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My Blog. My Art. My life.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Star Wars fails at War

Well, it's less than a week until the latest unnecessary installment to the Star Wars saga is released in cinemas. So I may as well chip in my own opinions on it, 'cause I'm sure we need another random on the internet talking about a film that hasn't been released yet. Why is it called 'The Force Awakens' anyway? Considering the Force was around heavily in the prequels, and dwindled to almost nothing by the end of the original trilogy, shouldn't it be called 'The Force Reawakens'?

But's that's not what I'm here to complain about, oh no. For me personally, Star Wars Ep 7 has already failed. From what I've gathered from the trailers, it hasn't even gotten the 'war' component right. I mean come on! It's half the franchise's name! Over the years, I have studied a fair bit on military history. While I don't consider myself a master tactician, I do believe I know something about how wars are fought. Anyway, back to the Star Wars Ep7 trailer. So when is Ep7 set? 20? 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi? In any case, it's been a while. The first problem is that it appears the Imperials are still the enemy. Really? Last time we saw them, they lost the second Death Star, their leader and their capital Star Destroyer (I've forgotten the name of it. Sorry). How do they still have the capacity to fight? Are the Rebels that useless? My other problem is that in the trailer, we see X-Wings and TIE fighters. Now this is dumb, dumb, so fucking dumb, dumb beyond belief. Again, it's 20-30 years after Jedi and both sides are STILL using the same military hardware as before? This is particularly galling for the Empire. Considering how much stuff of theirs has been destroyed in previous movies, why do they persist using the same rubbish that, as we have seen, is inadequate? No! This is not how it's done! War is an arms race, trying to refine and improve your tactics and technology to get an edge over your opponent. Painting the TIES and X-Wings black is not an improvement.

Look at what they did in the original trilogy - In New Hope we saw the standard TIE. In Empire Strikes Back we saw the TIE bomber and in Jedi we saw the TIE interceptor. Now, as far as Star Wars lore goes, maybe all models were always there to begin with, I dunno. But as each film came along, we saw a new type of TIE. This (to me at least) gives the impression that the Empire are coming up with new ships over the timeline of the films. They were developing and improving their technology. Even the Rebels do the same. We see X and Y-Wings in the first movie (of the original trilogy) and by the third they also have the A and B-Wings (huh. I've just realised that X,Y,A and B are also the standard buttons on a video game controller. Sorry, got distracted)

I fear that the new film is making too many call backs to the original trilogy. I hate it when a movie is more 'hey look! It's that thing from the previous movies! Remember that?' rather than expanding and being creative with the franchise.

The original trilogy bollockses up war too. The Battle Of Hoth? Oh that's just woeful! Time for me to rant. Ahem;

I really don't know how the Empire won that fight. They got nothing right. The first misstep was reconnaissance. Why did they send probes to the planet surface? Why not send a high altitude drone? Or an orbital satellite? Both options would have allowed the surveillance of a wider area than a probe at ground level. Plus, something like a satellite may have been harder to detect than probes, which the Rebels detected and were alerted to the possibility of invasion. Then there's the battle itself and the AT-AT. Sigh. This by far is the dumbest bit of military hardware ever created. The AT-AT is incredibly slow (a jogging soldier can outrun one), has next to no maneuverability, has a high centre of gravity and only has guns on the front, leaving it vulnerable to attack from any other angle. I don't know why the Rebels sent out the snowspeeders. Send in Y-Wings! Pummel some proton torpedoes into the side! The high centre of gravity would make them fall over super easy! I also don't get why the AT-AT armour was impenetrable to blaster fire, but suddenly has the integrity of cardboard once the walker gets tripped up. Why couldn't the imperials send in some fighters? They got the walkers down to the surface and under the Rebel's shield somehow, surely they could also send in some low-flying fighters to zip in and destroy the shield generator  much, much faster than those stupid, useless walkers. Plus a speedy assault would have allowed the Empire to capture the base much faster and round up the Rebels before they could escape. This is the other thing - why did the Empire only send one Star Destroyer to Hoth? (was it only one? I can't remember) Why not several? Set up a blockade or something. Maybe it was over-confidence on the part of the Empire. I also don't get why the Rebels didn't also set up some kind of weapon to obliterate the Star Destroyers in conjunction with the ion cannons. I suppose that would result in some kind of prolonged siege. If the Rebels destroyed one Star Destroyer, then the Empire would send more. I guess the Rebels didn't have the resources to deal with it.

Anyway, that's my nerdy nitpicking out of the way for now. I'm sure I will go see the new film, but I'm not expecting much. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas and Stylene

This post serves a bit of a dual-purpose. Not only did I want to make a Christmas themed pic, but this month also marks the sixteenth birthday of my Dogs Of War character Stylene.

It was December 1999 when I first drew her. I don't know the precise date - I kinda wish I had put the date on the drawing at the time. Oh well.

In essence she's remained the same since her conceptualisation. It's just been the smaller details that have changed over the years - eye shape, hairstyle, as well as making her hands and feet brown rather than orange. I'm quite sure there will still be more changes to come - such as her fringe. I know I can come up with something better than that.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Movies done PROPERLY, dammit!

