Message Tee 0326

I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got nine new comics.

  • Savage Dragon – 232
  • Southern Cross – 14
  • Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses – 33
  • Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden – 1
  • Dept. H – 24 (of 24)
  • Kill or be Killed – 17
  • Monstress – 15
  • Outcast – 34
  • Berlin – 22
  • Check them all out here:

    Stuff piles up. That’s the way life is. Things get cluttered here in my studio and that means I have to inject some order into the chaos. It always happens. I make new stuff and it has to go somewhere. It usually hangs around for months at first but then it all gets to be too much. I’m nearing that point now and have to put things in order.

    Just last week I spent half a day putting other stuff in order so it’s a bit of a surprise to me that I have to do it again so soon. This is more of a surface ordering and last week was a deep ordering. I actually had to rearrange shelves to put stuff away last week.

    It was all the comic book sized drawings and sketch covers that I put in order last week. I’ve done a lot of them over the last few years and they were all in different places. Some were in a comic book box, others laying flat on a shelf, and still more were on top of a desk in a flat file. If I needed to find a particular one I had to look through a lot of them. So I wanted to put them all in one place.

    I decided to put them all on a shelf. Of course that meant removing the stuff that was already on the shelf. I searched for the comics that I looked at the least, took them off the shelf, put them in a box, and rearranged the rest of the shelves until I had one big area free. Now I had a place to put my comic book sized drawings.

    This whole process took longer than I though it would. Isn’t that always the way? I had to put all the drawings in order, sketch covers, monster covers, monsters on comics, fashionista zombies, and faux comic book covers. I made dividers and labels for about two dozen different categories. It was worth it. Now I can find things. They take up about two feet worth of shelf space so that’s a lot of stuff.

    Now I have my regular chaotic build up to deal with. I have a few spots in my studio that artwork piles up on. First is my easel. When I draw or paint on it I clear everything off of it to work. Otherwise I pile work up on it to look at. I have my large 24×36 inch drawing board on it right now and usually there are some 11×17 inch drawings displayed on there too. I put the drawings up there so I can examine at them and determine if they are finished or not. If they’re finished I’ll leave them up there to have something to look at. So I can end up with a thick pile of drawings stacked up there.

    In the last month I made some 8×10 inch drawings on canvas. They’re stacked up on the easel right now and all there have a three quarters of an inch thickness. They take up a lot of room so I had to move most of my other drawings off my easel to see them. This meant a half inch stack of drawings had to go somewhere.

    I have a couple of temporary places to put drawings. I have two scanners. One is 11×17 inches and one is 8.5×11 inches. It’s on top of those that I tend to pile things. The smaller scanner gets used less so things get piled on top of it more. But recently I had to use it so I had to take some stuff off of it and put the stuff away. Not all of the stuff got put away though. A lot of it got moved on top of the bigger scanner.

    I also have a table in the corner of the studio that my art supplies are piled on. Stuff I don’t use all the time but use often enough that it sits out. If supplies are handy they’ll get used more. I also have an 8.5×11 inch box on that table that drawings get piled in. And then there is my actual drawing table. It’s around 30×40 inches and smaller drawings pile up around the edges. My 5.5×8.5 inch sketchbook sits on it most of the time and it can also accumulate a lot of 6×9 inch drawings plus various art cards.

    So now I’m surrounded by four areas of clutter. I’ve seen it a lot worse but sometimes my mind feels cluttered and organizing my work space can help uncluttered my thoughts. To my left, on my big scanner, are mostly my 11×17 inch faux comic book cover drawings in various states of finish. Some are inked and some are colored. The colored ones are finished and need to be put away but that means rearranging even more stuff.

    To my right is the box on my table and that’s mostly easy. It’s comic book size drawing that can go in my newly arranged shelf space. The easel I’m unsure of as it all my latest stuff. They might have to stick around. My desk has stuff on it that I need to scan in and put away so that will take some time. But it’s been worse. I think I’ve almost got a handle on it all.

    What I don’t have a handle on, and what drives me crazy about organizing, is forgetting where I put something. Last week when I organized my comic size art shelf I also organized some of my 8.5×11 inch photos. They’re a little too big for the shelf so I found them their own spot. When I found some more photos that size I went to put them away with the rest and discovered I couldn’t remember where their spot was. That have to be here somewhere but I have no idea where. I looked for half an hour and could find them. I know where my 11×17 inch photos are. I know where my 5×7 inch photos are. But I have no idea where the new spot for my 8.5×11 inch photos is. How crazy is that? I organized them right out of existence.

    I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got four new comics.

