Friday, May 31, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 1

Hey there! lordcloudx here typing from my phone turned pseudo laptop. Just in case you're confused, check out the pic of my setup on top. Basically, I connected a USB otg converter into a USB hub and then connected my mouse, portable HDD, and keyboard to it.

Anyway, back to the trip. As you may know if you follow my travel blogs, I take a trip with my mother to Manila every year at around this time. Our flight was pretty early. We left Iloilo at about 5:55 AM and arrived in Manila 30 minutes early. It was a very smooth flight and even my cousin who was taking her first plane ride wasn't shaken -- although she did admit to being surprised by the initial speed during takeoff. (I'm sure it gets to everyone at first).

I passed the time during the flight by watching a few episodes of Tate no Yuusha and the latest ep of One Punch Man S2. After claiming our checked in baggage without a hitch, we simply booked a grab car (works like UBER) to our hotel in Makati. We stayed at the same hotel last year. The building is kinda old, but you can't beat the facilities they offer in the room for the price. Aside from the usual TV, Aircon, WiFi, there's also a full-sized refrigerator, an electric stove and a microwave (remind me to take a pic of it tomorrow.)

However, we couldn't check in until 2:00 PM, and it was only 7:00 AM. We had a lot of time to kill, so we just left our heavy luggage at the hotel lobby and wandered around the Ayala Circle for a bit until the malls opened at 10:00. I managed to get a few good pics of Nagi at this point.

We were already pretty tired by the time the malls opened. We entered The LandMark mall first in order to get into Glorietta. My cousin is into books and as for me, my main agenda was to find some acrylic and/or watercolor titanium whites to replenish my supplies. We went to find the Fully-Booked (a local bookstore that sells art supplies and other stuff too) branch inside of Glorietta. By the way, if you're familiar with the place, the food court is currently closed for renovations.

After a brief visit to Fully-Booked, I couldn't find my titanium whites and my cousin couldn't find whatever she was looking for so we decided to head for National Bookstore. Btw, in case you didn't know, the Ayala Center consists of several malls all connected by an overpass called The Link: Greenbelt, The Landmark (a department store mall), Glorietta, and SM Ayala.

On the way to National Book Store, some people wanted to give my mother a free sample of some beauty products called Origani even though she asserted that she wouldn't be buying. In any case, they really liked her and gave her several samples on her skin and a mini-soap to take with her anyway.

At National Book Store, I was quite surprised to see the sheer amount of art supplies they carried that we didn't have back in Iloilo City. I found a mini tube of acrylic titanium white, still missing my watercolor whites, but I bought it for 89 PHP (Sakura).

After that, we were all hungry, so we went to the SM Ayala food court next to the supermarket for some quick lunch. It was some Chinese place we chose -- good food, reasonable prices. We then bought some groceries since we decided that we'd be cooking breakfast inside the hotel. My cousin would be staying with my aunt who lives here in Manila. My Aunt would pick her up after lunch though, so she was staying with us until then.

After grocery shopping was over, we took the long walk back to our hotel to check in. We were all pretty tired at this point. After receiving the keys to our room, I took the opportunity to shower and get some rest. My aunt arrived a few minutes later and we decided to just rest up a bit in the room and then go mall hopping again to SM Megamall wherein I'd finally get to try out ice skating for the first time. It's something I wanted to try since last year. Actually, I was pretty confident since I know how to use in-line skates/roller blades and I've heard they're almost the same.

We left for Megamall at about 4:00 PM, but it was hard to book a car there. Also, the travel time was atrocious at over an hour. Anyway, we got there at about 6:00 and I saw that the new Mega D building had an Art Bar (artist shop) branch. It was there that I finally got my titanium white watercolors (Mission Gold). Also, there was this totally obnoxious guy in there who was looking at the open sketch area and said in a totally arrogant tone to his female companion, "look at these tryhards showing their art." This is the kind of guy that deserves a bullet to the head immediately. He looked like a total wananbe artist too. Goatee, beard, long hair... and a really tryhard American Accent.

Anyway, after that, it was time to go ice skating. Actually, I think i did pretty well for a first timer. It felt a little bit more slippery than roller blades at first, but eventually, I got used to it -- unfortunately, my cousin who never skated before took a mild tumble. Anyway, nothing serious.

When we both decided that we'd had enough, my mother and aunt were nowhere to be found -- and they had our phones with them... fortunately (or so I thought) I brought an extra phone, but it had no sim card. I could still connect to mall wifi and call them though -- but it seems my mother didn't think that it was me calling because she was positive that I left my phone with her.

After waiting for about an hour, they finally came back and we had dinner, but not before I discovered that my mother totally flubbed up taking a video of my first ice skating session.

Here's a video of me skating.

I actually had to come back to the skating rink after dinner for this video because my mother shot the first one and she had no idea how to use my phone. My cousin took this clip. As you can see, I'm a bit cautious, but yeah, I can get by.

