Chakra, Battle of the Titans, also referred to as the Chakra comic, is the title of an online webcomic written and drawn by hobby artist Maura Pompili, under the pseudonym of Arven92, or Panthera Arven.
It narrates the story of seven wolves, the Chakra Heroes, C.Y., Ledňàček, Motyl, Hielo, Kuma, Orca and Cheetah as they attempt to retrieve the precious and powerful weapon known as Destiny Sword for a prophet wolf, Inabe. The seven, however, encounter numerous obstacles during their quest, among which having to face the evil wolf Jackal and his team of Zodiac Demons.
Despite the events of the comic not being directly related to it, this project was inspired and influenced by Clover Studio's award winning videogame Okami. For copyright reasons, however, no characters from the videogame make a direct appearance in Chakra, only appearing as silhouettes/shiny shapes, but references to Okami appear throughout the comic, and the tagline "Inspired by Clover Studio's masterpiece Okami" is featured on the front cover of every Chapter, as a thank you for the videogame's amazing inspirational power.
The comic is divided into six chapters, each of which starts with one of the six letters that compose the word "Chakra". The project began in December 2008, and it is currently ongoing, being the third Chapter nearly concluded.
2008EditWhen Arven92 first joined DeviantART on January 20th, 2008, she had several comic projects going on, among which "The Black Guardian", "Black & White: Ophelia's Story", "The Heart Clock" and "Different Twins", none of which were ever completed, or even started. All the comics lacked a solid plot and interesting characters, so they were soon abandoned. By the end of 2008, after playing the videogame Okami, Arven found inspiration for yet another story. Despite not knowing what the plot would be about exactly, the artist had several ideas for scenes that would take place in the story.
While searching among her drawings, Arven found the design of a grey wolf character she intended to use for her comic "Different Twins": that character was C.Y., created February 2008. Ledňàček and Orca would be created shortly after, in July and August, respectively. Hielo was also created in August, and at first, he was not intended to be in Chakra. Arven had created him for a fictional online werewolf pack, and Hielo was initially conceived as a werewolf for this reason. However, the artist decided to use him for the comic, and he was initially meant to take the place Cheetah currently has, since Hielo's personality was much more cheerful at the time. In November, a picture showing six out of the seven Chakra Heroes was shown: the two Heroes Cheetah and Motyl were added to the group. At the time, Cheetah used to have a scarred face and the same personality Hielo has today.
Arven spent October and November deciding on the identity of the last Chakra Hero, the options for it being a fennec fox, a hyena, or a bear. On December 16th, the very first cover to the Chakra comic was posted on DeviantART. The cover now featured all seven Chakra Heroes, as Kuma was finally added.
2009EditArven spent January, February and March adjusting the story and writing the entire plot down. Even before the actual comic pages were shown, Arven organized a contest in March in order to advertise Chakra and her other comic, "Black and White: Ophelia's Story", that was still ongoing at the time. Moreover, a website (now abandoned) dedicated to the Chakra comic was released in the same month. On April 12th, the first page of Chakra was officially released to the public. The initial reception was higher than expected, but lowered as new pages came along, finally stopping to a steady point by the end of the summer. On July 16th, a picture featuring the whole team of seven Heroes was released. The first pages of the comic were released at a very slow pace, with not even one page every month. With its first page released in April, by December 2009, only six pages were posted. Page 6, moreover, was the first page to ever be added to DeviantART "groups". Official character sheets for C.Y. (January), Orca (February), Near (June), Omen (August) Shirotora and Urashima (October) were also released. On December 31st, DeviantArtist Aspi-Galou posted the first page of Chakra translated to French.
2010EditAs the project turned one year, several more picture featuring all seven Heroes appeared, and the main villain, Jackal, was also secretly released on a video speedpaint. Throughout the year, ten more pages were released, for a total of sixteen by December 2010. The pace of comic making had increased slightly, and so had its popularity. The first ever video trailer to Chakra was released on Youtube in March. An updated version of it would come on June of the same year. On April 13th, the first contest exclusively dedicated to Chakra was held On June 19th, the DeviantART group Chakra-comic was founded by Aspi-Galou. Official character sheets for Kobura, Steel (February) and Ledňàček (December) were also released.
2011EditDuring this year, Chakra gained popularity, also thanks to the quickened pace adopted while posting pages, and to a significant improvement in perspective and shading techniques. Page 25 was the first page to feature the new shading. Page 28 was the first with manually added white dividers, while Page 24 was the first to feature the font Mighty Zeo 2.0, that would then be used for the entire comic. Thanks to the very fast pace, by the end of 2011, Chapter One was completed, the first two pages remade, and the first official cover released, for a total of 38 new pages produced during the year, bringing the comic to 54 pages. The first official artwork featuring the Zodiac Demons and Jackal was released on June 2nd, a Facebook group was created on October 9th, and Page 46 was the first page to gain 100 favourites on DeviantART, on November 4th. On November 13th, the Chakra Audio Project was announced, and auditions for the characters were opened. A video trailer to the project was released on December 5th. In the last update of the year on December 26th, it was revealed that the Chakra group created on DeviantART the previous June had gained 100 members, Page 52 was the first page ever to have been featured on DeviantART's front page, and it was also announced that the first chapter of Chakra would be printed shortly. In order to celebrate the past year's achievements and the completion of Chapter One, the first ever Animated Music Video of Chakra was released, featuring Lady Antebellum's song "One Day You Will", that remained Chapter One's music theme since. Finally, on December 29th, the second official Chakra contest was released, and this marked the first time one could win a copy of the paperback edition of the comic among the prizes. Meanwhile, official character sheets for Cheetah, Motyl, Kuma (April) and Hielo (May) were also released.
2012EditThanks to the contest still being held at the time, the comic gained popularity throughout the whole of 2012. Chapter Two was begun and concluded in the same year, the pace of page-making was quickened even more, and Page 59, released on March 3rd, marked the beginning of the weekly Saturday updates that have been going on until today. The first "Behind the scenes" was posted in May, more would follow, especially on the Facebook group dedicated to the comic. The first chapter of the comic was officially printed on May 31st, and sold on the same day to the users of DeviantART. Meanwhile, on March 9th, the first part of the Chakra Audio Project was released on Youtube. The second and third part would come in April and June, respectively. Chakra, Battle of the Titans Wiki was founded on April 1st. On August 5th, the Chakra DeviantART group hit 300 members. The cover for Chapter Two was released in October, and Chapter Three was begun, breaking the record of 100 comic pages on December 22nd, and reaching up to page 101 as of December 29th. During the year, many changes were applied to the comic: several colouring techniques including borders, and effects on the background were applied. The background now appeared slightly more realistic, and definitely deeper than before. Page 94 was the first to be rendered with Photoshop CS4 instead of PhotoStudio 5.0, making the overall tones less saturated and closer to the original. The final reference sheet of all 12 Zodiac Demons was released on November 20th. On December 23rd, Chakra's second Animated Music Video , featuring Nickelback's song "Lullaby", was released, and the song kept as the official theme for Chakra. By the end of the year, Cheetah was confirmed to be one of the most popular characters in the comic, and his own fan group on DeviantART was founded. Meanwhie, official character sheets for Red, Dagger (February), Inabe (May), Furie (June) and an updated version of Hielo's (October) were also released.
On January 28th, the first part of the second chapter for the Chakra Audio Project was released, followed by a second part in March and a third in September. This was the first Audio Version triplet to be mounted on Sony Vegas Pro 10.0 instead of Pinnacle Studio. A roleplay claim group for Chakra was created on DeviantART on April 22nd, and during August, Page 120 was the first page to gain 500 favourites. A third Chakra contest was held on May 8th, and this one too offered the possibility to win a copy of the paperback edition of the comic. Chapter Two was printed on May 15th and offered as prize for the contest. As the project is still ongoing, the weekly update system is being respected. Chapter Three ended end November, and after a one month break released at December 21th the first page of chapter Four.
Chapter OneEditShiranui defeats the demonic serpent Orochi. However, Orochi's minions were able to return to the living world, and it is now up to the Seven Holy Beings to save it and restore the peace.
