Sunday, July 26, 2009

Original Art Sundays #4: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 3

Couple quick notes:
Aside from cleanup and some spot values, I am resisting the temptation to rework these.
I am replacing all the non-dialogue text with digital lettering. I had a devil of a time settling on a font. I'm leaning towards Futura right now, but as there is no non-dialogue text on this specific page, it's moot for today!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Original Art Sundays #3: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 2

The Cowgirls are great fun. I get to draw whatever comes to mind, really let loose, and find out who the girls are as I go. They always surprise me.
My one regret is that I have such a wild time doing them that I rush the art!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Art Judging...

While I think Sotomayor will be confirmed with relative ease, and that she'll be good for the country overall, her pro-corporate stances on many issues leave me wondering if we truly have a champion on our hands.
I'm glad she'll be confirmed, but I'm not doing handsprings.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Original Art Sundays #2: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 1

This is page 1 of an 11-page story I did as part of the 24-hour comic challenge this year. I made it for 14 hours.
These are some of my favorite characters. I haven't done any work on them for years. It's long overdue!
Next year, if I do the Challenge again, as I hope to, I won't work full size! Most everyone else in our cadre was working on rather small sheets. Sean Lynch was doing his usual lovely dry brush work.
This work is fast and sloppy, but with the time constraints, all I really cared about was the energy and the wild ride, as subsequent pages will show. I always want to do the best work I can, but my primary focus with this was having a wild, joyful mind come through on the page.
That, and I wanted to get as much done as I could as fast as I could!
next week: page 2!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

By Hook or By Crook....

I just discovered that there's a new version of The Prisoner airing this November.

I don't share many people's Pavlovian revulsion to remakes. It's possible to remake something and have it come out well, though opinions vary widely on what makes a remake "good".
My concern on this lies elsewhere.
I think Ian McKellan is a brilliant choice for Number Two. However, it wouldn't matter who they cast as Number Six. A big part of the original series' fire came from the subtle, witty, seething performance of Patrick McGoohan.
George Lucas' original choice for the role of Palpatine/Emperor in the Star Wars films (he reportedly turned Lucas down), McGoohan always made canny choices in his career and his performances.
Sadly, we lost him earlier this year.
He also played one of my favorite characters from childhood: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, another lifelong obsession!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Original Art Sundays #1

Time to finally start posting my own work.
I'll be running original art every Sunday, God willing and the crick don't rise, as my late friend Kate Collins used to say.
This piece is ancient. This is a scratchboard of Billie Holiday (well, duh!) that I did circa 1994 as a birthday present for an ungrateful witch who later tried (and failed) to blackmail State Rep. Keith Ellison over alleged improprieties.
Guess it's just as well that she "forgot" the present.
In spite of its arcane history, I've always been rather pleased with this piece. Despite my love of chairoscuro, I've never been so good at scratchboard- I screw myself up on the inversion thing, drawing out the light areas. But this one I was always happy with.

Why they Call her Omaha....

AS some of my readers (if any there be) may already know, I served an apprenticeship with Reed Waller on Omaha the Cat Dancer during my tech school commercial art training.
The internship lasted about 6 months, and is often the case, I got more out of it than my sensei did. And not what I expected to learn.
I learned quite a bit about art and comic art, but learned much more about human nature by being around Reed and his then-partner Kate Worley.
Reed and I continued our association beyond the professional over the years, sometimes with good results, other times not so good. I'm completely out of contact with both Reed and Jim Vance these days. Seems to be the way we all want it, but still a bit sad. Just a byproduct of being human, I guess.
Which is ultimately what Omaha is about- being human.
As the story is currently in its final stages in Sizzle, an otherwise largely worthless magazine full of stories people with impossible anatomy engaging in loveless sex acts, I am reading the final chapters as they unfold.
The pieces are coming together.
It's starting to look like Shelley ordered a hit on Joanne, but the shooter got Bonner by mistake. But why did she keep the gun? And what's the connection to those City Hall bigwigs who were talking clandestinely about the hit a couple chapters back?
Who's behind the A Block Molotov Cocktail?
Will Omaha get her acting career going? Will she marry Chuck? Will Hector live?
Remember, the whole story is being told in first person past tense, from Panel One if BIzarre Sex #9 on.
I'm sure my speculations are way off base. I've believed I knew exactly what was going on in this story so many times in the past, and been pretty much dead wrong every time.
Well, whether I'm right or wrong, it's still a good story.
I love a good story.
The above drawing of Zorro and Omaha was a commission from the master Tom Yeates, and is put out on the Web with his permission.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In Celebration of Everyone's Dream

You'd never know it if this blog is all you know of me, but I was quite the rocker in my day (she wheezed). The first real rock concert I ever went to was a 1969 Steppenwolf show, followed some months later by Hendrix.
Of course, a few months prior thereto, I attended a performance at Carleton College in Waukesha, WI, by the Dave Brubeck Trio (at the tender age of 15!), establishing a lifelong pattern of musical iconoclasm and inconsistency.
While my politics have tempered a bit since my days of protesting the Vietnam War, I still believe in fundamentally the same things: life, liberty, happiness, basic freedoms- you know, that leftist nonsense about all people being equal.
In that spirit and in the spirit of the day, I offer this Steppenwolf number, one I've always enjoyed and one whose effect on me remains undiminished.
Happy Fourth of July, Americans!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More on SES

I promised more on SES, and here it is.
SES stands for Summer Expressions Seminar. It's Art School Camp for College credit. Takes place at Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Two sessions, two weeks each, one week in between. I've been teaching it for ten years now. The upcoming SES II, which starts this coming Sunday, will be my 16th session.
In session one, we teach graphic design, web, rock video, documentary, photo and sound.
In session two, we teach painting, animation, comics and game design.
I have pretty much free rein when teaching in this program. When the strictures are removed, the focus quickly shifts from "how do I satisfy my employer?" to "what are the needs of the students?"
It's a humbling experience to be in service to something bigger than yourself.
We only have them for two weeks, but during that time, they get a taste of art school- the real thing, not the romanticized version put forth by people who aren't artists. It's a baptism of fire, and I'm honored to be part of it.
My courses are more concerned with the how than the why. I teach courses in the nature of performance and in constructing and deconstructing text and image.
The above sketch was done by an SES II student last year while I was lecturing. I was so taken with it, I asked if I could keep it.
More than anything, those surprises are what make it worthwhile.