Sharing Day, Emo Style

I need a break from Open Critique Days, though they'll return next week, but in the meantime I thought it would be fun to have another Sharing Day!

Here’s the deal:

You can ask me any question you like about whatever you like, which I will answer either completely truthfully or not at all (in which case you can ask something else). I say that because, come on, there are some things no one should have to know.

But you can only do so if you answer the following question about yourself (note that you don't have to ask me anything, if you'd rather not, but I'd still be interested in your answer):

What's the most emotional you've gotten over a piece of geekery, whether it be an RPG session, computer game, movie, novel, or what have you?

Here's my answer for that one:

Like everyone who's not dead inside, I cried at the end of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". But the bit of geekery that still gets me all teary even after having read it literally dozens of times is a very simple, unaffected short novel by Anne McCaffery, "Dragonsong". I always lose it at the end when she finally finds acceptance ... What's even weirder is that since I was in a "Fruity Pebbles for breakfast and lunch and dinner" phase when I first read it, I literally can smell that cereal every time I read the book. Bizarre.

Now it’s your turn! Try to keep them relatively clean and of the legal, non-lethal-if-known variety, please.

83 Responses to Sharing Day, Emo Style

  1. I get choked up and misty-eyed at the end of Monsters, Inc. Every. Single. Time.

    Here’s my question for the Jeff-Jeff-Jeffster: How annoying is it, after multiple upon multiple HM Character contests, to still have contestants mis-label their URL entries?

  2. Oh yeah, Monsters, Inc. rocks it. Luckily when you’re a 30+ year old male sitting alone in a dark theater, the other kids and their parents can’t see you crying. Sniffle.

    Actually, the irritation factor on the contests has gone from a high of 8 on a 10 point scale to about a 3, partly because my internet connection is so much more solid now and partly because about 90% of folks are doing it right, making the occasional straggler much less irritating.

  3. Heh. I have a similar experience every time I re-read ‘Tigana’. The ending of that book is such an emotional punch-in-the-gut that you can’t NOT be affected.

    I’d have to say the most emotional I’ve got over something geek-related would have to when I heard Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones’ was being developed as an HBO series. I went into a full-on frothing-at-the-mouth-with-joy geekboy meltdown of joy when I heard that news. I also may have made some inappropriate remarks around the internets about wanting to have the developers man-babies…

    So my question to you, Jeff, is this:

    What is your dream job within the world of graphic illustration? What would you consider the pinnacle of your profession, something you aspire to? (Besides making HM, which is already pretty damn awesome.)

  4. I always cry at the end of Return of the King (movie version). Always. It starts right about when Sam says “I can’t carry it for you mr. Frodo- but I can carry you!” and lasts until the credits roll. Never fails.

    To Jeff: What is, in your opinion, the most underused item or set of items in heromachine?

  5. I’ll add to the tear-soaked confession session: one could overlook the fact that I shed a few tears when both Yoda (Return of the Jedi) and Mr. Spock (The Wrath of Khan) died because at that time I was a child– though to this day when I watch Yoda struggle to get out “There…is…a-noth-er…Sky-y-walk-alk-er” then fade away, or Kirk fighting back emotion while delivering Spock’s eulogy, oh yeah it still hits me hard. However…

    I’ve heard in Basic Training that they subject you to what could come close to torture (…and next year (LW) I get to experience that firsthand.), but if those drill sergeants really want to torture these grunts they need to have them watch Toy Story 3. Chest pain, tightening throat, wobbling chin, you’re in for the fight of your life not to cry, jack!

    Finally, a question. Not from me, but from our Undisputed Liege, Dr. Doom.

    DOOM: Doom demands to know, Hebert, when will you finally acknowledge Doom as the greatest being of all time? Einstein, Alexander the Great, and Jesus have nothing on Doom. And yes, Doom went there! It’s inevitable, mind you. You will bow before DOOM!

    πŸ™‚

  6. Captain Kicktar

    I don’t get all that emotional from geekery, but I’d say the most I’ve ever been is when I first got to play with my new computer, only things left to replace this year are the mouse and monitor.

  7. Hmmm, that’s very hard to tell it. My father died like 8 years ago. In that case if i see a film or i read a book where someone lost his or her father i always cry.

    To Jeff: What you think what the way to someone make good draws. Talent or a lot of practicing.

  8. When I was a lil feller, I would tear up at the end of Return Of The Jedi. More recently, though, I have to admit when I watched the re-release of E.T. a few years back I started getting all misty-eyed. And, yeah, whenever my son watches Toy Story 3 I have to find something else to do at the end so I don’t get all weepy.

    And for Jeff, I think you’ve told us your favorite comic/sci-fi movie, so what’s you least favorite, and why?

  9. Me, Myself & I

    I still remember buying my very first role playing game, BASIC Dungeon’s and Dragon’s! My parents brought me around from mall to mall in Edmonton trying to find it because it wasn’t so popular in these parts around then. It took some work to find.

    Once I finally got it home I read through everything without taking a break and whole worlds of possibility opened to me. I had just discovered my life long hobby. Of course I’ve evolved to new games since then but I still remember, with crystal clarity, the book covers, the plastic dice (that you had to fill the numbers with crayon), the box.

    Hey Jeff, do you role play? And if so, what is your favorite RPG?

  10. I have the first, animated, Transformers movie. I almost cry every time I see the part where optimus dies! In fact, I cried the first time I saw that scene!!

