Things are still being made here, but I’m not talking about what’s being made until it’s done, because talking wastes the time I could be working, and I’d rather be done instead of talking about getting it done.
But when it is finally done, your world is totally going to blow up. In a good way.
In light of Tokyopop’s demise, here’s some art from the book I’ve been busting my ass on for the last six months while juggling a full-time job. Slow goin’ but I’m getting permanent part time on May 2nd at the PR firm I’ve been working at, and in the afternoons and evening, I’ll now be working out of a brand spankin’ new studio, and then it’s just inks and colors from here on out, baby!
So, crazy political/free speech rants for the last few weeks aside, and the heat back on in our apartment (fingers crossed) while we pull together a lawsuit with the neighbors in case this ever happens again, and one more temp job complete, I’m back to work on comics again. I gave up trying to pencil my characters on the computer, and instead printed out my backgrounds in cyan ink on 28×44 cm bristol board (I’ve stopped using inches; it’s just easier to do my ratio math with the metric system), and am penciling right on top. I’ll then ink on top of THAT and just erase what pencil remains. The blue will still scan out.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! But I’m excited about this. :) There isn’t a lot of action/movement in the first chapter, but I tried to keep it dynamic through expressive backgrounds and really pushing the camera so that the “talking head” scenes don’t become static. Actually, I’m really partial to the scenes between Jane and her father. She hasn’t seen him in about six years, and she doesn’t know how to act around him, so she spends a lot of time trying NOT to look at him … so when she does, it’s always a bit of a shock. I’m particularly fond of the fourth panel on that second page when she’s startled into looking up at him, and just the vulnerability in her eyes … <3 I sort of choke up whenever I’m going through these pages and see that panel. I feel so sad for Jane; she wants to connect with her dad, but she doesn’t know the right moves to make. Like any middle-schooler, she’s trying desperately to find her place in the world without looking like she’s as lost or confused as she really feels. And she’s not doing a very good job at it!
I also finished the thumbnails for the next chapter. This IS a sci-fi/fantasy story, but all the pretty stuff doesn’t really happen until chapter 2. :)
I can’t wait to start inking! And then coloring; it’s so different thinking in color instead of black and white, and I’m starting to find there’s a lot more I can do with storytelling when I think in color; you can show things off-camera by changing lighting and colors that you couldn’t otherwise, and you can really affect the mood. Plus, it means I can’t draw so much detail which is GREAT for me, because I’m a detail freak, and it’s why all the half-finished comics drowned at my mom’s house (they had a flood) were never completed.
Now just to figure out what the heck I’m going to ink WITH. I started out thinking of a Guy Davis approach; all rough, nearly sketchy and thick nib lines, but I may go with something more ligne claire; I think it’s more forgiving to color. Or I could go even more drastic than that and just to freakin’ pencil lines like they do in The Triplets of Belleville. Did you hear that director just made a new movie? L’illusionniste. I desperately want to see it. It’s out!
Now, for your viewing pleasure, art-in-progress. Hopefully next time I’m here, I’ll have inks!!!
One of those planes is a Demoiselle by Alberto Santos-Dumont, btw, and the world’s first series production airplane. I’ve been reading Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It’s one of the most beautiful books ever written about aviation. But Antoine flew something more like that other plane which is a DH50 biplane, at least, early in his career.
Btw, if you haven’t bought or read Joann Sfar’s adaptation of Le Petit Prince yet, you better. It’s simple and beautiful and perfect in only a way that Sfar can make it.
Much as I’ve truly enjoyed having Matt’s mom coming to visit us for Christmas, that was overshadowed by the fact we’ve been without heat since Friday and have yet to see an end in sight. Three nights of huddling beneath the covers and covering our heads in as many hats as possible and running the space heater as high as it will go. Which doesn’t amount for much when every item in your home is only a few degrees above freezing. Matt and his mom seem to be handling it a bit better (especially his mom who’s used to Maine weather), but I threw up this morning from being so cold and sat in front of the heater and cried because I can’t remember the last time my toes were warm. This Texan does NOT take the cold well. Actually, I’m warmer when I’m outside because at least I’m dressed appropriately and moving. Maybe I should just do acrobatics around the house, and I’ll be alright?
