Saturday, July 31, 2010

All sailors sew!

I don't have much to explain about the chapter, this time, except one little thing: at one point Callista, Jules and Emilio, are sitting on the deck sewing.
All sailors sew! Eventually some of them acquired such wonderful skills to be able to even decorate canvases.
The reason sailors can sew is that sails needed to be repaired very often. The strong wind and the storm would tear them to pieces.
Now to repair a sail you need a special kit, not just a needle and a thread. As you can see, even those who go out sailing, nowadays, have their own special kit and know how to fix the sail.

Apparently Callista has found her call in life and fixing sails is something that she manages to do very well.
Now, sails are not completely white... they are off white... but still if you sit in the sun, the light reverberates and shines brightly in your face. That's why she can't see... that and because her hair covers her face.

Once again Cat is very observant and rescues her - let's call things with their names, he is almost a stalker at this point (hahahaha, but the main difference between a negative way of stalking and a guy being very considerate would be in how considerate and intrusive the guy is and how pleased the girl is by so many attentions), although he has not realized yet that she's become his constant thought.

On a silly note... I finished all of my storyboard and you might be pleased to know that The Pirate Balthasar will end on April 25th 2012... many months before the world's end and/or the arrival of the galactic Mayans XDDD (whichever way you like to see that date).
I hope you won't mind following me for so long. I can assure you it will be worth the while - I'll do my best to entertain you, always - and the journey will be the destination! :D

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Pirate Balthasar - Chapter 6 A

Chapter 6 A is here already!
It has fully uploaded, all 13 pages, on SmackJeeves. Click on the title of the post to go read it there.

I am not going to reset the countdown yet, as I will use the spare two days to work ahead of myself as much as I can so that I won't have to lag behind once I start teaching full time in Fall.
I wouldn't like to postpone releases.

If you cannot wait for SmackJeeves... here's the pdf.

Il Pirata Baldassarre - Capitolo 6 A

In Italiano! Buona Lettura!

Technical post!

Hi guys, I am 8 pages into the comic, all done and ready and only have 5 more to go.
I am posting this short message today to ask something to those of you who use Internet Explorer.

See I have a Mac and post on Safari and Firefox and I see the blog okay, especially after I changed the template. Yesterday I was connected from one lab and IE is the main browser and oooh O_o: the banner was stretched, the text went under the images and the stuff in the side column was all messed up.

Can I know if you see and read this clearly or if it's all messy and I need to do something for IE?
A simple Yes and No would do.

(I truly hope the monitor resolution was the main problem from my seeing it all screwy).

The Foxy Contest has been extended until the end of August. This should allow those of you who are going on vacation (on a lake)... to bring drawing materials with them and sketch a little something for me.

As for me... I am preparing a little surprise for you. I said that if I reached 300 fans on SJ I would make a nice drawing of the boys, looking all tough and hardcore XDDDD ... and draw it kinda like the Tarzan t-shirt with the Glenn Keane drawing on. (I am not Glenn Keane though)
Apparently we reached 303 fans.

So I am preparing the drawing and see if I can make a nice t-shirt design out of it.
You can use it whichever way you like it! :D Present!

I was checking for print on demand as well.
Lulu can print one copy of volume one for 27 dollars. I think it's too much for something you get for free. Of course if a lot of people were to order more copy it would be cheaper.

If you are interested let me know... I'll resize the pdf for you and you can go ahead and print it yourself after creating an account (so you don't get to pay 8 bucks of royalties dang, that's theft)

Man, I said this was going to be a short message and it's not! XDDD

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tic tac 20!

Heeeee, now what will you do to tell them apart?

Don't worry, from now on it will be easier to tell them apart!

Cassandra goes from Ariel to Snowhite.
Pea stays the same.
Feetsie will look like Cat (you shall see why XD)
Lio... is always around Foxy so you can't go wrong.

Easy chart, right? You can do it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Animated gif madness

Wahahahahah! Sorry, I could not resist! XDDDDD

V for Vendetta?

I got an interesting question in the mail yesterday: Deda, what's that V on his arm?
I did not explain it, did I?
Human branding nowadays is considered almost as cool as tattoos but was used, in the past to brand property and criminals. You would brand your cattle and your slaves... the Romans did it, the Greeks did it and up until the 1800 the French and the North Americans did it (then a certain Civil War set the slaves free).

As for the criminals... each Country applied its own method and laws (Wikipedia says that the Germans never resorted to branding... but I know from a certain book that in Frankfurt branding was in use and they use an eagle).

If Foxy were to be British his V should be on his chest and should mean: Vagabond.

But the V is on his shoulder which means he was not branded in England, he was branded in France for being a thief (V for voleur).
Thieves would usually be branded with a Fleur-de-lis on their shoulders mainly... but some smaller Regions would use a V instead.

