What I did yesterday.

I tried to think about what I did yesterday. I made the thumbnail for this page early, I remember that.

Then, I watched "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" to get a few screenshots of the '71 Impala, because I'm going to have to draw the same year and model a few times and it's good to have an idea what I'm drawing.

I remember reading a little. Invincible 57, I think. And most of BPRD: 1946. I remember laying out the thumbnail of that page with a Magnadoodle. I remember eating once, maybe? I remember lots of coffee. I slept for about 2 hours in between it all and that's what's making it hard to remember. Something with internet. Like, with other people. Saying something maybe, or replying. I remember the start of an A-team episode, but just the beginning, I had to leave after the beginning, but that was this morning, not really yesterday.

I remember it took a long time to get started. Not that there were any problems or the page was exceptionally hard to layout, just that I took a while to actually get started. I remember I was thinking about cleaning my typewriter, when I thought to myself, "Alright, this is ridiculous, you need to get started; it isn't going to do itself."

I do need to clean my typewriter though.

I can't remember anything else. In that picture is all the work I was able to get done yesterday and I have no reason why.

Oh well. I guess I'm getting back in the mindset from christmas. I think I should get twice as much done tonight. I think I lost my powers of focus and concentration over christmas.

AFTERPOST: 1:41: I know where my missing time went. I had to type up and print out the text for that page, cut the words out and arrange them on the page so I know how big to make the balloons. And that always takes up more time than it sounds like it would. That has to be the missing chunk of time.

"Well I know whats right, I got just one life"

"In a world that keeps on pushin me around
But I'll stand my ground and I wont back down"

Here's a doodle that didn't look all that graphic until I put red on it. This is just a goof I did to be sure I could still draw the kid.

No actual work in about two weeks, I think. I should be able to start back up this coming monday. I underestimated what a huge chunk of my time Christmas would take up. Hopefully it will be worth it though.

Nothing to read here. Skip this. Move along.

I can't sleep. I tried though. I just sort of laid there for a little more than an hour before giving up.

My bugaboo's back. It never left really, I just didn't think about it. But you can only put off not thinking about something for so long. Before you know it, you're accidentally thinking about it and then you can't stop.

Sometimes I wish I drank. People drink to forget, right? Drink away their problems? I think I hear that. Or do drugs. I think enough lines of crack and I would have bigger problems than the one I'm stuck thinking about right now. Or fight crime when I was depressed. Something that wasn't boring at least.

But I'm a thinker, I think. We're the ones that nighttime's hardest on. In the dark, your problems grow to insurmountable sizes because there's nothing real to focus on. When it's quiet there's nothing to distract you from the endless string of monologues you've had a dozen times that end the same way. You never get closer to a solution, because there isn't one. You know this. But you think if you try hard enough, think about it from all angles, from every perspective, you can find one. You can figure out what's wrong. But you can't. And you know this. But it doesn't stop you.

It's hard to remain optimistic at night. I think sometimes, when the lights go off, the air turns silent, and time slows, I go through a transformation; My normal, slightly optimistic, realist rationale devours itself and I become a one track minded fatalist with only my one problem to keep me company. Problem really isn't the right word. Intricacy is better at describing it, I think.

A few have offered an ear. Even though a small paranoid voice tells me they're just being civil, I appreciate the concern and offer. And I won't lie. I'd dearly love to share with someone. But, I don't think I'd feel right shoveling my gunk out onto them. And they don't know how much of my patheticism they'd have to stomach; All the trudging and all the T.M.I.
No, I think the only way I'd ever talk about this is if I was forced. I was tied up, and not talking wasn't an option. So, until then, not a word. It's my problem. I can deal with it.

On an unrelated note, I was thinking the other day and maybe had an important thought. Like a small epiphany. I became aware of something, I think. I was wondering why I go so far out of the way to help people sometimes, especially strangers. People I don't know or care about. And then I remembered being in Boy Scouts. I was in Scouts from when I was little till I was 18. That's a lot of community service. That's a lot of Saturdays going door to door for food drives. That's a lot of visits to retirees. All the charities. That's the majority of my life doing thankless work because it was the decent thing to do. And I had to stop. Cold turkey. All at once.

You build up a sort of resistance to doing stuff like that. First you do it because people make you, and you don't like it. Then, you do it because you know it's the decent thing to do and you feel good. Towards the end, you're not doing it because you want to, you're doing it because you have to. You're doing it to break even. You'd feel bad not doing it. It's the normal state of being. Take that away and you're not treading water anymore, you're sinking.

Does that make sense? I think that's why I pretty much always feel like crap. And why I'm always looking to help. I'm just trying to break even. Feel normal again.

I think that was the epiphany. I think I need to volunteer somewhere. Not because I want to, I don't, because I have to. I've been all but bred for it.

