Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ice Road Truckers: Demo Panel

The second of two demo panels cranked out for the summer Cartoon & Comic Art class at UAF. We've by now already flogged the dead horse moose of humor enough in trying to come up with gag material, and it's time to switch gears from concept to ramping up production. Funny or not I still expect to see the work, and the jury's still out whether or not doing these demos is much of an inspiration. That's the ulterior motive, not to frustrate students by pulling off an endless stream of finished pieces - but whether it's done in front of the class or not there's the meta-lesson in that it never ends, and that there's just as much stress behind the scenes at home in the cabin for me dealing with deadlines as the ones handed out in the classroom. You do get a lot of the "you make it look so easy" stuff, and I suppose many years of habitual drawing makes it look that way, but ideally students glom onto the fact there isn't all that much of a difference between us, we're just on different sides of the same drawing board. A old teacher of mine used to put it this way: the only practical distinction is that I'm standing on a bigger pile of mistakes, and thus can see farther than someone with comparatively less experience. 

Same drill as before: work up a pencil rough from the sketchbook doodle, ink it in, do both a digital version and a meticulously rendered "manually shaded" one pictured below (this time in graphite). Granted it was about an hour total on this shading demo, and I brought in another original that reflected 12-hours of hand-crampin' joy on one panel just to show how much of an obvious difference invested effort will reveal and reward. But who really has the the time for all that when we gotta get cranking on the next panel! Seriously though, I was asked from an incredulous student why on earth I wanted to do that, well, that in turn begs the question as to why in the hell one bothers to draw anything at all. And we don't wanna go there.

And so yeah, the poor kid is missing from the finished original version - he was drawn on a separate sheet  and digitally added afterwards. Trivia: childhood traumas of abandonment anxieties all brought on by that bastard driving the ice-cream delivery truck who I swear would speed up ever so slightly and pull away into the distance. To this day every time I hear that tinkling merry melody I'm plunged either into depression or filled with phobic rage. And then I eat my own damn ice cream and it's all better. 


  1. Hi Jamie,
    What program do you use for your digital version? DZ

  2. Old school Freehand (MX) as opposed to the current industry standard Illustrator.
    More and more though I'm skipping the vector stage and using Photoshop, which I always do color with anyways.

  3. Freehand MX! Holy Cow! That's real old school. I understand though. As a true artist you don't have to 'cheat' like I do. I use the latest digital programs so I can do as little work as possible. For example, Manga Studio is a great new 'cheater' program to get instant gratification with templates. Keep on keepin' on, love your blog.

  4. Yup - I'm still instantly gratified with a damn pencil (comes with being easily amused): think I wrote earlier about the power going off while geeking about about tech in a class which drove home the ultimate point about the most powerful tool of all.
    Thanks dude - now back to the burnt sticks on the cave wall...