Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Painting Nagi's Smile

Kenjiro Hata has drawn many, many pictures of Nagi in his time -- which is of course only fitting since he is the author of the series in which she is the co-main heroine of. In any case, while there are many striking pin-up style and cover pictures of her. I find that her most beautiful images -- the ones that really stick out for me, are often found within some of the more nondescript panels of the manga. Those tiny moments wherein she shows an unusual expression that really highlights her character and makes her larger than life -- those are the images of her that I find most beautiful. 

In fact, the one pic that I really like isn't even a full-body pic of her nor is it very detailed. I'll put it up on the screen so you can see. Yup, for me, this is the most beautiful image of her that Hata has drawn so far. Of course, this is all pretty subjective  -- and quite frankly, there are quite a few other contenders, such as those mugshots of her in chapters 567 and 568. Also, we can't forget all those sexy pin-up shots of her that Hata likes to draw every once in a while.

Anyway, going back to this pic. It just felt really striking to me when I first saw this. I couldn't really say what I found so special about it. It's highly subjective to be honest. There's just something about her enigmatic almost-smiling or perhaps semi-anxious expression here that I really, really liked. I just wanted to reach out into the panels and give her a hug when I saw this. The way her side fringes are being blown by the wind, her eyes, her lips, the small shadows on her face. I just really, really love the way she looks here -- even though the panel probably takes up less than 1/6th of the entire page. Also, if we trace things back to how Hata drew this, it must have been pretty much just another panel for him. Still, it felt special to me.

Which is why... I decided to paint my own version of it. I've been on a watercolor (and sometimes acrylic) painting streak lately. Ever since I bought a portable Sakura Koi watercolor set, I just couldn't stop painting. The portability of the set just made me want to paint something new every day. 

In any case, this particular image was painted with much more care with more expensive Gansai Tambi watercolors and some Mission Gold Titanium white. I'm sure any watercolor enthusiasts out there would know what I'm talking about. Anyway, the first version of the painting came out with skintone that was a little bit too pink. That's a problem with Gansai Tambi watercolors, actually. The colors are so richly pigmented that it's sometimes hard to find the shade you want. What? Use a color swatch you say? Haha...hahaha... Have painted over a thousand pics of Nagi! Unknown to color swatches nor known to shame!

Anyway, here's the final version of the pic after some corrections. I didn't exactly copy it the way Hata-sensei drew her, but more like, I wanted to capture the essence of her expression as I imagined it. Thus, in my version she is clearly smiling a lot more -- although there is a hint of hesitance in that smile. THat's because I may not be Da Vinci, but this is my version of the enigmatic Mona Lisa smile.
Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors. The smoothness of the paint is quite distinct from Sakura Koi

With that said, let me know what you think in the comments -- and no, I'm not looking for art critique so keep that to yourself. I'm also including some other stuff I've painted recently at the end of this video. I plan to redo the "sharing an umbrella under the rain" thing in Gansai Tambi watercolors and correct some anatomy errors such as the placement of Nagi's other arm and the size of Hayate's hands relative to each other.

So anyway, thanks for listening. This has been Hayate reflections and this... oh wait, Just an announcement that I'll be away over for 7 days starting this Sunday so no Hayate Reflections next week. With that said, see you next, next week for sure. This is lordcloudx out.

Fanart Corner

Been experimenting with what can be done with Sakura Koi watercolors lately.

I'm going to paint a new version of this pic in Gansai Tambi Watercolors. (I used Sakura Koi for this). I want to correct a few things too like Nagi's shoulder placement and Hayate's hands in relation to his body.
Limited Palette painting. Used only blue. (Sakura Koi Watercolors)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hayate Reflections Special: Fanfic Reading of A Place of Beginnings

First of all, I want to start things off with a shoutout to Jimmie from MyArtLife and his amazingly informative art channel on youtube. Check out the channel especially if you're a Filipino and you want to learn more about the unique art supplies that you can buy from local places like National Bookstore. The videos are shot in high quality with clear, easy to follow narrations in English and sometimes in Tagalog as well. Jimmie also showcases his own art and talks us through his various techniques in mixed media on the channel. So yeah, go check it out and do like and subscribe to his videos -- he deserves it:

So we have something a bit different today. A fanfic reading of my old fanfic, "A Place of Beginnings."

Full credits are in the actual video page on youtube.

Fanart Corner
Got quite a few pieces today. I'm including a few non-hayate related fanart. I've been hooked on Sakura Koi watercolors lately. You just can't beat the portability of this watercolor set. It's not quite as nice-looking as the Gansai Tambi paints, but the field sketch set is so easy to use. Also, this is my first time using a waterbrush. I love it. My traditional art output was extremely high this week because of my Sakura Koi set. Except for the oil pastels drawing, all of these were done within this week.

Gotta love Kuro/Chloe Von Einzbern. Cute brown loli for the win.

Just shoot yourself already, Aya-chan.

This is the odd one out. This was actually rendered with oil pastels. The cheap kind sold by Pentel. Very vibrant colors though. Much more vibrant than my Prismacolor colored pencils.

When life puts you down... summon a spirit bomb!
Do I even need to explain this one?

Hata noticed this one. I included Tsukasa from Tonikaku Kawaii this time.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Hayate Reflections Postponed To Next Week

Just a quick heads up that Hayate Reflections is postponed to next week because I was away on a 2-day road trip and because I have something special lined up for next week and need a bit of time to prepare it.

Meanwhile... this week's fanart.

This is a fixed version of her birthday art from 2017. The face wasn't quite right... now it is.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hayate Reflections: The Significance Of "I Loved You"

A lot of manga readers nowadays are quite blind to many of the subtle literary clues left behind by the author and of course, when they can’t detect it, it’s automatically “bad writing.” In fact, in terms of Hayate, some of these clues are figuratively staring at you in the face, yet very few people acknowledge them.  Oh, and before you go off on a tangent, if you will readback on my blog, I have actually acknowledged certain points wherein Hata might have left behind red herrings (as they have been proven to be now) for all the other ships, but as you all know, you’ve lost.

Ok,  so today, we’re going to discuss one blatant clue left behind in the manga which was confirmed and then re-confirmed twice.
What I’m talking about of course, is Hayate and Athena’s iconic mutual confession scene near the end of the Golden Week arc. We all know what they say to each other, right? Obviously, if you haven’t read the manga, then you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. Anyway, they both say “I loved you,” in the past tense. Now this is obviously significant because it signals the end of their relationship – which was never rekindled even though Athena shippers were hoping against all hopes and contrary to all evidence that it would be.
Of course, you could say that the “I loved you” thing was one-time only. In fact, you could even have handwaved it into obscurity and claim that the author never put much importance in it… except he did.

A few chapters later, we see that Wataru plans to confess to Isumi and yet, at the point when he does make the confession, he echoes the very same words that Athena shippers so dreaded to hear: “I loved you.” Of course, Isumi’s response was quite lukewarm and we all know who Wataru ended up with – even though he never claimed that he loved Saki at all, did he now? Nope, he just said something about building a future together with her, but that was enough for your nerd logic, wasn’t it? So why isn’t “My feelings of wanting to protect your future haven’t changed,” not enough for Hayate and Nagi? Right, think about that for a bit.
But wait, Wataru’s example wasn’t enough for you? You still think that twice is just a coincidence? Well, let’s fast forward to the finale then. Chapter 565, which I’ve actually covered. And… one of the most resilient and persistent girls vying for Hayate’s heart , Ayumu,says it herself, “I loved you,” and again, it has the same message, the end of a relationship – or in her case, the end of pursuing a possible romance with Hayate. Also, just as a reminder to Athena fans, Athena also definitively sunk her ship just a few chapters before this. It’s not relevant to this discussion, but I just thought I’d let you know.

So here’s the thing: if Hayate were happening in real life and we were to disregard that it was written by a living, breathing, imperfect human being, then yeah, all these coincidences would probably mean nothing. However, because Hayate is a manga that was written by an author named Kenjiro Hata and given the precise and specific use of the words “I loved you” in all these three different, separate scenarios, and all to convey the same meaning, I think it’s pretty easy to conclude that these words are indeed intended to do just what they did: to end a relationship.

Now let’s skip to the penultimate chapter 567. Again, we see Hayate in a tearful farewell scene with Nagi after everything that has happened so far. There is no more misunderstanding between them at this point, yet Hayate would have been willing to stay with Nagi as her butler. This time however, it is Nagi who lets him go, but wait… she doesn’t say the magic words: “I loved you.” How about Hayate? All he says is, “I am truly grateful.” This is because the author never intended for their parting to be permanent – which of course, is confirmed in the final chapter when they get back together, with no misunderstandings, with hands intertwined, in what is the “true ending” to the series, as proclaimed by Hata himself.

