Sunday, May 16, 2010

Joel's New Hair

For a long time now, I've been trying to devise a new hairstyle for Joel from "Forever 16". The one he's had until now is a vestigial trace of my old drawing style - I used to give all male characters that weird frizzy hair, back before I learned how to design more distinct humans. I keep trying to get rid of it, but no style I've come up with has looked satisfactory. I do like this one, though - that longish mop-top look is what I've had in mind for Joel all along, and it's really tough to make it look right, but I think I'm getting a bead on it at last. I'll keep playing around with it, but I know I'm headed in the right direction.

Doesn't Matter If You're Black or White

News about Pokémon Black and White, the games that'll launch the fifth generation of the Pokémon franchise, is pouring out like so much salt. We now know about the region they'll be set in, the Pokémon you'll be able to start with, and how advanced the graphics are (light years ahead of Generation IV, in case you haven't seen 'em yet). But what really caught my attention is the revelation that the playable characters are a couple of years older than they have been in the past. It's generally implied that the trainers in the Pokémon games are about 10 or 11, so it's believed that the Black and White trainers will be around 13 or 14.

And that got me to thinking - what'll that mean for the anime? For the last two generations, the female trainer has joined Satoshi and Takeshi on their travels, and if they keep up the trend, it could make for an interesting new dynamic, juxtaposing an older traveling companion with the guys. Satoshi might end up learning a thing or two from her for a change, and we all know how girl-crazy Takeshi is - imagine what it'd be like for him to travel with a girl who's closer to his age range. And this is a bit of personal preference here, but I'd really like it if Generation V got rid of Pokémon contests and replaced them with the Pokéathlon from HeartGold and SoulSilver. The as-yet-unnamed female trainer, judging by her promo art, strikes me as the sporty, tomboyish type, which doesn't seem suited to contests as we've seen them in the past; the athletic spirit of the Pokéathlon seems like it'd fit her much better.

So if all this came true, it could mean some very interesting changes in the world of Pokémon in a couple of months. I tried to predict what things may be like, but only time will tell if it turns out to be a reality.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blitzball, Cosplay, and Other Geeky Things

I actually started this two weeks ago, but it took me 'til today to finish. Never let it be said that I'm not devoted!

The concept of blitzball from Final Fantasy X really grabs my interest, despite the fact that I've never actually played a FF game. But hey, a sport that's played entirely underwater is bound to get my attention one way or another. I thought it might be fun to draw Tidus training a newcomer to the game - in this case, Sora from Kingdom Hearts (the only FF-related game that I have any sort of experience playing). Turns out, he's pretty darn good at it!

On a semi-related note, when I was searching for blitzball reference pictures on DeviantArt, I came across numerous photos of people cosplaying as Tidus, including a nice seaside set from an artist named Risachantag (here, see for yourself). I used to think cosplayers were just the ultimate geeks, but now I'm beginning to realize that there's some artistic merit to be found in the activity. I'd like to try it myself sometime - I talked about it once with one of my former coworkers, and he said I could probably pull off a decent costume of Satoshi from "Pokémon", which is right up my alley. I already have the right hair color and length, and his Kanto-era outfit is a pretty easy costume to make. I could collaborate with my friend Missi (a.k.a. AUMAKUA23 on DeviantArt), who's both a photographer and a seamstress who's done some very elaborate costumes in the past. I'll let you folks know how it develops!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dive Talkin'

I was talking with Mat-The-Hedgehog recently about how there have been a couple of episodes of "Pokémon" where characters have been able to speak clearly underwater with no explanation as to why. Probably the most famous example is the "Revenge Match at Hanada Gym" episode of "Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station", wherein Kasumi talks to her Pokémon underwater and even commands Gyarados in an underwater battle. And yet she still has to hold her breath. Gah, the physics of "Pokémon" could drive Stephen Hawking insane.

Anyway, it inspired me into drawing this. Whenever I draw Pokémon art, I try to apply a bit more real-world logic to the characters, which I know is ironic considering we're talking about a show where small monsters shoot fire and water and electricity at each other all day and nobody dies. But I couldn't resist throwing this logical wrench into the works - Hikari and Satoshi decide to have an underwater battle, only to discover that they can't command their Pokémon through a mouthful of bubbles. Dur-hey...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Talk To Me, Baby

This place has been quiet lately, but I'm gonna try to put some more stuff up this month. Here's something I whipped out earlier today - over on ToonZone, some folks in the Disney forum are discussing A Goofy Movie. It's generally regarded as a cult classic among '90s kids like myself, and even though I think it had some flaws (I maintain that it probably shouldn't have been a musical), I really like the way it captures the air of mid-1990s teenage culture. It kinda influenced "Forever 16" in that regard, so I definitely have to give the movie credit.

And after being reminded of the movie, I had the urge to draw Stacy and Roxanne. Gosh, they're cute, aren't they?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

You Bastards

I'm sure by now, most folks have heard about the big hullabaloo over at Comedy Central, wherein another episode of "South Park" got a couple of crazies on the Internet all in a dither. Only this time, the crazies were a bunch of Islamic extremists who wished death upon Trey Parker and Matt Stone for daring to depict Muhammad on the show. So naturally, Trey and Matt did what they do best - they made an episode making fun of the incident. And Comedy Central censored the everloving hell out of it, including bleeping out a minute-long monologue at the end about censorship vs. free speech. (Irony? What's that?)

I can kinda understand why they'd censor the Muhammad stuff (these are terrorists, after all, and they have a history of overreacting), but censoring Trey and Matt's opinion on censorship just goes way too far. Will "201" ever be broadcast again, or even made available on DVD? Probably not. And now Comedy Central has even tightened security at their studio, no doubt in an effort to make sure no brown people sneak in and try to blow the place to smithereens. All because some people have no sense of humor. Once again, the terrorists win.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Character Day

Aside from Michelle, I really don't have much experience drawing non-white characters, but you know me, I'm always looking to broaden my horizons. So I sketched out this African-American girl recently, and I'm so satisfied with how she looks that I want to make her a recurring character in "Forever 16".

I decided to name her Kendra Williams, but I'm still ironing out her role. I'm against the idea of tokenism, so I know I don't want to have an African-American character just for the sake of having one - I want to give her a personality, and something to do with the other characters. At first, I wanted to make her Aaron's girlfriend, but then I realized that I'd have to get rid of one of Aaron's funniest character traits - lusting after celebrities that his friends know he'll never get to meet (he used to have a crush on Britney Spears until she shaved her head; now he's got a thing for Megan Fox, and he's eagerly waiting for Miley Cyrus to turn 18). So now I'm thinking she might work better as Michelle's friend, someone who can give her romantic advice. And since I've gone this long without Joel or Michelle or anyone else ever realizing that Abby has an unrequited crush on Joel, maybe Kendra should finally be the one to see the light there...that could open up some intriguing story possibilities.