Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Helm is -evidently- taking some time off

Nothing after the jump.

Return here when it's time.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Belated mixed bag

Life marches on. Here's a selection of recent illustration work, some personal scribbles and a small update of the goings on in Helmland.

(as usual, click twice for larger images)

I enjoyed some of these more than others, but I'm trying to keep my technique on a certain level regardless of the style of illustration. I'm getting faster, but I also get the feeling I should be going slower... more on this at some further point where my feelings have solidified some.

Turns out I wasn't done with Scribbler!

Some of these are lonely life-drawing studies, obviously. Others are from dream & imagination, as is more usual to me.

So I've settled in my new apartment and it's had a profound positive psychological effect on me. My distance from blogging as of late should not be interpreted as indicative of dire goings on, far the opposite, it seems I blog the most (and in the bitterest tone in Poetry of Subculture, I should add) the worse I'm feeling. Ultimately, my release from the blogosphere shall be the tolling of a new bell, yes. This blog is on the ebb because I'm not making a comic right now. The other blog is at high tide because I'm listening to Heavy Metal as much as I ever have, yet the silver key that is missing is entirely outside the artistic realm.

I've also done a very mediocre cover of Lordian Guard's 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God'. If you like this music (as well you should) and wondered how the lead voice is played, or perhaps you are a guitarist with time and ambition, you could do worse than watch this.

What else... I'm planning a short vacation to a greek island to meet up with friends I've sorely missed for the last couple of years, this is exciting. I won't be off for long, a mere four days, but it'll be revitalizing for sure.

I've been socializing a lot lately, trying to work myself into some sort of balance. This has been achieved, but I suspect it's a false balance for the weighs are uneven. I am currently single (though looking... in some fashion, I guess) and I've always done well to maintain pride and optimism when single (though my optimism manifests in dire declarations of darkest romance, such is the case with many self-important artists!) the real test is when there's common wellbeing at stake. We shall see. Studious introspection and therapeutic discourse seem to have some effect, at least. Aside from healing, self-awareness and a meta-narrative with explanational power, yes.

Today has been a very creative day. I shall try to fill the weekend either with breathing, talking faces, or with more artistry, let's not let it go to waste.



Friday, July 8, 2011

Move almost done, also, a few decent illustrations

Based on this illustration by Tabary. I never was the biggest fan of Iznogoud but it's one of these cases where after Goscinny stopped on it and Tabary kept going, the comic turned for the better (unlike Lucky Luke and Asterix). The more paranoiac-depressive Iznogoud gets, the best it is.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

More after the jump.

This one's actually one of the few I'm kind of pleased with, on the technical end. Again, it would stand to get another render/detail pass if I wanted it to look more convincing, but for what it is, I'm glad to have developed the skill and speed to do this sort of work.

In other news, I bought a bed and a desk and I'm moving out of here and in the new apartment, hopefully until Thursday max. I'm really looking forward to it, as we (roommate and I) have created quite a nice living space there and this is the sort of change that's good for me. I'll post a few pictures after we're done settling in.



Monday, June 20, 2011

Scribbled ends, more work, thoughts

As usual, click for intended sizes.

The color work is getting faster and more streamlined. I'm working under very tight deadlines. Eventually I'll become fast enough that I will be able to experiment more with formalist aspects even within those strict timeframes. I am enjoying my work more, at least. Some pieces are more painterly, others are more comic arty in their method, a good balance to keep me interested and the results relatively fresh. Now on to the last (? see below) batch of Scribbles.

Self portrait. This is probably my pick from the lot and my second favorite self-portrait on the whole. There's a slight psychoanalytical comment in this on how I use complexity as obfuscation, and therefore, as a shield. It's a reminder to untangle myself. That such a potent (for me) piece occurred through scribbling means the experiment was generally successful.

This is about details. Where the neck meets the jaw.

This is just cyberpunk faux-machinery stress relief inking. The last one I've made and the one that made me feel as if I'm done with Scribbler for now.

This isn't very good, but included for the soft approach. The program's not too suited for this.

