2015 Goals and Format Changes

Hello all. Tracy here writing today about our 2015 goals and some changes to our project.

2015 Goals
It’s hard to believe another year is already coming at us. 2015 will be an important year for our project: it is the year we will start content. Yes, you heard right. We will wrap up our concepts with the last character art and world-building art, and sometime in mid to late 2015 we’ll release story content based on the pilot episode script I finished the final draft of.

I will have more time opening up this new year to focus on our project than I have. Whereas since 2011 Yesenia and I have only been able to ask of ourselves to meet a certain amount of hour criteria a month, this new change will allow me to set hard deadlines for myself every week or two weeks, and meet them.

That said, this month Yesenia and I came to a compromise on something: the format of our to-be content.

Changes to Format

If you follow my personal Deviantart, you already know where this is going as this has been the big topic for our project in October.

After much research, debate, and thought, we’ve decided to present our project as a media webcomic, something in the layout of colored storyboards with animated short intervals and gif frames.

We’re doing this for several reasons:

  • We can upload a steady stream of content to you all
  • Quality of individual drawings will be higher
  • Workload will be more manageable for us
  • We will get the story out sooner, faster
  • We can still animate certain scenes and build up to full shorts later
A thoughtful commenter this month said the media of our project’s future should be determined by what we wanted out of it most. We’ve decided that presenting you all with our story sooner, faster, and more consistently is what is driving us at this point, and we can get our animation wants met with animated intervals, gif frames, and eventually building up to shorts later. We sincerely hope you all following us understand this new direction.

At least, this is where we’re headed right now. We're going to finish the concept art early next year, and then I plan to take a storyboarding and sequential art class/mentorship as I begin creating our content as I want to make our opening the best I can possibly make it.

Coming Up…

There will be no update for December 2014 as Yesenia and I take care of things in our lives throughout November and December, but this should be the last update missed for some time.

In our January 2015 update we’ll announce:
  • Further plans
  • What’s going on in our lives
  • Another big change to our project

I am entered in the GIPHY sticker contest with my creation, Andi Acorn. I would appreciate if you all took some time to VOTE FOR ME, you can vote as many times as you like so just a lot of clicking would mean the world to me. If I get enough votes or get noticed by a judge to get in the second round, I can compete for grand prize by creating a sticker set with Andi and some of his friends, like Acrid:


Thanks everyone, I'm excited to update in January and to push our project in 2015. I look forward to your thoughts and comments about today's update below in the comments section, on tumblr, or our facebook.

Pilot Preview!

Hello everyone! Tracy Writing!
By this update, our pilot script is near completion (plot synopsis and details in this update post!), and I'm  excited to show you an excerpt of my in-progress writing:

>> Download the Preview <<

You can leave us your thoughts and critiques below, on facebook, through tumblr, or e-mail.

 Currently, Yesenia and I think we just need to do one or two more drafts to complete the writing. After that, we are still working towards our immediate goal of completing our series concept work, and I will get back to art for Argyle, Veil's stepbrother, soon. 

Next update we have a big change to our project to announce. A change which we hope you all will like and support.

 But until next time, I thank you all for following us as we progress on this project, and thank you for your well-wishes and kind, thoughtful comments!

Insight Post Master List

Sometimes we write posts for you about things we’ve learned while working on our project. Here is a master list of all of them to date (they are not in order of creation, but grouped together according to content):

Taking A Stance On Our Story - What is the heart of a story? In this post, co-creator Tracy MacLauchlan explores The Taffetas' journey in understanding that to tell a meaningful tale, you don't just need characters and setting, but a reason for being- a theme - and discusses that in-context to the project. Also some babbling about the monomyth, but that's pretty cool to learn too.

Character Creation - Tracy MacLauchlan offers her researched perspective on creating a solid character through purpose, credibility, empathy, and complexity. She suggests ways to get in your character’s head, while reminding you not to lose sight of the big picture. The article ends with further reading recommendations.

Drawing Characters - Tracy MacLauchlan is the current artist for the Taffetas, and in this post she suggests how to start drawing your own characters, offering tips, advice, reading recommendations, and even walks you through a typical character drawing.

