Movement of the Body


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!

Enjoy!

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Knee Videos


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:

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Makin’ Comics


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).

Hmm…

It will be in color. :)

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Thoughtful Discussions


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!

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Old Men Sketches


Sketching old men while I work on comic pages. Except for that one on the upper right. I’m not sure how he snuck in there. Never really focused on how the face wrinkles with age before. :)

Lately, I’ve been working mostly with making test pages for color. Takes a very different mindset to ink with color in mind instead of black and white. I have to berate myself every few minutes to back off from the detail; too much and the colors will be pointless.

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If it hurts, you’re writing it right.


I found myself grinding my teeth while I was writing yesterday. I had to call my dad just to chat and calm down. I’ve been going nearly every waking hour on the script for this book, and it’s been seriously affecting my mood. I alternate between irritable and depressed, and Matt patiently puts up with all of it. Last night, curled up on the floor and sobbing while he held my hand.

You’d think ten years would be enough time to put a bad relationship behind you, but writing about it, having to form a coherent story has made things I’d thought–I’d TRIED–to forget bubble to the surface. I feel like I’m going through that same horrible scenario at twenty times the speed, and it’s making me a nervous wreck.

But I’m pushing through. I feel like if I don’t finish, I’m going to be stuck in this gray limbo until I do. And it’s LONG. I swear this book is going to be about 800 pages by the time I’m done, and I can’t really cut it more than I am already because corruption is a slow thing, and it needs to happen naturally through the book instead of suddenly for the reader to understand just how EASY it is. How even the best of us can be twisted and manipulated and led to do things we hate ourselves for.

Anyway, in the meantime, I have left over bits of tortilla soup with leftover delicious bits of chicken verde enchiladas in it to pull me through. Oh yeah. And a stable relationship. Let’s not forgot that. I wouldn’t even be working on this book if I weren’t with somebody who held at least one of my feet anchored upon land. Otherwise, revisiting the past could quickly drive to insanity.

And there’s God. There’s always God. It’s the only reason I even survived those two miserable years.

So much more still to go …

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Everything I Love About Sunset Park


Matt and I just got back from our favorite cart in all of Brooklyn (and mine in all of NYC so far). It’s a Mexican food cart that makes homemade tortillas with various meats and toppings, our favorite by far being the huaraches de carne (beef!). They make two tortillas, spread black beans between them, merge at the edges, griddle up, and then top with beef, verde sauce, and queso fresco and it is … the most amazing thing you’ve ever put in your mouth. EVER. The stand’s at 49th Street and 5th Avenue, btw. You know. Just in case you ever feel like trying them.

Paired off with a delicious Korean melon from the Chinatown over on 8th Ave (that yummy looking orange-yellow and white striped fruit on the right of the table. it tastes like somebody crossed a cantaloupe with a cucumber), and it’s the damn best meal I’ve had in NYC for under $5. OMG. The produce on the 8th Ave Chinatown is AMAZING.

NOMNOMNOM. Sunset Park rocks my Brooklyn world. :)

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Memoir-style comics.


Writing memoir-style comics is a freakin’ pain in the butt. Also, my carpel tunnel is trying to come back from too much writing. ;_; My latest temp gig finished up on Wednesday, and instead of taking the next job like I usually do, I said no this time and have been writing pretty much non-stop. It’s giving me a headache though, and it’s making me depressed. This book reflects a time in my life where I suffered more than any other, and looking back on it as a memory doesn’t make it any easier.

Also, I’ve been reading and re-reading a lot of BLANKETS lately. Not because I’m trying to emulate it, but because Craig’s storytelling style is so unconventional, it gives me heart. BUTLER, P.A. jumps and leaps and dives about a very non-linear narrative and it takes a lot of side trips and rest stops a long the way, which isn’t my usual storytelling style. I like a narrative that is linear and concise and doesn’t wander. But this is what works for the story, so wander I must.

