Judy : Vol. 27, 1880 Plate 4

JUDY_Vol27_04_thumbToday for Judy Tuesday we have a couple of nice winter-themed costumes that go well with the season.

I think the November costume might be intended to look like fallen leaves, but I’m totally speculating. The hat with the funny flaps standing up makes it look like a jester’s outfit. Even so, when I imagine this in color, I’m thinking of sunset colors (like turning leaves), but that may be because I lack imagination.

The December costume is more traditional winter wear trimmed with ermine and a fairly conservative hat with a nice plume. I like the muff and the extra long dark gloves. It feels like it has a slight Renaissance influence to it. If I were to pick a color for it, I think I would go with royal blue.

One more plate from Volume 27 next Tuesday, and then there will be all new stuff from an all new volume for the all new year!

[Click on this link or the image to download a printable .pdf of this plate]

Christmas Bumble to Cut & Color (Color) Page 2

bumble2_color_thumbSome extra bits and bobs for Mr. Bumble. I have included two “blank” sweaters for you to design and color for yourself. Not because I’m so outrageously lazy (even though I am), but because I thought it would be a nice extra bit of activity business. I don’t have a lines-only (to color) version of this page. I forgot to scan the linework before I colored it and there was just no going back (that’s one of those disadvantages to working in real media instead of digital). Hope you enjoy this anyway, and celebrate your holiday as you most hope to! Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays all!

[Click here or on the image to download a printable .pdf file]

Christmas Bumble to Cut & Color (B&W)


I couldn’t resist the urge to make at least one small Christmas paper doll. The ubiquitous ugly sweater seems like a perennial favorite, so figured I would make poor Mr. Bumble suffer the indignities. Well he looks happy, anyway. I made two versions of this: this one to print in black & white so that you can color it for yourself, and a second one which I colored for you. I’ll post the colored version next week. Hope you enjoy this as much a I did making it!

[Click here or on the image to download a printable .pdf file]

Judy : Vol. 27, 1880 Plate 3


Judy goes fishing in this week’s plate from Vol. 27, and wears a fish on her head. Also, believe it or not, I had to tone down the hat for the Guy Costume because the one in the journal was ridiculously huge with feathers that stretched across the page. I knew I would never be able to fit that on a plate, so I scaled it back a bit.

We’re in the early volumes of when these thematic costumes were just starting to become a “thing”. I tend to skip the more moderate ones, but soon the costume feature really takes off and things get occasionally super-wacky. So consider the fish a preview of weird stuff to come in future volumes. Not this one, alas. It’s going to go out on a nice, almost reasonable note.

We’ve got two more plates for Vol. 27, and then we’re going to go backwards for a wee bit so I can do some catch-up with Vol. 25. These Judy plates are so easy to make, I really have no excuse whatsoever not to have one every Tuesday from now until the volumes run out (and that will be a good long while!).

[Click on this link or the image to download a printable .pdf of this plate]

In the Heart of the Sea has Plenty of Sea, but Not Enough Heart

heart-of-the-sea-posterLet’s get one thing clear: I really am okay with adaptation as its own art form. I’m sorely disappointed that this movie veered so far from the actual history of the Essex and from Nathaniel Philbrick’s telling of that tale, but I can put that aside. It’s not the movie we got, so dredging up the comparisons is academic.

Standing on its own, In the Heart of the Sea is interesting, but kind of a technical mess. The script is weak, the characters are not well drawn, the actors aren’t really given good dramatic business to do (top billing goes to several who seem to have had no more than a dozen lines/scenes), the camerawork is confoundingly shifty and weirdly angled, and there’s a narrative framework overlaid on the action that’s distracting, kind of pointless, and historically misleading (and feels to me like it misses the whole point of the Moby Dick connection, but that could be a whole post all on its own).

All that said, the cgi whales are much better than I anticipated, the sailing and whaling business is compelling, and you can see moments ~ tiny flashes ~ where this could have been brilliant in the hands of a different director or even just with a stronger script.

chris_hemsworth_intheheartoftheseaAnd how about that gloriously wasted cast?

Chris Hemsworth garbles all over his wildly varying accent, unfortunately. His Owen Chase is thoroughly not likable. In fact, I began to think this was going to be a story about his hubris and ultimate redemption. But it’s not. He’s a self-righteous smug jerk from the start and while he gets knocked down a peg, he’s still a self-righteous smug jerk to the bitter end. I had moments when I just wanted the whale to eat him. Or the other sailors. Because, you know, this is a story about open-boat survival and cannibalism is going to happen.

I will add this about Hemsworth’s performance: his accent may be a total mystery, but his transformation is shocking once they’re adrift. His sunken visage is a horror to behold.

benjamin_walker_intheheartoftheseaBenjaman Walker plays Captain Pollard and does a nice job embodying an inexperienced sailor fighting to maintain authority that’s been given to him, unearned. But the script has the character make spectacularly obvious bad choices  (even the audience knows they’re bad). It undercuts any chance of realism, and makes him a bit of a dolt.

