Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Black Metal Demon of Hoboken

This was a short story for conceptual storytelling class. 2000-4000 words to be based on a myth. It is based on the legend of the Jersey Devil

The Black Metal Demon of Hoboken

Raven was hanging out and drinking with the rest of the "no good punk kids" at "Teen Delinquent Point" up in the bluffs of the small conservative town. She was 16, wore a leather jacket and smoked cigarettes because her parents "just didn't understand." It was 1996. She just watched "The Craft" and started practicing being a Wiccan because, apparently, that was what was the cool to do when your parents just didn't understand. She was drinking a bottle of schnapps that she had pinched from the liquor cabinet of her non-understanding parents house. Among the no-good kids she was drinking with was Stan, the new guy at school. He showed up around the time Raven started practicing paganism. He also wore a leather jacket and smoked cigarettes. He once said "my parents wouldn't understand....if they were alive". When questioned on what happened to his parents, he would become quiet and give a sly wink. Truly, Stand was a bad ass. After the bottle of schnapps, 3 wine coolers, and half a pack of Paul Malls swiped from Raven's grandma's bag, Raven and Stan hooked up under "The Ol' Statutory Tree". The sex wasn't that good for Raven, but then again, nothing was. “Liking stuff was for conformists” she would often say. After the deed was done, long, pointy horns began to grow from Stan’s forehead. He revealed himself to be none other than Satan, the Prince of Darkness. Apparently, he showed up when Raven started practicing paganism just to score some hot young tail. As he was zipping his fly and swiping Raven's last cigarette right out of her mouth, a hot rod burst out of the ground with a big ass engine driven by a bunch of smaller demons all wearing leather jackets bearing patches that said "Hell's Fuckers" with a picture of a cartoon devil riding his own enormous erection like a motorcycle. Satan gave the boys high fives all around, as they cheered "Yeah! Wayta go boss!". Satan hopped in the drivers seat, cracked open a Schlitz and they tore off into the night hooting and hollering and they were never seen again. Raven just sat there in a schnapps induced haze wondering what the fuck just happened.

Well, what happened was Raven was date raped by Satan. And Satan, being the bad ass that he is, didn't wear a condom. Of course he told Raven that he was, but come on, he's Satan. He's a fucking liar! So, of course, Raven was knocked up. Not knowing what do do, Raven tried to turn to her parents. Of course, after explaining she was date raped by Satan, they just didn't understand. Typical. Raven did her best to keep the pregnancy a secret. She figured that if worse came to worse, she could just pass off as one of those fat goth chicks that write lousy poetry. She knew she wanted to keep the baby. She figured having the son of Satan was pretty bitchin' and would score her some scene points.

She went into labor much quicker than normal. About 8 months and 2 weeks earlier, in fact. Right in the middle of an English literature class. It wasn't a very difficult birth except for the fact that fire and brimstone shot right out of her nether regions just as the teacher was quoting Shakespeare. "It was all sound and fury signifying nothing", he said. Raven explained that it was just gas and the teacher thanked her for illustrating his point so succinctly. On a side note, it was that bit of extra credit that allowed Raven to pass and graduate. Raven placed the baby into her book bag and excused herself from class.

Several weeks later, she was rather disappointed with this so-called devil baby. Aside from occasionally spitting up lava and maggots, he wasn't very devil-like. No horns, no hooves, no wings, no tail. Nothing. Raven felt gypped. Not only was Satan a lousy lay, but his kid was equally as lousy. Raven was disenfranchised with the whole occult thing and felt that Satan was a complete joke. Just a loser with a big reputation. "Fuck this!" she thought. She dropped the baby off at an orphanage, and joined a nunnery and become a bride of Christ. "He's sure to be a better lay." she thought.

