Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Movin' Out?

The funny thing about a blog is you need readers.

I've had trouble reconciling my shyness, fear of theft, and desire for exposure when deciding on a format for laying my 'toons out. I'm thinking of switching to DeviantArt, because I know a friend or two there and it's a good way to meet like-minded artists, even if you have to wade through a lot of opposite-minded artists.

Whoever's been paying attention thus far, thanks a bunch, and we'll see what I end up doing.  If you have any protests, suggestions, or bad omens about my relocating, speak 'em below.

Designs for a villain who would be more "flawed" than "wad of pure evil." Also happens to be a dog.
Adventures in color. Trying to capture the aesthetic of 1950s Technicolor films -- bright hues, but strong contrast.
When I realized that the dog above was not so much a hippie as a "mod chick," this dumb cartoon came to me.
Those of you who've heard "Benny the Bouncer," the goofy ragtime piece by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, may appreciate these sketches of Benny...
...and of Savage Sid. Apologies to Sierra Lewis if Vlad somehow managed to slip in.

A sort of cross between Foulfellow and Ed Bighead.  Noticed only after scanning the poor chap that he's missing a right armpit.  Could have fixed that, but I've got a busy day ahead, so I'll let him suffer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I had just started a rant column called "Mouthing Off," but quickly shot it down and evaporated the first entry in the series. Maybe I'll revive it someday in the midst of blind misery. I hope not. It was gonna be about all the odds 'n' ends of art that drive me nuts in the worst way possible.

Perhaps I'm assuming too much by thinking that people, especially those that it would help me to know better, embrace that kind of edginess. But most people, whether they know it or not, tend to prefer sincerely-implemented warm fuzzies to anything else. That's why films like Up succeed at the box office, and why even crotchety creatures such as myself read blogs like Will Finn's (on yonder sidebar).

I keep forgetting that mass-media artists are a lot constantly under pressure and that they're capable of producing greater or more personal work under the proper circumstances. Even if animation, live-action movies, music, video games, and all those things that inspire me are in need of greater innovation at large, there's a way where there's a will. There are stylistic highs and budgetary lows that can be explored in all manner of formats, and retail-bound stuff comprises an increasingly piddling fragment of those formats.

I've long entertained the idea of the cineplex as the final frontier of "reaching an audience," but a theater is only as full as the number of people in it. You gather enough people in a room to watch a Droopy cartoon on DVD, and you'll get a lot of noise and merriment.

Call this post a prayer for attitude adjustment on my part. I'll get back to you soon with factory-fresh cartoons.

For now, enjoy the piece of whimsy above -- in which the drawings date back to December '08 and the gags date back to second grade. Ah, to be young and eating boogers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Surge of Creativity!!!: Deeper In

First of all, who reads this blog?

…That’s what I thought. Okay, who knows that this blog exists?

…Who cares?

Well, there’s a reason for that. I’ve been very cyberspace-shy with my art until I saw a couple of random friends posting their cool stuff and finally decided to bare my cartoons before the world.

Besides that, though, my output of the past month has been generally crappy, and when I stopped drawing almost completely in June, my draftsmanship took a hit and it required a huge physical effort to make my lines not look like they were eating each other alive.

With enough practice, the draftsmanship got better, but I still had to find my muse. Sunday night, it came in an unexpected place. I was psyched up to see a concert that I was ultimately unable to attend, and I listened to the music that would be playing there. Cartoons sprang forth from the manic energy of the lead singer and cellist.

Yes, cellist. Give a big hand to Rushad Eggleston!

And if I haven’t pestered you about his seismically awesome band Tornado Rider already, go look at their MySpace page now and stream a song or two into your ears. It’s an awful habit of mine to plug things, because then I fear people will think I’m an advertiser (like when Universal execs used to post Apple Trailers links on message boards), but I’m personally poor as snot, so I do it from the bottom of my heart.

The drawing below is based on Rushad’s seemingly improvised epilogue to an old, old recording of the distinctive Tornado Rider anthem “Bison Land.”  They have a CD and digital album out now with production and stuff, and I don’t know if that little bit made the cut.  Buy it anyway.

I hope he likes these if he sees ’um!

It was impossible not to gain some momentum after letting a largely inaccurate caricature of Rushad wrassle its way from my pencil to the bond paper, which is silky-smooth for drawing but responsible for the substandard scans before you. In hindsight, I would have scanned the pictures, warts and all, and not monkeyed with them based on my near-worthless knowledge of Photoshop -- but hindsight is 20/20, and 20 is neither here nor there. I only have 8 scans to put up in this post and hopefully another non sequitur or two just like this one, which makes 10 tops. Let’s get on with it.

Stylistically, I think I’ve splayed in all directions since Sunday night, which is delightful. But just to make sure what I was drawing was funny and squashy-stretchy, I drew Elmer Fudd from memory.

The Fudd is © Warner Bros., natch.

I pity this mouse what’s got his eyes all fused together. He didn’t used to be like that. What in the name of Jehovah’s jellybeans is his vision like? As if to pile on his trauma, this scan is grindhouse-quality, mainly because a lot of detail would have been lost if I’d used my known methods of tweaking any further.

This pussycat is more overtly elated than in many previous drawings of her.

Just to break up the cartoon animal monotony, this is a doodle I did a night or two before the Variations on Rushad, when I sucked slightly more. I’m interested now and then in trying dramatic acting on cartoon figures, even if their exaggeration threatens to invalidate it. Oh, and again, lousy scan -- lo siento.

Alas, these are slow, less spontaneous poses, but the angular design and subdued but graphic expressions were a direct result of my adventures in style.

Hope you enjoyed this unusually long post, and I hope to keep being inspired and active on this blog from now on. I also hope to start employing COLOR! (Wheeeeee!)

’Course, with another busy semester at LCAD on the horizon, I can’t guarantee any of that…

Surge of Creativity!!!

After trying out new paper, new pens, new pencils, the old tablet, silly music, all kinds of material fluff, I realized that -- indeed -- it's not the wand, it's the magician.  But it sure took long enough to get inspired and to get my draftsmanship back in good health (more or less).

I'll tell you the story of how I got inspired later -- either tonight or tomorrow.  Because it's a true story, I confess it's not very transcendent or helpful.