Wilson Kane wins a fortune and his future bride at a game of dice from the former pirate Balthasar. When he decides to go and get the girl, the pirate way, by kidnapping her, not only he finds out that she is more than a pirate could ever want from a wife... but that she has 4 identical sisters as well.
This discovery hits him when his men, who were supposed to help him out, each kidnaps a different girl... and none of them gets the right one! But Wilson Kane wants the girl he had met and no one else! Luckily for him it will be the girl herself to solve his problem and put an end to his dilemma...
a solution that will eventually fling her into a new way of life, aboard the Alidivento, across the Mediterranea sea!
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Happy Birthday to us! Today we start our second year anniversary celebration!
And what a wonderful present we received this morning if not another entry for the 2nd year anniversary contest!
This wonderful piece is by our friend Islandwriter, here's the link to the deviant art page where you can go and comment on this wonderful piece of art!
Now... onto some other stuff. The celebration will last until February 14th (yes, Valentine's day) and I will post a little present every day (except for release and curiosities day) including a picture of the reward that will also be my valentine to you all! (but the original will be shipped to the winner).
So there's still plenty of time to submit your work!
Monday, January 30, 2012
First curiosity of this week... the family tree.
So practically it was my fault when I wrote down the whole speech for Kane I forgot an extra "great", hence the confusion as one of the generation got lost between the lines.
Same happened with the Italian as I should have used bis-bisnonno! In the end I just put "ancestor" in both languages but a family tree should fix all the problems.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
This drawing of Wilson Kane is by Giada. She send it to me via facebook just yesterday!
I have decided to extend the deadline a little bit since most of you seem to be very busy at the moment, although wishing to participate, so I shall wait for you until Valentine's day!
Is that alright?
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Some people might take years to discover what their narrative tone is all about, others are just born with a natural talent of making things concise and funny or elaborate and scary.
A narrative tone can be achieved in many ways but it's one of the things that also help you define the genre of your story and the target.
Remember when I previously mention to keep an eye on your target?
Well you can not use complicated expressions or sophisticated lexicon if you are meaning to target children, children have a smaller vocabulary than adults.
Also you cannot make sexual innuendos or scary foreshadowing for them. You have to keep your narration preppy and most of all avoid a condescending tone: and do you know why he's going to die if he sets foot into the hall? Let me explain you, little children, since you are to young and stupid to figure it out by yourself!
No, no, please don't do that.
What kind of narrator are you? You'll have to figure out yourselves. My suggestion is, whatever you do, don't be the type that takes everything too seriously, including yourselves and your story.
I strongly believe that if you hold nothing sacred you lead a happier life and you can explore more things.
Now I don't mean to say you need to be offensive, there are certain topics I would never touch (like religion) because they tap into people's beliefs. So when I say not to keep anything sacred I mean particularly your own creations.
That's why, after I painted a pretty picture of Kes with her cute pregnant belly... the next thing that came to my mind was her true nature. That's what I called the drawing in this post on Deviant Art: "true nature".
We know what Kes looks like when she is in locust mode, right?
I once met Chuck Palahniuk during a writing workshop held in San Francisco. He often speaks about moment of humiliations for the characters. To make it simple without hopefully corrupting his concept too much he said on that occasion that a good way to show nice, rounded characters is to give them authority and take it away putting them through moments of humiliations. That's when their humanity shines through and you see what stuff they are made of.
He mentioned in that occasion this accident he witnessed while watching TV in his motel room. He said the anchor woman started weeping while reading the news. To him it was astounding how up until a few moments before she had such authority, after all she was reading the news, and then all of a sudden... bam.. she was crying, the authority fell, she went through a very humiliating moment and he thought that was amazing.
Probably this is the same reason why he always suggest to tell the story in first person. First person has more authority and autenticity - he says. He also suggests to hide the "I"(if shows up too often is irritating) with "me" and "mine".
So the type of narrator also helps you define a narrative tone.
1) first person
2) first person omniscient (they say is a big no no... yet we have American Beauty...)
