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…?

Food and Art, eh? Two nourishing things…

Today was a little stressful, though the stress didn’t have to do with me.

I was successful in getting out of the house, to the art store, and to the produce market (though I still [–!] haven’t been able to drive, yet).  Because I have a tendency to let produce rot in the refrigerator, I paid for what I bought, this time — so the loss will be entirely mine, if these go bad.  I got one very full bag of groceries for $23.  Nice; I was expecting $30.

I’ve found that I like soba that isn’t Hakubaku brand.  I ate maybe one-and-one-third bundles of this tonight, with dinner…but I think there is too much wheat flour in it, and not enough buckwheat.  I generally like soba that is kind of rough in the mouth, with some bite to it.  What I don’t like is all the salt that’s added to a bunch of the Japanese brands (I think Hakubaku is actually Australian).

The (U.S.) Nutrition Facts label makes most of them appear really unhealthy, with extremely high sodium levels — but is this cooked, or uncooked?  I don’t remember, and my Japanese reading level isn’t high enough to read the Japanese parts of the packages.  I mean, I have barely any kanji (Chinese character) reading ability, and my last Japanese class was probably a decade and a half ago, so it’s tough.

I’m also not really dieting, so I don’t need yam added to the noodles.  (Yam is added — I’m thinking it’s yamaimo or mountain yam — as filler, to take up space in the stomach without adding calories.  Yamaimo is somewhat indigestible and passes right through the intestinal tract…it’s also made into konnyaku and shirataki, which are both diet foods, IIRC.  In English, konnyaku is called “Devil’s Tongue Jelly”.  It can be seasoned to be really tasty, but has very little nutritional value [or intrinsic flavor], to the best of my knowledge.)

So, tonight I ate well.  Maybe too well…

I prepped most of my own dinner, though D helped with boiling the spinach, and boiling some eggs for me.  It’s probably a good thing he did the eggs, because otherwise this would have been a nearly protein-free meal (I forgot the tofu at the market, because I lost my shopping list, somehow, and was primarily after fresh plant-based food).

This was, in effect, inspired by my counselor telling me to take good care of myself — which, for me, means taking some responsibility for what I eat…and that means, cooking for myself and eating fresh plant-based food.

Tonight I ended up eating most of a hothouse cucumber, in the form of quick pickles (I’ve posted about making these, before — I put too much sugar in them, again; and they do shrink down), an entire bunch of (very clean!) boiled spinach (it boils way down), 1.5 eggs, 1.33 organic soba noodle bunches with tsuyu (dipping sauce — which will go bad in three days)…and two very small Satsuma sweet potatoes.

I don’t know what was up with those sweet potatoes.  It was like they had been cooked in honey, but all I did was roast them.  They were nearly too sweet to eat, which is strange because normally these things come into season in Winter.  They also looked like little balls, which is unusual.  Normally, Satsumas are a little long, but these were all like …pearls, or something.

And then, earlier in the day I had eaten a nectarine, and one of my peaches from the market (immediately after getting it home and finding a bruise in it — I don’t like deflated stone fruit, which is where this one was going if I let it sit in the refrigerator).

We’ll see how my digestive system fares, tomorrow.  I feel mostly OK now, though I think the soba expanded a bit in my stomach.  I kind of want dessert, but I am not entirely sure where that urge is coming from.  I normally don’t eat dessert.

And no, I have no idea of the calorie count of what I just ate…though I don’t expect it to be high.

M says that the stone fruits only last about four days in the refrigerator before they go bad…which was a good thing to ask, before getting any.  I think I have two white nectarines and two flat yellow peaches left.  (I will try not to laugh about the flat peaches; we sometimes jokingly call them “donut peaches”.)  Then there are eight apples (everyone eats these), four bananas, two pears, three mangoes.  I think one of the last is a Tommy Atkins, and the other two are Manila…the last two Tommy Atkins I ate, though, were really fibrous (to the point that it was scary to cut them in my palm), which is why I got the Manilas as insurance.

And…I now have as full a collection of black Microns, black Copic Multiliners, and warm grey Copic Multiliners as I need (or more).  I went back to the store today to fill out my Copic collection…and got a pad of Smooth Bristol Board on which to play with them.  (I noticed that both the Microns and Copics were having trouble with textured paper.)  I’m not sure how the Bristol is going to fare with ink wash, though, let alone watercolor.  The alternative was going to a different store to look for hot-press Watercolor paper…which was chancy.

