Please click the picture above for the full size image!
(My description of the picture also relies on a full view.)Amethyst
, my on-off story project, is ten years old this week! From a pre-teen, Sonic The Hedgehog parody to a politically-charged social drama, Amethyst has been constantly developing since my school days. I think at this point i'd better provide some information to you about it!The characters
The strongest creative influence upon me as a twelve year old were the 'Sonic The Hedgehog' series of games, which may be seen in my visual style of the period. Since then, the characters have gone through various visual changes, and it is this development that I have focused on for the 10th anniversary picture.
The characters as they appear in 1995 are, from left to right: Kylie, Rocki, Kaz, Nippett, Sab and Data, their helpful guide. They were all given surnames in 1996, and Data's name was changed to Aykew.
Rocki and Kaz were removed from the story in 2000. Their contribution in the strips was limited, as Sab and Kylie played almost identical roles within the same social group. Rocki and Kaz disappeared when the story setting was revised, so no evidence of their existance remains in Amethyst from 2001 onward. That's why they don't feature in the later pictures, in case anyone was wondering!
As we enter the present day, the characters have each undergone many visual changes. They are now much more well adapted to the socially-centred nature of the present setting. Kylie Stevens, Marc 'Nippett' Villasnu, Sab Mersaka and Aykew Ellis Vee have all come a long way since the days of 2B pencils, scrap paper and drawing in classrooms on wet, grey schooldays! The original comic, 1995-2000
June of 1995 saw the creation of the cringeworthy title Escape From the Apocalypse
, featuring five unlikely heroes transported to the future. Once there, they had to save the world from machines that wanted to rid planet Earth of life. Assistance in their rather ambitious task came in the form of Data the fox, a local who seemed to be conscience-free and wholly responsible for them turning up in the first place.
In the evenings after school I started to draw a black-and-white comic strip, thinking I'd complete about two episodes before I became bored with the idea. By mid 2000, when I eventually did stop drawing the comic strip, it was 78
parts long and had spawned a second folder of work. This folder contained full A4-sized pictures, information on the story setting, designs for vehicles, and character profiles.
Looking back over the work, I'm surprised that the original synopsis lasted until the end of 1997 when the first significant story changes were made. Despite these changes, the comic and cast ploughed on relentlessly, leaving almost equally terrible plotholes and loose ends in their wake!
By 1999 I wanted to explore more socially based themes, and gave the story the new name Amethyst
; the environment had started to evolve in a less cliched direction. This, along with my moving away to University and experimenting with digital art, caused my interest in the strip to decrease and my attention eventually drifted away from the comic halfway through episode 78.Amethyst, 2000 onward
My story ideas for Amethyst continued after the work on the original comic had stopped, though from 2001 they have been recorded only as notes. Focus shifted to the visual side of the story, and once I became a little more familiar with digital art, the first Amethyst pictures were produced on computer. These single, stand-alone images have been the mainstay of Amethyst ever since, though i'm hoping to embark on more challenging projects sometime in the near future.
A secondary cast of characters have also gained new significance, and i'm still deciding where to place people, how many stories I'm going to write, and what format they will take. There's no time travelling, no robot controlled planet and no responsibility to save the world - just the characters and the events that shape their lives, from social interaction in their local haunts to the turbulent political situations of their society.
Up until very recently, I maintained a policy of not posting any of this work up online, which I regret a little now. This will be the first time a lot of people will have ever seen Amethyst. Still, better late than never, and a good excuse for a picture at the same time!The Picture
Well, I finally made it. This picture has taken a long time to create and assemble - about nine days of constant work, I think! I felt that a big picture was the only way to go for the 10th anniversary, and that there had to be references made in homage of the story's earlier forms.
The six images, typical of my art style during the dates displayed, were all produced this month. All of the pictures are reproductions, using the original work as a reference. Each image was drawn on A3 paper and then scanned and pieced together (with some very heavy editing in places despite my preparations). I even got out the old coloured pencils again for 1997 and 1999 - Tesco's own pencils, and my Disney Pocahontas orange pencil that I had originally used for Aykew and Sab.
Going back to the old styles was good fun. It's something I've never considered doing before now, and it was interesting. It also allowed me to view my older artwork in a different way. Unsurprisingly, nostalgia sets in on a project like this... even more so when I decided to listen to the same songs that I did in 1995 whilst I was working!
I realise this picture and what it stands for doesn't mean a lot to many people out there, but I couldn't let the anniversary go without some kind of acknowledgement. These characters and everything they've done, despite a lot of it becoming obsolete over time, mean a lot to me.
I wonder what my views on Amethyst will be, and how it will look, when I make it to the 20th anniversary!
' plus all related information and characters © Rich Morgan 2005. Thanks as usual to ~Fruufoo
for feedback and help throughout the project.