Looks like my April Fools joke went over pretty well. I was quite surprised to see the response, honestly! Was it the most original prank in the books? Absolutely not, but considering that I usually ignore April Fools Day and that people STILL believed it, I think it's alright. Sometimes the oldest jokes are the best and it's not like this was a contest trying to outdo everyone around me. Just having some fun for a change, which is something I need to do more often.
Also, it shows how many people actually followed the link. Anyone who read the journal and followed the link to the trolololo song would've known it was a joke. But it seems a LOT of people didn't bother doing that, hehe.
Speaking of April Fools though, did you know that it was 4 years ago today that I began the Alex Ze Pirate web series? April 1st, 2008 was the day I began posting short one page gags involving my pirate characters on SheezyArt. It's kinda hard to believe it's only been 4 years as so much has happened since then. But then again it's hard for me to believe it's only been a year since I started SYAC too...
In other news, I'm almost done working on the SYAC poster and a short SYAC mini story that will be sold at the MCM London Expo in a few months. I've been struggling to get this poster finished for a long time now, mostly because the file size is so big it slows down my computer and makes it difficult for me to experiment with the lighting and stuff.
Speaking of the MCM London Expo, a few weeks ago I applied for my passport. The turnaround time expected was 4 to 6 weeks, which would've put it right before the convention and I was getting nervous something might go wrong and I wouldn't get it in time. But lo-and-behold, I got my passport in the mail this week! So now it's official! I will DEFINITELY be going to London this year! Woo! I'm really excited, especially since I'll have a few days after the convention to sight see. I'd love to go to Ireland since our family actually has a castle there, but I don't think we'll have time or money to fly around that much. I know I've gotta stop by 221b Baker St though...
I might do a Light VS Dark battle in Kid Icarus tonight. I dunno yet. It all depends on how much work I can finish today. I'll keep you all posted!
Lately there've been a number of TV shows and other nerdy things I've been meaning to get into but just haven't had the time. Today I'm just gonna give my first impressions of a couple of them. Keep in mind that aside from relative familiarity, I know pretty much nothing about all these series, so if I sound harsh I hope you can forgive me!
Game of Thrones I've been hearing so much about this series and how amazing it is. I know that the actor Peter Dinklage has received a number of awards for his performance. I also know that HBO tends to do really good series from time to time. So I had expectations that this was also going to be good.
First 5 minutes. Yeah it was good. Everything after that? Eehh...
Granted now, I've only seen the first episode, but honestly the first episode should really HOOK you into the series. Start off with a bang to get you psyched then spend the rest of the series building up the characters and making us care about them, ending with a great climax making you want to watch more. Game of Thrones... didn't really do that for me.
I dunno, maybe I was expecting too much? Maybe the show gets better, and maybe it makes more sense or something, but the first episode really didn't wow me enough to make me want to watch more of it. In fact, it kinda bored me towards the middle and I was getting rather annoyed at the gratuitous sexploitation. Seriously, how many times did they have to throw sex into that first episode? And did you notice that they always did it a certain way? Is that like the "safe" way to show sex in a TV show or something? Variety is the spice of life guys and if you oversaturate your audience it diminishes the impact. Case in point, the very last scene ends with a kid stumbling upon a couple having sex and at that point I was so desensitized to the act that it didn't even register to me WHY this was so "shocking" until after the episode ended.
So first impressions, it was ok, but not great. Certainly doesn't seem worthy of the level of praise it's been getting, but then again I've only seen the first episode and, like I said, it might get better. I just don't know if I want to waste more of my time watching it since it didn't catch me.
Dr. Who -2005 Series This is another series I've been meaning to get into, mostly because the recent series is supposed to be amazing and requires not needing oodles of continuity knowledge. Once again, maybe it's because I just don't know where to start or what's going on, but the start of the 2005 series wasn't really that "great" to me.
The show is corny (in a dry british way) and seems to have a average TV budget with effects that are interesting but not necessarily groundbreaking or realistic. I was counting on the show being designed in such a way that I could just jump into the weirdness that is Dr. Who, but alas it was not to be.
