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Hirtenstraße 19, 10178 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 24041420
ouroffice@vangard.com
 

Cosamo’s Sketchbook

A social-media free, behind the scenes look at what I'm working on.

Mermay 2018 – Lineart

cosamo-mermay18-lineart-detail
cosamo-mermay18-lineart-full

Happy Mermay 2018 folks. Heck happy May holidays to everyone. Happy May the 4th. Happy Cinco De Mayo. Happy Piccolo Day (Google it). Happy Memorial Day. Happy Mothers’ Day. Happy  May! Happy summer break to all you students and teachers out there as well. They days keep getting warmer and longer and Spring is always nice.

Of course, I’m not even sure how Mermay came to exist. But here I am, drawing mermaids because they’re mythological creatures and they’re actually pretty cool. My third favorite musical as a kid was Little Mermaid. Lets be real here, Lion King was number one and Aladdin number two. Shout out to my folks who, with patience I cannot fathom, drove us a thousand miles to Disneyland with nothing more than the Lion King cassette on infinite repeat.

Also, here’s my Mermay entry from 2018 (above) and 2017 (below) and it’s a bit of fan art for a book called Rescue Sirens. I really liked the poses on these. Stay tuned for the colored version of 2018’s mermay art

mermaid1
mermaid2

 

Color Doggo

I Think My Mascot Should Be A Doofus Lookin’ Dog.

Color Doggo
Doggo Lineart

I’ve always been a fan of the Toby Fox-style online mascot. It’s the sort of thing where an artist is just represented by a small, harmless looking creature. In this case, I think a goofy looking dog with a hat and a backpack wandering through the wilderness works well. I feel like I should make stickers of this little fella and his friends. I mean, maybe I’ll draw this guy some friends and put them all on stickers so they can fill your life with strange doggo goodness.

Oh, by the way, the backpack is full of tea and art supplies, naturally.

Tea Maid Pri

Missing Drawing With Traditional Media.

I’ve been doing exclusively digital drawings the past month. It’s been busy with new art and a big pile of new commissions to take care of. But last night I decided to go and doodle in my little orange sketchbook again. This time around I’m doing another quick concept sketch for Everspring.

For people looking for commissions, I’ll be updating my site soon with new commission info and prices. Stay tuned!

Selkie Color

The Mysterious Selkie

Selkie Lineart
Selkie Color

Selkies are a transforming type of humanoid born form legends in Northern Europe. They can swim through the ocean as a seal and can remove their seal-skin when they want to go on land. I’m familiar with a few creatures that have similar shapeshifting abilities, but I can’t think of any that can be imprisoned if you capture their item that lets them shapeshift or a piece of them? Also, most of the stories are creepy stories about people taking their seal-skin as a prize and forcing the selkie into marriage. So that’s, you know, creepy.

Does anyone have a good myth or legend to share about them? Are there many contemporary stories about selkies? Please teach me! Until then please enjoy the commission I did recently of a Selkie character that a fan requested. I’m off to spend a few hours hunting down details on selkie lore.

Jane Doe Colored

“Jane Doe” — Lineart and Colored

Jane Doe Colored
Jane Doe Lineart

Drawing fur isn’t really my go-to for drawing characters but I really wanted to do a electric blue and earthy brown palette. Colored digitally with photoshop.

Ara the Tiefling

Ara the Tiefling Druid — Colored

Finished coloring “Ara” my DnD5e Tiefling Druid that I drew yesterday. Most druids seem to have a spring theme with lots of green and blues. I thought a purple skinned, devilish-looking tiefling would have the opposite of that; a “fall-druid.” I don’t know much about the DnD world yet TBH, so that might be a thing already. DnD experts can let me know?

Ara the Tiefling Druid

My New Tiefling Druid

I played my second session of Dungeons & Dragons this last weekend. Last time I tried it was over ten years ago! I built a character; a Tiefling Druid, but I didn’t end up using her. I was actually the DM. It went better than expected. First off, the D&D Starter Set is solid for someone who has never played of DM’ed before. Second, my friend who does improv was a hoot. Collaborative storytelling is the best.

Zea Sketch Concept Detail

Everspring Character Sketches

Zea Concept Sketches
Cowallian Tiderider Concept Art
Zea Sketch Concept Detail
Steppan Ranger Concept Sketch

Sketching out quick concepts like these help me plan out little details about cultures and characters; much more than just building out a character sheet that’s only a text-description. All of these sketches are worldbuilding sketches for Everspring, the novel I’ve been working on for a few months. I haven’t really been talking about too much since I’ve been knee deep in editing the first draft.

A little about the characters that I can tell. The woman with glasses is actually a character that got cut. She was a mage that had to get a side-gig working as a waitress. The mustache bearing man and woman with hat are both concept sketches for cultures within the same world. The former being a more sea-faring culture and the later being a highland desert culture.

