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Blog

What's been on my plate as of late? Nothing great. Don't hate.

Mark Marianelli

Figured I'd blog a little while I'm waiting for my iPad to charge. After finishing up my Marvel Colorform Playset project (which I'm yet to actually blog about), I found myself in a creative rut. I kind of thrive on having projects to work on, so when I have nothing lined up it drives me a little nutso. I've attempted a few projects that I quickly gave up on for one reason or another. One involved a series of Hulk Hogan illustrations which I may revisit, but I wasn't terribly happy with how it was turning out... Also, are people still mad at Hogan? I can never keep up.

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Well long story short, I decided to illustrate another Mortal Kombat game... I don't know why I'm doing this to myself. I may have touched on it briefly in the last MK post, but after MK3, it really just becomes a chore to illustrate characters from those games. MK-Gold wasn't nearly as nightmarish as it could have been, and there was still some joy to be found in drawing characters like Quan Chi and Shinok. But O-M-G... MK: Deadly Alliance? I feel like I'm putting myself through purgatory. It actually feels like work. Every evening I look at who's next on the roster and I groan loudly. I'm convinced I'm never going to draw anything past this game because it only gets worse. The next game is MK:Deception, and the fighters are even less inspired... AND THERE'S MORE OF THEM. After Deception? Armageddon. An appropriate title considering it nearly killed my love for Mortal Kombat after a week of playing it. Armageddon boasts 62 characters. SIXTY-TWO!!! There's just no way. To put that in perspective, I'm 16 characters in to Deadly Alliance and I'm ready to throw in the towel. They're not even hard to draw, they just either suck, or I've already drawn them 4 times from the previous installments.

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It's not like I do this for a living. This is all for 'fun' so I can get a handful of likes on Instagram and feel validated as an 'artist'.

I've been thinking ahead about what I'm going to work on once this terror of an illustration is finished up because heaven forbid I talk myself into MK:Deception. There's a list of projects that I have, but each one at this point is going to require an immense amount of my time and I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to any of them just yet.

The first is remaking Pro Rock Paper Scissors as a non-flash game, something that can actually be played on any device or browser. In addition I'd like to 'recast' the game to add some more ridiculous characters and not rely on the East Valley comic for – hang on, my dog might be throwing up.

...

Do dogs throw up in their mouths? Is that a thing? What the heck was that... Yeah, we got a boxer last week. His name is Charlie (Brown) and he's awesome. He also freaks me out on a regular basis with either squeaky toys or barking in his sleep or, now, throwing up in his mouth? I literally don't know what else that could have been. It sounded like vomit, but then I looked over and he was just chewing air. Ugh, dogs.

Anyway, Pro Rock Paper Scissors. I'd actually like to create an AI for the game, not just random results - you're not playing the game anymore than you 'play' a slot machine. So that's on the list - seriously what the heck is this freaking dog doing, is that a snort? Did he seriously inhale his own vomit and it's in his nose now? Good lord, Charlie -  I'm thinking the new title will be "Pro Rock Paper Scissors Pro", I really want to drive home the Pro-ness.

Next on the list is actually finishing that freaking fighting game that I've attempted about 5 times now. It's getting done, son! In 2010 I tried to build it out in Flash. It got too complicated, I didn't know what I was doing, I got a job, I got married, I made babies and before I knew it I was on to other things... Then I tried again in 2012. I got a little further, got burned out and gave up. Then I tried again about 2 years ago, this time using GameSalad - I got far, then it turned out Gamesalad sucked and I gave up again. Than this year I attempted it AGAIN, this time using Stencyl. Same. Lots of progress, more than prior attempts, then Stencyl turned out to be wildly limited and I again shut it down. 5th time's a charm, right?

What else... I've got 3 comic ideas, a card game and who knows, maybe I'll start a record label.

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So that's where I'm at. New Mortal Kombat illustration in a week or so, then onward to other things...

Sheesh,
~ Mark

What I Do!

Mark Marianelli

I've got a ton of art I need to post on this site... I swear Instagram has just made me lazy as all get out. Don't let that keep you from following me on there though, because you should 100% do that. I always feel like I'm hemorrhaging followers on there from the ridiculous amounts of fake accounts and bot programs that just follow and unfollow constantly. And now I've gone and blamed my lack of following on bots... I'm actually one of those people.

So what have I been working on... Well for starters I've been working on surviving with an extra kid in the house. The Mrs and I had a baby in February (thank you, thank you) so there's that. I actually thought it'd interfere a ton with my regular hours of 10pm-I'm totally going to fall asleep driving to work o'clock but strangely enough not all that much has changed. If you're wondering why I'm really downplaying the new kid thing it's because I already get that out of my system on another blog which I should probably just absorb into this website somewhere so I can have one less password to forget.

After finishing up the last Street Fighter illustration I spent a little bit of time trying to think about what fighting franchise I'd tackle next. I thought about Tekken, Soul Calibur, Samurai Shodown, and a thousand others, but then I began thinking about how not simple their outfits are (babies make you incredibly lethargic) and decided I'd settle on something less complicated...

Simplicity at its finest! Though drawing that very subtle crowd in the background that's blocked by the logo and nobody notices was way more work than I wanted to put into this... I'm constantly finding ways to make things harder on myself.

Ease of illustration aside, Pro Wrestling is a game that practically defined my childhood nostalgia. If you play any of the music from this game (a whopping 3 songs? Maybe less?) I'll immediately collapse into a comatose state of nostalgic glory and will most likley fall victim to a 99.9% chance of soiling myself.