I may upgrade to the latter, though, if I continue to work with these things.  I do have paper good for pen-and-ink; it’s just that I have to use dry media to color it, as it warps with water.  Smooth Bristol, though:  that’s even good for my steel nibs (should I want to try and use them again), and it’s in a large enough size to retain a decent amount of detail once reduced.  I just don’t know how it’s going to fare with washes, like all the other smooth papers I have.

This does presuppose that I am going to work on a comic layout, though, which kind of requires at least a rudimentary script.  I can try and keep it simple, though there is the possibility of just going Mad Libs-like and drawing out a story visually, adding dialogue to it afterward.

Hmm.  That kind of sounds interesting…

If things go successfully…I’ll probably want to set up a light booth somewhere to photograph my plates, because I don’t have a large enough scanner to deal with the full size of the page (somewhere in the ballpark of 11″x14″, if not larger).  I can, however, take a relatively high-res image by just using my camera and then shrinking down the photo.  I can also draw out individual frames and then crop and place them in a Photoshop file, though I’m certain that InDesign skills would be useful, here.

I don’t think I’m in any shape to rush through an InDesign class right now, though…

In any case, I’ve gotten some consistent issues with lighting (particularly using natural directional light) that I’ll need to resolve before I settle on my camera as a go-to option.

 

Wonder what I can do with these skills?

I’m just trying to warm up, right now, to writing my Artist Bio for Creative Process.  It’s the last piece — before oral practice — of my presentation that I haven’t done.

Sometimes, my mind just doesn’t think in words, and so it can be difficult going from being observational and receptive, to trying to encode something for someone else to digest (especially when I haven’t touched my material for a week).  I have a feeling that oral practice may help, here, as a preliminary to writing the Bio.  Basically, what I want to put into my Bio is stuff that I don’t have time to talk about, and which is not in my Artist Statement.

I did, however…when thinking about my main question to the panel (“how can I use my skills without compromising my ethics”), realize that if I am doing this for myself, I can go in a few directions.  It’s just that not all of them are ones I see myself wanting to go in:

  1. Write and/or illustrate books for kids.  Not the best option, as I’m probably a bit too “adult” in my existence to get away with that, without controversy.
  2. Write and/or illustrate at least one graphic novel for adults.  A better option, but color printing is still expensive, and this would likely be a labor-of-love type thing.  Plus, I am quickly losing focus on monochrome, if I have not yet declared myself in the camp of color.  I may not have the funds to print things nicely (in addition to having the time and funding to write the story and create the art).
  3. Write and/or illustrate a website which can integrate text, image, sound, motion.  This is probably the cleanest option, the most convenient, least costly for a self-publisher, and the most potentially expansive; but here we are also dealing with the possibility of security vulnerabilities/exploits and limitations of technology.  (Yes, I still hate Flash.)  This means that I will need some technological expertise, either learned (as is possible in my program) or hired.
  4. Ah, almost forgot this one:  become a showing Fine Artist.  I’ve not given much thought to this, because it is easily…not anything which I can see offering much to me, except creative freedom.  This is basically my fall-back position, where I keep making art to keep myself grounded, but have lots of material collecting which I don’t have space to show (as is becoming the case).  I would basically start selling things because I might have too much, and use the funds to continue to make art.

I also have one thing I can show which …well, maybe I should consider a gift to the cosmos (lol)…I started out this post thinking of this:

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“Rose,” May 2016.  7″x10″.  Micron and watercolor on Wet Media paper.

This is the rose I posted earlier, only now it has watercolor on top of it, and has been run through Photoshop.  I did it on (Canson) Wet Media paper because I anticipated a workflow where I would be working back in with colored pencil, after the watercolor.

This is the first of my four Series images I’ve painted…if we don’t count the very first one, which now seems to fit.

What I can say is that I really want to do this one, at least, larger and on better paper.  (Or, a series of these, on larger and better paper.)  The Wet Media paper now seems thin, compared to Watercolor paper.  The work itself is also small (7″x10″) because of time limitations; smaller still when that taped border is subtracted.  I can say that Semi-B5 paper is probably…not the greatest for finished work, as versus practice or preliminary sketching (not to mention the possibility of paper degradation with a non-cotton surface).

I want to try this without hard, heavy lines, also.  I’ve thought of doing the outlining in a thin, colored, waterproof fineliner (like a Copic) so that it fades back after coloring, plus next time not doing so much hatching.  The hatching was, in effect, to give the drawing dimension if it wasn’t going to have color on top of it — which it originally (at time of submission) didn’t.