3) second person (very rare but Calvino used it)
3) third person, subjective or objective, omniscient or limited
A first person omniscient is kind of rare, it means the narrator tells his story after it happened and can try and give you more foreshadowing than desired or does it?
The second person is also very rare and has something of prophetic tone to it: you didn't know you were going to die that day, when you left your house and breathed in the fresh morning air. No, you didn't.
So the most common ones would be a first person or the regular third person. Subjective and objective, omniscient or limited refers of how much this narrator already know of the character. How much in advance and how much he cares and feels for the person he/she is narrating about.
In Stranger than Fiction, the narrator voice over is a typical omniscient and objective narrator. She describes Harold's life in a detached way and throws in a "little did he know"... he was going to die: "This is a story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Harold Crick was a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations, and remarkably few words. And his wristwatch said even less. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would brush each of his thirty-two teeth seventy-six times. Thirty-eight times back and forth, thirty-eight times up and down. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would tie his tie in a single Windsor knot instead of the double, thereby saving up to forty-three seconds. His wristwatch thought the single Windsor made his neck look fat, but said nothing."
Sometimes the third person can switch to first, like for Sunset Boulevard: "Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. It’s about five o’clock in the morning. That’s the Homicide Squad, complete with detectives and newspapermen. A murder has been reported from one of those great big houses in the ten thousand block. You’ll read about it in the late editions, I’m sure. You’ll get it over your radio and see it on television because an old-time star is involved; one of the biggest. But before you hear it all distorted and blown out of proportion, before those Hollywood columnists get their hands on it, maybe you’d like to hear the facts, the whole truth. If so, you’ve come to the right party. You see, the body of a young man was found floating in the pool of her mansion with two shots in his back and one in his stomach. Nobody important, really. Just a movie writer with a couple of ‘B’ pictures to his credit. The poor dope! He always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool," only the price turned out to be a little high." - as you see... the narrator, Joe Gillis, he is actually talking about himself.
This website here has a very good list of narrators or voice over that can help you figure out what kind of narrative tone you want for your story. He provides some good example... as you see... Charles Kaufman is in there too. He is only number 10 but you see Adaptation is one of those movie that proved how much you can actually stretch storytelling as long as you do it in an original way.
The anniversary approaches!
The 31st is just around the corner. I am almost done with the artbook and the bookmarks. How ready are you? (some of you, I know, are working on the game... right?)
So far I only received two entries... I hope more will come soon.
I must take advantage of Chinese New Year vacation to catch up a bit with the comic because I am running out of pages.
So today it's clean up day for me! :D
Sunday, January 22, 2012
I think somebody asked me this, I can't remember who it was but it was so long ago. Since i am learning to use watercolors I have decided to to a little experiment with this drawing here:
I put a piece of paper between the pages just to make sure it would not stain but, unlike markers that are alcohol based, watercolor does not go through and leaves the other side a bit warped but clean (anyway that's the side where I usually glue things on, because in my sketchbook sometimes I draw on one side and glue things on the spoiled side).
I still have a long way to go though but soon enough I will tackle an illustration with a true background. (so far I'm testing on people because they are the most difficult thing to render, you get the shapes on the face wrong and puff there goes symmetry).
Then on the top, of course I am messing around with my gesso texture and the window LOL but just so to show that things can be always added later on.
I am keeping the one to the right.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Fickle wishes you all a Happy Chinese New Year. <_3_>__l (Fickle did not sign up for this. Pciù!)
Friday, January 20, 2012
Mainly I need to answer two questions.
The first one is: where is Fickle? (look at page 10 - 9 on smackjeeves) He was in the room all along.
The second one: what's the matter with father Guido?
So Kane and Castalia ended up in a franciscan church (as you may have noticed from the Tau cross on the wall)... and were surprised by father Guido... who speaks, well, Tuscan (more florentine than anything else)! That's why he sounds like he got asthma.
He says something about: two more... and runaways. Clearly a lot of people must be going there in the middle of the night to get married.
Hush hush weddings were quite common.
From what Kane tells us father Guido performs a lot of marriages without asking too many questions and would marry anybody to anything on the spot ha ha ha.
