Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Odyssey of the Portraits

 So I wanted to started a new set of illustrations using the old background that says: we are the pirates!

But I could not find the file so I ended up using a very girly background LOLOL.  Then I also realized I don't need full figure but mid shot. LOLOL. I actually had planned to start with Kane (of course) but because I had been inking the Kane/Castalia one for the website... I had to get away from red for a little bit so... blooondieeee come to meeee.

So coming up next is Kane, followed by Cat, Foxy, Josh, Pifo and I might do a Callimaco as well from when he was a pirate too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A little special!

I hope you enjoy today's little special!
The Italian version will be up tonight!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Finished! :D

I was noticing how the jpeg format washes the red off my palette. Then I saved a png, which kept the reds there but not the values! Oh, well!

By the way you might have noticed a new background. I have the blog match the website which I kinda restyled yesterday (well, not really that much, just the background image). The blog has a plain background because it's longer and scrolls down more.
The website, on the other hand, can enjoy having Kane and Castalia there. (next things to fix: the ugly buttons)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Best fan art polls

Same here, since they both ended up on page 2 it's time to repost the polls. Deadline March 2nd! :D

Best graphic polls!

So I bring this up again since it ended up on page 2 already. Have you voted for your favorite graphic yet?

A little work in progress.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Portrait of Josh

I was again testing the color pencil on a different kind of paper. This one works a little better and I came up with a little portrait of Josh.

I like Josh he is an interesting character. When I first created him I knew he would be the kind of character that would be misunderstood and would make people jump to conclusions.

I was reading a book about how the internet has changed people judgement these days and the reason why it's better never to have a dislike button or the WWIV will start over the internet (well, it has already started in a way with all this sopa, pipa, acta and now the digital millenium act - if I were you I'd be aware of what google has in store and would switch to oh, WWIII you ask? It's happened already, we lost it, it was against the money that never existed and now the whole World is bankrupt and in a riot.

But I don't want to bother you with depressing thoughts. As I was saying because we are used to click and like or leave to dislike without giving second chances (in a way we lost patience as a Virtue) I wanted to test how true this was.

If Josh really existed he would either be the idiot of the village or dead, in his century. His lucky star is definitely a devoted brother and the fact that, somewhere, along the way, they were taken in by their grandfather who was a Duke. So a combination of wealth and loving family gave him a decent life.

I have decided to introduce a character with this kind of problem because I had to deal with students with his problems before. Other kids might find them distracting and disruptive and difficult to work with which, on one hand, might be true. I honestly don't know how fair it is to send them through a normal school pipeline and see how much stress they can endure, at times they cannot and go in a loop. I honestly don't know how fair it is to send them to special schools and isolate them from the rest of the world without even trying if they can be isolated. So I honestly do not know what would be the right choice for them.

All I know is that I wish all of us to have more patience and understanding and endurance for everything in life. :D

Friday, February 24, 2012


Hello mates, sorry I know I am very quiet these days... I just barely upload the comic and then disappear.
Let's say I am working on a project now that takes a lot of my time and so Balthasar suffers a little bit.

But I was testing these color pencils the other day and this is what came out: Tirzah (you remember her? She is the daughter of Cassandra and the Doctor). Well, originally I wanted to draw Andromeda but then along the way I was caught in many thoughts, got distracted and she came out of the paper.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kane's Sketchbook.

Have you ever wondered what Kane’s sketchbook/log looks like? 

Why does Castalia want to look at it all the time?

I imagine his log to be full of drawings and notes. At one point he is absolutely aware of the fact that she is reading it and then she even starts writing little messages for him.

So maybe the drawings he was showing her on the island, after she took a bath, were something like this.
Hence the line: these are a bit....
And his answer: nude is not naked.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What happens in Amado...

First of all a very important message. 
I forgot to post the deadline for the polls: March 2nd!
 After that the illustration will be packed and shipped to the winner.

 Now onto the silly curiosities at the end of this chapter. 

What happens in Amado... does not stay in Amado... apparently.

Let's start from Rose who is, now, expecting the child of her Unchained Moolody romance.
This is what she is telling Pifo.