Oh joy! I've heard there is going to be a reboot of the reboot of Ocean's Eleven. I like this. I like this a lot. The Ocean's Eleven trilogy (that is, the first Ocean's Eleven reboot and it's sequels Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen) rank amongst my top favourite films. To me, these are how movies should be done for a number of reasons.

I find modern film more and more grating. With the rise of CGI, films have become more of a visual spectacle and a times it feels like they're thinking more about what would make a cool action sequence rather than developing interesting characters and plot. I find the dialogue very bland, particularly in the delivery. Far too many films have their characters deliver lines in a very dry, monotonous tone with no emotional inflection what so ever. You may as well use a text-to-speech program and get the same overall tone. There's just no personality to the dialogue. The writing itself can be pretty bad, too. At times a line of dialogue feels like the screenwriter was trying to come up the most dramatic thing someone could say rather than something someone WOULD say in a given situation. 

Ocean's 11, 12 and 13 are brilliant. Very rarely do lines feel like 'movie' dialogue. Ok, Julia Roberts must not have gotten that memo in Ocean's Eleven, but she did a better job in 12. While I feel Ocean's 12 was the weaker of the three films, with a few awkward moments (but overall still a great film), it contains the best examples of dialogue done right. There are times when characters are in an open discussion, and occasionally they talk over one another, or start to deliver a line only to change tack mid word and say something else. It looks like they are thinking as they speak rather than regurgitating a pre-written line. In Ocean's Thirteen, during the interview between Terry Benedict and Oprah Winfrey, you get the impression that he is on the spot and has to think about what to say on the fly. Still speaking of Ocean's Thirteen, something else they did right was the portrayal of computers. There's a sequence where the security staff at William Bank's casino are running an 'all known associates' search against a suspect. As they enter the data, all we hear is the typing of the keyboard and the hum of the servers in the background. In pretty much ANY film or TV show, everything that we see happening on a computer screen is accompanied by a sound effect. This does not happen. I mean really - look at your own computer how often does doing something within your operating system make a noise? Hardly ever. It's this kind of inaccurate representation compared to the real world that gets on my nerves (as you can see, I'm a picky bastard).

So yes, really, really looking forward to the next Ocean's film. They're going for a female centric cast this time which could be interesting. Steven Soderbergh is back to direct, and George Clooney is on board to assist, so I'm hoping for good things.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fox character rig and more Starfox Zero news

Some more concepts relating to my potential Starfox animations. Here's the turnaround for the character rig of Fox. As I've said in previous posts, I'm basing him more off his Starfox Adventures appearance, with a little bit of the Fox Amiibo thrown in for reference. While the shoes are influenced somewhat by SF Adventures, I might change them so if you have a better idea, let me know.

This might be the last of the Starfox related stuff I'll do for a while. I'm trying to discipline myself to not start a new project until I've finished my current one. I'm still trying to push to get my Unstable Housewife clip finished, then I have another animated short in mind before I had planned to get into Starfox. The rigs of Fox and Krystal were made as a fun little diversion.

Speaking of Starfox, I recently found out that Starfox Zero is going to be delayed until 
1st quarter 2016.


Given my obvious love for the franchise, you may be puzzled as to why I consider the delay a good thing.

I like to think a game is all it can be given the time and resources allocated to it. The notion of a developer pouring everything they can and making it the best they can is reassuring that the end product will be of decent quality.

This is why I tend to dislike things such as Day One DLC. To me it gives the impression content has deliberately been held back in order to squeeze out a few more coins from us. Yes, I know this is often misunderstood, as the downtime between when a game is finished to when it is ready to go on sale, can allow for the developers to whip up some extra content. But this still feels like we're not getting the whole package when we should. And if the DLC is available the same time the full game gets released, why can't it be bundled together for a single price? I'm fine with paying for DLC after a game has been out for a while, as the development is presumably funded by the sales of the main game, but during the initial launch, everything should be available together. But anyway, I'm digressing...

If I recall correctly, I think StarFox 0 had originally been slated for an early 2016 release but was brought forward to November 2015 a little while ago. I was actually bit miffed to hear it was coming out sooner than expected. Oh sure, if a game gets finished sooner than anticipated and it's everything the developer had set to achieve, then by all means release it. But I like to think the longer a game is in development, the more gameplay and content it would contain. I know that delays can be bad for a developers, as the longer a game is in development, the higher the costs end up in terms of wages and restocking the biscuits in the break room. But like I said, it gives me the impression the developer cares about the project and if the game is better as a result, then hopefully it also raises consumer confidence for future projects. Blizzard are notorious (in a good way) for delaying the releases of their games - even before their juggernaut money earner World Of Warcraft came around to continually finance them. Even here I didn't mind. Yes, it was frustrating to hear of delays when you wanted the game and you wanted it yesterday, but Blizzard have always delivered a quality product as a result.

Besides, even though Starfox may be delayed, I've still got Fallout 4 to look forward to for a November release.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nintendo(n't put that up on YouTube)

Ugh. It's been a while hasn't it? I've been flat out busy for the past few weeks with my job and just haven't had the energy to update my blog. However I've taken an extended weekend to refresh so now is as good as time as any, particularly since once I head back to work, I'll be busy again.

