Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Wicked Witch of the West Part 1

There's one thing I immediately love about the Witch of the West. The alliteration. Oh lordy, I love how it rolls off the tongue. I think a lot of her popularity can stem from this ingenious naming of her character. We don't care what her actual name is, nor does Frank Baum ever give it to us. Truth is, she's not that major of a character in the original Oz book. She dies half way through the book.

But I love her. And the more I draw her, the more I love her.

I don't believe in evil from birth. Nothing is born evil, unless it's a demon I suppose. The Witch was once a little girl. And before that, she was a baby. Like any of us, she was shaped by the world she lived in.

She was born into this world as innocent as any of us. She wanted love as much as you and I. But when you can live forever, things can go wrong. You can be a saint for a hundred years or a thousand. But you cannot avoid doing evil forever. And that is how the Witch came to be wicked. And sad.

Please listen to the song below. I'm not sure how much the words actually apply, but the tone the song gives, the emotions it brings out, stirs in me perhaps how The Witch felt as she lost innocence, and the darkness pulled her further and further away from love and the Light.

I'll often post songs that I listen to as I draw and write, and maybe it could help give you an idea where some of my inspiration comes from.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The music from "The Witch"

Here is the music from the Witch, fully and completely. It's from the video game Silent Hill if you can believe it. In some ways, it was my anthem for a year or so.

The Witch

The video below is my most viewed upload on Youtube, with over 16,000 views now. What's very funny, is that this is the video without my voice over on it. It's just a collection of images I've illustrated of the Witch, set to some very nice music.

I'm not sure why this video has so many more views than my others. Something about it must resonate a little with people.

Either way, I'll be talking about the Witch for the next little while. She gets the best reaction from everyone when I show them my Oz illustrations. I'm also excited to talk about how I've altered her to fit my Oz, but how in some ways she's truer to the original Oz story than the movie was. In some ways.

Enjoy the video!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 4

A friend of mine recently said "So, Dorothy is a zombie?" Well that depends on your definition. If it's as loose as "Returned from the dead," then yes. But when I think of zombies (and I think about them all of the time), I think of ravenous mindless hordes of decomposing undead.

Dorothy is not undead. When she returns from her grave, she continues to age again, grow, and all the things other little girls get to do. She has a second life.

She wakes up in a field, somewhere in Oz. Roughly between The Emerald City and the Land of the East. She immediately encounters some Munchkins who take her with them to the East, not wanting to leave a little girl out in the wilderness on her own. Along the way they meet the Scarecrow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Music from "Once Upon a Time..."

Below is the music I used in the video I just posted. I really recommend giving it a full listen a few times. It's a great ambient track by one of my favourite bands.

Once Upon a Time...

This is an old video mine updated with some new music and some minor editing tweaks. It's the first part to Dorothy's story that I've been talking about here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 3

So Dorothy dies in Kansas; killed by a tornado. How does she come to Oz then? Wasn't the tornado supposed to carry her there? Well that part of the story is something I changed. Growing up I always thought that she had died, and that Oz was Heaven. Weird I know. I guess I never paid attention.

So now, all grown up, I decided to add this twist to the story we know. I think it helps place the story into the young adult section of the book store. I know, when I say "Young adult" people roll their eyes, but you may do well to recall the stuff you may have been reading at 10-14. I know I myself was reading Christopher Pike, RL Stine (Fear Street, not Goosebumps), and the Dragonlance Series. All of which have some pretty adult situations in them, without getting too explicit.

I don't think I want to go as far as Maguire did, and get really into the adult stuff (like making the Wizard a rapist). But who knows, the story evolves from one day to the next.

Back to Dorothy. She is buried by her Aunt and Uncle. A long time passes. Like a REALLY long time, and Earth isn't called Earth anymore. Four Witches come to a point, just by coincidence it's where Dorothy is buried, and they name the land around them Oz. And underneath them, Dorothy starts to come back to life.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 2

So you see I've changed Dorothy a bit. Most importantly, I've killed her. Which I know for some will take a little getting used to. But don't worry, she comes back! You see, through death, she resurrects in Oz. How she comes back, I'll get to in a later post.

