doodletopia CARTOONS

Title: doodletopia CARTOONS
Author: Christopher Hart
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Penguin Random House

9781607746911

About:

 About section from Penguin Random House
doodletopia CARTOONS is a collection of step-by-step tutorials, fill in the silhouettes, draw the other half pictures, as well as sections dedicated to facial expressions, using a base drawing to create multiple animals or characters, clothing tutorials, and font tutorials.
I decided to pick up doodletopia because I have been thinking of starting my own comic series chronicling my progress and struggles of learning another language.
I’ve always enjoyed art but more so in the style of Japanese animation with huge detailed eyes and non-realistic hair and that just doesn’t fit into the style of cartooning that I wish to do.
The problem with this is that because I’ve always preferred that style of drawing, I couldn’t figure out how to simplify my drawings. When I found doodletopia I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see what I could do!
The book starts off with basic step-by-step instructions to draw things such as people in different poses and animals. I started with the very first one in the book which is a penguin who has caught a fish.
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The instructions from the book
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My drawing

As you can see, it is very simplistic as are most of the tutorials in this book which is fantastic for simple and cute cartoon drawing. The best thing about this book, though, is that the author highly encourages you to make these your own and alter them in whichever way suits you.

I had so much fun following the instructions in this book and have learned a few techniques that I will be using when I start my own comic series.

Here is another example of a drawing I did following the instructions in the book.

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Book example
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My drawing

As you can see there is a lot of space to make things bigger or smaller and alter them in anyway you choose but there are also enough instructions so you can also draw the image just as it’s picture on the page.

As I was doing some research on Christopher Hart, I was surprised to find that he has also authored many ‘How to draw’ anime and manga art books that I have seen in stores several times and have contemplated buying on several occasions. He is also the author of another doodletopia book that is coming out this summer that is based upon manga characters and I’m so excited to buy it!

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book. I learned a lot from it that I will be putting to use in the near future. I enjoyed more than just the instructions, though. I also enjoyed the playful font that was used throughout the book, giving it a more playful feeling, as well as the encouragement to make them my own if I wished and the variety of things that were taught within one book.

I am extremely pleased that I picked up this book. I have had a lot of fun with it so far and I will be doing the rest of the drawings in this book soon because they are so simple and fun.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHRISTOPHER HART is the world’s bestselling author of drawing and cartooning books. His books have sold more than 6 million copies and have been translated into 20 languages. Renowned for up-to-the-minute content and easy-to-follow steps, all of Hart’s books have become staples for a new generation of aspiring artists and professionals, and they have been selected by the American Library Association for special notice.Taken from Penguin Random House
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The Tsar of Love and Techno

9780770436438
Title:
The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories
Author: Anthony Marra
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble

About:

 About taken from Penguin Random House

———————–Review contains spoilers————————

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Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?/Is The Order a Rabbit? S1

ItoarIf you like super adorable, moe-blob, slice of life anime then Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka (also known as GochiUsa and Is the Order a Rabbit?) is for you!

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——————————CONTAINS SPOILERS (Very small spoilers since there isn’t a thick plot, but you’ve been warned!)————————-

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Dear Esther

I have played many video games and many different genres, but one I had never experienced until just a few days ago was a game type often referred to as minimalist.

It’s something I had sort of avoided for the silliest of reasons, it didn’t make sense to me. I had some sort of weird idea that a minimalist game had to be super scary like Silent Hill.

After speaking to a friend and talking about their play through of a newer minimalist game, I informed them that I’d never played one and they then were kind enough to gift me a game called Dear Esther.

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Dear Esther was developed by a game development studio called The Chinese RoomThough, it was originally developed as a mod for Half-Life 2, it did well enough that it was later released separate game.

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I say this is a minimalist game but it is also known as a first-person exploration game. I would actually even venture to call it sort of a Visual Novel.

In Dear Esther you start off as an unnamed male character, right out of the ocean, in front of a lighthouse.

The point of this game is to venture around toward specific areas which will then trigger dialogue from the main character, unfolding the reasons as to why he is on this island.

It is an extremely short game. It took me only about 90 minutes to complete from start to finish. There are 4 specific chapters, or areas, which will delve deeper into this man’s story.

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You can only walk around and when in certain bodies of water, swim upward to get out of the water. When dark areas are entered, a flash light will automatically turn on, allowing you to further examine and explore these areas. Other than that, there is no other sort of interaction that occurs within the game.

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While it is a short lived game and there is no real interactive gameplay to be had, the graphics, the music and the story itself make it incredible.

The music flows so smoothly with the exploration of the island as well as the heartbreaking story that comes with the character. To me, the music within Dear Esther is sort of…majestic.

 

As for graphics, I’m not one to throw a fit over whether graphics are great or poor. I like to enjoy games for what they are and for their stories, but for a game such as Dear Esther in which the scenery, the music and the story being told are the only things there, I paid a little more attention to the detail provided in the graphics of this game and felt that they were incredible.
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As for the story, I don’t want to give away too much, but you follow a man on a heartfelt journey of self-realization and acceptance. It’s a very spiritual game in that sense.

