Having looked into CafeShops.com, the place that prints up T-shirts and mugs and things with your own personal designs, I've decided that it's worth a shot to make some TTT-parody merchandise to sell. I should have done this three or four months ago, when people were still reading it, rather than now, but never mind that. Setting up the shop is free, and I've already done that. If anything sells, they give you a teeny profit, and that's the whole deal; so there's absolutely nothing to lose except a little time and possibly a bit of dignity; and I, for one, hardly have any of that to speak of anyway.
Trouble is, I'm not very artistically inclined, especially when it comes to cute cartoon-styles as would befit a parody, so that's where you artists come in. If you can draw me some pictures, inspired by the parody, that would look good on a T-shirt, I'm more than willing to split profits 50/50 with you. If all goes well, I'm thinking you and I could each make two whole dollars on this! (I hear the other students out there perking up: "Two dollars? Seriously? I'm in!") (Technically, though, we don't get anything until profits exceed $25. See CafeShops' member agreement.)
So, if you're interested, and would like to see your LOTR artwork on a coffee mug which you can then force your friends to buy, please read the following details and rules...
First of all: since we do not own these characters (alas!), it is very important that we avoid copyright infringement. This means :
a) no photo manipulations of images from the movies or other cast photos;
b) no use of the characters' actual names; e.g., we can't put "Frodo" or "Gollum" or "Eomer" or suchlike in the captions (I'm not entirely sure about that, actually, but I want to stay on the safe side);
c) though the characters in the drawings should be recognizable, they should not look too much like the actors. Caricature-level should be fine.
Also, it has to be your own work (duh), and shouldn't currently be in use on any other merchandise.
CassieClaire's Secret Diaries have a CafeShop with merchandise for sale, and as far as I can tell, they're following the above rules. I imagine if we follow their example, we'll be fine, since her shop undoubtedly gets more traffic than anything I will ever do.
What I want from you:
Any line from the parody that inspires you would be fine, but here are some scenes and captions that I think would work especially well:
Aragorn w/ Arwen lying on top of him: "You're not even supposed to be IN this book."
Aragorn to Legolas: "How about I squeeze your shoulder in a very special way?"
Elrond (& Galadriel?): "Hang on; I’m getting another telepathy call."
Eowyn to Aragorn: "My only fear is dying a virgin. Hint, hint."
Frodo & Sam in black eyeliner (w/ Gollum?): "Yes, preciousss, very angsssty." (I would prefer "angsssty hobbitses," but I have a feeling we shouldn't use the word "hobbit," either.)
Gandalf: "White is supposed to be the new black this year..."
Gimli: "I'm funny because I'm short!"
Helm's Deep; Legolas & Aragorn: "Hundreds of people will die." "Thank you, Captain Obvious."
Legolas to Aragorn: "You are NOT wearing THAT to the battle tonight, are you?"
Legolas: "You're just jealous because I'm pretty."
Legolas: "I almost had a facial expression from the joy of it!"
Treebeard w/ Merry & Pippin: "Hoom! Furry lawn ornaments!"
I don't need all of those, but that should give you a few ideas. There are others I like, but they involve the use of first names and thus I dare not go there. (e.g., "They're going to tell stories about you: Frodo the Incredibly Cute.")
CafeShops requires a minimum image size of 200 x 200 pixels. No maximum is specified. Must be in RGB colors rather than any other color option. You can put the caption on if you like, but I have some cool Tolkien-ish fonts and would be happy to stick them on the image myself. If you do it, remember to omit proper names of characters—though at least the words "elf" and " dwarf" and "wizard" are all public domain, should you wish to use them.
YES, there can be multiple "winners." Maybe one of you will have a great Legolas picture, another will have a great Treebeard, and so on. That would be fine. There could even be more than one version of the same caption/scene. In fact, various style options might interest people more. So, if/when you have an image to submit, either post a link to it in the comments here, or email me the link or the image itself (my email address is on my userinfo page), and I'll let you know if I want to use it. Don't worry if you're not Michelangelo: chances are you're much, much better at drawing than I am, and that's the whole point. Besides, as I said, there's nothing to lose, so I'm inclined to be accepting. However, I think CafeShops puts the limit at 50 items, so we cannot go absolutely overboard and will have to curb our passions to some degree.
Even if no one actually wants the stuff, we will have had fun, and I will have gotten you to draw things for me. It's a win-win situation. :)
Other questions/issues? Go ahead and ask in the comments. Thanks!