Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Andromeda - page 1

Transition from the cover to the comic.
Imagine it like staring at the cover and all of a sudden the illustration begin to move.
If this were animated it would be lovely... one can only dream :D

Andromeda - Cover

This is the special that won the polls, so it's going to be released before everything else.
It's quite short and I hope you will enjoy it... it kinda talks about the problems of parenthood.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Almost 3 contest!

The Pirate Balthasar webcomic soon will be 3 years old.
This year to celebrate such a momentous anniversary we do open category contest:
*************anything goes!*****************
Fan art, fanfiction, graphic, arts and crafts, photography, food art... anything goes as long as it features TPB themes/characters 
Deadline for submission is February 14th - Valentine Day - .
The winner will get a color drawing by yours truly, sent via snail mail.
You can submit and/or link your contest entries here in the group, or on the TPB blog, or by linking/commenting to your submission under the webcomic pages. Whatever works best for you. If you're having troubles submitting drop us a line with your submission link .
Last year we had some cool entries. Have fun and we'll hope to see more pirate goodness again this year 8D. Ahrrr!

All I have - part 3 - page 24

The end,
I hope you enjoyed it :D

Monday, January 28, 2013

To do list.

This is a list of requests and things to do that I must write down before I forget, if anybody wants to help feel free to join in for the fun:

1) Pirate wife's illustrations
2) The Flower and the Nose Illustrations
3) Buttons to put on blog and site and link directly to specials (I am being helped with this one already)
4) Fix the problems with Scribd so that I can post the comic there (fixed)
5) Calendar illustrations (for this one it's too late T_T, january is gone already sigh).
6) Draw requested illustrations: steampunk, character as disney characters, characters as animals, gender bender - suggestion would be appreciated - character as badass pirates, Lio and Foxy on the crow's nest, space pirates.
7) Create the polls for the Castalia in weird style special.

Did I forget any of your requests?

All I have - part 3 - page 23

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A little something for today. I hope you won't take this as a political statement of any sort... it's my way of remembering my grandpa who was prisoner in Dachau.

Friday, January 25, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 22

I hope you didn't forget that all the while... we needed to reach Norway :D hahahahaha!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 21

I already wrote a post once on blood oaths.
When Cat first mentioned it to the girls and they well, thought it was gay.
In a way there are people who think that this ritual was sort of a marriage between men (and who knows it might have been!).
Anyways I bet jokes were circulating even back then... or maybe not because love between men, whether implied physicality or not, was seen as a natural thing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 20

I always really like bromance. It's something that it's getting lost.
My dad and his best friend are the cutest thing ever, they always go places together, plan the craziest adventure together... the fun part is that my dad is 75, his best friend is younger but he is blind, so they really do get into crazy adventures.
They call each other once a day, minimum, and whenever my dad's friend calls I always tease them: dad, it's your girlfriend!
They giggle a bit and they start plotting.

I've always though that a best friend is a kind of person that would call her husband/or his wife withs his/her friend's name. It happens to my two friends to call their hubbies Deda.
Of course it also happens that I get called with the hubbies names.

In a way when you have a best friend and you are married it's like you have both a husband and a wife hahahaha.
So for Kane and Wes I wanted to create this kind of relationship: they may be married and with kids and dig girls and stuff... but they also have each other hahaha.
It's a different kind of love story :D

Every now and then I blabber

Yesterday I spent the whole day interviewing applicants for my school. 
From 9 to 5 basically I spoke to 22 kids (aget 16 more or less) all of them want to draw.
In the meantime, and it was my mom’s birthday and hadn’t had time to even post wishes on her facebook page, page 8 of the new story from the pirate Balthasar got a Daily Deviation.
Which I did not see happen because I was working and I just find myself with all the messages and got lost for a split second.
I think it’s still up… if you want to take a sneak peak of what is in store for this comic in the future :D
Which basically was that… I got tired of using the same style, after 2 years of drawing in one way, I tried different new ones for the short stories I call Specials, found one that people liked the most and am basically sticking with it now :D
But first we got to finish chapter 20 here :D

Saturday, January 19, 2013

And three! :D

The pirate Balthasar will turn three at the end of the month.

Thank you for staying with me all this time.

I will be releasing All I have, all nice and compiled and ready for download on that day. 

I was thinking about a fan art/fan fiction/graphic design/photography contest and the award would be an original drawing of your favorite characters in full colors that I will personally ship to you via snail mail!

What do you say? Are you in?

Deadline would be Valentine's Day (so we could also make it a Valentine's Day present)!

Last year, upon request, the winner received this: They were six!

Friday, January 18, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 18

When I wrote this story I thought that if Wes jumped into action and saved Kane it would have been too perfect and predictable.
Of course we all know he survives... but if our young doctor never falters where does the tension go and most of all, how is someone so young not be suddently scared of making mistakes?

I got the idea from the fact that sometimes my students want to get their assignment right... right away. While I think it's easier to learn if you make mistakes here and there - as we tend not to repeat them.

People is sometimes settling and not exploring. Fear of failure, though, impairs progress.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 17

So apparently Ruthie, Wes' sister, had already noticed something similar to blood type.
It is probably one of the reasons she had gone through transfusion many times before it had gone completely wrong.
Her theory about blood similarities is not completely right and not completely wrong, that is... people with similar blood types do share similarities in the taste for food (recent theories states) but how true this is who knows.

The Japanese use blood types to even determine people personality, they kinda use it as we use the horoscope... oh you are type A? Stubborn person, huh?
They also say blood type A, for example, are most likely not to prefer meat and might turn vegetarian eventually.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 16

This story takes place around the years where the circulatory system was "discovered".
So here you see young Wes cite the name of the famous doctor who did discover that blood is vehicular and wrote the first about the circulatory system ever.
Before that there were strange belives about the body be filled with different humors and blood letting was believed to be the best way to lower the fever and cure many many illnesses.

But after the pubblication of the essay by Harvey many other doctor/researcher/scientist started experimenting with the circulation of blood. For example they started realizing that certain substances have immediate effect on the body if injected intravenously.
The first attempt to blood transfusion took place around these years too but it would take 200 years before blood transfusion would become successful.
Lacking the knowledge of blood types most experiments failed resulting in the death of the patient.

Let's vote again! :D

Hi guys,
this special is about to end so, before it ends (because I need time to prepare for the next story) let's bring up the polls again.

The last time 182 of you voted and proposed new ideas.
I thank you all.

so this time around there's a new entry 

The first story in the poll belongs to the Next Generation (like Daddy Home for Christmas) but also to the Project Balthasar because it was requested so you'd get to see the kids again, this time around Andromeda would also be around, and Martin and Pea.

The second story belongs to Before the Pirate Balthasar, we saw how Kane met all the boys except Martin, so this is the story of how Kane and Wes befriended Martin.

The Librarian is part of Project Balthasar, it takes place right before Castalia comes back to Kane (and we do see her come back with a little surprise)... right after How to Steal a Ship that actually happens while Castalia is away.

Circes also takes place while Castalia is away and marks the entry (or the return) of our super villain Circes the mahara (the evil witch).

Badia is sort of a break for kane and castalia, as they visit Sicily.

While the durian story takes place on this side of the world - the one I live in - so it will have a lot of mysterious South East asians fighters, ghosts, forbidden fruits and cultural barriers. 

You get to see Callista as a pirate in Circes, Badia and The Librarian. 

As for genre most of these are comedies, romantic comedies, there's a murder mystery/comedy and adventure/romance.
Nothing too serious like All I have.

Don't forget that you can always request. 

Or referring to the post  "Recap of the recap" express your preference on the story you would like to read next.

A democratic crew decides together the destiny of their ship!

 Thank you :D

Monday, January 14, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 15

Okay, medicine is a sticky topic in this special.
Bleeding was part of the official medicine back then, it was believed that bleeding someone might cure lots of stuff and relieve fever.
They didn't know much about blood circulation (nor did they expect that blood would circulate around the body and transport... stuff!!!).
So the first writings about the circulatury system came out only a few years before this story takes place and transfusion is something very experimental and up until that moment... unsuccessful - basically the patient always died.
That's because they had no idea that blood types existed either.
Also... they used animals as donors.
It was a mess!

All I have - part 3 - page 14

Now you know whose idea was to write journals and leave them around for the girls to read.
Kane writes and draws in his journal - and Castalia loves to read it.
And Westley purposely left his journal around for Kes to read about his past.
Tadaaaaa :D

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Hero's Journey

It's been a while since I last wrote a writing tip.
I've noticed that these notes have started circulating over the internet (the images too although they are not that great hahaha).

Today I've decided to talk about one of the most solid structure you can apply to your story.
It does not matter whether it's long or short, epic or comical, it always works somehow.
It's called:

This theory, to be applied in scriptwriting, was developed by Christopher Vogler who analyzed a book by anthropologist Joseph Campbell called "The Hero with a thousand faces".

You'll find plenty of Vogler's graphs online but for my students and for myself I came up with a short silly comic of sorts. (Again the drawings are not that great).

So here's the Hero's Journey in 12 steps.