Overall, though, I am very glad that I took the time to play through this game and I’m very sorry that this post isn’t longer, but because the game is so short, speaking about the story would give away many potential spoilers. I hope you enjoy the sample of music as well as the visuals and I hope that you will give this game a chance if you ever want to delve into this sort of genre.

Thanks for reading!

***All pictures were screenshots taken by me, in game***

Chrono Trigger

What do you get when you join together an average boy, a princess who doesn’t want to be a princess, a girl following in her father’s footsteps as an inventor, a frog, a robot, a girl from 65,000,000 BC and time travel?  You get an amazing RPG from the SNES era known as Chrono Trigger.

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Chrono_Trigger_characters

Chrono Trigger characters”. Via Wikipedia – Artwork by: Akira Toriyama Characters from Chrono Trigger published by Square (now Square Enix)

Now before you steer away after seeing that this is a game for an older console, hear me out. The newer versions do have animated cut scenes in some areas and the game is still pixelated and in sprite form but the storyline is brilliant. Okay, I know it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like JRPGs and time travel, it’s worth a go.

Chrono Trigger was developed by Square (which has since become Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and released in 1995. It was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999 in Japan and packaged with Final Fantasy IV for the PlayStation in a compilation called, Final Fantasy Chronicles in 2001 in North America. It was again ported to the Nintendo DS in 2008 for North America and Japan and in 2009 for Europe and Australia. It has since been ported again to mobile devices, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s virtual console as well.

Chrono Trigger starts with our protagonist, Crono, in the year 1000 AD during the millennial festival of his kingdom in Truce. There he goes to see his friend Lucca at the festival where she and her father will be unveiling their latest experiment, a transporter of sorts. He runs into a girl named Marle (Crono at this time doesn’t know she’s really the princess) who asks if he will spend time with her at the festival.

After agreeing to let her join you (no, you don’t have a choice) you can then venture around the fair some more as Crono and Marle. You can check out one of Lucca’s experiments, a battling robot named Gato. He will recite you a cute song about beating him up to earn 15 silver points (which can be redeemed later for the games currency). Other things you can do include, betting on a race of characters that runs in a square when you enter Leene Square, strength test (ring the bell), dancing to prehistoric music, a button mashing soda guzzling contest, and if you have enough silver points you can venture into Norstein Bekkler’s Tent of Horrors, which you will need to visit later anyway.

Eventually, you will hear that Lucca’s experiment is ready to be viewed and you can then head to the top of Leene Square with Marle. Crono is volunteered to try out the new invention and is teleported from the pod on the left side of the screen to the one on the right. Impressed by this, Marle decides she wants to try but something goes awry with the teleportation devices and the pendant she is wearing and a portal is opened sending Marle to another time period.

Crono journeys after Marle while Lucca tries to figure out what went wrong and this is the start of Crono and his friends’ adventures through time.

Throughout the game, your party will change certain parts of the fictional history set in place by venturing all the way back to 65,000,000 BC and all the way up to The End of Time after accidentally traveling to the year 2300 AD and witnessing, on a computer, the destruction of the world by Lavos and realizing that they can then prevent this from ever happening.

Throughout the game you will battle dinosaur like creatures from the prehistoric era, you will battle robot and robot like enemies, and magical beasts.

Each character will have a special type of weapon they will use, as in most RPGs, but most of them will also acquire magical skills later on in the game.

Chrono Trigger uses offers both an active and wait mode to choose from in the beginning of the game. The difference, from what I have seen is that in wait mode, while you are choosing which special skills, or ‘techs’ as they are called in this game, enemies won’t attack you, whereas in active mode, they are capable of attacking you.

As for running into enemies, this game is a little different than a lot of RPGs. You do not run into enemies on the world map while you are traveling. You only run into them within the dungeon, forest, or wherever you have specifically chosen to travel. Also, enemies are almost always completely visible, allowing them to be avoided at times. However, every once in awhile, the monsters will jump out from a bush or fall from a tree.

CronoToriyamadesign“CronoToriyamadesign” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – designed by Akira Toriyama

Moving on to character weapons and techs. The protagonist, Crono, uses a katana and will later wield the magical power of lightning. Marle battles with a crossbow and learns to use ice as well as healing magic. Lucca uses a gun and hammer and will learn to cast fire magic. Frog will use a broadsword and learns water (perfect for a frog, huh?) and, like Marle, healing magic. Robo, because of his technological composition cannot actually acquire magic but his laser attacks mimic shadow magic and he is able to mimic fire, lightning and healing magic as well. Ayla uses strength alone as she does not wield a weapon of any sort and she cannot use magic either because she was born well before humans were able to use magic. There is one more optional character that you can recruit to your party, but  for the sake of not spoiling anything I will leave that character out.

You might notice that the character styles resemble familiar characters from popular shows such as  Dragon Ball or also that they resemble characters from a game called Dragon Quest and that is because they have a few of the same team members, Yuji Horii and Akira Toriyama. Other familiar aspects from games like Final Fantasy may be noticed as well and this is because of a few different reasons. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy both were developed and published by Square as well as having some of the same team members including: Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy and Nobou Uematsu‘s (who has composed music for many Final Fantasy games) compositions can be heard in some of the game’s tracks.

