Tuesday, August 14, 2018

RtGF

Okay, so I had this plan to stop messing around with ideas about the older versions of Dipper and Mabel and actually create something with it. I had this whole plan called "Return to Gravity Falls," taking place when they return to Gravity Falls to attend college there (I hoped I could kind of develop it as I had my own experience so it'd be authentic).
Then I read the wonderful, delightful Gravity Falls: Lost Legends comic, and in a single beautiful, wonderful story it pulled the rug out from under basically all my plans. I'm not upset though. I'm happy they did it so much better than I would've! Part of what this project showed me is how far I still have to go before I can write something as weird and great as Gravity Falls. I was originally going to ignore that and just put out something just to prove that I could, buuuut Lost Legends.
I wasn't going to post these drawings, but since my plans are kind of up in the air I figured I'd go ahead and share them. The above image is finalizing some notes I had about the older Mabel and Dipper design. Originally I was going to have Mabel's braces removed now, but then one of my younger cousins threatened my life if I did that. Plus Dana Terrance, an actual Gravity Falls artist, drew Mabel with braces when she recently drew a non-canon adult Dipper and Mabel.

The adult version of Dipper was going to be a little more confident and even more self-aware than the original series. Mostly I just drew this to practice his jacket.
Okay, so in the pilot episode, I was doing a theme of Mabel and Dipper feeling separated by college due to their widely different class schedules and such. Mabel, who would feel worried about being distanced from her family, was going to learn to not let it get in the way of making other life-long friendships (Which was also going to be the theme of the whole series, the same way the moral in the pilot of Gravity Falls, trust your family, was basically the theme of the whole show. I was planning to expand on that theme to include everyone, family or not). And Dipper, who was excited to meet people just like him, was going to learn to not let that keep him from letting his family still support him.
To illustrate the theme of everything falling apart, I wanted some kind of unexplained disaster to keep happening to the college buildings and parody a disaster movie. I wanted it to feel natural to Gravity Falls, and I wanted it to be a callback to a throwback joke from the original show. Hence, big woodpeckers. Dipper and Mabel would have seen birds flying away from the disasters the way birds do in cartoons. Then at the climax Dipper would suddenly realize, "Wait a minute! The birds aren't flying away from the disaster. They are the disaster!"

In the real show, Dipper had a rival named Robbie, and I wanted Dipper to have a new rival in this show. So I drew from the original design for the real character Wendy and created Cath. Something I sometimes think to myself is "natural friends like different things for the same reasons, and natural enemies like the same things for different reasons." Dipper does indeed meet someone like him, but she's a nightmare. Cath's a budding paranormal investigator, like Dipper, in the "Videography Club" that Dipper joins, but she does it to disprove or ridicule the odd things instead of to prove that they exist. She'd also maybe fill the cynic role left by Grunkle Stan (since his being in Antarctica with Ford would be one of the major plot points), and she was also tied to Mabel's plot arc in the series. Oh well.
This image would have been during the theme song. I wanted to give the feeling of Gravity Falls being a real place in the world, and of the feeling of returning to it (obviously). The reason Gravity Falls: Lost Legends effectively destroyed my plans (happily) is that (spoiler alert), there's a story in there about Mabel truly learning to accept and apologize for her selfishness. It's beautiful. It's hilarious. And it's exactly what I was going to address in this unofficial continuation. Return to Gravity Falls was going to focus on Mabel and her journey years after she caused the apocalypse, but in Lost Legends, Mabel specifically says to Dipper "It's time for us to start some new adventures! And this time I won't always hog the spotlight." It's a beautiful moment. Who am I to ruin it? Maybe I'll come up with something else someday, but I've got some growing to do before then. And who knows what God plans? Maybe someday I'll get to work with other people with their own ideas who love Gravity Falls as much as me? Anyway, I'm happy just sharing this. Thanks God.

Can You Hear Me?

This picture is some old art I did to illustrate the hard science fiction short story "Hello, Hello" by Seanan McGuire from the short story series Future Visions. I came across my drawing again recently, and I still like it. So I wanted to put it up here before I go back to college in a few days. The short story is about a woman in computational linguistics who designs a language converter that uses avatars to bridge the gap, especially so that her deaf sister can talk normally to people without them knowing. So she uses sign language, and the computer avatar talks out loud on the other end. However, the woman's daughter begins to use the program to talk to someone different who is using the aunt's computer. And because of the system, the mom has no idea who it is. It's incredibly well written, and I won't spoil the twist here. But I really liked it. So I drew one idea of what it would be like here. 

It's my old style of drawing with no pupils, and it's clear I still need to practice drawing hair. It's just so weird to practice, though. The woman has the short, choppy, shoulder length hair I usually default to. Though for the daughter's hair I did try to capture the kind of stringy, all-over the place look of a girl her age. I added a few futuristic touches to the clothes and computer table. For example, the pattern on the mom's shirt is based on the patterns of "spray-on clothes" I've only seen videos of. But the biggest future touch was artistic license. Reading the short story, it seems like the avatar is definitely not a hologram, but I wanted to show it from the back to give the audience that uncertain feeling. For the avatar's head, I tried to kind of duplicate the too-perfect odd-looking shape of a CGI person like in Tron Legacy. Not sure how well I succeeded, which probably means I didn't. I still like it. Mostly, I just like the difference in expression between the mom and daughter. God is good.