Archive for the Things That Anger Me Category

Art Confessional Vomitorium: part IV

Posted in Drawings, Literature, Love, Things That Anger Me on November 9, 2010 by gladlad

Well, here it is… the final installment of the Vomitorium.  Not much here, just a couple favored odds and ends I’d like to work on more:

This first is an illustration inspired by the reading of William Morris’ early fantasy novel “The Wood Beyond the World”.  And when I say “early”, I mean that this is probably the first ever proper fantasy novel or more accurately ‘proto-fantasy’; it was most likely the first book in a ‘novel’ style in history to meld characters in an imaginary land with the practice of magic and the supernatural, this being the general definition of “fantasy”. 

I had previously read a later book by Morris, “The Water of the Wondrous Isles”, and it affected me deeply.  I *WILL* do a portrait someday soon of its protagonist, the damsel Birdalone (is that an awesome name or what?) who… oh, it’s a long story.  Suffice to say that Birdalone is one of the earliest, awesomest heroines in novel history, IMHO. 

Then, having loved that book, I saw this (or rather a facsimile of this) at a bookstore:

 

BASK IN THE SWEETNESS!!!  BAAAAASK!!!  Books can look like that!  Okay, William Morris was incredible: he wrote this book, drew these pictures, formed that typeface, built a printing house (Kelmscott Press) and cranked awesome books like this out, and on the side he also made incredible tapestries and textiles, paintings, poetry and was the first astronaut.     …Oh, all right, he wasn’t an astronaut.  But all the other stuff is true.

The story in “The Wood” isn’t so great.  I’ll be honest.  And MAN was that text hard to read.  Very little punctuation or paragraph division, and some archaic letter forms made for a real brain-haul.  But I am a slave to prettiness, so I made it through.  And when I was done I drew a pretty girl with big, magic dogs.  Really ugly dogs, too.  Yick.

The second image is a big ugly fish head.  ……Still tryin’ to learn to “paint”, this time with a demo of OpenCanvas.  That’s a cool program!

The third is a Locathah from a series of portraits of some friends’ D&D characters I want to do.  I actually played D&D more than one time this last year, now that a bunch more nerds moved into our home since last spring.  I decided that I’m a bit too old to need to worry about being cool anymore (it’s always been a HUGE priority for me), so I can finally play Dungeons and Dragons if I dang well please.  I believe I’m up to about three full game nights so far!  My character’s a Lillend, which is a human from the waist up, a huge snake from the waist down, with huge, awesome bird-wings.  They are skilled musicians, and fly into a berserker rage whenever someone destroys a beautiful work of art or nature.  Word.  Oh, and they drink moonlight.  I wish I could drink moonlight.

AND NOW!!!  As promised in my last post, a sexy pinup of the Jesster from just before I cut my hair really short! 

This came about after finding a Photoshop tutorial on how to make a movie poster in the style of “300”.  My wife had no idea why she was asked to take the photo, but boy was she peasantly surprised when she found out.  There’re also some funny things in the credits, but mostly only if you know our past & present household.  Well, that wraps it up for the Art Confessional Vomitorium!  Now I can get down to actually producing finished things!

Soon: ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ fan art!

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!

Port-folly-os

Posted in Drawings, My BOOK!, Things That Anger Me on September 15, 2008 by gladlad

I’ve been a small amount of work away from creating a decent portfolio of my artwork for about, oh, say ten years now.  I really don’t know what my deal is, besides just being a self-defeating procrastinator.  Without clear, immediate results, that kind of thing just gets eternally put on the back burner.  But since finding out about the fun comics industry in Minneapolis, I want to defeat the self-defeat really really badly.  One thing about me is that if it’s not for some specific purpose, I never finish things.  I have so much unfinished artwork laying around!  I’m gonna finish some old good ones and make some new finished pieces and create a good portfolio, finally.  I AM GOING TO.  Last night at work I started a new piece, with the sole intent of just being pretty and fun to draw, as well a basic representation of my drawing style and influences.  It’s still a one-night-at-work sketch, but I made my first-ever animated gif showing the stages of it so far, with the sole intent of making an animated gif for the first time.  (You have to click the pic to see the animation.)  The finished picture will be a little goofier than the sketch; she’s gonna be shooting something

That’s another thing I want to do: finally learn all the programs I’ve been meaning to, such as Photoshop (the 75% of it I haven’t fiddled around with yet), Illustrator, and Flash.  The guys I met at the Cartoonist Conspiracy also use font programs (which I’ve fiddled with a little), and stuff like InDesign (which I’ve never even touched).

Also, I want to note that “My Book” has not been forgotten.  It was floating in that realm of Things With No Immediately Foreseeable Result, but I’m going to pick it up again.  I know it’s only been one night so far (long nights at work combined with the internet makes those people seem omnipresent), but I know that surrounding myself with people who make me feel lake a lazy freakin’ ass will be inspirational.  Which makes me feel like crap for my wife, who is my most stalwart supporter and motivator, but gosh darnit, she’s never published a comic book!  Tomorrow’s our 8th anniversary, by the way, and I’m in love with her.

Thanks for looking at this stuff, whoever you may be.

EDIT: Uh, I just realized, after groaning to myself about how hard it is to render toes, that the whole foot is backwards.  I’m just gonna give in to temptation and indulge myself for a moment: “Oh!  The agony of da feet!” Phew…  Sometimes a bad pun fixes everything.  (Speaking of which, “Animated Gif” would be a cool band name.)