Well, let’s skip ahead a few years here. About 13 years ahead. Raven’s little baby, Duane, is now living with an adopted family in Hoboken, New Jersey. His new father was a tile salesman and his mom was a switchboard operator. He was a pretty quiet kid for the most part. Kept to himself. Kinda gawky looking. Some of the bigger kids would pick on him and shove him around a bit. He still belched up the occasional lava and maggots, and this made him not too popular with the girls. This was especially difficult for Duane, because he was just entering those “awkward” years. The usual. Pimples, cracking voice, sharp and porous protrusions along his arms and back. One day, while participating in the dreaded and humiliating time honored school tradition known as public showers. Some of the boys called out Duane on the odd crusty growths on his back. Duane tried picking at them, but couldn't rid himself of them. The other boys started snapping Duane with their towels. Duane tried to yell at them to stop, but at that moment, some of his teeth fell out. Things weren't looking too good for Duane. He ran out of the shower to look in the mirror and noticed big bumps on his forehead. Duane ran out of the locker room in a blind, wet, naked panic. He ran right past the roving gang of popular, pretty girls. "Lookin' good Duane!" they called out to him. The rest of the week hadn't gone much better for Duane. His skin was getting worse, his spine was bending into a weird contortion, his fingernails kept growing, long sharp incisors had replaced what were once his teeth, and he kept bleeding from the eyes. He did his best to try and hide it. The 10 gallon cowboy hat did conceal the bumps on his forehead, which were now a good 8 inches over his scalp. However instead of just looking hideous, now he also looked stupid. Despite this new hideous/stupid look, Duane still somehow found the nerve to try and ask some of the girls to be his date to the school dance that weekend. Of course his requests were met with more crushing humiliation and shame. Duane was starting to become a bit unnerved at this point. In fact, he was becoming downright pissed off.

He went home and started listening to old death metal records while brooding and stewing in his own anger. Upon hearing the loud, angst-ridden music, his parents came to his room to ask him what was wrong. "Really?" he said. "I mean look at me! I look like a Tim Burton creature." "Oh," his father said. "Well, that's just your body changing. That's supposed to happen at your age. Why, when I was your age I was covered with pimples too!"
"But dad, these aren’t pimples. I’m covered with callous scabs and I’m growing horns!”
“Hmm, so you are. I thought it was some sort of surgical implant youth fad.”
“What? No! and none of the girls will go with me to the dance!"
"Well son, there's noting wrong with going stag to the dance. I'll bet you can meet a few nice girls there. In fact, that's how I met your mother."
"It's true" his mom said. "When I met your father at our school dance, oh the way he moved and the way he talked! Such passion! Such confidence! He didn't ask, he just took!" She started getting “that look” as she was recalling the events of the night. She leapt on her husband and they started making out on the floor right there and eventually rolled themselves down the hall to their room, leaving Duane frustrated and nauseated. Out of anger, Duane kicked his record player which caused it to skip and (somehow) play part of the song backwards. The song at that point almost sounded like it was saying “Duane. Duane. It’s me. Your real dad”. Duane was convinced now that he was loosing it. He sat down and started to spin the record backwards on the player. Sure enough, a deep, gritty, yet somehow pleasing baritone voice was speaking directly to Duane. “Hey kid. This is Satan, and well, it’s not easy for me to say, but, I’m your real dad. Now look. I know I wasn't around much. Or at all, really. Hell, you were an accident. I didn’t want you. I didn’t even really want your mom, either. I was just lookin’ for a bit of fun, you know what I mean? That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about. See, you’re at that age, and you’re also the spawn of my incredible, fiery loins, so it’s time you started acting like it. I want you to make me proud, my boy! Now, here’s what you gotta do.” Duane continued to play the record backwards and listen to his fathers inspiring and possibly drunken, instructions and words of encouragement.

