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V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen

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Writing quiet moments [Jul. 7th, 2009|09:43 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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I read a good rant/post about writing quiet moments in fantasy: http://limyaael.livejournal.com/342416.html
The post contained ranting about thses three points:
1) Characters tend to have extreme emotions.
2) All quiet moments center around the main character.
3) All quiet moments are introspective.

Unfortunately, I feel like I didn't learn anything from the rant since I already write in a "quiet" manner. Very few characters of mine experience fierce emotions, which may be because I don't know how to write having fierce emotions without it sounding horribly clichéd or unrealistically dangerous for the characters.

I could say that everything centers around the main character, but that's somewhat gratuitous. If I give characters significant scenes or enough "face-time", they tend to become central characters or at least significant and/or recurring side characters.

And the final point... what, quiet moments are supposed or expected to be introspective? I didn't know that.
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More on fan fiction [Jun. 28th, 2009|11:49 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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When I first started writing, it was fan fiction. Before that, when I first started drawing seriously, it was fan comics. I can't remember exactly what the deal was with all the flies I drew, but Rescue Rangers' Zipper was the inspiration behind them all.

Then I wrote X-Men fan fiction. I wrote a lot of it. As I said in a previous post, I noticed at some point that the story had changed so much that the characters just weren't themselves anymore, so I went all the way and changed their appearances and names too. There, original characters!

So, why did I write fan fiction?
I can't remember the motivation behind my making comics about Huey, Louie and Dewey (from Donald Duck) when I was a kid. I do, however, remember that I very soon inserted a character of my own, Nuiy (for the lack of a better translation; it was Nupu in Finnish), who had violet clothing and cap. And that was pretty much that.

I read Watership Down and was taken by it, but I didn't write fan fiction for it, or if I did, it certainly wasn't much. I made up my own but remarkably similar rabbit thingy. At the very end, it was was a rather horrible sci-fi-ish angst-fest.

When I started reading x-Men comics, I thought Wolverine was very cool. X-babies were also awesome. Therefore, I started doing fan comics about them. Later, I started a few actual fanfics.
Anyway, having written all this about writing fan fiction, I have to say that I don't actually write that much fan fiction. I like writing my own stuff, because I nearly always lose interest in canon characters if I can't develop them into a direction I want to, and if I do that, I might just as well use my own characters.

My main reason for writing fanfic is inserting a character of my own into the world, having em interact with the other characters and seeing what happens. Other times, it's to make the world a bit more bearable (like with Harry Potter...) or messing around with the canon characters' flaws.

Now a bigger point: why should anyone write fan fiction? And more importantly, publish it for everyone to read? I've read people saying fan fiction is bad and the scourge of literature and the raping of an awesome world and whatnot. Well, some fanfics are, I don't deny that. However, I mostly think that fanfics can be the best stories there are, and the reason is that the original creator might have created a really interesting world or really interesting characters, but the other elements in the work weren't too good. Now, a fanfic writer might not be able to create interesting characters, but CAN write a damned interesting story using the awesome characters of someone else. That's a great potential in fanfic.

The number of fanfics I've read can be counted using fingers on one hand (and I can actually remember only one such occurrence), which means the idea in the paragraph above is just speculation.
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Kim [Jun. 11th, 2009|08:48 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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Kim is a character of mine. Ey is the oldest original human character I have. However, ey wasn't always the same.

The first and very raw version of Kim was a girl I called Tanya. I chose Tanya as the name because I vaguely knew a person at school whose name was Tanja and I liked the name. Tanya was an action girl who did stuff with young Wolverine and Maverick because I found those two characters very cool. I might have made her like she was because I didn't really like any of the women in the X-Men comics that much. Either way, I truthfully wanted the character to be a horrendous Mary Sue, but because I knew that Mary Sues were usually bad even without knowing the concept of Mary Sue back then, I gave her some more humanly aspects as well as traits that don't fit me at all. I don't even think she was a mutant in that very raw form. I don't remember much at all about Tanya. She, Wolverine and Maverick were hanging around with adults in a military base, and that was it. I must've been 10 or 11.

The next version made sense and I haven't even forgotten it at all. I got excited about X-babies after reading that X-Men comic where Kitty rescues the X-babies from their creator, Mojo. So, I made a whole tiny X-Men world where all the X-Men were kids and Xavier was the only adult. I learned only much later that Marvel had a similar thing going as well. And there I inserted the next version of Kim, who by now was called Kim. She was quite a lot like Tanya due to the Mary Sue issues, but younger and a mutant. Her mutant power was making rainbow-colored force fields. Don't laugh before you hear that they were rainbow-colored because I'm a physics geek and figured that they must bend light in a funny way and thus create that color spray. Okay, now you may laugh at my geekery.
Like Tanya, this Kim had brown hair and green eyes. Just like me.

Later, when I had Kim2 grow into a teenager, it seems I didn't have her use her powers. At all. I don't know why. I might have decided that her powers were something else because force fields are kind of boring, but I really can't remember.
However, I reminded myself of a drawing I made. It was a portrait of all the versions of Kim I had thought up in 2002 and earlier, pretty much exactly seven years ago. I looked at it a few days ago and didn't recognize the last version. That was because the last version isn't Kim anymore, it's a new Tanya who got a personality separate of Kim. That Tanya evolved from the second version of Kim.

The third version of Kim is very recognizable as Kim. There I decided, what the hell, I'll just make a huge Mary Sue anyway. And so I did. It happened on the 21st of June in 1999 – I have proof. Since Mary Sues enter the scene with a lengthy description, I shall also do so. Keep in mind that I never really write real descriptions, so anything longer than a sentence is a miracle. Kim3 had black hair that stood up a little like Wolverine's. A lot of people say that Kim's got Wolverine's hair, but for me it's untrue, because I don't draw Wolverine's hair that way and the physical dimensions are totally different. I do admit they look kind of similar, and many X-Men artists, especially nowadays, draw Wolverine's hair like I draw Kim's. I chose black for the hair color because I thought black hair was neat and cool. I live in Finland, where everyone has more or less light hair. Only tourists and immigrants and their kids have truly black hair. Kim3 had dark blue eyes and black eyeballs. The black eyeball thing I got from Gambit. It looked so cool. Kim3 was an Amerindian, with a proper nose, red complexion, tall and sinewy body and for extra weirdness, had a mirrored organ system (heart on the right side, liver on the left, etc.). Ey was a mutant and eir powers were telepathy, agility and enhanced healing. And ey was truly GENDERLESS! At that time, genderless meant sexless; I'd learn the difference between sex and gender only way later, and not knowing the difference cost me a lot of my life to be honest. Someone really should have explained that to me.

Anyway, that was the third version of Kim. Ey still exists in the X-babies fan comic world, though uncomfortably, since I angsted a hell of a lot when I drew the picture series about eir life with the X-babies.
It's probably harder to tell that Kim versions from three and up are Mary Sues because they're so weird. My understanding of ideal, awesome and cool is different from most people's, I suppose. Nevertheless, even though Kim's roots lie in the concept of Mary Sue, ey has come a long way from that.

The fourth version of Kim was created in September of 1999 unless I'm grossly mistaken about this one picture here. This Kim was not just an X-kid anymore; I made up an alternate Marvel universe where the X-Men didn't really exist. I call that universe THOH1. I also made up another character, Shawn, to be Kim's friend. Wolverine and Maverick were around again, but they seemed to have lost their coolness because they couldn't like Kim4 the way I wanted. Complicated, eh? Shawn was small and nonphysical but still fairly brave.

I gave Kim4 a twin brother and called him Kenny. He didn't really change Kim4, except that since he was mute, Kim4 had to be a little noisier. I also then gave Shawn a twin sister who couild be Kenny's love interest. Not too long after that, I gave Kim4 and Kenny a cousin called Kenya. Those three are the ones who apparently always look the same.

