Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 365

Alright, folks.  It's been a long time coming, but here -- finally -- is my last Doodle of the Day.  I apologize for my lateness, but this one was worth spending time on.  I feel like it really sums up the whole endeavor: my imagination, process, and drive as an artist.  It is quite simply a statement about the relationship I have with my art.  Over this year I have grown and changed, both as a person and as an artist.  But, in the end, it all comes back to the simple, wonderful act of putting pencil to paper.

For those who don't know the doodle features the TARDIS in back, Spider-Man on the right, a Velociraptor on the left, Buffy's scythe in front and Serenity off in the background.

I know I slipped up on the last couple of doodles, but I'm actually okay with that.  Though I put it on the internet for all to see, the Doodle-A-Day project was ultimately for myself.  And this final doodle deserved the time and the work I put into it.  I don't regret it.

Here are scans of the work in progress, as a point of interest.  Considering this is one of my favorite pieces I've done to date, I like that it is properly documented.

My first sketch, figuring out proportions and things.

Fleshing out Spidey and the Velociraptor.

Adding shadow and clarifying the TARDIS.

Finished TARDIS and Serenity.

The final pencil, cleaned up digitally.

I had always intended to color this one, but I liked the pencil so much I was wondering if I should keep going.  In the end I'm glad I colored it: I think it looks great and it was some of the most fun I've ever had in photoshop.  (Took HOURS though.)

So yes.  This is the end of the Doodle-A-Day project.  But this is by no means the last of my art you will see.

I'm just getting started.

Buffy Rewatch: Nightmares

Nightmares (1x10)
Writer: Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt

  • Joss is credited as a writer for this one.  Makes sense.
  • Health class is always such a joke.  Active listening?
  • Why are vampires hurt by crosses anyway?  Is it the Christianity thing?  Because other than this one thing, BtVS is a very secular show.  It's strange.  Perhaps crosses were adopted as a christian symbol BECAUSE they hurt vampires?
  • "It's funny if you're me."
  • Calling non-insects insects bugs me too, Wendel.
  • The SMOKING KILLS sign is a bit too much.
  • I'm pretty sure that doctor is breaking a lot of rules by telling Buffy and Giles everything.
  • The only appearance of Hank Summers.
  • The scene where Hank tells Buffy the divorce was her fault is so upsetting to me.  SMG is really great.
  • Nightmares coming true.  That is a genuinely terrifying thought.
  • Where on earth is Xander? Weird tarps hanging everywhere?  I guess it's a dream thing.
  • The Master has seen Cinderella?
  • I actually got a strange amount of pride when Xander punched that clown.
  • So does no one remember except the Scoobies?  I suppose that was not the real Hank Summers?
This is one of my very favorite episodes of this season.  We learn a lot about the characters here.  We learn that Buffy fears having been the cause of her parents divorce, which actually is a subtle but important note about the character.  It all ties in with her sense of isolation as a result of her calling, a main theme of this season and the series as a whole.

We learn that Giles' greatest fear is Buffy's death, which is an important moment for the still growing relationship between them.

Willow's fear involves being in front of a crowd.  This seems to be fairly trivial, but it actually tells a lot about the character.  As we will later see, Willow fears judgement and feeling weak.  As we see in Restless (4x22), Willow is afraid that people will see through her "disguise" of self confidence to the scared, awkward little girl from this season.

Xander's nightmare is probably the least interesting.  The clown thing was kind of funny but not especially revealing.  We will get a much better examination of Xander's fears in Fear, Itself (4x04), Restless (4x22), and Hell's Bells (6x16).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Diotic Ragabash II and Other News

Hey all, life is still chugging along here at The Hummus Offensive.

The last couple weeks I have been working to complete the newest episode of the web series Welcome to Sumwhere.  I'm the main animator for the series, and this episode proved a particular challenge.  Not only was it our longest episode to date, it was also easily our most complex.  Containing a musical number, a fight scene, and lots of flamboyant costumes, this episode was probably the most difficult thing I've done for the site.

I encourage you to watch it here: The Diotic Ragabash II: Destructo Rises.  It is a sequel to an episode we did last season, so if you have never seen it, maybe check that out too.

Overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out, although of course I have my regrets.  I had planned on making the fight scene much more involved, but unfortunately I just ran out of time.  There are other parts of the episode that just feel rushed to me, but you got to do what you got to do I suppose.

In other news, now that TDR2 is finished, I have a couple of weeks off before I need to start working on the next episode.  Because these weeks correspond to my last two weeks of summer as well, I think you will probably see a bit more activity around here.

Expect to start seeing a more regular influx of artwork, BtVS rewatches, and other random garbage over the next couple of weeks.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick Update

So I realize that things have been kinda quiet around here lately.  (To be fair I was on vacation for a week, so there's that excuse out of the way.)  I apologize.  I also am aware that I have one more doodle that is so late it's not even funny.  I decided that because I was already well past deadline on it that, instead of trying to get it done as soon as possible, that I would try and make it a cool and worthy final doodle.  As a result it has taken me a bit longer than I anticipated.  However, it is getting there and will probably be up pretty soon.

I also am getting back to my Buffy rewatch, and just posted 3 new rewatch posts earlier this evening.  Go ahead and check 'em out.  Having a lot of fun with this.

I think I shall also do a post talking about my thoughts on the major superhero films that have come out this summer now that I've seen the new Batman.

Finally, I am kind of busy trying to finish the new episode of my web series: Welcome to Sumwhere.  After that though I have a few paleoart-related-projects I have been planning for a while and have every intention to document here.

So, in short: I still have every intention to keep this blog updated so keep checking back.

