Interior Design, Let's Go!

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the first installment of the Wunderkammer Tour. There are about 150+ rooms in the entire museum, so this is going to take a long time; in the same way that Stephen Colbert has covered about 50 of all the state districts in the five or so years he's had his own show. But I digress.

Today is a special day; we're visiting two rooms! First, the Greco-Roman Sculpture Garden. This room is located at the center of the building, and--as you can easily see--spans all three floors (excluding staff quarters; those are on the fourth floor). The idea for a central courtyard came from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in my old haunting ground, Boston. In the Wunderkammer, the first floor (arcade?) consists of doors framed by Doric columns and capped with traditional triangular pediments copied from actual architectural features Bastian and Edmund obtained in Greek and Rome. Second floor is basically a balcony with a Greek-inspired banister, and the third floor is similar except for Ionic columns and overgrown planters. Also, fun villa roofs!

Now we'll jump up to the 3rd floor, to the Common Room (Staff Lounge, whichever you prefer). All of these sketches are freehand and in pen, which is why there are certain glaring errors in each and every one, like how the ceiling details...don't...quite...line up correctly :\ Essentially the Common Room is just a glorified sitting room (of which there are several others), but it's the one most conveniently located between everyone's suites. Strange how things like that are unofficially decided. Edmund is responsible for this decor, with all of his Victorian sensibilities; you'll probably notice a lot more of that style of arm chair scattered around this, and pretty much all others of my stories, since I like to draw them and can actually pull them off convincingly 9 times out of 10.

Until next time, then!


What? Something that has nothing to do with Wunderkammer?!


You may have noticed a lack of activity on this blog lately; I've been an irresponsible webcomic author and spending all of my free time lately making a Halloween costume (pictures to follow after a dramatic debut this weekend--I WANT IT TO BE A SURPRISE EVEN THOUGH EVERYONE KNOWS I AM GOING AS DR. GIRLFRIEND) instead of making sketches for your enjoyment. And today, when I finally do draw something it's fan art of The Magic Toyshop, one of the weirdest books I've read in a looooong time. I don't get to read much anymore, since I have no down time ): Fie on being an adult, I say!

The Magic Toyshop, in a nutshell, is a coming-of-age story about 15 year old Melanie, who kills her parents by cavorting through the English countryside at midnight wearing her mother's wedding dress, then shredding the hell out of it climbing an apple tree since she locked herself out like a genius. It gets better. OH, BUT DOES IT GET BETTER. Now an orphan, she and her superfluous younger siblings are sent to London to live with their maternal uncle Phillip Flowers, his wife Margaret, and Margaret's brothers (making them Melanie's uncle-in-laws?) Francie and Finn. They are filthy; their home is a dark hole in the wall of a toy store with no hot water AND EVEN LESS JOY (at least when Phillip the crazed puppet enthusiast is around), and I totally thought this was set in olden times until Finn was wearing a grubby t-shirt and grimy jeans. When Phillip isn't around, it's party time. Or Finn-Macking-on-Melanie-by-a-Broken-Statue-of-Queen-Victoria time, followed by voyeurism! Yay! Did I mention he's technically her uncle, and nineteen?

THEN Phillip decides it would be awesome to put Melanie in his life-size puppet show to be raped by a giant swan on stage (it's art! And a Greek myth!), so he tells Finn to rehearse with her but Finn is all, I AIN'T A PART OF THIS SYSTEM, ALTHOUGH I REALLY DO WANT TO BONE YOU, hides in his brother's wardrobe, and lights up (see illustration). Melanie is all fascinated by his funky stank at this point and is like, CLICHED PHRASES I READ IN A MAGAZINE THAT ONE TIME, and Finn glares derisively out of his sea-blue eyes! Meanwhile, Finn's been trying to get Phillip to murder him so the puppetmaster will be sent to prison and Margaret can be free to talk and dance and wear pants, so he murders the swan after the show in a drunken fit of jealous and pent-up rage. Then he and Melanie spoon.

