At some conventions there are artist-related events because literally every nerdy fandom attracts a number of artists in various stages of aspiration. One such event at Indy Pop Con was the Drink ‘n’ Draw- where we all met up at Scotty’s for brews and had a drawing session.
I didn’t really read the blurb, I just kind of wanted to hang out with other artists and talk about cats. So I did certainly not know that it was a competition- first prize gets a free artist’s table at next year’s show. Runners up get a bag of goodies with a sketch book and some nice pens. Judge faves get a sketch commission.
Now I am not a competitive person. Like… I’ll participate in friendly competition if it’s a thing I like doing, but I’m not in it to win it. So I was just like… pff whatever, I’ll make someone else look good.
But you have to adhere to a theme. And this year’s theme was ‘The Last Battle.’
And it could be anything you want within that theme. Mostly they were looking at things like storytelling, composition, and technique.
I wasted about fifteen minutes of the hour and a half that we had, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I’m awful at open-ended themes all the time and I mentally rattled off a list of subjects that would be good to work with before I finally landed on one that I wanted to do.
Barney the Purple Dinosaur.
And I know what you’re thinking:
But literally every kid I know grew up twisting the theme song to Barney and turning it into some morbid collection of ways to end the dinosaur’s reign of terror and all of them involved tying him to a tree.
‘With a knife in his back and a gun to his head-
Woopsie-daisy, Barney’s dead.’
And I figured like… since I’m not really here to win, I’m at least gonna have a good time. So I skipped past the pencil stage and went straight for the sharpies and went to town on this piece of paper.
And I was not gonna hold back.
With ten minutes left, the event runner walks by my table and has this ‘what in the fuck is this’ look on his face.
“You know… like in the song?”
Okay so this is the first person I have met in my life that has not indulged in the honored past-time of recounting the Death of Barney through song. So I start singing the song and he’s still just a wee bit perturbed.
He walks away, shaking his head, but he’s definitely amused by it.
Time is up, drawings are in.
I’m just chillin’ over in my corner with a Pepsi and one of the other artists at my table keeps eyeing the judges because she came to WIN. She nudges me and she’s like “they keep looking at yours, man.”
“They’re probably trying to dry it off because I spilled Pepsi on it.”
“I dunno… they look intrigued.”
Intrigued is an… intriguing word to describe the faces they were making at my hot mess of a doodle.
The winners have been decided.
They get through their personal faves and start listing the runners up. The artist that was checking the judge reactions got one of the judge’s favorites prizes. My girlfriend gets a runner-up for hers. They get to the last one of the runners-up and say:
“Okay, this one came REALLY close.” He holds up a drawing. “Who did this one?”
My hand shot straight up.
“Is that… is that BARNEY?”
“OH GOD WHY?”
“What the fuck?”
I am SHOCKED at this point because what kind of a childhood did y’all have? A fucking nurturing one? “Come on guys, it’s like that song. You know… tie barney to a tree…”
So that’s how I won a free sketchbook and came to be known as the chick that ruined everyone’s childhood at Drink’ n’ Draw.
And I suspect I might have actually won the table if I’d made it clearer that the shadowy figure walking off into the sunset is Baby Bop.
So I just wanted to do a sketch of the “WHATISUPEVERYBODY” intro but wHOOPS my hand slipped and I did a fully rendered collection of Sanders Sides
I was feeling a little sheepish at first about drawing fan art of a real person but then I kind of thought to myself, well, Thomas isn’t embarrassed about what he likes! He would just want me to have fun!! So I did!
I also sort of accidentally came up with non-Disney theme songs for each of them. At least, it was what I listened to when I worked on each of them, and I kind of think they themselves would listen to these songs?
Logic: Oh No! by Marina and the Diamonds (I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine~~)
Morality: Fireworks by Katy Perry (Mostly because my own dad has recently discovered Katy Perry and is being… very Dad about it, but also because I feel like Morality would believe in me. And imagining him singing along in a dad voice gave me a hearty chuckle.)
Princey: Born This Way by Lady Gaga, (What would a prince listen to if not a queen???)
Anxiety: Pity Party by Melanie Martinez, (cuz you can’t spell party without art. And I can cry if I want to.)