Buffy Rewatch: The Puppet Show

The Puppet Show (1x09)
Writer: Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali

  • This writing team previously wrote Never Kill a Boy on the First Date (1x05)
  • I can't get over how much I love Giles being the director of the talent show.  He looks so pained about it!  Wonderful.
  • Willow is wearing a t-shirt that just has a picture of a rubber ducky on it.  I can't decide how to feel about that.
  • I LOVE Principle Snyder.  He's such a great antagonist.
  • I also love Giles' satisfied smile when the trio are made to participate in the talent show.
  • Buffy: "I saw a dummy, it gave me the wig.  There really wasn't a story there."
  • Willow: "It could be anyone!  It could be me!" (beat) "It's... not though."
  • Giles commenting on Cordy's hair to get her to leave is PERFECTION.
  • Lots of really great misdirects in this episode.
  • Having flash forwards to Willow's dream in Restless (4x22) where Giles is the director of the play.
  • I love that Sid doesn't get a happy ending.  His body is gone so when the curse is broken he just dies. It's sad but very real, too.  (Which is strange considering it's a story about an animated ventriloquists dummy.)
  • I find it very silly that Xander happened to come up with a perfect square for Willow to take the root of.  Couldn't there have been a different way to prove her intelligence that didn't seem so contrived?
  • Wouldn't that guillotine slice through Giles's brain?
  • Sid looks really stupid in action sequences.
  • The demon made a vampire dusting sound when it died.  That's weird.  I wonder if they were considering making that sound whenever any demon died.
  • Snyder: "What is it, avant-garde?"
  • The credits sequence is THE BEST EVER.
This is a solid episode.  Not terrible but not great either.  A quite well plotted mystery with a few great and unexpected red herrings.  Having the dummy turn out to be a good guy was quite clever and felt very BtVS.  Overall a pretty entertaining first season episode.

Buffy Rewatch: I Robot, You Jane

I Robot, You Jane (1x08)
Writer: Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden

  • I've decided to start taking note of the writer/writers for each episode, because that interests me.  I might spot trends I never noticed before.  Of course, this is a silly one to start that with because I don't think either of these writers come back.
  • Okay.  Here we go..
  • Jenny Calender!  I always forget this is her first episode.
  • Willow: "Yes.  It was  joke I made up."  I love that line.  I say it all the time when people ask me if I'm joking.
  • That scanner doesn't even scan the whole page!  It makes no sense!  How could a human hand be steady enough to scan a good image anyway!  Gah.  I'm a tech nerd so this is going to be quite painful for me I think.
  • Are free periods a thing?  I never had them in high school.
  • "I'm jacked in. I'm jacked in.  I'm jacked in."  NO COMPUTER NERD HAS EVER SAID THIS.
  • "To read makes our speaking English good."  Another great line I say all the time.
  • WHY DOES WILLOW HAVE A SPEECH SYNTHESIZER TURNED ON? WHY IS SHE TALKING ALOUD TO THE SCREEN WHILE SHE IS TYPING?!  I realize this is to show us what they are saying, but I've seen modern movies and TV shows that just show the screen and what is being typed and it works fine.
  • Moloch: "It's on her permanent record."  (beat)  "She must have mentioned it."   Hahahahaha, this is so funny to me.
  • I can see both Giles' and Jenny's points in the books vs. computers argument.  I do think information should be made available to everyone, but I also think we have become too dependent on the internet and technology in general in a lot of ways.
  • Hahahaaha.  When Buffy tries to delete the Moloch file.  And he's just like... NO.  He comes up all pixel-y.  Oh man.  That's fantastic.
  • Is that Joss on the radio that Giles is listening to?  It sounds a lot like him...
  • I think the idea of a technopagan could actually be really cool if done right (read: by someone who actually understands computers and the internet.)  I like the idea of combining magic and tech.
  • I like the Independence Day reference.  This episode is cheesey, but apparently not so cheesey that the problem could be solved by Jeff Goldbloom with a macbook.
  • I love Giles' speech about the smell of books.  This is why I will never give up on books completely.
  • The conversation the trio have at the end about how they will never have a normal love life is extremely sad/hilarious in hindsight.  You can almost see all the future tragedies transcending time back to this moment.
Well, I really don't have much to say about this episode.  It was exceptionally cheesey and boring.  This whole episode rings of a time before the internet when everyone was still worried about what the computer box was.  The metaphor against online relationships is extremely unsubtle and particularly dated, considering we have an entire industry built around finding romance via the internet now, and does nothing to help the episodes luddite-ity.  Is that a word?  It should be.  Also, I don't think I've EVER been in a chat room in my life.  Do they still exist even?  This episode isn't a complete loss though.  There is quite a few great one liners here, as well as the introduction of Jenny Calender and her and Giles' relationship.

However, I look forward to moving on from this one.

Buffy Rewatch: Angel

Angel (1x07)

