Berk's Grapevine

Animating Toothless: Insider Tips


It's not easy animating dragons. In an interview for Animation Mentor, Dane Stogner, character lead for Toothless on How to Train Your Dragon 2, shares how to make dragons appear natural and in-character when they're on screen.

“For the first film, we mostly referenced black panthers, house cats and wombats for Toothless’ body language. He was very cat-like and stand-offish and mysterious, a scary creature that Hiccup had to befriend. So cats were appropriate. But, two out of three of us Toothless experts, and even Dean DeBlois himself, are greater fans of dogs than cats, and I think there’s legitimacy in the story for having his personality come across more puppy or dog-like in this film.”

He also talks about Premo, the brand new software used on Dragons, and how it has made the process of animating faster and and the results look even better:

“Premo was designed around the idea that animators would have a [Wacom] Cintiq. So, we can just touch and move the character. It is almost like stop motion sometimes. Even on the face. Just push and pull parts of the face around on the surface. We have fully integrated pose libraries, control hierarchies, ghosting, paths, follow cams, and built-in drawing tools with layers like Photoshop. The drawing tools were so easy to use I sometimes did 2D pencil tests in the shot on top of the background rather than shooting reference. It’s exciting.”

And dragon fans also had a bit of an influence on the film as well.

“There were also some tiny model changes that only super fans noticed. He has nubs on his jaw. Those were just extra details we added for this film. But, the fans hypothesized that perhaps the nubs were a sign, much like Hiccup’s chin stubble, that Toothless had aged. There’s a shot where Hiccup’s mother says, ‘Look, he’s your age.’ James Baxter, a supervising animator on the show had seen the super fans’ theories. So he made the choice to have her point to the nubs. The fans influenced the movie.”

Here's the the full interview with Dane Stogner!

318 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh. This software sounds amazing! I hope that I will get to use it someday :)

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  2. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Me too!

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  3. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Cool!

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  4. 4th to comment
    What awesomeness went into this movie.

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  5. MissunyNightFuryJuly 1, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    The hard work they put into Toothy clearly shows! :D

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  6. The hard work pays off, wonderful job!

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  7. I like both a lot but I think they made the right choice for Toothlesses personality. They needed a playful, loyal, energetic dragon. Cats grow out of most of these traits. They become loners but they still like to snuggle and play just also spend a lot of time to themselves. Also dogs are loyal to the end and don't hold grudges where as(remember I love cats) will throw you in front of a bullet to save themselves. I'm not complaining. I like that cat's are independent and a bit prissy. It's kind of funny and cute. But it's not Toothlesses personality. But they still kept some of a cat's characteristics. Like playing with light dots and pawing at everything. I think is a perfect blend of both.

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  8. Lynnette RheaultJuly 1, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    I never thought Toothless was cat-like. My sister and I always thought he was more dog than anything so it was interesting to find out he was modeled after cats. Nonetheless, no matter which animal they based him off of, he has been and always will be loved by my family and I do believe that the hard work to improve Toothless' acting and movements shows on screen because I forgot several times that he was an animated character. This goes for Dragons and Vikings alike. It's kind of spooky. Good job Dreamworks and keep up the good work. :)

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  9. 😍astrid_hiccup_forever😍July 1, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Look what i got my b-day is on Friday 😁😁😁😁😏😏😏😏😏😆😆😆😆

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  10. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    I love it!

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  11. 😍astrid_hiccup_forever😍July 1, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Thx 😄

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  12. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    Lucky you.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO 😍astrid_hiccup_forever😍
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU.

    HIPHIP HOORAY! HIPHIP HOORAY! HIPHIP HOORAY!



    *Claps* 1,2,3,4,5,6......100,101,102


    You're not that old right?

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  13. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    A present for all!

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  14. no one there?

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  15. .............

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  16. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    hello

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  17. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    someone's here

    ReplyDelete
  18. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    ok :(

    ReplyDelete
  19. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    .......................

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  20. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Haha! Oh my gosh...

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  21. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 1, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    I guess I just think Toothless was mostly based off cats in the first movie, and seeing Toothless turn doggish (new word?) just seems awkward.

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  22. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Wait, is anyone actually here?

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  23. Oh, I think there's a way to add another side channel onto your account. I'm going to try to find a video to it.

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  24. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    Ok, thanks!

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  25. I still have my name but I think I added a side account to mine somehow. 'cause I'm pretty sure if you click your image on the top right hand corner, there should be something that says add account and I don't know what you do from there after you click on add account but yeah that's what I did. My account that has my name is the account that I use to rent movies off of youtube and stuff so you may want to keep that account and just add a new one.

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  26. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Oh, ok. I saw that button, but didn't know what it meant. I'll try that.

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  27. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Are you still here...???

    ReplyDelete
  28. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 1, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    I'm going to guess you're gone...

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  29. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 2, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    These are like my best drawings of Toothy. Ever.

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  30. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Annd it didn't work. -_-

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  31. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Now?

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  32. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Nope.

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  33. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    GRAH.

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  34. So the fans DO write the movies? Oh boy, we better not let the 'Give Us A Happy Ending' petitioners read the Toothless nug/Hiccup's stubble age bit then. XP

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  35. In the third movie, do you think he's going to have them age some more?

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  36. Well two years (hopefully it'll be that long until we see it XD) could be the amount of time the characters age, or they'll go the other option of making them grown-ups and have kids of their own. That's at least my theory.

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  37. The Whisperer of DeathJuly 2, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    Not related t the post but, with the HTTYD 2 game, on the pause menu, why is the Tidal class symbol there and not the Sharp class symbol?

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  38. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 2, 2014 at 4:23 AM

    Actually, the third movie may not be Hiccup's memoirs, but it still ends the same as the book series.

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  39. Remember the part where Cloudjumper gives Toothless some fish... Well I got "play" with that part.. Simon let me edited/play with that part.. I remember I did something with Toothless' ears, yeah I remember, I was moving up and down.. And think he left like that just for me c:
    I was SO fun playing with a Toothless like that :3

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  40. ❀ωαѕвσяи¢яαzу❀July 2, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    This place is getting quieter by the second. -_- WHERE HAS EVERYONE GONE?!

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  41. come on... please XD cant stay long

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  42. Whose missing me?:D
    I'm missing u guys
    But havnt seen movie yet

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  43. Quiet... Time to post random pictures!... I feel like an IDIOT.

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  44. How cool! Especially that they noted the fandom! I can remember all the speculations buzzing around when we first saw the teaser. Did he just call them nubs?! Did we coin that term? Really not sure, but it is still neat!

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  45. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Hey, is anyone one?

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  46. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Ikr!? I KNEW DreamWorks was stalking the vine!

    ReplyDelete
  47. So we'll only have flashbacks of the dragons and learn what happened to them?

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  48. Oh the feels! I don't even have the 12th one yet but I have a pretty good feeling how that one is going down. DOWN! DX

    ReplyDelete
  49. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    IK! I can't wait to read it!

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  50. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Do-good dragon riders?

    ReplyDelete
  51. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Do you know any good songs?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Hm, what type?

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  53. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Something that goes well with Hiccup and Toothless. Or HTTYD2 type-y.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Aw, yes. I've been looking for some for awhile for my videos, I think I used Counting Stars by Onerepublic for one of them...

    ReplyDelete
  55. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Oh that's a good one. Do you have a Youtube account?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Yes, but I'm still working out the kinks. It's through my Google+, so my real name is on everything. I haven't uploaded anything yet, but HTTYDForever101 was helping me with some tips last night.

    ReplyDelete
  57. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I have a video tutorial for first-time YT users if you want me to show it to you.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Sure! I need all the help I can get!

    ReplyDelete
  59. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Okay! Just a sec>

    ReplyDelete
  60. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Take your time :)

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  61. anyone there?

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  62. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Right here!

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  63. Did anyone notice that dreamworks took the fire worm queen off the dragon pedia?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    I haven't checked in a few days... But that's strange....

    ReplyDelete
  65. Love the salute.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I know to bad really

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  67. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Yeah, I liked her. :(

    ReplyDelete
  68. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Dang, I can't find it. I'm so sorry, I had a tutorial, but I can't find it right now. Try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7FyIlPHjUo

    ReplyDelete
  69. Wait a second........in the bottom left he is saluting with his left arm in the bottom right he is saluting with his right arm....make up your mind Hiccup!

    ReplyDelete
  70. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    That's weird.

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  71. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    No worries :) Yeah I'll give that a watch.

    ReplyDelete
  72. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Yeah! I wonder if they forgot he was left-handed

    ReplyDelete
  73. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    And to you :)

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  74. whats zup

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  75. greetings my fine fellow!

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  76. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Why, thank you kind sir!

    ReplyDelete
  77. How goes your day?

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  78. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Very well, thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  79. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    ugh, gotta go. brb

    ReplyDelete
  80. Does anyone want ice cream?

    ReplyDelete
  81. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    *raises hand in air* ME ME ME!

    ReplyDelete
  82. Cool when you get some can you bring me some to

    ReplyDelete
  83. I was not joking XD

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  84. We should have a contest

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  85. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    What kind?

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  86. I don't know maybe a dragon design contest.

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  87. Gotta run bye

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  88. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Awe, bye! :(

    ReplyDelete
  89. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Why you no back yet?

    ReplyDelete
  90. I will be back in like an hour.

    ReplyDelete
  91. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    We could draw dragons.

    ReplyDelete
  92. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Anyone here?

    ReplyDelete
  93. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I'm back!

    ReplyDelete
  94. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Hehe. Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    I'm back! Is anyone still here?

    ReplyDelete
  96. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    What do you mean?

    ReplyDelete
  97. DID YOU SEE THE MOVIE?

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  98. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    YES I DID!!!!!!!!!!! :D

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  99. this is the best movie ever

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  100. i ve never cryed like this

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  101. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    I know!

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  102. the werder thing is that in usa he didn t do very well at the box office

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  103. less than the first

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  104. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    Really? I thought it had.... Well, it's still got a few months left.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    Oh, that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  106. anyway i hope the therd gonna ba the best

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  107. gonna be the best (sorry)

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  108. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I sure hope so! But DreamWorks has done a great job so far.

    ReplyDelete
  109. some fans dont want to see a wedding

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  110. you know what i mean

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  111. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Well, I for one definitely do ;) Hiccstrid shipper til the end!

    ReplyDelete
  112. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Yep! Have you been here long? I just joined yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  113. yes but i nrver talked to anyone and WELCOME

    ReplyDelete
  114. never (sorry again

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  115. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Thank you! It's kind of awkward at first, not knowing anybody, so I just try to talk to everyone I can.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    No prob. I can't spell.

    ReplyDelete
  117. it s weird me too

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  118. Lynnette RheaultJuly 2, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    That's amazing! Can my life get any better? HTTYD and Star Trek! I can die happy now!

    ReplyDelete
  119. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Aw, thanks. everyone is so nice here! it makes it so much easier.

    ReplyDelete
  120. yes sure it s a kind of family

    ReplyDelete
  121. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Fandoms are family, as I always say :)

    ReplyDelete
  122. like in berk

    ReplyDelete
  123. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Yes! Exactly!

    ReplyDelete
  124. did you see everithing about dragons ? or just the movies

    ReplyDelete
  125. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Everything :)

    ReplyDelete
  126. so i supposed you have to wtch this
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5XgSpUamXY

    ReplyDelete
  127. watch (sorry

    ReplyDelete
  128. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Lol! Yes!

    ReplyDelete
  129. the people on berk change a lot betwen the 2 movies

    ReplyDelete
  130. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    I noticed that too...

    ReplyDelete
  131. but for the best

    ReplyDelete
  132. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Ugh, I'm sorry. I have to go. will you be here in a hour or two?

    ReplyDelete
  133. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Yes, I agree.

    ReplyDelete
  134. maybe good bye

    ReplyDelete
  135. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    KK, be back as soon as I can. ttyl

    ReplyDelete
  136. bye brother

    ReplyDelete
  137. i ll follow you

    ReplyDelete
  138. bye qiqter

    ReplyDelete
  139. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    I followed you.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    See ya round, bro :) K, now I'm really going ;)

    ReplyDelete
  141. ik you i did the same

    ReplyDelete
  142. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    ;) no prob

    ReplyDelete
  143. you are not leaving as you said ?

    ReplyDelete
  144. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Eh, more or less waiting for my mom to call... I guess I have another minute.

    ReplyDelete
  145. enought time too say NICE TO MEET YOU

    ReplyDelete
  146. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Nice to meet you too :)

    ReplyDelete
  147. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Haha. So, what is your favorite dragon breed/

    ReplyDelete
  148. a night fury

    ReplyDelete
  149. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Oh, wait. There's mom. See you!

    ReplyDelete
  150. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    mine is probably a whispering death.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Vorpent vs.PotatoJuly 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Yep, bye!

    ReplyDelete
  152. BYE SISTER

    ReplyDelete
  153. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    I'm here!

    ReplyDelete
  154. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Who's on?

    ReplyDelete
  155. VelocityTheSpeedStingerJuly 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    lol I did a motivational like that too!

    ReplyDelete
  156. VelocityTheSpeedStingerJuly 2, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Happy Birthday in advance!!

    ReplyDelete
  157. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Hellllllllllllloooooooooooooooooooooooo????

    ReplyDelete
  158. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Is this not one of the coolest dragons ever?

    ReplyDelete
  159. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    My first video! HD!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YQ6kg6lVy0

    ReplyDelete
  160. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Hey Pride! Haven't talked to you in awhile!

    ReplyDelete
  161. Wanna continue that RP we were doing?

    ReplyDelete
  162. God_dragons_loveJuly 2, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Sure! It's been awhile I forget where we were. I think Hiccup and I were at my house.

    ReplyDelete
  163. Yep:
    Mom: So, Hiccup. Do your wounds still hurt a lot?

    ReplyDelete