Sunday, June 27, 2010

Napoleon Diablo

This is Napoleon Diablo

He's a Spider-Man fan
              That is all     

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making Mixtapes...with Amy Ratcliffe (@amy_geek)

Here's a feature that we haven't done in a while, Making Mixtapes... This time, one of my favorite geeks ever, Amy Ratcliffe is dropping the beats. Amy runs her own awesome blog, Geek with Curves where she shares her "passions for travel, cooking, photography, the interwebz, reading, comics, tabletop gaming (D&D), anything touched by the Whedon tribe, Star Wars, and most things science fiction and fantasy." I love her reviews and interviews and follow her site religiously. You can also become a fan of Geek with Curves on Facebook and you can find her on Twitter at @amy_geek. She also writes a column (Geek Fab) for Pink and has contributed to Geek Girls Network. Enough with my blabbering, I'm going to let Amy take it away:

I believe you can be geeky with your music. And geeky? Pretty much always appropriate. I queue up this playlist for housecleaning, working away on spreadsheets, and when I spend a day in the kitchen cooking. I'm sure the neighbors love those days, when the Dr. Horrible soundtrack and my less than perfect voice waft out the kitchen windows. Ah. I like to include tracks from movie or TV scores in my playlists for a couple of reasons. 1) I have a score addiction. 2) It's a change up of pace.

The Playlist:

All Along the Watchtower - Brendan McCreary, Battlestar Galactica Season 3 Soundtrack
The Galapagos - Master & Commander
Going Through the Motions - Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, with Feeling
Firefly Theme
Gollum's Song - The Two Towers Soundtrack
Brand New Day - Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog
Spanish Ladies - Jerry Bryant & Starboard Mess - Roast Beef of Old England
Big Bang Theory Theme - Barenaked Ladies
In the Black - Marian Call
The King Of The Golden Hall - Two Towers Soundtrack
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar - The Guild
My Eyes - Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog

And there you have it, a geeky mixtape from Amy! Big thanks to her for contributing! Don't forget to follow her blog, twitter, facebook and her column over on Pink!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Interview: Dean Fraser- Creator of Springfield Punx

The other day I tweeted a link to some awesome art entitled “Star Wars: Empire of the Bat.” It was a mash-up of Star Wars and Batman characters and it was AWESOME. The response to it was really great. It was created by the extremely talented Dean Fraser. I discovered his work through his blogspot page, Springfield Punx. On that site, Fraser takes some of his favorite pop-culture characters and “Simpsonizes” them. He’s taken characters from G.I. Joe, Lost, DC Comics, Ghostbusters and Karate Kid (just to name a few) and worked his magic on them. Fraser was cool enough to answer a few questions about his process and even gives us a little preview of what’s to come on the site.

What started this awesome madness?

Well it started when, as a pretty big Batman fan, I started drawing characters from the 60's Batman show in the Simpsons style, having seen Adam West appear as Batman on the Simpsons (fighting Krusty the clown) and really liking it. I did up Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and some villains, and put them up on my website. Finding it pretty fun to visualize what different characters might look like on the Simpsons, I did a few other characters and personalities I liked to go along with the Batman ones. I got some good feedback from friends and soon had a small collection up there on my website.

Then one day I found that my site had gone down due to a huge amount of traffic within a couple of days. I was able to trace it back to someone linking to my Simpsons characters. It was at that point that I decided to put up a dedicated blog, Springfield Punx, just for these characters. I started receiving suggestions on different characters and personalities to 'Simpsonize' and whenever I thought "Yeah, that really would be a fun one to do!" I tried to do it.

The whole thing has just sort of snowballed from there. It's been enjoyable to also have a place to share my thoughts about a character, sometimes a good memory of that personality or superhero from my childhood, things like that. I've really enjoyed the feedback as well, and if one of the drawings can give people a little smile for the day, that definitely gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Can you walk us through your process from beginning to end?

Usually what will happen is this; I collect a good amount of reference images and then do a sketch of the character/celeb/whatever. I concentrate most particularly on the head, then the body after that, though sometimes I decide not to sketch out the whole body and plan to just finish that part on the computer. I scan my sketch and then trace the lines on the computer, usually in some type of vector graphics program, and with the help of a pen and tablet (definitely worth it). I then color it, export, and post it on the blog.

What's the most challenging part of the process?

The hardest part is probably in the translation to Simpsons style. You want to make it look like whoever the person/character is, but you have to do it within the style. Simpsons characters have no chins (which is a pretty defining feature on someone) and always an overbite to one degree or another. That really means that you have to get the other features, colors, clothes and accessories done well enough that you can easily tell who it is. That especially applies to a caricature of a real person. I don't know that I've had the best success at doing it every single time, but that's what you have to try to do.

