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About Digital Art / Professional Premium Member Justin MillerMale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 6 Years
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Cute Assasin by Miss-Jazz-DaFunk

You've got some really nice things going on in the shape department, especially in the upper torso. I like the little push out in the g...

Prysmyr Trade by KaydenFrei

I greatly admire the texture and consistent use of color to produce a very warm-feeling image. The pose itself is a good one as well, t...

LAWLZY LAWLZ by Miss-Jazz-DaFunk

First off, great sketch. You can tell that your thought process was clear and uncluttered throughout the drawing. And you can tell the ...

Storm Warning by Cryophase

I think your perspective here is pretty solid. I don't see anything that calls attention to itself, and it does mark an improvement in ...




Dec 13, 2014
8:07 pm
Dec 13, 2014
1:19 pm
Dec 11, 2014
2:55 am
Dec 9, 2014
6:54 pm
Dec 4, 2014
5:03 pm


I recently re-watched Rango on DVD the other day, and though I recognize that it was well received by audiences and critics alike, it seems to perhaps have drifted off the radar a bit.  "Frozen" meanwhile has hit a chord so strong it seems like it will be embedded in our pop-culture consciousness for years to come.  And don't get me wrong, Frozen was a good movie.

I can't help but think though, that Rango is the one actually more worthy of that sort of remembrance.  Here is an animated film that broke almost all the 'rules' of what mainstream American animation was or had been.  It's a 'hard' PG film in many ways.  It's unapologetic in its' uses of words like 'phalanges' and other long, multisyllabic words most young ones won't recognize.  It's an unapologetic, utterly romantic (in the dramatic, not the amorous sense) comedic western, with an emphasis on the western part.  The designs are striking, from the sets to the characters themselves.  They ooze grimy personality without even saying a word.  They don't sanitize the western setting while at the same time showing off the best features of western landscapes.  The lighting, for which they consulted with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins  (True Grit, No Country for Old Men), is outstanding and adds character to every scene in the film.

There are action set pieces in the film that rival those of what I consider the pinnacle of cinematic set pieces: Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It's kinetic, easy to follow, and interesting to follow as well.  You're never lost in the action, and there's a sense about it that makes it feel like you're watching a dancer pull off an incredible set of moves.

There are several points in the film one can look at for examples of the heights of what the film achieves, but there is one moment in particular.  A moment towards the end of the water jug heist/bat-chase sequence in the canyon as Rango rides back towards the wagon on the back of the roadrunner.  The full orchestra comes in and belts out the Rango theme with an impassioned intensity of the best classic westerns (with the additional clarity and depth that comes from more modern recording methods) while Beans fights off the last of their assailants.  While other moments in the chase were more comedic, this turned decidedly sincere and heroic.  The choreography of the action and the staging and lighting combined for a moment of utter joy of what was being seen that I had a grin on my face that couldn't be removed if I'd been paid to remove it.  Every frame was worthy of being hung in a gallery.  Sometimes you just can't believe something gets pulled off as well as its being pulled off and you can't do anything but just marvel at it.

And of course, the soundtrack edits that one magnificent cue out.

There are other moments in the film which are iconic and worthy of mention, but that moment pushed it over the edge into something else.  Something I only encounter rarely, like when the Incredibles put their masks on to take on the Underminer at the end of that namesake film.

I kept hoping that Rango was going to be a film that picked up the mantle that Pixar seems determined to put down, that Nickelodeon or Paramount or ILM would combine to keep making more films as original and groundbreaking as this one.  Still waiting on that though.

So here comes the new season of Legend of Korra.  Three of this seasons 13 episodes aired back to back.

Given my mixed and frustrated reactions to season two, I really had no idea what to expect tonight.

First impressions?  I like some decisions while the writing still is interminably frustrating:  Now including frustration with Tenzin!

The good:
  I love the idea that the Harmonic Convergence event from the previous season is having these unexpected reverberations throughout the world.  It upturns things the same way that the series has been reinventing the world.  The decision to start having random folks start turning up as new Airbenders is one ripe for exploration, especially given the pressures that being part of a near-extinct culture has put on Tenzin.

That said, and fully understanding those pressures, for him to completely try to coerce new airbenders into joining him through some unbelievably overbearing and aggressive applying of pressure himself, is the move of someone with less maturity than Korra (and that's saying something).  Then they follow that up with him saying they can't coerce any new airbenders to join them) almost made me yell "that's what you were just DOING" at the screen.

But I'm supposed to be focusing on the positive right now... so I digress.

Also excellent is the level of animation which just keeps getting better and better with each passing season, but that was evident from the trailer.

The new boy recruit/thief (can't remember name) is an intriguing character, and a nice parallel to Mako and Bolin, who seem like natural mentors for the errant kid.  Hopefully they make something out of him.

