Archive for September, 2010

Art Confessional Vomitorium: part III

Posted in Drawings, Love, Miscellaneous, Things That Anger Me on September 30, 2010 by gladlad

And now for something completely different…  There is a section of my brain that won’t stop thinking about how cool board games are.  I wish I had the money to get really nerdy and own a ton of them, but that’s not gonna happen.  It’s also troublesome when you want to buy some wierd farming game (like the inexplicably wonderful Agricola) or a new set of tiles for our love paramour, Mahjong, and then you realize you have few friends nearby who will play it often enough with you to make it worth it.  But over the last few years I’ve come up with a few of my own that I’d really like to get fully playable so we wouldn’t even have to worry about going to the store.  First off, there is the sparkling diamond of my gaming genius, Fashion Zombie Apocalypse.

Corrosive, poisoned gas from an experimental clothing manufacturer has turned an entire community into flesh-craving, fashion-conscious legions of undead!  Can you and your fellow survivors outlast the onset of the onerous onslaught and form an honorable entourage on your way onboard the chopper?  Or will you all become zombies yourselves?  It may SOUND like other fashion-zombie games you’ve played, but it’s NOT.  We actually did a lot of test-playing on this one, and it’s fun.  I just need to finish a ton more cards.  And figure out the player pieces, which need three hitpoint markers. 

Then there’s the tentatively titled “Plucky Pirates’ Search for the Floating Treasure of Unpredictable Landmass-Land!”  This one sprouted from my dual-love for the awesome, AWESOME board game “The aMAZEing Labyrinth” and its shifting tiles of adventure, and the super-creative-but-not-ultimately-super-fun-to-play pirate ship constructing-and-sailing game cleverly called “Pirates!”

You have to navigate shifting rivers searching for a treasure which constantly changes position while attacking and defending against rival pirates.  It’s sort of like one of those shifting picture puzzles, with cannons.  I would like it to have hand-drawn landscapes, but for now I’m using doctored images of Finland.

Finally, we have “Interstellar Pig“.  It’s based on a science fiction book I read in middle school in which a young boy meets some strange guests at his parents’ beach house who play a (really well-thought out) sci-fi board game.  They are, in fact, real aliens, and the board game is a for-fun version of a real, life-and-death game being played by beings thoughout the galaxy.  Written by William Sleator, this book should be much more well-known than it is.  If you enjoy young-adult fiction like the Tripod Trilogy or The Giver, this is… not as great, but many notches above your average R. L. Stine or whatever.  I recently reread it, loved it a lot, and vowed to make the game for real (with my teen brother in law who I also got to read it).

Which, apparently, someone else did way before me.  But that was back in the 80’s, and it wasn’t designed quite well enough to gain any popularity.  Anyway, like LEGAL ramifications are gonna stop me!  Ha ho!  I am visually revamping it for the NOW generation, and snazzing up the playability a little.  One of the funnest parts about it was attempting to create a realistic-looking galaxy for the backdrop of the board.  Once again, the only thing holding it back from being playable are the cards getting finished.

In the meantime, everyone’s invited to come play Mahjong with us.  Run, pung an’ a pair, baby!  Yow!

*Stay tuned for the final installment of the Vomitorium in which I post a bunch of random drawings I need to polish up, plus a sexy pinup poster of yours truly!!!

Art Confessional Vomitorium: part II

Posted in Blogging, Comics, Drawings, Love, Miscellaneous, My BOOK!, Things That Anger Me on September 28, 2010 by gladlad

Hey!  Welcome back to my overview of things yet unfinished!

Moving along, last year’s 24-Hour Comics Day’s 24-hour comic: A Forest of Teeth.

Yeah, it’s sketched, but I’ve been meaning to ink it for… well, a year now, since the next 24-Hour Comics Day is NEXT WEEK!  YAAAAAAAGH!  I cannot believe it’s October again already!  I’m really excited for it, especially since I was just able to get work off to attend.  Every cartoonist/comic artist EVERYWHERE should find the nearest one and go insane.  (Seriously; you will go insane if you manage to stick out the entire 24 hours.  Heck, a lot of people start to wig out after like five or six.  It’s intense.  And ONLY FOR THE HARDCORE(/stupid)!!!)  October 2nd, people!  GO GO GO!  (I have a sweet idea for this year’s comic, while keeping to the randomness which makes it so challenging and fun.  Tee hee!)

