lookingland: (angel)
2012-01-29 12:55 pm
Entry tags:

say goodbye to january (among other things) ~

apparently there has been yet more brouhaha at lj (i post from dreamwidth.org in case you didn't realize it). while i have not yet decided to return to any kind of regular blogging, i may quit cross-posting. if you have a dreamwidth account, look me up. otherwise, i think, at long last, this is truly goodbye lj. i'm glad i didn't buy a permanent account when i was tempted. haven't really bothered seeking people out on dreamwidth or plugging into any communities, etc. like i said, i don't know how often i may post or if this too will all just go away.

but enough of the doom and gloom. hope everyone is having a productive sunday. i know i have lots of writing to do.

and on that note, behold: the state of my desk (it's been a long time, hasn't it?).  the "clean space" below is more generally occupied by my tea kettle, so the desk is still pretty cluttered, but it's a good working space. i find i paint better these days using a clipboard and watching movies, so i moved all the art stuff over to the side where the computer sits (at the other desk). the writing area i am trying to keep pretty simple: i have my outline for reference, my notebooks to write in, and an assortment of pens and whatnots. my research books are banned from the desktop except on a need-to-read basis. i find as my hands grow more cripply with arthritis the writing slope is a big help in keeping me from pinching my wrist, which is what i tend to do when i write flat.


lookingland: (Default)
2012-01-07 08:01 am
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Starting off 2012 with Patrick O'Brian



I am amazed at how much time I used to put into blogging. Wish I could say that it explains why I never got anything done, but then what would my current excuse be? At any rate, I am tentatively returning to the blogosphere. Mostly at my Reconstruction website, where I will be cross-nattering endlessly about the Civil War and other 19th Century-related topics, but possibly also here where I can natter about books and movies perhaps.

Last year I endeavored to read Zola's Rougon-Macquar
t series. I got through the first 7 books and half of the 8th, but then had to take a break (L'Assommoir was just too much ~ sooo good, but man, what a depressing book). Late in the year, for reasons I can't explain, I decided I would like to read Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. So I picked up Master and Commander over the Thanksgiving holiday and now I am just shy of halfway through book number 4.   A quick catch-up on my opinion of the series [from my Goodreads account]:

Master and Commander:
Other reviewers have likened O'Brian to Jane Austen ~ but with battleships. I get the comparison.

I can appreciate the wealth of historical detail and the slavish attention to all things nautical, but this first novel is sadly lacking in things like, well, plot, for one. And yes, Stephen and Jack are charming and there are some genuinely wonderful moments, but I felt exasperated waiting for something to happen. How can a book so chock-full of battles be so wanderingly aimless?

I didn't hate this, but neither was I madly in love with it. This was just so-so; impeded by strange choices in the pacing, truly bizarre dialogue at times (and I don't even mean the period vernacular ~ I mean it felt like the writer was paying no attention as to whether a reader could make context out of random snippets), and again, an odd plotlessness in which the setup never pays off and the final battle is just a 50-page denouement.


Post Captain
this second book is a stronger effort in my estimation. there appears to be a more cohesive plot (or set of plots, really). so generally i enjoyed it much more than Master and Commander, though it still had its detractions and plenty of aimless boat boat boat blah blah blah kind of stuff that i occasionally skimmed.

Stephen was kind of weird in this one (and getting on my nerves as a result). he comes off very Mary Sue in this novel with O'Brian attempting to temper his awesomeness by c...more
this second book is a stronger effort in my estimation. there appears to be a more cohesive plot (or set of plots, really). Generally I enjoyed it much more than Master and Commander, though it still had its detractors and plenty of aimless boat boat boat blah blah blah kind of stuff that I occasionally skimmed.

Stephen was kind of weird in this one (and getting on my nerves as a result). He comes off very Mary Sue ~ with O'Brian attempting to temper his awesomeness by constantly referring to him as "reptilian" ~ but i don't buy it. I actually enjoyed my time with Jack much more this go round, though the two of them together continue to be pretty awesome. There were numerous interactions that were comic gold.

And Pullings is just adorable. He desperately needs more page time.


HMS Surprise:
best so far of the series. Stephen is much less weird and bitchy in this one (perhaps torture humbles him a bit), and it feels so much less all over the place than the previous two; there's an actual plot with some over-arching complications, and an ending satisfying enough that were this the only book O'Brian penned, it would have been just fine. I am almost afraid to be disappointed with the series moving forward, but move forward I shall.

