Logo design process work, the First 11 Days— Daily Logo Challenge 2019

Process work for the first 11 days of my Daily Logo Challenge. For those curious, Harris Robert’s Daily Logo Challenge are email prompts you can subscribe to that is automatically sent to your inbox everyday for 50 days straight. Those prompts inspire you to create logos, push boundaries, and improve yourself— and I have found this practice invaluable. I’ve been out of practice since graduating college, and can already see tremendous improvements in my logo design process.

Here are the process work for the first 11 days, I make it a point to show my work whenever possible so people can learn from it.

I’ll upload the completed logos for those 11 days in another post.

You can follow my progress day by day on My Instagram, @justonky.

Thumbnails for my new logo

So I’ve been doodling up some ideas for a new logo. Hopefully something will come of it.

Actually, I’ve already started on some vector thumbnails. Still unsure if I need one per se, but it would make for a fun branding project.

Dabbling in Webcomics

So earlier this year I started to dabble in webcomics, and while that was fun, my focus eventually went into the arts in general, and the next thing I knew, I had picked up digital painting. If I had to do a comic now, I would be far more skilled. When you’re learning something, your art style tend to change very quickly, which honestly is a bad time to be doing a comic of any sort.

I also attempted an actual serial, called Savage Yeeden, but for the same reasons I had given that up (also more on that later).

These are really here for archival purposes, but please enjoy them— I think I told some pretty funny jokes.

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Hellboy (2019): Concept Art in Film Form.

Hellboy (2019): Concept Art in Film Form. A Positive Review.

Alright. I watched Hellboy (2019) by Neil Marshall.

First of all, I am not a fan of gore, and I don’t like it anymore than the average human. DOOM and MKX? That’s too much for me (doesn’t stop me from loving the Doom Lore, or playing MKX mobile). So, no, I am not a fan of how much gore there was— yes it’s that dark in the comics (even without specifically saying so), but implication goes a long way. I am fine with some gore, I have seen Repo: The Genetic Opera….twice now. And that level of gore was acceptable. I do vastly prefer gore to psychological horror. I’ve watched Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, and that’s a movie that I would never want to watch again because it was a mind trip. Psychological Horror is a greater bane of my sanity than blood ever will be.

A warning, the film is not for faint of heart. It’s….stimulating.

Now that we have that out of the way….

PLOT: HELLBOY makes perfect sense to me. I get that people who have never seen the comics are very lost (they introduce a new character every 10 minutes basically, with little to no explanation). It definitely feels like a sequel to a whole series of movies that came before. It side-steps this issue somewhat with copious use of flashbacks (that unfortunately makes little to no sense to people with little exposure to Hellboy comics, the Occult, or Old Wives’ Tales). I have to say that fans of the comics need not fear a lost of logic, or understanding of what the film is doing. You know your Hellboy lore and the film makes sense.

LOBSTER JOHNSON: Also Lobster Johnson! If the universe was fair, audiences would be cheering as loudly as when Captain America appeared in Infinity War. Alas, the universe is not fair, and most people probably blink their eyes and asked themselves, “Who the hell is that rando?”. But what a treat for the fans.

PACING: The intro took the effort to tell us what went down with Vivian Nimue, King Arthur and Merlin. And sped through it lightning fast. It was one of the most underwhelming intros to a film I have ever seen. I mean, MY GOD, I think the pacing issue was the most severe here.

HORROR DIRECTING: It’s very obvious Neil Marshall was experienced with directing horror. The entire film was shot from angles that was more reminiscent of horror movies than an action movie. Which, kind of actually makes sense? But Hellboy in the comics was more Noir I think. An action movie pretending to be horror based on Occult Pulp Detective Noir is….not working.

WEIRD CUTS: Several areas where there was a weird cut. Nothing that damages the continuity, but you do get the very obvious feelings that there was a jump in the same scene, and character positions teleported between one frame and the next (I don’t mean actually teleporting, which several characters did within the actual story because they have magic). Not a huge problem, but the fact that it’s obvious is not a good sign.

PROFESSOR BROOM IS ALIVE: Him being alive is probably the best decision in the entire film. Anchored the whole thing together. Actually, every actor did a fantastic job.

GOOD ACTING: There wasn’t bad acting here. But Hellboy’s character was a bit….odd.

OUT OF PLACE MORAL STRUGGLE: That is, the somewhat forced “am I a monster or a human” thing didn’t really come across properly, and it took him no time at all to decide that Nimue was evil? The hell?

ANTI-SEXY: Nobody asked to see the Baba Yaga kiss Hellboy. Nobody. Also surprising lack of nudity…like, gore is okay, but full frontal is bad? *rolls eyes* But given that Antichrist (2009) is the opposite of sex appeal, I very much agree that this is okay in a “horror” movie (except it’s not! It’s a pseudo-action movie— borderline an exploitation film).