This one was fun to do. It says "Thresholds" at the top. It's a re-imagining of a Heavy Metal album cover by the band Nocturnus, done from memory. I checked later to see how close it was. Not at all. This is also one of the rare pieces that I did where I started from a black base, hence the kind of chalky highlights and so on. Neat.

This is Roger Dean-esque stress relief. Enjoyable for me and a continuation from Scribbler_12b.png. Perhaps the ink hatching was a bit too harsh for the intended effect.

This is joyfully (or perhaps, morosely) subtitled "I am on the internet!". This little bird character has this wonderful landscape vantage from his treehouse and yet he browses.

The finality of the above theme. Trapped.

Scribbler helped in a very direct way with getting me back into drawing for pleasure. After ZX I've grown accustomed and perhaps dependent on 'perfect inking'. Great DPI, greater zoom strength, curve correction and other such OCD processes that make my inking perhaps a bit sterile. Once I got the critique "Helm, now that you ink digitally your stuff is worse" to which I replied "this is how I always wanted to ink so uh, bad luck for us both I guess". My aspiration for 'perfect lines' will never be satiated.

However this is akin to writing a book and never going on page two until the syntax and grammar (not to say the notions and thoughts) are absolutely as perfect as they can be. This is how I made ZX (more or less, nothing perfect there, but surely a struggle towards this direction) and I believe someone can write such a book if it a very important book to write, for their psychological well being.

However for faster, simpler, stress-relief work, this obsession with perfection is counter-intuitive. Scribbler helped in that it has no zoom and its mechanic for rendering is just a tad unpredictable. There has been a reconciliation with roughness in ink through it. I wonder if it'll impact my high-purpose work as well. I don't really know if I'm done with Scribbler completely, but I know that I'm done with using it every day for a while, at least. It's been therapeutic, but there's further steps to take now. I'm in the middle of moving out, life is happening!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Scribble me that

The scribbling never ends.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scribble me this

This little program is really enjoyable.

More after the jump

I like it because it forces me to work directly in ink without much - non messy - method for correction, and of course because of how it behaves where closeby lines are introduced. These are chronological, so you can see how I increasingly tried to get it to behave like a regular inking tool (culminating in the image of the virginal goddess of hunt, Dianna) and how the one I did right after it (person reading book on vacation) I tried to let the capacity of the program dictate the style again. I might do more of these!

And if any of you draw anything with it, please show me.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Helm is 27 today.

the future upwards expanding

So, another year closer to thirty. Thoughts and resolutions follow.

This year was a mixed bag. The resolution was, I believe, to get a job and/or publish the comic (ZX). Both of these goals have been achieved. A hidden internal goal of the last few years was also to achieve some sort of equilibrium between the internal drives and what I require from the people close to me. How to use them but not abuse them and how to be a better friend. It seems much more work has to be done in this front, but before I can tackle that, I need to feel more of an adult. So the next step is to become mobile and self-sustaining. In this vein, I'm planning to move out and get a motorbike license. And possibly find additional work to secure these new movements.

My emotional life has been in turmoil in the last 4-5 months, and this is one of the reasons I haven't been posting as much as I had in the past (the other being that I don't have many comics to post at the moment!). Pushing aside the feeling of disappointment and despondency (disaffection, disassociation, dissomething or another) I realize that half of the weight of this result, at least, rests on my shoulders. It is difficult to become a human. And I'll tell you readers why that is:

There's things inherent to one's personality they cannot tinker with without upsetting everything else that makes one what they are, good and bad. And there's other aspects of them that are unfavorable and it's moderately possible to amend them, to become a better human. A friend or lover or other such close person has an obligation towards you to make a judgment call on which of the debris of one's personality are which. They may say "this is just Helm being Helm and we shall accept him as he is" and this is healing and good if the aspect of the personality they are accepting is inherent and motivates both good and bad reflexes. That I am a person very prone to (over)analysis and navelgazing is such a characteristic. It cannot be fixed, I don't need anyone to try to fix it for me.

But there's also surface aspects of one's personality that, when accepted, tend to fester. That's where you need vigilant friends and close ones to push you along the road to betterment, not people that completely 'accept you as you are'. I'm struggling with some such issues, I am not sure where it'll lead. I wonder why humans feel such tremendous self-doubt, where this comes from and what purpose it serves and I haven't come up with any answers. I need to work a lot, and it seems, sometimes, work a lot alone to get to something concrete on this front.