I was once sitting in the car in a dark parking lot in Lielahti, waiting for my dad to come back. I had an intensely emotional idea there, probably due to the climate. It wasn't really emotional at all, but I have no other way to describe it. It had depth. The idea was about Kim's adulthood (I think this was for the fourth version, since I was probably 13 or 14), and in was very bleak. The only image I have left is that of Kim looking through a school window while the weather is similar to the one I was sitting in. It's impossible to say why that idea was so intense. I wanted to write something about it back then, but thought that I would only ruin it and it would never be as good as I imagined it, so I never wrote anything. I have no idea where that would really have fitten anyway.

The fifth version of Kim grew up and had a vague future, though I really didn't know what ey should have been. At this point, I was spewing characters all over the place and ended up with over 200 of them, just for this one story. It was still an alternate Marvel universe. At this point I was very interested in a Kim "clone" I called Kymtzie, and a trio of literal clones, one of whom was Tikekean and resembled Kim a lot. Tikekean has since developed eir own personality, but Kymtzie hasn't been as fortunate. Kim5 didn't have a remarkable personality.

Then, many years passed while I was in upper secondary school and the THOH universe underwent a lot of small changes, including changing Kenny's name to Kovetri, Kenya's to Kydre and then giving Kydre a twin brother, Kinian. One of the bigger ones was breaking all ties it might have had with Marvel universes. It was mostly because I was reading the story and wondering why I called this guy Logan when he obviously just wasn't really Logan anymore. There are still mutants and other similar things, and I'm wondering whether I should change it even more. I had a plan that I should call the mutants something else than mutants, but I doubt whther that's a good idea. Anyway, still later I changed the whole world and gave it a lot of alternate history. Kim didn't really change there, and I think that the sixth version is the current one. I'll have to see whether I make any changes, but probably not.

The first versions of Kim weren't interesting, to tell the truth, they were just there to be cool and so on. Kim6 has actual, noticeable and intended character development. I'm not sure how well I have written that out (or will write). My intention was to write here how Kim had developed through the versions, but it seems I don't have that much to say after all. Dangit.
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I hear I like music [Apr. 30th, 2009|03:40 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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I bought Dragonforce's newest album a few days ago. Kii'ia apparently dislikes them a lot, and I started wondering what I like in music.
My musical background is that I suck at it. Music theory in senior secondary was the first exam ever that I failed. I've read there's some kind of connection between musical and mathematical talent, but I'm only competent in math. I suppose it could just be a hearing and attitude issue, though. (I have actual trouble understanding speech.) I'm fairly tone deaf, though I could most likely learn to play an instrument if I wanted to. I'm afraid to try since I might like it and I don't even have time for my current hobbies right now.

As for musical genres, I like video game music, techno, trance, industrial, electronica, pop and rock and metal. Pop and rock is kind of questionable since they're very vague. I suppose I mostly like the catchy tunes in them, mostly. As for metal, there are a lot of subgenres and I suppose I mostly like speed, melodic, symphonic and power metal. I just checked last.fm's tags and saw "nintendo metal", which sounds awesome. (Also, why is Dragonforce tagged "Finnish"? They're from UK as far as I can tell...) Mmm, SID metal.

Let's see. What I like about video game music is that 8-bit and midi are awesome. They have simple sounds that even my ears can understand. I suppose that when the amount of sounds is limited, the melody/rhythm/tune is better constructed to compensate or something.

I'll lump techno, electronica, trance and industrial in one since I guess I mostly like similar things in them. No singing is a definite plus in them, as is the strong rhythm. Then again, I absolutely hate it when in some trance/etc. songs there are some voices moaning, aaahhh-ing or yeah-ing. Why do they have to ruin the music with those? I like the so-called futuristic/synthetic/sci-fi-ish sounds. Fancy sounds for the win.

Pop and rock... well... catchy tunes. That's my main reason for liking them when I do like them.

Metal. Techno tends to have a very simple but powerful drumming sequence, and while I like that, I also like it when it's more complex but still powerful. But it needs to be not TOO complex! I also like it when the whole song is full of sound, which is generally what metal songs are. It does depend, though. I still want a melody in them; mere sound is just an earsore. As for speed, I can't honestly say why I like it more when the music is fast. I just do.
I like progressive metal too, but I suppose most of it is too difficult for me to understand.

