Get to Know the Crew! Zayd

ZAYD

Zayd believes goodwill is good vibes. For this Condor Crewcreature being a DJ and a Zoorb Ambassador is one state of mind. Music is the zig to his zag and Zayd often uses tunes to solve the crew’s space problems.

He’s deeply inspired by the cosmos, the stillness of the universe, the controlled chaos of the sun, and of course, the music of the planets. Zayd was chosen by the Zoorb council to represent Earth in all diplomatic matters. He takes this responsibility seriously and is devoted to building creature friendships across the universe.

Originally from the Serengeti, Zayd misses his home from time to time, especially his girlfriend Zahra. She’s the Princess of her Dazzle of Zebras and devoted to her creatures. Every night Zayd spins songs out into the stars just to honor her.

 

Let’s Make Comics! Eleanor’s Design

ELEANOR_SKETCH

When I started doing the initial drawings of all the characters, I was very excited to design Eleanor, because I love to draw birds… they come in so many varieties – many colors, sizes, markings, different beaks, etc. I knew from the start that Eleanor should be a Parakeet. But even just ‘parakeet’ doesn’t narrow it down! have you seen how many different parakeets there are?

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…And those are just the Australian types! In the end, I decided to go simple… I imagine Eleanor as a yellowish green parakeet with a orangey-pink cheek mark.

As simple as she was, however, Eleanor was probably the character that gave me the most trouble once I started on her. Everything I drew just looked wrong. It turns out, anthropomorphizing a bird was a little trickier than I imagined. Finally, I decided I needed some inspiration. I tried to think of a cartoon bird that I liked the look of… Where else did I turn, but one of my childhood favorites, Disney’s The Three Caballeros!

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Jose Carioca, the green parakeet from Brazil, was just the bird I was looking for! The beak on that guy is amazing! Although it may not look like it, studying the way Jose’s beak was drawn really helped me figure out how to draw Eleanor’s. Her beak ended up a lot daintier than our caballero here, but he definitely helped me get there.

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Get to Know the Crew! Eleanor

ELEANOR

Eleanor is a talented artist and problem-solver. Her job on the Condor is to help understand the universe through art. Crewcreature La works in several mediums: painting, pottery, drawing, sewing, graphic design, paper mache, bedazzling, and the occasionally performance art. The classical arts aren’t her only talents. She’s also an excellent escape artist.

Chosen from the Zoorb Academy for her imaginative thinking skills, Eleanor’s figured out that problem solving isn’t always formulaic. Highly innovative and optimistic, she’s the kind of Crewcreature you need when your space mission goes off the rails.

Eleanor loves spending her free time organizing her craft supplies and imagining creative ways to save the universe and her Condor friends.

Let’s Make Comics: Laying out the story

When the story has been written, and it’s time to figure out how everything looks on the page, Crewcreature Steph and I put our heads together and plan it all out. We go through the script page by page, and make sure the pacing is right, and there is room for everything we need to show.

I make a VERY rough sketch of each page, as you can see below:

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Sometimes, as we are going through, we find that there is too much action in one page of the scrip, and we need to let it have more room. This is where working together so closely comes in handy. Steph can just make an adjustment in the script, and we can give the scene an extra page, or let it smoosh into the next page a little bit.

Once we are all done walking though the story page by page, (which takes several mornings over pancakes – In this issue, we spent a whole morning figuring out how to show a handful of characters entering a room. An unexpectedly tricky scene!) I have a completed board of thumbnail sketches of the entire issue, with notes and sketches where needed. I then use this when I’m working on the first draft of the sketch, and it makes things soooooo much easier!

Here’s our crazy door scene (looks so simple, right!?):

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Horbue? A gold shooting star to the person who can translate that bottom left frame! And what character is that?? Is it a Sea Lard from Ooo?

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Anyway… this part of the comic-making process is a true example of the value of teamwork and cooperation. I don’t know how others are able to make great comics without this step! If you are working on a comic with a friend, we highly recommend the layout huddle. Give it a try!

Let’s Make Comics: Captain Bandit’s Design

Ok, so last time, I told you that Maria was one of the first characters I designed for the comic… But Bandit was the very first. Not surprising, as he’s our crew’s fearless leader. Here is the first sketch ever, drawn even before the script was written…

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Pretty recognizable as the Captain Bandit we know and love, eh? A little bit squattier, slightly puppyish, maybe. The uniform is a little different… but pretty close to how he ended up!

However, I took a little journey to return to this design. I’m not usually one to second-guess my first instinct when it comes to creative ideas, but when I do, I typically come back around to that first thing I came up with in the end. Sometimes, though, it’s a good idea to explore other options in order to feel really great about the final piece.

