funeral for 2012 and by funeral i mean partytime yo

HAPPY 2013! with love, MONIQUE C. / THE STAR SAMURAI ❤ ✭
Listening to “How We Do (Party)” by Rita Ora ♫

Sorry for the lacking of posts, folks! I've been doing some much-needed lazing around and relaxing.

I'm not quite sure if I improved this year art-wise other than anatomy. And I haven't been able to work on comics as much as I'd like, which has been very painful. Also I was forced to use Autodesk Maya for an entire year. Looking back on that, I still hate using it. And 3D modeling is not my cup of tea. At least I learned that much this year.

Next year I look forward to working on my thesis, which is a chapter of one of my comics, Glass Hearts, and various merchandise to go along with it (including a published book). Finally I'll be able to do things I enjoy doing with art next year that I haven't been able to do fully for the past 3 years. It's going to be fantastic.


//sketch log 001

Listening to “Rinse FM 23-11-11” by Von D ♫
Firstly, I am going to try and put what I'm listening to in each entry. Because I love discovering new music and sharing my experiences of them with others.
Kicking things off, I started listening to Von D...last year or this year, I forget. He is a mostly-dubstep producer from France, and all of his music has that distinct Von D flavor. If your preconceived notion of dubstep is Skrillex, then you are 100% misinformed. I suggest watching this documentary called Bassweight that I watched last year. But I digress, my recommended tunes of Von D's are "Coquine", "Echolow", and "Sunlight" (this song is definitely my #1 favorite - I can never get enough).
Anyways: turns out I don't really have much left from this semester to post on here, haha! So I'm going to start putting up sketches. They'll vary from source: sketchbook, scrap paper, digital, etc. I have a bad habit of keeping useless papers in hopes that I'll sketch all over it. So I have tons of those. More so than sketchbook sketches, believe it or not.
This first sketch log is a look at my sketchbook. I'll try and take more pictures of it for the next log along with some scrap paper sketches. (Maybe it'll be a sketch dump? Ohoho!)

I like to sketch ideas out for my comics/stories, so 80% of my sketches are mini-comics to accomplish this.

This was me coming up with stuff for that promotional package artwork. I also like to make up outfits that don't exist. Which depresses me in the process...
The skewed perspective is for that ~*ARTISTIC PHOTOGRAPHY EDGINESS*~ or something.


figures all over the place

So I am officially done with this semester (well, since yesterday). I definitely need this winter break to...have a break before I actually finish school. Wow, that is happening.
Anyways, within the next few days I'll try and post things from this past semester that I haven't posted. To start, here are 3 among the last couple of assignments from my figure in motion class I actually liked, haha.
A turnaround derived from a 3D model.

5 males and 5 females of varying poses. I unintentionally drew two Precure characters in here.

A running figure that I imagined into nudity. Straight up.
Also I am going to try and post more things I personally draw, which include fanart of the anime variety. Because boy oh boy do I watch a lot of that.


werkin that type, hunty

So wow, I finally got time to actually work on finishing this piece this week. Or more specifically, the last two days. Other assignments got in my way, which sucked so hard because I was really looking forward to working on this!
Working on the border...
 Lineart always takes up the most time for me because 1) it's the foundation of everything to come, 2) everything should be right, and 3) I'm a perfectionist. So I had to rush it, which frustrated me a lot. Rush-coloring is kind of no problem, as it's easy to fix. But lines...not so much.
Refining the shading and highlights on the type more, ahhhh!
 Setting the colors up was somewhat frustrating, especially the hair. But overall, coloring was a lot of fun. No one in critique questioned my color choices, so that gave me relief because I put a lot of thought into that.
This is the result for today, but I will be making some changes. So look out for that during break!


promo realness

I drew these four things for my promotional package due today. A lot of the art I produced for school in the past aren’t up to my strict-as-ever standards. I only had time to roughly sketch these (though to other people, these look more complete than anything).

I just wanted to do more fashion-driven illustration. So…tadaa~

Charlie (Glass Hearts) + seapunk realness
Alana (Project 217!) + Yves Saint Laurent + 90s business executive realness
Random person + grungy punk realness
Random person + floral + feminine + wintery realness


2D ➙ 3D


You know that last progress shot? I decided to try out Mudbox and it didn't like that mesh at all. So I had to spend a lot more time in Maya than I'd like to fix it. And I was really frustrated for a good first half of the day. But eventually, I worked it out.

So there's the concept art on the left, and the final 3D model textured in color + bump maps on the right. A few things are imperfect, but overall I am more than happy with the end result. It turned out way better than anticipated. I might even use Mudbox after this class! For fun, of course.



If this wasn't addressed yet, I have been a member of my school's student chapter of the Society of Illustrators since last year. It's been a really fulfilling thing to be a part of and I'm hoping it'll continue into the future (after I graduate - oh my god that phrase scares the heck out of me).

This year we have done movie nights on first Thursdays from the get-go, which is pretty great. I made one poster that was accepted for the movie Summer Wars. (The timing of when this movie was shown with a family loss made me lose it, I gotta say. I highly recommend it).