Okay... truth is the guy talks like my Music History teacher, back when I was in University (that means he has been in this story since 1992), he was incredibly funny. Anybody from Siena here can recognize him? I heard is a big shot at the Chigiana now!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
To think that initially I wasn't even a great fan of plebeian fashion of the XVII century but I am getting more and more into fluffy dresses. Apparently I am not the only one.
So today I received this adorable fan art (I don't know if she is entering the 2nd year anniversary game so I just asked her). She is doing this for her own personal project.
You can go a leave a comment under Mau's drawing here on Deviant Art.
As soon as I have a little bit of time, this week, I shall put the fan fiction we received for the Secret Santa game nicely with a cover and all, like I did for the previous ones.
Since I was in Japan and I was not able to use indesign to fix them and I barely managed to create a pdf to upload. :D
Monday, January 16, 2012
We established that there is a big difference between a storyteller and a person that just randomly tells you story - and it's not in the structure or how the story unfolds. After a long moment of reflection what came out was: a storyteller always has a good reason as to why he/she wants to tell you a story.
So yes, an opinion but also a belief and a moral.
So while anybody would tell you that they woke up and put a sock on and the sock had a hole in it and the big toe started sticking out.... a storyteller would tell you the same story from the point of view of the sock feeling abused and mistreated, he/she would make you feel for the poor little sock, attach emotions to it and, in the end, he/she would tell you that the reason why the sock had a hole in it was that it hadn't been washed properly and you should always cherish your clothing, mend them and value them.
So what are the qualities necessary if not indispensable to a storyteller to make him or her different from a random person who tells you a story?
Well, this is what we came up with. A Storyteller:
- must read a lot : all kinds of books, including essays (sociology, psychology, physics, etc.), newspaper articles, history books, catalogues, bills, comics, novels (very old old one, especially if this books is "the first one" to ever do something like... being in prose!), the ingredients on the packaging of the cookies they bought, everything. This is a good source of information.
- must gather and keep informations well: a sketchbook, a scrapbook, a box with cut outs from magazines, archives of photographs, pdf with interesting stuff taken from the internet (for we know that bookmarking is not enough, one day the website is there, the next it is gone), a notebook, a diary... any form of folder that helps keep stuff in order. Cataloging information by the possible use they may have. It is fundamental.
- must observe: and in this I'd like to add watching movies, tv shows, very old one particularly, the first movie with sound or color, the very important ones. The environment... awareness of own surrounding are a stepping stone to creating original worlds. Some things we take for granted but no one Country collects the garbage the same way the Country next door does (Singapore has garbage shoots, Japan does not even have garbage bins and the truck collecting the rubbish plays a little tune, like an ice cream truck, to call the people out so they know it's time to bring the black bag out), coffee is different everywhere you go (what in the U.s. is an espresso, in Italy it's just coffee; what in the U.s. it's coffee, in Italy is an americano), and many other things. Observe and compare. People: some of them are worth going into your stories... I want you to know that Callista does exist and so does Pea and they just happen to be my two best friends. Pifo is based off another friend of mine too. Father Guido, that we just saw in this week's update, was my University professor. A good storyteller is a very observant person.
- must be clear: clarity is fundamental, it never overestimate people's extraction, intelligence, patience and ability to focus. It never underestimates language barriers and cultural backgrounds and ethnocentrism in general. Clarity needs simplicity, as simple is best, and a down to Earth kind of language. If nobody can understand what you are talking about it does not matter how beautiful your story is it would not make sense to anybody else but you. So remember that nobody lives in your head and is able to tell past what you actually show them. The audience owes you nothing.
- must be compelling: being compelling is important, what happens in the story must be something people can relate to through empathy and sympathy. Emotions (love and fear) rule your characters and make them universally equal to the audience: same genetic stuff after all, carbon based whatchamacallit we are. This year I watched tons of movies and tv shows and had a very hard time going through them without falling asleep. Something dramatic happened... I could not care less. The most compelling movie I watched this year was "The muppets". It was the only one that made me laugh, cry and sing. Remember to touch your audience.
