Recovering back to where I was earlier:

I’ve been at my computer for a good amount of time, today.  It does require effort to juggle three classes at once; one of which, I was barely even aware of falling behind in, until I started rooting around in the Learning Management System (LMS).  Luckily, I’m only behind in the readings…also luckily, we’re less than a week into the semester, and I’ve turned in the majority of my homework.  I think what I still need to work on, is just responding to others.

I have more (hope) than a drop of sunshine that I will indeed be able to handle these three classes, plus work, art and exercise.  (If that makes sense?  Yes, I’m probably referencing one or more of my citrine crystals, which in turn reference gem lore which I’ve probably only retained subconsciously — and energetic impressions, which…well, I am highly interested in color and its emotional and mental effects, what can I say…)  Tonight, I have also been looking back through my archives, and found an entry from a while back which it might be good to “reset” to.

Recently, I’ve been working with the watercolor pencils, plus acrylic inks, fineliners, and some drawing which felt intense, even if it wasn’t.  😉  (I’ve also started to branch back into interests in sewing and embroidery, which is a relief just from being content-neutral and fiddly enough to sate my desire to manually puzzle things out.)

I’m thinking that I will be better off coloring my illustrations with watercolor, at this point, than I will be with utilizing acrylic ink.  I have finer control with the former, stemming from greater experience.  After dealing with inking and colors, I can see where I stand in regard to using the acrylic inks as a serious art medium (as versus an experimental one).  Though, of course, that will take more experiments.

But I want to get back to color studies, specifically with the watercolors.  I also have a good deal of gouache which I think will be useful…and I have recalled the lamination film I bought just to make bookmarks.  This could keep me busy.

I think maybe I’ve been spoiled on having good-quality paints…the colors in all of my paints are just seriously vibrant.  Possibly moreso, than my pencils, aquarelles, and the acrylic inks I currently have (though the last are decent — just not great).  Pencils and aquarelles are useful, don’t get me wrong — but for me the usefulness is in the portability and cleanliness.  I’m not completely certain, but I feel the chroma (color intensity) of colored pencils and aquarelles, suffers a bit in comparison to the character of paint.

I can even work with heavy-body acrylics, on canvas — I have canvas pads which are a very forgiving surface for experimentation, even though they warp with water.  I could then cut apart a composition and layer different elements together.

Not to mention that I’ve nearly entirely lost the linocutting thread that I had at the beginning of Summer.  I want to get back to that.

I’m not too hot on either of the character drawings I did a little bit ago…which is as good a reason as any to experiment on them.  I may not be planning on working on my story, but I can still play with drawings.  (I’ve also realized that I’ve hit the *ahem* “Precious Point,” I guess I’ll call it, which has stalled me out on working on either of them; a.k.a., “I don’t want to ruin it!”)

At some point, though, an image either has to develop or it has to be abandoned or finished…there’s not much point to freezing for an indefinite amount of time, until — until what, until my skills or “vision” get better? — which won’t happen if I don’t push myself to gain the experience of working through this.  The alternative is stunted growth, fear, and a bunch of half-finished (or barely-begun) drawings.

I’ll need to have some practice at drawing, inking, and coloring, in order to deal with this at all in the future, as well.  So there’s really no point to giving up illustration — even if it is difficult for me to develop, in words, the story which the illustrations support.

I think I’m ready to try and get some sleep, now.  It shouldn’t be too hard…

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Having time to play with art supplies….

Last night I tried out some of the Strathmore 400-Series Mixed Media paper I bought, recently.  I was, in part, just intending to see what the new aquarelles (Supracolors, see here and here and here) looked like on top of this tinted paper, which is fairly predictable given what I’ve seen online.  But still, it is nice to see this without any photographic editing or distortion applied (some of which is inescapable, as we can see more colors than computer monitors can accurately reproduce — not to mention that I’ve heard scanners can “see” more variations in tone than human eyes recognize).

I also tried out a black Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink, using Speedball nibs.  This stuff is amazing — it goes on thick and solid black and dries quickly to a finish that I could not lift with my brush (a real brush, not a travel waterbrush) with significant application of water.

This is — in my experience — better performance than using a black (Faber-Castell) Pitt marker, which I’ve found to run under water washes, and which I’ve been told (by a former fellow student) runs even after 24 hours of drying.  (As a note, I have only experienced this with the Black pens, not the other colors.)  The Pitt markers are relatively excellent, though, so far as the depth of black ink goes.  Until I ran across the Derwent Graphik Line Painters (I’m not sure how long these will continue to be made, considering an experience I recently had), I could not find a blacker tone of black in a marker — granted that I generally have not used paint markers.

