Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Cat and Callista fan fiction

The last letter Santa opened this year... but not the last Santa yet... requested something special:
"Dear Santa, I would like to have a fan fiction about Cat and Callista exchanging presents..."

Your wish shall be granted by FRaventhorn. Enjoy and Happy New Year! You can read it here ...

or download it here
  • a Fan art about Foxy meeting Cat for the first time. 
  •  A fanfic about Cat and Callista exchaning presents; 
  •  a cute Cat art; 
  •  A regular drawing of Cat; 
  •  Westley, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time; 
  •  A picture of the whole crew with all the couples together;
  •  Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories; 
  •  A drawing of Castalia dominating Kane (it may be during a duel) 
  •  A drawing of a fencing, shirtless Martin; 
  •  A drawing of Cat and Callista
  •  A fanfic about young Martin.
  • Friday, December 30, 2011

    shirtless, fencing Martin...

    And so we received another letter that said...

    "Dear Santa, I would like to see a picture of a shirtless, fencing Martin..."
    Dear naughty naughty girl, your Secret Santa tiffc has decided to make your dream come true...ho ho ho!

  •  A Fan art about Foxy meeting Cat for the first time. 
  •  A fanfic about Cat and Callista exchaning presents; 
  •  a cute Cat art; 
  •  A regular drawing of Cat; 
  •  Westley, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time; 
  •  A picture of the whole crew with all the couples together;
  •  Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories; 
  •  A drawing of Castalia dominating Kane (it may be during a duel) 
  •  A drawing of a fencing, shirtless Martin; 
  •  A drawing of Cat and Callista 
  •  A fanfic about young Martin.

  • Thursday, December 29, 2011

    Castalia dominating Kane

    It is time for another letter:

    "Dear Santa, I would like to have a picture of Castalia dominating Kane..."
    Ho ho ho, you naughty naughty kid, you dream will be taken care of by our little Pirate helper Camila. We hope you enjoy it! Ho ho ho, Merry Pirate Christmas!

    • a Fan art about Foxy meeting Cat for the first time. 
    •  A fanfic about Cat and Callista exchaning presents; 
    •  a cute Cat art; 
    •  A regular drawing of Cat; 
    •  Westley, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time; 
    •  A picture of the whole crew with all the couples together;
    •  Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories; 
    •  A drawing of Castalia dominating Kane (it may be during a duel) 
    •  A drawing of a fencing, shirtless Martin; 
    •  A drawing of Cat and Callista 
    •  a fanfic about young Martin.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    Kane and Castalia and Fickle

    In pirate Santa's workshop... we read another letter:

    "Dear Santa, I would like to have a picture of Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories..."

    Ho ho ho, good kid, good kid, I-major-in-Magic/Shizuka Shrader will make your dream come true and shall be willing to do any edits you will like to request in the picture, if any edit you shall like to request. Ho ho ho, Merry pirate Christmas!
    • a Fan art about Foxy meeting Cat for the first time. 
    •  A fanfic about Cat and Callista exchaning presents; 
    •  a cute Cat art; 
    •  A regular drawing of Cat; 
    •  Westley, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time; 
    •  A picture of the whole crew with all the couples together;
    •  Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories; 
    •  A drawing of Castalia dominating Kane (it may be during a duel) 
    •  A drawing of a fencing, shirtless Martin; 
    •  A drawing of Cat and Callista 
    • a fanfic about young Martin.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    Wes, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time.

    Meanwhile in Pirate Santa's workshop... time to read another letter:

     "Dear santa, I would like to have a drawing of Wes, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time..."

    Ho ho ho, another good kid. Pirate Santa says: my little helper Vulpini/Christian Kitsune will make your dream come true! Merry Pirate Christmas! Ho ho ho.

    • a Fan art about Foxy meeting Cat for the first time. 
    •  A fanfic about Cat and Callista exchaning presents; 
    •  a cute Cat art; 
    •  A regular drawing of Cat; 
    •  Westley, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time; 
    •  A picture of the whole crew with all the couples together;
    •  Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories; 
    •  A drawing of Castalia dominating Kane (it may be during a duel) 
    •  A drawing of a fencing, shirtless Martin; 
    •  A drawing of Cat and Callista 
    • a fanfic about young Martin.

