Stubborn grandmother: Mrs. Arum

mrs. arumMrs. Arum is a stubborn sort. When I wrote her part in the comics, I decided she’d be Jake’s mother. I took my time designing her. I shopped around some for her look. Plainly seen from her hair, Arora gets her appearance from her grandmother. The difference is Mrs. Arum keeps her hair in a French braid instead of a ponytail.

The idea behind her character is to be a balance of feminine and masculine and *minor spoiler here* since she’s a retired construction worker, wear appropriate attire. Clearly, from her blouse, she chooses to show her profession, but the lace collar shows also that she’s still female. She picked her wardrobe carefully so she wouldn’t be a distraction in the workplace, but would still retain her femininity.

Retaining her femininity with such a commonly masculine profession presented a problem for me when it came to designing her outfit. I finally settled on a fitted blouse with lace on the collar to be the primary feature. From there, it was a matter of the color and print of the blouse. I thought of using a flowered print, but Dad found the flannel with construction equipment that might as well have screamed her name.

According to the story, she doesn’t trust Dream Angel or her friends in the slightest and doesn’t want her “Jakie” to have anything to do with them either. Naturally, she doesn’t know who Dream Angel is: her granddaughter. This tends to cause unwanted friction when the heroes are struggling to keep her safe.
Even Jake has to take a more stern approach to getting his mother out of harm’s way, much to her displeasure. Luckily, when she realizes what’s going on, she does finally get out of harm’s way.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? She makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which is available in the shop. Getting the books that came before it is highly recommended so the story makes sense! Also available in the shop is her plush action figure.

Katrilina the cat!

Katrilina has quite the history with the Dream Angel series. Today’s focus isn’t on Katrilina herself, though, but on her special ability: the ability to physically change into any cat in the feline family. Most notably, a lioness, leopard, panther and tiger.The focus is Katrilina’s feline forms.

katrilina catsOf all the 38 species of cats of the feline family she can become, these four are her favorites for their varying abilities. Strength, endurance, stealth and cunning, to name a few. In nature, these cats are far from cute and cuddly and Katrilina uses those abilities with great effect. Of course, which cat she picks depends on the situation and sometimes even who she’s with.

She’ll go with the tiger if she’s around Virgo, for example. Her favorite for going after Reprobates is the Panther. The winged creatures don’t like the black streak chasing after them. Her lioness will ground most Harpies if they’re low enough and for some of the higher up opponents, she’ll use the leopard to climb a nearby tree or even building ledge to leap and attack.

The one important marking all of Katrilina’s feline and even her human form share is a pure white tail. Nobody is sure why exactly she always has the white tail, but it is a very distinguishing marking. While it might sometimes be troublesome, she really doesn’t mind it too much.

What do you think? Are these interesting cats? Katrilina’s feline forms make their debut appearance in Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop are the plush action figures of her leopard, lioness, panther and tiger forms.

Double-wielding jokester: Red Nite Soldier

red nite soldierLover-boy, double-wielding warrior, jokester – Red Nite Soldier is a surprise package villains don’t want to cross. He very efficiently wields his katana and if needed, his short sword.

He and Katrilina make a very formidable pair in battle. He’s even sometimes seen on her back when she’s one of her favorite large felines. Like a knight atop a black charger, spotted charger, brownish-gold charger or even striped charger, they’ve been known to turn the tide of a battle very quickly.

His katana was a gift from Ryu and specially forged to give him extra protection. His short sword is a gift from Kiryoku and blessed with its own powerful virtues. It’s not known if he has any power, but his blades sure have a magic of their own.
Kendo champion and team co-captain in high school, he definitely has the skill to handle his blades. Fast, smart and quite dangerous.

Combined with his steed Daybright, he’s especially formidable. Add in Blue Nite Soldier and Firebright and you get a foursome that can plow through just about anything.

What do you think? Is he an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #1, which is available in the shop. Also available in the shop is his outfit for Shin Tsurugi.

Tragic victim: vampire cockroach

cockroach vampireVampire cockroaches are unfortunate creatures. I know, the first thought for a cockroach is usually “EWWWW!!” Here’s some food for thought, though: roaches’re excellent survivors. Which would make them more difficult than ever to kill if they were undead vampires.

These roaches are roaches through unfortunate circumstances, too. They’re the victims of Jerigel SwampFang’s third bite. Unlike most vampires, it takes three bites for him to completely control his victims. As a result, they become cockroaches. The only thing these victims keep of their humanity is their height.
If anything, these unfortunate creatures should be pitied. There’s no known cure for their condition and killing them is far more difficult than if they were normal roaches.

The one thing these roaches fear above all is spiders. If they should see one, they become uncontrollable. The larger the spider, the harder they are to control.
One important ability besides turning their own victims into roaches for an hour, is being able to change form. They’re able to temporarily resume their human form during the day, but only if Jerigel allows it.

Over the years, these victims are those who tried to rebel against Nyxus. Some got in Jerigel’s way, and others Nyxus wanted to just make disappear. Since Nyxus controls Jerigel and he controls roaches, rebels are then made to do her bidding.

