Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Harshest Critic



People like to say that they are their own harshest critic, but that is not true for me. My girlfriend is far and away my harshest critic. She gives me the roughest feedback and is absolutely brutally honest. If there is something she doesn't like, she'll just rip it to shreds. It'll drive me mad. It'll make me so angry. But the moment she says it, I know she's right, and that makes me even angrier. After it's been stated it will seem so obvious, and I will feel so stupid.

It's always hard stuff to hear, but the book will be better for it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Color Beginnings


Although I still have some editing and reworking to do on some pages, I've started to color my comic Hedra. I can't explain why, but in my head this comic has always been pink and blue. I think a limited palette is necessary because of the dominance of the blacks in the inks. There isn't really room for a wide variety of colors. It would simply be a visual fight. I went with a dark blue/purple and three shades of pink and then put in a layer of yellow underneath to give it some warmth.

Some of the inspiration for this came from this video by Isao Hashimoto, which documents all the nuclear explosions (mostly tests) from 1945-1998.



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Little Book


Recently, I've been doing all my writing and drawing in little soft cover Moleskine sketchbooks. The books are a little smaller than 4x6, and for me this is the perfect size. It's easy to have it and a pen in my pocket, and I can pretty much draw anywhere and anytime as a result. If I have a little time before my day job, I can sit in a coffee shop and get a few panels in. If I've arranged to meet someone, and they're running a little late I can do a little bit of work while I wait. It's very convenient for fitting drawing into the little spaces when life gets hectic.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Consistency



With any creative work it’s important to have consistency. Within comics, at the most basic level, I think this comes down to characters being drawn the same way every time. The Jack drawn on page five should look the same as the Jack on page thirty-seven. There is nothing worse than having the reader think that Jack is some new mystery character when he’s been there all along. I found consistency to be a problem particularly when I was first getting into comics. It felt like I was getting better with every page, and so not only did Jack look different but page five and page thirty-seven didn’t even look like pages drawn by the same person.

This isn’t a problem anymore.

Now what I find to be a problem is consistency itself. Page five and thirty-seven look like they were drawn by the same person and Jack is clearly Jack every time, but I feel trapped by that consistency. I feel like a slave to it. Choices that I made in the beginning now govern everything. 

For example, I established a very dense grid with my most recent comic. Thirty-five little squares on a page. There is some flexibility within that, but after ten or fifteen pages thirty-five panels per page, I feel like I cannot break away from that grid unless I have a really good reason. My simply being sick of the grid is not a really good reason. 

Another example would be the fact that I got a pretty good way into the comic without using any words, which makes it really hard to use words in a later section. If you’ve gone thirty-seven pages without words, you better have a really good reason for putting a word on page thirty-eight. Not only that, but think about the pressure is on those words. After thirty-seven pages of wordlessness, those words had better be wonderful words. Glorious words. They have to have some power. They have to have some meaning. These cannot be mundane everyday words. There needs to be some poetry there. Thus, no words for the whole thing.

I think it’s this loss of choices that can make finishing a work so difficult. In the beginning it is all fun and possibility, but as the work progresses, the choices become rules and there are fewer and fewer possibilities. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year's Resolutions 2016


1. Clean the house on Sundays.
2. Keep a diary/journal/daily record/captain’s log.
3. When on a packed bus and seeing someone’s backpack taking up a seat, do not assume that the backpack’s owner is an asshole lacking in conscientiousness or even cognizance of his or her fellow human beings and as such is clearly a sign of the further growth of callousness, selfishness, entitlementedness in our society. Merely assume that this is a very important backpack.
4. Keep this little piece from Nabokov in mind when reading a book:

If one begins with a readymade generalization, one begins at the wrong end and travels away from the book before one has started to understand it. Nothing is more boring or more unfair to the author than starting to read, say, Madame Bovary, with the preconceived notion that it is a denunciation of the bourgeoisie. We should always remember that the work of art is invariably the creation of a new world, so that the first thing we should do is to study that new world as closely as possible, approaching it as something brand new, having no obvious connection with the worlds we already know.  

5. More kisses.
6. Have earbuds in my ears as rarely as possible.
7. Write more letters to the people who mean so much to me but I never communicate with and have slowly allowed to become people with whom I don’t talk to the point it would be strange if we did.
8. Call those people on the phone sometimes.
9. Stop procrastinating.
10. Instead of throwing all sorts of energy everywhere without focus or organization, focus on one thing at a time and do that thing with the greatest ability I can.
11. Less french fries.
12. Walk not just to get to work or the store but simply to walk.
13. Figure out a way to sleep through the night without waking up at three a.m. with all sorts of gnawing nervous thoughts.
14. Forget how to control my emotions and allow for outbursts of uncontrolled joy, anger, sorrow, love, horror, lust, disgust, jealousy, amusement, confusion, panic, delight, and relief.
15. Less M+M’s, Hershey’s kisses, Chuckles, Goo Goo Clusters, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers, Lemonheads, gummy bears, Kit-Kats, Good & Plenties, Jelly Bellies, Oreo cookies, Werther’s Originals, Skittles, Jujubes, Cadbury Caramel Eggs, Riesens, licorice allsorts, Swedish Fish, Starbursts, Sour Patch Kids, Almond Joys, Mounds, Milk Duds, Toblerones, Caramellos, and Charleston Chews.
16. More cannolis.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Humans on the Bus




When I get frustrated with the bus and all its unpleasantness, its lateness, its overcrowding, odd smells, headphones at obnoxious levels, rude passengers, rude drivers, and all the rest, I try to remember that it is kind of amazing that bus rides function at all.

With any other animal, it wouldn't work. On my bus this morning, there were about sixty people, and it was a canned sardine experience. I was in physical contact with three or four people, none of whom were my friend. I smelled their smells. If you got chimpanzees packed in like that, it would be one mean scene. Throw in all the moving and abrupt stops, and they'd tear each other apart.

But we humans, we do okay. We may make some unnecessarily long sighs and give micro-glares at people who bump into us, but for the most part, we're chill. We keep it together.