So our little Fox was a thief and was caught? Yes, he was.
Why is he so ashamed of his branding and covers it all the time, then? Why does he fear Lio's reaction? What did Lio see?

Well Lio saw that the scar is stretched and looks very old, so she realized right away one simple thing: he was branded as a kid. She is not a stupid blonde at all and seeing his embarrassment she asks him: does it hurt? <--- that implies a "still". After so many years, this thing still hurts? It feels like it dominates you.
Foxy is not very clever and answers: it did. He does not realize though that, once he says that, he is finally letting go of the pain and the fear and the guilt... because the judgment he was afraid of did not come. He got understanding instead.

He probably stole just that one time, he probably was hungry, but the law is the law and kids would be branded too, if caught. He shriveled in remorse his whole life for that one wrong action that got such a harsh punishment, yah?
This kind of emotion would solve probably the last mystery: if he was branded in France, why does he have an English name?

Do you guys know what Huguenots are? They were not lucky people at all and most of them fled to England, Germany and other places were protestants were not persecuted.
So, if you are a religious person and steal, get caught and branded... wouldn't you feel that God's punishment always comes to get you and his judgment would follow you for the rest of your life? Even if you change name, Country, family... the V is still there to remind you: you sinned.

Until you don't know what to do with your life anymore and want to just throw it away... then along comes a pirate and tells you: give your life to me, I have better use for it.
Then you meet someone who shares the same burden as you do and that someone becomes your best friend.
Then you meet a girl who dresses your wounds, even the one buried deep down at the very bottom of your being...

Once all the pieces come together to tell you how much you are worth then maybe you'll find it in your heart you can smile at life again. Aren't you dying to see Foxy's true smile? I know I am!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A new poll

Here we go, guys... I've decided to start a new poll, since you've picked the cover for volume 2 (and it seems obvious, at this point, that Cat and Callista will have volume 3, Lio and Foxy volume 4 and Pea and her love interest will be on volume 5)...
But I am almost done with the presentation pages for the characters, and soon I will run out of extras for the comic, so I thought: I wonder if they would like to see crazy pin up illustrations in form of fan art?

Here's what I am asking you. Would you like me to draw:

1) Feetsie as Alice with a Cheshire Cat
2) Cassandra as Pinocchio with the Cat and the Fox
3) Kane as Peter Pan and Castalia as Wendy
4) Pifo as Dorothy and the guys... going to see the Wizard of Oz
5) Lio and Foxy as Red Hot Riding Hood.
6) The girls as Little Women
7) The guys as The 4 musketeers
8) Pea and Martin as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy? (of course she would be Darcy XD)

... and I am opened to suggestions! I'll eventually get to do all of them... I just want to know... in which order you prefer to see these?

Btw the poll is set to multiple choices... that should make your choice a bit less difficult!

Chapter 6 - Wallpaper

I made a wallpaper for the cover of chapter 6 and I think I forgot to upload it here (I will have to update the wallpaper page soon too else I loose track of my postings :D).

Anyways if you would like to put Cat and Feetsie on your desktop... here we go!
I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

tic tac 19!

Clean up is in process. 5 pages are ready, have been edited and wait for rendering and lettering.
I managed a lot today :D

And just to tease you, because I cannot make the real ones (I wish I were so far ahead - like two chapters ahead of releases - to do the actual thing) here's the preview for chapter 5: the one you just read!

I have to confess that even though I make them afterwards... I have so much fun coming up with stupid log lines for the images. LOL

Singaporean pirates

Since I live in Singapore, right now, I have been talking about Singaporean pirates with my friends... you know I think the first movie of Pirates of the Caribbean was censored here so nobody seemed to remember the line: clearly you've never been to Singapore (or something like that)... pronounced by Jack Sparrow in the first movie after he saves the horrible Elizabeth Swan (die, girl, die!).

Most of them thought it was funny to see Singaporean pirates in the other movie and thought it was a fake.

No. The fact is: they were not in majority Chinese (Chinese pirates lurked elsewhere in the Yellow Sea) but the straits of Malacca and Malaysia (not to mention Singapore) were infested by Malay pirates up until the 19th century.

Then I finally found this blog which quotes many good sources and draws some interesting conclusion on the phenomenon (some of them are still cultural related / i.e.: about the fancy dressing.... yeah, pirates would dress fancily and richly... but they were fancy and dirty).
Read through it, it's a very nice article!

To deny that Pirates did infest these waters means to say that Emilio Salgari was tripping the whole time, when he wrote about Sandokan and the whole Tigers of Mompracem saga.
Which he did not!
I grew up reading those books and to me they were as real as real could be!

