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Strip 615, Volume 4, Page 89


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< Piro >

copic'd miho

"teaching imperfection"

Wednesday - September 29, 2004

[Piro] - 15:45:00 - [link here]

Ok, back from AWA, sorta managed to get thru it without missing a comic (we'll just let the fact that they weren't on time slip, ok?) and i think my soulmapping has managed to find it's way back to some sort of normalcy, tho it's kinda tired from it's travels and just wants to sleep. Nothing wrong with that, i guess.

Anime Weekend Atlanta was fun, and i think the show went pretty well. We sorta took a laid back approach to the show that helped keep the stress level down. Since AWA is always a laid back show, it was a combination that worked really well. One thing i didn't get a chance to do was get pictures of the various Megatokyo cosplayers - i saw at least one Miho cosplayer and one Seraphim cosplayer - if there were more or others, please let me know, i'd love to see pictures.

[doh! yes, and a Junpei cosplayer. I even waved at him. Good lord, my brain is going. I need to just start doing a full MT cosplayer roll call for each con. In fact, i'll start that right here and now. Pictures only, no names unless you want em :) - piro]

Our main Megatokyo panel went pretty well, i think. Some of the panels this year have come off better than others, and this one wasn't too bad. Usually the bad panels are a direct result of me talking too much and only reeling it in when i start seeing glazed eyes and people drooling on their costumes. I could probably create a undead army of my own just by talking the audience into undeadness, but i'm not really sure if i ever want to do that.

There was one panel i gave at this convention that started me thinking about my stance on teaching and lessons. It was a panel called "draw with fred." Other than the fact that it sounded like a bad public access channel show ("watch i how draw sad little clouds, such sad little clouds...") it was one of the more interesting panels i've done recently. The main Megatokyo panel usually deals with general megatokyo related questions, but a panel like this where i can talk about how i draw and what i think i've learned from doing this for the past nine years, was an interesting change. Judging from the number of people who wanted to get into the rather small room, i could see that there are a lot of Megatokyo readers who are interested in hearing about it.

One of the most often asked questions i get (or used to get -- most people gave up asking ages ago) is when i'd be putting up some lessons on the Fredart site. My usual response (aside from the 'whenever i have time to do it') is that i am leery about giving 'lessons' because i am worried about people picking up bad habits, or picking up all the 'wrong' things that i do. I'd rather people learn from people who know what they are doing.

It's not really a cop-out -- there are a lot of things that i do that i think would give art teachers and trained professionals fits. I really would hate it if someone picked up on some of my bad habits only to have to try to break them later. But I am beginning to wonder if i'm not giving everyone out there enough credit.

To put it simply, i want to make sure that if i talk about how i draw or how i draw, i want you to make sure you are never afraid to question it. I don't want you to draw faces and eyes and hair and hands (god forbid) the way i do. I don't care how much you would like to draw like me, i'd rather you learn how to draw like yourself.

I think i worry too much about people just blindly mimicking my bad habits and not just mixing what i show them in with all the other things they have learned or picked up on their own. Hell, that's what i did, so why do i worry about it so much? There is no right way to draw. There are no rules, not really. You can get caught up in the rules of a particular school of artistic thought... and i hate it when people do that. Like it or not, folks, manga and anime style *IS* a school of thought with all sorts of 'rules' and 'basic ways things are done'. Thats fine. Work with them, challenge them, don't ever let anyone tell you that you 'aren't doing it right.' If they do, i'll come over there and smack them for you.

Art shouldn't be about just mimicking the things you like, its about expression something you want to say. You like the things you like because you can identify with them. This doesn't mean that you should just fall into step and do things exactly the same way they do. You are the only one who knows what you are trying to say, and using other people's tools and techniques to say it will not work. What you have to do is take bits and pieces from what influences you the most, and make your own mix of it all. Make it up if you have to.

Sometimes people mistake 'not following the rules' with 'show no respect for them'. That's not what im saying at all. You have to understand what others do before you can challenge it. I worry that what i do is not solid enough for you to really be able to gain a lot by challenging it. If you are gonna learn anything from me, make sure you learn from others as well. Its very important that you do.

