Sunday, July 28, 2019

Zig Kuretake 12 Color Watercolor Palette Set -- Impressions (video)

Over-all, I really like this watercolor set. The colors are nice, highly pigmented and vibrant -- although lacking in intensity and they really do work great for anime style illustrations.

I'd imagine they'd work great for florals and caligraphic stuff as well -- although I personally don't do those. I wouldn't recommend these for landscapes unless you're deliberately going for a washed out look.

The colors also mix very well.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

I have a RedBubble Account btw.

Just letting you know that I have a RedBubble account. Follow the link to see more of my stuff. Also check my pixiv account:

Or tell me if you want to request a specific design. Most of the artworks I've done can be found tagged Fanart in this blog.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hayate Reflections: Time To Gloat About Tonikaku Kawaii Chapter 67

Thanks to anonymous for the heads-up on Tonikaku Kawaii (call it Cawaii if you like just coz that's how it's spelled in English in the magazine, I know, I know...)
So anyway, I got sick again. As the seasons change, my throat acts like some kind of barometer because I have rhinitis and my throat and nose always act up whenever we transition from hot to cold weather.
Speaking of hot weather, Tsukasa is quite hot here.
With that out of the way, I’m just chiming in today with a quick update on Tonikaku Kawaii, Kenjiro Hata’s latest manga -- and probably an update that I should have done sooner. Anyway, in page 9 of chapter 67, we have a cameo of Hayate and Nagi being all kissy-kissy, lovey dovey with each other as Kaname educates her senpai on the different meanings of kisses.

Of course, this was all in Kaname’s imagination, but when the author of the manga draws the two main characters of his former manga this way, I think it leaves little doubt as to how he wanted them to end up and how to properly interpret the ending of said manga -- even if you think they’re not the Hayate and Nagi that you remember -- don’t worry, son. Memories are idealized most of the time. You’ll get over it.

Anyway, this is lordcloudx gloating and out for now.

By the way, don’t forget that I do art commissions for $6-$25 right now depending on complexity. I definitely prefer traditional art that I can send directly to the client, but I can of course do digital art as well. I’ll leave a link in the description and you can just email me directly at lordcloudx at gmail dot com and let’s talk.
Fanart Corner

I've noticed that people are "so much more aware" of depression nowadays and that's great... still, have a fanart.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Hayate Reflections: My Thoughts On Art

Sharp contrasts of bright green and dark shadows lend an alluring and almost otherworldly ambiance to this lush green forest. The seemingly random placement of the trees belie the artist’s subtle intent—which is to draw the viewer’s attention into the blank space at the upper left portion of the painting wherein the paper’s natural whites were purposely left intact in order to create the illusion of shards of light – sharp as daggers piercing into the thick veil of foliage below... is the kind of insincere, artsy, pseudo literary description that relies on empty prose and complex-sounding words to make something out to be more than it actually is. It’s also not the kind of description I’d ever want to give any of my paintings.
You know how long it took me to think up that description? All of 3 minutes at the very moment that I decided to start writing this essay. In fact, I could make up artsy sounding, insincere descriptions like that all day long – but I don’t, because I don’t like them.

Now let me tell you the real story behind this painting. This was a background done in around 10-15 minutes for an upcoming video game for desktop and mobiles called Miseria – which I did all the background art for. What I was really thinking as I was painting this piece was something more like “Ok, let me splish splash a few trees here and there, oh and we need some leaves there.  You know what? Let’s leave that area blank so that it looks like the light is filtering in through the leaves – oh yeah, that looks perfect! You’re such a genius, me.”  And you know what? I’m pretty sure that to some extent, all visual artists have the same kind of mindset as I do when they’re painting. I mean, forgive me if you’re actually thinking up all that empty pseudo-literary prose as you paint – and I guess you’d be the exception, but let’s get real, people. Let’s not put up any more barriers than there already are to art.
Anyway, I am lordcloudx, and today, I’m here to tell you about my art and the reason why I paint/draw the things that I do as well as a few of my pet peeves with how art is often perceived by other people. If you’ve seen my “Philosophy of Art” video before, you can think of this as an update, or a reaffirmation of sorts of the stuff I’ve said before.
I Am A Beauty Seeker
I have always been attracted to beauty – specifically, feminine beauty. As such, you might say that I have very heterosexual tastes. Certainly, I don’t consider myself to a part of the LGBTQ+ BBQ WTF LOL community, but I have a general disdain of communities in general anyway.

