Oct 18

Damn this shit takes time! – Warning: massive rant ahead

Category: Random, Rants

I hope my regular readers (all 2 ½ of you) don’t forget about this blog due to the infrequency of my posting. From the start I wanted this blog to be more about my art than my life, so I refrain from blogging about my day to day rituals or my thoughts on political issues. (I comment on No Cookies For Me to satisfy that itch). But having the focus of this blog be artistic inevitably results in long stretches where nothing is posted because it takes time to make art.

Can I just digress for a second and mention how much I hate the term “art” when referring to my own work? I’ve always resisted the label “artist” maybe because everyone else has always been so eager to apply it to me. And while I acknowledge that the shit I make IS art, in as much as everything could be considered art if you broaden the definition of the word enough (especially if you take Fine Arts at Concordia and discuss it in Art Theory), I remain uncomfortable with the term. It just sounds so pretentious. And if there’s anything I abhor it’s pretentious art freaks. That’s exactly why I quit art school; I just couldn’t handle all the self-importance (this coming from one of the most arrogant and self-obsessed people out there). And it’s why I chose to minor in creative writing, rather than major in it; I didn’t want to get overwhelmed with more artsy pretentiousness.

Anyway, making art takes times. And I don’t have a lot of time to devote to it simply because I need to hold down a regular 9 to 5 to pay the bills. Writing isn’t that hard, I can even do it at work *cough* totally on my lunch break *cough*. But drawing takes a crapload of time and photoshopping those drawings takes more time still.

I’ll digress again to lament my waning interest in drawing. I used to love to draw when I was younger but it doesn’t capture my interest the way it used to. It has literally been at least half a decade since I have drawn anything using my pastels and I only paint about once a year. I still enjoy it when I do it but I rarely feel the urge to paint anymore. This lack of interest sort of saddens me because I used to love it so much but I do acknowledge that my love of visual art has been replaced with a love of writing that is much stronger than my interest in drawing ever was.

But as much as I enjoy prose my preferred style is script writing; dialogue. I thoroughly enjoyed the playwriting course I took and then truly felt as though I’d found my calling when I took Script Writing. Distinct from playwriting in that script writing implies writing for T.V. or film. (A very different style indeed). Because I don’t work in the T.V. industry I write comic books, which are paced pretty similarly to T.V. shows. My script writing professor even suggested we treat the two mediums as interchangeable.

But there is no point to a graphic novel without graphics. So I need to draw to make my stories come to life. And those drawings need to be photoshopped. Fortunately I adore photoshopping. Hours can go by without me noticing while I’m clicking away with the mouse. I forget to eat, forget to go to the bathroom, forget there is a world outside of my computer. My body ceases to exist and I become one with the laptop. Mmmm… photoshop. Even thinking about it makes me happy. Of course I’m still human so every so often I become cognizant of the real world and I stand up and discover that I’ve been sitting in a hunched position for hours; my shoulders ache and my stomach grumbles and I run to relieve my bladder. And for the first time, after years of working in data entry, I’ve finally acquired a case of carpal tunnel syndrome. I used to rest after a long day’s work but since starting up this blog I now I come home and do more typing, using my left digits in exactly the same way I do at work – stretching my proportionately small hand into an awkward position for hours. And damn it hurts. But not enough to make me stop! Thankfully I draw and mouse with my right hand, which so far remains unaffected. I’ll just put a brace on my left hand and keep holding down shift while I stretch images.