After the script was in process, and I began designing all the characters, I came back to Bandit. I decided to try out some different dog breeds, not sure exactly what type of dog Bandit should be… here is my first round:

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There were definitely some of these designs that I liked. I polled some friends, and there didn’t seem to be any, in particular that rose to the top. Every person had very different favorites. To me, that was a sign that I hadn’t yet arrived at the right one. So I drew some more:

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But still, no consensus on a collective favorite. I thought and thought, and after I had finished designing almost all the rest of the characters, I realized that how I was imagining Bandit looking in my head, was basically the way I had drew him at the very beginning. So I went back and found that sketch, made some adjustments, and that’s how Bandit’s look came to be! I don’t know exactly what kind of dog he is… a mix of a few loyal breeds for sure. A mutt – an every-dog if you will. I think it’s fitting for the leader of such a diverse crew.

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Get to Know the Crew! Captain Bandit

BANDIT

Captain Bandit VII is a charming, but tough leader. As captain, his main goal is to complete missions and keep his crew safe. Bandit has a soft spot for outcasts and Crewcreatures who come up with unexpected ways to save the galaxy.

His father, General Bandit VI, was one of the most famous Zoorb captains in the fleet and Bandit is expected to succeed in father’s pawsteps. Like most dogs, Bandit was raised by a human family. In order to join the Zoorb Academy, he had become a “lost pet” and leave his human family forever.

As expected, he excelled at the Zoorb Academy and quickly caught the attention of Zoorb Council Leadership. Bandit was first in his class at Exploration, Peacekeeping, Security, and Search and Rescue. He was also captain of a 3-time champion volleyball team.

Bandit is one of the youngest captains in the Creaturehood, and also one of the most trusted.

Let’s Make Comics: Dr. Maria Curly design

MARIA_SKETCH

 

Dr. Curly was actually one of the first characters I ever sketched from Star Beasts. As I was reading through the first draft of the script, I doodled some quick drawings of scenes if they stood out to me, or if I had some strong visual idea of how the scene or character looked in my head. It’s a good way to make your ideas real and closer to how you want them, if you get it out of your head and down on paper as soon as you can. That’s why I always keep a sketchbook handy.

Here is the first sketch of Maria:

 

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Not too much difference from how she turned out, eh? When Steph and I were brainstorming characters, Steph mentioned thinking of Maria looking something like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein…

 

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Maybe that was why it was so easy for me to picture her in my head the first time I read her in the story!

I was also thinking of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, growing more and more frustrated, as she tries to brew the Drought of Living Death in Slughorn’s class. Her hair becoming bigger and more frizzled from the steam as the class goes on- a visual representation of her mood…

 

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Somehow in the process of finalizing her look, she lost the bottom poof of her mad scientist hairstyle, but I still think the spirit of her easily frazzled personality comes through up on top of her noggin.

Get to Know the Crew! Maria

MARIA

Dr. Maria Curly is a driven, well-respected scientist. With PHD’s in almost everything imaginable she doesn’t humor foolish creatures lightly. Maria loves to have THE scientific answer for everything.

When she’s focused on proving that her theories and experiments are 100% right, sleeping, eating, and even saving her other crew members becomes (SIGH) a bit of a bother.

Her role on the ship is to answer any science need necessary to protect Earth and study new astrologic experiences in deep space. Personally, Maria hopes that by exploring the far reaches of the universe, she’ll learn groundbreaking truths that will help her win the prestigious Dardis Prize again. Maria dreams of becoming the only creature scientist to have won the Dardis three times!

An entire wall of Maria’s laboratory showcases her well-earned diplomas and awards. The doctor may, or may not have positioned her lab worktable just so she could glance up at her own greatness every now and then.

Let’s Make Comics: Macca Design

MACCA_SKETCHWhen I was thinking about the look of Macca, the first thing that came to mind was the unicorn depicted in the series of unicorn tapestries from the late middle ages. I like to think Macca’s extra long unicorn horn may have come from the legendary creature shown here, in this piece called “The Unicorn in Captivity”

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For a long time, I have been inspired by these tapestries, and the story of the unicorn hunt. There are many tales of humans searching for the elusive and pure unicorn, in order to acquire the beast’s magical healing powers. (my favorite version of this legend comes from “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White – a great book if you’re looking for something to read by the pool this summer.) There is a big project I’ve had in the back of my head related to this story that has yet to come to life, so I was glad to finally put some of this research into practice when coming up with Macca’s design.

Macca wears the uniform of the Zoorb Council, but with a bit of flair in the form of the flowers representing his Dirt source of power. (Learn more about sources of power in a previous blog post) The inspiration for using flowers comes from the Millefleur (or ‘thousand-flowers’) technique used in the Unicorn Tapestries, and many other works of art created in the late middle ages. This is when you see a field of tiny flowers, graphically depicted as the backdrop to a scene. Each member of the Zoorb Council has a reflection of their source of power on their attire, and since Macca was the first Dirt creature I designed, he got the say in how they represent their group.

The last bit of influence that I borrowed from this art, and many other images of unicorns from medieval times, is Macca’s beard. Oftentimes in Unicorn art from this period, the unicorn is made to look almost like a goat, sometimes as small as a goat or a dog-like creature, with a curled beard. I’ve always liked this difference from the modern unicorn, which is almost always highly feminine and pony-like. I thought I’d give Macca a little unicorn goat beard to give him a classic look, and it was just the extra bit of fancy that he needed.