If you follow me over on Twitter you’ll have noticed that over the last few months I’ve been drawing a complete Contra Guide book. I started this little project back in January thinking it would be something I could maybe draw in a few weeks. I was heavily inspired by the video game map making that Jeremy Parish was doing over on Retronauts, and I was looking for a project to do that wouldn’t involve looking at a computer screen. The goal was to draw up a map for each stage and the bad guys that went along with those stages. Then it kind of spiraled into something bigger than that. Four months later (although sometimes weeks would go by where I didn’t have a chance to touch the project) I now have a 24 page book about the entirety of Contra for the NES. All of which has been drawn by hand. The maps are crude, and my hand writing is (for better or worse) my hand writing, but that’s the fun of it.
Throughout the creation of the book I have had many people ask me if it would ever be available for purchase either physically or digitally. Unfortunately I do not have a means to physically publish this book at the moment. However I can publish it digitally and on top of that I can give it to people right now. Starting today you will be able to download a PDF of this guide through Gumroad (above!) all for the price of whatever you feel it is worth. Want it for free? No problem. Want to kick in a dollar or two? Swell!
Like many people my age that grew up with video games, I have a strong fondness for old strategy guides, instruction manuals and game magazines. Many of these resources would be full of cool illustrations that you couldn’t see anywhere else. In the case of Nintendo Power they would often have unofficial art drawn just for their guides and previews. As companies have locked down art assets, publications tightened their art budgets and video game manuals have just about gone away, this style of guide book has all but vanished. This book is a tribute to those guides and magazines.
I hope you have as much fun scrolling through it as I did making it. Enjoy!
Like many people that grew up with video games during the late 80s and early 90s, I have a very strong appreciation toward the box art that Konami used to make for their games. Artwork on the covers of games like Turtles in Time, Super Castlevania 4 and Contra 3: The Alien Wars has stuck with and inspired me through the years. For many years, the box artist behind these games had gone nameless, but recently discovered to have been painted by a man named Tom duBois. It turns out that Mr. duBois is still painting incredible pictures, though very different from the commercial art he used to create for clients like Konami. Regardless, a few months ago I had the idea to paint up a series of covers inspired by his old artwork. Mainly to learn how to step my game up a bit in regards to digital painting, but also as a tribute to his work. The following are the images I created and below that the steps I took in order to try and emulate the work the best I could.
Last June I signed up for my first panel at a local convention called Too Many Games. Without dancing around it, the panel had about 7 people show up to it. Yeah, it was a bit of a failure, but I think the presentation had some good info in there! Since then I’ve been trying to think of a way to share the presentation with everyone and I decided to do it through this blog post. This way, unlike recording a video, I can update it if I feel there was something I missed or would like to include later. I hope that you find this useful.
A few years ago I made a handful of anime inspired shorts for Maker Studios’ Nacho Punch channel. These three shorts did really well across YouTube and I learned much during the production of them. I wrote all of these with guidance from Vernon Shaw (who runs Hot Pepper Gaming and now works for Game Grumps), and his input was of great value. Vernon taught me lots of good tips on what it takes to make solid shareable content. The following is what I learned from making these three (Star Wars: The 1980s Anime, Harry Potter: A Cyberpunk Adventure, and Tokyo Ghostbusters) shorts.
Note: Click the image above for a full size version!
Today I wanted to give a quick shout out to our first short, Candy Corns. It’s hard to believe but it has been exactly 10 years since I uploaded the original Candy Corns short onto Newgrounds.com!
Though Shamoozal existed before this date, which was essentially only a forum and the Zoinks teaser cartoon, Candy Corns was the first short starring Grey and Jacquo and also the first short I tried to get people to see. I knew I wanted people to watch my work, but at the time, I didn’t know of any other ways. After doing some searching I found Newgrounds and promptly uploaded the short. The rest, as they say, is history.
Candy Corns is an absurd short, something I put together mostly over the course of a weekend. I’ve written about it before so I’m not going to bother repeating myself. Sadly, I don’t have a new Grey and Jacquo short to celebrate this momentous occasion. Even more sad, it’s been 3 whole years since we last saw Grey and Jacquo in the much forgotten Candy Corns 2. All I have to offer you is the above newly created artwork. I wanted to in some small way tip my hat to the short and these two characters, if only enough to make a handful of people smile. I wanted this to look like the classic shorts, and I sampled nearly all of the colors from Candy Corns. Those colors aren’t fantastic, but I wanted this picture to seem pretty authentic. Of course I did not create it in Flash, but I’m hoping the Photoshop paint job has its own charm.
I will say I was having lots of fun drawing these two again, and while doing so my mind was coming up with all sorts of ridiculous ideas. It would be fun to have another go with these two.
If you’re actually reading this it means you have probably stuck around with Shamoozal for an extremely long time, and I honestly can’t thank you enough for your support. It means the world to me and I’m sorry if I ever let anyone down in regards to the shorts. Thanks for reading, and a big thanks to all the support from Newgrounds over the years and a biiiig Happy 10th Anniversary to Shamoozal!
The last few Thursdays I have been doing Request Nights on Twitter. I usually come up with a slight theme and then ask users for their drawing requests. Depending on my mood, I’ll either spend time on one drawing or a whole bunch of short ones. So make sure you follow me on Twitter and be on the look out for Thursdays. Hope to see your request!
Here are some samples from previous nights!
Don’t mind me while I try and update this site.
Edit: I’ve made some progress here. This is going to be a slightly on going process but the essentials are in place. Thanks!
Oh boy, I can’t believe this is my first official post for 2014! I really intended to start doing regular blog updates again, but ehhh, whatever. So here is the latest.
I literally just turned in a new video to Nacho Punch. I don’t know when it’ll go live. Could be tomorrow, could be weeks from now. I have no idea. It’s a Harry Potter thing. Star Wars: The 1980s Anime did so well for Nacho Punch (it is still currently their most watched video as of this writing) that they decided to make the “1980s Anime” thing into a series. The first (well second) up is Harry Potter: The 1980s Anime. I’ve spent the last two months working on it as much as I possibly can. I don’t know if it’ll look it or not, but I really kicked my ass putting this thing together.
It was actually a pretty big decision to go ahead with this Nacho Punch deal. Star Wars was fun to create, but the idea of doing 6 more episodes just like Star Wars was kind of scary. Trying to hit deadlines and trying not to beat the joke into the ground were/are things I’m worried about. So my goal here is that even though they’re being branded as “The 1980s Anime” to really try and hit all sorts of types of anime during that decade. Where as Star Wars was secretly a Voltron episode, Harry Potter is (maybe not so) secretly a tribute to Akira. I think it has a very different tone than Star Wars, and I’m hoping that as I roll along with these shorts that I’ll be able to do something unique with each of them. After all, they can’t all end with things turning into robots.
So I’m glad to have it wrapped up. I’m going to give myself a few days off and then roll right into the next one. You should expect these every other month or so. It’s gonna be a busy year.
Yesterday I launched a new YouTube channel called Super Game Corps. It’s going to be mainly be a Let’s Play channel, but I do hope to add in some other type of videos in the future to help with the variety a bit. This isn’t something I’m going to be spending loads of time on, so please don’t think I’m giving up on Shamoozal. I’m not. This is just a fun project my nephew and I will be doing together for a few weeks. Depending on how much steam we pick up over the next few months will determine if this is something I’m even going to continue doing work on.
So go ahead, check out the videos and if you have room in your life for yet another Let’s Play channel, be sure to subscribe!