Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Michael Dashow


Hi Walrus,

I love the way you have to draw characters, your lines are so effectives to describe round and generous shapes. Always the point of humour I very like. Good luck for this edition 2008.


Just stopping by to subscribe - love it so far!


Thanks, Karyn. Here’s a redraw of the human woman. Hope you like it better!

(Nyrak told me seperately from here that the woman’s previous pose looked like a dancer because her toes were so pointed. My wife said the same exact thing! So this is a second pass at the human woman. I’m not sure that’s the hair-style I want from her, but I’m moving so fast to get this done, it might not be important enough to bother redoing: Save my time for important things!)


This is a genuinely funny image. Really nice idea, Mike.

I’ve been studying your updates (you’ve been very helpful to me and I hoped I could return the favour with an observation or two) but can’t really offer much at all in the way of crits. The only thought I had is to do with the feet of the aliens. If they are used to walking around on their hind legs like that then I might expect the feet/toes to be broader and flattened out a bit to take their weight - at the moment they look a bit uncomfortable standing on the tips of their toes


lol funny idea mate … for me I think the hair is ok keep going waiting for more updates


haha, nice idea man . cultural interaction is what we need !


Hi Mike, Looking at your new sketches of the background characters… the alien couple carrying the human female, I wonder how does that fit into the whole candlelight ceremony. My first impression is that they are trying to adopt a human pet. Are you planning to depict the different lifestyles between human and aliens here?


Jerome - I’d describe it a little like the way some Westerners - particularly blonde ones - get treated in the far East. A blonde college friend who has lived in Japan for a number of years has decribed absolute strangers walking up to her, examining her hair, etcetera. I have experienced it myself when traveling in India: Total strangers want to get their photos taken with me, presumably just because I’m different looking, or novel, or something. In this case, the couple is thoroughly taken by how adorable us little humans are. They just cant resist picking one up to look at the cute widdle human… much in the same way I can’t help picking up my own one-year old son 'cause he’s so adorable. I get the feeling that the human in this picture gets this a lot and is a bit tired of it.

But you’re absolutely right, this doesn’t fit into the ceremony at all. I’ve realized that I’ve given this p[articular interaction way too much prominence and it takes away from the gist of the picture as a whole. Expect a lot more aliens holding candles and for this little vignette to be much smaller and much further in the background. Thanks for the feedback!


Great idea, I love your style. I’m excited to watch your progress. I do agree that the interaction with the woman should be less prominant. I’m interested to see how you handle that. Loved your DWIII entry.


After working on this idea for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not exactly working. As others have pointed out, there needs to be more ceremony to get the main joke. Which means painting a lot more serious aliens just to make one joke stick. Serious aliens? Where’s the fun in that?!? Especially if you only get one mediocre joke out of it.

However, the other vignette that I was working on - the one that didn’t fit in the candle-lighting ceremony - is funny all by itself and lends itself to some other funny incidents. So here’s the new direction, launching off from that point. I’ll need to make some changes: Without the candles, there’s no longer any need for four arms. (The aliens on the left still have 4, I’ll edit them out later.)

So here it is (and I’ll post another variant on the layout in a sec.) What do you think?


Here’s a landscape version. Do you like one more than another?


Love the new direction, Mike. :thumbsup:

In my opinion portrait orientation drives home very well the difference in size between humans and aliens, it is a bit more ‘understated’ in landscape.

If I may…I love them with four arms, unless the added work drives you crazy, of course, I find two more arms give them a whole lot more body language (ok, I’m Italian, we speak with our hands) :wink:


Hey Mike, that is also nice! Before reading your description, I initially thought that the human on the stepladder is a director and they are acting out a scene at the theatre/movie set. Something like an intergalactic audition. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the input, guys. Sorry to hear I am so completely off the mark with what I thought I was presenting. Have any suggestions how to better convey aliens finding the humans cute rather than making it look like they’re in a play?

As for the 4 arms, that’s just a lot of work and a lot to cram into an already tight composition. Especially with only one month left. THe last concept needed the 4 arms to work, but here I want them to be a little closer to humans so their poses and expressions read clearly (which obviously they don’t yet.)