After that, it was time to go home. We were all quite exhausted -- especially my mother and aunt.

That concludes day 1 of our trip. We're going to Ocean Park tomorrow and I've never been there before. It should be good. Also, Nagi will be wearing a swimsut with pants or shorts, I think.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hayate Reflections: Tackling Logical Arguments Against Hayate x Nagi

Hey there! After a long time, here's a normal Hayate Reflections episode.

So as we all know, not many people can accept that Hayate had romantic feelings for Nagi at the end of the manga, even though there is actually sufficient evidence from the author himself that this is actually the case.

With that said, I've already mentioned these pieces of evidence multiple times before, so there's really no need to talk about them again in this video. 

Instead, today, I'd like to talk about two of the more reasonable arguments put up by the people who never wanted Hayate and Nagi to end up together. So let's get started.

1. There is no romantic development between them.

First of all, I don't disagree -- at least, I don't disagree depending on how you perceive this term "romantic development." If by romantic development, you mean that there was no hint at all on the part of Hayate that he had any inkling of romantic types of feelings for Nagi until the very end -- then that is a fact that I can't refute. However, it should be noted that if we were to judge the girls according to this category, then the only one that Hayate ever showed any actual romantic feelings for within the manga is of course, Athena. And as we all know, Athena is the one girl that by virtue of good storytelling could never end up with Hayate -- at least not with the way Hata Kenjiro, the author, had developed the story.

If you're going to make the argument that Hinagiku, Maria, or Ruka had more "romantic development" than Nagi ever had -- then I would have to disagree. Let's use the one logical argument against the HayaNagi ship for this: foreshadowing is not romantic development. Now, there are several moments for all almost all the girls in Hayate's harem that foreshadow how Hayate might end up with them. Hina's FAMOUS clock tower scene, Maria's pseudo-dates with Hayate, and there's Ruka's similar situation between her parents and Hayate's along with the fact that Hayate has shown genuine empathy for her plight. None of these are actually "romantic developments." They're simply pseudo romantic moments wherein Hayate was never shown to be secretly nurturing any deep romantic feelings for any of these girls. 

Therefore, if the argument that "foreshadowing is not romantic development" applies to Hayate and Nagi, then this very same argument should apply equally to all the other girls as well -- except as I've already mentioned -- Athena -- but again, Hata made it impossible for her to be with Hayate from a storyteller's perspective, so it doesn't really matter in her case.

2. There is no romantic attraction between Hayate and Nagi. Hayate just sees Nagi as a little kid.

There is: but the attraction is mainly on Nagi's part. As far as Hayate is concerned, it's true that he really did see her as a little kid for almost the entirety of the manga. HOWEVER, if this is a reason why Hayate should end up with one of the other girls, then I'm going to present this counter-argument: having a crush on someone or showing some form of sexual attraction is not actually romantic development. Again, the question is: did Hayate actually attempt to nurture any kind of romantic feelings for any of the other girls throughout the manga? If you're going to talk about Hayate having mutual attraction with the other girls: then the question is: which part of that was mutual exactly? We all know Hina and Ruka had a huge crush on him and that both were willing to act upon these feelings and were actively trying to either make him their boyfriend or in Ruka's case, actually marry him. How about Hayate though? Was he actively doing the same? Sorry, but admitting that a girl like Hina confessing to him would be "a dream come true" does not equate to him actively trying to make Hinagiku his girlfriend.

Of course it's really easy to speculate that Hayate may have nurtured romantic feelings for Hinagiku or Maria, or Ruka (again, we're not including Athena because her character arc effectively took her out of the running as to being the ending girl in the first place -- fans were just in denial for nearly a decade, but again, Hata reaffirmed this in the final arc.) by way of implication -- but of course, that just puts everyone in the same boat as Nagi. If you're going to claim that he may have nurtured romantic feelings for the other girls by way of implication through his tiny showings of sexual attraction, then we Nagi shippers can just as easily claim that he may have nurtured romantic feelings for Nagi through his own spontaneous actions -- the only real difference is that he never actively saw Nagi as a girl until the end -- but again, this isn't even a point against Nagi, because clearly, Hayate values her more than even Athena within the one year that he served as Nagi's butler.

In conclusion, we're actually all on the same boat. We never actually know what Hayate is actually thinking -- especially his feelings for the girls in his life throughout the course of the manga. All that we know are based on speculations and on what little unreliable self-confessed feelings he actually blabbers about -- but the main difference between Nagi and the other girls is that the story was always setup so that she would become the girl that Hayate likes and of course, this was confirmed by the true ending of the manga.

With that said, this has been Hayate Reflections and this is lordcloudx out. See you next week for sure.