Wow, this is more than a nutshell. Anyway. Everyone takes a bath, and Finn gets a haircut and Melanie isn't sure how she feels about this new, clean stranger. Phillip comes home to crash the party and set the house on fire when it turns out that Margie and Francie like to get it on on the kitchen floor. Wait, what? So Finn and Melanie escape by breaking into the abandoned jewelry store next door and Francie goes off to break some cuckold-despot-husband kneecaps with an iron pipe. Ha.

The novel ends ambiguously with Finn and Melanie watching the place burn, like Wednesday's boy toy when they torch Camp Chippewa in The Addam's Family Values. It's implied that they'll stay together and punch out many babies (Spoiler: Finn is Irish. Also, apparently he plans to name their first child "Proximity." ...what?), but will Melanie still expect an idyllic romance when Finn continuously fails to deliver in any sort of non-creepy capacity? Will Finn continue his newfound friendship with showers and soap? Will Melanie ever see her younger siblings again (wait, she had siblings?)?!

More importantly, what the fuck just happened? And why did I like it enough to make fanart? (Answer: the scene where Finn smokes in and refuses to get out of the closet is amusing).

This was fun and cathartic! Maybe I'll spice up this blog with more summaries of various media in between sketch posts. Speaking of which, I found this amazing thing over the weekend: The Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time. Hi-fucking-larious! I hope someone makes this book into a movie for that man to destroy.


Meet the Rothschilds!

This post will make a lot more sense after this Friday's update (when Amschel will finish introducing himself to his time-traveling tour guide), but what the hell; amirite? New sketches are fun for everyone.

Some of you may be familiar with the name "Rothschild;" they're a banking dynasty in France and hold the rank of "Baron" (there are also branches in Italy, England and Austria). Before the late 1700s, however, the family owned a coin shop in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and lived in the Judengasse--or, Jewish ghetto.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744--1812) actually existed, and was the launching point of the successful family still prominent in European economics to this day (his oldest son, Amschel, took over the Frankfurt bank; second son Salomon went to Vienna; third son Nathan was sent to London; and youngest son Jacob/James ended up in Paris). Mayer was the fourth of eight siblings, but I've been unable to find any solid information about them so I just made up all of their names and dates of birth! Fun. Stuff. So as it ended up, our Amschel is five years younger than his more famous brother (I sometimes like to pretend that my historically fictitious characters really existed :\).

Have some visual stimulation:

I realized after the fact that Mayer looks disconcertingly like Luther Levy from a certain period graphic novel I am following online, but to help me sleep at night I've decided to gloss over that fact by pointing out that he doesn't appear often and there are only so many accurate ways to portray a German Jew during the 1760's D: Needless to say, I do not sleep very well.

This sketch is all sorts of wonky since it was more about defining faces and historically accurate clothing; for example, Amschel in this picture is about eighteen months older than he currently appears in the comic, but looks about 10 instead of, oh, 14/15. That's just because I ran out of paper and wanted to get his entire wardrobe in D: That's right, folks! Next chapter will feature actual clothing, not just nightgowns! How excitiiiiiiiiiing.

You may have noticed that only five of the eight siblings are pictured here; both parents died in a smallpox epidemic in the mid-1750s. I will leave the fates of Moses, James, and Nathan open to your interpretations. Maybe they're just grown up and living lives of their own. Either way, they don't factor into the story and I have so many tangents thrown in there to begin with that I don't think the fragile organization of this chapter could handle such non-plotline exposition.

But I digress. To sum up: Amschel is German, and fluent in both that language and Hebrew (he speaks French at Mayer's insistence, since at that time French was internationally recognized as the language of court, and the who's-who of Europe were all able to communicate in it). He is the seventh of eight children, and gets picked on by Carl (who is as friendly as he looks, and does have hands despite what this picture would suggest). He plans to be Mayer's apprentice, and despite being a total airhead when it comes to common sense, is actually surprisingly adept at math.

Kristina tries to tutor him in the Classics, with questionable success.
Very. Questionable success.



Between the comic, my job, and making a halfway decent Dr. Girlfriend costume for Halloween, I have no time to do anything! Also I've forgotten how to draw on paper. An eraser has nothing on Ctrl-Z. I abuse that tool like no one's business.