The second entry in today’s vomitorium is the project I actually started this blog to help track, get motivated for and keep me accountable with.  Wow, that got left in the dust.  I haven’t worked on it for about as long as I’ve been hanging out with the Cartoonist Conspiracy, so almost TWO YEARS NOW!!!  I cannot believe how fast time speeds by my spinning head!  YaaaaAAAAaaaargh!

*ahem* Anyway, it’s the graphic novel I want to make.  Up at the top right of my blog there are page links to “The Schedule” and “Hurdles Hurdled”, both relating to this project.  I have a sweet story, sweet characters, and a sweet world just a-floatin’ around in my head, and it needs to get onto paper someday.  But for now, a few odds and ends from the beginnings of the birthing process:

I guess I halted work on this around the time I started learning about what it really takes to put a comic together and publish it.  I don’t want to think I started too late, but when I look at Nausicaa and Bone and think about the time it takes to put the whole shebang together, it sure feels that way.  On the other hand, when I look at all the ‘geezers’ in the biz still producing awesome stuff, I get some sense knocked into me.  Also, witnessing the hard work and passion that goes into every page of Manly Tales of CowardiceHijinks, Introspective Comics and Uptown Girl makes me want to cry in my lazy jerkness.  Bow to them, internetfriends, for their love pours forth in deed.

Art Confessional Vomitorium: part I

Posted in Comics, Drawings, Literature, Love, Miscellaneous, Things That Anger Me on September 26, 2010 by gladlad

I don’t even know how to start this post…  There are things I need to get off my chest and out into the open, but this isn’t really the place to do it.  What this blog is for, and what I want to post, is art.  What I am having a lot of trouble motivating myself to do lately is art.  I have become so selfish with my not-at-home time it’s pretty sickening.  I have so many productive things I want to be doing.  But when I get to my overnight job, where all is quiet (for the most part) and I usually have a few solid hours of absolutely free time and it’s really the best time in the world to put effort into drawing/writing/creating whatever, I just stall.  And stall and stall and stall…

Drawing is my breath; it makes me happy.  It’s fun.  But I have discovered that I have what comes down to a kind of sickness when the act of drawing is coupled to anything outside of a random, spontaneous creative burst.  If I can’t finish something within the first spasm of inspiration, it will take me (almost, but not so off as to be really false) FOREVER to finish it.  I have started and subsequently neglected SO MANY PROJECTS it’s depressing and embarrassing.  I wander around the web drooling at the beautiful, magical things my art idols create (people like Emily Carroll, Lois van Baarle, Heather/Makani, the Cannons, Josh Middleton, Joy Ang and soooo many more).  I stalk about like a ninja, trying to absorb the coolness and talent  and wanting so badly to enter that inner circle of people who have DONE STUFF.  Then I leave the noise and busy-ness of our home, the fun and joy of life with wife and kids and housemates and churchmates and coffeehousemates and enter my quiet place of (drumroll) imminent productivity.  And then I play Minecraft.  Or watch another pointless kung-fu movie.  Or read blogs.  Or eat without needing to.  Or read some book.

Even when I actually get the pen to touch tablet and make lines on the screen, I can always find an excuse to draw something OTHER than what I know I need to finish.  And every second I don’t do what I know I need to do, I am CONSCIOUSLY choosing not to do it!  I feel exactly like I felt when I first started this blog, at war with the forces of laziness and procrastination and knowing I’ve been actively fighting for the losing side.  I’ve victimized good people who really want to help me on my path to “being an artist”, and so often it’s in the name of protecting my precious “free time” after having long, stressful days at home.  Everyone who is anyone sacrifices that free time to their cause, their dream, but (understatement of the universe) it’s very hard.  It’s hard to get motivated at 2 in the morning.  It’s hard to resist the foul succubus named FUN.  It’s hard to be dealing with money, kids, drama, volunteering, organizing, blah blah blah and then take those precious hours of calm on the night shift and sacrifice them on the altar of “career”.  Anyway, that’s how it FEELS, but in reality it’s drawing!  It’s the thing I love to do!  It’s my hobby!  It’s fun!  It makes no sense, and I hate it.

