Sunday, June 22, 2008

MY CHARACTERS

So I have a small family of characters that I hope to make some stories and shorts with someday. I've had them for quite a while.. most of them were first drawn 6, 7, even 10 years ago! This post is a little about them and my history of drawing them.



Also- CAUTION!!!!!!
The older drawings I'm about to show are EXTREMELY OLD AND LAME AND EMBARRASSING. Shit from back in high school, yo. So please be kind!


Victor
The main character of my series. I first drew him in 8th grade. While that may have been when I created his basic appearance, his personality and character however have been years and years in the making. I've drawn him literally 1000's of times, and I make sure to evolve his design and construction almost every year, pretty much as I'm learning more and more about the principles of cartoons.

Below: A couple of late-nite scribbles that do not validate
that last sentence above in any way whatsoever. Mildly embarrassing.


The series begins when Victor leaves his family's home in Fresno to come to the big city to make it in the biz. He's a meek, geeky guy, mid-20s, who tries to survive day after day in this new jungle called Los Angeles. (little did I realize in 8th grade that I, myself, would become this character within 10 years. I'm now 23, meek, geeky, and I pray every day to not get killed in LA!) Hell, he probably loves computers, cartoons and old movies, too.

Below: Victor drawing from 2003. Moreso embarrassing.
Victor's a huuuuge blend of a lot of different cartoon studios and styles that I'm a fan of. His facial features are mostly Hanna-Barbera inspired, his hair's like Woody Woodpecker, big floppy Elmer Fudd shoes, the legs and crotch of his slacks sag like Goofy's... who knows what else. His biggest desire at this point in life is just to fit in. Of course he never will, but that's okay.

My series teaches people to glorify being a social outcast, if you are one. Don't be one of the Normals!!!!! (95% of everyone else in the world)

Doogy and Kiwi
Victor's two trouble-making pups. He has a love-hate relationship with them, since he's kind of stuck living with them. His parents insisted he take them with him when he moved out so he wouldn't be lonely, but they turn out to be a handful most of the time and only add more stress to his life. But on the inside, they'd all be completely lost without each other.

These critters are based off real doggies that we owned when I was growing up!

Kiwi, the littler girl dog, ran around hitting her head on everything all the time, so it eventually kind of affected her brain! So she was a 'tard pup but still the cutest little thing ever. She's extremely happy all the time, doesn't have a care (or thought) in the world, and is always having a wonderful time even in the face of danger.

So when I came up with their cartoon counterparts, Kiwi is the goof, and Doogy (older, boy, not a tard), was kinda put in the big-brother position of having to always to keep her out of danger. They're completely mischievous at heart though, and always enjoy things like causing ruckuses in alleys, scaring the shit out of cats, and chasing mailmen (ornery heckling critters, Clampett's "Hep Cat" is a big influence).

Below: Doogy and Kiwi drawing from senior year of high school.
Looks like SOMEbody was just learning some Photoshop tricks!!! (me)
Entirely embarrassing. ew ew ew ew ew.



Even though Doogy's the brains of the outfit, his schemes and plans usually lead to trouble. In human company, he's a good-natured, obedient fella. But as soon as the humans turn their back on him, he reverts to wiseguy mode and poops in someone's shoes (he'll even wedge the turd deep inside of the shoe to make it good and hidden, so by the time a human notices it's in there... it's too late)

Debbie

I love Debbie! Mainly because she's the weirdest/funniest character to me. I first drew her around 6 years ago, and you've no doubt seen her around this site since she's kinda my blog's mascot.

She's also mid-20s, and Victor's new neighbor and now closest friend. She may be a little absent-minded sometimes but is extremely pure and kind, and has the biggest heart any human could have. I've had lots of people think this, but she is NOT a dumb blonde. Just a little naivé and very childlike. She also wants to live the high life eventually, but for now works a silly day-job as a barista at the local Barstucks Cafe.