But the Bombay ink may actually surpass the Pitt black.  (I have not yet tried the other Ph. Martin’s black inks.)

The Copics and Microns are also decent, if you’re looking for fineliners — though as I said before, my Micron Graphic 1 pen did run under Supracolor laydown and wash (even when it was fine under a pure water wash).  I haven’t tried Supracolor over Bombay yet, though.  And I have also not found Copic or Micron to be as deep in tone…I did some experiments in my youth with black inks; at least in the early 2000’s, it was hard to find a good, deep black ink which would not fade or lift.  I think that at the time, I settled on black Higgins Calligraphy ink, though I can’t be absolutely sure without digging out my archives.

The only downside to the Bombay ink is that it almost immediately dries to stick to the metal nib.  Luckily, Ph. Martin’s does sell a pen cleaner (which I have yet to try; last night was all about soap, water, fingernails, and rubbing alcohol with Q-Tips (the last of which, works) — but I was using Speedball B-series (round) nibs, which are made of multiple metal layers…and I wasn’t into separating them and then trying to get them to go back to where they were before — I’ve found it relatively futile.  The bright point about the B nibs is that they glide over the paper (the tip is flattened), instead of incising it.

I have a variety of steel nibs, a lot of which I want to try again.  They are not all as pleasant to use as these, though, and I am not certain if it is because of the famed anti-rust coating (which I read, a very long time ago, needs to be burned off), or if a sharp new steel nib just rejects ink in general.  I can try again after singeing the nib I tried to use last night, but seriously…I am going to have to get a new lighter, and find the Third Hand…(a free-standing pair of jaws which can stand getting hot — I’ve used these for hard soldering/brazing, before.  Though all the nibs may need is a small flame, I’ve unintentionally softened plier jaws before by the addition of heat — even with as little as a cigarette lighter).

Back to what I began this post talking about…the Strathmore 400-Series Mixed Media paper.  This is much heavier than the paper I’ve seen sold in Canson XL Mixed Media paper pads.  The latter is 98 lb/160 grams per square meter (gsm), while the former is 184 lb/300 gsm.  My lesson on how to interpret the given weights of paper was so long ago and so de-emphasized that I know that one of these weights is relative and variable and the other is not, but I can’t remember which.

In any case, the Strathmore paper I have is very stiff and resistant to warping, almost like Bristol board (or heavier), while the Canson paper is much lighter, possibly better for everyday use — it is something which I wouldn’t feel bad about using up in experimentations or journaling.  Also, the Canson XL pad has 4x as many sheets (60) as the Strathmore pad I’ve got (a high-quality pad with 15 sheets)…though I think I saw this in a thicker pad…which I didn’t get, as I needed to try it out, first.

Strathmore Mixed Media paper, though, comes in tan and grey as well as white — which is a big reason I tried it (I have been curious about tinted paper — particularly the tan Strathmore variants which can take water-based media, since I have decided to stay away from pastels, at least for now).  In addition to watercolor pencil and ink, I also played around with the FW acrylic inks on this, last night.  I did tape the paper down, but at this point I don’t believe that was necessary.  Using tape actually may be a disadvantage with this paper, considering that the Artist’s Tape damaged the paper when it was lifted off…and I didn’t seem to need it.

Just one last note on this before I move on:  I have just found heavier Canson Mixed Media pads online — reading as 138 lb/224 gsm, still a bit lighter than the Strathmore, but decently heavier than 98 lb/160 gsm.  They just are not the ones which are sold as XL pads.  The XL ones are just the ones you’re most likely to see, if my experience is anything to go by (they often go on sale and may be some of the only inexpensive Mixed Media papers to be apparent, depending on what stores you have available).

Anyway, last night I splashed around in some acrylic inks…I do have a test paper, but it’s largely calligraphy (Japanese and English).  What I realized about the FW inks is that you don’t need to have many colors to get a pretty wide range of tints and shades.  The White tone is good for making things more opaque, though the shimmer colors will also opacify a mix (I’m pretty sure I have Sundown Magenta [a pink, sparkly ink which looks like nail polish], which hasn’t really proven all that useful, but it’s interesting to play with).

Last night I was using Flesh Tint, White, Red Earth, Marine Blue, and Purple Lake, before I began to play around with the sparkly Sundown Magenta to make shimmer teals, and started wondering what I was doing.