 Let’s Draw Characters in Adobe Illustrator - Yesenia presents an informal Adobe Illustrator video demo of her vectoring a character image. She follows the exact process she uses for The Taffetas, and talks about intermediate tips and tricks in Adobe Illustrator.

Research, Research, Research - Why research? Yesenia illustrates through our own experience that hitting the books is the only way to strengthen your skills, lend credibility to your story, and sometimes even solve writer’s block. She offers research tips and advice for those who find the process daunting.

Sharing Your Intellectual Property Online - Co-creator Yesenia Carrero talks about posting original work online. Yesenia discusses her opinions, talks about idea theft vs. content theft, gives an overview on copyright law, and opens up the topic for conversation.

Monetizing Your Online Content - A recap of Linus Olsen’s lecture from Geekend 2012 on how to make money from your online content

What topics would YOU like for us to write about next? Let is know on tumblr, our facebook, or through our e-mail.

Pilot : 1st Draft FINISHED

Hello Everyone!
This is Yesenia speaking, back from my much needed vacation and ready to give you updates.

Since our last post, the pilot episode's first draft has been finished. YES! We are hoping to have it fine-tuned by next post, and a sample excerpt available to the public to read. As development continues, we will be testing our storytelling and visual development capabilities, our character writing skills, and of course, audience reception.

For those who missed it, here's a quick synopsis:

When a mysterious circus comes to visit, Gemini jumps at the chance to ditch her responsibilities and have some fun. However, she is so enchanted by the circus’s performance that she puts off her job hunting to come back again … and again … and again. But when Veil is cursed to be the next main act, Gemini must fight the spell to save her friend.

Leave your thoughts in a comment below or contact us through facebook or tumblr! Thanks guys!

Pilot Episode in the Works

Hello Everyone! Tracy writing!

Last week, I noted that today’s update would be a change to our Facebook and an announcement about our new title. Unfortunately, we’ve hit a delay and plan to update our Facebook in the Fall. In the meantime, we’ll continue with Argyle’s concept art, and a new task: the pilot episode script!

With us drawing closer to the completion of our concept stage, I'm taking the opportunity of some extra free time to participate in a screenwriting class to write the pilot episode. A pilot episode is made on its own as a test for whether a show might work, and is sometimes also the first episode of a series

We're hoping to test out our animation methods, our characters, writing skills, and audience reception with this episode. We're hoping you, our readers and supporters, will enjoy it, and that others will take interest as well. We'll also be testing whether or not we can conceivably continue our project as an animated web series.

I'm in the process of writing the outline and the first draft, but here's the pitch, or general idea:

Gemini Journey, a bubbly Atlantean out on her own for the first time, is easily distracted from her job search, while her uptight roommate and elf friend, Veil Taffeta, is determined to keep her on track. When a mysterious circus comes to visit, Gemini jumps at the chance to ditch Veil and have some fun. However, she is so enchanted by the circus’s performance that she puts off her job hunting to come back again…and again…and again.

What do you think about our pilot episode so far? Leave your thoughts in a comment below or contact us through facebook or tumblr! Thanks guys!

Sapphire the Fun-Loving Gargoyless

Sapphire's concept is finished! Well, on my end anyway (Tracy writing!)- Yesenia still has to vector my images, which we will post when she gets back from vacation (more on that later).

We're excited to present the new Sapphire. She is Gemini’s fun-loving gargoyless BFF who encourages her to express herself and let loose, but sometimes goes too far. She’s tough, feminine, and a little weird, though she’ll never admit to that last part.

Sapphire changed a lot during her concept overhaul, and in my opinion, is still changing. I'd like to push her into an even more expressive, 'id'-like character during production. That is not to say I'm not happy with where we are- we worked hard to to find her purpose in the story and fleshed (sculpted?) her out all over again. You can read about our progress with her in our past post, Sapphire Underway.

Coming up will be some new Facebook header images and talk of our new title (finally, we have one!), and then I will move on to concept overhauling Veil's stepbrother, Argyle.

I should also mention Argyle is the last of the major characters to concept before we move on to minor characters who won't have as much detailing to do. We're so close!

