Sunday, March 16, 2008

Well There's One Thing to Know About This Earth

I'm struggling with this weird form of writer's block right now. It's not necessarily that I don't have anything to write about, but that I don't know how to do it, and am not necessarily sure I want to bother anyway. Though my illustration work is going in what I think is a good direction, working on comics is just exceedingly frustrating right now. Something about all the left-brain thinking necessary to constructing characters and plots is really turning me off at the moment... I just feel like drawing and feeling what's right instead of forcing myself into analyzing everything meticulously and trying to have everything so glued-down. Oddly, I feel like there are few people at school that I can talk to about this kind of thing, which makes it all the more frustrating. Even Nathan Pretzelberger stuff is getting hard to work on... things generally just don't seem that funny to me after what I've dealt with the last few months.

I need to find other people's work that I'm really genuinely interested in; start feeling inspired, start feeling like art matters again. Like I'm not just throwing more dirt onto a hill. It's frustrating that I find so few comics that interest me these days, though that's probably due to not looking hard enough / in the right places more than anything else.

I did have the privilege of reading Shaun Tan's The Arrival, an amazing piece of art that manages to both be profoundly beautiful and speak (I should think) universally--a difficult balance to strike. As time goes by I'm noticing how much potential power there is in "silent" sequential work.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Maybe removing the idiosyncrasies and crudeness of language makes artwork speak to us on a more visceral level, somehow. Chris Ware's got some great examples of this, like the God comic in the big red ACME collection and (especially, to me) the old Quimby the Mouse strips. I've always thought that one of the advantages traditional literature has over sequential art is that a writer is capable of leaving so many more blanks for the reader to fill in on their own (the act of which is one of the primary reasons we connect with a piece of art, I'd suggest)--but maybe comics has the ability to do something similar, just in its own unique way. Anyway, what I'm really trying to say with this paragraph is: go buy The Arrival as soon as you can. And read it.

I'll post some recent work when I get back in Savannah--this computer can't seem to handle .tifs or .psds correctly for whatever reason. I'll try to do a rundown of my process for my illustration final too, which should be fun for a lark, and hopefully interesting to at least one of you out there. In the meantime, I'm resolving to read a lot more than I have been--especially short stories. Anybody have any recommendations?


Kevin said...

Even if they were a product of you avoiding writing, I enjoyed your last few projects in Mini-comics. For whatever that's worth.

Also, Raymond Carver is the master of short stories, and always leaves me at least a little bit inspired when I'm done. Where I'm Calling From is the collection I have, which pretty much covers the highlights of his career.

Meghan Jean said...

I remember having similar feelings around the time I was finishing school. For me, it is the product of being so specifically educated in something (comics) that is already enormously specialized. I started getting miffed when I'd see illustrators and animators churning out comics so freely in their spare time, while I'd spent four years learning comics and could barely get past the thumbnails because I was so self-deprecating.

In the last year I've been really drawn to artists like Jillian Tamaki, particularly how free and uncensored her sketchbook is. There is something very liberating about making a "bad" drawing and leaving it be. Seems like, if you work through enough of them, they stop looking so bad. Ha! My friend who is a sculptor always says "it's not the last thing you'll ever make." I try and remember that when I start getting tripped up over the minutiae of creating.

Maybe some of that is relevant to you, maybe not. Anyway, keep making your art, 'cause I likes it.

delusion said...

Hey, first off, thanks so much for your compliments. As far as the work in the hall, I just wanted to do something different from what people normally see from me.. I guess I'm glad it worked out well. Though I still feel bad it took about 1/6th of the time that most of my other work does.. hahaha!

But man, it's interesting, I think, how each different artist thinks about and approaches their works. Sometimes you gotta do something gutteral and straight from yourself, but, when it comes to story.. doing something willy-nilly doesn't always work out, and feels like more of an inside joke. But yeah, I can feel that. It gets hard at SCAD- you learn so much, and think "yeah yeah, i get it, i can do that" but then you can turn around to find yourself so humbled, and feel like doing nothing at all, so overwhelmed with it all. I hope you can work through it.. I know you've got both the skills and the noggin' to do it all.

And yeah, no more hurting the drawing hand. PS: I promise, you do more than bitch.... and anyone who can step up and recognize when they're being pissy, has got their head on a bit more straight than those who can't even tell. Best of luck!