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 A Picture's Worth, [Development]
 Posted: Jun 10 2018, 10:29 PM


[Edit: Whoops, forgot to include what I wanted to do for this dev. Basically, I want to increase Turk's loyalty, as well as develop a more streamlined method to communicate with him.]

A day never truly begins until the sun rises from its nightly slumber, and crawls from beneath the sheets of the horizon to wake the rest of the world. There was one pair of individuals, however, who had decided to get a head start, and were currently walking amongst the trees of the Eastern Great Forest. Apparently, they were in no rush to do so, as the pace the two traveled could be compared to a slugma on a cold day. These pedestrians, a smeargle and a human, were wandering in no particular direction (although, the human made sure to keep track of their position so that they would be able to make their way back home). The walk was something of morning ritual, and more so for the pokemon; Turk had the habit of taking off early in the morning without bothering to wake his trainer, and to avoid having to search for the Painter each time Kendon opted to join him instead.

For someone unused to such daily exertion, the human was keeping up considerably well. It helped that Turk was a slow walker, and often like to take pauses as something caught his interest. These walks were the greatest source of inspiration for him, as it allowed him to observe many things in a short span of time. The reason why he walked so early in the day was also of note: sunrise allowed him to view the same scenery in varying lighting, which he found would highlight different aspects of a specific subject’s beauty. He didn’t mind the human tagging along, as he hoped the experience would be beneficial to him, and was very proud to show off one of his artistic processes. He noticed the man didn’t appear to do much drawing outside of communicative purposes, and thought that constant exposure to the forest scenery might spark something within him.

In the human’s defense, there was a bit of a misunderstanding between the pair. While Kendon would not disagree with being called an artist, his primary mode of art was more literary than it was visual. Not that he could blame him; when they had first met the two had bonded over the sketches in his journal. Since then, he had been drawing continuously in an effort to speak to the pokemon. He hadn’t had much time for writing since he had arrived in Terrene. He had had to juggle an abrupt loss of memories on top of a dangerous, new environment. After some frightening encounters with wild pokemon, the young man had been faced with the issue of shelter, food, and income (most of which, unfortunately, he still hadn’t figured out). Now that things had settled down, and the immigrant was more accustomed to his current circumstances, maybe he could allow himself a little break.

“Hey, um, Turk? Mind if we take a break?” Kendon motioned over to a nearby tree and gave his partner a guilty look. They had been walking for about an hour or two and, despite the leisurely pace, the human’s muscles were nearing their limit. The smeargle let out an exasperated huff, slightly annoyed he’d been interrupted, but scanned the surrounding area before giving an approving nod. At least the scenery was still nice enough to provide inspiration. The tree his human had chosen was right next to small, winding stream, just opposite a smallish clearing. A soft light danced upon the water’s surface, leaving ripples and splashes in its wake.

The two artists trod over to the chosen tree and slowly sat down, leaning against its trunk. The pokemon gazed forward, lazily yet perceptively, while the human immediately put his head down as he removed a journal and mechanical pencil from the inside of his jacket. He clicked out some lead, turned to an empty page (and frowned at how far into the book he had gone), and proceeded to write down some thoughts about his partner. If he couldn’t retrieve his old memories, he would at least record his new ones, in case whatever had caused his amnesia struck again. Besides, writing… it helped him parse out his thoughts. They tended to get muddled, whether it was because he was thinking too quickly or thinking about too many things at once, and writing helped to slow things down, bring things into focus.

Several minutes of silence passed before Turk took an interest in what his human was doing. He leaned slightly over to get a better view of the page, straining his neck a couple inches upward. He had always liked Kendon’s drawings, simple as they were. They weren’t particularly inspiring, but they got the point across, and in any case the Painter wasn’t one to sneer at the style of another artist. To his surprise and delight, it appeared that the human had sketched out a picture of the smeargle. To his his surprise and confusion, that wasn’t the only drawing on the page — rows and rows of strange squiggles spanned the paper below his portrait, and even carried onto the next one. He turned his head as he struggled to find some sort of pattern or meaning, but the only thing he was able to grasp was that some of the squiggles looked similar to each other.

