Pets Or Livestock? A Moral Divide Over Horse Slaughter by Frank Morris (NPR’s The Salt)*
*I was not hired by NPR, just wanted to do it
Sketch that turned into something more than a sketch…cause that’s how things go sometimes. Character from the upcoming personal thingy I’m working on.
The Hair Up There
Personally a fan of the bottom far left do (The Jane Fonda mullet).
I had a blast Tuesday night because I made myself agave margaritas, and just drew hairstyles for a character listening to The JV Club podcast. Extreme bonus- I was researching fashion from the 60’s and ran into some incredible spreads from a Japanese magazine called Young Woman. Plus, researching for images of the gorgeous Jane Fonda, Edie Sedgwick, and Anna Karina (who I have the hugest crush on).
As the shape of my personal project begins to reveal its form I find myself tackling bigger questions that I didn’t expect to cross paths with.
The story in itself had been such a long process. There were points that I just wanted to throw my computer on the ground and just give it up. Facing up to difficulties in illustration and figuring out what’s needed seems like such a more familiar beast than with writing. With writing, I need to figure out where the story is going, the psychology that comes with each character, convincing dialogue, making it flow, funneling in what I like and don’t like through every movie or book or TV show I’ve experienced. All of this while keeping out of my own head. Even as I write this, I’m frustrated! But I got it done.
All through the writing process and character designs, I’ve been toiling with how to marry together art and words in the back of my mind. Each has its own unique abilities and both are transitional elements that change from objective to subjective. I always think that one of the best (best, maybe because of how recognizable the piece) examples of this is Magritte’s The Treachery of Images, aka “Ceci n’est pas une pipe/This is not a pipe”.
It is objectively an oil painting painted between 1928 and 1929 by René Magritte. Objectively it depicts a simple profile of a tobacco pipe with words written in French underneath, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. Subjectively, we the viewer cognitively computes the image as a pipe, even though it is not a pipe* (source: Cpt. Obvious). It is, after all a series of methodically smeared oil dirt, and that is all. Isn’t this the essence of storytelling, creating an illusion for a viewer to experience? In this case, both words and images combine to create an entire cognitive dialogue. Each cannot exist without the other, it is a symbiotic relationship. If it were simply a painting depicting a pipe, it would end there. The viewer would understand that the artist might have some ulterior motives, but would not be quite sure at what it was. There would only be a decent painting of a pipe, nothing to write home about. On the other side of that, If it were simply written words, the viewer might wonder what the hell pipe they were talking about. After all, there is no pipe (“Wohhh”- K. Reeves).
Paul Pope, aside from an insanely talented artist, is an amazingly aware and concise writer, especially in regards to all things connected to art. He came out with his retrospective a while ago, PulpHope, and I find myself going back, surprisingly not for the art work, but for the written material. If you can get it from a friend or library or something, do yourself a favor and get it. His understanding of the comics form (which is another marriage between words and art) is unparalleled. Included in PulpHope, he wrote/drew a one page comic about his four understandings of comics:
1. “Comics” is a visual language. It is a storytelling form.
2. “Comics” inhabits a place between the nuance of words and the suggestion of images.
3. The art of good comics is doing with words + pictures exactly what you think you’re doing.
4. The comic not yet drawn can hold the forms of the greatest ideas an artist can have.
Now, I’m off to explore what’s possible in my own terms. I will come back soon with some answers to share and a book that will be a marker in that exploration.
About a month ago, my friend and I got to see a one Neil Gaiman (Mister Gaiman if you’re nasty) speak while he was touring in promotion for The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Aside from a love of his writing, I just always got this feeling from his speeches and stories that he is this gigantic cheerleader for creativity. Though maybe it’s not just creativity, maybe it’s more like doing the best at whatever it might be that you do.
Much to my detriment, I’ve never been one to geek out loud (geek out + out loud, use it), so the weekend before I decided to change that. I went quickly to work on a little illustration to give to Neil during the signing. His response?
“That’s my hair!”
- Neil Gaiman
I got The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Sandman: The Dream Hunters signed. Yoshitaka Amano…I mean come on, those illustrations? So effin’ gorgeous.
Even though we were some of the last rows on the ground floor to get through the signing, there was an entire mezzanine of people waiting to be signed, and this was at 1 AM. How that man and his crew had the strength to get through all of the audience…I will never know. But, I do know that they were all really cool and Neil had them hand out some fruit platters to everyone patiently waiting. Who does that? Neil Fucking Gaiman does (not to be confused with Amanda Fucking Palmer).
All and all, had an amazing time and got some burgers from In-n-Out after.
I think I really stumbled upon something special today. Suffice to say, I watched God Speed You! Black Emperor and I’m thinking it will have a great effect on the current project. Adding screen shots to my reference/inspiration guidebook. More to come! Ramping up for some serious drawing.
I love that excitement and anticipation you get before the leap.
Last moleskine sketch before I post actual pages. I remember being pleasantly surprised at the drawing after finishing it. I like that.
Ball point pen is pretty wonderful because of how soft and gradual the marks can get, and how direct you can be.
A slight break from the Serpent’s stuff. Weird stuffed animal heads at the top and a bird at the bottom. I think the pig/dog tonguey guy was a post viewing of “The Thing” creation.
Some more sketches for the project. Refreshing as always. Decided not to hold my sketch book sacred anymore (moleskines…great gifts, terribly expensive). I noticed if I care too much, then I get picky on drawing, which is terrible for a sketch book. Drew over the arrows I was working out for that Link illustration I did a while ago. Hey kids, not you can learn a little about Italian director, Luchino Visconti! Pairs well with amaretto.
One more related sketch to come this week.