Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Final Synopsis

Cardinal Richelieu, aiming to sieze more power from the king of France. steals some ancient Chinese scrolls of power. Each scroll has the power to summon an almight ninja, who possesses legendary power only spoken of in folklore. These ninjas had been sealed away in the scroll many years ago, never to be summoned since.

Noew, the king is force into refuge with his trusted band of loyal musketeers. The musketeers must defeat the Cardinals ninja guardians and restore the rightful king to the throne, destroying the ninja scrolls in the process.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Character Exercise:- Ninja Silhouettes

So today we focused on designing distinct looking characters using ONLY silhouettes. The character should be easily identifiable in terms of faction (whether he is good or evil), type and by what he/she may be holding. I was given a ninja to work with (yay!).

I wasn't quite getting the hang of i, until I incorporated the weight and bagginess of the clothing

As I said, I wasnt getting the whole idea when drawing as I was only drawing a man in ninja-like positions, that was until Justin went on to talk about clothing and how to draw different types of clothing depending on is type and weight.

Demin and leather are more likely to weight more ten silk, so fold in the material are likely to be fewer but larger. Silk is lights so will be very wavy when worn or hung from something.

I had to then experiment with these theories using a cowboy

Focussed more on the trousers a cowboy wears, just to knuckle down on the material exercise. Oh and another ninja silhouette.

Different types of folds used for different materials, as explained

I enjoyed today as I have always HATED drawing material such as denim. It always phased me as to how to draw them (like what direction the materials should flow in, the ruffles on the tighter parts of the body like around the belly and thigh, where it should be heavier and lighter and etc). Today i've learnt about all of those elements and will carry it through to my future designs.

Musketeer via Character Exercise

I decided to try derive an actual character using the various techniques i've learnt in Justins classes (as you do), as I wouldnt normally go through ALL of these steps when drawing a character.

I started off with the basic structure lines of the body, followed by the circling of the joints, torso and curves, then fnally drew out a character.

I must admit im not used to this method and found that I was getting a bit restricted in some place, as you can probably tell. I'll still keep trying it.

Character Exercise: Superman

This was done a week or so ago in Tuesdays lesson. The objective was to draw the given character in different emotional states to what i is originally drawn with, but without changing who the character was (creating a new character). This meant that body and facial mass had to be kept the same with each face. I had superman

Dont think I did particularly well with this excercise but I get the jist of it now. The last attempt is probably the best imo.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Best Worst Movie/Troll 2 Review

[1]The Best Worst Movie (1989)

Troll 2, considered the "Best Worst Movie" in history, was directed by self proclaimed Italian director Claudio Fragasso and written by his wife Rossella Drudi . Claudio Fragasso was a writer of many films through the 70s and 80s. Troll 2 however stood out for its uniquely epic failure...

The Best Worst Movie was a tribute documentary to Troll 2, made nearly 20 years after in 2009. It looked back at the making of the film Troll 2 and its journey from being crowned the "worst film of all time" to a cherished cult classic. The documentary follows the Troll 2 film star Michael Stephenson  (the child star of Troll 2) as he sets out on his new adventure of discovering this new found Troll 2 cult. He travels the country in search of fellow cast members such as George Hardy, Margo Prey and  Jason Steadman. He speaks to fans and cast members of Troll 2 to find out how a low-budget horror film, directed by an egotistical and thickly accented Italian starring a cast full of amateur actors, found itself as being a cult classic.

[2]Joshua Waits in Troll 2, (1990)

"TO SAY A FILM IS “the worst movie ever made” is not only a bold statement, it’s a subjective one." (FilmFather, 2010).

Of course, naturally it is technically impossible to brand a single movie as being "the worst ever made", as its a very delicate, opinionated and argumentative subject. "FilmFather" says  [2]"there are definitely films with worse acting, cinematography, set design, etc. to rank them lower in the bowels of cinema sin."(FilmFather, 2010) which accentuates this point. One thing which could prove Troll 2 perhaps wasn't the worst film ever is the fan base that bought into the film through word of mouth and created this cult of spawning special screenings, Troll 2-themed parties, even body art, all dedicated to the "awfulness" of this film.