Emilio Salgari got information and inspiration for his books from actual news!
There is no way you could come up with something like: tactics, relationships, rules and stuff so detailed if you hadn't read about it.
He was fascinated with this side of the world but never did leave his home Country: Italy.
So he read many many books - no internet back then - written by travelers who did journey to the East and depicted its many wonders.

Dear Emilio,
some of the stuff you described, really is here... just the way you described it. I saw it with my own eyes and almost wept, so moved I was by the fact that you never lied to me.
You were an amazing writer... one of those guys who could entertain and spread culture at the same time.

My goal in life, by doing this, now... is the same: I want to entertain (make it a weird slice of life following Wodehouse's sense of humor) and I want to spread culture and information about history and pirates and my areas through a silly comic.
Is that bad? ;D

I'll die poor like Salgari, I know...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Flash Cat dress up doll.

The links to the pictures in the previous post are fixed. For some reason some html moved at the end and you could not enlarge them but I fixed the problem so now you should be able to click and enlarge the pictures.
Since today I am drawing I will not be blabbering but I'll leave you with Cat... in good hands, if you ask me.

Flash Dress up doll - Cat by ~Dedasaur on deviantART

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Work in progress chapter 6

I hope you enjoyed the little exta 3 pages of sweet sweet luv between Cat and Feetsie!

Now... I even managed to make the two flash dolls for our beloved friends and am almost done drawing the next release (2 pages away... so tomorrow I'll finish up drawing and begin clean up, yah!).

Today I have to clean my house... I stepped on something last night and my floor is stained now - it's been raining like crazy in Singapore and it's supposed to be dry season, as they tell me - then I'll make a sandwich and go over to my friend's house to swim in her pool because it's very hot and I need to relax a bit. (still not very used to my bed).

To reward myself for being able to upload a flash doll on DA... special post today.

As you may notice something really cool happens to the sisters... (Wes doesn't look happy - I gues it's because he has a special relationship with hair).
And there are 2 pages missing where you see Kane yelling at Foxy...
Kane is really really upset and yells at everybody, including Cat (and somehow he yells at the doctor too but Fox will help him LOL).

You cannot really yell at the doctor, he would bite back.

Pifo will do something very Pifoesque... and that's actually something I did when I was a kid and still keep a good memory of it (cuz I was an evil pirate back then too).

In 13 pages Kane will be hated by everybody who is everybody on the ship, except Castalia - but simply because we don't know that, she is not there, we don't see her... someone should go ask her: do you hate him now?

Life works by contrast so... be prepared... from page 14 onward sweet Love kicks in.

One question.... could you really hate him, though, when he has such worried expression on his face? I wish I knew what he was thinking... for sure: it sucks to be a pirate Balthasar!
I still don't understand why these guys want to be The Pirate Balthasar sooo bad.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flash Callista dress up doll.


It was:
Apparently in Singapore there are many things you cannot do... for the internet is quite slow.
I cannot manage to have my flash files work and so my dress up dolls I cannot upload to DA properly - here's the tragedy: in school the connection is okay and I can access ftp but DA does not work at home DA works but I cannot access ftp.

I'll try and see if I can put the files online in my ftp folder on monday. So that I can embed the image at least.

Now is:

Today internet is much faster and guess what?
Deviant Art managed to load the file... soooooo enojoy!!

Flash Dress up doll - Callista by ~Dedasaur on deviantART

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Extra - chapter 5

There's a little update for you today... it's the 3 pages extra about Cat and Feetsie I had talked about.
So it's up on SmackJeeves for the English readers.

And for the Italian readers...

Open publication - Free publishing - More web comic

I hope you enjoys it :D

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chapter 5 (END) curiosities and blabber

Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.


You kiss by the book.

(Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene V)

Thus begins our comic this week, quoting (in a way) Romeo and Juliet's first meeting.
This is what Lio and Foxy are talking about: you gave me your stomach ache! Quick, take it back!

Of course she kiss by the book. We'll see later on how she uses that to her advantage.

The little, funny, introduction conducts to a theme: Kane is still teaching Castalia and, since she smooched him long enough to convince him to make her read something more interesting, he is giving her Romeo and Juliet.

Is Kane owning the actual, official book? Maybe, Willie's ( magnificent works were printed in 1623 in an official way. Bad pirated versions of his plays were already running around and maybe Kane got some of the bad quartos ( Now his sonnets he might actually have but he will be reading Catullo (some of the Catulli Carmina are just sooo romantic) to his wife, instead.

Castalia doesn't seem to appreciate a story with too many kisses... that's because she stops too early and eventually never gets to the cool part: the duel!
Of course the pirate take on this is: you want a girl, you kidnap her and marry her on the spot.
Still Kane finds an excuse for our tragic lovers: they are too young and spoiled to figure out how to solve their own problems (I have to add on top of that that the adults around them aren't very helpful either!). But this is a tragedy so things cannot go right.
Eventually, you'll see, Castalia will not get Hamlet either.