Fanart Corner

Finally had some time do some digital fanart after quite some time. This is pretty simple, but it's a good way to get back into the groove.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Painting My First Mural (Hayate x Nagi)

We had the concrete fence walls outside our house repainted with pure white recently and my mother had this idea of having me paint a mural outside of my own design.

Now this seemed like a pretty challenging idea since the biggest thing I’d ever painted so far was a 12x16” acrylic portrait of Nagi. Still, I’ve been doing digital art for over a decade now and in all types of traditional painting media such as acrylic, oils, and of course, my favorite watercolours, so I didn’t think it was beyond my capabilities at all. Of course, I had to think this through carefully if I were to go through this project, such: what kind of design would I paint? What kind of paint should I use? What do I use for making an initial sketch in order to ensure that the actual painting is accurate? These were all questions that I needed to have a ready answer to if I were to paint my first mural.

Painting The Scale Model
Watercolor scale mdoel

To ensure that I had a handy reference to paint from, I first painted this 9X12” watercolor version of what would become the mural. Since I didn’t bother with taking the measurements of the wall, I’d be painting on, I wouldn’t be using the grid method for painting the actual mural. I actually didn’t need to make the mural a 1:1 copy of this one, so this was just made for handy reference.

Day 1: Starting With Chalk

So to start off with, I wanted to be able to freely sketch things, so I used chalk. Like the kind of chalk that teachers would use on a blackboard. I did some initial testing on the surface first to make sure that I could easily erase the chalk, but that it would actually stay for a while without flaking off even if I were to leave it overnight.
Naturally, I would draw mai waifu first

I started with a basic sketch of Hayate and Nagi. After that, I decided to paint Nagi’s outlines with black first. I thought about using colored outlines like I usually do with my watercolour works, but then I reconsidered since this is a mural and I need the colors to stand out at a glance and be more intense. I managed to color most of Nagi’s hair and even her red vest (from the ending of the manga) for this first day.

I used a combination of cheap acrylics from National Book Store (50 php so about 1 USD)  and artist grade Reeves acrylics as well as white latex paint. I just used ordinary water to thin out the paints – which worked ok for me.
At some point, some neighborhood kids came by to watch me paint and asked me if they could grab some of the bougainvillea flowers from the house. I let them in the front gate and hacked a few of the flowers off for them. They were doing this for the Flores De Mayo (which is an annual Catholic Ritual here where kids offer flowers to the church for the Virgin Mary in exchange for candies and other goodies)

Day 2: Finishing Up?

So for the second day, I finished coloring Nagi and then quickly went to work on rendering Hayate. Fortunately, the chalk held up from yesterday, so I could still see the original outlines. It went a bit faster this time since I’d gotten used to painting in this scale a bit from yesterday. I also managed to actually finish the background after getting Hayate done quickly … but there was one problem…
Looks ok until you focus on the hands

The Hand Dilemma

I know many artists like to complain about how hard hands are to draw – but personally I’ve never had a problem with them – until now.  I didn’t realize it until I took a picture with the neighbourhood kids from the day before, but the hands were in an impossible position and their thumbs were in the wrong places altogether – naturally, this haunted me in my sleep.

Fixing Things

Fortunately, titanium white solves everything and I had a good tube of Sakura Koi Acrylic Titanium White left. I quickly erased the previous day’s blunder the first thing in the morning on day 3 and after that, I just let it dry for a few minutes (acrylic dries quickly) and then proceeded to add the varnish.
And finally, it was done, my very first mural. Have to say, I’m quite proud of it. The hands are still a little bit awkward, but they’re none too noticeable and they’re not exactly in an impossible position now. I don’t think I’ll be going back to fix this.
Looks ok now... I'm proud of it either way

Another One

Since then, I’ve finished another mural on another span of white wall right next to the Hayanagi painting. This one just took me under 2 hours to finish. This is Killua from Hunter x Hunter as requested by my niece from Canada.
This is my mother in the picture btw
Over-all it was a fun learning experience and it really gave me a sense of accomplishment to have finished my largest paintings to date. Still, I prefer painting on paper or canvas rather than on a wall.
It was nice interacting with the neighbourhood kids (who made themselves at home playing with my new Billiard table when I let them in and even playing a few games on the PC) and I even got to chat a bit with the adults in the area who were curious about what I was doing.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my experiences with you guys. For now, this is lordcloudx out. Thanks for watching and see you next time for sure.

Monday, May 13, 2019

lordcloudx (digital/traditional illustrator) Open For Commissions!

Just quit my job today, so I'm opening up commissions for a while. I have plans to take the civil service exams as well as go for grad school. The full details are in the video above.

For now here's my portfolio and pricing. Special discount: Only $15 Instead of $20 for full body watercolor (colored pencils available too framed) or digital art for the first two customers. Payment is via PayPal. I work pretty fast. PM me for any other requests via twitter @violent_cloud or email me at lordcloudx at gmail. Click on the images for a bigger version.

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...