Category Archives: Uncategorised

Earth-Chan, How Moe Girls Make You think

Ok so chances are, if you’re the sort of person who reads this blog you know what an anthropomorphic personification is. Or at least, you might have read Sandman once, in which case Death, Dream, and all the others are exactly that. Things and concepts turned into people essentially.

A subset of that is Moe anthropomorphism. Moe being a bit of Japanese slang for having “deep feelings for” fictional characters. So what you end up with is cutesy characters, based on random shit, designed to be adored. The end result of that is a pantheon of cutesy anime girls that look like half arsed cosplays of everything from Microsoft Windows…

… To ISIS.

The characters seem to verge on mascots in most commercial cases, and humanized representations when they magically spawn out of the anime board ether. The characters often exist to take the piss, as was the case of ISIS-Chan who was designed to be a counter SEO tool that spammed up google search results and dilute Daesh’s propoganda.

The most recent moe anthropomorphism of this has been Earth-Chan, No points for figuring out what she’s representing. Her defining features is her blue hair and green continents spread around, because that’s the easiest way to tell anime characters apart. She’s usually wearing a NASA T-shirt these days as well. I say “these days” as though she didn’t appear mid November 2017. 

However what made her a fun concept to start off with was that she’s used as a gag about flat earth theory, commonly using the anime trope of being insecure to tell people that “I’m not flat!”

This idea originated from Twitter, then jumped to Deviantart (where she picked up the surgical mask), skipped to Reddit and promptly exploded on r/animememes.

Since then all the other planets have had characters made and the low hanging fruit of jokes have been picked. But somewhere along the way the character has become the face of eco-consciousness. If there’s going to be one thing that makes people recycle it’s going to be a sick looking earth anime girl with big eyes saying she still loves you even though you’re a fucking monster.

In this case we can see that the catalyst for the characters creation was a straight up gag, but the concept of Moe in general is interesting.

Why do we make these characters? Japanese psychologists can’t really agree, some would say that this sort of thing is a certain sort of sexuality, in which case Earth-chan is a gateway drug to get people into literally fucking the planet.

To be fair, Tamaki Saitō, the psychologist I mentioned doesn’t think people externalise this sexuality, but rather keep it in their fantasy bubble, I just really wanted an excuse to embed that ecosexual video.

Others see moe as borderline between lust and romantic love with a made up character. In other words interest can be maintained.

In terms of propoganda, this is the perfect tool, and the perfect balance. We’re all already aware that sex sells, and in the west we’ll chuck a half naked chick on anything if we think it’ll help sell more product. For social causes PETA will pull big name actresses for nude photoshoots to grab attention. However using cartoons in the west hasn’t caught on the same way it has in Japan.

In the 70s, someone in the Japanese government noticed that people start giving a shit when things are in comic form. Official information started getting churned out with kawaii characters. Even a 47 volume Manga History of Japan got produced and is now considered an official educational resource.

Years later the Japanese Defence Force reluctantly decided to get involved, and now you see things like this:

Moe characters that keep you constantly touching base with whatever they represent is a perfect propoganda tool which elicits a cognitive and emotional response. Used in the right hands it can get you thinking about recycling, learn your constitution and dissuade you from joining Islamic terror cells.

And sometimes, it’s done just for the lols.

Hits of 2017

Another year out of the way, and it’s looking like my Soundcloud playlist is significantly smaller than it has been in previous years. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come. Although recent adverts on the service have been bothering me enough to turn it off occasionally. I’ve signed up for a 3 month trial of Spotify so no more ads there but it’s just not the place you find random offcuts and interesting odds and ends.

I’ve kicked this list off with Party Favor, because while Baywatch may have been dumb it had some great catchy summer tunes. Because I really don’t want you to miss out on this one 8bit track I’ve chucked at #2. It’s a lot of fun and will have you tapping along.

The playlist eventually mellows out to more ambient stuff before concluding with Zelda. Because if anything, this was the year of Zelda. It won a ton of awards and will forever have a place in my heart. Matt bought us a Switch as a wedding gift, and we spent a hefty chunk of our honeymoon discovering the world of Breath of the Wild. So whenever I hear music from that game, even the small plunks on the piano, it takes me right back to relaxing for weeks on Waiheke Island with my new wife.

Merry Christmas Face 2017

Christmas Girls: 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Wow, I’ve been doing Merry Christmas face since blogspot was a thing. No more picture references, that shit looked gross!

I’m pretty happy with how this year shook out in the end. It was a bag of dicks most of the time but it’s turned out great. Most of my mates have houses now, two even moved in right next door, which will make masturbating on the deck a lot harder (if you know what I mean).

I got a new job, which was a gargantuan job. I had it since I was out of uni, and it was eating away as me as a person. I was essentially a husk that was just dipping in and out of wanting to just end it all. Killing yourself is just so much easier than getting a CV together.

