Otaku Onion

What Would the Vancouver 2010 Mascots as Anime Girls?!
March 1, 2010, 7:34 am
Filed under: Anime, Art, Parody, Travel

Hope everybody is having an awesome time as the Vancouver 2010 Olympics draws to a close! I`m watching the closing ceremony right as watch this, giant beaver and all!

Being a Vancouverite yet ironically whatever the opposite of a sports fan is, I was surprised at just how much I got into the spirit and wanted to make a fun Olympic themed illustration, so what better way than to make anime girl versions of the Vancouver Olympic 2010 mascots!!… Actually.. that sounds like a fundamentally bad idea… oh well, too late! Here you go!

Vancouver Olympics 2010: What would the mascots look like as anime girls?

The original Olympic mascots were by MEOMI, who outside of the usual global fame for the Vancouver 2010 mascots is also well known for the Tea House theme in Gmail and iGoogle which I also incidentally ended up using without knowing beforehand.

Please enjoy and thank you everyone who came to Vancouver to party with us!

So Many Celebrations, So Little Time!
February 17, 2010, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Anime, Art

Hyo Everyone!

Hope you all had an awesome Valentine’s Day with a side helping of the Chinese New Year! Well, “The Lunar New Year” if you wanted to be technically correct, which is usually the best kind of correct… just not in this case. Here in Vancouver, we’re also in the middle of the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the whole city is psyched about Canada actually trying to win for a change with already 2 Gold Medals under our belt!

With so many celebrations going on, I had just had to pick one to do an illustration for, so I picked Valentine’s Day! This year’s illustration comes in two flavors! Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate… which isn’t technically chocolate in the same way that American Chinese food isn’t actually Chinese, but I digress ^_^.


Here’s the original sketch for Valentine 2010’s special illustration! It had a few alignment issues but nothing a little post line editing wouldn’t fix. I often add or change up parts of the drawing during clean up, but in this particular case, the drawing remained relatively unchanged even by the end.

Dark Chocolate

The first version of the illustration was the Dark Chocolate Edition! This version exclusively used my “Super Clean” coloring style with super thick outlines and highly saturated colors. The image had an obscene amount of red originally until I decidedly literally 5 minutes before the end because of my OCD habit to use pretty much every color of the rainbow in my drawings.

White Chocolate

A light fluffy version of the illustration that instead of having thick black lines, has almost invisible colored lines and much brighter colors ^_^. So where’s the white chocolate? Actually, I never really thought that part through all that much, I just assume those pink hearts are more or less edible, ahahah ^_^.

Oh… Right! That 8-bit thing.
January 16, 2010, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Anime, Art, Game | Tags:

Ah, that’s right, I’ve been wrapped up in so much Borderlands, I completely forgot to write about those 8-bit versions of Xyni, Rally and Phia that have been climbing up the left side.

8-Bit Xyni8-Bit-Rally8-Bit-Phia

This was a wee bit back and just for fun, I decided to use Axialis IconWorkshop to help reproduce my glory days of 8-bit icon production. 256 colors, 32 x 32 pixels, one goal; make something that is remotely recognizable.

I started off my pursuit of digital art making icons on my old Macintosh Quadra back in the day, aka, the Tempest, a hardcore data crunching machine that I’m sure my brother and I begged ample amounts for in public to persuade our parents to buy. Well, actually, it was just my brother, I just got it as a hand me down… an awesome hand me down. The delete key was gone and replaced with the back end of a pencil eraser, but outside of that, still good!

For icon designers on Mac, there was only one way to go, ResEdit. Those who’ve used it know it by the icon of a jack in the box head coming out of a computer and traumatizing your 12 year old-self. The horror threshold was a lot lower back then you see.

Since my roots were in icon design, I guess it more or less explains why I am OCD about my art and why every pixel has to be in place. I learned many valuable lessons though, like how to manually make gradients, highlights and what colors worked well together. More so than any other icons though, I remade Final Fantasy VI characters, in particular Terra. Man, I must have had a Terra mutation for every single conceivable notion. Santa Terra, Bunny Girl Terra, 4-Armed Terra, you name it.

I wonder if those files still exist anywhere. Probably buried in piles of floppies long, long ago. Might be better that they are, the past always looks better when you’re not living in it.

It’s BorderLOVE! ^_^
January 16, 2010, 10:17 am
Filed under: Anime, Art, Game, Humor, Parody

Borderlands: enough WALKING!!

I originally started out playing Borderlands thinking that it would be a quick filler while waiting for the next Sims 3 expansion, little did I know how much of a euphoric time vacuum it would ultimately become in my life, so much that I wanted to do a full out fan illustration for it but I always put it to the side. When Apocalust on Flickr mentioned to me the idea to do my take on Borderlands in illustrated form, I thought it was a awesome opportunity to draw some fan art about something I’m more or less currently obsessed with, ahahah ^_^.