So, along with 'growing up' a bit this year, moving out, being self-sustaining and all that, my parallel goal is the great work of self-understanding and self-acceptance in tandem. Not one without the other. Difficult balance through a misty field. The way is dim but somehow I may yet find it.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

ZX in stores

If you'd like to buy ZX from one of these following stores: Solaris, Comicon, Πολιτεία, Πρωτοπορία, Χρηστάκης, Τζεβελέκου you now can. Jemma also, soon.

You can order online here.

Nothing much after the jump, just contentment.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Recent work that I forgot to post

Esteemed mr. Sarkozy and wife take a tour of Libya.

Greek business owners in anguish

Tina mpirmpili, Greek Environmental Minister in contrasting political shades

Daughter of politics and elder vampire father despair over recent poll figures. Yet they always survive.

Of the lot I am partial to the greek businessmen one. For once it printed large and very clear. Also, I utilized my comic art skills more than on the more painterly pieces I've been doing recently. I enjoy utilizing the skills I'm most familiar with, so it's a constant back-and-forth between painterly pieces I'm slowlhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gify getting a handle on and more confident but perhaps styleclashing comic ink & color pieces. I'll follow both muses, split myself in half. From the husk a better man emerges.

Also if you're interested in Helmlife, there's a post in Poetry of Subculture which has more to do with that than with the Gods of Steel, so go, go!

I am listening to King Diamond's "Them". It is very good. What are you enjoying, readers?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thank you / Ευχαριστώ πολύ

It is done. It exists and it has been bought by numerous wonderful people. I feel elation not unlike that after having given birth. This is said with the lack of weight characteristic to the gender that will never have that experience and therefore approximates it with artistic endeavours, but even so!

Thank you to every single one of you that paid patronage for the book. I sincerely wish you are not burdened by the story and that you find something positive in it, as this is how it is meant. If you'd like to give something further back, you could discuss the book and your impressions in the comments here, or e-mail me in private (if you're the shy type).

Below repeats the same message in Greek.

Έγινε, υπάρχει και το αγόρασαν πολλοί υπέροχοι άνθρωποι. Νοιώθω ξαλάφρωμα ανάλογο μετά της γέννας. Το λέω αυτό με την ανάλαφρη διάθεση χαρακτηριστική του φύλλου που ποτέ δεν θα την έχει αυτή την εμπειρία και μπορεί μόνο να την προσεγγίσει με δημιουργήματα τέχνης, άλλα έστω!

Ευχαριστώ τον κάθε ένα σας που αγόρασε το βιβλίο. Ειλικρινά ελπίζω να μην σας βαραίνει και να βρείτε κάτι θετικό μέσα του, εγώ έτσι το εννόησα. Αν θέλετε να δώσετε κάτι σαν επιπλέον αντίδωρο, μπορείτε να συζητήσετε τις εντυπώσεις σας από το βιβλίο στα σχόλια παρακάτω, ή να μου στείλετε ιδιαίτερος μήνυμα εδώ (εάν ντρέπεστε) .


Friday, April 8, 2011

ZX says: Come to Comicdom

That is all.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

ZX coming out, finally!

I have maintained radio silence for a while because this was in the works. So, at april 8, I am debuting the Greek-language publication of the all-improved, all-augmented, all morale-debilitating ZX comic on the Comicdom Convention. If you'd like to buy it, you could do worse than come over and say hi to me while you're at it.

If you're shy and/or hate filthy longhairs, you could pick it up at the usual Athens comics shops, and also for the first time, select bookstores (more info on that after the convention). If you'd like to make a direct order for whatever reason, this can be arranged (click on 'contact).

I'm very proud of how things have turned out with this comic on the whole. It's high time I release it to the wild, finally. I plan for there to be an international, English language release eventually. If nothing better comes up, at least as 'print on demand'.

I learned Quark Xpress in the span of two days in order to format the book. If you want something killed, you have to slay it yourself. But! In contrast with past self-publishing efforts, this comic is going to be distributed by the lovely folks at Comicworld, which will mean you stand more of a chance to actually find it in comics-relevant shops! Baby steps towards relevancy.