Art wise I feel like I’ve been coming up against my weaknesses more and more. But that’s better than never confronting them at all. I have a long way to improve, and you guys are going to see it all happen live on the strip.

In terms of looking forward next year we’re hoping to get fiber installed. This should mean we’ll be back onto regularly streaming on Twitch for you guys! Our uploads are just too unpredictable at the moment. But we’re excited to get back into it. Maybe even do a couple gaming things with Becky.

Merry Christmas everyone, You’re all the best!

Sephone Studies

I did a bunch of pieces of Sephone, who was the scifi tech noir chick from a couple weeks back. I originally shared them on twitter. but everything just disappears there and I’m conscious that some day I’m gonna want an easy way of looking back at these.

Below is the first one I did, and is what I used to give Kristof an idea of the sort of world I wanted to create. He took it from there and we fleshed out the world a little more together. He’d ask me questions and any I didn’t have any specific answers to he filled in.

I’ve been doing these portraits a lot recently, and I really enjoyed giving her a more round face, it just never ended up happening in the final comic though, But I guess sharp features are more representative of who she is as a character than this baby face version.

I loved the colour palette so much I had to have a go and see how it looked in my old pixel art style. Not that bad.

Drawing With the Note 8

Dat ass, drawn on Artflow, the free version.

I instantly fell in love with the Note 7 when it came out. Then the news started to come out and all of a sudden my open love letters to the phone on social media began to get responses like “blown up any planes with it yet?”

Samsung eventually figured out that the fault was just a battery one, and not the phone itself, but the damage had been done and a full recall was made. My heart was broken.

But now Samsung is back, and you can bet they made sure that there was going to be no repeat of last time. The Note 8 is absolutely massive with its 6.3-inch quad-HD+ AMOLED HDR display that sticks out the top of my pocket. It’s softkeys only enhance the size more as it almost goes edge to edge. The left and right sides have the iconic curve going on that give it that infinite feel.

Since it’s last iteration the Note has picked up a new button on the left hand side underneath the volume. This is the Bixby key, and is Samsung’s desperate attempt at making you use its AI. I did end up using it more often than usual, and its voice recognition of my slurred kiwi accent was great! It did require my to put on an American drawl like OK Google has.

A major factor for my love of the Note 7 was it’s pressure sensitivity and S Pen. Yes, a stylus these days might seem quaint, but having the option is great for artists and people like my dad who have massive sausage fingers. All this is available in the Note 8, and I spent plenty of time drawing on it. It may be nostalgia speaking but I don’t recall the button on the S Pen having software attached to it. When you click it a quick menu appears along the side of the screen, giving you a quick way to jump between apps.

This is fine for most people, but as an artist I was hoping to be able to customise what the button did some more. Artflow, the app I used for most of my drawing, used the clicker to colour drop which means it’d be perfect for mixing and blending colours as you go. My only problem was that every time I’d click it I’d get the colour dropper AND the samsung software jumping up all at once. As far as I can see there’s no way to disable the feature.

Photography on it’s duel cameras is beautiful taking brilliantly wide photos. And I got it wet a number of times and the Note was able to withstand it just fine. Also its Snapdragon 835 and 6GB RAM was able to process everything I did quickly and efficiently.

The Note 8 is my favourite phone I’ve reviewed in a while. If you’re an artist, or appreciate a massive screen and a flawless experience, then you really need to consider the Note 8.

Using the Cintiq Pro 16 to Make Comics

The Cintiq name is one that’s always bandied around creative circles with a certain amount of jealousy. If there’s one thing that creatives covet it’s top shelf tech from Wacom. Until now my wife and I have gotten by on a entry level Bamboo Pen & Touch and a nice Intuos Pro. With these sorts of tablets you can get by just fine, but there’s always an initial culture-shock when your drawing is disconnected from where your pen is. You draw on the table and watch your strokes in front of you on your screen.

So it was with much excitement that we were able to get our hands on the Cintiq Pro 16″. There’s a smaller 13″ model but we went straight to the top. It’s the first 4k screen we have in the house, able to pump out Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) at 60hz. Drawing straight onto the the anti-glare, etched-glass surface is like drawing right onto paper. The friction is just right. It really does feel like a premium drawing experience.

The big test is always the pen lag for me. Having the cursor falling behind your quick strokes can make or break the feeling of drawing digitally. The Cintiq holds up just fine in this regard and the product does as much as it can to stay out of the way and let me draw.

