Fanart Monday: Hail

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday!

The last Monday of 2019… I’ve had a bit of downtime after the holidays, so I took advantage of some of the peace and quiet to play around more with some digital art.

Fanart | Pokemon | Video Games | Gaming | Nintendo | Doublexjump.com

I got my Wacom tablet… maybe a year ago? I’m not even sure at this point, to be completely honest, but it came with a few licenses to some art programs that I just recently remembered. One program was Clip Studio, and I’ve been having fun exploring it! The program does illustrations, comics, and animations, and I wish I thought to download it when I first opened my Wacom tablet.

Being December, I wanted to do something that had to do with snow and ice, and Frosmoth won out. I think Frosmoth has one of the prettiest designs of the Galar Pokemon, so I figured I’d take a shot and try to do a picture showcasing it. There were a few layers — one for the background, another for a quick sketch, a third for colors, and a forth for the speckles of hail and snow — and the program had some fun stamps and decorations to help with the quick background, such as the foliage. The sky itself was part gradient and part blending of a few different darker shades.

While Frosmoth isn’t as detailed as I would like, I am happy with the final result. It’s softer and bright against the background, and it was fun trying out all sorts of different tools to design it. Any kind constructive criticism is appreciated, especially if you have tips on use Clip Studio!

frosmoth

Do you create fanart? What do you think of Frosmoth’s design? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Fanart Friday: Shadowball

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

For a while now, I’ve always wanted to do more art, especially for my favorite video game franchises. While I’ve always done more traditional art — sketches, colored pencils, markers — I’ve wanted to practice more with digital art recently. Figured I may as well start now!

Pokemon | Gengar | Video Games | Nintendo | Fanart | Art | Doublexjump.com

As a kid, drawing was one of my favorite pastimes. I had no problem spending the day sketching out an image and using colored pencils to bring it to life. After a few years, I discovered oil pastels in one of my high school art classes, which just opened up another side of the world of art for me. I have a large container full of art supplies in our closet, from sketchbooks to several packs of colored pencils and pastels to art instruction books.

Unfortunately, my practice with art has waned over the years with my schooling focusing more on computers and math, despite my love of writing and drawing. Yet, art has always been in the back of my mind and I have made (and broken) promises to myself to start practicing again. I need to be more disciplined about it and, one way to keep myself accountable, is to show a picture here or there on the blog.

To go along with October and the theme of spooky stuff, this month features a Gengar using Shadowball, created with my Wacom tablet and Paint Tool SAI. There were about three layers of sketches done to try to get most of the proportions right and to warm up a bit with digitally drawing. I drew the lineart on a separate layer — neglecting to realize that there is a specific layer tool designed for lineart to help keep lines smooth, but I’ll remember that for next time — before adding the colors. I enjoyed trying out the different tools for the shading and was probably a little too enthusiastic with the blur tool on the Shadowball portion of the picture.

Here’s hoping you enjoy my little interpretation of this Pokemon! Any kind and constructive criticism — especially with using Paint Tool SAI, as I’m still new to it — is appreciated.

FanartShadowball

Do you create fanart? Do you have some favorite artists? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Of Art Books and Collections

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday!

Aside from collecting the actual games, Rachel and I enjoy collecting other aspects of our favorite games and franchises to celebrate them. Rachel, for instance, loves to collect Pokemon cards. For me, it’s all about the art books and posters of my favorite games.

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You know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” No one listens to that when taken literally. Everyone judges books by their covers, as they are the first aspect of a book that will potentially snag a reader’s attention. It’s the same with video games.

Aside from box art — which, considering the digital age of gaming nowadays, may not exist — the art style and graphics of a game are one of the first impressions a game makes to a potential player. Screenshots and trailers are shared before the game is officially out to entice gamers, and I for one Google games before buying them to see if I can gauge how well I may like it, art style included.

Graphics are one of my favorite aspects to gush over when it comes to games and I am forever amazed at the designers and animators. So when Nintendo announces books dedicated to the art of some of their most popular games, I’m ready to say, “Take my money!”

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Take the Legend of Zelda series alone. We have the history collection — Hyrule Historia, Art & Artifacts, and Encyclopedia — along with the Creating a Champion coming out in November. There’s also The Art of Fire Emblem: Awakening, which looks gorgeous. Honestly, with the popularity of Octopath Traveler and its art style, I bet an art book for that game won’t be far behind. They have posters for all the main characters, which I would love to collect.

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I would love to collect these books and posters dedicated to the art of some of my favorite games and franchises. For now, though, Nintendo, space and money is a bit of an issue.

Do you enjoy collecting the art books or posters for video games? What are some of your favorites?

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Pokemon Art Academy Review

Double Jump Kris MiiHello everyone!

Being Pokemon month, Rachel and I decided to play through some of the Pokemon side games that we haven’t picked up in a while. The one I chose was Pokemon Art Academy for the 3DS, a game that I nearly forgot existed.