Evidently, each audience provide their own different views. Reviews of films from that of critics and film snobs will be much more serious and formally assessed, looking more into specific details about the film in terms of storyline, plot etc. On the flip side, a review derived from a fan, or just a general person who enjoys films, will approach their review in a more general matter, looking also at things that maybe a critic would feel is irrelevant such as the what the film has gone on to inspire. This is something Troll 2 has become most renowned for, and what has made it so popular in the first place despite what the critics think.

[3] Troll 2 fans, (2010)

Illustration List:

[1] Michael Stephenson (2009), The Best Worst Movie [electronic print] Available at:

[2] Michael Stephenson (2009), Joshua Waits in Troll 2 [electronic print] Available at:

[3] Michael Stephenson (2009), Troll 2 fans (2010) [electronic print] Available at:


[1] FilmFather (December 18, 2010), Best Worst Movie (2009) In: [online] Available at:

[2] FilmFather (December 18, 2010), Best Worst Movie (2009) In: [online] Available at:

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Silhouette & Pose Experiments

A quick test to see how this would look (Musketeers bird sidekick)

Ninja Silhouette: Didnt quite come out how I wanted, but proved very helpful in establishing the pose idea I have
Musketeer: Stand, Pose & Sparring Poses

After some risen misunderstanding of my artistic methology, in conjunction with these silhouettes above, I realise it is probably best  for me to also display the reference images used to aid me in reaching these final poses(?) Here we go.

Black Silhouette Reference

Red Silhouette Reference

Blue Silhouette Reference

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Musketeer Development

I looked at Megaman and the guy from Pocohontas and tried to combine the 2 to make a cartoon styled character. 

A quick silhouette sketch, stylish heroic pose

Thursday, 13 October 2011

More Body Positions

A more stylised approach to a ninja (he is not human)

Ninja holding a Bo Staff

Sidekick Ideas

Character Design Class 3: Objects

Today was all about drawing objects; both making character out of objects and making objects to match existing characters. I was given an Attic, which I had to think of things which usually are kept in an attic and list them. I then had to pick some of these objects and bring them to life, incorporating its own physical features to create new features of the characters face for example.

The Gullable Boot & Evil Drill

An angry...and slightly confused Violin & Evil Sewing Machine

Good and Bad Lamps

The next task was to make an object for the given character. The object didnt nessesarily have to be used by the character, it was just important that it blend visually with cartoons visual style and didnt look so other-world like. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Lost In La Mancha: Film Review

[1] Lost In La Mancha (2002)

[1]"There's no shortage of disaster stories in the history of film production, but none have been recorded with such frankness, immediacy and aching sense of disappointment as in Lost In La Mancha... entertaining and instructive... a tantalizing memorial." (Derek Elley, VARIETY)

Lost In La Mancha is a "film" directed by Keith Fulton and written by Terry Gilliam. In the poster it is described as "Fabulous... One of the best movies ever made about a movie". This is what the film is all about, a film that came so close, yet so far from completion.

This film is all about a film, called "Lost In La Mancha", that was never made due to mass delays, injuries and other unfortunate mis-haps. In conclusion, the film ended up being released as a "making of" film, following Fulton and the cast & crew around the world as they film LILM, scene by scene.

Writer Terry Gilliam (right) on set with french actor Jean Rochefort
Terry Gilliam is a well known writer of films and has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Oscar. One thing about Gilliam which potentially lets him down however is his inability to stick to a set budget, he constantly pushes the boundaries of every project he makes well beyond the limit budget wise. Time Bandits (1981), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009) are just a few titles by Gilliam which, of course, went over budget.

An in-depth astrological reports website states; [2]"Terry Gilliam is extremely strong-willed and he pursues his goals and desires with passionate dedication and determination." (Topsynergy). Of course, anybody who knows anything about Gilliam wouldn't doubt his passion and dedication, but this really shines through during the making of LILM. The effort of trying to piece together a film that you have always wanted to make, running into many problems and hold ups along the way, only to find you simply cannot make it due to injured actors, low funds and other issues must be indescribably frustrating. To repeatedly want to go back and do it all again or to pick up where you left off one day however, is Gilliams true passion an determination to pursue his ultimate goal.