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    A cute Cat art.

    Back in pirate Santa's workshop... Time to unwrap our first present. Let's read our first letter:

    "Dear Santa, I would like to have a cute Cat art..."

    Ho ho ho, you have been a very good kid because ReyArkady Santa has decided to make your dream come true. Ho ho ho, Merry Pirate Christmas.

    • a Fan art about Foxy meeting Cat for the first time. 
    •  A fanfic about Cat and Callista exchaning presents; 
    •  a cute Cat art; 
    •  A regular drawing of Cat; 
    •  Westley, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time; 
    •  A picture of the whole crew with all the couples together;
    •  Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories; 
    •  A drawing of Castalia dominating Kane (it may be during a duel) 
    •  A drawing of a fencing, shirtless Martin; 
    •  A drawing of Cat and Callista 
    • a fanfic about young Martin.

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Secret Santa Ho ho ho

    Hello everyone, time to unwrap the presents your Secret Santa has prepared for this special Christmas event. Here's how it will go. This is the list of the wishes that Secret Santas have taken into their hands.
    • a Fan art about Foxy meeting Cat for the first time. 
    •  A fanfic about Cat and Callista exchaning presents; 
    •  a cute Cat art; 
    •  A regular drawing of Cat; 
    •  Westley, Kes and Itzak at Christmas time; 
    •  A picture of the whole crew with all the couples together;
    •  Castalia, Kane and Fickle reading Christmas stories; 
    •  A drawing of Castalia dominating Kane (it may be during a duel) 
    •  A drawing of a fencing, shirtless Martin; 
    •  A drawing of Cat and Callista 
    • a fanfic about young Martin.
    I will post a different present every day and will cross the wish from the list. Some of them might arrive late, even late is better than never so I will keep on posting them until I receive all the ones I was promised to receive. So don't give up because you ran out of time, we will have time until we have time to spend together and think about how happy you make your fellow crewmember!

    Merry Christmas! - the pirate way - Kane and Castalia.

    It's the daaaay! Did Santa come to visit you? I am pretty sure he did! What did he bring you? I know what pirate Santa is going to bring you as we finally see what our Secret Santas have in store for each other.

    Stay tuned for the surprises.... from today on it will be you bringing joy and life to the blog! :D

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    Merry Christmas! - the pirate way - Wes and Kes

    If all goes well, it's the 24th, Christmas eve... blogger has not screwed up and you are seeing this while I am... God knows where walking around in a freezing cold weather.

    The thought of this drawing shall keep me warm.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Merry Christmas! - the pirate way - Pea and Martin

    Merry Christmas from Martin and Pea (I'm in Japan already so this is scheduled and I sure hope to get the rest of my Secret Santas hahaha cuz I'll be posting from ipad and it's not fun) hahahaha.

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Chapter 17 curiosities

     Not that many curiosities this week as I did not receive any particular question.

    Except for these two panels regarding: how comes Pea does not see Martin and Martin does not see Pea?

    Well, as stated in the second panel it's a problem of eye level.

    If somebody is taller then your eye level it's very difficult to spot just as much as if he/she were shorter.

     Because humans belong to predatorial species the eyes are right in the front (as a vegetarian I should have eyes to the side of my head like Rose hahahaah). Looking up or down is not something we do naturally.

    So unless we do have a member of our family who is particularly tall or short we never get into the habit of looking outside of a certain cone of vision that would cover a total of 60 degrees per eye but you also have to calculate the distance which will establish as well the boundaries of your peripheral vision. In this case, for Martin, since he is looking above eye level the straight line also represent the bottom limit of his peripheral vision.

    Now there is something like 30 to 32 cm difference between Pea and Martin and let me tell you, personal experience, tall guys are not easily spotted by very short people (I always get lost in crowds because I am easily distracted... you know how I find my friends? I look at feet).

    Porchetta it's a typical Central Italian dish.
    It's basically roasted boneless pork with black pepper.