Anywho, here is a turnaround for the character rig I have made of Starfox's Krystal, for the animations I hope to be able to get around to doing. Still a few tweaks to do, such as hand shapes for each angle and I've just realised I haven't drawn the belt pouches on a few angles, but overall you get the idea. It may be some time before I get around to doing some Starfox animation, not only due to the lethargy I've got thanks to work, but also because I have a couple other projects I'd like to get done first.

Though if I do make something, I'm concerned it may be for naught. At present, Nintendo are clamping down handing out copyright infringement claims to any video on YouTube that feature footage/music etc from games they have published. This... this is just plain DUMB and makes me angry. Yes, you could argue in this case that YouTubers are using (and sometimes profiting off) someone else's intellectual property which is technically copyright infringement, but the games industry generally tends to turn a blind eye over these things. Video games are an interactive experience. To get full enjoyment, you need to play them. Watching a video of a game will not fill this void. These aren't music or movies, where uploading something allows the user to experience something they would otherwise have to pay for. The video game industry would not lose revenue by people uploading videos of their games. If anything, it boosts it. A video can show the viewer how the games looks as well as how it plays. It can generate interest and make people think 'ooh, that looks like fun, maybe I'll give it a go.' It's basically free advertising - it showcases a game without the developers/publishers having to pay any money. I mean, I've bought games I wouldn't have otherwise picked up or even known about this way. Hell, it was some YouTube gameplay footage that made me finally decide to buy a Playstation 4 (which is another reason for the lull in blog posts. The PS4 is fuuuuun).

By removing these 'offending' videos, Nintendo are basically shooting themselves in the foot. Without mainstream exposure, they are narrowing their customer base. I'm sure there are many people that would find Nintendo games a lot of fun, they just need to be shown what's out there. I know Ninty do a lot of things in their own way, but it infuriates me that they seem to be increasingly out of touch with important industry trends.

This brings me back to my Starfox animations. While the animations would be of my own creation, they still are based off the Starfox franchise - which I don't own the rights to. So my concern is that if I was to put up something, it may get one of those copyright strikes. But since the strikes focus more on video game footage, maybe I'll be ok.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Me no likie Steam

No pictures this time. Instead, you get to experience me having a rant, so grab a drink, get some snacks and sit down and relax as I ramble on for a bit. Hopefully I don't come off as too much of and angry nutter.

Anyway, I'm here to whine about Valve's Steam service. It hasn't done anything specific recently to gain my ire, but these are some points I've been meaning to get across for a while now.

I dislike Steam. No - scratch that - I despise the service with every fibre of my being ever since I was first forced to use it. It began with Half Life 2. Up until that point, you used to buy a PC game, install it, maybe enter a CD key, then enjoy. But oh no, Valve wanted to complicate things by throwing in an online requirement. Installing Half Life 2 took ages. At first the game installs off the disc, but towards the end it decides it needs to download the rest (admittedly, these may be updates, but come on, leave it until AFTER I've been able to play and enjoy a bit of the game). Even later on after installation there were Steam updates and additional updates for Half Life 2. Now, even though this was 2004, we still had dial-up speed internet at our place, so anything that required a download was excruciatingly slow. These were speeds where 10Mb took an hour to download. Later on, an update for the game failed which left me being unable to run the game. 

Even when we upgraded to broadband, there were still plenty of problems. Steam would often fail to connect and the process of installing a game was often awkward and sluggish, even though I was installing off a disc. I wanted to avoid buying the game as a digital download, as file sizes would have taken too long for our internet. I had an odd issue with Serious Sam 3 (I didn't know at the time of purchase it was a Steam game. If I did, I wouldn't have bought it.). When attempting to install it, Steam decided to download the game from scratch. I bought the game on a disc! Why did it start dowloading and not install from the disc?! Then there was the time I was installing Company of Heroes 2. It installed from the disc but like I've mentioned with HL 2, it downloads the last few percent of the game. With CoH 2, this worked out to be several GB worth. While we did have broadband, it was slow broadband (welcome to Australia) and our speed meant 1 GB would take around 3 hours. Both the files sizes for Serious Sam 3 and the last 'little' bit of CoH 2 were 5 GB, so to hell with that. We also had data caps with our internet (again, hello Australian internet), so persevering with the download was not worth it.

I'll admit that most of my issues with Steam involved having less than ideal internet. What I have now is much faster and with a high data cap, so the process of downloading/installing is far less painful than what it once was, but Steam is still a flawed system. The problem is you HAVE to use Steam to access their games and if there is a problem at their end, you suffer. As I've mentioned, it occasionally takes a few attempts to be able to actually log onto Steam (I'm exaggerating a bit on the frequency, but it is annoying every time I can't connect), so if I can't access Steam, I can't play the games I paid good money for. 

There was one time when Steam just outright would not run. I tried to re-install it and that didn't work, so I had to delete Steam, then install it again. Deleting the Steam Client also erases ALL associated games from your hard drive. The save game files still remain, but you still have to install all your games all over again.

This is not good for the world of gaming. The ability to play and enjoy your games should not be riding on the functionality of a single program. Look at it this way - what if the Steam service had to be shut down suddenly? In an instant, everyone would have access cut off from their games (and no, Steam's Offline Mode does not count). It gets worse - in an online video I once watched that talked about what would happen if Steam disappeared, one of the issues they brought up was a clause in the Steam EULA stating that Valve/Steam/whatever are not obligated to compensate anyone for the games they bought in the past and can no longer play, should Steam eff off and die. Of course with the amount of money Valve make, shutting down does not seem likely. However with recent events like the suggestion of paid mods, the lack of quality control with games through Steam Greenlight and various other things that have gained the ire of customers, they risk pushing us too far. I've already stopped buying games over Steam. Fallout 4 will probably be an exception, though. Dammit.