The story begins as one morning, Ledňàček, a young carefree wolf, encounters a strange grey-she wolf wearing a turban on his shore. The stranger runs away as soon as he sees her, so Led tells the unusual fact to his friends, Shirotora, Urashima and Near. The group, however, is suddenly attacked by the evil grey wolf Steel, who wounds Urashima and is about to kill Led, but the stranger appears from out of nowhere and saves him. In a moment of distraction, Steel kills Urashima, and the stranger is taken aback by his violence. She suddenly loses control and unleashes a powerful being against the evil wolf, dismissing him, however, not before Steel manages to take the turban off her head. Led is face-to-face with the wolf who just saved his life: a wolf with three eyes. The stranger, intimidated by his reactions, runs away, but Led reaches her and apologizes for his behaviour. The two then witness the appearance of a mysterious shiny wolf in the middle of the ocean. As the creature disappears, Led invites the stranger to celebrate Urashima's burial ceremony with him and his friends.
Once at the ceremony, Led finally speaks his mind: he will leave in order to fight evil, to protect his home and those in need. The stranger surprisingly decides to follow him, and Near and Shirotora reluctantly let them go. Later that night, the stranger finally reveals her name to Led: C.Y..
The process for a single page always starts with the storyboard, a thumbnail-sized version of a page. During this stage, the drawing is not very detailed, since the actual focus of the storyboard is the placement of characters and speech bubbles, and which perspectives, angles, shots, and panel shapes should be used.
Once the storyboard is deemed satisfactory, a rough sketch of it is drawn on a full size A4 paper. All the details analyzed in the storyboard are carried to the rough sketch. The objective of the rough sketch is to see how well the page flows when it is full size.
If the rough sketch passes the test, it is worked on even more into a detailed sketch: faces, expressions, anatomy, fur, background, and texture are applied to the sketch, that is now complete in all of its details, and ready to be inked.
The inking takes place right after. Particular care is taken so as to preserve every line the way it was in the sketch. Once the inking for the whole page is completed, the pencil lines are erased and the page is ready to be coloured.
The traditional coloration of the entire A4 paper is definitely the most time-consuming step. The page is coloured from top to bottom, from left to right, in order to avoid any pencil strokes to be erased by accidental hand swipes. After each panel is coloured, the strokes from the coloured pencils may have partially covered the lineart, so, in order to emphasize them, some of the characters may be re-traced using a black pencil. The entire page-making process takes an average of 10-12 hours depending on page complexity, and is usually distributed over two or three days.
Scanning and letteringEdit
When the page is complete, a signature is added, usually on the last panel. The page is then placed into an optical scanner, and scanned at 300dpi of resolution. It is then opened on Adobe Photoshop CS4, where the luminosity and contrast are adjusted so to match the colours of the original. The speech bubbles are added with the Pen tool on a separate layer. The white dividers of the page are then cleaned from spots and dirt from the scanner, and the edges of the panels are re-traced digitally. After hitting Save, the page is ready to be uploaded. Pages are usually completed on Friday evenings, so that they are ready to be uploaded on DeviantART the following Saturday.
Tools of the tradeEdit
For the page itself, a set of 120 Caran d'Ache Supracolour Soft coloured pencils are used, along with several other occasional tools for effects: UniPosca acrylic markers for the stars and glitters on all liquid surfaces, a Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent pencil for vibrancy effects, a Derwent electric eraser for the dappled shadow effect of forests, and a colourless blender to smudge the colours, especially in the background. For the inking a set of five Steadtler Pigment Liner markers are used, each one with a different tip thickness. A special F-size Tratto CD Mark marker is used for the edges of the panels. For the sketch, any pencil is used, generally Faber-Castell. Regular A4 inkjet paper is used for the drawings. A CanoScan 5600 F scanner is used to bring the pages onto the computer, and Photoshop CS4 is the digital program used to add the speech bubbles.
Spinoff and fan seriesEdit
|Chapter One||Call Me C.Y.|
|Chapter Two||Here Come The Heroes!|
|Chapter Three||All Hell Breaks Loose!|
|Chapter Four||Keener Than Blades|
|Chapter Five||Red In Tooth And Claw|
|Chapter Six||A Hero Never Dies|