So why is Kane giving Castalia "Romeo and Juliet" instead of "Henry V" or "Hamlet" or "Macbeth"?
The story... is not really "something with a duel" now, is it? What is he trying to achieve? What is he saying?
We'll see, with time.

Pay attention also to what Cassandra is saying about her sister: she went from "I wanna do it" to "I wanna do him" in a month. Castalia will not get any cooler on the contrary she'll get weaker and weaker... to a point where... you might not like her anymore. She'll learn a few thing about herself that she will not like either. If she were perfect, though, she wouldn't be human... experiencing love is not a positive thing for her until she figures out what to do with her emotions. In order to touch the Heavens you have to go through Hell.

Personal blabber (I confess! XD)

As I keep saying... trust me but don't trust me. I will make you believe things... forgive me but it needs to be done. As I write this I have already set in mind and am currently storyboarding the ending of The Pirate Balthasar so I speak as a foreseer. Sometimes I will puzzle you and do things the wrong way... for a reason. I am sorry.

Am I using formulas for writing? I am. Am I following the hero's journey? I am. Will I use call backs, frames, ellipses and reincorporation like in movies? I will. Dialogues with subtext? Plenty of it. Foreshadowing? Some of it. Character arcs? In a good and in a bad way, yes.

Will I use "show, don't tell" like in movies? No. I'll tell you plenty of things instead in the form of gossip and exposition. Neither will I reveal all the details of certain facts (but you'll be able to put the pieces together).
Flashbacks? Not really. There are no flashbacks in real life. Flashbacks in movies and comics always have a label feeling to them: WARNING WARNING FLASHBACK ABOUT TO BEGIN!
I hate that. I'd rather use a "wrong way" to convey emotions directly because I am "telling" a story.
Formulas help me up to a certain point. This comic is a hybrid... certain things cannot work for a slice of life in a restricted circle, plus some formulas need to be broken and bad stuff need to come in in small quantities. I'm with Charlie Kaufman( on this: it's okay to do it in the right amount, like in "Adaptation" - brilliant movie... I'm also with Chuck Palanhiuk ( you have to give your characters authority and then humiliations and you have to be willing not to betray your source material and admit things people does not believe in and might not like (that is why you'll see matrimony as the ultimate goal in life for this girls: even I do not believe in that but my story is set in 1660 so these girls shall get married).
I have confidant characters! Pea and Westley will be there to explain things to the thick headed people around them. In doing so they'll reveal you stuff.
Therefore, in small quantity, you shall see both exposition and deus-ex-machina. They will be there in a conscious way: they know what they are.
Some things need a theatrical structure and you shall see voice over as monologues and "a parte". I'll break the wall a couple of times and characters will talk to you.

For flashbacks I will be using a theatrical ploy whereby you'll see images sliding in front of the narration... as if you were watching a pantomime.
So overall the Pirate Balthasar is mixed media and believe me... there will be even musical in it.
So trust me but don't trust me! :D We'll be done before the Mayans arrive on their spaceships in 2012!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Pirate Balthasar - Chapter 5 (END) Release!

Release is up!
Ooooh, I am going to give myself a round of applause for releasing 8 hours in advance!
You can either click on the link above and go on SmackJeeves (you might want to wait 20 more minutes for SJ) or use the Issuu uploads which I have posted right below.

Capitolo 5 (Completo) in Italiano:

Chapter 5 (complete) in English:

Monday, July 19, 2010

tic tac 18! - and polls

So update is tomorrow night... are you ready?
Me... I am almost done and confident I will not overkill myself to upload at the very last minute.

So... our second poll closed and guess who won?
Westley and Cassandra! They are going on the cover of volume 2.
Why am I not surprised?

As I was saying... I am looking into the Alphonse Mucha style... she will be wearing medicinal herbs and flowers in her hair and in the back cover her holds some of the flowers in his hand (as if he is the one who put them on her head XDD). I'll show you sketches soon... I am still working on Westley's.
I am a bit unsure about the the framing but I have time to think about it...

and... yah, actually Wes and Kes will be on the cover of chapter 7 as well...
which means something happens!!! Well, something big happens to them in chapter 6 too... but chapter 7 is more important, just... don't get a cow! - what you see up there "Placing bets" that's what you'll get on chapter 7's cover. After that Kane and Castalia are coming back on chapter 8!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Locations - Alidivento (Westley's quarters)

Hello guys, I've started cleaning up today... so in the next two days you might not read anything in particular on the blog, since I'll be working on the update (which needs to go up soon).
Anyways... since I will be gone I wanted to post you another little insight about our locations.
Today I am going to talk about the doctor's quarters.
In this first image you see the part of the quarters allocated to sick bay use. The desk under the window I removed for lack of space and then put it in the doctor's bedroom instead.
But in short it goes like this: you enter and have about 6 beds in front of you (eventually our doctor will use them all at once and even run out of space). There's a table right in front of the door: he uses it to put his stuff on when he medicates people. To the right there's a opening, covered by a curtain, that gives access to his bedroom.
The bedroom is small and has shelves filled with jars containing medicinal herbs, his bed, a little desk and another small cabinet.