Once Jerigel controls a victim as a roach, they have no free will of their own. In fact, they cannot do anything without him knowing about it. The control is complete and permanent as far as anyone knows. Even Ryu doesn’t know of a cure to change these unfortunate victims human again.

These roaches are today’s daily deal. Aren’t they interesting characters? Won’t you take pity on them? They just want your love! they make their comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which is available in the shop. It’s a good idea to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is the plush action figure of these creatures.

Spotted beauty: Cristiane Jewel

Cristiane Jewel is a leopardess. She’s got quite a problem, however. She’s in love with a tiger.

cristiane jewel

She’s expected to marry a leopard, of course, but her love for Virgo FireKeeper is so strong it often gets them both in a lot of trouble.

Her intended mate is Kumo Hanahadashii, who’s deeply in love with her to the point of being blind to dangerous situations. It also leaves him terribly jealous of Virgo, whom she showers her affection on.

Virgo doesn’t want her affection in the slightest and would prefer she leave him alone. Of course, this causes friction with Kumo, who all but worships Cristiane, who doesn’t want his affection any more than Virgo wants hers. Virgo, instead is in love with Athalia, but hasn’t shown it openly because of Cristiane. Athalia knows of his affection and waits patiently in hope he can chase the overly affectionate leopardess away eventually.

Cristiane’s skilled with a quarter staff and will often jump into a fight if she thinks Virgo’s in trouble. This has more than once caused trouble for the heroes as they have struggled to compensate for her fighting even them off at times.

Everyone prefers she fight with them instead of against them, so they’ve decided to simply give her room when she shows up. The exception to that being Torakatai, Keru and Athalia. They understand why everyone else gives Cristiane room – they don’t want to get caught up in the quarrel.

The tigers on the other hand have managed to group up and chase the leopardess off more than once, sometimes with the help of the others. Keru in particular wishes she’d go away so his brother could marry Athalia, as it’s obvious to everyone how much he loves her.

Her comic book debut is Dream Angel #7, which can be found in the shop. It’s recommended to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is her plush action figure that loves to be hugged. Will you give her a hug?

Police Lieutenant Larissa Arum

Larissa Arum is a tough one by nature, but still a loving mother. They say opposites attract and that is the case with Larissa and her husband Jake. She’s always straight and doesn’t crack jokes. If she does, it’s rare. Jake tells jokes all the time to lighten the mood and get people laughing. Most of all, he loves making Larissa laugh.

larissaHer daughter is more precious to her than even her own life at times. When she found out her daughter’s secret, she vowed to keep it and help her any way she could. She’s kept that vow in many ways. She started by getting Arora some small, lightweight communication equipment. So when she’s out flying around she can even help the police force by reporting problems.

Larissa often makes sure she’s first on the scene to help with crowd control. Also preventing fellow officers from shooting at the wrong target. She has a get-it-done attitude and there aren’t many who’d argue with her.

In practice fights, Jake and Larissa are an even match. Both are masters of self-defense and hand-to-hand fighting in various forms. Between the two, Arora is well trained in the defensive arts. Larissa stepped up her daughter’s training when she learned her secret. She explained to Jake that it was time she learned the more advanced techniques. Having mastered the ones Arora had been learning from Larissa all along. Jake accepted that and also stepped up his daughter’s training.

If there’s one thing Larissa hates, it’s repeat offenders. She’s stern with the first timers, but if she catches a repeat offender, they get a much tougher attitude. Nothing that could be “police brutality,” just enough to discourage another repeat offense. A good amount of the time, the repeat offender doesn’t repeat again after meeting her.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? She makes her debut comic book appearance in Dream Angel #1, which is available in the shop. Also available in the shop is her plush action figure.

Deadly beauty: Akhlys

 

Akhlys is a deadly beauty. She’s beautiful and she knows it. She flaunts it. She welcomes guys falling over themselves at her feet.

Akhlys

The problem for those guys falling over themselves at her feet: poison gas and her temper.

Being the passive-aggressive type and vain, she often gets what she wants. When she doesn’t, the poor soul who resists gets poisoned.

Teikou no Senshi, for her natural resistance to poison, is often at the center of Akhlys’s anger. Having no fighting skill to speak of, Akhlys can’t stand that the younger girl is able to resist her poison and heal her victims as well.

Her charm and beauty is highly effective on men in particular. Among the few who’ve resisted are Dream Angel’s father and friends.

Trying to charm Jake Arum in particular, she found him more resistant than most. Not only did this anger her, it confused her as well. How could an ordinary man resist her so strongly? She didn’t know, but in her confusion, she didn’t poison him.

Unfortunately for Virgo, Torakatai, Red Nite Soldier and Blue Nite Soldier, her charm had more effect, but not for long. Upon trying to attack, she used her poison and they had to escape for help.

Even Ryu and Breezer have had to resist her charms and later, her poison gas.

Her debut appearance in comic books is Dream Angel #1, found in the shop. You’ll also find her charming and quite adorable plush action figure in the shop, as well. Luckily, her plush action figure can’t use poison gas the way she does in the comic books. All she wants is a hug instead! Will you give her a hug?

Tough leadership: Torakatai

torakataiTorakatai means “tough tiger” and as his name suggests, he’s a tough tiger. As if the scars wouldn’t give that away, right? He fought hard for the rank of village leader and has yet to find another to challenge him for the right. Victor of many battles, excellent leader and in top condition.

He was wary of Dream Angel when Virgo introduced her to the village and with good reason. He’d met Nyxus some years before and her promises of keeping the Sunless Mountains untouched proved false. Nyxus came in later destroying homes, entire species, ruining water supplies, and chasing off critical food supplies for many. He knew who to blame for the famine in his village, but was still careful when the strange orange clad winged girl was brought to him.

When he finally learned why she fights Nyxus, he began to consider helping, but his responsibility to the village didn’t give him much chance for thought. When Nyxus returned to the area to once again destroy and Dream Angel took a stand against her to help the village, he ordered his tiger warriors to back her up. Back her up they did, and very effectively as she had some fighting skill, that was clear to Torakatai, but she needed some more advanced training.

After that fight, not only did he accept her offer of friendship, but offer heavy-duty battle training. It was during this time that she found she could do different things with the feathers of her wings. Several of which have come in very handy.

Torakatai is also the one who introduced Ryu to Dream Angel during an especially bad crisis to which the tiger man had no solution. It was hoped that with Ryu’s magic a solution could be found. It was after some difficulty deciphering what the dragon had to say.

What do you think? Is Torakatai an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #22, which is available in the shop. Getting the books before it is highly recommended so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plus action figure.

Dangerous beauty: Anaplkete

Anaplkete is the fastest of the Keres sisters. Although she lacks super speed, she makes up with it using her weapons and their lightning speed.

Anaplkete

A skilled double-wielder of twin short glaives, she’s often found battling with Red Nite Soldier, who also double wields skillfully. Of the two, she’s considerably more experienced, which puts him at a disadvantage. Being fast on top of that makes the fight quite difficult for him. If he’s lucky enough to disarm her, she’ll certainly run the other way. The difficulty is disarming her.

Although she doesn’t flaunt her beauty, she does use it to her advantage at times. This tends to leave a trail of broken hearts and sometimes bodies in the wake of achieving her goals.

All four of the Keres sisters have varying levels of vanity with Ker being the most vain of all and the most dangerous as a result. Anaplkete qualifies as least vain, but that doesn’t mean she’ll get her hands dirty unless it’s absolutely necessary. Like her sisters, she’d rather let the reprobates do the dirty work.

Often accompanied by a large number of reprobates, she’s a strong opponent for our heroes. Like her sisters, even a cracked nail can lead to very, very dangerous levels of anger. Luckily, her speed is much like a cheetah. Fast for a time, but short-lived. It’s during that burst of speed that the fight for survival is most difficult, however.

Beautiful, fast and deadly. The best description around for Anaplkete. Her debut appearance in comic books is Dream Angel #1, found in the shop. Also in the shop is her charmingly adorable plush action figure who simply wants a hug. Will you give her a hug?

What makes 3D so difficult?

What makes 3D so difficult to handle is that it has a very steep learning curve more often than not. I’ve found people that assume because the computer does a lot of the work that 3D isn’t art and it’s lazy to use. Let me assure you: nothing is further from the truth!

True, some programs, like DAZ Studio or even Poser are good for beginners or hobbyists and make setting up a scene reasonably easy to do, but that doesn’t mean the rendered art will be good quality. Like pencil and paper, there’s basic techniques and much more advanced ones. It’s the difference between a stick figure with dots for eyes and a line for a smile and a fully detailed anatomically correct figure that’s nicely lit and realistic.

Anyone can draw a stick figure, but that much higher quality figure with all the details and lighting? That can take years of practice. The very same holds true of 3D art.

First and foremost, it’s very much art. If it isn’t, it shouldn’t be in movies as a special effect since it takes special effects artists to use it for movies. What are they using if it isn’t art? Secondly, it’s constantly changing and improving, so just because some amateur hasn’t yet mastered even the basics isn’t a reason to tell them to use pencil and paper.

Four years ago, I knew next to nothing about 3D art. I posed bald, nude figures in Poser with default lighting and painted hair and clothes in Photoshop. As I learned more, my methods changed. Figures began having clothes and hair, I began experimenting with lights and camera angles.

Being a 3D artist is a lot like being a movie director. You have to be able to work with all the various departments to get the scene just right. Actors, wardrobe, hair, makeup, lights, cameras and other things have to be prepared for the scene to be complete. Finding, creating and effectively rendering the scene elements is more complicated than some might imagine. Even when you think the scene looks the way you want it, it doesn’t mean the final render will have the desired result. That means post work, which can get almost as complicated as setting up the scene in the first place.

The truth is there’s a million ways a scene can go wrong. True, pencil and paper mean you can simply erase the part that’s not the way you want it, but what if it’s already inked? That means hours with white-out or something similar to correct the problem.

Lots of ways to mess up, lots of ways to create incredible art. It’s a matter of time, patience and a lot of practice.