Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday with Ivan: Single-Panel Exercise

As I mentioned previously, I'm working through this book. I just started week 2, which is about single-panel cartoons.

The single-panel cartoons below are the culmination of the first two exercises in week two. The first exercise involves writing several sentences or phrases based on writing prompts provided by the author. The next exercise is drawing several pictures again based on specific prompts (something scary, something sad, etc...).

Then you take the phrases and pair them with the pictures to see what works together. Here are some of mine.

I don't know that any of these really knocked me out or made me laugh, but that's probably not the point. Mr. Brunetti says in this exercise, "Surprising, even unintended, things happen when we combine words and pictures."

I like reading single-panel comics, but I've never felt compelled to do them before now. I've already started trying more (to be seen soon-ish)

If you want to see some really good single-panel cartoons, you can check this guy out. He's a friend of a friend and he's pretty funny.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Doodle

I did this while sitting at my desk the other day. I wish that turkey baster didn't look so much like a microphone.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

88 Doodles

As I previously mentioned, I've been working through Ivan Brunetti's book on Cartooning. In coming weeks, I'll post my work here for you to see. I was thinking of calling this series "Wednesdays with Ivan" or some such silliness.

Anyway, don't expect me to post every single exercise that is in the book. First off, all the exercises teach something, but I don't think they necessarily produce great art (at least not at first). Secondly, if your interested in learning what Brunetti has to teach, go out and buy the damn book.

This exercise is supposed to be "zen" practice in drawing. It starts with drawing 100 squares in your notebook. My sketchbook is 8 1/2 x 11, so I found it easier to just make 88 one-inch squares (I owe Ivan 12 doodles). Then doodle in each square but don't take more than five seconds per drawing.

Sounds easy, right?

No. This shit was hard. It's hard just thinking of subjects! Brunetti suggests "persons, places, occupations, concepts, emotions, etc.." but man, that mental well runs dry shockingly fast.

What's way harder is keeping each sketch to under five seconds. I was rarely able to do that. If you spend only five seconds on 88 squares this should take less than 10 minutes. I think this took me over an hour (I worked on it several minutes a day over about four days).

I think the point of the exercise (along with others in the first chapter) is to try to get to the symbolic heart of an image. How little can you draw of something and still have it readable as that thing?

I like most of the drawings, but the whole sheet reminds me of those "fun" pictures on Facebook that people post and tag the drawings with their friends names (You know the ones I'm talking about)). Feel free to use this one in that manner if you're that type of person.

Difficulty level aside, I think this exercise was really liberating. I think I get caught up in making everything so perfect and (to the best of my meager ability) realistic. It amazing to think that you can make an image more readable by making it more abstract, not less.

I'm definitely going to do this again and time myself to see if I can keep each one under five seconds for each. I might make a list of subjects beforehand so I'm not wasting time thinking about what to draw.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Clare!

Today is my wife's birthday! To celebrate I decided to do a "collaborative" post of sorts.

When Clare and I first met, we bonded over drawing comics. I'd dabbled in them for fun since I was a kid, but she had actually sold comics to her college newspaper (the illustrious Mizzou Man Eater).

These two comics came from a bet we had over the WBEZ traffic reporter (Who at the time was the enigmatic Abby Ryan). We had been talking about how it seemed like she was on the air all the time, but neither of us could remember her name. We both took our best guesses at her name and agreed that whoever was wrong had to draw a comic for the other.

As it turns out, we were both wrong so we both had to draw a comic for the other.

Clare's is first (click to make bigger):

The one below is mine (And, yes, I know I can't spell so save it):

Mine was based on the fact that I would set my alarm clock to wake me up to WBEZ and I would frequently have dreams that people I knew were telling me about the traffic conditions.

This is also one of the only self-portraits that I have of myself (sans glasses at that!).

These were both drawn before we started dating. Now we've been married almost four years and have two kids, so I guess comics are a great way to start a relationship.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday, Friday, whatever.

I'm always conflicted when I post late as to whether I should address my lateness or just ignore it. No one likes reading blog posts that basically say, "OMG! I'm so busy right now. Too busy to even write these words!!!" Then again, if I don't say anything, you might think that I've gotten lazy and abandoned this blog. Then you take me out of your RSS reader and never come back.

Also, I have this urge to make sure everyone knows that I'm not lazy. God forbid. No, I'm working harder than ever. Unfortunately, I've had some projects siphon away my drawing time.

First, there was this:

That's my 11 year-old son in his Master Chief costume that I made with my own hands!! I'm morally opposed to store-bought Halloween costumes. While this may show that I have craft-based integrity, it also means that I end up committing to outrageous projects that take waaaaaay too long. Goodbye pencils and paper, Hello craft foam and glue gun. For two long weeks. Seriously.

Not long after Halloween, we received an offer to buy our condo. We've been trying to sell our condo for nearly two years. For those of you that are not involved in the buying or selling of a home right now, here is my depiction of what the real estate market is like at this point:

(Burning and sinking, I know!)

So yeah, it's a miracle that we sold our place and I'm happy about it. However, this means there is a lot of work ahead with packing and shit.

Anyway, enough bitching and moaning. There are a few things I want to plug.

First off, Sarah Becan has a Kickstarter going. You should give her money.

You should also give these people Money:Rave Archive. You can go to their site and listen to mix tapes from the 90s for HOURS.

Also, I just started reading Sailor Twain. Totally awesome.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanks, Ivan Brunetti!

I just got this book:

And I totally love this quote:

...moreover, you will likely go through a long period of trial and error before you find the tools most suitable to your temperament. Do not be discouraged; this is actually quite normal and, in fact, healthy.

When I'm struggling with learning things like dip pens, brushes, technical pens, and India ink, I ask myself, "What the hell am I doing?" Or "Why am I torturing myself?" Maybe it's common sense, but it was good for me to read that it's OK to experiment.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll read more from me about this book in the future.