North Castle was really thrilled to conduct an interview with Zeldanime's creators. We asked them ten questions in total and here you can get an insight into the duo's ideas, inspiration and how an actual page for the comic comes together. They even touch on future plans and you can find out teasers for what might happen in the future! Thank you to Crazyfreak and OniChild for taking the time to conduct this interview! For the questions, read on below...
1. First question - Zeldanime has been on your minds a while, why is now the right time to start creating your vision?
Crazyfreak: Well, it wasn't until OniChild came up with the idea to restart the project. I came up with these 'Zeldanime screen shots' fan art to make them look like some sort of remake of the old 80s cartoons people love and hate. When OniChild suggested to restart the whole project and make it a collaboration between two artists, at that point I knew it was the right time to restart it again.
OniChild: I actually don't know how to answer that question simply because I don't know if there is an answer. But, I wanted to pick up the project again after going through Crazyfreak's deviantART gallery and stumbling upon the old Zeldanime pictures she did a few years ago. I really liked what she was doing with it and I didn't want it to fade away, so, I just asked her if she wanted to work on it together, and, voila. I don't think there really was a 'right time'. It sort of just happened.
2. Obviously the comic is based on the original 80s TV cartoon with influences taken from the games. Why did you pick this version of Zelda?
Crazyfreak: I have many reasons why I picked the old Zelda cartoon. First, it brings back memories. When I was a kid, 6 years old, I loved the Zelda cartoons. I know a lot of Zelda fans loathe the Zelda cartoons and I understand their reasons--which is another reason to remake it in to something more up to date and more involved with the games plot. It truly is a challenge to make something that is loathed by many Zelda fans into something Zelda fans like those will love. Furthermore, I see the 80s cartoon and the older Zelda games (Zelda I and II) as a white canvas not painted yet by many fans. In my opinion, it's more original to redo the first Zeldas than recreating the newer games. For me, it would be difficult to recreate one of the newer games (OOT, MM, TP, WW) and please everybody at the same time, since any Zelda fan has his/her vision on them and are much more criticizing on those games than the older ones (Probably because the older ones lack character and story development). So, not a lot of fans are attached to those games like they are with Ocarina of Time.
OniChild: I didn't really have an opinion on which Zelda we should do for the comic. It was mostly Crazyfreak's idea. Like I said, I just picked it back up again. Though, after talking with Crazyfreak and discussing what makes a Zelda game great, I'm glad we stuck with the original ones. I also went back and watched the old cartoons one day just because I was bored and I realized just how bad it was. (Don't get me wrong, I love them, but it's bittersweet.) But, I wanted to do something that would do justice to the Zelda franchise.
3. How did you both meet and decide to work together on the comic?
Crazyfreak: We did an art trade we should have done ages ago. After the art trade, OniChild asked me if I would be interested in restarting Project 'Zeldanime' with him. At first I had my doubts, because a project like Zeldanime takes a lot of time. But, since the day we started working on it, I haven't regretted it one bit. Working with Onichild is amazingly fun; we work really good together.
OniChild: I knew Crazyfreak from fan art spread around various Zelda fan sits, but, we never actually met until she asked to do an art trade years ago. We became friends, but, after a while, we grew distant just because we never really talked to each other. It wasn't until last August (2009) that we actually started talking more regularly and we did the art trade we said we would long before. After the art trade--here we are!
4. What were some of your influences before and after; also, what led you to doing this as a comic in the first place?
Crazyfreak: Before, there weren't that many. I wanted Ganon to be Ganondorf and I basically wanted Zelda to be different then the Zeldas we see in the games. I want the spicy, snobby Zelda back from the cartoons that fights along Link side to take out Ganon. I also wanted the Triforce to have a more active role, where the holder can actually fight with its magic. (Like how Princess Zelda did in one of the cartoons.) Another thing, I wanted Link to not be perfect. In the games Link is such a nice guy. The cartoon Link wasn't, which gives him different charms. The Link we created is not a guy Zelda would likely to team up with. Both of them are not perfect, which takes their relationship to a whole different level!
Afterward, OniChild and I discuss our ideas with each other and brainstorm even further. We are very clear to each other whether it's a good idea or not. Usually, we're thinking of how we can put an idea in the storyline. If it doesn't work, we rethink an idea if it doesn't fit.
I've seen many Zelda fan comics online, they always inspire me to draw my own. But, I never did because I was too busy with school or didn't feel like doing it anymore. Teaming up with another artist gives you the benefit to support each other when you are not motivated.
OniChild: Well, I said a comic format simply because I lack the ability to animate [well], and to animate a full-length feature? I don't think so! (If only...) So, a comic seemed most appropriate; it was the closest thing we could get to an actual animation.
5. Could you both discuss about what you’re thinking and where you’re coming from when you are working on this comic?
Crazyfreak: My source of inspiration comes from many things: Zelda games, other games, music, fan fictions, artwork etc. So it's difficult to be really concrete about it. A big inspiration moment is when I'm lying in my bed waiting to fall asleep. I try to come up with a particular scene that would fit in our comic. Usually I listen to the older classic Zelda music, especially the main theme of Zelda. (It has a special place in my heart.)
