Day 65: Lightning


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.
"How?" ...
"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.

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