Tag Archives: shirish

The Sword and the Dragon

I am sitting upright, my left hand tightly curled into a twist, while my right arm is being repeatedly stung by a sharp needle.

After a few minutes, I stop feeling so much pain. Either the pain has subsided or I am now used to it. My arm is going numb. No, wait. Even my head is going dizzy. I indicate the same to my tormentor, and soon I am chewing on a delicious Snickers bar.

The Snickers works fast and hard to shoot my blood sugar levels up, and soon I start feeling the pain again!

But in a few minutes the ordeal is over. It’s been one hour and thirty minutes I have been sitting in that chair, getting myself tattooed on the right arm.

In the place of what once was a clear patch of skin is now a fierce black Dragon engulfing an equally lethal-looking black sword. The Dragon’s eye is blood red, and so is the jewel embedded in the hilt of the black sword.

The tattoo artist, a pleasant young man called ‘Raul’, clicks a few photographs of the still young tattoo. Then his assistants apply some petroleum jelly on my stinging, swollen arm and cover the tattoo with tissue paper, securing the paper in place with transparent tapes.

By the time I stumble out of the tattoo studio situated near the Osho commune of Pune, it was 7 pm., and I am dying for a shut eye.

The mood is serene and I have a feeling  that this evening was something special. Here’s the tattoo, in it’s full glory.

Video of My PADI Certification Dive @ Lakshadweep

It’s been more than three months since I completed the PADI Open Water Certification course in scube diving in Lakshadweep.

A couple of days ago, I completed making a film on my underwater experience. I had carried an adventure cam with me (Oregon Scientific model # ATK2000). The cam captures bit low res video, but this is one tough guy!

The official specs for the camera said that the camera is ‘water resistant up to 5 meters depth’. But I took a chance with it, and it actually worked perfect for a depth more more than 16 meters! I love this gadget.

So here’s the footage of my underwater dive in the pristine Lakshadweep lagoon. The actual footage was more than 3 hours, which I have edited down to less than 12 minutes of (interesting) video.

Click on the picture below to watch the video and enter a new aquatic dimension.

‘The Contract’ is published

My first independent graphic novel, The Contract has been uploaded on the website www.pothi.com. Pothi.com provides ‘print-on-demand’ service, i.e. the book is printed after it’s ordered, rather than the other way round as in traditional publishing.

This graphic novel is intended for mature audience only.

Below is the cover page of ‘The Contract’ followed by a few preview pages (Warning: NSFW material)

Synopsis:

Steve is a very ordinary guy, with very ordinary dreams (like reaching his school on time and making out with a hot girl in his class). But one bad day in his life turns his world upside down.

Now Steve is out on a suicidal mission of revenge, when he encounters a mysterious being. The mysterious being offers Steve something he had never dreamed before, and which would make his revenge so much sweeter.

Steve will go to any lengths to have his revenge. Little does he realize that every dream has a price!

This book is intended for mature audiences only.

The preview below contains pages 1-5 and 12-14.

A Touching Poem

When we brought Mugdha home, SOFOSH presented us with a very beautiful, touching poem written by one of the previous parents. I do not know the name of the person who wrote it. All I could feel is how much heart and soul was poured into it.

Here it is. Read and tell me if you agree –

Once there were two women who never knew each other,

One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.

Two different lives shaped to make yours one,

One became your guiding star, the other one became your sun.

The first gave you life, the second taught you to live it,

The first gave you need for love, the second was there to give it.

One gives you nationality, the other gave you a name,

One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotion, the other calmed your fears,

One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.

One gave you up – it was all she could do,

The other prayed for a child and god led her straight to you.

And more you ask me through your tears,

The age old question throughout the years.

Heredity or environment, which are you the product of?

Neither my darling – neither. Just two different kinds of love!

A Little Fairy Arrives in our World!

Her name is ‘Mugdha’ (The giver of joy), and she has arrived in our home to touch our hearts and souls. She is only nearly two months old, but already has managed to fill our little world with her presence.

Mugdha is our little daughter. Me and Aparna adopted her from Shri Vatsa, the home of destitute children affiliated to Sassoon Hospital, Pune. She arrived in our home today, bringing with her immense joy and infinite dreams.

Let’s welcome her to our family, and hope she lives a much fulfilled life with us.

The Arrival

We first saw Mugdha on 2nd Oct 09 in the Shri Vatsa office, and there was instant bonding between her and her new parents.

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Saturday, 10th Oct 09. Me, Aparna and Aparna’s parents went to Shri Vatsa. Many children were playing in the court yard.

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We went into the office, where we were warmly welcomed. After some formalities were completed, Mugdha was handed over to us for familiarizing with her new family members. Dhruv was super-excited and wanted to play with his sister and hold her in his lap.

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Mugdha was absolutely an angel in her new mummy and daddy’s arms.

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The SOFOSH social workers had painted a Rangoli for giving a farewell to Mugdha (former name Shravani)

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Sharmila, the SOFOSH social worker, and Aparna’s mom performed certain rituals and presented Mugdha and Dhruv flower garlands.

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Then we arrived home to a enthusiastic welcome.

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Mugdha is now getting settled in her new family and surroundings. May her life be filled with great joy.

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Workflow employed for the making of my first comics and technical details. (This may drastically change in the future productions)

Create panels, pencil sketches, inks and initial speech balloons/captions in GIMP. Graphic size – 3300 X 4400 pixels, 1200 PPI. When creating a new file, click ‘+’ sign next to the ‘Advanced Options’ and enter values as following:

GIMP_screenshot

Creating panels, pencil sketches and inks has been discussed in previous posts.

