3 or Sonic and Knuckles on their own) were my go-to video game when I was a kid. Whether by myself or when playing with my best friend next door, we spent a lot of time with the Sonic series on the Genesis. When I first started making Perler bead art, I couldn’t wait to try making Sonic characters. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good range of colors until recently. But at least I finally made them!

Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles came out all right (the lighting in the Sonic picture makes the beads look a lot brighter than they are, unfortunately). They aren’t very big; I think each one fit on a single pegboard. Dr. Robotnik, however, was a much bigger project. I believe he took up four pegboards and a teeny bit of two more for the flames coming from his vehicle’s exhaust pipe, so I had to use six in total. This was one of those situations where I had a strong hunch the beads were going to give me a lot of trouble fusing, so I split the ironing between the top and bottom half, and then ironed both sides together. Thankfully, this pulled the project together fairly well, and Dr. Robotnik is now one of my best pieces yet!

The eternal chase.

The eternal chase.

Hope everyone’s having a good week! Next time I’ll (hopefully) have something to say about the Harry Potter series! πŸ™‚