Some of the herbs and flowers, the ones he uses more often, are also on the outside (in sick bay). He mixes his medicines on that piece of furniture there, right under the window. The light streams through and the spot is pretty bright.
He has oils and other types of essences in the little bottles and he uses them to mix with the crashed herbs (turned into powder) to make ointments, pomades and things like that.

When he takes care of sick people he always lets them rest on the beds or lets them sit close to the table and mixes his medicines on the spot.
When he takes care of Cassandra, or the girls in general, he brings them to his personal quarters and uses his own bed, desk and the other cabinet close to a window - very similar to the one he has in sick bay - to do his stuff.
He does that because pirates don't knock on the door, they just come into the room with their hands to their tummy saying: ahi ahi, doctor, help!
Girls need privacy and need to feel safe from peeping toms.
The above image shows a view of the bedroom from Westley's bed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Locations - Alidivento (Kane's quarters)

Kane's quarters.

They are divided in two main areas... one is like a living room and then we have the actual bedroom. This second part of the cabin is separated by a red curtain (what's left of Pifo's raid to make his own clothes, of course).

I sometimes forget to draw the rug... so maybe Kane sent it to the cleaners or something. LOL

The living room area is kind of empty on the right side.
I think he is leaving it like that because he is expecting to buy another bookshelf for his books - expecting to increase the collection that is. He has a dining table that also works as desk.
Fickle lives on a tree branch next to the bookshelf. He is close to a window but does not get direct sunlight (which is not good for him).

Also with time I added a nightstand because my guy is a reader and his candle has to sit somewhere. I got rid of the globe, instead, because they are not useful on ships.

You can see from the views that the bed is separated from the rest of the bedroom by other curtains (the very famous ones that will see Castalia change color when they close). You have to imagine that Kane might want to sleep in the dark and without the mask... beds used to close back in those days. Actually if you lived on land bed closed inside of wooden panels so, in a way, people were sleeping in giant boxes. I think that's because the whole concept of using curtains to shield the window was not there yet and also some houses did not have shutters.

It also helped keeping the environment warm in winter... so they would put foot warmer in the enclosed space, wait for it to get warm and then go to bed after removing the foot warmer (of course you might die if the thing stays in the box with you). A good movie who showed this particular type of bed is "The voyage of Captain Fracassa".

So... from the bed the room actually looks like this.
You see the windows (they lead to the porch - while the one to the right looks on the rear of the ship).
The barrel of water in the living room area is Kane's personal ration of water. He uses it for cleaning and drinking. He washes himself behind the curtains, in the bedroom area... where you can see he has a carafe and a basin that work as a toilet set.
The seats by the window are hollow inside, they open and hide books. This will be Castalia and Kane's favorite spot until she finds out about the secret window and chooses to spend more time in bed with hubby.

Honestly with a hubby like that... I would too.

Work in progress!

Okay guys... before I go on and ramble about layouts and floorplans using ugly drawings sketched in Photoshop (I'll make pretty ones for the volume extras, I promise) here we go again with our favorite teaser for the week.

Yeah, yeah I know you like this... su usual: don't trust my drawings! But, at least, these pictures lets you know what stage I'm at right now.

These few pages will end chapter 5.
As I said previously there will be a moment of reflection and it will involve mainly Pea, Kes and Castalia. It's from Kane's perspective, though.

There will be a final pun - I cannot leave you without comedy - and be careful to what Kane tells Castalia by the end... for it's the hook up to the next chapter. LOL

After I finished drawing this I was left pondering one thing...: how did Feetsie actually spend this first month on the Alidivento?
Well, tripping, of course...

So I will add an extra to this chapter: it's a Cat/Feetsie thing and it will be 3 pages long.

This is what I am drawing right now. Then I'll jump into clean up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Locations - Alidivento

I already spoke once about the locations.
I spoke briefly about the island we started from and now we are steady on the Alidivento.
So... but what's the Alidivento like? Where are things located on the ship?

I am going to start with simple floorplans, hoping they read well enough, and will eventually explain where things are using the layout design I made for the comic.