I believe Gilliam was swallowed by his fantastical film ideas and ambitions, [3]"Gilliam admits the idea had obsessed him for years" (Derek Elley, VARIETY). He Ultimately let the film get the better of him, sabotaging his chances all together. All in all, the little completed clips of the film looked promising enough to make a relatively interesting film, but sadly this will not compensate for the time and money that went into this whole production.


[1] Elley, David (Feb. 28, 2002), Lost in La Mancha (Docu--U.K.). In: VARIETY [online] Available at:

[2] Topsynergy, Terry Gilliam drive and ambition. In: Topsynergy [online] Available at:
[3] Elley, David (Feb. 28, 2002), Lost in La Mancha (Docu--U.K.). In: VARIETY [online] Available at:

Illustration List:

[1] Terry Gilliam (2002), Lost In La Mancha [electronic print] Available at:

[2] Terry Gilliam (2002), Writer Terry Gilliam (right) on set with french actor Jean Rochefort [electronic print] Available at:

Monday, 10 October 2011

@Justin:- Synopsis Ideas

#1  Musketeer = TBC    Ninja = TBC

The Musketeer and the Ninja battle it out after conflicts arise from the trading of goods, ranging from silk and tea from the east, to different types of metal and crystal from Europe and the west. There have been a number of complications from both sides in recieving the goods and each suspect the other is trying to con them. What really happened is that the goods have infact been sent out as usual, but have been lost/stolen in transit through India and the midle east, neither faction know of this however...

With this scenario is it hard to decide who is good and evil, but I plan on going a bit mythical with the inja and more majestic with the musketeer.

Suggesting the ninja possesses mystical powers they have said to have had in Chinese and Japanese folklore, and incorporating the iconic "black-clad" look of a ninja/shinobi, I hope to make him come across as the more unpredicable character whos morals and "end-game" goals are shrouded in mystery, more or less unknown to anyone but himself. This will make him look more like the baddie.

The Musketeer will approached more generically, with changes based mostly on his origin.

There will be a mash up of the times with this synopsis (which is almost unavoidable anyway when dealing with musketeers and ninjas) but the ninjas will start their attack on the French Indochina in Vietnam. This, in turn, is what causes the Frence Musketeers of France to react.

Although this plot comes across as quite serious, suited more for a hyper realistic type of project, I plan to convey it in a more light hearted way. Yes there will be battle, but the characters will still have a comical cartoony style to them.

#2  Musketeer = Evil   Ninja = Good

The Musketeers are ordered by their King to fight their way into china to steal/aquire an ancient artifact, known to hold the secrets to all the ninjas TRUE powers and inner strengths. The ninjas ofc ourse do not want to share this secret with anybody, in fear it will fall into the wrong hands. Thus the fight begins.

Two factions fight it out

#3   Musketeer = Evil     Ninja = Good

Japanese peasants are held captive by the musketeers from the last invasion on Japan. They are used like slaves by the King and his chosen musketeers to cook and clean up after them. Little do they know what these peasants are secretly plotting to escape using martial arts and tactics learnt back home. Once the peasants are all fully trained up to be great ninja's, they undergo their plans to fight their way to freedom.

#4   Musketeer = Evil      Ninja = Good

The King orders a head Musketeer to kill a kung-fu master (out of paranoia) in fear he was training monks and ninja's to plot against him.

20 years later, the kung-fu masters son now seeks revenge and must fight through an army of musketeers to reach the King. These however are the finest musketeers around and are lead by the main and best musketeer alive! Will our young ninja achieve his goal, or will he end up like his father?

#4 (alt)   Musketeer = Good   Ninja = Evil

(This idea is basically just a switch of roles from #4)

The Great Sensei of a martial arts school in China issues a skilled ninja to assasinate the King of the west, after female ninja's had reported back that the King was soon going to invade China.

8 years later, the noblest and bravest of musketeers plan their revenge tactics against the Sensei. The ninja's of China are not to be messed with however, and will likely get you before you even think of getting them. Who will succeed?

