Part of my year was spent doing character designs for a show for Disney XD. Every time I tell people that they freak out about the Disney part of that story, but there’s some pretty great design design stuff happening on that channel, and a lot of it is thanks to the guys at Titmouse Animation. Titmouse was who I dealt with, actually, and I never really had any direct involvement with anyone from Disney so my hands are clean of any mouse droppings.
Anyhow, my involvement was in designing the main cast and then I followed up with a ton of creature designs that I’m guessing would show up in a second season. Mostly I did conceptual work that looked somewhat less like the stuff of mine people are used to from ZIM, but the end result ended up being pushed more towards that familiar look. At some point I should post some of what I drew so you could see the differences.
My favorite thing about the finished product, however, is the fantastic title sequence directed by Kevin Dart and produced by Passion pictures. It’s way more it’s own thing, more of a hybrid of things that are clearly mine but in the hands of someone that’s just working their highly distinctive magic with it. When working with animators, there are times when I’m happiest seeing someone not just aping what they THINK is my style, when something unique and interesting results from them taking it a direction it’s not been seen in.
I had never met Kevin before, but I was a fan of his artwork, and the first thing I did after watching the show was email him to say thanks for his part in it. It’s still one of the best feelings designing some elements that then get handled by people who make it do shit you never imagined.
So I had a day one at Invadercon, but this post won’t be my usual detailing of the events (I’ll save that for a future post, maybe). This post is more about how my signings have worked out.
The way a lot of these conventions work out is that people charge for autographs and such, softens the blow of sitting and risking all manner of anal deformities resulting from being on one’s ass all day. It’s a dangerous life, sitting for a living! It’s just the way it goes and that’s cool.
I’ve never charged for autographs, though, so we had to figure something out for this particular convention since the standard practice there was artists being compensated in some way! What I ended up doing was a pretty nice screen print for a select number of fans who shelled out a little more than the price of a standard ticket in return for some extra goodies. That way the convention guys pay me for doing the print but I’m still not charging everyone to get an autograph!
So yesterday – and I don’t know why I didn’t really realize this was how it would work come signing time – I found myself signing ONLY for the people that bought those magic tickets! My Jewish guilt kicked in immediately (I’m not Jewish but I have a lot of Jewish friends and they breath on me a lot) and I felt like a bunch of people showed up at the convention and weren’t able to access my laughably terrible scrawl all over their belongings.
Basically, I’m hoping to be able to sign as much stuff as I can for everyone today, the last day of this convention. People traveled from crazy places of the world to be here and it seems wrong to deny them the joy I just can’t help but spread. With great power comes great something something. If you’re attending the convention and don’t have a pass, cross your sweaty fingers and please don’t touch me with them.
These INVADERCON screen prints showed up earlier, delivered to me by a shadowy figure around midnight, the way most of my stuff shows up.
I designed these for the INVADERCON hootenanny happening this weekend, and after I sign them they’ll end up in the probably sticky hands of the 200 people whose hands were SO sticky that only these industrial strength, screen-printed hand-wipes could cut through the grime.
I’m pretty happy with how the things turned out, and the thick chipboard paper stock gives them some serious heft. Mama’s Sauce printing did a damn fine job on these.
Like I said, these aren’t so much for sale as already sold, but the owners are only flesh and blood, right? You get what I’m saying!
I’m doing it again! I’m drawing things I’m not supposed to be doing! Very important people call me up to have me work on their very important things and they say “Jhonen, we need this thing FAST and only YOU can do it for us because you’re sooOOooOoo cool!?
I graciously agree to do the work for them, and then I always start doing exactly what I shouldn’t, like drawing that guy up there thinking of some kind of…nuclear nub thing, when really what I should be doing is saving the world or whatever it is I’ve been hired to do by whatever secret agency. Ah well, it only took a few minutes and I’m sure the world is juuuuust fine.
I’ve been attending conventions since the JTHM days, my very first being an Alternative Press Expo back when it was still held in San Jose, and so from the day I started going to comic conventions, Rikki Simons has been there with me. Sure, I don’t always go to these things WITH him, and sometimes we’re not at the same booth, but I’ve sat next to the guy for years and years now, and one of the best things about it, at least since he did the voice of GIR on INVADER ZIM, is getting to watch a couple of particular things go down when fans approach him.
The first thing is they’ll sometimes (very often) ask Rikki to say some favorite GIR line of theirs, whether it be “I dancin’ like a monkey!” or sing The Doom Song or some such thing, and Rikki gets this look on his face, this look that I know means he’s wondering whether to go through his old spiel about how we pitched his voice up to get the GIR voice and that his real voice is deeper and less robotic than their beloved green horror, or whether to just go ahead and say the line knowing most people are just too polite to point out that GIR suddenly sounds like a sleepy, convention-sick monster.
So he’ll eventually let out some little bit of dialogue and the fans will smile or laugh or they’ll cry in horror at what sounded more like Bloaty than little tiny GIR.
There’s a select few that look like maybe they’ll actually bring up the difference in vocal quality, and for those Rikki reserves a special, almost telepathic look that pretty much says “You ask me to do another line and I will punch your throat so hard you’ll shit out your screams from your ass because I’m not sitting here to dance for you, you goblin.”
The other thing is when people ask Rikki to draw GIR for them, and that’s maybe my favorite, and you can see why by the image included up there. Just LOOK at that GIR! He’s a deformed wonder, and yet manages to look strangely put together and way more sane than the real deal. It’s so bad it just makes me laugh and that’s really what it’s all about, right? Making people happy, and making them shit their screams out their asses.
Did you know there was a convention dedicated to INVADER ZIM going on soon? I had heard about INVADERCON last year but didn’t really imagine it being a real thing, more like one of those bazillions of stories I hear about things I’m somewhat connected to only with absolutely no basis in reality. As it got closer to 2011 it became more and more obvious that it was actually happening and was actually snatching up a few guest appearance from actors, writers and crew like Richard Horvitz, Andy Berman, Rikki Simons and Kevin Manthei, with a special appearance by one of the janitors that would come in at night and clean up all the food that we’d just let fall from our mouths when we were done eating. Continue reading →
S’been a while since I caught people up on just what it was that was going on up here in my space station that, upon closer examination, is suspiciously like a television box under a bridge.
Look, enough of this chit chat, yeah? To the infos!
I mentioned on my Twitticus page that I was looking for an artist to collaborate with on a comics project, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. One of the toughest things about the venture is that, being an artist m’self and having what would be considered a ‘signature’ style (generally defined by a mess of black ink and vomit), when anyone hears I’m looking for an artist they generally assume I want someone that does pretty much what I’m already known for doing, which isn’t exactly the case. Continue reading →