    Out of curiosity, what gave you the idea to make Heromachine? Not that I hate it or anything, just curious.

  11. Imp (3): I’ve heard good things about Tigana, I’ll have to check it out.

    My dream graphics job would have to be … well, it really is to draw super-heroes all day, and I pretty much get to do that already. So I guess the next step up would be to be a full-fledged comics artist. Although I don’t think I really have the skill set or the patience for that. Still, that’s pretty much the childhood dream in a nutshell.

  12. Panner (4): See, I’m in a minority here, in that while I liked the LOTR movies, I didn’t really get buried in them. I can’t even bring myself to watch them a second time, strange as it is. And I enjoyed them the first time around, just not enough to want to do it again. Like I said, I know I’m in the minority on that.

    Let’s see, the most underused item or set of items in heromachine? That’s a hard one … I was looking through Sean David Ross’ UGO Forum posts the other day, and based on that, I’m going to go with Backgrounds. I mean, most people USE Backgrounds, but SDR layers them in such a way that they’re really interesting in their own right and make for some impressive scenes.

    So I’m going to go with Backgrounds, specifically the use of multiple scenes layered in such a way to make a convincing foreground, middle ground, and background scene.

    I’d be curious to hear how you and the other folks here would answer that question, though, since you all do a lot more actual creating in HM than I do.

  13. I had a Star Wars marathon about a month ago, and I must admit, it got pretty emotional. First off, when Qui-Gon Jinn got stabbed, I shed a few tears. Then, when Obi-Wan Kenobi said “We were brothers, Anakin!”, I started sobbing. Finally, at the end of Return of the Jedi (the new, redone version where they use the actor who plays Anakin in Episodes II and III) when Anakin shows up with Obi and Yoda and actually SMILES for the first time in… well, in a long time, I absolutely lost it. It took me about an hour to stop crying.

    I have been meaning to ask you, Jeff, what is your favorite Star Wars movie, and why?

  14. Joshua (5): Hey, good luck with Basic next year, that’s awesome!

    As for Doom, you seem to be implying that he did not go back in time and replace all the people you mentioned, so that in fact he already IS Jesus, Alexander the Great, Einstein, and more.

  15. Captain Kicktar (6): Computer nerdgasms are great, for sure. I used to get a rush when I’d boot up my newest construction and it would actually WORK! Or when I’d solve a particularly vexing troubleshooting problem.

  16. Tarkabarka (7): I’m sorry to hear about your loss. And in fantasy in particular, it seems like one parent or another is always being lost, that would make it tough to read that stuff.

    As for art, I’d say practice is more important than talent, up to a certain point. All the talent in the world doesn’t do you any good if you don’t work at developing it.

    But once you get into the “accomplished” level, where most anyone can get with enough hard work, then talent really starts to tell. I’ll give the example of “Amadeus”, where no matter how hard he worked, Salieri could never hope to achieve the dizzying heights that Mozart could from the time he was a child.

    No matter what, though, if you don’t put in the work, you’re not going to accomplish all that much. Practice is king.

  17. Wow this is great timing. I have been in a perpetual state of nerdgasm since last night. I had submitted the Jedi Shadow I made on HM3 to an art thread on the SWTOR forums, and this is what I found: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/TuldabarFanArt.jpg (a month after the fact of course πŸ™‚ Nevertheless, I wanted to share another’s rendition of our work. I think it’s awesome! And I have no idea how long I’ll feel ridiculously happy.

  18. Dan (8): Oh yeah, “ET” was rough. What a great movie; nobody can tug at the heartstrings like Spielberg. Or move bags of Reese’s Pieces.

    My least favorite comic movie would have to be Superman III, the one with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason. That movie was just like taking the big red “S” out back and taking a dump on it. I was pretty young when it came out, but I left the theater literally angry that they could make such a crappy movie out of my favorite character.

    For sci-fi, the only movie I’ve ever actually walked out on halfway through was “Battle Beyond the Stars”. I only went because I thought I was going to a 3-D movie out at the same time with a VERY similar name, and the acting and special effects were so bad I just got up and left.

  19. MMI (9): Have you looked into the Old School Revival movement? They go back to the original Holmes or Moldvay books and try to recapture the spirit of the early days of D&D. Grognardia and Jeff’s Game Blog are good resources for it. Sounds like neat stuff. And Grognardia’s “Dwimmermount” session recaps are a ton of fun to read regardless.

    Living in the middle of nowhere in (very) rural America as I have for the last ten years, I don’t have any opportunities to participate in RPGs any more, it all comes from the computer. I was big into WoW for a long time, for instance.

    But in college (and whenever we could thereafter) we played a lot of Champions, and that’s still the game I have the most experience with by far.

  20. I remember when I first saw the Resident Evil trailer in the theater. I kept thinking “Is it? Is it really? O. M. G. IT IS!” My eyes got bigger and bigger, as I felt the grin slowly creep across my face. I was so excited, I was almost hovering in the seat.

  21. Joe (10): I don’t think I ever saw that movie … NetFlix time!

    There were three major impulses that made me first want to create HM. First, I saw this massive notebook my nephews had put together full of football teams they’d made up, complete with logos and all. I thought it would be really cool if they had a tool so they could create what was in their imaginations, but which they didn’t have the drawing skill to render themselves.