This is the night she is referring to, remember? So the night Kes got married... Rose... did too.

Let's move onto Pea.

If you remember she was buying shoes when Steeves stumbled upon her on the island. She was having the shoes shipped to the Alidivento but was carrying a little packet in her hands.

When she was talking to Steeves, during the big chase scene, she was still holding the packet.

She then passed the packet to Steeves when she met her aunties and he kept carrying the packet for her the rest of the time.

When she left, Captain Steeves was still holding onto it.
The same packet he was carrying the day they were supposed to meet and she could not show up.
In going to her rescue Martin does not leave the packet behind.
He carries it with him in his bag.

Now, he swam all the way to the ship but the shoes did not get wet. Imagine how he must have swam to preserve those shoes!

That's how amazingly chivalrous he is.

Pea cannot help being touched by such a gesture. You did too, didn't you?

So two of the accidents that were barely hinted at in Amado have now become solved mystery.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Il Pirata Baldassarre - Capitolo 18 FINE

Con un giorno di anticipo ecco il finale del capitolo 18. Siamo a metà del volume 5. Spero di aver corretto tutti i possibili errori nei dialoghi, se doveste trovarne fatemi sapere che ci metto mano subito! Buona lettura!

The Pirate Balthasar - Chapter 18 END

One day in advance, here's the end of chapter 18! We're halfway through volume 5. I think I managed to fix all the typos but if you were to find more, please let me know! Enjoy! :D

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dream Vs. Conflict

Today we talk about Conflict and how it must relate to the character's dream/goal in order to make the dilemma more believable.

We already saw in a previous post called "The in and out of storytelling" (check the index at the bottom) that there can be many typologies of dreams but all can be summarized in two categories: the character looks inward or the character looks outward.

How many categories of conflict are there? Well, mainly two, internal and external, just like for the dreams... but the conflict can also be broken down a little more and go specific.

here they are:

- Man vs. Destiny: this type of conflict is one of the oldest ever invented.

Let's face it, original died with Homer and so it is obvious that he would use this conflict in the most archetypical story of all times: the Iliad. In form of gods, prophecy or legend Destiny had dominated stories whose protagonists are always Chosen Ones on a Quest (the quest applies to most stories, so does the Hero's Journey, but some stories are more literal than others and therefore deserve to be called epic).
Think about Oedipus and how he cannot escape his fate: to kill his father and wed his own mother.
Think about Neo, who is the chosen one, and how he was given a false prophecy to be forced to fulfill his destiny.
Think of the Skywalkers and how they were destined to stumble upon each other.
Or even, more recently, Scott Pilgrim who even has a book entitled: vs. Destiny.

Fate is something you cannot escape. He is your father. LOL.

- Man vs. Himself is also referred to as: internal conflict.

Some characters are a bit emoting or have problems and they have to resolve their own internal conflicts before they can take on the World.
If you think about American Beauty, even though Larry is vexed by his family, his internal conflict is what keeps him bound to his situation, lack of self esteem, his passive self. The moment he finds his dream, something to live for, he decides to take care of himself, this restores his self esteem and he manages to confront the rest of his problems with strength.
The inner conflict is also represented in Star Wars - The Empire Strikes back, in the scene where Luke enters the cave and Yoda tells him that he will find in there only what he brings with him.

 - Man vs. Man: this is the classic antagonist vs. antagonist.

Usually this is the case where the dream of our protagonist is directly clashing against the dream of the antagonist. Think about hero vs. super-villain kind of story: one wants to save the Earth the other one wants to conquer it. This is the kind of story where two characters compete for the same role/position/or girl. So they are against each other... as Pro- in protagonist stands for "in favor" and the Anti- in antagonist stands for "against".

In Man vs. Man I usually would put a smaller branch, although many may not agree with me: man vs. technology. I think one of the reason why I put it under man vs. man is that usually it's a one on one type of conflict. Man vs. machine (like in I-Robot) usually have a machine that has been built by a man whose dream was in conflict with the one of our hero -  ironically in conflict. In War Games, Josh had been built with the hope that he might learn from his mistakes, the hero of the story just wants to play a game instead and finds himself in a lot of trouble. So somehow I feel that behind the machine there is always a human mind/intention... even Hal from "2001: A Space Odyssey" was not supposed to do what he did and he did what he did because of the way he was programmed.
- Man vs. Nature: external conflict again.