    Usually found in fairs, can be sliced off and used to make panini.

    Some times, for display, you see the head of the pig still attached to it.

    I was never very fond of it but diets in the past were more meat based than today and definitely more used to strong flavors.

    I think somebody asked if fickle is on a leash. Yup, it has a little chain attached to Kane's wrist. When Kane leave him behind, like in the bagno's room, he would perch him up somewhere but tie his little silver chain to something heavy.

    Secret Santa submissions.

    Alright people I will be leaving for a trip to Japan tonight and I will only bring my ipad there which makes it hard to upload to blogger so I'll see how I can do this (upload your santa present that is, the blog has posts scheduled while I am away.)

    Please send your secret santa to me via email at dedadaniels(at)

    I wish you all happy holidays, happy chanukah, merry christmas and a happy new year.

    Just so you know, Singapore is getting ready for Chinese new year (almost bypassing Christmas hahaha) because it will be here in about a month.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Happy Chanukah!

    Today is December 21st, winter solstice, according to the mayan whatever whatever we are 366 days away from the end of the World but Balthasar will end before... it if it is the last thing I'll do... is writing the ending and reading it LOL

     But I was also reminded that tonight starts Chanukah! So from my Jewish family to yours, I wish you all a very happy Chanukah.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Il Pirata Baldassarre - capitolo 17 C

    E' l'ultimo post per quest'anno, vi rendete conto? Ci rivedremo nuovamente nel 2012! Incredibbboli! Buona lettura! :D

    The Pirate Balthasar - Chapter 17 C

    This is the very last update of the year!!! Did you realize that? I'll see you again in 2012!!! O_O Ooooooh! Enjoy! :D

    Merry Christmas! - the pirate way - Lio and Foxy.

    And a very Merry Christmas from Lio and Foxy too... and here's Lio pampering Foxy as usual... you little pumpkin you...

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Merry Christmas! - the pirate way - Cat and Callista.

    And so it begins... the week of the Christmas greetings!

    We start from Cat and Callista: Merry Christmas, ahr ahr ahr!

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    December the pirate way!

    Alright and with this page I have shared the whole of the calendar with you.
    The pdf version of it will be up for download later on this week! :D

    In the meantime I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you like it and starting tomorrow I shall post a Christmas greeting everyday 'till the day I leave for my vacation to Japan.
    After that we'll see what happens and I hope you guys shall send me the secret santas this week as well :D

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Pea in Kes clothing

    Yes, this could be a Kes doll but no... it's Pea in Kes' clothing muah ah ah!
    It's just that I really like Kes' wedding dress... *_* so pretty and shiny shiny!

    November the pirate way!

    November is made of awesome and Pifo si all Kyaa kyaa about it.
    I wanted to draw him in pure UPA style (just to see if I could do it)... God, I love the old UPA cartoons, they were the best!

    As I already mentioned on Facebook yesterday, the Secret Santa stocking at my door moved someone deeply and bore fruits. Muah ah ah! So I found these - and a book about violent vegetables - waiting for me!
    These are from Teressa, one of my students, and she made stickers (that I already plastered all over my sketchbook, kyaaah). She also made stickers of little monster but I shall not post them here because I don't know if she has a website I can link to (and you know I am very particular when it comes to attribution).

    So... yay for pirate stickers! *W*/

    Friday, December 16, 2011


    Alright before you go ahead and tackle your conflict there is one more thing I need to mention. Silly me not to have mentioned it before, but see both the dream and the conflict rotate around one fundamental factor: who are you writing this story for?  What's your goal?

    These two questions can be summarized in a simple word: target!

    Let's analyzed them. If you are writing this story for yourself and yourself alone then you can ignore everything I am going to say next. If you are crafting this story around an audience the second question needs to tap in and affect the answer to your first one.

    If you are making a story for others then ask yourself: who? and what for?

