Hey readers. For those of you who wanted to know the verdict: I have been accepted into the BYU Animation Program! I submitted my portfolio on the 15th (literally six minutes before the deadline), and was officially accepted on the 23rd. As soon as I had recovered from the shock, I posted the news to social media, and received overwhelming praise and support. But I haven’t yet written about it on my blog.
My art doesn’t usually get this much attention. I created dustlander.wordpress.com back in February 2015 because a girl called me stupid for liking her art (sound familiar?). It was totally a spite thing; I told myself I would be a better artist than her. And it might have been a bit of an overreaction, but having this completely unknown personal blog kind of defined my entire high school experience. I was a total loner, but my friends supported me despite my weirdness. I checked the site’s analytics constantly and got high off of pride anytime I got more than five pageviews.
The last comic marked the end of the Golden Age of Dustlander. Ha, maybe I’m taking this way too seriously, but still. Moving to Utah was really hard for an angsty kid like me. I found it almost impossible to draw until I started my first BYU pre-animation sketchbook in 2019.
I’ve dreamt of making cartoons for as long as I can remember. No, really. When I was maybe ten I realized that people actually get paid to do that and the hope never left my heart, especially when I got into the college of my choice. Part of me “knew” it was futile, that I would never be as good as my peers, that I should have practiced more in high school instead of running that dumb website, that it wasn’t worth the risk. The doubt was so strong that at times I was terrified of even sketching or opening my project files. Being accepted into the program has done wonders for my hope, but I feel the doubt creeping back.
I guess what I’m trying to tell you, reader, is that your feelings may lie to you. If I “knew” it was futile to get into the animation program, how did I possibly get in? Doubt can cripple and destroy you. It can rob you of the things you love. But it doesn’t have to. My uncle Kyle says:
“You are the only person in this universe with the power to choose who you will become. Not even God can do that.”
It’s been too long! Geez, every time I think I’m getting back into the Dustlander groove, I get extremely busy.
This set of characters, from my Steampunks idea, represents the last of my backlog of work (at least I think so!). I drew this close to a year ago, but it definitely holds up. I’m particularly proud of the larger automaton, cleverly named Ado, because I tried to just smother him with detail. The girl, meanwhile, might need a redesign or two, or I might drop her altogether. I’m not even sure of her name… but I hope you appreciate the close-up of her I added.
Good evening, readers. If you really want to know this picture’s origins, everyone had to draw it in that class I had last year (yeah, it’s not a photo). I actually drew this one before trying that Chris Pratt one, and I think this one came out a little better, even if you can see the grid lines in the background. They give it some flavor. Oh, and this might be my best drawing, like, ever, so there’s that!
I’d planned to post this sometime near ol’ Abe’s birthday… but the picture gets to be topical instead. I guess all I want to say is: in light of whatever the heck is happening in our country, let us not forget what this man stood for. That’s it.
Mornin’. There’s one week of summer left here in Utah, and it’s bumming me out.
On a slightly more positive note, you visitors to the site might have seen the new banner to your right (or on the very bottom on mobile). That’s right–my original pitch from a year ago is taking form! The series, a(n unofficial) realistic adaptation of Minecraft, will be called Survival Mode, and the first book will be called The Spawning Years.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but I have to get you interested, now don’t I? Very well. Clockwise from the top-left, this character roster features a villager, a zombie, a bearded Steve, Steve, Alex, and an armored Alex. I’m quite proud of these designs and this new style I’ve worked out, but I’ll have to warn you that not all of these characters even appear in the first book. Our protagonist (who remains nameless for the first book), is, after all, stranded in the wilderness after spontaneously “spawning”. However, each of these fine folk will be introduced in time; I just hope I can do the Minecraft mythos some justice, with all the thought I’ve put into this.
To know if I did any good, well, I’ll need your help! Chapter I is available here or on Tapastic–er, sorry, Tapas. Enjoy!
What’s up, everyone. I hope you’re all primed and ready for another character sketch, because you’re getting one. New comics are coming, albeit very slowly. Hold me accountable for those, please.
Anyway, this little leprechaun girl isn’t from a series (as if my multitude of series are official or anything). Instead, she’s actually a Mutants & Masterminds (basically superhero D&D) character that I created–I played her in a game with my relatives just this last week. She’s kind of silly for a superhero, but I like her rustic, perky design. I think I wrote a backstory for her, but I lost it somewhere.
That’s about it, so go! Have a good day!
Hey everybody, I hope you are having better days than I am. I’m guessing you don’t come down here to read about my problems, though, so allow me to change the subject.
