Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back to Business, Ink Stains & All

I am back from my artist assistant's gig and it was a blast. The workshop was particularly intensive, especially for 2 & 1/2 days. We actually had homework! Not breeze through, get it done on the bus ride type stuff from junior high, but full on reading 6 chapters a day and drawing & editing our story lines as well as our classmates kinda stuff. I have to say it was a total submersion into an art form I've only ever appreciated as a consumer. Now I can say that comics is a full blown field of art with some of the most talented individuals of the 20th century.

The one point that I particularly enjoyed about the workshop is that it did not focus on the ability of the artist to draw. Instead the principle was that comics are meant to be mass produced. The importance is in the message, the narrative act of telling a story. It can be a joke, a satire, whatever, but it must convey a message to the audience. Essentially it's another form of storytelling, but down in the most primitive and cognitive form known to man, with pictures.

The class exercises focused on ways to convey a message through picture and words and how cartoonists can manipulate the principles of these conventions as tools to convey new meanings to the messages we hope to deliver. This is through a combination of editing our social experience with our collective subconscious, but also with plenty of word balloons.

Here's a few examples of the work I generated. The entire workshop culminated with each participant completing a full one page comic from the thumbnail (the first conceptualization for editing) to the final inked page ready for copy.

Here's a video from the Huntington Museum of Art chronicling the exhibit and the workshop.

At 4:02 you'll catch a nice cameo by yours truly doing God knows what.

The show was a stellar retrospective of Matt and Jessica's 20 years in the art of comics. Their work was an interesting juxtaposition of styles. Jessica's work is largely entrenched in the DIY alt-whatever spirit that defined the self-indulgent undercurrent of 90s. Matt's work embodied a more cerebral approach to the understanding and processing of the narrative of comics as one actively engages them. Basically, he toys with the notion of action and style to depict a singular meaning. This meaning changes and invokes a separate mood and tone with each new interpretation by the style and stanza he constructs through his story.

The following exhibit of LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel included flat out jaw dropping pieces. Originals from Robert Crumb, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Frank Miller and countless others. These are the heavyweight champions of the word of pen and ink in one single place. The flow and movement of the curating took you through a brain swamping myriad of styles and time periods. From super heroes to wood cuts, there is something for any fan, of any age. Awe struck is not a strong enough description of the talent witnessed. If you have the means, please do yourself a favor and check out this show.

The concurrent exhibition of Beth Cavener Stichter's sculptures are exquisite. Her talent with sculpting stoneware is mind blowing. She crafts a subjected tenderness in her depiction of animals that conjures a sense of whimsy and compassion coupled with a a striking implication of one's own mortality through the realism of her subjects. I cannot speak in high enough praise of her artistry or the work presented.

Please investigate the body of her work by clicking here. I can only hope to gain the fraction of the talent she exudes in my own sculpting.

I will post pics of my finished one page comic as soon as I receive my papers & materials in the post. Until then I'm still processing the entire experience and trying to figure where these new lessons will guide me in my artwork. I'm definitely sure they'll somehow influence the contest that I am holding at Z for Zombies, so be sure to enter. The deadline is Friday, March 5th.

Until then here's another storyboard entitled: TRANSFORMATION.

I've always been a fan of crossing green with purple. Classic.


  1. Cool shit man. Also i sent you an award at my blog!

  2. I love stuff like this. Gives me a real education into a world I know nothing about. Cool blog.


  3. Hi there, just found your blog. It is soooo amazing! I'm a make up artist student from Finland, and it's always nice to peep what other students are doing in the other side of the world :D Feel free to visit my blog :) Unfortunately it's only in finnish, but you still understand something from the pictures :) I would looove to spesialize to prosthetic make up.

    Kee up the good work!