Sunday, June 21, 2020

Original Art Sundays No. 279: Third Sharp Invitation, p.2

Hi, all.
This is another one of those pages that took forever. When I find it, I'll come back and post the original version of this. It sat on my board 3/4 complete for more than a month, until I realized what I was doing wrong and moved to this version.
This turned out rather well, I think. A meditative page, a nice balance between text and image, between realism and symbolism, even if the symbolism is a bit on the nose (or closer to home than that, if you like).
Like this whole chapter, this is deeply intimate. As discussed in the past, some members of our community wrongly use surgical status as bragging rights. My intent here is just to tell it as it happened, as best I remember.
The narrative challenge is that some of the chapters overlap. When the book is done, a chapter will end, and the next chapter will begin at an earlier time, covering a different aspect of the story.
From a design standpoint, there were some challenges here, but they worked themselves out fairly easily, once I realized what the approach had to be. The big challenge was getting some weight into each panel. Each panel is a bit more sparse than its predecessor, as the extraneous is stripped away and she is (I am) left with the central question of her life - or so I thought at the time.
The lyric quoted is from a Monkees song, Sometime in the Morning. Not what Goffin and King had in mind, I suspect, yet somehow apropos.
The last panel is a reiteration of the original cover art, which may be the final cover art. I'm happy with it, but other ideas tease my mind....
The supply list.
Canson Recycled Bristol
Solid #4 lead
Lead holder with #4 fill
Magic Rub eraser
Yasutomo Sumi-E ink
Crowquill pen
Synthetic brushes, No. 0, 2 and 4
Tight Spot correction brush
Tech markers, Nos. 3, 5, 6, 7
Copic multi-liner brush, small and medium
And just a hint of Photoshop for cleanup.
Next: the surgery page.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Original Art Sundays (Tuesday) No. 278: Third Sharp Invitation, p.1

Finding both time and focus to draw. As it is less than 10 pages, this story seems less emotionally daunting than the Curt story.
This is the title page. My influence on this one is the work of David Mack, especially his later covers for Kabuki and his work with Bendis on COVER. The way he frames things seems so effortless, until you try to do it!
But it does play into my fascination with silhouette as a visual and narrative device.
To refresh everyone's memory, since the story has been, ahem, prolonged a bit:
The Sharp Invitations are things in my life that both compelled me and caused me pain. The first sharp invitation was my cutting my thumb on the rotary mower when I was five. The second was my grade school attempt to hang myself. The third, this story, is my gender confirmation surgery.
Sex change. Gender change. Gender reassignment. Gender confirmation.
It's been called so many things over the years. Hey, it's girl surgery, at least for me.
I've been pondering the value of this work in these times. After all, we haven't been able to be social animals for a third of a year. The whole world is sick, And lately in Minneapolis, we're just happy that the city isn't on fire.
It makes comics seem, well, trivial.
But I finally accepted that, for good or for bad, this is what I have to say. To stop saying it would an act of dishonesty, especially now that I am finding my visual "voice" as a comic artist. To silence that voice would be a wrong. I won't be so grandiose as to say it would be a crime, but... it would be, or at least feel, wrong.
Technical issues: I took MANY liberties with the design of Hennepin County Medical Center. I just grabbed a reference photo and moved things around until the building was plausible and worked with my idea. And I do adore the classic black with stars motif!
Canson 2 ply Bristol
Lead holder, No. 4 lead
Magic Rub eraser
Yasutomo Sumi Ink
No. 2 and No. 4 synthetic brushes
Various straightedges, triangles and T-squares
tight Spot correction brush
FW Acrylic White
Next: The Third Invitation, Page 2.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Original Art Sundays (Saturday) No. 277: Sharp Invitation Third, preview page

Hi all!
I've actually had this little ditty done for a couple weeks. Now that the semester's over (but grading isn't *cough*), I have time and focus to post.
Focus has been challenging due to COVID as well. My work in health care has taken on added challenges, compounded by welcome yet daunting promotion.
I decided to take a break from the Curt story and start the story that comes right before it, the story of my actual surgery. It's very short and quiet, planned as 4 or 5 pages, and serves as a prelude to the Curt stuff.
sidebar: I have rewritten the ending of the book entirely. It's a new 14 page story. So much before we get there.
In doing this book, I'm trying to avoid cliches whenever possible, but some are real events in my life, so I can't - won't - leave them out. One of the cliches is surgery.
It's considered gauche in some trans circles now to even talk about surgery, as it implies some kind of hierarchy. I have been guilty of this in the past, but I hope I don't do that any more, and that's not my intent here. I just want to relate how it happened,  how little, and how big, it was.
This preview page is one of those one-off light gag strips - four panels, just printer paper, soft lead holder, ballpoint pen, eraser and a bit of Photoshop. Simple, fast, bordering on crude.
When this conversation happened in the so-called real world, we both busted out laughing. My dry reaction here? It seemed right when I did the page, so I'm sticking with it.
Next: More of this story, bit more serious and introspective.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Original Art Sundays (Saturday) No. 276: Theda Bara

My, it's been a while, hasn't it?
Two semesters and a quarter of an epidemic later, I have finally have art to post.
Oh, I've been drawing and making music. Just...not post-worthy.
A couple weeks ago, I remembered a photo I saw somewhere. I think it was Theda Bara. Ballerina balancing a bright globe in a black space. It fascinated me.
I can't find the photo for reference.
Maybe it's just as well. The photo realism thing works for me sometimes. I usually end up correcting proportions to compensate for some strange distance between the image and my perception of it.
I think it's a bit like cooking in that respect. The first time a cook makes something, they adhere to the recipe. The second time, they look at the recipe. The third time, they make it, allowing their personal flourishes to come through in the interpretation of the dish.
That's my approach to photo reference.
So I gave it a go.
Working from memory, getting the proportions reasonably accurate, and bringing my Art Deco chops into the figure's hair were my biggest challenges!

I'm fairly happy with it. I thought about adding some stippling to the window edges, and decided that sometimes, less truly is more. The position and proportions of the left hand were a real challenge!
I wanted to get away from the story a bit and just draw.
2 Ply Bristol Board
Sumi Ink (My Walnut ink is used up! What's left is too gummy to be practical! Very sad.)
FW Acrylic White
Tight Spot correction brush
Lead holder and #4 leads
Magic Rub Eraser
Brushes: No. 0 Connoisseur Sable,  No. 4 flat synthetic, No. 4 round, No. 10 Princeton round.
That's it for now. Enjoy!
More sooner rather than later.