The other difficult thing can be staying interested - If I somebody were to do this as a 9 to 5, 7 days a week thing, you could easily imagine growing tired of it and even losing a bit of your sanity. I don't know how professional animators do what they do. Drawing characters and personalities I enjoy and have a connection to is really important in keeping it interesting for me. Springfield Punx is a fun side project where I can explore this style, but I enjoy not having to be stuck with it in everything I do.

Do you have a favorite piece?
I have a real affection for some of the Batman villains I did, the characters are really well suited for the bright, colorful, 'loud' look of Simpsons characters. I'm also pretty pleased with the way Buster (from Arrested Development) and Daniel Faraday (from Lost) came out.

Can you tell us a little bit about your other site, has been around for quite a while and is a place where I like to have fun and express myself artistically in a lot of different styles. I like to share work I've done (new and old) and fun little ideas I've had. I've enjoyed the feedback I've had from a lot of the stuff there.

Can you give us a little hint on future characters we'll see on Springfield Punx? On a personal note, will we ever see some Doctor Who or Silver Hawks Punx?

Going forward - if they're not up already, you'll soon see a couple of Goonies characters and some more Batman villains, among other things. I plan to get to some movies I have in mind as well (eventually). You asked about Doctor Who and Silver Hawks... I will confirm that characters from one of those are ready to go and should be posted in the near future.

Goonies Preview

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Supa Pirate Booty Hunt

Pirates. Booty. Two things I quite enjoy. Steve Sievers apparently does also. The difference between him and I? He created the HILARIOUS characters Zack the Pirate and Daniel the Turtle. The characters started out as a skit on his college internet radio show. They proved so popular that Sievers, along with Dahveed Kolodny-nagy (co-creator and animator of the show) turned it into the webisode series, “Supa Pirate Booty Hunt.” If you’re a fan of Adult Swim-type shows you’ll love it. In fact, the show would fit right in with their line-up. Why it isn’t on television is beyond me. Do yourselves a favor and check it out. Also, check out the official blog. Pirates. Booty. ‘Nuff said.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FanimeCon 2010

I got to attend my first anime convention this past weekend at the San Jose Convention Center. FanimeCon, which took place May 27-30, is “by fans, for fans.” I became a casual fan when I was introduced to the Gundam Wing series. I became even more interested in it after taking a class on animation around the world (half of the class semester concentrated on anime). The convention ran 24 hours a day with the wee hours of programming consisting of marathons of Robotech and other series and even some hentai titles (I will never understand the appeal). There were also quite a few panels such as Anime Podcasting for N00bs, Amateur Voice Acting: How To, Basic Cosplay Photography and Dark Horse Manga. Unfortunately I was only in attendance on Friday and I didn’t make any panels. Most of my time was spent wandering around taking in all of the costumes and watching anime. Not all costumes were anime related. There were a couple of Stitches (Lilo and Stitch), a Pac-Man, Gambit, Buffy, a few Mario’s and even a Doctor Who with a little remote control Dalek. The costumes were elaborate and I almost wished I were into the whole Cosplay craze. I’m not one with the patience or skill to put a costume together but I do enjoy and appreciate those who do. Everyone who was in costume was more than happy to let people take their pictures and many of them even got into character when getting their pics taken.

Anime was constantly being played in several different rooms. There was a room for Fansubs, Nostalgia, Omake/Film, Marathons, Industry and more. I was very excited to finally get to see “Evangelion: 1.11 you are (not) alone” I’m definitely one who prefers dubs to subs. I love foreign films and have no problem watching one, but when it comes to my anime I prefer not to read. For me it’s because anime is so visual and the images often move so fast that I want to take it all in without having to read and try to catch everything going on. Unfortunately, when asked how we wanted to watch it, the overwhelming response was subbed. In fact, I think I was the only one that wanted to see it dubbed. Many were making comments on how dubs “sucked.” I’ll never understand the hate they get. Despite the lack of a dub track I enjoyed the film.

I got to try the popular snack Pocky for the very first time. I picked up a package of both the chocolate and strawberry flavors. They were only $1.00 a box, which apparently is super cheap. They were selling like hot cakes so I figured I’d give ‘em a go. I wasn’t really impressed by the strawberry flavor. They were downright horrible. Even though I’m not a big chocolate person, I thought they weren’t bad.

The convention also had a game room where you could play arcade games and even board games. They also had tables set up where you could play Nintendo, PSone, Nintendo 64, Wii, Dreamcast and Super Nintendo games. There were also other cool events like a Black and White ball, a swap meet, a concert by J-Pop acts LM.C and FLOW and self-defense workshops. Overall, I had a great time and wished I could’ve made it everyday. Especially since the entrance fee was $30.00 for a single day ($60.00 for the weekend). I’ll definitely have to clear my schedule for the whole weekend next year.

Some pics of my favorite costumes: