Check out “Meddling Auntie” on lesbian.com!
Thanks to Lesbian.com for the interview and Kristine Chester, as always, for her kind support.
It’s here! Earlier this year I worked with Rhonda Parrish on the cover and interior illustrations of her new alphabet anthology B is for Broken, to be released May 26. And now the art is out of the bag!
Working with Rhonda was a treat. Thanks to Alexis A. Hunter for the tip! It’s a double honor to grace the cover of one of Alexis’s stories.
Here’s the original art. I’m pretty psyched with how it turned out. Still learning, but psyched.
I’ll post some process images later this week. If you like process, you’re gonna LOVE THESE IMAGES.
Meddling Auntie Comics are now on Amazon as eBooks! The series includes a brand new, harsh-truth-soothing, squirm-inducing topic: Puberty.
The comics will and should always remain free and open. However people have asked for other ways to read and share them, and I aim to deliver.
Next week they’ll be available for print at Amazon CreateSpace. Follow this blog or follow me on Twitter for a chance to win both print volumes: “Bullies and Perverts” and “Puberty and Drugs.”
Be the first to hear when new subjects are released! Join Meddling Auntie’s Newsletter:
You work hard. You show kindness. You pay your taxes. You just remembered you have to pay your taxes. You deserve to meet three animators that will explode your brain. There are no fluffy 3D clouds or meet-cute plots here. But there are unforgettable images and squealing rapture.
Time Consumption Advisory: these artists’ work is often short but extremely addictive, and you may find yourself unable to do the thing you were supposed to do today.
A cartoonist, animator, writer, and free culture (“Copying is Not Theft”) activist, Nina Paley is prolific, innovative, and engaging.
When Nina’s gorgeous, hilarious, wrenching magnum opus SITA SINGS THE BLUES reached NetFlix, I watched it. Enjoyed it. The next night, came home to find my roommate had just started it. Thought, “I’ll just sit and watch this part.” Watched the whole thing over again. It’s that good.
In 1991, at age 23, Nina was already producing work this good (for Grateful Dead Comix):
Adobe Flash, animating with embroidery, embracing technology, resisting authority
Viewing rabbit hole starts here
Distinctive, playful, unsettling, Felix Colgrave’s work is so good it makes me angry. Every time he puts out a new short, I watch it three times in a row. Can’t help it.
He has the skill, the portfolio, and the beard-growing prowess of a man twice his age. He’s 22 right now and I can’t handle that information at all.
Originally from the Tasmanian Northwest, currently living and working in Melbourne, Australia, Felix produces steady freelance work, including a music video for Fever the Ghost and a short for Comedy Central’s Triptank (NSFWish). He is also pretty great at life drawing.
Adobe Flash, comic contrast, comic timing, making Melbourne as cool as Adelaide
Viewing rabbit hole starts here
Cyriak Harris’s appetite-suppressing, electronica-backed flights of fancy are as fun as they are disturbing. There is no creature so innocuous that he can’t turn it into a hypnotic dancing spider-beast.
After Effects, music composition, patience for render times
Viewing rabbit hole starts here
Enjoy, and don’t forget your taxes.
This article first appeared as a “Chick on the Draw” column in Luna Station Quarterly, March 6, 2015.
This year’s animated lineup is out of control. There is no controlling it. Don’t try. You will hurt yourself. There are two Disney/Pixar movies coming out this year: INSIDE OUT (June 19) and THE GOOD DINOSAUR (Nov 25). TWO PIXAR MOVIES IN ONE YEAR.
But there’s still time to find a paper bag to breathe into. Let’s talk about spring.
Based on Adam Rex’s extremely silly 2007 children’s book, The True Meaning of Smekday, the film follows a girl and a friendly, outcast alien on the journey to find her mother and save the earth. In the book, the friendly alien was named J. Lo; those missing the old name may be relieved by the movie’s actual Jennifer Lopez.