It is really possible to get a wide range of colors out of not so many of these inks, though.  I got a muted lilac, a muted teal, an inky violet-blue, bright teal, bright violet, pale red-leaning floral violet, a series of skin tones, and a very muted grey (the last, from Red Earth [orange overtone] plus Marine Blue [green overtone].  It looks better than it sounds, apologies for no photo!).  It’s got me wondering what would happen if I intentionally limited my palette…and what this would have looked like on a white paper, as versus a tinted one.

The colors looked relatively thinned out on the scrap of white Canson Mixed Media paper I used, but it’s very possible that this is because I was running low on ink in my palette.  I’ve noticed that the FW inks tend to get thin if only, say, a drop or two are dispensed at a time.  Coverage is great and intense for a little while, then things start to get paler with the addition of proportionally more and more water from the brush.

It needs to be decently thick — maybe like egg-yolk consistency, or a little thinner — to be able to appear brilliant.  And then the tinting strength of each ink is extremely variable, though that should go without saying for any paints or inks.  It’s just that some of these inks will run out (much) faster than others…again, a common sentiment.

With this stuff, I’m also using disposable palette sheets — I’ve already ruined one palette by letting the acrylic inks dry to a film on there…at least with the sheets (reliably white background), I know I’ll be able to tell what colors I’m mixing and what they actually look like.

If things happen the way I plan, tomorrow, I hope to get FW Flame Orange, Indigo, and Prussian Blue inks (I really want to mix decent greens, as I dislike the Emerald Green color I’ve got — and I was mistaken in assuming I had Prussian Blue.  I also want to see if Indigo is violet-leaning enough to give decent violets…I don’t think so, but it’s worth a shot).  I also should check for other B-series Speedball nibs (I have B-6, B-5 [2], B-3 [2], and B-1:  leaving B-4, B-2, and B-0).  I actually haven’t used the calligraphy Speedball nibs I got at the Japanese stationery store — but I think C-5 was the one I destroyed as I was trying to fix it.

Aside from that, I want to get a Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen Cleaner.  I’m also thinking about a decent detail watercolor brush — my favorite one is a size 3, which may still be a bit big for comic illustrations.  I’d just be looking for something tiny, sharp, and stiff — not unlike my Niji waterbrush, but not my Niji waterbrush (I wouldn’t be able to get acrylic out of there).  The great thing about this is that tiny brushes are often cheap — even really good ones.

I was also thinking about sepia ink, but at this point I think that would be overkill, especially as I still have about half a bottle left of Walnut Ink (though I’m not sure if it’s waterproof).  And copying Koko Be Good isn’t high on my list of things to do.  I’ll see if I can make things work with the acrylic inks — and check out the Bombay inks sometime after I can earn more…

One last note on process, and that is:  if I do want to make a webcomic or graphic novel (the former is preferable for a number of reasons), and I want to make it by hand and then do the assembly on the computer, it will be to my advantage to create the art larger than it has to be, and then resize it and letter it, after scanning.

This also means that I don’t have to draw the final artwork by hand, in position, and then scan it in.  I should also be able to fit in much more detail, this way.  The big thing that I might want to learn how to do, prior to this, though, is how to create what I think is a Layer Mask (in printmaking, I think this would be called a “Key”) which has all of the black components selected, so that I can scan a black-and-white copy of the linework, go on to paint the original artwork, but then also be able to overlay the outlines back on top of the scanned and colored image, in order to preserve the integrity of those lines.

Or, I could color things digitally (not what I want to do, for a number of reasons), or use (actually) transparent inks so that it isn’t an issue, at all.

Two hours to kill = art production ;)

I’m dealing with a little bit of hesitance toward putting my art online — but when would that not be the case, right?  I had a bit of a time earlier today with two hours to kill, so I — actually — did some drawing.

cracked-pot-w-3680
August 18, 2017; 1 hour study.  Supracolor II and Pentel mechanical pencil on Canson Montval paper.

I’m not sure the colors are altogether this bright in the actual paper version…??? but you get the idea.

This was done with the Supracolor II pencils on top of Canson Montval paper.  I wouldn’t call it exactly, “finished,” but this is what happened after about an hour of quiet observation and drawing.

I should actually do this more often.  I forgot how drawing from observation can get meditative.

I also forgot about the pleasure of seeing your work take form.  It wasn’t until I got to the shadows that this started to come together.

After having progressed this far (I should note that this study was done between 12:10 and 1:10 PM — if I want to duplicate the lighting), I wanted to try something else.  I wasn’t sure what, though…so I attempted to work on some illustrations, as versus doodling.

kate-3673

Right now, they’re all linework.

I can actually see where my drawings in comic style have improved, because of my two semesters in Figure Drawing.  I still have some work to do where I would be gauging the size of the skull against the size of the ribcage (I have a tendency to make the heads either too big or too small), but that doesn’t seem to be an issue in the drawing to the right.

