Captain’s Log, 0201005.160: The Drums of War

Work on Hat Trick proceeds apace. Pages through 65 storyboarded, through 67 paneled and lettered.

Hopefully I don’t go much higher than 90 pages. My numbering scheme didn’t account for a third digit.

Right! That’s enough for the progress report. Now for the navel-gazing!

Continue reading “Captain’s Log, 0201005.160: The Drums of War”

Playing with widgets

WordPress has a widget that lets you overlap two pictures of the same size to get a drag and drop before and after, and I’m making this blog post purely to play with it.

Allright, let’s do it again.

This page will be useful to my proofreaders. Guys: in the Hat Trick comic, I plan to have two types of speech bubble. If you see a double border, I mean the final bubble to be white text on a black bubble. I goofed and did a heavy border instead of a double border on this specific page.

Last, but not least, I want to say a quick word about lettering.

I got the idea of putting the text into my storyboards so I can test text and picture together, rather than trying to compose — and edit — them separately. When I converted the process over to comics, my plan was to continue in the same manner, but to merely draw in the speech bubbles, and letter the comic in the PDF editor. I bought a license for Spinner Rack to give Hat Trick a unique, but multifaceted font. But: my printed ‘pencils’ now had letters, and on a whim, I tried hand lettering over them.

I love how expressive they are. I love how the sloppyness/messiness of them matches the impatience in my inking. Even if I don’t love that impatience itself.

Just for the record, I am not trying to match the shapes of the letters in the Spinner Rack font. This is my natural comic lettering style, developed when I was learning to be a cartoonist, only instead of an Ames Guide I’m using Krita’s text tool and Blambot’s font to work out the spacing and position.

Málycanis

Málycanis is an artlang that adopts some interlang sensibilities. Specifically, it is a hypothetical sci-fi descendant from English as spoken by non Anglos (as French, Spanish, and Portuguese are descendants from Latin as spoken by non-Romans.) It may or may not show up in my sci fi stories.

I derive it by taking English and slashing out sounds and concepts that aren’t widely found in other languages unless I fancy them so much I couldn’t bear to part with them.

To be quite clear, if English actually turns into Málycanis, that would be tragic. But, as a toy language, I quite enjoy it.

Phonology

Phonotactics

Syllables of Málycanis take the form [C][L]V[C][s] where…

  • C = any consonant
  • L = s, w, l, or y,
  • V = any vowel or the ai/ay diphthong.
  • s = s, and as a second consonant in the coda, only follows a nasal (m or n) or unvoiced stop (p, t, c).
  • Any syllable after the first must start with a consonant.

Consonants

Romanization, followed by (IPA). Multiple IPA symbols indicate dialectical alternatives that are also considered correct. A given dialect will only use one of these pronunciations per character, with certain exceptions listed below, so it’s not technically kosher to use both, but there should be no ambiguity so it doesn’t really matter.

I know that parenthesis are not the right way to indicate phonology, but I can’t be arsed to look it up just now.

m (m)n (n)
p (p)t (t)c (k)
v (b/β)d (d/ð)g (g/ɣ)
f (f)s (s/ʃ)h (χ/h/ʔ)
w (ɰᵝ)l (l/ɾ)y (j)
  • “ts” before a vowel is always pronounced “tʃ” (that is, like the English digraph “ch”).
  • “ds” before a vowel is always pronounced “dʒ” (that is, like the English letter j).
  • Yes, I do use ‘c’ instead of ‘k’ for the unvoiced velar stop. Because I like it better.
  • I also especially like voiced fricatives, despite the fact they are uncommon, and so have them as alternate pronunciations of the voiced stops. I am liable to always pronounce the voiced stops this way, and you can’t stop me.

Vowels

I tried to cut them down to the three vowels found in e.g. Arabic, but my aesthetic sense forced in an interloper. Good thing this is an artlang and not an interlang.