For me, lyrics/singing is the one thing that usually completely ruins the song for me.
Singing voice is a rather important factor. I hate the growling/grunting "singing" (örinä) in many metal songs. It works when used scarcingly to represent a monster or something, but even that stretches it. I like high voices on men and low voices on women. I also hate it when some woman sings in a sort of "pink barbie voice" or "brat voice". I don't even know how to explain those. An example would be best, but of course I've forgotten all those kind of songs. Maybe Aqua's Barbie Girl is a good example of "pink barbie voice". Men can have equally annoying voices, but I haven't been able to categorize them yet. Machinae Supremacy's singer's voice is very annoying, but for some reason I can handle it on their best songs. Voiceless voices like Nordmän are also an earsore of sorts. I don't mind screaming as singing as long as it works well. I think Dragonforce does it well. I like it when the voice is clear.

Lyrics. Hoo whoa. First of all, I'm really sick of songs about (lost/forbidden/eternal/denied/nonexistent) love. It could be because I don't know a thing about love as those songwriters do. Therefore, any topic of love is usually an automatic ruination for a song. Also other everyday topics and artist life in general are usually turn-downs. Songs about nothing but human nature... no thanks, I think about that way too much without any music.
There are exceptions, of course.
As with poetry, I like it if the song tells a story. Specifically, a fictional story. Even better if the story is fantasy or sci-fi. I also really like hearing certain words in the lyrics. Some of these words are: universe, desolation, silent, wasteland, winter, thunder, storm, far away, so far, parallax, forever, endless, path, ice, field, shadow, planet, metal, sky, desert, forest, understand, steel, collide, gate. I wonder why I like hearing them. When I was younger, I only liked non-Finnish songs because I couldn't understand the words. Then I started understanding English and nowadays I can even enjoy the fact that I understand thwe lyrics. However, I still miss a lot of the words and especially meanings. I just hear a word here and there. I think I've gotten better at understanding the words, though.

I suppose I could make a list of some of my all-time favorite songs, you know, the kind I could listen to for a whole day. Maybe even a week, like Gerudo Valley (yes, I did that). No, these aren't really in order, even thought it might seem like so.
Video game: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Gerudo Valley
Video game: Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Deku Palace
Dragonforce: Soldiers of the Wasteland
Dragonforce: Disciples of Babylon
Dragonforce: Revelations
Dragonforce: Valley of the Damned
CMX: Parvatin tietäjä
CMX: Punainen komentaja
Altaria: Enemy
Blind Guardian: Battlefield
Blind Guardian: Fly
Blind Guardian: Somewhere far beyond
Ensiferum: Lai lai hei
Finntroll: Vätteanda (maybe some other Finntroll songs...)
Skyclad: Think back and Lie of England
Genesis: Land of Confusion
Heavy Metal Perse: Kohti kolossien maata
Heavy Metal Perse: Aamunkoiton huilumies
Iced Earth: Ten thousand strong
Iron Maiden: Nomad
Joan Baez: Sweet Sir Galahad
Kamelot: The Spell
Korpiklaani: Kädet siipinä
Luca Turilli: War of the Universe
Mike Oldfield: Guilty
Mike Oldfield: Moonlight Shadow
Nightwish: Moondance
Nightwish: Crownless
Nightwish: The Riddler
Pet Shop Boys: It's a sin
Rhapsody: Elnor's Magic Valley (uh... it's hard to pick just one Rhapsody song)
Robert Miles: Fable
Scooter: (...something here...)
Sonata Arctica: World in my eyes
Sonata Arctica: My land
Sonata Arctica: It won't fade
Stratovarius: (something here too)
Therion: Gothic Kabbalah
Thy Majest(y/ie/ic): The Scream of Taillefer
Uriah Heep: Lady in Black
Video game: Metroid: Full of life (Relics of the Chozo)
Video game: Metroid Prime: Magmoor Caverns
X-perience: Magic Fields
Video game: Ufouria: ice cave music

I also have single songs from several artists, but it's even harder to pick from those.
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Hey, role-playing games. [Apr. 6th, 2009|12:13 am]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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This blogging thing is popular, so I'll give it a try. The subject is: a D&D campaign!

