RUN is a short story that has done laps around my head but has never been put down on paper until now. The idea for RUN actually originated from a dynamic little piece of music that I would visualize and interject my own characters into every time I heard it. Maybe this comes from enjoying the old Warner Brothers cartoons without dialog and only traditional music playing along.
The story plays out like this; a young man wakes up late in his apartment, realizes he has forgotten about an important date, heads out on foot -not just running, but jumping, climbing, and hitching rides on the backs of unsuspecting cars- and eventually makes it to his destination in mostly one piece, but still far from on time. Pretty simple! As the main character makes his way from one environment to another he has his small effects, whether that be grabbing some makeshift flowers, causing an accident in the middle of an intersection, scooping up a loose dog to toss back to it’s owner, or evading a few cops from that accident earlier. In the end, he shows up to a disgruntled woman who we expect to be ‘the date’ that he slept through, but the protagonist slinks by her to hand the flowers over to the real reason he was running. It’s his dear-ol’-mum’s birthday.
The protagonist of this story is a 24 year-old named Greg. He might seem like a hooligan by his looks, but he isn’t actually a delinquent of any sort. He’s tall and somewhat lanky, but well grounded. His strongest characteristics are his moment’s-notice resourcefulness, loyal determination, skills with a comb, and of course his ability to run. He’s lacking however at planning ahead and has the other overall flaws that come with his short attention span and ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ mentality. He isn’t necessarily a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ kind of guy; he is just how he is.
The story takes place on “an earth”. I say this because the setting follows the rules of what we all know, but certainly isn’t anywhere that physically exists and isn’t of a time that is exactly the same as ours. Our main character starts in his home, a small old town kind-of area with plenty of greenery, and then travels into a full scale city, void of any greenery among it’s skyscrapers and concrete.
Here is an early work-up for a setting.
I’m going for a stylized cartoony kind of look with a limited palette. My medium is simply a black ink brush pen scanned in and then digitally colored. This will be my first time digitally coloring, or coloring much at all, so I’m sticking with a mostly monochromatic (which I usually admire anyway) visual scheme to start myself off. The Character (Greg) and anything in the foreground will be a bit more detailed and rendered, while things receding into the background will become more stylistically obscured and simplified. Because I like to emphasize line weight when I draw, I want to make sure I really force a point of view by creating distinct planes. This way, the entire illustration will hopefully not look too one-dimentional. Using a very limited palette may continue to flatten the image, so I have to compensate by exaggerating my line weights even more.
I’m drawing inspirations mostly from the animations I enjoyed as a kid. Namely, the heavy line emphasis from watching shows like “Dexter’s Laboratory”, “Powerpuf Girls”, and “Samurai Jack”. The way my story plays out without dialog and my choice in coloring can be attributed to “Rhapsody in Blue” -one of my all time favorite animations- from “Fantasia 2000”. My own characters style is reflected in other new artists I look up to currently.
In breaking my story into three basic scenes I went firstly for the initial start of my character’s journey, still within his environment. I used the color red to go hand-in-hand with the brick background and for the fact that this is the exciting drive of the first scene. The flowers are yellow to help pop, and to stay a constant item to tie the scenes together.
Definitely the more challenging scene to compose, this second scene fast-forwards to the city. I wanted to show more interaction in this scene as it’s functioning as the closest thing to a sort of ‘crescendo’ out of the 3 scenes. I chose blue for the city to make sure it reflected that this setting is not at all organic like the first scene. The color also made sense to use because of all the cold glass and metal that would actually be in this scene’s setting.
Finally, the last scene. I wanted to show how my character interacts with his environment more than just running, and it seemed appropriate to have him hunched over in the window to also very directly show how he was feeling. Drawing the girl large and shadowed in the foreground with a very universally understood pose also helps the scenes readability. I chose purple because it set the mood well, and because it is literally combined the other two scenes (and both character’s respective environment colors) together.
If you’re curious, here is the song that this story originally played out to in my head. hopefully you can roughly see my story in the music!
My story takes place in Southern Spain in the 1500’s. The tragic tale follows a lonely and cursed gypsy who longs for a husband. one night she cries to the moon to give her a husband. The moon complies and asks to receive the gypsy’s firstborn child in return. Her unwitting contract with the moon eventually leads to her death.
As this is a tragic story and all of the scenes take place at night, my color palette is subdued with no vibrant colors. The color scheme is warm and earthy to emphasize the gypsy’s connection to nature. The purples used in the background add to the gloomy and mystical feel of the night.
Compositional Color Studies in gouache:
In my first color studies the moon was covered, I made it fully visible in the final to give it more power as a character.
Style reference (Lizbeth Zwerger)
Title: End of Gear – A Summary of a Developing Story
The Story: Although End of Gear has plenty of background stories to it, I might as well stick to a story that I might as well make anew and develop it as I go.
In this plot, two characters named Yu, the male protagonist, and Yui, the female counterpart, happen to somehow fell or warped into another time or dimension. Basically there shouldn’t be any scene of them warping, they just happen to wake up in another world. They do know that this will happen to them on and off, so basically, they have to learn how to adapt to the current state of culture and style of that world and survive in it. In this world, Yu and Yui have to deal with a caste society and become driven to find a way to end a very stressing conflict so that they can find a way back home in their world. As said before, they happened to warp into another world in which they have no clue how to get back to, figured that they have to do some kind of deed in order to dive into another world or hopefully back home; since they experienced that situation a couple of times. Yu and Yui has been separated due to the fact that Yu was exhausted from jumping to another world and taken by guards from a nearby fortress or town while Yui, out of her kindness, goes off to get some source of water for Yu, only happens to notice that the town guards have taken him under suspicion of wardrobe attire and race. Yui, as shy as she is, seems helpless at the moment, secretly follows them and tries to adapt to the town at the same time. Yu, in his part, ends up having to deal with an unappealing law in which he has to fight in a coliseum in order to live amongst their kind and race (well, if he wins, he gets citizenship, but starts at lower part of the caste system).
For this, I bet you guys can figure what might happen next.
Yu can be defined as a care-free, spirited gentleman. Age is not a problem to him since he’s way over his time which would not matter at all as how far he will live. Yu can die though. Yu is about at 5 feet 8 inches tall, of mid weight, only some muscle tone on his arms and none elsewhere. He plays a role of utmost curiosity and adventurous when he is alone. Yu pursues many goals when he is conflicted with one. He has a knack of starting fights when he shouldn’t due to his habit of helping someone he comes across or the fact that he doesn’t take crap from anyone. Yu will take up on any job and finish it if possible. He’s overall selfless and has a really welcoming nature to him, but this is his downfall for letting terrible things happening to him. Additionally, Yu loves to cook out of taste and in need for specific nutrients to survive.
Yu’s quote: “It looks bad, but it tastes good.”
Yui is visually thin and pinkish-pale. She has no age. Yui weighs like air, nothing; probably as much as a gallon of milk. She stands up at the height of 5 feet and 7 inches, but wear heels to match Yu’s height. Yui is oddly a timid and shy girl who tends to be around Yu; basically Yui is a “familiar” of Yu’s in which cases, has the ability to vanish around him (you can say she’s like a fairy; a large one of fact). She only becomes brave and daring when she has to be. Yui specializes as a weapon; sadly a tool for Yu’s advantages. Yui is a kind-natured person which worries over the health of Yu in most situations. She is soft spoken and meek from the way she looks and her attitude. Although Yui is close to Yu, both have a unique relationship where both are merely loyal friends. It’s just that they sometimes have awkward situations that change the mood.
Yui’s quote; “Could be dangerous…”
End of Gear: Plot Environment
In this part and story of epic, I’m placing Yu and Yui in a town,city,fortress, whatever-you-call-it population, where they inhabit tradesmen, bazaars, the opressed, rich dikes, and a whole lot of people, escalating about in their daily lives. Sand and dirt can be seen all over the floor; some areas have rocks or stoned tablets on the floors. Pitched tents from out door markets; No laws against sealed or held weapons. all buildings are made of dry dirt, sement, rocks, buts this depends on the caste society. The environment is very busy; basically you can describe it like parts of India and parts of Saudi Arabia. Overall, the biggest building in this story is the coliseum, but apart from that most buildings are about 2-3 floors high or people living in the sewage system.
Character studies of gestures, designs, and silhouettes.
This is a background study of End of Gear; Shown here is the “Bazaar.”
This is Scene 1: End of Gear, Titled: “War on the Dunes”
This is Scene 2 – “Yu and the Monstrosity”
This is Scene 3 – Yu and Yui Resting