Hey guys! Since I probably won't finish anymore art this year, i figured it was time to post my YEAR IN REVIEW! This year was a bit odd as in april and june, I ... didnt really draw anything. To make up for that, I added a couple more drawings from the later half of the year. April-July I was in a bit of an artistic conundrum, mostly because of insecurity, personal issues, and the like. Besides that, this year was IMMENSE in developing my style and my direction as well as characters. While I may not have posted nearly as much in terms of quantity, the quality went through the roof from last year. In the meme here, I'll post the thumbnails to the full image as well as give a bit of backstory behind the image and what I picked up from it. Each image here shows some of my most promising accomplishments and art from this year. I regret not doing more, or making the anthro transition sooner as I am so gosh darn happy with ALL of it in terms of quality and what I was able to get done in what I learned in each. But hey, that is what next year is for right? Let's get started.
January 7, 2012. Never Alone
Shortly after working on the collaboration with *kiss-the-thunder I felt that focusing on execution in an emotional setting as well as further emphasizing details that drew that emotion out would be a good idea. This was the first image I also employed the type of metal reflection that was incredibly dynamic, but not overbearing. I love this technique and although there are alot of faults in it, this image marked the first truly sad-emotion-driven image incorporating Syron that had been properly executed. I was also rather depressed at the time. Drawing this was partial vent art for me.
February 23 - Ultimate Life Form Tribute
By far my most popular image and without a doubt the most grueling to make, this image consisted of 4 weeks of work in each individual segment showcasing the absolute love i had for the SA2 character development of Shadow the Hedgehog. While I look back at this with less-than-enthusiastic feelings (mostly because of how far i've progressed from that), It is by far the most favorited image in my gallery by an exponential factor, getting ready to break 4000 favorites and claiming its spot as my first daily deviation (which really surprised me). While i think it's popularity is largely attributed to the rampant sonic fandom, I do find solace in the fact that I was able to organize and push myself to conquer such a tremendous undertaking. I shall definitely attempt projects this difficult in the future with different subject matter. I released all 5 parts as well, making it one of the first multistage images I created.
March 30 - City Lights
After taking a bit of a break in the wake of the Shadow project, I decided that I needed a laptop skin with very high contrast and appeal while using an unusual canvas as a background. Inspired largely by =R-no71's early implementation of unusual png backgrounds with transparencies, I decided to give it a shot myself. The result was a laptop skin I continue to use now. Not only that, I was able to get this image signed by the head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, and composer, Jun Senoue.
May 16 - Syron the Fox - Sonic Adventure version
Prior to going to Sonic Boom in june, I decided I wanted to make an image of Syron (while he was in his sonic design) as CLOSE to Sega canon work as possible. The result admittedly intimidated a few people which was not intentional, but proved I was able to very closely mimic the style of SEGA's Sonic Adventure Art direction. While the posing was a bit quirky, I loved the style since I joined dA. This was made into a shirt which I still wear very frequently. In retrospect, his design and posing was very.... bleh.
june was a month of no posting, both from school, sonic boom, and huge fall of confidence. I decided to depart from the sonic fandom and remove my characters from them as well, feeling constrained, stifled, and in a very abrasive environment where I would be discouraged from innovation. I was also a paranoid twat in this time period, feeling underappreciated, outcast, and very very unhappy.
July 30 - Halls of the Intrepid
I decided that the era of sonic 'dansyron' had to end on a very big bang, so as a contest prize, i decided to do my first full anthro and unleash everything I had to offer at the time, drawing heavy influence from ~jesonite and combining my previous techniques to get a very dynamic and intense atmosphere with a much more comic feel (also due to me discovering the sharpen filter). It marked my first anthro image ever formally completed and ushered in a new period of art in which I would work. Admittedly I was still very unhappy as I realized that 90%, if not all of my watcherbase was sonic, and anthro largely disinterested them. I lost alot of watchers from it, sure, but the work quality in my eyes began to pick up very very sharply.