Does that make sense? Hm, that's another thing about nighttime, you question everything you say or do or did.

Is it normal to question your reasoning? Is it normal to question questioning your reasoning? Sometimes I feel like I have one foot in the insanity grave, one foot on a banana, and the other on a giant monkey who's throwing barrels at me and wants the banana. That makes sense, right? Good.

I watched "Fear and Loathing" for the first time in a LONG time yesterday. Which says something in itself. For some reason it's hard to find time to watch full length movies anymore. But, after watching it, I'm seeing bizarre parallels with that movie and my life.

Honestly, I'm not sure what that means. Seriously, half the stuff that goes on in that movie that's drug related, I've accomplished sans-drugs. Think about that for a second, if you will. I'll wait. That leads me to seriously wonder what my life would be like if I DID do drugs. Well, then again, maybe it would even me out? Maybe if I did enough crank, the next time anyone saw me I'd have some p.o.s. job I hate, an SUV full of kids, and an smile on my face because I've found the secret to not caring.

Well, we can all dream, right?

Man, it's weird being here without music on. I got rid of my tv a long time ago, but I always have music on. It's a bad habit, but it helps keeping me from thinking too much. It disturbs the echoey silence.

I'm not sure if I'm gonna try to sleep now or just put some music on. Maybe both, but not at the same time.

I'm not crazy enough to be doing that. Yet.

Maybe I should work on something till I pass out. That's what worked in the past. Either that or run till I drop.

I'm gonna brew some chamomile tea.

Abe, help me out here.

I can't really show anything I've been working on in the past few days (secret projects and all), and I think I may have flubbed prior explanations on the bluelining thing, so let me try again.
Start over.

As with most of life's problems, I'm going to use Abe Lincoln as an example to help illustrate what I'm talking about. (-albeit a crude, hastily done Abe, an Abe nonetheless)

Here are two drawings of Abe. The one on the left was started with blue, then the parts I really wanted there are in pencil. The one on the right is all pencil.

Here are the drawings after lining them with pen and ink.

Now you have to use photoshop to darken the black so it's really black. But darkening the black means darkening everything, blue and pencil too.

I think the part I kept leaving out is that with photoshop, you can get rid of blue. Pencil's gray (black), and you can't get rid of that without getting rid of the black parts you want kept there.

Here's pretty much the important part. The blue is easy to get rid of. If you start a drawing out in blue, no matter what, it can't muck up the final result. Not so much for pencil. If you erase too much or press down to hard or something, you can irrevocably mess up the drawing and make it so that you have to spend a lot of time in photoshop fixing it.

Does that make sense? If not, let me know.

I'm gonna go back to working on stuff I can't show.

"From my heart and from my hand"

"Why don't people understand
My intentions...?

I think I had a revelation this morning. I woke up around 3 AM, and pretty much went straight to work. Things have been a little odd lately. For reasons beyond my power, I'm stuck at home. Literally, I can't leave.

I have two lamps on my desk. Last night, one of the bulbs burned out. The lamp uses a special bulb, and it has to be >45 watts, so I can't use normal bulbs in it. Normally, I'd go to wal-mart right off and grab a new pack of bulbs (I go through them pretty quickly), but I had to make due. I had to take a bulb from under one of my shelves and use it. And even then, it's a different kind than I use in the desk lamps.

So, when I woke up I started to work and it felt odd, like a dream. Half of my desk was covered in the normal bright white light I've been working under for the last 8 months, but the left side was covered in a dull, low, yellow light. For some reason it seems like the kind of light that should be given off by an old Victorian lamp, maybe candle lit.

I just sort of sat there drawing for a while, thinking how weird it seemed. Such a small difference, but such a big difference.

Also, all this sitting and nothing but drawing leave lots of time for introspection and reflection.

I think I'm gonna have to learn to forget most of the stuff I learned in college. Work shouldn't be about just getting things done or finished as soon as possible. Or about getting the quickest results as fast as possible.

I need to stop trying to finish pages. It seems like that's all I've been trying to do, just finish them and get them out of the way. I think my breakthrough was to stop trying to finish them. Start enjoying them for what they are. Take time and enjoy the process.

I think the pages are going to get much better. It feels like this was the first page I've really done.

It is as if he had been asleep for an eternity, and lost in a dream... Now the sleeper awakens... And it is as if he has awakened for the first time.

"I could wile away the hours"

"Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain

I'd unravel any riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain"

"...with powers and abilities far beyond those of smaller, much weaker men."

The result of one night and 4 cups of coffee. I did this in pretty much one sitting. I can't believe it. I'm very proud. When I drew the thumbnail for this, it was so complex I really wasn't sure that I could do it; I gave a 70% shot of me getting halfway through it, realize it wasn't working or something, and starting over. I mean, geez, look at the thumbnail.

