Monday, April 25, 2016

Elevations Connection: Bright Husky of Joy and Wonder

Act I Character Sheet for Terry, circa July 2015; flowers are cool yo

In hindsight, writing a character introspective still early on the story for much character development to occur is narcissistic and odd, but what the hell? Better early on than never. 

Terry, while designed from the beginning, was ironed out at last minute. The name itself wasn't finalized until two months prior to the launch of the comic. For the longest time, I centered on Maxwell Hayward. Back when I was still envisioning the comic as a Valleydog spinoff, he was to be the ecstatic older brother of a peer, Jeffrey Hayward, with the city life being a sharp contrast to life in a farmland oasis. Needless to say, save for him coming from small town by Sacramento, fresh from high school, any connection with the previous work was severed and he just came off as goofy by design.

First concept of Terry (then Max), February 2014)

Around June 2015, when I was ironing out the story, I felt Max wasn't too memorable and sounded too similar to Mike (which I already had far too many people mistaking as the main character of Valleydog for years. Not wanting to make the same mistake, I looked for something more in tune to the character - a name that embodied a naive, happy curiosity that the husky had. Terrance (Teryn) Naively Coda was the result. This also resulted in an accidental pun given his fur pattern: Terry Coda (Terracotta).

But even before all this, back when I was still thinking of how to portray this comic, I just started out with some random canine... for a while Terry was to be a
Border Collie.

 First "comic" of Elevations, titled "Urban Living", circa July 2013.

This was dropped pretty quickly when I recalled how collies are the smartest of dog breeds and went against the comic's theme. So, naturally, you'd go to the exact opposite - a husky.  One thing kept though, surprisingly, is the blue jacket. This was entirely coincidental.

Terry's personality is one based on my own childhood optimism. He's a goof who thinks anything can be solved with a smile. I used to, and still do, imagine myself helping out others just by empowering them, talking down their enemies, and making friends in the process. He's also an airhead, much like myself, often forgetting important details due to improper listening, and runs off on his own adventures because he senses it like a calling, or just flat out curious.

The way I always pictured his personality is that he starts out as Sailor Moon and ends up as the Tenth Doctor.

There was a brief time when he had a crush on another one of the main characters, much as when I was going through infatuation myself. I thankfully wrote this out in favor of a father-figure idol relation for better impact (he will get someone in the future, trust me).

The character design is one that changed the least after settling on a husky. It just came to me: brown and red to appear warm, swirls of fur around the eyes to both emphasize and add a touch of cute, round eyes reminiscent of Luffy from One Piece, referencing the canine's idealistic, childlike personality. The result? Go for cute.

Well, I hope you enjoy this read of trivia! There will be more on this character and others as the story goes on. Check back Wednesday for the bear. Until next time,

Stay Elevated!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Elevations Connection: Bear and the Dog

The very first concept poster of Elevations, circa June 2014.

This post covers Pages 46, 47, and 48... though technically, this and the next two posts pretty much apply to the current arc.

 The story of Elevations began back in 2013 as a very simple one: A husky and a bear living in the Bay Area. Rather, it was about a dog and another species in the Bay Area. Nothing else beyond a simple slice of life, with geographical humor not unlike my previous project, Valleydog. In fact, Elevations was originally conceived as a follow-up to that comic (much so that for a while, I codenamed this BAVS: Bay Area Valleydog Sequel/Spinoff), with some characters originating from that comic starring in this one. It made sense, as San Francisco was only a couple hours' drive from Sacramento, Valleydog's semi-setting.

Over time, my experience in actually living in the Bay made me realize that simply poking fun at the Bay Area was the equivalent of acknowledging that the sky is blue on a clear day (and wouldn't have that big a reach nor age well), and the idea evolved to be a vague adventure about the harsh realities, in sharp contrast to the bright friendly serenity that Valleydog had before inevitably cutting off ties with that comic altogether. 

Despite that change, there has been one constant: Two characters have been around since the very beginning. Throughout the following week, I will share a little bit of detail on Terrance Coda and Santana Winchester, their origin the changes they've had during development.

Let the tales begin!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Elevations Connections: Back to School

If you used a Windows device between the 90s and mid-2000s, you'll understand Terry's next actions.

 This post covers Pages 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and 45.

Sooner or later I'll get back into the Monday-Wednesday-Friday Schedule. I was originally slated to begin Act 2 this month. Life is weird, and I have been giving the office day job higher priority and getting myself more attune to that environment. Combined with the weekends abroad, time was cut short... I hold myself accountable for my own misprioritization.

While I had no real plan in mind for Terry's (or rest of the cast, for that matter) educational life, all students are in the arts and entertainment field. The school's design itself is loosely based on Cogswell Polytechnical College, which I briefly went to in 2013. A lot has changed since and even that very same location has since been razed for tech offices.

I was going to make the reference more obvious, with centralized roundtables of art supplies and computers, to emulate a private art school, but figured a more general representation of a mini-lecture room (as well as omitting any sculptures/random art projects) would make better sense in the long run.

The students and faculty were drawn in at last minute. Most extras are just that - random animals at best. I'm hoping to polish them up beyond a quick scribble for the published version once I finish Act 1 this summer.

Yes, there is a reason Andrew, a coyote, takes notice towards Terry's Medallion.

This was the original dialogue for Page 45 

Peter Peithos is a peculiar dragon in the sense that he's the most toned down of the entire cast so far. The original dialogue hints at his ulterior motives (based on the 2015 slang of "Netflix and Chill"), but was changed during drawing to be more general for 1) Avoid a dated euphemism in the future and 2) Potential copyright issues.

Also, I didn't want it to be obvious that the dragon was (originally design to be) a pervert that creeps on his next suspect. I'll leave that to his character index url name. In his next appearances, I'll dive further into what had changed for him in that context.

Until next time,

Stay elevated!