For this post, I’m not going to talk about creating art itself, that’s covered better on the actual Flickr page I posted it on, instead about the game and it’s relationship to the illustration. First of all, those who’ve played Borderlands probably know that all the guns are randomly generated from over “87 bazillion” combinations, which isn’t a real number, but sounds good with marketing. These particular guns in the drawing however ARE actually real weapons in the game, although it’s entirely possible that nobody will have the exact same types again, so for those who want to know exactly what those two are, here’s the in game item cards for them!

Hellfire & Volcano fun for the whole family!

The Hellfire and the Volcano are arguably the two most famous weapons in Borderlands, but for me, I just love them because they set people on fire, which honestly just makes me happy. These two featured here aren’t all that powerful anymore and I have since found better versions, but they were my favorite aesthetically and I kept hold of them for the longest time, if only for drawing reference, ahahah, man, pruning down that inventory was sure pain to make room for those two ^_^. For those wondering, the girl featured in the picture is Lilith the Siren, one of the 4 playable characters in the game and clearly the only one who’s not a man.

I personally play a Lv 50 Controller/Assassin Catalyst build with focus on dazing and Phase Walking. I call this particular build, the “Adaptive Build”, since it’s power is in switching between different Class Mods for different situations instead of just relying on one particular mod, but now I’m just talking game lingo and am slowly destroying your will to live with this wall of text.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun making this illustration, and I hope other Borderlands players will enjoy it as well ^_^. I’m currently playing the Mad Moxxi DLC and having a good time, but I’ll have to start my next art project very soon if I want to meet my deadlines, so please wish me luck and to recover from my chronic video game addiction!

Windows 7 Killed the MS Paint Star
January 4, 2010, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Art, Humor

A friend of mine recently showed me a cute drawing she did in MS Paint and naturally me being the tolerant critic of art I am, proceeded to savagely verbally attack her by saying “Good Job!”

Well, that’s what I said, but when anyone tells any digital artist worth their salt they created anything in MS Paint, an art program that by it’s very definition is an abomination, the absolute first thing they look at is if it invokes the magical power of anti-aliasing or not, and this illustration definitely had anti-aliasing to the max, so I was skeptical.

For those unfamiliar with anti-aliasing, there are two explanations, a technical one and the simple one, I will provide the simple one, do you love jagged, hard, pixelated edges? Well, if so, then Anti-Aliasing hates you… not literally of course, because anti-aliasing doesn’t have feelings, but if it did, it would hate you.

After further inquiry on that faithful day, I learned the horrible, horrible truth… Microsoft had actually UPGRADED MS Paint with Windows 7!

You can’t upgrade MS Paint! It’s a program who’s only merit in the art world is being god awful! Now it has anti-aliasing, makes use of the Ribbon UI, and even has basic drawing tools that have only been available for the last decade!

MS Paint artists were the miracle workers of the digital art world. The sheer thought of painting a masterpiece with MS Paint was the digital equivalent of an artist in real life painting with a toothpick and their own bodily fluid. The art could be complete crap, but as soon as you dropped the “I did it in MS Paint!” bomb, everybody around you would have their eyes instantaneously explode. Take this awesome painting of Venice for example by Diamonster, which has either got to be the first or second most awesome painting ever done in MS Paint by humans, reportedly requiring 500 hours of artistically epic attention.

Now thanks to MS Paint being upgraded, this painting will only be viewed by future generations as awesome, instead of you know, godly.

Thankfully Microsoft in all of their wisdom have saw it fit to deprive Paint of the one feature that would make it unsuck, Layers! Mark my words though, the day that MS Paint gets layers is the day that MS Paint artists stop being looked at as awesome and the pity parties begin along with sympathy pleas to download GIMP. Fortunately, given Microsoft’s record of upgrading MS Paint, that should take a good 20 more years or so.


Hyo~ppy New Year!!
January 2, 2010, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Anime, Art

Hyo~ppy New Year everybody!

This year, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to stop procrastinating, and what better way to start than to post this on January the 2nd instead of January the 1st!

As one final testament to my bygone mad procrastination skills, here’s my special Christma… errr, I mean special New Year’s illustration to kick off 2010! ^_^ The two holidays are only a week apart and I completely fail to see how anyone could notice my gratuitous reallocation of time mismanagement! ~^_^~

Happy New Year 2010!!

Thank you everyone who has continued to visit this blog despite it somewhat resembling a desolate hole in the wall… you know, the type that you stick your hand into and it’s like, “Oh no. I have a giant killer worm eating my arm. Blarg, I have died.” Thankfully, I have a very good reason!… … … yes, a VERY good reason!

Anyhow, moving right along, you didn’t come to this blog to listen to me complain about my life full of dashed dreams and broken promises — No, that’s what my Twitter account is for!  No, here at the Otaku Onion, it’s all about… err, actually, I’m pretty sure I lost focus of what the heck my target audience was suppose to be, kinda’ spreading myself a little thin now that I think about it. A lot of that is to blame on my Tumblog which is like a blog written by me, but in a parallel universe where I post regularity as opposed to oh… twice every year which I’m relatively certain might have had slight side effects of murdering my readership numbers into the ground.

