Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Color, In Theory

Aging, flaccid America inspired partly by the recent batshit crazy on display, what with the current crop of Tea Party Republican contenders for the throne.
Also done as a pun on and part of a practical application from an assignment in my "Digital Issues" course that is dealing with digital coloring, where we were given the line art for usage in class exercises. Much as I might be dragging my digital knuckles (most of my issues seem to stem from navigating Blackboard and logging into the College websites), there has been a steep learning curve as far as experimenting with new tools and techniques. Hopefully I'll get to test-drive most of these by incorporating them into my own work. 
Captain America copyright Marvel Comics, created by Joe Simon/Jack Kirby
Take this guy Steve Rogers for example: it's been a while since I've thought about this particular character, and before that, many, many years went by without even looking at any Captain America comics. The world probably doesn't need yet another Captain America (much less another superficial and predictable cinematic version). So I took initiative to redraw my own version, and use it in turn for an editorial panel. Still applying the same steps as in the lesson plans and exercises, but also bringing home the point that all the technological wizardry in the world won’t stand in for concept or content (not to mention the irony that this panel, more likely than not, will ultimately be run in black and white). And as I've mentioned here in previous postings and many a time to a Beginning Drawing class, one of the meta-lessons in art, and in Life, is the humbling awareness that there will always be somebody whose work is better and there will always be someone who does worse. Same MO applies: don't worry about it - just do your own thing.
Lots of similar critical commentary runs through the background while working, and it’s the old mental monologue of chutes & ladders: marshaling motivation, overcoming inhibitions, latent frustrations, and feelings of inadequacy. Not to paint a negative impression by any means, as the creative process is always somehow leavened with more than enough quiet, private victories to maintain forward momentum. And as always, a crucial part of this process isn't just understanding how, but also why. Another instance is in how humbling it is to realize that ten years ago I was at least ten years older than the majority of my fellow classmates: now I’m at least twenty years older. Dressing in “business casual” for first day of class meant a couple students called me “sir,” mistaking me for a faculty member. This never fails to remind me of starting out in college at a SUNY community college, and frequently being one of the youngest people in class: it taught me that one never has to stop learning, and education never gets old. 
Equally surreal to be sitting in a computer lab amongst folks who are amazingly good and smokingly fast with the programs. Plus everybody seems to be using digital pens on their Wacom/Cintiq digital pen displays and drawing directly on the screen, and there's me with the old-school (literally) Sharpies and pencils. But hey, if and when the power ever goes out, maybe that'll be my time to shine.

A case in point for color with the underlying reason for choosing this particular palette: Interesting to observe how I've been gravitating towards a softer, cooler look and feel, more subdued hues that are similar to the experimentation earlier this year with coloring in my inked originals and using water-soluble pencils. Rendering color with a pencil tool on the computer makes for an entirely different style,along with coloring in CMYK channels (using swatches without any black value), and awareness of utilizing color as a conscious and deliberate aspect of storytelling. While the resulting amalgamation is fun to play with and look at, it remains to be seen how I'll shuffle this new new perspective into the mix as far as my own work goes. And at this rate, who knows where that is...

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