  • Ooh, the Three.  Least scary villains ever.
  • Hey, this episode was written by David Greenwalt!  At first I thought it was his first, but after reading I discovered it was actually his second.  (Teacher's Pet was first.  Ha!)
  • Xander dances like I do.
  • Angel, stop being so damn creepy.
  • "Take your jacket and shirt off."  Nice one, Buffy.
  • They should do an episode about how Angel got his tatoo.  Like LOST did.  Because that was a great episode.  </sarcasm>
  • Why is Angel sleeping over at all?  I mean, sexual tension aside.
  • "Guys'll do anything to impress a girl.  I once drank an entire gallon of Gatorade without taking a break."  "It was pretty impressive.  Although later on there was an ick factor..."
  • Willow's delivery of the line "No, I was sleeping" after Giles mentions how late he was up is strangely hilarious to me.
  • Okay seriously.  I could maybe understand Angel staying the night.  But why does he stay there ALL DAY!?  I mean, I know it's because he's a vampire, but Buffy doesn't know that.  Doesn't that seem strange at all to her?
  • It's kind of strange that Angel vamps out when kissing Buffy.  Is it because this is the closest he's been to a human in years?  Bloodlust suddenly rising?
  • When Xander sees that Cordelia may have overheard: "How could you love an umpire?!  Everyone hates 'em!"
  • Angel, I know you like your image, but you could probably light the dark hole in the ground you live in just a BIT more.
  • "What's with the Catholic School Girl look?  Last time I saw you it was Kimonos."  According to my research (read: Wikipedia), Kimonos are Japanese clothing.  Later don't we find out that the last time Angel and Darla met was in China during the Boxer Rebellion?  Darla was not wearing a Kimono in that episode and probably would have looked very strange if she was.  Not a big deal, just a minor nitpick.
  • At first I really disliked how Angel doesn't try to explain to Buffy that he didn't bite Joyce.  It seemed like a contrivance for the sake of DRAMA to me, and I hate those.  But then later in the episode Buffy calls him out on it and he explains that it was because he wanted to feed on Joyce.  So he felt guilty, like he deserved Buffy's hatred.  This actually makes complete sense to me.
  • Why did Xander and Willow randomly just show up at Buffy's house?
  • Giles on why Buffy is not good at history: "She lives very much in the now and of course history is very much about the then."  This actually is a very consistent character trait of Buffy's that we see throughout the series.  Her disregard for tradition and old rules is a defining trait and what makes her a good slayer.  This will first be truly explored next season with Kendra.
  • "You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done, and care."  What a great line.
  • They had yet to refine the vampire teeth prosthetics enough at this point in the show, so Darla sounds really dumb trying to talk with her teeth in.
  • Aww.  I'm kind of sad for Darla this time around.  Considering how important a role she plays later in AtS, her death is really kind of affecting here.  Julie Benz acting as she realizes she was killed by her beloved Angel is really quite sad.
  • Okay, I know the cross burned into Angel's chest is SUPER CHEESEY, but I kind of like it anyway.
I would say that this is really the first great episode of this show.  Angel's story, while melodramatic and lacking in nuance, is really quite well done here and it is the first big thing to happen in this show.  His character has so much potential and it is good they didn't wait longer for the reveal of his true nature.  The idea of a tortured vampire, cursed with a soul and in love with the Slayer is actually very powerful.  Looking back from the perspective of both shows and the comics, this is actually a very important episode for Angel's character.  It is here that Angel finally chooses a side.  Up until now he has been a lonely, brooding wanderer: unable to be either monster or man.  But because of his love of Buffy, and, critically, her acceptance of him, he can begin to be something more.  He can start on the road to redemption, which will provide purpose for him long past his relationship with Buffy.

However, here we do not get the subtle Angel characterization we will eventually have.  This is really his first character developing episode and as a result it is all broad strokes.  Large operatic melodrama defines Angel's character and the Buffy/Angel romance at this point.  It makes sense, but I feel that one of the main problems of Angel's characterization on Buffy is that the show takes him too seriously.  It is kind of a silly story, and I think if the show poked fun at it a bit more it would go a long way towards making Angel more than an archetype and a more engaging, relatable character.

Of course, these are problems for the future.  For now, Angel the episode is a great start and has the grand distinction of being the first episode to really demonstrate the potential this show has. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

BtVS Rewatch: The Pack

The Pack (1x06)

  • I love the zoo!  Don't know why Buffy isn't into it.
  • Oh my god!  That's Eion Bailey fom Once Upon a Time as the lead bully!  I never noticed him before!
  • Ick.  It's an episode with hyenas so they must have jungle-y music.  I hate the season 1 score.
  • Nicholas Brendan actually has a really pretty great evil smile.
  • Hyena Fact 1: They are evil.
  • Moment.  When Xander is being a dick at the Bronze, Willow asks him if he's okay and then proceeds to ask: "did I do something?"  Aww, Willow.  I love how cute and mousey you are in season 1, but I can't wait until she grows up and becomes a badass, because that line is all kinds of sad.
  • Buffy is known for taking baths?
  • What the heck is a Razorback anyway?  Is it a real animal?  I REFUSE TO GOOGLE THIS.
  • Hyena Fact 2: They are bad at math.
  • "God, this game is brutal.  I love it."  I wish we had seen that gym teacher again.  (I don't think it's the same guy that was the swim coach at the end of season 2.)
  • Xander, I know you are possessed, but when you make Willow cry I want to punch you SO HARD.
  • It would be really funny if the episode ended early because they all got sick from eating raw pig.
  • What is that song at the beginning of Act 2?  (Google reveals it is "Job's Eyes" by Far.  Never heard of them.  Not sure that I like it, but it definitely works for the sequence.)
  • This will become a theme in these rewatches: when Alyson Hannigan cries, I cry.
  • The scene with Xander being all misogynistic (Hyena Fact 3: They hate women.) reminded me of Wesley in the Angel episode Billy (AtS 3x06).
  • Poor Principle Flutie.  I actually kind of liked him.  This is significant because it shows the show is not afraid to kill off important secondary characters.  And so it begins...
  • There's the Willow I want: not susceptible to fake sweet-talk.
  • Oh that book cage.  That strangely indestructible book cage.  Is this the first time they lock something in there?  I think it is!  I'm going count this.
    • People/Monsters Locked in Book Cage: 1
  • Why on earth are the Hyena people so strong?  Proportionate to Buffy they are some of the strongest single-episode villains she faces in the series.  Because why?
  • I should count how many times Giles is knocked out.  This is the second.  (The first was in Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, I believe.  Correct me if I'm wrong.)
    • Giles Knockouts: 2 
  • Yeah, you were possessed and tried to rape your friend.  That must have been really embarrassing for you.  /sarcasm.  Sorry, that just bugs me.
  • One other thing that bugs me.  I wish pop culture wouldn't demonize hyenas.  At some point someone decided that hyenas are gross, evil monsters.  This is a general trend with opportunistic animals in general.  I don't like it though.  Hyenas are cool!  Did you know that Hyenas are more closely related to cats than to dogs?  (A real Hyena Fact!)  Convergent evolution in action!

