Look, stirrings of life!
I'm not back, but I can promise some irregular updates now and again.
Here's a little bit of something from my garden - a yellow swallowtail stopped by for a snack on its travels. I was enchanted enough to grab the good camera and try my hand at a photo or two.
Taken with Sony Cybershot DSC-H7, retouched in Adobe Photoshop
Look, stirrings of life!
I thought I was all settled in, ready to get back to this, but things have gone haywire for me in ways I am not comfortable discussing here. Other than that, moving is hell, and redesigning a usable workspace is a nightmare.
So, I'm probably going to continue hiating (is that even a word?), until such time as I can take some time out from other things and at least scan some older works to post.Expect weekly updates for now, and then I'll get back on schedule.
the overworked management
Posted by BMT at 2:31 PM
Here's a montage of my process in figuring out a nice signable logo/sigil. I got married to my husband 3 years ago and hadn't stopped signing my work with my maiden name or plain print initials. It struck me a kind of stupid, since my work isn't well known enough for me to cling to a name I've always found awkward to sign.
So I started doodling. I went through more literal letterforms with accent strokes, realized it felt too fluffy to do that, I wanted something easier, more efficient than what I'd been working with before. I didn't want clunky, forced and stylized, I wanted clean and simple. I played with combining letter forms into a little picture, and the five-stroke owl emerged.
I can even have him "stand" on the date, if I choose. And, it was a simple jump from the pen-stroke owl to a more formal version I can use for vector graphics if I want to sign those.
So, there's my owl.
postcard sunset view, doodled in my sketchbook for fun and played with in Paint Shop Pro.
Feet (2007) Pencil sketch
Study of my son (2007) Pencil sketch
There, we're all caught up. it's all quickie art, sketch book harvesting, but I wanted to get caught up, even if nobody reads this. Personal commitment and all that.
If you are trying to figure out your style, or where your style is going, draw. Draw what you see. Cartoon it, or draw from life. The first one up there is a cartoon sunset. the feet and the boy are drawn from life, but the boy is still a little stylized, a little not-true, just enough to be real at first glance.
That's my blather for the day.
Lightning (1995 or 1996) Technical pen and sharpie over pencil on paper. Cut out and collaged onto black bristol.
This is really more of a draft than anything. I never really finished it, because my heart really wasn't in it.
There are clear problems with the anatomy, especially in her feet and legs. I was concentrating on the head and arms, so the legs were just kind of afterthoughts. I'm looking at reworking her, too.
I was working on this, or some other random sketch around the same time, during slow patches while waiting for customers to come to the register at the comc shop I worked in. A guy I recognized form conventions came to the register, I rang him up, and he noticed my work.
"That's really good. Do you take commissions? I'll pay you ten bucks for drawing."
"Depends. What of?"
"Joan of Arc."
"In battle? Or on trial?" I know where the drama is in the story, so I figure those are the two most likely requested vignettes.
"At the stake." Okay, ew, but that's dramatic, too.
"Uh, okay, come back tomorrow and I show you a rough. Something like that I can't work on at work. Rory's not paying me to draw for you."
I work up compositions on the bus home, do a real rough with recognizable people in it at home, and bring it in to work the next day. She's standing at the stake, defiant, brave, etc. Some scumbag is leaning in to light the fire, there's nebulous crowd at the back, clouds in the sky. It's still mostly just blocked in, though.
Guy comes back, looks at the sketch, and says "That's not what I want. Can you change it?"
I don't even want to ask, but ten bucks would have bought me two meals back then.
"Okay, how do you want it changed?"
Smiling, he says, "Can the fire be lit?" EW! But, yeah, MORE dramatic...
"Okay, come back later. Like I said I can't work on this here."
I change it. There's flames, scumbag has moved back away from the heat, I've drawn in outlines of smoke. She's still defiant.
He comes back, a day or two later, asks to see it. I show it to him while ringing him up.
He says, "Uh, can you change it again?" Inwardly I am beginning to have alarms go off.
"Oh, can you make her naked, like the dress had burned off and on fire and dying and (pauses) liking it? Like she's ... giving in? Enjoying it? Oh, and make the ropes more obvious, like across her front." My lizard brian is running in circles of disgust and anger (ewewGRRRewewewGRRRewewew...), but I just give him a blank stare. Someone gets in line behind him.
"NO. Keep your ten bucks. I don't do snuff pictures. You'll have to find someone else to do it. Maybe at a con? NEXT!"
"Please? I really wnat it, I know you can do it."
"No. There's a line. I'm working here." And, fortunately, someone came over and asked him to move so I could do my job.
That whole experience really creeped me out in a deep, deep way.
In light of recent turns in the industry, I'm creeped out even more. This is apparently the new target audience for comics. And he wanted me to, essentially, take this and make it into this. And they've given him, and everyone like him, what he wanted.
I wrote earlier today, when submitting a link to today's art:
I struggled with posting it. I had to get angry enough over something to even put that picture out there. I have to say that I'm afraid of the backlash, that I might never get a creative job again, etc.
But, if it puts another voice on the side of the WTF? Maybe it's worth it.
And, reading that, when the reply came back to me, I had a chilling realization.
I've become afraid of my own darkness. My own sense of humor, which I thoroughly enjoy, my old attitude of "fuck 'em if they can't take my opinion," all of that has become a source of ... shame. Of fear. That's not right. What happened?
I think it speaks a lot to the state of our culture that, in order to become socially okay, to not have our kids taken away, to not be discriminated against, or be threatened in other ways, women (and minorities, and queer people) have to allow our independent spirits, our very souls to be crushed. In the name of adaptability, acceptability, peace. We compromised ourselves into corners. Well, I know I did. I'm certainly not alone.
That, right there, is what's wrong with the whole objectification of women in comics problem. It plays right into that. It helps create that atmosphere that causes the give-in-or-give-up mentality. Why do we have to be the ones who compromise?
I'm done with that. I quit. Things are going to get a little darker around here, maybe a little grittier. My style won't be different, really, but you'll see more of those pieces I've been sitting on.
Because I was afraid to show them.
I'll mark them as mature or offensive, but I won't hide them.