The Duck has always wished to be, at the very least, a semi-competent artist. But try as I may, I could never draw with the level of skill I so desired. Maybe I just didn’t try hard enough. Maybe I didn’t want it badly enough. Maybe…maybe I just didn’t have what it takes. Whatever the case, after years of trying, I just…gave up…sometime during 2013, I believe. It was a dark day for mediocre art indeed. Continue reading The Duck Has Joined Deviant Art!
With October quickly approaching, I thought I’d get some Halloween designs up on SpreadShirt. On my Duck of Indeed SpreadShop, I’ve created a few variations of my new spooky Duck, and I’ve also added a few new designs to my Marketplace page, which is where non-brand-related designs go. The first design is a zombie with the text “Brains are gluten-free”, great news indeed for any gluten-intolerant zombies out there. In addition to my Halloween t-shirts, I also added a design with the Loch Ness Monster, Scotland’s greatest hide-and-seek master. Nessie looks pretty charming indeed. The designs are as follows:
As an extra treat, I wanted to mention that SpreadShirt is having a 15% off everything sale in all shops (this is where I sell my Duck of Indeed t-shirts) from 9/12/17 – 9/18/17. If you’re interested, the code is: 150917. And of course, all designs are property of the Duck of Indeed!
Edit: Actually, several days have gone by, and my zombie design has not yet appeared in my Marketplace page. I’m not sure when it will, but if it doesn’t show up soon, I might try making it available in my SpreadShop instead, in case you’re interested.
Duck, Creator of Terrifying D-Shirts!
Not long ago, I finished playing “Muramasa: The Demon Blade” after a two year break (I got a new XBox 360 halfway through and then was distracted by that and other various things for quite some time afterward). What I noticed first and foremost about this game when I found it at the store was the interesting art style and the rich colors on the front and back covers, which ended up being the main reason I decided to buy it (plus, the game store was having some kind of sale, so why not?). But, first, a summary of the game.
This game is a side-scrolling action game. Throughout the game, you collect or forge different swords, each with its own special skill, some of which can break different barriers that block your progress to various locations. Battles are fought with three of your swords, which you can switch between, preferably before your current sword breaks, and switching swords at the right time allows you to attack all enemies on-screen at once. The strategy involved in fighting in this game makes the battle system more interesting than simple button mashing (which is what I still largely did, though). The game is also composed of two stories, the story of Momohime (though, I don’t know if that is accurate, as she is possessed nearly the entire time) and the story of Kisuke, plus multiple secret endings. The stories and characters were fairly interesting, though they didn’t particularly appeal to me. It was other aspects of the game that made it stand out to me the most.
One aspect of the game I liked was that it takes place in Japan, and I enjoyed being able to play a game while also learning a bit about the country and its mythology. (The game is actually named after the famous Japanese sword smith, Muramasa, whose blades were rumored to not return to their sheaths until they “tasted blood”, if you will, even forcing the wielder to commit suicide if no other victim could be found.) I also encountered various monsters from Japanese folklore, like the Kappa, Tengu, and the most bizarre Kasa-obake, a strange umbrella monster that hops around on one foot. The game, while having dialogue written in English, is also spoken entirely in Japanese, which I also found interesting.
What distinguishes this game from others the most, though, is the style of artwork. This game has some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen. The backgrounds (and characters) are more in a 2D style, but the background is kind of layered in a way, so it gives a more 3D feel to it. The locations use such vibrant colors and are positively beautiful to behold, from a stormy ocean (with a cameo appearance of the famous woodblock print “The Great Wave of Kanagawa”) to snowy hills with a frozen river running off into the horizon, from mysterious forests to tranquil fields of wheat at sunset. This game mainly involves fighting enemies and traveling, and the traveling doesn’t get as boring as I think it would have otherwise because the scenery is so lovely to look at.
And this makes me think of other games that use beautiful art styles, like “Rayman Origins” and “Okami” (the latter of which uses more of the Japanese ink art style in its scenery and characters). These games, along with “Muramasa”, stand out from other games, not because their graphics are realistic, but because they are unique and beautiful. Sure, games like “Halo 4” and “Final Fantasy XIII” look amazing. But, now that technology has reached that point, we’re going to see a lot more games that look like that. It’s not going to be so novel anymore once most games look that good, and we have become used to it.
It is the games with the different styles that will stand out in terms of graphics and are the ones that will always be beautiful to look at, even after the excitement of nearly-realistic graphics wears off. It’s like the difference between a photo and a painting. A well-taken photo can be nice to look at, but for me, a beautiful painting is so much more interesting to look at. A painting can use a style and colors that brings out emotions that a photo can’t. A photo shows you what’s there. Yes, photographers can be artsy with lighting and angle, but paintings still can do things photos can’t.