I actually really like this episode.  It's easily the strongest of the series so far.  (That will change when I get to the next episode, though.)  I think it is the first episode to really show how close these characters have grown in the past few weeks (months?)  When Xander is acting like a dick to Willow and Buffy, it feels like a huge betrayal, which only works because we have seen their friendship grow.  The fact that the monster-of-the-week story takes over one of our own makes it personal.  Imagine how much less interesting this episode would have been had just the bullies and not Xander had been possessed.

This episode also does a lot to explore the relationship between Xander and Willow.  She may have a crush on him right now, but their relationship goes much deeper than that.  They have been best friends since they were kids.  This is why Xander's possession affects Willow so much.  It's not just that he rejected her romantically, he rejected their friendship.  This episode also pulls a "show don't tell" trick.  Instead of just saying that they've been best friends forever, Willow demonstrates it by seeing through Hyena Xander's sweet talk in the cage.  She knows him extremely well.  It's moments like this that will make the Yellow Crayon speech at the end of Season 6 so powerful.  While the Xander/Willow friendship doesn't get a lot of focus in the series as a whole, it's still one of my favorite relationships in the show and its nice to see it so firmly established here.

One final note.  My girlfriend has decided to follow my lead and start her own BtVS rewatch.  You can read her thoughts on Welcome to the Hellmouth here.

Doodle-A-Day 364

Yes.  I've been putting this off.  I just... don't want this to be over, guys!

I drew a version of this guy way back in high school and just found the drawing and redrew it.  (2 ink sketches below.)

I know I suck at doodles, but mostly I just got nervous that my last doodles wouldn't be good enough.  Which is stupid, I realize.  However, it might still be a while before the last one.  The final one DOES need to be suitably epic I think.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Once Upon a Time

Sorry about the recent lack of content round here.  I'm trying to change, I promise!

Anyway, after months of pestering me, my girlfriend finally got me to watch the new ABC drama Once Upon a Time.  And, guess what?  I liked it.  A lot.

For the uninitiated, the show is basically LOST with fairy tale characters.  The set-up is that the Snow White's Evil Queen cast a curse to take away all the happy endings, throwing all the various fairy-tale characters into our world with no memory of their previous lives.  The main character is Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), who is the only one who can break the curse but does not believe.

The show is not perfect, and I will get to that in a minute.  But first I want to explain what I love about this show, before I start picking it apart.  First, it is a successful serialized drama on a major network, which is a good sign for television as a medium.  Second, it has a really heavy emphasis on characterization (though this is occasionally flawed: more on this later).  And third, it takes the flashback story structure from LOST, combined with the familiar stories of fairy-tales, and creates compelling stories filled with unexpected twists and turns of character.

It is this theme of telling old stories in new ways that feels so refreshing to me.  The show asks the question of why we need these kinds of stories.  What is it about fantasy and specifically the "happily-ever-after" tales that make us need to keep telling them?  The show explores this idea through frankly brilliant re-imaginings of  classic fairy-tales that simultaneously nod to previous tellings while maintaining a feel that is all its own.  Once Upon a Time gives us a Magic Mirror that was once the Genie of the Lamp of Agrabah, before wishing himself to be by the Queen's side forever.  We get Grumpy the Dwarf, who was once called Dreamy before losing his chance at true love.  Each of these characters get flashbacks of their real life in fairy land as we get to know who they are in our world.  The Queen is the Mayor of the town, while the Mirror is the local reporter who does her bidding.  Jiminy Cricket is the town therapist who goes by Dr. Hopper.

One of the most important stories of the first season is the troubled romance between Mary Margaret (Snow White) and David (Prince Charming).  I never thought anything would make me love Snow White as a character, but this show does it.  In fairyland, Snow is not the helpless damsel of the classic tale.  She is 3-dimensional badass outlaw, and it is awesome.  They also do not make the all-too-common fallacy that a love story makes a female character weak.  To the contrary: Snow's ability to love Prince Charming and her willingness to fight for that love is one of her strongest traits.  Their romance is one of the most important compelling parts of the show, and it makes their struggle to be together in the real world so heartbreaking.

The highlight character for me is Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold.  Robert Carlyle's performance is simply amazing, and the character is one of the most effective and sinister antagonists I've seen in a long time.  Carlyle is a fantastic actor and brings an incredible amount of depth to the character.

Of course, the show does have flaws.  I feel like it takes itself much too seriously.  A little humor is almost never a bad thing, and a bit of tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of the silliness of its premise would go a long way to making the whole thing easier to swallow.  Maybe I am spoiled coming from the Whedon fandom, but I think the writers could do to understand that a bit of humor doesn't have to hinder drama, and in fact can enhance it.  I would suggest that more episodes be written by Jane Espenson...

The Evil Queen/Mayor Regina is the main antagonist in the first season, yet her development as a character is simply not strong enough to support this major role.  A very important aspect of her character and the plot of the season is Regina's hatred of Snow/Mary Margaret.  Unfortunately, the writers decided to not reveal the reason for this animosity until one of the last episodes, leaving the main antagonists' motivation vague and unclear for most of the season.  Most of the time, Regina rarely rises above the level of caricature.  She is like a cartoon villain, which does not do any favors for a show that is already difficult to take seriously at times.