    For money... you can skip what I will say next. All you have to do is make it completely wrong, dumb, ugly and post it on your blog with lots of advertisement. The internet has changed the World, turning people into trolls and lots of people like to feel good about themselves by bashing others. I thought I was the only one complaining about this phoenomenon until I read this article:If you want your piece to go viral, it's smarter to make a cringe-worthy video rather than an awesome one, because they know our asshole nature will get us passing it around. And they're right." - and then he says - it's a proven fact that we are horrible dickheads who love to just point and laugh at other people's failed attempts at creativity. We refuse to just let it slide when someone shows us something like Why Must I Cry opting instead to laugh them out of existence."

    So I was reminded of how many of my friends spend their time talking about stuff they dislike and yet when I always the question: but if you hate it so much, why do you keep on reading it?
    The answer is always: because it's so bad, I want to see if it gets worse.

    So here's the solution to your money problem, make it super bad, send it viral, become Rebecca Black (you know, right, she was "built" to make money off of trolls!) and you are settled for life.

    But now let's go back to serious creation, the one that will make you die happy but starving... but happy, but starving, but happy, but... I could go on for ever.

    Choose your target audience and never forget who you are writing for. 
    Some stories may start as kids stories and change along the way as the audience grows old and mature with the characters (long running series like One Piece, for example, do that).

    You make sure that right from the start you hint at elements that even though, right now, are not there (like death), they might be there in the future and that is a warning, a warning that says: I am starting G, but I'll go T+.  If you don't do that then you are bound to stay in you G for ever and ever, it's a matter of honesty.

    So... is your story a story for children or adults, is it for boys or girls?
    Sometimes making these kinds of decisions not only will craft the narrative tone of your stories but even whether or not they are plot based or character based.

    The younger the audience the more the plot will take over. Older audiences are into character development instead.

    Children tend to like stories with more plot and a proactive protagonist who is also one of those OUT characters that will move mountains and stuff.

    If the hero makes no effort to gain the happy ending they will blame you for telling a lame story.

    Girls don't dislike slower pace and IN characters.

    Older audience love slice of life, historical things, period dramas and such.

    The choice of your target audience will also affect your color schemes and packaging. 
    The younger the audience the more vibrant the colors will be.
    You give a black and white comic to a five years old, he'll grab his crayons and color it for you (and that's what my nephew did to my comics, they look much prettier now).

    Now let's say you are crafting your story around teenagers... good luck. The market is literally gone to crumbs and the invasion of the ultratrolls has lowered the quality of the language spoken by a lot. You will have to spoon feed a lot, while keeping a zillion subplots that, sometimes, are really not useful to the story at all. You will be a servant to the market and will be crafted by the market. You will be forced to obey the audience... if you want to survive. If you don't obey they leave you.

    This is how the Japanese market was molded by his fandom and forced to create harem stories with particular stereotypes included: meganekko, antenna girl, chibi, lolicon, and so forth. One character for every slice of market.

    You cannot afford a lot of nicely rounded characters and have to stay a bit flatter, making sure your hero is always politically correct. The moment they stop loving rainbows and unicorns or whatever thing is in fashion, the audience will accuse him of monstrosities and leave him. The moment his love is not devoted or is awesomeness is not bad-ass even when he does not win... he is done for.

    Teenage market is very whimsical but if you go for it choose to write for girls as a female audience is more loyal than male readership.

    All of this comes from many years of reports and numbers, coming from the marketing department, of a famous publisher I was working for. The Italian would say: carta canta e vilan dorme (paper signs and farmer sleeps). It's the paper talking here... the paper is valid even when the farmer forgets about it... unfortunately. I can only warn you and nothing more. The final choice is yours.

    In the end whatever target you choose and however you decide to tell the story be also reminded of one thing: there are a lot of trolls out there that will throw piles of crap at you for the heck of it.
    Trolls are easily recognizable: they don't know what they are talking about and their comments are clearly generic and showing that... they never did read your story to begin with, they are just there to bash you because their lives suck.

    Two things you can do with those messages: you ignore them; or you read them, collect them and create a blog around them. People will flock to read your blog even if they  never read your comic... and that's because of the above mentioned article. LOL

    October the pirate way!

    October, the month where Pea scolds Lio the most... or is it?

    Alright guys, I have to update a few links apparently, other websites update and change links and I never know anything about it - see Issuu >:( .

