Monday, January 22, 2007

WWW (Part 2)

The Wicked Witch of the West (WWW) rules the land of the Winkies from her castle. To protect her stronghold and maintain control over the Winkies the WWW has armies of bees, crows, wolves, Winkie soldiers/slaves, and winged monkeys.The WWW does not carry a broomstick; instead she bares an umbrella which gives a hint of her fear of water. When Dorothy splashes the WWW she does not melt away into steam as much as she turns into a pile of mush! The book illustrates this with the description of brown sugar melting. Since she is so vulnerable to water I came up with an idea of her skin being cracked and brittle like dry soil.I also came up with idea that she has cast some kind of spell on her body to make her immortal. This spell, however, is also a curse because even though she is still alive her body is decaying and falling apart. Kind of like the curse in the black comedy film Death Becomes Her. I created an example of this by drawing her left hand.The WWW possesses a Magical Eye that she can use to see across great distances. I came up with the following idea of what it could look like.The Eye pivots and its midsection can extend like a telescope. I also thought it would be interesting if the WWW stole a green emerald from the Emerald City to use as a type of magical lenses for her Eye.The WWW also possesses the Golden Cap which is a magical hat that allows it's wearer to give three commands to the Winged Monkeys. "Twice already the Wicked Witch had used the charm of the Cap. Once was when she had made the Winkies her slaves, and set herself to rule over their country. The Winged Monkeys had helped her do this. The second time was when she had fought against the Great Oz himself, and driven him out of the land of the West. The Winged Monkeys had also helped her in doing this." The WWW uses the Cap to control the Monkeys for a third and final time in kidnapping Dorothy and her friends. Later Dorothy would use the Cap herself to carry the team back to the Emerald City.I came up with this image of what the Golden Cap could look like. Since it seemed like an ancient device, I gave it an Aztec influence since the Winged Monkeys come across as an old warrior race in the book. The only thing missing in this design is a ring of diamonds and rubies. I'll try to figure out how to make that work later.
I don’t believe that the WWW is really a witch at all, kind of like how The Wizard was not really a wizard. A Witch in the Land of Oz seems to be a being that naturally possesses magical abilities. I believe that the WWW was just a normal Winkie that envied and desired the magical powers of real Witches. Since she didn’t have magical powers of her own she had to obtain or make magic items that could make her powerful, such as her Magical Eye and the Golden Cap. With the building of her magic abilities she became power hungry and eventually took over the land of the Winkies.
BTW: If you would like to read the chapter in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that features the WWW just click here.
More to come!

Friday, January 19, 2007


Almost a year ago I was browsing through the Documentary section of a DVD store when something caught my eye, mainly because it did not belong in that section. The title and appearance of this DVD case got me really intrigued. Before I even read the description on the back I already new that I wanted to see this movie.Strings has got to be one of the most well made original film I’ve seen in a long time. It’s so refreshing to discover something that isn’t the same old recycled crap. The story plays out like an ancient Greek tale about two feuding tribes. An old warrior king dies leaving his son a message to end the endless carnage between their people and another powerful sect. But an evil advisor, envious of the throne, steals the message before it gets to the prince and lies to him, saying that the king was killed by their enemy. So the young brave prince goes on a false journey of revenge only to be taken down a path he was not expecting filled with danger, punishment, and forgiveness.Strings is a film that takes place in a world of marionettes. This is not a film that has marionettes pretending to be human characters, the puppets know what they are. This is a race of people whose life force comes from the “strings” that descend from the heavens. They carve their young out of wood and connect the strings that the mother grows to the child, giving it life. Death is caused by the severing or destruction of the “head string.”Not only does this film show how life is given to these marionettes but it explores the functioning of the world in which they exist. For example, when a city is under siege, instead of using a set of doors to block the city gate, a large bar is raised over the entrance creating a barrier that blocks the strings of the outsiders, preventing them from entering the city. What impressed me even more is not only did this film explore this unique world and race but it did so in a manner that did not slow down the story. That does not happen often.
So if you want to see a film that is very different from anything you’ve seen before, checkout Strings. It’s Kenfield approved!

Monday, January 15, 2007

WWW (Part 1)

Frank L. Baum’s Land of Oz books have been a wonderful part of our American culture. What I find so special about the Oz books is that Baum has created for the USA what C.S. Lewis did for England in his land of Narnia. Like Lucy and her siblings leaving rural England in magical ways Dorothy and others have left rural North America (such as Kansas.) Oz is the magical land that Americans can claim as their own! Generations have embraced and explored them over the years in many ways.
Whenever someone mentions the Wicked Witch of the West (WWW) an image that comes to our minds is that of a lean, green woman dressed in black with a pointy hat and a nose to match. Top this off with an evil cackle while soaring through the sky on a broom stick. This design originated in the MGM film based on the first Oz book and it has been imitated ever since in other books, films, and now a wonderful musical (Wicked!). However, no one seems to think of the original WWW from the words of Baum’s description or W. W. Denslow's illustrations. She’s very different from the pop culture image in more ways than one, and she is wicked through and through, not a misunderstood victim of circumstance. Not to mention she is a very small part of the book.Anyway, I thought that I would take this opportunity to show you how I explore and design a character and my example will be the WWW.This is the basic form of the character that I am going to use as the platform for the rest of my work.
I will continue to present a series of posts covering my design exploration of this OZ character.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Texas Love Found In The Philippines

My dear and life long friend Randall Knutson is getting married! I know that some of the people who read our blog know Randall which is why I'm sharing this exciting news! Randall and I have been friends since we were in second grade in Duncanville (South Dallas) Texas. Later we would find each other again in Manila, Philippines and attend the same school through junior high. We found each other again in Duncaville and graduated from high school in the same school system that we were in durring second grade. Throughout these years our friendship has grown stronger.
I am so excited and happy that Randall is getting hitched! But I'm even more exited that he is marrying an amazing woman, Ryanna. The journey of their relationship is even more exiting than the journey of our friendship. Read their story here and find out why!
The wedding will be in Dallas, Texas on May 26.