August 14 - Gitz
I finally decided to finish my long standing art trade with one of my biggest idols period, =Ann-Jey (although her activity has since fallen tremendously). I decided to further push the envelope and see what I was able to do. My esteem took a huge drop after this and into the development of several pictures after. I had actually made a completely different picture for this based on EA's Mirror's Edge (and you can actually see the picture used as the screen background in the final image).
[link] (ran out of thumbnails) September 12 - Syron the Fox (anthro redesign)
After the confidence drop, I decide to completely redesign Syron from the ground up, scrapping nearly everything but a few of his defining features and creating something completely different, new, and innovative. The design was a HUGE risk to me, as its incredible.... unusual nature, from the floating disjointed arms, to the redesign of his outfit incorporating many elements from all of his previous iterations combined, could've been a disaster. However I found it to be the exact opposite, creating a bold, unique design that held very very little ties to the Sonic fandom, taking Syron into his stand-alone universe in which he has thrived so far. I do not regret this design change at ALL. It also gave birth to the iconic 'crystalfox' logo I use.
Truth be told, I had wanted to do a 'draw it again meme for quite some time, and there was one particular image I had wanted to draw again. Storm, one of the very fist pictures I drew Syron in, was pretty iffy, but really marked my first image doing rain effects. I decided to give myself a personal 'exam' of all the elements I had learned from then until now and see the result. Not only did i seem to 'scare' alot of people from the improvement of a year and a half of progress, but shortly after, It earned me my second daily deviation, which felt AWESOME because i realized I no longer needed to rely on fan art to get me anywhere. At the time, i was honestly second guessing the anthro transition as my support had dwindled a ton, and I issued a public apology for my less-than-respectable behavior earlier in the year. While the confidence plummet continued into the Chrystal picture, the DD marked the upswing in my confidence and acceptance that the style branch-out was one of the best decisions I could have made.
During my ill-confidence period, I thought that taking on another art trade as motivation would suit me well. However, rather than pick an artist based off ability to draw, I picked *Mary-Ana for the trade as she wanted me to draw something for her friend as a 'pick me up' gift, which i saw was incredibly noble. As a result, this 'surprise' trade marked my first attempt to up the realism and depth in my background work. While I still am incredibly irked at the color balance of this image, I understand that this brightened someone's day. After this image and the DD of storm, my confidence was back to what it was in march and february.
What is easily my most...innovative image up until that point, this image also introduced the High Roller series with a character my 12 year old brother designed with me. Also, me deciding to break into the 'animated' sector (because I got waaaay too competitive with =R-no71), released this image as my FIRST animation. The response was very overwhelming as I had no idea that the High Roller idea and the simple movement would be so enticing to me and so many others. I also decided to step forward with my brother's character because Adam Vegas, the main character in the series, still hasn't been developed. I also posted very little because of school focus.
The love I have for this picture both out of the work and the reward I got out of it is so huge. As it stands, this is my crowning achievement in my eyes. Conference call reintroduced one of my most iconic characters, Faulkner the Cat, and his 'much talked about but never seen by other people' Enemy, Mathis Crowe. The fun and the amount of work that went into this picture was absolutely tremendous. I created custom textures, billboards, and so much more to make that city look 3D (and yes, it is 2D.) I also began to learn the multiplicity shading technique I like to use now, which speeds things up and adds another dimension of depth and realism. While I understand it's chaotic, very unbalanced, and crazy, i LOVE it. I actually believe it's chaotic nature captivates what I was going for in the first place. This image shows to me the amount of depth I can achieve and how far I have really come since 2011. <3
I seemed to have gotten myself in over my head in terms of this Secret Santa event me and a few friends put on for several hundred deviants. Riddled with problems, holes, match errors, people leaving, I had a huge headache. However, it gave birth to my first real expedition into Anime and marked my second fully fledged animated picture. To be frank, humans are hard for me and this was my first real try at it. I looked at alot of *Robaato's work and tried to learn from his anatomy choices. This pic was freaking hard, and while I was a bit down on the overexpectations I had for this picture, It still holds my level of quality in human work to the standards my anthro work requires. This certainly will not be my last venture into human work and I hope doing so expands my horizons as an artist and subsequently expands my audience while I'm having more of a blast xD.