    At the same time, my buddy was running his first Champions campaign, and since he couldn’t draw, he got me to create the Full Color Visuals (FCVs) for his villains. But that meant the surprise was spoiled for me as a player, because I knew ahead of time what they would look like and such. I thought it would be nice if other GMs who couldn’t draw had some utility where they could make exactly the FCV they wanted without ruining the game for their players.

    And finally, I wanted to learn how to program. I learn new things better if I have a specific project I want to create, so given those other two impulses (and fond memories of the Mighty Men and Monster Maker set I had as a kid), I settled on HeroMachine.

  22. Phantom Caliber

    I have to say the most emotional I’ve been is when my friends and I were recently playing an AD&D campaign. We were in a weird zoo of some sort (’twas during a Greyhawk setting) and the group’s other warrior doesn’t listen and charges into the room and slashes what appears to be an orc. It’s an illusionary gas-trap and EVERYONE in the group drops to 0 HP except the cleric. To make matters worse, the cleric is neutral evil and is VERY choosey about who he heals. He heals me (because I’m the stronger warrior of the two, and also evil, so we get along sometimes, the ranger, and the rogue. Everyone else remained dead. I was so worried that I would be left lying there on the floor,too.

    I don’t really have a question for Jeff. I just wanted to share my story with a community that would enjoy it. πŸ˜›

  23. zaheelee (13): I have to say, for me the big fight at the end between Anakin and Obi-Wan is by FAR the best moment in all three prequels. One of the great scenes of the whole series, actually, and you’re right, that line in particular resonates.

    For guys my age, the usual “favorite Star Wars” movie is “Empire Strikes Back”. All the juicy fights, the amazing visual effects never before seen on a big screen (thanks to a more generous budget after the unexpected success of the first film), and the massive cliffhanger ending all conspire to make that one really stand out.

    But for me, I still prefer the original, “Star Wars”. It had a sweetness and innocent earnestness to it that is missing from the later releases, in my opinion. I think the franchise relatively quickly got so massively successful that Lucas just retreated further and further into the safety of special effects over characterization, and I never cared about any of the characters in the later movies as much as I did about Luke, Han, Leia, and even the droids as I did in the original.

    I’m so old school!

    The only one of the three prequels I really enjoyed was the last one, and mostly for that big fight scene at the end as I mentioned.

  24. Tuldabar (17): How neat! Nice illustration, too.

  25. Thanks for sharing, Phantom Caliber! I’ve alway said there’s nothing as viscerally satisfying or engaging as a good face-to-face pen-and-paper RPG session.

    I have to say, I never have gotten too much into playing evil characters, even in CRPGs. I’m too square, I suppose.

  26. Besides having a genuine religious experience every time I buy some new comics (Seriously I was searching for a issue for the longest time and when I finally got it I nearly fainted) Also nearly going into a coma during the first Spider-man movie. I think my most embarassing moment was during one of the season’s of Smallville (I think it was season 3) when Chloe apparently died from a bomb planted by Lionel Luther…I was actually crying and the thought of losing Chloe! But actually I think it was the idea of not seeing Allison Mack on that show that brought tears to my teenaged eyes.

    So im curious on one thing…My all time favorite thing about HM is the contests. What is your thought process when coming up with contest themes?

  27. Pan’s freaking Labyrinth. I have never hated/feared a fictional character more than I hated/feared the stepfather in that movie. More nightmare-inducing even than the monster with the hand-eyes. And of course there were crying moments.

    It is probably the most brilliant film I’ve ever seen, but I will never watch it again.

  28. Pan’s Labyrinth was a hard film to watch for me as well, particularly because the villainous stepfather bears an uncanny resemblance to my own father. I spent half the film screaming “Why, Dad?! Why??!” in my head.

    In terms of my emotional attachment to geeky material, I often find myself emotionally invested in the well-being of Marvel and DC’s LGBT heroes to a ridiculous degree. Even if I’m not following their particular book I often wikipedia them to catch up on their adventures, make sure they’re all right. It sounds fairly ridiculous, but characters in that category don’t usually fare very well. When Obsidian was almost turned into an ‘Engine of Darkness’, I got so worked up I created a tumblr account specifically to post about it. At the risk of getting on a soapbox, here it is if anybody’s interested: http://druizs.tumblr.com/post/816276448/depictions-of-lgbt-characters-in-mainstream-comicdom

    I guess my question to Jeff is: Is there any particular comic book character you find yourself more attached to than others?

  29. My most emotional moment…well, I think it was in the StarGate SG-1 series when one of the secondary characters, dr. Janet Fraser (I hope I spelled the name correctly) died. I liked the character and the actor very much and was very disappointed that the actress abandoned the series, and I was extremely sad about character’s death, although it wasn’t main character.

    If it counts for an answer, here is my question. What do you think about things that make serious comics look non-serious (for example, LEGO Batman videogame or Marvel Super Hero Squad show)?

  30. Stupid cold that I’m getting right now. I feel rotten.

    Okay, so I actually have 2, and both of them came about the same time. To be fair, I had a lot of crap going on at that time in my life, so a lot of things ended up setting me off.

    The first one, I was re-reading the third book in the Dragonlance Legends trilogy, Test of the Twins. I already know what’s going to happen, but I’m getting near the end of the book, and Raistlin, finally redeemed, dies at the hands of Tiamat, and I have to stop because I’m so teary-eyed I can’t read the words anymore. Which I found weird because I didn’t cry the first time I read it. About a month later, I’m playing Final Fantasy 7 (first time through), and I get to the part where Sephiroth kills Aeris, and I’m crying so much I have to stop the game.

    I have no question yet, Jeff. My stupid sinuses are killing me and I’m having problems thinking of one. I’m sure I’ll come up with something later.

    MMI (9): Wow, I think you probably described the first time I got my first D&D set too.

  31. Me, Myself & I

    Myro (30) it must be an Alberta thing. It took a while for RPG’s to catch on in Oil Country.

  32. Definately, ET gets the top marks. Especially since I was just a kid when I first saw it. But, I’d have to say the most gut-reaction type emotion came at the end of Weiss & Hickman’s DeathGate Cycle. Not because it was so very touching, but because I had invested so much time in reading this SEVEN FAT BOOK series, getting to know the characters and looking forward to each book. I felt like they threw that all away with such ridiculous conclusion. I may have thrown the book across the room. I don’t think I broke anything.

    Or, when Wash died in Serenity. Sad, sad, sad.

    Or maybe watching B5: In a breathless voice, Catherine tells Sinclair, “don’t touch me, unless you mean it.” I think I threw up a little.

    Question… Hmm… what movie are you looking forward to being made?

  33. MSCat (26) asked:

    “My all time favorite thing about HM is the contests. What is your thought process when coming up with contest themes?”

    Honestly, waking up at 7 am in a blind panic. “Oh crap, I need an idea — what the heck am I going to do?!” Generally followed by a lot of flailing around and internet surfing until finally something not entirely lame comes to mind. Although I did finally wise up about a month ago and started keeping a text file with ideas in it, either mentioned here or ones that just come to me.

  34. DiCicatriz (28): “Pan’s Labyrinth” was a very powerful movie, definitely. I didn’t have the same visceral reaction to it, I just thought it was great.

    I guess my question to Jeff is: Is there any particular comic book character you find yourself more attached to than others?

    For whatever reason, I have a real soft spot for the Hal Jordan Green Lantern. And the Barry Allen Flash. Love those guys.

  35. Great article, by the way, DiCicatriz.

  36. Malfar (29): I don’t think I’ve even seen the original StarGate movie … that’s a pretty big Geek Fail on my part :-/

    What do you think about things that make serious comics look non-serious (for example, LEGO Batman videogame or Marvel Super Hero Squad show)?

    I think comics should be fun. If it’s fun and expands the audience enjoying them, then I’m all for it even if I personally don’t enjoy the particular product.

  37. Susie Q (32): I haven’t read any of the DragonLance books; something about fiction in a world of someone else’s creation turns me off, but that’s probably not a very fair attitude. If I were to start with one, which would you recommend?

    As far as what movie I am looking forward to being made, I’m probably most geeked up about the Thor movie. Looks awesome.

    If you mean a movie that’s not actually in production but that MIGHT get made one day … I’d most like to see a really, genuinely good Superman movie. One that treats the character well, that puts him in a situation where he can be SUPERMAN, not some emo God-replacement wannabe. Like, a whole movie with scenes like him catching a falling airplane, that also explores what it must be like to have that level of power, what it is that would drive such a person to live as the normal Clark Kent most of the time.

    Or, failing that, an adaption of the “All-Star Superman” book, that kind of over-the-top Silver Age style insanity. Although that would probably end up more as a farce than anything.

  38. Jeff (33): Not my question, more like just an observation. But it looks like you do a lot of what comes up on this blog via flying by the seat of your pants, huh?

  39. Myro, not only is “flying by the seat of my pants” the guiding principle of this blog, it’s pretty much the guiding principle of my LIFE. I’m a very “go with the flow” kind of guy; I believe some of the best things arise in their own time, in their own way, organically as a by-product of living your life and following your heart. So far it’s worked out pretty well.

    Don’t get me wrong, planning has its place most definitely, and I do some of that. But the best stuff for me has always seemed to come at the intersection of deadline and panic.

  40. I have several memories of times I got highly emotional (plenty of spoilers ahead):

    Final Fantasy 4: Just listening to the music, especially the opening movie song, the Red Wings’ theme song, and the song that plays when you’re in the center of the moon.
    Final Fantasy 5: When Galuf keeps fighting Exdeath despite being reduced to zero HP.
    Final Fantasy 7: I didn’t get quite so emotional when Aeris died, if only because I’d heard from a friend that it would happen beforehand, but I nearly cried when Nanaki found out the truth about his father. Also, the music was awe-inspiring.
    Final Fantasy 8: Different emotion here; you gotta admit, when you are running from a giant mechanical spider, and you have almost no HP left, you get a huge feeling of awesomeness and relief when your teacher comes in with a minigun and blows it to smithereens in an extremely well-animated bulletstorm. Once again, I have to mention the music as well.
    Final Fantasy 10: In the ending, when Tidus begins to disappear, then jumps off the airship and, without any speaking, shows that he’s forgiven his father. Also, any time Auron speaks, does anything, or is in the scene at all.
    Phantasy Star II: When Nei dies. Of course, there’s not a lot of emotion expressed in-game when it happens, since it’s a Sega Genesis game.

    My question: Do you have any tips for drawing wrinkles and the like in clothing? I have an extremely hard time deciding on where to put wrinkles or what direction they should go in, and in the end, my ineptness makes the picture lack that extra detail almost entirely. For a guy who mostly draws characters with loose clothing, that is a huge problem, and so I need help.

