The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To Cartoon Adaptations

This morning I got stoned and decided that a galaxy-pattern catsuit under the bathrobe I still hadn’t bothered changing out of was a really good fashion choice for the morning. Then Nick said I looked like a far-future Arthur Dent who has truly become a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is. Because really, what is a bathrobe but a towel you can wear? He had it with him all along.

When he’s not travelling, that spacesuit is always with him. It probably converts into a useful backpack or something. Because after what he’s survived, there is no way Arthur would want to let that thing out of his possession. Ever.

 

In the shower I thought about this drawing as a pitch for a H2G2 cartoon adaptation.

 

* The spacesuit has invisibility capabilities; when Arthur’s not using it for that he has it just display whatever random imagery/video we feel like genlocking in there.

* The spacesuit can recycle his fluids into a substance almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

* Perhaps it is the latest model of the Guide? Compacts into an easy-to-carry box of roughly Gameboy size when not in use. It does NOT have a Genuine People Personality. Nobody wants that when they’re floating alone in the void of space.

* Every episode starts cold with Arthur in some tranquil setting (possibly wherever he finished last episode), when suddenly, disaster strikes and he is, once again, floating in the cold void of space. He sighs, dons the spacesuit, and begins reciting something similar to the Litany Against Fear centered around the words “Don’t Panic”. Cue “Journey of the Sorcerer” or some imitation thereof, opening titles are a montage of bits introducing Arthur and the main characters of this episode with Arthur still floating in space waiting for the Thumb to say something’s in range. As the opening titles come to a close, there’s something detected; Arthur turns on the Thumb capability of his suit via a closeup on his hand making a hitch-hiking gesture. Music climaxes, smash cut to episode title as the music fades, then we rudely drop Arthur into the middle of whatever mess we’ve thought up for him to muddle his way out of this time.

 

“You’ve essentially just reinvented Doctor Who”, said Nick when I pitched these ideas to him. Arguably yes, though I feel there’s a big difference: the Doctor is good at solving huge problems like “an entire universe has been converted into Daleks, who are now invading this universe with the aim of turning it into even more Daleks” while Arthur is good at averting problems well before they get to that point, or just not being where they are when they happen. His primary skills are being that super chill surfer dude who is really, really good at staying calm in the face of crisis and helping other people de-escalate. He does not necessarily solve the problem he’s dropped into in every episode; sometimes he just ends up running.

Also another way this is different from Doctor Who is that the Doctor is not costumed so as to look like she’s naked under her bathrobe. Arthur is. Because nobody really takes you seriously as a threat when you look like you’re naked under your bathrobe.

preparing for eye pain

I just spent two hours making this happen in Illustrator.

It’s the safe version of this. If you click on this image, or on any of the other ones in this post, you’ll see a higher-res copy. I am not sure I recommend doing this.

I can now use these flat-color Graphic Styles to draw a whole bunch of assorted shapes in something akin to three-point perspective. Which would involve following this grid that I built in Illustrator before building the previous two images.

And hell, let me try a quick test drawing. Just some basic shapes following these perspective guidelines.

Alt-drag twelve swatches around and…

Yep. This is gonna work. I’ve got a lot of drawing to do, and this won’t work for every single part of the image – but I should be able to lay down a lot of it pretty quickly like this. I’ll end up with tons of hatching that precisely lines up with the perspective I’ve drawn the shapes in. I had to do some funky stuff to set all of this up and part of me thinks I should write it up, but I also spent two hours in front of the computer and think I need to run around some.

Illustrator has a three-point perspective ruler mode. I’m really not sure I’m going to bother with it; I feel like the time I’d spend figuring out how it works is going to be really close to the amount of time I’d spend just doing it the “hard” way. I learnt how to do hardcore perspective years ago, and I’ve forgotten most of it, but I think I remember enough to fake this. Should be fun!

Shared Wish

Today I wandered around with no real goal in mind. I had a book and I had my computer and I didn’t feel like working on the comics. Instead I drew some weird smut based on a fantasy that’s been kicking around my head.

NSFW art: explicit cartoon nudity, weird cartoon perversions, self-love.

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Process: marker

Today I realized that I was a couple days past a deadline: I needed to do a couple of sketches that would be added to copies of a Kickstarted comics anthology I was part of. I don’t do physical work very much any more, so I figured I’d document my current process.

Now that I look over the whole process, I might go back and add the earring I had in the rough and forgot about. I should also either do the other sketch I have to do for this Kickstarter, or get some work in on Parallax – I spent half the day procrastinating on doing this drawing!

A Pleasant Cup Of Tea

click this tiny thumbnail for a definitely NSFW image

Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice cup of tea next to a hot tub on a nice evening? Especially when you’re sharing it with an old friend.

Another one of those commissions I took at the beginning of the month to try and get my work habits back in good shape. It’s been working. This one did interesting things to my attention span; it felt like it I was making no progress for most of the time I worked on it, despite it actually going at a steady pace. I’ve gotten so used to cranking out a full figure for a comics panel in a half an hour that drawing someone with enough limbs to make for two and a half characters felt like it took forever, even though it only actually took about two and a half times as long. Worth it, though; I’m pretty happy with the results.

Also, to save you some counting: eight.

The Element Of Air

click thumbnail for full NSFW image

Rub bottle furiously for genie. If no genie is in the bottle, one will be drafted. Aim with care.

Last week, I opened up for a few commissions to try and rebuild my work habits. This is one of them. The request was to focus on the precise moment of transformation from “fox” to “fox genie”; I of course went for a certain amount of animation smear stylization and multiple images because that’s how I tend to think. And enjoyed being cheerfully cartoony and suggestive because that was sort of the whole point of doing some commissions.

I’m pretty happy with how quickly this one came together. I used some of the same methods I’ve been exploring in my comics, and was able to take advantage of prior art – I’ve draw Peganthyrus a lot before, and Phorm multiple times, so I could just open up previous drawings as graphic style libraries and skip a lot of setup. And skip a lot of fiddling with stuff in the drawing process; if I ever start giving my little Illustrator For Artists 101 talks at cons again, I really need to amend it to talk about how useful graphic styles are.

(My work habits seem to be coming along, too. I’m actually getting up and making a to-do list in the morning again, which helps a ton. Even if I don’t always get to everything I write down.)

dailysnek: coffee smirk

 

So lately when I’ve been feeling unmotivated to work on the huge, complex backgrounds of Parallax, I’ve been trying to at least make myself open up Illustrator and do some drawings of my cobra character Kalinda. (Who is also sometimes an archaeopteryx, it’s complicated.) I have been referring to these drawings as “#dailysnek” even though they are not a thing I do every day.

Today, I went out to the Meowtropolitan (a coffee shop with a room full of very very jaded cats) with Nick. On the way I decided that it would be nice to work on a bit of design I need to do for Parallax but it was by no means necessary; if all I did was to do a color version of a Daily Snek, that would be perfectly fine. I’ve generally been sluggish and unproductive lately, and I figured actually finishing something would be a nice change from “slowly picking away at complex two-page spread backgrounds”.

Worth noting: the smoke coming off of her cup is one path, with a moderately complex Appearance stack on it.

The bottommost stroke has an asterisk next to its weight because it’s got a variable width profile applied to it.

And here are all of the #dailysnek doodles thus far. Will I keep doing these? I dunno. It’s been fun so far, and people seem to like them. Click them to embiggenate.

the is is the only one that involved looking at an actual photo of a real snake, I should do that more often to figure out how to properly pile up her coils.

And then, having done this, I used the last half-hour of my Mac’s battery life to rough out a spaceship design for Parallax. Yay!

Still needs some work to turn it into something I can drop into Silo and use as reference to model. But there’s a good start there at the bottom, with some shapes that evoke assorted 70’s spaceships (mostly the Liberator from Blake’s 7, which always looked like it was going backwards, and maybe a little of the Vipers from Battlestar Galactica. Though I think I’ll try to downplay that as I work on them, as this is an eight-person shuttle with its own stardrive rather than a two-seat fighter that lives on a carrier.)

Resolute

So the other day I was reading a book about astral projection when the back of my brain said “draw your dragon self in cool fantasy armor”. I was also very stoned at the time. I then worked on this on and off over the next few days.

Did you know that drawing cool fantasy armor is kind of a pain in the ass?

Technically, I’m happy with this one. There’s a lot of use of gradients in ways that come together quickly, that make it look a lot like a painstakingly masked out piece of airbrush art. Which ALWAYS makes ten year old me ecstatic to be able to knock out.