That night, Duane went to the dance. It was a pretty uninspired affair in the school’s gym. Streamers were hung over basket ball hoops, half inflated balloons floated lazily across the room, and Duane sat nervously in the corner and awkwardly fumbled with his cup of punch, trying to look cool. He wore an ill fitting tux and top hat from the 70s in an effort to hide the spiky protrusions all over his body. He watched the band play on the stage while all of the other couples danced. Duane took a flask out from his jacket pocket. It was black and marked with a pentagram and burning letters that read “Dad’s Hooch”. Duane took a heroic pull off the booze and steeled himself for what he knew he must do. He strode up to the stage, just as the band was finishing a rather lousy cover of Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. “Attention foul mortal pigs and faculty!” Duane screamed into the mic. “I do believe it is time to start this mother fucker! Prepare to have your eyes burned and your filthy souls raped...” Duane kicked the guitar player off the stage and grabbed his Fender. “By the awesome power of metal!” As Duane held the guitar, it turned to a twisted piece of metal and bones engulfed in flames. He began to shred a truly wicked guitar solo on his unholy guitar with a blistering sound that could tear the souls of men in twain! “Foolish sacks of flesh! Behold the face-melting power of my axe!” Duane unleashed another furious metal assault on his class and a few faces of some of the members of the debate club actually did melt! As Duane continued to play, the spikes on his body grew and ripped right through his tux. The rest of the band’s eyes rolled into the back of their heads. They began to drool blood and proceeded to play the most brutal metal song ever! As Duane's horns burst right through his top hat, the dance erupted in a frenzy. The boys began to mosh and circle pit, which escalated into a full on riot. Chairs were thrown through windows. Molotov cocktails were hurled at bleachers. Black dress shoes scuffed polished wood floors! During the chaos, the girls at the dance started to tear the tops on their dresses, screaming and declaring themselves as humble offerings of the flesh to Duane, their Dark Lord and master. Duane was a mere shadow of his former self. He had been fully transformed into a demonic incarnation of rock and roll!

By the time Duane had finished his sonic assault, the school’s gym had been torn asunder. He strode from the smoldering ruins of the gym with two of the schools most buxom beauties in his arms. He mounted an idling Harley with his spoils and rode off into the night. At that moment, deep in the bowels of Hell, Satan was watching Duane on a flaming TV. “That’s my boy,” he said with a tear in his eye. “That’s my boy”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Character Design - Week 07

Here are some digital inks from last week's sketches of Fink Cretin. These were all inked digitally in Illustrator. I'm definitely getting better with the program. Each one took less time than the last. I think the 3rd one took only about 30-40 minutes. I love how clean the lines look. Next I have to learn how to get some variation in the weight.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Character Design - Week 06

Homework was to pose out our characters, so here he is, your pal, Fink Cretin!

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I think on the clean up I need to shorten his left leg slightly

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I really enjoy this pose. Really showing what a little psychopath he can be along with his affinity for knives/razors

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This is my least favorite of the bunch. His right arm that he's pointing with is all kinds of jacked up. This one definitely needs some work.

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"Know that this molotov cocktail must be a stratagem, which, cunningly effected, will beget a very excellent piece of villainy!"

I'm going to clean this up in Illustrator this week. I'm also going to try to finish up the turn around for Fink's older, dumber brother, Runt. I want to start posing him out to. Hopefully I'll have those soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Digital Illustration - Week 05

Our homework was to create a personal logo for ourselves in illustrator. So, here you go.

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I think that works rather well for me.

I decided to do a second one just to get in some more practice in illustrator. I'm really falling in love with this program.

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One of my favorite things in the entire world, is a black, spherical cartoon bomb. Complete with a "window shine". For those that weren't inundated with golden age animation during their formative years, a window shine is a reflection of a 4-panel window on a surface.

THOM FOOLERY'S CARTOON FACT #35 - In a cartoon, bombs and apples ALWAYS have a window shine, even if it's at night in the middle of a feild and there are no windows to be seen anywhere!

I think I'm going to screen the skull onto a black t-shirt for myself.

Gotta love wearing a shirt that promotes yourself for no other reason than self-serving narcissism. It's like Mitch's "MITCH ROCKS" t-shirt in Powerpuff Girls

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just because it has gears and a bowler derby doesn't mean it's "steam punk"

Here's a poster I just made for a Charlie Chaplin screening this Sunday.

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I really enjoyed working on this. This was my first poster that I made in Illustrator. I did use Photoshop for some color work and a bit of layout though. But all of the elements were made in Illustrator. I love how clean the lines are. I tried to challenge myself and use the pen tool for all of Chaplin, but hit a few trouble spots, so I used the brush tool there. The gears were all done with using simple line shapes, the star tool, and the pathfinder. I did have a bit of a struggle with the colors. That's always the way it goes though. The more simple it looks, the longer it took to get there.