  41. Jadebrain (41): Clothing is hard. I have an entire book here (graciously given as a gift by FOHM John) just about how to draw folds and make them look convincing.

    The best advice I can think of is to do what they alway say — go draw from life. Hang out at a park or at the mall and watch the way clothing bunches and drapes. Keep in mind that there’ll usually be a point or two where the cloth hangs on, then drops down, like a curtain or drape does.

    Also check out some books or web sites on how to draw them from other cartoonists. This looked like a decent link, for instance.

    As always, draw draw draw!

  42. I cried at the end of “The End of Time” when David Tennant’s 10th Doctor “died” and again at the end of the last episode of “Cowboy Bebop”. And I always get depressed towards the end of the 1954 version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”.

  43. Jeff (39): Way to rip off the veil and take away the magic! Seriously though, you’ve mentioned coming up with things day of, or with little advanced notice enough times that I figured you weren’t planning that far in advance most of the time anyway. And the job you do here is generally so good, who am I to argue with the process?
    I know you asked this question of Susie Q, but if you are going to start reading Dragonlance, i’d suggest starting with Dragons of an Autumn Twilight and if that works, continue with the next two books in the Chronicles series.
    Now a question. I’ve been trying to (re)teach myself how to draw, and I’m using a Wacom tablet, but I’m not getting the hang of it. I’ve been using Photoshop, and part of it is that I’m not sure where the cursor is at all times, and I don’t feel connected to the medium. I may just go back to pencils and paper. Was it a difficult transition for you to use a drawing tablet the first time, and is there any advice you could offer me?

  44. Most people would probably assume that my most emotional geek moment would have been Spock’s death on ST:II, and that comes as a close second, but it’s actually the death of my first D&D character. Frogar was a mane I came up with when I first played Wizardry I (way back in 1984), and had stuck with the name throughout any other fantasy game… When I found D&D (in College 1990) I obviously crated him as a character. I had a wonderful time and lots and lots of adventures for almost a year and a half of playing almost every weekend. When he met his doom I was totally grief-stricken. And worse, it was because of something I did in the very first adventure… Playing with a Deck of Many Things. That got me a few good things but also an Outer Planar Enemy. The devious DM let me completely forget about it before he sprang that one up, and that encounter ended with Frogar dead, his soul trapped in Hell and, after a failed rescue attempt, half the party dead and the other half permanently retired.

    Now for comments (I don’t really have a question):

    @ams(40) OMG! Is that for real? Total geekgasm for me as I’ve always had a soft spot for WW.

    @Jeff: Have you ever seen Superman IV? Makes III look like an awesome movie (but then again so does comparing anything else to Star Trek V). On another Superman movie, have you ever gotten your hands on the Donner cut for Superman II? It’s EONS better than the theatrical release.

    1 other thing: Have you heard of this blog:
    http://lawandthemultiverse.com/
    Found it recently and have been having lots of fun reading it.

  45. the c battle in the chancellors quarters and order 66 always get me down, but there were times i damn near had a hernia from losing in pokemon and mario

  46. Myro (44): It does take a lot of time to get used to drawing with a tablet, particularly because you’re looking at a screen in front of you while your hand’s way over to the side. Your whole life you’re seeing your hand make the line on the paper you’re also looking at, it’s a weird transition to make so that you disassociate yourself from your hand while still feeling it’s connected to what’s appearing on the screen.

    Buddy John does not care for the tablets at all, he’s very much an old-school pencil (or brush or pen) and paper guy. A lot of people agree. And looking at my own actual drawing with the tablet, it’s definitely not as accomplished as a professional inker. But I don’t know if that’s mostly my fault for just not being that good, or if it’s the tool.

    I don’t draw in Photoshop hardly at all, so I don’t have any good advice for you there. You can change the way the cursor looks, I know that — so maybe go with the circle cursor instead of the default brush one. And make sure you’re using the pressure sensitive setting.

    One good way is to do with the tablet what you’d do with paper when first sitting down, making a bunch of strokes of various lengths and widths to get your hand accustomed to the motion.

    I also use lots of layers. I do a very rough, gesture-y pencil layer, then turn that to light gray and make a new layer on top of it to refine the lines, and repeat until I get a nice looking drawing. It’s like using tracing paper but faster and easier.

    But as always, practice practice practice is the only way to get used to it. And there’s no question that pencil and paper is still very much a living, viable medium, so if that’s what you feel most comfortable with, go for it. It’s just ridiculously faster for me to use Flash for what I need since that’s also what I’m programming in, but I don’t know of a lot of people who do that.

  47. Worf (45): Yeah, that was a steaming pustule of a movie. Horrid in all kinds of ways. But at least it was, you know, super hero beating up super villain. It was BAD, but it was HONEST. Superman III to me was like the entire production saying “Super heroes are stupid and you’re stupid for sitting here watching it.”

  48. I cried when Kira died in “The Dark Crystal.”

    No crying, just heart-sickening sadness at the end of the episode of “Friday the 13th: The Series” when Ryan Deleon is changed back to a little boy. Not only was that the end of his character, but I knew the show would suck thereafter.

    @Joe(10): The Transformers movie made me so mad. In the first two minutes they killed off the best Autobots from the original line-up. In a freaking explosion with them in stasis. Kind of “ok, they’s all ‘sploded so now we’sa gonna get new Audobops. We’sa make bomb cheap plastic onez nows.”