Thursday, February 24, 2011

More work, ZX update, more 'what I did', et cetera

Click and click again for larger sizes.

First one is a 'nobody wants to be in charge when they pieces fall' type of thing, the second makes more sense for you foreigner savages if you look at a geographical map of Greece. The person doing the hacking is the esteemed mr. Papakonstantinou, featured once before.

As usual, if any of these strike a chord with the reader, feel free to link them around and whatnot. This is the purpose of political commentary.

Strangely, streamlining my process (to make increasingly hard deadlines) called for a return to digital inking, and a more watercolor type of soft wash. In any case, I'm getting faster/(better?). I regret how the second image is a photo trace, but deadline ridiculous called for 'anything that works' measures.

On other news! I've finally inked half of the missing chapter of ZX. Four out of the eight pages are done right now. The two first are introductory vignettes (seriously ten minutes to draw each), the middle two are heavy duty proper inking proper pages of proper artistry, then there's two sparser Eisner-ian pages that won't take too long to do. And then there's the final page, a comic strip I have in the past been torn on whether to do or not, to give a 'full circle' feel to the comic. I'd say I'm almost halfway with my final obligations towards this comic. Here's a teaser image of one of the more challenging inked pages.

Clicking for bigger sizes will prove fruitless. Buy the comic instead!

I'm proud of how this one in particular turned out. Hopefully next week, at the most the week after that, I'll be putting my final ink stains on ZX. And not a moment too soon, as we'll be going to the printers right after, and on the 8th of April it'll be for sale at Comicdom con. (I'll be posting more about this as the time approaches).

On other other news, one-coining ESP Galuda must have given me extra strength, because this week I managed to defeat an old foe of mine, Dodonpachi. Here's how this old devil plays, to give you an idea.

Actually it wasn't the second wind from finishing Galuda that pushed this one over the edge after years and years of playing. It was Ptoing (fellow shooter aficionado) telling me in conversation that I should switch from the red - laser ship to blue - shot ship, if I want to survive the first loop. So I did, and after a few days of re-training (blue ship is slower and its laser is much, much weaker than I have been used to) I one-coined this one as well! I bombed the hell out of the last boss. Let's just say that if DDP had auto-bomb on bullet proximity, I'd have finished the first loop years ago.

This is meaningless to the reader not familiar with the joys and frustrations of really hard video-games (or really hard hobbies in general, I'd expect) but it's a significant event in the lives of those given to such vices. I've been playing DDP off and on for what feels like at least six years, but it could be seven or eight too. To finally achieve some closure on such an endeavor has surprising psychological benefits. I feel like I can beat up a mountain right now. It's no wonder I inked for twelve hours in the span of two days. When I finished ESP Galuda I was somewhat "meh" about it, but here, after I got the Game Over screen there was straight-up primal hollering and sweaty adrenaline airfists and everything. Yes I realize that saying such things to the internet drastically increases my chances of sleeping alone for a long, long time to come, but hey. I'm Helm, I'm (trying to feel) fine with myself, how are you doing?

My fucking credentials, son

May the long-beaked stoic one reside in the pantheon forever!

Reality check: This is a small victory, as veteran arcade shooter players know. There's of course, a full second loop of Dodonpachi after the first one, which one is granted access too only on specialized conditions (scoring over 50,000,0000 points, only dying once or twice, getting all the hidden score items in at least four stages, that sort of thing). This second loop is somewhat harder than the first and at the end of it you face the true boss of the game, Hibachi.

Here's however that I draw a line. I'm not an obsessive achiever, I played DDP for all this time because it's a fun game to me, it seems perfectly balanced at the exact edge where my skill runs out and just before frustration sets in. I probably will still play it on and off, perhaps improve my score a bit here and there, but I'm completely resigned to that defeating the boss above is beyond my projected skill even years down the line. I have better things to do than train DDP every day concentrated for months (or possibly years) to achieve an one-coin two loop clear. So be happy for me for getting halfway there while still retaining some semblance of a social existence.

Let's see, what else did I do in the days between this and my last post? Did I post this?

I'm not helping my case with these projects, am I?