I’ve been known to feature a toonlet® web comic in my blog from time to time. “What is a toonlet®?” you ask. toonlet.com® is the brainchild of Craig Schwartz and Seth Ladygo. It is essentially a Mr. Potato head inspired web toon toolkit that also adds 21st century features like resizing, rotation and repositioning. It’s really pretty easy to figure out, but here’s a basic toonlet® tutorial if you feel you need one. Oh by the way, it’s free to join and create cartoons, here is a link to my personal toonlet® collection.
If you play with toonlet® you see that at the moment the characters are strictly black and white, and you can only fill in flat background colors to help you express moods or just to make it colorful.
I’ve been pushing the envelope a bit. The illustration at the top of this post is one of my characters. I sucked him out of toonlet® and colorized him as if the image were a coloring book page. That is, I used the bucket fill tool of the GIMP to dump solid colors into white areas. Why limit yourself to filling in white areas? I wanted my laughing Dork character to have a red hoodie rather than a black one, (if you know me in real life I’m sure you’ve seen my red hoodie!!) so I took it a step further and started playing with painting to lighten and you see the result.
Then, an interesting thing happened. I was telling a friend about toonlet® and he got the idea it was animated. It’s not (YET, but that’s another thing I can add to their LONG feature request queue.) But that conversation really made me want to animate my “fist shaking” toonlet® character. There is nothing to stop you making a series of poses inside toonlet®, exporting them and using the layer features of GIMP to create a GIF animation. Here’s how to do that, if you’re interested. I made this crude animation as a test. Imagine that with color frames and the eyes and hair moving too. Next Rev Coming UP!!
Animated GIF’s are usually bad news, but not if they are the whole POINT of the exercise. Anyway, all these experiments do have an ulterior purpose, which will be blogged soon in a future Hot Dorkage blog post coming to a browser near you.