Writing at length seems to be my go-to method of organizing my thoughts. I meant to post more frequently in June and July, but they turned out busier than expected.
Topics to touch on in this log include…
- AIR-Yamanashi (artist residency in Japan) — this requires a reflection on its own
- potential thesis ideas/upcoming semester goals
- pushing my boundaries (within reason)
I think I’ll just power through the list, top-down.
AIR-YAMANASHI: A Month of Many Firsts
I spent the entire month of June in Kofu City as an artist-in-residence, located in the Yamanashi prefecture of Japan. It was my first time as a resident artist, and my first time traveling overseas. Most of my time was, predictably, spent in the studio working. I decided to create a demo video game called “My Friend Melon”, a vague RPG-lite setup in which you (a bunny or bear named Pan) collect ingredients to cook snacks for your upcoming friend-date with a frog named Melon. It’s still in a very fragmented phase of development, but I’m hoping to release the current build on my itch.io page next week.
GEARING UP FOR FALL 2019: Semester Goals & Thesis Brain-Dump
There’s still over a month before Fall 2019 kicks off, but I’ve been contemplating what skills I want to hone, what I’d like to learn, and roughly what my thesis project will be despite the inevitable changes I’ll make later.
- explore & refine 2D illustration style
- practice environments/backgrounds
- continue studying basic code (C#, Python)
- establish ideal time-management habits
- Unity: build a quick 2D side-scrolling game
- Ren’Py: visual novel (storytelling) exercises
- transpose organic illustration style to video games (UI, graphics, etc.)
As it stands, my ideal thesis project manifests as a video game (or small collection of smaller games) with a handmade external controller. I’ve been weighing my options with 2D and 3D. I have more skill and knowledge in 2D, which means my results will likely be higher quality than if I continue struggling with 3D. I’d like to experiment with narrative elements in a non-RPG setting, and I think a good way to progress would be to create interactive, bite-sized, visual short-fiction. With the guidance of a writing prompt list and at-home tarot card readings, I’ve already generated (and plotted out) a few mini-stories set in a modern-fantasy-style world. At this stage I’m exploring methods to optimize my illustration workflow, while keeping the skill goals above in mind.
I updated my research post with some of the new material I’m studying to help me achieve the right balance of story, participation/engagement, and skill-building.
PUSHING MY BOUNDARIES (…within reason)
There are definitely points in a long-term project where I suffer from burnout, feel creatively stagnant, or find days where it’s nearly impossible to motivate myself to continue. Breaking up a larger game into smaller non-sequential game “slices” should (hopefully) solve this issue for me. The prospect of new, fun research topics (like the tarot) keeps me invested, and is honestly a good way for me to stay productive on those days where illustration isn’t yielding satisfactory results.
In addition to thesis, I’m trying my best to build up a social media presence (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and personal online brand (Gumroad shop, Patreon). There are many things I’d like to do and make for others, so every ounce of support (comments, likes, shop orders, commissions) means the world to me. It’s a lot to put on my plate, and I realize that many aspects of building a brand or significant following on the web come with time. I sincerely hope that those of you who stop by to read these posts (or drop by my social media accounts) enjoy yourselves.
Thanks for sticking around. I’ll be back quite soon!