I never show whole pages, but I'm so amazed, I have to. I didn't think I'd even have anything to show for a couple days. Right now it's just the blue layout, it's not even in pencil yet, but I still have a sense of accomplishment. I feel like if this were Mortal Kombat, I would've just fed this page it's spine.

Well, I think that's about it. I have a show to go to tonight, after that sometime, I'll pencil and ink this thing (maybe sleep while I'm at it). I'm shooting for finishing it tomorrow.

Pardonne moi, I believe I'll go play a few well deserved video games.

Something about Theda Bara and Jujubes.

I think I figured out the formula for a problem I had. You just have to simplify the problem, figure it out, then complicate it back up.
<- this is it simplified.

I went out of my way a while ago and bought a BOOK ON PERSPECTIVE, and it wasn't even in it. I'm inclined to think that most artists are idiots. Or, at least, that's who art books are catered to. The book I bought was among the most highly rated on amazon, but it had nothing of merit in it. Seriously, there was nothing in the book that I didn't just learn by myself or know naturally (things get bigger the closer they get to you and smaller the... wait, i forget... good thing I bought this p.o.s. book). It was an entire book on perspective, and somehow they didn't get past the most basic principles. And I'm not exaggerating.

This is how crappy the book is- I bought "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" when I was 12. That had 3 pages about perspective in it. I swear to you, those 3 pages go further into perspective than the entire BOOK ON PERSPECTIVE.

So, I'm just going to assume that all art books were written for dummies, and because of that, will be worthless and a waste of time. I mean, I went to college, I've seen "How to Art" books. Loads of crap they are. This was one of them, a book used to teach perspective in a class teaching it. Also, I only see "beginner's" books. Pfft, yeah, like there's also moderate or expert perspective... wtf? There are no difficulty settings in perspective. Perspective is formulas and facts. I'm wondering how they managed to fill an entire book with no more info than they actually had.

But anyway, I'm just glad I can reason my way through these problems. Luckily I'm a bit more mechanically inclined than the average "artist" (apparently), and I can just shift this stuff over to that part of my brain, think about it, and solve it. Like a puzzle.

And here's this thumbnail for the next page. I'll be working on this for a while. I'm looking forward to drawing it; I think it'll let me know what I'm made of. I'm only posting it because this might be the last post for a bit. This'll take a few days to finish, at the least.

And on top of that, I have at least 7 other medium projects to do and a large one, that have a real deadline and have to be finished. All of them secret for the time being. I'm not making money, and nothing would really happen if they weren't finished, but they have to be finished.

Randall, if you're out there, I vaguely remember you saying something about keeping track of things that were going through my head while doing this, like influences and things. To start cataloging that stuff. I think I'll start doing that, at least the stuff I'm consciously aware of. I think I'll probably start putting it here, on these, like a footnote. So far, I think there are only two things that might fall under that.

The first is about the placement of the word exploders. Usually, when there's a lot of dialogue, it takes up a lot of pages, and when it doesn't it's because they've made huge chunks of dialogue and huge word exploders. It's rare to have actual back and forth dialogue in panels. Seems like we talked about this. But anyway, I think Mignola is so far the biggest influence on the word exploders. Specifically, "Goodbye Mister Tod". If you look at it, you can probably see it. I'm sort of using it as a guide because that's one of the few stories that stick out in my mind where characters had multiple back and forth dialogue interactions in single panels and it didn't look bad.

The other is weirder and probably insignificant. I've been watching a lot of old silent movies. AMC plays them in the mornings when I'm making breakfast(actually dinner) and eating. And I've started to download them too. I guess I'll just have to wait to see if that's important in any way.

But in related news, I've decided to try to grow one of those thin mustaches, the kind that go across the very bottom of your upper lip. You don't see those too often and I think it's a shame. If those movies are a sign, they were all the rage in the 20's.

Complete and utter failure.

Well, I finished this page earlier tonight. At least I did that.

The rest of the night was for naught. A complete waste of my time. And I'm pretty peeved because of it. I spent roughly 5 hours making a player so I could add that song. I'm upset for several reasons. One is probably because I was so dead set on it and you don't take absolute failure well when you're that dead set on something. And secondly because no one will have any idea how hard it was to make that player.

This is actually pretty amazing, so let me set the technical stage. I don't have flash on my computer. I can't find any of my copies of the program. I tried to find an HTML/JavaScript based player that didn't look like crap, but they don't exist. So, I went with flash.

It's hard to express emotions while typing, so imagine me yelling this while gesturing wildly with my arms- DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT IS TO MAKE A FLASH PLAYER WITHOUT ACTUALLY HAVING FLASH?!?

Just to reiterate, I designed a flash player without having flash.

