Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gesundheit: Givin' Thanx

All the recent rainy-day adventures gave me a whopping cold, complete with runny nose, and eyes, sneezing onto the monitor, and a head like a lead balloon. Toasted up a couple thick slabs of LuLu’s cinnamon swirl, slathered with butter, brewed up copious amounts of Carolan’s & coffee, grabbed the kitties and put on some Merrie Melodies DVD’s. All better.
Called around friends & family, reconnected while being disconnected: a solo holiday this year, just me & the cats holed up at the cabin. Should be working on serious stuff, but as usual, it’s any excuse to doodle...

"Get Stuffed!"
More meta mullings below the fold...

Contemplating a monumental shift in style – call it an early New Year's resolution. Making several switches, some out of necessity, some out of practicality and a little bit of a creative reboot. For many years I’ve been snuggled into a rut routine with regards to specific materials and techniques that've become as much of a limitation as simple habit. A lot of these seemingly insignificant choices seem obvious in retrospect, but just as much as nobody ever likes to raise their hand in class and tell the teacher “you’re doing it wrong” (also ‘cause there ain’t too many wrong answers in art) it’s equally humbling to jump your own tracks. I'll start next year...

1) Switching to watercolor paper (partial to the back-side of cold-press) instead of the usual Bristol board, as I unearthed some paper while packing and experimented a bit with it - one of the many reasons it takes me forever to move. I love doing pen & ink on the textured surface, plus it’ll make for easier wash (duh – seeing as how it’s for wet media), selling and display of originals, and lastly a good segue into incorporating colored pencil wash.

2) This dovetails with a decision to uncouple from the computer aspect: dependency on the technology has tipped into taking too many shortcuts and overcompensation on fixing “mistakes” in the manual phase. I’d like to return to working more diligently on quality, finished pieces of original art and quit being such a lazy slob who’s more concerned with just cranking stuff out. Besides taking the time and investing more care on the work, you’re never too old, or experienced, to start learning how to draw better. Again. 

3) No more vectored images either – shifting into grayscale and just using Photoshop instead of along with Illustrator (and finally let go of Freehand). The subtle effect on my linework is aesthetically negligible, but still noticeable after all these years. Still use the computer for simple cleanup, digital coloring and reformatting, but again, this is in line with re-orienting focus back to the original. 

4) New nibs, and to hell with crow-quills: these infuriatingly useless tools might be traditional to a long lineage of artists and art teachers alike, but they suck, and I ain’t ever gonna use or assign them again - let’s hear it for 01 Microns.

5) New brand of ink too: no more Higgins Black Magic, switching to Windsor & Newton India ink. This might seem like an argument between Ford versus Chevy, or Mac versus PC, but it’s a matter of perspective and personal bias (either one will get you where you wanna go) (eventually). W&N also smells so much better, which is a factor when one spends hours six inches away from one’s work. Plus good flow and rich, yummy darks. Lastly, the nipples are way bigger on their bottles, and we all know how much cartoonists like to play with their nipples while working late at night, alone in the studio.

"Ohh baby..."


  1. Ahh, Jamie. Always playing with your nipples, and bragging about it. ;)

    I'll be interested to see what happens with all the shifts you're talking about--there's something rather exciting about one of my favorite artists making decisions to change how he does art!

  2. Hey now, the only thing dirty about me is my fingernails.
    But seriously - the changes are all at the sub-geek tectonic level.
    Except for where I swear I'm gonna get funnier too (that seems to happen nomatter what anyways).