Tag Archives: drawing

Reference Material

When I was four I was immensely into tracing paper.  So much so my parents would perform this song-and-dance routine treating it as a big-ticket item burning a hole in their pocket.  But I knew it wasn’t costing them an arm and a leg as they purported it to be.  Tracing paper was cheap.  Still is.  But to their point, I’ll admit moderation wasn’t in my vocabulary.  I use to chain-trace images with barely a breath in between.  At my worst I was probably tracing two to three packs a day.  My composure towards tracing paper was that of a rabid dog- fiercely scribbling the black line paths of Casper and Scooby-doo from coloring books left stark white from an absent of crayon wax.

 

Those were my first memories of drawing and undoubtedly one of my first lessons.  That being- know what you draw.   A reliance on reference material is a common practice among illustrators and cartoonists but unfortunately misunderstood by fine artists.  In fact my stint in art school was littered with lamenting fine artists who detested references to the point that it was a religion.  The three issues not to bring up in art school were abortion, the death penalty, and using reference sources.   Personally I felt the drama was unnecessary.  Fine artists evoke inspiration from inside themselves and we, hedonistic miscreants, elicit inspiration from the carnal outside world.  No hard feelings.

 

To boot it was also a process taken lightly by art students, as I experienced first-hand in continuously harrowing critiques where a student, who plain as day spent forty-five minutes right before class haphazardly scribbling a potted sunflower on top of a corvette while a sun blared down on them from the corner of the page, tried to defend that their illustration does in fact correlate with the assignment’s subject matter- the overcrowding of America’s  prison population (to note the sun and flower did have a smile drawn on. Yes both of them).  And those that stayed on topic drew a prison cell consisting of a room with not a window in sight and an inmate holding bars shooting from floor to ceiling with no apparent door built into them.  Both of these individuals drew based on their internal interpretation of a prison cell (or smiling sunflowers- which don’t exist) and not from an actual prison setting.

 

To illustrate this point, below on the left is a horse drawing done by memory.  And next to it is a drawing I did of a horse  with references to aid me.  I know it’s tough to say which horse is better, but if you are the art director at Horse Illustrated and you’re hiring someone to draw you a horse for next month’s issue…..

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Snow, Snow, Snow

Every few days it dumps snow all over New York and it seems never ending. The snow is okay.  The part I hate are the pedestrians.  They turn into idiots when that sidewalk gets slick.  Plus their cellphones are still glued to their eyes.  Personal safety, schmersonal safety.

 

I’m still tinkering with elements of this site.  I am having trouble making images larger so I haven’t posted any more pages for Sacco.  But soon……

 

I’m currently  re-drawing certain pages from chapter one and two.  I’d like to focus strictly on the next chapter but when asked to see what I have done I don’t want to show pages I know I will edit.

 

I finally received the 30 page sampler to send to publishers.  Here’s a few pics I took.

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Chapter 4 -back on the horse

This past weekend I began drawing chapter four.   If I have calculated it right- I should finish it next December.   However during the down time between chapter three and four I’ve been prepping documents to send to publishers.  I found Ka-Blam.com, an online printer, and had them print the first twenty pages of the book for me as a test run. What they produced far surpassed my expectations.

 

In addition I’ve been attempting to build this website (the one you’re on now) which has been one huge headache.  I do not know why the wordpress program would be built as wonky as it is or why they have it be the farthest thing from being user friendly- but it is.  And for some reason a large amount of people use it.  It’s the One Direction of web programs.

 

If the people who made wordpress blog’s were pre-teen girls.

 

 

Oh! Also I’ve become addicted to two comic books: Saga and Stray Bullets.  Saga most people have heard of and they recently went on hiatus from their third story arc. (They release 6 issues, break, release 6 more issues, break, etc- it’s sort of their thing).

 

Stray Bullets is a DIY comic from the 90’s that is getting a fresh start thanks to Image.  If you read comics on any digital device you can download the original first four issues for free from Amazon or Comixology and get hooked yourself.

 

 

Oh and if you like Saga, check out Panelsyndicate.com for an online only comic written by BK Vaughn.  The site has a pay-what-you-can motto so if you want a free taste- do so.  And then throw them a few bucks.

 

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P 190- meet up with aspiring comic book creators

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         I decided to go to a meeting for aspiring comic book creators in NYC.  I agreed to it and then forced myself not to think about it.  Meeting new people is difficult.  Throw in the fact you’re opening up about something close to you, something you’ve placed a lot of work into and it can be a bit nerve-racking.  If I pulled anything away from my art school critique experiences its that  the usual annoying personalities will be there-but hoped a few good eggs show up too.

 

I was not disappointed to see both groups well represented.

 

One guy, a screenwriter and not an artist, (maybe he misread the description of the group) was putting together “high concept” storylines (his words) that would instantly sell.  He just needed to find financing for the projects.   For example basketball players abducted by aliens to fight an intergalactic war- totally high concept right (not sure what that phrase means)?  After looking at my work he attempted to recruit me to draw storyboards and when I told him my graphic novel (not a screenplay) involved a school shooting he informed me it wasn’t high concept enough.  Hollywood would never pick it up.  I wanted to ask him if I needed more aliens (I’ve drawn several basketball players in “Sacco” already- so I had that base covered).

 

I also met two guys that were in the beginning stages of their graphic novels.  One was a writer and had a friend who was handling the artwork.  The story-line was dark and the art matched it perfectly.  The other person didn’t bring any material but could articulate his plot with great clarity and made his idea sound intriguing and not a simple one line blurb.

 

The screenwriter panned their ideas as low concept also.

P184-187: Cleavage rocks!

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               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!)