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Randomized Thought Patterns

Hello, Folks!  What follows may be irrelevant, but they are certainly my thoughts, and perhaps a bit randomized.

Item: Benita and took our graphics computer to the shop today.  It’s getting a RAM upgrade and a tune-up.  I use that computer so much that the house feels somehow wrong without it here, as if the house were empty of something.  I await this computers return avidly.

Item: My cat is old.  Well, he’s sixteen years old, and for many cats that would be no problem, but our cat Neil has had some real health scares this year and he’s had to fight his way back from the brink several times.  These illnesses have taken a toll on him, and he’s lost a lot of weight and energy.  I suspect that if you are not a cat owner, this is not interesting, but for me it feels as bad as any of my loved ones being ill.  I just want to enjoy my cat on into his elder years.

Item: I’ve been going nuts over Phil Jimenez’s art lately.  I liked his stuff in Invisibles a lot, but I’m re-reading Infinite Crisis, and this time Phil’s work is really, really impressing me.  I had heard that he is heavily influenced by George Perez, and that’s surely one of the reasons I dig Jimenez.  I’ve been a real fan of Ethan Van Sciver’s ultra-detailed, absolutely gorgeous work, so finding an appreciation for Phil’s beautifully detailed art was not that big a jump.  Where did this detail fetish start for me?  Was it Art Adams?  Somewhere, somehow, I got thrown into the Detail ZoneùArtists go in, but they don’t come out!

Item: Running a webcomic feels to me like I imagine running a television show would be like.  Benita and I are constantly discussing and finessing plot points, having deep conversations about the characters and their motives, etc.  I am always searching for references, working up new color palettes for different locations, designing costumes, acting through the characters, and so forth.  The fact that the comic comes out on a set schedule on the internet also gives the feeling of producing television.  I’ve greatly enjoyed doing this for five years now!

Item: Benita commented that I’m too hard on myself about the art.  I think I’m a pretty decent artist, but I’m always looking to “up my game,” or “reach a new plateau,” and consistently studying and drawing from my favorite art books.  The Open Studio for life drawing every weekend is part of this drive to improve, too.  Luckily, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made, and I’m quite excited about the many miles to cover between now and mastery.  It’s a challenge, and I’m up for it!

Item: I think there are two schools of drawing, one I call drawing “Outside In” and one called “Inside Out.”  I could have just as easily called them subjective and objective drawing, or perceived versus structural form, or whatever.  I’ve used both methods in my career, as fits my mood and mental acuity.  Drawing Outside In is essentially doing life drawing from pictures in your imaginationùIf you see the subject, then you can draw it.  It’s my guess that Gene Colan is a master of this style.  Drawing Inside Out, conversely, is building up a figure from its structure on out, layer by layerùaction lines, followed with circling out all the masses, on down to putting clothes on the characters.  As I mentioned, I use both techniques.  On days where I’m really inspired, it’s Outside In.  Otherwise, it’s Inside Out.

Item: It’s been said before, but creative people are not valued in our Western culture.  All the writers I know have to have day jobs, and I think they always will.  All the graphic artists I know live in humble circumstances.  99.9% of all the musicians, poets, actors, dancers, and the like live modestly.  Sure, there are superstars in every field, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.  I’m not saying anything new or revolutionary here, but I wish I had the answer to change this state of affairs.  It seems we live in Garrison Keillor’s world, where unemployment insurance is the true endowment for the arts, and life as a creative is a true life of faith, that these brave souls are the “lilies of the field” from the Bible.

Item: As you may have noticed, this week I’ve begun rendering the episodes again, not just flatting them.  I really like the flat look, because it looks all Silver-Age-like, but it’s out of tune with the rest of the story, and would it would be a crime against internal consistency to change. To be honest, my coloring style is in fluxùI’m aiming for a simpler style were at most I round out the forms, but for I’m not there yet.  I will get there soon.

Item: You may also have noticed that “Inside the Book” is back, and we are running it on Tuesdays and Fridays.  I’ve got episodes for “Inside the Book” posted up through the remainder of the year, and I don’t show any signs of running out of character designs soon.


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