This one is a very hard to overcome because we are part of Nature, you can think of them as survival stories. You cannot defeat nature completely but you can survive that stuff Nature throws at you. If you think about The perfect storm, it's quite evident who has the upper hand. Usually catastrophe movies go in this category but let's not forget Jaws (although, as far as Spielberg is concerned his experience was Man vs. technology since the mechanical shark kept sinking) or movies with giant creatures (alligators, anacondas, squid, octopuses, bears, etc.).

- Man vs. Society: this one is a tough one and usually has a revolutionary concept behind it. It's about human rights or legal rights and stuff like that. Think about Philadelphia a movie that makes a stand in favour of gay rights and brings the protagonist's case to court challenging the whole system to raise awareness on a difficult topic. But even if you look at small little stories like A Bug's Life... the society of ants really does not trust and think well of Flick at first and he has to make a way into the World to prove himself to the society that is supposed to accept changes but does not want to.

Once you determine the nature of the dream of your character it is important to choose a proper type of conflict to oppose it.

Clearly if you choose a sport theme you have to find an antagonist for your protagonist. Imagine how funny it would be to see Rocky Balboa struggle against a twister to be able to train! His goal in life is to become a boxing champion, you have to give him an Apollo Creed!

Conflict and goal balance off each other. Pick a main one first (you can add little subplots and subconflicts later too) and work around it.

The clash between these two will create the struggle, the situations and the stress that will help your character go from an assemblage of characterizations (his trait) to a true human being.

As Rob mcGee teaches us: True CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure - the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature.

1) Know your story
2) What if...?
3) Theme and thesis
4) The In and Out of storytelling (the dream)
5) Memorable and Meaningful
6) Target
7) A narrative tone
8) A storyteller
9) Why love your sketchbook
10) Call back and reincorporations

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some graphic fun.

It's been a long working day for me and I did not post the whole day so that the polls would stay up for people to vote. But before I got to sleep tonight I want to share with you two of the graphics done by Korihime.
I love to receive artwork dedicated to the shallalas, Pifo or Rose. I wish I could get more! XDD

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Best Graphic Art polls

And here are the polls for the best graphic art.
Some time ago I had launched a graphic challenge and two of you had participated.

As a thank you to your instant participation, since I truly believe you do deserve a reward for supporting and odd egg like me, I've decided to enter your pieces in the polls as well.

Best fanart poll

The polls are open for the best fanart. Please come and vote for the one you enjoyed the most!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Curiosities: call backs and reincorporation.

Things better go full circle when you write. People feel gratified when all the lose ends are closed and tightened.

You can use something called a frame (where you start with a scene, then flash back until you go back to the initial scene: like Megamind, a guy falling to his death asking "how did this happen?" and giving you the whole story until that point. Then developing the ending from there.) or simply go full circle by beginning with one shot and ending with the same one, only the first time all is lost and the second time all is found (for example a guy crying you think he lost something but truth is he is happy - or the same shot, only the first time the room is empty and the second time the person he was looking for is there).

How do you go full circle is by picking a theme or an object and sticking around it using variations on the theme. You apply a different meaning to it every time the item shows up and in the end you reveal that the very first meaning of that item/word was not what we expected it to be.

Let's start with the first main theme: the doughnuts. This is the couple theme.

Westley buys Cassandra six doughnuts. She minimizes the event by minimizing the number of doughnuts in the packet.
Cassandra: Two little doughnuts!
Westley: They were six!

By reinforcing the fact that the doughnuts were, in fact, six Westley is manifesting the importance the event actually had. Their first encounter was quite life changing, it cannot be minimized.

By not admitting that the doughnuts are two she is trying to cover up for something and lying through her teeth. (this is the message underneath, the metaphor).

As you may recall Westley and Cassandra's first encounter happens on the Papadopulos Island in chapter 1.

