Character Development challenge

On PaperDemon we just introduced biweekly challenges as part of the PaperDemon Art RPG where a new prompt is introduced every two weeks that encourages players to explore their OC’s personalities and preferences.

But anyway here’s the art I created to signify these challenges.

Since these challenges centered around character development, Shyftlock suggested a “journal” be used for the graphic. But after doing some research I decided to go with something more like a locked diary to give it a little more of a steampunk feel.

Yay sparkles.

Junket Tank

I created a new item for the PaperDemon Art RPG called a Junket Tank. The visual is based on a vacuum tube like one that might be used inside a tube tv.

In the PaperDemon universe, portals to other worlds are tube television sets. Some portals are unstable, only able to be visited during specified times of 2 months.

I had the idea to add an item that would let players visit these closed portals and one of our members, Duskfire suggested it be a part from a TV set.

The “SHM 218” is a reference to ShrunkenHeadMan club, the San Jose State University Animation/Illustration club that I was very active in while studying there and have still contributed to after graduating. I’m not as active these days but try to make it to the yearly SHM Con event at least.

Crafting

Soon we’ll be introducing a new crafting challenge to the PaperDemon Art RPG. And so I needed to create some new item art.

I have a lot of fun creating the item art for the PaperDemon Art RPG. Part of it is because it’s a lot easier than character art, I can get fairly creative with it, and I can usually finish an item in 1-2 days.

Cloth
Thread

The spindle for the thread was inspired by ancient thread spindles.

The only thing I wish I had done differently with the art is that the lines for the cloth are too thick compared to the other item art. I might have to go back and fix that later.

Anyway, you can craft Cloth and Thread together to make this Cloth armor.

Cloth Armor

I’ve got a lot more item arts I need to post.

Currency

I did some art for two currencies for the PaperDemon Art RPG.

We’re using Gold as the main in-game currency. Gold drops for participating in most of the events. I was inspired by Celtic knots for the design as well as Japanese coins, some of which have a hole in the middle. Celtic designs are an influence in other PaperDemon Art RPG assets as well.

I actually had three different concepts that I was trying to choose between.

Three different concept sketches for gold currency

I went for option A because I thought it felt more Elvan. I also thought this worked better as a singular coin instead of three coins because of the level of detail in it.

I may still use option C for another currency later. I liked the little notches.

And here’s the final.

Final art for Gold

And soon we’re going to introduce a new premium currency called “Trokens.” I wanted the currency to have a non-circular shape just to be a little more interesting. There was a conspiracy involving me and Triforces in the past so I thought it would be funny to make the currency triangular shaped. When I told my husband I was trying to come up with a name for the currency, he suggested “Trokens” because it’s a combo of tokens and triangle and we both busted out laughing. So I rolled with it.

Here are two early concept sketches. One had a gem in the middle and another had a hole in the middle, again kind of like the Japanese Yen coins. I ended up going with the gem in the center as this felt more “premium”. Also I like shiny things and gems are shiny. I was thinking of the base as being like a pearlescent material.

Trokens Concept sketches

And here’s the final art. Once again I turned up the rainbows and sparkles to level 11.

Trokens final art

I’m pleased with the art and can’t wait to announce these for sale. Hoping to officially launch the store in the next week or two. However I’m still building out the list of items that will be available for purchase with this currency. So I’m unsure how interested people will be in buying at this point.

Cyrus Albright

I played Octopath Traveler on Nintendo Switch in 2019 and loved it. I found myself getting attached to Cyrus Albright. I just found his personality and dialog very amusing and likable.

So I made a few fanart pieces of him over the past two years. Here they are all together. His hair is especially fun to draw and paint.

2020 Cyrus portrait / Watercolor & ink

The one below was based on a scene from the fanfic Letters by thatarikuchan.

2020 “Letters” / Watercolor & ink

These last three were done for the Huevember challenge of which I completed 5 days of.

2019 Huevember day 1 / Watercolor, gouache, and ink on toned paper
2019 Huevember day 4 Cyrus / Digital

I think this last one’s my favorite…

2019 Huevember day 5 Cyrus / Watercolor and ink

Re-Branding

Branding is an important area for any business but especially for an online business. Your business logo is often the first thing new customers see and what they will use to form their first impression of your business. While your icon helps existing customers recognize and attribute your content and posts.

