Week Two

Let's see if I can catch up the rest of the week...

Wednesday, in Cartooning Studio, we learned about the elements of Gag cartoons and have homework to draw three - one autobiographical, one about White River Junction, and one that is classic (ie: desert island). We learned about our teacher, Jason Lutes, who was only a year or two ahead of me at RISD!

And Jason described his detailed process for creating a comic. On the comic spectrum (that might be the medical term for it?) there is Lynda Barry at one end... she waits for the voices to tell her what to do... then she draws directly onto her paper with ink. At the other end, is Jason Lutes. His process is so intense, redrawing and researching and redrawing some more... I think I would go insane.

In the afternoon, we had Alec Longstreth in to talk about Studio Practices. He gave us tips on setting up our studios... "sitting can kill you!" As artists, we tend to start out sitting straight and then get closer and closer to our work until our noses touch the paper and our backs are screaming!

Guess what? That's why drafting tables are designed to TILT! He recommended tilting the table up and always have your light source coming from the opposite direction. A window is best.

Crazy person that I am... I went back to my apartment and moved the whole thing around! And you know what? My back was hurting even though my table was now tilted!

That might have had something to do with all the moving though...

Panorama shot of my living room turned studio.

You can see my giant Lego head (thanks Jenny!) and my giant Post-it note calendar things - trying to organize the chaos!

Now my drawing area is tilted, has lots of light and everything near at hand - including the studio cat's window perch. I can sit and draw and look out on the parking lot and my lovely, elderly neighbor trying to get down the stairs with her walker in one hand and the trash bags in the other...

On Thursday, we drew really fast sketches of a naked guy with cool tattoos.

And we had an awesome visiting artist - Noelle Stevenson. She has red hair - that's why her site is called "Ginger Haze." She is still quite young, but has done so much. She started out doing FanArt for the Lord of the Rings and then got interesting projects with Marvel and Disney. She was a co-creator for Lumberjanes and wrote a webcomic, Nimona, that was published later by Harper Collins.

I loved listening to her tell her story - from understanding that comic book stores were designed for guys, and being disgusted with the portrayal of women in comics, to realizing the power she had to create new female role models herself, and winning two Eisner Awards.

If you get rather irritated to see the crazy, sexist poses that female super heroes get drawn in - take a look at The Hawkeye Initiative. It's a hoot! It started with them re-drawing comics covers, replacing the women with Hawkeye - and then, later - other male super heroes. Those "sexy" poses look really stupid with Wolverine or the Hulk arching their backs and sticking out their butts wearing skimpy little outfits that barely cover anything. It really is very funny!

This is an example (on the right side), done by Noelle herself:

© Noelle Stevenson

After classes - I booked it back home to Warner to hang out with the kid for a few days. We worked on cleaning out more of the BeeHive. Must. Clean. Studio. GASP!

I keep feeling like I should be here, when I'm there, and there, when I'm here!

Today I went to Mill Brook Gallery in Concord for a workshop with Catherine and Peter McGovern on Copyrights and Contracts. That was actually really fun and I learned that the publishing problems I've been having may be more of an Intellectual Property issue than a simple problem with contracts. And I need to do something about it soon. I also got some good advice and a contact. And delicious baklava. A day well spent.

Tomorrow I need to get my homework done (eek!), hug my kid, and then book it BACK to school. Minou, the cat, is not terribly happy with the commuting either. She has taken to hiding when she sees me piling any bags and boxes near the door!