Tremendous year for me. I wish I had more to post, but sadly I do not. I made countless friends, a few rivals, and quite a few enemies, but overall, I feel genuinely accomplished wrapping my 2012 year up here. At the turn of the new year 365 days ago, I felt like i was a half-decent 'sonic artist'. Now? I feel like I can get a job doing this. I didn't want to be 'just' another Sonic artist, I wanted to expand, go further than that, do things that I believed to be impossible to me a year ago. And you know what? I feel i did just that. While I have a very very long way to go before my work (and myself) becomes a recognizable part of the anthro sector, it felt like I turned over a new leaf and opened my potential incredibly as a result. Sure, it was me leaving the security of the Sonic area, where I could easily praised for doing the same stuff over and over, but to me, that was not worth it. I wanted to see what I could really do and the risks make me realize that opening the taps to allow me to break away from my comfort zone and learn and draw things that were very scary at first really taught me a TON.
I feel so happy with where I am now. I've learned alot, not only as an artist, but as a person. I've met so many awesome people not only online, but in person that I've learned so much about.
Thank you all for your support. I know it sounds corny, but your influences on me are profound. I would never have pushed the envelope if things hadn't played out the way they had, for better or for worse. The fact that you guys, well most of you anyway xD, stuck with me through it all means so much it isn't really isnt easy to express properly.
thank you all so much for an awesome 2012 Thanks for your support, your pressure, your insight, your conversations, your comments, every single fave you guys left me, and all of those who where there just to say hi to me when I was feeling like crap and helped me get through it, allowed me to see my own faults, and overcome them.
Dang, it's been an entire year already?? I swear, your art just doesn't stop getting better. You've definitely improved since 2011! It's been a great year, and hey, who knows what's in store for you? I understand about the Sonic to anthro switch being tough, but wow, that really made your art skills jump. Keep up the great work, Dan.
you've really improoved your coloring and style of shading and effects. Not to forget the Background and the animations! But for some reason I like your old works more... maybe because I don't like anthro style that much, but that's my personal opinion lol you're a really grat artist anyways, keep up this work!
Not only am I grinning madly at the fact that my contest prize here was one of your milestones in your transition towards Anthro, but I am also proud to be one of those lucky people out there to be still watching your devilishly detailed works, regardless of the fandom/Style that you've done, and the amount of progress that you've made ever since I've come across your page in October 2011? It's one thing to make a transition from one style to another, but it's a whole new story to see so much improvement over the course of what, six months?
A gallery without variety is a void of excitement~ So don't worry, Dan, this unimportant artist of the Sonic Fandom will still be around to watch you and your progress till the day that the sun never rises- *head-shot*
Its absolutely stunning how much you've improved not just since joining DA, but even in this past year, I can see some great improvement.
I must admit, ever since joining DA myself you have been one of my biggest inspirations and driving forces behind me wanting to get better. I look at your art and think to myself "What will it take for me to get there?" And then I apply myself to that goal and continue to work to improve.
You stated both here and in multiple journals that you went through a tremendous confidence drop midway through the year, and that you had trouble motivating yourself through that. And I knew that when you began to switch from the Sonic style to the anthro style, the drop in watchers and supporters wasn't going to do much in favour of helping your confidence. Thats one of the reasons I drew that little comic page about Syron's transformation into anthro a while back. I knew that there was a lot of people who where skeptical about the redesign and some of its elements (such as the detached arms) and others who opposed the redesign directly. I wanted to put a more positive, humorous spin on everything that was happening, hopefully to provide a little laughter or confidence that there were people who were interested in the redesign. Interested enough in fact, to draw fan-art of it.
Anyways, even through all this you've bounced back in a big way. Your art continues to be absolutely stunning, remaining a big inspiration for both me, and thousands of other artists. You just keep on drawing what you want to draw Dan, and we'll support you all the way! Best of luck in 2013 dude! We'll be watching
God daaamn, Dan. This really impressive. While I can see your style in all of the pictures, I will say that you've improved on character design and technique. while you still have a ways to go as far as some anatomy goes, you've come a very long way from your original artworks. You're fucking amazing and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.