Last year I decided to rebrand PaperDemon.com because I was unhappy with what we had. Our existing logos and icons lacked personality, didn’t meet various practical needs and didn’t communicate what we were about.

Typographical logo

Up until circa 2019, the logo looked something like this and we used this for 10 years. The typeface was very thin which didn’t show up well on small sizes and it also lacked a lot of personality and character.

Circa 2009 logo

Temporarily I had changed it to this hand lettered logo in some places but it still lacked a lot of personality and was missing the wing.

2019 logo

Today’s tech world is full of forgettable logos. So often I see companies following modern trends and just copying what the big boys like Google and Apple do without doing anything unique or special.

I knew I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I intentionally wanted to do something different. The thought of reaching out to a design agency didn’t sound attractive because with the budget I am on I knew I’d get something forgettable. Even the experienced and pricey agencies may not be able to get me something that would work given that graphic design and illustration are wholely separate skills and what I wanted was something that required the skills of an illustrator.

Good thing I know someone who has experience with both (haha, I mean me). But, in all seriousness, while branding is not by any means my area of expertise I did get some experience in this area while I worked at Google and I felt confident if I focused on it I could come up with something.

I wanted to do something that was more akin to our 2005 logo which was also hand lettered. I liked the character and feel of it, but as you can see below it lacked balance. What the heck are those shapes hanging off of the P and the D? You can see this logo like the new one you’re about to see also uses Celtic letters.

2005 logo

Using an existing font and just making a logo out of that was NOT going to cut it. We are an art and writing community after all. Our logo has to be one of a kind and artsy. There’s no way I would be able to find a typeface that would do what I wanted it to do. So I knew going into this rebrand that I would be hand lettering this thing.

Some of the keywords I wanted my logo to evoke were paper, story book, fantasy, and fairy tale. Having a list of words of what you want your brand to evoke can help guide the creative process.

My inspiration for it was Celtic illuminated manuscripts, Celtic knots, and the title cards for early animated Disney films (think Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty).

We also use a Celtic font and Celtic knots for some of our other marketing imagery so going this direction also makes things feel more cohesive.

I also wanted the wing to become a part of the logo again, much like it was in the 2009 version. I also wanted the letters to have a worn out look to have a visual connection to “paper”. This was something I did for the lettering I had done for the 2020 Red Curtain Erotic Fantasy calendar project and I had liked the results so I decided to carry over those elements. If you look closely, you can see little notches in the letters.

PaperDemon.com 2020 logo horizontal

I am SUPER happy with the results of this. I fully intend to keep this logo for a while.

The only down side is, again, this logo doesn’t look the greatest at small sizes because of how detailed it is. I do have a simplified variant of it though, scaled smaller here for demonstration purposes

PaperDemon.com 2020 logo simplified version for small sizes

Social icon rebrand

In addition to rebranding the typographical logo, I also updated the social icons.

What I had previously was the wing from the 2009 logo colored green and on a green background with foliage textures. It’s something that I had created somewhat quickly back when we first created our social channels and it wasn’t very high resolution. This made it difficult to use in print marketing materials.

Circa 2015 social icon

I felt the demon wing concept was really strong as a brand element. It is simple enough that it scales down to small sizes well, is memorable, and relates well to the name “PaperDemon”. So I carried over this concept to the new icons.

Here’s the updated one using the new wing which was designed with the new typographical logo. I’m not completely happy with the colors so I might change the colors/textures again later this year. But the overall shape of it is pleasing.

2020 PaperDemon Icon

Site footer

For many years, PaperDemon.com had a demon illustration in the footer along with the logo for the site. This illustration would get rotated out with a new one every now and then. Over the years, this tradition was stopped due in part to my artist block, my time constraints, and also due to complexities involved with making the site layout work well on mobile.

I’ve had a strong desire for years to bring this tradition back and with the launch of the new logo, decided now was a great time to do it. I also had a great demon illustration I had created recently that made for a good fit. So this is the new footer that now resides on the bottom of PaperDemon.com. The advantage is I can make the illustration and the logo pretty large to show off it’s detail because it appears in the site footer as opposed to the header where it might be annoying for users to scroll past constantly.

I hope this post inspired you to thoughtfully consider your branding for your own business or website.

Elemental changing crystal

Just finished this artwork yesterday of a premium item we’ll be offering soon on PaperDemon.com so that players can change their element.

Here’s another item I made late last year as a healing potion we’re calling “unicorn earwax”.