TOXIC MASCULINITY(???): The weird subtext of “Man up, my whiny son” doesn’t really fly in 2019, but Professor Broom is a relic from WWII, so I guess he’s just old fashioned. In any case, it is assumed that the two have a deep and caring relationship underneath all the anger and mistakes (that was more told to us, rather than shown). Feels like a cop out for real philosophy or emotional content. Then again, I never expected one from the film.

EPIC IMAGERY: I will not run out of fan-art to try and draw. The Artbook, if it ever comes out, is probably a BETTER product than the film itself.

THE VERDICT: I like it. Ignoring the excessive gore, the film has decent acting, a straightforward but sensible plot, stays true to the comics’ universe (mostly), and provides enough fantastical imagery to form a hundred metal album covers. The fan-art potential is through the roof. If you need to ask yourself what you’re really buying into when you watch Hellboy, the answer is: You are buying a spectacle, an idea, a trailer for all that is awesome and mind blowing (and gory and disgusting). Something to inspire your mind to creative endeavours, like character design, or painting, and maybe you’d also blow off the dust on your secret stash of metal and rock albums and give it a go.

Film Critics are trying to critique it as if it is a stand-alone Hellboy movie, but it should be considered a companion to the comic books. Rather than simplifying a complex universe (and spreading it out into several films) for the general audience as MCU did, Hellboy just dived right in, and assumed you had, you know…read the comics.

It’s concept art in film form. It’s a death metal album in film form. But it is not…not really a great film.

Where should Hellboy go from here on out? Someone did suggest a Black & White Film was a good idea. Considering the comics was basically German Expressionism, I think that’s a brilliant idea. Perhaps an Indie Project. Something as unique and special as Hellboy should not stay dead.

The Goddess of Maritime China

Mazu Tomb
The Tomb of a Goddess in Nangan, on the Matsu Islands. Prince Roy [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
There is an intricately sculpted tomb in South-East Asia. Few outside of the Chinese community knew that a goddess was buried here.

This here is Lin Moniang’s tomb in Nangan in the Matsu Islands, where her body washed ashore after she died at the age of 28 (Lunar Year).

She was a Fujianese shamaness from Meizhou island in the 10th Century who was later deified as the sea goddess Mazu. Moniang was said to wear a bright red dress to act as a beacon for ships approaching land.

She was herself apparently a devout Buddhist Scholar. In her role as shamaness she was also a rainmaker and diviner. She could apparently exercise psychic powers at great distances; her principal legend concerns her use of this power to rescue her family from a storm via trance.

In one record, she drowned attempting to find her missing father. After her death, she apotheosized into a goddess. Her small cult grew dramatically after one of the Song Emperor’s envoys was rescued at sea by her apparition in the 11th Century. Overtime, Her cult absorbed the cults of other deified shamanesses and local gods in the region, and became a major religion.

She is a goddess of the sea, travel, childbirth, motherhood and even contraception. Mazuism is considered a distinct but related religion to that of Shenism and Taoism, but she can be found in Buddhist temples as well (and some traditions regard her as an avatar of Guanyin). She is always depicted with her two subordinates, Qianliyan and Shunfeng’er, two redeemed demons with the powers of Clairvoyance and Clairaudience, respectively.

A statue of Mazu, with her two guardian generals.
A statue of Mazu in the Kinmen Islands, Republic of China, with her two guardian generals, the redeemed demons Qianliyan and Shunfeng’er. The original uploader was Koika at Chinese Wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

As the patron deity of Taiwan and of other Hokkien and Fujianese diaspora groups around the world, Her worship can be found on nearly every island and coast where the Chinese peoples have travelled (and therefore also in countries where Chinese peoples are a minority).

As a patron of sea travel, her temples was almost always the first to be erected. Even Admiral Zhang He (15th Century) began actively patronizing her temples after he credited the safe journey of one of his voyages to her intervention— despite being a Muslim; it is suggested that his primary religion is actually Mazuism.

In 1683 she was conferred the title of Tianhou (Queen of Heaven) by the Qing Dynasty after she allegedly helped Marquis Jinghai of the Qing conquer Taiwan from the Ming Loyalists (oddly enough, she was also said to have helped the Ming Loyalists conquer Taiwan and drove out the Dutch).

The Qing government also credited her intervention with their victory over the French at the battle of Tamsui during the Sino-French War in 1884. 

bombardment_of_tamsui
French warships bombarding Tamsui District, Taiwan.

In this way, she is a war goddess also.

She also makes spiffy art on the walls of my house.

A Pop Art screenprint of Mazu.
A screen printed poster of what I have identified as Mazu (uncertain). It’s up on our wall.

© 2019 JUSTIN C. HSU