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Intellivision Christmas Carol - The Book Now Available

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17 minutes ago, sramirez2008 said:

Oh yeah!!!

52108724-50D8-4268-BFB3-DA22AFA4539F.jpeg
 

BDD7688E-6750-44A7-9C27-9380D278F37D.jpeg

 

Awesome!  I hope you enjoy it. :)

 

    -dZ.

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4 hours ago, JasonlikesINTV said:

Mine arrived today too 👍

Same!

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5 hours ago, JasonlikesINTV said:

Mine arrived today too 👍

 

1 hour ago, gunoz said:

Same!

 

Well that was fast, considering they went on the slow-boat of USPS Media Mail .:)

 

I hope you guys enjoy the story! :)

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By the way, to all you who have received it, I'm curious to know what you think of the presentation, layout, and artwork (and of course, the story!).  Any feedback is always welcomed. :)

 

The first few copies have included in them a nice and cool bookmark as well.  Although it does not say it explicitly, this item uses special "Generic Bookmark(tm)" technology to support the product of other publishers as well, so it should be compatible with most of your other books too!  😄

 

     -dZ.

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Here's another behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the Christmas Carol book.  Below I take you step-by-step through the process of creating one illustration, The Searching Snowman.

 

1. First, I start with a blank sketching pad.  I drew all my sketches with pencil on a drawing pad.

 

197242918_SearchingSnowman1.thumb.jpg.a6f6d65052fd3bfc1d6f0579198eb842.jpg

 

2. I then take photos of all my sketches, select the best ones, and lay them out digitally on Pixelmator.  My goal is to get the right lay out and proportion of all elements.

338228127_SearchingSnowman2.thumb.jpg.f3cb343b33f8f00db086fb8f11fa14e5.jpg

 

3. I continue adding elements and placing them in their proper relative order:

1973004289_SearchingSnowman3.thumb.jpg.d9bbf6354bab8f49926a4aa215b4dea9.jpg

 

4. In this case, I had a good size snowman, but I liked the torso of another sketch I made:

1584821853_SearchingSnowman4.thumb.jpg.e71a4aad1c88a537bbbe044184761b95.jpg

 

5. The same thing with the "Santa Hat" on the little mock-snowman:

2144999766_SearchingSnowman5.thumb.jpg.bba921ab73e949c1540e81ed2296d9ac.jpg

 

6. So, now with all the elements laid out in their proper place and proportions, I trace it digitally with the pen tool:

771190623_SearchingSnowman6.thumb.jpg.c3f9bd06618221550a2a0362a1202f0e.jpg

 

7. I continue to do it, using the sketch as a guide, and correcting as necessary.  All by eye and hand.

2072606283_SearchingSnowman7.thumb.jpg.db0783964e8b3d58194ac98838526418.jpg

 

8. Once all elements are outlined, I draw the background elements.  In this case, a snowy floor and an "igloo" cave dome:

1654690558_SearchingSnowman8.thumb.jpg.383291e26c071381f477aae026f99ee2.jpg

 

9. Then it's time to color, but first, I "hide" the pencil sketches and draft elements, and correct any final details of the outline with the pen tool:

231297478_SearchingSnowman9.thumb.jpg.f59ba2d729ab18203d4c080f3758f2a1.jpg

 

10. I then color using a combination of gradients, brush strokes, and paint fills.  The colors are added in layers, so that they can be adjusted and mixed individually.  For that, I create a series of masks and selection regions, which I am skipping in this demonstration.

990894314_SearchingSnowman10.thumb.jpg.fa6059036137a1083b002e1e0fdb4ddf.jpg

 

11. And finally, I add additional shading elements and textures, and adjust the opacity of any colors to give it a nice, professional look:

197206787_SearchingSnowman11.thumb.jpg.e9a4b411800f7dae0265b2157f6e3063.jpg

 

And there you have it:  That's how one of my book illustrations came to life.  There are 14 more in the book, and they were all done in a very similar fashion.  The first ones were a lot simpler.  As I became comfortable with the tool and developed a style and a set of techniques, they became progressively more sophisticated, and perhaps even more artistically interesting.

 

This particular illustration is one of the last ones I made, so you can see that it is quite a lot more complex in style than some others.  It includes a nice "glassy" texture on the snowman, and some shine in the eyes and buttons, for effect.