I left all of my character drawings uncolored, with the intent of inking and coloring them later with the FW inks.

eri-w-3673

I do have some experience with drawing these two characters, though the third one on the same paper — that is, the one which was unfamiliar to me (and also the first I tackled), has been through so many revisions that I am not certain it is a great thing to post them online!

I can already see part of that image where I can obviously fix something…this is where the neck inserts into the skull…a problem I am used to.

At least, though, this gives me something to work off of, if I want to play with the acrylic inks.  I had wanted to go over these with Micron…but especially with the first character I posted above, I’m not entirely sure how to do that without obliterating the delicate and semi-spontaneous work that went into the original drawing.

I also know that it isn’t necessarily the best thing to be drawing with mechanical pencil, but I was kind of in a hurry to get out, today, and that was what I already had with me.  I’ve found Pentel leads to be pretty good where it comes to erasing, as well…next time, though, it would be good to take an actual dedicated eraser.  The Staedtler white plastic erasers are actually pretty sweet, but my stash is, again, old.  I bought a 4-pack of them I-don’t-know-how-many-years-ago, and have not run out.  I don’t know if they decay…maybe I should either sell them, give them away, or carve stamps out of them… 🙂

…or simply see if they crumble or ooze at all, at this point…

Alright, I think that’s about all I’ve got, for now.  I can look at inking these images…maybe I should do so using translucent marker paper, although that kind of defeats the purpose of having drawn them on watercolor paper…I will be able to make multiple versions, though, and see which ones I like best, before inking the final version.

And it is just an art journal, in practicality…

More archives??!

I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that, in addition to helping clean out the junk room, today, I also read 25 pages when I didn’t want to (the majority of which were read tonight, in lieu of writing, here).  At least this textbook makes sense — I can’t say as much for some of the other ones.

I think I’ve found that I really do need quiet and solitude to be able to study easily…which is hard when it’s extended periods of quiet and solitude.

At the very least…I don’t have to worry about a big assignment (or two) due by Monday:  this much is good.

Also…I was able to find and take a peek through some of the drawing pads and random character sketches I had been doing…when I was younger, let’s say:  these things go back to high school, and through my undergrad years.  At this point I’m wondering if I always did have constant mental “noise,” only it was channeled into bits of storytelling.  I used to attribute it to having such a high degree of intelligence (*cough*) that I would get bored in classes, and be able to pay attention by listening and taking notes, as I occupied myself also by drawing.

Of course, though, that was before the more serious troubles kicked in…

I’m actually kind of surprised at the level of quality I was able to get at in a lot of those sketches (it happens when one is doing it constantly and in narrative form:  meaning that there are certain emotions one is pushing oneself towards expressing), even though most of it is linework.  I seemed to have begun to progress into shading…and more realistic drawing.

I remember being intimidated around modeling faces, though (I am fairly certain I was still just working with colored pencil and watercolor at this time)…though when I put that extra effort into going deeper with my work, it showed.  I was just…really young, and scared of messing up my images with color and shading/modeling.  (tip:  you can’t progress if you’re afraid to fail.)  I hadn’t really taken any life drawing classes at the time, though, either:  I knew how to cartoon (from copying manga), but that was majorly it.

By that I mean, cartooning is ideally a form abstracted from knowing first how to draw from observation.  If you don’t know how to draw from observation, you won’t have the groundwork to create your own abstractions…and ultimately won’t know how they work.  This means that when you try to go more realistic…you won’t necessarily know where to go more realistic, or how.  It’s possible to end up using someone else’s formula for abstraction but not know why the artist emphasized and de-emphasized specific areas…and mimicking that without knowing the deeper purpose is basically…derivative art.  Which, obviously, has been a trend in certain periods in Art History.

I’m thinking…either Baroque or Rococo as versus High Renaissance, though I can’t remember the exact name of the movement (this was actually a topic of discussion in one of my old Art History classes).  What happened in this movement was that people would try to paint like the Renaissance, “Old Masters,” (though they weren’t as old, then) particularly where it came to human figures.  The Renaissance Old Masters had perfected the art of drawing humans as they were built, and they did this through extended studies of the human body and anatomy (some study was actually done on cadavers).

