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.
So these are a little old- but looking through my sketch book, I thought it’d be fun to put these up. Look at all the fun we’re having putting these up!
Last year, I went to a town hall meeting with my girlfriend, who needed to go for a class. It was…interesting. There was a family dressed in their Sunday best that came just to thank the city council for doing their job. At least, that’s what I gathered from it. The meeting was definitely not lacking in characters.
So instead of hogging all the sketchy goodness to myself, I thought it probably nice to actually share* and update my blog.
I think this moleskine was a present (cause they sure ain’t cheap), and I sketched in it for a hot minute about a year ago and honestly, have been pretty horrible about sketching except for working out ideas, but nothing for fun like this. It felt so fresh to not be constrained to “bigger” ideas or for a specific purpose. Instead of a means to an end, it was just a means. Though, these are very very much connected to the new Serpent’s Lust send-out project I’ve been working on.
Figuring out a balance between bigger projects and simple fun projects, and in a way, just sketching has been a fun project. This stuff just reminded me why I love drawing and storytelling.
More sketches to come this week and the big project coming soon too! Excitement!
*special thanks to Barney for that life lesson.
The last couple of days have been interesting. Moving forward and stepping back…though, maybe it’s more like side stepping actually.
I’ve been secretly working on what I keep calling “send outs”. I’ve been saying it so much that I’m starting to hate that word. It’s just so…formless. Like an amorphous blob of an idea. I think of words like “blech” and “glurg” when I think about it. Like saying, “I’m going to elevate my heart rate”, but never getting more specific than that when you’re really going to go running. Forgive the exercising analogy. In reality, I’ve been working on a small booklet, closer to a story book than a zine or a comic or whatever is hip these days. It will be a book of words and images that retells A Serpents Lust by Ueda Akinari.
Yesterday, I compiled my rough images into InDesign to create a faux dummy. A dummy of a dummy? Would that make the dummy brilliant? Annnnd here’s a transition sentence. Each image on its own at the time was kind of interesting to me (some more than other). Once they were compiled, I took that step to the side to see the path I was headed. It sucked. OK, well that’s a bit over the top, but it just didn’t do it for me, and if I wasn’t going to like it, how could I expect anyone else to like it? I got out my art school sword (yes, you get a sword if you go to a design school, something they don’t tell you) and just poked holes in the armor. When it’s easy and you can damage a piece or project within the first 5 minutes, you know you’re in trouble.
As I’ve learned, trouble is good. That means I’m paying enough attention to whatever it is. Or maybe it’s that I care enough. I’ll leave the profound realizations for a memoir, all I know is that it’s good. I was left with asking the big question: “why?” What were the choices I was making and why? Sidestepping the project, I could actually see the line I was stumbling around, and failing the sobriety test of why I was telling the story. So, faithful reader, it’s back to it again. I’ve got a great feeling about this booklet, and quite honestly, this stuff would be really boring if I got it right every time, all the time.
Special thanks to my girlfriend for letting me give her the, “this is why it sucks” presentation and giving me feedback.
picture: compilation of various roughs for project
They go together like fish sticks and custard.
Came home to a nice little surprise. Two pieces in the 3x3 Magazine student show! Thanks to Christine Nasser and Jeff Smith for all the guidance.
After looking at my name in print, I actually said out loud, “Go me”. Then proceeded to critique the pieces. Hah!
Client: NY Times
AD: Erich Nagler
Kill the Indians, Then Copy Them
Client: New York Times
AD: Erich Nagler
I get a call from a 212 number. If I had answered it, I would have said, “Hello, this is Byron.” So, like any sane person, I enter “212 area code” into the little Google bar that perches itself on top of my Firefox browser. It’s New York. Manhattan, specifically. One plus one is… Now I check the voice mail. Well of course it’s the New York effin’ Times. Now, to put things in perspective, I’ve been out of school six months, my mailers out for maybe two months, and have yet to land a real illustration job. I nervously called the art director, Erich, back. I fired immediately with an eloquent, “yes.” In my mind, I really wanted to say, “Yes of course I don’t care what you throw at me because I’ve been waiting four years and six months for this fuckin’ phone call.” Though fortunately for me, I had my brain-to-mouth filter changed at Jiffy Lube last week.
Third of a page, color illustration based on an opinion piece about perceptions of the Native American identity. It was due in twenty-six hours and I needed to get three solid sketches off to Erich in three hours. I quickly printed the page, grabbed my pen and highlighter, and went to Starbucks.
The article itself was thick and juicy, which honestly, was more than I could ask for. Not only did the article probe Native American identity as the collective American perceives it, but also how “actual” Native Americans view their own identity. This all being sparked by Scott Brown supporters mocking Elizabeth Warren’s apparent Native American ancestry with tomahawk chops and Hollywood Indian yelps and calls.
I was armed with an endless supply of adrenaline and a cafe a lait. Highlighters and pens were changing seamlessly. By the end of the note taking session, The pages were marked up and the backs all written on. The biggest question I was asking myself was, “How do I not only talk about what’s going on in the article but also add my perspective on the situation?” That seems to be the delicate balance - thinking with your brain and your gut. Logic and emotion working simultaneously. I won’t sully the image with an attempt to write the “meaning.” I love that word, sully.
The questions that are brought up in the article are far more interesting to me rather than anything answered. What is identity? What is being “American”? Who is American? Sifting through all the mire the word “American” conjures up, I’m interested to know what the hell it means because after all, on paper I’m American. My mother is Mexican-American and my father is German-Irish-Scottish-American. Therefore I’m American. Right? Does this define my culture? My views on hockey? What I wear? How I vote? Whether I like pho or not? No. It doesn’t. Not in the least bit.
These questions begin to inform my images. I send three off and get the green light for one of them. I start to work. I work, work, and work through the night into the next day. There is no time for love, Dr. Jones. I’m powered by adrenaline, Ellie Goulding, and Wilco. I’ve got Neil Gaiman in the back of my mind telling me that this has to meet those three criteria for freelancers: be easy to get along with, make good work, and meet deadlines. I turn it in on time, make my corrections, and it’s over before I knew it.
Sunday rolls around and there it is. Sunday Review section with the article and my little illustration right by it. It didn’t feel real. Maybe it was a all a big elaborate joke, and someone was going to yell “gotcha!” from a trash can. While my girlfriend was at the Starbucks counter, all I could think was, “I loved doing this”. I loved the feedback, the deadline, the all-nighter. I need it to happen again.
*AD: Erich Nagler