Upon hearing that no one entered a poster for tomorrow's movie, Akira, I decided to go for it. I was young when I first watched it on VHS, and I'm probably going to watch it tomorrow night since it's been ages since I watched it. But I was really surprised to hear no one did an entry. So amidst terrible school internet and an overall stressful day, I managed to pull off my first piece of Akira fanart for SOI.

Funny thing is, I kinda had a similar idea for the previous movie showing that I missed completely, the Illusionist (definitely going to watch it when I have time, by the way). Though I did this unconsciously. Pretty much all the official artwork for this movie and comic are primarily red, and white - so I decided to go with that and black. It was a good experience doing something on a super-tight deadline that wasn't for a class. I'm surprised I accomplished this amongst the brunt of finals week (aka 2 weeks), so I feel pretty good about this. It's a nice break from stuff I don't necessarily feel like doing.


why must we do this?

After this semester, I won't have to touch Autodesk Maya ever again. Which is fantastic because that is possibly the worst program I've ever had to work with. And it singlehandedly convinced me that 3D modeling is not my thing at all. For two semesters of me cursing more than the usual, and feeling like the object of torture from a program.

But I digress: I am now working on the final project I'm doing for the only class utilizing Maya, Advanced Gaming. Throughout the semester we actually barely used Maya, which was music to my ears. We basically divided into groups and made board games. And we actually did concept art, which we didn't get to do at all last semester. Unless we count chairs and silverware...

Then we took these board games and made assets for a 2D game version of it. Somewhat unknowingly, I somehow ended up with the hardest portion of the group: backgrounds. I didn't think it would take as long as it did. As in my group-mates finished their work before I even worked on the 2nd out of 4 backgrounds. Needless to say, one of them (super awesome friend Alex) did 90% of the 4th background for me. But yeah. I think I earned roughly 2-4 years of no pixel art. Yes: pixel/sprite backgrounds.

That was probably the hardest part of the semester: and that didn't even utilize Maya! But for this final project, I had to jump back into it. Good news is: we could make our own concept art for this! Also good news: it doesn't even have to be a human. In fact, it's a creature! This isn't done yet, but I'm pretty satisfied with the model. It's based on Surf 'n Turf, a undead-zombie-fish-with-legs that I made for the above board game. I've gained an affinity for it, I admit it.

Tomorrow I'll be trying out Mudbox for the texturing because let's be clear: I hate sewing texture maps with a passion. Hate's a strong word, and I am not afraid to use it in all aspects of this program and anything 3D-relevant. And I respect ANYONE who can make amazing things in 3D. In fact, these two semesters made me appreciate how much effort is put into all the 3D-animated movies these days.

busy busy busy

Sorry for not updating for over a week. Thanksgiving week was basically me spending time with family and no room or motivation for schoolwork. And the week back just...didn't work at all. I was in this weird state of "I really don't feel like doing anything. I should feel motivated. I should be working. But I really can't feel the energy to do anything productive." It made me feel really guilty going to school that week with that feeling on me. Senioritis Part 2: College? I wouldn't doubt it!

But this week I feel a bit more motivated to get things done. There's only this week and next week, and the semester is done: which is insanely awesome and shocking all at once. I'll try to at least post screenshots of what I'm doing during these two weeks - but I'm not making any guarantees that I won't just ignore updating this, and focus super hard on getting things done! Wish me luck!


how i missed making you, comics!

So wow, I am actually inking Glass Hearts pages. Thrilling!

(P.S. - Steve Reich is a genius. Go do yourself a favor and listen to him. Electric Counterpoint and Music For 18 Musicians are great starting points. At least, that's how I got hooked.)

writing with sketches

When it comes to sketching, I just draw a mass of things. It is also in this time where I come up with ideas for writing my comic scripts.

Writing wise, I am currently rewriting an arc in Glass Hearts. (Basically I am rewriting the entire thing). Though I have a writer's block so bad that I had to close the chapter document last night. It's really funny because I just plowed one earlier in the chapter. All I need is to stay away from it for a while and I'll get through it.

But dang, it has been a while since I used Paint Tool SAI. I have to use it in a virtual machine, so loading that every time is time-consuming. But it is one of my favorite programs ever, and I love making lines and coloring in SAI and then finishing it up in Photoshop.


you betta werk

So much to my surprise and delight, my RuPaul concept got chosen! Though as a member of the student chapter of SOI, I can enter 2 (or 3? I forget) free entries for the competition. But regardless, yes! I get to draw Ru for school! How cool is that?

For next class, I need to basically put in the changes advised by my teacher (who has seen him before, much to my shock). This is my progress of that so far. I made Ru longer because obviously he is super tall. Also I was suggested the route of art nouveau. Me, having loved this movement since high school, readily kept an open mind for this. I might go all the way with this, because gosh just when I thought this couldn’t look any better, bam! ornate border took it to the next level.


driven in a magically badass way

(Art circa August 2012.)

This is the main character of Project 217!, the second comic that I want to publish. Well...technically I don't know which one to publish first.
What if your life got changed by:

1) The sudden appearance of things you always thought were fictional?
2) An organization who believes in the existance of these things?
and 3) An interdimensional mask-wearing crazy mistress planning to kill you?