An acquaintance started a Pathfinder campaign called Rise of the Runelords, and I'm playing a character in it.

I have no clue where to actually start with this, so I'll go to the very beginning. The game system is Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 (or "3.6" with the house rules; I can only say "Yay!" at the rogue having a Hit Die of d8) and I've been playing (around) with that particular ruleset for 3,5 years. After my first campaign of D&D for first-year-students, my fellow technology students introduced me to optimizing and munchkins. I never really learned that, because to me, role-playing wasn't about optimizing. Every wizard being a Sun Elf gets kind of boring after a while. I did push one character's Hide skill into the night (specifically, 80s) once, but that's about it. My favorite class is rogue and the like. Maybe it's because I think magic is annoying and omni- and over-powerful and that fighter-like people can just hit things. Rogues get to do other things. Despite the fact that I'm an artist of some sort, I think I'm remarkably uncreative, and so I can't think of any creative ways of hitting things or using omnipowerful magic. Disabling all kinds of weird traps, getting past locks without breaking them, stealing things and hiding in funny places is fun. That's just the game mechanics, though. I'm probably not a very good role-player IRL, but I try to improve, and I hope some day I'll manage to play a rogue with a decent Charisma score, too.

Factotum is an awesome class, too.

Playing D&D with the experienced technology students improved my grasp on the mechanics of the game so that while they still play too fast for me, I can now keep up when playing with other people, apparently. I also don't think D&D 3.5's Grapple rules are complex.

In a lot of the games I played with the technology students, it seemed like optimizing was outright required, which resulted in my characters being somewhat useless especially in battle. Outside of battle, they were usually useless because I'm very slow in social situations. It kind of sounds like I didn't have fun playing, but I did, at least most of the time. I don't really care if my characters aren't the best, as long as they contribute. My character may not have survived the Tomb of Horrors, but it was the last one alive and responsible for disabling a lot of traps.

Having said all this, I'm glad that we aren't expected to optimize in the Runelords campaign.

The first game session went well. The beginning was a little awkward (I think that's the right word), what with it being the first time to actually "see" the gameworld and the other players and characters, but I didn't really expect it not to be. My character is Jearis, a gray elf scout/rogue. The character bio there is in Finnish, sorry about that. Maybe I'll translate it at some point. Suffice to say that Jearis's parents got themselves and some of their family exiled from their home island Mordant Spire which is 200 miles away to the west of Varisia, the area where the campaign happens. I created a whole bunch of relatives for the character, and I'm eagerly waiting to see what happens to them. Two relatives (Tiraimi and Paleal) traveled with Jearis and two other PCs from Riddleport to Sandpoint, the exact location of where the campaign started. As of happenings this far, Paleal was injured in the first big fight of the campaign. Since our characters were smart and didn't get themselves into any bar fights, stuff started mostly happening after that first fight, since the townsfolk now view the party as heroes and everybody sort of knows them. At least Jearis is nicely stuck in the town or its vicinity because of the injured Paleal. Hung from a literal hook!
Things are definitely getting interesting and many goblins are expected to lose their lives.

And now for something different. I've been playing the fourth edition of D&D for a while now; the first game I played was right when the edition came out. I have a character that advanced from first level to 18th, and will continue advancing until it maxes out. The character classes seem too similar in 4.0 and I think things have been simplified a bit too much. Firecubes may be cute and practical, but I just don't have any trouble drawing a sphere on a square map either. Of course, I'm the artist, so that might have something to do with that. I don't think 4.0 is bad, but I prefer 3.5. Once my 4.0 character reaches level 30, I plan on not playing 4.0 unless some otherwise awesome campaign is going to pop up out of somewhere.

Speaking of battle maps, I want a program where I can draw a 3D battle map. I won't require it to project the thing into thin air or smoke, though; seeing it on the screen is just fine.