- must be engaging: stories can not stay flat nor on a frantic tone all the time... sometimes they have to slow down a bit and make people breathe. Some people might not like that, because they are already spoiled by the hammering narrative styles of contemporary movies who constantly bang you on the head with super short sequences (2/3 seconds) after short sequences... never letting go, never breathing. Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! There is a down side to keeping up a frantic rhythm... it desensitize the audience and they stop feeling for the story. This is deteriorating the quality of storytelling a bit in favor more visually stunning looking things. Eventually that won't be enough anymore (Green Lantern anyone? I rest my case!). It is good to slow down a bit and take your time but do it with grace, remember to crack a joke here and there. Entertain without being desperate to do so.
- must have ideals: well, this sounds kind of romantic but I think that basically what we were trying to say is that there must be a good reason behind the need of telling a story. So if anybody asked you: why are you telling me this? - the answer should make it sound very important: because I want to show that there are other ways to care for a sock! Because bleach is evil! So must be supported by a theme, a good thesis and an opinion.
- must be an explorer: “When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.” — Eric Hoffer .
This usually happens because people stop at their first idea without thinking about developing it or exploring further. What happens is that the idea was never theirs to begin with, it was subliminally implanted by something they just saw and extremely liked. There is nothing wrong with liking something and starting from somewhere, but common sense requires that you use a derivative mind more often if you want to grow as an artist, otherwise you will stay stuck as somebody else's echo instead of finding your own voice.
Derivative thinking is something we are born with and lose in school as we grow old, but it's the ability of asking the right questions to find more answers than needed. So let's say we like something very much, the first things we should ask ourselves is: what did they do right and what did they do wrong? Also... can I make it better?
These questions must never be related to the lexicon of a story (existing character or plots), rather to its grammar (the naked structure). That's why instead of writing a fanfiction of an existing character/world, writing a character of your own that spawns from a similar trope would help you understand the structure of storytelling much better and faster. Going OOC with somebody else's character instead will only derange the understanding of proper storytelling. So Fanfiction, you must know how to do it and it's quite fan (most TV shows are fanfictions as they have different writers writing different plots from the same foundation). Going Out Of Character implies wishful thinking instead, which usually wounds your writing instead of helping it.
- must have fun: for better or for worse a storyteller sees a potential story in everything. Painful experiences as well as good ones. It is good to use own experience to talk about something. Some people might be against "writing about what you know" it's a bit silly and preposterous to go against the Universe we all have inside (it's wider than what we see outside). But the fact is... if you know durians, you can write a story about an alien fruit found in space that smells awful but tastes divine, as simple as that. So when it comes to experiences, no experience is bad for storytelling and the most painful moments in our lives can be stressful at the moment, but so freaking cool to talk about later.
For example: when my grandmother was ill I went to see her in the hospital before I left to fly back home. When I saw her I knew instantly that it was going to be the last time I would see her, and as much as I wanted for her to tell me something meaningful I knew, in my heart, that she wasn't lucid enough and in too much pain to even recognize me. So no matter what I told her she was not able to answer me. But I knew that one thing was still working: her memory. So before I left I sang to her the initial part of a Sicilian song and she turned to look at me and she finished the song with me. And she would have continued with a poetry and a story and rhyme if I did not stop her.
As I think about that moment I think that was the most meaningful message I could possibly receive from her. My entire life she had fed me food and stories together. When the story she was telling me was over so was the food in the plate and, let me tell you, I really did not like eating.
I have many more experiences where I got lost, stranded and it got scary.
All of these are good stories and I like talking about them.
If all these things come together the right way, Originality will find its way.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Would you like to see a work in progress of the Timeline skins I am creating?
This one would be Martin's....
If you are brave enough... I challenge you to wear underpants on your head hahahaha!
This is just a test drive to see if the template I was given was correct (it was not, it turns out the space for the photograph is 180x180 pixels and Facebook shrinks it down).
No matter what, if you chose Martin the whole World would know you stole his underwear! hahahahaha.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Let's start with Martin Steeves. I always heard Roberto Pedicini's voice in my head for him... so velvety.