So the Alidivento looks kinda like this:

PhotobucketWe start from the general look of the floors or decks.
You can see that some of the floors are split in two or three parts. For example our poo castle has 2 main decks. On the top one we have Kane's cabin, sick bay and Westley's quarters (that can be accessed by sick bay)
On the bottom "floor" we have mess-hall, Fox and Cat's quarters. The fact that Cat is staying directly below the doctor will generate some jokes in the future.

Pifo's quarters are located in the brigs. (which, oh, mistake in the picture lol).
What I call hallways... is in fact not empty, although I draw it empty. Usually the stuff related to the rudder goes through that area, to reach the back of the ship.

PhotobucketThe main deck then is not equally divided between the doc and the captain. The Captain gave away some space to the doctor to have a cool place for his sick bay. Now this doesn't usually happens in pirate or regular ships... it only happens here and you have to consider that Kane's ship is "modified" in order to create a comfortable and safe environment.

And now to the bottom floor of the poop castle... right below is the girls' cabin. They are granted access to it through the stairs and have to pass through the hallway. The rest of the crew sleeps prow... that is because officers and commoners cannot sleep under the same roof! XDDD

I'll go specific with the layout drawings tomorrow. Hopefully the floorplan is clear enough. I'll eventually upload a 3/4 view of this.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chapter 5 D curiosities

So Chapter 5 is almost done, 9 more pages to go and then we jump into the juicy part.
This chapter, being the first one of the volume, is an introduction and set things up... also the different parts of the chapter are structured in a way that the penultimate part has the chapter climax and the last part is more of a "the moral of the story was" feel to it. Once a bunch of stuff happens it's always nice to draw a line, sit and reflect a bit.
It will be coming up in the next 9 pages.

Then of course chapter 6 starts... the first part will introduce the theme to the chapter and the second part will be... juicy, the third part will be juicy and then we close again... but with a cliffhanger of some sort because this is the second chapter of the volume and it needs a "to be continued" feel to it.
But let's get to the interesting stuff...

What is the stuff Kane talked about in the last pages of chapter 5D?

When Kane was talking to Castalia he said some important words to her. Being in a situation of constant danger all the time he cannot marry just any woman, he needs a cool companion.
Now, one may think: man, then don't marry the first girl you meet in a tavern!
Right... Ah, but see Castalia gave display of bravery and intelligence in one night and he probably saw potential (aside from the fact that he has his own personal reasons and we'll know about them later). In fact, when he discovers that she is ignorant he is shocked and upset... but he is not willing to give up and decide to teach her. He'll be her mentor!
What kind of hero's journey would we have without a mentor?

When he tries to convince her that she can read books, it's okay to read books... he tells her that he believes women to be as intelligent as men, they can think and when they study they even say dangerous things and that's what scares people the most. So he says that, to most people, a smart woman is like a monster and talks about Hypatia.

Now, quoting Hypatia might sound as an anti Cristian statement from Kane's part (she's always been used for anti religious purposes) but he does not mention anything about death, he just says that poor Hypatia... well, something bad happened to her and he think that's because she was too smart (although that might not be true, he probably read books and got his own ideas about that).

Of course the guy is not saying that Castalia should be like Hypatia. He merely says that he needs his wife to be a quick thinker in order to get him out of trouble if he does get in trouble. He needs backup! A buddy! A companion! --- that line is pushing it a bit. Can a girl really get the pirate Balthasar out of trouble?
Who knows... but by setting a high standard Kane can at least achieve a smaller goal: push her to become someone able to stay out of trouble. So that if something happens to him... he does not have to worry about her... because she can take care of herself!

I mentioned already in his presentation that Kane is the type of guy who would never give a fish to a starving man, he would teach him to fish instead and give him a fishing line.
This is exactly what he is doing with his wife without trying to change her.
Castalia wants to be a pirate? Very well, he is not saying: you cannot be a pirate... he is saying: okay but you have to know a couple of things if you want to survive.
Just like he didn't say: I'll give you the world... he said: the world is there, go get it, I'll follow you.

He mentioned another thing called: tetragramma.
Now... we all know what a staff or stave is.
Up until the 16th Century the staff had only four lines and in Italian you would call that a tetragramma (tetra being the suffix you use for 4... while penta is the one you use for 5, it's Greek, anyway don't kill yourself on this stuff, it's just out of curiosity). The modern staff, in Italian, is called pentagramma and has 5 lines and 4 spaces and was introduced just slightly before the 1500.
The tetragramma or 4 lines staff was used mostly for church music and madrigals and the notes, up until the second decades of the 1600 were: ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si. (goes all back to Paul the Deacon and the hymn to st. john... other stuff you really don't need to know about)....

Except, when Castalia says: do, re, mi, fa, sol... she shows to be superior to her husband in one thing: music! - at least for now...

In fact she already knows "do" and does not mention "ut" and probably that's due to the fact she is pretty young and listens to some modern and... let's say more "commercial" songs.
But Kane is older, doesn't care for music and let me tell you... cannot sing (there's at least one thing he cannot do). So he gets the music misunderstanding part but then he comes out with something as old as a tetragramma... which means the only music he ever heard was the one he heard in church from church choir with all the Gregorian watchamacallit that a church choir would imply. In short, to Kane, music is boring and he probably never heard of Monteverdi nor Henry Purcell (which is a great loss - he'll eventually appreciate music, one day, because of a particular jig!)! XDDD
Oh, I just realized that he probably never even danced a passacaglia from my beloved Giovan Battista Lulli! How saaaad! TT___TT

What else? Ah... tsatsiki... the dish Pifo prepares... ehm... if you like yogurt and cucumbers and find the weather to be particularly hot and unbearable... you might want to try this.
It's good and fresh. It's a Greek dish and let's not forget: we are dealing with Papadopulos kids here! :D

I think that covers it all... if you have any other questions you can use the shoutbox!

Chapter 6 - cover - work in progress.

So... mhhh... I was going for something like that for the next cover.
In short the stuff that looks woven is like... the texture of the sails XDD
The stuff in the background are Egyptian patterns.
I will never say, in the comic, that Cat is from Egypt... I'll say lots of things about him but you know, I think the Cleopatra look kinda give him away, yah?

These two, to me, are like the sun... so they deserve a warm, bright, yellow background.
How is it? (p.s. yes, the title is from chapter 5 still, this is a mock-up... soon to be changed to the actual title: Love or Hate - the pirate way!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Il Pirata Baldassarre - Capitolo 5 a/b/c/

Ecco a voi la terza parte del capitolo 5. Ancora 9 pagine e abbiamo e passiamo alle cose succose e interessanti.
Postato su issuu come sempre per la vostra comodita'!

The Pirate Balthasar - Chapter 5C - Release!

Here we go, people! Even without the internet... we manage to go up... by magic!
Here's the latest but not last part of chapter 5... on Issuu and SmackJeeves, for your reading comforts.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tic tac 17!

Here we go! Did you miss me? Well I was quiet because I was drawing... between meetings.
Apparently when I have free time on my hand it's okay if I do something productive... just as long as I don't log onto the internet (which seems pretty fair).

So the Pirate Balthasar is somewhat my self improvement project! And I was able to draw the next portion of chapter 5 today.
Tomorrow clean up.

Let's see what you can guess from these! XDDD

Monday, July 05, 2010

I'm alive!

I'm alive guys, I know I haven't posted for two days. Sorry.
I worked on sunday and went to get my Permit today so I finally have an ID here in Singapore.
Also took the students to a trip to the zoo. Now Singapore's zoo is pretty amazing but if you want to see pictures of cool lizards you should go to my personal blog.
No chameleon though and it would be nice to have a chameleon because I've actually never seen one up close (and the reptiles in Singapore you kinda see up close).

In chapter 19 Fickle will have a big part, super part, huge part... since I am writing that right now I would have liked to see one and touch it maybe - you can touch some of the reptiles in the Singapore zoo.

Anyways... Our poll about volume 2 covers is about to end but it seems like we already have our winners: Cassandra and the doctor.
Now I have to pic a style for them... this time around I was going for Alphonse Mucha, we'll see.
Of course I am talking about inspiration, not direct copy.

In these days, if you have the time, try and think about some good songs for our couples... i could have my friend Juny pick the best ones and sing them for me and make nice youtube videos.
Also if you are good at them and want to write some fan-fictions please feel free to do so, as long as you don't get the characters doing things out of character (like fighting with light sabers LOL Unless you do a comic thingy and it might be interesting) XDD. If I manage to do an extra volume - which seems pretty likely it would happen - then I could turn the best one into a comic.

Talk to you soon. I have to prepare a lecture for tomorrow about the Hero's Journey.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Page 20 - did he miss something?

Today I woke up thinking: where the heck was Pifo while all that stuff was going on? He really missed a lot.

So... he was pooping. I wonder why he didn't consider the oddity of being all alone pooping on deck - but maybe he enjoyed the privacy.

Fov onfe I am heve alone! *_*

I am glad he didn't show up... I guess between Steeves, Kane acting all heroic and the shiny butts... there would be no way for me to control him.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Chapter 5 - curiosities

We've seen a couple of interesting things in this chapter.
Let's start with Fickle. (<---sorry the page is in Italian).

He belongs to a particular specie called: Chamaeleo chamaeloen Linneus or Mediterranean Chameleon.
As you can see from the above picture... he is climbing on a particular type of Maritime pine tree that can be found in the Mediterranean area only and looks like a giant broccoli plant. But that's not relevant.