Well, this post was a big mess and I probably used too many semicolons. Apologies to anyone who read it. Maybe I'll get my thoughts better laid out in later posts. Is there something in particular anyone would like to hear?
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On fan fiction [Jan. 22nd, 2009|10:59 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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In April 2008, I had an unexplained urge to write Harry Potter fan fiction. I think it was related to me seeing Harry Potter movies (the three first ones). The urge wouldn't go away, so I drew a picture and started writing, too. The story should be approximately a rewrite of the books, with my own little Mary Sue character (the kid in the drawing) inserted. Yeah, blatant plagiarism, but it will NEVER see the light of the day, even on the internet. I can share the file if someone for some inexplicable reason wants to read it, though. I like to think that it's more um... rational than the original. I leave a ton of stuff out, though, because I'm writing it from the point of view of my own character who isn't a bold fool.

Another issue is that I've been planning on writing fan fiction about The Left Hand of Darkness. I first planned it for NaNoWriMo 2007 (I think), but beyond a few sketches, I never did anything about it until now. I outlined a plot and wondered why the protagonist didn't really do anything in the story. What was I thinking? I also need a better title for it than "the right hand of light", seriously.
I've been trying to find at least a somewhat comprehensible timeline/chronology that would include all the novels and short stories about the Hainish Cycle setting, but even after an hour of Wikipedia-surfing and link-clicking, I didn't really find anything.

Oh well, VHDL first, searching information about fictional worlds later.
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NaNoWriMo [Dec. 31st, 2008|10:06 am]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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Gah, it's been almost two years since I posted something. Oh well, I'll post an update about nanowrimos! Two have gone by since 2006, when I first tried it. In 2007, I continued the story I started in 2006, Tales from Kyerrion. I've continued that story in between nanowrimos too, and it's running at about 136 000 words. In 2008 I was hideously busy and almost didn't write anything at all, but I wrote this Finnish thing I named Höyrypää ("steamhead") anyway. I also wrote this short story called House of Children.

Whee! I learned to write a short story!
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Art quiz thing [Jan. 21st, 2007|09:35 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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Snatched from ankewehner!

Wow, it's pretty long.Collapse )
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So what is it with my drawing style now? [Nov. 17th, 2006|09:50 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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Hm. More and more people have told me that my style looks like anime/manga style. At first I refused to show my drawings to anyone, so no one could really tell me what it looked like. Therefore, my skills and style "developed" in peace. I didn't try to imitate any other styles or drawings either, because I thought it was cheating, wrong and bad. At 16, when I first publicly showed off my drawings in Elfwood, almost no one called my style anime-like. And now that's changing...

I first drew rabbits in a realistic/comic style. Then I started reading X-Men and eventually drew my first humans, inspired by superhero comics. Those humans were children. I didn't want to draw men or women at that point. Heck, it took me about a year to draw even a teen. A year was a very long time indeed when I was 12 and very bored. Since then, my style still hasn't really changed as far as I can see; it's essentially the same. Only my skills have become "better". It's weird that I can see approximately the same skill level in my drawings from 2003 as in my current drawings... after that, it seems I just went through phases where I fixed anatomy, got more patient and detailed and so on.
I first saw anime when I joined Elfwood. I felt pretty indifferent to it, I think. I didn't want to draw it, I rather had my own style. I could tell by then that my style didn't really look like comic book style, but I didn't know why. Probably because I didn't ink much. I still say my style isn't even near anime.
So why are people calling my style anime or anime-like? Tell me!

After too many people (yeah, most would say it's just very few people) said that my style looks like anime, I decided to take out some of my X-Men comics and absorb the art.
It feels a bit wrong and like giving up to start changing my style just because other people say it looks like anime. Heck, I'd feel dirty either way. Don't know if that's good or bad.

So, maybe you should expect a bit of a change in my style. But no, I will NOT start drawing huge breasts unless some poor unfortunate character really has some.
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What have I done! [Nov. 17th, 2006|08:37 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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A “bold the things you have done” meme stolen from hellmutt.

I live in a barrel! :DCollapse )
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