PIXI-VN – A new visual novel engine

That girl with the paintbrush hair is Vivi! She’s going to be the Pixi-vn mascot šŸ™‚

I’ve been working on a new project that I haven’t been very vocal about but I’m super excited to get going: a new visual novel engine! I know-I know- “Another one?”, you say. But I was inspired by the work that I was seeing from others and thought I would try to use what I had learned from using the various engines already out there and build something exactly how I wanted.

For now it’s called Pixi-vn because the visuals in the back are on a canvas made from Pixijs.

My rules were…

It must be open source under MIT

I thoroughly believe that open source is the future. Keeping this code under lock-and-key would do nothing to help the creative community. The potential help I could get in developing Pixi-vn is exciting to me.

It should be usable by novice computer users but customizable by advanced users

This is still one rule I’m working hard on. I need to build up the framework underneath and then build up for novice users. Text files and unfriendly config files will be moved to friendly interfaces. I’m hoping I can make that a priority in version 2.0.

Users can run and develop it without a high-end computer

My biggest problem with Unity is that it’s bulky. Sure, you can do crazy awesome things with it, but the player file size was huge and some of the things I wanted to do carried a big footprint. Things I would develop on my beast of a computer, when ported to someone else’s fairly ok computer, looked terrible!

I decided on es6 javascript because I could pick and choose what libraries I wanted to use and webpack would shrink it down to a manageable size–at least I hope that’s the case. We’ll see as I keep adding new features.

The project would use cutting-edge tech

This was more of a self-serving goal. I wanted to stay up-to-date on the new stuff so I would have an edge at work :p Sometimes getting the new stuff to work can be a pain because it’s new territory for most people, but I think it will be worth it.

If you want to take a closer look at what I have so far, check it out on github. Pull requests and testers are welcome!

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Essential Comic Supplies

A couple cool gray copic markers, white gel pen, mechanical pencil, g-pen and maru pen

I’m breaking away from the usual talk about the digital realmĀ to list my essential supplies for making my comic,Ā A Fool’s Deception, and where you can buy this stuff online.

1. G Model Pen Nib

I’ve tried micron felt tip markers and many others like them but nothing beats a G-Pen nib. Truly the Cadillac of comic supplies. They can be hard to get used to at first but the pay off is a beautiful range of line weights and more dynamic line work.

This is the best video I’ve seen of someone using the G Pen to its full potential. So gorgeous!! I recommend watching the rest of the series called Urasawa Naoki no Manben.

2. Maru (round) Pen Nib

A favorite of Shoujo Manga artsists, the maru pen makes consistent thin lines. You can use it to slowly build up a big line or use it to show wispy soft hair. It can be used to make the background all the same thin line weight, while making your characters super dynamic with the G Pen. Strangely enough, this is the one Nib that I’m having the hardest time with. The ink dries up too quickly on the nib and I end up scratching the paper!! I might try some different brands to see if there’s one that works better with me.

This person is truly a master of the maru pen:

3. Pen Nib Holder

Now that you have the nibs, you need a holder. There is nothing better than theĀ Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder. The ergonomic grip makes it easier on your fingers, especially if you’re like me and have and always have a death grip while drawing. I’m trying to stop that….

4, 5 and 6. Ink

So far, Deleter is my favorite, because of it’s quick drying speeds and the ability to withstand my eraser. The Tachikawa ink became dull after erasing šŸ™ Since the Deleter 4 black ink is water and alcohol-based marker proof, you can use watercolors or Copic markers to color your artwork once you’ve erased your pencil draft.

The white ink is good for making corrections or adding a little flair to your comics. If you’re making corrections, once this white ink is dry, you can use black ink on top of it. I’ve also seen the white ink used to draw hair strands and highlight accents. In clamp comics, they just splatter a bit of white ink on their pages to add character.

If you just don’t have time for nonsense like, using a brush and white ink, you can also use a white gel pen to make quick corrections. This one works like a charm:

7. Paper

This paper is about the same size as computer paper and will give you the cleanest lines ever with no bleeding. It’s sturdy enough for several erasings, white ink, carrying around with you on a clip board, water color, alcohol-based markers, and other abuses I’ve probably not discovered yet. High quality sketch paper will seem mountainous in comparison. There is a larger size and a version with a manga template for professional work, but the large version is too big for my scanner and It’s not like I’m going to submit the stuff I make to Shonen Jump.

8. THE BEST DARN MOST MAGICALIST MECHANICAL PENCIL EVER

INTRODUCING THE AMAZINGĀ Uni Alpha Gel Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil!!!!!!

Seriously though, for as long as mechanical pencils have existed, I haven’t been a fan until I met this beauty.Ā The Kuru Toga line of pencils rotate the led every time you pull your pencil off the paper. That way the led wears down evenly as you draw/right. I rotated my pencils all the time as I used them and just accepted that as the way of life. NOT ANYMORE. I’ve ditched my fancy Mitsubishi drawing pencils for just this one mechanical pencil and I’ll never look back.

9. Smudge Guard

I have several of these laying around the house now. I use them for drawing digitally on the Cintiq and for paper. Keeps your hand clean and stops your hand, which is made for grip, from dragging on your work surface and MESSING EVERYTHING UP. I have especially sweaty hands when I get into my drawing and without this guard, my paper gets wet and warps or my tablet looks like a it ate a hamburger while I was away. It’s terrible.

I have a small hand so I got the S size, but you should check the measurement chart to see which one you should get. It also comes in many different colors but I would avoid black. You’ll lose it almost immediately.

10. Eraser of the gods

I wouldn’t say this was necessary, but I thought I should let you know I found this eraser to be super effective on the toughest pencil marks while not erasing my Deleter ink. This eraser made my art class a lot easier.

11. Other eccentric stuff…

This is where things get weird, but I assure you, my workflow will come to a grinding halt without these things.

11.a. Nice socks because my feet get cold while I work.

11.b. A white foam roller because I don’t want to go back to Physical Therapy. Roll around every which way on this for a good back massage.

11.c. A pet you can shower with love when you just need a break. I recommend cats because if you give them a cat tower near your desk, they’ll stare at you condescendingly, until you finish your work. You can get your revengeĀ by giving them hugbies. They’re also low maintenance (only true if you get a shorthair).

If there are any supplies you can’t live without, let me know in the comments!

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Twitch Streaming

I’ve been streaming on Twitch for about a month now and I’m proud to report that it is a fun time! I was afraid at first of trolls, but I’ve only encountered one and it easy to just ban them.

The format of my sessions evolved into about an hour of working on my comic, taking a break, and then taking requests. The requests are nice because most of the time, people ask me to draw really crazy things, which help expand my skills. My favorite so far was to draw a JoJo-style Frog:
Watch live video from on www.twitch.tv
Another favorite of mine was drawing Vootins as a beautiful horse prince:
Watch live video from on www.twitch.tv

Streaming on twitch keeps me motivated and helps stave off the loneliness I feel sometimes while drawing for hours on end.
So! Please feel free to come join me! I stream on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm EST and will randomly pop on sometimes, so make sure to hit the follow button and turn on notifications.

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