Also a born and bred Canadian!!!
This means that Deb's used to giant trees, packs of moose in your backyard, and eating bacon. So it's major culture-shock when she has also just moved to southern California: giant buildings, traffic, and everyone eating sushi and cous-cous. When she and Victor meet as neighbors and find out they are both outsiders, they become fast friends. Of course Victor has a secret crush on Deb but she seems too innocent and naivé to seem to feel the same. Or does she?? Who knows! If I ever get to go anywhere with these characters, I'd definitely have some story arcs questioning a romance.
(soap opera scenes ahoy!!)

Below: Behold, my biting social commentary. Women be shoppin'.
It's funny because it's true, right? ALL girls everywhere are like this, right??
Okay, no. Level of Lameness: 10.

Anyway, I made up Debbie's style from a bunch of different things as well. You would never meet a girl like her in real life, she's just too many different styles clashed together. She could only exist in a cartoon. Why I created her with a 50's beehive hairdo, I'll never know. But it works, I hope!

OH another thing about Debbie- out of all the characters in this series of mine, I chose her to take the first step into the animated world.

I featured her in my first animated short/commercial this time last year, for those of you that remember! (only a year later and this is kinda primitive-looking, at least to me... I like to think I've improved compared to then)



Pasquale
Of course every duo is better when it becomes a trio. I had Victor, then added Debbie, but someone still felt missing to compliment their chemistry. So one day years ago I was looking at some photos I found of my dad and grandfather from the 70s. They and their family came to America from Italy! And man they were wayyyyy into the times! The huge sideburns, the bell-bottoms, the polyester. I started drawing characters like that and eventually Pasquale was born, based on my dad as a younger man.

Back to my theory about this story of outcast friends trying to survive the rest of society: Of course Pasquale's got the same problem Victor and Debbie do, but he's such a foreigner that even his two new best friends get weirded out by him at certain points. Pasquale is about 30 years behind the times, and arrives in America thinking that disco, gold medallions and chest hair are still in style. He's got a really thick accent and is a magnificent wop all the way.


I've even got one story idea where everyone goes to the beach and we finally see Pasquale without his threads on.... he's just a head, two hands and two feet all connected to a large sasquatch body of black fuzz.

OH-kay...

Well, those are my main characters! There are supporting characters too... the kids' landlord Mr. Bishop (of course what would a city-setting comedy be without the pissed off landlord?), the kids' other friends around town (Debbie's hipster hippie coffee shop coworkers etc.), Victor's weird parents, stray animals that Doogy and Kiwi are friends/enemies with, and a lot more! But that'll have to wait until another post. Honestly if you've read this far, you already have my utmost amazement.

Oh, and this entry is my 50th blog post. Hooray for me!

20 comments:

trevor said...

SHUT! UP!

Seriously, you need to stop being so hard on yourself, Nicster. You are equally talented in both filmmaking and cartooning and I'm huge fan.... reading this post was like preaching to the converted.

I too am an artist who thinks that he could be doing better, and I guess that's what drives us. But come on.

Take it from a guy who is VERY picky about animation and film: you're uber talented and only going to get better. I know personally how hard it is to make a good movie or piece of animation. Such a feat is no easy task and I applaud both your efforts and the outcome.

And thanks for letting us meet your characters. I especially love the dogs!

- trevor.

trevor said...

PS: Happy 50th post! It's great that you've been doing this for 50 years. Whoever does your botox deserves an award.

Kali Fontecchio said...

YAY HAIRBALL MAN IS FUNNY!

Hryma said...

Hooray! I don't consider any of them embarrasing.
Heck, if you gave him a double bass and suspendors, he'd be way cool too with that hair!
Yes hairball man is classic!

fabiopower said...

Hi Nico!
I came to you through the Kali's blog.
I want to ask you what is the music used for their animated shorts?
Thank you,
Greetings from the ass of the world!
FP

Nico said...

Trevor, Kali, Hryma: Thank you!!!!!

Fabio: THANKS! I love your old tv commercials from the 80s. Also, which animated shorts are you talking about?

Ben Forbes said...

You have some crazy-awesome characters! I think you should post more drawings :)

You rock!

PS: Click for a surprise!

Nico said...

Thanks Ben!

