March 19, 2009

Of personalities and looks, part 1

When designing new characters these days, I always refer to Myers and Briggs' 16 classic human temperaments, which I find to have been remarkably accurate to date. Basically the whole point is to categorise your character's personality based on these four distinct groups:

1. Extraverted (E) or Introverted (I)?
2. Intuitive (N) or Sensoric (S)?
3. Thinker (T) or Feeler (F)?

4. Judger (J) or Perceiver (P)?

As a result you get 16 possible types such as ESFP ("The Performer") or INTJ ("The Scientist"), whereby each type can have sets of wildly different interests, skills and motivations. I myself happen to be an ENFP ("The Inspirer"), or so I think -__-, which I discovered after taking this really simple test.

Now, though information on these 16 types are widely available on the net, variations are abound. Personally, I've always been coming back to the analyses found on, because not only does it describe to you what each of the 16 types is all about, it also offers some kind of type-relationship logic to help you determine how the types interact with one another in a corresponding manner.

For example, the ENFJ and ESTP types are considered to be "Supplemental" to each other. According to typelogic, this means "each can add to the other's strengths". The ISTJ and the ESTJ types, similarly, have a "Pal" relationship, meaning that they "work and play well together with a minimal natural type conflict".

But pair up an ENFP and an INFJ and you'll have a "Contrast", which will have these two types "pointing and counterpointing on each function" -- a great tool for setting your heroes and villains apart!

What's fascinating about this logic is that it seems to work for most of my created characters and even for myself. Let's derive an example from two characters in The Fifth Columnist, Bishop and Snatch.

Image 1: Bishop giving Snatch a friendly kiss

"Hello, Snatch. Long time no see!"

Needless to say, these two look like good friends and seem to have a good chemistry going on between them, though not necessarily a sexual one (for Bishop, at least ^^). After running some personality tests, I found out that Bishop is an ENFJ while Snatch is an ESTP... so "Supplemental" it is!

When you consider that these characters were created years before I started learning about the 16 personality types, no wonder it had me chuffed!

Since I was so excited about the premise of applying this type logic on all my characters and making their interaction more believable, I made the following graph in Excel based on the information found on the typelogic website:

Image 2: 'THE' graph

If this does not look geeky to you, I don't know what does! :P

Now, here is a subsequent question which will be addressed on part 2: Does your character's personality type affect the way he/she looks?

March 18, 2009

Mad about inking

Each manga artist has his/her own demons, and for me that's got to be INKING. This particular process takes up the largest portion of my drawing time and even if I've been doing it for nearly two years now, for some reason I still can't get it right!

I've tried using 'real' manga pens before -- the G-pens, maru pens and saji-pens -- but being a 'Wood Rat' by birth (mind you, I don't normally believe in horoscopes, either Chinese or Western ^^), I'm bound to have my fair share of jinxes when dealing with water-based elements. So I switched to mechanical inked pens, those cheaper versions of Rotring you can normally find in any bookstore in Jakarta. Yet this still hasn't salvaged me of my inking hell.

For one, I will almost always make erronous strokes in each panel and end up having to use up bottle after bottle of Pentel's blue metal-tipped white-out, which almost certainly runs out after a chapter of 32-36 pages or so (or up to two chapters if I'm lucky).

Not only does it bug me to have to wait for the white-out to dry before continuing to ink, some pen brands SMUDGE VERY EASILY when applied on white-out, which deserves its own rant (read: blog post) some time in the future.

Also, the build-up of thick white-out layer on the drawing paper makes it difficult to create smooth lines afterwards. Of course, you can always clean it up digitally on Photoshop, but this takes up valuable time which could have been used for rendering dialogues and speech balloons (yet another manga artist demon).

An example is as follows:

Image 1: Raw scan converted to grayscale

As you can see, plenty of 'defects' here, even when the image is scaled down to fit standard pocket manga dimensions.

Image 2: Cleaned up in Photoshop

See the uneven strokes on his eyebrows? Those were inked on thick build-ups of white-out. So were the two strands of fringe on the right, which resulted in those rather greyish pseudo-strokes (don't know what to call them!) If you guessed that the neck and shoulder part were also inked on white-out... you guessed right! Cleaning up has taken its toll on my patience :(

...All this, and we haven't even touched on the problem of transparent blue underdrawings? Oh well, there's always another post.

March 17, 2009

First post

Hello everyone and welcome to The Fifth Blog! To be quite honest I've never written on a blog before and don't even know what kinds of things are worth posting here, so this may take some getting used to buhuhu -__-"

In any case, I wish to use this blog as a platform for expressing my art and thoughts, some of which will be random but most will supposedly have to do with the progress of The Fifth Columnist manga. Feel free to leave your comments and such!