The show had a distinct tendency to stagnate, with many episodes flying past without anything major happening.  While I think a lot this was sacrificing plot for character and world building, I think it was too much.  LOST was a similar show with a large ensemble cast and a focus on character development that also had a very slow first season.  However, that was a deliberate kind of slow.  The first season of LOST ratcheted up the tension from the very first episode, so that by the time the season finale happened, every episode that came before felt integral in crafting the tone.  In Once Upon a Time, the character development was there, but the plot build-up was not, making the finale feel very sudden.  It can be very difficult to have a passive protagonist, that is a protagonist that does nothing or very little to affect the main arc of the story.  Dollhouse tried and failed.  Awake tried and kind of succeeded.  Once Upon a Time has Emma who, by nature of her non-belief, does almost nothing to effect the main story, instead letting herself be caught up in other character's subplots or in Regina's machinations.  While this makes sense from a character perspective, I think it has a lot to do with the stagnation of much of the season. 

Of course, I critique because I love.  The finale was pretty dang game changing, and I think its quite possible that many of the show's problems will disappear with next season.  I'm really looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

BtVS Rewatch: Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

Never Kill a Boy on the First Date (1x05)

  • "I best consult my books." Oh, Giles.
  • There is SO MUCH WOOD in the Master's lair.
  • Who the hell is this Owen kid.  He shows up out of nowhere and everybody reacts like he's been there the whole time.  Granted, it's only the 5th episode but the fact that he also ceases to exist completely after this makes me wonder if he only existed for the time this episode took to happen.
  • Oh my god.  Emily Dickenson is his security blanket?  Jesus...
  • He can brood for 40 minutes straight?  But he looks so chipper!  Seriously, I cannot see this guy brooding.  He's too much of a doof.
  • Cordy only likes Owen because Buffy does.  It's so clearly a plot contrivance.
  • "At this point you're abusing sarcasm."  I say this all the time.
  • And so begins the trend of Buffy seeing something from afar and it upsetting her and her not saying anything.  (Going to start a counter for this.)
  • How did the vampires know what to do?  Did the prophecy say something about a bus?
  • "My watch broke and we don't have any clocks in our house and so I didn't know what time it was or even what day it was..."  Best excuse ever.
  • Trying to see naked Buffy... little bit gross, Xander.
  • Owen and Buffy are SO TERRIBLE FOR EACH OTHER.  Seriously, even without the slaying thing, they are just completely incompatible people.
  • Also, Angel is 10x darker and broodier than Owen.
  • Xander: "'Cause of... the fun!"  Great line reading.
  • So the creepy vamp has a line where he just says "Pork and beans.  Pork and beans!"  The heck?
  • ...  Owen is clearly not dead when the vamp hits him.  Like... that is one of the least fatal injuries I've ever seen.
  • You know, I remembered this episode being really boring, and to an extent it kind of was.  But I like the fact that it is one of the first explorations of Buffy having to fight her destiny to have a normal life.  Poor girl.
  • I also adore the brief conversation between Buffy and Giles at the end:
"I was ten years old when my father told me I was destined to become a watcher.  He was one, and his mother before him, and I was to be next."
"Were you thrilled beyond measure?"
"No, I had very definite plans about my future.  I was going to be a fighter pilot.  Or possibly a grocer.  Well, my father gave me a very tiresome speech about responsibility and sacrifice."

  • Hey, we just got to see that scene in flashback in Angel and Faith!  Neat!
  • Ugh.  Damn Annointed One.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 363

The Eleventh Doctor riding a Brachylophosaurus.  Because why the hell not?  You should look at this one full screen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 360-361

So I have to confess that the doodles haven't been coming easy.  I think because I stopped doing it for so long, these last five doodles have grown in importance in my head and now I'm petrified to draw anything for fear that they won't be good enough.  But I just decided to make them just like I always have, so here are two.  Three more left after this!

I got to go to Yellowstone National Park for the first time a few days ago.  (I know, I live in Montana and I'd never been to Yellowstone.  I'm as confused as you are.)  These two sketches happened there.

This is a sketch from Artists Point of Lower Falls.  I was kind of disappointed in this one when I first drew it, but looking at it now I actually kind of like it.

And here is a neat piece of geology that I saw.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just a Quick Update

Oh man, it has been a while huh?  You'd think that when the school semester was over I would be LESS busy. Haha, nope.  The past couple weeks have been very frantic and full.

Not least of which because I was hurriedly trying to finish animating the latest episode of my web series, which finally went up yesterday.  Watch it here: Welcome to Sumwhere: Driving Me Crazy!

So, now that that's done and other various life-type responsibilities are less pressing, I am once more turning my attention to this blog.  Things to expect in the next week or so and beyond:

  1. The last 5 doodles.  Yes, I realize I completely, totally, 100% dropped the ball on this.  Hilariously in the very last push I failed my mission utterly.  I don't mind though, it's part of the story of the doodles.  Expect the last 5 doodles to come in over the next few days and I will probably do a write-up post reflecting back on the project as a whole: things I learned, how I grew as an artist, as a person, and as a procrastinator.  It will be very exciting, I promise.
  2. Back to Buffy!  The Buffy Rewatch is going to go back into high gear now that it is summer and I have some time to watch my favorite show.  Expect my thoughts on 1x05, Never Kill a Boy on the First Date any day now.
  3. My thoughts on various entertainment that has come my way recently.  This will likely include a post on The Avengers, the recently cancelled NBC show Awake, the new ABC show Once Upon a Time (it's like LOST but in fairyland!), The Iron Giant (which I recently rewatched after like... 10 years), and the Buffy/Angel comics that have come out since I last talked about them.
  4. More doodles.  Not as consistent as the DaD Project, but you are not done being forced to look at my art.  (I imagine you are Clockwork Orange'd up to my blog as I type this.  (Am I allowed to make that reference considering I haven't actually seen that movie?  I'm going to go with yes.  After a certain number of Simpson's episodes, you can claim to have basically seen Citizen Kane and A Clockwork Orange.))  Specifically, I will be delving further into the world of paleoart.  Expect raptors!
  5. A lot of other random crap.  I have a feeling that this blog is going to become a lot less focused this summer as I finally have the time to pour all of my strange and disparate interests into it.
So yeah.  In closing I am going to link to this 3 minute animated short by Toniko Pantoja.  It's beautiful.  (Warning: if you are anything like me you will be in tears in under a minute.)  Crayon Dragon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Note on Doodles etc.

Hey all.  So my doodle-a-day project is TECHNICALLY done, but as I'm sure you've noticed, I still have five doodles I haven't done.  That's all my bad and I'm sorry.

The fact is that the end of the semester really wore me out, and I kind of needed the weekend after it was over to recuperate and get some rest.  Then on Monday, my mother had major surgery and I have been worried/busy as a result.  Finally, I need to finish the Sumwhere episode that is going up at the end of next week, and I'm pretty behind on the animation.

So, all of this stuff has meant that doodles have fallen by the wayside, as well as my BtVS Rewatch and my Avengers review.  But rest assured, I will do all of this stuff very soon.  The last doodles in particular should be really cool.  So keep an eye out for that.  Within the next week hopefully.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 358-359

A couple more Avengers before I hit the hay for the night.

Here's my version of The Mighty Thor.

And the Incredible Hulk!  My Hulk is a bit less gnarly than some Hulk drawings I've seen.  I like him big, but kind of understated, you know?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 356-357

Hey, guys.  I realize that I completely dropped the ball here this past week with the doodles.  Which is especially sad because it's MY LAST WEEK.

But, it's also my last week of school for the semester and that means FINALS.  Which suck.  And on top of that I have been sick, so this is really the first opportunity I have had to do some old fashioned doodling.

I have 8 to catch up on, but I'm not going to rush this because I'm down to my last 9 doodles and I want it to be fun.  So I'm going to just take some time and relax and draw some Avengers over the next little while.

(The movie was awesome, by the way.)

Here's Iron Man

And here's Cap.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 354-355

Two doodles today.

First, I was inspired by someone earlier to draw this.  Yes, that is a Pterodactylus in Iron Man armor with a Firefly DVD box set in its beak.  Deal with it.

And I suppose that because it's my... birthday... and all, that I should do a self portrait.  So here it is.  Yay for not being a teenager anymore!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 349-353

5 doodles today.  First is a couple of birds.  (of course)

A numbat.

And a castle.

Finally, here is a doodle of my friend Kris making a great face.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 343-348

First off, here's another sketch of my friend Alex because I wan't very happy with the other one.

I asked my friend Erik to describe a dragon to me and this is what happened.  His name is 8-ball and his back is on fire so that no one can ride him.

My girlfriend Alicia graciously posed for me after I mentioned how much I wanted to sketch a live model.  I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Beautiful days in Missoula means wonderful sketching opportunities.

And finally, a very quick doodle of a Styracosaurus.  The head feels much too small to me.  Oh well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 342

Look at that!  A single-day doodle!  Like it was supposed to be!

Can't guarantee it will be like this too much from here till the end, my life has taken a turn for the busy.  However, here is an inked sketch I did of some tables while I was hanging out with some friends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 336-341

So my friend Alex's birthday was a few days ago, and I didn't get a doodle done in time.  Sorry, pal.  Anyway, I like this drawing well enough, though I may have subconsciously did it a little bit off, as I've always been jealous at how much prettier he is than me.  ;)

This is some cool ink dragon/gargoyle.  Pretty pleased with this.

And, because I'm still obsessed with this thing, here are three ink doodles of the newly discovered Yutyrannus huali.  

And finally, a quick doodle of a koala.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 328-335

"Yes, self?
"How many days has it been since you've done a DaD post on your blog?"
"Well... I think it was just a couple days ag-"
"Eight days.  You haven't done a doodle in eight days."
"But... no.  Hold on.  Blogger says I did a post on April 4th.  That was 6 days ago.  If I do six doodles today I'll still be good.  Not great, I really should try and do it more regularly but--"
"That was a Buffy Rewatch post."
"You did a Buffy Rewatch post on April 4th.  You haven't doodled in 8 days."
"But I thought --"
"Clearly you did not."
"Seriously?  Eight days?  Wow.  How did that happen?  I was on spring break and everything."
"I have no clue.  You had plenty of time to doodle.  I don't know what your excuse is.  And you have almost exactly a month left of doodles.  Seriously man, pull it together!"
"Sorry, self."

So, as you can see from my inner monologue... I got confused.  But never mind that!  For I did a drawing of Yutyrannus -- the new feathered Tyrannosauroid -- and I am quite proud of it!

And... um... some kind of bird with a hat?  I don't know.  To be honest, I kind of phoned this one in.

I just finished reading The Two Towers, and have to admit that I was deeply disturbed by the Shelob chapter.  So I had to doodle it.

Some kind of robot character.

The last four drawings are interesting to me because I am surprised I never had this idea before.


First is Batraptor!  This is a Deinonychus as Batman.

Superceratops!  Triceratops as Superman.  I actually really regret this pose now that I think about it.  I wish that his frill was in full view so you could see the emblem on it.

Spider-Troodon!  (That name needs work.)  I decided to put his web shooter on his snout.  Because why not?

And finally, ThyreoTHORan!  Yeah, that's an Ankylosaurus as Thor.  (His tail club has become Mjolnir.)  I think color would have made this one more obvious.

Actually, I don't think these simple quick ink sketches do this concept justice.  I might have to revisit this idea.

That's all for now.  Hopefully this last month of doodles won't be as sporadic as it has been lately.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

BtVS Rewatch: Teacher's Pet

Teacher's Pet (1x04)

  • You know, this episode wasn't as bad as I remembered it.  I mean... it wasn't great, but I at least had an enjoyable time watching it, so that's something.
  • Dr. Gregory is wonderful.  "Please don't listen to the principle or anyone else's negative opinion about you.  Let's make them eat that permanent record, okay?"  I love teachers like this, that are so encouraging and kind and actually make you want to learn.  I'm really sad that he had to go so soon.
  • Music at the Bronze:  I have no idea what this is, but I HATE it.
  • And the Xander-jealousy monster rears its ugly head.
  • Really, Angel?  You're giving her your jacket?
  • I love that Giles laughs at his own joke about Buffy having too many guys in her life.
  • Is it weird that I don't find Ms. French very attractive at all?  I mean, she's certainly well endowed, but her face just... creeps me out?  I assume the pheromones must be having quite an effect.
  • "They are just behaving the way nature designed them."  How about let's keep the word 'designed' out of the science classes please.
  • Buffy points out that Dr. Gregory hadn't changed his clothing.  Except... I bet he wears that same lab coat every day.  I mean, it has his name on it.  I would wear the same lab coat every day if it had my name on it.  You'd have to pay me not to.
  • "We all need help with our feelings. Otherwise we bottle them up, and before you know it, powerful laxatives are involved."  I'm kind of sad that Principle Flutie dies so soon.  This line made me laugh really hard.
  • Wow.  Watching Cordy in the therapy session (should the door be open by the way?  Isn't their a confidentiality thing that's supposed to... exist?) makes me actually really dislike her.  She's so one-dimensional right now it's really depressing.
  • "What are you doing?" "My homework."  I found this a bit too cheesey.
  • I still really don't get the praying mantis thing.  Is it a demon?  Is it an ACTUAL praying mantis?  Isn't this reproductive strategy really impractical?
  • Awkward Xander reminds me of me a lot.  "You're probably cool as a cucumber."  "I like cucumbers. Like in that Greek salad thing with the yogurt.  Do you like Greek food?  I'm exempting Schwarma, of course, I mean, what's that all about?  It's a big meat hive."
  • I love the old lady that was actually Ms. French.  The way she says, "No dear!  I'm right here!" was really funny to me.
  • Man, Fork Guy was really easy to kill.  Why was Angel so worried?
  • I like that Blaine turns out to be a virgin as well.  The obsession with virginity that our society has is absolutely fascinating to me.  It seems like it's the only thing that people have that they are also desperate to lose.  You shouldn't want to lose your virginity to the first person (or She-Mantis) you can.  It's about self-respect, people.
  • Blaine makes a point of telling everyone there that his father is a lawyer so they better not say anything.  I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which Giles, Buffy, Willow, and Xander are all sued for rescuing Blaine from a ridiculous mantis monster.
  • And... cue wry-smile Angel.  Man, guy needs some character development NOW.

Giant Theropod with Feathers

Big Dinosaur news today!  In a new paper published today in Nature by Xing Xu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing and his colleages announced the discovery of a giant theropod dinosaur from the Chinese Yixian Formation they have named Yutyrannus huali.  They discovered three separate individuals, each roughly 9 meters long (about 30 feet).  The big deal: this thing had feathers.

Feathered dinosaurs aren't rare.  But this is the largest theropod to ever be discovered with them, and this is an important point.  It has long been debated whether giant theropods had feathers or not, so this discovery is significant.  If Yutyrannus had feathers, then who's to say that other ones didn't as well?  Can you imagine a fuzzy T. rex?  Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that other large theropods definitely had feathers.  (Party poop.)  The scientists publishing the paper believe that the area in which this animal lived (Early Cretaceous Northeastern China) may have been abnormally cold for the cretaceous, and the feathers may have provided insulation.  (A 'woolly tyrannosaur')  So, this doesn't mean that all other large theropods had them, but it does mean that they could have.  And until it is proven otherwise, I'm going to be drawing them that way from now on.  (Well, Tyrannosaurs at least.)

Speaking of drawing, I should probably give a shot at drawing this guy.

If you want to read the paper, here's the link: Nature.  It is not free, though, so you might not get to read more than the abstract unless you have a subscription to Nature or you are at a University that does.

I would also direct you to Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings for a more in depth take on this great find.

BtVS Rewatch: Witch

Witch (1x03)

  • So I'm trying really hard to be critical of Xander.  I have long related to him and he is contender for favorite character.  However, it has been pointed out to me that he is actually a very difficult character for people to like because he is very immature about gender issues.  So, while I don't think my love for him will ever die, I am trying to view him a little bit more critically this time around and see what I see.  And I have to admit that right off the bat he is, though not a raging misogynistic or anything, very immature.
  • Xander on Amber bursting into flames at cheerleading tryouts: "It's like the human torch, only it hurts."  Fantastic!
  • Oh Willow and your super teh leet haxoring skillz.  Just once I want to see a realistic portrayal of "hacking" in popular media.
  • Man, it's weird to watch this episode knowing Willow becomes a witch later.  The stuff with Amy's mom is very strange and stereotypical.
  • Xander calls Willow one of the guys when she's fallen for him hard.  Ouch.  Poor Willow.  :(  Don't worry, you'll have the best girlfriend ever in a few years.
  • Joyce is the best.  I love that, unlike Amy's mom, Joyce really cares about her daughter's well being.  She just DOES NOT UNDERSTAND.  And how could she?  Buffy's the Slayer.  Of course Joyce wouldn't be able to relate.  It doesn't make her a bad parent at all and I really like that the show, and Buffy herself, acknowledges this.
  • Xander: "That is the point and let's not drive it through my head like a railroad spike."  Do people really say this?  I guess I think it's funny considering the character that's introduced next season.
  • Drivers Ed. Teacher to Cordy: "You've failed driver's ed twice -- show me some moves or you'll be taking the bus to college."  I think it's strange this weird stigma americans have against public transportation.
  • So in the scene where the Scoobies are making the potion in chemistry class, I was totally distracted by Willow's pouring into a test tube from a beaker.  Come on, Willow!  It's chemistry!  Don't pour from a large container into a smaller one!  Use a pipet!  Also, where are your goggles?  (What have I become?)
  • I love that Xander gets the "one of the girls" line thrown back at him from Buffy.
  • Oh my god!  Giles's car!  I love that thing!  Hold on I need to google what it is... okay I'm back.  It's a  grey 1963 Citro├źn DS.
  • Why did Giles bring Amy with them to undo her mother's spells?  Didn't he realize that when he undid the spell she would become her mother again and be really pissed?
  • You know, this episode really reminded me of how much I hate it when parents resent their own children.  I've met a few of those kinds of parents and I just don't think that's fair at all.
  • Giles claims that that spell was his first casting.  Ha!
  • Joyce and Buffy scene: awww.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

BtVS Rewatch: Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest

So, in honor of this being the 15th anniversary of the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I think I am going to do a rewatch.  This will be fun.  I haven't done a full rewatch in several years now, instead opting to just watch random favorite episodes.  I also plan on writing about each episode here.  Because... I can?  I don't know.  It sounds like fun.

Now, these aren't going to be full-fledged reviews.  That has been done many times and much better than I could do it.  (Check out http://www.criticallytouched.com/ for my favorite reviews of both Buffy and Angel.)  Instead I think this is more going to be stream of conciousness-type posts, detailing small thoughts I have about the episode in question.  They will probably be pretty short, though if something feels like something I want to talk a lot about I might make a longer post once in a while.

I also have no guarantee of how frequently I will do this.  Unlike the Doodle-A-Day project, I'm not going to set any requirements here, and I will probably just do it whenever I have the time to.

A final note before I start the two-part pilot: There will be lots and lots of SPOILERS for future episodes.  This is a rewatch, and I will therefore call forward quite a bit when it strikes my fancy.

That in mind, here we go!

Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest (1x1 & 1x2)

  • The first thing I notice:  They're all so little!!
  • Xander on a skateboard.  I like to think that this is the only time he ever tried skateboarding.
  • The Xander/Willow relationship seems strange here.  They are acting like two people that kind of know each other, as opposed to lifelong best friends.  This is especially strange because Willow has the line about how Xander stole her Barbie.
  • I love how eager Giles seems at first, and then how disappointed he gets when Buffy denies the Vampyr book.  (What is IN that book, anyway?)
  • Principle Flutie!  Hahaha, I just keep thinking about how he's going to get eaten later.
  • Angel is so ridiculous here.  I think that it's because they didn't quite know what his character would be, but I think it kind of makes sense knowing Angel's character.  Considering how obsessed with his appearance he is, I think he's trying to make a perfect first impression here.  Which is especially funny because we know that he was in New York eating rats not long before this.
  • I find the scenes with the Master in the weird sunken church to be really boring for the most part.  The only times I really appreciate the Master as a villain is when he's being funny.
  • The soundtrack to these episodes is so jarring!  I hate that strange 90s synth-y suspense sound that they insist on playing.  Ugh.  I can't wait till Season 2 when they get Christophe Beck as composer.
  • You know, I find it very strange that this show was even made.  I mean, I can see the potential, because I have seen the series.  But honestly, this whole everything is so goofy and weird.
  • Joyce is the best mom ever.  I can't blame her for not letting Buffy out.  She has no idea that it's actually really important.
  • I love how little time is spent on getting Xander and Willow up to speed.  If they had spent a long time denying it and stuff, it would have been so boring.  They are already the Scoobies!
  • I'd forgotten that Xander stakes Jesse by accident.  Is he ever even mentioned again once in the entire rest of the series?  Wasn't he like... their other best friend?  Or maybe we were mislead.  Maybe he had JUST started hanging out with them before this episode started.  That would be kind of funny.
  • Why is The Harvest a thing anyway?  I mean... I kind of thought that the Masters imprisonment was a unique event.  Like... he tried to do this thing once with the Hellmouth but failed and got stuck.  But he can use this Harvest thing to get enough power to break free?  And it happens every hundred years or whatever?  Why?  Does he get stuck someplace every hundred years?  This... doesn't make sense to me.
  • I love how Buffy tricks Luke into thinking the sun has risen.
  • "The earth is doomed."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Doodle-A-Day 322-327

So after quite a few non-dinosaur doodles, I finally got the itch to draw some dinos again.  So today I present 6 drawings (well, five) of the giant  Cretaceous carnivore: Giganotosaurus.

The above head belongs to Giganotosaurus, the below belongs to Tyrannosaurus.  I did this drawing to prove the point that, contrary to popular conception, not all big carnivorous dinosaurs were just Tyrannosaurs with a different name.  I think the difference in shape between these two dinosaurs is very clear.

And here are a couple more Giganotosaurus headshots.

And some color drawings.  These were fun.