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About Digital Art / Professional Premium Member Justin MillerMale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 6 Years
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Day 552 [12-23-14]: Bidwell's Shroud by BuuckPhotography

Nice choice in subject matter, and I like the extreme perspective you're achieving here. I think my main issue with the overall piece i...

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 ...

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Hairy tattooed warrior -  Jams and Studies by jerseycajun
Hairy tattooed warrior - Jams and Studies
Had to include the last one, even if I don't know for sure if the character had any tattoos.  As for hairiness, check out the 70's hair.  If that's not enough, I don't know what is.

The first two are largely improvised from imagination.
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Me, in Gravity Falls style. by jerseycajun
Me, in Gravity Falls style.
Just what the title says.  Experimenting with styles outside my usual zone.
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  • Listening to: AC/DC - Thunderstruck
  • Watching: Gravity Falls
  • Drinking: Coffee
"Ratatouille" is one of my favorite animated films with one of my favorite messages.  It's just one variation of the "finding treasures in unexpected packages" premises.  Like its protagonist, a great story can come from anywhere.

It's one thing to believe in a message, but another to put it into practice.  Which is why it took me several years of ignoring "Avatar: The Last Airbender" for looking too much like other things I had no interest in.  Eventually, after catching an episode late one night and recognizing a spark in it, I felt it was worth investigating it more.  Now, I consider it a highlight right up there with Lord of the Rings in some ways  in terms of its use of epic fantasy to convey some very mature (in the clean sense; get your minds out of the gutter!) human concepts, including familial strife as complex, triumphant and tragic as anything Shakespeare put to paper.  It also contains one of the best "prodigal son" storylines I've seen put forward for public consumption.

In any case, lesson learned, in practice.  (Following that, I even gave the new My Little Pony show a shot to see what all the hubub was about.  Turns out that, personal opinion on that show here; the hubub can be over nothing - or at least something that isn't really as stand-out as one can be led to believe.  It's a fine show for kids, but it never really transcends the all-ages barrier the way that the other shows I've name-dropped here, do.)  So I'd been hearing good things about Gravity Falls on DisneyXD.  Being an animation nerd, and still following that axiom, I gave it my time, and let me say, this show 'gets' me.

The show really is X-files meets "The Simpsons" with some Goonies-style adventures, but with characters that are more innocent and less cynical than the Simpsons while never taking itself as seriously as the X-FIles (though there are definitely moments of genuine peril).  It has villains that are in equal measures hysterical and terrifying (and it works, making both sensations stand out all the better for the excellent contrast).  The mysteries, unlike "The X-Files", actually feels like its building up to something that could be coherent, and better yet: meaningful.  This is particularly unusual in that the supernatural elements in each episode are mostly stand-alone and don't directly connect, much like the X-Files.  The connection between it all is done through a singular device (the journal, found by Dipper in the first episode) that catalogs all of the weirdness and provides a guide for the kids to help them navigate through it all while defending themselves against a number of the episodes' threats.  Better yet, the supernatural elements are intertwined with the character development as each character's growth and the growth of their relationships end up coming as a direct result of their interactions with the paranormal.

Speaking of that, the relationships between the characters feel genuine, the characters rise above stereotypes (the smart one, the hammy one, the 'dumb' one, the huckster) and achieve a balance that is rare to find.  The art style is a mix of the Simpsons with the color palette stolen from those old vacation postcards from national parks and cities you visited when your family took you on those cross country road trips as a child (like my parents did).  Totally appropriate given the show's scenario of two preteens having a singularly unbelievable and extraordinary summer while staying with their great uncle at his tourist trap/shop in an out-of-the-way Oregon town.  The town of Gravity Falls itself becomes a character all its own, with its inhabitants appearing regularly as the ones in the Simpsons do, but again, they all seem to play a role in the strangeness that surrounds the town, fully integrated into the mystery.  In more recent episodes, we start to see even background characters start to play a more participatory role.

Oh, and did I mention the show kills it in the humor department?  Because it does, and it all stems from who the characters are (like in Guardians of the Galaxy), not merely situational or scatological humor.  It's incredibly hard to juggle all the elements the way a show like this does seemingly effortlessly without dropping any of them, but it succeeds.  I'm invested.

The show is in the midst of its second season (Disney is really drawing these seasons out.  The first season apparently began back in 2013), and it's got me more interested than I would have expected I would be in it's progression. 

So yeah.  If you haven't checked it out, do it.

And keep looking for gold in places you wouldn't think.  Some of the best stuff out there is found in 'hole-in-the-wall' type places.
  • Listening to: AC/DC - Thunderstruck
  • Watching: Gravity Falls
  • Drinking: Coffee
"Ratatouille" is one of my favorite animated films with one of my favorite messages.  It's just one variation of the "finding treasures in unexpected packages" premises.  Like its protagonist, a great story can come from anywhere.