    Also I want to make gingerbread men this year, maybe pirate ones... let's see how it goes. Normally I cannot bake.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Pea in a winter wonderland

    Oh yes, amongst other things I thought: why not? Pea in a winder wonderland! Kinda Christmasy now, ain't it? :D

    September the pirate way!

    September is my month so I wanted it to be green, my favorite color, and of course I wanted to have Rose in it. Here I present you the Mooya desnuda and a behind a scene of Pifo creating one of Rose's beautiful hairdos!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Pea's new clothes

    You didn't think I was going to draw just one set of clothes for our Princess? Did you? Nah... here we go with a night gown and her underwear and her not so girly, pirate, outfit. (and another wig) I'm not done yet.

    August the pirate way!

    So August is a Quoque month and I have decided to use the color of his eyes for the background... and Pifo who could not enjoy coVn.

    Pretty busy week this week, from next monday I will post the Christmas illustrations! :p

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Pea paper doll.

    As per request I have created a Pea paper doll (I have a few more dresses to come but I just have to put the file together). The hair works as a wig... you have to cut the space for the face and slide it from the top (I used to have a lot of dolls like that) unfortunately the wig comes with no tabs so it might need blue tac or something to hold it down.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Chapter 17 curiosities food and love

    Pea spent many hours getting ready for her date. She started the night before... curler her hair (has no irons so I think she is using ribbons) and pinches her cheeks for blush... now when it comes to gloss she either bought some or she borrowed from Kes.

     I tend to propend for this second option as, I noticed, Kes is wearing some lipgloss too. I doubt they look anything like the petroleum jelly thing we use today. But why a natural look instead of a real makeup?  Well, a complete make up was frowned upon in the XVII century, the natural look was in and an artificial look with lipstick might lead people to think that the lady... might not be a lady after all.

    Sea urchins used to be easier to find when I was a kid (you had to be careful where you stepped when you went to the beach - and we are not talking sandy beach, we are talking those nice rocky places with lots of life and a reef where you either step down in the water or jump into it and it's already 6 meters deep).

     Well, when I was a kid sea horses used to come very close to the shore too.

    Lots of that beautiful stuff is dead now and I eating seafood has become kinda dangerous. But when I was a kid, my auntie would dive in the waters and get me sea urchins, cut them open and feed them to me with a spoon: and that was my afternoon snack.

    A common way to eat Sea urchins in Italy, nowadays, would be to eat them with pasta... making a tomato sauce with it.

    But the most traditional places would still give you break and lemon and ask you to eat them up raw, on bread.  That's what Kane and Castalia are doing.

    If in season they'd be nice and full, but since we are approaching fall in the story, Kane and Castalia are probably enjoying the last ones and same goes for the mantis shrimp... reason why what Kane is offering truly is a feast of food that is hard to find.

    These are mantis shrimps and this is what they look like after you cook them. Yes, Italians can turn anything into a past dish.

    Now Tiella and Lacryma Christi (this one is a wine) are easy to google but Wikipedia has it wrong this time around and list the tiella in the rice dishes (but it's not paella, that one's Spanish).

    Tiella is actually a dip dish pizza made with either vegetables or seafood and it looks like this. 

    Is it good? You have no idea! LOL 

    Colors! What's going on here? Kes and Wes have switched again colors and have now entered Red Orange.

    If at first Kes was yellow and Wes was purple... and this two colors met in ochre when they finally got together... now it's time to also move spiritually together to another level.

    A lot of times you hear that red is the color of love and passion. Well in movies it's a color of power and it's merely an attention grabber... it is also quite cold as a color... but the addition of orange, that is used for spirituality, bring the concept of love back in the color.

    Kes and Wes are undergoing a fundamental moment in their relationship. It's a rite of passage and transformation that's why they need a ritual color on them.

    In case you were wondering why the marzipan eaten by Kes is shaped like a strawberry maybe it is time for you to meet la Frutta Martorana or Pasta Reale. Marzipan in the South of Italy is sculpted to look like little fruits or lambs (for easter) and they are quite cute to look at. Of course it is also good... in small quantity... because it's still almond paste, very very sweet.