The first episode is weird and just throws things at you in a way that confused me. And unfortunately again I was not drawn in enough to want to learn more. Maybe it was the Dr, who seemed very unappealing to me, or maybe it was the strange editing, or the weird story involving plastic mannequins trying to conquer earth. I dunno, it just didn't grab me, though to be honest it's still more appealing to me than Game of Thrones was.
I'm thinking I'm watching the wrong series too, because I keep seeing the Dr. with a bowtie and ridiculous haircut, and instead I got this very "Aussie" sounding short buzz cut styled Dr, and that threw me for a loop.
This is a series I probably wouldn't mind watching more of... I just gotta muster myself the mental energy to try and understand what it's all about.
The Muppets I rented this from the redbox and promptly kicked myself for missing it in the theater. At first I wasn't sure what to expect, but in true Muppet fashion not only is it one of the funniest family films I've seen in a long time, but it's a clever re-introduction of the characters for a new audience.
I don't really like movies that are overly campy and stupid, like a lot of family films today are (ahem toothfairy anyone?), but with the Muppets the camp factor works in it's favor. Making fun of the movie, movie tropes, and the sillyness of puppets co-existing with humans, yet still being able to pull heartstrings and make you genuinely laugh.
It really helps that the structure of the movie is very well balanced, with just the right amount of songs and dramatic tension and humor. It never gets too serious and it really helps that the songs are catchy and fun in a way that I haven't seen family musicals be lately. My favorite standout songs were "Am I a Man or a Muppet" and "Pictures in my Head."
If I have any criticism of the movie, it's that it seems to be geared towards an older audience. I say that because while it is a kid's movie and it's bright, colorful, funny, and entertaining, it also makes a LOT of nods to previous Muppet continuity and history and if you haven't grown up with all that knowledge it's possible many of the jokes will just fly over your head. I appreciated all the references and enjoyed seeing them, but do kids today recognize them all? In a weird way, The Muppets is very much nostalgic ridden, and that might put a damper on the film for some people.
Still though, it's one of the best movies I've seen recently and it's a great family film. I definitely recommend checking it out.
Epilogue So what should I do? Should I continue to try and watch Game of Thrones and Dr. Who, even though they both didn't really "grab" me the way other sci-fi and fantasy shows have? Do you think it gets better or am I just being too harsh? What are your thoughts about my review?
While MCBA was lots of fun like it always it, this year it seemed a bit quieter for some reason. Business was quite good on Saturday, but on Sunday it died off quite a bit.
I got to meet a lot of fans from DA, and one group in particular (dressed as homestuck trolls no less) even gave me a tiny fluttershy figurine! That was really cute, thank you!
I had a lot of sketch cards on Saturday, ending with me running out of paper. When I came back on Sunday I brought extra just in case, but found I didn't need it. Sunday was pretty dead and while I got a few orders early in the day, I didn't sell more than that.
Pretty cool that this year they had the ECTO1 from Ghostbusters there. In the past they've always had the Batman mobiles or the Delorean from Back to the Future, so being able to see the ECTO1 was a nice change of pace.
I talked with a guy for almost 2 hours on animation history and Disney, which was a lot of fun. I also go to give some advice on how to get rid of those "artifacts" that crop up on scanned lineart to an aspiring comic artist. Overall, despite the slow business, I still had a great time. I love going to conventions and talking with my fans.
Hope to see you in London at the MCM Expo! Table AB8 May 25th-27th
Also, be sure to look for my SYAC and Alex Ze Pirate apps this week. Hopefully by the 27th they will be available in the iTunes online store. The Android version will be coming soon.
That last journal was a doozie wasn't it? Let's do something fun instead and get our minds out of the muddy waters of art definitions for a minute.
I've been asked to do a mini drawing competition. Kinda like what just did. So here's a really basic run down of the rules in no way copied and pasted from her journal with minor alterations: j/k
The Drawing Competition: 1. Draw any of TomPreston's characters (SYAC, Alex Ze Pirate, or any smaller groups) in London. 2. Upload the image to your dA gallery. 3. Comment on this journal (or the main Fresh Epics comment box) with a link to your image. - I'll then +Fav/add to collection it. - I'll look though the collection and pick the winners. Winners will get Alex Ze Pirate book 2 and SYAC Book 1, plus posters! YAY!
