- Why the sudden interest in living airplanes and vehicles?
- Isn't that more of a kid's thing?
- Why am I using 'dead' and old planes in my submissions and making other changes to the established references when I know full well that Ratbat's Atoll lab canon only calls for active aircraft to come to life?
- Why did I choose a P-38 Lightning as a character base?
- Will I do any more dragon art?
The answer to the last question is easy - Yes! I do intend to do more fantasy art in the future, but for now I've had a lot going on that isn't art related and gets in the way of doing art, and I'm quite backed up on projects. As I mentioned in a previous post I have another trolley painting in the works that I work on a few hours a week, and about a dozen ideas for other trolley paintings.
As for the planes, aircraft have always been a minor interest of mine (as are ships), although I've not often had the chance to be around them very much. I also have always been quite fond of anthropomorphized inanimate objects...(everyone cites the Brave Little Toaster growing up, and when I watched Beauty and the Beast as a kid my favorite characters were the furniture and I thought Lumiere and Cogsworth should have never turned human again at the end...) While I grew up around trains and trolleys, it has only been in recent years I have been able to frequent aviation museums and made friends who have helped me to appreciate aviation history more. So part of my obsession is your fault !
The concept of machines coming to life, be they aircraft, cars, tanks or ships, is appealing to me because it gives the opportunity to see them as more than mere tools and encourages more respect toward them. As one involved in the museum / historical education field as a hobby, encouraging respect for past and present items that are oftentimes abused and then discarded is important to me. In addition, it is well known that many of those who operate such machines will say that they do have their own personalities, each one operates a little different. Many car owners grow attached to their vehicle and sometimes treat it like an ad-hoc member of the family. Think of Disney's Herbie movie franchise - a little Volkswagen Beetle with a personality that interacts with those around it was an amusing and thought provoking idea when you consider all of those real vehicles with apparent personality. Now if that vehicle could talk and interact with you how much more of a friendship and understanding could you have?
As for my interest and submissions, I used to think living planes and people with living machine characters were odd. My first experience was finding a plane-seeking-plane personals ad and being confused. I lightened a bit to them when Disney's Cars and Planes movies came out. Then I was introduced to Ratbat's Atoll Lab comic and other artwork and got hooked. The thought of a more serious approach to the characters, the examiniation of how they function as living beings and how they got to be the way they are impressed me, and the ability to interact through various types of tendrils and arms just made a lot more sense to me than suspensions and wings that were more flexible than rubber (though some art with flexy wings is fun too sometimes).
My artwork has strayed quite a bit from the standards set by Ratbat and Evalion, which is why I often cite in the comments that they are based on her work but are a unique canon universe. In my stories I've had characters who were disassembled, are still hollow and usable machines, were brought to life by a meteor, were transformed into planes from other types of creatures, etc. all of which don't fit at all into Ratbat's stories. I don't mean this as any discredit to her artwork and universe, which I admire...I just don't want to risk forcing my own ideas into an awesome and well established universe when one of my desires is to garner sympathy for the forgotten aircraft of history.
- A-10: I live near the factory they were all built, find them awesome, love the multiple-role low speed capabilities and love the BRRT in general...but I don't want to be a copycat.
- AH-64 Apache: I had a model of one as a kid and loved it. Quite the dynamic weapon.
- SR-71 Blackbird: Great plane, always walk a few laps around it when I visit the Smithsonian. Same with the Concorde.
- B-17 or B-29: 17 is a long time fav, but 29 was the first WWII aircraft I had ever been inside of.
- B-25: really like the size and shape, almost went with this one, it was the last to be decided against.
- B1-B: sleek yet large, one sexy plane.
- C-82 Packet or C-119 Flying Boxcar: A couple other local aircraft, both of which an example of is now displayed near the factory where they were built. Love the twin booms and usefulness.
- P-40 Warhawk: First plane I ever imagined being alive when I was a kid.
Finally I decided on the P-38 Lightning for some of the reasons above. It was a highly versatile platform, able to be sent on several missions types, and while not the best machine for any of the tasks it did, it could handle them commendably. That describes me to a "T". I also love the twin booms, and the overall look is so unique compared to most of the other common aircraft out there.
So look forward to more Dire Situation and eventually more Dragon's Desire, as well as maybe a scale model of my officially as-of-yet unnamed P-38 character. And if you're curious about Ratbat's Atoll lab comic (which I highly reccomend!) you can find it in 's gallery.