Sunday, August 30, 2020

Diva's Reylo Fan Art Series: KasiopeaArt Draws Addictively Entertaining Star Wars FanFic Web Comic


It is no secret that many Reylos have been utterly disappointed with the way Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) wrapped up the Skywalker saga. To salve their heartbreak and feelings of frustration, Reylos turn to the treasure trove of fanfics and fanart out there.

One of the Star Wars-inspired fan art that stood out for Red Dot Diva was a series of entertaining webcomics by KasiopeaArt with a story post-TROS beginning with an alternative ending where Ben Solo survived. The comic's script filled with cheeky banter and great chemistry between the characters, that includes a particularly mischievous Porg. The entertainment value is further added by Kasiopea's deft artwork as she depicts the likeness and mannerisms of the actors with such detail.


Kasiopea is based in Warsaw, Poland, and has illustrated several children's and fantasy books. A long time fan of Tolkien's Middle Earth, she has also contributed writings and art to Aiglos, the Polish fanzine for all things Tolkien. Oh, and she also loves all kinds of animals!

Despite the pandemic and the need to prioritise real life matters, Red Dot Diva was glad that Kasiopea was able to find time to do this interview, and share more about her art “hobby” (as she calls it).

Red Dot Diva: When did you discover your love for drawing?
Kasiopea: As soon as I was able to hold a pen in my hand.

Red Dot Diva: Who are your favourite artists and illustrators, and why?
Kasiopea: The Polish trio – Stanisław Rozwadowski (master of portraying animals, especially in motion), Janusz Grabiański (sweet illustrations, mostly animals, very light fairy-tale and optimistc vibe) and Jan Marcin Szancer – a legendary illustrator (I especially adore his black-and-white works).

My favourites are also Tove Jansson (her works are pure magic), Ernest Howard Shepard (who doesn’t love his Winnie the Pooh illustrations?) and Alan Lee – his watercolours and pencil works are absolutely incredible. I love all their works because – apart from being beautiful - they all are true and dedicated to the story they illustrated.



Red Dot Diva: I know that many Reylos are disappointed with how TROS ended up the way it did. I saw your tumblr post that you felt you were not able to draw Star Wars fan art anymore as you felt franchise no longer brought you joy. However you have drawn this wonderful Reylo comic about an alternate ending and universe. How did you manage to summon enough joy and love back again to do such a detailed piece of work?
Kasiopea: Joy? No. Don’t underestimate the power of the Dark Side. :) TROS destroyed Star Wars for me. Me, a hardcore fan since A New Hope, who used to say that if midichlorians can’t kill my love for this franchise, then nothing will. I was wrong – I wasn’t prepared for Episode IX to be such bad, cynical and dark story, without sense, without hope, without myth. It casts a long shadow on everything I knew before. I still can’t believe this is the way they decided to end the Skywalker saga. 

My comic rose from anger and disappointment. We are living in a dark world, most of us are struggling with a very hard time – we need fairy tales with “they lived happily ever after”, we need them more than ever. Years ago I fell in love with ST characters, Rey, Ben, Finn, Poe. I wished them to be happy, victorious and fulfilled. Since Disney Lucasfilm is no longer interested in telling a hopeful fairy tales that end happily, I decided to draw what I wanted to see.
Red Dot Diva: And I know many will agree with me. I have to tell you that I'm so glad you are bringing so much joy to the Reylos out there!




Red Dot Diva: I felt that your Reylo web story is as good as many comics! Do you already plan the story before drawing them? How does it take for you to map out the storyline and panels?
Kasiopea: It’s usually 2-3 days per panel. As for writing – it’s hard to say, because I invent the stories while riding my horse, driving the car, during cleaning the house, walking the dog, etc. I write them down when I have a bit of spare time.

Red Dot Diva: Do you aspire to be able to draw comics for one of the well known publishers one day?
Kasiopea: I no longer have such aspirations. Once I dreamed about illustrating The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion, but I know now that it won’t happen since the Tolkien Estate aren’t interested in new faces in their enchanted circle of Tolkien illustrators. I dreamed about working for Lucasfilm, but that dream ended brutally with TROS. So – no. I illustrated around 80 books, most of them children classics and fantasy/science fiction and that will be it.



