Thursday, July 25, 2013

Yes, I do work

Before I taught myself how to draw in a sketchbook, I did my best work on lined paper and meeting agendas. The blank page was too intimidating, or something.

As my bosses were really cool with me drawing during meetings and such, as I actually pay attention better. But with new bosses, and new VPs, I dropped the habit for some time.

Kick forward to new relationships forged with the aforementioned, and it seems I'm back in business! 

Here's another Black Canary on her hog (cut free from an agenda, away from the words), and an actual agenda from a few weeks ago, where the drawings really only are fun in the context of "this is a meeting agenda."

I love being back in the stage where I can do this stuff at work!!!


Yikes, it hit me that August 1 was my decade-versary at MIT!

I had worked there, but decided to quit and move back to Saint Louis to write and draw on the cheap, giving dream-pursuit my 100%. After many 15 hour days of building my portfolio, I decided I could slow down to fewer hours and pick up a part time job for some steady cash. But, on a trip back east, an old boss offered me a great full time position I couldn't say no to. I thought I'd do it for 2 years, refill my coffers, continue get my work out there, and see where I could go.

At the end of the two years, I was having fun at work, so I decided to stay until I stopped having fun. By the time the fun ended, the economy had tanked, the freelancing assignments stopped flowing in, and my book sales dried up. But I still held a good job, and after throwing in many personal-life-family factors, instead of returning to draw full time, I bought my loft instead. A bit locked in!

But what a decade in comics, at the office and at home!

I continued my comics work nearly full time "on the side" writing, drawing, publishing 5 trade paperback collections and 3 graphic novels. I was picked up by 3 foreign publishers, ran a newspaper weekly for 18 months, had original and repurposed work published by Marvel, Fantagraphics, Oni, Seven Stories Press, and a half dozen indie anthologies. 

At MIT, the team I manage has grown from me + 5 to me + 11, and our function has been expanded significantly. I've been promoted thrice. I've grown with each vice-presidential turnover. I treat each day with enough experience to know that I can't possibly know anything, and that I must continue to learn my industry. No absolutes, about anything, anytime, anywhere, anyone.

At home, I've seen my grandmother pass and had to put poor Aggie to sleep. I've moved 4 times, finally settling after purchasing my loft. I've helped design and renovate my kitchen and storage areas; customized a half dozen pieces of furniture; designed and built 10 case pieces; refinished 4 "yard sale" pieces, 2 Pascoe chairs, 3 Aalto bookcases, and 9 McCobb case pieces.

Inside my noggin, the decade started kicking the old me in the balls. The pendulum swung too far the other way, and the "journey" I embarked on was enormously helpful in keeping me more in the center, more balanced. My face has the lines it didn't a decade ago, but they're here with good reason.

Though I haven't been drawing much lately, and I keep telling myself I should, I just can't keep pushing the way I did 10 years ago. You know how it goes.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

For the *love* of Grayskull!

The past week was nightmarishly hot and humid in Boston. Not the best was to end Rich's bi-annual visit. But, we road-tripped to Newport RI one day, NH the next, and back to Boston in time for the weather to break.

A few weekends ago, when we were in NH for a few days, I was sketchbooking up a storm while relaxing. You'll recall last week's post was a result of overdue ketchup of "I'd like to see your take on Gatchaman," and this week's is the overdue conclusion of "I'd like to see your take on She-Ra."

Ah, She-Ra. 

The '80s spawned many joint ventures between animation and toy companies resulting in the Transformers, G.I. Joe, Jem, He-Man, and She-Ra, and probably more. Literally cartoons/toys created in unison, a marketing and sales one-two punch. 

She-Ra was the worst. Her cast was comprised of things the warehouse had surplus parts for:

Hong Kong factory floor manager: I've got some koala bears, some owl beaks, and some rainbow fabric.

Showrunner: Perfect!

She-Ra also had the perfect love interest, so unappealing to women as a man that he didn't really bother the feminists, and just homoerotic enough to keep all the little gay boys watching.

Turns out I love drawing She-Ra! Part Wonder Woman (warrior of peace and love), part Valkyrie, and all drag queen. Seriously, if there's ever a live-action movie, she *must* be played by a drag queen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I like it, I like it a lot.

Another long overdue drawing in both the categories of "I want to draw ___" and requests I receive, "I'd like to see your take on ___." I've teased you with other primers, but here it is: science ninja team Gatchaman.

I, of course, was first exposed to the team as the focal point of the series Battle of the Planets, a drastic rescripting of the Japanese series for a US audience in immediate and desperate need for sci-fi after the runaway success of Star Wars.

This drawing took me a while to work up to; it can't really be a stand-and-pose drawing, since the characters are all similarly but distinctly dressed. And, with 5 of them having similar but distinct abilities, a fight scene is also a challenge. At the end of the day, I thought the task at hand would be to showcase their personalities as best I could.

And, a major challenge in the drawing in layers don't smudge the heck out of the original art. I mostly succeeded, with just a few smudges that cleaned up alright. Color would be good on this one someday, but it was a nice exercise. I'm somewhat pleased!

Oh—the blog post title comes from the mid-90s redux of the series. Richie and I say that to each other often, as well as a quote from Solaris, "You fool, you failed."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

This July 4th feels even more special, with such advancements in gay rights. It's nice to feel proud to be an American!

To celebrate, here are the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey from Earth-TF (Tim Fish).

If you're familiar with the pair from the Golden Age of comics, you know they were something like rival "mystery men" who ended up joining forces to kick some Nazi butt. Weak.

On Earth-TF, let's say Irish rugby-player type chauffeur/mechanic is hired to keep fruity Ivy-Leaguer out of trouble when he's home on break. Joke's on Sylvester Pemberton's parents though, since they've hired closet-case Pat Dougan as body-guard. So, one night, stumbling out of a "gentlemen's club" in a back alley they inadvertently stop some Nazi villainry. 

All jazzed up with the thrill of hero-dom, they get all patriotic and gay.