March 10, 2021

I Tried Super Deformuary

Last month I tried to undertake an art challenge of my own creation: Super Deformuary! I would draw Super Deformed big headed chibi characters every day in February while streaming on Twitch. Each character would be chosen at random based on suggestions taken by my watchers. This is one of my most favorite ways to draw famous characters. It’s a style that people recognize and it’s fun to try to find the balance between drawing the character as they are known while adding that rolly-polly simplified aesthetic. So I thought to myself “I’ll try it for a whole month! What could possibly go wrong?

Well, the idea was sound! Or so I thought. I did get some great suggestions from a couple people, but I had to add a few myself in case I didn’t get enough ideas for characters that I was interested in drawing. Things went pretty well for the first few days, but I soon found myself spending too much time on a single illustration and sometimes bleeding well into the next day. And then my arm got sore, just in general from leaning on it, not only from drawing but I’m sure drawing didn’t help. So the initial challenge went out the window, and was in jeopardy of being cancelled altogether.

But I couldn’t let that happen! I started to feel better so I changed focus and endeavored to complete 14 drawings instead of the 28 that I was originally shooting for. And in the end, I did! When the month ended, I combined them all into one picture, right here.

You can also see all of the individual Super Deformurary entries on my Tumblr page from when I posted them after completing each one. I will get around to posting some of them on DeviantArt too, with a bit of extra commentary in some cases, and then eventually the ones I like best will be posted here in the Illustration page.

To summarize my Super Deformuary experience, I am not happy about how I could only draw 14 pieces instead of 28, especially considering October in 2019 when I did both Inktober and Skeletober in the same month and did a combined 64 pieces of art. But circumstances are what they are and I learned to live with it. The artwork itself I thought was mostly ok, but I struggled with making some things more detailed than they should have been and some characters don’t really look as accurate as I hoped, so mixed feelings overall. Also I have to admit that I did get tired of drawing in the same style the whole time. But I did find the random selection of characters a lot of fun and pleasing to work on. I got to draw a wide variety of characters from lots of different sources, with a good mix of males, females, humans, creatures, and robots,  and that is what the experiment was all about.

I wish it had gained more traction as it went along. I was hoping more people would notice what I was doing and start following it to see who I was drawing next. I’m a bit underwhelmed at the response, but I knew that was a likely possibility going into it. So it is what it is, and while I obviously hoped for a better outcome overall, I’m still glad I went though with it. Hey, I accomplished half of a thing! In these times, even only half is still pretty good!

And here’s the chaotic aftermath. In order to randomly select the characters that I would draw, I wrote the names down on strips of paper, folded them up, and put them in a plastic jar that once held jelly beans, then I’d pull one out each time I was about to draw one. A very high tech solution.

For some reason I kept them all this entire time after pulling them out. I don’t know why and I don’t know what to do with them now. Throwing them all away seems so undignified.

Anyway, no more art challenges for awhile, and I’ll be scaling back on art in general outside of my day job to let myself heal up a bit.


So, yeah. 2020, am I right? The phrase that keeps being used is “Dumpster Fire“, and I have to agree. But I do this kind of thing for every year, and I might as well continue. There were still things that were released in 2020 that I liked, because, you know, companies are still needing for us to be gouged. I did my best to come up with a list, but was not entirely successful in every category as you will see. Because of that, I decided to add a new category, so read on.

Favorite Game – Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Wouldn’t you know it, my favorite game of last year was a re-release of my favorite game from 7 years ago. Hey, it was great then and it’s great now. Pikmin has been one of my favorite underdog Nintendo franchises since the very first game on the Gamecube, and the third entry in the series is probably the best of them all. I enjoyed playing through this game again, especially when I played it on stream. Too bad there is nobody around to play Bingo Battles with.

Favorite Book – Sanei 80s Manga Heroine collection

This was released in October, and I discovered the existence of this magazine/book a few weeks ago. I immediately ordered it straight from Japan, and amazingly it arrived in only a couple of days. It’s full of great manga illustrations from the 80’s and I love that style very much. I’m very glad to own this and I think I’ll be referring to it often for inspiration in my own art.

Favorite Toy – Generations Selects God Neptune

I bought this set as a Christmas gift for myself and I’m so glad to have it. I would really like to own the initial release of the Seacons, and maybe I will some day, but it came at a bad time and is annoying because you have to buy all the members separately. This team, based on the Japanese exclusive Beast Wars II characters, is just the right kind of weird and obscure piece of Transformers that I dig. Plus, they all came packaged together with a bunch of accessories in what is essentially a big pizza box. I love it and I’m looking forward to combining the 5 robot pirates into the large God Neptune on a live stream some time soon.

Favorite TV Series – Ultraman Z

The best show of 2020. Best song of 2020. The best THING of 2020. Ultraman Z made living though 2020 bearable. With wonderful, likable characters and dazzling special effects that often combined retro aesthetic with modern flash, Ultraman Z was a total joy to watch. And it came at just the right time. The fact that Tsuburaya Productions was showing this series to all international audiences on YouTube for free at the same time as it aired in Japan was unthinkable years ago. I eagerly awaited every episode, and the ending was incredibly satisfying. And did I mention the theme song? I did. I’ll mention it again because it’s just the best. Goshowa Kudasai Ware no Na wo!

Favorite Anime – Hi Score Girl Season 2

A great series about video games and teenage nostalgia. Season one was pretty enjoyable, but this second season took a big step forward in my book. I knew from when I was watching it that it would be my favorite anime of the year. While you might think it would just be a silly comedy with video game references, it got to be pretty emotional and really gripping, especially towards the end. But I loved all the video game references too. I lived through a lot of it, so I got them all!

Favorite Movie – I don’t freaking know.

What movies even came out in 2020? Sure, some movies were released in a way, and some were maybe even good, but there isn’t anything that was released that I liked well enough to call my favorite of the year, and I don’t feel like picking one anyway . The one thing I missed about “normal” life during the lockdown was going to the movies. A lot of the movies I was really looking forward to have been delayed, and some are going straight to streaming platforms, and not going to the theater is just not the same. One thing is for sure, I refuse out of principal to nominate Sonic the Hedgehog.

New Category: Favorite Person of 2020 – Asuka

I needed to make this category just to acknowledge a person who rose above the world’s circumstances and became even more entertaining and impressive than she already was. Asuka is the Most Valuable Player of the pandemic, and not just in the world of wrestling. Whether she was destroying opponents and winning titles in the ring, delivering epic rants in Japanese on the mic that didn’t need translation, or going shopping and making a ridiculous pizza on YouTube, Asuka can do it all and she has proved it. Watching her rise in 2020 has been a highlight.

So that’s that. I did the best I could do decide what I liked. Usually it’s hard to pick because there are so many great things worth talking about. But this time I really had to think. I wasn’t about to scrape the bottom of the barrel though, so no favorite movie. It seems like we’re still in recovery from last year (and, let’s face it, the last several years), but hey, maybe we’ll have more great things to choose from again soon! Embarrassingly, the last time I did this I was really enthusiastic about 2020, and look at how that has turned out. So, perhaps we shouldn’t get our hopes up and let’s instead allow ourselves the simple joy of being pleasantly surprised.