Red Dot Diva: You are the one of the few Star Wars fan artists I’ve seen who draws very realistic likeness of the cast and characters! (So, so good!) Who is the toughest to draw? Also have you already memorized the moles on Adam Driver’s faces?
Kasiopea: The toughest to draw for me is young Luke Skywalker. I don’t know why – maybe because of his boyish features. It’s easy to make him into his own caricature. And Rey – there are times I start drawing her face again and again and can’t catch the resemblance. As for Adam’s moles – well, yes. I have drawn him so many times I have a map of them in my mind.





Red Dot Diva: Other than Star Wars art, what other fandom art do you love to draw?
Kasiopea: I used to be very active in the J.R.R. Tolkien fandom. I had been drawing illustrations for The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, I had been writing fanfiction stories, papers and reviews for tolkienist almanac “Aiglos” for years. My opus magnum is a novel-length story The Son of Gondor.



Red Dot Diva: Have you ever thought of selling your fanart as prints or merchandise online like so many others have done? If no, why?
Kasiopea: I wish I could sell prints! But I live in a country very unfriendly to artists. To legally sell prints you need to establish your own business and the tax on such an activity is horrendous. I can’t afford it.

Red Dot Diva: Do you have any tips for artists who are getting started on creating fan art?
Kasiopea: Follow your heart. Ignore the trolls. And draw, draw, draw.

Red Dot Diva: Thank you so much for this inteview, Kasiopea! Keep doing what you are doing. You have been a bright spark this year when it has been tough for many of us. I can't wait to see the next web comic panels for the current Reylo story you have been sharing with us. I love those adorable Porgs!


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To read Kasiopea's entertaining Reylo web comic, go to these links:

Twitter - https://twitter.com/KasiopeaArt
Tumblr - https://kasiopea-star-wars.tumblr.com
 
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Other articles from the Diva's Reylo Fan Art Series:

* Interview with Rachel Xin
* Interview with Afterblossom (Kelly)
* Interview with Leiaporgana (Cody)



Saturday, August 22, 2020

DC FanDome Part 2 Held on 13 September; HBO Asia and Warner TV Asia Go Into DC Superhero Mode


It's only a few hours to the launch of DC FanDome, the global virtual event entirely about DC Comics and characters from the DC Universe, put together just for the fans. Red Dot Diva is definitely camping out on her iMac, lapping up the exclusive reveals while trying to stay awake via caffeine pumping.

Because the initial schedule had so many panels and sessions which will be running simultaneously, fans had found it hard to choose which ones they wanted to attend. So, to cater to the fans' needs, DC FanDome is now expanded to two separate events. The panels previously announced in the other “Verses” like WatchVerse and KidsVerse, have now been postponed to the second event.

The original event on 23 August (Sunday) has been renamed as DC FanDome: Hall of Heroes with a more streamlined schedule. The live segment will begin at 1 AM (Singapore Time) for 8 hours, kicking off with its first panel on WONDER WOMAN 1984, followed by others for The Sandman Universe, THE BATMANTHE SUICIDE SQUAD and THE SNYDER CUT of JUSTICE LEAGUE, alongside exclusive programming on comics, games, cartoons, TV series and more. The show will air two more times during the 24-hour period, so that fans from different countries will be able to enjoy the different sessions and announcements.

A second round of the mega fan event called DC FanDome: Explore The Multiverse will be held for 24-hours only on 13 September, 1 AM (Singapore Time). A kids-friendly event called DC Kids FanDome will also launch at the same time, and can be accessed separately as DCKidsFanDome.com.

At this event, fans will have full access to over 100 hours of on-demand programming spanning the vast DC Multiverse of TV series, movies, comics, cartoons, games and more. They can then customise their own schedule, and enjoy as many exclusive panel sessions, screenings and never-before-seen content as they wish within the 24-hour window.

It costs nothing to enter in DC FanDome, so don't miss the great lineup in store on both dates. The event can be accessed on all mobile devices as well as on your desktop and laptop computers. All you have to do is go to this link: https://www.dccomics.com/dcfandome


DC SUPERHERO PROGRAMMING ON HBO & WARNER TV

Meanwhile, both HBO GO and Warner TV Asia are giving fans in Asia a special treat with over 30 hours of programming on the various DC Superheroes.