This brings me to a point of how things should be done and so, I point you towards This is digital distribution done much better. The first benefit is simple - you can access the website and browse the library of games, even without creating an account first. Everything else - Steam, Origin, UPlay etc, is very much 'closed doors'. You don't get to see anything  until you commit to creating an account (Pretty sure this is how they operate but I admit I haven't double checked). One of the other benefits with GOG is that when you download a game, you download a separate install file, rather than downloading something attached to the system's client. So if you happen to say, buy a new computer, you can copy your downloaded files onto your new system without having to go through the download process all over again. The third benefit is the obvious one - in that provide games DRM free. No external application to be shackled to in order to enjoy your games. I love it how trust us in this way and I do hope we uphold this trust by not unlawfully distributing games they buy. Of course, this DRM-free approach means it has limited the range of games compared to other digital distribution sites, as various publishers are a bit iffy providing games DRM-free (see? This is what you've done, you game pirates!) but if we continue to support services like in the way they intend, then maybe the gaming industry will treat consumers like human beings again.

I will say something that Steam does better is updates. When an update is available, it automatically downloads it for the game and away you go. GOG is less straightforward. Sometimes a separate update .exe file is available for a game, but most other times it's the main install files that are updated, meaning the whole game has to be downloaded again. Although in recent times have launched GOG Galaxy. I haven't used it much, but it seems to provide the ability to update games in a more efficient manner.

So, yeah. It would be nice if everyone stopped supporting Steam and their draconian ways, but I know a lot of you don't mind Steam one bit and this blog entry is nothing more than the ranting of a madman. Overall Steam is... ok I admit, I just find it poorly implemented. If they got rid of the DRM, it would be great.

But I can understand why it was called Steam - it burns.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Starfox - Krystal

Ah, Krystal. The Starfox character that wasn't meant to be a Starfox character.

This is where I apply a lot of the 'I know best' mentaility to the Starfox franchise. It's strange - normally when I have ideas relating to someone else's property, I'm usually reluctant to get too creative as I'm concerned that any additions I create may not be 'worthy' enough in the eyes of other fans. Who's to say my ideas are good ones? Though I did recently see the film Terminator Genysis, which was utter cack, so surely I can't do a worse job than that.

However I am more inclined to take creative liberties with Starfox and particularly with Krystal. Maybe it's because she wasn't actually created by Nintendo and wasn't designed as a Starfox character in the first place. (if you don't know, Rare were developing a game for the N64 called Dinosaur Planet. The two main characters were foxes called Krystal and Sabre. However for whatever reason, Dinosaur Planet became Starfox Adventures, Fox replaced Sabre and Krystal remained, although in a far more diminished role from what would have been originally intended).

So anyway, the first main change I made was her outfit. I can't say I was sold on her attire from SF Assault onwards. The full suit felt at odds with the type of character I got the impression with from SF Adventures. Her appearance in that game was a bit more tribal and mystical. The full skin-tight suit she donned after that feels as though it goes against her personality and fashion sense. I mean, I've been living in Melbourne for a number of years now, but I still don't have the urge to turn into a hipster with a stupid haircut. Anyway, I certainly wasn't going to go back to the tribal bikini Krystal wore in SF Adventures. That's way too minimalist for a member of the Starfox team. What I'm trying to achieve is something of a middle ground. I think the trick is to keep her clothes looking a bit traditional, but have her equipped with techy gear. She did actually wear a tunic in Dinosaur Planet, but the similarity wasn't intentional. I might give her a jacket like the other Starfox team members wear, but so far I think                                                          this is ok.

The other major change is that I am dropping her telepathic abilities. Nuts to that. I mean, I'm happy for Krystal to be mystical and be capable of some sort of power (channelled through her staff), but telepathy feels like one step too far and out of place in a sci-fi world like Starfox. I was going to say the other reason for getting rid of the telepathy was because she never displayed such abilities in SF Adventures and again, seemed to be an addition given by a different studio and not the original creator, but looking back, there was a scene in SF Adventures where Fox was exiting Moon Mountain pass and heard Krystal calling out from wherever the hell she was. This may have been telepathy, but I think she coughed/spluttered during her plea - something you surely wouldn't do if you were communicating by thought - so maybe this was her talking and the message was relayed through the Krazoa spirit Fox was talking to at the time. But anyway, if I ever get around to making my Starfox animated series, it's a big fat 'no' to telepathy.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Road Rovers - 1000 views

Yay! My Road Rovers animation recently clocked 1000 views on YouTube! Yes I know, 1000 views over a three month period is nothing to brag about, especially when there are videos that can reach over a million in a couple of days. Still, a milestone is a milestone.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Continuing with drawing the characters from Starfox. I was going to start this post by complaining that Falco is difficult for me to draw and I struggle to get him to look as good as I'd like. However once coloured, it didn't look too bad. But Falco is still a challenge for me regardless.

