Paige Character Design

Illustration of Paige, Satris's childhood friend.Sometimes I obsess over things needlessly. Tiny, minute details that really shouldn’t matter too much and if enough of them pile up, I call the whole thing a scrap and start over, even if the overall image is up to my standards otherwise. Granted, I often post things done in a haphazard way, but Paige wasn’t one of those times.

A good deal of thought went into something that turned out so simple; but simple is key for the designs, as I’m going to be drawing these characters over, and over, and over again eventually. I started out thinking what Paige is — not just Sartris’s childhood friend, but a confident kid who’s used to being outdoors, incredibly curious and generally someone positive, free willed, and brings out the positive in Sartris one way or another. Starting with this base, I wanted a warm outfit, and lined it with fur to make it at least somewhat interesting. I toyed a little with an even more slavic design than this turned out originally, with a more Polish peasant clothing, but as a child I figured this was far more appropriate. Besides, I’ve probably overplayed the Slavic thing with Meridian Knights anyways.

That being said, getting the glasses, hair and especially braids was a huge challenge to get the way I wanted. And this is why I obsessed a lot on this, to get those looking right. Once I drew the braids, too, I knew some slavic influence would undoubtedly come in and you’ll see more of that as I draw her older versions.

As a side note to this, I split the Sartris images off into their own gallery in the menu.

Cartoons That Have Influenced Me: Animaniacs

So, basically immediately after I posted my last blog about what’s influenced me, it was announced Animaniacs was making a return to Hulu.

I watched a metric ton of this show when I was in middle and high school. Reluctant to really get into it at first, my cousin helped get me into this early in the show’s run one Thanksgiving day. It took me a few episodes to really “click” on what was going on, but I realized this was as close to a good, modern day revival of the Looney Tunes format we were going to get.

While that may not exactly sound like glowing praise, allow me to explain — I don’t like things that purely emulate or revive something. Animaniacs stood very, very well on its own and still paid homage to classic Warner Bros animation, without focusing on too much. And it did this much better than Tiny Toons; while Tiny Toons was decent, it was still derivative. Animaniacs paved a lot of new territory, its characters were all new territory. The shows concept, while thin, held together (lost, classic cartoon characters escape confinement, hijinks ensue).

I like large ensemble casts when done well. (There are several examples of this: Looney Tunes/ Merry Melodies, Bloom County, to name a couple), but it’s important that each character stand well on its own. There can be exceptions to this; Mr. Skullhead isn’t exactly a well developed character, but the gags always work. (And yes, my favorite character is by far Wakko, so much so, I spent years honing my impression of him. I’m a blast at parties.)

Razzle is one character who undoubtedly was influenced by this cartoon. Her design is very much akin to the Warner Bros – far more than I intended, to be quite frank. The original notion of the set up with Razzle was to be more akin to 20s/30s animation; but let’s face it; so were Yakko, Wakko and Dot.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on liking Animaniacs — if I was, it certainly wouldn’t be rebooted. I could probably talk ad nauseum about the show (I didn’t even touch the music on the show, which is amazing to say the least), but it wouldn’t be anything that wasn’t already covered anyway by so many other people. Warner Bros. (and the Warner Sister) animation is fairly influential on what I’ve done, and let’s face it – this is a golden, modern example of that, and I’m glad it’s coming back.

My Inkling


A revised version of my inkling. I’ve been increasingly using dualies in Splatoon 2 over my beloved inkbrush. I’m not covering as much ink, but it allows me to be a bit more wily, which is really what my original appeal of the brush is anyway. Once I’m done farming my abilities, I’ll be hitting ranked pretty heavily with them.

I liked the spots on the “hair” – they’re like reverse freckles. And of course, like all my characters, my inkling is yet another redhead. And the reverse freckles make the regular freckles more fun! I guess. Whatever. I know I’m stuck on this one little detail a little too much.

Sartris: Old Version

Sartris’s comic spans the majority of his lifetime. So there’s several designs that go into a single character, particularly Sartris, as it spans the decades. Here’s an older version of him.

Not to give too much away, the white streak is from lightning, though no reason it couldn’t be from aging, too. But serious, it’s from a lightning strike.

Cartoons That Have Influenced Me: Porky In Wackyland

* AUTHOR’S NOTE: Starting this year, I’ll be starting a series of blogs about cartoons, comics, and other visual media that has influenced me – think of this as a small peak into the madness inside my own head.

Porky in Wackyland… Oh, what to say and where do I start with this cartoon?
I can’t think of any cartoon that exemplifies more just what draws me to cartoons in general than Porky in Wackyland. I’m likely parroting a large number of people when I call it Bob Clampett’s finest work. And frankly, this cartoon scared the hell out of me as a kid, but the more I watched it the more it grew on me and warped my fragile little mind.

There’s so much going on, particularly in the first four minutes, that I dont really a recap of the picture is particularly appropriate; plot is minimal and the entire thing is built of a manic pace of surreal images. The film builds its entire premise on building something up, then doing the unexpected, or just plain bizarre to begin with. There’s a small undercurrent of satire, but each example is confined to its specific gag and doesn’t detract from anything else in the film.