It's one thing to believe in a message, but another to put it into practice.  Which is why it took me several years of ignoring "Avatar: The Last Airbender" for looking too much like other things I had no interest in.  Eventually, after catching an episode late one night and recognizing a spark in it, I felt it was worth investigating it more.  Now, I consider it a highlight right up there with Lord of the Rings in some ways  in terms of its use of epic fantasy to convey some very mature (in the clean sense; get your minds out of the gutter!) human concepts, including familial strife as complex, triumphant and tragic as anything Shakespeare put to paper.  It also contains one of the best "prodigal son" storylines I've seen put forward for public consumption.

In any case, lesson learned, in practice.  (Following that, I even gave the new My Little Pony show a shot to see what all the hubub was about.  Turns out that, personal opinion on that show here; the hubub can be over nothing - or at least something that isn't really as stand-out as one can be led to believe.  It's a fine show for kids, but it never really transcends the all-ages barrier the way that the other shows I've name-dropped here, do.)  So I'd been hearing good things about Gravity Falls on DisneyXD.  Being an animation nerd, and still following that axiom, I gave it my time, and let me say, this show 'gets' me.

The show really is X-files meets "The Simpsons" with some Goonies-style adventures, but with characters that are more innocent and less cynical than the Simpsons while never taking itself as seriously as the X-FIles (though there are definitely moments of genuine peril).  It has villains that are in equal measures hysterical and terrifying (and it works, making both sensations stand out all the better for the excellent contrast).  The mysteries, unlike "The X-Files", actually feels like its building up to something that could be coherent, and better yet: meaningful.  This is particularly unusual in that the supernatural elements in each episode are mostly stand-alone and don't directly connect, much like the X-Files.  The connection between it all is done through a singular device (the journal, found by Dipper in the first episode) that catalogs all of the weirdness and provides a guide for the kids to help them navigate through it all while defending themselves against a number of the episodes' threats.  Better yet, the supernatural elements are intertwined with the character development as each character's growth and the growth of their relationships end up coming as a direct result of their interactions with the paranormal.

Speaking of that, the relationships between the characters feel genuine, the characters rise above stereotypes (the smart one, the hammy one, the 'dumb' one, the huckster) and achieve a balance that is rare to find.  The art style is a mix of the Simpsons with the color palette stolen from those old vacation postcards from national parks and cities you visited when your family took you on those cross country road trips as a child (like my parents did).  Totally appropriate given the show's scenario of two preteens having a singularly unbelievable and extraordinary summer while staying with their great uncle at his tourist trap/shop in an out-of-the-way Oregon town.  The town of Gravity Falls itself becomes a character all its own, with its inhabitants appearing regularly as the ones in the Simpsons do, but again, they all seem to play a role in the strangeness that surrounds the town, fully integrated into the mystery.  In more recent episodes, we start to see even background characters start to play a more participatory role.

Oh, and did I mention the show kills it in the humor department?  Because it does, and it all stems from who the characters are (like in Guardians of the Galaxy), not merely situational or scatological humor.  It's incredibly hard to juggle all the elements the way a show like this does seemingly effortlessly without dropping any of them, but it succeeds.  I'm invested.

The show is in the midst of its second season (Disney is really drawing these seasons out.  The first season apparently began back in 2013), and it's got me more interested than I would have expected I would be in it's progression. 

So yeah.  If you haven't checked it out, do it.

And keep looking for gold in places you wouldn't think.  Some of the best stuff out there is found in 'hole-in-the-wall' type places.
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

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jerseycajun
Justin Miller
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States
Former engineer turned graphic artist and illustrator.
Interests

Commission Info (Through Elance.com)

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

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:

www.elance.com/s/edit/jerseyca…

...and click 'Hire Me!'.

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

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:iconprimineers:
Primineers Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
OH MY GOD! THAAANK YOU VEERRY MUCH! <3 YOU'RE THE BEST!
Reply
:iconjerseycajun:
jerseycajun Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
No problem!  Excellent quality stock and poses.  Keep up the good work!
Reply
:iconprimineers:
Primineers Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Okay! ^^ have a good time! :D
Reply
:iconpatchi1995:
Patchi1995 Featured By Owner Edited Dec 19, 2014
Quick question: How old is Cammie the ostrich taur?
Reply
:iconjerseycajun:
jerseycajun Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Don't think I ever got around to defining that.  She appears to be young adult. 20-30.
Reply
:iconpatchi1995:
Patchi1995 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014
Her average age was 25 years old. I was just curious.
Reply
:iconcassy-blue:
Cassy-Blue Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014   General Artist
thanks for the fave
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:iconokarev:
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 
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:iconjerseycajun:
jerseycajun Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
My pleasure!
Reply
:iconseradraconis:
Seradraconis Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for helping me in the forums!
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