I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Corel Painter 8, Oil brush. Cintiq. Cookies, coffee, good anxiety

Time and Certainty. Advice is a tricky thing to dispense. I'm hesitant to give it and feel a craven regret if I don't. I can tell that the gentleman who posted his request for advice (Shane's message board) was in a quandry. I recognize the swinging pendulum of mixed priorities and can hear the precarious caution of someone who has come to the crossroads of a career choice. Plunge headlong into chasing after a passion or a dream without a net? Have a fall back? Split the difference? He goes on to say that he will not be happy with any other path. I have no qualifications for career design but I have faced many forks in the road of following a dream of drawing as a profession and have been lucky enough to have chosen (mostly) agreeable paths (none of them easy). As a fellow traveller down this road I offer my two cents. So, the question, and I paraphrase: Is it advisable for someone in their early twenties to still go for a career in Illustration?

There is only one setting for your choice of a life's work: Forward. There's also no off button--as you've already mentioned. It's either this path or oblivion.

Having that out of the way we can clear a lot off the table. First, risk management. It's a fool's game to control variables. By nature, variables/risks, are inevitable--thus you arrive at one certainty already.

The other certainty is that the rewards of going towards your goals are immediate--if not in the amounts you want or from where you expected them to come (the realm of assurances and promises are the provence of infomercials anyway. Whatever is being hawked will always cure what ails you, speed up what takes time, or create need where there was none. And we all know how those stories end).

Then you mention time. To be doing what you dedicate yourself to means that time becomes immaterial. You'll want more time, you'll lose time, you'll make time--but the doing...ahh, there's the bliss. Why think about the time it will take when you can just go? It may be later than you think or sooner than others but think about it: All you have is now anyway.

There are no judgements of how far you should be by now or how much you should do before you get there, but your gains are yours to observe and yours to celebrate.

Then it's time to do more work. How grand that is.


He responds soon after to say how much he appreciated my response. So, I allow myself to feel better about making the choice to post the advice. I know that he will come to this conclusion on his own sooner or later or another will find the opportunity to say the same. Glad to part of it in a small way now. I wish the young man luck. I already know he'll have a blast.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Painter Classic: Wacom Tablet: Procrastination default: Sleep deficit

The gentlemans' agreement that is implied in most website communities we visit is that we behave as if we were grown men and women. The new frontier of the wild and wooly net will test this consistently because there is the safety of anonymity behind those callsign names by which we recognize each other. I've met a good number of the community over the years and thank goodness they all were gentlemen and ladies of the drawn arts. Faces are made known. Gestures of good faith, "We are all well met." You now know these people.

The post below was my comment on the transaction that is posting and responding to artwork we share online. This is just one aspect of a tangled many. I can wish we all share a similar regard, though I know it'll take more than numbers to carry the day. It will take--just like our craft of drawing--practice.

I really appreciate the comments. This is part of the community life we live as artists on the internet. Without which we pretty much go back to the days when we can only see each other's work if we were geographically blessed to be living within the same planned neighborhood and bump into each other constantly armed with our drawings to show (curiously enough that's what's facing us if we all agree to be in the same retirement home for decrepit artists). We wouldn't even know of each other's existence, let alone see any drawings.

Opinions shared in a group is social. Opinions muttered from the armchair while clutching the remote is not. It invests nothing nor risks anything. As gentlemen of the board we all understand this. I'd rather have the social hail of comments than the silent bile of mutterings. One invites discourse and the other is just judgement.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Drawn on the Cintiq. Photoshop 7.0 Peets coffee

Warm up. The deal with drawing sometimes is the blahs. Everyone gets it. I get it right around the holidays and stays with me till about spring. Winter depression? Hybernation? I have to swim upstream against my body's inclination to find a pile of leaves in a cave and sleep for a quarter. Thank goodness this year there are somethings that's sure fire to get me revving.

Like the mars rover making it all the way to Mars. That's just the little boy in me who wanted to be an astronaut when Life magazine featured a layout of the proposed Moon landing using wood mock-ups of the lander in glorious black and white. No metal trivet in the house would be safe from being conscripted into service (ours looked like it had landing struts) as my pawn in re-enacting a dreamed of actual landing. I remember that I was fit to be tied July 20, 1969 and had to run in and out of the house looking up at the sky and duck back in to stare at our twitchy Zenith squinting at the shadow of the lander for hours it seems--almost trying to tie the sky above to the televised event happening that very moment. Sigh.

The first picture sent from Mars by Spirit was a black and white expanse of usual desert. A lousy still from the surface of Mars. I know that I'm grateful and really giddy about the success but a little disappointed that even though technology had advanced to unimagined heights and scientists can stare back into the void and make out dust clouds between galaxies but here we are practically in our own back yard and we couldn't see a moving picture of that dry desert? Okay, I understand that there might be little point to it since there wouldn't be anything moving...but footage of a pan across that landscape at least? Sheesh. A lousy black and white still in the year 2004 versus moving footage of Neil Armstrong hopping down on the moon in 1969. Come on, guys.

Then there is Steve Jobs keynote address at Macworld. There are more accurate reports on what he unveiled today and so I won't go into it. But one thing that got me, aside from the iPod mini is Garage Band. Okay, maybe they should've done more name studies but between me and my son we were ready to shell out bucks and steel ourselves for interminable frustration with applications that will do what this new member of the iLife suite does with seeming relative ease. It turns your Mac into a digital recording studio. Okay, I won't get into it but here was Steve ,an admitted non-musician, and he demonstrates how even he can make music that sounds very professional with this thing. Man, I want one! Gimme! Gimme! And I feel a rather vicarious pride about seeing this address, being that we have an all Mac household (now, don't all of you PC hordes get in a huff, I didn't take Bill Gates' name in vain--just happy to hear that Apple is making stuff that people like me really want to use, 'kay? This is a no-frothing-at-the-mouth zone. Unless it's me).

So, that did it. I can draw today. I just drew this here image above of our friendly neighborhood girl of your dreams, Nina. I probably still have the blahs and I dont' really have time to make the soundtrack to my little short story reel even if I had Garage Band (still have trouble saying that) and Spirit won't be ambling over the Martian sands till next week (I better get moving footage then or else I'm burning my Major Matt Mason action figure)--but this will tide me over just fine.