So I have gotten a bit off-topic about this game. The game is a lot of fun, with a story and characters that are perfectly adequate (like I said, I didn’t get overly attached to these aspects, but they certainly weren’t bad). But, it was the art style that stood out to me the most. This game is an interactive piece of art, and it has one of the most beautiful art styles I have ever seen. (I noticed this when I bought it, and this initial impression only grew when I saw that it also has one of the loveliest manuals and disks the world has ever known.) So while this game is not among my list of favorites, it still will always stand out to me because of its stunning art style. That alone might be reason enough to check this game out so you can see its glory for yourself.
The Duck Blade
I am finally working on the final draft of issue 1 of my artist comic. Before doing so, I figured out names for the characters and the comic and all of that. The main character was originally referred to as MG or “main girl”, which inspired me to name her Margo. The bird is named Raiiki, based in part by the Japanese words for red and yellow, akai and kiiroi respectively, his two main colors. Since the comic takes place in a black and white world, with the bright red and yellow of Raiiki being the only colors for a bit, I named the entire series “Red and Yellow, while issue 1 is named “Black and White”.
So anyway, after figuring out all the panels and drawing rough copies of them, I finally was able to begin my final draft. It’s taking a long time, but I’m still getting the hang of things. I’m doing it all on Photoshop, using a page of 11 inches by 17 inches, the standard Bristol board size (even though I’m not using Bristol board, of course, or else Photoshop would have felt jealous), and I’m coloring in CMYK rather than RGB. That’s apparently better for printing.
I still haven’t quite decided on what I’m going to do when the comic’s done. I might put it online. I might print it out and try handing out free copies at a comic convention to get interest. I might do both. I might also conquer the world and force everyone to buy it, which would be the easiest, but my army of hungry mongooses (or is it mongeese?) hasn’t been cooperative lately. Might have to switch to plan B and invade the world with an army of slightly irritated chinchillas instead. Well, either way, I hope my comics will have at least some success. If I ever even finish them.
A Duck That Will Someday Be a Rich and Famous Comic Artist Just as Soon as I Master Mind Control…Or That Thing Jedi Can Do
I am now done with my June comic! Hooray! It is nine issues, and after rearranging some scenes and revising a little bit, it is more or less fairly maybe pretty darn decent. And good. Some of the issues took five drafts and some took four, and it only took a week to go back through the whole thing and add the finishing touches.
It’s fun to think about how much it’s changed since the almost two years ago when I first started it. When I first began, I had two ideas that inspired me. One was a dream I had about two people and a strange man in a city and the thought that maybe if I wrote a silly book about all my weird dreams, someone might get a kick out of reading it. Then, it turned into this story about a young woman named June with strange powers she can’t control. She hates them, and then she meets a man called the Philosopher who says he can help her if she can help him save a world that’s lost. She thinks about it and agrees, and one thing leads to another, and she ends up in some strange world that is being attacked by someone who can make their dreams real.
When I first started writing the story, June’s adventure included her brother traveling with her, but he ended up being too boring and pointless. So now she travels alone, and there are more twists in the story. She meets people along the way, fights dreams, and makes decisions that affect the world for better or worse. The story is much different now than when I first started, but I think it’s much better.
I may not be getting back to it for a while, though. I am first going to do my Artist comic, which is easier and shorter. Then, I’ll finally get to this one. By then, I should actually have names for the characters and better designs.
The Duck is Four and Fives Times Drafty
I am done with the script of my Artist comic! It took three drafts. The last draft only took about a week. I’m going to work more on my June comic before I start the drawing, and in the meantime, I must work on designing a few things. I pretty much know what the two main characters look like, but I have designed little else. I also need names for the characters. I’ve been calling them MG (for main girl) and B (for bird) all this time. I think I may name MG Margo, but I still can’t think of a name for the bird.
Anyway, the comic is five issues, and it has a fairly simple plot, which made it easy to write. It is about Margo (age 15, I think) and a Muse (a colorful bird) that set out on a quest to bring the color back to their black and white world. I really like the two main characters. Margo is sweet and naive, and her bird companion is a bit cheeky. He was a lot of fun to write dialogue for, and I think the characters complement each other nicely.
It’s exciting to finally be completing one of my biggest projects ever. Well, part 1, at least. The drawing may take quite some time, but I plan on getting it done, even if it takes a while. I don’t know if I’ll try to publish it in the end or just put it on the blog or what. I guess I should find out within the next twenty years. But, hopefully a lot sooner.
The Duck That’s Thrice Drafty, Squared
Behold, the duck is done with draft 3 of my June comic. It took one month. The script originally started as separate issues in draft 1, then, somehow turned into this horrible mutated mess where I couldn’t tell one issue from another in draft 2. And it was no longer chronological! So for draft 3, I first got lots of little pieces of paper and put a scene title on each one. Then, I moved them around until they were in the order I wanted. Kind of weird, but I think it’s helpful to do it that way. Then, I broke it back up into 9 issues and started rewriting it all and adding in scenes that really needed to be there. I had the most trouble with issues 4 and 6-9, but I worked extra hard on them and made them much better. Now the whole story is pretty much there.