OniChild: I basically just wanted to remake the cartoon. All of my draft pages and storyboards--everything are all labeled 'LOZ cartoon remake.' I just wanted to revamp the whole thing. Most of the story is handled by Crazyfreak (she knows so much more about the Zelda world than I do!) so, my 'mark' on the project is mostly the action in the scenes (I don't just mean fighting.) I mostly try to set the mood for the project. It's hard to make you feel inspired, scared, or optimistic without the elements of sound or music, so, that's my main goal for my part of the project.
6. Are Link and Zelda going to have a love/hate relationship similar to how they behave the cartoon? Or is that a secret for now?
Crazyfreak: The first pages kind of suggested their relationship. Their meeting was a cold one, Zelda wasn't interested in Link's personality at all. I'm not sure if I can spoil a lot about it. Basically, Link and Zelda aren't perfect for each other. So yes their relationship will be a love/hate one.
OniChild: If there was no such relationship, it would just be any other Zelda fan-fic/fan-comic. We have this type of relationship because, well, it's funny, for one, and the main reason is that we're staying true to the cartoon.
7. Ganon is looking very badass as are his minions. How did you come up with their look?
Crazyfreak: We both agreed, Ganon could not be the same one as the cartoons. Most Zelda fans actually love what Nintendo did with Ganondorf from OOT, WW and TP. So how could we not include him in our story? OniChild is mostly responsible for the design.
OniChild: Why, thank you! I actually based my designs off of Crazyfreak's ideas (she doesn't give herself enough credit) and I add my own style to it. Ganon was never a villain I feared. Sure, he was evil and a jerk, but I was more afraid of that damn moon and the Skull Kid in Majora's Mask. I wanted him to be scary. He had to have a feel on him that made you think, 'well, I'm screwed.' His appearance was very 'WarCraft.' I had this idea to always keep him obscure from the viewers, so, he would be hidden by that cape of his most of the time. But, without some other sort of shape, (the shoulder armor) he was just flat. The skulls are an homage to the classic Ganon. Although cliche, a classic is still a classic, and that's what the project's about. To not have at least one skull on him (not including his mask) would just be wrong. As for his mask, again, I had the idea of keeping his face hidden. I wanted to keep him as a creature, but definitely not a pig. So, a mask was the best solution to keep that feeling. As you may already know, the mask was based off of the Ganon from Ocarina of Time. We actually have numerous drafts of Ganon's design, especially his mask. One thing was for sure: we had to make him strong, we had to make him fearful.
As for his minions, (well, so far we've only seen Moblins) I always laughed at how small they were in the cartoon. I knew Moblins were based on bulldogs, so, I just took it from there, mixed it with the moblins from Ocarina. Again, they had to be threatening, which was definitely not something the cartoon versions were.
8. Are you going to introduce any other characters other than the core ones? If so, will you be using characters from the games/cartoon or will they be made up?
Crazyfreak: Yes, we will use other old characters most people have forgotten or don't know they excited in the Zelda world. Link originally comes from a country called Calatia. I hope that doesn't spoil too much where one of our resources comes from. ;)
OniChild: Oh, we have so many ideas and already have a bunch of sketches and notes about what other characters to bring in. It's going to be fun.
9. Could you talk about the development process when you begin a piece and what it takes to get to the final product?
Crazyfreak: I'm usually the cheerleader, cheering OniChild to finish his sketches and line art so I can finally color it. So, for me, it starts when I get the line art from OniChild. I use Photoshop to color the base colors and lock the layers. When everything is colored with the basic colors, I use Painttool Sai for cell-shading. When that is finished, I go back to Photoshop to add some little details I couldn't add with Painttool Sai. Finally, I flatten all the layers into one and lighten the line art a bit. Then, I import the Photoshop file into Manga Studio and add the speed-lines or text balloons in it. At last I reopen the file in Photoshop, re-size it to a good size and it's ready.
OniChild: Of course, we started with the script. From there, I draft up a storyboard where Crazyfreak and I can add or omit scenes. (It's funny, because even with the script typed up and all ready, we still change it as we're going along with the project. For instance, the scene of Zelda mourning the fallen guard was added last minute by Crazyfreak) After the storyboard, I draft thumbnail sketches of the whole page and experiment how it would look--the frames, angles--everything. Those are always changing; they have to be perfect. As for the page itself, I follow the thumbnails and just use pencil and pens to do the line work--very traditional. And, of course, Photoshop to edit out any mistakes.
10. Finally, is the comic going to be a one-off story or would you consider further episodes in the future if time permitted you both to work on it?
Crazyfreak: I don't know what the future holds. Right now, I'm loving it. I have enough time to work on it and I hope the Zelda community will motivate us even more to continue the storyline.
OniChild: 'Consider'? Why, we're a step ahead! But, the whole 'time' issue is a big one that affects us. School is definitely something that stops us from doing this full-time. We do actually have a script for a second episode in development and a LOT of notes for future ideas. Sometimes, Crazyfreak and I talk about a 'last episode.' I can get a little too ambitious sometimes. But, I am looking forward to what we can do and I hope we can keep this project going until the very end.
