Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 3

December thirty-first! Another year almost done! A new one just about to get begun! Good grief. Well, at least I ended the old year on the good foot with a four-mile run first thing this morning, the first one in three or four weeks (in which time I made up for the lack of exercise by eating my weight in cookies on a daily basis).

And I know I said forget making resolutions on Monday, but I just can't help myself.

Eleven resolutions for 2011!

1. Memorize the periodic table.
2. Publish a tract on the proper way to ride a city bus (because apparently some people need this; for example, if there is an empty seat in front of you, SIT IN IT! Don't just stand there blocking the way, you big dope!)(I know there is this idea that if you're a healthy young man in the prime of life that you shouldn't take that seat and instead should leave it for someone decrepit, but all you are doing is blocking the aisle of the bus and blocking the view of all the empty seats in the back of the bus, and suddenly in a few stops the front of the bus is all clogged with people standing up because you were standing up because why would you be standing up if there were empty seats)(and if someone decrepit does come on the bus you can always stand up and give them your seat and then all the people on the bus will think, "What a kind young man.")(SO SIT DOWN!!!)
3. Calm down and stop foaming at the mouth about how people don't know how to ride the bus.
4. Get a firmer understanding of the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (I know, I know, I know, I made the same resolution last year).
5. Find out just who exactly this Justin Bieber character is.
6. Remember to close the cabinet doors in my kitchen instead of leaving them open all the time.
7. Cease snorting derisively when anyone mentions McSweeney's.
8. Smile more frequently
9. Wear headphones less often.
10. Bake a wide variety of breads.
11. Refrain from mocking books and movies that I have never actually read or seen.

And that's all for me. Happy New Year! Let's hope it's a good one without any fear.

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 2

I'm just sort of playing around with different styles these days. This is sort of a take on the old school Peanuts look from the fifties (with a different panel style). There's nothing really more cheerful than those comics. The lines are just so smooth. I was so used to the style Schulz had when I was a kid in the 80s, that it was a shock to see those old strips as an adult.

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 1

Forget making resolutions. Losing ten pounds. Going to the gym. Reading more. Staying in better touch with people. Bah! Forget it. This year just make a list of all the things that make you happy. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, all that stuff. Just put it down.

Title it Reasons to be Cheerful, 2010.

And if you need a little inspiration listen to Reasons to be Cheerful Part 3 by Ian Dury.

Monday, December 20, 2010

When the Party's Over

Christmas Eve! How did that happen? Seems like it was just a week or two ago that it was the Fourth of July and I was lying in the grass enjoying the sun on my skin. Now, suddenly it's cold and the sun is so weak.

Ah, well.

I like winter. I like the feel of the cold on my face. I like walking in the snow. I like winter jackets. And I like getting the chance to pull out my big old L.L. Bean winter boots.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you get all you wish for.

Party Hard!

Isn't it always at the moment when you are complaining about someone that they show up?

It's Time to Party!

So this is just a little experiment with a different style. Something a little bit stick figure, a little peanuts, a little bit Ivan Brunetti and hopefully a bit me. I'm not sure about it. The idea was to get full bodies in the panel, which can be pretty limiting. You may notice that with the second and third panel the character of me clearly has no idea what to do with his hands.

Friday, December 17, 2010

And Even Later in the Bar

OooOOoooh dream weaver! I believe you can get me through the night!


Anyway, today is my last day of work before Christmas. Two weeks of vacation. Two weeks! Two weeks with no alarm in the morning! Two weeks with no tie around my neck! Two weeks with no need to explain the proper uses of the present perfect tense or how during is a preposition and therefore must be followed by a noun! Two weeks without a razor nick to start the morning! Two weeks of long slow cups of coffee as opposed to the rapidly guzzled mug! Two weeks without a wait for the 7:45 edition of the 71 Bus!

And of course in those two weeks: serious work on the next book. The next book that I said was going to be done by this time. Sigh.

OooOOoooh dream weaver! I believe we can reach the morning light!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Is Upon Us

Suddenly, this weekend it got cold. Last week was no big deal, I was still just wearing a windbreaker over my shirt and tie and feeling fine, but this weekend it felt like winter finally came down. It's a different kind of cold. I don't know what the exact temperature is, but there is a certain point where your pants start to be colder than your legs. That was Saturday night. All of a sudden my blue jeans felt a little frosty.

Good weather for staying inside and drawing comics.

And so...


As I was saying on Friday, it has been hard for me to get a feeling of momentum, a feeling of focus on my next book, Vengeance. I've drawn a lot, but so far I'm only really happy with the first few pages I drew. Everything else has just seemed muddled and confused. I've thrown a lot of stuff out.

I think one of the problems has been that I have felt a need to produce finished pages. I've been seeing the finished page as a sign of accomplishment. A day where I pencil, letter and ink a page is a good day. A day where I don't is a bad day. The problem with this is that I get lost in the specifics of a single page. I lose sight of the general narrative. Five supposedly good days of productivity result in five pages that don't hold together at all.

My new take on how to do the book is to take a big sketchbook page and layout a whole chapter on that one page. I'm hoping that by putting the whole thing down on one page I'll be able to see the story better. I won't get lost in the details of any one page and I'll be able to focus on the pacing, plot points and character development. I can worry about the details of a page later.

So here is the page layout for the second chapter of Vengeance.

And these are close-ups of what will be individual pages.

And these last few panels were drawn afterwards because I thought that I hadn't put enough emphasis on the fact that the main character (Palmer) can heal people with only his touch. These panels will be mixed in among the previous pages.

And for the record, all these sketches represent the fourth or fifth take on this chapter.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gun Guitar

Oh, man, does today feel like Friday. I am totally out of gas and just coasting through the rest of this day. I've been fighting off a cough all week and I can't wait to just have some nice empty time on my hands.

And what about the new book? Oh, that book that I said I was going to try and get done by Christmas? Christmas?? Oh, no. That's never going to happen. Maybe St. Patrick's Day. More likely the Fourth of July. The book progresses, but at a snail's pace. I just can't seem to get that chunk of time I need to focus and do coherent work. I chip away a little bit a day, but it's just so hard to keep the momentum going. I'll have that bright shining burst of inspiration, but lack the time to get it down on paper and so it just fades and a week later I can no longer see what was so bright and shining about it in the first place.

Ah, so it goes.

This weekend. This weekend I'll get tons of work done on it. I'll say no to all my friends who ask me out for drinks. I won't answer the phone even if that pretty girl calls. No text messages. No email. No nothing. Just me, paper and ink.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dancing with the STAR WARS!

The question is, if a storm trooper were to dance, what music would he dance to? Kraftwerk? A new wave hits of 80s compilation? The Daft Punk Alive 2007 album? Afrika Bambaata?