Anyway, found out some conflicting opinions with Starfox Zero. I watched the Co-Optional Podcast (on YouTube) where they covered this year's E3 and spoke for a bit about SF Zero. There was criticism about the controls. The idea is that you control the vehicles with the control stick, but aim by using the gamepad's gryo functionality, which according to those on the Co-op podcast, felt clunky and awkward. However on the TV series Good Game, they were saying that although the controls felt like they would take some getting used to, overall Starfox Zero would be something the fans may enjoy. I like Good Game's optimism that SF Zero would be good, but I have to agree with the Co-ops negative opinion on the controls. I've played the 3DS version of Starfox 64, which also has the option of using the system's gyro controls to steer the vehicles. I've tried it and it doesn't take long before it becomes awkward and I've often found myself holding the 3DS at a weird angle despite that I'm flying straight. At present it sounds like with SF Zero you HAVE to use the gyro controls, but the Co-Op podcasters were hoping Nintendo relegate the gyro functionality to an option, not as a necessity. I hope they do too. To me the idea of steering with the control stick and aiming with motion controls sounds sort of like the 'pat your head and rub your stomach' clusterfuck.

Anyway, I'm still looking foward to ol' Starfoxy. I hear it's set for release in December so I really do hope Nintendo will use the time to take in feedback and refine the game. Like I've said before, Starfox Zero doesn't have to be a masterpiece, but I still want it to be good.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


These pictures were made a while ago, but since the latest Starfox game was unveiled at this year's E3, I figured now was as good as time as any to put them up.

As you may have guessed, I'm a fan of the Starfox series and am excited that a new Starfox game is in the works. Though I have to admit, I am a little dismayed with what they're doing. After watching a video game TV show covering an E3 summary, the presenters were a bit 'meh' about the new Starfox game and I've heard that it's going to be a reboot of sorts of Starfox 64. It left me feeling a little disappointed, the new game doesn't really sound like it's trying to innovate or expand the series. Watching the trailer did bring a little spark of intrigue back, but still...

Though I have to admit, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. For me. I've had the idea for a while now of creating some Starfox animations and would love to create an animated TV series. I tend to get a bit cagey when a new installment of something I like comes out, as I fear that it may establish canon that are at odds with what I'd like to do with the franchise and the more exposure and interest something gets, then the more likely someone else may also have the idea of creating a TV series/movie or something before I get the chance to. This is why I don't mind if Starfox Zero isn't overly spectacular. As long as it's solid enough to be enjoyable to me and profitable for Nintendo, but flies under the radar enough for popular culture to not take that much notice of it, then I'll be happy. It gives me the time to work on my own stuff. I want to be the one to make Starfox amazing, dammit! (yes, I'm aware I'm coming off as a little obsessive and arrogant and that I'm no more important than any other fan. I just get passionate about my ideas)

Basically the drawings of Fox and the rest of the pictures I'll put up later aren't just something for me to pass the time - it's concept art for my animation character models. Though it has been fun spending time drawing the Starfox characters. Tell you what though, Fox has been a bugger for me to get right. Time and time again I've tried and failed at nailing the look, however each time I've been able to a little closer in figuring out what works and this drawing is pretty much the culmination of what I wanted. I'm trying to aim for how he looked in Starfox Adventures. Can't say I'm a fan of how he's looked since Starfox Command. As for his outfit, I'm mostly basing that off Fox's Smash Bros appearance (the Fox Amiibo has made for some handy reference). The blaster is also meant to be based how it appears in the Smash Bros games, but I've been too lazy to properly look it up

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Red Panda (coloured this time)

A coloured version of my Red Panda character. At the moment I don't have access to my regular drawing program so this was made using Toon Boom Harmony.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Red panda

Some first attempt sample sketches of a red panda character. I wasn't quite sure what their fur pattern was like so I did a Google image search and let me tell you that was incredibly excruciating. Red pandas are excessively adorable to the point it's almost criminal. It's like their cuteness combines the best qualities of puppies and kittens.

This sketch is also a pretty good example of the design process I take when drawing a particular species for the first time. I rarely go in with the intention of designing a character for use. I begin first by simply just figuring out the basics of the way the animal looks. I usually don't think about how I want the particular character to look at this point so my first attempts are often a bit rubbish as I'm finding my feet in terms of basic appearance.

Once I believe I know what I'm doing I then go ahead to design something that looks a bit better. I focus a bit more on character build, eye shapes - essentially the 'look' of the character. I tend to start drawing a male character, then once that looks fine, I try drawing a female. This then usually results in me thinking the female looks amazing, much better than the male and instantly decide they need to be incorporated into my Dogs Of War series.

These sketches however, are an exception. Right from the start I wanted to design a female red panda. All the drawings before her design were merely a formality. The other thing is that while I like her design and feel it's one of the better looking characters I've ever drawn, I don't have a huge urge to place her in DoW. The problem is that I can't have her as a main character (already have too many) and don't want to relegate her to an extra or incidental character, as that would make her an established character, which could complicate things if I then wanted to incorporate her in a different role, or even use her in something that isn't Dogs Of War.

