Monday, August 29, 2011

The Creative Mind at Work

...or perhaps at mid-stall, depending on how you look at things.
I just wanted to show what my art desk looks like about once every 2 weeks before I go insane and clean it off... NOW with shiny, happy labels to document everything on there!
I'm sorta hoping this proves to people I really am doing work... I mean, if I can be in the middle of THAT many projects....right?

I hope to have this littered with sketches and character studies in the upcoming months. My brain has finally released the poor Muse in charge of the written word in my head and the rest of the story line for the 1st story arc is pouring in to my head with the ferocity of.... a lot of stuff pouring very fast. I am thrilled, because now I can begin to focus on research again on what I know I don't know... and watch police crime dramas. No seriously. THIS IS FOR RESEARCH PEOPLE.
I love my second job. ^_^

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Fine Frenemy You Are...

Things are moving along, if for no other reason than sheer force of will fueled by adrenaline that seeps out every time I have a panic attack thinking about what I'm about to do.
Mostly I keep thinking WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING TRYING THIS?!?! and then I realize... well... I'm trying to do something I love. And that calms my nerves for a bit. But then I remember that I'm the only one running this sideshow, and my heart skips a few beats faster and I start to think about getting behind deadlines I haven't even set for myself yet and and and.....
Last night I bought the website. I'm trying to negotiate with some of my many lovely coding friends to create something for me to use. The last time I tried to do this, husband dear did a lovely job putting together something for the Zombie Nation comic. But I simply cannot put him through that again. We'll see what I can wrangle. I know some pretty awesome people, after all.
It has become more important as of late to work on scripting (first iteration's story arc MUST be done in 8 days... no pressure) as I wanted to have 20 pages drawn, with 5-10 to upload immediately for the purpose of establishing the story. I finally sat down, looked at a calendar, and decided that would be November 1st. So as of November 1st, I want to have 20 pages ready to go. I keep saying 30, but really if I have 20 ready to go I'll be more than thrilled with the whole thing. The struggle will be to keep that 5-week lead going and churning more out to cover for when I do things like go to convention season, something I'm planning on doing (at least one or two, to see what they're like and teach myself the ropes)
It truly has become like a second job, and while I love it, it is most certainly stressful. I have to script, read up about police procedures because THE FIRST THING in my comic involves a crime scene, and go through and practice on everything I'm discovering I have serious problems with. Profiles for one. Keeping faces looking the same no matter what angle the head is tilted at. You know, important things that make or break the art on a story. Nothing big.
I've got my fingers crossed and my hopes up. So far things are going along slowly but surely and I am watching myself commit the wonder of Improved Learning Under Time Constraints that has saved me on several occasions.
I've decided I'll only be releasing pages Tuesday and Friday, giving me a minimum of 3 days to work on each page. If I have the script done, if I have the pencils down and if I have the ink ready to go, then it will all fall in to place. I just have to keep working at all of this and forgive myself for the learning bumps ahead.
On that note, I am starving and there are sour cream and onion chips downstairs. I claim them for Spain. Or, well, for me really.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Actual Conversation #99 - Wherein Kissin' Cousins are discussed

(For any of you that have actually seen Superman/Batman Apocalypse, this rides on the heels of my watching that last week...)

Me: It was just inappropriate! Kara-El is in bed in a little nightgown and Superman is sitting there on the bed looking down at her lovingly... then she reaches up and caresses his face cuz he's hurt! And it wasn't a little caress, it was like... sex face! You can't do that! He's your COUSIN! THIS IS NOT ALABAMA!
Bob: Well, maybe on Krypton that kind of thing is okay....
Me; They were on THEMYSCIRA.
Bob: *pauses* ....was it Southern Themyscira?