Bonus: Fan Questions
In addition to the questions above, Crazyfreak and Onichild were also kind enough to answer some questions put forward by from North Castle visitors.
Raul M. Avellana - 1. The character design is so fitting and just perfect! How did you decide the style and mood of the whole concept?
Crazyfreak: What I find important when redesigning the Zelda characters is that they should actually look like them. I wanted Link to look like Link, Zelda to be Zelda and Ganon to be just Ganon. I dislike it when people redesign Zelda characters then when I have a look at them, I don't see anything from the original character back. I just want to do justice to the character instead of making them in my preferation.
OniChild: As for style, I try to keep as true as possible to the old games and the cartoon as possible while mixing in some of the newer designs we've seen in the Zelda franchise. As for drawing style, well, that's just my style. The mood is important, though. Each scene is written and drafted over and over to make sure that the scene has the perfect tone. If it's funny, it's gotta be 'warm and fuzzy'. If it's an action scene, the sky can't necessarily be blue.
Raul M. Avellana - 2. Secondly how much time did it take for you both to complete the first chapter of the comic?
Crazyfreak: The longest process was actually making the storyline and the script. We started in October and actually finished the first 7 pages in December. The other pages came in like a half and a month. We arent even finished with the first one yet...
OniChild: For the script, the whole thing took about three weeks to write, but, we're still changing it and adding to it as we go along. Ideas just pop up here and there and we'll add them to the script if it fits. For the first couple of pages, the longest part was actually the fight sequences. It takes a long time to choreograph the fights and to get the angles right. But, we haven't even finished the first chapter. We still have two or three scenes left to complete before the chapter's finished.
Raul M. Avellana - 3. Did you try other styles or other stories before ultimately using the ones you did?
Crazyfreak: I developed my cell shading skills by drawing and coloring a lot of Zelda fan art. (Check out my examples at Northcastle.co.uk's art page) For the story, no, we didn't draw pilots; we started right away after the first episode's script was completed.
OniChild: Not really. I just drew how I normally would. The only difference in style was that I had to match Crazyfreak's style and her original 'screen shots' so, I had to adopt a little bit of that and incorporate it in my own art style. For the story, we pretty much knew right away what we were doing. We said to each other to redo the cartoon and add elements of the older games, and we stuck to it.
Megan O'Shea - Which aspect of making Zeldanime is harder, the animation aspect of the process, or the writing? I understand there are some liberties being taken on the storyline and am wondering how the creators decided where liberties should be taken.
Crazyfreak: I think both of them share their own difficulties. For the writing, it's mainly to stay traditional with the original Zelda storyline and characters. Sometimes we find plot-holes and we need to brainstorm about it. OniChild is mainly responsible for the artwork. What I personally find difficult is how to structure the panels in a comic.
OniChild: By animation, I assume just the drawing/art making. At first, the script came very easily and very fast, so, it seems like the drawing is definitely harder. However, it's starting to switch around; the script is starting to get more difficult because of plot holes, or new ideas here or there and trying to make them fit--I guess I'm just back in the practice of drawing comics.
Mary Wood - What is the inspiration for this project? Secondly will there possibly be any romance between Link and Zelda?
Crazyfreak: The Zelda cartoon was the biggest inspiration together with the first two Zelda games. As for Link and Zelda, I don't know! We want to please everybody even non-Zelda/Link fans.
OniChild: Simply, to remake the Zelda cartoon and make it better. I can't say that I have inspiration for the whole project; it usually comes down to just being inspired from scene to scene. I'm heavily inspired by Blizzard Entertainment's 'cinematics' and other films. As for the romance between Link and Zelda, you'll just have to wait and see!
WVUer21 - Which comic inspired you to start this comic, and why did it hold such a memorable point for you?
Crazyfreak: No comics inspired me, except maybe the Zelda ones. But, mainly the cartoon inspired me to start with this project.
OniChild: None. However, I do use other comics to help me with scenes and the paneling. We also use the mangas (particularly Ocarina of Time) to help us with the story.
Zephros - Where does the inspiration come for your art style? Is it from one source, mostly, or just the style you've developed over the years?
Crazyfreak: For my own artwork, I've developed it over the years. I began when I was 8 years old and got this 'Instruction booklet' from Ocarina of time. Ever since then, I've been a great fan of the more boyish manga style and love the western comic style as well. Over the years, I developed my own artstyle, which is still in development.
OniChild: ell, I wouldn't call it an inspiration for the art style. But, my style has derived from a bunch of different things. It first started off based off of the artists from Blizzard (mostly from WarCraft I and II) and then it progressed to the Anime style. The Ocarina of Time official artwork is actually where most of my art style was original based off of, but, I was mentored by comic artists Jo and Christina Chen, and, now you can definitely see their art style in mine. Recently, my style has also picked up from Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (the artist for the Evangelion series.) So, in short, yes, it's a style developed for a long time.
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