-I wll add more synopsis ideas to this post later-

History of Ninjas

"Due to the fact that ninja rarely left anything in writing or boasted of their achievements, the history of the ninja is shrouded in secrecy, so the great majority of stories circulating about them are difficult to prove. Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who employed surprise as a major weapon in his victories, is said in a popular folktale to have been educated by a Tengu to learn the tactic and became a ninja. In truth, he was taught by Buddhist monks who educated him with Chinese books like The Art of War." (2002-2007 Warriors-Wizards)

[1] One of the earliest roots of ninja in ninja history

Japanese folklore states that the ninja descended from a demon that was half man and half crow. However, it seems more likely that the ninja slowly evolved as an opposing force to their upper-class contemporaries, the samurai, in early feudal Japan.

Most sources indicate that the skills that became ninjutsu, the ninja's art of stealth, began to develop between 600-900 A.D. Prince Shotoku, (574-622), is said to have employed Otomono Sahito as a shinobi spy.

Ninja Weapons

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Mixture Of The Two: Zorro

Zorro was a character created in 1919 by Johnston McCulley. He is a nobleman who resides in California. A bit like Robin Hood, he helps the less fortunate and avoids the authorities.

Zorro is an agile athlete and acrobat, using his bullwhip as a gymnastic accoutrement to swing through gaps between city roofs, and is very capable of landing from great heights and taking a fall. Although he is a master swordsman and marksman he has more than once demonstrated his prowess in unarmed combat against multiple opponents.

His calculating and precise dexterity as a tactician has enabled him to use his two main weapons, his sword and bullwhip, as an extension of his deft hand. He never uses brute strength, more his fox-like sly mind and well-practiced technique to outmatch an opponent.

In some versions, Zorro keeps a medium-sized dagger tucked in his left boot for emergencies. He has used his cape as a blind, a trip-mat and a disarming tool. Zorro's boots are also sometimes weighted, as is his hat which he has thrown, Frisbee-like, as an efficiently substantial warning to enemies. But more often than not, he uses psychological mockery to make his opponents too angry to be coordinated in combat.

Zorro is a skilled horseman. The name of his jet-black horse has varied through the years. In The Curse of Capistrano, it was unnamed. Later versions named the horse Tornado/Toronado or Tempest. In other versions, Zorro rides a white horse named Phantom.

I feel Zorro bears resemblance with both my characters. He obtains some of the most obvious traits of a ninja AND a musketeer (such as skills, characteristics and looks), as well as his own more unique attributes like his usage of the bullwhip. With all this packed into one character, I believe he is a good example for me to follow in the character creation process

Sidekick Influence Maps


For the Musketeer I was thinking along the lins of having a prestigious bird. The bird has to have class and some sort of style to it. I was thinking along the lines of an eagle, but also added the ferret in there because it already has that friendly loyal, yet crafty look to it which could suit a Musketeer.


I have a number of ideas for the ninja. Im thinking a small monkey like Abu from Alladdin would go well with a ninja. Ive also delved into the more mythical side of a ninja and looked at little dragons and phoenix's too. The praying mantis seems like a good choice, even more so if the ninja is evil due to its appearance. 

The most important sidekick here, however, would be the cat. I chose the cat because they were actually of use to ninjas. The Ninja devised an ingenious method of telling time by using a cat's eyes. Since a cat has such sensitive eyes, they adjust frequently as the sun passes through the sky. This picture illustrates how the Ninja used this knowledge to approximate time.

Ninjas were also said to carry crickets with them in a little box, they would use the noise the crickets made to cover up any small sounds made by the ninja when moving in on their target. I didnt know this before making this map, but im going to put the cricket up for consideration now also.

