So I have yet to introduce myself I don’t think. Hi, I’m Anodesu, and I’m the lead artist on Exit/Corners. I first met the other team members: Percon and One5th at the university we attended together.
I was about 19 or 20 when Percon first pitched the concept to me in my dorm one day. I was extremely excited, as I thought the idea would be a great way to really build my portfolio and improve my art skills. We were working part-time between making video games for school, so the process was slow, but the length it ended up taking was significantly longer than I ever anticipated.
So to start, I’ve been itching to draw the cast in a cinematic realism style. We wanted to pull away from anime for a number of reasons, but I also wanted to do it to practice my anatomy and realism. A lot of it stems from the fact that my best friend is Linda Luksic Sejic. She and her husband are pretty famous for their phenomenal art skills and their ability to paint beautiful realistic works quickly and efficiently. I really wanted to strive to become like them.
However, I was slow. Very slow. I also hadn’t gone to art school and was currently studying at a university that specialized in programming. I spent my 4 years struggling to pass and had very little time to learn much else. Most of what I knew art-wise was self-taught, or taught to me by my friend in brief spurts. We would have projects spanning 8 months in which I, as the only artist on a team of 6, would have to work my ass off to make games look pretty. It made finding time to work on Exit/Corners difficult. In the summer I’d be commuting to a job an hour away as well, so my hopes of getting more work done then fell apart. However, I was improving, albeit slowly. The more I drew, the more my skills improved, and the more my skills improved, the more I started to hate my old sprites. I had a newer, faster style and I had to keep to the old one, which drove me up the wall. Percon was just happy to have sprites, but I, after almost 2 years, was not. I was mad at my style, I was mad at my team, I was just sick of having to draw these characters that I was now realizing were just not that great. It actually was taking me longer to draw these sprites than it would to redo them. And so, without telling anyone, I redesigned the cast.
Now I know they don’t look terribly polished, but the amount of time I put in to them was minuscule in comparison to the amount of time I had put in to each of the first sprites. I was super happy with the outcome, and when I finally told Percon of my quite bitchy and very Phil Fish-esque move, so was he.
Around the same time that I was doing the reworks, I had applied for animation school. Graduating university with absolutely no portfolio was a major setback in regards to finding myself any sort of work, and I knew that if I wanted to get anywhere in the industry, I’d need to actually go and focus on art for a couple years. The school I chose did not exactly have much of a reputation like Sheridan, so I was hesitant in actually attending the school, The teachers I met, however, would soon help me more than I ever thought possible. These people had seriously legitimate reputations and have been amazing to learn from. My traditional art teacher was a man named Richard Pace, a professional comic book artist who has worked for Marvel and DC. Right from the get-go he was absolutely harsh in his ways of teaching. On my first figure assignment I received a 7/10, and during the break, asked how to improve.
“Alright, before I explain to you, I need you to know that I’m intentionally grading you harder. I’m dinging you for things that others aren’t because you already have some of the basics down.”
He then proceeded to show me how I needed to fix the patellas on my Loomis mannequin. Next to Linda Sejic, He is one of the most valuable teachers I have ever had, and still is. He is blunt and will tell me what I’ve done wrong, and it’s made a huge improvement on my art, even since the pieces you’ve seen up there.
The work load at school was insane, it made university feel like a cake walk by comparison. That, coupled with the string of bad luck I’ve had in the past few months have brought my work on Exit/Corners to a halt. The worst of it hit in Februrary, when I slipped on a patch of black ice on my hand and crushed my drawing hand, hyperextending the palm and ligaments and rendering it completely useless for about 3 weeks. I had a complete emotional breakdown during that point, realizing I was completely useless without it. Even now, almost 3 months later, the hand is seriously atrophied due to lack of use. However, for about 2 and a half weeks, it genuinely hurt to draw at all, and after that, it hurt to draw for over an hour.
I fell behind about 3 weeks in my college courses, and struggled to catch up with old projects while keeping up with new ones. I didn’t sleep much, I had no time to clean, I couldn’t lift a pot without pain so I wasn’t eating well, and any and all of my waking time was dedicated to school. I spent over 36 hours in my office at the university trying to render out an environment for a room. The last two months of school ended up being some of the toughest times I’ve ever experienced.
Somehow I managed to do enough that my teachers were willing to pass me, which left me flabbergasted, but relieved. My hand hurts even now at times, but I’ve been drawing like mad since then and can finally start again on the comic. I’ve improved significantly in the past 8 months, in regards to speed, as well as skill. I’ve met some amazing new people who have been nothing but supportive, and I am able to sit down and get these sprites done in one last iteration… albeit with feet this time.
I’m now currently spending the summer getting art out and working with my traditional art teacher to improve my skills over the next little while by having one-on-one lessons and going to Toronto to draw some sexy burlesque models. As for those who are interested in watching me draw, I’ve been streaming my work pretty frequently as of late. You can follow me on http://twitch.tv/anodesu