    As for the most under-used HM item… the Stegosaurus companion!

  49. Susie Q(32) made me think of two other geek moments I totally forgot about: the last couple of episodes of Babylon 5, where all the characters are saying goodbye (especially the episode where the whole thing is just following two janitors around as they shut down the station and reminisce); and the end of the first SciFi channel Dune miniseries, the part where princess Irulan realizes that she’s basically just been sold to a man who will never love her. The look on the actress’s face in that scene was so powerful.

  50. @Myro(44): Your comment on tablet drawing reminded me of this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Tablet-Monitor-Bundled-Whiteboard-Graphics/dp/B000HZD2VM

    Have you ever thought of looking something like that up?

  51. I watched Abrams’s “Star Trek” last night (so I knew exactly what all was going to happen) and I still bawled at three separate points in the movie.

    Do you have a single favourite-of-all-time creation someone’s made on HM3?

  52. Whit, that was a great reboot, no question. A really fun and bare-knuckled Trek experience … I need to watch that again soon!

    I don’t think I can pick just one out of all the fantastic entries as my all time favorite, there have just been too many that were absolutely stellar. Not an evasion, just the truth, for real!

  53. I almost always cry where I’m supposed to cry during movies, but I have to admit Tron Legacy was the first one to give me a creeping low-grade depression that lasted for three days (well, other than Night and Fog, but if you don’t get depressed after watching Night and Fog, you’re probably not human). Anyway, as soon as I saw Rinzler, I knew at least the broad strokes of what had happened, and it was like finding out a childhood friend had been crippled shortly after you last saw him. I still like the movie, and enjoyed it much more on the second viewing.

    So, let’s see, a question. Who are your favorite artists working today? (It doesn’t have to be in comics; I like cover artists Chris McGrath and Cliff Nielsen, personally.)
    http://www.christianmcgrath.com/MainPages/menus/thumbs_page1.html
    http://www.directoryofillustration.com/ArtistPortfolioThumbs.aspx?AID=1064

  54. Nicholas/GtaMythMaster43

    I always get teary eyed when King Kong dies. :”'(
    Always. And for anyone who suffered through Aeris’s death in Final Fantasy that always makes me go “Arrrghhhh!!!!”
    Oh and I always feel bad for the Rancor in StarWars for some reason…..so Jeff my question to you is, was there any time your nerdyness was confused by something “nerdy” you hadn’t heard of?

  55. I consider that an honest answer, no problem.

  56. My emotional geek moment: CROC. That is an awesome video game. granted I was a lot younger when I was playing it, but even so, at the later levels when things got difficult and I would die after getting so far into the level, I would scream like someone killed my parents. Also, in the opening cut scene where all the Gobbos get kidnapped by the evil sorcerer, that made me tear up every time.

    Question: Just curious if you really like the Asian genre very much. I mean Most of the characters I create on heromachine are based of of ninja, samurai, martial artists, anime etc. so, just wondering if you like it or not.

  57. I get really into stories, so I don’t think there’s any way I could pick just one or two movies or books that made me tear up or geek out. I guess I could somewhat arbitrarily pick Wash’s death for teariness (the second time; the first time I hadn’t seen Firefly yet so I didn’t know him well enough), and for geekiness either the first time someone says “Energize” in the latest Star Trek movie or the Dalek/Cybermen battle in the Doctor Who episode “Doomsday.”

    But probably the geekiest moment of my life so far was freshman year of college when I very nearly wept out of an overwhelming sense of awesomeness—in my first linguistics class. Almost six semesters later I’m still just as in love with the subject, if not more so.

    My question: (If it’s not too late…)
    The universe is falling apart and for some reason you alone can save it by summoning any one fictional character from any story to help you! Who do you pick and why?

  58. i watched Wall E for the first time last week when i was baysitting for a friend. thank god the kid fell asleep halfway trough, cause it became harder and harder to keep my eyes dry.

  59. x-stacy (54): Geez, I haven’t seen “Tron: Legacy” yet either. I suck!

    My favorite artists today are Chris Samnee, Bryan Hitch, Ryan Ottley, Mark Schultz (the “Cadillacs and Dinosaurs” guy) … I know I am forgetting a couple. I’m pretty bad with names, John was always way more up on the creators. I tend to get so lost in the stories and art that I forget humans made them :-/

    Those are all comics guys, mostly because despite an art degree I am functionally illiterate when it comes to most stuff done outside of comics. Such a Philistine.

  60. Nicholas (55): I liked the Rancor too, he got a raw deal. And Kong dying is definitely a tear-tripper for me, too.

    I’m not sure I understand the question, but yeah, there’s a ton of nerdy stuff I’ve never heard of. Quite a few in this thread, actually! For instance, while I know I’ve played at least one of the Final Fantasy games, I don’t know who Aeris is. And I’m completely clueless on 99% of Manga stuff.

  61. joel (57): “The Asian genre” is pretty broad … I like ninjas and samurais and martial artists a lot, from your example, but I don’t read any Manga. I’m not very much into the “Giant Robot”, Mech Warrior type of genre, which largely came from the East, I think, but I don’t hate it or anything.

