Sunday, June 9, 2024

"Overfed Starter"

This one has a bit of a convoluted evolution, all of which I set out to meticulously document so as to provide a complete process demo. Originally is was intended as part of a job interview, where I would be called upon to show a sample of my teaching technique to both a hiring committee and some random students in the drawing studio of our art department. It's somewhat akin to conducting a baking show on television before a live studio audience - with a similar setup of behind-the-scene prepwork of many versions of the "dish" primed and ready to grab at the appropriate time. It's also an opportunity to reach folks who learn by not just doing, but also by watching someone else do it first.
More below the fold...


The one posted up top was the core panel that ultimately appeared in print, and all the other variations literally illustrate respective phases along the way. The pencil doodle was done in response to a friend's post on social media about a baking mishap. 

That lead to the ballpoint pen doodle done in my omnipresent sketchbook, drawn from memory, as by then I had lost the original one. The second one is worse in comparison, the scale is worse, and the vehicle was so badly drawn I blotted most of it out with a bold Sharpie spot black.

The first of several full-sized takes (on 9x12" Bristol), this one had been destined for demonstrating how to ink a panel in, as part of the show & tell about producing a Nuggets. 

It during the inking in of this, the third (the second still to come/posted about below) of three different takes on the composition, that I had an epiphany about my work, and how I make it. It also is the version digitally colored and submitted to the newspaper. In fact I sent a special email essentially saying "stop the press!" - so as to ensure it's publication within a few days of an upcoming public demonstration. Kind of a nice bow to tie everything off to bring the production cycle full circle.

Given that comics are taken seriously now as a legitimate medium in art, there are any number of graphic novels which use sequential art to teach about just about anything, any subject or genre. In comparison, there's one big topic that's missing: using cartooning to teach anyone how to draw. In other words, the same basic, underlying aesthetic criteria used to create a drawing are also found within a cartoon. I frequently use my panels to literally illustrate the concepts of: a ground plane, linear perspective, line weight and variety of textures used to render value, implying a directional source of light = cast shadow = sense of weight and solidity of placement, the foreshortened and overlapping arrangement of objects also enhances the illusion of depth on the pictorial plane. Whoooeee I know, that's a lot to ask out of a simple cartoon. But that also is a way to introduce and experiment with all the tools of the trade and techniques in drawing that isn't maybe so intimidating, or even pretentious, or at the very least approachable and easier understood than some artsy-fartsy theory. And even though I make for a pretty poor-man's Bob Ross at times, there's the simple magic in the making that always wows a crowd when it's live and in-person. It that voodoo in act of creation, making something appear that wasn't there before.

This was from a second variation of the composition: penciled, then inked, then a preliminary color wash was done on it, with some additional areas left for doing a live demo on for how to use the water-soluble watercolor pencils (Derwent brand is my favorite). 

Lastly, posted below, is the print version as appearing in the pages of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. 

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