So as much as I like her and will keep drawing her, I have no intention (yet) to use her in anything. I haven't even come up with a name.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Unstable Housewife - title

This is from the title sequence of my latest animation project. I'm working on a 2 minute promo reel related to the Unstable Housewife series I might get around to making someday. Don't know how long this will take - work keeps me fairly busy and usually I want to unwind after work by playing computer games or something.

Speaking of which, my new animation job is a lot of fun. I really do wish I could tell you about it, but I'm under a non-disclosure agreement, so I cannot reveal anything.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trifecta MK Three

Here it is - the final word in armoured over-the-topness.

This is where all my love and effort goes. The first two Trifectas were mere stepping stones to this point.

Quite a number of changes in this version. Not just the sleeker look, the guns have been upgraded to railguns (so they no longer need muzzle brakes) and the turret has been shifted to the rear of the chassis. This means the crew now operate from the rear, which has necessitated a few more alterations. The engine has been relocated to the middle of the chassis, which separates the driver from the rest of the crew and means communication can only be achieved via radio. I wasn't keen on this - it felt like too much of a flaw. If the electrics failed (ie through battle damage), then the driver and commander would not be able to communicate with each other and would not be able to fall back on something like shouting directly at each other, as there is now a noisy engine in the way. However while re-reading over one of my books on artillery, I found that there are vehicles that use radio between driver and commander, so my concerns were at ease since this occurs in real life. Having the crew at the back did also mean the rear armour would need to be increased for added protection. This would add weight and potentially affect the performance, but since this is a cartoon, I'm ignoring it completely.
The side skirts were not only another means of increasing the armour, but helps to make the MK III look more like an armoured beast (in my opinion) and also saves me from having to draw the damned wheels.
The addition of the 50 cal machine gun (on the turret's right hand side) was something I only added during when I drew these images. Figured I may as well up-gun the MK III a little more. Oh, and that thing on the back of the turret? I have no idea what it is. I added it because it helped to add detail, but have not thought about any kind of functionality. The best I can think of is a stowage compartment, but it's placement makes it difficult to easily access.

In other news, I have scored myself a new animation job, starting next week. So you know what that means - my blog's going to get neglected again! However I'm not going to let things get as bad as it did last time. It just means I may not be updating my blog as frequently for a while. We'll see how things go.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trifecta MK Two

Ok, here's the Trifecta MK2. The Universal Alliance is learning by this point. The armour has been slightly improved and substantial muzzle brakes have been added to each barrel. However firing all six barrels at once is still ill-advised.

I'm a bit 'meh' with the MK2. I don't think I'm quite finished with the design. The idea is that it's meant to be something of a 'middle ground' between the looks of the MK1 and the MK3 and I feel that this could do with a bit more refinement.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trifecta Battletank Mark One


Sorry, got a bit carried away there.

I loves me a Trifecta. It's an iconic part of the Dogs Of War series (even though they don't appear until the middle of series one). It's a tank fielded by the Universal Alliance, basically in the role of an overpowered siege unit. Like the Tiger tanks used by the Germans in World War Two, the Trifecta is a representation of the power and might the Universal Alliance holds.

If you think slapping six barrels on a tank is a dumb idea, just remember this came from the mind of a 14 year old. A lot of ideas are dumb at that age (you should have seen some of my early Dogs Of War scripts. Actually, no - you shouldn't). However despite now being much older and wiser, the Trifecta is something I still hold on to dearly.

Influenced by the twin-barreled tanks from the Command & Conquer games, the Trifecta was something I came up with early on in development of Dogs Of War. In a way, I came up with it before Dogs Of War actually became 'Dogs Of War'. Since then it has almost become a character in its own right. Over the years I have tweaked the look and design which led to the decision that the Trifecta would go through several variations over the course of the series. The pictures here are of the MKI. I know it looks like a box on wheels, but that was intentional. The MKIII is intended to be the sleekest of the three, so I went back to the MKI design to ugly it up a bit.

I'm quite attached to my Trifectas (if that wasn't already obvious) and have always been a little paranoid someone would create something similar, but so far I've been lucky. The closest anyone has gotten was the MARV tank from Command & Conquer 3 - Kane's Wrath and that pirate ship (I forget the name) with the six bow-mounted cannons from the Pirates Of The Carribean films. However to my surprise, it turns out that six-barreled tanks actually did exist in real life. Well, they're classed more as an artillery piece than a tank, but a tracked, armoured vehicle with 105mm guns - that's close enough. It was called the M50 'Ontos', developed by the US army during the 1950's. Interesting design, but different to that of a Trifecta.

So anyway, my Trifecta is now out there on public display, for all to see. I can sit back, knowing I can now claim originality so if anything like this pops up in someone else's work, I will assume they got the idea from here - whether or not that actually ends up being true.
Grr! My Trifectas! Mine!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Road Rovers - animated!

Fuckin' Finally!

It's done! I created a thing! My animated short featuring the characters from the Road Rovers series is complete!

This took WAY too long to complete. Not because it was difficult, but because I was working in the animation industry. I started this in early 2013 and had animated Hunter, Colleen, Shag and an alternate version of Blitz's sequence. Then an animation job came up which I immediately jumped on. (The Day My Butt Went Psycho animated series, if you're curious) After that, my personal projects took a bit of a back seat. I still wanted to work on my own stuff, but after doing animation all day five times a week, I was worn out and wanted to do something else to unwind.