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Title: Pokemon Art Academy
Company: Headstrong Games, Nintendo
Release Date: October 24, 2014 in NA
Console: Nintendo 3DS
How I got the game: Rachel bought it and I borrowed it for the review.

Warning — there may be story spoilers!

gameplay

Pokemon Art Academy is rather simple in its gameplay. There’s not much of a story, except that you play as a character going to an art school to create Pokemon trading cards. At the school you learn various techniques when it comes to drawing the creatures, advancing through classes and developing your skills along the way.

The game consists of teaching you step by step on how to draw Pokemon. The touchscreen of the DS is liberally used as the stylus (or your finger) takes the place of whatever art medium you are using, such as pastels and paintbrushes. The beginning stages have you draw portraits of Pokemon, simple pictures that utilize common shapes such as circles. Later lessons teach you about techniques such as shading and opacity, along with having a freehand sketches. Unlike other Art Academy titles, Pokemon Art Academy showed various techniques that are used in digital drawings — such as layers and an undo button — rather than mimicking traditional mediums on a digital platform.

graphics-music

The graphics and music were both charming in this game. The graphics were simplified, being a nice contrast to your drawings, showcasing your art rather than being flashy with its own designs. Likewise, the music was always relaxing with the occasional sound effects used to mimic the art mediums you were using, such as the squeak of the pastel chalk, as you went about creating your art.

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Pokemon Art Academy has over 40 art lessons and, while some of them can get tedious for someone like my age (because, honestly, the game is aimed towards players about twenty years younger than me), I did have fun with it. I had always liked to draw when I was younger and it was nice to get back into it a little with this game.

While the lessons don’t change, there’s enough of a variety to amuse yourself with for a while. There was also a Free Paint Mode where you can draw whatever you wish, giving the game a bit more replay value than just going straight through the lessons. It’s a cute game to just sit back and relax with if you have a few minutes to spare.

Pokemon Art Academy gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives
3 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 

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Gushing about Graphics

Double Jump Kris MiiAs you may have heard, Rachel and I finally got our Nintendo Switch over the weekend! We had tried to play it for the first time on Saturday. The game we fired up was, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!

And, holy sugar, that game is so pretty…!

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It’s amazing to me how far the graphics for video games have come since they first started being developed. From the simple Pong to virtual reality systems…

legend_of_zelda_nesFor example, look at how far we’ve come with the Legend of Zelda series. Comparing images from the original game back from 1986 to Breath of the Wild from this year shows a vast improvement in the graphics.

The original Legend of Zelda was great in its innovative birds-eye view of the protagonist and the development of various dungeons and items (and, of course, starting this wonderful series), but Breath of the Wild is gorgeous with its individual blades of grass and the winds and the creatures, both monstrous and simple. Breath of the Wild’s world is alive, and it’s partly thanks to the amazing amount of work that was no-doubt painstaking put into the graphics of this game.

It’s definitely a game that makes me want to break out my sketch books again, but… Well, then I wouldn’t be able to play the game while drawing, right?

 

How are you enjoying Breath of the Wild? What’s your favorite gaming art style?

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Friday Favorites: Super Mario Games

Double Jump Kris MiiThere’s tons of hype going on for the Switch and the games slated to come out for the console, such as Super Mario Odyssey. While the Zelda and Pokemon franchises are more popular in our household, the Super Mario brothers are certainly up there as well, most likely due to the fact that it was Super Mario games that I have the most vivid memories of when I first started getting into gaming as a kid.

So, for this Friday Favorites, here’s a list of my personal favorite Super Mario games!

Super Mario Bros. 3

While I have vague memories of the first couple of Super Mario Bros. games, it was the third installment that I really remember as a kid. Rachel’s and my older sister actually used to play the game, helping to introduce me to gaming as a whole. While our older sister phased out of the gaming scene, I have fond memories of playing with her, especially during the two-player battle mode (which, in hindsight, probably paved the way to me loving the Super Smash Brothers series so much!).

Yoshi’s Island

Everyone knows how adorable the Yoshis are in the Super Mario games, so it was exciting to actually play as Yoshi during Yoshi’s Island. I always loved the art style of this game, finding the sketchy, drawing-like quality to the backgrounds and characters to be adorable. Having a team of Yoshis helping each other out to reunite the two Mario brothers was such a cute story line too!

Super Mario Maker

This game was an awesome concept and it’s utterly fascinating to be able to create your own Super Mario Bros. levels for others to try! Rachel and I had fun creating “impossible” levels for each other, haha!

Paper Mario

The Paper Mario line has a special place in our house, what with both Rachel and me being fond of the series. The first Paper Mario was my favorite out of the line, as its design was charming and the story line reminded me much of my favorite Super Mario game. Considering that Paper Mario was the spiritual successor of Super Mario RPG, it’s not much of a surprise.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

I may not even really need to explain this one… Super Mario RPG was the game that started me on the path to being a gamer. Watching my uncle play it (usually after I pestered him) then picking it up myself to finally conquering the final boss on my own brings me so many memories and nostalgia. Sure, the story line could be a little cliche, but the characters, the music, the writing, it was all amazing. It’s still one of my favorite games to replay!