After that, sometime in the Fall, we'll see these Sapphire images vectored by Yesenia. She'll be on vacation for most of the Summer so I will be solely running our social media until then. Be sure to watch us on tumblr if you aren't yet, and ask me any questions you have about our project!

What do you think about Sapphire so far? Leave your thoughts in a comment below or contact us through facebook or tumblr! Thanks guys!

Character Vector Demo

Hello Everyone, Jess here! Today I present an informal Adobe Illustrator Demo of me vectoring a character image. I follow the exact process I use when doing any official work for The Taffetas, and talk about intermediate tips and tricks in Adobe Illustrator. This is my first time creating a video demo/tutorial, or dealing with video at all. Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Here is the demo:

Adobe Illustrator Vector Demo from Yesenia Carrero on Vimeo.

And here is a "let's draw" version where you can just watch me work:

We love giving back to you all, our readers and supporters. Check out our other insight posts, like drawing characters and Sharing your IP online . Or just take a look at our master list of insight posts on our tumblr.

What did you think about this live demo? Should we do more? What subjects would you like to talk about next? Leave your thoughts in a comment below or contact us through facebook or tumblr! Thanks!

May 2014 Update: Upcoming Vector Demo and Sapphire Progress

Tracy writing!
First up, Yesenia's Upcoming Vector Demo will still be released June 2nd. I talked about it last update. She will record herself vectoring an image of kid!sapphire I uploaded to our tumblr.

As for Sapphire's concept art, I released her first image last month, and this month I finished her second pose, ready to be vectored by Yesenia. I'll release it along with all 3 concept images I've done, pre-vectorization, when they are complete.

What do you think so far? Leave a comment below, comment on our facebook, or send us an ask on tumblr!

Art Progress & Upcoming Vector Demo

Hello Everyone!
Tracy writing! Today is a progress update on Sapphire's art and an official announcement about Yesenia Carrero's upcoming Intermediate Adobe Illustrator Tutorial.

Sapphire's Art
Last month, I posted some rough sketches to Sapphire's concept art. I started cleaning them up to get ready to be vectored, and finished her first image:

I still have to create an image of her interaction with the main characters, which visually exemplifies some of the character conflicts we can explore for story material. I may also re-do her second image for a better pose than what my sketches are, currently.

Upcoming Intermediate Vector Demonstration
Yesenia Carrero is the final rendering artist for this project and does amazing, complex vector images from my drawings.

Thanks to all of your responses on Tumblr, Facebook, and Deviantart, Yesenia is going ahead with it. She promises to explain her process vectoring our Taffetas concept art:

I'll be mostly going over:
  • Soft Shading In Ai and how I handle light sources and blushes
  • Masking and grouping elements
  • Easy Line-work Tricks - and how to get nice Thick-Thins
  • My general process, favorite shortcuts, and misc tips along the way

The demo is intended for users who can use the program well, and wont be going over commonly used tools.
It will instead tackle my process, and how I get over problems like blending, line-art, and lighting.

We are setting a *tentative* release date of June 2nd. It will be a recorded video demo, since we did not get much interest to make it a livestream. You can still chime in if there are any questions you would like answered in Yesenia's tutorial by commenting below or e-mailing us!

We also love sharing our knowledge with you all. If there any other tutorial or insight from either Yesenia or myself that you would like to see the future, or you just have comments on how we're doing, let us know below or through Facebook, tumblr, or e-mail.

Sapphire Underway

Hello Everyone!
This is Tracy writing today's monthly update. With Elena and Veil's art finished (save for the final final pass on the Elena-Veil picture), we made good progress developing Gemini's spunky and cool gargoyless BFF, Sapphire.

Previously,  Sapphire was sassy and level-headed, but we felt the collected way which she carried herself made her too similar to Veil, and didn’t fit her high-concept role in our story. Sapphire is like the 'id' side to Gemini, someone who acts as a pushing force towards self-expression and independence. This is meant to be in opposition to Veil, who acts as a guide to self-control and selflessness (you can imagine they don't get along!).