P.S. HOLY DONKEY KONG BALLS! FRIGGEN AWESOME!!!!!!!

Justin said...

*gasp!*

are you a born and bred Canadian yourself?

That video on Kali's blog was totally fun dip. It'd be great if there were alternate endings that showed different choices of wanking material.

Or an ending where people tell you what to do with your films.

Nico said...

HI JUSTIN

Nope, I'm not Canadian! I'm a 100% wop myself, much like the italian celebrity Kali Fontecchio before me. Thanks for liking my gay videos!

I really appreciate you guys leaving the comments you have left for me here. You all are my best friends.

Katie said...

Yay Nico!! Congrats on 50 posts. My favorite drawing is Debbie under her Canadian flag!!! Very cute!

fabiopower said...

Hello, Nico!
Thanks for your answer!
I'm surprised! You know our old tv chilean commercials from the 80s?
Well, my query was about the animated short of your character "Debbie", but another friend, Trevor, answered my query.
But keep reading your blog!
Greetings from the ass of the world, Nico!
A Hug,
FP
pd:Congratulations for your 50's !!!

david gemmill said...

dude this cartoon turned out pretttttttyyyy darn good. do more! more more more! i will check back in 4 months for the cartoon. I will check back in a week for new posts unrelated to the cartoon. haahaha. great work!!

Bob said...

wow 50 posts you're one hard working fellow. I like the characters you got up there and your analysis are huge and chock full of information. I think I remember you did a post about a popeye cartoon that you and your friend did commentary for, but I can't seem to find it now. Anyways I hope you do another one since the new popeye dvd came out.

trevor said...

Word, Nic-to-the-o.

Women be SHOPPIN'. You caint stop a woman from shappin', Son.

Sorry.

- trevor.

Nico said...

Katie 'n David:
Thanks!!!!!! You guys are my heroes.

Fabio:
Ahh, now I see what music you were talking about! Yeah, John K. sure made those old forgotten television scores popular again! I remember practically all my life watching Ren & Stimpy and wanting the entire music library at my fingertips, but it was such rare music and hard to come by. Years and years of researching online on how to find it! Only up until recently did someone put tons of it online and now it's not so rare anymore. It's so weird to think that after all these years, now anybody can have these pieces!

Bob:
I might continue the cartoon commentaries, but probably not. One reason why not is that I'm wayyyyyy busy with other videos and projects right now. Another reason is 'cause besides those couple times with Shawn, I don't think any of my pals are interested in doing any. Maybe one of these days I'll persuade Kali with some creme eggs she loves so dang much!!

Bob said...

It's okay Nico I understand, you've done 50 posts for christ sake. Anyways creme eggs are the candy of gods and if you ever doget the chance to make another popeye commentary do one about the jeep because he's my new favorite character. He's like the chesire cat of the popeye world. By the way do you think popeye got his name because he's missing an eye?

Nico said...

Bob:
i'm willing to bet everything I own on it. :)

trevor said...

I tried to acquire the 'Spumco music' the legitamite way: calling APM.

Trouble was, I wanted it for something I was trying to sell. Steve Worth told me who to talk to, and I was informed as to how much the tunes cost.

Get this: every time you hear a piece of music it's called a 'needledrop'. This can be any portion of the song, but a needledrop is considered one play. If you play two pieces of the song at different times, that's TWO needledrops.

Now guess how much APM makes per needledrop. SEVEN GRAND!

That means every time you hear a clip of music on Ren and Stimpy, that's another seven grand out of the budget. Now, while it is true that they give discounts the more you use, it's still a shitload of money to be making on one recording. Considering the price of the music alone, it's a wonder the cartoon looked good at all!

Cheezus!

- trevor.

PS: Nico, I'd be super-interested in doing a commentary with you, but you're probably reluctant because I'm a cornball who lives really far away. I did a commentary for Buckaroo Bugs, didja hear that?

Molly Moxie said...

Wow, I remember you drawing Doogie and Kiwi when we sat next to each other in Sign Language class! I always thought they were adorable. I certainly hope you take all these characters somewhere. I would love to see an animated short starring all of them someday.