After a while though, I wanted to get some of my stuff done. I pressed myself to get back to work and finally completed this clip. I hope it's alright, Exile and Blitz's clips (the two bits left to do since working on the animation job) feel a bit scrappy, but I attribute that to being burnt out from work.

I had planned to put this up without sound - I felt that the visuals were enough. However a workmate mentioned it would be a good idea to add sound. I was reluctant, as I just wanted to get this done and recording/sourcing sound effects was another layer of work I had hoped to avoid. He did though have a point so I caved and set about getting and adding sound. I would have liked to add music and sound to the title sequence, but I don't have my music equipment with me and there was a particular car screeching effect (incidentally, probably the same one they used on the Road Rovers series) I wanted but for the life of me could not find and no other effect I found sounded ideal.

Here's the link. For me this is a great sense of accomplishment, I've actually finished something and now I can move on the the next project.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

DoW Vol1 page 15

This is the last page of the graphic novel samples I'm putting up. Hopefully this will give you all a taste of what Dogs Of War is about. What will happen when Stylene confronts these other two? Ooohh! Mysteryyyy!

I may have gone overboard with the chrome effects on the magnum, but it's one of the few artistic tricks I have. Oh, and just to clarify, 'UA' (mentioned in the second last panel) is short for 'Universal Alliance', the enemy force in the series.

Anywho, I hope you've enjoyed my work. As I've said before, I would love to be able to do this continuously, supported by Patreon backers, but it's the matter of gaining the awareness I need to ensure there's enough interest.

I've got this blog and I've recently created a Tumblr account (though as of this moment I am yet to put anything up), but I need more. I'm very close to completing an animation which I will put up on my Youtube account, where I can add links to my blog/Tumblr. That could be something.

Feel free to spread the Dogs Of War love around. You're more than welcome to share/repost my work onto other sites, as long as it isn't for commercial purposes. Grrr

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DoW Vol 1 page 14 - altered

Page 14 again. This time with the alteration of the soldier in the last two panels using a handgun rather than a sniper rifle. While I do still prefer the rifle - it would look as though having a better chance of injuring Pete - a handgun makes better sense given the distance of engagement. I have kept both versions, so if you prefer the former version, I can still use it.

I've noticed that the file sizes for each page is upward of 5MB, which is a lot larger than you find in other people's work. Apologies for this ridiculously large size. When I began working on my graphic novel, the intention was to pitch it to publishers, so it was formatted for printing purposes. Each page is A4 size, the colour mode is CMYK and DPI of 300. None of this is needed if I'm putting things up on the web. I'd change it, but I think it causes issues with anything already done. Oh well - next time then.

Monday, March 30, 2015

DoW Vol 1 page 14

Gunfire! Explosions! Things!

Made an adjustment with this one. While I like the tension building of the soldier sneaking up on Pete, it made little sense that he would get that close when he's carrying a freaking sniper rifle. I redrew it so he now has a handgun, in a different version which I will post tomorrow.

You may have noticed I seem to be a fan of gradients. That's just me being lazy, trying to find a middle ground between flat colour and textured/detailed surfaces. This and all other self criticisms will be something I'll try to address in future volumes if I'm ever able to this thing.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

DoW Vol1 page 13

The first draft of this page was a little different. After being told someone's already attacking the base, Stylene looks up to find the fight is over and everything hostile has been taken out. I changed it to them watching the fight in progress, for a couple of reasons. I felt it was important we actually see Pete and Sarah fighting, as it shows not only to Stylene and the others but also the audience that these are powerful individuals. It also allowed me to add on a couple more pages and I was always looking to extend the graphic novel as when it was first finished, it came up a bit shorter than I had hoped.

You may have noticed the APC on this page and that it wasn't present on the third panel of the previous page, even though it probably should have. This is what I was saying yesterday about how it would have been better to have spent more time in the layout phase as I could have avoided continuity errors like this. Sure, I can go back and fix it, but right now I can't be bothered.
Also, the tops of the shipping crates could probably do with some detail, rather than just flat colour.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dogs Of War on Patreon (maybe)

Ok I've had an idea. A while back I worked on a graphic novel based on my 'Dogs Of War' series (you may have heard me go on about it in earlier blog posts). I had a go pitching it to publishers (ok, one publisher. Image Comics) but they didn't go for it. I didn't mind (I would have been more surprised if they did approve it) so I moved on.

However, at the moment I've finished my current animation contract and there doesn't seem to be any more work lined up anytime soon. This got me thinking about what else I could do. I recently found out about and it dawned on me that this could be a way to get my ideas out there and earn some money at the same time.

My main hurdle however is exposure. No good setting up a Patreon account if no-one knows about it. Sure, I've got this blog, but traffic - appreciated as it may be, is small. I need to get my name out there. So to start, I'm putting up a few pages from volume one of my graphic novel (one page today, more to follow over the next few days). If you like it and/or know of people that would, then please let them know, post a comment here to say if you like and would support my stuff. Just spread the word! Anything! Validate my existence! Pleeeeaassseeee!

At first I was going to put up the very first page, but realised it wasn't the best sample. The opening sequence establishes the setting of the graphic novel as well as the bad guys. During this point, it doesn't feature any of the dog characters, making things appear somewhat misleading. So instead, I chose this sequence. Stylene (the fox) is established earlier in the story, but this is the point where we are introduced to her team in their fight against the Universal Alliance (the bad guys).

