Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Parallel Evolution

In my regular perambulations about the Web, I often dwell on various sites devoted to upcoming movies.  I'm watching fewer movies these days (especially in theaters - waaay too expensive) than I have at any other time in my life (barring infancy, I suppose), but I just can't seem to stay away from reviews and trailers and all the other goodies that the movie studios put out in an attempt to distract us from our Internet long enough that we might wander into a theater and give them money.

Today, I ran across a poster for a movie called "The Tale of Desperaux."  I'd seen the trailer a little while back when we made our annual trip to the local cinema (to see "Wall-E") and had liked it pretty well - the movie looked cute and it had been the only trailer they'd shown that hadn't made me want to crawl under my seat and retch.  But I did a double-take when I saw the poster.  Here's why:

On the left is a picture I drew in March of 2000.  You can find it here along with comments left by various viewers going back over eight years.  On the right is the aforementioned movie poster.  Interesting, eh?  

And here's another one that I discovered a few years ago:

On the left is a sketch I made of a kobold, drawn in either early 2000 or late 1999.  It's been posted online here since early 2000 also (along with this companion piece, which is actually explicitly identified as a kobold in its description).  On the right is a picture of a kobold from the game World of Warcraft, which was announced in late 2001 and was not released until late 2004 (which was when I first saw it).

Ever get that feeling someone's been rummaging around in your brain?

No one has, of course.  These are coincidences, the results of a few people (out of the over six billion on this planet) having similar ideas and writing them down.  With both of these drawings, the "creative process" I used was fairly straightforward.  If you want to draw a picture of a tiny warrior, you give him a little sword to show that he's a warrior and a great big helmet to show that he's tiny (and to give the whole thing a humorous tinge).  If you want to draw a picture of a kobold as a sort of a faerie/goblin miner (as kobolds are in some German folklore), you give him a mining pick and a candle (it's dark underground).  If you want to make it a little more interesting, you sit the lit candle on top of his head so he has both his hands free to mine.

In both cases, even if the odds are a billion-to-one of someone else having the same idea and drawing a picture of it, the odds are pretty good that at least a couple folks have done it.

But it's still pretty eerie when it happens.

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