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AMETHYST - 10th Anniversary by zonefox AMETHYST - 10th Anniversary by zonefox
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!

'Amethyst' plus all related information and characters © Rich Morgan 2005. Thanks as usual to ~Fruufoo for feedback and help throughout the project.
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:icondarkwolf6612:
Darkwolf6612 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2009
Outstanding!!!
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:iconzonefox:
zonefox Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2009
Thank you! :D
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:iconshadowprime:
SHADOWPRIME Featured By Owner May 20, 2008
This is awesome, I like how much its developed over the years, and the style and feeling of the recent one is pretty much bang on to the feeling I get when I enter areas like that, actually I would say that about your other Amethyst pics, actually more of the buildings.

I was wondering for you landscapes what were you main inspirations?
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:iconraccoon1:
raccoon1 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2007
Nicely done. I wonder if there are any links to your comic. I want to see the entire story.
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:iconzonefox:
zonefox Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2007
Nothing's online as yet, it's still a big mess - but watch this space, i'm hoping to do something with it as soon as I can. :)
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:iconterminalhamster:
TerminalHamster Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2005  Student General Artist
Wow, wish I had a concept that I could put as much patience, perseverance and heart towards...Maybe I do and haven't figured it out yet.

Well I'm feeling inspired by this so I'ma go dig up my old sketches and storyplots and see if theres a recurring pattern.

Best of luck in the future to ya :)
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:iconzonefox:
zonefox Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2005
Thanks! :)

-Rich
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:iconabbitha:
abbitha Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2005
That is so cool! I love seeing the progression of people's work.
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:iconzonefox:
zonefox Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2005
Thanks! :)

-Rich
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:iconcloudkitten:
cloudkitten Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2005   Photographer
It's great to see the progression of your work, and I find it really interesting to see the evolution of a story in a writer's hands. Great stuff, ^_^
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:iconzonefox:
zonefox Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2005
Thanks, CK! :D

-Rich
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:icondimitridimitri:
dimitridimitri Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2005
wow, it looks like you've developed loads as an artist! I love seeing how work develops and changes over time :) This looks like a comic I'd love to see!
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:iconzonefox:
zonefox Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2005
Thanks Dimitri! :D

-Rich
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:iconwhisperelmwood:
whisperelmwood Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2005
this is a fantastic piece! ^^ It really is a treat to see all that work side by side, so you can see how it developed ^^
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:iconkroc:
Kroc Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2005
Gobsmacking stuff, to have had a project for that many years! I could only wish I had such a thing, but my ideas were far too over the place when I was younger. I learnt to draw entirely from Sonic when it originally came out, almost all of my time was dedicated to drawing and I had built up a choir of about 100 characters (I still have an A3 piece of paper with most of the cast drawn on it) But I was far too fleeting with my ideas to try and get a solid setting or story or continuity. Not to mention that to begin with my characters were very unoriginal, rather pitafully so. This is something that kind of put me off drawing at a later age as I grew up. I had no story beyond just a good guy and a bad guy to drive devlopment on (and still don't methinks :P)Out of all my various rabbits, foxes, squirels and fox-tailed rabbits one particular character always stood out as my favourite, one that the idea for had come from a dream, that was of course Kroc. He stood out for being any animal besides my little knowledge on mammals of the world, and was given a rather more mean personality instead of the overly sunny disposition of my other characters. The name itself, though contestably unoriginal, I think adds the right level of "You can't tell if I'm incredibly smart, or incredibly stupid!" :laughing: I enjoy greatly playing with sarcasm / satire to the point that it is no longer recognisable.

Anywho, during my years at Secondary School, Kroc was the name I adopted on the Internet when I first arrived on it in 1996 (Before adverts and when free webspace *was* free). Because of the original dream, I have had such a strange, strong affinity with my character that It's the name I've adopted almost everywhere and it's odd not because doing so is for certain a show of one's insanity, but because I am so comfortable with being called Kroc Camen. In 2003 after years of degrading mental health due to work stresses, the story I always wanted came to me in a dream. All I shall say for now is that when reality snaps, and your mind is freed from it everything else becomes scarily real. I had a dream that seemed to last forever, in which I was Kroc Camen again, as I was originally when I was 7 years old, but this time able to feel the gritty concrete below my feet, the damp air and rain, the air-moist skin of the people I touched, even that prickly sensation when one rests their hand on a stone-chipped concrete wall.

This world was anger and hatred driven though, an outright frustrated stab at the current coporate and socieical failings. Imagine a world where today's depraived ideals of society is governed and directed by souless companies' drive towards profit. Here, there was no black or white. It had all been blurred together, and society had become some form of Orwellian control O_o; However here the control was giving the populous what they thought they wanted, letting them believe that they dictated their own fashions and tastes ;) Even being a rebelious teenager was just another way to be prepackaged, sold and marketted to. In this respect people just got on with their lives (as immoral as moral was concerned), companies made their money and goals, the planet continued to turn around. However, a few people sat outside of this society, they didn't exist on any records anywhere, they were truly free. But freedom is completley the wrong word when this means the burden of knowing you have freedom and what that means when you lift the veil on society and see what's going on underneath it all. "Ignorance is bliss" could not be more relevant.

These people were the "loners". A handful of people that just got by living in hideouts and meeting up now and again. Were, on occasions, responsible for the odd power outage here and there when we fought back against the guy who wanted to squish us out with his thumb for a being a nuiscence, namely the head of the Police Arms Division who, having gained some form of dictatorship over the Police and particularly the military side of things - had his own agenda. Killing a troublesome loner with excessive force and then dusting it under the carpet as the usual "Terrorist attack", "Threat to society" or anything else you hear on the news was his way of telling us we were not welcome. And as everybody knows, Englishmen make the best bad guys, so the tea-drinking English weasel gentleman that is the head of Arms Div. is possibly the nastiest piece of work I've had the mispleasure of meeting. :P

And what frustrates me the most, is my inability to draw, otherwise I would be documenting the whole thing in great detail. Which is why I find Amethyst so fascinating, especially the attention to detail on the "mundane" things that to me is so strong. I could only dream of having such a project, if only to maintain an idea rather than do anything with it. Appologies for boring you with my tripe, but Amethyst is something that blows me away on so many levels and is almost like everything I'd only dream of acheiving. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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:iconfruufoo:
Fruufoo Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2005   Writer
There are other creative ways to document your ideas. Do you write stories? If you don't already, you should try it, because you certainly have the ability to write well. I'm sure that with some practice you'd be quite successful. :)
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:iconmoofers-mufa:
Moofers-Mufa Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
But still that's very good I like the ideas and the way you got your new project! X3 Hmm I think the reason I really started artwork was sonic the comic... ... ~scary~
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:iconmoofers-mufa:
Moofers-Mufa Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
Can I say a few things? JESUS CHRIST THAT IS BLOOMING EXCELLENT! Especially the last one 2005, I thought this was something you recently started but by the looks of it you've been working on this for quite a while! The funny thing is I used to draw like that in 1995, and around 2000 2001 I used to draw in a style like that inbetween the 1999 to 2002... Jesus though this is impressive! :+fav:
You're amazing at improving your artstyle! Though it took me only five years to improve due to my very long time off artwork from
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:iconzonefox:
zonefox Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2005
Aww, thanks Matthew! :) Actually, this one was started recently - I went back and drew everything in my old styles (I still have all the original artwork kept in a stack of folders). It's all new except for the feint images underneath the timeline - they're all authentic pieces from the time.

Glad you like it! Thanks again for the +Fav!

-Rich
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