From today till 30 August, HBO GO will have Emmy Awards-nominated TV series WATCHMEN and DOOM PATROL Season 1 and 2 available for streaming or download. Fans can also catch DC heroes blockbuster movies such as AQUAMAN, SHAZAM! and JONAH HEX, plus lively animated shows like Batman: Hush, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Constantine: City of Demons, Justice League vs. The Fatal Five, The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen.


Love the bunch of idiosyncratic bunch of superheroes called the Teen Titans? Well, you will be able to watch the 2018 film, Teen Titans GO! to the Movies as well as Teen Titans GO! vs Teen Titans on HBO Go as well.

You can get a 7-day free trial on HBO GO if you download the app from App Store or Play Store, or access HBO GO via StarHub, SingTel and meWatch! HBO GO is now available on Android TV, Apple TV, LG TV, Samsung Smart TV.



Sibling company Warner TV (Starhub TV 515, Singtel TV 306) also has flexed their DC Superhero goodness with a movie marathon of six blockbusters aired back-to-back, starting from 9 AM on 22 August (Sat). The marathon DC Superhero fest kicks off with Christopher Nolan's Batman films - BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. The marathon then continues with MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and finally, JUSTICE LEAGUE.


There is no letting up on Sunday, 23 August, with WONDER WOMAN airing at 12:25 PM and SUICIDE SQUAD at 2:55 PM. Phew! That's a whole lot of DC Superheroes for you to catch a ride with!


LIVE WITH RED DOT DIVA - DC FANDOME: HYPE OR HOPE?


In conjunction with the DC FanDome virtual extravaganza, Red Dot Diva will host a Facebook livestream entitled DC FANDOME: HYPE OR HOPE? on 23 August (Sunday) at 1 PM together with two hardcore DC fans, Atty and John.

Come online to Red Dot Diva Facebook Page, and join in the chat, as the trio does a roundup and recap on the event, and share about the news and teasers from the different panels and activities in DC FanDome: Hall of Heroes.

Also, there will be a surprise giveaway of DC Superhero swag, if you join us for the livestream and interact with us! So, go to the Event Page and log in your attendance (it's Free of Charge!) at https://www.facebook.com/events/969165350198035

To join the livestream, go to https://www.facebook.com/reddotdiva/live




Friday, August 21, 2020

An Interview with Illustrator Alan Bay - Artist of Sacred Guardians Prequel Comic

Local Red Dot Island illustrator Alan Bay may call himself ‘smallguydoodle’ on social media, but his artistic talent is anything but small.

He has worked for an extensive list of projects, ranging from high profile game titles like Assassin's Creed, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Romance of Three Kingdoms Online, to comics, cartoons and children's books.

His first printed fantasy-RPG-based comic was a collaboration with Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) and ChuangYi Publishing called ATLAS. The comic still lives as ATLAS REALMS on tapas.

Alan's recently completed comic book entitled SACRED GUARDIANS will be released this month by local publishing company Asiapac Books. It is a prequel origin story written by Aydeel Djoeharie (co-founder of tokuAsiafor an exciting and ambitious tokusatsu live action series project called SACRED GUARDIANS SINGA.

Red Dot Diva is excited to get her hands on SACRED GUARDIANS, so she took the opportunity to ask Alan Bay about his experience working in the different industries as well as nab a couple of teasers for the upcoming comic book.

Red Dot Diva: You have worked for on several popular game projects. What is it like working for game companies as an artist? Is it brutal with all the group collaboration and deadlines you have to meet? 
Alan: I have worked in two different companies Koei Tecmo (Koei back then) and Ubisoft, and they have two very different office cultures and work styles. But it's the same working in either company, time is never on our side. It’s never a 9-6 job and will always end up working overtime trying to push for better quality. We always said it was an abuse of passion, but we ended up doing it anyway!

Red Dot Diva: Between being a game artist and a comic book artist, which do you prefer, and why? Is the storytelling process the same?
Alan: I would prefer comic book artist, as story-telling plays a much important role than compared to games. For video games, I feel that game play is the most important thing and a good story sometime might be under-appreciated or just doesn’t work with the game. Creating comic is pretty much boundless, if earning dough isn’t your top priority.



TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled Opening Video from alan bay on Vimeo.


Red Dot Diva: Your drawings generally depict a "cartoon" style (in a good way!), and I notice you also love having bright, glossy and contrasting colours in your images. Who influenced and continues to influence your art? 
Alan: I always hope my drawing and comic bring joy and laughter to the readers, and perhaps also my happy nature that I tend to create more happy vibes drawings. I do been wanting to try different genre like horror and more grim stuff, so that might be something new for me. My childhood manga were DragonballZ, Ranma ½, Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, DNA². I only got to read western comics while I was in Poly, and my friend recommended BattleChasers, which really blew my mind. I never seen or thought that a western comic can have such stylized and almost manga style, and from then I got to read more comics like Crimson, Danger Girl, Chew, Invincible, etc 
Red Dot Diva: So, how would you describe your own art style?
Alan: I have been doing a lot of children books and boardgames for the last few years, so my current art style is more kiddish and simple. Sometime an art style is kinda break or change, but I always like a challenge and trying different things.

Red Dot Diva: You have been drawing art professionally for a while. Do you feel that your art style has changed through the years? How do you keep yourself up to date, and has there been something new that have you learned in recent times?
Alan: As I've mentioned, I have been doing more children contents for the past few years, so my style tends to be simpler. Partly that’s due to time constrain too, so you will need to find a style that allows you to finish the work in a certain amount of time. Compared to ONCE UPON A SINGAPORE... TRADERS, SACRED GUARDIANS is a more action-packed Shonen comic, so the style is slightly different (I hope!). I always look for new ways to automate and make the process faster, like using customized styles and actions. I also think reading is very important for artists, you are building a world/universe from scratch, the more you know, the easier and believable your story/art will be. You will need to know how weight and gravity works, how light and shadow works, how human anatomy works, etc.. So stay in school kids.

Red Dot Diva: Congrats again to you and Tina Sim for having ONCE UPON A SINGAPORE... TRADERS being named as one of the Finalist for Book of the Year at the Singapore Book Awards 2019. Where were you when you first got the news? 
Alan: Thank you Diva! Sadly, it was announced only a few days before the event itself and I wasn’t able to attend it as I was going overseas. Not many people knew about it because our book was only nominated for this and it wasn’t in the catalogue…. 
Red Dot Diva: Did you feel that you achieved an important milestone after all the hard work you have put in so far?
Alan: It was definitely a big surprise for us, as it was the second time a comic was nominated. (The first was Sonny Liew’s and he won the award, so let’s not talk about that!)
Red Dot Diva: Haha! Sonny has indeed raised the bar for local creators. He's awesome.

Red Dot Diva: How did you get involved with the SACRED GUARDIANS prequel comic for the local tokusatsu project SACRED GUARDIANS SINGA?? ?
Alan: Lingying from Asiapac Books approached me again because I am fast and cheap lol (Just kidding!) I met up with her and the Tokuasia team who wrote the story last October and asked if I am interested to draw the comic. 
Red Dot Diva: Tell us a little about what the comic is about.
Alan: The story is a mythical take on Asia a long time ago, where demons and spirits roam the land, and how Dev the main character, finds the sacred guardians to defeat the evils. 

Red Dot Diva: Did you come up with the designs of the characters in SACRED GUARDIANS? What was the process like?
Alan: The original characters were created by Zaki Ragman (which can be found at the end of book) and they were used in the proposal. I re-designed them based off his designs and simplified them so that the look matches the style and genre. They gave me the creativity freedom with their costumes, so I tried to add more Asian flairs with fantasy elements. 

Red Dot Diva: What was the most challenging thing about the SACRED GUARDIANS comic project? 
Alan: The amount of details, especially for the Guardians costumes. And they are five of them! We were still tweaking the story at the beginning of year, and I starting the actual inking and colours back in March. We were targeting a July release back then. Guess the Circuit Breaker helped a bit as I was trapped in my room drawing every day. Besides that, the next most challenging thing was to make sure the story and the action were balanced. Aydeel Djoeharie, who is the writer, and I went through and amended the story a couple of times, and I really appreciate that he was open to suggestions and comments. It is not easy to squeeze everything we wanted to tell into a book, but I think the outcome is pretty promising.