  • The Beauty – 20
  • Deadly Class – 32
  • Mage: The Hero Denied – 7
  • Encounter – 1
  • Check them all out here:

    Tinged with nostalgia. That’s what the glasses I’m looking through are. I say that because I decided to pull out some old artwork to write about and I picked some painted comic book pages that I made sometime in the mid 1990s. I really wish I had dated stuff back then but I didn’t. These pages are from when I was first learning to paint with gouache and I decided to paint a short ten page comic story. I figured that was the best way to do a lot of painting at different sizes and get a good learning experience. Looking back at the pages they are solidly mediocre but I can see the beginnings of how I later painted with gouache in a much better way.

    I pulled out just two of the pages to look at because that’s all I need at the moment to give them a good examination. Each page is thirteen by nineteen inches and the first has five panels on it and the second six. That’s eleven small paintings. That’s a lot of painting.

    The first page has the general style of the whole piece. There is an illustrative realism to it. I think I photo referenced a lot of the figures in the story so they came out a lot more life-like than if I tried to make them up out of my head. I think the first panel is pretty good. A close-up on a face and hand. I worked best with this technique at a larger scale. Every artist has a scale and mine tends to be large rather than small. The hand is a little thick and clunky and the hair lacks technique but I like the mouth and teeth. Still, I was never that good at realism. It doesn’t suit me. I like the geometry of the objects in the background better than the face in the foreground. I could have really made something out of that poster behind him.

    Page one panel two is adequate at best. I like some of the shadows on the floor but the foreshortening on the arm and hand do not thrill me. I almost pulled off the rest of the figure but didn’t get any good shadows to root him to the spot. It’s not like he and the bed are floating but they almost are.

    Panel three might be the second best panel on the page. The guy is painted okay and this time I almost pulled off a good hair technique. Illustrative painting is all about technique and I didn’t know enough of them. Of course that’s why I was doing this story. To learn. I like the hand this time and the watercolor marks behind the figure. The coat he has his hand on is only meh. Over all it’s the middle of the road.

    Panel five is a complete failure. I did not get enough form in the coat he’s putting on. This one makes me wince.

    Panel six is not terribly interesting. I can tell I put a bit of work into it but in the end it’s just a door on a screened in porch. The screen technique is almost there but not quite. I barely even noticed the car driving away in the background.

    I was actually surprised when I flipped the page and saw the second page of these two. I can’t tell you the last time I looked at these pages but I bet it was twenty years ago. I don’t remember much of the story and it hasn’t sat well in my memory. I mostly remember it as a learning experience and not something to be proud of and show off. So it surprised me when I saw this bright green, red, and blue page.

    The first two panels are more typical of the story. The close-up on the face is well done this time. I like the way it’s cropped and I think the sun glasses add some visual interest to it. Panel two is a solid little landscape. It isn’t spectacular but it’ll do.

    It was panels three through six that surprised me and made me feel nostalgic. It looks like a flashback dream sequence (I’m not even sure since I can’t bring myself to read all the pages right now) so I moved it into the realm of the weird. As it turned out later in my artistic life the realm of the weird is where I excel.

    In panel three the black shovel is particularly powerful. There are black borders throughout the pages but otherwise I wasn’t using much black at all. It was all color paint. So the sudden intrusion of a black silhouette is startling. The black shovel continues into the next two panels but mostly as a storytelling thing rather than a big presence like in panel three. Its presence gets bigger again in panel six as it gets bigger and cracks the dream head. I’m not sure about those shovel motion lines though.

    It’s the color and line work that I like in panels three through six. The line work is mostly lines following the planes of the muscle forms but they vibrate well with the blue, red, and green all making my eyes go kablooey. It works. The story got interesting for me here.

    It was these panels that triggered the feelings of nostalgia for me. The rest of the story was okay and an learned a lot doing it but in the end it was the weird panels that were my way forward. That’s not to say I didn’t try my hand at other realistic type techniques. I did continue with that after this but they all ended up nowhere. I’m just not a realistic artist.

    Oddly enough despite realism not having a big place in the fine art world it’s generally the most encouraged form of art around. I think its that people respond best to it. If you can paint a chair that really looks like a chair people say, “Cool, that really looks like a chair.” But if you paint an odd creature from the edge of imagination they often have no idea how to react. So the real gets encouraged by default and artists try to paint that way even if it doesn’t suit them. And it didn’t suit me despite my trying.

    What suited me was this dream sequence. I had drawn many dream like things before but I think this one showing up in an otherwise realistic endeavor made me realize I should abandon the real and enter the dream. It suits me. Now I’m nostalgic for that epiphany.

    I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got seven new comics.

  • East of West – 36
  • Frankenstein Alive Alive – 4
  • The Highest House – 1
  • Uber: Invasion – 12
  • The Walking Dead – 177
  • The Wicked + The Divine – 34
  • Strangers in Paradise – 2
  • Check them all out here: