Hey there people of today and robots of tomorrow!
It’s me, CK!
Apparently, deviantART is celebrating its 14th Birthday, and as a part of this people are telling their deviantART story. Some of my friends did it, and lots more of them tagged me to do the same thing. I’ve pretty much gone over this story a thousand times. So this the one thousand and first time I’m gonna tell you the whole story of how I found my way onto this website.
I always like to say there’s a little bit of reality in your artwork. Most of the time when I create characters or stories, I try to make it as close to realistic as possible while still making it whimsical and other worldly. That’s why I always try to make my giraffesona look and act like me. Whatever I’m doing in the real world, that’s what he’s doing in Clarksburg. And back in 2010, I was trying to get my artwork noticed.
Back in those days, I had a website called Boomerang, Inc. It was a fun little website I thought needed to be in existence for a couple of reasons. First, it was that at the time there was no really cool Kingdom Keepers website whatsoever. This was before Ridley Pearson got the idea for the game or even the Seventh Book and I was emailing him telling him how much of a fan I was and how his books needed a cool fan website.
The second reason was called 4000. It was an idea of a Facebook parody that in the year 4000 robots will have inherited the Earth and they used a social website to communicate. It was a fun and geeky idea, especially since the website editor I used allowed me to use my own artwork for the site. Back then it was all sketches and markers, but I still thought I could make it work if the art was good enough. Deciding to try my luck, I created a character called ERN-E.
Back then ERN-E looked a lot more like EVE and had an arch reactor where currently a round iPhone is. This was also before he had his supporting cast like SHORT-E or EMIL-E or any of those guys and he was really only just a WALL-E Fan OC. I was really, really obsessed with WALL-E in those days. I saw the movie on opening day and fell in love with the film immediately! After looking him up a lot on YouTube, Google, everywhere, I stumbled upon a website that would forever change my career: the WALL-E Forum.
Around this time the animated film Alpha and Omega was coming into theaters and I had signed up for an account on the WALL-E Forum. It was were fans like me could chat and talk and discus everything about the WALL-E film and its cannon. And believe me, that’s what I did for sure. It took me no time before I was starting to get my artwork out there again. First I made an advertisement for my website on the Forum so people would hear about it. Then I tried to upload some artwork. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that without somehow giving away personal information. So, instead, I went with my second favorite hobby.
Writing. Just like my artwork, it wasn’t very good back then but I loved doing it anyway. I would write WALL-E Fan Stories called WALL-E at the Movies. It was based off an image in my head where I saw WALL-E replacing the main stars of a bunch of movies. The idea was EVE was getting tired of Hello, Dolly –a stupid idea, looking back on it- and WALL-E had found some old VHS tapes in the garbage. People would give me recommendations for movies and then I would basically rewrite what I saw and put WALL-E and his friends in where the other stars were.
My first few movie requests were James Cameron movies like Terminator II, Avatar, Titanic, and then some others like Jurassic Park. I haven’t seen any of these movies and had to rely on YouTube clips to get the general feeling of those films. Who would’a guessed that’s how I would’ve became interested in Jurassic Park?
Anyway, my stories really got weird sometimes and more so they didn’t even make any sense. Looking back on them now, I don’t get why people even liked them in the first place. But every now and then I’d also try to sneak in how WALL-E’s life was going outside the movies, what struggles he faced, what challenges he met, again most of them being pretty stupid. But one of those challenges would eventually lead me to deviantART.
Around this time, I was looking up these comics called The Fantastic WALL-G on Google. They were posted here on deviantART by a user named AlphaBeta90, this really wacky artist who liked Star Wars and WALL-E. His comics focused around a pink, trap loving robot named WALL-G who had a crush on WALL-E. Trouble was, he was already with EVE. So WALL-G would always try coming up with traps and ideas to try to get WALL-E away from EVE
I thought they were really funny and clever, so I decided to bring them over to the WALL-E Forums for everyone else to enjoy. To great joy and surprise, a lot of people liked the comic too. Little did I know is that someone would actually inform AlphaBeta90 back on deviantART about what I was up to. In those days I was more of his fanboy than a fellow collaborator, so when I saw his name pop up on the thread, I was expecting him to be angry or something.
