Art, reviews and thoughts from a young artist in Plymouth, UK.

Archive for the ‘Character Designs’ Category

My Gallery

"About Me", an illustration I did using Promarkers and a Pentel brush pen in February 2017.

“About Me”, an illustration I did using Promarkers and a Pentel brush pen in February 2017.

I have added a Gallery page to my blog. It collects together a selection of my work as a young artist in Plymouth. There are examples of my illustration and game art work as well as examples of other types of creative work I have completed or participated in. Don’t forget to check my instagram as I add new work there regularly!

Global Game Jam 2017

 

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‘Quake Rescue gameplay screen shot

Last weekend I took part in the Global Game Jam 2017 with my brother J with support from my mum and Plymouth Game Devs.  This is the third game jam that we have done as a team, KitiJenGames.  The theme was “Waves”, it was a 48 hour jam, and our jam site was ThinqTanq.

The event started with a video about the Global Game Jam.  The video explained that the GGJ is a massive international event involving over 600 jam sites and more than 40,000 people across 90 countries!  We saw clips of people working in teams all over the world.  Most of the people in the video looked like they were in their twenties and I didn’t see anyone else around our age but I hope that there are others out there somewhere!  There was a welcome talk by the Extra Credits team.  Extra Credits is a YouTube channel that gives advice and has discussions about game development, and me and J really enjoy their videos.

The narrator explained some of the different reasons people take part in GGJ, like making prototypes for future development, to share their passion for making games, and because they love developing new games.  They then gave advice on taking part in a game jam:

  • Keep It Simple!
  • Communicate with your team and the other participants.  Being able to reach out for help from other developers is a benefit of doing a jam.
  • Keep brainstorming short and develop your ideas through the jam. A game could start with an idea that seems odd but could be well made and fun (e.g “Mario’s core concept is a jumping plumber on drugs.”)
  • Compromise with your team, and don’t dig your heels in.
  • Know what to save for next time!  Stay focused on your main idea and leave some of your other ideas for another time.  Try keeping a “For the sequel” file of ideas.
  • Get some sleep.

At the end of the video there were lots of short clips to introduce the waves theme.  We weren’t allowed to talk about the theme on social media until the next day because everyone has to wait until the last timezone (Hawaii) is told the theme!  It was just after 5pm on Friday when we found out the theme.

Me, J and our mum had a short brainstorming session together, and we talked about different kinds of waves e.g. sea waves, waves of monsters, sound waves, seismic waves…  We talked about what ideas we had related to them and about different game genres, and decided to make a game where you had to save as many people as possible from an earthquake using a giant claw to take them to a safe zone before the timer runs out.  We planned it out on paper and made a short video with our little sister.  We would only have until Saturday evening to make the game because we had plans for Sunday (visiting the Eden Project with friends), also we couldn’t work on Saturday morning because me and J both have regular Clubs then.  We knew that we had very little time so we worked for a couple of hours from home that night, I worked on the art for the main character and J started to code for the shaking background and the people to rescue.

 

 

In the morning we couldn’t do any work because J had his Code Club and I had my NatSatClub.  I had a workshop on using Photoshop to make animations.  I got back to ThinqTanq just after 1pm to start work on our game again, but my mum had lost the stylus for my drawing tablet!  Luckily Viki (ALittleRedPanda) had one spare and lent it to me.  J was responsible for the coding and music, I was in charge of making the art assets, and our mum supervised us to make sure we were on track.

The art assets I had to make included the character in peril, the claw to pick them up with, and the safe zone to drop them in.  I made all of them in Manga Studio 5 in a pixel art style.  The character has their hands in the air, and has a little animation which makes them look left then right, to give the impression they are running around screaming.  The animation only uses two frames.  I designed the first sprite, then for the second frame I flipped my design and edited the t-shirt on the flipped version so that it was correctly aligned.  I only had time to design one character, which my family all say looks like me!

 

Next I worked on the claw, which has an “open” design while empty (and looks a bit like a propeller), and a “closed” design when holding a character.  I did the “open” design first, inspired by the claw machines in arcades.  This was another two frame/costume animation, for the second frame I erased the outer joints of the claw.  I am happy with my design which does look like a mechanical claw from a birds-eye view.

I designed the “safe zone” as a white square with rounded edges and a big red cross on it like a cartoon ambulance.  I also hand-lettered “SAFE ZONE” on the digital image using my stylus and big, black and blocky letters, to make it easy for the player to identify.

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By then J had got most of the game code sorted out, so I sent him my finished sprites so he could add them into the game (he was using plain rectangles which my sprites had to replace).  I still had to make the background and the start screen, but my hand had started hurting after making the first few sprites so I took a short break and tested the game.  J had managed to also make the game music in BeepBox which he said he wanted to sound like an earthquake.  We were laughing over the music and the little screaming characters running about because it was quite comical and ridiculous.

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I got back to work and started making the background.  We had decided to use a road and pavement setting and I dotted rocks and rubble all over it to give the impression of an earthquake.  These small elements are also necessary so that when the background shakes or a character moves around it you can imagine the movement and it seems like a real space rather than a flat background.  I learned about doing this when we made our last game, Infection!  I designed one pile of rocks and rubble and I cloned it to dot around because I was short of time to make lots of different piles of rubble.

The last thing I had to design was the Start Screen.  A Start Screen is important to explain what the point of the game is and what the player has to do.  I chose a colour scheme that made me think of dirt/earth to go with the game theme.  I chose not to use a ready made font but instead I hand-lettered the game title and instructions using my stylus.  I didn’t want to use a font that someone else had made as I wanted our game to have its own original look to it.  I tried to give the letters a messy but simple look.  I wanted to also make a Game Over screen but my hand was hurting too much to do any more drawing and we were running out of time.  Finally, my dad, my mum, me and Jenson all recorded voice clips for the game for when the player saves the little people.  We used an Android phone to make these wav files (and the Hertz app) and we tried to make funny silly voices to fit with the feel of our game.

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It was really fun making ‘Quake Rescue and being part of the Global Game Jam.  It felt like I was part of something giant with all the other jammers around the world.  The other teams at our site and Jack (SoGoodStudios) the organiser were all friendly and supportive.  I think our final game works well and I would describe it as a fun minigame.  I think we have definitely improved our skills since our first game jam and our teamwork is better too but it did get hard later on Saturday when we were tired and J wanted to finish up before I did.  I am looking forward to doing more game jams through this year!

Links:

‘Quake Rescue page on the Global Game Jam 2017 site

‘Quake Rescue on itch.io

‘Quake Rescue on Scratch

ThinqTanq jam site page on the Global Game Jam 2017 site

All games from the teams at our jam site

 

 

 

 

NA&DSC London Trip

On the 19th of November I went with my National Art and Design Saturday Club on a coach trip to a Welcome Day for all our groups at Central Saint Martins college and the Tate Britain gallery.

At 6am our coach was in front of the old Plymouth museum.  I found a seat next to a friend and chatted while we waited for the rest of the group.  It was my first time on a coach and it had soft seats with buttons to make them recline and red curtains in the windows.  We set off at 6:20 and me and my friends were excited but tired from being awake so early.  A lot of my group slept for the first part of the journey but after we stopped at Exeter services to stretch our legs and get some snacks almost everyone stayed awake.  We had another five hours or so of travel ahead so we talked about visits that each of us had made to London in the past and told each other funny anecdotes from our lives.  I did some sketching trying out different character faces but my lines were a bit wobbly from the movement of the coach, and I kept dropping my rubber down the side of the seat.

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Character sketches I made on the coach

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I did these sketches of Marvel characters in pencil on the coach and added the ink and watercolour later.

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This is what my pencil sketch of Quicksilver looked like before inking.  I did this one for my brother and Skyped it to him back at home.

As we travelled through London we took pictures out of the coach windows and pointed out buildings we recognized, like the Gherkin, MI6 and Big Ben.  Our coach dropped us off close to Central Saint Martins and we walked the rest of the way.  Central Saint Martins is a huge building and we noticed that the inside room was so vast that it was almost as cold as it was outside.  We were given stickers to wear to show we were from Plymouth College of Art and ‘perylene maroon’ goodie bags from Cass Art.  In my bag I had an A4 sketchbook, some pencils, a bottle of water and some snacks.  We sat down to have some lunch while our student ambassador Ben played on a piano and we waited for some of the other groups from around the country to arrive.

After lunch we looked at all the other self-portraits from the different groups and a photographer took a picture of us in front of our own portraits.  It felt amazing to have my self-portrait up in a gallery with other young artists’ work.  There was a lot of variety in the style and techniques used in the portraits I saw.  One group, from the Victoria and Albert museum, had used concertinaed paper with two portraits drawn on it so the one that you could see depended on the angle you viewed it from.  Some of these were quite creepy to look at because one side would be a regular portrait and the other side looked strange or demonic.  Other groups had worked with print, photography, pencils or collage.  My group used acrylic paint on pieces of wood and I wrote about that process in a previous blog post.

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My PCA sticker (stuck to my usual sketchbook), and my new grey sketchbook and perylene maroon bag from Cass Art

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The Plymouth group photo with our self-portraits and goodie bags, posted by @natsatclub on Twitter.  I am on the left in the front row.

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My photo of our self-portraits hung in Central Saint Martins.  Mine is the third from the left on the bottom row.

After looking around the portraits all the groups were shown into a large room for a series of talks.  We learned that even though there were hundreds of us there that day we only represented a third of the total members nationally!  Some groups were so far away they couldn’t make it together and so one family had come alone.  Those of us from Plymouth spent at least 12 hours travelling to London and back that day!  We heard from Cecilia Weckstrom who told us that when she was younger she didn’t know what she wanted to study, and got an apprenticeship with a children’s book company and learned about graphic design, and now she works for Lego and is a Trustee for the NA&DSC.  The director of the Saturday Club Trust, Sorrel Hershberg, and Jeremy Till, the Head of Central Saint Martins, both gave us information about the Saturday Arts Club and thanked the founders Sir John Sorrell and Lady Frances Sorrell.

When we came out of the room, ginormous pieces of paper were rolled out for us all to draw on and there were people holding big buckets with tons of crayons, pens and pencils for us to use.  My group didn’t have a lot of time before we got back on the coach but we sat on the floor for a short while and I drew my friend and myself.  There were a lot of cool doodles and there were tons of kids drawing each other.  After that I bought myself a big red NatSatClub hoodie and we got back on the coach for the next part of our trip.

All the groups headed to different venues around London and mine headed to the Tate Britain gallery.  We got a short tour around a few of the pieces of art on display and our tour guide and our tutor Kate encouraged us to talk about and critique what we saw.  We studied each piece for a few minutes and tried to think of single words that described how we felt or the impression we got from the artworks.  One piece that I found intriguing was Fiona Banner’s Break Point which is a huge canvas painted white with red marker pen text describing a chase scene from the movie Point Break.  The shade of red that she used and the way the text got closer together towards the bottom of the piece made me tense and it seemed very aggressive.  I haven’t seen the film, but I hope to soon so I can see what happens next!

We moved on to the Turner Prize 2016 Exhibition.  The Turner Prize is a contemporary art award given every year to a British artist chosen from four nominees.  My favourite piece on display was an installation by Michael Dean which was a pile of pennies equal to one penny less than its title, United Kingdom poverty line for two adults and two children: twenty thousand four hundred and thirty six pounds sterling as published on 1st September 2016.   Me and my friends thought it would be fun to roll around in it all.  It sounds like a lot of money but it didn’t feel like it when I saw it as a pile of pennies.  There was an enourmous gold sculpture of a butt by Anthea Hamilton called ‘Project For Door (After Gaetano Pesce)’ and people were laughing and taking silly photos near it.  I thought it was absurd in a funny way.  Visitors were invited to write their thoughts about the exhibition and pin them up outside the gallery, so we did that and then left to make the long trip home.

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My sketches of my friend on the left and myself on the right surrounded by other young artists’ contributions to the big drawing papers

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Me at home in my hoodie

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Michael Dean’s installation

On the journey home I took some more pictures of London lit up at night, and everyone was wide awake and in the back someone was playing music.  It was such an exciting day, me and my friends ended up having laughing fits for ages for no real reason.  We stopped at services to get dinner, but we panicked because we thought we had taken too long but it turned out we were back before most of the group.  We settled down eventually and it got quieter and some people fell asleep, and I carried on working in my sketchbook.  We got back to Plymouth at around 11 and I was exhausted.  The whole day was absolutely amazing and I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of it.

Inktober 2016

This post is a collection of all the drawings I did for Inktober.

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Day 3: Collect

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Day 4: Hungry

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Day 5: Sad

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Day 11: Transport

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Day 13: Scared

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Day 14: Tree

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Day 19: Flight

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Day 20: Squeeze

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Day 21: Big

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Day 25: Tired

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Day 30: Wreck

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Day 31: Friend

I posted them on my Instagram as they were finished.  I am interested in doing some work for Huevember but I haven’t started yet!

Games for Better Game Jam

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My ‘cover art’ for our game Infection! showing my final designs for the white blood cell, antibiotic and bacteria characters.

On the weekend of 30th September to 2nd October KitiJenGames (the games development team consisting of me and my brother) participated in the Games for Better 48 hour game jam.  The game jam was organized by Jack from SoGoodStudios and Oli from Sizeable Games because they believe that games can be a good tool for educating people about issues in the world. The game jam theme was Antibiotic Resistance.

On the Friday evening before the jam we went to Plymouth University’s Babbage Building to listen to talks from experts.  The first speaker was Dr Victoria Hurth (Twitter) who is an Associate Professor in Marketing and an expert in sustainability.  She talked about sustainable consumption and explained how animals are being bred (for food) in poor environments and they are given antibiotics to keep them healthy.  Because of this more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics leading to the creation of ‘superbugs’.  The second speaker was Dr Mathew Upton who is an Associate Professor in Medical Microbiology and he said that “Resistance Is Inevitable” when we use antibiotics and explained about bacterial conjugation.  The third speaker was Dr Richard Ayres (Twitter) who is the Lead of Population Health at Peninsula Medical School and a practicing GP.  He explained that sometimes doctors don’t get a lot of time to assess their patients and this can lead to prescription of antibiotics when they are unnecessary.  The talks were really interesting and I didn’t know a lot about antibiotic resistance before them so I learned a lot.

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Dr Mathew Upton showed this image of resistant bacteria and I used it to design my bacteria character.

As soon as the talks finished the game jam started.  It was late on a Friday night so me and my brother J went home and talked about game ideas.  We decided to make a game where you play as an antibiotic and you have to defend the white blood cells from bacteria.  As you play, some bacteria would become resistant and you would have to power up with extra different coloured antibiotics, causing the bacteria to then become even stronger!  The game would be impossible to win and the goal would be to get the highest score possible.  We worked as a team to make a plan on paper and we decided that J would be in charge of doing the coding using Unity and I would be in charge of all the art.  J didn’t know much about using Unity yet but he thought this would be a good chance to learn more.  I decided to go with a cute pixel art look and that I would use Manga Studio 5 to make my files.

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My initial designs for the bacteria character

On Saturday morning J went to his Code Club (Twitter) and I went to my Art Club so we couldn’t get started on our game until the afternoon.  The list of things I needed to design was the bacteria, the power-up, the white blood cells, the antibiotic, the background and the border.  I began working on the main character designs, sketching on paper.  My antibiotic character was a blue pill with a smiley face that would have a little rocking animation.  My first attempt at a bacteria character looked too much like a little sun (very jolly!) so I redesigned to make it a bit more evil, and came up with a ball with angular spikes and a mean face, which would wiggle as it moved.  My white blood cell characters were dopey-looking spheres,and in our game they wouldn’t defend themselves but would just hang around until they were killed by bacteria.

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My initial designs for the antibiotic character.

J asked if I could provide my designs as a sprite sheet. I learnt how to make one from a tutorial and then drew the different sprites for their animations using my Wacom Bamboo tablet and Manga Studio.  After I sent a sprite sheet of the antibiotic over we needed a background. We used a basic plain one at first but it was difficult to tell if the character was moving around, so I made another background with rectangles of different sizes and similar colours, and for the border I used the same pattern but with darker colours.  It was a simple design (supposed to represent the inside of a body) but I really like how it turned out.  I created the sprite sheets for the other characters and sent them over to J’s computer for him to add in to the game, and I designed some ‘cover art’ to put on our itch.io page (and at the top of this post).

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Me and J are on the left eating pizza, Jack and Oli are in the middle.  This photo was taken and posted on Twitter by Eleanor Browne twitter.com/incubationeb

We had to haul our computers to the Babbage building on campus on Saturday night because J was struggling with making the animation work, and Jack helped us out with that and him and Oli gave us some tips.  We arrived just in time to share the free pizza which we ate while listening to video game music and chatting.  My mum had to start helping J with his side of the gamemaking and they spent a lot of time searching online for tutorials and help, but I think he learned a lot about Unity during this project.  We had to give up the idea of power ups and new levels because we ran out of time, and there are a few bugs with the scores, but overall I think our game is fun and cute.

