Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Women Like Comics Too?

I read recently while creeping the internet and checkin' out upcoming comic cons that 25% of the comic conventions these days consist of women. Which is actually waaaay better then it was just a few years ago. Why the recent rise in females? Well, if you notice, a lot of cartoons appear to be girl friendly these days. Not only that but Manga and Anime are constructed in such a beautiful and cute way that women can enjoy it too. Men, most likely enjoy it for the sexual appeal it has and the cool costumes, which often brings the really hot girls to cons later.

Many girls are really into making the elaborate outfits to be their favorite character, and some get into it more than the guys do. Lots of attention to detail goes into it, I mean, I guess there are a lot of seamstress' out there, and not a lot of men like to admit that they have the ability to sew 'cuz that's a "girls past time" but I must admit, I am often impressed when a man tells me he knows how to sew or even has a bit of knowledge of fashion. Some girls (these days) don't even know that sorta stuff.

Anyways, the industry needs this, for sure. Comic books are dying slightly, with the exception of the growing popularity of comic book movies, this recent recession bringing about cheap ways for people to entertain themselves and with women becoming involved it's not as bad as it could be. If you think of statistics, the high percentage of people who shop and decide what products to own are often women. They are the people who tell men what they can or can't have when they become a couple, and often times (I've seen it time and time again, not always mind you, but often) a woman will clean out a man's comic book collection and say they need to grow up and get rid of it. The woman is brainwashing the guy to give her their undivided attention so the woman doesn't just sit around bored while a man reads and enjoys his comic books, which is what he often did before she came along, let's face it. The man goes along with it, cuz, well it means sex, let's face it. However, if the woman is into comic books too, she can enjoy the books with the man, read her own, even get into something he is reading too.

To me I see comic books as kind of a storyboard for an even greater idea, one that can easily be animated if it looks like the plot is interesting enough, and women are also getting into animation too. A vast majority of characters in cartoons have strong, sexy females in it. Perhaps it's the way guys view some women, or it's how they want their fantasy woman to be, I guess it depends on the creator of the female character, but most of the time, I don't know about all women, but I relate to more of the women in cartoons than I do on TV shows that have been filmed with real people. I related to Daria, and Jessie from Undergrads, and even Joan of Arc from Clone High. It's funny, how even though cartoons are not entirely supposed to be a realistic portrayal of people and yet I relate to them more than anything I often watch. Perhaps this recent revelation that cartoon women are more easily related to, has been the outbreak epiphany a lot of women have been having too. Now if only we can harness that more and introduce it to even more women, and show them that cartoons are not just for children.

The whole "girls mature faster than boys" thing may be true, but it doesn't have to be, there are plenty of girls who want to stay young. Perhaps not as young as a 12 year-old, but I think my youthful mind and constant need to moisturize is partially what makes people mistake me for almost a decade younger than I actually am. I take it as a compliment, because as most women strive to stay youthful, I know I AM youthful, I don't even really need to try. So cartoons are good for the mind, body and soul apparently, at least that's my philosophy. Of course you have to find the cartoon that you like best, and it's hard when there's so many books out there you don't know where to begin. Ask a man who knows you well what they think you may like, or even if you know a fellow female comic enthusiast don't be afraid to ask her what she recommends, you never know, you may end up liking it.

Okay, so I have no patience to animate whatsoever, but on occasion I attempt to animate by doing a series of action positions, leaving out a lot of other positions but putting in the cool ones to get my point across at how the action is being done. I'm not the greatest at it, especially since it's all directly from my head, using no reference at all and not even giving a damn about perfection nor proportion. So this is what comes out. A fun, little piece with pen and pencil crayon on coloured Bristol board of Tara doing a cool little flip and then creating a handgun with her...well hands. How many girls or even guys for that matter have attempted to do this or at least seen others do this? It's cool when you do the tuck n' roll, which is what my old college friend Adria did frequently when she showed us how her karate lessons were being put to good use. Tara takes the "tuck n' roll" to the extreme and does some crazy flip. She makes it look so easy...if I attempted to do this her way, I'd no doubt severely break something, so I have to live vicariously through her I suppose. It's just an awesome little piece that shows "girls just wanna have fun"...as the song goes, and yes, sometimes girls too like pretending we're some sort of bad ass super villain or heroine off to take care of someone. Even though tomboys aren't often seen as graceful, they can be if they know how to put their grace to good use.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Board Game!