It should go without saying but parodies, trolling, hate art, or explicit sexual stuff = instant disqualifying. I mean, that should be a given but it needs to be said I suppose.
Deadline: A week from today: May 16th.
This is gonna be a fast and informal one. No real "criteria" for judging, just ones I like. Possibly more than one winner too. I dunno, we'll see.
OK! GO GO GO! ONE WEEK! HURRY! BLAAAHHH!!
EDIT: New Entries Wow! That was fast guys! I know I only gave a week deadline but still you guys are FAST! :thumb301131814: :thumb301118157:
Honestly I don't have much to say other than it's just really awesome. You don't need to have seen Captain America, Iron Man 1 and 2, The Hulk, or Thor to understand what's going on, but it most certainly does help.
The Avengers is probably one of the most epic movies I have seen since the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Harry Potter. It's up there. It's not perfect, and some moments seem to drag on a bit (mostly around the middle), but every key moment is accentuated properly, every line delivered in such a way that you don't miss out on what's going on, every action scene composed in a way you aren't confused, and overall the whole thing is just a joy to watch.
What's really fun about this movie is that they don't hold back. Ever. Everything you want to see in a movie about the Avengers is pretty much up on this screen. You wanna see Thor and Iron Man duke it out? You got it! You wanna see an army of aliens attacking a city? Got it. You wanna see Tony Stark deliver hilarious banter against foes and friends? Got it. You wanna see the Hulk SMASH? Hulk SMASH!!!!
I don't know if I would recommend it in 3-D. There are most definitely a lot of special effects that are quite well done, but nothing in this movie screams out to be seen in 3-D. Honestly I think that's the best use of 3-D, when it's not in your face and is used more subtly, but it's hard to justify the increase in price. I also wouldn't recommend it on IMAX either, as I think that's just overkill.
If I have any major criticisms about the movie it's the fact that so many big name stars are together in the same film. I know that's kinda the draw of this movie, being able to see them all together, but when the focus of the film isn't on any one specific actor, each big star's role kinda gets diminished a bit. For example, I LOVE seeing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and he still steals the show whenever he's on the screen. But his scenes are cut down very short because you gotta make room for the Hulk and Captain America and Thor and the plot for the villains, etc. With so many good actors on the screen no specific one outshines the other and that can be a little bland at times. Oddly enough this movie at times seemed more like it was about Black Widow and Hawkeye than it was about the Avengers...
Still, that is a very very VERY minor complaint. The rest of the film is just flat out balls to the wall insane in a summer blockbuster awesome way. Great fight scenes, great special effects, great superhero characters realized, great threat to fight, great story beats, and just overall... EPIC beyond compare.
The guy who plays The Hulk is decent. I would have preferred to see Edward Norton again, just because they look so different and I liked Norton's take on the character. But you get used to him pretty quickly and his face and body build is actually very similar to The Hulk in some ways so it actually is a nice fit. Don't let that get you down. Also, there is one key death of a character that I was both shocked and saddened by. Not enough to cry over, but I was surprised all the same that it happened given the lineage of the franchise already.
If there's any movie you see this summer in the theater, make sure you don't miss this one. This is, by far, a movie that is worth the experience of seeing it with others. Oh, and stay through the credits. There's a scene right in the middle of the credits which sets up the next big story build up, and at the very end of the credits is a hilarious scene with the main cast. Stick through the credits, you won't be disappointed.
Equestria Girls So a rumor that was leaked, and then possibly confirmed, is that not only is MLP:FiM getting a movie (a direct to video movie I'd wager), but a spin off series as well. This spin off series will be called Equestria Girls and be about the Mane 6 crew being transported to Earth and transformed into humanized versions of themselves.
And bronies are throwing a tantrum, yet again.