    Oooh, I could go on and on for ever on men and dogs in the XVII century!!! I took a course about it. It was amazing!

    Now, when I decided to turn the doc into a dog person I knew, instantly that I was going to receive bad vibes from cat lovers. Nevertheless I decided to go with it (and let me tell you soon enough even Cat and Kane will tell a few things that will make animal lovers shiver)... because I don't believe in superficial depictions of character and I don't believe in absolutely positive characters. Everybody has good and bad sides to them.

    Only stereotypical, flat characters present exclusively positive traits that makes them 100% likable.
    A good character is not likable, though, a good character is loved no matter what because he is consistent and that should make it gratifying to read about him. Expecting for a character to be 100% always just, always right and not full of contradictions means... settling down for a lie. I won't lie to you: people are people.

    Now... what's up with the doc and dogs? Well, he was born in the XVII century so, like all men, he likes dogs.
    If you go through art history and check paintings throughout history you will notice how often the presence of a dog is shown particularly in family pictures.

    A good man always had a good hunting dog. A good portrait of a good man/wife/family had to have a dog in it because a dog is a symbol of loyalty, fidelity, stability and familiar love.

    What about cats? No, let's please forget about the odd association of cat with witches (witches loved roosters)... have you ever wondered why female genitalia is referred to with a synonym for the word cat?
    Well, yes, for german languages there is simply the coincidence that the P word sounded very much with the original word for vagina: puss.

    But not for English and also how did French switch from pucelle (girl) to chatte? At one point the word pussie was used to refer to a woman, in general. Girls were pussie (coming from pucelle definitely)... and it was very well established in the XVII century so much that it gave birth to a typical sentence: let's go get some pussie - and that wasn't nice! It meant free love... actually not so free, you had to pay for it! (do you see where this is going?)

    Coincidentally a cat was also a prostitute's favorite pet or it was so represented in art, as a symbol of evil and a symbol of prostitution. Since the middle ages and for a very long time, I mean... look at Manet's Olympia (Manet inspired by Titian replaced the dog with a cat!)

    So dog fidelity/cat infidelity lasted for about... mhhh... 6 centuries or so... can you really blame the doctor for being a man of his times? Can you blame him for wanting and ideal of fidelity in his life?
    I think it's quite admirable that he wishes so hard for such a drastic change in life: being a woman's man. What he is saying to Kes, by stopping her catlike behavior is: you are not a prostitute, you don't have to bribe me or throw yourself at me. In short he is protecting his lady's dignity.

    His reaction is no different from Kane's reaction to the "kiss for favors" accident in the treasure room. Only instead of slamming the fist to the floor, probably because he knows Kes is acting in earnest, he shivers and feed her. XD

    Now what about Kane. Kane does not mind Castalia acting like a kitty... and his brother acting like a monkey... and his other brother keeping a cow... and... come on he is a man of acceptance, he likes to empower people and make them masters of their own destiny (plus he has a weird theory about humans, you'll see).

    He doesn't mind cats, no, but he is not an animal lover (let's face it: fickle is there to taste his food). He must have seen plenty of cats too in his life, that's why he does not mind them, let's not forget he grew up in a brothel.
    His brother though... surely never meant to use the phrase "skinny cat" in a nice way when referring to Castalia!


    List of websites I've taken the pictures from:

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Il Pirata Baldassarre - Capitolo 17B

    Non sono tante, solo 8, le nuove pagine... ma buona lettura! :D

    The Pirate Balthasar - Chapter 17 B

    Enjoy the new pages! :D

    July the pirate way!

    A little update on the Secret Santa today.

    One of the fanfiction could be transformed into a fan art, specifically the one about Cat and Foxy meeting.
    I have two people who still have not chosen what to trade their present with.
    Hopefully I'll hear from them soon :D

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    M&M kinda like the candies.

    I always like to give these little suggestions using acronyms and such. I think it's easier to remember them and never loose sight of where you start from, so you get to know where you are going.

    So we started with a D+D+D and then I added In&Out.