  • a (a)
  • i (i)
  • u (u)
  • y (ɪ/ɘ)
  • The diphthongs ‘ai’ or ‘ay’ (both cases pronounced ‘a͞i’) are also allowed.
  • Due to Málycanis phonology, it should never ambiguous whether ‘y’ is a consonant or a vowel. It would be better to use ‘j’ as the consonant, but I don’t like it, and I’m not gonna.
  • An acute accent can be placed above a vowel to indicate that syllable is stressed. This is only done in words with two or more syllables, not counting affixes.
  • Any non dipthong vowel may be doubled, which merely indicates you pronounce it for twice as long.
  • These vowels are not meant to be super precise, and vary wildly across dialects. Because there are so few, as long as you land closer to one corner than the others, it’s going to be considered correct.

Vocabulary

There is, at present, little defined vocab. A good first start would be to steal the lexicon of Toki Pona for the core, and then only add words as needed.

Each Málycanis word should be a more or less direct conversion of an English word, favoring synonyms that avoid homonyms as much as possible, or a compound of two Málycanis words.

Here are some examples, to be amended as an official lexicon is compiled.

  • fight: fait
  • art: aat
  • walk: wac
  • run: fáswac
  • Jack: Dsyc

Grammar

Again, not so well defined as phonology. Subject – Verb – Object, obviously, but to be worked out in detail as needed for stories or what have you.

Verbs do conjugate for past and future tense, but it’s just a prefix or postfix.

  • run: fáswac
  • ran: fáswacyd
  • will run: ylfáswac

The plural of every noun is a ‘ys’ postfix.

  • Artist: aátman
  • Artists: aátmanys

Ay ylfait da aátmanys.

Like it or not, I have a Style..

So, I just made this post because I wanted to use WordPress’s gallery feature to stick these images side by side.

But I think it’s worth saying I feel like I am about to dive in and finish Hat Trick. No promises today. Gonna try and tinker with the plot, get the ending properly sorted. And I need to talk theology of vocation with my pastor tomorrow. But I feel like it’s about time.

Anyway, my preferred style would be somewhere between Bill Watterson and Johannes Helgeson (warning: Not Safe for Work)

What I do is clearly not that. It’s more like a cross between Mario Strikers and Robert Crumb. Try as I might, I can’t brink myself to ink a picture and not break out the hatching! Maybe after I’m done with my next book, I should take a month or two and just do studies…

Apathy

I grow weary of making the 3D models the moment the sculpting phase is done. When I decided to ditch my current set of rotoscopes for a new set, this was at least part of the motivation, although the rationalizations I came up with were legitimate reasons.

I need to decide whether this is an obstacle to be overcome, or a sign I should sculpt for fun, but continue to illustrate books with drawings.

No matter what you do, there will be parts you don’t like, that bore or discomfit you. Overcoming this resistance is key to accomplishing anything. But! Sometimes you are unwilling to do something because you shouldn’t do it.

Telling these two situations apart is hard.

Possibly, I should sculpt characters, render turn-arounds, and use those to create model sheets.

Well, I’m gonna go feed my face, ponder the question, and maybe look at other stuff I should be examining, such as education related stuff.

Awesome Moments Models

Last time I spent any time on the Awesome Moments project, a few months ago, I came up with some drawings and a concept for proportions based on the drawings.

The idea is to make what I call “lego people”. Not that they have any physical resemblance to legos, but that I have hands and torsos and legs and heads and hairpieces that I can mix and match to create several different cartoony characters.

And the art style is an art style I can be happy with for most of my projects because, using them as a basis for paintings, I can produce higher quality books faster than if I were drawing them.

Mind you, I’m not 100% sure I don’t want to draw them yet. Only 90%. I’m sculpting and sketching away secure in the knowledge that I don’t need to make that decision until the book is ready to harvest from my deck box.

Thing is, this is not the first time I had the idea to do lego people for a project.

Continue reading “Awesome Moments Models”