 

As I have mentioned before, I have never done this before -- at least not to this extent.  I worked briefly as an assistant graphic designer waaaaaay back in the day, took one semester of drafting courses in architecture school, and had a stint as a web designer for various years; so I am no real stranger to art, and I have been known to possess some latent talent.

 

However, I do have one secret weapon:  One of my super powers is a very strong, powerful, and relentless urge (read: obsessive-compulsion mania) that won't let me stop until something looks exactly as I picture it in my head -- even when my talent and skills fall short of the task.  This is why each illustration took me from 30 to 60 hours to complete:  I could spend entire afternoons just shaping the curve of a single line stroke, by trial and error, until it looked just right.

 

That's not talent, really.  It's not even perfectionism.  It's just stupid, stubborn, OCD persistence. ;)


     -dZ.

 

 

-------

 

It should go without saying that all the illustrations, characters, themes, story elements, and any materials related to Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents, the story or the game, are copyrighted and owned by me, James Pujals, and are not to be used or re-distributed, in part or in whole, without my express permission.  I hope you all respect that.

 

Edited by DZ-Jay
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On 10/24/2020 at 6:25 AM, DZ-Jay said:

That's not talent, really.  It's not even perfectionism.  It's just stupid, stubborn, OCD persistence. ;)

I admire that quality. Most of where I've gotten in my programming career has been through stubborn persistence to find a way when others had given up.

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On 10/24/2020 at 6:25 AM, DZ-Jay said:

11. And finally, I add additional shading elements and textures, and adjust the opacity of any colors to give it a nice, professional look:

197206787_SearchingSnowman11.thumb.jpg.e9a4b411800f7dae0265b2157f6e3063.jpg

 

 

-------

 

It should go without saying that all the illustrations, characters, themes, story elements, and any materials related to Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents, the story or the game, are copyrighted and owned by me, James Pujals, and are not to be used or re-distributed, in part or in whole, without my express permission.  I hope you all respect that.

 

 

And, of course, the above illustration comes straight from a cut-scene in the game, Stage #7 "Krystal Keep," which is depicted in the story as part of Carol's adventure.

 

 

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With the exception of orders going outside the United States, all packages should have been delivered.  If anybody is missing their order, please contact me directly, via PM, e-mail, or through the web site contact form.

 

Also, as a matter of feedback, did anybody have trouble with the check-out process?  You should have also received an order confirmation and a shipping notification via e-mail.  If you did not, I would like to know because then there is a problem with the provider and I would like to address it.

 

I hope that those who already received their copies take some time to read it, and that you all enjoy it.  If anybody has any feedback at all, it will be very much welcomed!  And of course, if you liked it, make sure to pass the word around. :)

 

Thank you to all who ordered!

 

     -dZ.

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I got mine. Trying to decide if I should open it. Maybe I need to buy a second copy to read. A collector and his money...🤪

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2 minutes ago, Swami said:

I got mine. Trying to decide if I should open it. Maybe I need to buy a second copy to read. 

 

Hmm ... It's not shrink-wrapped, you can safely open it, I promise it won't devalue it. :)

 

Also, if you open it, you get to see the cool bookmark it includes -- exclusive to owners of the book.

 

   -dZ.

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1 minute ago, DZ-Jay said:

 

Hmm ... It's not shrink-wrapped, you can safely open it, I promise it won't devalue it. :)

 

Also, if you open it, you get to see the cool bookmark it includes -- exclusive to owners of the book.

 

   -dZ.

It’s still in the postal package. 🙂

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1 minute ago, Swami said:

It’s still in the postal package. 🙂

😱

 

Oh my!  You should open it up for sure.  Had I known it was going to be treated as a collectible, I would have signed the box for you! :)

 

   -dZ.

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Here's another sneak peak at the making of the book ...

 

Before there were any words, there was a map.

 

That's right, I drew a map of the Frozen Ice-Cube Caverns.  I wanted to understand how the geography of the world Carol explores was laid out.  I figured if I could take all these cave ideas and lay them out on a map, I could guide Carol through the caverns in a seemingly natural way.

 

It turned out I was right:  the map was one of my most important assets during the creation of the story.  It's one thing to have these story ideas and elements in your head, but it's quite another one to express them, to manifest them physically.  Once you do that, something magical happens:  all of a sudden, it becomes real.  Not real, as in "the Ice-Cube Caverns exist in real life"; but real in the sense that they have shape, size, volume; they occupy space; they they can be compared to other things, and their relative distances can be measured -- and most importantly, they can be explored.

