Sunday, March 25, 2012

Emerald City Comic Con

Next weekend is the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, WA!  
I'll have a small sketchbook available, with a silly title.  It'll have the regular Billie, unicorns, banana cat sketches, and Harpy Gee, a failed cartoon pitch.

I'll be at table D-17 in artist alley for whoever wants to bug me.

As for what Harpy is...
"Harpy Gee" was a personal project I started towards the end of working on "Teen Titans".  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I was having fun drawing Harpy the green haired elf, and her group of friends she went on adventures with.
Harpy is a young elf, who has the handicap of being unable to fly or use magic, which she learns to use to her advantage in a world full of magic users.  She runs away from home, and gets a job working at an item shop in a small village, and begins taking on all the local jobs that no one else would ever want to do.  Be it teaching the local brats, or defeating the stinkiest and meanest  barbarian.  She also has an indestructible pet goblin cat named Pumpkin, who devours and keeps any tools she may need.  Just like a real cat!

A few years back when I was having trouble finding work, a shorts program started up at Cartoon Network, called the "Cartoonstitute".  Feeling like there was nothing to lose, I pitched Harpy, and found those running the program very supportive!  I had to brave one of my worst fears: STORYBOARDING.  I made a clunky animatic on my tired old Dell computer, music gratefully used with permission from "The Oneups!"
In the end, the shorts program went in a different direction, and Harpy was shown around to a few other studios.  I don't think it'll ever happen, after being told, "Make Harpy a boy", "put her in highschool on Earth", "it's too scary", "it's too cute", "boys won't watch it", "make her an animal"... but I learned a lot from pitching, and have a good idea on how to put a presentation together.  I'm not bitter, but I don't think I will pitch something original again for a long time.  It's seems like time is better spent making a book, or making a film and putting it on youtube.  Hopefully there will be some free time this summer, it'd be fun to draw these characters again and try making a Harpy mini comic.
Much learned from pitching Harpy has been useful in current projects I've worked on, especially much of the DC Nation shorts.  As scary as making a cartoon is, if I have to storyboard, I know I can do it.  If I have to direct, I can do it.  The production won't catch on fire, people won't lose their limbs, asteroids won't come tumbling to Earth, and zombies won't come out of a dark closet and eat my brain.  It'll be ok!
Hard work and guts!

I'm also curious how the next few years are going to be for female characters in animated tv shows.
"Legend of Korra" just started on Nickelodeon, and is amazing!  Lauren Faust did an excellent job with the current "My Little Pony" and "Super Best Friends Forever" shorts.
I've been really happy getting a chance to work on Amethyst too. Sword fighting magical girls is right up my alley!

Now that I'm starting to have a life again, it's time to figure out what the next book will be about.  Banana Cat, Smudge, or Harpy?


Mister Twister said...

Do the Harpy Gee book. DO IT!~!

Lady Garland said...

Harpy sounds amazing! I'm glad that you're still pushing forward with it on your own terms!

Betsy Bauer said...

You're an inspiring lady, Brianne.

Lanin said...

I'm hoping for the best - there's always room for girls with swords!

Deleted said...

I can't wait to see Harpy - it sounds awesome! Sounds like it's something that will really appeal to the geeky fantasy/gamer girls. I hope the crowd for it jumps up and surprises anyone who dared to tell you she should be a boy based on the content. :P

C h e r r i ! Chelene said...

Oh my goodness. I really want you to try pitching this again! I think it's adorable and I, a 19 year old, would definitely watch it. Elves and things are pretty popular right now as well as female characters. So please!! Please try again I would love to see this on tv. But, where can I read the comic? Unless it's not made already..

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this was the pitch you were talking about, last I met you? :]

Either way, this sounds like an amazingly magical (or not?) story! I would love to see the adventures of a young elf in a magical land. Especially if said elf cannot do magic.. I bet the possibilities are endless for funny, cute, sad, and interesting tales!!!!!

PotatoFarmGirl said...

Wow thanks everyone! I'd been working on this so long, wasn't sure anymore if this idea had any worth. Very interested in trying a small comic over the summer. Something I would probably learn a lot from!
It would have been nice to have had Harpy animated, but que sera.

Thanks! I do often think what I would've wanted to watch when I was in high school, and that still influences my personal projects. School was not a favorite time for me, I couldn't wait to be done with it. The last thing I wanted to do when I got home was watch more drama involving it. I just survived the day, I'd rather watch Batman, Robin, Batgirl, or Sailor Moon, or Pirates of Dark Water. Probably why I played so many video games at the time too, it's a form of escape.
Maybe I've been sheltered and naive, but I was not expecting to run into close mindedness for having a female lead at some of the studios. Granted it's been a couple of years since I really tried, and it's looking positive out there with Korra and other amazing animation picking up the slack. I'm optimistic for the future, and with as many girls getting into animation, the studios are going to have to bend eventually. :)

Most likely it was Harpy. Her inability to use magic was going to be a huge focus, and I tend to like stories that can balance humor with risk. My story telling skills are not the strongest, and working on this pitch was an assignment I'd given myself to help me grow. It definitely has problems, but working on Harpy and Billie has helped me learn how to storyboard, design, and driven me to still animate. Even if those are just small snippets on my free time. It can be heartbreaking showing something so personal to be judged by others, but in the long run the experience was rewarding. I've met many wonderful and creative people! It's also led to some surprising and rewarding projects. <3

Abby Goldsmith said...

Aw, Brianne. That's too bad. I know how much work you put into it.

I think you should keep it in the back of your mind as a TV show. Be ready for an opportunity that falls into your lap from out of the blue, just in case.

Or (if you have tons of free time and get crazily ambitious), you could make 2 to 5 minute animated episodes, and promote the hell out of it. YouTube is an open frontier right now.

You might also show it on Amazon Studios, or other non-traditional venues. I think if you had one or two short episodes, a channel would seriously consider it. Your artwork is awesome. I can see a series like this taking off.

I'd like to collaborate with you on a casual game sometime. When I get my own studio up and running ...

Eli said...

Hi Brianne! We were at Comic Con today and bought your Billie the Unicorn book for my 6 year old daughter, Anna, who you signed it for. We read it tonight and she LOVED it! What a cute story, and the art was fantastic! She said this was definitely going on her "favorite books" shelf. I'm so glad we stopped by your booth today!

Lady Elara said...

Banana Kitty!!! They are soo super cute!

I am really happy I got to meet you during the con. You are a amazing person. Btw after I left I finally read the "Watch out for the marmots" comment. I laughed out loud during the panel. My boyfriend and I have been having fights about them being real. Why do people outside of Spokane not know about marmots T____T

I hope I get to see you again someday! If you come to a con in Western Washington let me know.

You and other people at the cons have inspired me to draw to do a comic no matter how little time I have.

paul said...

Wow, Brianne, you must of had a helluva time trying to get your show off the ground, too bad it was unrealized. Keep up the good work.

-Polyvios C.

Your characters are awesome and fun in their own little way;You and me want no changes from those foolish execs. Who cares about what they say about Harpy Gee? I can tell you, in that respect, your audience is out there and what you're doin' is cute, funny, and appealing.

You can be free to make stuff for you, me, and all our friends.