I feel as if needed to get this off my chest for a LONG time. This is a very important update regarding the current state for my series Clarissa & Friends. This will be one of those rare times where i’m serious in a journal entry so I recommend anyone who likes or even cares about C&F to read thoroughly just to get what i’m trying to get across. Get comfy because it’s gonna be a long one.
As of recent months and the reason for the lack of C&F related content on my DA/Twit/Tapas/etc. Is because I’ve grown tiresome and unsatisfied with the series as a whole. There really isn’t much to work with and the series’ structure is an overall mess from the way I see it. I just don’t see further potential in this cartoon and I feel completely scrapping or shelving it might be the best option i can give it. This update journal will be divided into three sections: The short retrospective, the scrapping of concepts/characters, and my reasons why Clarissa & Friends became a flawed semi-disaster from its longevity. And I’ll explain what’s to come of the series/other in the future.
Part I: A Little Retrospective
Clarissa & Friends has been running for 3 years now, ever since I opened my DA account. I’ve made so many little comics and lots of scenario drawings of the characters. It helped jump start my recognition online and even made some friends with this little cartoon. Now looking back at its early years (and my early days as an online user/artist) makes me cringe a little. Most of everything from 2014-15 and even early parts of 2016 is rather shitty and numskull while not being all completely terrible. It was just me being a naive little fuck that threw any little idea in the water whether it would float or sink. I did a lot of dumb shit with C&F such as the Ask my OCs thing, the New Years Party thing, numerous journal entries about the series fantasizing about the series being an actual Hollywood thing, the Paula twitter account, and the worst offender of all: Rachel The Angel (eeeeugh). There were probably others I forgot but those are the prime examples. But then again half of those were just experiments of testing my characters and seeing how they would play out and interact. After all 2015 was my most experimental year and the year I achieved for major improvement. The main reason I created this series is ‘cause for my love of the underrated urban adult comedy sub-genre (i.e. Mission Hill, MTV’s Downtown, Kitty Bobo, and hell a bit of King Of the Hill for good measure). The very early C&F material I made was just out of late high school anxieties and was a form of escape. It was my one and only favorite series. But now with Hatboy and Mute the Mime coming into existence and the latter two being more fun/easier to write, draw, and explore I just no longer see the purpose of continuing Clarissa & Friends.
Part II: The Scrapping-Shelving Doublemix
I’ve decided to scrap some characters and ideas that just either didn’t work well or just failed in the first place. First the characters:
Her personality was poorly-developed and she never seemed to work well with the other characters. The cute young girl with an edgy darkside trope has been done to death and having her as a raunchy little bitch was one of the factors of my weak points in developing characters. So yea, she sucked. Not many people liked her and I don’t really like her. Scrapped.
Micah, Xavier, and CJ were just...there. I never really used them for anything other than a few drawings. I made these as filler characters. Now I want nothing to do with them. Scrapped!
While i feel a little bummed about scrapping him I feel him being a calmer stoner than Paula seems tacky and derivative. I MAY use him for something else but with a completely different getup and motivational drive. Shelved.
-Paula (as a main character)
Yep Paula fans sorry to break your glass weed pipes but I've grown sick of having a stoner as a main character. Why: because not realizing until late last year she was just a bland potsmoker with not much interesting traits about her. “She smokes weed. Yea what else?” I want to have engaging characters not one-dimensional eye candy for a certain audience. I may use her for something else or not too so undecided.
-Aidan (as a main character)
It seems having an edgy half-emo metalhead wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be back then. After all I never did too much with this guy, nor I made him much of what he was supposed to be: an edgy guy. So yea it’s best to let this guy go. Scrapped.
Now for the ideas/stories/etc.
-Remakes of older pieces/comics: I’ve had the idea that I wanted to remake certain C&F material just to fix mistakes or to make it not shit anymore. Stuff such as Bonfire, When Clarissa Met Ben, and some of the 2014 stuff. But with my recent decreasing motivation for the series I no longer have the desire to remake such past work.
