Nick’s Blog

Here I will be sharing things such as behind the scenes of my projects, my Orthodox Christian faith, movie or cartoon reviews, and anything else that comes to mind.

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The Godzilla Fan

Published: October 18, 2019

My Re-creation of the Trendmasters Godzilla logo

This drawing is my re-creation of the Trendmasters Godzilla toy logo.

Way back in the 1990’s, there was a very popular Godzilla toy line by a company called Trendmasters. In the 90s, Godzilla toys were not easy to come by in the US, but thanks to Trendmasters, they opened the door for Godzilla toys and collectables to be widely available in all stores.

Below is a brief history of how I became a fan of that not so jolly green giant that breathes fire and destroys cities.

I’ve always been a Godzilla fan ever since I was a little boy. Why? Well, he’s a gigantic fire breathing mutant dinosaur! What more explanation is needed? I remember that fateful day when I first laid eyes on the behemoth. I was six years old, and was flipping through the channels hoping to find a cartoon to watch. Instead of a cartoon, I came upon a movie with a giant fire breathing dinosaur battling a robotic dinosaur. As a six year old, this was the most amazing thing I had ever seen! I was instantly mesmerized by these two titans battling to the death.

Godzilla book by Crestwood House

Not too long after, I found a book in my school library with a picture of a giant fire breathing dinosaur on the cover. And this was the exact same dinosaur from the movie that I had seen earlier! From this book, I learned that the dinosaur had a name, and it was GODZILLA! And the title of the movie I saw was Godzilla Vs MechaGodzilla! What an awesome title for a movie! πŸ˜†

From that day forward, as I learned more and more about Godzilla, and caught more and more of his movies on TV, he became my absolute favorite character. Oh, there were others such as He-Man, G.I Joe, Transformers, Spiderman, etc. But Godzilla had a very special place in my heart, so much more than others. He was the biggest, baddest, and the most powerful of them all! His movies were unlike any other, and the monsters he battled were beyond awesome: King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, Gigan, Biollante, Titanosaurus. Oh my goodness! Does it get any better then this?! πŸ˜…

Fast forward decades later, I still love to watch Godzilla movies. I own all the movies on DVD, as well as a collection of Godzilla figures and toys (you can click on the photo to see full size and more detail of my collection). I think I will never outgrow Godzilla. He will always remain with me. And the most wonderful thing is that today, I get to share my love for Godzilla with my beloved wife, who actually supports and encourages me to collect more and more Godzilla toys! Just a few months ago, we both went to theater to see Godzilla King of the Monsters. We saw it twice and both loved it! This movie brought back the little boy in me, who would sit glued in front of the TV while holding his Godzilla figure, and watching my childhood hero battle the three headed evil dragon from outer space! You know what? Not much has changed! πŸ˜„


Update – Father Gabriel Children’s Book Sketches

Published: July 22, 2019

Just wanted to give a quick update on the status of my Father Gabriel children’s book I’ve been working on. My apologies for the lack of updates lately, but life has been keeping me really, really busy.

Anyway, regarding my book. I have been working on a Father Gabriel’s children’s book for a long time now. The title will be “Father Gabriel Loves to Pray” and the plan was to self publish the book on Amazon and Apple iBooks. But, if God wills, I may be publishing the book with a well known publisher if all goals well. I don’t want to give too much away right now until I know for sure this is going to happen. Right now I just have to have a finished manuscript. I have the story completed, I am just working on the illustrations, which is the most time consuming part. Below are a few samples of page sketches. The finished pages will be more polished and will also be in color.

Father Gabriel Loves to Pray children's book, pg 12-13

This is from Pages 12-13 of the book. Here, Father Gabriel shows the importance of always praying before your meal. It is God who blesses us with food and when we pray before our meal we are showing our love and appreciation to God for always caring for our needs.

Father Gabriel Loves to Pray children's book, pg 14-15

This is from Pages 14-15 of the book. Here Father Gabriel shows the importance of reading the scripture as often as possible. Not only does God provide us with food for the stomach, but also food for the soul. Scripture, as well as other spiritual readings, nourishes our soul and keeps us closer to God.

Father Gabriel Loves to Pray children's book, pg 17-18

And finally, this is page 17-18. Here, Father Gabriel is walking in the woods while praying the Jesus Prayer. As Orthodox Christians, it is very important to pray the Jesus Prayer. There is much power and peace that comes from this prayer, which come from the use of our Lord’s name.

The Jesus Prayer has two important purposes. The first is worship as with all prayer. The second is a discipline to help our soul gain control our overactive brains and create stillness so the Holy Spirit can work through us and help us live the virtues in union with God. – Source: OrthodoxPrayer.org

For a long time, I have been debating whether I should do my illustrations as hand-drawn (if you consider drawing on my phone hand-drawn), or 3D computer illustrations using a 3D modeling/animation software such as Blender 3D. I still haven’t made a final decision, but I am going to keep on working on the illustrations the way I have been doing them (on my phone) until a change my mind.

Speaking of 3D Animation, I am also working on the third episode of my Father Gabriel animated series. Hard to believe it’s been three years since I completed the second episode. It’s too early to reveal anything about that right now, so I will leave that for a future blog post πŸ™‚

-Nicholas


Prayer Rule

Published: April 10, 2019

I love reading Orthodox Christian books! They are such a nourishing food for the soul! There isn’t a time when I am not in the middle of reading a particular Orthodox book. In fact, my character Father Gabriel wouldn’t be with us today if it wasn’t for these books!

