Sorry, made some additional changes, and I couldn’t figure out how to update the last post.
Next week’s wedding is in Chicago. Which means time to see the baby bro! He’s 30 years-old and missing his front teeth. No, he’s not a hockey player. My doppelgänger knocked them out with a beer bottle.
In the interim I’ve started drawing with blue lead. I stumbled upon the fact that they sell blue mechanical pencil lead (even on amazon)- which surprised me. The lead should be invisible to scanners if they are set to black/white. But some sources contest that point. I hope it does work, because I suspiciously believe erasing the normal lead (that scanner typically pick up) damages the ink.
More so, due to actively preparing written material to send to publishers I am tinkering with placing the graphic novel online. I would love to publish it. But it will be three years until I finish and the reality is if I can’t find a publisher it will mostly likely surface here anyways. Also most indie comic cartoonists don’t make that much money. I have a decent job and can draw in my spare time. I’m lucky I can do this. It would be great to be paid for it, but this industry is built off people who love the media and love making it- not dollar signs.
When I first began “Sacco” it was to open avenues for future illustration assignments. But now I like telling stories with images. If I get an illustration job- great! If I get a book published- even better! Nonetheless, Illustration-wise, drawing 250+ pages has definitely helped my process and placing myself on the regiment of two pages a week has really sped up my delivery time. (It used to be about two weeks for one illustration- one!)
Erin’s Wedding in Wisco this weekend. I’m still dragging my feet here- only finishing two pages in three weeks. I feel like a snail. But after this I have three weeks until the next wedding so six more pages will get done and then seven to go (or three more weeks).
Why is it still hot, New York? 92 degrees today, really? Fall hurry up!
Nervous Wreak City. I’m planning on visiting it this weekend. I heard the weather sucks there but after the week I had at my day job I might as well get hyper-critical about my drawings and buy a one-way ticket to NWC.
From my recent frolic in Central Park with my old friend Blair, I was reminded of an interview with Shane Carruth, the creator of the films Primer and Upstream Color. His first film, Primer, he made for under $7,000- but during the process of putting it together he had nervous breakdowns almost every three weeks. So much so, he came to the point of possibly scrapping what film he already had finished due to the stress.
Being an artist and working alone is hard. You are your own motivator. And unfortunately you are the last person you want to trust to keep you motivated.
My remedy for this?
It’s much easier to be like those fitness gurus who place motivational signs in front of their treadmills like “Run Fatty Run!” or “One last mile!” And that’s what I largely attempt to do.
Instead of tossing everything out I recall what Craig Thompson said at a book reading. Things become clearer perspective-wise once you finish the work- but you must finish the work first. Just imagine if Shane didn’t finish Primer, the world would have lost such a great film. So even though I don’t feel like drawing at all right now I need to look to the post-it on my computer that say: “Run Fatty Run!”
As I said before, numbers make things important.
I counted this week and I have seven weeks of work to do before I finish drawing chapter Three. I can’t believe it. (alright I can- I’ve been barely sleeping). If I can finish prior to November, which will be a stretch with a vacation weekend in Rhode Island, two weddings in the Midwest to attend, and Packer season about to begin, then I might have enough time to revise the beginning twenty pages and start the fourth chapter process before 2014.
This weekend my wife’s friend from med school is visiting, so hopefully I can disappear for a while and draw like a maniac.
My good friend from art school, Blair, visited NYC this past week. He’s easily one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. Besides the innovative work he did in college, he’s done graphic design/web work for a good size list of companies over the years and he started his own successful retail internet site (Check it out: Pillowmob.com) with a second one on the way.
The last time he was in New York we met at Angel’s Share, a speak-easy south of Union Square hidden in a Japanese restaurant. He showed me his new handshake that involved slapping his hand back and forth between the other person’s legs at about knee level. It was not a crowd-pleaser he informed me. And in practice I have come to the same conclusion.
This time we met up at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park and we did what New Yorkers typically do in the park, gawk at gypsies, take pictures of models, and jam our pockets full of free samples of cologne. I then got him a bit more drunk than he wanted to be and sent him skipping back to his wife- who probably isn’t too happy with me now.
My doppelgänger recently sent me a copy of his novel through his Kindle account. He’s been writing it in his spare time while teaching in South Korea. He wants me to send him a copy of what I have finished of Sacco. But I’m reluctant to do so. Not because I don’t want his opinion. It’s because the drawings from the first chapter are shit compared to my latest completed pages. Plus I’d like to pretend my storytelling skills have gotten better.
I mentioned this hesitation to him. He said it’s not uncommon- look at the Harry Potter books. J. K. Rowling’s craft in the first book was rougher and more jagged compared to the final installments.
He has a point. If the “ten-thousand-hour rule” is held to be true, then yes, any author should see improvement. Except novels are typed words. Their worth is contingent on if you know the language it’s printed in. A graphic novel’s worth is a bit more transparent.
Below are the first 2 pages I created in January 2009 overlapped by the 2 pages I completed inking this week (P172-173). I haven’t finished adding all the grey tones to the pages from this week. As for the 2009 pages, at that time I had just begun inking with a brush and constructing entire pages with several panels. Prior to this I normally did one-off illustrations with ink pens for freelance assignments. The 2009 pages aren’t in my final draft of Sacco. I’ve already redrawn them.
However I’m not the only illustrator/cartoonist whose style changes as their work progresses. Look at Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work from the first and sixth Scott Pilgrim book (below). There is a vast difference. Tighter lines, better form, more apparent panel edges and all his characters don’t look alike by the end of the story.