Hey Todd, do you know the character whose name I stole yours from?
Yeah, probably. Although I more just used that name because someone else told me it was a good idea. I mean, after I had already named you “Telegraph,” which isn’t really a name, and was also my screen name on forums for a long time. I stole it from a ska band in Chicago, but yeah. I’m not very good at coming up with names.
No, this is more a blog to acknowledge my inspirations in cartoon drawing; how you came to look like you. Anyway, to start with, I think one of my earliest inspirations was Garfield. I have rather early memories of my family borrowing the Garfield movies from the public library, which was in the middle school that I ended up going to, and then later working in. I was just there today, in fact.
Right, right. Back to Garfield. I think the biggest way that cartoon inspired me was the characters’ eyes always being half closed. Going back to your earliest appearances, your half-closed eyes-matching your indifferent frown to create your resting face-can be traced back to Garfield. Also, your laziness probably comes from him, too.
Get over it. Moving on, back in the day, I watched a lot of Disney Afternoon, and also Tiny Toon Adventures. Which might’ve been on at the same time… but I somehow watched them both, anyway (maybe I channel-surfed). I think a lot of the general cuteness that I aim for in my drawings come from Disney Afternoon cartoons like Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Chip n Dale, Gummi Bears, Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, etc. Also, some of the more expressive stuff probably comes from those Steven Spielberg-produced WB cartoons. Some of Scarlet’s flip-outs were inspired by Babs Bunny-
So yeah, Scarlet’s some kind of assassin/secret agent from an amalgamation of Medieval and Renaissance eras. I’ve drawn her over and over again; she’s all over my dA.
But yeah, Tiny Toons. Disney Afternoon. A bit later, I began reading the comic book based a particular blue hedgehog and his friends. He was in a few videogames on the Genesis, and he had two cartoon shows at once (the one on ABC’s Saturday Morning program was infinitely better than the one running weekday mornings on… Fox? Probably.) Anyway, some of the facial expressions the artists would draw in the early years of this comic probably inspired me, but it was really the artists who were drawing a few years’ in to the comics run that I liked (and would like to emulate, but probably will never be skillful enough to do so). Artists like Spaz, Manny Galan, Art Mawhinney, and many more through the years that I shamefully can’t remember (wasn’t there an artist with the first name “Conor?”) who really drew in a style that I liked. Also, the semi-apocalyptic setting, where Robotropolis is a polluted wasteland, but there are still places like Knothole Forest, probably really informed the world of Heavenly Bodies (a book that will be out at some point in time). I read the comic for years and years… but it stopped appealing to me some time in 2012. Probably because it was becoming too much like the actual video games-which I never really cared about-and abandoning a lot of the things that made it it’s own unique thing. Some people like it better that way, and they are welcome to that opinion.
Shut up, Todd. So, a bit after I had been reading the Archie Sonic comic for a few years, a show on Mtv debuted, about a cynical, monotone, teenage girl, who frequently gave biting social commentary (can you guess what this one is?) I thought this character was really cool, so for a bit, I tried to write Todd in a way where he would offer biting social commentary on the characters around him. It didn’t really work, because I am probably not as smart as the writers of Daria.
Anyway, I think I need to step back a few years and bring up something big in my life at the time: Warcraft II. The Real Time Strategy Game that got me into fantasy creatures, such as orcs, dwarves, elves, trolls, ogres, and the like. I would spend days just playing this game the Summer of ’96, and then after that, I started making maps with the map editor, trying to create stories. Eventually, this game influenced me to read my favorite book ever: The Hobbit.
Whatever, shithead. What I always liked (besides the game itself) was the concept art drawn by Samwise Didier. That dude is awesome at drawing fantasy creatures, and I think he was at least in part an inspiration in the way I draw humans, dwarves, etc… but especially how I draw orcs. If I draw them. I always thought his wolves or tauren were cool looking, as well. His style is like a mix of realistic and cartoonish, which I really like. Think I saw his stuff when I played Diablo III, too; looks just as good in that game.