Seeing Zuko back finally was great and I hope they put him to good use, but at the same time, shouldn't such a revered character have something of a more reverent introduction?  When we first got to see Old Katara, we saw her in the context of her being Korra's waterbending master and advisor, which gave her poignancy and gravitas that we came to expect of her from seeing her younger self's story.  We haven't heard anything about Zuko since the end of the Airbender trilogy, and in his first reappearance he's given an exposition scene to spill exposition on villains we have barely met or are still in the process of meeting.  Yet somehow even the exposition doesn't reveal much about the bad guys except that they're dangerous.  I kind of figured that out when the guy broke out of an isolated prison and face down the white lotus, alone.  At least give us a transition scene where Zuko playing pai sho with one of his children, or something.  Use a little bit of grace to bring him into the story.  This is a flaw that on the surface is minor, but at the same time I so really loved this character from the first series (seriously, he had the best, most richly satisfying arc of all the characters, Aang included) that my lack of objectivity on the matter is probably making out to be worse than it is.

I also liked the reintroduction of Bolin and Mako to their distant family, having been separated from them since, well, their entire lives, even though it comes about via circumstances which are incredibly coincidental and really draws attention to itself.  They literally 'stumble' upon their extended family after getting lost and stranded in Ba Sing Se.  Anyone who remembers the size of that city knows that's fairly incredible, and not in the good sense.

The interesting, but trepidatious:  The stuff with the new villain(s) is interesting, but we know too little about them to know what they were in prison for, or why we should worry about their escape.  And the idea of the Earth Queen using the new airbenders in her city as forced conscripts in her army is at least provocative, but it seems too feeble right now in logic.  That may be addressed eventually, but right now it's rushed (that word formed a bulk of my criticism for the second season, which is why this makes me fearful for the season as a whole).  Again, they seem to be vomiting up three seasons' worth of conflict in a season that has to wrap in about 4 1/2 hours of runtime total.  They've also got the spirit/human conflict that was laid down in the first five minutes to deal with.  All three of these ideas are interesting on their own, but really, could we not just focus on one of them and give it all due attention to make it, you know, really good and properly developed?  I can't help but feeling that the lack of time affected the previously mentioned Zuko re-introduction into the universe.

We're veering into the negative again, so let's get to the bad.

The Bad:

There's the aforementioned immature behavior on Tenzin's part.  Some of the pressure should have been released on his part as last season when he had his big breakthrough.  His behavior is regressive, bordering on Korra levels of "I totally forgot any impact those events from the previous season were supposed to have had on me".

Don't even get me started on the scene where Korra once again reverts to her belligerence to try and coerce an Earth Kingdom slacker into joining their group.  I mean, seriously?  One of the primo, numero-uno rules of storytelling is that you never, ever, EVER move your story or your characters backwards to a previous state, when you've established that the old status quo is no longer the new status quo.  You. Do. Not. Go. Back.  You only go forward.  If you can't tell at this point that conscripting new airbenders to your cause is the act of a villain, then you have no business headlining a show where you are the protagonist;  in the third season of development.  Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea?  "Hey, you know what we should have Korra do?  We should have her threaten an innocent into embracing becoming an Airbender.  Out of nowhere.  Just have her do it.  It'll be great.

Speaking of immaturity, what is it about the adult characters all seemingly reverting to an immature state?  Bumi excepted, because it's in his character to be a man-child, albeit one with significant strategic prowess, it seems the adults are compelled to behave in an emotionally stunted way.  Even the Earth Queen, who while being petulant, should at least be imposing.  Instead she comes off about as imposing as your typical immature teenage rebel.  President Raiko has outbursts against Korra that seem more fit, again, to come out of the mouth of a stereotypical rebellious teenager.

But even that takes a back seat to the worst/most-irritating part, because even though not Mako nor Korra nor Asami has made a move to formally reignite any of that horrid love triangle nonsense, they're still, freakin talking about it's aftermath, and not just in one scene but in multiple scenes.   Which is telegraphing to me that the writers are going to make something out of this again this season and waste precious animation committing it to film, and increasing the amount of poison building up in my veins from repeatedly being exposed to it over and over again.  I excused it in the first season, and was irritated it took up any amount of space in the second, but we're approaching Jar-Jar levels of distraction whenever it's even mentioned now.  Stop mentioning it.  Romance is not the reason people were attracted to the first Avatar: The Last Airbender series.  This only matters to shippers and they shouldn't be influencing the writing of the series.  At. All.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  When there are earth-shattering events going on and some truly interesting ideas you're playing with all around you, nobody gives a damn about who's dating-who.  Move.  On.  Everyone else already has.  Long ago.