With regard to the later artists who mimicked them, however: these artists’ figures would be criticized as disjointed and piecemeal.  Someone’s upper arm, for example, may appear perfectly formed, just as a Michaelangelo, but the figure overall is being viewed from multiple angles at the same time (something Cubism later intentionally exploited, although Picasso, for example, could paint and draw naturalistically), and the shoulder and elbow appear to be physically dislocated.  That is, to the perfection of the parts, unity suffered; and because of that, the piece became cacophonous instead of harmonious.  Beyond that, people were trying to emulate past masters, to the detriment of their own expression.  There’s a difference between putting down roots to grow flowers and cutting off a blooming branch — or arranging cut (or silk) flowers, that is.

This is — one of the traps — that I’ve had to deal with, which isn’t as evident when one hasn’t been through a few reps of Drawing classes and been snubbed by a few Art students.  Most of my work isn’t figurative — but that’s largely because I got tired of drawing people.  And I probably got tired of drawing people because of questioning why I was doing what I was doing, losing faith in myself…and, likely, starting a new medication (which happened right before graduation, and subsequently convinced me that I could no longer easily write).

But to be frank, most of that time just after graduation is either a blur or outright missing from my current memory.

And no…I’m actually not sure that I don’t have some form of dissociation.  In any case, my life is more together than it has been for a while.

I also noticed something else, when going through my old sketchpads…which is that the paranormal stuff has been with me from nearly the beginning of the time I’ve been developing as an artist and writer.  I’m not planning to get into this deeply in this post, but it is actually notable that I’ve been dealing with concepts of ghosts and “good demons” for about as long as I’ve been writing for pleasure.

I do have a set of ideas as to why this is…and it revolves around screwed-up middle school, high school and undergrad dynamics, along with feeling silent and invisible, rejected, in pain, and comforted by things no one else could sense.

But I’ve been over that history for a good amount of my life.  The point is that this is not a new thing, and that dealing with the prospect of getting back into writing means that I’ll need to allow myself to get back to my roots…which means permitting myself to venture into territory I’ve blocked off for years.  Some of which may put me into an idiosyncratic enclave; or maybe I should say, “some of which may make me unpopular with the people who encouraged my demonization.”

Obviously, there are feelings behind this, but I doubt that here and now is the right time to get into it.

Thinking on ceramics as a realistic preferred medium?

What I’m about to get into is going to make me sound really Asian, which I sometimes get in trouble for, because I don’t look the part (I’m hapa — that is, racially, half-Asian).  I have a tendency to feel most at home in A/PI communities, though.  I’m not even sure why — maybe it’s just familiarity?  A feeling of fitting in?  Culturally, I was raised with my Japanese-American side of the family, so…well, it’s comfortable for me.  M has told me that sometimes there aren’t reasons for the things we like (I mentioned this tangent one or two posts ago).

There has been so much happening, recently, that I’m not sure where to start.  The major problem that I’ve been having is…well, 1) stress, and 2) confidentiality.  The first just makes things harder across the board; the second causes me not to express why I’m stressed…adding to the stress.  Not to mention, people around me being stressed, doesn’t help.

As regards art…I pretty much haven’t been doing anything freehand, though I have been doing a lot of observing.  I think it’s OK this way.  I do have photos to work from…though it’s difficult in the respect that I’ve never taken a digital photography class…and so I have only gut instinct and fairly minimal knowledge about composition, to work from (my Art degree is only an AA).

As regards the classwork (for the Master’s program)…I still haven’t gotten around to doing that Discussion Post that I never did.  And right now…well, it’s been a while since I read the sections in question, so the longer I wait, the more work it will be to respond.  The positive point is that I’m all caught up now, except for that.  I’m not sure if it’s worth it to go back to at this point, however, and I know I don’t want to just repeat what others have said.

Right now I’ve gotten some quiet, which has not been an easy thing to come by recently, and allows me to…well, relax a bit.  Maybe I should read or do some research or something, and see if that helps.

I could do some art, too, but…I haven’t been in that mode, for a while.  I have been thinking of taking either Ceramics or Printmaking over the summer.  Ceramics would probably be easier to access, given that I have a small college not so far from where I live, which teaches it.  The Printmaking class — the one that I know about, anyway — is at least a 45-minute trip, one way.

However, one of my friends from the Art program was in the Printmaking series, last I heard of him; and unless I’m mistaken, he did like it.  For my part, I’m more interested in the old-style manual printmaking than Digital Printmaking…although the latter seems like it’s where we’re headed.  The drawback seems to be that Digital Printmaking may emulate the style of manual printmaking…without the process or limitations of printmaking, within which the style makes sense.

I also did just see an exhibit on woodblock prints…which was inspiring, to say the least.

Ceramics, though:  I went to a tea shop recently and purchased a small porcelain tea cup…which got me thinking about three-dimensional work, again.  Ceramics would enable me to work sculpturally, and also integrate color into my designs.  There is also that element of randomness which causes …well, it helps one let go of control, a bit.  So far as I know, there is no really accurate way to tell what a glaze will look like once it’s out of the kiln; bisque firing (the first firing after the clay is formed, before the glazing) also takes a chance, as pieces can explode if there are any air bubbles within them.  If they do this, you want them to do it at the bisque phase, not the glazing phase — the latter can cause fragments of a work to stick to everything else in the kiln.

At the tea shop…this is a relatively upscale tea shop…I paid either $15 or $25 (I’m no longer sure which) for a beautiful tea cup in a common Chinese style (where it comes to shape) with a modern twist on blue glaze (or is it something else, like paint?) over white clay:  it’s a linear pattern, as versus figurative.  I don’t believe I’ve taken a picture of this, yet, though that would be something to do.

There was also a red-on-white version of the same style, but for some reason, the red stripes were somewhat in relief, as versus the blue ones, which were smooth.  Texturally, the blue-on-white was preferable to me; I just wasn’t sure, either, that the beautiful red was not cinnabar (mercuric sulfide).  The latter has been widely used as a pigment, historically — though I wouldn’t take that as an indication of safety.

What I realized, though, is that as I have gotten further into tea drinking, I have begun to collect teacups (Asian teacups, more precisely) and teapots.  And I realized this is a niche market which I both might enjoy producing for, and participating within.  One of the Japanese gift shops relatively near me has a section just for pottery; it’s also common to find these sections in Asian supermarkets.  As each piece is unique…and one only has to buy one cup for their collection…price, as a barrier, decreases in importance.  The main thing that I’m concerned about there is lead exposure (most stores don’t mark whether pieces have lead in them or not), though I think that as long as the cups or pots are not exposed to acid, it should be OK.

(And I just now have realized that I can take my skill at painting and do so on ceramics!  I don’t know why that never came to me, before!)

I did enjoy Ceramics when I took the classes in high school (I took Ceramics/Mixed Media twice, then); the main issue I had with the class is that I had untreated OCD and would wash my hands until the skin cracked (which was easy, as clay will dry out one’s skin…think of facial masques made of primarily kaolin [a transparent {or translucent?} Chinese clay], and you’ll see what I’m getting at — these masques are primarily used to treat acne and oily skin, so far as I know).

Otherwise…I picked up a book on Shin Hanga, or New Printmaking (although it’s called “New,” the art movement seems to have declined in the mid-20th century — kind of like how Modern Art was followed by Contemporary Art, but the title makes it sound cutting-edge [I suppose it was, then]), at a museum store (same museum that had the woodblock prints); it appears as though it will be very inspirational.  I passed up a book on manga to purchase this one, though.

Although I have plans, at the least, to begin Japanese language review and new practice and language acquisition during the Summer…I still can’t read most untranslated Japanese graphic novels or comics, now.  I’ve just realized that maybe this lack of content delivery may be why I am more drawn to color and Fine Arts — I mostly don’t receive any content that’s written in Japanese language.  Add this to the sparing art which constituted examples in the text I was looking at…and Shin Hanga was more exciting.

There’s also the fact that I knew a good number of the authors and manga series referenced in said book…and I don’t necessarily want to duplicate knowledge I already know.  Plus, even if I do or did want to create a graphic novel as an endpoint (which I am not sure still holds as much weight as I’ve considered it to, in the past; given my reluctance to enter into generating narratives [something I’ve mentioned before, here, I’m fairly sure]), it would be best to study what the people I admired, studied — not to study and emulate their styles.  The latter of which, by the way, seems to be a path particularly looked down upon by Western artists.  Though, I’m fairly certain that competition from Japan in the U.S. comic book industry also has something to do with it, at least when we’re dealing with people from the U.S.

I’m going to try and relax, now.  I haven’t gotten to just chill for a while, and I probably need it…

One other thing:  I have realized very recently that a lot of things considered as “crafts” had useful, utilitarian functions, at some time.  Particularly when it comes to things like basket weaving and cordmaking and papermaking and knotting…at one time, these were very useful crafts.  I did take a look into the Western Art wing of a museum recently, and found a lot of “flat art”…and I’ve been wondering about the legitimacy of the valuation stating that arts (particularly the Fine Arts) are more valuable than crafts.  What I’m beginning to think is that this might be the popular viewpoint in this era, but that is by no means an absolute and accurate reflection of reality (and in fact it may have to do with colonialism…and sexism…)

Well, the reasoning behind the valuation of Fine Art is probably something that most people don’t even consider, either…

Thinking ahead: webcomics?

Taking a brief hiatus from my color work to think on something that caught my imagination last night.  This is the concept of publishing:  specifically, a webcomic.  I had (and have) been thinking on traditional printing, but if I wanted to work in full color, the economic barriers are much lower online; and my potential audience, much higher.

Of course, though, I’m planning on becoming an Information specialist, so I don’t…think? I would have to worry much about being paid.  If I learn web coding, I can also publish this in the manner I choose.  If I printed this stuff, though, it would be a financial loss not to charge for it.  Economically speaking, it’s still a loss if I spend time on it instead of doing other things, but if it makes me happy, that’s something else.

Part of what spurred this off was having run across an old posting of my own, which reminded me of a resource I’d forgotten (now found).  It is only a few pages of notes and a false start for something that looked more like creative nonfiction than a script:  but these are enough to spark off that which I did have in mind, back then.  As a note for the future:  I really should have recorded that dream I referenced, close to the time I had it.  Making it public is better than losing it entirely.

From what I can recall, it tied in my old/first fictive story (dealing with kind “demons”) with the latter/newer one (dealing with mental illness), and a few things wandering around my head which have to do with varying notions of immortality, the paranormal, ghosts, and aliens…it’s not what it looks like, let me assure you.  (This is not the one about the ex-Buddhist warlock [that one could be really fun to write, actually], or the one focused on jewelry and environmental exploitation.)

And now, right, I’m thinking that comics publishers must need librarians, too.  The major issue is that I am now on a data organization and retrieval path, not a Special Libraries one.  But we will see what the future holds.

Ah, wait:  nah.  My current path looks hella more adapted to me specifically.  😉  I’ve actually gotten a bit distracted by this at the moment, though.  It would seem “fun” to work as a librarian for a publishing house, especially where it comes to comics, but I am guessing that those jobs are few and far between.  I’ve also read that traditional publishing is shrinking due to Web influence (not to mention self-publishing), but I can’t recall where or when I read that.

Especially because I’m more of an indy type (when it comes to my own interests)…I think…than a DC or Marvel type…and as the print commercial comics world would seem to be dominated by males (even, it seems, when the target market is female — which doesn’t…really make sense), I could foresee some challenges (not least, being called to represent “women” when I don’t consider myself a woman).  But I’ve been the first female to do a lot of things, which is probably why I needed the shelter of Library & Information Science in the first place.

I have a couple of pages of little scribbled notes here from about 2 AM last night; I’ll see what I can make out.  The first portion of it is a thumbnail for a drawing/painting which I didn’t get to work on, today (I didn’t really wake up until 2 PM, which left me with three hours of daylight).  I had been thinking of working that painting on a small tile and seeing what became of it, but I think it is better to work with the precision of watercolor, as versus acrylics, right now.  Acrylics don’t require masking, but detail can be difficult to obtain on a small scale with heavy-body paints.

Anyhow (this does relate to my notes), through the rest of this week, Blick appears to be having in-store holiday clearance sales.  I’m pretty much too sick to risk going (I’m hoping to be healed up enough not to be immediately infected by something else, by the weekend), but it did get me thinking on what I might try out if I could.

At the beginning of last night’s “trying to go to sleep” stint, I was trying to figure out how to do layout without resorting to my Wacom.  There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just old and kind of awkward to use (where do I put this when I’m not using it?), and without Adobe Illustrator or another vector-drawing program (or maybe the Pen tool in Photoshop CC, which isn’t available in Elements), its uses are limited where it comes to comic production (scribbling in color fills on Photoshop is less than ideal, though I wouldn’t know about this unless I had been exposed to Layer Masking some years ago).

At some point I did realize that I could outline a selection, then use Paste Into Selection in order to insert a scanned drawing into a page that I could later publish, maybe as a .PDF.  Thus, there is no need for me to make a completed page, then scan it in and only do cleanup on it.  So long as I have a template or rough draft of what I want, and keep the images I’m inserting to the right ratio, I should be able to scale and insert the image, and assemble the page using software.  This basically negates the need for a translucent painting foundation like Yupo (of which I had been thinking about getting a tiny pad [should it exist] to try out).

Basically, last night I was trying to figure out how to transfer knowledge of a finished layout from my layout paper over to Bristol board or hot-press watercolor paper for coloring, in some way so that I wouldn’t be drawing the same thing three times:  one rough, one on Layout paper for inking, one which would allow water-based coloring media (though the same is possible by scanning the lineart and then adding color at 100% transparency on the computer).  Yupo would solve this problem by being the paper used both for inking and for coloring (there is a translucent variety), but it’s pretty expensive.  I also don’t know if the inks will stay put on it.