I’ve started some big, cool things that I want to show people so desperately, but as finished products.  The only thing is I have no idea when that will happen.  So here it is, my shame: my gallery of things that will be really cool someday.  At the moment they are poor orphaned children, birthed into the forgetful hands of a procrastinator.  Perhaps, as I struggle with myself and claim a few victories, some of these will mature into brilliant gleams of portfolio-worthiness, and you will be able to witness their transcendence right here at the Tethered Hawk!  Until then, they cry out as did the poor hunchback, Richard III:

“I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them…”

Sorry– got a little melodramatic.  *ahem*  To the gallery!

First, and most dear to my heart at the moment, are the beginnings of a series of portraits of one of literature’s most underexposed, misunderstood heroes/villains/demi-xeno-nematodes: Leto II, the God Emperor of Dune, from Frank Herbert’s book… ‘God Emperor of Dune’.

I have been trying to learn to use Photoshop to “paint” more realistically, and after that girl’s head a few posts previous I attempted Leto.  I was re-reading the series for the first time since high-school and was stunned at how little I’d “got” back then.  I loved the first one in high school, but as the series went on it just kept going so far over my head that very little was retained in my brain at the end.  Not so today; they’ve pretty much changed my life.  Back then, I was infatuated with Lynch’s movie, and only connected with the first book.  This time, they seemed to get more fascinating and uber-creative and just plain brilliant with each successive book.  I just finished them last month, and they were so incredible it’s hard to put it into words.  I think I have to do a whole separate posting on why I was so fascinated by Leto II, and the Dune saga in general.  (I also read one of the Brian Herbert Dune prequels, ‘The Butlerian Jihad’, and… I don’t think I’ll try another.)

The funny thing is that in this great wide world of the internet, almost every depiction of Leto (there are very few out there) is really creepy and scary looking, like an evil monster.  After seeing what was out there, I had to try to render a potrait that would capture this intelligent, caring man going through the unimaginable complexities of becoming an unapproachably powerful and horrifyingly deformed demi-god in the name of a love for the human race which would be unrequited due to the very nature of the physical transformation and tyrranic rule that would ultimately save them from a horrific future.  I think I totally captured that.  *cough cough*  Just kidding.  But at least he’s not all gross-looking.

As an aside, my favorite (and for some reason, almost the only consistent) serious Dune art in internetland is done by an incredible artist named Emily Carroll.  Not only is she a fremkit full of nonstop awesome, she seems to be one of the biggest Dune nerds in the entire world, and she makes me wish there were tons of Dune nerds everywhere that I could talk with and visit each others’ houses for Fremen tea-time to have cinnamon coffee and sticks of the moist, brown paste that’s in between the layers of those cheap cinnamon rolls you get at gas stations.  But I digress…  I tried to make a Leto that would have good chemistry with her portrait of Hwi Noree.

Next, a project more relevant to my real art future: “Currently-Untitled-But-Awesome-Superhero-Comic-Pitch-Project”, in which I illustrate my friend Ted Anderson’s pitch-script for a really creative superhero miniseries.  I have strung this project along like a poor helpless kitten on a spiked dog leash of indecisiveness for almost a year and a half now.  I think my inability to commit to finishing this has to do with my own insecurities as an artist: I have been really frustrated with myself for not having a clear “style” when it comes to polished comic art, and I really want these pages to be FANTASTIC for Ted.  He deserves it.  He’s a brilliantly creative guy, and I love his origin ideas for the characters in this comic, as well as the plot itself.  It actually makes me excited about doing a straight-up superhero comic.

I have made so many excuses for why this is taking so long, and they’ve all been factual, including trying out new styles, learning to color better, being too busy, being abducted by aliens…  I have tried to figure out why I keep touching on work for this and then shying away again, and I think I’ve zeroed in on it: I have a pathological fear of drawing backgrounds.  Goofy, cartoonish backgrounds are no problem.  But I’m almost incapable of rendering realistic inorganic surroundings.  Buildings, sidewalks, cars, etc…  They cause my mind to froth and shake and collapse into paralysis like a blue-ringed octopus victim.  Whole pages of this pitch have cityscape scenes and it’s like there’s a forcefield around any page with that designation.  It makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills… and it’s embarrassing.  But I shall struggle ahead for Ted!  If all goes well, this project should the first out of the Vomitorium and into the world of completion.  Priority 1.

In my next post, the Vomitorium continues with more exciting orphans from Jesse’s convoluted cortex!  Stay tuned!