I've created a new board game. It's fairly simple and straight forward and can be easy or hard depending on how complex you want to make it or how people work together. It's mainly for those who would like to break out of their writers/creative block and to see how people work as a team. I've tested it out on a few groups of friends, played it with just two people and then with four. The game is good for a few laughs. I thought it was interesting that those that were naturally creative and those that weren't still found it very fun. It wasn't about creating the perfect end result, but more about the process of it and having fun while doing it. The game is fairly quick, but if you like your end result you can make a better version of the finished product if you wish to do so. It's sorta like Pictionary(TM) but not really. Nobody wins or loses, there is no real "end goal" only a beginning. The end goal I suppose is to come up with an idea for a comic and collaborate as a team. It also seems to make people comfortable with showing their art or writing to people, because it's not supposed to be perfect and everyone is in the same boat, it allows people to laugh at themselves if their art or writing isn't the best, but it shows that even though they aren't the best they can still come up with a half-way decent finished product and perfection doesn't mean anything. The art and writing is quick, and the artist or writer only has control over one half of the finished product, so often the end result is very funny upon completion. There aren't a lot of games out there that aren't competitive. This has nothing to do with competition, in fact, it's more about teamwork, just the opposite goal of most games. I think it's a different game that everyone should play at least once in their life, in my humble opinion, and perhaps the world would be a more peaceful place if everyone worked as a team instead of competing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sample photos!

Here are some sample shots of the wonderful Tom Boy Tara cosplay photo shoot taken by photographer Jonathan Cowper! Wicked shots man! Can't wait to see the rest! :) The graffiti wall featured in the tunnel is done by artist Trevor Goodwin. Jonathan and Trevor are both found through the links section of my website @ www.tomboytara.com if you are interested in contacting either one of them or checking out even more work by them. The models playing my characters are:
Tara- Sarah Jay
Tobey- Troy Edwards
Deena- Shannon McGrady
A special thanks also goes out to: Alex Ragozzino(videographer for a behind-the-scenes video currently being edited), Tania Flemming(hair stylist), Terry Gordon(assistant art director), Andrea Dinardo(wig and hair extension stylist), Sarah Jay(make-up artist)and Meagan Austin(moral support). I was the art director, costume/accessory provider (for certain parts of the costumes the models didn't already own), and also a model in certain pictures as "The creator" ha ha! Hopefully those pix will soon be released.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Customized Tom Boy Tara Dolls

This is a doll photo shoot I took. I customized an Obitsu doll (painted her face, cut her hair and attached the head to the body) and a random other doll from some dumb Disney movie and bought some clothes I thought they'd wear. Painted Tobey's hair, glasses and mouth (the lips looked too girly) and customized their t-shirts as well. I also painted the CD inside the boom box and put "The Cicadas" logo on it (the made-up Indy band in my comics) and I love how the stupid Disney doll actually came with that stereo...it also has a cell phone and a microphone, but it wasn't necessary for the shoot.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

TBT Photo Shoot!

So today was an amazing day, not only was the weather gorgeous but it was a perfect day for a photo shoot (of a few friends of mine dressed as my main characters for my comic)that I had planned to do for months now. We had kept pushing the shoot back a lot due to schedule changes from the models or the photographer and I was so ready to throw in the towel with it. If it weren't for everyone being so into the idea for the shoot and tellin' me to just pick another date we can all agree on and stick with it I woulda said, "forget it." Thankfully despite my constant stressing and worrying that something would go wrong on this shoot things actually came together quite nicely. Everyone showed up so that was a good sign right there that things were going to be good. At first the shoot was a bit rocky cuz I'll admit I've never been an art director before, and I don't easily work well with others with my art (I'm a solitary artist) but the collaborations with the photographer and the models went off without a hitch. They were telling me to give them direction more, and I realized 'crap, right, they don't entirely know their characters, I need to inform them how they are a bit to give them an idea, to see what ideas they can come up with'. I gave them some direction and they eventually began feeling comfy once we got to the graffiti wall and saw all the possibilities with it. I think the key is not to put too much pressure on your models to be a certain way, even if it is about a certain character. I love candid photos and I knew this would be hard to do, so I tried to come up with a way to do something candid, though they were playing very specific characters. I just let the models call the shots. I let them improvise some ideas and get into their character's head and we actually ended up pulling out a whole bunch of props that worked well for the shoot that I never would have even thought about. The creative ideas were definitely flowing with everyone and people got really into it. We even caught some attention with people walking by. My brother even shot some behind-the-scene footage that we may post on the website too eventually. All in all we got some sweet shots and everyone had a blast doing it! A total adventure to remember. How often do people do photo shoots of cartoon characters? I guess it happens at Hallowe'en or comic conventions and even once in a while for other pro shoots, but it's a rare thing to do, and I think it turned out awesome, in my humble opinion.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tom Boy Tara Dollfie Dolls

So I've been looking into customizing dolls and I came across some beautiful Dollfie Dolls that my friend Elisha used to customize when I was in college. I recall loving the look of them but I forgot what they were called. She used to make their clothes out of tiny chain mail and they looked absolutely exquisite when she was done. Anyways I wanted to make my own Tom Boy Tara doll and found some parts, they're currently being shipped to me, so I'm going to have fun customizing Tara for sure! I noticed though that the male Dollfie dolls often looked extremely feminine. So I tried to photoshop a head to look like how I would make Tobey look and I found some clothes that looked like it might suit him a bit and photoshopped it slightly and he turned out like this pic! Maybe some day I'll make a Tobey doll that looks kinda like that. I think the secret to keeping them looking male is to cut the hair super short, keep the face plain and if you're not making them with glass eyes, keep the eye templates masculine with little to no eyelashes on them. LOL! I'm sure gonna have fun with this! YAY!