So, I’ve covered most my Western inspirations (even though Sonic was made by a Japanese company); now it’s time to talk about Anime. If you’ve seen the sweat drops and anger bulges on my characters, it’s pretty clear that I borrowed some things from the East, as well (and if you haven’t noticed those things, you’ve probably noticed the pencil blush marks on all my female characters). Akira Toriyama is probably my biggest influence, as far as how I draw humans goes. Maybe. I dunno. To some extent, I’ve probably also been inspired by Gainax, and Gurren Lagann in particular. Probably. Possibly. I dunno.
If there was one thing that for sure inspired me in story-writing, it was Final Fantasy… at least up until XIII. XIII inspired me to sell it back to Game Stop when I finished it, and that’s about it. But yeah; I once wrote like a 600-plus page book, which was heavily influenced by Final Fantasy (and also, to some extent, by Warcraft; I really wanted a mix of the Eastern and the Western, there). …It was highly derivative and amateurish, and I deleted the entire thing. Some characters from it-like Scarlet-survived the deleting, however.
No problem. I also think I should hit on Nintendo: everyone knows it, right? It’s an influence over gamers everywhere. Mario was more famous at one point than Mickey Mouse. For me, although Fox McCloud is my favorite Nintendo Character, and Zelda II is probably at least partially what got me into Medieval stuff (my knight helmets often resemble those of iron knuckles’), what I’ve really been drawn to over the years are the character designs in Mario games. In particular, I like Yoshi and the koopa troopas’ designs. Also, specifically in Super Mario RPG, there was a character named Croco that I really liked, both for his design and his speech patterns. There was also some kind of dragon enemy that I liked the design of. Those designs have informed my designs of reptilian creatures in the past.
Going back to speech patterns, I’ve also always enjoyed the dialogue in Mario games; the rpg games in particular, like Paper Mario. There’s a lot of charm in the character designs, but there’s an equal amount in the way the characters talk. It’s all very adorable, clever, and frequently funny, even. If I could bottle the essence of that dialogue and put it in my own writing, I’d be happy.
Another Nintendo series-one that needs more love-is the Mother series. If you want an example of a game with charm, heart, humor, and creepiness, you should play Earthbound. If you want to play another game with most of those things, but also some heart-wrenching scenes, you should play Mother 3. Something that happens early in the game gets to me every time… I was shocked when I first saw it. One of my favorite moments in a video game. It also has a story that feels on par in a lot of ways with a Studio Ghibli film, particularly towards the end. Now, if you want to play an awesome game in the same vein as the Mother games, but by an American designer-one that gives you the option to spare every enemy you come across-you should play Toby Fox’s Undertale. It has the charm, the humor, the heart, the creepiness, and the tear-jerking, and it was all done by one dude, practically.
They inspired me to gush all over them! Isn’t it obvious? But yeah; I just think that they’re really good, and that those who like good stories in games should give them a chance (well, at least with Mother 3 and Undertale). I’ll also say that the Undertale soundtrack gave me the determination to keep running and exercising last fall, when I was preparing for my pt test (it’s just that it apparently wasn’t enough, and I had to work out extra hard with a PT leader for the whole week before my PT test). I also think that Earthbound has given me pointers on what a modern fantasy about the US (or Eagleland) could be like.
There also seems to be a certain archetype of a female character from Japan that I really like: it’s a serious, bad ass woman, who also has a sweet, soft side, or a vulnerable side. Characters like Risa Hawkeye from Full Metal Alchemist, Blaze the Cat from Sonic the Hedgehog, Freya Crescent from FF9, etc. I’d like to count Scarlet among those characters at times, but she’s just too goofy.
Anyway, I’ve covered most visual media that inspired me (maybe leaving out some, but whatevs). Maybe I should talk a bit about music that’s inspired me. Artists like the Beatles, New Order, Smashing Pumpkins, They Might Be Giants, Five Iron Frenzy, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish… those are some of my favorite bands, and some of their music has probably seeped into my writing or drawing, because listening to music is one of my biggest inspirations. “Last One Out of Liberty City” by Less Than Jake is essentially the theme song to my 72nd and a 3rd comic (at least in my dreams…) Whenever I read about or listen to the Descendents, it makes me want to be in a band and/or write music. “Own Little World” by Celldweller and “Dominator” by Dwarves inspired and/or informed the creation of a couple characters from Heavenly Bodies.
Anyway, this is getting really long, it’s Friday afternoon, and I haven’t drawn anything yet.
Right you are, Todd. Right you are.