Instead, he thanked me for posting his comics on the Forum. I was shocked, I was overjoyed, I think I even floated off the ground a little bit. I was so happy, I decided to push my luck and ask for his permission to feature his characters in WALL-E at the Movies. He agreed, and I got to work on a story. After years of peace, WALL-G returns to rehab from Paris to make amends with WALL-E and his friends. But then something goes wrong and WALL-G sets out to ruin Valentine’s Day for everyone. I think this was back before LASS-E came along, so it wasn’t that accurate. Yet AB90 approved it. Every time I sent him a chapter of the story to review, he wouldn’t change or correct me on anything! Which was really cool in my opinion.
When the story was over, we both agreed he would take the story and bring it back to deviantART with art by him included.
Everything was so different back then. I was so reluctant to share my artwork, since I didn’t have PhotoShop or anything. But I posted `what I had and you guys seemed to like it. Of course when I got on deviantART, I brought ERN-E with me and everyone loved him! To this day I claim ERN-E as being my first Clarktoon to become really successful. Of course, we all know after that how I gave him friends like SHORT-E and a girlfriend like EMIL-E and how ERN-E became a Knight of the Square Table through a crack comic.
After ERN-E, I discovered a comic series called Count Mickey Dragul where Mickey is a vampire in an alternate Italy back in what I think is the 1920’s or 1930’s. It was a really cool and epic steampunk story that was really well drawn. It actually looked like something from Disney. Just like with WALL-G, I decided to turn it into a story with the permission of the story’s author twisted-wind of course. The story I wrote was called Dragul vs Devil, and it told the tale of the Dragul family and how they came to possess their powers from Chernabog. I took some elements from old vampire movies and Van Helsing for inspiration and I think it turned out well. So well in fact it got a sequel that same year, along with another story called Back to the DISNEY Future.
It took a couple of days to sketch the poster, since before then I had not drawn Phineas and Ferb, Wade, or any Lion King character. It was also my first time drawing the Hulk and I had yet to conquer the challenge of drawing muscle mass. I did the whole thing free handed and after three days it was ready to be uploaded onto a computer. Luckily for me, I was close enough to a computer that had PaintShop on it to actually use it. After using the rest of the week to make sure the poster was extra special and accurate, I released it on deviantART.
With Spider Mouse leading the team, the plan was after the poster to release more stories based around this idea where the Disney character become Marvel heroes. This was before Phase II with the awesome sequels, before Phineas and Ferb Marvel, and before I decided to focus mostly on my own original characters. So after a while, I had lost interest in Disney/MARVEL.
After that I tried to write a story called Wizards of Pagonia. It was going to be five acts long and introduced a lot of my friends on dA as Wizards. People really liked it, and it’s the proudest piece of writing I’ve ever accomplished. I really hope one day I can reboot the stories somehow.
Finally, one faithful Christmas, I finally got some art editing software to upgrade my art. My family had tried to get me PhotoShop for Christmas. But my family got confued with the brand names and got me Croel PaintShop Pro instead. At first I was bummed out, since I couldn’t find any tutorials on YouTube or Google. It was almost as if the program I had never existed. But when I tried it out, I was amazed at what I could do with it. And after years of getting to know the program and it’s workings I finally have it to a point that I know all the tricks and I could push the limits of my artwork.
So at that point I decided to focus on my own characters. At this point we all know what happened after that. Pizza Monster and all these other Monsters became popular, Crocie was introduced, Phil was trying to become a success, ERN-E and EMIL-E became a couple, I was now a giraffe who had a red panda for a brother, the Weekly Adventures became a thing and-
Well, aren't we impatient? We're almost done.
Then one day something really incredible happened! I got the chance to work on a project with other creative people. A fellow cartoonist from Vietnam called Disney-MangaFan1906 was looking for collaborators for a sequel she was making for the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon short called The Brave Little Tailor. At first I was reluctant to volunteer since I'm a shy person and I didn't know what I was getting myself into. But I liked the idea of a second Tailor story, so I agreed to help and she sent me a copy of her original plotline through Notes. It needed a lot of work. Luckily after what felt like forever, the both of us combined with the imagination of davidfoxfire finally came up with a whole plot.