Right now I'd like to delve into how I've altered the essence of the character in some ways. She and the Witch are probably changed the most out of all the characters in my story, compared to Baum's. Dorothy is a lot braver in my story. In the original, she spent a lot of the book hiding behind her friends, or gasping or crying a lot. This was written in a time when a little girl was seen as pretty weak, and of course she couldn't do much on her own, except for the odd bit of being clever. Of course.

I want a young girl (not too young though) to read my story and say to herself, "Yep, I could do that. I can be brave." Dorothy isn't scared of a thing, and in my story she meets many creatures and dangers that would leave me running for the hills. That's one of her powers.

Her other power is helping her friends realize their own strengths. When I use the term "power", don't think I mean she's a mutant. I mean she has a deep strength in her that makes her powerful. Strength of character and spirit, and in Oz, this gets her pretty far.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 1

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Dorothy, and she lived in Kansas during the the Great Depression. Things were very hard on her Aunt and Uncles farm, which she called home. Her days were full of hard work, and by night she would have to attend local sermons.

Her life crafted her to be a very strong little girl. All was not bleak though, as she found much joy in her dog Toto.

Then one day, while enjoying some rare play time with her dog out int he fields around her small farm, a tornado came down out of the sky. She ran as fast as she could, scooping up her dog on the way. Her house wasn't far, but the tornado was too fast.

Dorothy Gale died on July 8th, 1934.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Tin Man Meets the Wizard

I'll actually get to Dorothy in a few days. I'd like to follow this little bit with each character meeting the Wizard.

To the Tin man, the Wizard appears as a giant monster.

I started this illustration by sketching it about a week ago in my sketchbook. Just a simple mechanical pencil there. Then today I scanned it at work, and coloured it in Photoshop. I grabbed some cool textures from, and laid them in behind and over the image. It helps give my pictures that extra punch they need.

The white effect in the bottom corner is just me playing with the white brush at like 2000pts, and then dotting around. The original image is 600dpi.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dorothy Meets the Wizard

So we'll step away from the Tin man's story for a bit. i think the next character I'll go into a bit of depth on is our heroine Dorothy. For now, here's my latest Oz picture. It's part of a small series of pictures I'm doing. In the movie the heroes all met the Wizard at once, but in Baum's book, they meet him individually; and the Wizard takes a different form for each of them.

To Dorothy he appears as a giant head.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Tin Man Part 5

"The Tin man" was a bit of a mocking term, and almost ironic. Nick often worried about his metal parts rusting, but tin doesn't actually rust. He never bothered correcting people though. He was made of metal now, an incorrect nickname was the least of his worries.

But even more worrying than the fear of rusting, was the growing poverty in the East. The Wicked Witch of the East was slowly strangling the Munchkin land of it's resources, and in turn once simple commodities like household electricity was becoming uncommon.

Nick, the crazy metal man in the woods, found it harder and harder to find replacement power cells for his body, and one day he ran out. His body was found years later slumped up against a tree, the rust caking his cold frame; powered down.

Who found him? Oh, a little girl named Dorothy Gale.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Tin Man Part 4

How could you be happy, once a man, now trapped in a mechanical body? Nick got very down on himself. His munchkin love didn't care though, and when he arrived back in the East, she rushed to him, many tears in her eyes. She said that his metal body was not important, and that she loved his heart.

Nick Chopper got very angry at that, and yelled at her in front of the entire community, "I don't have a heart!"

Feeling very sorry for himself, Nick left the town, never returning to it.

So rumours grew of the metal man who wandered the words, crying and fleeing from anyone who tried to approach him. Many people would find fresh stacks of chopped wood outside their doorsteps in the mornings though. He came to be known as the Tin Man of Oz, and one day he disappeared completely.