Want to get more news about my art and projects? You can check me out on social. But if you’re looking to move away from that, sign up for my newsletter. →

Doki Doki Literature Club Fan Art

Thoughts And Fan Art For Doki Doki Literature Club

Natsuki Fan Art
Sayori Screenshot Mockup

Natsuki and Sayori illustrations I created, placed on in-game backgrounds from Doki Doki Literature Club. Backgrounds were created for Team Salvato by Laszlo Neserd.

Fan art post time! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting some fan art for the indy game Doki Doki Literature Club. For those of you who haven’t played it, I’ll warn you that this post is filled with spoilers about the game. If you’re interested in a unique story telling experience, head on over to Steam (Doki Doki Literature Club! on Steam) or Doki Doki Literature Club!’s site and give the game a download. It’s free and takes about 3 hours to play.

Okay, now the spoilers start. Last chance to turn back. 

Before I talk about Doki Doki Literature Club, it’s important to talk about what interactive art is. In a way, all art is interactive. An audience turns on a movie and watches a series of images that move by really, really fast. They are consuming that movie, but at a very low level they are interacting with it.

Sayori Thumbnail
Sayori Sketch
Sayori Line Art
Sayori Colored

Snapshots of the process for creating the Sayori fan-art: thumbnail, figure sketch, line-art and full colored sketch. For these I tried to match the colors to the in-game art for Doki Doki Literature Club.

Art is known for being consumable experiences. Interactivity is more of an afterthought. An audience views Picasso’s Guernica, listen to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, or read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird.  You experience these pieces of art, they inspire feelings and actions in you and that’s the end of the transaction. Maybe, if you really liked what it did to you, you come back again and again. Maybe it will inspire you to create something new. But you can’t paint over Guernica—or at least, that would be a generally horrible idea.

Now, interactive art has popped up a few times through out history. Im my humble opinion it started booming in the digital age. Computers could facilitate interaction on a much larger scale. Video games were one of the first big mediums that allowed this.

Now, you’ve probably played a video game. If not, how did you manage that? It’s almost 2020, come on. I know you’ve at least played Super Mario or Minesweeper or something. Anyways, the level of interaction a gamer has with a video game is much higher than other forms of art like movies or books. The actions a gamer takes will usually influence the story they experience and the feelings they’ll take out of it. People cannot experience a video game without interaction—it’s kind of how they work.

Interactive art mediums can provide experiences that traditional media cannot. Flash back to the 1990’s. Computers and gaming consoles were becoming a common thing in homes. Visual novels, a sort of digital comic book that you can interact with, grew as a fiction medium. Dating sims were born as the pulpy romance fiction of the visual novel world. 

With dating sims, you didn’t have to just read a story about the sordid love affair between the broad chested, but down on his luck firefighter and the beautiful, but under appreciated school teacher. Now you could be that firefighter! Now you could be that school teacher! What’s more, you could navigate a simulated dating experience where you could try to win the hearts of any number of romantic interests. 

These sorts of stories flourished in Japan and to a lesser extent in the USA. The doe eyed school-girl amine style were the norm. Naturally, that all sounds like kitchy pulp humbug. To be honest, often times it was. It wasn’t known for being fine art, or even art. (I mean, maybe erotic art, but that’s a completely different blog post.) It was something more like old penny dreadfuls, cult-classic B-movies, and horror zines—cheap, consumable and a worth little more than a short burst of feel-good endorphins. 

Then one winter day in 2017 DOKI DOKI LITERATURE CLUB comes, looking all pink and cute and harmless and just burns everything to the ground. The internet lost their collective minds. 

The title screen for Doki Doki Literature Club features from left to right: Sayori, Yuri, Monika and Natsuki. You play as the protagonist who is seeking to date any combination of these characters, if you dare.

Doki Doki Literature Club (or DDLC for short) is a narrative wolf in sheep’s clothing. It burst onto the scene in 2017 when Team Salvato, the game’s creator, decided to hit the indie scene with a saccharine-pink, sickeningly-sweet flavored wrecking ball.

There are five characters in the story. The first four are the dating options; Natsuki the tomboyish manga fan. Sayori your childhood friend, Yuri the reserved poet and Monika. I won’t say much about Monika, she’s just Monika. She’s the most popular one in class. The one everyone wants to hang out with if they were just cool enough to talk to her. The smartest, greatest heartthrob a dating sim protagonist, the fifth character, could hope for. That’s you. You’re the hapless classmate that stumbled into the literature club in the hopes of wooing one of it’s members.

I don’t mean that you’re playing as some character in the game. You’re the fifth character.

DDLC ends up selling itself as a dating sim, an interactive piece of wish-fulfillment. It lures you in with cute characters and pastel cuteness. Once the veil is dropped, it is an interactive psychological thriller. You’re the protagonist and there is, well lets call her an entity, that wants to keep you playing. Forever. So you could say things go bad here too. You have to defeat the entity. How? By digging into your own computer. You have to interact with this story or else you can’t experience it. It turns the room your in into the set of the story and damn if I didn’t get an erie chill while playing this.

If art inspires emotion and action, DDLC is undoubtedly interactive art. The disgust, anxiety, fear and paranoia you feel are more immersive than if you saw the same story presented as a movie or a paperback book. It takes full advantage of the medium to weave it’s dark story. When the entity starts talking to you, you look over your shoulder, just in case. When files go missing on your computer, a place you though was safe and outside of the narrative, you feel the anxiety that maybe you did stumble into something sinister. Like the entity that comes packaged up in DDLC, interactive art is not going to be stopped easily. It’s popping up more and more, in places that would have never expected it before. 

Have a good example of interactive art? Leave a comment and let me know. I’m on the hunt for good stuff. Want to get a higher level of interactivity with me and my site? Join my mailing list and get the important news about new art. →

 

HeartEyes.CBPK

HeartEyes.CBPK Process

HeartEyes.CBPK Pencil Sketch
HeartEyes.CBPK Lineart
HeartEyes.CBPK Shaded

Sketched, inked and shaded; My HeartEyes.CBPK print is ready for print. I’m really proud of this one, it seems like people are really into it as well. That’s always a nice feeling. Head on over to my Redbubble store to pick up a print! →

Cyberpunk hasn’t been talked about too much since the early 2000′s but has been getting a little bit of a resurgence in the last few months that’s to the upcoming release of Ready Player One and the recent release of the live action Ghost in the Shell movie.

If you’ve never heard it; Cyberpunk is a subgenre of the punk movement. Punk was a youthful movement that embraced a combination of a self-sufficient, DIY attitude with a big middle finger to established cultural dogma. It picked apart society and aimed to lay bare places where it was failing. This was most strongly, and most famously, expressed in music. Punk, as a genre, was born in the 70′s and 80′s.

Cyberpunk is pretty self-explanatory once you know what punk was. Punk turned a critical eye towards cultural norms. Cyberpunk did that through the lens of technology. It hit it’s stride in the 80′s and 90′s, when computers, digital communication and modern mega-corporations crept into everyday life. People started looking at how exciting new technologies and social structure would effect our life. How would humanity cope with new forms of artificial intelligence? What would a hack mean in a world that grew increasingly dependent on the digital world? What happens in a world where corporations are larger than some countries? What would a person’s identity be in a world where their digital identity image and identity could be faked?

Cyberpunk was expressed more through literature than music. “High Tech, Low Life.” It was the tagline of the genre. It focused on the dark and disturbing ways technology effected us. Authors explored how humanity would cope with this. Mix in a healthy dose of film-noir style and now you’ve got some good old-fashioned classic cyberpunk!

The aesthetic usually matches the current technology and fashion trends. Back in the 80’s and 90’s bulbous, lumpy robotic suits, the exaggerated headphones, goggles, the antennae and wires sticking out of everything. Beautiful people modified by technology almost to the point of falling into the uncanny valley. Dark, dingy streets contrasted against gigantic buildings. Fog, smog, rain and neon lights were everywhere. Damn, I loved that 80′s-90′s clunky cyberpunk aesthetic. It’s so nostalgic to me.

For a while, anime was my only window into the cyberpunk genre until The Matrix blasted onto the scene in 1999. I didn’t learn about many western cyberpunk classics, like Neuromancer, until a few years later. My friends had introduced me to the Ghost in the Shell and the Akira mangas as a teenager and they quickly became favorites of mine.

The Cast of Bubble Gum Crisis
Naomi Armitage

BubbleGum Crisis (left) and Armitage III (right). Do the plots hold up well now? Somewhat. 90’s anime has it’s flaws and many of them show up in both. Bad voice acting work? No doubt. Some scenes in Armitage III are especially rough. Clunky editing and reworking scenes for a western audience? Oh yeah. 

It was a unique time to grow up. I’m part of the last generation in the US to really grow up without an omni-present digital connection. Nowadays, the aesthetic has changed. Computers used to be big, wire-laden things. Now they’re sleek and clean and fit in our pockets. The cyberpunk aesthetic changed to match this too. So now we see shows like Black Mirror and movies like Ex-Machina or The Circle. The new style is white and shinny, almost sterile looking. Behind that clean-cut exterior authors and artists are still exploring dark cyberpunk style questions.

The genre was asking questions that are popping up almost weekly in the news now. I see the same sort of rejection of the cultural status-quo popping up, although with a different aesthetic, in the hipster and DIY movements. It’s still thriving across the internet in the wave of people fighting for social justice for long-oppressed social classes. It’s so, so awesome to see a new generation fighting like that!

Anyways, if you’ve made it this far in my post, thanks for reading! Leave a comment if you want to share a good cyberpunk movie/game/book or whatever. Or, heck, share some real-world examples. If you’re a big fan of cyberpunk, I invite you to pick up a print and show it off.

Want to get more news about my art and projects? You can check me out on social. But if you’re looking to move away from that, sign up for my newsletter. I promise I’m not secretly a large, villainous corporation bent on world domination.

(Or am I?)