I'm going to go backwards this week!

I am so tired, I'm falling asleep while waiting for web stuff to load!

The picture book projects were due today and I still believe that it was too big a project to do in two weeks. I thought I had paced myself pretty well, but with other classes, homework and visiting the kids this weekend... I found myself scanning in the color art at around 11pm last night.

Followed by the clean up, layering with pencil art, placing in InDesign... tweaking... finally around 2am, I realized I should package it up, get up really early, go to the Print Lab, print and assemble.

Nope. The program kept crashing. So, by 3am, I decided I'd do it the old fashioned way, scaled down the size, laser printed, and glued the pages back to back. In bed by 4:30am... couldn't fall asleep, too nervous. Woke at 7 to the sound of a leaf blower outside the window!? Agh. The room was spinning and I felt insane, but I got myself to the lab, printed out the color images, trimmed them, and ran to class just as the bell rang! I glued the pages... um, "tipped in" the color images... and handed the little book to the teacher just as he reached for it!

It was a pretty big thrill to have it projected on the screen and read aloud. I was pleased with the effort. But I'd like the chance to do a lot more with the art!

My classmates' books were wonderful too. Although, I noticed I wasn't the only one looking beyond-exhausted!

After a short break, with cookies (less than 3 hours sleep and cookies for breakfast... uh-oh) - we did a series of fast comic strips for over an hour. I can't believe I was able to focus and come up with ideas, but it was kind of soothing in a way.

We explored "Staging," "Pacing," "Atmosphere," "Time," and "Dialog." For each strip, Jason would give a short description, and then we'd have 5 minutes to brainstorm and draw the strip. For example, for Time - "five seconds in the life of a bird." Can you find that one?

Dialog, surprisingly, turned out to be my favorite one. The first was a conversation between a mentor and mentee, second was two police officers interrogating a criminal, and third was a conversation between 4 family members at the dinner table.

Our next assignment, due in two weeks is to produce a comic adaptation of an Aesop's Fable, minimum of 8 pages with covers and with 14 copies of the book turned in.

We had about 20 minutes for lunch break - I ran home - feeling very wobbly, swallowed a yogurt, and ran back. The running was good - it kept me awake for the afternoon class. Steve took pity on us and didn't make us do anything except listen while he explained the different ways to Introduce Characters in our comic books. This was really interesting... I have many pages of notes and a big list of books and movies to watch! Movies are great to study for inspiration for comic books and Steve showed us lots of clips... from Rear Window, two versions of Pride and Prejudice, Man from the South, King Kong, Dracula, Once Upon a Time in The West...

Alfred Hitchcock started out as the guy who painted the cards shown between scenes in silent movies. He would storyboard the movie to know where the cards needed to go. He storyboarded all his own movies too - which is why they feel like moving comic books and are so well paced and exciting.

Tuesday was Poster day. Luke talked us through a typical (but humorous) poster assignment and explained the difference between working with clients who knew what they were doing, and those who haven't got a clue. Avoid the second ones.

And, we learned that InDesign has layers, just as Photoshop does. And we are expected to use them for the finished versions of our posters (due next week).

This assignment was to create 10 thumbnails for a poster advertising our favorite band. We sat outside to do the crits - and talked over the roar of the trains. Here are a few of sketches:

These top two (below) are the ones I was told to concentrate on for next week. They were my favorites too.

I picked that date (10/06/89) because that is probably the last time I saw an Elton John concert, and it was at Madison Square Garden. While researching, I discovered an interesting thing... "Empty Garden" is my favorite Elton John song and I knew it was about John Lennon, but I didn't know that the empty "Garden" refers to Madison Square Garden. John and Elton had performed together in 1974 at MSG and it ended up being John Lennon's last performance there. Of course, then I had to go and read all the detailed grisly newspaper articles. Sigh.

On that note, we move backwards to Monday's class. Comic History was focused on Stereotypes and Archetypes in Comics and Cinema. Which was rather disturbing and I saw at least one really upset student in class. Steve apologized and explained why it is important for us to understand the context etc.

He talked about how cats and mice, starting with Krazy Kat by George Herriman, served as stand-ins for other ethnicities. And there was a strange progression with stereotypes from comics (Krazy Kat) to cartoons (Tom and Jerry), to novels (The Beast Is Dead, about the Third Reich), to comics (MAUS by Art Speigelman, about the holocaust) and Kit n Caboodle, Squeak the Mouse and then back to cartoons (The Itchy and Scratchy Show).

This happened with "The Yellow Peril" (fear of the Chinese) and can be seen with the great character "Fu Manchu". I can't hear that name without thinking of the Peter Sellers movie!

He covered so much material, I can't tell you it all. But it did include watching a documentary about a man on death row who had slaughtered an innocent family because he thought they were Communists. And we talked about the way that comics (political cartoons too) desensitize readers to the humanity of a person or race, etc. by turning them into animals. This is necessary for soldiers to be able to go to war and justify killing people. Because they aren't "people" they are the "enemy". That's what the murderer had done. These weren't people he'd killed. They were Communists, and he was fighting a war. It was interesting, but horrifying.

I'm not going to leave you with that thought. Shiver.

This weekend, I went to Montshire Museum of Science so I could walk on the trails and draw trees for homework.

It was really quiet and beautiful since the trails were empty. I sat and watched people jogging over the bridge to Dartmouth (Hanover, NH). After a while, my hands were frozen,  I was lonely, and it started to snow on me. So I went to King Arthur Bakery, nearby and ate some carbs. Yum.

Tonight, while I was uploading these photos and trying to get up some energy to walk over here to the computer and write this blog... here is my excuse for delaying the movement...