Now that I see it smaller, it does look more dimensional.  I can actually tell that I took my time, with this one.  Levels adjustments in Photoshop also make this appear more vibrant, which is part of what got me thinking about web publishing.  There are two classes which would help with this:  one, Contemporary Color.  The other, now I am thinking, may not be so much help with a web publication; but I was thinking of InDesign.

I am not entirely sure if the faded look of the original is because of the quality of my paints (I’m using almost entirely Winsor & Newton Professional range right now, as it’s what I needed for Watercolor class — even that seemed expensive at the time [well…yes, I was buying somewhere around 8-9 tubes]), or glare off of the surface of the paper into my camera.  It’s noticeable on black paper; I assume it also happens on white paper, and I just can’t see it as well.  I’ve found that photographing an image on a slanted surface (slanting in the direction of the light source) helps this, though.

I did replace that one old Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue (from 2009) with a new tube of Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue.  I used the latter, in the above.  The two paints have entirely different pigment formulations, and the newer formulation is more lightfast, meaning no ruining a good drawing with known fugitive pigments.

Okay, I think I’m up to working on that Bio, now…

Refresher…

I had a little bit of time before dinner, and took on the task of starting to go through my art archives.

There is one thing that I used to do which helped, and which I had forgotten entirely about:

3″x5″ index cards.  They’re cheap, nearly throwaway, unbound, nonarchival, can be easily carried in a case, and as such, are perfect for noncommittal thumbnails.  When I was in Intermediate Drawing, I came up with this use for them.  They’re also great for brainstorming and working with images which relate to each other, which may need to be shuffled…which, I guess, makes what I’m talking about, sequential art.

The thumbnails don’t have to fit the proportions of the card; just mark out a live area, and get to work.

I also found some material in reference to …at least two different graphic novel ideas I’d been working on, in the past.  I’m thinking that maybe, if I take on a project which isn’t intensely personal to me, I might be able to crank out a narrative and then revise it, and translate it to script.

The thought did also come to me that maybe I’m not so interested in other people’s graphic novel projects because they aren’t like the ones I’d make for myself.  My final portfolio in Intermediate Drawing was almost an art book (I bought three pads of tiny Stonehenge paper for this — I’m almost through the first one), but I gave up on the format and ended up doing large-scale drawings along with — and on top of — my text.

What I’m thinking is that I need to give myself leeway both not to write about things that are intensely personal and painful, and also not to write thinking that I’m going to write “a story.”  There’s probably too much garbage in my mind associated with, “stories,” right now.  I can try writing prose, though, or poetry.  Maybe I’ll even end up birthing a new genre or something — just, I need to get away from embracing formulaic work, because all the formula is doing is irritating and discouraging me and telling me I can’t do what I want to do.

This means I’ll need to go into uncharted territory.  It also means that if I’m successful, I’ll probably take a lot of readers by surprise.  Thirdly, it means that I might really gain a lot of freedom from boundaries, if I work on this as a ‘zine project, as versus a work which is easy to categorize or say what, exactly, it is.

This could be a really intriguing way to spend the rest of the next two or three weeks, before classes start up again.

I also did just remember something, though — and that is, not to force myself to be too serious.  I can, easily, be serious, but that doesn’t mean that I have to do it all the time, and every time I write.

The other thing I want to and need to remember is that I don’t have to make my drawings look like they’re manga-influenced.  A big part of the turnoff for me in doing sequential art is that I don’t want to work in such a way that I have a need to work quickly and make everything recognizably of the same style and drawn the same way.

I know the latter isn’t even really true of most manga I’ve run across — especially where Superdeformed characters come into play — and, I am of a generation where I became interested in sequential art largely because of the psychological depth of manga (or more appropriately, subtitled anime — I still can’t read Japanese well enough to know what’s going on in most of the manga I’ve got), which exceeded anything I’d found in English language.  However, there’s a difference between being influenced by other artists, and mimicking other artists.  The latter is something that I have never seen turn out looking authentic.

It would be interesting to work on this, though — and see where it goes.  It will give me something to work towards in the daytime, at least!

And oh, right — along with not sticking to seriousness and autobiographical tragedy — I also need to avoid sticking slavishly to reality.  It’s something I’m learning in Art, and which I was never taught in my Writing program (which basically taught us how to write “literature”).  How to mesh the text and the images will be…interesting, but if I work things out on index cards before writing, I should be able to shuffle different elements and see what I can get.