Saturday, November 27, 2010

SNitLoE Car Trouble

Here's a pinup I did for my friend Turhan Sarwar when he won contest I was having over at Savage Nobles in the Land of Enchantment. After I sent him this black and white image:

I decided to color it, with the following result:

Even though I'm generally pretty pleased with how it came out, I still suffer from that oh-so-common cartoonist regret: that the finished drawing never achieves the wonderful, spontaneous dynamism of the original 2"x3" pencil-scrawled thumnail:

(when I am thumnailing pages for the main comic, I routinely indicate the character Kafir with nothing but two angry rectangles (his glasses) and a black oval (his perpetually yelling mouth.) Jeff Smith said he designed "Phoney Bone" as a child to be a character with a telephone receiver for a head so that it always looked like he was yelling - which was appropriate, because in Bone, Phoney always is yelling. I think I might have pulled a Jeff Smith.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Religious "Auto-Bio" Comic

The theme for December's issue of Stumptown Underground is "Religion & Spirituality." Though I have spilled a fair amount of ink in my graphic novel so far regarding these topics (and will spill even more before it's done), a lot of SNitLoE's religious material is theoretical commentary told through allegorical characters. But for this little comic, I decided to do something unusual (for me) and write more in the Stumptown spirit of revelatory auto-bio. And if other zinesters and comic artists can write so frankly about their intimate experiences with family, sex, food, having sex with food, eating their families, etc., then I can certainly tell a little story about my own faith.

Hopefully that speaks for itself, but I feel I should add one thing: This comic is very unfair to St. Teresa of Avila, who was definitely experienced in painful doubt and "the long dark night of the soul" (an expression, incidentally, which comes from the title of a poem by another 16th-century Spaniard, St. John of the Cross.) Really, the whole "the past = faith; modernity = doubt" shtick is incredibly disingenuous on my part, as I know very well it's not that simple at all. As usual, I think it's Slavoj Zizek who sums it best in this short video:

I quoted Mother Teresa's anxious letter, but I might just as well have quoted the earlier Teresa, who wrote:

"As to the aridity you are suffering from, it seems to me our Lord is treating you like someone He considers strong: He wants to test you and see if you love Him as much at times of aridity as when He sends you consolations. I think this is a very great favor for God to show you."

Again with the aridity! The desert metaphors come fast and furious.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I know you only read this blog for the nudity

Some more life-drawing. By next week I hope to have a few actual comics to show you guys, namely my submission for Stumptown Underground's Religion & Spirituality issue and my submission for Hazel Newlevant's "Ultimate Sadness" anthology. I really need to draw my butt off this week.

I've really learned a lot recently from Michael Mattesi's excellent guide Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators, though I'm still figuring out how to put it into practice. Though I'd always though that, while you're in the studio, your life-drawing should be as "realistic" as possible, and that you should only "cartoonify" what you've learned later on, Mattesi gives the opposite recommendation: cartoon/caricature "as you go" so that you bring out the most important aspects of the model or pose. In that drawing above, I deliberately widened the trunk of the body by about 20%, just to emphasize the smug, masculine confidence of the pose. I also caricatured the face and gave him a cigarette. I think it's very interesting how you can do this and still be very faithful to what's in front of your eyes - I feel I'm only scratching the surface here. I've only just discovered Mattesi's incredible video blog and website.
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