Our finished game is Infection! and you can play it in a browser on your computer.  You can see the Twitter feed for the jam (and discover more of the games) at #GamesForBetter.  I really like Lumberjack and Chickens by Lisoo and I like the look of Dr. Swiperson by @CantGetOurName.

Jupiter Hadley played all the Games for Better games (including ours) for her YouTube channel Jupi Plays (support Jupiter on Patreon) and the judges sent us some feedback to help us improve our gamemaking in the future.  J has signed up to a Unity course to learn more for our next project.  I have signed up to a course on Pixel Art so that I can improve my skills and make more detailed sprites.  Our courses are both on Udemy and if you look around online you can find big discounts on them.  I am also researching game cover art because I would like to improve my cover art illustrations.

I really enjoyed this game jam and I’m looking forward to the next one, and though 48 hour game jams are really hard work they are well worth it because you have to push yourself and so you can learn and improve your skills a lot in a short amount of time.  Follow the link for my post about our first game jam.

 

Comic strips and my zine

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Character sketches of myself and my brother.

I have been coming up with ideas for comics recently.  The first one is a fan comic about Monster Hunter and features me and my brother.  The sketch above are characters based on us with neutral faces.  I’m going to draw them from different angles with different expressions this week.

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Monster Hunter fan comic ideas.

This is a page of my initial idea.  I like to read manga (One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, Monster Hunter Flash Hunter, Gon, Fairy Tail..) and comics and comic strips like Peanuts, Garfield, Bone, and Calvin and Hobbes.  I started writing my own comic strips a few years ago.

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Journey fan comic sketch.

A lot of my comics are based on video games I like.  This one is based on Journey which I played last week (free via Playstation Plus!).

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Back in 2014 me and my brother created the first issue of our zine MACS (Magazine of Awesome Cool Stuff..)

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The Misadventures of Link by midnakit (KitBIT), 2014

The zine included several of my comic strips at the time including ‘The Misadventures of Link’ which followed Link from the Zelda games.

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More from The Misadventures of Link by midnakit (KitBIT), 2014

It also featured my comic strip The Odd Days which was inspired by the asdf movies on Youtube by Tom Ska .  My versions really didn’t make a lot of sense.

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The Odd Days by midnakit (KitBIT), 2014

Me and J have plans to FINALLY get round to our second issue very soon.. until then you can enjoy this page from issue 1 by Jenson!

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MACS issue 1 page 11, 2014 – Jenson reviews Fruit and Doctor Who.

Recent sketches and activity

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Art cards I’m working on

Despite August being the “Summer Holidays”, my time has been filled with many different activities and events, including walks on the Moors and visiting the Dartmoor Summer Festival at Princetown Visitor Centre, going to see Finding Dory at the Reel cinema, taking more trips to Bigbury Beach and Plymouth Hoe, and last Saturday I went to a local anime and gaming meetup and met some amazing and funny people!  At home I’ve kept up with my usual work, including drawing practice and learning Japanese, reading The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne and Make Your Own Luck by Kate Moross, and my mum’s making us all clear out our old junk..  I’ve also been playing Monster Hunter Generations and Story of Seasons on my 3DS and have been taking pictures of the local area to help me work on part of the Plymouth Cubed project.

This month has been important to me because I’ve started volunteering with Plymouth Central Library.  I’m helping out with the Summer Reading Challenge, which encourages children aged 4-11 to read six books from the library over their summer holidays.  My first shift was at a Play Day on Plymouth Hoe, where I helped parents to fill out questionnaires about using the library, but my other shifts have all been in Central Library where my duties are filing, listening to kids talk about the books they’ve read, and giving them their prizes when they achieve their goals.  The prizes are pretty cool, there are collector cards, bookmarks, door hangers and keyrings, all with a Roald Dahl theme, and when the kids have completed their challenge they receive a medal!  The people at the library are really nice and it’s interesting seeing what books the kids choose to read and hearing what they think about them.

Here are some of the sketches I’ve been working on:

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A country girl in a fantasy land

A female character I’ve been thinking about.  I imagine she lives in a fantasy story, she might be a country girl who looks after horses and her family.  I think she has a big, big family!

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A nervous mage character

This is a mage, could be a male or female character, the sweat is coming off their head because they are nervous, they are about to fight a huge monster, something with enormous teeth and great cunning..

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Kaguya from The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya

This is a quick sketch I did of Kaguya from The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, which I watched for the first time with my brother yesterday.

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