LOW-TECH, BABY.  😉  Well, kind of…?  Not really.  Yupo is polypropylene.

I probably should have marked the time that I realized that I didn’t have to pre-assemble the images, but I didn’t.  😉  In any case, I can create the images separately, even if on Yupo (allowing for disastrous failure) and then assemble them on the computer.  This method also allows for higher-resolution scans, though I’ve experienced my last instance of Photoshop (not the current one…yet) to be a bit irregular where it comes to what resolution anything is kept when imported into a new file.

I should also consider utilizing my Wacom with Creative Cloud services…(or saving money for a newer Wacom, with Creative Cloud services.  The biggest issue for me is whether they will stop billing me when I tell them to stop billing me, and what I can do if they don’t.)

I am also in the process of realizing that there are a number of possible visual formats one could utilize to publish a webcomic, and at the moment, I’m not sure which is best — or which will utilize the least amount of programming knowledge!  Today I started looking through the Reader here for examples, and found a really nice webcomic, Brainchild by Suzanne Geary.  It seems to fall in line with something I would like, at least aesthetically (I haven’t gotten the chance to read much of it, yet, so the story is a bit beyond me at the moment).

The largest issue I can see with web publishing is the scale factor:  how to make sure that the text in my images is actually of a size that is readable, and that the images are actually large enough to appreciate, even on a tablet.  It isn’t so much of an issue when part of an image is given and then the reader scrolls down to get the rest of the panels, but putting a complete page onto a computer screen…may be different.  It would also be different if I designed the pages to be able to be printed and bound, as versus simply read online…which, I’ve gotta say, at this point I’m leaning against, if only because it will make it more difficult to rip off.  😉

Well, yes and no.  🙂  Not only will it make it more difficult to print, it will be vastly easier for me to produce.  ^_^;;  (Yes, I have indeed tried to use bleeds and gutters…the post-print binding and trimming of which, is probably the biggest pain about any of this.)

Gah.  I’ve got to find some way to learn to code…

88 hours to go…ganbarou! (i.e. strive!)

Yes…I am tired.  Even after going to bed at 6:30 PM last night and waking after 12 PM today (though I don’t think I really got up until 2 PM).  I’m fairly certain that it’s a combination of the weather, and my immune system working hard to fight something off.  (Maybe putting on my glasses will help with the burning eyes…)

In any case, I spent the waking time today which was not spent on eating (or, minorly, laundry), working on our Group Project, due in…four days.  I have a quiz, but that will be OK.  I also have three papers, one of which is almost finished.  Everything — including the new Discussion topic — is due in four days.

What’s really irritating is that two of the papers, plus the Discussion topic, are for the same class:  the class which I am really disliking, at this point.  I’m going to try not to let that irritate me more, but it’s worth noting.  I guess I can complain about it more after I get the stuff turned in, because working myself up into anger prior to that is just going to make it harder to get the essays done.

In any case, right now it is slightly after 10 PM where I’m at, meaning I have about 88 free hours to get everything done–!!!  Though I’ll probably be asleep for half of those.  I’m hoping that the work I put in for the group today will be adequate enough so I don’t look like I’m slacking.  The good part is that the rest of the group has also begun work on the project.

I should finish up my Interview Paper first thing tomorrow, start on my Competency paper, and start on my Privacy paper.  I can also work on my second Quiz, which looks easy enough.  Actually, maybe I should take a look at the Quiz, tonight, and see what I have to look up on my own.  The course evaluations can wait until last-minute; I don’t mind not getting the bonus for turning them all in, on time.

The other thing I need to do is find a Patron Conduct Policy — oh nevermind, just did that.  🙂

See?!  It’s not so hard!

In any case, I’ve taken one of my two upcoming work days off, which should give me a little extra breathing room.

And either on the 12th or the 13th, you bet I’m going out there to get my new pens!  I’ve been looking at my notebooks and have decided that 8.5″x11″ or slightly smaller (to trim bleeds) is good enough for a comic book.  I actually have (or had) one that is around that size (called “The Generator” [knowing the title apparently does squat for looking it up on Google because of all the “comix generators”]; it was published as half of a “making comics” book), but I’m not sure exactly where it is, at the moment.  Maybe I gave it away?  That one was all in black and white, though…hm.

Maybe I should take a trip to the comic store, too…or at least take a look in the Graphic Novel section for adults, at my library…or — ha! — in the Graphic Novel sections of the nearest glut of libraries around me…

I should use them more if I work at them, yes…?