I've kinda given up trying to understand brony mentalities these days. You adore the crap out of humanized MLP fanart, but you don't support the idea of it being somehow "official"? I mean, I get that you enjoy the show because you're a niche and unexpected demographic Hasbro should be mining for oodles of cash, but at the same time you all do recognize that the show IS made for little girls and kids in mind, right? It's a giant toy line advertisement through and through, so why are people freaking out over the idea that they introduce characters or scenarios to sell toys? Did none of these people grow up with TMNT? Because that show in the 80's was nothing BUT toy commercials disguised as a TV show, and we were still able to enjoy it just fine.
I dunno, I just don't get people sometimes. I got no complaints over the show, and at worse it's just going to inspire a ton more fanart from people. And speaking of fanart...
Adventure Time Illustration I'm not going to be accepting donations for the Adventure Time illustration anymore. Partially because people won't stop complaining about it, but also partially because someone who bought the full size illustration has leaked it out into the internet, and now people are trying to spam it all over the place to prevent me from being able to earn anything off "selling" the full sized version.
I knew that was going to happen eventually (it was only a matter of time), so I'm not all that surprised or upset by it. I am still very grateful to the people who did donate and support my work. This test has shown that there is a bit of a market for me to sell illustrations cheaply like that here or there, and next time I'll be sure to do it with artwork that isn't fan art.
I would still like to do a discussion about copyright laws and stuff, but that's another journal for another time. For now, thanks to my fans, you guys rock.
Minecraft Map I'm making a new minecraft map. It's gonna feature explosions.
I'm still groggy from my trip, so here's a list of oddities I noticed being a foreigner experiencing another country for the first time.
If you want power, you need to turn the outlets on, and to do that you gotta push a switch down. TV has far fewer commercial breaks. English police are super nice (watched the British version of "COPS" and was amazed at how polite everyone was, even the criminals). The second floor is called the first. French Fries are called Chips. Chips are called Crisps. American-centric music doesn't stay here (Heard "Sweet Home Alabama" quite a number of times over there). You are not expected to tip people (this was very hard for me to accept and I always felt guilty not tipping our waiters). You are not expected to clean up your messes in food courts or.. anywhere actually (Janitors come by and clean up for you. Has something to do with security and getting rid of bomb threats). Elevators are called Lifts. Air conditioning seems scarce. Always carry a big bottle of water with you when you travel. People in America are fatter (didn't notice this till I returned and started looking around). European countries like to fight for dominance and supremacy by competing in music competitions (Got to watch the Eurovision competition). Puppets are quite popular in commercials. News is actually about the news. News doesn't have all that excess ticker crap, logos, statistics, and junk cramping up the screen. Stick shifts are EVERYWHERE. Wi-fi is generally not free in large open areas like Train Stations and Convention Halls. Digestives and Jaffa Cakes are friggin' AWESOME.
And finally... Getting back into America is harder than traveling from it. I was really worried about going through customs and having to pay some sort of tax on my stock that I brought with me. Turns out the UK customs was very lenient. I basically showed them my breakdown of my stock and prices of it all and they just smiled and waved me through. Coming back to America, however, was different.
I had less stock, but they still confiscated my passport (I got it back after all was said and done) and they pulled me aside to rummage through my luggage. They were concerned with where my books were printed from and continued to flip through them (specifically Formera) quite a bit before deciding it was OK. They were also especially cautious and alarmed that I brought Jaffa cakes and Digestives with me, because they might contain peanuts or something. The whole time I felt like I was being treated like a criminal rather than a US citizen. It's so weird... traveling abroad over there is like traveling from state to state here, only less intrusive. Didn't even have to take off my shoes when going through security!
Greetings, Assassin lovers! This feature is a celebration of the artwork created by deviants for the Ubisoft Carte Blanche Artbook project. Though these artworks weren't selected, I hope you'll agree these incredible pieces deserve recognition by clicking the little green fav button to the left. I wish this was a comprehensive list, but I'm sure I've missed a few and a few have yet to be posted on DA, so feel free to link them in the comments below.
Many thanks to all the artists for sharing your beautiful vision, and thanks to Ubisoft for creating such an amazing franchise!