One thing i hear a lot is "thank you for doing megatokyo. I stopped drawing a long time ago, but thanks to you i started drawing again." Hearing that as much as i do makes me feel pretty good about MT, and i think i need to stop worrying about my imperfections. I think i should show a little more respect for people who do admire what i do, and be willing to share it, imperfect as it may be.

So, to that end, i'm gonna spend some time in the next few weeks talking about how i draw. I also think that for the cons that i go to next year, i will try to have workshop/classes/panels where i continue to talk about these things, and can have a chance to answer more specific questions. It might be fun, and i think i might learn from it in the process.

Speaking of learning, I've been experimenting a bit lately. While it is true there is a little bit of a 'cool thing' element to Copic markers, I've been scribbling a little with a Copic Sketch marker and some of the resulting pictures have been amusing. I don't know why, but i feel there is something in the ink laden messes that has some potential for refinement. :) When i draw with pen the way i draw with pencil, the drawings usually come out pretty decent. When i hesitate, they look like crap. Interesting how your mental approach to drawing can effect things.

Part of the reason i'm experimenting with Copics is that I'm thinking of carrying Copic markers and related items in the megagear store. I don't want to carry things that i myself do not use or am not familiar with in the store - everything there is stuff that i use or have used at some point in the past. You might have noticed that we added a few things to the art section recently. I'm still working on getting the mechanical pencils i used for the store. One type of pencil you can get here in the states, but sadly the one i like to use now is just not available here. :(

If you look to the right under Seraphim's rant, you will see the beginnings of our 'megatokyo news service', a new feature that we will be adding to the Megatokyo site. We are adding it because it's neat, and well, if dom doesn't have a place to bleed out some of the weird news i think his head will burst. I don't really want that. When the new website is finished (the first phase of it will be done in a few weeks), we will have a page devoted to this. I'm placing it in the right rant column for now just so dom and the rest of us can get into the swing of things. Its a lot like the little tidbits of news that we all discuss among ourselves anyways, so now we have a place to put it. I hope you find it useful and entertaining.

A little random today, but its a random kinda day. Gonna see if i can snag a copy of Fruits Basket #5 today when i hit the bookstore (i saw it in Barnes & Noble yesterday, i should have picked it up then, doh) and then curl up in my chair and read it tonight. I feel much in need of some curl time.

< Seraphim >

what are you looking at?

"Banned Book Week!"

Wednesday - September 29, 2004

[Seraphim] - 03:55:00 - [link here]

It's time again for a Banned Book Week rant. Glenn Schmall of Anime Tourist sent me a link to the Forbidden Library website. It is short, sweet, and to the point. The site has a select list of titles that have been challenged and the reasons - such as Dr. Seuss's The Lorax being challenged because it showed the foresting/logging industry in an unfavorable light. Challenging a book gives the author a certain cachet. Dr. Seuss is suddenly a lot cooler.

I'm going to read The Execution of Private Slovik by William Huie if I can find it at a local used bookstore. It is an investigative story about a soldier from Detroit who was executed for desertion in WWII. At the time it was published in 1954 a city councilman from Hammtramck, Michigan wanted a city clerk to challenge the book because there were derogatory remarks about his city in it - something about Hammtramck being the cheap bar capital of the world. I'm sure that request was for the benefit of society at large and wasn't self serving at all. I found out about that book at the University of Kansas Library's online exhibit of books worldwide that have been censored, banned or challenged through the centuries (up to 1955 at least).

My favorite frequently banned author is the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. His play Man and Superman was temporarily removed from the shelves of the New York Public Library in 1905. That was 99 years ago. I like to read books considered salacious and scandalous from the past and see how tame they are compared to current standards. Although, Of Mice and Men remains one of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2003 reported to the American Library Association. I wonder what the future will think of our era.

