When fans can request anything for me to paint, almost anything can happen. In this case, anything did happen! Below are five watercolor commissions I got to paint for my recent Kickstarter campaign that I just wrapped up.

For this twenty-sided dice I had to be careful to nail the perspective on the object, or it wouldn’t look authentic:

One of my stranger commission requests, a 20 sided dice.

Next, I got a request to do a Pokemon, and I know a lot of Pokemon, but this one was beyond any of the hundreds I’ve seen. To render Nosepass I kept thinking of the volume for those Easter Island statues:

Perhaps the most obscure of Pokemon. I had to look up “Nosepass”.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of G. K. Chesterton’s body of writing. His work covers most of the early part of last century and he is the master of so many forms of writing it’s hard to pin him down. He wrote plays, books, over 10,000 articles and his work is still relevant today. Could you write 10,000 articles and have them still be relevant in one hundred years? I’ve read my old blog posts and most of my thoughts only lasted a few years before they stank like cheese– cheese being another topic that Chesterton covered.

Perhaps my favorite writer of all time is G.K. Chesterton.

If animation was a Star Trek movie, mine would be the Wrath of Kahl. I’m Kirk, he’s Kahl and my famous quote would be screaming, “KAAAAAHHHHLLLL!” He seemed like a hard guy to work for, but undoubtedly the best Disney animator, making him the best animator, period. I added sharp teeth to better bite your head off.

The Intimidating Milt Kahl.

Earthworm Jim’s laser blaster was designed by my pal, the great Mike Dietz. It’s a fantastic design that goes back to googie shapes from 1950s science fiction. It’s fun to draw and paint:

Earthworm Jim’s blaster.

For more on this campaign, check out the completed Kickstarter here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tennapel/make-100-doug-tennapel-original-watercolor-inks

 

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5 Books That Changed Me

March 23, 2018

  1. The Bible by God
    What if the creator of the universe had something to say to His creation and put it down in a book for us all to read? That would be some book. It would have to cover creation, explain man’s great problem with our nature, offer a solution via salvation and speak of the big ending where the universe is brought to a point of ultimate peace. The only book that can make that claim is The Bible. The more I read the Bible, the more I’m convinced of its high stature among all books. To read it is to witness an epic collection of wisdom that must have come from beyond the human hands that rendered it. No other book has changed western civilization like the Bible. I’ve read broadly on its defenders and its critics and it is the standard by which we argue theology today, as it would if it were divinely inspired. How controversial would an exhaustive book about the existence of unicorns be? Not very. But bring up the Bible and discussions erupt, rightly so.
  2. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
    I read this book after becoming a fan of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien and their arguments point back to this earlier source. Chesterton was simply the most influential Christian writer of the last century and nearly all of his 10,000 articles are more relevant today than the day he wrote them. That’s a sign of wisdom, when a thinker can transcend his times to reflect on what is eternally true. Chesterton has a wit that has garnered a generation of fans from Orson Welles to Ian Flemming. To read him is to be both charmed and blown away as Chesterton makes sure you are lost right up until the final sentence of the chapter where everything clicks into place. His primary goal is to re-ignite wonder in a world that is bored with the miraculous.
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl
    Why did some survivors of the Holocaust choose to die while others chose to live? What can one do with one’s own suffering? These two questions are pondered by Frankl who survived the Holocaust. He faced starvation, betrayal and visited his fellow suffering inmates as each person made choices under the greatest stress a man can endure. His unique take on the ordeal flushes out Nazi guards who acted with compassion and fellow Jewish inmates who betrayed their fellow prisoners. His most important message is that while we can’t control when our freedom is stolen by others, they cannot dictate our response.
  4. Planet Narnia by Dr. Michael Ward
    As an author, I’ve read most of C.S. Lewis’ works, but one lone man might just have solved the greatest mystery of modern western lit. Dr. Ward proposes that The Chronicles of Narnia was not a simple, formulaic allegory of the gospel story but a complex, medieval structure that pays tribute to the cosmos. He unpacks most of C.S. Lewis’ writings to reveal an author who gave a million mile view of life by using Jupiter, the moon, Mercury, the sun etc. to tell his simple children’s fable. Ward posits that if Narnia was a true allegory, then why would Father Christmas show up as winter turns to spring? There would be no “Christmas” in Narnia, as Christ is depicted as the lion known as Aslan. They would have Aslanmas, but not Christmas in Narnia. But if The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was using Jupiter as a template, then Father Christmas would be the perfect carrier of a jovial spirit, Jove being of the words used in medieval literature to describe Jupiter. This book changed me as a story-teller because I was made aware of building a universe using atmosphere, not allegory.
  5. The Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
    Okay, it was between this or Moby Dick, but I assume most people already know about Melville’s masterpiece while few have tried cracking the Summa. Aquinas was a logician who became a man of faith and wondered if the two disciplines could be harmonized. Was the Bible also rational? He set out to write an exhaustive tome that covers a broad list of topics from animals to the beginning of the universe and asks questions, offers his answers then challenges his own arguments. The book is the toughest slog you’ll ever endure but it is a meticulous search for truth, and that is always to be admired.
    Go to my Goodreads Page

Inktoberfest the 14th - Willie Sings!

Pentel brush pen on copy paper.

Inktober 8th, Amphibiman

October 8, 2013

Inktober 8th, Amphibiman

Pentel brush pen on photocopy paper.

TenNapel Ink-toberfest

October 1, 2013

I recently got Jake Parker’s fine new book of drawings from his Kickstarter campaign and now I’m inspired to do some organic looking ships. Welcome to day 1 of Inktober. This was drawn using a Pentel brush pen on photocopy paper.

jakeparker

Though much of the game has been loosely designed the team needs something concrete and productive to work on. We need a goal to strive for that represents real progress on the game, so a good start is the first playable level.

A first playable level doesn’t have to be pretty, but it has to be functional. The main character Tommynaut should be able to walk on a floor, push a button and collect an item. The Unity engine will be up and working as we apply temp sound effects and make sure music plays, character animation can load, and the camera presents the best point of view for the player to experience the game.

While my designs are still images, it’s the magicians Mike and Ed at Pencil Test Studios who do the animation. The first playable level might have some puppet animate visible, but most of it is “pencil test” animation, which consists of roughly drawn, loose animation sequences that aren’t even cleaned up. The drawings still represent correct proportions and snappy timing, so they act as a playable proof of concept before we pull the trigger and devote expensive resources to final puppet animation.

We’ve got about a month to make the first playable level, but if it succeeds we’ll have a huge, reliable and definitive tool kit to make about 75% of the game! While Mike and Ed are working on this first playable level, I’m working on a super-tight design for the first 1/2 of the game. So if the first playable works out, we’ll be ready to go into production on the first half of the game, and the work being done will be very close to finish when it gets dropped into the working engine.

I’m amazed at the similarities between all of the art mediums I’ve experienced. Much like siblings, the early process for designing a game is near identical to making a TV show, movie or sculpture. Everything is planned on paper, and it has to start loose so that nothing feels like cement yet.

There’s nothing worse than going rock solid with an idea too early on because once I see something that looks permanent it’s hard for me to think of it any other way. A variety of solutions need to be explored before the best one is chosen. The problem with a bad game idea and a good game idea is that they look similar in the earliest stages.

But the reciprocal is also a problem in that if nothing is ever firmed up then the entire idea remains a ball of much for too long. Indecision is at least as destructive of a problem as is impulse.