In short? Its a masterpiece.

Wackyland plays a huge part of the style in Jason in a Strange Land, and for some imagery and stylistic issues in how I planned on handling Razzle cartoons. While it’s hard to duplicate something like Clampett’s manic pacing in a comic, the throwaway satire was planned for Razzle, and the backgrounds for both cartoons would have been (or are, in Jason’s case) extremely surreal. As I plan the next chapter in Jason In a Strange Land, I am consistently looking back on this cartoon, and this was in fact, the inspiration for writing this series.

Tundra Trudge


Well, it’s officially winter now — for a few days even. What better way to commemorate this lovely 60 degree weather than by posting the ice level music for Meridian Knights, so I did that.
You may be wondering why there are two characters. I’m going to keep you wondering. The stage takes place on Mount Zimno, and the level is based on movement — some surfaces impede movement (snow) and some are slippery (ice). I took a lot of inspiration from various ice levels for this one, in particular, RPG ice levels, and then tried to transform them into something appropriate for a platform.
Musically, this is definitely one of my slower pieces. I like fast music, what can I say? And honestly, I usually tone down the tempo after I get used to a composition. The melody is also far different than almost any other composition I’ve ever written. I got lucky when creating it — I was playing around with trying to translate a classical guitar to MIDI at one point (I dont remember the context of this, sorry), and came up with this.
And now, you know the rest of the story.

On Coloring Characters

I realize that, in practice, I have never actually applied color to two of my characters, Razzle and Jason, despite have a vivid idea of what the colors actually are in my head. Thank the fact that I’ve never had any practical reason to actually do so. Razzle was never fully applied anyway, and Jason has so far gone in black and white. Honestly… I’ve considered doing upcoming installments of Jason in a Strange Land in color, especially as the surrealism of the whole crazy things extends. Considering the way I shade it I don’t think it would be too much of a hassle, as well.

Anyway, without further adieu, Razzle and Jason in glorious color:

One thing that came to clear to me as I was doing this, too – was just how often I make a main character a redhead. Examples throughout the last, oh, 20 or so years:

At least I have enough of a habit of varying the color of red, from Moxie’s coral color to Jason’s wine red. I’ve pondered this, and maybe it’s a penchant for redheads, maybe it’s because there’s a fair amount of red in my hair (depending on the light, har har) itself. It’s possible, there’s certainly a fair amount of me in all my characters — especially the leading ones. Jason’s melancholy, Moxie’s spirit and eagerness, and Sartris especially, as the intent is he’s a very direct reflection of me in many ways, albeit exaggerated in many respects. (more on this in another post).

Despite all this, the red hair has almost always been intentional. Stacy and Jeane are older characters and it’s a bit more difficult to recall correctly, especially since both these characters are more or less retired, anyway, so I don’t feel terribly obligated to dig that deep into my memory as it were. Moxie’s represents eagerness, Sartris’s represents fire. Razzle was meant to contrast the brown on her fur (saturation wise) and Jason’s… well, with Jason, I couldn’t see any other color in my head but that and grey. I think the muted wine color versus a more vibrant red reflects his melancholy as well.

I suppose my next wild project may have a redhead too. Signature of my characters maybe?

Liquid Television is Available For Free Now

If it’s not absurdly apparent, I’m a huge fan of animation – yes, cartoons mainly, but puppets, stop motion animation, and more… it all comes as a package deal to me.
At a pivotal point in my life when animation was becoming meaningful for me, Liquid Television kept me occupied on many a night… and now you can see it all for free (again.)
The random nature of the show and bizarreness of some of the pieces really captured my teenage brain well. Coincidentally, when revisiting my old artwork earlier this year, the show quickly popped into my head (especially as I was working on Jason In A StrangeLand). It’s a shame it’s not been seen in so many years, so this is exciting for anyone not only wanting to see some experimental animation, but those of us wanting to revisit out of nostalgia.

If you want to see the episodes, check archive.org.

Goblin

This goblin was originally intended to be a loveable little scamp of an enemy faced in Meridian Knights – little creepy things that crawl everywhere essentially. However, I designed this, and while I very much like this design — it became clear to me enemies that aren’t characterized should be based off objects.

So, since I thought this was decent enough it should still be shared, here’s the Goblin. I’ve also added him to my illustrations gallery.

Rasputin The Bee

While taking a few moments to revisit some old characters, I realized I had never really colored Rasputin in any sort of context. I mean, I never had really used Rasputin The Bee much… but more on that in another post.

I used to draw Rasputin a lot. Like, a lot. Cartoon bees are pretty simple to draw, and it was pretty easy to make him expressive. And if you really look at most of the drawings of Rasputin… it’s pretty clear he’s a cranky dude. (Note his stinger isn’t visible so we’re probably safe for the time being.).

This is potentially for some art I’ll be using to update on social media near the beginning of the year, but I can’t really guarantee that too much. Minds change… It’s the plan for now though.