Most challenging of all, however, is figuring out the parts to leave out and what to change outside of reality. I’m not putting down events verbatim, but rather taking the most significant bits, cutting out the lesser bits, and attempting to stuff them together into a new story that isn’t exactly how real life went, but more perfectly lays out the emotions and feelings better than telling it straight-up ever would. This book would be a million pages long if I told it as-is.

Certainly makes me wonder how many other memoir-style comics and stories I’ve read were more fiction than fact. Then does it still deserve to be called a memoir? Where does the line start and where does it blur? I believe in telling the heart of the story I lived rather than the carbon copy. It seems more potent that way. But it also makes it more difficult to tell, because now I have two stories going: the one on paper and the one in my head. The important thing is, they both have the same message and they both contain the same ideas.

In a bit, having dinner with the neighbors, and after that, possibly more writing. Sleeping at some point, too. :D

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Roomie Search.


Anybody looking for a room? Matt & I have a bedroom for rent for $650 a month, Sunset Park, by the N, D, and R trains. Eight minutes to Atlantic Avenue. Twenty to twenty-five to Union Square. Lots of fantastic Latino food, and Brooklyn’s own Chinatown just a couple blocks over. Safe, friendly neighborhood that we moved here for because I fell in love with it while working for the (stupid) Census.

We’re looking for a fellow cartoonist before heading to Craigslist, so I thought I’d start here first. Shoot me an email at thegirl (at) rivkah (dotdittydot) com if you are or know anybody who’s interested. I have pictures. :)

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Life in the Sunset Park


Figured it was time to update the good ol’ blog again. Matt and I are officially moved in together, happily settled into Sunset Park and up to our eyeballs in Latino food. I HAVE ENCHILADAS AGAIN. NOMNOMNOM! Every night, we sit and watch the sunset outside our window and do a little work on the apartment. It’s not in perfect order yet, but it’s functional and our boxes are at least all unpacked. Most of them (Matt!). :)

Currently, I’m still working at the real estate agency. It’s a ten hour work day, every day! So what with the move and also a trip last week to Austin, it was nice to finally have a weekend where I could wake up and ask, “What do I want to do today?” instead “What do I need to do today?” I sat at my favorite cafe in Park Slope (not many cafes in Sunset Park) and worked on Jeannie Carnini then went to the hardware store and bought tools. Here’s me with my power drill. I love my power drill. Corded of course. I hate battery operated drills. More money for something that takes forever to charge and doesn’t last very long at all. It’s not THAT difficult to just use an extension cord. Did a bit of research, and a 7.0 amp was all I really needed, and it works splendidly! Bought some nice bits. And things are going up on walls!

Tonight, Matt and I discussed starting up Comic Tools again and adding my own contributions to his. The move had pretty much taken over our lives for the last many months, and then with my getting settled in New York, and him making ends meet every month while recovering from a disastrous move two years ago from Portland, OR, this is the first “Let’s talk about comics” we’ve gotten to have in a long while. Moving really can eat your life, especially in New York where they require SO MUCH MONEY DOWN just to get in to a place. I’d never heard of broker’s fees before moving here or having to put a deposit down with your realtor (NOT the security deposit, btw) or having my credit run instead of my rental history and an expectation of making 50 x’s your rent in income in order to get approved for a place without a cosigner. It’s crazy getting your own place here. But we got it! And now we gotta do something with it. Our drafting tables are setup and they’re calling our names. Unfortunately, I left my desk lamp back at my old place. :( But I think I’ll make do in the meantime. :)

So! Comics are finally back on the table again with time to do them. Once we have a roommate, rent won’t be as much, we can save a bit, and I can hopefully go back to working part-time. My job is good money, and it’s satisfying in a way most jobs I’ve had in the past aren’t, but it isn’t comics, and that’s what I need to get back to.

In the meantime … Here’s a bit of the view of Downtown Manhattan from our bedroom window and what we wake up to and go to sleep to every night. And that’s only about 5% of our skyline. We get Ellis Island and New Jersey, too. C’est l’amour:

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