1) The Ordinary World

Meet our hero, Pretty Boy, surrounded by his everyday life... in his natural environment.
Pretty boy likes mountains, read books about them, loves his goldfish Goldie, and hates dogs.
(star wars: Luke goes about his life with uncle and auntie)

2) Call to Adventure

All of a sudden, as he goes about his life, Pretty Boy receives a call to adventure... a mysterious one... sometimes a very hermetic/cryptic one.
(star wars: Luke finds Leia's message while cleaning the droids).

3) Refusal of the call

Pretty Boy is reluctant, like all heroes should be, it's not like you dive into adventure after they tell you "you are the chosen one" without thinking about the absurdity of the situation for a moment or without even asking "why me?".
(star wars: obi wan asks Luke to go with him and the boy initially refuses).

4) The Mentor
Pretty Boy is still a bit reluctant but the mentor is quite pushy at first and tries to convince him hard that with some training and hard work he can become the chosen one.
(star wars: Obi Wan says he will teach Luke the way of the force Luke still says no).

What needs to happen now is an insighting accident this is also considered to be our first plot point or Plot Point 1 (we have two p.p. in a story, so as I remind my students "in a story we pee pee twice, huh").

This accidents flips the ordinary world upside down somehow or makes the hero feel that things could never go back to normal now that this thing has happened.
(star wars: uncle and auntie are killed by the stormtroopers).

5) Crossing the Threshold

This accident reminds the hero about the call to adventure and the words of the mentor echo in his ears. That's when he decides to leave the ordinary world and enter the magic world (it's not necessarily magic, eh, it's called that way just because it's different from his every day life).
So the hero goes... with one extra motivation - the accident.

The adventure finally begins.
This represents the end of Act I of our story.

What follows is a huuuuge development, a series of "and then" (and then this happens, and then that happened, and then he went in, and then he fought, and then he met this guy)... and things gets progressively worse and worse and more complicated.
So what does Act II mainly contain?
Well first of all this:

6) Test - Enemies - Allies

Pretty Boy meets his enemy first, sometimes not in person, sometimes in person, sometimes through legends, hearsay, and other form of communication. The enemy at this point of the story is very scary and super strong and the hero does not stand a chance.
(star wars: Luke and Obi vs. the empire - the plan is to destroy the Death Star).
Pretty Boy needs allies at this point, somebody that will help him in his quest.
(star wars: Han Solo and Chewbacca)
Ehm... sometimes allies are not easily accepted, don't get along... or are not to be trusted. Or look very unlikely to be a hero or of any help at all!
(star wars: Han Solo and Chewbacca)

Then come the tests and they get harder and harder as we go along.

Some tests seem to be meant for our hero... to boost his confidence, to show off his skills (why tell us he likes mountains at the beginning of the story if he is not going to climb a mountain in the end?).
Climbing is piece of cake for our Pretty Boy!
(star wars: Luke's knowledge about mechanical stuff comes in handy at times, eh?).

Of course most of the times the tests are super scary and the hero almost cannot make it by himself (that's why he has allies to help him). In the end he manages to get away.
(star wars: Leia is rescued)

7) Approaching the Inmost cave

Don't complain, Pretty Boy, you are not Frodo!
There's usually a moment of quiet before the storm hits. This is the moment where the hero prepares himself because what he is about to confront could see him triumphant or leave him for dead.
He is about to confront his greatest fears too and his biggest enemy.
(star wars: the rebels prepare to attack).

And as he is about to approach this moment where he could win it or lose it all...  Instert your Plot Point II here (here's where we pee pee the second time) so we reach the Climax of our story which is also known to be the Hero's...

8) Supreme Ordeal
Now a bunch of things are supposed to happen in very little time here. In most movies, these days, this moment is reduced to an epic battle and a huge fight (it's a bit too linear, if you ask me, because we need to remember that a fight is not a conflict nor it constitutes enough material nor depth to be considered a conflict. A fight is just a fight!).

During the Climax the hero will be left for dead a couple of times, the audience will believe he's dead and I don't mean only physically I mean psychologically too.

Now star wars does not help us much in this case so I'll skip to the greatest Supreme Ordeal Luke has ever lived througout the trilogy: meeting Dart Vader in Empire Strikes back.

This is the moment where the character learns something about himself/herself. Not necessarily that their enemy is their father, no, but through their action they realize the stuff they're made of.
"Oh, my God, I am so weak, I am such a coward, I cannot do this!" and then stand up and fight, for example.
Luke's reaction was "that's not true, that's impossible!" - he failed his supreme ordeal and had to come back in a third movie as a Jedi - well he wasn't ready anyway, Yoda had said. - but he had taken a strong hold on which side of the force he would chose so he did win his own integrity.

But if the hero resists and even as he is left for dead find in himself a little bit of strenght to stand up and fight back...