Here’s another assignment from my drawing class; we were told to draw the portrait of anybody we pleased, and I couldn’t think of anyone better than this famous actor (hopefully you can tell who he is without even needing to read the title). He’s pictured here based on a notable scene from Parks and Recreation, but you might know him from Guardians of the Galaxy, and/or Jurassic World. Anyway, I think he’s a great actor and a genuinely good guy, and he’s from the Seattle area, so that’s cool! This is the first “realistic” portrait I’ve posted, so any feedback would be welcome!
Hello all. It’s summertime, so I know the few of you who read the descriptions expect more from me; I truly am sorry that my perfectionism and lack of motivation have been getting in the way of new content. As I’ve stated before, though, I’ve got a huge backlog ready to go–so I’m working on it. Oh, we have an Instagram now, so be sure to check that out.
This is another piece from my art class, and just like the Tatooine Landscape, it was too big to fit in my printer’s scanner. We were assigned to do an observation study on ten different bones, and I think I took longer than everyone else (as usual). But I’m very proud of the end result; it’s probably the most realistic thing I’ve ever drawn. If you can’t tell, certain bones are simply in pencil, while others have been given a little colored pencil in their shading. My art teacher liked it too and it ended up going on display at the student art fair, so that’s cool.
More backlogged stuff and possibly some fanart on the way!
Well friends, it’s been a while. I got my hopes up when I posted Santa, believing that I could and would get back on top of things, even with a new comic. However, I’ve run into difficulties with OneNote on my iPad and I’m currently learning to adapt my style to Adobe Sketch. We’ll see how that goes.
Utah hasn’t been what I expected… and that’s a good thing! Things have definitely changed. There’s still snow down here, even with track about to start; I have some form of a social life now, even if classes aren’t much easier. That leaves less time to draw, but more time to reflect–especially on what I need and don’t need in my life. Dustlander Productions’ second birthday passed on the 17th, and I did nothing to commemorate it. So you could say I’ve decided I need drawing and comics and shenanigans back in my life again–but I don’t know when I’ll have time for them.
Today’s the two-year anniversary of the second comic “2. Homecoming”–one of my favorites. Guys, here’s the truth. I’m not always confident. If you’re confident 24/7, there’s something wrong with you. But where we lack confidence, we can have faith–hoping for something better and then doing everything in our power to make it happen. I do know that is possible. So don’t look down like Art here–there are better days ahead!
I’ll answer your question right from the get-go: yes, I did draw a BIONICLE. As a kid, I practically lived and breathed this series–read the comics, collected the toy sets, watched every movie, etc. I’d like to think that BIONICLE’s soundtrack even influenced my music taste (lots of alternative rock–I’ve got a playlist too!). It practically broke my heart when the story of the Toa and Matoran finally ended in 2010, but I’m glad I was there to witness it. BIONICLE ignited a fascination with storytelling and the visual arts in me that I haven’t outgrown since.
Of course, anyone who’s been to their local LEGO store knows that BIONICLE got a serious reboot in 2015. I’m quite happy with how it turned out–as an attempt to share the classic story with a new generation of kids–and though the reboot was cancelled just recently, I’d hate for that to be the end of the beloved series. So many people (including about half of the DeviantArt community) are still devoted to BIONICLE that I don’t think LEGO should be done with it just yet. But what can be done?
As with a few of my other pieces of fanart I’ve drawn over the past year, this whole spiel ties into one of my side projects. Someday, I hope to reintroduce the BIONICLE story to a third generation with more realistically designed characters (placing greater emphasis on their bio-mechanical composition, as I did above). The whole aesthetic would definitely be “darker and grittier”; a possible title could simply be The BIONICLE. It’s all just conceptual right now, but if you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below!
I’m not the best at drawing realistic figures; I know artists that could certainly exceed my skills in that department. But for this depiction of Minecraft‘s main playable character, Steve, I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t easy, but I did really try to adapt his cubic form to a more natural look (which, I have to say, doesn’t look half bad!). You can even compare it to the lower, more classic version of Steve–one that you might see in the endless YouTube animations out there.
All this probably makes perfect sense, except for the title: “The Spawning Years”? It does sound a little odd, but hear me out. For a while I’ve had the idea to adapt the Minecraft survival storyline into something more, something that people can really enjoy… and no, I’m not referring to the actual Minecraft: Story Mode or even the upcoming movie (which may throw a wrench into my plans). To make a long story short, I’m working on a novel focusing on Steve’s journey through the Minecraft world. Just like the above picture, it’s meant to be hyper-realistic, including every minor detail and featuring an inside look at Steve’s possibly unstable psyche. After all, he’s an amnesiac, who has suddenly “spawned” onto an island where the monsters bear his face and clothes and where he must fight for survival… alone. That makes for an interesting, very personal story.
I’m not even through the first chapter yet, but be sure to look out for more information on The Spawning Years as it comes! I might even set up a separate blog for it. Time will tell.