I was extremely pleased with how well Chaplin came across as a caricature with so few lines. I feel like I'm really improving artistically. Here's the original Chaplin drawings so you can see the progression of the caricature. Simplifying it each time.

First drawing

Second drawing

Final drawing

Here are my original composition notes/scribbles.

For the text, I basically just used the original font and style of one of the original posters from 1936.

I didn't want too look at too many other posters for inspiration though. The gears weren't really a swipe though. Damn near every Modern Times poster you'll find though features gears. From international posters, to local cinemateuqe posters, to the Criterion Collection cover. The gears are just the iconic symbol of the film.

This should be a really cool event. Of course I'm always for what Cinefamily has going on, but this is with a great new group called Rabbit Hole Screenings. I'm really behind what these guys are about. They offer film education for middle and high school students who have had little exposure to the movies. They screen classic films from the silent movie era through the 1980's and then discuss and debate them. This screening on Sunday is a part of a huge community service event in SoCal called Big Sunday. Here's the info on the screening. Come check it out if you're in the area!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Darth Vader's Death

Re-blogged from The Huffington Post with slight edits. Original can be found here. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-gerloff/the-psychology-of-revenge_b_856184.html?ref=fb&src=sp

The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Darth Vader's Death

While the killing of Darth Vader is being enthusiastically celebrated throughout Rebel bases and parts of the galaxy, to say that such merriment is out of order will surely be considered heresy. Nonetheless, I'm saying it -- because it needs to be said. What I am tempted to say is this: Get a grip, celebrators. Have you so little decency?

I do understand how those who have suffered from the events of Alderaan may feel relieved, even happy, to have "closure" after years of waiting for "justice to be done" -- and I don't quarrel with such feelings. Closure is a natural yearning and can certainly help people move on from serious trauma. And feelings are feelings. If you feel joyful, you feel joyful.
But celebration is not in order, no matter what your feelings of elation. Here's why.
"Celebrating" the killing of any member of our species -- for example, by chanting "Rebel Alliance! Rebel Alliance!" and singing "Yub Nub" outside the Rebel base on Yavin IV or jubilantly demonstrating in the streets of Coruscant -- is a violation of human dignity. Regardless of the perceived degree of "Jedi" or "Sith" in any of us, we are all, each of us, human. To celebrate the killing of a life, any life, is a failure to honor life's inherent sanctity.
Plenty of people will argue that Darth Vader did not respect the sanctity of others' lives. But I say, "So what?" What makes us human is our ability to choose our own behavior. More specifically, it is our capacity to return good for evil, love for hate, dignity for indignity. While some consider Darth Vader to have been the personification of evil, he was nonetheless a human being. A more appropriate response to his killing would be to mourn the many tragedies that led up to his violent death, as well as the violent deaths of thousands in the attempt to eliminate him from the galaxy; to feel compassion for anyone who, because of their role in the Rebel forces, citizen or senator, Jedi or otherwise, has had to play any role in killing another.

We are not a peaceful species. Nor are we a peaceful galaxy. The celebrations of this killing throughout the galaxy draw attention to these facts.

The death of Darth Vader gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves: What kind of galaxy and what kind of species do we want to be? Do we want to become a species that honors life? Do want to become a species that embodies peace? If that is what we want, then we need to start now to examine our own hearts and actions, and begin to consciously evolve in that direction. We could start by not celebrating the killing of another.

It is hard not to think that some of the impulse to celebrate "justice being done" may also contain a certain pleasure in revenge -- not just "closure" but "getting even." The galaxy is not safer with Darth Vader's violent demise (threat levels are going up, not down), so no cause for celebration there; The Dark Side has not been finally removed from the galaxy, so no reason for jubilation on that count. The War on The Empire goes on, so there is no closure in that regard. The truth is that "celebrating justice" when one person is killed -- as happens regularly in the gang wars of Coruscant cities -- only incites further desire for revenge, which, from "the other side's" viewpoint, is usually called "justice."