...reaches the moment called:

By the way our act II transition into act III across this moment as the climax reaches its end.

9) Seizing the sword

Some people debate about this moment some call it death and rebirth or return with the elixir and stuff... I think in some movies the seizing the sword moment is particularly evident and clear as "the fight back" moment.
In Tim Burton's Alice in whateverland movie... Alice actually holds a sword and fights a dragon.

I prefer to work this way because seizing the sword still does not mean the hero will survive and I still think the hero has to be left for dead at some point.
But it's true that these particular elements could be put in any order as the end result would not change much.

In some cases Death and Rebirth happens now (I think that's too linear and is also too literal, in some stories the Hero actually dies and is resurrected by the end of the story and then fights back - at times it feels as if the whole thing was penned down by writing shortcut sentences next to the structure and then the whole thing got developed into paragraphs and dialogues).

10) The Road Back

I feel that the death and rebirth moment can happen during the road back (the physical one, of course), but the road back is the moment were the hero has finally won and has to decide to return to the ordinary world.
So Pretty Boy has won for Goldie and now can go back home.

So you see now Pretty Boy's attitude has changed. He's gone from black to white he's gone through an arc and as acquired new knowledge and understanding.

In a way the:

11) Death and Rebirth

could also happen like this. The old passive aggressive Pretty Boy has gone. He learned to appreciate his allies, since they helped him, he has gone to through so many tests and had to face his worst fears... so he has learned to conquer fear.
We welcome the new Pretty Boy.
(star wars: this is were Luke is celebrated as a hero)

At times the Return with elixir happens before but there are stories where... the moral of the story comes  last.

12) Return with the Elixir
So Pretty Boy will share what he has learned with others, he might give us the moral of the story or simply enjoy his new knowledge and maybe put it to use another time (in a sequel).
He is now a brave hero who has understood his own nature, has reached his goal, conquered his dream, confronted and overtook the nature of the conflict and overcome his fears.

Overcoming fears does not mean they are gone. They are still there, under control, but still there.

All the character in The Pirate Balthasar go through a personal hero's journey. Can you recognize the different stages?

Writing tips index.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 13

Two doctors against one... tought call for old Cosimo.

today I had to work late again so tomorrow's page might be late, sigh.

Friday, January 11, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 12

This is the page where the doctatorship begins... I am telling you, the flam of doctatorship did not exist before this moment hahaha.

All I have - part 3 - page 11

I wanted to show here that Kane is very tenacious and at the same time still a very good friend.
But this is an important moment for Wes... that's where he goes from Finn Weasel to Westley Fynn, the doctor.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

One more Secret Santa

The last secret santa is having serious problems at the moment but we received the second to last secret santa.

 And one may say last but not least... or something.

Are you familiar with the work of Lorenzo Lotto?

Then you might recognize the Diagonal cat in the picture. XD
This is one of my favorite paintings, the person who draw this fanart knows I have a strong love for the Diagonal cat in that painting.

I always liked this because even though is dramatic and beautifully done, it got some sense of humor. God always looks like he wants to give the Virgin Mary a karate chop, the Angel dances a tarantella and the Virgin Mary is raising her hands in a typical Italian fashion with a facial expression that goes : "Holy Mary mother of God!" to which the angle replies: "that you are!"

Now the cat in the painting acutally represent the devil, as I explained some times ago to explain why Wes is a dog person and not a cat person.
So the Devil runs away in front of Mary and the Angel.
but how the Diagonal Cat came to be?
I was once to explain my friends that my neighbors cat is kinda crocked.
I talk to my neighbor and she runs in the background all crocked, she sleeps crocked and sit leaning like the tower of Pisa.

So I couldn't find words enough to express this thing and I said: she's a diagonal cat. they still couldn't understand how and that's when I said: I know, it's like the Lorenzo Lotto cat. And now Lorenzo Lotto's cat has become diagonal too.

But you know I seriously want to have the Diagonal cat run for election one year and I started making false slogans for her election because quite frankly if I have to be governed by something crocked, at least I can see how crocked they are when the run.

All I have - part 3 - page 8

One of my favorite illustrators/comic artists of all times was Sergio Toppi.
Now I don't aspire to become like him but at least I can draw ispiration, particularly from his colors.
I grew up reading stories with peopel with purple skin and orange hari (they were indios sometimes but he just didn't want to use traditional colors)
That's why when it came to Circes his illustrations came to mind and since he left this world last year - and a sad sad day it was for me - I'v decided to pay homage to him in my own way.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

All I have - part 3 - page 7

I am still trying to fix the first sentence in the first panel... I want it to sound sarcastic and said in reverse and with a nagging tone like "is this how you clean the garage? By sitting down the whole day?"