The Minn is a Harsh Mistress

Posted in Drawings, Things That Anger Me, Video Games on March 27, 2008 by gladlad

Hey, Paizanos! I’m a-back, and boy, do I have stuff to post! The post title is in reference to the fact that Minnesota is making me go crazy. If it snows one more freakin’ time after taunting us with lovely, melt-y days, I’m going to tell people not to move here. ‘Cause people are always asking me if they should move here…

Okay, so my part of the menu is finished (!!!), finally, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I say ‘my’ part because Dana is going to watercolor a little background scene for the cover which I’ll scan in to fill up the space around the restaurant’s name. For anyone who doesn’t know, “Joe’s on Main Street” is the sweetest restaurant in Cambridge. Bar none. And it’s the 3rd funnest place to hang out, after Somewhere Else and the bait shop. Hyuk! Anywho, I’ll post the finished cover as soon as it’s… finished. The last page is a space to scan in various business cards from friends of the owners. Now I’m gonna get goin’ on the (straightforward, one-page) drawing for my friend Rob, and then I’ll be all ready to get back to the grind on the comic, which tolls a heavy bell in my heart every day. I’ve had some good ideas for the story in the interim, though, so all should be well.

1-final-cover-small.jpg2-final-breakfast-small.jpg3-final-lunch-a-small.jpg4-final-lunch-b-small.jpg5-final-dinner-a-small.jpg6-final-dinner-b-small.jpg7-businesses-small.jpg

I kind of wanted to keep to a “food fantasyland” theme, which made it into most of the pages. If you look close, there are sausage cattails, pancakes and cups of coffee lilypads, fried egg flowers, bacon fronds, and of course mushrooms, which are great in omelettes. The lunch menu has a plate & beverage tree, and so on… Speaking of eggs: as I write this, I’m looking at a leftover plate of egg-salad sandwich one of the kids was eating, and I have to say that post-Easter egg-salad looks awesome. It’s about seven different colors; it looks like the food Robin Williams practices pretending with in “Hook”.

On a further side note, I played a lot of Super Smash Bros. Brawl this week (rented it for a party at Somewhere Else, then hogged it at home) and have decided that Pikachu is great. He gets to wear a kickin’ little karate bandana, too! On a side-side note, My three most-wanted games ever are all coming out for the Wii, which makes me want to pee my pants. They are as follows: Spore, Monster Hunter 3, and Okami. Oooooooookamiiiiiiiiii……. I’m salivating.

spore

mh3.jpg

okami2ct.jpg

The first two are multiplayer (at least I hope MH3 will be), so who’s gonna hop on with me? Beuller?………… Beuller?

Oh, and just for Sara, here are the things from Tim and Jo-Jo’s wedding. WATERCOLORS BY DANA, everybody! Yow!

invitationsparklemotion-small.jpgjojotimerycover-small.jpg

Also also, here’s the one my mom wanted to see:

 davesguitar.jpg

I’ll write more in a little bit, and toss some more pics up of recent works, but now I need to go to bed. Stay tuned, and have fun!

All done. I’m going to throw up now.

Posted in Blogging, Movies, My BOOK!, Things That Anger Me on January 19, 2008 by gladlad

Well, “the SCHEDULE” is up.  Please refer to the innocuous little link on the right side of the page, concealing a monster of a list.  All said and done, there are 115 steps listed there, the first 86 taking an estimated average of 3 or 4 night shifts to complete, and the last 29 taking who knows how the heck long.  I need to get quicker on Photoshop…

Well, here’s where the proverbial rubber hits the road.  I’ve organized; now I must do!  It’s all been text and tittering thus far, but dagnabbit there’ll be some tantalizing sketches up there soon.  The only problem with this whole ‘blogging-accountability’ pump-up thing is that the very first stage is to finally gather together all the scraps of story floating around in my head and form it into a cohesive outline.  It’s mandatory in order to know what visuals will go to each of the seven chapters.  I’d say I have close to four of those chapters fairly well in hand, but only concept-wise.  I now have to flesh those out, as well as dredge up the content of the other three… and a half… or so.  Ugh.  This will take a little while, and I hope that in that time I can generate more interest in this site, making it more and more impossible, with each new presence, to slacken in my drive to attain each goal.  115 steps to a publishable graphic novel…  Two years?  Three?  Who will see the end with me?  I hope it’s you!

Just so you know, I have been working on this graphic novel for a lot longer than I’ve been blogging about it.  It actually began last winter, suddenly having the urge to achieve my dream of actually publishing a comic book of some kind.  The story actually formed pretty quickly, and I’ve been sketching out junk for it for months.  So I have a little bit of a diving board, art-wise; I just have to fill the pool now so I don’t crack my head open.  I have no idea what that metaphor means.  Moving along…

On a totally unrelated side note, I saw “Cloverfield” last night!  Whooo dogies!  I don’t want to ruin it too much for anyone, but I just have to gripe about the casting of such stinkin’ pretty people.  I felt like the whole first 20 minutes was filmed at a Seventeen magazine model shoot.  It would’ve been a whole lot more believable with actually Everyman-feeling casting.  At least the movie is saved by not having to give a crap about the characters for the entire rest of the movie.  WOW!  What a sock to the face!  In a good way!  Ask Dana; I spent the entire movie wide-eyed, with a huge grin on my face.  Or maybe she didn’t see it while her face was dug into my armpit for the entire last hour.  Great date movie, man– that is, if your date isn’t overly bothered by unrealistically attractive people populating New York City, with uncannily lingering shots of cleavage and too-short skirts in the midst of supposed handheld camera-chaos.  Sigh… Someday someone will make an action movie for the rest of us. 

Anyway, rant over.  Schedule complete, until I notice things missing.  Shift over, typing done.  Bed now.