    On a slightly different tack, I don’t much care for the big-eyed, small-nosed, gaping mouth style of facial illustration you see a lot in Anime and Manga. It works fine in context, it’s just not my cup of tea, probably because I just haven’t read a whole lot of it. But in terms of illustrations coming out of HM, that’s just not the style of drawing of the items so it never looks quite right in my opinion.

    That’s separate from the other stuff though; I love me some ninjas and samurai and such as much as the next guy, in general.

  62. logosgal (58): I think it’s awesome you’re so into your subject! Linguistics is pretty amazing stuff.

    And that’s a great question, I might steal that for next week’s Poll Position.

    Hmm … I’m tempted to go with Jehova, but if you pick the one from the Old Testament, he already wiped out virtually all life once in the Flood, so he might decide the universe was ending because we’re wicked and leave us high and dry. The New Testament version wasn’t very active, so again, I don’t know about “summoning” him. And also, of course, a lot of people wouldn’t consider any of that fictional, so it might not qualify.

    “The universe” is a pretty big thing, so few comic book characters would be useful. There’s the Beyonder, but he’s so capricious it’s hard to think he’d be much help.

    So I’d go with … um … how about Odin? He’s prepared for the end of the world, but knows he will fight to the death to prevent it. He commands a whole legion of bloody-handed god warriors, but cares enough about humanity to put up a fight.

    Boy, that’s a tough question. Who would you pick? I feel like I’m missing out on a huge number of possible solutions from general fiction but nothing’s coming to me at the moment.

  63. Feel free to steal it! I’d love to hear what other people think!

    Odin’s a good choice, I never would have thought of him! I would indeed disqualify Jehova, though, because the character does have to be indisputably fictional. I guess that would technically disqualify Odin, too, because there at least was a time when people believed in him, but I don’t know anyone who still does, so I’ll let it count.

    When I first started thinking about this, the Doctor from Doctor Who was who I thought of. (And that was the most common answer when I asked my Facebook friends.) But I, too, feel like I’m missing a lot of possibilities that I either haven’t heard of or just can’t think of. Which is why I like to ask other people. πŸ™‚

  64. Re: DragonLance: this was not a DragonLance series. I read a few non-DragonLance series, which all ended poorly and put me right off Weis & Hickman. So, wrong person to ask. πŸ™‚

  65. Okay, this was recent. I was watching Young Justice, the newest peice of DCAU to hit TV, the episode “Downtime”. In one scene, the Flash Family has gathered to celebrate the birthday of none other than JAR GARRICK! (For those of you so underprivileged to not know who he is, Jay Garrick is the Golden Age Flash and the very first DC speedster.)
    I ran down the hallway screaming “Jay Garrick is on TELEVISIOOOON!” And scared my poor sister half to death. I then proceeded to jump up and down and yell at her that Jay Garrick! had apeared on Young Justice. She of course, did’nt really care and was extremely annoyed. But I was ecstatic.

  66. @Jeff: Nothing to do with the topic of the thread but I couldn’t let this pass: I was just watching an episode of Bizarre Foods and Andrew Zimmern goes to a store called Hebert’s Specialty Meats. I thought that was a funny little tidbit even if it has nothing to do with your family. πŸ™‚

  67. Worf (67): I had a friend (IRL, but this nickname’s stuck with me for a while) e-mail me a picture of “Myro’s Drug Store” from where he now lives.

  68. @Myro: Yeah, I know the feeling. There’s a fashion designer here in Brazil that has the same first AND last name as me. I obviously have a picture of me in front of one of his stores πŸ™‚ I just wish there were someplace with Worf in the name so I could have that picture as well…..

  69. Worf: We Heberts get around!

  70. Jeff: That’s kinda cryptic… Are you trying to not say that your family DOES have something to do with that place???? πŸ˜›

  71. Worf, not related to my family in any way as far as I know. Didn’t mean to be cryptic πŸ™‚

  72. Jeff, Hehehehehehe, just pulling your leg buddy. πŸ˜‰

  73. this is a hard one I get pretty emotional at times. I was going to say I cried when aries dies in FF VII but that seems to obvious to me. I get pretty misty easily actually (i almost cried when the lightning bug dies in princess and the frog, also when mustafha dies)
    I usually feel a bit down everytime I watch the end of Cowboy bebop as well.
    Most recently I nearly cried watching dispicable me, Seeing how much Gru cares for the girls at the end reminds me of how much I care about my own daughter.
    but enough with the crying, which isnt that uncommon with movies (or FF VII)

    For a more purly geeky expereince, I absotutly Hate Jacen Solo. He is a godo chracter but I hate him on an emotional level. For those that don’t know Jacen is the son of Han and Leah and He turns out to be a big jerk. In the Star Wars Legacy books (which take place about 40 years after “A new Hope”) Jacen falls to the dark side.
    So when did I decide that I hated him? Jacen tortured his own cusin and former aprentice Ben Skywalker when this occured in the novels I seriosuly got Pissed off. I was like “it is official I hate Jacen solo” I was incredibly emotional even now thinking about it I want to some how transport myself into the star wars univers and punch Jacen in the face. (I also want to wield a lightsaber and learn mando)

    Perhapes my stranges emotional moment comes from watching transformers the movie (as in the animated one) When optimus Prime dies. I knwo alot of people that get misty eyed when thsi occures I however get excited. I actually smile every time I watch that movie, because megatron finally wins. Even as a kid this made me happy for somereason.

  74. oh I forgot my question.

    Who is your favorite random/suporting (non main character)character in the Star Wars franchise?