Deadliest Warrior Season 2 Episode 11 -- Ming Warrior vs. Musketeer

Description : With the series "Deadliest Warrior" Spike TV will settle once and for all the age-old bar bet of who is history's ultimate fighting machine. Each week, this original, action-packed yet historical narrative series will pit two of the most feared warriors civilization has ever known against one another. Who would come out the victor in a battle of Genghis Kahn's Mongol Barbarians versus Viking warriors or Roman gladiators against Japanese samurai? Utilizing the latest in CGI technology, Spike TV will enlist experts on these warriors to provide insight into what made these feared combatants tick and analyze everything from their weaponry to their unique skills of destruction. Each episode will culminate when the two legends of the battlefield go head-to-head in a final fight that will produce the deadliest warrior.              
The episode about the Ming Warriors vs the Musketeers will of course prove helpful to me. Although I do not have Ming Warriors as a character, they certainly prove very similar to ninja's (if not a different type of ninja) as they possess skills in martial arts, utilisation of many different weapons, and athletic ability just like a ninja does.

The Three Musketeers, in 3D

Just posting this for personal reference, I think it will try and watch this for some more ideas. Maybe I could have a ninja's vs musketeers portrayed in a cowboys vs indians knd of way..?

Musketeer Weaponry

Musketeers have an arsenal of weaponry, all with their own purpose. Weather its close range combat or long distance battle, the Musketeer is generally prepared for any challenge. Here are the weapons a Musketeer would normally have.

17 Wheel lock pistols

[1] 17 Wheel Lock Pistols,
The Wheellock Pistol is a smoothbore, single shot handgun of the 16th Century. It was the Mid-Range weapon of the Musketeer

The wheellock pistol is so-named because it relies on the wheellock mechanism, which is similar in concept to a modern day cigarette lighter, although more complex. The pistol had a smoothbore barrel and a shorter wooden handle than other pistols of the time.


The wheellock was an ignition system designed after the matchlock in the late 16th century. Although the cost of manufacturing and complexity of the wheellock slowed its widespread adoptation, it was a more reliable mechanism than the matchlock and was suitable for cavalry. The mechanism was supplanted by simpler designs such as the English lock (doglock) that were later refined into the flintlock mechanism. The wheelock mechanism is actually faster firing than it's flintlock predicessors, but its complexity made it unreliable under the rigors of campain. Wheelock mechanisms were made for sport rifles through the 18th and early 19th centuries because of thier shorter ignition time.

Rapier & Main Gauche

[2] Musketeer holding Rapier & Main Gauche

The Rapier and Main Gauche was a sword-and-dagger combination. It was the Close-Range weapon of the Muketeer.

The rapier is a long, thin-bladed sword with a sharp edge to prevent the weapon from being grabbed. The swept hilt protected the user's hand. The Main Gauche (French for "left hand") was a dagger similar to, but shorter than the rapier.


The rapier was a thrusting weapon carried in the right hand, while the main gauche was carried in the left and was primarily used for parrying the opponent's sword or for surpise strikes. They were the most popular sword and dagger of the Renaissance.
Because it allowed for fast reactions and had a long reach, the rapier was well-suited to civilian combat during the 16th and 17th Centuries. However, the sword never saw widespread use on the battlefield and was mainly restricted to use in duels.

Flintlock Musket

[3] Flintlock Musket

The Flintlock Musket was a muzzle-loaded, smoothbore gun fired from the shoulder. It was the Long-Range weapon of the Musketeer.

The musket was typically a long-barreled gun, operated by means of a flintlock mechanism. The lock contained a hammer with a piece of flint, which stuck a steel plate, creating the spark which ignited the powder and fired the musket. The edge was given to the musket for its accuracy, heavy caliber, and option to mount a plug bayonet.


The flintlock musket was widely used in the 17th and 18th Centuries, with some seeing combat as late as the American Civil War. Because the weapon was not particularly accurate, the standard method of use involved large, tightly grouped formations firing in volleys, tactics which proved disastrous when more accurate, rapid-reloading rifles became common.


[4] Grenade

The grenade is a primitive explosive weapon used during the Renaissance Era. It was the Musketeer's Special weapon.

The grenade was an iron ball packed with black powder and metal scraps, with a fuse sticking out of the top.


Grenades were first used in the 15th Century, but did not see widespread use until the 17th Century. Specialized troops called Grenadiers were used to throw grenades at enemy troops, although later they were reabsorbed into the infantry. These early explosives had a tendency to prematurely detonate.


Illustration List:

[1] 17 Wheel Lock Pistols,

[2] Rapier & Main Gauche

[3] Flintlock Musket

[4] Grenade