He frowned, severely disappointed in the writer. What was he doing? What was the point of these markings, if not to convey a scene or produce a stunning illustration? There was no… no beauty in it at all! To be completely honest, Turk had always been a little jealous of Kendon for owning the book — to be able to carry around a medium on which he could store a number of paintings. On the other hand, the smeargle would always have to leave behind his works of art, or watch it degrade and disappear forever. And yet, the human was filling his canvases with this useless garbage! He slammed his paw on the journal, staring at Kendon accusingly.
user posted image

 Posted: Jul 19 2018, 02:34 AM


“H-huh? Turk? You… okay?” Kendon glanced up from his work, blinking rapidly in surprise. Was he… mad at him? This sort of thing wasn’t entirely unusual — while the two normally got along, the smeargle often got worked up about things he couldn’t understand. Still, the issue typically revolved around something art-related, so it didn’t take long for the man to realize that the problem lay in his writing. Ah. It probably didn’t look pretty to him, did it? “It’s… another form of art. Except, not as visual. Ah… you probably don’t understand… How about…”

Frowning, the writer rubbed his temple as he thought of how to best explain his writing to the pokemon. He flipped through the pages to the back, where he usually reserved space for communicating with Turk. He then begin writing a list of random objects, followed by corresponding drawings next to each. For instance, to the right of the word “tree” was a simple sketch of the plant. Next, Kendon dragged a finger between each pairing, indicating their connection to one another.

Turk squinted at the page, then slowly nodded. Those weird squiggles were the same as the pictures. But they didn’t… look like what they were supposed to represent, and he had no idea how to grasp what each group of lines meant. What confused him even more was how some of the squiggles repeated across the different groupings — sometimes even within the same grouping. The Painter tapped an “e” in “tree” and another in “river”, then looked up at Kendon expectantly. What did they mean?

“Ah… those are… letters. Hrm. They’re… Hold on.” How should he explain it this time? Letters represented sounds, and each of the sounds could be combined to form a word. But, sometimes, the letters sounded different for no reason, and sometimes two letters next to each other made a new sound — not to mention how the correspondence between a word and its meaning was, at its core, completely arbitrary. Sure, there were rules and roots and such, but no real way of explaining why those designations were made other than the fact a group of humans had decided that it would be so. How was he supposed to teach a whole language to a pokemon? Or, at the very least, the fundamentals? He didn’t think it was possible.

The smeargle watched closely as his human appeared to struggle with a response. Was it really that complicated? What kind of artist didn’t understand his own style? Or maybe it was some sort of mental block. He’d had those himself. Maybe the human needed just needed help, a push in the right direction. The squiggles he wrote with seemed simple. Why complicate it? Turk stood up, waved on hand at the trainer to catch his attention, and, once he had it, proceeded to paint on the ground. He drew a circle first, followed by two vertical lines directly below. Once completed, the artist proudly waved his hand between the painting and the drawing in the book.

Kendon peered at the pokemon’s work curiously. It was obviously a tree, albeit much less detailed than the smeargle’s usual pieces. The human scratched his head, wondering why he was being shown this. Turk noticed his confusion and began to paint again: this time, two similar wavy lines spaced apart. He then pointed at the human’s drawing of the river. Once again, Kendon stared blankly. Letting out a disappointed huff, Turk grabbed the pencil out of the man’s hand and crossed out the human’s weird squiggles. He gestured towards the paintings on the ground again, the movements this time sharp and abrupt.

“Oh…” These drawings — they were supposed to be… replacements? Alternates would be a better word, he supposed. Alternates for his written words. They reminded him of pictographs and hieroglyphics, where each symbol represented an idea rather than a sound. It was… much simpler, and probably easier for the pokemon to understand. It would sure make communicating more efficient, without having to draw out pictures in detail. If the two of them could devise a system… “How about… this?”

He raised his pencil to write a symbol of his own, but stopped himself as an idea came to mind. He put away the writing instrument and his journal, using instead a stick to draw lines in the dirt. It would be easier to sketch out ideas, and he wouldn’t have to waste his ever diminishing blank journal pages. He shifted his legs in a kneeling position, so that he wouldn’t have to bend forward awkwardly to reach the ground. Searching for something to draw, the man reached into his bag and pulled out a pokeball. The symbol for this was given, and already used by others, so he thought it’d be good to start off on: a circle with a horizontal line through it.

Turk’s face brightened immediately, happy that his human had finally understood what he meant. Excitedly, the dog-like creature glanced around for something else to draw. So far, the pair had come up with user posted image, user posted image, and user posted image. What could they do next? As he thought about his options, the painter swished his tail-brush back and forth in front of himself. He blinked, realized he was making the motion, and then beamed. Of course — art! The very thing that connected them together! With three quick strokes he presented his new symbol: user posted image.

“Oh! This is… your paintbrush, right?” Upon seeing the sign, Kendon extended one finger towards the pokemon’s tail. Turk shook his head, although he understood the error. He dragged his tail randomly on the ground, forming no particular shape, and swept his free paw in the air above it. It took a few seconds, but the meaning finally dawned on him. He nodded affirmatively, drawing the same symbol with his stick and then pointing its end at the puddle of fluid. “Paint! It’s your paint!”

Turk grinned in excitement. While unorthodox, this new style of art was immensely fun.

user posted image

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