What's funny, is I could do that, but not upload it to blogger. The way it was coded it needs it's own separate XML file for just the player, and that needs to be in the same folder as the HTML file that the flash is embedded in. I can't upload the player's XML to blogger. I tried editing the blog's XML template, but that doesn't work apparently. From what I gather, it either has to be it's own XML file, or blogger doesn't actually upload XML files, it translates them into something else and uses that(?). I guess I didn't think ahead very well.

But either way it sucks because the player works and it's not that I'm just stupid or anything. And it looks halfway decent (being a flash player designed without flash).

Anyway, I've gotten mad enough over it to give up. I'm just disgusted with the entire situation.

But here's the player and that song. Like I said, it works, just not on blogger.

Also, I don't think the song's all too scary now, I think it just severely caught me off guard.

AFTERTHOUGHT: 9:17 AM: After thinking about it for a while, I'm not too mad at the situation. I mean, I'm still a little mad that I failed overall, but I'm kind of proud of what I did. I didn't let reality stop me from what I was trying to do. Man, I designed a flash player without flash. That's hilarious. How the Eff is that even possible? Only at the very end did reality squeak a victory by me. I bent reality, just not far enough to succeed.

But just barely not enough.

"You hear that, Reality? I'm learning. And when I'm ready, I'll be coming for you. I'll have Huey Lewis on cue, and then you'll be sorry."

Managua Nicoragua

Man, I had to document this in some way. Among those 5000 some songs from the 30's and 40's I've acquired, I've just found a gem. Or, rather, an abomination.

Alright, so here I was, sitting and drawing, letting the mellow swing of the 40's take me away, right? Then, this song started playing. "Managua Nicoragua." The only way I can describe what I heard is- imagine Satan being pumped directly into your brain via bullhorn. And it gets worse as the song continues and the ending is almost horrifying.

Seriously, this is the scariest, creepiest song I've ever heard in my life. I can't convey meaning enough for how effing creepy this song is. Why anyone would bother getting/saving a song this badly deteriorated is completely beyond me. The song is not worth having, not even for preservation's sake of the most dedicated 1940's music fan.

So, of course, I immediately decided I'm going to use it somewhere on my site or this blog. Expect to soon listen to it.

"I'm drowning in nothing

"Nothing real
Nothing left
I'm losing myself
Sinking deeper down"

Man, it was hard to work this weekend, between Rock Band, Christmas trees, ect. I layed this page out over the weekend and penciled it Sunday night. It should be finished before morning today as long as I don't get distracted or something bad happens.

That was hard to type and understand; I had to think hard about the days. It's Tuesday morning right now. I penciled that Sunday night. But, to me, Sunday night was last night because of how I slept. Monday afternoon is right now and Tuesday morning isn't going to be until after I've slept tonight, which will actually be Tuesday night.

Geez, hopefully I can explain the next part better than that.

I pieced this together earlier today because I was curious, and also because I thought it would help illustrate what I'll be explaining. I think this was pretty much the only panel I could do this with because I don't think I have scans of anything else at every stage like that.

This is for you Randall, as I don't think anyone really reads this much, and because no one else will know what I'm talking about (pretty much same as always).

But here's what I think I decided without really thinking about it. Or, rather maybe, why I decided what I decided.

I'm sure you've heard me explain it, but here's a visual. I lay it out in the blue, refine the layout with pencil, ink right over the pencil, then scan and gray it. The specific problem that was bugging me was that this process holds you back a lot. Or at least me. Pencils usually have a lot going on. Shading, gradients and general ideas for the inkers and colorists. The page is usually pretty much covered in pencil.

Because I'm inking straight on the pencile
d board, I have to be very minimalistic when it comes to penciling it, otherwise, it looks horrible; example- like Tana's right leg and shot gun here, except all over the page. I mean, you can go all out with the blue, and I do, but it's essentially colored pencil, and there's only so far you can precision things with clumsy colored pencil. The point wears down really fast and the lead's thick, so you're bludgeoning indecipherable blobs of blue onto the paper before you know it.

The two ways to go around this are digitally inking and printing the pencils in non-photo blue and inking those. I don't want to digitally ink, and although I would love to print and ink with the non-photo repro's, I can't afford it and I'm not even sure how many states I would have to drive through before I hit a print shop that did it.

That was pretty much what was bugging me. That I wanted to do this to mostly get better at penciling but the whole process turned out to hold the penciling bac

But I think I decided to stick with this, because I thought it would be OK to get better at shapes, faces, architecture, the whole nine yards before getting further into detailing. Getting better at drawing the circle, before shading and shadowing it.

Hopefully that made more sense than I think my day/night explanation did.

And then there's this. I found this scan in a folder somewhere on my hard drive. I think I lost the actual drawing. I don't know, it made me laugh and there's nothing else to do with it, so here it is.

And just to clarify, that's a light bulb.

Also, I've changed a few things and rediscovered my hate for html coding. It sucks that I'm more adept at actionscript and I've decided to not rely on flash.