 

At once, all sorts of plot problems came to light, followed by all sorts of interesting solutions:

  • If Carol was in one cave, then a particular event cannot happen in this other cave because she would miss it.
  • Where is the Evil Snowman actually hiding?  It must be in some remote part, otherwise Carol would not be able to avoid him at all.
  • How can the Ghost escape so quickly from one cave, just in time to appear in the other?
  • Where does the particular events that drive the story take place?
  • What motivates Carol, the Ghost, the Snowman, or the Bad Toy, to go from one end of the caverns to the other, in order for a particular action to occur?

The map elucidated all of that and more.  It drove the story, it added depth to it, and it became an important part of the overarching world, not just mere background setting.

 

So ... how do the Frozen Ice-Cube Caverns look like?  They look like this:

1510625181_IceCubeCaverns(Sketch).thumb.jpg.2b9602fa0a9658ef757d30115f21f912.jpg

 

You enter through the west tunnel to land on the vast and cavernous Haunted Hollow.  From there, you can go north towards the Frosted Maze, with its twisty passages, or south towards the Candy Cove, with its encompassing alcoves.  To the east is the imposing ice fortress of the Krystal Keep, wherein the final confrontation between Carol and her enemies takes place.  Finally, in the center of it all, lies the heart of the mountain itself, the birthplace of the magical snowflakes:  the Snowflake Garden.

 

That last one took me by surprise.  In the game, the Snowflake Garden was just one more cave to explore, and it's most important characteristic was that it was replete with magical snowflakes.  In the book, by virtue of being at the center of the caverns, it turned into something else entirely.

 

All these caves should sound familiar to players of the game, for they are precisely where the game action takes place.
 

In a future post I will continue describing the evolution of the map and the story, and how they ended up as illustrations in the book.

 

     -dZ.

 

 

-------

 

It should go without saying that all the illustrations, characters, themes, story elements, and any materials related to Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents, the story or the game, are copyrighted and owned by me, James Pujals, and are not to be used or re-distributed, in part or in whole, without my express permission.  I hope you all respect that.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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Its seriously time to consider your next book: The Art of Christmas Carol vs The Ghost of Christmas Presents.

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6 minutes ago, sramirez2008 said:

Its seriously time to consider your next book: The Art of Christmas Carol vs The Ghost of Christmas Presents.

Actually, continuing with the children's book theme, my wife and I plan to make a coloring book.  We meant to do that to promote the book this summer, but ... well, some stupid bug decided to ruin everything and change everybody's plans for the year. 😡

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And for those who may be interested, I created a blog back in 2017 to chronicle the process of writing the book and posted every few days the progress, and how certain elements or plot devices came about.  It starts here:

 

You can follow the evolution of the story, from its humble goal of a 10 page bedtime story, to its ultimate incarnation as a 16 chapter novella.  It's quite a trip and provides some instance into the creative process -- at least my creative process.

 

The blog goes on for 37 entries, spanning the roughly four-month journey of the Carol adventure story.

 

And if you have any comments or questions about the book, the ordering process, the blog, or anything Carol in general, just post it here or send me a private message. :)

 

     -dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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As much as I like Christmas, I also like moderate warmness (25 C is nice) and a lot of daylight, so my suggestion is that Carol has a second cousin called Summer Solstice which she goes to visit on her vacation. :)

 

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Am I the only one that has a signed book??

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17 hours ago, carlsson said:

As much as I like Christmas, I also like moderate warmness (25 C is nice) and a lot of daylight, so my suggestion is that Carol has a second cousin called Summer Solstice which she goes to visit on her vacation. :)

 

 

I have to admit that that is a phenomenal idea, and I really like it. 👍

 

I think the name "Summer" is also a great one, but I think "Summer Solstice" is a bit on the nose.  Still, I can see it working.  I'll have to seriously think about this one -- I also can imagine it being fitting for an Intellivision sequel ... :ponder:

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14 hours ago, sramirez2008 said:

Mines not signed.☹️

I'm sorry about that.  I was mindful not to inscribe any book unless requested.

 

    dZ.

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2 hours ago, DZ-Jay said:

I'm sorry about that.  I was mindful not to inscribe any book unless requested.

 

    dZ.

No worries.

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The order form should include a field for additional instructions or comments.  I encourage anybody placing an order who would like their copy inscribed to mention it there and include the name to which they want the inscription dedicated.

 

I just didn't want to be presumption and scribble on someone's book unrequested.

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