So have some (as yet unintroduced) twins!

Hector-Hernan and Bartolome Criston are 13 year old brothers, born in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port sometime in the early 1600s (they are illiterate and don't know the exact date). St-Jean is a beautiful little inland village straddling a river on the modern-day border of France and Spain, and is almost smack in the middle of Basque Country.

Now, I love the Basques. I could rant all day about the Basques, and never run out of things to say. Originally Hector and Barta were going to be Spanish, but then I realized that there just weren't enough berets, espadrilles, and crazy Basque words in this story (for example, txotxolo--pronounced "cho-cho-lo"--meaning "idiot"). THIS HAD TO BE REMEDIED, AND QUICKLY. So they became Basque. They don't look it, though; Basques have generally dark complexions and coloring, prominent brows and large earlobes. Solution: their mom was Spanish and they inherited her looks. Hurray for cop outs!

Hector is the older twin by ten minutes, and is slightly more introverted. Barta is just a bit taller and more developed, and laughs when Hector gets upset about this (the difference is not noticeable enough for the other members of the Wunderkammer to tell them apart with any accuracy; Theano has the best average at about 65%). They are both relatively easy-going, and excellent cooks (hence the pots and pans in the sketch. Twin #2 is holding a bunch of dried peppers in his left hand, a Basque specialty). Their clothes are somewhat traditional, but tattered and missing some items; they found the Wunderkammer by accident by falling through a hatch on their uncle's sinking ship while fishing for Cod off the coast of Massachusetts. They only speak Basque, a language of about 200,000 words known by less than 3 million people at any given time, and unchanged since before Romans got it into their heads to conquer Gaul.

Ok, some Basque facts. Because I must!
  • Basque language, culture and customs have remained intact and unchanged for as long as they have been recorded in history (pre-Julius Caesar). It is believed that their DNA has remained relatively unchanged as well, and that they are direct descendents of the first neanderthals to settle in the area thousands upon thousands of years ago.
  • There is evidence the Basques were fishing for cod off the coast of New England hundreds of years before Columbus was even born. They sailed there in open-topped skiffs, and dried the fish with a process they learned from the Vikings.
  • The first man to circumnavigate the globe was a Basque; Magellan's second-in-command, who took over when the captain died. Most of that crew (and Columbus', and pretty much every other ship going out during the Age of Exploration) were Basques as well.
  • A Basque invented the first steam engine during the 1500s. They promptly lost interest after the King of Navarre deemed the contraption frivolous. A Basque also founded the Jesuit branch of Catholicism, St. Ingnatius of Layola.
  • The Basques do not have a name for their country: they refer to it as "Euskadi," or "the nation of Basques"/"the nation of Basque speakers." Technically they don't even have a country; at least not an internationally recognized one. Euskadi spans from Biarritz, in France, to Bilbao, in Spain. Because it so conveniently spans the border between these two nations, the Basques are excellent smugglers, up to and including Jews, children and refugees during WWII. For nine months Spain recognized them as a legitmate country and independent government during the early part of Franco's rise to power, since the Basques opposed his regime. However, when he finally came into office he revoked that status and tried to kill, and later breed, them out.
  • This is getting too long, but I will leave you with the fact that Papa Hemmingway was in love with Basque country; I cite for your reading pleasure For Whom the Bell Tolls. Conversely, the Basques love him. Shit is named in his honor from St. Jean-de-Luz to Pamplona! Wow!

Also, the rebels in Pan's Labyrinth are Basques. Sweet!


we have come to a crossroads

...wherein the contents of my sketches and the progress of the comic are at odds with each other. I have uploaded all of the sketches I've made so far for this chapter (I plan to make more, but later stuff is more complicated and needs more ironing out. Bleh), and most of what I have lying around won't make any sense because I love drawing Theano (who hasn't been introduced yet), and there are spoilers galore, and I like leaving my readers mildly bewildered. At least for now.