And can we talk about a brown girl main character? IS THIS REAL LIFE?
Expect silliness, flying cars, heartfelt moments, Minions-esque marketability, and Jim Parsons at 100% Parson.
|Director||Tim Johnson||OVER THE HEDGE (2006)
SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS (2003)
|Based on||The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex|
|Screenplay by||Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember||GET SMART (2008), EPIC (2013)|
|Studio||DreamWorks Animation||HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (perpetual)
KUNG FU PANDA (perpetual)
Cast: Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez
A 2013 hit in its original Argentina, METEGOL lands in the US as UNDERDOGS. In it, Foosball players come to life to help a young man combat a childhood enemy returned to destroy their hometown. Expect adventure, pandemonium, and gags of all kinds.
In the lead role of Jake (née Amadeo) appears Nicholas Hoult, who is off to a hell of a busy year.
|Director||Juan José Campanella||AVELLANEDA’S MOON (2004)
SON OF THE BRIDE (2001)
A huuuge amount of TV
|Studio||100 Bares, Plural-Jempsa and Catmandu Branded Entertainment||The first feature from Catmandu, who proclaims METEGOL “the largest Ibero-American CG production to date”|
Cast: Ariana Grande, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Morrison, Katie Holmes
Fixture of the BBC that reached US audiences through NETFLIX streaming, Shaun the Sheep arrives in his first feature to hit the city and rescue a lost Farmer. Expect rampant adventure, puns, visual gags, and startling emotional moments.
Shaun the Sheep listener advisory: extremely catchy theme song.
|Directors||Richard Goleszowski, Mark Burton||First time at the helm|
|Story||Richard Goleszowski, Mark Burton||GNOMEO & JULIET (2011)
THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT (2005)
CHICKEN RUN (2000)
|Studio||Aardman Animations||WALLACE & GROMIT (perpetual)
CHICKEN RUN (2000)
Cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes
Originally slated for May, new Paramount feature from director Chris Wedge (ICE AGE, EPIC) MONSTER TRUCKS, has been pushed to a Christmas release. No poster. No trailer. No worries?
The release date for the RATCHET & CLANK movie remains unannounced. So if you need a throwback Sony fix, you need to dust off the PlayStation.
(This post created for and first appeared on Samantha Gay’s blog, February 21, 2015.)
Twenty years ago I was depressed, confused, and out of ideas. Then I discovered programming.
I’m not sure how it started. It helped that the family had a Tandy TRS-80 at one point, and I ran into BASIC and Oregon Trail at school, so a flashing green cursor was never something to fear. But it wasn’t until my second try at college–after flunking out of a fine art program, getting treatment for depression, and realizing my total lack of real-world problem solving skills–that I was desperate enough to pursue the one degree guaranteed to get me employed and out of the house: computer science.
I can’t recommend this strongly enough.
No, I don’t remember the Internet protocol diagram. No, I haven’t written an Access database since 1998. But the thing that stuck was realizing anything you can do on a computer, you can automate.
Need fifty images exported as thumbnails? Automate that.
Want to port a website’s old forum to a new format? Automate that.
Want to find your insurance company’s best-rated primary care provider across four different ratings websites? Automate that.
Some people encounter programming and think, “Oh, no, I’m no good at math.” First, math takes practice, but anyone who practices can be as secure in math as I am in high heels: embarrassing but functional. Second, programming is not math. It’s logic. It’s sudoku. It’s a series of trivia questions you’re allowed to Google.
And anyone with interest and Internet can learn. Long-term success comes from research and habits. To do what I do you don’t even need a degree; it’s been handy for me to have one on my resume, but the older I get the less meaningful it is.
Through all my life’s subsequent mistakes, panics, stupidities, and do-overs, programming has been my saving employable grace. When I ended up in Los Angeles in 2008 (a move Sam Gay assisted) with a scheme to be an art director or storyboard artist or anything else that would get me paid, it was my failure to find any of that work that sent me back to the technology listings. Because of programming, I ended up with the best-paying, most flexible, least stressful, least physically demanding, least goes-home-with-you job I’ve ever had.