*Fun fact - "We're Coming to America" by Neil Diamond has a similar effect as well as the Mickey Mouse Splashdance cassette.*

Needless to say it's a fun game and I love it. Starman and Amazon were my JAM.

So anyway, I finished that drawing and moved on to the next illustrative adventure... Drawing characters until something stuck. Nothing really stuck for a while. I drew some really obscure oldies like Cool Spot and Yo! Noid, some more well known ones like Carmen Sandiego and Spy vs Spy, I even attempted a Tekken character and instantaneously had the inspiration sucked out of my body (yeah I don't think a Tekken drawing is going to happen any time soon). Then I just gave up and randomly drew Mario about to smash a Shy-Guy over the head with a giant POW block... A week later, this:

Interestingly enough (or maybe not?) the most challenging part about this drawing was that stupid logo. I don't even remember how I created it, there's literally no vector and/or hi-res images of the logo from that game. I don't even remember how I pulled it off, I probably traced it. I'm sure there was strong language involved in the process. Or maybe there was no vocalization involved at all, just intense, concentrated anger directed at my screen. But what's most important is that you forget that I as an artist wrote that I traced something.

Ha! Look at me using fancy words like ARTIST. I hate using that word, it sounds snobby, and it's really misleading when you tell somebody you're an artist and then proceed to show them a doodle of Mario smashing in a Shy-Guy's face with a POW block.

This is why maybe 3 people actually visit this site... 2 of them might be job recruiters because I forgot my password to Dice.com and I can't take my profile down.

To put myself in the zone for retro drawings like this I've been listening to a TON of synthwave music. Oh heck, even if I wasn't drawing old video games I'd be listening to it, it's just so dang catchy! Being the old fogey that I am, I hate new music. I hate the radio. I hate the VMAs and the MTV Music Awards. I just hate in general. So without a lot of new content to turn to, synthwave is what I got. It's perfect because it sounds old, but it's new... So I've found a loophole in the system.

My love of synthwave has led me to see a lot of neon colors and shiny objects from all these old school album covers and it began to rub off on me...

I just can't quit you, Marvel!! It was very hard to resist the urge to begin drawing every Marvel character in existence again, but I kept my faux-OCD in check and made sure I only drew the X-Men members that I loved the most. The only problem is that now I love how these turned out so much that I'm beginning to hate my old Marvel drawings and I really, really want to draw 400 more characters. Must... resist...

As I referenced with the neon and shininess of synthwave albums, I took a different approach to this illustration and instead of being incredibly muted with the colors and restrictive with the effects, I let myself have a little more fun and not be afraid to make things glow until it hurt the eyes. I'm really happy with the end result. What I found most interesting was the amount of X-Men who's power involves bright pink light. Ridiculous.

Since then I've been in yet another creative slump and I'm just drawing whatever... I'm clearly still flushing out the 80's nostalgia from my bloodstream:

Don't even get me going on how much I love Flight of the Navigator. I must have watched this movie 3 times a day when I was little (twice a day as an adult). So much awesomeness, and quite possibly one of the best musical scores from that era... It's literally a 10 minute soundtrack and it's better than most 45 minute ones. Assuming you love 80's cheese-synth.

Aside from that, I'm just drawing what comes to mind in the hopes that I'll come up with a really fun project. I do plan on doing another card deck of 90's WWE wrestlers, so there's that. I just need to get back on it, I'm 3 cards in... Progress is progress.

That's all I got for you! Get out of here!
~ Mark

Street Fighter! ... The one everybody plays.

Mark Marianelli

I'm not gonna' lie, it sucked the life out of me to illustrate Street Fighter 1, luckily Street Fighter II kept me on life support. I mean, the whole reason I even drew the first one was so that I could get around to drawing the second - it's the OCD in me. Nevertheless - Street Fighter II has been drawn!

I decided to go with the New Challengers version of SF2 (there's a million versions). It felt wrong to not include Cammy, but it felt even more wrong to waste time drawing Violent Ken and Dark Ryu. New Challengers always felt like the complete cast of SF2, and seeing as I have no intention to keep going with the Street Fighter series, I figured why not just draw the version I enjoy the most? Though I can't tell you how many times I almost forgot to draw Fei Long and Dee Jay, so freaking uninspired.

I debated for the longest time which background I was going to go with, they're all pretty iconic, and while it would have made more sense to draw Thailand or the Air Force Base, I went with Dhalsim's India stage. The decision came down to one incredibly important factor - laziness. I didn't want to draw a jet and I didn't want to draw more people - I just wanted to draw an elephant, cut and paste that elephant 5 times with minor tweaks and call it a day. I chose laziness over art and nostalgia and I have zero regrets.

I don't have much else to say about the drawing. Had this been a Mortal Kombat game, I could go on for pages about it and my life's experience with it - but Street Fighter II was never a game I devoted much time to. Let's be clear - my bias is completely wrong, Street Fighter II is the greatest fighting game of all time. It defined the genre, every character is iconic, the gameplay is ahead of its time and to say the music is legendary is an understatement. But I never owned a Super Nintendo and the one time I did play one was when my brothers rented it on a trip to my grandparents. We played a lot of Street Fighter II that week, then my brothers got into a fight over which game to play next; My Grandmother intervened and the Super Nintendo was never played again... My Grandmother was not to be messed with - pure Italian strength.

Put her in a Capcom game.
~ Mark