...that is the case of Alana Wolfe, an extremely tempermental, teenage girl who doesn't believe in ghosts, demons, or aliens.
This story goes as far back as 5th grade, believe it or not. I grew up loving magical girl cartoons, such as the Powerpuff Girls, and Sailor Moon. And naturally, I wanted to make my own. Flash foward to today, I still love watching magical girl cartoons and I still want to make this comic! Though it has evolved into something so unlike what I intended as a kid, but I'm pretty proud of it. (So unlike what I intended as in woah explicatives everywhere and crazy-looking demons).

The webcomic version (found here and here) has been full-color and I mean, full on color. Everything about this comic is pretty strong, explosive, and ridiculous. It's a lot of fun to draw (apart from action scenes, which I haven't really mastered yet hahaha) and write.

And gosh. I just love both of my comics. And that is the most important thing about making a comic: love.


you're my friend, no matter what

(Sketch circa January 1st, 2012.)

So I decided that I should introduce my comics to this blog, because let's be clear: I am so about comics. I made smaller comics when I was younger, started a webcomic when I was 15, self-published a compilation book for my high school graduation project at 17, and flash forward to now, I want to be a comic book artist.

This comic, Glass Hearts, is one of two long comics I've been readying to publish for years. Here's a summary:

After two years, a 16-year-old Charlie McDermott returns to his hometown and to his previous friends. Many things have changed, some things haven't. Old wounds will resurface, and new wounds will possibly appear as well.

This comic is essentially what has led me to learn more about people, sexuality, and how the latter doesn't really matter. I've reflected what I've learned into this comic. With the webcomic version (still online at Smackjeeves and the Duck), I'm continually surprised by how my writing has come across to readers, and their feelings. That makes it all the more fulfilling for me.


fashion is power.

These are sketches that I did for tomorrow’s class. The last project is basically a free-for-all. So pinning down one concept just isn’t possible for me. Funny thing is all three include fashion of some sort. And I am okay with that.

Today I actually saw Wildfox editorial photos and it completely inspired me. So I combined that, my summer filled with being enthralled with grunge fashion, and Yo-Landi Vi$$er’s metallic tights. I either would like to do a crazy linear background like that, or just a simple color.

Frankly, I miss working on my babies: my comics. So naturally, one of these ideas had to involve one of them. This is Charlie McDermott of Glass Hearts, and he is super fashionable and fabulous. I love writing about him, writing his dialogue, and drawing him in all sorts of outfits I could imagine. As for the quote, it’s relevant towards Charlie, and fashion in general. At least, when I put on an outfit and it looks good, I feel so much more confident and powerful.

I’ve been engrossing myself in re-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race since Hurricane Sandy. And watching the All Stars season, which is going by way too fast!! Anyways, I find drag queens to be very inspirational people. That above quote also applies to them. They go through so much adversity and come up on top: strong. Since I saw fanart of people and cartoons, I figured “Why not?”.

Regardless of what gets chosen, I’m going to do all of these personally anyway. There’s no stopping me!


let's make this more difficult

For unknown reasons, my thumb of my dominant (right) hand started hurting last week. So drawing has been somewhat painful: which is not good considering oh hey I’m in a career for art. So this weekend I tried not using it much and massaging it with lotion. But whenever I wake up, it would hurt all over again. Not sure what kind of dark magic is at work here, but I want it to stop. (At least, delay it until I graduate!!)
Here is a bonus sketch of me from pitching a greeting card to clients. Let’s be professional.


haunted hurricane

These screams also kept me from sleeping last night. Hallow's Eve, aka Hurricane's Eve, aka Scary Sandy.

How am I doing? Better than roughly 300k other people in Pennsylvania because the power stayed on. (It flickered off and on twice). I thought there was supposed be worse winds, but that never happened. Feeling extremely grateful for this luck, but at the same time, keeping my thoughts towards those who weren't so lucky.

I never planned a Halloween costume, so this hurricane pretty much derailed that completely this year (along with a lot of things this week, include 2 days of no school).

But regardless: Happy Halloween!


thirty hands are better than two, surely

Lemme give you a hand. Or rather, snapshots of the THIRTY (30) I had to draw for today’s class. Let’s just say after a weekend of sleep deprivation and the other things I have due for this week, I did not look forward to this. Logically, hand practice is great! It’s fantastic, best thing I could do! The timing of this particular assignment is just…terrible.



No, but seriously hey I’m a freelance illustrator and comic artist that is currently attending Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. I’ll be graduating in Spring 2013, which is nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. Mainly for reasons of I can’t wait to dive right into working.

This is the blogging epicenter of everything professional about me. With some necessary sprinklings of fun, ridiculousness, and humor that will hook you in.

I’m over 9000% sure that you’ll be back for more.


For those who have been following this blog for what seems like forever and are confused by the changes, I am revamping this blog to compliment my rapid transformation as a professional in all things illustration and comics. So in a way, you're still going to get what you got in the past. Just...better looking.