And then the water is scalding …. This has just been a weekend of extremes in temperature all around.
Ugh. I feel like throwing up again. I hates the cold. I hates it.
And our landlords who’ve known the boiler’s been going out for several weeks now. They can suck it. There’s f*ing KIDS in this building, and they got to spend Christmas shivering in front of the tree? I’ve been taking pictures of our thermostat (it gets into the 30′s when our space heater isn’t running) and plan on deducting our electric and gas bill from our rent this month for having to run both pretty much non-stop just to keep our house in the 50′s.
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Going back to curl up in bed and try not to be sick. New York Deparment of Housing is getting a call.
Do your part and read one article a day over at http://www.wikileaks.org/
I’m tired of my government trying to restrict our first amendment rights: freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and its attempts to censor us. If Wikileaks goes down, I’ll be one of the first to hop on the Chinatown bus for $15 and march on Washington with pitchforks and burning torches and screams of rage and tear down the institution brick by brick. I’m nearly blind with fury over how many of our Constitutional freedoms are getting chipped away, day after day, how the government doesn’t even give the PRETENSE of being of the people, by the people, and for the people anymore. The new FCC rules allowing internet providers, now labeled a UTILITY by the FCC ITSELF, to censor content! This is a DIRECT violation of people’s First Amendment rights! So why aren’t you screaming mad? It’s the same as if the telephone companies bleeped out your conversation everytime you swore or spoke about a competing telephone service. The world relies on the ability to communicate via the internet as much as we rely on the ability to communicate via our phones. The FCC even THINKING of allowing internet providers to censor this utility ….
It makes me sick to my stomach. And less and less am I able to restrain my anger through writing and talking it out. A government can only push its people so much, and a people USED to their freedoms … American’s aren’t soft. We just haven’t been pushed far enough yet. And I’ll fucking FIGHT if my Freedom of Speech gets taken away or anybody else’s.
Fuck you FCC and Congress. Some of us are willing to die for our freedoms! So don’t fucking push it.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been REPEALED!!!!! I’m so happy, I could cry! This is the first good news I’ve really felt happy about, that makes me feel a little less jaded, coming from our government in over a decade, especially in the light of so many of our freedoms being ever more readily flushed down the toilet. Hurray!
In other news, reading Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” and finding it a refreshing retort to even modern idealogical trends, minus the space bugs of course. Also one of the best damn books I’ve ever read.
(edit) Um. Yeah. Nevermind on Orson Scott Card. This guy’s is easily one of the craziest people writing essays on the net. Actually suggests rounding up all the “Spanish speaking brown-skinned people” into trucks and paying the Mexican government to take them back. … Um. Um… UMMMMMMM… So … what??? Mexicans (and actually, it’s mostly people from South America like Guatemala, you idiot, who are coming to the US) can’t even vacation in the US, either? I don’t get people who are so threatened by the Latino community in the US. The face of our country is changing. So? People from ALL OVER the world vacation in the US and stay here longer than their VISA allows. Should we send out a manhunt to round them up as well?
Idiot. I’m so disappointed that such a good book can be written by such a STUPID man. He makes Rush Limbaugh look like sugar and honey.
I was looking for dancers and acrobats to study body motion in the shoulders while I’m in bed, sick, and can’t draw, and I stumbled across this FANTASTIC hi-def video online of Italian trapeze artist, Martina Nova:
I love how much the trapeze artist moves, both slowly and quick, and her muscles are so well defined yet not over-developed, that paired with Anatomy for the Artist (NOT the near-useless Jeno Barsay one!), I can pause and look at all the different muscles. Perfect reference for when you can draw all the bones and muscles and tendons strait on and from the side by heart but want a better understanding of how everything interacts in motion. I have a lot of difficulty with hips and shoulders at certain angles, and those are two of the things that change the most in the video.
Oh, and go to the youtube page to watch in hi-def. Another reason it’s worth watching. :)
There’s a website as well: http://www.martinuzka.it/ Spectacular artist!
Been studying knee anatomy and found some useful knee-in-motion and basic knee anatomy videos. I seriously think it’s one of the most complicated parts of the body other than the hip. Drives me nuts drawing these things!
The knee from the exterior:
The bending knee:
Anatomy of the knee:
WHAT COULD IT BE??? :D
Been getting in the habit of penciling my backgrounds first, doing just the barest outline of my characters’ action and actually drawing my people on the computer. Unfortunately, Matt’s 4×6 wacom is painful to use, so I’m trying to figure out how to get my hands on a 6×8 wacom temporarily. Until I can buy one to replace the one I had to sell in Austin (though that one was actually too large).
It will be in color. :)
I had a really insightful, inspiring discussion with a dear friend last night, who’s in town for the New York Comic Con this weekend. We talked partly of our experiences with a particular shared publisher but also of where we are right now and where we want to go. Also … of New York in relation to a cartoonist in general, and how moving here has been one of the best things to have ever happened to me. In a few weeks, I’ll have been here a whole year. Not a lot seems to have happened to me, I think, from the outside looking in. From the inside looking out, I feel like this city has shaken, stirred, and filtered me in ways subtle yet profound.
As a cartoonist who hasn’t published anything in about five years, it’s difficult, I think, to relate to others just how profoundly living in this city has affected me. I was still producing back in Austin, but they were stories that got tucked into drawers, hidden away from anybody who might see them. I felt lethargic. Nothing was pushing me. Nothing was either painful or happy enough to inspire me to new heights. There was no community to scream and cry and laugh with … or to compete against in a way to push one another to new levels.
Yes, there’s the internet. But it’s not the same as a community that breathes in your face and lets you know when you’re stepping on its toes. I’m still something of a recluse; I don’t go out every night. I don’t party with other cartoonists. Our gatherings our random, infrequent, and low key. My candle is burning neither bright nor fast anymore. But, it’s been relit. Just being NEAR people I can relate to, who make me feel love and hate and passion towards their works inspire me. Simply knowing there’s access to a wealth of resources, even if I frequent those resources less often than I otherwise could or possibly should, sets the candle burning. I think my passion’s finally come back to me, and it was nice last night being able to talk about it to somebody who’s been there, gone through that, can relate to so many similarities.
Not everything is solved by the internet. Real life friendships and community make a portion of that which can never be replaced by digital interaction. I’ve learned that in the last year. The value of friendships. Of maintaining those friendships. Of not being afraid to seek out what’s right.
Oh heck, to live in a city I know I’ll never be unemployed in. That’s certainly 40% of it right there. My guts no longer gnawing with worry over whether I’ll be able to make rent THIS month, then what about NEXT month and dear God, what am I going to EAT?
Starving, kinda sucks. Not starving is kinda nice. New York’s a good place to keep fed.
And I’ve seen people living different kind of lives: cartoonists making it but each of them in different ways and drawing inspiration from that and finding a place that’s right for ME. Small towns don’t give you those options. There are only so many styles of life to choose from. Here, I can make the life that *I* want and be psychologically and financially free to pursue my cartooning career again.
Anyway, I’m not going to be at NYCC this weekend. I have no reason to be there because there’s nothing for me to show yet. I hate showing up to a party with empty hands. But Matt’s out of town for his best friend’s wedding, and I’m willfully unemployed so that I can be working on a 40-page children’s comic. One of my own. I think I’m gonna be doing that this weekend, just like I have for ten hours every day for the last month, excluding weekends to cuddle with my honey-bunn and terrorize the town. :P This one aims at being finished, not just roughs. Here’s to it!