All right so, in the midst of all my hard drive issues around the end of November, I had the chance to revisit some older projects from 2011. I didn't even realize that I forgot to upload this, but it's actually fitting that I upload it now. I have A LOT to say about this pic because it's a special one for me.
If it isn't obvious, I did this as an entry for the Megaman Tribute Book contest sponsored by UDON Entertainment. I was big into Mega Man when I was a kid, watched the American cartoon and all that jazz---I never owned the games back then, but I'd played Megaman 2,3 and 4 at my friend's house---I didn't play all the other 8-bit ones until college. Admittedly, Megaman probably wasn't as integral to my drawing as a child in the way Ninja Turtles, Super Mario and X-Men were, but I did have a nice Mega Man phase. Getting back to my point, my love of this piece isn't because of some Megaman sentimentality or nostalgia as many people have stated about their own entries.
This is, without a doubt, the single most important piece of artwork from 2011, and hands down my favorite---but not for the reason you might think. It was my first official art for 2011. This was the first project I tackled--even BEFORE my draw-a-day. The idea actually started with Roll. Some of you guys may remember that I had uploaded this teaser image.
In actuality, I did that pic of Roll days before I uploaded it here, and it was NOT done as part of a larger image. I drew it when I was still on the fence about whether I should create an entry or not. I was thinking that Roll would just be a stand alone pic for me---just for fun. In time, something just ignited inside me. I wanted to give the contest a shot, but would it be worth it? I knew I didn't have an interesting style as it stands. I would never be able to do something that looked interesting---not when compared to others. The other thing was, I knew I had to go big if I wanted a shot at getting in book. But could I do it? I was away for 2 years---was this REALLY something I could successfully complete? Even if I could do it, I only had 3 days. I had seen people toss up their teaser images all week---they had been working on their images for days. Could I really just jump into something so demanding and finish it in barely 3 days? I was never strong with my coloring skills---would they be strong enough to tackle such a piece? Giant sized compositions like this terrified me years ago because I didn't know how to approach them. How was I gonna approach THIS? What if my tremors kicked in just as I was drawing the final image and it got ruined completely?
I spent Thursday night (Jan 27th) staring at Roll, wondering what I could add. Should I go with old school Mega Man or the X series? Should I just ignore her and start from scratch? The more questions I had, the more I thought this wasn't the right time for me to do something this big. Big is what this piece deserved, and I just didn't feel I could get it done after so much time away. "Just focus on getting your groove back," I told myself.
.................and then Friday came and I said "fuck it." What followed was the most involved digital piece I'd ever done at the time. It was the biggest project I ever attempted and I did it in one weekend-. I centered on my idea---a kind of "millenium visions" portrayal of Megaman's world. This wasn't me making him badass---8-bit Megaman is already badass as is. This was just me putting a slight spin on it that I felt translated to my own style--a possible look he might have if he was premiering in 2011 for the VERY FIRST TIME. I spent all day Friday finding accurate reference images of the characters I wanted to portray, figuring out a composition (which I was able to build around that Roll image), then sketching it, and then doing the finished pencils. Spent all day Saturday doing the flats and half of the shading, and finally all day Sunday doing the rest of the shading-lighting-effects and finishing touches. I slept about 2 hours between each day, so it all seems like ONE MASSIVE DAY when I think back to it. I mentioned a few days ago how my image titled "SINGING IN HARMONIA" was among the 3 images that required a finish in a very short amount of time---well this is one of the other ones, and it came FIRST.
Now let me just be clear--This DID NOT get picked for the book. I forget the exact numbers so forgive me if I'm off, but there was like over 2100 entries or something, and only 300 winners or some-such. I even remember the day the winners were chosen, MANY of those who didn't get chosen uploaded their entries to DA, showcasing their entry to the world. Very, VERY impressive work all across the board. There was a VERY LARGE array of people whose entries seemed like they should've been in it, but didn't make the cut. Nevertheless, the winners were picked, and it was done. Now, while I was doing this pic, I remember thinking that I would be crushed not to get a spot in the book. It seemed like having a winning entry was the only way to prove that I could make something of myself after being so unfairly handicapped years prior. With all the heart and soul I poured into this, I expected to be devastated if I didn't make it. Then months passed---and I forgot about it----then I remembered again, then I forgot. Finally, it was April and the winners were announced. I saw the list, didn't see my name, and I was genuinely down about it for........................about 12 minutes. Give or take. I got over it REAL QUICK. It ended up not phasing me---and that's because I am so goddamn proud of this picture.
Later that day, I remembered looking at this image for several minutes, and I guess since it didn't get into the book, I was supposed to feel like it's a failed image---or that I didn't do it well enough----or that I could've done so much more.....
....uhm.......nope. I didn't feel that way. Not even a little. I remember laughing for two reasons===> 1.) I couldn't believe how un-phased I was, and 2.) I thought no less of it, even though it didn't win. I'm looking at this pic a year later, and I still love it. I did the absolute best I could do AT THAT POINT. This was the culmination of everything---EVERYTHING I had in me AT THAT POINT. There is absolutely nothing I would've done differently because I was doing things in this pic I didn't even think I had a grasp of at that time. Every single piece of artwork I did in 2011, any image you guys liked, faved, commented on----you have to realize that it's AAAAAAALLLL because of this bad boy right here. I learned SO MUCH about my skills, learned SO MANY new tricks, learned so much about how to go into an intimidating piece of art and ATTACK that mothafucka from start to finish. Most importantly, I accomplished something I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to get done in time. I remember seeing so many artists so down about not being in this book. They had created these magnificent works of art, and they were acting like what they did was worthless. Some even went as far as titling their entry with something like "Mega FAIL" or "Tribute Loser." And while I thought I would feel the same way---it turns I didn't and I still don't. "SO you're saying you didn't give a fuck about getting into the book at all? You weren't really trying, so that's why it doesn't phase you?"
Oh no, I gave plenty a fuck. I wouldn't have gone THAT HARD into this image if i didn't. I did everything I could to make it the absolute best it could be. I'm just saying I wasn't broken up about it. This piece not getting in UDON's book is more than okay with me---not because I think it's not up to par with the chosen pieces. I actually think it stands up pretty damn well to the chosen pieces. That's not me being high and mighty, that's just what I feel. But no, I'm okay with not being picked because I - LOVE - THIS - PICTURE, and that is a very---VERY rare thing for me to feel. Within a day of finishing an image, I can usually pick out 15-20 things I should've approached better considering my skill level. But with this, with the skill I possessed when I did it---that was about as flawless as I could get. I had so much fun doing it--I really did.
This will, no doubt, be an image that gets swept under the rug in comparison to my other works from 2011 and upcoming works as well. After all, I wouldn't consider this the best piece I did for 2011. With the flood of Megaman deviations that got uploaded last Spring, I'm pretty sure this won't even get noticed. But what matters to me, is the revelation that this "failed" entry was the reason I was able to do every other piece of art that followed.
My first image of 2011---my favorite image of 2011---my most important image of 2011.
STEP-by-STEP of this illo======>