So! As the insiders know, I’ve been learning to draw since June with the goal of releasing a comic in November.

To practice, I’ve made some portraits for the character page! Here they are.

I’ve earned maybe 3–4 skill points in digital art and am in what nice people would call a “period of rapid improvement.” Put another way, it’s easy to find mistakes to fix if there are a lot of them. And I’ve made peace with that. Point being, I’m not posting these portraits because I think they’re worth sharing—I’m not where I want to be, by far—nor because I need praise, encouragement, or constructive criticism, but to light a fire under my ass and push myself to learn even faster. Because we’re all a bit nuts here.

I hope those of you following the story can enjoy them!

(At some point I straight-up ran out of time and skimped on the Jeong-Espinosas. Apologies to Mike, Charlie, Hector, Jo, and Gen. The silver lining is, they get their portraits done by a more experienced version of me. Maybe next week? Arrrgh. Arrrrgh.)

If you’re new to digital art or drawing in general, like I am, and thinking about Inktober, you might find it encouraging to compare the drawing of Kenny I did last week, below, to this drawing I made of her in late June. Don’t let your fear of mistakes hold you back!

HAPPY SPOOPTOBER, FOLKS. yes, Halloween is our religion ’round these parts. just after midnight on oct. 1, i played “This Is Halloween” so many times in a row that my spouse had to leave the room
is it a thing for bi artists to draw the F out of everyone’s neck & shoulder muscles? because if so, HEY.
(in my defense, Claudia was a pro bodybuilder)
aileen got really stylized for some reason? idk, this is the disney version of aileen; i don’t know what that would look like, plot-wise
in an alternate universe where yuan fell in love with someone with less complicated hair, this post wasn’t late. welp! gonna draw this dude hundreds more times
remember when i said no more prose, this blog is pictures of chantel making faces now?
this is how jasper would want to be remembered
(Digital) Inktober: Catastrophe Theory Character Portraits
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9 thoughts on “(Digital) Inktober: Catastrophe Theory Character Portraits

  • October 4, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    You already know how excited I am that you’re joining the writer-artist club, but let me reiterate: aslkjdflksdjflksdjf. (I never publicly keysmash, except when I do, apparently.) Kenny and Aileen are my favorite from this bunch, and they also happen to be my favorite CT characters. Yee!

    Glad to be with you on your digital art journey!

  • October 5, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    As a noobie digi art hobbyist I agree with you that curly hair is lvl 50+ while im stuck at 5. I draw anime though. Itching to comment “strong anime influence” on your portraits for no reason but to rile you up now. 😆

    • October 6, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      Lol, I feel like I should briefly clarify the anime thing. What happened was that a colleague of mine got obsessed with “cute anime girls” (and lesbians! Anime lesbians) to the point where he couldn’t talk about anything else. Trying to hold a conversation with him was like, [X] anime girl is so cute, [X] show has anime lesbian relationships, you should watch [X] anime because it has cute anime lesbians, blah blah. I think it shaped his perception of femininity to the point where I became “cute bisexual girl” instead of “competent person with the exact same professional qualifications.” Boundaries were crossed, I felt used and fetishized, and now I can’t look at anime/manga I may have enjoyed otherwise without picturing this man’s face and hearing him screech about cute anime girls. This was last year.

      I could also argue that some common stylistic elements of anime/manga do infantilize the characters in a way that makes me uncomfortable, such as large, expressive eyes and over-the-top tropey expressions, but if I’m being honest, my distaste stems from the misogyny/homophobia I’ve experienced due to male fixations on “cute anime girls.” And I have to tread carefully because gay male romances written by female authors are a similar minefield of cringe. That is, while neither of my dudes is anywhere near being a cute baby anime fetish target, I still don’t think it’s a good idea to stylize this particular story in the way anime/manga often is.

      If you enjoy the style, do your thing and I’ll be cheering you on. Also, that’s cool! Have you posted anything publicly?

      • October 15, 2020 at 8:23 am

        Ah 🤣 Makes sense if you had someone like that around you. I grew up with Chibi style anime and less stylised… well, I grew up with anime period. So I and the people I interact with are used to these styles. They’re not particularly rare even if the manga depicts different sexualities.

        I used to have a deviantart page.. 8 years ago. I’ve never done anything since. I did attempt something a few weeks ago, but it’s left unfinished.

      • October 16, 2020 at 4:35 pm

        Aw, well, I hope you find it in you to continue someday!

        I also grew up with anime/manga. And I do agree it’s a legitimate art form and can be done well.

  • October 6, 2020 at 1:29 am

    These are so good! You’re really a professional graphic artist posing as an academic so as not to reveal your true identity, right?

    I might be retiring soon to draw comics.

    Also, what program do you use for digital art, and do you use a stylus and tablet?

    • October 6, 2020 at 8:17 pm

      Ah, drat, you’ve found me out! FOILED AGAIN!! But not the math type of FOIL; I don’t know what that is. I’m an artist. I don’t do much math. What’s math, anyway? What am I even talking about? Huh?

      And YES. JOIN US! I, for one, am stoked to see what you come up with. What’s your comic about? How long have you been drawing?

      All of these drawings were done on Photoshop, which I get for free on the… uh… the campus license. (Shoot, maybe I am some sort of academic.) Yep, I’m using a stylus and tablet—Huion Inspiroy Q11K V2—and was worried about not having a screen because I wouldn’t be able to see what I was drawing, but it turns out you get used to it fast. I’ve only had it since late July.

      And to be fair, I had a head start on Photoshop and Illustrator from… uh… making illustrations for scientific papers… shoot, am I actually some kind of academic? Shoot.

  • November 1, 2020 at 9:24 am

    I gave myself the gift of waiting all month and then binging on this AND I MADE THE RIGHT DECISION.

    Let me begin with the love of my life, Chantal. What a grace! What elegance! I feel like you captured the fact that she is completely fucking bananas and also the best person.

    (You know I’m saving Bernard for last).

    Who gave you permission to draw a perfect Kenny? WHO? The makeup, the flower, the raised eyebrows. Holy shit, I just…I cannot.

    The question you have to ask yourself is would Claudia draw herself without neck muscles?

    Aileen is NOT HERE FOR OUR SHIT. And were wrong to ask it of her.

    Jasper is going to haunt my dreams, not going to lie. In a very good “hey look at how happy I am and how I just disappeared” way. In a, “remember all those sims you randomly deleted? This is what they look like,” sort of way. Ugh, so good.

    And, now onto the main event: BERNARRRRRDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. Honestly, he looks like he is telling me about myself in the most erudite way possible and I am here for it. Like, BLESS.

    Holy shit. Ho-ly shit. How did you? Where did you even? How did you learn to?

    I’m a mess.

    I’m sorry.

    Let me move onto the other posts so I can continue making incoherent praise noises.

    • November 1, 2020 at 10:52 pm

      Wooo, welcome back!

      Yep on all counts. Yep, yep! Chantel is hurling that “Blank Space” music video energy all over the place. That, or the screaming-goat version of ‘Trouble.’ And I’m actually quite happy with that Kenny! It’s HALLOWEEN dammit. Not anymore, but still.

      There’s still a lot to learn and I’m not actually ready to start a webcomic. But I’m soaking up your incoherent praise noises and using them to motivate myself to make Haunted faster! Auuuugh! I’m like Tinkerbell, I run on the noises!


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