Red Dot Diva: I feel there is a lack of representation of South-East Asian stories on the international stage. What are your opinions about this, and how do you think we could achieve more success worldwide? 
Alan: Movies like Parasite, Crazy Rich Asians, Ilo Ilo, and books like The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Darn it, I mentioned it in the end.) have been well received globally and I think the world are always curious and eager for Asian stories. I feel we should write stories based on our individual experiences, something close to your heart, so even after you stripped off all the fancy graphics and CGI, it is still a genuine story.

Sneak peek page from SACRED GUARDIANS!

Red Dot Diva: So, what’s next after SACRED GUARDIANS? Do you have some more projects that we can look out for? 
Alan: Well, Aydeel does have a lot of ideas for the individual characters in the story, like how their lives were like before all these happened. He has a bigger plan that will cover more countries and myths, which hopefully we will get to tell them in the future. 
Red Dot Diva: Ooh! Sounds exciting. Bring it on!

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SACRED GUARDIANS is still available for pre-order from Asiapac Books' website. Get your copy here: https://asiapacbooks.com/products/sacred-guardians

It seems that pre-orders will come with a limited-edition postcard. See below for a sneak peek!



To find out more about about Alan Bay, check out his website here: https://www.smallguydoodle.com

For more information on SACRED GUARDIANS SINGAhttp://sacredguardians.tv




Sunday, August 16, 2020

Guest Host on Red Dot Diva's Next Facebook Livestream - Carlo Jose San Juan (MD) of Callous Comics


For Red Dot Diva's monthly Facebook livestream, she has moved beyond the shores of Red Dot Island to feature her first overseas guest - Carlo Jose San Juan (MD) of Callous Comics!

Yes, Carlo Jose San Juan is a medical doctor from Manila, the Philippines. He also churns out Callous Comics cartoons on an admirably consistent and prolific rate. As it turns out, Callous Comics is celebrating its 24th Anniversary this year, having shared numerous snapshots of physician Dr. Rianne Nicah's daily life, together with her Guardian Duck named Cal Duck, and her group of friends.

It has not been easy for Dr. Carlo as well as his main comic character Rianne during this on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the tough challenges that have turned the world upside down, Callous Comics' outlook remains brave and hopeful.

The “A DOSE OF THE BRIGHT SIDE” livestream will set aside an hour of conversation where Dr. Carlo will share about his experiences navigating life with two interesting professions, and how he manages to remain positive during such difficult times. Red Dot Diva and her guest will also chat about the meaning of art during a worldwide pandemic and the rise of web comics in recent times.

Friday, August 14, 2020

DC FanDome's Guest Lineup Is Like WHOA... But So Were the Layoffs in WarnerMedia


The global 24-hour virtual fan experience called DC FanDome is set to roll out on August 22 (Sunday August 23, starting at 1 AM Singapore time) with a list of guests like WHOA.

The teaser reel that announced the talent roster was super long and varied, consisting of comic book creators, celebrities from the movies and TV series, those working behind the scenes, the people from WB Games, as well as the presenters and hosts.

Take a look at the guest announcement video here as the over 300 names scroll on and on.. and on...




Saturday, August 8, 2020

Kelly Marie Tran in Teaser Pic from Hulu's New Horror Anthology Series Monsterland


Fans of Kelly Marie Tran can look forward to her hyperspace jump from the Star Wars universe to a world of horror in Hulu's new anthology series called MONSTERLAND. In fact, you can check out the pic above to see Kelly Marie Tran as Lauren, wearing a wedding gown, from the episode entitled IRON RIVER, MI.

After the disappointing lack of Kelly Marie Tran screen time in the final instalment of Star Wars' Skywalker saga, Red Dot Diva hopes that the lovely actress will get to flex more of her acting skills in this series.

The 8-episode MONSTERLAND is inspired by American horror & dark fantasy writer Nathan Ballingrud's book NORTH AMERICAN LAKE MONSTERS, and is set to premiere on 2 October 2020.


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