Across the top right of the screen is a row of touch buttons that control finger touch, onscreen keyboard, tablet mode (in case you’re sick of looking at your work in brilliant 4k) and various other handy modes for diagnostics. Apart from a power button on the top these are about the only buttons you’ll find on the Cintiq. There are no hotkeys running down the side, so if you have a setup where you can’t reach your keyboard you can get an expresskey remote. Built into the software for the Cintiq however is a radial menu that you can drop anywhere onscreen as a quick way to save, undo, etc. I ended up using a hybrid of keyboard and radial menu.

Macbook users will have a great time with setting it up as it takes USB-C for video and data. PC users may have a slightly harder time if they don’t have any USB-C slots in their machine. Wacom thought of this though and provides a Link adaptor which splits the USB-C into a regular USB and a mini DisplayPort. I was out of luck here as well and had to get a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable to get up and running. Official word from Wacom is that this method will only allow your resolution to reach 1440p, a resolution which is still totally fine to work with, but smart people out there have pointed out if you make sure your Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable is rated for 4k you should have no problem getting 4k at a 60hz refresh rate. You paid for it so you may as well get the most K’s out of your Cintiq as possible.

I’m not going to lie though, it was a real bitch of a thing to set up at first. Touch sensitivity wasn’t running at first and I was rummaging with cables for ages. I think legacy drivers from my last tablet were hanging around fucking the whole thing up. After I cleaned all those out, and had all my other monitors unplugged it started working. I’m pretty sure the Wacom doesn’t enjoy having to share the graphics card with two other monitors either (although I’ve seen them working for other people).

Becky also has occasional issues where the tablet will turn itself on and off randomly (maybe a lose connection or accidentally tapping on of the hotkeys at the top of the tablet). This totally breaks the flow because the drivers don’t always kick back in, meaning we need to restart the drivers and close down photoshop to bring back pressure sensitivity. This is perhaps our biggest issue with it at the moment, apart from having a hard time getting at our keyboard, which is wedged inbetween the screen and the tablet.

The size isn’t quite 16″ at 15.6″ or 39.6cm for regular people. This doesn’t make for as snappy a name though, and the surface area is more than enough to lean on and do long liberal strokes.

The back of the Cintiq are two feet that flip out to prop it up. They’re super rigid and the first time you use them you might feel like you might snap them off by accident when you’re clicking them into position. They’re sturdy though so don’t fret.

Finally it comes with a Wacom Pro Pen 2, which is 4 times more pressure sensitive than its predecessor. It works without a battery and has natural tilt support. It has everything you’d expect, rubber on one end, nib on the other, the two buttons on the side, and of course a ring near the nib you can swap out with one of the other provided colour rings.

If you’re thinking of making the jump into drawing digitally you’ll find the Cintiq will ease the process. Even moving from a regular tablet to a touchscreen I found the amount of undos I had to do decreased. I usually try and do long unbroken lines with quick slashes to make the line work look as smooth as possible. This style got a lot easier to achieve now that I was looking directly at what I was doing. There is no disconnection between you and the computer, you can draw like normal.

Its the digital drawing version of eating really good Russian fudge; melt in your mouth good.

Art Dump November

Recently I got my hands on a Cintiq Pro 16 through work, and it’s given me a new lease on drawing. It got me excited again ya know? I know it’s sad to let your passion be dictated by toys and trinkets and fads but I didn’t make the rules here. I’m just letting the ol’ lizard brain lead me around.

I’ll drop a review of the Cintiq here tomorrow I reckon, but just check out a couple of the drawings I’ve done on it recently which haven’t made it onto the posts for the comic.



The site is still looking garbage after I switched the theme over a couple weeks ago. What we traded for a nice e-commerce look we lost in post formatting. Although I guess the last one didn’t look that great either in

that department. I gotta continue working out the gross little quirks it has. But at least the original piece of IZS now has a little bit more of a highlight on the front page. This blog area sort of took a massive step out of the spotlight for a while which didn’t really give me much a reason to write anything here.

Here’s today’s recommended track, if it doesn’t make you tap your toe then go see a psychologist or an ear doctor because you’re deaf mate.

Min Min – Arms

Buy the sticker here!

I’m loving the new IP’s Nintendo has been working on. Their art direction with Splatoon and ARMS is awesome. They just need to keep this pace up. Min Min was the most requested character after I initially did Twintelle.

Yesterday we got back from Tauranga Zinefest. It was an awesome weekend seeing mates and selling merch. People really dug our prints. I really need to get them onto our online store. People also loved Becky’s handmade ceramics, which we might also be chucking into the store soon.

Keira Hagai – Jak & Daxter

This pixel girl came as a suggestion from Rachel, someone who dug through my google doc, and found it wanting. I recommend that you should do the same! I’ve been off my game keeping the doc up to date, so you’ll probably see a lot of new kick ass female protagonists who haven’t made it onto the doc yet.

Here’s Keira, and trust me, you don’t want to image search her. Time has not been kind to those old Playstation graphics.

Buy this as a sticker right now!