100 Days – 97,98

Unfortunately, I could not sleep last night, so I had two days as one so to speak, with two regular daily drawing sessions. I‘m a bit surprised I did manage to get two panels out today, which is great.

What is not so great is that the characters seem out of scale in the second shot, at least to me. In my head the placement made sense, the men in the background would step farther away from the fire and Felipe in the front would of course stand closer to the camera. But I don‘t like how the drawn results look next to each other. That is really good to know for the future. I‘m glad I got to experience this now and can watch out a bit better next time.

Also we have another first. I intend to censor a lot of curse words and violent content by fake graffitis. That fits the street theme and might look interesting when instead of actual blood words spill or something the like. We will have to see how that works out.

Lighting advice

I read a bit of Hogarth‘s Dynamic Light and Shade tonight. Apparently now is the time that that book can help me. I could finally understand it. There is so much to do, but I‘m enjoying the journey. I found out what one of my main problems had been. I love dramatic dark shadows, but they don‘t look good in every context. And it‘s not even a given that they always look good in themselves. Hogarth has an idiot-proof rule of thumb for artists like me: light and shadow are mutual. So if you want strong shadows you have to have strong lights. The secret to overcast therefore is to have meh shadows accompaning the meh light. Black shadows would not work here, unless context like the absolute darkest corner in the room that does not get hit with any light. Also, a lazy statement about the highlights of a form and direction of light is better than none says Hogarth. That actually stuck with me since days. A lazy statement better than none…and I started making at least lazy statements and they got me curious to pay more attention and think about ways to make better statements.

PREY christmas special

In the early afternoon I zoned out and wrote down a PREY christmas special. This is not an announcement of it in any form as it‘s pretty late in November and I have a lot of other things to do. But it sparked my curiosity and I have a script. I could imagine making a compromise and like…drawing the first pages and calling it a day. But it depends on how the next weeks are. If they are as ‚hellish‘ as this one and the last one, I might be good with what I‘m doing on a daily basis now. But what is very visible is how differently I treat an idea like this popping up compared to about 100 days ago. No sweat breaks, the idea just gets written down. I sit back and think about it, then I write some more. No stress having a rough first draft that nobody except me will ever see. Life is good. I even had a rough idea how many pages that might result in if I pack 3-4 panels a page. I‘m a slow/low paneler and love to take my time. That preference might change over the years, I can‘t know how and where to I will develop, but for now it is that. At the moment I’m more worried what the point of the PREY christmas special is. What does it give to you in exchange for your time? A warm fuzzy feeling? Is that enough? Learning more about how Rich and Willard became a couple? Telling you that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in christmas (Rich definitely doesn’t), opening one’s heart for love(not only the romantic one, you know) is a risk worth taking. Anyways, I‘m very grateful for the 100 days of making comics. Only two days to go, wow.

Lessons from Crocheting Part 2

Continuation of my last blog post. Enjoy!

4. The universal potholder phase

Seriously, this works great as metaphor for every field and activity.

If you start out new at crocheting, you make potholders. Even if you
aim for the stars, what you have as skill and knowledge results in
potholders. And the first potholders might be quite uneven.

Many people give up during the first potholders.
Why is that so? Their beliefs get in their way.
Most people hate losing and failing at things so much
that not excelling at something immediately is a death
sentence for ever trying this activity again.

I’m not blaming them. Beliefs do not come from thin air.
In school you are outright punished for making mistakes.
Outside of school you are ridiculed for making mistakes,
too. You want to fit in, not being laughed at for doing “stupid”

What I found out for myself is that the road to success
leads through many many stupid mistakes and failures.
You only know what works for you when you have a first hand understanding what doesn’t work for you. But you have to be vigilant
about what you are doing and ready to learn from your mistakes. Otherwise you are bound to repeat the same circle of failure again and again.

But I’m aware of the contradiction that if you listen to my
advice you do not listen to my advice.
Yes, you try it for yourself.

5. Do not overstay your welcome in potholder phase

The time will come when you feel comfortable with potholders.
Dread that time, for real, as you might get stagnant in your
personal comfort zone.

Ideally, you stay in a constant state of being uncomfortable
while working – every project has a new problem to solve,
new uncertainties, new wiggle room to fail or succeed by experimenting.
Of course the risk is real to overwhelm yourself, but you’ll get
better by finding your personal balance of how much to push…
by doing many projects from start to finish one after another.

6. Find purpose in the process, not beforehand

Honestly…who embarks on a journey to create potholders?
One day you probably have more potholders than you need or
can gift to people. That’s terrible. That’s a waste of your time,
so you better do not start.

But what if on the way, unplanned, you make a mistake here and
an experiment there and suddenly know how to make a round potholder?
And then you are at baskets? You enjoy scarfs? You try for a sock?
If you sew two potholders together you suddenly have a bag…
All of that would not have happened if you didn’t give your
potholders a serious chance in the first place.

It’s frustrating, but you never know what happens on the road
unless you walk it. Try it. You can walk away anytime, so there’s
nothing really to loose. And don’t get stuck walking in circles
on a piece of the path that you fancy right now.

Have fun on your journey!

Lessons from Crocheting Part 1

The past weeks have been pretty chaotic. You can do a lot of things to mitigate pains from times like that, but you cannot and should not avoid breaks and shut-downs altogether. In the end they happen for many reasons and can be pretty healthy as in resulting in healthy corrections of your priorities and way of working.

Surprisingly for myself I took up crocheting in that time. I hadn’t done that since elementary school. There was no reason behind it, just curiosity.

I was surprised how it went from there. I have collected some wisdoms and analogies from this time, that also work for other fields such as art. See for yourself:

  1. Everyone and everything can be a teacher, if you are open for new experiences.
  2. A plain first impression can be deceptive. You might enjoy the new activity anyways.
  3. Action trumps advice.

Some more explanation for point 3: Imagine watching a couple of crocheting videos and after you have decided whether the video is compatible with you or not, then not crocheting along. You might feel a bit smarter, because you have seen some things that are possible, but you actually haven’t crocheted a thing, either working along the tutorial or
trying own things. Your crocheted results will be poor and spending the time consuming the videos will be of no consequence in the end. If you decide to watch tutorials or taking advice…put it into action immediately.
You get experience by experiencing doing things (and all difficulties on the way).

Personal note: if you have a tendency to procrastinate by collecting information/preparing like myself, you might try dropping watching tutorials altogether for a while (mental diet). Sounds radical, but try it. You are only allowed to watch a tutorial when you draw along in real-time AND actually learn to solve a relevant problem for your current piece you absolutely wouldn’t be able to solve at all without help from outside.

Have fun drawing!