In any case, I hope you have all had a wonderful New Year’s Day! Let’s all congratulate the world together for surviving yet another year without nuking all of us into the outer rings of Saturn in a spectacular display of human ingeniuity!

Art Workshop: Axiom Girl
May 25, 2009, 5:07 pm
Filed under: Anime, Art, Humor, Tutorial | Tags: , , , ,

Hyo! Long time no blog! Thank you for those who’ve continued to visit my blog even though for all practical purposes, it had appeared that I had been mauled by a sexually deprived grizzly bear — ah, good times, but I digress. I’ve been busy recently grinding away on my latest illustration and am ecstatic to announce that Axiom Girl, featuring Xynthica (Center), Phia (Right) and Sylis (Left) is now 100% finished and ready for your viewing pleasure!

For some reason that I cannot fathom, some people are actually interested in how I create my artwork. Unfortunately, as of late, me saying “Magic!” has resulted in surprisingly painful and awkward moments of silence, so I thought it would be fun to briefly document my work flow all the way from simple sketch to… well, something a lot less simple and sketchy… hopefully.

Step # 1: Simple Sketch

Axiom Girl (Raw)

It’s an established fact that artists receive powerful visions of frolicking unicorns and pink fairies chasing rainbows that inspire their greatest of works, and that was exactly the case with this piece! Just kidding kids, I just scribbled some characters in a practice exercise I call “I Can’t Afford Paper Anymore!” that’s growing in popularity with today’s tanking economy.

For those unfamiliar with the game, it consists of having a single piece of paper left… and that’s actually pretty much it really. The exercise encourages filling up the paper with as many characters as possible and forces the artist to have characters posed in ways that they would normally not consider to fit on paper.

The funny thing is that what you see here is actually only the left half of the original drawing. The right half, which included Rally and Gitynia, unfortunately threw the composition into despair, so choppity, chop, crop.

Despite how rough the initial sketch was, I saw potential in what the final result could be, so into the scanner it went! This drawing was done with a leadholder loaded up with HB lead,  but I like to tweak up the contrast in Photoshop after scanning, you know, for the lulz… well, that and it looks better ^_^.

Step #2: Line Art

Axiom Girl Line

If you can barely make out the image, do not panic! Rest assured that it means that you indeed still human. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to manually vector trace the entire drawing with ridiculously thin lines that were literally on the borderline of invisibility using the Pen tool. Normally, I use an old version of Adobe Illustrator for my vector tracing, but sometimes, I like to throw a little variety in the mix and try an alternative program like Inkscape ^_^.

This is by far the most difficult part of the whole process, I’m slightly obsessive compulsive about line art and the entire drawing was rebuilt from the ground up with the original as only a very loose reference. Most anime/manga artists resort to traditional inking with a G-Pen, Spoon Pen, School Pen, etc for their line art, but I’ve come to love the digital Pen tool over the years and it has been synonymous with my “Super Clean” style — but man does it ever make doing frilly skirts a nightmare.

After I’m satisfied with the line art, I export it into Photoshop and let the coloring begin!

Step #3: Base Color

Axiom Girl Color

It’s colorin’ time! The time when my art actually looks worst than the original sketch — oh what fun! Fortunately, that changes quite fast! Using the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop, I can cleanly select the sections between the lines to be colored and fill them in using the median color between light and dark as a base color… well, that’s assuming I didn’t mess up the line art part which would cause the selection to “spill”.

The coloring should always be below the line art so I don’t get that horrible jagged edge of doom that just screams graphical agony in a way that complete anti-aliasing inconsistency could. A little Expand/Contract a pixel here or there also helps in a pinch ^_^.

To make things easier, I keep a separate swatch palette for each character so I can always retain consistent colors under neutral lighting. To prevent my computer from imploding into a big fiery bonfire, I divide the character’s colored layers into Smart Objects, which are kinda’ like custom fridge magnets… if you were painting on a fridge with your cat’s face. Oops, that totally screwed up the simile.

Basically, Smart Objects let you split up parts of your image that would normally grind the CPU and RAM of your computer into a fine sandy paste and are great with working with images of the ginormous variety and are incredibly useful for people who think having 200 layers at 600 DPI is a good idea, which I’m apparently one of. They also allow you limited editing control, as if a group of layers was temporarily merged. Well, now that the base is laid down it’s time for…

Step #268: Magic!

Axiom Girl (Complete)

Whoops, looks like we might have skipped a couple of steps there, my bad. Well, we’re done, nothing to see here folks, move along now. ^_^ … … …Okay, honestly? It’s 6am in the morning, I didn’t sleep all night, WordPress completely obliteraped an earlier version of this post and that bed is starting to look mighty good now ^_^.  Plus, every artist likes to keep a few secrets in between them and their paper ~^_^~.

For those budding artists who would like a little help with their art, please drop me a line at: zephos@gmail.com. I still have a great deal of things to learn myself, but I always have time to assist as much as I can if it is within my ability ~^_^~.