As of this writing, I am reading a book about one of the Optina Fathers: “Elder Nektary of Optina” by I.M Kontzevitch. This is such an amazing and beautiful book about a very loving and holy monk that lived in the Optina Monastery in Russia. This is my second book that I am reading about an Optina Elder, and each book leaves me in tears sometimes when I read about the amazing lives that these holy monks lived.

While reading about Elder Nektary, I came upon page 315 of the book. Here, Elder Nektary is teaching a young man named Oleg (a future Bishop) how to pray. Here is an excerpt from page 315:

Once Elder Nektary, when giving a cell rule to Oleg, explained to him how to pray using the prayer rope. He told him about the “Optina Five-Hundred” prayer rule, consisting of three-hundred Jesus Prayers (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”), one hundred prayers to the Mother of God (“Most Holy Mother of God, save us”), fifty prayers to one’s Guardian Angel (“Holy Angel of the Lord, my Guardan, pray to God for me”), and fifty prayers to All Saints (“All ye Saints, pray to God for us”). In order to make the last prayer more understandable to Oleg, the Elder told him, “Just think! What a great thing it is to pray to All Saints. When you only say, ‘All ye Saints, pray to God for us,’ then at this very moment in the Heavenly Kingdom, all, all, all the Saints standing before the Throne of God will simultaneously bow down low before the Lord and all together will say, ‘Lord, have mercy.'”

I love this! The last sentence brought tears to my eyes. Can you imagine!? When you say this prayer to the Saints, all the Saints before the throne of God bow down to the Lord and pray for you! This is so comforting that the Holy people of God, who have spent their lives on Earth fighting the good fight, are now before the throne of God praying for us!


Why I draw with my phone

Published: March 21, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Artists usually draw with pencils, pens or brushes. In this wonderful modern age of technology, many artists draw using their computers (using a Wacom Tablet) or on their iPad (using an Apple Pencil). While I have drawn with the Wacom Tablets and the iPad in the past, most of the time I draw using my smartphone, specifically my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Why? Simple answer: convenience.

Not too long ago, I had to go to the dentist, and we all know how fun it is going to the dentist right? πŸ˜… Do you ever find it interesting that when you’re late to your dental or doctor’s appointment they give you a hard time for being late but never give the doctor a hard time when they’re late? Lol. Well my dentist was late. I ended up waiting an hour for him to finish with his current patient and finally be ready for me. But during that hour, I was actually busy working on a sketch for my Father Gabriel children’s book. I usually do this when I’m waiting for something or relaxing during my lunch break. I just pull out my phone (and stylus) and start working on one of my Father Gabriel projects, whether it is the children’s book or the web comics. I love the convenience and flexibility! 😎

I use a drawing app called Artflow Studio. It’s really an awesome app for drawing and painting, and I’ve used it for my Father Gabriel web comics, comic strips and other art.

Does this mean I will never pick up a real pencil or brush again? Or does this mean I will never use a Wacom tablet again? Of course not. I love those tools as well, and will continue using them from time to time. But for the most part, I will stick to my smartphone. It’s just the smart thing to do πŸ˜‰


Brother John (Character Sketch)

Published: March 28, 2017

Brother John (Character Sketch)

Introducing Brother John, an elderly monk and a good friend of Father Gabriel. Brother John is a character based on a very good friend of both me and my wife, who also happens to be an Orthodox Christian monk. In person, Brother John is a very humble and loving monk, and I wanted this quality to show in the face of my Brother John character.

In addition, I wanted my character to be an elderly monk, who’s lived as a monk for fifty years and rarely leaves his monastery. He first became a monk during his late teens, and has lived in the monastery on the giant tree stump for most of his life.

Brother John will appear in a future episode of the Father Gabriel animated series, and in addition I will also feature him in my Father Gabriel comic strips as well. So stay tuned!


Father Gabriel Sketch

Published: February 18, 2017

Just recently, I dug out my old Wacom Sapphire graphics tablet from the closet. I really haven’t used it in years. Because of my recent Father Gabriel comic strips, I thought I would bring this tablet back to life and do some sketching. You never know, I may do a future Father Gabriel comic strip using this tablet.

So I opened up Adobe Photoshop and did this quick painting of Father Gabriel. In the future I would like to learn how to use Krita, which like Blender, is a free open source software. I’ve seen some amazing work done with Krita by both professionals and hobbyists, so I’ll definitely be using it for future Father Gabriel paintings and possible comic strips.


George the Homeless WIP (Color Render)

Published: January 6, 2017

George the Homeless (Color Render)

Finally back from a long Christmas vacation and working on George the Homeless, a character that is to appear in the third episode of my Father Gabriel animated series. I finished texturing the model, adding dirt and smudges to his clothes. Now comes the task of creating a skeletal rig to the model so that I can animate him. Stay tuned for updates!


George the Homeless (Final Sketch)

Published: December 1, 2016

George the Homeless (Final Sketch)

Here is a final sketch of George the Homeless to appear in the third episode of Father Gabriel. I decided to make George an older man in his early 50s, a man who has been homeless for over 20 years. His life will change when he meets Father Gabriel. I am now in the process of creating a 3D model of George. Stay tuned for updates


George the Homeless (Sketch 1)

Published: October 17, 2016

George the Homeless (Sketch 1)

Doing some character sketches of my new character called George the Homeless, to appear in the third episode of my Father Gabriel animated series. More character sketches and ideas to follow, stay tuned!