    Today, before we tackle the nature of the conflict, I wanted to talk about M&m's... yes kinda like the candies but not really.

    Sometimes I forget about M&M's because I take them for granted.

    Then today I saw this cheesy t-shirt, when I was riding the train and that's when I thought: oh, yeah, these are two of those things you can never leave out of your sight while you pick theme, thesis, dream and conflict.

    What are the M&m's of storytelling? As simple as that: whatever you do make it meaningful, make it memorable.

    As I previously stated don't just pick a theme without exploring a thesis: a story with no opinions is not worth reading. Things need to be meaningful, people must be able to related to them. Always start from meaningful... how to make it memorable will come with the crafting of your work.

    Definitely find a way to set yourself apart from the crowd. Have your knowledge guide you, go where nobody has gone before... boldly go.

    Even though these two words will become more fundamental when we'll talk about empathy, sympathy and appeal... and craft.... I want you to keep them in the back of your mind, like a dark shadow and plan things ahead with a goal in mind: make it meaningful and make it memorable.
    So take them into consideration from the very start of your idea.

    I know what you are thinking right now, this is a suggestion that is not a suggestion is a Captain Obvious... oh, yeah? Let me tell you one thing: this is a suggestion that is more of a reminder because sometimes people who think they are following M&m's get lazy before they even start and don't want to be bother about it - then their show gets cancelled!

    The more obvious things are the ones we never look at.

    June! - the pirate way -

    And for June our lovey dovey couple of pirates who only recently discovered more about each other and will always discover more about each other (I can't wait to draw the scene in the bagno! *_* Kyaaah!).

    Aquamarine and tiffany blues for this page... these colors are also related to transformation and discovery and are usually used to describe that age that goes from puberty to adolescence. It is also a color that, on spiritual level, means: existence beyond time and space.

    What do you think? Quite appropriate, right? :)

    Friday, December 09, 2011

    Why ♥ your Sketchbook 2

    Why ♥ your sketchbook again?

    Because you can keep wild animals in it.

    You can keep people, ideas, wishes... tickets... you can keep a place and a time.

    If you want to be an artist you have to learn to observe and learn from reality. The difference between those who doodles and those who get the jobs is that the ones who get the jobs are observant people.
    Being creative and original does not exclude hard practice. Your imagination is a variation of something that already exist in nature so you have to learn the rules really well if you want to break them.

    If you break them before you learn them it shows and your artwork will look amateurish.

    Drawing from life - objects, people, animals, landscapes - is a good way to train your eye/hand coordination.

    You cannot know what something looks like if you don't see it first and learn to reproduce it. If you need to draw the ellipse on an imaginary cup you have to observe what a real ellipse looks like.

    If you draw by guessing and you draw what you think things should be like... it will show. Brain getting in the way of hand&eye (who are a prefect married couple) will always create troublesome problems for your art.

    People who work in the artistic field will notice, will see all of your technical problems and wonder: can this person understand what he/she sees?

    Never take your skills for granted, practice to improve them, try different and new things continuously but never stop going to the zoo to draw animals, even though zoos are sad, scary places, never stop drawing people sleeping on the bus or the train, never stop drawing buildings and perspective.

    Drawing is a language if you don't practice that language you will loose the lexicon and the grammar.
    Observation is the grammar and creativity is the lexicon.

    Observe, draw and imagine. Look twice and draw once. Don't fall in love with your drawings... especially your sketches. Keep them rough and simple, try to capture the gesture, the angle, the motion, try to capture life. Understand the mechanics of the anatomy, understand the motion, feel it.

    Only if you understand you can reproduce and be creative. Only if you learn proportions you can push them around and play with shapes. Only if you observe light you will be able to apply color theory.

    Everything you think you can create anew it already exist in nature under a different form (cope with it, you are copying already, might as well use good reference!)... the most imaginative fantasy creature, the tallest dragon... they already exist in nature: a piece is attached on an animal, another piece is attached on another one. Our creativity is derivative and cannot live without understanding.