As of late I have been ingesting what one might see as a high level of comics and cartoons in the vein of DC, Marvel and other graphic novel makers. I have read I don't know how many disjointed Wonder Woman story lines I now have in my head, and the Ultimate Avengers have strangely fascinated me yet pissed me off in their rendition of story. I'm now up to date on the in-universe origin story of Firestar, and I'm well aware that Batman started out not as an ass-kicking crime fighter but as a detective. The boy wonder was not in original danger because he was there for sleuthing, not pwning.
I have consumed news about the comics industry (including that stupid fiasco about there not being enough women working on the Batgirl thing. Or the relaunch thing. Or whatever it all is. Like I said, I've read a LOT of stuff and I'm not really retaining it at this point.) and with SDCC having just occured along with ChicagoCon on its tail, there has been a LOT of news to digest.
Needless to say, I sorta hit my overload point on the way home today with my husband. I sort of, how shall we say? Exploderated. Badly.
Let it be stated here that I have never claimed to be, nor will I ever be so foolish in teh future as to make the claim, that I am any sort of expert on the subject of comics. Yours truly for years only read Cry for Dawn, Death and Sandman. There was a touch of Lady Death and Spawn followed by some hard core time with Witchblade and the Darkness, but for the most part I have not been privy to the voracity with which people bark about Marvel vs. DC, nor have I taken up in their camps. I simply don't know enough. I didn't really grow up with these things the way others had, and I understand I'm at a loss. To look at the tangle of story lines, cross-overs, offshoots and ret-cons I know that I will never EVER EVER EVER have a full grasp of any universe out there.
Pretty much I just know I love Iron Man, Wonderwoman, Batman and Firestar. Death is my hero. And if I ever get skinny enough, I am going to cosplay the ever-livin' hell out of Dawn. That's good enough for me.
Which is why, when I suddenly launched in to a conversation about all the inconsistencies I saw in the Avengers cartoons I'd been watching, that the floodgates spilled forth and I spent 30 minutes just ranting and spewing out inconsistencies and strangeness that I had come across in the past 3 weeks. 30 minutes. My voice rose, and is, in fact, still sore from me complaining about a particular panel where Wonderwoman from Earth 1 is at home with Wonderwoman from Earth 2, and they're both in their Amazonian steel-boned bustiers complete with magic lasso seated around a dinner table consuming meatloaf. I got shrill, in fact. Because it was ridiculous and I was simply unable to get past it. (I actually closed the comic and stashed it, so great was my loss of belief in the story line. Over meatloaf.)
When I was done and my husband looked at me with concern and said "Okay, so do you need to take a break?" that I realized.... yeah, I probably did. In my usual fervor to try and intake as much information as possible, to make up for that learning curve that others half my age had already danced through and mastered on my new chosen love and art form, I was making it No Fun. Or rather, I was simply overloading my brain, and because I felt like there was no outlet to discuss this, it had begun to crumple for lack of an outlet to bounce thoughts off of.
Thank the many gods for spouses, because he sat and listened. Then he listened to me apologize for venting. Then he listened to me talk about how there's nobody to talk with this stuff about. And he was supportive and kind and told me I could talk to him any time about all of this.
Suddenly I felt like I could move on from all of this and start fresh with a second round of reading and learning. AFter all, I'd made the mistake of actually ~reading~ the stories instead of using them for what I'd snagged them for... examples of pacing, foreshortening, language, perspective, etc. I had not taken from them what I disliked and tried to figure out how to do it better (as I will not be limited by 32 pages, or "editions"), I'd just jumped right on to the "WTF IS WITH THIS? THIS IS STUPID!? mode of thinking and not let go.
Seriously. Meatloaf in a comic book and seeing winged faeries in Alfheim on TV. It brought me to utmost distraction. It's almost embarrassing, really.
So I'm done trying to do the meta-learning thing and simply figure out what ~I~ want to do with things... my current stack of resource material is unnaturally predisposed to the DC way of telling a story anyway, and it's my goal to develop my own flow through this.
It's funny that in the first few weeks of this, I very nearly killed it dead by over-consumption of it. I didn't leave space to study as I'd planned. Now that I can see this, I can go in a bit wiser and learn more. Perhaps even this is something initially that has to happen to anybody that gets in to this stuff. Who knows, but it's done now.
I am now looking at my Wonderwoman comics, #600-613, currently unread, and thought I know I woud probably enjoy the story line I am not touching them. I don't want to get pissed off by the reboot or the costume change or any of that. Instead, I am going to pick randomly from the stack and learn to draw Wonderwoman's iconic eyes. I will pull out my other material and learn to draw male jawlines and hairstyles, and finally really see how a suit falls across a man's shoulders properly.
And I absolutely, positively, will not get pissed off if Wonderwoman decides to eat dinner dressed in her bustier and magic lasso again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

People on the Internet are Assholes and Other Things I Should Really Know By Now

A very important thing happened today, one of those moments where I get smacked upside the head by my own brain. Because I absolutely KNEW this was going to happen and I did it anyway.
It is an ongoing battle between my fear of what I can do and what I will come up against that I finally ~cannot~ do, and my desire to create things. I have, in truth, wanted to create comics ever since I was 7. I'm not sure what made me decide, but I'm pretty sure it was spurred on by Linda Carter as Wonder Woman and Saturday Morning cartoons with Firestar and the Spidey Friends.
I'd attempted it once before and loved the wrinkled, balding, toothless bastard child I gave birth to that showed me all of the things I needed to learned - my beloved Zombie Nation, which I might redraw and go back to some day if I were paid to do such things. But for now it was a lovely experiment that taught me I have an innate love for telling -and drawing- a good story that I can share with others. On some level I want that intimacy and freedom to project a part of myself and my creativity out in to the world and have it be received and run with by others. There's nothing like it.
So it was with immense trepidation that I began to work on a new comic... although comic is not exactly appropriate as there's the undercurrent of something amusing. So for now we're saying "graphic novel" and hoping it doesn't come across as trying to be an artiste.
It actually looks as if I might be able to pull this off. I might've learned enough about pacing, angles, visual clues and whatnot to tell a decent story. And when I realized that all it might take is a ton of practice and I could do it this time around, well.... I got a little excited.
And then I did the dumbest thing EVAR and posted my excitement to the internet.
I post a lot and my friends generally pick and choose what of my babblations they are interested in to respond to. I'm in to many varied things, so there's a little for everybody. But then there's the people who are friends with me and only ever make negative comments, or who basically ignore and don't interact until they see an opportunity to point out when someone is Wrong On The Internet.
And this happened. I posted what I was planning, and somebody snarked me. The ONLY response to my excitement, in fact, was this snark.
The entire thing has since been deleted because I don't want it in there. I am an unnaturally sensitive creature despite this fantastic overlay of brusqueness I have cultured. Was it cowardly? Does it make me thin skinned? I don't know. It's already done. That is not the important thing that happened in all of this, so I'm done devoting thought to it.
What I realized was twofold; the first is that people on the internet are assholes. My husband looked at me incredulously when I told him what happened and used those very words, as if he could not believe I was caught off guard or surprised at the thing. And he's right. When you throw an idea out to a large group of mixed people, SOMEONE is going to say something. A few may even dogpile it and slam it to the ground. It is the nature of not having to look someone in the face when you comment, and it is the nature of incomplete communication and understanding. I have lived this so many times it makes my teeth hurt, and I should've known better.
The second is that it is VERY important early on in the birthing process of an idea, a project, anything being created, to keep it close to one's chest. It's very fragile and needs nurturing and light and hope to grow. It will never get that if you leave it out for the general public to trod upon. Ideas are ephemeral beasts even when fully formed and able to stand on their own. A newborn idea may never have a chance.
In the end I realized that this individual, soon to be unfriended on the Facebookz, had done me an amazing public service. They had reminded me that my energy should be inward facing right now, working on this project that I want so badly to create. Talking about it, sharing it, dissipates the creative energy in this intangible way that I've seen over the years. A quick snark and all of this knowledge came back to me in sharp focus, as if the Universe were saying "Look, if you want this to succeed mebbe you keep your mouth shut for now."
I am a believer that all interactions can be learned from, it is only the capacity of the individual in the situation to do the learning that shapes or limits it. It may have started negative, but what this person does not realize is that their boot stomp just made me twice as determined to finish them. I am grateful for the lesson, and I am moving on. There's too much to do now to dwell.