Otter Disaster Designs - Pop Culture Themed T-Shirts

Friday, December 24, 2010

Otter Disaster #44: Abstract Dess-Art

Todays Bitstrips Theme of the Day: Abstract Art.
Here's my entry:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Otter Disaster #43: Throw!

This was a frequent, and more-or-less true occurrence from my college years inspired by Bitstrips Theme of the Day-Throw:

Art Students...whaddaya gonna do?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dingy #13: Haunted House

Dingy #12: Politics as Usual

A lady who knows how to get things done...

Monday, October 4, 2010

24 Hour Comics Day 2010: FINISHED!

I once again completed the 24 Hour Comics Day Challenge using the wonderful tools at Bitstrips. I began at 9:00 am on Saturday October 2 and finished at about 6:30 Sunday morning.

I made a conscious decision this year to avoid the romance/relationship theme of my last two 24 Hour Comics, from 2008 and 2009, and decided in advance to try to do something more action oriented, possibly with a sci-fi or fantasy approach.

I began with no script or preconceived characters, and once again used a random song title from iTunes to give me a title. The first track to play on Saturday morning, Wish I Had An Angel, by Nightwish, inspired the notion of guardian angels. My initial idea was that there are these space pilots aboard a space station and their technicians are sort of like the pilot's guardian angels, keeping the ships running, communicating with the pilots and protecting them from 'the heaven' of the station.   With that in mind I decided that the characters of this tale orbit a planet named Midgard, from a space station named Asgard, and went with Norse naming scheme for the solar system in the story.  This Nordic inspiration was due in part to the fact that Nightwish is from Finland.

Unfortunately I misspelled Yggdrasil, the name of the sun and solar system in the story, in the first caption in the first panel of the tale.  Later I named a moon Mani' continuing the Nose Mythology naming conventions, but a couple of hours later I mentioned the moon again and called it Madi' which it remained through the rest of the tale. These things happen when you're 12 or so hours into the process, not completely lucid and working improvisationally.

As usually happens with these 24 Hour Comics, my initial idea mutated pretty quickly, turning into a friendly rivalry between two techs, and their pilots.  I had decided on the darker aspects of the ending of the story early on, but I surprised myself in exactly how I got there.

Changing genre made for some difficult artistic choices. Spaceships are difficult to do in Bitstrips!  Otherwise, I found the work moving along really quickly.  This is due in part to the advances made in the builders in the last year, and also to a new computer, purchased over the summer.  I did 166 panels total, well within my goals of 144 to 180 panels.  The ability to do more complex art continues to get easier, kudos to the Core Matrix team for continuing to make Bitstrips so great!

I once again had a great time doing this comic, it is certainly not without it's flaws, I tried something different this time, and was pleased with the result.  Here is page one of Wish I Had An Angel:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Otter Disaster #42: Bass-ically

A goofy little strip testing a new feature at Bitstrips:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Star Trek Fan Portal: The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

Cafe Press home of Otter Disaster Designs has teamed up with CBS to create a Star Trek Fan Portal, allowing shop owners to create and sell Star Trek themed merchandise.

Here is my first offering featuring some of my favorite Ferengi Rules of Acquisition:

Being a free market libertarian, I always thought the Ferengi were the coolest aliens on Star Trek, and that their quest for profit was far more noble than portrayed on the shows. The Ferengi were featured heavily on Deep Space Nine, which is my favorite of the numerous Star Trek spin-off series. I loved that in the so-called Utopian Trek future (where there was no money) there were still merchants using a medium of exchange (gold pressed latinum) to conduct business.

The shirts feature five different rules, I'm sure one of them will be to your liking!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

24 Hour Comics Day 2010 is Coming!

24 Hour Comics day is right around the corner and once again I'm planning to participate.

The date:

Once again, I'm encouraging Bitstrippers to join me in the monumental task of creating a full length comic story in a single 24 hour window:

Some people, can't commit to the whole day, but there are other options:

Of course the whole exercise is about spontaneity, originality, and creativity:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dingy #6: 80-88

Dingy #5: A Love Triangle

Dingy #4: ...and Shinola

Dingy #3: One Wrong Turn

Dingy #2: I Can't Believe...

Dingy - A Dingbat Font Based Strip

I'm terribly excited that Bitstrips now allows users to utilize their own installed fonts in the comic builders.  This was hinted at last year, and I wrote about the possibilities presented by such a feature.  I am planning a prop font right now (a series of swords, guns and other weapons), and hope to have it finished in a week or so.  Fonts can now be layered behind other objects in Bitstrips, something not possible when the font feature was first teased, making the use of font-based custom objects even cooler.

In the meantime I've created a Dingbat Font based Gag Panel Strip called Dingy to play with the enhanced graphic possibilities of this new feature.  Kudos to the Core Matrix team for all the recent additions to the Bitstrips experience.  

Here's episode 1 of Dingy inspired by the lovely Mrs. Disaster-1955:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Otter Disaster #41: True Story, My Mother Swears

My mom visited a while back and this strip is 100% non-fiction:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Page 100 Project: Illuminatus!

Canadian cartoonist Jason Turner invented the Page 100 Project, where one adapts page 100 from a novel into comics form.  I thought this sounded like a fun idea, and used Bitstrips to adapt page 100 from Illuminatus!, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aangst of the Orphans

Bitstrips Theme of the Day: Orphans

I take a little poke at the Hero's Journey at the expense of Avatar, Harry Potter and Star Wars:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Otter Disaster #37: Bathroom Habits

Today's Bitstrips Theme of the Day is Habits.  Here is my entry:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Otter Disaster #36: Vegetable Guardin'

Here's another entry in the True Life, Two Fisted Tales of Otter Disaster!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Otter Disaster #35: Six Legs and Hurts

My Little Disaster has been pre-occupied with this game of late...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Otter Disaster #34: Numbers

Here's a true life Otter Disaster adventure:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Context is Everything #35: Barriers for Buriers

Bitstrips Theme of the Day: Barriers:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memories and Thoughts as the VHS Format Turns 33!

Today the VHS format turned 33! I was only four years old when VHS was introduced to the world in 1977. We wouldn't have one for about five more years, but I remember when we first got a VHS VCR in my house, we hooked it up and one of my sisters had rented an American Werewolf in London.

It must have been 1982,  I was only 9 at the time, but I remember watching that movie with my family, all the nudity, and violence intact from the theatrical release.  I was used to watching movies that had been cut to pieces, edited for content and length and appearing on network television.  We did not have cable so we had to drive 20 miles from Selden to Oberlin, Kansas to rent movies.  I don't remember too many of the films we rented, but I recall seeing Trading Places, one or two of the Friday the 13th films, and 16 Candles.  I specifically remember watching the George Romero/Stephen King comedy-horror masterpiece, Creepshow while a friend was over for a sleepover, and that we stayed up pretty much most of the night scared out of our young minds!

We didn't rent a whole lot in those days due to the distance involved in obtaining and returning videos, but mostly used the VCR for it's most revolutionary aspect, time shifting television, and allowing us to record one channel while watching another.  It's sometimes difficult to remember what a life-changing concept this was in the 1980s given the current age of DVRs and streaming web video.

As the youngest child of four it became very apparent that this was a tool designed for me.  I was often low man on the totem pole when it came to choosing viewing material, so the VCR guaranteed I'd never miss Automan, Misfits of Science, or Manimal, shows that my Knots Landing, Dallas loving sisters despised.

Once we moved to Oberlin in 1986 I had my first crack at Cable TV, and the VHS once again proved to be a world changer for me.  For whatever reason when we got cable we were not given a cable box for the channels beyond 13, but I quickly discovered the tuner in our VCR went up to 188, so all those upper tier channels became available.  I found the Discovery Channel (16) and Nickelodeon (33, I think).  Nickelodeon at the time featured the awesome, You Can't Do That on Television (check out the Pythonesque intro), Mr. Wizards World, and the surreal animated French adventure show Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea. I wish they'd release that one in an English language DVD set, but alas, no.  Check out the awesome opening credits:

Check out some Spartakus episodes HERE!

I also remember using the VCR to record NBC's Friday Night Videos, and Night Flight on USA Network. We didn't have MTV in my home town (not even on the upper channels) so those two shows were my only real outlet to view music videos. Here's some Night Flight video about the movie Krull if you've forgotten this awesome 80s show:

Night Flight featured all kinds of video weirdness aside from music, and was my first exposure to the Church of the Subgenius.

I used the VCR to sample and save all kinds of shows and movies and I still have a collection of movies on tape, as well as three working VHS players (one is a DVD combo).  Somewhere in my stacks of old tapes I still have the pilot episode of Twin Peaks from the night it premiered, commercials and all.

VHS tape is truly a buyers market these days.  Thrift stores often have movies on videocassette for as little as $1 each, not just junk either, but major releases.  There is also a lot of stuff that was released on VHS that hasn't made the jump to DVD, so visit those thrift stores.  You can probably pick up a standard definition TV and VCR while you're there.

Last year the awesome website/podcast The Retroist did a great show on the VCR. You can listen to that show HERE.

Happy Birthday VHS, I'll never forget you!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Context is Everything #33: Amanita Minute

Another horrible pun...I'm sorry.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Four Bitstrips Creators You Should Check Out

I post a lot about comic creation site Bitstrips, and for good reason.  It's a ton of fun to make comics, it's a great creative outlet, and there is an awesome, creative community there.  I try to do at least one strip a week, outside of Major Spoilers Adventures, but am not as prolific as I'd like to be just because of personal time constraints, work, life, writer's block, etc. I've posted a lot of my own comics here, but today I want to show some of the creators that I really like.

This is by no means an all inclusive list of great creators, just the ones that I thought of today as I was putting this post together. Here are four Bitstrips authors whose work inspired, influenced or impressed me along with some of my favorite series of theirs:

1. Playtime with Perko by Uzi Bazooka

Very cool character designs in simple (but brilliant) microadventures. Uzi Bazooka uses a masterful storytelling style with minimal dialog to tell sweet, surreal, and funny tales. Uzi was my original friend on Bitstrips' social networking component.  Always encouraging to new users, he's also one of the site's most prolific creators.  He is also the bane of any trolls who find their way to the site.

Check out just a few of his many, many series: Average Joe (not for the faint of heart or easily offended) and 1-800-LUNATIC.

2. Boom Times By BoomMike

My personal favorite strip by Bitstrips master and all around nice guy, BoomMike.  Mike makes great characters, and uses Bitstrips to it's fullest for really great layouts in all his strips, but it really shines in this series.  The story is really great as well, as Boom is used as a pawn in a surreal and conspiratorial game where he has to learn the rules as he goes. It's very funny and suspenseful too.

The Skiordians from this series were the inspiration for Major Spoilers Adventures housekeeper, Edna.

Also check out Producteria, and one of Bitstrip's longest running and most acclaimed series, Local Patrol.

3. Art House Movie by ogreoregon

A fun little limited series that riffs on noir movies.  Only 15 episodes.  Ogre is a great Bitstripper with an eye for detail, effects and lighting.  She makes wonderful use of the available props to bring all sorts of wonderful things to life.

Also Check out Life in Asteroid City, and Joe's Meat Bar

4. What Makes Acea, 'Acea' by Acea

One of Bitstrips' original bio-comics, Acea tells tales from his youth that made him the person he is today.  Very personal stories, funny and often sad, are coupled with a 'soundtrack'.  Each strip has a song title and artist attached to it that sets the mood of that portion of the tale.  Kicked off a whole bio-comic fad on the site after it first appeared.

Acea has been doing short stories, told in 12 installments. Check out 12 Strip - All Beauty, No Brains... and
12 Strip - I Hate This Comic Shop

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Schoolhouse Rock! Fan Portal: Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here!

Cafe Press, home of Otter Disaster Designs, is continuing the ABC/Schoolhouse Rock promotion, allowing Cafe Press Shop owners to create designs based the beloved educational cartoons of the 1970s. Here is my offering, a two-sided shirt advertising Lolly's Inc. the Adverb selling establishment in Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here:

Here is the Original Video:

Context is Everything #32: The Write to Refuse Service

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bitstrips: New Builder Features Fully Pose-able Characters

Early on April 1st the Bitstrips Comic Builder started bringing in characters with nothing but stick figures for bodies.  Upon further investigation it was revealed that these stick figures were pose-able limb by limb outside the standard Bitstrips poses usually available.  A long awaited feature was being unleashed!

Bitstrippers the site over build dozens and dozens of stick figure strips with characters in all sorts of fantastic poses.  I myself created this simple Cowboy vs. Clown strip:

It was done in anticipation of the ability to create decent fight scenes, something that was very tough to do in the then current builder.  Later that day characters started appearing fully fleshed out, and still pose-able!:

As I pondered the possibilities of this fantastic development I began thinking about the importance of body language in communication, and how it is a powerful tool in comics.  Body language can convey a lot of information wordlessly.  I built this simple strip to show some of the possibilities:

I was also lucky enough to have it placed on the Editor's Pick page which hasn't happened to one of my strips in quite some time. I can't wait to exploit this new tool, and give my characters more 'character'.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cafe Press Fan Portal: Hot Tub Time Machine

Cafe Press has also partnered with MGM allowing fan created products for the much anticipated Hot Tub Time Machine:

Here's my t-shirt design inspired by the greatest movie of 2010:

Get yours here!

Past Disasters