Working in technology gives me time to create.
I have a healthy freelance career in speculative fiction and illustration. I’m working on the second edition of my Meddling Auntie advice comics for kids, and working on the launch of a web platform for interactive fiction. I hit the gym, see the doctor, and clean the house. I have emergency savings and a retirement fund. I can go to an out-of-town wedding without getting heartburn over the cost.
(I also created Sneaky VFX, a webcomic about converting to the church of code.)
It’s been a really long time since I’ve eaten a potato old enough to take a handprint.
There are other factors, of course, but that’s a subject for another day.
There’s never been a better time.
(This article originally appeared as a Luna Station Quarterly’s Chick on the Draw column, February 6, 2015)
Think IF might be fun, but don’t know where to start? Here’s how to get hooked in ten minutes.
It’s about two minutes and will prime your brain. Anything that can be done in a web browser, you can do with Twine. ANYTHING. But we’ll begin at the beginning.
If it’s your first time there, it’ll look like this:
Hit the big green “+Story” button and create a new story.
It should look about like this.
Buttons do what you might guess. Hover over any of them, and a tooltip will explain.
For extra credit, click on the story title and take a look at the options.
We won’t use any of these right now, but it’s good to know they’re there.
The little soft blue square is our first passage. In Twine, a passage is a unit of the story–kind of like a page is a unit of a book. To edit a passage, you can either double-click it OR hover over it and select the pencil icon.
The passage editor looks like this:
There are instructions in the passage! They are true instructions. Write some text in your passage, and include a link to another passage. Links belong in double square brackets, so Twine knows they’re links.
For what it’s worth, you can the link after a word in your story:
Go to the [[cellar]]
Or name the link something else.
[[I went to the cellar.->Spooky Place]]
You can also rename the passage, though this isn’t required.
Here is our gripping tale so far:
Neat! You can also add a new passage by clicking the green “+Passage” button. You can delete a passage by hovering over it and clicking the “Trash” icon (or by hitting the good old “Delete” key.)
For fun, I’m going to edit the “prince” and “heel” passages, too.
Hit the “Play” button. The story will build and open in a new tab.
Click on a link and see where it goes!
Let’s make a “trust” variable and change it depending on the reader’s choice.
In the “prince” passage, add this line of code:
(set: $trust to 10)
In the “heel” passage, add this line of code:
(set: $trust to 0)
It doesn’t matter where the line of code is within the passage. It will be run when the passage is displayed.
(It’s maybe good practice to set the variable to some default starting value at the beginning, and then update it as you go, but let’s not worry about that right now.)
That “trust” variable should have an impact on our story. Let’s add a passage that uses it.
Add this link to both the “prince” and “heel” passages:
To think I wouldn't have met him if it weren't for Lord Coddish's [[funeral]].
And add this to a new “funeral” passage:
Reynaldo sat next to me during the service and I was sure
(if: $trust > 0)[I'd never met a man so dignified](else:)[he'd make off with my handbag].
The story will rebuild in the same tab as before.
Now, if you choose “heel,” you arrive here:
You can also hit the “Bug” button to play the story in debug mode. This gives you more information if you run into trouble.
And that’s it! You’ve written a Twine story!
If you’re interested in interactive fiction and writing games in general, you might enjoy the Sorting Hat built by the Quinnspiracy. BE CAREFUL. You might find yourself writing a visual novel, or a platformer, or a puzzle game, or some other wonderful thing.
Thanks to inspiration from /u/YouLeaveMeNoChoice and /u/Shady_Intent, here are seven of the missing eight tarot cards from Dragon Age: Inquisition.
I’m still working on Josephine’s romance card. I made one, it just turned out goofy. Will fix soon. Stay tuned.