Why is there an animal on board of a pirate ship? Well, we often see pirates with monkeys and parrots... for their own entertainment? It's not like pirates are animal lovers... but pirates, especially captains, have tons of enemies and chances are they'll try and poison them.
That's when the pet comes in. It tastes your food and/or water... if it doesn't die neither will you. Of course, with time, the pirate might develop affection for the pet... it listens to his ahr ahr ahrs and yoo-hoos and doesn't try to steal your money, your woman and your eyepatch.

Because Kane is Sicilian he probably grabbed a local animal that fascinated him and took it along in the journey. So wait... is Fickle a boy or a girl? Fickle is a boy.
If Kane is Sicilian why does he have an English name? You'll have to wait until volume 4 to find out... but I can tell you that Wilson Kane is... his middle name.
Of course his last name is Balthasar (I use the English version because the actual name might be hard to pronounce: Baldassarre) and he is the Duke of Badia, an imaginary Dukedom located in Sicily.

We now know that the Balthasars come from a long line of pirates, that they are actually of noble origins, and are supposed to be servants of the King of Spain but won't.

The Kingdom of Sicily wasn't always connected to Spain and the history that comes before the Aragonese kings is something they are proud of. Then the Kings of Spain arrive and they get both Naples and Sicily and really care more for the first than for the second one.
At this point of the story the king of Spain is actually Charles the IV, who was not a bad dude, overall... but he did close the brothels in Spain and did not care much about Sicily (two things Sicilian pirates might not like very much, after all).

We can kinda see Martin Steeves sail uner the Spanish flag (it's a silly detail and does not show in color but if you look at the shot where Martin approaches Kane's ship... the San Felipe, to the left has a striped flag - supposedly yellow and red - while the Alidivento, to the right has a triangular shaped flag).

The flag. So... no Jolly Roger? No... Jolly Rogers came in a little later and elsewhere.
Mainly each pirate had his own flag that stated that they would not sail under any State/Government's flag. But... let's take for example the Redbeards (Kahir-ad-dihn and his brother) who were supposedly Turk pirates - but probably Greek but had their hideout in Sardinia. They would sail under the Great Suleimans's flag and were not actually pirates, they were his admirals. They acted like pirate though.
That is because there's a very thin line between an admiral/adventurer and a pirate.
Sir Francis Drake was a pirate and an admiral.
Vasco de Gama acted as a pirate in several occasions.
Magellan was so cruel and nasty to the population of the Philippines that they ended up eating him.

Probably the only sailor who never did act as a pirate was Columbus... but partially that is because he was almost a friar and would dress like one.

Wilson Kane has chosen, as his flag, the traditional Sicilian flag which is called Trinacria. That roughly means triangle. Unfortunately there aren't many website in English I could refer you to. It's true that the Trinacria is very similar to the flag of the Isle of Man.
It's a coincidence though, because there's no celtic origin for the Sicilian flag and, honestly, it would rather make more sense if the symbol were to be Norman (since both UK and Sicily were invaded by the Normans in about the same time period - 1061 to 1091 for Sicily and 1066 for the U.K.). But it's not. It's just a mystery.

I used this word because I hoped it would sound more familiar to the readers than the actual italian word: parlamentare. (it's a word that has the same root as the word Parliament :D)... in English gets translated with negotiation but it's not quite the same thing.
Parlez, just like parlare, means to talk and also shares the same root as Parliament and Parlamentare and it comes from ancient Greek: parabolé.
So Parlamento/Parliament actually means: get together and talk about stuff, establishing a dialogue and, eventually, find a way to negotiate too.
That's why when Martin asks for a parlez he is asking for a meeting where a truce would be reached and the two parts talk in peace. This sort of things were granted to ambassadors, they would ask for the right to talk too, right?
Usually il diritto di parlamento - the right to come in peace and talk to you - is never ever denied. In movies they usually show a dude with a white flag in his hand... approaching the enemies and delivering the message. It's something of that sort, the one who asks to talk is always putting himself in a vulnerable position, the one who accepts is superior and magnanimous and accepts to listen without harming the other. Fundamentally, as much as we seek wars... they are not always convenient and that's why, eventually, people talk their way out of them when everything gets unbearable.

Now to the final revelation: why do pirates' butt shine?
That's because they almost never see the sun so they are white.
(although Kane says his butt is tanned but probably what he means is that he has a dark skin).
I think this is what gave origins to the Italian saying: I am going to kick you where the sun never shines upon.

I hoped I explained everything this time too. If not, let me know.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Il Pirata Baldassarre - Capitolo 5 A/B

Eccoci qua con la seconda parte del quinto volume, caricata su Issuu per il vostro comfort!

Vi auguro buona lettura e spero di leggere presto i vostri commenti :D