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Blog

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

 

Street Figher! ... The one nobody plays.

Mark Marianelli

After I finished the last Mortal Kombat illustration, I wanted to do more fighting games. However, I really didn't want to burn myself out on some of the incredibly bland characters that came out after Mortal Kombat 4. So I turned to the Godfather of fighting franchises - STREET FIGHTER! But rather than follow my gut and just do a Street Fighter 2 illustration, I thought it'd be a fun idea to start with the first game... I really wish I had just stuck with Mortal Komba now.

Who can forget such classic characters as Mike... and Joe. Let's just say there's a reason people forget that Street Figher 2 has a 2 at the end of it. The first game featured one of the most boring rosters I've ever seen in a fighting game since Pit Fighter. Needless to say this particular drawing was a bit of a chore, but then how many opportunities to you get to draw Ryu with red hair and dainty slippers? The glass is half full, my friends...

There were some more enjoyable aspects going on behind the scenes - I recently got an iPad Pro and the over-priced Apple Pencil (I caved after wasting $22 on the Adobe Ink only to find the battery was so dead that it didn't even attempt to charge) so 90% of this illustration was done using Procreate. I never thought I could be pulled away from my beloved Cintiq 13HD, but you can't beat the portable nature of having an iPad - plus the amount of money I'm going to save on sketchbooks will practically pay for the Apple Pencil itself. I stilled used the Cintiq for a few items, and at the end of the day, I'd be screwed without it, but foreal - Procreate is DELIGHTFUL.

I'm realizing that last paragraph was probably the most tedious bit of reading any non-digital-artist has ever been forced to endure. For this I apologize.

I imagine Street Fighter II will be next in line, I can't imagine I would put myself through drawing this awful game for nothing... Though I'm a tad bit frightened, Street Fighter 2 is so iconic that I feel I'm incapable of doing it any justice. Literally every character in that game is a video game legend... Eh, I've butchered better games.

Here's hoping I'll have the next one done in a reasonable amount of time... Clock is ticking on baby #3 and once that little bugger is released upon the world that's basically the end of my free time until 2036.

Till then!
~ M.