This is lorcloudx and this has been Hayate Reflections. See you next week~

Fanart Corner

For this week's fanart, here's a painting that I'm quite proud of. I used Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors on a piece of 9x12 Canson 200 GSM Watercolor Paper. Oh, and Hata replied to me again. That's nice... considering that he's probably pretty busy with the launch of Tonikaku Kawaii's first volume.
Amazing how different an image can look depending on the camera you're using. This was taken with a digital camera. An old Agfa Precisa 1430.

And this was taken using my cellphone's frontcam. I'm using a Cherry Mobile Flare S Play

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Reality As It Should Be

So in Hata’s new series, Tonikaku Kawaii, the first actual problem between Nasa and Tsukasa has finally been introduced in the form of a new girl and a misunderstanding between the two of them. As someone else has noted, it’s now beginning to look a lot more like Hayate.

Of course, unlike Hayate wherein the story is about a couple who overcome misunderstandings and get together in the end, Tonikaku Kawaii is a story about a couple who are together from the start and then undergo misunderstandings – but hey, don’t quote me on this. I’m just paraphrasing the author himself.
Anyway, I find it rather off-putting how modern anime and manga enthusiasts get triggered by the smallest inkling of a threat on their ship. It’s not even about expectations anymore. Modern fans have become so spoiled that they actually want to have an active part in the development of an ongoing story. Sure, this is fine if you’re playing an MMO, but if you’re just following an ongoing fiction story written by a homogenous author, then I really think that the author’s vision should take precedence and that no amount of fan pressure/bullying should change this vision.

A very recent example would be Darling in the Franxx. People following the series would know that Ichigo forces a kiss upon Hiro while also forcing him and Zero Two apart. In the context of the story, all of her actions – selfish as they may be, actually make sense. She’s always had her eyes on Hiro ever since they were younger and she sees Zero Two as not only a threat to her possible development of a relationship with Hiro, but as a manipulative  individual who is threatening Hiro’s life for her own selfish goals. It’s only natural that she would do what she did.

Yet, when fans saw this, the hatred for Ichigo erupted like crazy to the point that the producer of the anime even got death threats (according to some sources).  Furthermore, social media was suddenly infested with memes about #Bitchigo. Now, I’m not sure how serious some of these fans were, but death threats are definitely not funny in any way shape or form whatsoever. Personally, when I say I want to kill someone, I don’t talk figuratively, I mean it literally.

Well, I went off on a bit of a tangent this week, but I think this general perspective applies to the Hayate series as well. It was especially prevalent during Athena’s arc when the focus was on her and her relationship with Hayate. People were already predicting about how it would be an Athena end and how Nagi doesn’t have a chance being the one girl that Hayate has “NEVER SHOWN ANY ROMANTIC FEELINS FOR.”

People were completely willing to ignore the basic premise behind the ongoing story, which is the relationship between Hayate and Nagi – whatever people may perceive that to be. Platonic or whatever – the fact of the matter is that it is these two main characters who are at the center of everything that happens in the context of the story.

In fact, despite all the gag chapters, the focus on the two main characters never really shifted. It’s just that people were quickly fascinated by what all the new characters had to offer.

This is how stories have always worked since time immemorial – especially in the romance department. Rivals and third parties that threaten the main ship are necessary because they add spice to the story. Of course, as an avid anime fan, you should already know where these types of stories lead to. It’s not about “breaking the mold” or staying with the formula,” it’s just that good storytelling demands a logical plot structure. People tend to apply real world logic and real life experiences in a fictional world, but they fail to take into account the logic of telling a coherent story – which can sometimes betray their idea of a “realistic expectation.”

On a personal level, this is what fascinates me about anime and manga stories in general. It’s not because they tell reality as it is – but because they show us reality as it should be. They show us an idealized version of reality, because as we can perhaps all agree on, reality itself is not always so beautiful.

This has been Hayate reflections and this is lordcloudx. See you next week.

Fanart Corner
Well... I'm still not sure whether you guys want to see some of my more risque Nagi Sanzenin fanart. No nudity, but definitely a bit lewd... as far as the focus of the artwork is concerned. Anyway, here are some new ones for today. The digital one documents how my art has changed through the years. The manual art is rendered in Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils. The black is actually hours upon hours of blocking out everything with a black colored pencil. No paint used.


Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me (Dreamcast): A VIsual Novel Review by Mid-Tier Guard

To Derek Pascarella, Marshal Wong, Duralumin, Lewis Cox, Piggy, Nico, Danthrax4, Lacquerware, EsperKnight, SnowyAria, VincentNL, cyo, and Ha...