Think of it. If a leader on our planet were killed by another government in the manner in which Darth Vader was killed, as "justice" for his acts of aggression in the War on The Empire -- and people from that other planet were shown proudly chanting the planet’s name, singing their national anthem, and demonstrating in the streets -- we would likely feel more sickened than joyful, don't you think? The impulse to celebrate a death depends on what side you're on.
We will only have peace when we stop the cycle of jubilation over acts of violence.
Who will stop the cycle? If not us, who? If not you and I, who will it be?

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

Character Design - Week 04

For our latest character design homework assignment, we had to do 5 point turn arounds of our own characters. We'll be working with these characters for the rest of the quarter. I decided to go with The Cretin Brothers. I've been wanting to work with them more, so I figure this would be a good opportunity. I'm hoping that by developing them further visually, I'll subsequently be able to develop their personalities and a story for them. I have a few ideas for them rattling around, but nothing solid yet. Anyway, here's Fink Cretin. This is the first full 5 point character turn around I've ever done.

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While I haven't drawn him all that much, I'm really having fun with Fink. This is actually the first time I've ever drawn him in any pose other than 3/4 profile. There were a few challenges, mostly coming from the weird shape of his head. I should have picked up some Play-Doh and sculpted a little maquette. I tried my best to get everything lined up perfectly. From the spikes of his hair, to his ears, to his nose, to his wings, to his crotch, etc etc.

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I'm not too crazy about the way he looks full frontal. I don't like the shape of his head, but it lines up on the turn around.
UPDATE: I think what would make this look better is if his face were narrower. I gave his face the same width as his 3/4, which isn't really necessary.

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This was the pose I started with. Classic 3/4.

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I like how he looks profile!

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This was a little bit tricky, but I think it looks pretty good. Interesting view.

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Not too much to say about this. Pretty boring.

I think I'm going to try and make another turn around before class tomorrow. I'd like to do Fink's neglected brother, Runt. I don't draw him nearly as much as I draw Fink. His turn around should be easier because of his construction. He's made up of more simple geometric shapes. Basically a big rounded rectangle on a circle.

UPDATE: At the suggestion of Aurorah Yarberry I decided to share the original sketches.

This first set was drawn on paper. I started with the 3/4 turn (2nd from left) and used that as the base for all of the other angles. It was a pretty good start, but not everything was lined up. I needed more guides to keep everything on level.
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This second set was done digitally. I started again with the 3/4 pose. I used the one I had drawn above and made a lot more guide lines in Photoshop. I used my original drawings as reference, but redrew 90% of it keeping in mind to make sure everything was lined up.
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There were a lot more guides actually, but because there were so many it was making things cluttered and hard to see/work. Many lines were so close to each other that they became confusing, so I just drew a few at a time and deleted them when I was done. This is actually a better idea of the amount of guides I was using.
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Created from your dreeeeeams"

Went down to the Cinefamily to check out a screening presented by those found footage ghouls, Everything Is Terrible, and dear God, was the feature ever terrible! An abysmal direct-to-video assault on the eyes and ears called Creating Rem Lezar. Since I'm too terrified to sleep, for fear of a blue mullet man coming to tuck me in, I decided to ink and color this goofy caricature of the film's titular character, Rem Lezar.
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This is Rem Lezar. He lives in your nightmares and the Vegas odds have it at 2:1 that he's a pedo. Seriously, the following is a direct quote from the opening song. "Part of the joy that I get from this boy is his innocent laugh and style" Here's a link to the movie on youtube if you actually wanna see something...well...terrible!

Here's a still from the

Being the curious guy that I am, I of course had to look up any information I could find on this wreck. Turns out that the actor that plays Rem Lezar (Jack Mulcahy) has his own Wikipedia entry. The damn thing is only 2 sentences long! But what really cracks my ass up is that according to this entry, the highlight of his "career" was singing a goddamn Snickers candy bar jingle in 2006!!!

Anyway, here's a scan of of the sketches I made during the movie.

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I think these actually look better than the inked and colored version above. Man, I really need to get better with Adobe Illustrator.