He is a very famous voice actor, in Italya, when I was a teenager he used to dub Mason (from the soap opera, Santa Barnara, my mom watched everyday). I always liked that character because of his voice.
This is him reading Kafka, so a bit monotone but still so velvety.
My darling Wilson Kane. It's hard to find video of Howard Keel talking instead of singing ha ha ha. As Seven brides for seven brothers and Kiss me Kate are two of my favorite musicals of all times... it's mostly due because of him and his wonderful voice. So here, let me link you to the Sobbin' Women song (I cannot embed it apparently sigh) Now some of you may laugh at my choice for Westley... for I am an absolute sucker for that cute little tenor, jack of all trades, named John Barrowman. I think so many of you are going to get a kick out of this: Foxy. Who is my Foxy? Foxy to me sounds like this Italian singer called Samuele Bersani. Let me find a cute little song for you. Not to mention he has a cute little regional accent in Italian too. Not this might surprise you but... when it comes to Cat, maybe because he is short and tiny, I imagine him with a super deep voice... Antonio Banderas. Ahahahah, I know! Of course you know Puss in the boots so I don't have to add more. Girls... next time! :D
Tomorrow I will show you something very very scary! Be prepared!
Friday, January 13, 2012
I like how Cassandra's hair is growing so I sketched it at the stage right before it starts curling up and getting puffy! Or maybe when she wears the curch it gets flattened out, I don't know but soon she'll go back in Snowhite mode, right?
So for now she will look like this and she'll probably stay like this until the end of the comic.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Alright guys, I finally managed to make a printable version of the calendar and it is up for download here ----->
....in the right column of the blog. Here's a flash preview of the thing.
As you can see it has cropmarks! That's where you cut so use the ruler and a nice piece of bristol board to glue the pages on and voilà!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
A lot of you played, some of you got it right too. Not bad, not bad.
So here's the solution from left to right: Lio, Pea, Castalia, Calli and Kes.
Now we're open for discussion... zan zan zaaaaaan!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
so aside from the art contest I was thinking of planning a few games and give-aways.
But I am not good with these kinds of stuff and I was wondering if anybody were willing to help me out.
I am finishing up the artbook and I was thinking about making bookmarks.
A census was also proposed whereby we get to see the evolution of readership during the story.
Do you have any suggestions? The anniversary would be on January 19th and will last all the way to february 23rd. If all goes well.
Monday, January 09, 2012
So... yeah, remember this little drawing? I was staring at the ceiling in my office, one night, and I saw Pifo naked on a Rose prancing over the Rainbow... LOL that's what overwork does to you and... yeah... so I printed my shirt already (I just have to iron it on, mine is white) but I thought that since this thing is vector I could upload it on zazzle in case anybody wanted to share my hallucinations and wear them! Hahahahaha
Sunday, January 08, 2012
Saturday, January 07, 2012
In general a nun can be a novice for a maximum of 6 years, then she has to take solemn vows. Once they take solemn vows they are nuns for ever.
This tells us two things about the aunties: they are much younger than we thought them to be. They are definitely less religious than they wanted to appear.
What happened to the aunties was going to happen to the Papadopulos girls who didn't get married, eventually: Lio and Callista were in serious danger. Castalia was supposed to marry Pifo and God knows if Cassandra could have managed to get married by just following Pea's example. Now Lio was definitely going to become like her aunties: being a naughty naughty, groping nun!
Now clearly aren't there better things for girls to do than aspiring to marriage? Not in the XVII century. You stay as a spinster in your brother/uncle's house and you are not even considered a human being. You have no freedom, you don't have a say in anything and you are simply a burden too. Life passes before your eyes and before you know it you are dead and did not achieve a single thing.
You ought to praise the Spearmen (Christopher, Will and Will - since Marco followed uncle Aristotle) for sticking around Aristotle all those years just to stay close to their beloved.
Maybe I should write a story about it.
By the way what's a Fraschetta? A Fraschetta is a peculiar type of Osteria with a peculiarity: it only serves wines. Nowadays fraschettas will serve cheese and dry meats with the wine but originally you were supposed to bring your own food there. So what Wes and Kes are having is a sort of... afternoon snack (and the aunties are providing snack from their own personal kitchen, their own food), it wasn't really a place where you would go and eat.
The Holy Spirit, for Jews, is a different concept. It's linked to God's thought and it's seen as Divine Inspiration... it's not like the patriarchs of the Bible woke up one morning and stated: let's write the Book of Books!
No, they were inspired by God. (I am making it simple here, eh, it's a complicated concept to explain, because it's hard to grasp already!).
In this case Cassandra is thinking about the Holy Ghost (the One who got Mary pregnant) and Wes is thinking about the Divine Inspiration (the One who told Moses: go write five books!), hence the misunderstanding.
On Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit I received a few questions. Now... the stuff you find on the internet is rather confused and confusing. Go to the books. The way I have been taught, when I was studying history of the English language was: some words entered English through Latin when the first monks arrived in Britain around the IV/V century (and around Saint Bede's times too). For example, when the first monks arrived and found the Saxons they tried to teach them the concept of Heaven. Now, Heofon in Old English/Saxon means Sky. The monks told them that Paradise is in the Heavens. So two words entered the language: Heaven and Paradise (one form Saxon and one from Latin). Then the folks found themselves without a word for sky... and that's where they borrowed the Scandinavian word for it. All words containing "k" in the English language come from the North. That's how Holy Spirit (from Latin) and Holy Ghost came to be together, but Holy Ghost was "official" and more used in higher level English. In a way when Holy Spirit entered officially the English language in the XVIII century (if I remember this correctly), it did not come from the outside, it came from below, from the poor people.
This gentleman carries his kerchief folded. How polite is that?
From one to ten... plus one hundred!
So far everything about Martin has been proper and gentleman-like.
His hankie makes no difference.
the contest winner.
Finally, as promised, she makes her appearance in the comic and even say a line.
I hope Kanako is satisfied with the way I drew her.
Anyway for the rest of the contestants... stay tuned because I have a little surprise in store for you too in chapter 18. :D
(I did not go there to study though, mine is the tenth oldest University in the World: Siena; I still have my 750th anniversary t-shirt from 1990! *_*).
So from what Martin tells us he was there to study law (maybe hoping to become a priest, and a high hierarchy one!), Wes was studying medicine and Kane was studying art.
Martin, coming from a good family, definitely sounds in the right place... but how on Earth did the pirate Balthasar and his doctor get there?
I guess there will be a special about this too... ha ha ha. So stay tuned.
p.s. the guy Wes studied under, Malpighi, was a great botanist as well (hence the doc's interest in perfumes and other things) and was also accused quite often of not being... very orthodox.
I think by then Kane was jumping from bottega to bottega (artists shops) but mostly would study under the Guercino.
Friday, January 06, 2012
Thursday, January 05, 2012
I can believe it's already been so long, it feels like yesterday to me.
I will be releasing the second artbook for the anniversary but I was thinking we should play a little game too.
I was thinking about a fan art/fan fiction/graphic design/photography contest and the award would be an original drawing of your favorite characters in full colors that I will personally ship to you via snail mail!
What do you say? Are you in?
Deadline would be January 31st!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Update the calendar and find a new shoutbox since the one I had decided it will not provide free services anymore and it is gone!
The last drawing of the year was this one this year... mah, I might improve on it with color pencils.
I had no idea the weather could affect a drawing so much, but the dry air and probably the porous paper made the blender bleach the color instead of blending them together.
I'll show you the improved version once it's done.
In the meantime I can see you are having fun with the hand game thingy, eh?
It's hard to guess... isn't it? Muahr, ahr ahr! XDDD
You can do it!
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Monday, January 02, 2012
The last present answer to the letter asking:
"Dear Santa, I would live to have a fan fiction about Young Martin..."
Dear child, you are quite lucky because elianthos took care of your wish (and asked me tons of questions too)... so I hope you enjoy your present, you can also download it here.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
"Dear Santa, I would like to have a drawing of Cat and Callista..."
Your wish shall be granted by Jenny. Enjoy and Happy New Year!