Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inspirability

Between going out of town for that HOW conference, vacation, job, mowing the lawn, and other responsibilities, I've gotten close to nothing done on the art from the past couple weeks. Which sometimes is ok...but not for real long. Anyways, during these down times I try to remain passively involved in the creative process. So, even though I'm tending to other responsibilities, I am aware of what is on my upcoming project list and so begin, soaking up inspiration, collecting thoughts, rendering things in my mind, mulling them over, figuring out what bothers me about projects that I've begun but am unhappy with, so on and so forth.

For instance, right now, I'm in the middle of a 4 pager comic short. I have 3 pages penciled. I detest the first page and there's components of the other two pages that are driving me nuts, like a mental pebble at the bottom of my mental shoe. I haven't touched the pages in about a week, except to pick them up and analyze them. It's bugging me and so even while I'm busy doing other stuff, my mind is busy trying to figure out how to fix these pages.

Again, this is being passively involved in the artistic process...and I think most artists do this intuitively without trying to. For me, the inspiration comes in through reading, looking at art,listening to music, action figures, comics, being around other people, even revisiting creatively fertile moments in my past.

I usually get to the point however, and I'm about there right now, that unless I shift and become actively engaged in the artistic process and start drawing and making art, I become a miserable person to live with.

A couple of weeks ago at the HOW conference I was struck by how much of it was simply about inspiration and how to create opportunities for yourself to be inspired and how much of your inspiration is simply memory in disguise.

For instance, in recent months I've been buying quite a few albums that I listened to during key creative times in my life. And as I was telling my wife about each album and what I liked about them, every single one of them had a fond memory attached to it which inevitably lead back to a key inspiring time and or place or person it reminded me of.

Anyways, tonight I draw.

Thursday, June 24, 2010



One of the best essays I've ever read was a sermon given by CS Lewis that is deemed "The Weight of Glory." Here is one, if not the most striking quotations from it.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.


You can download the whole essay online here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Really Good Book


I just finished reading this book by Phillip Yancey for the second time. I first read it in the Spring of 1998, and now some 12 years later, it holds its weight and I am even more struck by it. The one thing my semi-unvictorious Christian life continually brings me back to is the desire to understand, experience, and hopefully demonstrate this thing called "grace."

But what is it?

Yancey is one of may all time favorite authors, right up there with CS Lewis, and Peter Kreeft.

Friday, June 18, 2010

...and More Wonderland Again




Last night I started working on the page layout for this charming 4 pages story, only to find myself being handicapped by constantly looking at my visual references. (The look and feel of the story will be influenced by the work of original illustrator John Tenniel)

I started doing final sized page layout sketches only to find myself stifled and worrying too much about detail. I've found that (For me) it is best to stay as loose as possible until I begin working on the final drawings. (Quite unlike the Alex Rosses and Norman Rockwells of the world) If I draw something more than once (finished drawings mind you-not sketches)it always, always, always looks like dead, static poo second time around.

So I realized I needed to do just a bit more sketching to get the characters living in my head and thus be less dependant on my references. When I realize that I need to loosen up, I start drawing with ballpoint pen, for some reason, the smoothness and quickness of the line enables me to get to the "Use the Force, Luke" stage of the art process.

This weekend I will have finalized page layouts done...or I will eat a handful of mayonaise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

...and Just a Wee Bit More Wonderland



Alright, probably one of the last of my character design posts. Next up is thumbnails and roughs of page layouts. Process, process process.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

...and More Wonderland





Hope to actually get started on this in the next couple of days. Until then, here's more preliminary sketches. This time of the judge, soldiers, and another hatter sketch

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Wonderland....



Another quick sketch of Hatter and Hare...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wonderland

Cool opportunity here. Working on a 4 pager Mad Hatter story for the back of an upcoming issue of the OZ Wonderland Chronicles. I know very little about the whole Wonderland mythos, so I've been doing some research and begun some preliminary sketches of the characters.



Friday, June 11, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The HOW Conference

Pretty cool, I was in Denver for the HOW conference the first part of the week and got a ton of sketching done. Sessions have been great, especially that Von Glitschka guy. Anyway here's some of my frantic scratchings that I've done before, during, and in between sessions....












Other than the great seminars, I met a speachless, deaf homeless guy named Gene, got to hang out with my buds from BIG, met some industry folks, met a girl who loves that Nacho Libre movie, met a guy who did the new artwork for the new general Mills Monster Cereals, and a fellow from Disney, heard people drop the F-bomb on stage twice, felt cool because the nice lady who delivered my room service thought I was still in my mid 20s, was 2 digits away from winning an iPad, almost got scammed, met a dude who is currently reading the Confessions of St. Augustine and Jonathon Edwards, passed a gigantic blue bear several times, got grossed out by a poster for that freakin' disgusting BodyWorks exhibit-don't even wanna think about it, turned down a draft from Green Peace at the Airport, had a rad breakfast buffet, and a delightful morning tea by Tazo called "Awake," and felt like a dork because I tripped not once, but twice within 5 minutes in the exhibit hall, watched like 17 minutes of Myth Busters, and came up with a pretty solid fart joke to work into the graphic novel.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Deep mysterious longing...

CS Lewis's argument for God's existence from desire would likely have converted me had I heard it while unconverted:

1. Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
2. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
3. Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
4. This something is what people call "God" and "life with God forever."

Lewis's own words:

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. (Mere Christianity, Bk. III, chap. 10, "Hope")

Awesome article on this by philosopher Peter Kreeft here.