  75. Way behind in my email, but here goes: In the second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Covenant has the unenviable duty to tell the questing Giants what happened to their lost kin. As he describes their tragic deaths, their restless spirits act it out, trapped by their own grief and the undying malice of their murderer.

    My geek tearjerker is when Covenant enters the bonfire that was built so that the living Giants could express their anguish at the story (Giants in that world could not be harmed by fire, but the pain helped them deal with their more extreme emotional outbursts), and fills the flames with his Wild Magic, making it possible for the dead to heal themselves and escape the continuous reenactment of their deaths.

    I can’t think of a question, but I enjoyed what others shared, so I wanted to contribute.

  76. Nick Hentschel

    “Independence Day,” when Randy Quaid gives up his life: it always brought a tear to my eye.

  77. I feel like I need to elaborate on Jeff’s comment regarding me and tablets (#47).

    It’s not that I don’t like tablets out of hand – far from it. I use a Wacom Intuos 4 myself for all of my digital creative needs, including the work I do in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, to name a few. A tablet is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. And as with any tool, the higher the skill level of the user, the more useful the tool.

    My completely unsolicited advice for Myro (#44) would be that if you’re just learning how to draw, then put down the Wacom tablet and pick up your pencil.

    As someone who has not only been drawing for as long as Jeff, but who has also been teaching illustration and design for a few years as well, my impression is that folks who are just starting out tend to think that the technology will somehow magically make them better than they would be otherwise. This is patently not true.

    Technology may improve efficiency, work flow and process. It may provide creative options that were previously unavailable. It may do any number of things that are unique and helpful. But what it will NOT do is magically make you understand the fundamentals of good draftsmanship and visual communication. Developing your own understanding of spatial relationships, form, shape, composition – that takes time and practice that is BEST done (in my opinion) with a pencil or pen and paper. Period.

    Again, this is not to say that the Wacom tablet and Photoshop do not have their place. As an example of old school meet new school with mind-bending results, I offer up the excessively talented Mr. Brian Bolland as an example of how a master uses technology, and you can’t even tell that he’s using it: http://brianbolland.net/lessons/gotham_nights_37/gotham_nights_introduction.html

    I should point out that Bolland gets these results because he is ALREADY a master of his craft. He can already illustrate circles around the vast majority of the global population, so his digital craft is built upon a rock solid foundation of practical hand craft. There are any number of people out there who use the exact same tools Bolland uses and they don’t get nearly the same results – because they don’t have his same level of fundamental understanding of hand craft.

    Lastly, I’ll add that folks will often ask me for books they can pick up to learn to draw. I am not kidding when I say that Stan Lee and John Buscema’s How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way is among the best of them out there. It’s rock solid. Once you get past Stan’s goofy copy, you understand that you’re learning to draw from John Buscema. And that, my friends, it worth it’s weight in gold.

    Good luck!

  78. Wow, those took awhile to read. Okay. I have two emotional moments, actually. Boy, being a guy, this one is going to be embarrassing. When I was a kid, Sailor Moon was still coming on Cartoon Network, and there was a scene where Serena’s boyfriend, Darian, apparently died. It wasn’t so much I was into the story, I think it was just the well-done voice acting, that wrenched my 10-year-old heart into such a sorrowful feeling for the character.

    In more recent vintage, there was a massive plot twist in the game Manhunt II- I know, I know, I got emotional about a really violent and murderous game- that just had me going “Oh my God! It’s a total Mindf**k! I can’t believe that!” Definitely one of the better ones I played in my PS2 heyday.
    Oh, and every scare moment in Resident Evil 2. πŸ˜‰

    Well, Jeff, you happened to ignore my question last time ’round, so I now reserve the right to two!
    Last time, I asked “what’s your favorite color?”
    This time, I want to know “Have you ever enjoyed Mardi Gras?” I ask for your mention of being one-quarter French before this πŸ˜€

  79. Brad, sorry for the ignore last time. Typically after the actual day these get posted on, I consider them closed. But I should probably actually close them if that’s the case.

    My favorite color is blue, and honestly I have never enjoyed Mardi Gras despite having been born and raised in Louisiana. Big crowds and lots of drinking aren’t really my cup of tea.

  80. Well, I can say that when I was first building a computer, dropping the processor in was a very good feeling. I think it kind of cemented me in as a techie, regardless of me being a woman. I still get a special rush when I do something like that, whether it’s repairing a physical peripheral to a network (my career, fyi) or even when installing fiber-optics. It may sound strange, but since it’s so fragile, I feel like I’m weaving silk or some other precious material. Knowing you have this delicate piece of something deeply desired, and your hands are some of the few hands in the world that can make it what they want it to be, I somehow find that special. I also felt just awful as a rookie when I broke a few!

    As for a question, you obviously have to deal in logic to program the HeroMachine, but also creativity to draw and compose the items. Which side would you say you gravitate more toward?

  81. Good question, Blackjack, my wife has wondered about that same thing from time to time. I feel drawn equally to both, probably, in alternating stages (which is why I veer from months of nothing but drawing to months of coding). But I think I’m much more a natural when it comes to the creative side of things.

  82. A rotation of the two? I like the thought of that. I’m very limited creatively, but I do doodle, so Hero Machine experiments are sort of my creative mind going wild. It’s my favorite thing to tweak around with on lunch breaks when I get the chance. πŸ˜€