Day 12 & 13 of 365

So I did start writing the other night but I literally fell asleep on my keyboard. When I check back I apparently only made it through one sentence. Did not realize I was that tired while writing. So we’re gonna just count this long post for both.

The clip faded off of Valrose and Mylard into the pre-game Valrose and Tomkin. Tomkin smiled, relaxed with a cup of tea in her hand. Valrose leaned forward.

“Tomkin, your mother, and grandmother were both champions of this game, how does it feel to be the third generation?” he asked. Tomkin suppressed the urge to punch him.

“Well, it’s an honor. I wouldn’t be here without them. Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Grandma,” she said waving to the camera with her eyes gleaming. She smiled.

“Do you feel that gives you an advantage at all?”

“Not really. After all, I still have to do all the hard work, and live up to the expectations,” she said with a coy smile. “The only advantage I have is the stories of being in the game.”

Valrose laughed his fake laugh, “Fair enough Tomkin. It’s a pleasure getting to know you. Now any advice you have for the contestants who want to enter next year?”

“Just do it. You’ll figure it out once you find out you’re in,” she said.

“Thanks,” Valrose said.

The screen flashed back to the present Valrose in his flashy suit and commentary of the ongoing game. The two girls were still in the maze with their stun guns. Tomkin was running from something. Her eyes and expression of fear paired with her frequent glances over the shoulder. She slipped and fell hard. Valrose was quick to tell the crowd about the nasty fall. Tomkin winced pulling herself up quickly despite the bit of blood dripping from her elbows and chin. She spun around looking for her stun gun. It was a few feet away from her, but just as she began toward it. A large panther jumped out.

Tomkin held herself prepared to dart into the bushes. The panther eyed at her his tail flicking in anger. She found her eyes darting at the stun gun which was now between them and the large cat. Her thoughts raced. And then she moved. A split-second later claws dug into her back as she grasped at the gun. The screams were loud and she somehow found her fingers around it. She threw her shoulder over as the panther ripped at her back and then shot. The stun gun hit the panther in the shoulder. It yowled angrily but released and went down.

Tomkin found herself bleeding but still in the game. She pulled herself up, wary of the unconscious beast and limped into the maze.

To be continued…


Lessons for a Creative Selfie Challenge

I’ve already talked about Every Frame a Painting in an earlier blog post about different resources for learning visual storytelling, but I wanted to highlight it again. It’s one of my favorite resources for learning how to tell great stories through video. The analyzation of films helps build great visual vocabulary. This is important for anyone in animation or film. I can also see these lessons being applied to art in general. Such as comedic references in photographs or illustrations. There’s a lot of great content that helps with developing that skillset.

All of the videos are really strong and I advise everyone watch them all, but I wanted to pull a couple of my faves for you to watch. The first one is talking about Buster Keaton and how he does visual comedy. As a fan of the silent comedian this really resonated with me. I forget how many other films pay homage to his gags, and it’s great to see the comparisons side by side.

Edgar Wright is another great comedic director who really has a distinct style to visual comedy. It makes me think about I can be more creative in things we probably view as common and mundane. Think about how many Instagram selfies we see that could be improved just by taking the same idea of visual comedy. It doesn’t even have to be a film to be relevant to making our creative outlets stronger visual pieces. We can just as easily have something in a frame be funny looking. That’s one of the things I take from these videos is using the knowledge to make other mediums better. Because we don’t have to just apply these principles to film, we can make better social media experiences with it.

I have a challenge for you. The next selfie you take or Snapchat story, make it something distinct. Challenge your creativity within the frame provided and see if you can make a better snap. Better yet, have a creative war with people. Use these tips to make your best friend smile or highlight how silly your cat is. I’m going to take these and apply it those mediums, because it helps improve all creative endeavors. If you take on this challenge tweet at me so I can see them!


Blobs and Expressions

Day 28 of 365

Today I explore the idea of expressions visually and how they can change the dialogue of a story so much, without any words. I think one of the most helpful things in character based stories and when you don’t have much to work with other than basic shapes is exploring expressions.

A sad doodle of a blob vs an angry blob creates a story. An inner dialogue without even having to enter in words. Eyebrows or shapes of the eye can define the emotion. The mouth, is it smiling, smirking, frowning, fake smiling even? They’re all important aspects to drawing a story and creating drama. It can take moments to change the story just based on face expressions. Just facial the expression swapping for instance can make a different story.

There’s also expression done with the body. Is the character slouching, sitting up straight, leaning back or forward, or is it lying down? These little things can change a visual comic so drastically. The best part is it’s all without words, and yet you can know very quickly that a character is perhaps tired or energetic, or annoyed. We see these things everyday. Think about how you can tell the energy of a coffee shop vs a library quietness (other than sound). Coffeeshop people are frequently leaning in close talking at each other with looks of interest or slouched back typing with headphones on, working. On the other hand in a library they can be spaced out away from each other and frowning while reading a difficult book or shooting dirty looks at anyone being too loud. There are snap judgements you make based on a grossed out look of someone tasting their food, and you don’t think it’s good as a result. Body expression is really important, especially paired with facial emotion.

Of course there’s many other factors that can go into drawing a very “simplistic” character to convey a story. Examples are body shape and size, or space between characters, or are the texture of their body. Do they have lots of spikes or are they rounded like cloud? Those are topics for exploring another day, but I want anyone reading this to think about those things, and how they create a dialogue between your brain’s thoughts and the visual. By that I mean if you see someone walking toward you do they look friendly or mean? What features determine that? Is it perhaps their demeanor or is it the facial expression? Maybe the way they walk? Fast or slow, with a directness? These are really important building blocks to visual stories and even just life in general. It certainly it is a factor in first impressions or interviews.


I challenge you to analyze the next person you see and see what movements they make, as well as expressions that build the story of that moment. Are they energetic and explaining something to you? If you think that’s weird, maybe analyze a film or short instead. How does this actor’s presence in the scene change the way you think of the story? Or maybe just analyze your own expressions. How do you act when you’re surprised? happy? sad? What’s the story behind the visual dialogue?


I drew these very simple characters below and just showed a quick story through each one of them.