    You can draw an eye in one thousand different ways... but it will always be, at the core, an eye.
    So an eye, a standard boring eye, is the grammar, light reflects in a certain way because of its shape and the material is made of... and you can derivate your lexicon and make it long, golden, thick, oval, glassy, metallic, whatever... but it will always be an eye in a material you know the existence of.

    So deal with it: practice and reality, if you want to be an artist, you cannot do without. :)

    May! - the pirate way -

    We continue our advent game... with the calendar and all. This is May with Lio and Foxy. I picked their winter clothing because having them the same color helps me with the background.

    I will be going to the zoo today, to draw animals, so I won't be posting any extra things and the blog will be quiet. I hope you are enjoying the talks about story and storytelling. So far still very generic but I will go into the specific stuff as well.

    Thursday, December 08, 2011

    The In and Out of storytelling.

    When we think about a story we think that our plot will move our character forward and sometimes we get tricked into believing that, no matter what happens, the more things we add the better the story will get.

    Truth be told, for storytelling, simple is best. Adding details must be done carefully. The details that don't help your story move forward will hold it back. If they don't support your character, they'll make him/her trip and fall.

    If details kill your stories you must kill the details. So it is very important for details to be useful, it is very important to use them to help propel the story forward instead of dragging it down.

    That's why it is very important to remember that a story is all about: a dude with a dilemma and how he deals with it. 

    But is your dude going to have a dilemma if he is statically accepting what is around him? The dilemma should always arise because the dream and the conflict are clashing.

    That's why our D+D+D formula needs an extra smaller D in it: D+d+D+D.
    The smaller "d" is the dream and, if you think about it, it is not so small after all. You have to provide your characters with needs and want. Particularly one need and want that will be in contrast with what they have. That dream and want will be the fuel to the engine called: achieving a goal.

    If we stop for a second to analyze the stuff dreams are made of we realize that there are basically two types of dreams and wants. I usually play a little game with my students and tell them: Disney movies use a smart move, they don't have enough time to show you the DREAM so their characters will sing it to you. Let's make a list of what disney characters say in songs.
    1) Oh, I just can't wait to be king;
    2) Just around the river bend;
    3) I want adventures in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell;
    4) If only they'd look closer, would they see a poor boy, no sire, they'd find out there's so much more to me;
    5) A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view;
    6) I can go the distance;
    7) When will my reflection show who I am inside;
    8) Out of the sea, wish I could be, part of that World;

    Oh, I could go on for ever. I was trained in those standards, I know them by heart.

    But let's color code and separate them for a second. When you go and look at them closely you'll see that mainly there are some 3 common themes: I want to be someone else, I want to be somewhere else, I want to be me.

    The first two look outside and the third one looks inside the character. 

    So when creating a type of dream for your character you need to figure out what kind of person he/she is: is he/she an IN kind of guy/gal or an OUT kind of guy/gal?

    Is he/she looking at escapism or is he/she looking for acceptance and understanding?

    It is very important to establish this because it will help you establish the nature of the conflict as well.

    Out kinds of characters will start a journey of discovery that might lead them to realize two things: they can achieve their goal because of who/what they are (the chose ones) OR they come to realize that what they thought they wanted is not how they thought it would be, they might realize that what they had was not so bad after all. So it's either make it or break it.
    In kinds of character will start a journey of discovery that might lead others to realize two things: they had misjudged the hero and his/her abilities OR they always believed in the hero but the hero did not believe in himself/herself. Usually is a make it or make it kind of story.

    In any case you can have a proactive or a reluctant hero. The Proactive OUT hero dives into adventure to prove something to himself, the Proactive IN hero dive into adventure to prove something to others.
    The reluctant hero does not want to go into adventure, whether he is IN or OUT, he believes he has nothing to prove and others are right about him even when they are wrong. Usually this is a hero who has nothing to prove but learns the most.

     In the next post we'll see the nature of the conflict and how it reacts to the dream.

    April! - the pirate way -

    And this is April with Cat and Calli in their purple purples so purpley purple! Now... purple is a color that indicated the desire to grow up and change... for once I removed the color from the Doctor and Cassandra (who have now moved out of that color) and gave it to this couple instead! :D