Negima cleanup
I got a lot of e-mails saying "yes, there is an anime coming out, would you like to download the trailer?". To which I say no, but thanks for the tip.

Shoujo and Shounen
After an e-mail asking to be reminded about the difference between shoujo and shounen, now's as good a time as any to link back to an old rant I did about the subject. It was back in November 2003, and given that I'll be talking about a lot of manga in the coming weeks, it helps for you to remember what magazines are aimed at what audiences.

Gimme the short bus any day
Remember what I said about FutaKoi? It hasabus. That's so frightening... so very frightening.

Under 17 Goes Under
You know how I spent about a year or so living with a Sister Princess fan? Well, I spenttwo and a half, almost three years with a Momoi Haruko fan, and Momoi Haruko is one of thosevoice actresses/singers who can regularly make my ears bleed with her incessantly whiny drone. Some people think she's cute, and I don't blame them for it, I just don't see it myself--which is why I'm rather glad that the music group she formed announced it will break up at the end of 2004. If you're curious what kind of music theyput out, you can either listen to the rather disturbing "hits" "Uwaki shite mo ee yo", a song in kansai-ben about how she loves X guy so much, X guy can cheat on her and she won't care, and the similarly horrible "Love Slave", or go for their less disturbing stuff like the Popotan opening "Popotan Batake de Tsukamaete", and the inordinately stupid (but not outright disturbing) "Mouse Chu Mouse".

Processing TGS
I'm writing about Tokyo Game Show for one of my freelance assignments, so I won't be able to write everything interesting that happened over the weekend for you guys--as soon as I'm done, I'll report the weird, minor news, I swear.

September 28, 2004
I'm almost done working on my Anime Insider stuff, but I'll take a little break before my Tuesday Nerd Night (which is usually Magic, with sometimes some Shadowfist or Spycraft mixed in)

Men at Work, hold the porn
Kid, a company mostly known for the Memories Off series and a few other dating games, is bringing out Studio e.go's Men At Work! 3. While it's not unheard of for Kid to bring out cleaned-up versions of H games, another company usually does e.go's clean versions, making this kind of strange. I wonder if it's a one-time deal, or if Kid will be cleaning up more e.go stuff in the future.

Perhaps the worst URL ever
Okay, so Fantastic Children wants to portray itself as a wonderful fantasy adventure in the style of Future Boy Conan. They want to project a wholesome image, and yet... their website is That's certainly not the right foot to start on, no...

Every Little Tale
Every Little Thing, a band that I actually kind of like, appeared at Namco's booth at TGS and talked about their upcoming song "Good Night", which will be used as the theme for Tales of Rebirth. What's odd is, I liked the character designs for Tales of Symphonia and didn't particularly like the music, and from the first impressions, I hate Tales of Rebirth's character designs and will probably like the music. Ah well.

September 29, 2004
Today, I'd like to highlight one of my favorite character designers, since a game with characters designed by him is in the news for the day, and I'm still busy working for Anime Insider.

The man in question goes by the name Murakami Suigun, which was the name of a famous pirate navy in the 15th and 16th centuries. He previously did character designs for Hourglass of Summer, and D->A: Black, which I bought while I was Japan.

Coming in December, D->A: White, which is obviously the sequel to D->A: Black, is coming out. Quite honestly, the combat system was annoying (though interesting), and hopefully that'll be cleaned up. The story was screwed up and awesome, though, so once I get some debts paid off, I'm definitely picking up the game. The fact that Chiba Saeko sings the opening has nothing to do with it. I swear.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

September 30, 2004
Not much in the way of news today, at least from me--today's a day for sitting around the house writing and nervously tracking the remaining playoff races in baseball. But I do have at least one thing to show you guys...

Yukikaze Reborn
I never watched Sentou Yousei Yukikaze, mostly because I always thought of an old net game called Battle Fairies when I saw the ridiculous name. But Bandai's giving the series the full-out Bandai treatment, AKA giving it at least one sequel. Comptiq has a story about how they're putting out a new Yukikaze OAV, now with more sexy.


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