-Full episode scripts: I’ve written at least one full script: The Shoobieshank Redemption and I have a couple unfinished ones. One of those unfinished ones was called “Bryson Gets Molested”. With my drive leaning more towards drawing and writing minimum material I get very lazy and unmotivated when it comes to writing scripts. And that’s not good. I also need to get better at it since writing long stretches of fiction is not my forte.
-The Pitch Bible: I was working on a pitch bible of this cartoon just for future consideration if I ever get my foot in the industry but stopped halfway completing it. No one would probably want this mess of a series anyway.
-Paula’s Drug Adventure: There were gonna be episodes where Paula enters a strange world after taking some special kind of weed. It would’ve been very tedious to make and I already do enough psychedelic stuff with Mute The Mime (sorta).
-Paula’s origin story: I wanted to make a thing where we look how and why Paula is a stoner in the first place.
-Aidan’s Crush on Paula
Now this wasn’t really necessary since randomly having a main character crush on another is unneeded unless purposely done for the concept’s matter. Hell I was even thinking of making a comic where Paula and Aidan do accept each other and even kiss. I’ll be glad I scrapped this later on.
-The Clarissa & Friends Movie script: Yes I had an idea for a C&F movie I’m that insane. This was conceived last year but around the same time later I decided to shelve the idea then now scrap it. The movie was basically gonna be this road trip comedy where the gang gets into all kinds of crazy shit. It sounded better in my head but jotting it down on script nah.
Part III: Everything Wrong with C&F
Here are the main problems that the cartoon suffered from:
-The bleak characters: Only half of the main characters like Clarissa and Bryson were the strongest. Everyone else were either sub-par to mediocre character development. Especially Paula. They just weren't engaging enough and were just examples of my somewhat early lazy character/world building skills.
-Nothing is really interesting about the series anymore: with very few Clarissa material being put out it’s a sign that i’m getting immensely bored with the series and want to move on with other more interesting projects.
-Little premise: The series’ main premise isn’t really much nor is it intriguing enough for some people. This cartoon is just about people hanging out, nothing else nothing more. Hatboy and Mute have better premises while being simple and having a better foundation to work with.
-The poor writing: I’m not very good at writing long episodic stories and for the most part the writing in C&F either fell flat or failed altogether. I wanted to incorporate that early Adult Swim type of humor with a blend of raunchiness but overall most of the results just didn’t work correctly. The sexual innuendos and jokes were some of the worst examples.
-The art hasn’t progressed much: While this isn’t much of a problem I feel that i’ve should’ve realized that the designs could’ve been a little better. While Clarissa and others’ designs have evolved over time I think for a series that’s supposed to appeal towards a more mature audience, could have more fitting character designs. C&F looks more like a Y7-rated kids show with its bright colors and minimal BG setting. But that’s just me.
-The random DA/social activities: Stuff like the Clarissa & Friends Group, the journals, and the Ask-my-OCs thing I did in 2015 was rather pointless but fun at the time. Again just me looking back at dumb shit I’ve done in the past. I’m also stepping down as admin of the C&F group.
So there’s my whole testimony on why I want to retire Clarissa & Friends. It seemed fine to keep for my early days on the internet but now that i’ve matured and progressed as an artist I think it’s time to pull the plug on the cartoon. Not only that but the characters were a pain in the ass to draw at times. My other cartoons like HB & HG and Mute are more interesting to me and I get a lot more enjoyment out of them than C&F. I want to continue Hatboy and even want to get the ball rolling with the Mute series, but the current state of C&F such as comics and drawings is over. Is this the complete end for the series? Well yes and no because later in the future I may want to make a major revision of the series, or just come up with a new series keeping that urban adult comedy aesthetic. But don’t expect that anytime soon. I may have sounded like if I was bitching about my dumb cartoon but I just wanted to express as a creator why my first established series ran out of momentum. Some of you may beg for me to continue the series and while I appreciate your fondness for the series my decision is final and I want to move on to bigger and better things. I will keep up all the C&F shit i’ve made over the years and may even upload some unfinished/unreleased works soon, but I tend to look forward into my other cartoons and let this one die slowly. The comic Lasting Memories was set as a sorta “farewell” to the series. Overall, I just want to progress with my other cartoons and any new ideas that come in the future because Clarissa & Friends was giving me nothing but stress.