He pays for the doughnuts she is trying to get for less from the old lady.

As he acts all cool and handsome, Cassandra looks unimpressed and ignores him. She walks away with her paper bag full of doughnuts without being affected by the presence of a major hunk. Food over boys still applies.

Afterwards, she passes by him and winks while stuffing her mouth.

That's when Westley, who thought had already kidnapped the girl, goes and grabs her.

Here the quarrels begins and the joke about the doughnuts is born.

The quarrel continues on the ship.

They are established as the litigious couple, at first, but I wanted to reverse and twist this trope a bit so a few variations on the themes were required.

(a little reoccurring item here is the "put a sock in it" follow by a kiss. The first time is unwanted, the second time is after he proposes and the third time is hinted at as Wes says: can't we skip to the part where we put a sock in it and smooch happily?)
So afterwards I have Cassandra tests the waters - to see if she is dealing with someone who is not willing to compromise a bit - by compromising a bit.

Luckily for her Westley finds her funny and brings her to the kitchen.

Insert here second theme that brings to physical contact and misunderstanding: PAT PAT. This is more of Kes' theme.

Here it still is a casual gesture and many pages away from the accident itself. It's a gun on the wall. Its impact will be stronger.

Although a bit still quarreling here Cassandra knows that Westley is not that unreasonable. She bridges over to him one more time to get her back cured. Reaching over ignites chemical reaction. Life turns pink.

PINK is the third theme. It's Westley's theme.

The big doughnuts concept will work within the characters' individual themes as well.

And here he wonders about waking up with her: I wonder how it feels...
It's an emotional theme.

Warning PAT PAT tops PINK.

The two themes come in conflict. 

Physical and emotional had not found a point of contact yet. Emotional has to come first, but physical took over and popped the emotion away.

Doughnuts come to the rescue. Cassandra uses them to tease him but at this point Westley's emotional state has been overtaken by pink and butterflies.

Again quoting the doughnuts puts Westley in a flaming mode and we know what happens after this. He realizes something, pink kicks in and they finally kiss.

After that he wants more and asks for it.

This sequence here is representing Westley truly talking with his heart in his hands.
His façade drops and his attitude changes from his usual cocky self to a sweeter tone.
(we'll get to know afterwards that Wes is truly a softy).

Cassandra realizes that he wants to pursue what it might have been just an accident in the afternoon. (of course at this point the butterflies have joined the pink to the max, LOL).

The Pat Pat, physical contact problem, is now behind us since the emotional contact is finally established.

To the point that Cassandra initiate the pat pat and is not too happy when other people's grope Wes' butt.

So after they get married the Doughnuts joke becomes something of a sweet way of making fun of each other and a form of romantic teasing.

Sure Wes and Kes problems aren't solved so easily. She is a bit scared about the future and thinks he has not planned it carefully for the both of them but live too much in the present. Girls have a tendency to look at the bigger picture.

And this is when she launches the challenge. Variation on the themes of doughnuts.

She proposes the impossible. She expect gestures from him, not words.

Linking back to doughnuts: now they have to rain from the sky.

We are still in food over boys.

Along the way Wes finds the answer to his first question. The Pink is justified and gratified. Now Westley has to find an answer to all of Kes' questions too and must pick up her challenge.

So when he says this, Westley (who was looking for the perfect gesture to convince his wife) had already asked Quoque to make the giant doughnuts for him.

Six doughnuts in one. They are both right, they are both wrong. It's the ideal compromise, it's the perfect marriage.

He makes doughnuts rain from the sky.

All's well that ends well.

She gets the message and you can go back to the first picture of the post only to realize that: she was the first one to fall in love, she had probably loved him since day one!

And this is Cassandra truly talking with her heart in her hands. She loves him, always did.

She admits the lie and unveils the metaphor.
Clearly it has to end with the accidents that started it all, for better or for worse so we close with a pat pat.

We still have to see Westley over food, right?

Doing call backs or reincorporations in writing helps create a stronger storyline for character based story. Some reincorporations are variation on a theme (doughnuts, doughnuts raining from the sky).