Something about the speech balloons and captions.

GIMP has a fairly lousy text tool. Once you select the Text tool in GIMP toolbox and type in something in it, it creates a separate layer on top of current layer. This is the only good thing about this tool, as you can easily make it invisible for later use.

I create various speech layers like this, one layer for each speech balloon / caption. All captions are left justified and all speech balloon text is centrally aligned. All these speech layers are kept at the topmost of all graphics layer stacks (panels, pencils, inks etc). I am not overtly careful while placing the text, nor much worried about the look and feel. These speech balloons are only placeholders and help me in ‘reading’ the story as I draw next pages.

After typing in all the text (Font size – 50, Font – Comics San MS normal), I insert a layer above all inks layers, and just below the lowest text layer. I name this layer text_bg.

I draw all speech balloons and caption backgrounds on this layer. This makes it easy for me to make them disappear in one click later.

After all the text is typed, the page looks like the following.

page_with_text

I select the text_bg layer, and start drawing balloons / rectangles on it. The process is repeated for all texts within the page.

1. Using the Selection tools, I drag an oval (for speech balloon) or rectangle (for caption) which will encompass the text. At this stage, a selection ‘running ants’ shape will appear around the chosen text, but everything below that text and the oval / rectangular shape will be visible. Draw the shape at such a size that the text below it will have some ‘breathing space’ (white space) around it.

2. Then I fill the selection with white color.

3. I keep the shape selected, choose the brush tool, select brush of size 5 pixels and keep black as foreground color.

4. I click the menu items as follows: Edit -> Stroke Selection. The stroke selection dialog box appears. Choose the radio button against the ‘Stroke Selection’ option as shown below.

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This draws a 5 pixel stroke within the boundaries of selection. Now we have a background for our text.

5. I unselect the shape, and repeat this process for every text item, remaining on text_bg layer.

6. Now it’s time to draw tails for speech balloons. I draw fairly rough tails here, just to get an idea how the final ones will look. Select the text_bg layer, select brush tool, 5 pixel brush. Keep pressure sensitivity off, and draw the balloon tails freehand. Let them invade in the balloon space a bit. If you are fussy about the look (like me), you may fill them with white color, stroke with black color, and clean up the overlapping bits.

When this is done for the entire page, I save the file as a JPG image. This image serves as a reference when doing the actual lettering.

Now I make all text layers and text_bg layer invisible, and save the image as a TIFF file with maximum resolution. TIFF format employs a lossless compression (unlike JPG) and is ideal for final printing.

Now we have a full resolution image with no text and no speech balloons / captions. This image is ready for lettering.

Coming up – Lettering using Inkscape.

Difference between Raster Graphics and Vector Graphics

Two kinds of graphic formats are used in electronic mediums. Raster and Vector.

Raster graphics are stored as a bunch of pixels, while Vector graphics are stored as a bunch of shapes and nodes.

Raster graphics start losing their clarity as they are stretched beyond their original maximum size. Vector graphics can be (theoretically) stretched to any size without loss of clarity.

Vector graphics van also be used to draw precise shapes, since each stroke can be tweaked separately. But Raster graphics have a better color reproduction.

Photoshop and GIMP are examples of Raster graphics editors.

Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDraw are some of the vector graphics editors.

Vector graphics can be exported to raster graphics.

Inkscape is a open source, free vector graphics editor I use for lettering. More on this in the workflow discussions.

Question: If vector graphics editors create so much accurate, scalable graphics, why don’t I produce the complete artwork in Inkscape?

Answer: That’s something on my agenda for future. Currently I am learning Inkscape.

The Graphic novel making – Difference between RGB and CMYK formats

Many of you must have read these terms ‘RGB’ and ‘CMYK’ in my previous post, and wondering just what they are.

Well, RGB and CMYK are 2 models of representing color. Typically, RGB model is used in web and screen colors, while CMYK is almost exclusively used in print medium.

The following graphics show the color models in their representative form.

RGB

Additive Colors (Image courtesy wikipedia.org)

CMYK

Color-subtractive (Image courtesy wikipedia.org)

The abbreviation RGB stands for Red-Green-Blue. Every color pixel that we see on a computer / TV screen is a combination of various quantities of these three primary colors. When these three colors are mixed at their full strength, the color white is produced. That’s why, sometime these colors are called ‘Additive colors’.

Printing is a different ball game, though. When priniting on paper, the printers use inks of CMYK combination. CMYK stands for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key. Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are the three ‘Subtractive Colors’ i.e. adding them together yields black color.

Every color printed on paper is a combination of CMY colors in various quantities. The ‘K’ in ‘CMYK’ stands for Key, which is a term used for black color. The reason the letter ‘B’ is not used for black is to avoid confusion with Blue in the term ‘RGB’.

Black color is separately mixed along with CMY combination while printing. Even though combining CMY colors yields black, it may not be a very neat effect due to impurities in inks, and any discrepancy on a black print is easily visible on paper. That’s why black is treated as a separate color and printed so.

The reason CMYK combination is used for printing on paper is why sometimes paper printing in color is sometimes referred to as ‘Four color printing’.

Sometimes, there’s a need to use a special color in very precise quantities while printing. This is achieved by adding the ink for that special color to the printing process. This is called ‘Spot Coloring’.

The color spectrum within CMYK world is not as rich and diverse as that of RGB. That’s why it’s quite possible that an image appearing brightly colored on screen may not be reproduced as it is on paper (on professional printers). The inkjet and laser printers may produce this RGB effect accurately, but the professional offset printers will not.