I’m having fun making these cute little items. Next I need to create items for gold currency and our premium currency.

Watercolor doodles

Just a quick post to share recent works I’ve been painting. These are all roughly 4″x6″. I often do these during group therapy sessions.

Winsor & Newton watercolor, QoR watercolor, gouache, white gel pen.

Forrest
Sylvain from Fire Emlem Three Houses
Jerle healing

Experimenting with QoR watercolors

I attend weekly group therapy video calls and I’ve taken to doodling in my little watercolor sketchbook during them.

I recently bought myself a starter set of 6 QoR high chroma Watercolor paints after seeing a few Youtube artists pimp them and did a little experimenting with them. The above jellyfish painting was the result.

Setup

Here’s the exact set of paints I bought. The set comes with 6 tubes.

I don’t like to work from tubes (too chaotic and wasteful) so I bought myself this little empty pan set and squeezed the paints out into pans.

This is something I stupidly never thought you could do. I always thought people who used paint from tubes were either ok with the waste or perfect at estimating how much paint they’d need. It wasn’t until I saw Art youtubers like Emily Artful tour their supplies that I learned this was a thing. So I pass on this knowledge to you!

Beware though because apparently not all tube watercolor paints work well in pans. Do research first.

A few (early) conclusions on QoR

With the QoR, there’s a ton of pigment in there and it lays on DARK. There is high paint load in these, which is a nice contrast to working with Winsor & Newton watercolor (my usual jam). I feel with the Winsor & Newton pan paints, I have to do several layers of colors like purple, blue or green to get the bright, rich, intense color I want. Which is frustrating if you’re like me and like to rely on the lovely bleeding/blending effects of watercolor which can’t as easily be done if you have to do it in layers (or maybe I’m just not good at doing it that way).

It also spreads out very fast, which can create some beautiful blooms. I still have some more experimenting to do with it. But this will make them harder to control.

They react well to salt, maybe even more so than Winsor & Newton.

I was also surprised to discover the Cobalt Teal is opaque allowing me to paint light on dark. It felt more like a gouache. I also love the Cobalt Teal and Quinacridone Magenta because these are colors I don’t have available in my Winsor & Newton pan set.

Do I like the QoR paints?

YES! I LOVE bright colors so these were the perfect paints for me to expand my collection with.

But I need more practice with them. This jellyfish doodle just doesn’t do the paints justice. More experimentation to come.

Do I recommend you buy QoR watercolors?

If you’re new to watercolor medium, these are not the paints I would start with. There aren’t enough variety of colors here, they’re harder to control and lift, and they’re pricy. But if you’ve already gotten your feet wet and are looking to expand your colors or options, these are definitely worth checking out.

Medium: QoR high chroma watercolors, white jelly pen

Jellyfish QoR Watercolors
Jellyfish

PaperDemon New Years

In this post, I’ll share the main stages of a recent piece I finished, promotional art for the PaperDemon New Years Cross Over event.

Digital Art done in Photoshop.

This art has my original character, Jerle, flying on a Dracostryx named Flurry. This was my first time drawing a Dracostryx.

The jellyfish and stars are meant to be lanterns. Why jellyfish? Because that’s what I like to draw.

ewe

Thumbnail sketches

I start as I usually do, doing a series of thumbnail sketches. My simple dracostryx looks pretty cute.

owo

Sketches

My process here is not out of the ordinary. I take my chosen thumbnail sketch, scale it to fit the canvas, drop the opacity, and draw on top on a new layer.

I then take that layer, drop opacity, and draw on top of that to do more and more refinement. You can see here the stars look perfect. That’s because I used the shape tool. The final line art is basically me tracing the stars with a pencil brush

Color Comp

Many of these look pretty similar. This is because I had an idea in my head of generally what colors I wanted but needed to experiment a little to narrow it down more. Typically when I do color comps, the options vary a lot more.

Finished piece and details

As you can see I ended up dropping the fireworks and added more layers of clouds. I felt the stars was already making the piece too busy and there were already too many different elements (the dracostryx, the star lanterns, the jellyfish lanterns).

A lot of the glow effects are achieved by using my brush on “screen” mode with a bright color. The rounded edge stars were done with a custom star brush.

Jerle flying on a dracostryx through a pink cloud filled sky with lanterns
Full finished piece
Detail

I really love the way that the subtle color changes turned out on the Dracostryx. That’s it for now. Bye bye o/