To get back on track, I have always been attracted to pretty pictures – specifically of the anime persuasion. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I limit myself to only manga/anime art. I can definitely appreciate the natural beauty of a colourful piece of scenery, or the complexity of an architectural drawing from an isometric, 3-dimensional perspective.

And for me, beauty in my personal art is rather simple to obtain – just add Nagi. It’s that simple. Whenever I draw/paint something for myself, I just think of how I can draw Nagi and make her look beautiful in my eyes – and in the eyes of other onlookers, and that is basically the entire philosophy behind my art. There’s no complex backstory, nor any attempt to shape society, nor some deep-seated psychological quandary behind what I do. I just like drawing Nagi because I love the character for who she is. Also, if you really take a good look at Nagi, she is actually far from perfect, even in appearance. Obviously, she’s short and flat-chested, and as far as her face goes, she’s definitely cute, but there are definitely many different anime characters who can be considered cuter and far more beautiful than her, but of course, Nagi will always be perfect in all her tiny imperfections for me – and that is all that really matters.
So to sum things up so far: I like drawing pretty pictures – and those pretty pictures usual end up being Nagi. No complications whatsoever here.

The Things I Dislike In Art

While art always has that element of individual preference to it, there are some things in the art community at large in my area that really set off all the wrong triggers in me. So let me talk about them for a little bit.

1.       The Wannabe Picasso Bandwagon

Yes, of course, I do understand the impact (not exactly the appeal) that the abstract expressionist, impressionist and pop art movements had in art history, but let’s face it, those days are long-gone and nowadays, it’s basically a free-for-all, for all kinds of art. With that said, what really ticks me off the wrong way is when I see exhibits on display with the kind of ambiguous, pseudo-literary narrative that I made as an example at the start of this video and paintings on display featuring women with wonky anatomy, asymmetrical features and nonsensical elements like the sun melting into a woman’s skirt and becoming a part of the pizza pie embryo of life or something similar – well, you probably know what I mean.
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that these kinds of art that rely on the “viewer’s imagination” to fill in the blanks or makes use of pseudo-literary descriptions to make a trashy piece look like “high art” is just extremely pretentious and cringe-worthy. The worst part is when you see several pieces by the same artists and some are clearly lacking in the basics of good anatomy, color theory, perspective and lighting and other skills that a “professional artist” should possess some degree of competence in.

Certainly, it’s none of my business, but when you see people being drawn in and influenced by pseudo literary narratives into assuming that “this is high art” all the time, it kind of is – especially when people dismiss your own art all the time as “oh, it’s just anime.”

2.        The Talkers And Accessorizers

Of course, while abstact, expressionist art – especially from those lacking in basic drawing skills tend to tick me off, those people are still much better than the talkers and accessorizers. Have you ever come across a know-it-all who offers their brilliant “critique” and has this insatiable urge to redline and correct every piece of art they come across online? Chances are that these are also the same kind of people who will tell you to buy the most expensive pieces of art equipment that you can so that you can “level up your game” and even urge you to start creating your own paints out of gum arabic and your choice of pigment because that’s how a “real pro” does it.

Well, while there’s always the wild exception who can actually walk the talk, if you ever come across this kind of individual, it’s probably best to ask that person for some actual examples of their art. Chances are that you’ll discover something quite amusing. I’ll leave it at that.

3.       Communities

I did say that I hate communities, didn’t I? Anyway, the unfortunate reality is that if you desire any kind of recognition for your art, it’s really not about what you know, but about who you know. As a recent example, I hardly get more than 10 likes for any new artworks I upload publicly to my twitter, FB, and pixiv account. I’m not really one to self-market much and my favorite subject is from an anime/manga from another decade, basically.

So one day, I saw mikumiku_ebooks make an amusing post on twitter, so I decided to draw a piece of fanart dedicated to this tweet about Miku winning the Iron Throne in the Game of Thrones TV series – and suddenly, from out of nowhere, I got 1.8k likes and over 500 retweets in a single day. To be honest, this is more attention than anything I’ve ever produced in my 20+ years as a writer/artist/creator has ever received before.

To get back on track, art communities – especially if they are isolated to a particular locale like in my area, often tend to fall into a group mentality and will only recognize and promote fellow artists that join their community in the first place.

I can of course understand this kind of mentality for the purpose of self-gain, but when the same art community often says things like: “art is open to all” and how “art is a great equalizer for everyone,” I hope you’ll pardon me for thinking that these art communities are being hypocritical.
Is it an ode to Animal Farm perhaps? Art is a great equalizer, but artists in our community are a little bit more equal than others? I suppose that’s the only way for the contradiction to make sense.