I'm going to continue watching, but I am not optimistic.
  • Listening to: Black Keys - Weight of Love
  • Watching: Legend of Korra
Putting this out there, 'cause I have been itching to give this a go, if anyone else is interested in going along for the ride:

switchMeme by nolimites

Tentative theme:  Cute badasses.  (ala Rocket Raccoon from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film).

Would like a few people to work with who are in the general area of my current skill level if possible.

Anyone interested?


jerseycajun's Profile Picture
Justin Miller
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States
Former engineer turned graphic artist and illustrator.

Commission Info (Through

I've decided that it's a better bet to handle all my commissions through

If you want to commission me for any design, character or drawing work (pretty much anything of any type you see in my gallery and then some - just ask) hop on over to this page here:…

...and click 'Hire Me!'.

Thanks, and hope to see/talk to you there!



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Cassy-Blue Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014   General Artist
thanks for the fave
Okarev Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for all of your advice on the forums, and for the favorites. Toilet Paper 
jerseycajun Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
My pleasure!
Seradraconis Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for helping me in the forums!
jerseycajun Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
My pleasure and privilege.

Go forward and draw!
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014   Traditional Artist
Found this today in a playlist by Stan Prokopenko…;

It follows his lessons on gesture and proportion.  The references it makes to Hale at the end is worth its weight in gold - as is the advice on how to approach training.

 Hope you'll enjoy it.
jerseycajun Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Watched it, and think I may have seen bits of it before, or at least have seen him talk about this in other videos.

Basically, even he admits that there are different philosophies about just how much reliance on measuring there should be.  And though he says that eventually the heavily-measured and the gestural will merge together, he doesn't exactly delve into what that process is like, and yet that was the bridge that never seemed to materialize for me until the Force books basically gave me 'permission' to abandon unit-measuring as the go-to way of measuring.

And there are a number of techniques he presents that I am fully supportive of, particularly in applying abstract shapes in the negative or positive sense to assist in measuring, primarily because shapes themselves are abstract things which do not require switching mental gears between first-and-fifth the way I found was necessary for me to bounce back and forth between when utilizing the heads-tall method (though a better analogy would probably be trying to replace transmissions between automatic and manual, back and forth, if you ask me), which is really the only major point of contention between myself and the video.

I think there is a good analogy to be had between the visual arts and the art of writing screenplays, something else I've been reading about lately.  If you look up "FilmCrit Hulk", you'll find a few of his articles on plot holes, which as he says, people often misunderstand, in that often people will notice plot holes well after having watched the film, but don't notice them during their initial viewing, having been sucked into the narrative.  (The Dark Knight is a good example of this - people months later started complaining about the plot holes - which they completely didn't care about or even notice while watching the film in theaters, but only on the DVD release when repeat viewings allowed them to concentrate on other things). 

The point of writing is not to create an air-tight universe where holes don't exist.  They will always exist as you're creating an approximation of reality, not reality itself, and so long as the emotional and thematic logic is sound, it will carry you over plenty of things that 'don't add up' in strict movie logic terms.  Emotions trump logic in fiction.  Your story world's logic need only be logical enough so as to allow the story to function.  And that standard is not nearly as demanding.  But that is not a bad thing, per-se.  It just recognizes that the purpose of the art of crafting a story is different from the purpose of recreating reality.

Same thing is true in the visual arts, in my opinion.  A slavish adherence to measuring is to forget the artistic purpose in why we draw.  That isn't to say that measuring isn't important, because it is.  It's only just as important as it needs to be in order to get the viewer to believe in the end result, just as plot logic is only a servant to other, bigger purposes in writing fiction.

It all comes down to: What is the function of our art?  What is the purpose of doing this?  The answer to that is what tells us what form the final result takes.

I have a counterpoint video to offer, but it's only available for a fee, as it's part of Mattesi's subscription service.  I'll link to it anyway, in case you're interested enough in hearing what convinced me of everything I just spilled out above:…

The video to click on is titled:  "Tip of the Spear - SF Academy of Art Lecture"
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014   Traditional Artist
Fee?  Hehe.  Money's for food and . . . ink.

I spent the day going through Prokopenko's play lists, including his lessons, crits, interviews and guests.  He's studied thoroughly and knows the various traditions.  I found it a pleasure if for no other reason than to see proof that someone so young worked at it so diligently.  It's also the first time I've heard someone quote Robert Beverly Hale and discuss his method of proportions (which isn't his method, but one commonly used by Renaissance Masters, as Hale himself explains). 

I say learn it all; use what you can.
Shantyland Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
AHH Hey! I'm alive, and fiiiinally getting some lines to you!

Sorry about the wait! DX
CHeMnICORn Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fav! I like the quality of your lines! Very strong and modern.
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