Monday, April 21, 2003

Reflecting on Drawing and Writing and Both

Drawing

I can't say that I'm totally satisfied with the way I draw, despite whatever praise I get. And I can't say that I'm really satisfied with everything I've done as a comics illustrator. But I can say safely that I've found my default style, a hodge-podge of various influences mashed together within the palms of my own 'artistic' sensibilities. There's no other way to go but 'better.'

I'm batting for another submission to the major American comics companies. Get that out before I start work on Vinnie's dream project. I'm more comfortable now at drawing tech and a bit of action, though cityscapes are still a challenge. (And feet...)

As an illustrator and designer, I've the conviction that my default style can't be used on all stories. When Dean asked me to illustrate Ruin, I made it a point to find the appropriate style to match the cultural atmosphere of the piece. I turned to the grid-sensitive stained glass layout, and the flowing shapes of Japanese and Indian traditional art. The result is far removed from anything I've ever done, comics wise. I'm going to alter my style a bit for Vinnie's project, and strive for a 'Euro-Manga' flavor. I won't say that I'll succeed, especially since I've to render the style consistently over 100+ pages. This project is gonna keep my hands full for six months, I estimate.

Writing

I envy prose writers. They can work wherever they want. They can finish a short story in a week, even less if really inspired. Heck, if they were writing full-time, they could come up with a whole buncha stories, or a novella or two, in a month. Their hunger for creative expression is quickly satiated. Comics creators do not have these luxuries. Even when inspired in Nirvanic proportions, comics creators have to work long hours to come up with really good pages. All things being equal, the creative turnover is faster when writing prose.

My foray into prose writing began with Lu Parlore d'Anjelia (The Parlor of Angels) which can be found in the Hinirang website. Sadly, I haven't been able to get back to my second Hinirang short story. When I wrote the first part of that piece, I was on a roll. But finishing Zsazsa Part Two took me away, and now I'm struggling to find that writing bug again. And to think that I promised myself that I'd write more.

Both

Creating comics is even worse. Here, the brain goes on schizo mode, finding the right words and matching them with the right visuals. It's finding the proper mix between the structure of the written word and the structure of visual storytelling. It's not easy, unless I leave my critical consciousness on the shelf and go on automode to come up with a cutesy-wootsey teeny booper love story laden with every stereotype in the book. It's just not me.

Of course, there's the question: Since I put so much effort into making comics, am I still having fun with it?

My answer is yes. I've always known myself to be self-destructive.





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