Monday, November 24, 2008

Counting Chickens Before They Hatch on The Cusp of a Brave New World/A Really Convoluted Title That Tried to Sound Whitty

On top of the fact that we NOW have a series of World Changing events that has happened in the last election, (you know, earlier this month? What? You missed it? Where you, under a friggin' rock? Everybody and their mother knew about it! It was like the culmination of good versus evil in the voting booths! I wouldn't have been surprised if Obama and McCain whipped out lightsabers and started trying to force choke the shit out of each other! Anyway, there was a presidential election and some guy won, it's historical and world altering. Seriously, you should read more.) I've been trying to get work.
It's been tough, and as I look over at my trusty marker board that I've been using to keep track of the amount of jobs that I've applied to, using tickmarks like some sort of character from an Alexandre Dumas novel, (Look it up, you'll enjoy the reference, and a little bit of intellectual leg work is good for your brain.) I realize that to date, I have sent out my resume approximately sixty two time and have not gotten a response yet. IT would be angering and sad if I weren't trying, or were under experienced, or even not looking for jobs that aren't in my field, but it isn't so. I've applied at the Golden Arches, Stop n' Shop, Wal Mart, Burlington Coat Factory, Pizza Hut, Bank of America, and the like, only to have received no phone calls.
This new president had better have a degree from fucking Hogwart's, (there, an easier reference for you, don't hurt yourself) because I'm fresh out of ideas, leads and patience with the hiring process.

You'd think with all of this time on my hands, that I'd have posted a whole bunch of work on this blog, showing anyone who reads it that I've been productive, which I have, just not really artistically, more spiritually and personally.

I've been pouring over books; biographies, psychology, philosophy, self help, classic fiction, mythology, anything to help me figure things out and give myself a boost.

If you're wondering if whether or not I have depression issues, then you've most likely hit the nail on the head. After doing a LOT of research, I'm leaning strongly towards Toxic Anger syndrome. It's like depression, except you're an asshole for no specific rhyme or reason and it makes you incredibly sad about your life and the parts of it that you've ruined.

Of which, I plan to touch on.

I had the greatest Saturday.
Y'see, it's been a long time since I've hung out with Keri, Matt and Riley altogether for longer than two hours, due to travel time and distance and Matt's schedule for eating and sleeping. Which is extremely important to a developing child for intellect and psychological reasons. This past Saturday, I'd gotten to see them for just about the whole day, except for when my downstairs neighbor sprung a birthday party on me as I was headed out the door to go and see K and M.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
It was great to see Keri and know that she'd wanted to spend time around me, even if she's incredibly angry with me still. It was great to see Matthew and his facial expressions, to see how he's coming along, rather than hearing about it on the phone, and to see his character develop into something more than I'd had the courage to develop at his age. It was also great to her Riley sing. I'd heard it softly this weekend and turned down the radio. She actually has a good voice when she's not clowning around with it.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the day. Counting Chickens before they hatch is poor taste and judgment, but suffice it to say, I've got a road ahead of me that I'm not afraid to walk anymore and even though it's long and looks rough, it's a road that is going to bring me to great places.

I've grown a bit over the past few months. I've learned to control my feelings a lot more, to be restrained and respectful, moreso than I've been in the past. I've learned to objectively look at myself and express the things about me that I'm not too fond of, and nourish the things that I'm proud of.

I'll leave some images from this past Halloween and from this past weekend.

I know I'll enjoy seeing them here as a reminder and as inspiration, but I hope that you enjoy them too.

Here's to Christmas wishes and morning hair smells.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Smallville Kharma Boomerang

First things first.
A poorly laid out, quickly done illustration of my new obsession.
What can I say? I've been going through some stuff lately, a really good friend comes over. We're sitting on the couch, trying to make me feel better about aforementioned drama and she wants to watch Smallville. (Um, yeah. I can have friends that are girls even though I'm a guy. I've been doing it since High School, so get over it.)
It's the episode where they elude to the Justice League being formed and it was not only rife with references, it wasn't too bad.
From there, I was loaned the first three seasons of Smallville and sketched this bit out roughly while I was on my couch, engaged in the Dawson-esque adventures of the Man of Tomorrow. I promised myself that I would work on another sketch, only this one would be laid out better and a bit more care, time and consideration would be paid to this next sketch.

As with everything I do, feel free to comment, but make sure your opinions are explained. I HATE hearing 'This sucks' and no reason for that opinion being given.
An artist has to learn from his mistakes to grow and who knows? Maybe the bit of criticism that you give me today could help me greatly tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Watching Trees . . .

Things have been pretty surreal for me lately. A lot less of the artistic and creative juices have been flowing and more of the problem solving and drama resisting juices have been gushing. Last Sunday (this one that had just passed, not the one before it), I'd just had enough and decided that after a breakfast of pancakes with Riley and black coffee for myself, I'd needed some time to unwind.

My little girl, bless her heart, wanted to ride her bike. I however, had a headache and was not choosing to lug a bike up and down basement stairs, nor was I in any sort of mood to remind her to wear a helmet or keep and eye on her to give her some of the finer points of riding her two wheeled choice of Sunday morning entertainment. It would have seemed that fate was on my side that day.

As luck would have it, her tires were in need of some air, and I was without an air pump. Our neighbors, both on the second and first floors were not home, so that ruled out the option of borrowing one from either of them.

Our only other option was to play in the back yard and enjoy both each other's company, and mother nature (oddly enough, a Tim Horton's drive through is on the other side of our backyard fence and the main road is in front of said donut proprietor).
As Riley clambored over the swing set that morning, riding the glider then the swings, climbing the ladders and wrestling me on the lawn, I'd laid on my back and was treated to a show.

Breathing slowly, watching the wind work its way through the branches of that tree in our backyard, with the cyan sky above as its backdrop, I became relaxed. I began to notice a very fluid and natural pattern. As if the branches were at once both a part of nature and separate from it in themselves. Riding each gust and fluidly moving up and down, swaying in unison and at points, in chaos with one another.

It became less of a relaxation opportunity for me and more of a life lesson in reality. It was odd, but I began to almost work out and understand how people and the universe work.

What I'd worked out became a thought something akin to this;
Everything that we know is essentially a part of one another. This planet, the Universe, the stars, the grass that was under me, the ants on my legs, all of it.
It would seem rude, selfish and very self important to think other wise. It'd be as if my spleen, a part of me, began to think that it was separate and wanted to figure out the rest of me. In that we are all apart of a contained reality that is both known and unknown, it should be accepted that we all work in unison as one very large, as well as microscopic biological machine that supports itself and destroys itself at the same time.
Its the ultimate definition of balance and harmony. Picture a mess that cleans up after itself. Taoism that presents itself on a daily basis. A Universe, a Galaxy, a Solar System, all of it, working both independently and together to achieve both a desired and natural result. It works within natural laws and chaotic events, from an amoeba to the Milky Way.
It lends credence to evolution and Eastern religious philosophies all at the same time. I know it sounds insane, and that this is just rambling, but let's go back to the tree, shall we?

While relaxing, each time the wind blew, I'd noticed that the branches, each an individual part of the tree, worked together at times in the wind, other times against one another. Replace those branches with people. We work with one another at times, overcoming natural phenomena or situations, other times and most times, we work against one another for our own personal interests.
This philosophy can also hold true for a person's cells, or animals in an ecosystem, or for ecosystems and environments themselves.

Naturally, these things all work on their own individual time frames, being relative to their size and nature, but the theory and idea holds sound for all of it.

It means that there will be times where things work with me and things work against me, good times and bad times, up and down. The choice is truly up to me to either accept these things; these times and work with them, go with them, or fight against them, swim upstream and feel the agony, stress and pain of working against the nature of these events and people around me.

It lead me back to my hard drive and this picture that I'd worked on a while back. Something I planned on using for a pulp story intro to my 'Skies Over Gutenberg' ongoing fiasco that I keep putting off. It lead me to love lying o n my back on a Sunday afternoon, and listening to the sounds of traffic and donut house speaker boxes as my five year old little girl laughed and played in the back yard.

I still smile when I think of those branches moving. They give me a little bit of hope in my future.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Adventures of Mr. Yuk in My Tummy.

Man, what a crap day.
Tired, throat's sore, I just feel warm, grumpy, aggravated and all i want to do is be in the middle of a huge, soft blanket and a hug.
However, financial woes must prevail and I have to go to the Salt Mines! Maybe I'm whiny, maybe I'm a big Whuss, maybe I just like to complain. (No kidding! Isn't that what the blogging community was MADE for?!?)
So, eight hours goes by. Work, aggravation over shoddy workflow procedures, craptacular computer files archiving practices and projects that the boss has to have by the end of the day (Given to me at the end of the day.).
Sounds like Office Space huh?

Anywho. Matt's sick. My poor little boy, I wish I could hold him and make him feel a lot better right now. I know it would make me feel a lot better right now too.

Tired, aggravated, missing my kids, and it's all this guy's fault for setting up Shanty town in my tummy.
Thanks a lot, Jerk.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just Throwing This out There . . .

I haven't really sketched anything in a while. Well, that's not entirely true.
I've doodled on some Post-Its at work, but nothing really came from them. I did come up with a pretty funny idea for some T-Shirt designs.
Kiss My Bum. That's all I'm going to say.
I work just about everyday in Illustrator, so I'm getting a lot faster in it, and seeing what it truly capable of doing, which enhances the things I can do when I get home. One of the things I was working on a while back is an Illustration of my Kids on a Rocket ship. It was looking pretty good, but a move into a new apartment and a bunch of unpacking and cleaning sort of sidetracked me. Here's the nose cone art for that rocket ship. I hope that you can appreciate the cuteness of it all, considering its supposed to be a simplified illustration for and about my kids.

Yeah, I know, sacchariney cute, right? Well, tough 'cause that's how I feel about those two children of mine! There was another sketch that I made one weekend that I'm pretty proud of. I was excited about the prospect of having some time to sketch and had mentioned to one of my co workers that I had all of this ambition, but not really much to sketch. He suggested that I draw someone playing a banjo. I think it had something to do with his passion for playing said instrument, as well as being a fan of bluegrass music.
Immediately, I got an image in my head of a bear, on a tree stump, picking away at a banjo with a big grin on his face. This is what came out:

Well, that's all I'm putting up for now. Until I get some of these KMB sketches done, and maybe some of my other ideas which were given to me by someone else (have to be honest, you know?).
Don't forget to comment constructively, about what you both like and hate about these two sketches.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Taking it From the Top . . .

A new blog, a fresh new start. I've been alone, working hard on a new apartment, a new way to live and trying to squeeze every ounce of time out of every day that I can.
Unfortunately, that's left me with very little sleep, on the verge of some sort of upper respiratory virus that has me coughing up phlegm every morning, and very distrustful of every one I meet and every thing I do.
The things I've done so far are study, plan, and begin to execute some of those plans. I've learned that for every idea I have, I'm not as well organized as I'd like to be. I've learned that if the movie Mulitplicity were a reality, I'd like to be a part of it. I'm just finding that there's never enough time to do what I'd like to do and it's frustrating as hell!
My studying was done in the form of web comics.
I got hooked on a few and believe me, they don't cost a dime and I'm amazed at that. They're pretty well written and well drawn.
Some of my favs?
Well, Tyler Paige's 'Nothing Better' over at Webcomics Nation, is a great strip about two girls in college with extremely diverse ideas on their paths in life, their religious views and where they're going in the world.
Anything Dean Haspiel! Over at the Act•i•Vate! Site, he's got a bunch of strips that are really well done and paced. Which gave me some fantastic ideas for my own web strip.
The ideas are that I start up my own website. A place to post my sketches, link to my blogs, show off my portfolio, post my resume and generally market myself and make a few friends along the way.
Its ideally the quintessential website for all things me. There's professional stuff, personal stuff, and some funny things mixed in to help make all of the business things on there balance out.

To that end, I finally opened up one of my web design programs that I'm familiar with, but haven't really used. I poked through all of the templates and found one that looked good to me. Opened it up, looked at all of the supporting elements and realized that with a bit of adjustment, the site could look pretty good. So, writing copy for myself and designing some of the elements (banner, clickable links, getting sketches ready, etc.) for the page has been taking up some of my time.
So has planning out a web strip, รก la Dean Haspiel (genius).
Ahem, if I can just gloat here. Haspiel posts his Billy Dogma strips at a panel a time. The brilliance behind this is that he paces and controls the reader's eye a whole hell of a lot better that a whole page at a time. Thinking about it honestly, when reading or viewing a comic page, the eye tends to automatically wander. So, if you start to read the dialogue in the first panel, you have already seen that Johnny gets shot at the end of the page and can logically hazard a guess as to what is going to happen, now you're just going through the motions to learn HOW he got shot.
Semantics aside, I'm sure that you can understand as an artist and a storyteller, that it's important to me that people see the story at the pace that I'd like them to see it, right?
Of course I have a whole host of others that I'm extremely fond of, Joe Infurnari for one. A magnificent storyteller and artist. I became one of his friends on MySpace when he started working on this amazing strip he did called the Process. Its fantastic how he blends his creative process, fantasy and his reality to create that strip. I wish he would do more. :( Anyway, he's doing Ultra Lad! Over at Act•i•Vate! and it looks AMAZING! Again, I wish he would do more, and faster. (Believe me, I've written him and let him know I feel this way, so this is not any sort of mudslinging in the form of a blog or anything.)
This is pretty much what he's doing, building suspense, letting you really feel the emotion and drama that runs through the story. It's kind of my idea to copy that notion and do my 'Skies Over Gutenberg' as a web strip, one panel at a time.
Linked to the website that I'm building and also linked on this blog.
Now, I'm going to ask that you be patient, this whole website/wet strip thing isn't going to just happen. I have a whole litany of crap to take care of on top of this personal, yet professionally forwarding project. But if when it works itself online, it's going to be worth it.
Thanks for reading, I'll post some more later!