Thursday, October 30, 2008

But I Don't Want to Mess it Up!


A lot of people have sketchbooks and journals that sit on the shelf unused. I was looking at cartoonist Cedric Hohnstadt's website and was interested to see what he had to say about keeping a sketchbook.

A sketchbook is an important part of any artist’s development, no matter how busy or successful he/she gets. The sketchbook is the one place where you can really let loose, try new things, experiment, and (most importantly) make lots and lots of bad drawings.

When I say “bad drawings” I don’t mean getting lazy or not caring about your work. I mean bad in a good way. For most artists the temptation is to try and fill your sketchbook with beautiful artwork, but that can be a mistake. If your drawings are all wonderful, it means you are only drawing things you’ve already mastered. And that means you aren’t improving, growing, and pushing yourself to get better. It just means you are going back and forth along a well-worn rut. The day you stop doing bad drawings is the day you stop challenging yourself, and as a result you stop growing and improving.

I can identify with a lot of what he's saying. Sometimes I'm afraid to touch my sketchbook for fear of not making a pretty drawing, but that's exactly the point of keeping one. That's why when I saw this journal, I laughed out loud and bought it. Now I'm busy destroying it.


Each page is a prompt with some very unusual assignments. The author describes why she made this book:

This book was created for anyone who has ever had trouble starting/keeping or finishing a journal/sketchbook. By forcing ourselves to wreck it on purpose, the “journal as an object” loses it’s preciousness, and allows us the feeling of completion. This book was created for every person who has looked at other artist’s journals and said, “I wish I could do that. I’ve started dozens of them but didn’t stick with it.” or, “But the journal itself is so beautiful, I don’t want to wreck it with my ideas/handwriting/drawings.” Or, “I feel pressured to write something good.”

In this book good does not exist. The goal is to fill it up, to shift your perception of the blank page and the journal itself into a place for experimentation. Into a place where you just get stuff out onto the page. A place to start working against your better judgment. To do those things you were taught to never do (make a mess, destroy, fold down pages, write in books, play with dirt). This book IS the place.

Each page of Wreck This Journal is filled with prompts telling you how to systematically ‘destroy’ the entire book.

Keri Smith's website shows images that those who bought the book have sent to her. They show that in the process of wrecking the journal, some beautiful pages have been created -- and many have found a creative outlet in their lives.




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drawing to Learn






If I have to learn something, I learn best by drawing. The sketches from this post are from one of my old notebooks. I was taking a class called Greek Art and Mythology. As I read the textbook, I knew I would have to write essays about certain works of art. To prepare for writing the essays, I made drawings of them and notes from the text. For me this helped me understand the artwork inside and out. Then I could write.

Comics by Kids -- Super Winnie


I love to see the comics that kids make. I'm going to start posting some of the best done in my class. This was done by a 5th grade girl named Mara a couple years ago. She did a great job using a variety of points of view -- wide shot, establishing shot, close-ups, etc. It was based on her real life pet. What a great imagination!

Countdown


The news channels won't let us forget that the election is in one week. For those counting down, ten days after that begins the Brave and the Bold cartoon show (Nov. 14 @ 7:30). Images of more characters to appear on the show can be seen here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Brave and the Bold


The Brave and the Bold was a comic book in the Silver Age. It was a team-up book in which Batman usually guest starred with one other hero in solving a crime. Now there's a new cartoon with the same name debuting on Cartoon network on November 14 at 7:30. I'm betting Nathan Wales and his daddy will enjoy watching it together.





Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oceans of Fun!


At school we are getting ready to kick off our Oceans of Fun unit of study. Helping to add to the excitement is Sponge-Bob Squarepants himself! To see how this absorbent fellow came to life, visit my School Page and check it out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who Invented the Three-Fingered Hand?

"Why do your characters have only three fingers and a thumb?" I get asked that question a lot. It's quite common, actually, if you take a look at most cartoon characters. I guess it got started in animation, but quickly became standard practice in newspaper comics as well. To me, it is one of the changes from realism to a "cartoony" look that announces to the viewer a tone or mood -- the goofy intentions of the artist.

The Beat reports on one of the great ineffable questions, “Who invented the three-fingered hand?” An essay by animation legend Grim Natwick explains:

Someone way back in the dark ages of animation got tired of drawing hands with four fingers and simply left one off, and cartoon hands have been much easier to animate ever since. It was a stroke of genius. The four fingered hand disappeared from animation until “Snow White” (1937). Somehow a pretty girl didn’t look right with only three fingers. But the Seven Dwarfs still had three fingered hands.

