Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Pelts" (aka "The Beard Trapper")

Another example of comparative overkill on a cartoon: As of late I'm frequently alternating between really simple panel design (in other words, more of a traditional cartoon as far as detailed rendering) and then switching it up to a relatively complicated composition for the next one in the cue. Think of it as a sort of artistic version of doing reps, plus it's always good to have some pieces on the proverbial drawing board that require a modicum of discipline to complete.

In other words, slogging through the process when one becomes too attuned with banging out a panel in a single sitting: there's often a tightrope between ease and complacency versus frustration that it's taking too long or maybe is just too hard. In that way I tend to have a lot of empathy with my Beginning Drawing students, who confront and surmount such challenges with assigned work, and I always make sure to relate this perspective during a critique (whether one with what's up on a wall or the the more insidious inner ones with the committee.

Compare and contrast with a recent piece - "Got It" - that integrated the context of clutter as it was more central to the point the gag, as opposed to an environment, or basically a stage full of supporting props. Which are all made up: usually I don't use any photo-reference, just rely on imagination as to what a frontier mercantile would look like maybe based on latent, residual memory from pictures and/or movies.

Sometimes the longer I spend on such elaborate concoctions the more I really wonder what exactly is it that I'm doing and why. Especially when they're a little weird. And then I stop and think about all the pioneer beard trappers of yore, and how important it is to honor a small slice of history - one pelt in a patchwork of Alaskana.

1 comment:

  1. And then there's the implied murder...

    On my one regular gig, producing a cartoon for a local environmental organization's newsletter, I'll brainstorm an idea (which is getting increasingly difficult after almost 20 years) and then figure out whether I've just forced myself to draw an elaborate panel that will then be reduced to something about the size of an index card. I've never been good a busy panes anyway. I'm a white space kinda guy, in life and in art. So I admire the truly complete artist. You are an inspiration more than a discouragement. I would have been fortunate to have teachers like you.