So. For the moment, even though it's old and 50% of the watchers of this blog have already seen it (sorry about that), have a picture of Jane Bird, protagonist of the upcoming Prologue and later member of the Wunderkammer staff:

It's a really bad scan; my $2 sketchbook from Ocean State Job Lot is crazy dimensions, and my scanner hates it with a passion. You guys have been spoiled with the quality of my past posts--because all of my old scans looked like this I've been doing newer sketches on computer paper, which scans so cleeeeeeeanly. It also helps that computer paper doesn't rip or smudge when I erase D: But it's a $2 sketchbook! I guess you get what you pay for...

Jane hails from Hoboken, New Jersey, so she says things like "smawll" (much to my, if no one else's, amusement); and comes from Irish and English stock. Although she has her father's last name, she was named after her maternal great-great-grandmother, who was also named Jane Bird (her mother thought it was funny).

Although Jane was born in 1986, making her a year older than myself, she is only 19 throughout the majority of the story since she joins the Wunderkammer in 2005. Don't be mislead into thinking that the fact the "present day" portion of the story takes place a few years ago is due to some mysterious and masterful planning on my part to tie in with a story about time-travel: I just really wanted to draw a character wearing gaucho pants and they were in style in 2005 (read: I bought a pair in 2005, and the fact that I even knew they existed is a testament to their prevalence at that time). Speaking of gauchos, whatever happened to those, huh? They're so comfy. I don't care if they're not fashionable anymore, I still wear mine. On laundry day.

Original sketches of Jane (the ones posted here are her "official" character page) depicted her with a busty, but relatively thin, physique. Then it occured to me that pretty much all of the people in this story were turning out with similar body types, and Jane was one of the ones to change accordingly. Although her hair, face, clothing and cynical personality remained the same, she's slowly becoming pudgier and pudgier, haha. It's stalled out at about a size 10/12, or average American female judging by how hard it is to find clothes in that size when I go shopping.

This was drawn back in January, when I first started my figure drawing class! So all the proportions are wonky and terrible :B I promise, promise, promise to work on some new, more relavent sketches for Kristina and Amschel and the weird things they encounter in upcoming scenes. Mostly because it would be a good idea for me to have those fleshed out before going any further with the story. LULZ.


don't be neglectin' the gerkins!

Wow, I've really been neglecting this sketchblog! Sorry D:

What you have missed:
  1. I finally got ahold of an original copy of the Sims 2, without SecuRom, so I can play again! (Hooray for having no life!)
  2. Sailing! Sunday it was gusting 25 knots, and my father and I--with only a reefed main--covered an area that takes an hour and a half with a 5hp outboard in 16 minutes. Ha-HAH! The last time it blew that hard around here was 4th of July Weekend, when my boss got into a boating accident and broke four of her ribs and fractured a vertebrae. Ouch. But, speaking of work...
  3. I got the position I wanted in New York, as an intern in a two-floor, 8,000 square foot gallery in Chelsea! Then I got home and learned my current internship had been extended by a month, and after my big presentation on Tuesday was informed that they want to keep me on until at least December 31st. Soooo...I was afraid of being a Museum Studies graduate in this economy and suddenly it's raining jobs.
Anyway, what you're really here for!

So this was my original concept art for Amschel and Kristina. I researched their nightshirts and EVERYTHING. But, you say, they look nothing like they appear in the comic! THAT would be because I didn't refer to this when I started--from memory--and didn't realize there was a discrepancy until about ten pages in. WHOOPS. Whatever, I can incorporate things in later scenes, and I kind of like the way their faces have evolved in the final version. And it's good that they aren't the same height anymore.




I'm going to New York for a few days to indulge in an orgy of job interviews, so there will be a brief period of silence hopefully followed by an influx of doodles. We'll see. Wish me luck!


Have some Mysterious-Swedish-Time-Traveler beating up a stupid German/French kid:


rejected story idea #E75-119

Well, the title is exaggerating. But only just. The last time I made a serious organization attempt of the teetering pile of loose-leaf paper littering my bedroom, there were no less than 37 individual concepts. Mostly terrible. And that was four years ago! Since then I must have come up with an additional seven...teen? JKLOLOLOL.

But srsly, u gaiz.

The Concept: three mythical creatures (a Merrow, a Kelpie, and a Selkie), out of luck with today's housing market, have to share a tiny tide pool. Either that, or they're suckered into a Timeshare con; except the Kelpie would probably eat the con artist and that would be the end of that.

The Explanation: Good anatomy practice! /failed, regardless :\

I...just really like water-based magical creatures D: Originally I only thought of the Kelpie and Selkie (middle and right), but I messed up the composition and there was waaaay too much negative space on the left that needed to be filled. Before I went with a Merrow, she was going to be a Nix, simply because of their danger towards pregnant women and unbaptised children on Midsummer's Night, Christmas Eve, and Thursdays. Why Thursdays?! All Thursdays, or only some? And why on the Solstice and Christmas Eve, but not New Year's or Halloween? But Nix are Germanic mythos, while Kelpies and Selkies are Celtic, so it seemed best to follow suit.

Our protagonists, left to right:

the Merrow
: Merrows are the Celtic version of mermaids; they have green hair and webbed fingers and must wear a special hat called a cohuleen druith in order to return to their underwater homes, but for the life of me I could not find a reference so I improvised. The veil made sense at the time...because she could use it to make an air bubble? Sure. Merrows like to comb their hair and sing and lead young men to their rather enjoyable dooms under the waves where they will live forever in an enchanted state. We shall call her Lurline, because it means "alluring temptress." But that's a silly name so she prefers to be called Lura.

the Kelpie: Kelpies are mean! I had been under the impression that they always looks like pretty ponies, luring small children to ride on their backs so they can drown and eat them, but apparently they can also assume human shape! Crazy! Generally the purpose of that is to lure young ladies into riding on their backs so they can drown and eat them, and they can be captured and turned into hardworking fieldhorses, but after seven years it'll eat the master's right pinky and left leg and run away. Only once was there a nice Kelpie, and even then that was only because he didn't go to Tir na nOg with his friends and instead fell in love with a clever human girl and chose to forget his mystical origin to become human. So in the end he wasn't really a Kelpie. Their manes/hair is always dripping, and they're cold to the touch. This one is named Lunn.

the Selkie: one of my favorite mythical creatures! Selkies are seals who can take off their fur like a coat, and then hang out sunbathing. Usually when they show up in stories it's because some dude sees a bunch of them on the rocks and steals one of their furs, because without it she can't go home. So all of her friends ditch her and she is blackmailed into marrying the guy, they have kids, she mopes around the shallows, until one day one of the kids asks her what Dad's oiling and it turns out to be the fur! So she takes it and runs back home, leaving her husband and kids behind. Although sometimes she comes back to play with them. Sometimes, the Selkie is happily married, and will try to save her husband if he gets lost at sea, but she won't be able to return to human form if she does. So this is Nuala, because she has bare shoulders (duh); since Selkies are seals and Harbor Seals are the best kind of seal, that's her "true" form, and that explains why she's curvier compared to her roommates.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson in Celtic Mythology!
Also, T&A.


breaking the ice

Well, look how fancy this is! Except for the poorly photoshopped banner, that is; but I don't have the patience to make something that's exactly 700 pixels wide. Hence, the inclusion of a fresco on the outside of a church on a cliff in Rocamador, France (famous for the sword Roland threw halfway across the country from Blaye, stuck in the mountain to this day)! Problem solved.

I decided I wanted a sketchblog a while ago, but livejournal is out of the question because I have too many emo high school memories associated with that site (also, I'm too stupid to figure out how to do cuts; I feel like that matters less here?). Besides, I like my sketches too much to exile them to the graveyard of forgotten and broken dreams that is my deviantArt scraps page, and I can't figure out how to nicely upload them to the Wunderkammer webcomic without detracting from the story so, ugh. UGH! Fie on you, technology!

Anyway, the whole point of this:

Brainstorming for upcoming pages! I, uh, have decided not to go with the bottom-left one; it's a little too oracle-from-300 for my tastes D: Silhouettes and dynamic action frames have never been my strong suits. Practice!

i enjoy talking to mysellllllf