What are some of your favorite Super Mario games?

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More Than a Hobby

Double Jump Kris MiiHere we are, the last week of September. It’s certainly gone by fast, hasn’t it?

Ever had a quarter-life (or, for those of you who may be a smidgen older) or mid-life crisis? Ever get that nagging feeling that maybe you’re not doing what you need to do in order to get your life on the right track? Both Rachel and I have gone (and, at times, still are going) through that.  

As a kid, video games were just a hobby, a fun thing to spend our time on. I remember quite clearly spending my mornings before elementary school in the basement with Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on the television, going back and forth between eating breakfast and jumping on Goombas and Koopas.

Back then, I never thought that my passion for video games would grow so much.

Video games were what got me started with drawing, sketches of Sheik and my favorite Pokemon teams dominating my old sketchbooks. Video game fanfiction gave me the never-ending itch to write. Video game soundtracks helped me appreciate the intricacies of different types and genres of music, like symphonies and a cappella.

I started playing games when I was probably about four or five. Twenty years later, I’m blogging with my sister about what I love about these games, about how they can be improved, about virtual reality and 3D graphics and character development and story lines…

It’s a bit odd to think about, in all honesty. Growing up, video games were just a hobby. I figured my future job would have something to do with computers. Animals and criminal justice were up there on the list as well, but something with computers always dominated my mind, and really only because I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of desk job with other people around (go figure). There was barely an inkling of a thought to connect my love of computers with video gaming.

It was just a hobby, after all.

Now, it’s not just a hobby, they’re not just games. Writing, drawing, programming… all of my interests had pointed to the video game industry.

Well, better late than never in figuring it out, right?

Defending Gamers

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday, everyone!

If you’re reading this post, if you follow this blog, then I assume you’re a gamer. You love video games.

And I’m here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with that.

There’s more to gaming than just sitting on the couch, snacking on potato chips, and staring at the screen all day long.

I mean, let’s be honest. If you were really a gamer you wouldn’t eat potato chips while playing. It would get the controller all greasy.

Anyway… Yes, I’m playing the game as my hobby, for my down time after a long day of work. I want to do something mindless, something fun. But it’s not just about staring at the screen and letting my mind go blank.

When I play a video game, I see a number of things.

Artwork and Graphics

Now that we’re in 2016 and we’re getting updated consoles, the video games coming out have been much more high-tech than they used to be.

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Via Wikipedia

Take a look at Uncharted 4 by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment for the Playstation 4. It’s release date was May 10, 2016 so the graphics are pretty high up there on the cool scale. I mean, just look at the cover. It looks like a movie poster!

The main character on the front looks so realistic and the gameplay to follow will only impress you more.

ocarina of time graphics double jump
Via Wikipedia

Then there’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 way back in 1998.

The graphics aren’t as good as today’s games, but they’re still great. One, because they worked with what little technology they had at the time, and two, because they’re just old classics.

Music

How many of you start humming along during the opening of your favorite game? How many of you keep your character still in the middle of a scene just to absorb the lovely melody in the background?

Video games create the best music, in my opinion.

Take the Legend of Zelda again for another example. A good portion of the game is about Link learning music on his ocarina or his wind waker or whatever other instruments he tends to carry. They’re short melodies, but easy to remember, and everyone does remember them. The other music in the game is just as catchy and memorable; especially since they remix certain songs and mask it to put in the newer games. They recycle the old fantastic songs and make them new again.

And what about all those Mario games, huh? You can’t tell me that you don’t hum to that music or even mimic his voice.

Story

As a writer, I look for the plot in every single video game.

I’m being biased because The Legend of Zelda is one of my favorite video game franchises, but I think it’s the best example, so I’m going to use this game one more time.

To create such a complex timeline, memorable heroes, and villains, and overall just recreate the same plot, but just in a different light reincarnating your same characters is just… amazing.

When you play Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, each case is connected in some way allowing the player to fit the pieces together and have that “A-ha!” moment when they figure it out. The characters are easy to like and get along with and are perfect for the job of solving those ridiculous crimes.

There’s a lot that goes into video games that I didn’t touch upon, but graphics, music, and the writing are the three that usually get my attention.

It all goes into the “arts” category. Some people don’t believe that be a real “profession.” But if you went into a museum and saw a portrait of Mario hanging up on the wall, would you not consider it art because it was originally in a video game?

If you heard the famous Pokemon song playing on the radio, would you not consider it music because it was in a video game?

If you picked up a novel based on a video game (they’re out there!), would you not consider it literature because it was from a video game?

No. Because while playing video games is a hobby to me, I know that the game I’m playing is a masterpiece to those who created it.

What do you think about this? What are some of your favorite gaming graphics, music, and storylines?