So all this to say: please don’t lose interest! Stay tuned for more! The real reason I started this blog was to finally do something with the epic graphic novel I started writing around seven years ago. I wrote a pilot script for a class assignment (totally got an A) and loved the story and characters so much I just never stopped adding more. But finally this year I completed the writing and am now determined to illustrate it. The other day I started drawing for it and found that my love of drawing was not dead after all. I simply needed a subject to be passionate about. (And as much as I like Killing the Myth, I don’t love it, which shows through in its half-assed drawings. I mean, um, the drawing style is totally intentional… it’s symbolic of Saura’s struggle to free herself from inaccurate proportions). But Waste Island, the epic story I speak of, will be awesome, oh yes, it will. I love the characters as though they are my children and like all good stories, it pretty much wrote itself with minimal interference from me. I’ll even admit that Waste Island has affected (effected?) my real life in strange and unexpected ways; I became so fond of some of the characters that I altered my own life to mirror theirs and it really has become a chicken and egg type of situation. Are the characters the way they are because I made them so or am I the way I am because they influenced me? A little bit of both I suppose. (This is where sane people remind me that there’s no difference since I invented these characters in the first place).

And now that I’ve (hopefully) whetted your appetite for Waste Island I will make you wait a really long time for it. Because damn, this shit takes time. An average episode/issue is about 60 pages of text and so far that amounts to 3 illustrated panels per page. It takes about an hour to make one panel, drawing and formatting. Yep, an hour. That doesn’t even include photography time (the illustrations incorporate hand-drawn pictures and real life photographs). So if it takes three hours to illustrate one page then it would take an average of 180 hours to complete one issue of the comic book. Since I can only devote about two hours a day to this project (with a little more on weekends) that amounts to 90 days for one issue. There are 73 issues. So it should only take about 18 years to complete this project. Please excuse me, I think I just had an aneurysm.

And that’s assuming I work on WI exclusively, ignoring all the other stories I’ve got floating around in my hard drive. (Don’t worry Planet Exile, I haven’t forgotten about you! Altough Neika, the Chameleon Stalker… yeah, you’re toast. You too Fiona’s Boys, which is probably for the best considering all the shit I took for Paradise Syndrome. Not that Fiona’s Boys is in any way based on my real life or the real boys in that real life *cough*).

Holy shit. Can I do this? Can I make WI come to life? Even if I streamline the process a bit, it’ll still take 10 years to finish this sucker. But you know what? I’m determined. Because this is a project that actually means something to me. I care about it. I’m passionate about it. This is what they mean when they talk about a natural high (and people wonder why I’m straight edge). But working on WI does mean I can never have kids, they would just take too much time away from my imaginary children. So oh well for that. My biological clock can officially shut up now. ‘Cause I’ve already started thinking about the sequel to Waste Island and it’s gonna be great! Just you wait and see! Just be prepared to wait a really long time is all.

7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Punky October 18th, 2007 1:23 pm

    are you blogging while working? oh right…*cough, *cough, lunch hour….

  2. Caro October 18th, 2007 4:30 pm

    That’s crazy, 18 years! How much is a copy of that sucker gonna cost???

    So…do you forget about supernatural while photoshoping?

  3. Kevin October 18th, 2007 4:35 pm

    We can have a race. Looks like I’ll be finishing the Gourmet Project on Nov 12 2014 at the rate I’m going.

  4. Kevin October 18th, 2007 4:36 pm

    Also, would getting a tablet speed things up for you?

  5. Nique October 18th, 2007 4:48 pm

    I already have a tablet and no, it doesn’t speed things up at all.

    Yes, I do forget about Supernatural while photoshopping, but I have based the physical features of one of my characters on Jensen Ackles, the actor who plays Dean, so even when I’m working on WI, I can still think about Dean in the back of my mind. Ahh, sweet bliss.

    As to cost: unfortunately for me, it’ll all be free. But donations are welcome! *hint hint*

  6. Lucas October 20th, 2007 1:51 am

    I like this post.
    I hate all artists.
    Art school is a pretentious way to suck.
    incredibly ambitious, seemingly never ending self initiated projects are the sauce of life.

  7. kebes October 20th, 2007 11:22 am

    Awesome ambition. Can’t wait for the first issue (yes, we will patiently wait!).

    P.S.: Considering the scope of this project, have you invested some time into learning Photoshop’s macro options (”Actions” and “Batch Automation”)? For example, you could script it so that a single Action-button initiates scanning and automatically applies the filtering necessary to darken/clean the line-drawing. Just a thought.

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