I DO NOT LIKE OR POST HOMESTUCK ANYMORE.
I’m a 20-something design graduate who’s finally getting back into drawing after a four year long depression hiatus. Eventually I’d like to go to grad school for either fashion or illustration, and knowing myself I’ll probably wind up doing both. You can check out My art here!
I’m still learning how to sew, and am trying out new techniques on cosplay and costumes before I start with for real-real apparel. I’ve learned a lot, though, so if you have any questions about something, feel free to ask! If I don’t know the answer, I definitely know people who do.
Today I witnessed something amazing. Almost in stark contrast to yesterday, today I saw tangible impact of lady-representation in comics.
At the bookstore I work at, we have a dedicated Adventure Time section. This family came in and those kids were SO EXCITED to see their favourite characters in comics. I talked them through each OGN and series compilation, explaining what they all were and in what order they should be read, and this little girl’s entire life was changed. You could see it on her face.
The moment I mentioned Kate Leth (and that, yes, she is a girl.) this little girl’s face lit up like Christmas morning. I don’t know if it just never occurred to her that girls can work in comics but the excitement and wonder that left the store in her was a privilege to see. I ended up selling them the Fionna & Cake’s, all the OGN’s, and an AT doodle book. She left begging her dad to help her learn how to draw Marceline comics. (And he was happy to comply!)
Kate Leth has left an everlasting impression on this little girl just by existing and working in the industry. I honestly hope to someday be able to see such an impact on someone from my own work. Ladies in comics is important. The representation on the page, and behind them, is important. Having a reflection of yourself in the content you enjoy is important. I hope that little girl grows up to be a famous comic author someday.
It was a very good day.
I don’t even know what to say, I think my heart exploded. This is, I think, the best response I could ever hope for.
Asked by Anonymous Anonymous
So, let me tell you a quick story:
My grandpa on my dad’s side came over from China when he was pretty young— grew up in Chicago. He was in high school when World War 2 broke out; he joined up, and was put in the 407th Air Service Squadron. It was part of the famed Flying Tigers fighter group, and one of the first all Chinese-American units in the military. He fixed planes. He also shot at them when they strafed the airfield. With a pistol.
He was there when the Japanese officially signed the surrender, and was honorably discharged soon after. The very first thing that he bought with his stashed up pay was a sterling silver bracelet with his serial number on it.
I keep it within sight of my desk at all times.
After the war, he went back to Chicago, but his father was already housing too many Chinese immigrant workers (up to this point, most Chinese immigrants were single men because of strict immigration laws and quotas), so he had to move to Detroit to live with an uncle and finish high school.
One of his high school teachers noted his artistic abilities, and recommended that he use his GI Bill to go to art school. Of course, his dad wouldn’t have it. So, he worked in laundromats, owned his own grocery, and later worked as an insurance salesman instead.
70 years later, I’m the graduate of an art school, and I’m taking a break from drawing to write this out.
I guess my point is this: the time that you use to pursue art has to come from somewhere. At some point, a sacrifice was made by you, or others, to allow you to have that time. Illustrators try to make a living in that intersection of art and commerce in an effort to lessen that sacrifice. There are some that are doing quite well at that. There are many, many more that are not.
Even those artists who we view as extremely successful have to sacrifice time. It just comes from other places: relationships, health, or family, etc. The real struggle then, is to find that balance on how you are spending your time.
If you know that a life spent making art is your ultimate goal, then doing things you don’t like aren’t really frustrations. They are necessities that must be done to give yourself time.
I think this is why I cringe every time I hear someone say that self-righteous creed of the “creative class”: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That statement discounts all the hard work and sacrifices that you or others have made to be in that situation—what on Earth would entitle us to only work jobs that we love?
I don’t do this because I love it. I do it because I must.
It’s in my bones.
Promised process post!
Trailblazer went through a lot of changes, ultimately all of them for the better. I gathered up all the process pieces I have (which is hard to remember to do when working under a non-disclosure agreement, mainly because I can’t share them with anyone), because I am on a mission to keep talking about process whenever I can. Mostly because it’s fun to do, and no one can stop me from writing small novels about it. Mu hu hu.
Lately I have been utilizing pinterest boards to collect my inspiration and reference all in one easy place. Before, I would throw it all into a folder on my desktop and work from that. Now, having a fancy wizard phone and often working from places away from my desktop, I needed a way to access this folder remotely, yet keep it private because NDAs were involved. I tried dropbox and google drive, but both of their apps were clunky and not suited for viewing files in a slideshow format, which I needed to click around quickly between images. So pinterest it was!
I made my board for this piece public on pinterest now, so check it out, if you’re into that sort of thing!
You’ll probably notice that my board goes from reference images from the source material into completely unrelated illustrations by various artists. Around there, I started thinking of how I wanted this poster to look, what concepts I wanted to work with, and how I wanted these concepts to feel, so I began looking up and into artists that did these things. A lesson I learned long ago at the Illustration Academy: if you want to illustrate something, there’s at least five other illustrators who have already illustrated that thing and done so brilliantly, so go learn from them.
I also learned a very important lesson about sketches with this project, especially when proposing ideas to clients: they’ll get back to you a lot faster and be more assertive in their choices when your sketches are not vague, scribbly thumbnails. The first image is what I originally proposed; the second is what the idea evolved into, at the urging of my excellent art director, Marc Scheff.
Plus, cleaning up my concept like this made my work so much easier on my behalf. Everything in the image was depicted; my tonal balance was more or less figured out. It was fifty times easier to go to final with this sketch, as opposed to going to final from the scribbly thumbnails. The point is: don’t be lazy with your concepts.
I originally imagined the negative space in the composition around our lone hero as an extension of the Shishkebab’s flame. All jagged shapes and whatnot. Heavily leaning on the Mignola influence. Now, I realize how unclear that shape was and was yet again thankful for aforementioned excellent art director, because it was Marc’s suggestion to make that space look like smoke. (Why I never thought of that myself, I don’t know. Too obvious, I guess??)
Anyway, one simple suggestion changed this illustration—and changed it for me—entirely. I went from being simply okay with the composition to absolutely falling in love with it. Which is why critique is so valuable to me, and why I try to involve as many other minds in my creative process when I can. Also, a good art director is priceless.
Also: bonus image!
Color scheme that I never submitted, for good reason; it was too muddy, was too harsh in contrast, and the vibrant yet dark colors would have been difficult to reproduce accurately as a screenprint. It did have a darker, apocalyptic feel going for it, but I ultimately went with the final red-orange color scheme!
Modern day reinterpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat.
The next one will probably be The Fall of the House of Usher :)
(Part of the Poe series. View The Raven here)
Asked by louiexv-deactivated20120518 louiexv-deactivated20120518
wow. alrite. i’ll give it a shot…
your name is frank now..it’s a long story. your girlfriend is about to break up with you because of the long distance. it’s ok. & that job you’re working..well, you’re gonna have to work there for another year and some months.. & then you’re gonna get fired. you’re gonna work a couple more jobs after that too. nothing glamorous. kinkos and at&t if you really want the specifics. but you’re never gonna be homeless or starving. don’t worry you won’t fail and have to move back to new orleans either. you are gonna get your heartbroken though. twice. if it helps, the first one is gonna be worse than the second. contrary to how it feels, it won’t kill you. in fact it’s gonna help you write an album. yea, you finally finished an album. people like it man. you’re actually gonna write and record hundreds of songs. they won’t all be good and most ppl won’t think you’re talented at first, but you’re going to master your gifts. you’re going to become a lot stronger and wiser..even a little taller. be patient. i mean, you kind of have no choice. and be good to people. i don’t wanna spoil too much for you, but.. you’re on a plane right now to the east coast to work with kanye west & jay-z. it’s all working out kid. you made it.