The important thing is to plant them in the beginning, reuse them along the way, develop them and wrap them all up.
Unfortunately to most audience these subtleties will get lost (one can suggest a re-read of the story. Try and read the comic now that you know that Kes always had a crush on Wes, LOL) so you have to hope in an attentive audience or you truly have to spoon-feed them with a massive flashback right before this moment happens. Which you might not like but might be necessary.

I chose not to, to throw a challenge out there. I don't believe in stupidity, it's just a matter of paying attention or having to re-read, that's all. It's just a matter of patience.

Whoever reads the comic in one go, now, when they get to this final part, will probably melt (especially if they are fans of a couple who can't find a way to fit together even though they are together, and still try to work things out).
Kes and Wes have struggled a lot. The struggle ends here.

I chose them to tell us that love is not easy and you have to work hard at a relationship to make it work, you can't be just swept off your feet without thinking.
Of course I also have the "ideal" love story, like the one between Cat and Callista, who is the perfect representation of young love, to me. They are not thinking about their future yet so their story follows a linear, exponential, structure.

I feel that, as you grow old, you take more things into considerations and struggle with reality more, no matter how much love is felt and put in the relationship you have to keep a practical mind.

That is why a complex theme like this needed a less linear and more sophisticated structure.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Polls will be up during the weekend.

Hello, so I have decided to put the polls up during the weekend so starting next monday we can start to vote.

I had long ago started a graphic challenge as well and never did select an end for that game nor reward any winner so I was thinking about giving those folk a chance to participate in these polls as well.

Today I will definitely find some time to post the curiosities about the last update. It's nothing historical as more of an... historical fact for the characters involved. :D

by the way this one here to the side is the rough color study for my next two coasters.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Back cover volume 5

Usually halfway through the volume I release the back cover. So here is Martin, all shiny and golden to match with Pea.

Sorry I wasn't able to post any sooner today, it has been a heck of a day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Final entry

And this is the final entry for this contest by Gargantuan-Media (who is also admins of one of the biggest groups about Indie Graphic Novels on Deviant Art).

Check out his page and his group, totally worth it!

Thank you all very much for joining this fun competition! Give me a couple of days to collect all your artwork and organize the polls! :D

Happy Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine

What do you guys do when you go out drinking? You order a drink, yah? Then you drink and leave... I seldom drink but I do grab the coasters, all the coasters on the table... aaah, a tegestologist.

No, guys, seriously, screw the collector'sitem! Do you know what stuff coasters are made of? Ask yourselves: if they are so absorbent as to absorb all the condensation coming from a dripping glass of beer, they are definitely not made of regular paper.

Have you ever tried watercolor on coasters? I am telling you, it's the best kind of watercolor board in existence.

Oh, yeah, clearly in the original coaster Kane is not wearing a mask but... I cannot spoil you yet! :P

more more!

So  Korihime is on a roll! She has prepared another wallpaper, this time dedicated to Lio and Foxy. (she has more in store too).

We are still not done for today, as we also have a cross over illustration and a valentine card coming up next.

Castalia by tiffc

As I said, in my previous post,  there are a few more entries to show today! I bet last weekend you guys were on fire.
This is Castalia by tiffc (click on her name to visit her deviant art account).

Stay tuned for more! The celebration continues...

Final entries

So elianthos has decided this to be the final picture to submit as an entry for the contest and, at the same time, she wishes everybody a Happy Valentine's Day.

She has uploaded several version of the Martin picture on facebook but it's not up on deviant art yet so we keep the one I already post before. But you can click on her nick, at the beginning of this post, to go and post a nice comment on her deviant art account.

Foxy facebook Timeline

Hello, everyone and Happy Valentine's day. There is much to upload today. Final entries, curiosities, Valentine card. Let's start with the final timeline, dulcis in fundo, Foxy. (I will make more in the future, I definitely want to have Pifo and Rose and the shallalas).

As far as I am concerned I drew myself under the blanket with a drooling/vicious face! LOL

The final effect is something like this! With the alignment of the blanket and all!

It's been real fun making these. I hope you liked them. If you can come up with better interaction between the skin and the avatar let me know! XDDD