I hope you like the visual style. I'll admit it does come off a bit simple and I know there are plenty of artists who can run rings around me in terms of style and detail, but I hope this is still adequate. When I began work on this, I was also studying a Civil Engineering degree. There was next to nothing going on in the animation industry (in Australia at least) and I needed a fallback plan. I was hoping to finish volume one and have it picked up by a publisher before the end of my studies. I wasn't keen on being an engineer - even though I was doing well in my studies, I desperately wanted an alternative. As a result, this was all a bit of a rush job. Maybe the backgrounds could have been a bit more detailed and spending more time in the layout phase would have helped. I have made a few tweaks - the main one updating the linework from the Pencil tool to the Brush tool (Photoshop users would know what I'm on about), but for the most part I've kept everything 'as is' because I want to get this done and up and running as soon as possible. As for the font type, that's something I created myself. A little untidy, so I'll refine it, but only if I can get this thing up on Patreon.

So yeah. Dogs Of War. I do hope you like it. I would love to be able to work on this as a career. A concern though is whether or not us Aussies can use Patreon. Kickstarter was off limits to us for a while, but now Kicky is accessible by all, but am unsure about Patreon. I dunno. I haven't looked into it.

(Disclaimer: I am aware that there has already been a comic called 'Dogs Of War'. However because it was a comic, not a graphic novel and is no longer in production - having existed briefly in the mid 1990's, I'm hoping I can get away with using the title on technicalities.)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dogs Of War animation update

Hey y'all,

Just a quick post - Checking through previous posts of mine, I've noticed I made mention that I was working on an animation based on one of my Dogs Of War episode ideas. At present, I have suspended progress. It was taking ages to get anywhere, mainly because I was also designing assets on the fly, slowing the progress of animation. Also, because it was meant to be a half hour episode, that's a huge taking for just one person to do. That and I had been working as an animator for a studio, so I wasn't overly keen to get into more animation after work. I haven't given up on it entirely - I would definitely like to get back to it, but in the meantime it's better for me to work on some smaller projects in order to actually finish something. I've almost completed one, but trying to source the particular sound effects I need is proving to be a bit of a bugger.


I love The Lego Movie. Hell, I just love Lego. During my brief stint home over the Christmas/New Year period, I watched the DVD of the Lego Movie probably far more than I should have. So of course, it spurred interest in buying the sets. This is what happens when you have spare time and a disposable income. I also have an interest in photography, so I decided to take some snaps of a few character pairings.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Another 'Dogs Of War' character. This is Jess in all her aggressive, ready-for-action mode. I've been toying with the idea of her dual-wielding assault rifles, as a way of distinguishing her from the other characters that use assault rifles, but I probably won't go there. It looks impractical in the way it would affect accuracy and reloading would take much longer than if she just used the one. I opt for the realistic approach. Yes, I am aware of the irony of going for the 'realistic' angle when I'm dealing with gun-toting anthropomorphic animals.

Feeling a little down right now. I received word from home yesterday that our family dog had passed away. As you can see from the date on the image, this was made several days ago, before I received the news. However right now I don't really have the motivation to draw any cartoon dogs. I'm a bit depressed and will need some time to come right again. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Unstable Housewife - concepting

Some pics of the main character from my 'Unstable Housewife' (or whatever I end up calling it) series. This is a proposed series of shorts I hope to one day get around to making. As the above images suggests, it's a bit twisted. I'm going for a bit of a kitsch 1950's era look (despite the series being set in modern times) I was going to have simple flat colour which would have made things a tad easier in the animation process, but it does make various poses difficult to distinguish (just look at the crossed arms in the above picture. It's a bit of a mess of colour). So I opted to go for coloured outlines, as shown below.


I reckon it would be a fun and hopefully funny series and something I could churn out regularly (each episode is only planned to be two minutes in length), but my main hurdle would be to find someone for the voice. I don't know enough people. Especially those with decent voice acting ability and the 'right voice' for the job.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rovers of the Road

Barking, scratching, uh, something something - I forget the rest of the lyrics - Road Rovers!

This is a pic I did of Hunter and Colleen from the animated series Road Rovers. I actually drew this back in 2012, but recently updated the look (using the brush tool for the outlines rather than pencil. Still coming to grips with Photoshop y'see). Hence the revised date of 2015.

I'm quite chuffed with the result. Nailing the look of characters that weren't designed by
me is somehting I tend to struggle with. Though if I'm honest, maybe the legs are a little short.

This romantic-themed pic is a reflection on the attraction these two characters had which was hinted at in the series.

Just a shame that they waited until the last sodding episode of the series to start developing character personalities. I mean, I like Road Rovers, but looking at it retrospectively, the charcters were just so bland - they had very little in the way of personality traits and the only time they spoke to one another was for the sake of a gag.

I had a look at the last time I posted something on this blog. March 2013? Really? I've spent the last couple of years working as an animator for a TV series. It kept my incredibly busy and hadn't left me much time or motivation to work on my own stuff. Although we have finished the project, there may or may not be more stuff, so while I will try to keep updating the blog, don't be surprised if I drop off the radar again. But two years? That's way too long.