Hey Michael!
Just stumbled upon your thread. Glad you’re in!
Very cool sketches and ideas so far. Though I also thought they’d be in a play where it seems
to be hard to work with aliens cause they can hardly concentrate on their job.
How about reducing the human character to one, surrounded by curious aliens.

Anyways another thing I miss in your sketches so far is the wow effect…I think it could be
awesome if you choose a more dynamic camera angle and composition.

After seeing your sketches I realized what I missed in your strange behavior challenge entry.
Usually you have a real focus on the main action…like on master and servant or journey begins. The master and servant challenge entry was very dynamic and you had a nice close up of the octopus boss. On journey begins you had a powerful story with a wow environment. In both entries you could understand the main action immediately.

In strange behavior you had a lot of elements to look at. Hell a lot of details lots of characters, the story was nice but it didn’t make me go wooow! if you know what I mean. The focus gets lost because of the amount of characters and the details I guess…
Seeing you first sketches of uplift made me feel the same thing. You don’t really know where to look first and you need some time to understand what’s going on.

I’d love to see a dynamic dashowish easy to understand wow painting again! :smiley:


I too thought it was a play with the director on the ladder pointing at the script. I think you might be trying to cram too much stuff into the picture. You have a lot going on which, as Goro said, is making it hard to read the story.

I really liked where you were going with the detail of the two aliens picking up the girl. I don’t think you really need all the other stuff around. Maybe you could just focus on those characters. I think that communicated the story you are trying to get across.

I also prefer the 4-arm versions too. If you did less aliens, you’d have time for more arms :smiley:

Just my 2 cents.


Goro - Thank you for the serious, solid, insightful crit. I don’t think that all of the points you raised couldn’t have been surmounted in that piece: For example, appropriate coloring and value treatments could easily push the rear characters further into the background and really hilight the foreground characters. And I could work on the main character’s pose to make him look less like a director. And I strongly feel that if every single human were in a matching futuristic military outfit - like say if they were all in the dress red-and-blacks from Star Trek: The Next Generation - they would read much less as play actors. But yes, the camera angle is still vanilla. But all in all, you’re right, I’m saying in triplicate something that I could possibly say more succinctly with a single human…

So let’s try it again: I think I’ve addressed the points that you made, or at least am starting to. So what do you all think of this? It still needs a lot of work and refinement, but does it read? Does it work?

Hope no one minds that I swapped out the captain for the female cadet. Even if I’m changing poses, it was funniest with him being “the cute one.” As for the 4 arms, it just crowds things, sorry! (And I’m losing time to draw the extra arms all the time.)

p.s. I have to apologize that I haven’t had much time to reply to otehr peoples’ threads like I normally do. Dominance War took a huge chunk of time out of this Challenge and I’ve got a lot of other things going on. I’m going to be burning the midnight oil all month if I want to finish this (it’s 12:30 am now, and I’m an old guy who needs his beauty sleep) and that doesn’t leave me as much time to troll the forums this time… sorry!


hey there mike! :stuck_out_tongue: sorry for a really late comment, i went through your thread earlier and as usual … tops in conceptual art … but still i wasn’t able to give a reasonable comment. but, then i saw your latest update and bing! it just hit me … i was wondering if you tried using ‘Perspective foreshortening’ for your latest update, camera angle view from the top focusing on the human being held by the aliens below … looks kinda fun and dynamic … just an idea … hope it helps …
cheers dude! :beer: good luck to you! :thumbsup:


Hey Mike, nice to see you are in after all. Great work as usual. I think it still needs some work to perform nicely, but being yourself I wouldn’t be worried. I don’t have a lot of time either, so I cannot spend much on the forums, but I hope to see your entry finished in time.

Good luck my friend.


This time, it does read more clearly! I really like the idea of a person we will not generally find as cute, but the aliens think the otherwise. I feel that you are heading in the right direction here. But I can understand that you have too much things on your plate right now. Please don’t force yourself and only do it when you feel up to it. All the best and remember to just have fun here!