And then I feel weird assigning a theme song to a real person cuz at least the other four are fictional representations, but when I did @thatsthat24 himself I was listening to A Little Opera Goes A Long Way by Sky Sailing
Taako getting his cooking show back after everything is over would be cool, but it makes sense that he might be a little hesitant to step right back into the game. There’s some trauma there to be worked through. But he does miss the spotlight, and has a pretty active cheer squad ready to egg him on (and help smooth over Glamour Springs, with the Voidfish if necessary) and he’s discovered he’s actually kind of likes teaching magic under the right conditions.
Thus Teaching Time With Taako is born. It’s one part Bill Nye, one part Magic School Bus, one part eighties workout video, all magic. Technically it’s marketed for kids, but despite their best efforts they can’t get all the inappropriate jokes out and therefore it ends up with some weird demographics. Finding a channel willing to take it on is a job and half, especially since it gets filmed in Refuge on a shoestring budget. But it’s popular. People like watching it, because the antics of the boys read a lot like slapstick when put on camera and because it’s actually really informative.
June and Angus switch out co-hosting as the kid viewpoint characters. Angus gets an in-show character called The Great Boy Detective, who is dedicated to unraveling the secrets of the universe. June is more focused on magical safety and how to keep from getting hurt by powerful artifacts and spells beyond your abilities. For theme naming purposes they are referred to as Ango and Juno on the show. Other former Bureau of Balance employees cameo frequently, especially for skits and segments like Are You There God(s), It’s Me Merle and Breaking Things ‘N Making Thing With Magnus And Killian. Ren is technically supposed to be behind the camera, but people keep pulling her in front of it for jokes. She ends up with a bit at the end of each episode where she warns people not to try any of this at home, please, please, please. Kravitz technically has a full time grownup job to do, but despite his best efforts he keeps ending up writing them catchy musical numbers. Hardcore fans swear you can catch a skeleton in a robe in the background of almost every episode.
The outfits are terrible, the stunts are terrifying, and the demonstrations of magic are very inventive. At least once an episode they have to insert a loud noise or make a sharp cut in post to cover up a swear word that slipped in. Everyone thinks they’re all wacky characters, but they’re not, they’re really like that. A whole generation of young wizards grow up singing the theme song and trying very stupid, albeit creative, magical feats. Taako is very proud of the little boogers, even if he’s terrible with young fans in real life.
I found this little treat while backing up an old hard drive. It’s the first theme song demo we submitted to the Wander Over Yonder folks back in 2012! Music by me, lyrics by Craig McC, performed by The Two Man Gentlemen Band.
The band was on tour when Disney first reached out to us to submit some ideas for the theme song. We didn’t have time in the tour schedule to get into a recording studio so we sang this into my iPhone in a hotel room somewhere in Virginia. Lo-fi wins again!
You’ll probably notice right away that this isn’t the tune that ended up being the theme song. But, we did get to use it in the Little Guy. And I’ve snuck the melody into the score a few times, too, usually when Wander and Sylvia are having a “friendship” moment. It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve ever written.
Context: the group is on an island with a bunch of machinations a wizard who thinks they are a druid has made bringing back extinct animals and giving them extra defenses (the first of these the party fought was a fire-breathing owlbear). Through some misfortune an NPC ally ended up in the nest of flying gorillas and the party was going to rescue them. The nest is 80 feet down a cliff from the party and over a large lake.
I was expecting them to rest up that night and make a plan. Not do this right away.
Beat (bard) OOC: I’ll be lowered down, mission impossible style, preparing to cast Calm Emotions once they are in range.
DM (me): what save?
I start pulling up fitting music while the player looks up the spell.
Beat’s player: wisdom.
I start rolling for the gorillas. Also pulling up the spell to see the effects as the theme to mission impossible starts playing
DM: Fail, fail, success, fail, success, the abjurist fails, so they are calm. But all the gorillas–
the spell says humaniod
DM: nevermind, you can only target humaniods with that. Do you have something else you would have rather used?
Beat’s player: nah, this is funnier.
DM: alright, for the sake of pacing, everyone roll initiative
Sidenote: this is not the first time, not even during this campaign, I have phrased something this way.
They all do, and the monk rolls a ridiculous initiative. I turn up the theme song.
DM: Alright, Yana, you’re first. What are you doing?
Yana’s player: I jump.
Long story short, Yana and an NPC died because of those gorillas.