Even so, of all the characters, Pollard’s the only one given what could be considered an actual arc of development: he starts out maligned, becomes insufferable, obstinately refuses to believe in the errors of his ways, but ultimately does the right thing. And he comes away heroic and vaguely interesting, which none of the others can claim.

cillian_murphy_intheheartoftheseaPoor Cillian Murphy plays the bland childhood pal of Owen Chase, Matthew Joy. It’s a bloody crime that Howard made this actor suffer under extreme filming conditions for a role that consisted of a man twice refusing a drink and then saying goodbye to Chase. That’s literally all he gets to do here. Why, Howard? Why? You cast an actor of this caliber to do nothing.

Even with the nothing he’s given, he looks good on screen. I will say, though, there’s a transition once they’re set adrift where Joy becomes completely unrecognizable from one scene to the next because of the extremity of the sailors’ condition. It was very jarring. For a moment I didn’t even know it was him and that took any hope for tension out of what might have been a nice moment.

ben_whishaw__brendan_gleeson_intheheartoftheseaBrenden Gleason and Ben Whishaw play Old Tom Nickerson and Herman Melville, respectively. This is the narrative framework that just didn’t need to be there. It interrupts the action and doesn’t really serve as anything but expository filler and a lot of wink-winking and nudge-nudging about Moby Dick to come. Everything in the framework feels like Howard doesn’t trust us to “get it” unless it’s all spelled out.

The actors do their darndest to deliver ham-fisted dialogue and get emotional about events 30 years past. It’s actually painful to watch. I want an edit of the film in which this (and an equally ham-fisted scene at the end regarding a board of inquiry) has been excised–and the time is used to develop the characters on the boat instead.

tom_holland_intheheartoftheseaTom Holland plays Young Tom Nickerson. This kid has serious acting chops and he does well in the role, but his arc is really weird. If we’re to believe he becomes crotchety Old Tom Nickerson, he certainly shows no signs of the terrible trauma of this voyage in his closing moments with Owen Chase. He suffers well on the voyage, but how it scarred him so deeply to become silent and reclusive on the matter is glossed over.

I can think of many ways they could have given him a more powerful story and a more powerful connection to Chase that could have actually resonated. As it is, though, despite all of Holland’s fine abilities, he’s just a stock neophyte sailor who is hopelessly star-struck by Chase who hasn’t really earned that from him.

frank_dillane_intheheartoftheseaFinally, I want to say something about Frank Dillane’s Henry Coffin (rechristened Henry since his real name was also Owen–we can’t have that in a movie where everyone should be called by last names anyway). I think Howard was trying to make this character antagonistic, but it never plays out. Yeah, he says snotty and ominous things, but he’s also treated negligently by both Pollard and Chase. His flipping out after the sinking is plain weird and his subsequent sacrifice powerless because we have to assume all the feelings he has for his cousin from one brief scene in which he gets turned out like a dog. Is his sacrifice heroic or is it cowardice? For me, this is the high tide of what men do to survive and it just doesn’t work. No fault on Dillane; he’s just not given enough to work with.

About the Music: The score is not epic. It’s not memorable coming out of the theater. Like much of the rest of the film, we get a by-the-numbers soundtrack. It has a few nice riffs, but overall another disappointment to me. An epic score can elevate an otherwise lukewarm film, but this was mostly a miss.

About the Cannibalism: This could be a whole ‘nother post in itself. I will confine myself to remarking that there’s good and bad in terms of the way with which it’s dealt. Good that Howard addresses it, but bad in the handling. And I don’t mean that they needed to show it (I’m ghoulish, but not that ghoulish). I’m just talking about the historical reality of it and the attitudes of the day toward the Custom of the Sea. It’s really approached here with a 21st century mindset on some levels. Particularly in the aftermath.

In Summation: I remember when Howard used to be able to tell a great story with really amazing characters. This movie is a decent adventure story and worth a watch, but squanders the talents of its actors and spends way too much time developing characters in the future who aren’t needed to begin with ~ instead of making whole men of the characters in the present who matter the most.

All that said, I still can’t help but recommend the book. While this is kinda entertaining as a sea-faring yarn in spite of itself, the true story of the Essex is ten times more complex, more dramatic, and more terrifying.

The Walking Dead Paper Dolls: Daryl Dixon’s Closet

twd06_daryl_thumbI’ve still got two more plates of the Walking Dead stuff after this, which, even though I only drew them last month they already feel “old”. It’s the problem with letting stuff sit around. By the time I get to posting, I want something new and shiny. But that’s okay. We’ll be done with these by the end of the year and there’s plenty of new and shiny to come.

I don’t think Daryl ever bathes, so I was surprised to find variations on his costumes at all, but early on in the series he hadn’t established his look, so there were articles of clothing other than his signature leather vest. Once again, I struggled with the weapons for this (except the axe; I enjoyed that). Also had a hard time squeezing all these on the page, so it’s a little awkward.

Had a moment late last night thinking, gee, I’m doing such a better job on the Fear the Walking Dead characters I feel kind of guilty for short-shrifting these. And then I got into a spin about whether I should redo them all. And then I got over it. Because life is short.

[Click this link or the image to download a printable .pdf of these costumes]

You can find the plate with Daryl by clicking on his tag below, or click The Walking Dead category link to see all of the plates in this series.

Judy : Vol. 27, 1880 Plate 2

JUDY_Vol27_02_thumbSomehow I managed to miss posting for Judy Tuesday. This is the problem with not having a regular work-week: I’m never entirely certain what day it is!

But all is well in the world because even though it’s Wednesday, we’ll celebrate it like it’s Tuesday with this new plate from Vol. 27. These two costumes are from September and October and sport a great tam and fez. Sometimes even when the dresses are sort of ordinary, the hats are absurd. This plate probably has two of the most even-handed designs in the series.

The costumes get even wackier through the years, so if you think they are a little weird now, wait until we get into the later volumes. It’ll be a while, though. I found Vol. 25, which means we’ll be regressing for the next outing (but just briefly), then we’ll move forward with Vol. 29 as previously planned. I’m hoping to work on Judy a lot over the Christmas holiday since I’m traveling and it’s the most portable of my projects (all I need is three Sharpies of varying widths, cardstock, and my iPad to thumb through the reference material). For all the complexity of my other projects, it’s always nice to work on Judy for the sheer simplicity.

[Click this link or the image to download a printable .pdf of these costumes]


In the Heartbreak of the Sea

intheheartoftheseaThe reviews are coming in for Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea and they’re not very good. I have been trying to hold out hope that critics are blasting the movie for being about whaling (since that’s not exactly politically correct), but after perusing a sampling, it seems like they’re criticizing everything from bad pacing, bad special effects, and bad accents. Even the critics who have been enthusiastic about it concede that it’s deeply flawed.

So I’ve adjusted my expectations accordingly. I’m disappointed especially to read that Cillian Murphy is thought to be wasted entirely, and that Frank Dillane’s character is ugly and obnoxious. Two terrible directorial choices right out of the gate, it would seem.

Still, I’ll be seeing it next week when it opens here in the United States. I’ve thoroughly loved brilliant and misunderstood (ahem) movies that have been panned by the critics before (see: Ravenous), so maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

emoji_winkNote: Yes, I do realize I cited a movie about cannibalism in defense of another movie about cannibalism. It was unintentional, but there you have it. That’s not too worrying, is it?

So Many Irons; So Much Fire

desk_12_04_15Back in ye olden times I kept a livejournal where I periodically posted pictures of the evolving state of my desk. The links to those pictures are gone now, though I have the originals on my computer. It was fun to record the progression of my whims over time, so I thought I would start anew.

I probably have too many disparate series to work on, but it’s fun to give my desk over to them for now.

I’m trying to figure out a way to post plates that makes sense (and is reasonably paced). While I have a small buffer, I can see burning through it quick.

The Walking Dead has 7 plates (four of which have been posted) and then it’s pretty much done. Judy is on-going with 4 plates ready in the queue for Judy Tuesdays (I’ll work on Vol. 29 over Christmas). Meanwhile, I’m concurrently working on three other series.

I’m painting two of those series (Empire and Fear the Walking Dead [FTWD]), which always takes more time than I expect. FTWD is a big set (9 people, 6 zombies, and I don’t have a clothing count yet). Each character only has a plate or two of clothing, however, and much of it is pretty straight-forward (aside from a handful of prints and plaids). I expect it will be about 25-27 plates, of which I’ve drawn a lot but painted very little at this point.

palette_12_04_15Empire, despite only doing 2 characters, is intensive because Cookie’s closet is a bottomless pit of styles and colors (the woman goes through 4+ costumes every episode). Because of her, I had to mix pink paint Thursday night–might have been a first for me.

I’m enjoying doing new things and challenging myself to not get too sloppy about things I don’t want to do. I flirted with the idea of putting tabs on the clothing (something to which I’ve always been averse), then I remembered how much space tabs take up on the page. I did, however, push myself to do something about my horror of little shoes floating around. After much shoe-envy over other paper doll artists’ blogs, I came up with something I can live with.

The third series I have percolating is comic-book related. I’m keeping it simple by coloring it with markers (which works well for comics). I finished drawing and coloring two characters last night, but haven’t made any clothes yet.

As usual, I’ve probably deep-ended in the ambition pool, but I’m okay if some of these are slow to roll out. I’m not even worried about the FTWD stuff because the show is in hiatus and won’t be back until late Spring at the earliest. I’d like to have half the plates finished before I even start posting it.

I’d like to start posting Empire next week as my regular Thursday post for now.

And I’m not adding any more series to the queue, though I’m wildly tempted.