Now my script is nearly done. Some issues are pretty much done and some need extra help, but overall, I’m close. Issue 4 is kind of weird, though. I could almost cut it out, but there’s just enough good stuff that I need to keep it. And issue 8 is a bit of a mess, and issue 9 is too short. Hmm. Maybe I can squish it into 8 issues. But, I’ll save that for draft 4. I’m tired of this comic right now. I hope to be done by the end of draft 4 or 5.
The Duck That’s Thrice Drafty
I recently finished draft 2 of the script for that artist-y, black and white comic I was working on. It was pretty easy. I pretty much rewrote it issue by issue and didn’t really need to add extra scenes. Wherever things were boring, I found ways to make it much more interesting. I also made changes to make things seem a lot more urgent. In much of my stories, there doesn’t seem to be any real need to hurry. Now there kind of is. Now it is more possible for the main characters to fail. I also tried to make sure things made more sense.
I am much happier with my story now. Issue 2 is pretty good, issue 3 and 4 are all right. Issue 5 is better, and I fixed the ending a little. Issue 1 still needs extra work. But, we’re getting there. With a bit more changes, it’ll be on the same level as the other issues. This comic is going to be much easier than my June comic. The story is much simpler.
So anyway, this draft took me 28 days, from 1/3/12 to 1/30/12. (Draft 1 took 84 days. I was pretty fast this time.) I’m going to get to draft 3 no earlier than 3/12/12. When I get to draft 3, I need to redo parts that are still boring. Issue 1 must have a lot of changes. Other than that, it might be nearly perfect by the end of draft 3. I may even finish this one before my June comic, even though I started it later. I look forward to this one very much. I think it will be a pretty good comic after all.
The Duck is Double Drafty
I was really lazy with my June comic for a while. I got really distracted by “Final Fantasy VII” and stuff, plus I was running out of ideas, but now I’ve suddenly come up with new ideas and am making major changes to my comic. After a lot of work, I’m finally done with draft 2. Huzzah! This is now the farthest I’ve ever gotten in any story ever. (I usually quit once draft 1 is done.)
So when it comes to the changes, one thing I did was I really changed the role of June’s brother. He was lame. He’s taking the place of another character now. He’s still her brother, but he just has a much different part. Also, I’m trying to make June less obnoxious and less passive. She was lame, too. Not as lame as her sibling, but still lame. I’ve also…added the tiniest, teeniest, most infinitesimally small love story. I’m usually not a fan of such things, but I think it helps with the story. It’s so very tiny, though.
I also gave the characters better reasons for doing things, and I also worked on streamlining things a bit. No more needless traveling because I can’t think of something plot-related. I did more with the characters so they aren’t so pointless, and now there should be more plot and actual things happening. I tried harder to fill in the gaps with interesting things and expanded more on certain things. The story now makes more sense and what the characters do is more believable.
So I’m really excited about the new changes. I think the comic is way better now, but there are still parts I’m having trouble with. But, we’re getting there. Draft 2 took me from 7/28/11 to 12/30/11, 156 days. Draft 1 took a little over 9 months. I was faster this time! I’ll get to Draft 3 no earlier than 2/10/12. Since my comic was written in chunks, not in order, when I get to draft 3, I’m going to put the pieces together in order, then fix them up, fill in the gaps, and fix any plot holes. I’ll be getting pretty close to having the script done by the end of draft 3, I think. Aren’t you excited? I am.
A Drafty Duck
I have already fixed up issue 1 and 2 of my June comic, and I am quite proud of myself. Usually in large projects such as this, I give up before draft 1 is done, or if I finish writing the first draft, I never put much effort into fixing it. Unfortunately, now things are becoming more difficult. I made some huge changes to the story, and I find them rather okay, but now I need to fit them into the story.
Issue 1 was easy. It’s the beginning. I think I have a pretty decent issue there. It needs fixing, but it’s there, at least. Next, issue 2 needed help. I made some changes. It’s okay, though. The beginning of issue 3 might be okay, but after that, I don’t have a clear picture of where the story goes. There’s a lot of pointless action I put in there, pretty much as a placeholder, that adds nothing to the story. It will either need major changes or to be cut from the story completely.
So with my new ideas, I must figure out how to actually write my improved plot. For now, I’ll skip ahead to the most important scenes and write them first. I know certain things need to happen, but not what leads up to them. I can put in the rest later, I guess. I have a lot more conflict in June, I’m making the Philosopher more important (as he was meant to be all along), I’m revealing an important character later on instead of in issue 2, and there will be more of Flynn and Gretchen and the Scientists because they seem interesting. I changed the timeline a bit so that the conflict escalates throughout the story, rather than staying flat throughout much of it. Maybe this will end up being the story I dreamed it would be. Wouldn’t that be spiffy?
By the way, I very much appreciate the help of my awesome commenters a couple posts ago. I’ll be sure to make use of your advice.
The Duck with a Mission