In this new version, Sapphire wears her emotions on her sleeve in an it’s-all-about-me-get-over-it attitude. She’s tough, feminine, and a little weird, though she’ll ever concede to that last part.

Design-wise Yesenia and I have been working on adding in those quirks through pose. We're already happy with the triangle and heart shapes in her design and the touch of built, blocky texture, so we're focusing on making her new personality show with more dynamic gestures which come across angular and strong, to contrast Veil's uptight vertical posing with a hint of passiveness.

This coming month, I'm going to make some more Sapphire drawings, including one of her interacting with our cast. You can follow our work and see more sketches and thoughts as we create them through our tumblr!

So what do you think about Sapphire so far? Leave your thoughts in a comment below or contact us through facebook or tumblr! Thanks guys!

Early Febuary Update

Hello Everyone!
This is Yesenia speaking, updating you with our in-progress artwork. While Tracy and I are in an unsteady transition period, we still kept up with finishing The Taffetas artwork for Veil.

Below are the completed Veil images.

Now complete, Tracy and I will move on to our side characters, Elena (who has some completed artwork), Sapphire, Eschewal, Wolf, Tom, and others to complete the characters section in our page. As a recap, here are some of the side character designs we have completed, along with a brief description. 

Elena: an awkward young Siren who works as a barista in Veil’s favorite coffee shop. What she lacks in people skills, she plans to make up for with her budding powers of persuasion.

Sapphire: Gemini’s best friend (and sometimes worst enemy). A gargoyless, dramatist, and wannabe model, she lives with her hundreds of cousins where she acts as matriarch and landlord. She loves to party and let loose, and is fiercely loyal to her family.

Wolf: an artistic Wulver renting a room in Sapphire’s house. He can be strange and a bit gross, especially when his canine instincts take over, but Gemini befriends him through their mutual love of food and baking.

Tom: a geeky, anti-conservationist dryad and single parent of three. Tom is Veil’s co-worker and only friend, and on occasion acts as a mentor to Gemini and Veil.

Eschewal: Veil’s coddled older stepbrother who makes a living as a journalist and social activist. Cute, adventurous, and everything Veil is not, he and Gemini make quite the pair – and he knows it.

It will be a blast getting to flesh out the rest of our cast of characters. We will start with those above and move on to the rest as our pitch needs them. In the meantime, your continued support, thoughts and critiques are always welcome! If you would like to ask any questions let us know here on the blog, our facebook fan-page, or by e-mailing us at info@thetaffetaspitch.com.

The Future of Our Project

Happy 2014!
This is Tracy writing about our reflection on 2013, our plans for 2014, and a look at our current progress.

2013 was difficult, but we did a lot.
We didn't complete what we expected to this year, but this does not mean our accomplishments aren't noteworthy. With three out of five main characters updated, the last two underway, a new tumblr layout, an insight post, the majority of the winter prizes taken care of or being taken care of, and tons of research poured into the project, we’re happy with our output.

Those who follow us closely know that Yesenia and I are working-artists by day, and Taffetas is a passion project we produce on evenings and weekends. Finding a balance between work, Taffetas, and life is difficult to say the least. 2013 felt like a struggle of constantly trying to find that balance, and not always succeeding!

We appreciate the time and patience everyone gives us on the project- our fans waiting to see more than just drawings, our blog followers, and our 2012 prize winners. Thank you, thank you ALL for sticking with us and encouraging us. Our project is fueled by your well-wishes.

2014 is uncertain, but Taffetas is a given.
Our goals for 2014 are:
• Finish the character updates and concept drawings
• Update our Facebook & Blogger
• Commission Concept/Background artist for “World” illustrations
• Update our written concept

Last post, Yesenia mentioned that there are big changes coming up in our careers and life. We are moving out of our apartment by March, and our future isn’t clear.

But, we will always work on this project

Currently, Yesenia is vectoring Veil for our pitch book.
Since last update, she finished the bicycle image!:

I completed the leading New Year’s image above, and am still researching and developing Sapphire. Keep an eye on our tumblr for sketches to be posted!

Thank you all!
If you would like to ask any questions let us know here on the blog, our facebook fan-page, or by e-mailing us at info@thetaffetaspitch.com.
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