Chrono Trigger has a beautiful soundtrack. Each character has their own unique theme. The entire soundtrack is immensely powerful weather you are listening to the main theme, the battle music or the world map’s music. It does an excellent job of getting you pumped up for whatever may be coming your way and making you feel the emotion that is conveyed inside of the game.

Example: Crono’s Theme

 

I have an extremely hard time picking lists for anything, top 5 or 10 anime or books, things like that, but this game is not only nostalgic for me, it never gets old and this game is my #1 game while all of my other favorites are tied. So if you like powerful RPGs that have some feels involved and you want a game where you can feel like you can change the world, I highly recommend this game. You can go original nostalgic and try play it on the SNES (which, by the way, is extremely expensive), you could go for wanting the nice animated cut scenes and a cheaper version by buying it on the PS1, you can go mobile by finding it on the iOS store or GooglePlay (that’s up to you, but I personally do not like playing good RPGs on mobile, or you can check out the DS version which has the animated cut scenes as well as a bit of extra side story line and extra dungeons.

Gamer Girl

2850535Life was going great for Maddy Starr. She had her group of friends to gush to about crushes and other girly things, she went to a nice school, and she had her manga club. That is, until her parents called it quits, resulting in a move from the city to a small town where this manga loving, Gothic styled girl just knew she would not fit in.

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After a torture filled first day of school caused by her grandmother forcing her to wear a unicorn sweater to school after not approving of Maddy’s outfit choice, being targeted by the schools clique of bullies, being designated “Freak Girl” of the school and realizing that her friends from Boston Academy had already moved on and left her behind, Maddy just knew that this school was going to be hell on Earth.

However, things started to look up a bit after Maddy’s father decided to buy her the MMORPG game, Fields of Fantasy for her birthday.

When she started the game, she created her elven character, Allora. She then ventured with Allora to an area that was a bit past her skill level at the time. Just as she was about to give up hope on the game after being killed several times in a row by wolves, she was saved by a character named SirLeo.

Maddy’s online life as Allora seemed to be going so smoothly, venturing alongside SirLeo and secretly falling for him, but her real life suffered as she was mocked and bullied by Billy Henderson and his clique every single day, all while crushing on Chad Murray, who was part of the clique but Maddy wasn’t convinced that he was like the rest of them.

After chatting with Maddy one day, Chad told her about a manga competition that he thought she should enter. She decided that it would be a good opportunity to win enough money to pay for tuition to her old school, Boston Academy.

Maddy had already been working very hard on a manga about a girl who was sucked into a fantasy world and had to venture to make her way home, so it was a perfect opportunity.

Maddy had also decided to start up a manga club at school with the help of Ms. Reilly, who had previously informed Maddy that she was also interested in manga.

The manga club seemed to be a hit for such a small school. Maddy was able to finally make some friends!

Meanwhile, in her online world, she was still falling so hard for SirLeo who was falling for her…Allora, as well. SirLeo one day mentions that he wished that she attended his school in Farmingdale because he would ask her out. Maddy fought hard with herself not to tell him she was from Farmingdale as well, brushing it off as maybe there were many other towns called Farmingdale. However, she did know that they were in the same time zone. Maybe they did go to the same school.

Who exactly was SirLeo? Would the real life SirLeo like Maddy as herself even though she wasn’t her beautiful elven character, Allora?  She was so torn knowing the dangers of revealing her true identity online as well as crushing on a virtual guy and a guy in real life. Would the bullying ever stop? Would anyone stand up to these bullies?

Gamer Girl is a fantastic book for gamers, manga enthusiasts, and anime lovers, especially those who may have dealt with bullying regarding these matters.

I know I was bullied for some of the same things, and when I picked up this book for the first time in high school it was an inspiration. I remembered it just recently and decided it was a good book to write about and introduce others to. I can relate to Maddy in so many ways and I know many others can as well.

While I wasn’t any good at anime or manga related art, I still enjoyed drawing it. It was very much as an expressive outlet.

I was no where near the kind of talent that Maddy in the story is, but I did play video games as well as watching anime and reading manga, and I had a small group of friends that I could enjoy that with as well.

I can relate to her hesitance to start a manga club at such a small school, fearing that no one would join. But, this book is a great inspiration. I did start a manga/anime club at my school. It didn’t last terribly long, but we did enjoy ourselves. Maddy Starr is an inspiration to otaku and gamers alike.

Mari Mancusi opened my eyes with this book and gave me so much inspiration in high school to just be who I was and to let the haters hate and not let them get to me. And I want others who have the same interests and have been in the same situations to have the chance to read this book as well.

Alex + Ada

******This review/summary will contain spoilers!******

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Alex + Ada   
By: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

In a world completely dominated by technology, people are looking to customize able androids to fulfill their loneliness and needs. Alex, however, does not feel that he needs an android to fill the void that his fiancee left when she decided to leave him without giving any reason. His grandmother feels differently.

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