Welcome to another Sketchbook Confessional where I go through everything I did in a month!
Background on Sketchbook Confessionals:
I found that I wasn’t keeping track of how much art I did and that while I had a to-do list, I wasn’t keeping a good ‘done’ list. The Sketchbook Confessional is a chance for me to get it all out and just post everything I did in a month, a time-bound way of reeling in the chaos of art.
August brought many ups and downs for me in the studio and day-by-day, I made some art, but not a whole lot. I’m still working on relaunching Tilted Sun soon. For most of August I would get home from work and be nearly exhausted, too tired and too hot to do anything but eat Fruity Pebbles and hang out with Geddy. I mostly felt like the girl in the illustration above - knives everywhere, fun crystals everywhere, but at least I still have my pool of dreams.
To just get my art off the ground I made this work of a man with a lotus on his face:
In working on Tilted Sun I am thinking mostly in covers and symbols - which isn’t a bad place to be, it just makes the surface a bit hard to reach if you’re at the bottom of an iceberg. I wish there were more conversational parts of the comic where characters talk to each other and the plot advances, but right now I think it’s like 68 pages of world building, so, my plan is to change that with the upcoming set of pages. Holy smokes. If you ever feel like criticizing a comic try making one for yourself first.
I also worked on identifying more places where I was weak as an artist. Namely, shirt collars. Shirt collars are very confusing to me and I am not very good at drawing them.
Like saying the same word over and over again, the more you repetitively draw something, the weirder it ends up looking.
But, I did learn a lot about collars, and, most of all I learned that it is good to look at references to draw these.
In August I worked on pouring ink patterns - these are not ‘art’ on their own, so what I typically do is cut each sheet into multiple pieces and re-collage them. The ink patterns are like origami paper - they are a material, but they are not yet in their final form.
While pouring out ink, the excess needs to be dabbed with tissue or it will flow off the sheet. This ends up creating very beautiful patterns on paper towels and toilet paper.
I’m not sure what to do with these by-products yet, but my instinct is to save them.
In early August I went to my hometown Leadville to get away from the DC heat and relax a bit. On a shakier-than-one-would-like flight, I drew these lotuses which I had seen near the Anacostia river at the Lotus festival, using a pen from Sekaido in Tokyo
The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race happened to be happening during the same weekend I was in Leadville. It was super to see so many old friends in Leadville, including immense triathlete Alex, Leadville Laurel, and my old cross country ski coach, Mr. Quinn.
Many people have probably heard of the record snow this year in places like Colorado and Lake Tahoe. All of this snow allowed flowers to bloom in August, in amounts I had never before seen. Here are photos I took of the mountain flowers:
It will be good to go into the winter with these photos as a reminder of summer, and I can paint the flowers from my studio in Maryland.
Reading and Playing:
As an unabashed nonfiction junkie, I read the following books:
Finding Ultra - A great book by Rich Roll, where he harnesses his extreme personality and transcends alcoholism to become one of the fittest athletes and ultramarathoners in the world.
Art Thinking - my boss lent me this book and it is the most meaningful book I’ve read about art in years. The book’s thesis is that art as a practice can be integrated into working life, not separated, an absolutely dazzling argument compared to the traditional narrative of dayjob/artjob splitting. It’s not just that art and life can be integrated, but when it’s integrated, all of humanity benefits. Read this book if you are an artist who is also a lawyer/doctor/software executive/worker.
Unfuck Yourself - An instant classic. I loved the positive affirmations. If you read the entire book in a Scottish accent, it’s even better.
And after carrying the book halfway around the world to Japan and back, I finally finished reading Cryptonomicon - It took me about as long to read this book as Neal Stephenson took to write a new one. 1000 pages of code making, code breaking, treasure hunting.
I played a bunch of Octopath Traveler after my friend Jesse lent me a Nintendo Switch.
I also played Breath of the Wild, which reminded me a lot of exploring the mountains in Leadville and hiking around Colorado. I haven’t finished either game but just getting to play them for a small amount of time was inspiring from a production perspective - the details and artistry in each game gave me some hope for the world.