Stop Being Pretentious

In conclusion, if you consider yourself an artist or at least a connoisseur of art, I implore you to stop being pretentious. If you want to paint/draw something, then do it, but don’t try to delude others into thinking that you were doing it for some higher purpose that transcends human existence while hiding behind a thin veil of eloquence. At the end of the day, all we visual artists really want to do is to draw pretty pictures and nothing more – and there should be no shame at all in admitting this.

I am lordcloudx and I like to draw pretty pictures – that is all.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 5 (final)

In all honesty, I didn't think this final day would be worth blogging, but as it turned out, it actually was. So here I am again with the final chapter of this year's trip to Manila.

We started the day by cooking the last of the bacon and eggs that we'd bought at the start of the trip, as well as finishing off our supply of bread. Check out was at 12:00 PM, so we decided to make the best use of our room and come down by around 11:00-11:30 AM.

My aunt and cousin arrived at our hotel room by around 8:00 AM. My cousin would be coming home to Iloilo on the same plane as us, while my aunt had to leave to make it back to work by 1:00 PM.

By 11:00, we'd finished packing up everything and we were ready to check out. Things went pretty smoothly and we left our heavy luggage at the hotel reception. We'd be coming by to pick them up by around 4:00 PM. The hotel was near the airport and we had plenty of time to explore Manila a little bit more before our 7:35 PM flight.

We walked straight through The LandMark mall and into Glorietta wherein my mother bought some megamelt ensaymadas as a "pasalubong" (sort of gift/souvenir for the people back home).

Since I was a bit antsy from being prevented from buying Miku's book yesterday, this time, we also went straight to the toy store where I'd bought some of Nagi's clothes before and I bought another Barbie (whose fate is sealed) and my mother bought me one more set of clothes for Nagi. I like this series of Barbie Dolls. They're just the same height as my Nagi doll (around 24-25 cm, so a bit shorter than the standard barbies at about 28-30 cm).

After that, we made our way to one of the Glorietta mall's many exits and booked a Grab Car to the Power Plant mall nearby.

We arrived at the mall at about 12:20 PM. We had a nice lunch at Kenny Rogers Roasters -- and by the way, for the people in Iloilo City, they have better tasting coleslaw here for some reason. The cabbage is finely chopped instead of the larger chunks that they use in SM City Iloilo's Kenny Rogers branch.

After lunch, my mother walked around the clothing stores at the 2nd floor of the mall, while my cousin and I went straight to Fully Booked. I scored this Light Novel: I Want To Eat Your Pancreas -- which comes highly recommended by my sister (actually she was looking for it about 2 years ago)

We just took a walk around the entirety of the mall after this. I saw a place where they were selling 1/4 to 1/2 scale superhero/heroine figures... meh, Nagi is 1000x cuter -- as you can see.

Having toured the entire mall (Power Plant is fairly small -- smaller than most Iloilo City malls, but it's packed with stores. Great use of floor space), we went back to our hotel to unload our purchases a bit.

We still had plenty of time since it was only 2:00 PM by the time we arrived at the hotel, so we took a short walk back to Glorietta again. This time around, there was someone called "The Piano Man: Martin Avila" -- and upon research, he's apparently, been a premier lounge pianist for 3 decades. He was extremely impressive so my mother stopped by to clap for him and I took a video just to show you... hopefully, the audio quality will be ok. Also, the little girl trying to get him to say hi to her was pretty funny, if a bit bratty.

Our legs were getting tired after this, so we went around a bit looking for some mini cheese cakes and we were about to go to Kumori, when I spotted this coffee shop that sold boxes of 6 mini cheese cakes for only 300-350 php -- which is a far cry from the 1000-1300 php per half-dozen boxes that Kumori sells. My mother bought a box for us and then we made our way back to the hotel to pick up our luggage.

We booked a large car to take us to the NAIA Terminal 3. It was a short drive since we took the skyway (with a 35 php toll) to get there. After checking in our heavy luggage, we went inside Terminal 3's mini mall. (Yup, malls are a huge thing here in the Philippines -- both literally and figuratively.)

After looking around a bit, we settled down for dinner at a local restaurant called Max's. The food was great -- and actually not too extravagantly priced for a diner that's located inside the airport.

With dinner out of the way, we were off to the pre-departure area. So to top things off, the last thing I did before leaving Manila was to draw the cover for my black paper drawing album. Naturally, it's Nagi. I also noticed I had an audience of a few kids watching me. My mother told me that their parents had pointed at me earlier so the kids could watch... I actually enjoy having an audience as I paint/draw. Anyway, I finished the cover before our plane was ready for departure.

The plane left at about 7:40 PM. During the flight, we experienced some mild turbulence during the plane's ascent and descent because of the stormy weather. It was actually a bit scary at one point, but at least the cabin lights didn't involuntarily go out like it did during this one flight I was in with my sister some years ago. I suppose it was a good experience for my cousin who was taking only her second airplane ride -- a nice, stable flight on the way to Manila, and a bumpy ride on the way home.

So for my final thoughts -- this trip was very nice over-all, although a bit disappointing at times, but that's just how things ago. It was a nice eye-opener however, because it made me realize a few things about my life as well and what kind of direction I should be trying to take.

And with this, my Manila trip for 2019 is officially over. In the end, I actually managed to buy a few more things for myself -- which is enough to satisfy me. Thanks for reading through the entire experience with me. I'll see you next time in future travel posts to come. For now, this is lordcloudx out.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 4

We started the day with breakfast inside our hotel room. We need to finish off the groceries we'd bought at the start of our trip because we're leaving tomorrow. My mother had set a meeting with a friend in the Greenbelt area just next to our hotel by lunchtime.

We spent the morning just watching TV inside our room. Just in case you didn't know, the Warriors won and Raptors fans are probably quite salty about it.

We made our way to the Greenbelt Mall by 12:00, but the friend sent a text that he had a meeting right now and by 2:30 PM, so we could only meet up at around the 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM time window. My mother decided to call off the meeting since it seemed it would be a hassle for him as well.

After that, we had lunch at the Glorietta Mall inside of Shakey's. We'd actually accumulated quite a number of credit cards rewards points, so we used up all the coupons we accumulated and had lunch basically for free.

With lunch out of the way, we walked back to our hotel and freshened up a bit. Then we walked our way to the MRT station which was through The Link, The Landmark, Glorietta Mall, and had a bridge going into SM Ayala Mall. We met a former student of my mother's -- a successful architect who had his own unit right here inside our hotel! He asked to have coffee at around 9 PM together and my mother agreed and said she'd message him via FB.

While it still wasn't rush hour the train cars were already packed with people. We got off at the Shangri-La Plaza Hotel/Mall and then just walked into the Mega D/Fashion Hall wing of SM Megamall.

My mother bought something at Zara and then we met up with my cousin and aunt who had already been there since 1:00 PM. She also wanted to buy a pair of shoes, so we just sort of wandered around a bit until she found something she liked at Call It Spring.

After this, we just sort of blindly walked around looking for a place to eat until I spotted a Super Bowl restaurant which was still open. We thought all the branches had actually closed down years ago -- we were wrong. Anyway, Super Bowl was great as usual.

With dinner out of the way by 6:30 PM, I led us to the Deovir (art store) branch that I'd found last year to see what kind of art supplies they had. I ended up buying an Artlinky Student Grade watercolor set for 432 php, my mother offered to buy it for me instead though -- so yeah, sure.

Next, we walked around a bit again to find a place to eat dessert. I decided to check out a Fully Booked store that we passed by to see if I there was something I wanted to buy. I saw a Hatsune Mix manga for 960 php and was all set to buy it, but my mother talked me out of it because "1000 pesos is still 1000 pesos and it's not something that I really like," apparently... ok. I saw this same manga and tried to go back for it in Fully Booked Power Plant last year, but ok. I was tired anyway and undeniably I'm jobless and shouldn't be spending money on these things. Maybe I should just go for another online job as soon as we're back from vacation. I really should so that I can do the things I want to do again -- actually, I think I will.

Anyway, I suggested we find a place near the exit of Mega D for dessert and we settled on a place called St Marc, or something like that. The dessert was some kind of ice cream soft serve on a cone with nuts and stuff as toppings. I dunno everything felt a bit tasteless.

After that, it was time to go home. We went our separate ways. My aunt and cousin took a taxi home while we booked a grab car -- oh, a student of my mother's suggested using a credit card and it really did hack off a lot.

We arrived at the hotel by 9:00 PM. My mother was justifiably tired, so she canceled the coffee meeting with her student. We still have some packing up to do anyway.

With that said, that concludes this day's entry. I don't think I'll be blogging our final half-day here, so I hope you had fun with me on this short journey. Oh, and here are all the things I could afford to buy while on the trip.