Friday, October 17, 2008

One Freaky Show

My new favorite TV show is Fringe. The premise is "what if science fiction was science fact?" Some strange experiments have been secretly taking place involving telepathy, levitation, invisibility, reanimation, etc.

The main character is a female FBI agent who is assigned to investigate the strange events. The clues lead to a man who was a leading figure in "fringe scientist" from the seventies. Unfortunately, he's been in an insane assylum for seventeen years. Judging from his behavior, it was just where he belonged. However, the circumstances require his expertise. He can only be handled with the help of his estranged son. The last show went something like this:

When it’s discovered that a rather simple man has the ability to harness electricity, dangerous and deadly occurrences follow, and our unlikely trio investigates this super-charged oddity. Meanwhile, Olivia has a high-voltage encounter of a different kind when she is rocked by a blast from her past, and Dr. Bishop turns to his feathered friends and enlists homing pigeons to help him break the case.
















More info here.

Making Star Trek Cool Again

When I was a kid, my brother and I liked watching reruns of the original Star Trek. The Next Generation wasn't bad, but many of the other incarnations of this franchise were just weird soap operas to me. Judging from the photos below of the cast of the next Star Trek movie, it looks like they are getting back to basics and returning to the original characters. EW.com says that it is a "reboot". The creator of the shows Lost and Fringe is involved, so it sounds cool to me! (More info here.)

Spock & Kirk

The movie will show the crew we know on their first mission.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anna's Car



Anna had some bad luck last Thursday when somebody pulled out in front of her on the highway. They flew through their stop sign and right in front of her. This forced Anna into the other lane where she got rear ended and hit the median. Looking at these pictures, we're thanking God she wasn't hurt. We're also looking for a cheap car to replace this. If you hear of one, let us know!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Let's Talk Science




I've been making T.A.I.LS. comics for Boy's Quest magazine for about eight years. Not long after that comic strip got going, I was asked to make a similar cartoon feature for Hopscotch magazine. This is a magazine for girls published by the same company. The Girl Power Science Squad focuses on the adventures of the young female agents of T.A.I.L.S. (Traveling Adventurers in Laboratory Science).

My latest assignment was to create a comic strip based on the theme of communication.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Support Your Local Comics Shop!


Comics are not always easy to find! When I was a kid, every convenient store and grocery store had a spinner rack crammed with comics for 35 cents. Nowadays, I guess they don't think it's worth their while to stock them. If you do find them, they are $4 apiece now -- while at a comics store they are still $3 each.

I love the name of our local comics store -- Heroes Your Mom Threw Out. Most comics collectors have horror stories of how their collections disappeared during Mom's spring cleaning at some point. You can reclaim those lost childhood treasures at a comics shop! I have literally found the very issues I enjoyed as a kid at this comics shop at very reasonable prices. Heroes has dollar bins, 50 cent bins and even quarter bins occasionally.

This is Jared Aiosa, who owns and runs the store. The Hero-Bot is the store mascot. I first met Jared when he was in sixth grade at Burnham Elementary and I was his art teacher. Now he's an entrepreneur. You can see in the background that in addition to having new comics and back issues, Heroes also has tons of graphic novels and trade paperback collections of classic runs of comics. This comic shop is in downtown Elmira Heights, NY and if you're ever in the neighborhood, stop in and check it out!

Phone: (607) 737- 1347
Store Hours: Wed, Thur, Fri - 10am to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 10 am to 4 pm.
Location: 312 W. 14th Street. There's a map below.
E-mail: momthrewout@aol.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Infinity Crusade -- Comic Cover Re-do #3

Comic cover re-do's are fun drawings for me to make. I take an existing comic cover and redraw it in my own style. In this case, the cover appealed to me because of the floating head motif -- a common design solution in comics. It was the 90's -- a time of gimmicky covers like reflective foil elements like the one above. This makes it impossible to scan!

I also noticed that this artist gave many of these iconic characters hairstyles similar to celebrities of the time period. This made this piece ripe for parody!
Here I have redrawn the cover in pen and ink. I noticed that the villainess emanates beams of light. The heroes caught in that beam are fearful or hypnotized. These were abducted by the Redemptress. Those who are not are fierce and angry. They're ticked off because their friends were kidnapped.
Here I've made a copy of the drawing and hand colored it with Crayola markers. To be honest, the story was not that great -- but a really fun cover!
Bonus Question: Which non-Marvel character has been inserted in the lower left section? (Five points).