Sunday, July 5, 2020

"Bear-Trashed Room" + Cartoon Kitchen/Stovetop Session #1

Yet another fine example of how to endlessly complicate a cartoon - the inherent paradox of rendering a composition so consciously cluttered with details it defeats one of the core definitions of what makes a cartoon a cartoon - simplicity.

*Also note the QR code embedded in the final print version that links to the 907nuggets Instagram page. If it somehow manages to make the transition to newsprint and still retains enough resolution to actually work, that will be hilarious. We’ll see…

I've long since given up any resistance to what has over the years evolved into my own particular approach, but I'm admittedly still jealous at the gestural quality a good cartoon has that still retains the power of less-is-more while still getting the essential job done: rendering recognizable objects. I look at other cartoonist's works sometimes and think to myself now that's easy why can't I ever leave well enough alone with my own stuff. There are times I wish I could just let the initial doodle in the sketchbook stand on its own without redoing it, and there are certain instances it gets published under the "Nuggets Sketchbook" banner as an example of primal purity in the process. In a perverse sense this pursuit of an as-yet intangible aesthetic is what motivates all artists, that wait-just-one-more-thing and by god then it'll be done.

Anyone paying close attention will pickup on another homage to the great George Booth's work, who never failed to impress me whenever being exposed to his meticulous drawings appearing in the pages of the New Yorker magazine that casually illustrated the concept of a chaotic mess (and crazy cats as well).

Another subtle but crucial aspect of the characters interacting in the setting is contingent on manipulating the viewer's eye with deliberate gaze cues. As a visually reliant species we will always instinctively first lock eyes with another animal, and I believe this is a subconscious reflex that can play a part in arranging compositional elements so as to facilitate easier and rapid assessment of the situation (ie "getting it").

This piece lent itself handily to another demo, especially as the inaugural broadcast of a new feature: "The Cartoon Kitchen." Stovetop Session #1 made its debut during the first few weeks of quarantine lockdown at the cabin. The convoluted setup was actually conducive for a unique tripod arrangement with a special rig adapted to using an iPhone. Problem was, I forgot to keep the orientation the same as whenever you first hit "record" and so after entering the title + description for a Facebook Live event I then switched to a horizontal/landscape format, and so the ensuing recording has the classic look of a newbie. Added to that was the fact that livestreaming anything from our location in the hills outside of Ester is doomed to look as low-fi as the rest of of our way of life. Meaning all the painstaking attention to detail was rendered useless with a pixelated and ragged resolution. I might try again using the router instead, but the assumption is that it will presumably be even be poorer results. So I'll compensate with a bigger Sharpie, or just stick to using my Forever Stamps for any distance delivery for my doodles.

Aside from flipping the orientation back to landscape, with judicious editing I was able to cut the overall length by over half the original file size, down to just over 2gigs/15min. Mostly that was accomplished by cranking up the inking sequence to 2000% and crunching it down from twenty minutes to sixty-seconds. Plus I cut out the accompanying monologue and dropping in a beat instead. Also added bonus chapter markers so viewers can skip straight to the high-def stills and avoid most of the crappy live stream footage.

But if you think the resolution is crappy then you’ll love how long it took to upload the damn thing to my channel from the cabin: try ten freakin’ hours. At least it gave me an excuse to finally get around to backiup. Got an external drive that could take not just the current stuff on the iMac, but also soak up my previous external drive’s archives AND everything off the old external drive – the badass backup with a whoppin’ 320GB of storage capacity, man. We’re talkin’ early 2000’s here – some of the original raw image files won’t open anymore on contemporary software - doesn’t even read them).

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