A handful of bits out of this were borrowed to plot the Weir film adaptation. I am grateful that the film didn't bother trying to include either Diana or Stephen's intelligence agent storylines ~ the former I hope to be done with and the latter really feels more like an intrusive (and convenient) plot device. Also, lovesick stephen was mercifully restrained (I thought I would hate it, but it was just right), while lovesick Jack was hilariously adorable.

As was Mr. Pullings, who once again did not receive sufficient page time.


~ * ~

p.s. I realize there is a whole subculture out there of Aubrey/Maturin slash fandom (and had the misfortune of encountering some of it in my trawl for an image for this post). I seriously have to wonder whether people who go there with this series have ever bothered to actually read the bloody thing ~ beh.


lookingland: (Default)
2011-11-07 05:12 pm
Entry tags:

30 Days Book Meme in a Day

i realize you are supposed to take this one day at a time and expound on your responses, but i haven't got the patience or discipline for that, so here it goes:

Day 01 – The best book you’ve read in the last year: right now it's a battle between Emile Zola's The Sin of Father Mouret and Don Robertson's By Antietam Creek. It's been a good year, so this is a tough call. I love both books for different reasons.

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times: Coming through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje jumps to mind first. this book changed the way i approach writing and i often return to it just to dip my toes in that inspiration.

Day 03 – Your favourite series: not much of a series readers. the Montmorency books by Eleanor Updale are perhaps my favorite? 

Day 04 – Your favourite book of your favourite seriesMontmorency on the Rocks (which is Book 2). not sure how a book about a drug-addict thief and dead babies made it to through the editors of children's books, but i am sure glad it did.

Day 05 – A book that makes you happyThe Romance of Rosy Ridge by MacKinley Kantor. i think i smiled through the whole thing.

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad: The Judas Field by Howard Bahr. i applaud his tough choices, but this one made me very sad with regard to what happens to the characters.

Day 07 – Most underrated book: probably everything i have already named would qualify. i would add S. Weir Mitchell's Far in the Forest, which, though a bit overwritten, is just a great story.

Day 08 – Most overrated book: anything by J.K. Rowling.

Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up lovingComing through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje. it was given to me by a friend and i thought: gack, what do i care about some jazz trumpeter from the 20s? despite being totally out of my element, the book blew me away. also, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. refused to read it in high school. couldn't stop reading it in college.

Day 10 – Your favourite classic book: depending on my mood it's either Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, or Ulysses by James Joyce.

Day 11 – A book you hatedFor Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. no commentary. i could run a long list here, but it's kind of a drag of a question. would rather focus on the good stuff!

Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore: this is a more interesting question. i loved loved loved The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub when i first read it. in the last decade i tried going back to it and couldn't get past chapter one. weird.

Day 13 – Your favourite writer: can't really say i have one. maybe Alan Moore, but that's a strange choice. i do love, without exception, everything by Stephen Crane, so maybe he qualifies.

Day 14 – Your favourite book of your favourite writer: from Alan Moore it's From Hell. From Stephen Crane it's The Red Badge of Courage.

Day 15 – Favourite male character: Javert and/or Valjean from Les Miserables are the first, most obvious choices. i would add Roland Deschain from Stephen King's Dark Tower series of the more recent things that i have read. he is absolutely priceless.

Day 16 – Favourite female character: probably Eponine from Les Miserables. women characters are tough for me. maybe Jo March from Alcott's Little Women? how sad is that? i can't even think of any.

Day 17 – Favourite quote from your favourite book: geh? too brain dead to even produce such a thing.

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you: most anything by Neal Gaimen has disappointed me, some of Sandman being the exception. The Silent by Jack Dann was hugely disappointing (and has the infamy of being the reason i almost never buy new books at full price). also, Geraldine Brook's March gave me cause to quibble. i will also throw in Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides, which is an amazing book save for the final page. i gave it as a gift once and cut out the offending matter, but once read, you can't unread things, alas.

Day 19 – Favourite book turned into a movie: incidentally turned into a movie or does the movie have to be good too? oddly, the one that leaps to mind is Bambi by Felix Salten. also Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. just because i think these are good adaptations.

Day 20 – Favourite romance book: not a genre i read, but The Romance of Rosy Ridge by MacKinley Kantor would count, i suppose. also, i would include Silk by Alessandro Barrico.

Day 21 – Favourite book from your childhoodWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. also Bambi by Felix Salten.

Day 22 – Favourite book you own: i own most of my favorite books, so assuming the question is asking about the artifact rather than the text itself, i would have to choose non-fiction items: Lincoln and Episodes of War by William E. Doster, and John Wilkes Booth Himself by Richard Gutman. also i would throw in Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries by Bradley Bengston & Julian Kutz. there are others. i am choosing these because they are rare (and pricey) birds.

Day 23 – A book you’ve wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t: i "save" books on purpose when i know an author only has limited work available. included on my save self are books by S. Weir Mitchell, Don Robertson, and Howard Bahr. one day it will rain and i will have wondrous things to read!

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read: i wish more people would read the authors i have mentioned throughout this list. but if i had to pick one, i wish more people would read Don Robertson. he is a lost gem (and he doesn't just write about the civil war). of the living authors, i wish more people would read Eleanor Updale. she is totally underrated.

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most: most everyone in Les Miserables (except Marius and Cosette because they are silly ~ sorta like this question). 

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something: Saint Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. also his letters.

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending: not sure it was a surprise, really, but wow it did me in anyway: Prayer for the Dying by Stuart O'Nan. also Jerzy Kozinski's The Painted Bird. hooo boy.

Day 28 – Favourite titleComing through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje. i loved this title so much i named my second novel From Slaughter's Mountain.

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked: maybe a lot of what i read would fall under this. maybe most obviously some of the classics like Moby Dick by Herman Melville? 

Day 30 – Your favourite book of all time: i used to be able to say Les Miserables without reservation, but it really depends on my mood. right now i keep Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen by my bedside along with Silk by Alessandro Barrico, Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King, and Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. does that make them my favorite? i actually haven't read The Red Badge of Courage in over a year, but i think it might be close to no. 1. that's pretty good for a book i hated quite passionately in high school.

: D


lookingland: (angel)
2009-10-31 10:15 am

happy all hallow's ~ !



Ray Bradbury's painting for

The Halloween Tree,
1960


as promised, my new blog kicks off with the Ghost Rider series at Comic Book Chronicles. meanwhile, i know many of you are feverishly doing last-minute plotting and planning for the NaNoWriMo kick-off tomorrow: good luck! i'm likewise going to challenge myself this coming month, but haven't decided on the particulars of the challenge yet.

i hope everyone enjoys a safe and fun halloween ~ !


 

lookingland: (angel)
2009-10-24 01:21 pm
Entry tags:

desk duty ~


october is almost over and i haven't posted a picture of my desk! so here it is as of this morning. earlier i was working on Reconstruction, but after painting two pages, i switched over to work on the paper dolls that i want to finish for Halloween. i finished two first outfits for the Ghost Rider characters (their initial clothes from Marvel Spotlight no. 5, which is Ghost Rider's first appearance). and now i'm noodling with the Swamp Thing characters who are proving a larger challenge.

i've got Abby down okay and i even think i managed to get a fairly good Alec going (though all the little mossy details will be painful), but i am totally struggling with Constantine. i have an idea in my head of what i want him to look like, but haven't been able to capture it yet. it may take me a while. and by God he will have cigarettes.

i've decided to commit to this idea of setting up a paper doll blog to go through these series and draw all of their clothes (Alec will be the easiest ~ har). it'll be fun and give me an opportunity to re-read the books (it's been more than fifteen years, i think i mentioned before). and there will be a lot of issues that have no costume variations whatsoever, but chronicling the journey seems like a nice side distraction to keep me from going blitheringly crazy with Reconstruction (working on that sometimes just puts me in a dark mood).

to spare my non-comic-book flist peeps from my obsessive prattling on about this stuff (because i know i can definitely go on), i am setting up the aforementioned blog elsewhere, and will just periodically make announcements about what's going on over there. 

hope everyone is having a happy sattidy!
 
lookingland: (reconstruction)
2009-10-18 12:47 pm
Entry tags:

Lester says eh ~


 
i dream in black and white. sometimes i can perceive color (i know a truck is red, for example), but usually that's just a perception ~ the dream itself usually has no color. occasionally it will have spot color (i dreamt of being a photojournalist trying to break some story in Iraq and being chased inside a huge scientific military complex. there was an escalator and as i descended, a giant koi was swimming in the air before me. the koi was every color of the rainbow ~ stuff like that). i know other people dream this way too. i wonder if is has anything to do with my inability to learn color theory....

but i digress. the point of this post was to make an announcement.

it's official: my long violent war with color and color theory and coloring is at an end.

in case you are wondering, nobody won.

meanwhile, we have to bury the dead ~ which amounts to six pages of art that i will be posting in installments starting tomorrow and running daily through November 7th. these are very much tweener pages in which the coloring style is going to do some mutating. at the end, the new style will hopefully not be too much of a sudden shock but it will possibly be somewhat more monochromatic (which is about all the color i can handle). Fortunately this is not an art style change in terms of the drawing ~ just the coloring, i promise.

also, the good news is: if all goes well, Reconstruction will continue to post daily instead of just M-Th from here on out.

please remember ~ in spite of my cartoony art style, this series is intended for mature readers and even though it's been pretty pg-rated tame since i began in august, it won't always be SFW (ooo, i used a blogging acronym. i feel so hip). if you need warnings for weeks in which stuff is NSFW, let me know and i will post cautions in advance. if you need to know all the ways in which this story is going to turn down dark paths, please read this.

questions? qualms? wondering where that newly named pony is? i'm so far ahead in the drawing, you won't see the pony until november (sorry!).

hope everyone is having a happy weekend!

: D
lookingland: (fellas)
2009-10-03 12:52 pm
Entry tags:

son of markers: return of the nib!

i went ahead and spent some money and got a handful of markers to give 'em a go. i have mixed feelings of joy and trepidation.

things i like:
  1. consistency of color.
  2. no streaks/ease of blending.
  3. no buckling on the paper.
  4. it gives my work polish that i just can't seem to get with paint because of my tentativeness.
things that concern me:
  1. Learning to use them. they color pretty no matter what you do with them, which is great, but i don't want to get too sloppy. also, while i like the brush nibs very much, somehow i can't control them as well as an actual brush with paint. i keep wandering out of the lines.
  2. cost (?). i bought more colors than I probably really need, though ~ over time i will figure out a palette.
  3. colors! zooks, i'm bad at choosing colors. i chose out of the "sepia" family, figuring i'd trust it to be, well, sepia (as i know it), but it's awfully bright. it's not that big of a deal because i can adjust the saturation on the computer (as i did above), but i'd like to figure out a truer color match eventually.
this is all so bizarre. i could color for (technically) free if i just did it on the computer, where i have bajillions of colors at my disposal and can erase my mistakes. but...

it's all about the artifact.

if i don't have something i can hold in my hand, i don't love it.

at any rate, i colored four pages this morning before noon ~ fastest coloring job ever. that alone is worth a lot. now i can spend the rest of the weekend working on totally new stuff! yay!

hope everyone is having a great weekend!

: D

p.s. the panel above is from a page you won't see until october 12th, i think. please note the dreaded corn field!

lookingland: (angel)
2009-09-29 08:35 am

i know i shouldn't say this, but ~

i really want some markers.


i'm not entirely sure why. i've never had much interest in them before. found some Design markers (a discontinued brand) from about twenty years ago (i'm not kidding, i'm pretty sure i bought them in 1988). not only do they still work (God loves alcohol-based markers!), but they're kind of cool and i was playing with them and thinking about all the possibilities.

and the colors! oh man, the colors are so dang vivid!

the copic markers (above) are professional-quality and super expensive (yarg!), but i was thinking about getting a cheaper brand just to play with. Blick makes a very cheap student-grade set and i have a 30%-off coupon and i am very tempted. i want something that doesn't streak, blends well, and doesn't bleed.

unfortunately, i have learned the long way around that there are some things you shouldn't skimp on. hair products (especially when you have as much hair as i do), and art supplies. a Blick set of 24 would cost me about $30. a copic set of 36? $125. it sounds horrendous, but these babies sell for more than $5 a pop, so a set of 36 for $125ish is a pretty fabulous deal. i could just buy a handful of singles, but my coupon is for one item only, so a set would make better sense. prismacolor also makes sets....

and then it just gets too confusing.

sigh.

yeah. purty.
lookingland: (fellas)
2009-09-28 10:13 am

itchy ~

had trouble sitting still this weekend. painted couple of pages (really need to do more, though), scanned some stuff, rearranged a few of my books (they may start cannibalizing each other at any moment due to overcrowding), and came up with at least twenty ideas for cool things to do or make that aren't exactly on my schedule, like adapt the ├╝ber-ridiculous overblown, gratuitous, slightly nauseating poem The Praesidicide for the stage.

Hylton's 6,000+ line epic poem (in the first-person voice of J.W. Booth himself) may have the dubious distinction of being the first piece of Lincoln Assassination fan fiction published (within the year of the deed ~ beating out Townsend's Katy of Catoctin by decades). if anyone knows of any literary effort on the subject published in that period, feel free to bring it to my attention ~ the more, the merrier, right?

in other Pursuance news (it's been a while since i've blogged about this temporarily dormant project), over the course of the summer i acquired yet more books on the subject for my ever-growing collection, including the prize find of a copy of George Porter's prison diary (The Surgeon in Charge). it's incredibly rare and i got it for an absolute steal ~ $15 on amazon. someone wasn't minding the store, i guess). i've only ever seen one other copy for sale and it sold for $75.

i also bought Geary's Murder of Abraham Lincoln at ComicCon. I would have got Geary to sign it (he signed my Jack the Ripper), but alas he was nowhere to be found this year.

finally, i found a cheap copy of Jampoleer's Last Lincoln Conspirator, which i still think is pretty dang solid book for being an overwritten subject.

i continue to keep my eyes peeled for a cheap copies of the various histories of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry (alas no luck and they seem to be getting rarer, fetching about $40-$60 a piece), as well as Arno Press's published transcript (which i've only ever seen one volume for sale ~ for $100, though someone bought it). the copy of John Wilkes Booth, Himself that i have been eying for some time also jumped in price this past year, up $85 to a whopping $375 (geh! i'm crazy, but i'm not that crazy!), and no cheap copies of Kimmel's Mad Booths of Maryland nor Bates' Lincoln in the Telegraph Office have presented themselves (the going price on each is about $60 for a decent copy). if i weren't so dang picky about the editions, i might have already bought copies of some of these things, but, well, there you have it. all too rich for anyone's blood, frankly. i paid $70 for my first copy of Doster's Lincoln and Episodes of the Civil War (and much less for the second copy), but only because it's my favorite non-fiction book ever and i still intend to be buried with it.

and yes, occasionally i buy groceries, though i confess i haven't really bought many new clothes except the occasional pair of jeans and a shirt in years. i flinch at paying more than $10 for a blouse, but waft a $20 book of my desire under my nose and it's a bargain!

and i need another bookcase so bad, but if i spend money on a bookcase, how can i buy more books???

it's all a conundrum.



"In Memory of Abraham Lincoln:
The Reward of the Just"
D. T. Weist, 1865
from Lincoln at 200
lookingland: (angel)
2009-09-24 08:05 am
Entry tags:

getting into the swing ~

so in case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to get back into the swing of blogging. a while back i suggested (to myself) that i would try to give myself a blogging schedule and have different topics every other day or so.

one of the obvious choices of topics is my desk. i can't imagine torturing you with a weekly image of the rats' nest that it is (yes, we've recovered from the empty void that was last may ~ yikes! what a difference a season makes, eh?). but a monthly post might be in order (in lieu of me rambling on about working on x, y, or z, perhaps). so here it is for September (late in the month, but this picture was actually taken about two weeks ago).



other obvious choices for blogging are book reviews, film reviews, historical blitherage. i'm hoping by the beginning of october, i will have it figured out.if any of you have idea about what you would like to see blogged about on your flist, i'll surely consider requests!

~ * ~

p.s. i am still working diligently on Reconstruction, though bogged down around p. 34. whatever i was thinking when i made Gwilym Fletcher a corn farmer, i clearly wasn't considering what torture it would be to have to draw all that frakkin' corn. is it too late to switch the Antietam cornfield to some other battle as one of the pivotal moments of the story?

i think i hate corn.
lookingland: (angel)
2009-09-22 04:54 pm

autumn and all that ~


the weather is finally deciding to turn (at long last and alleluia!). of course that means my brain is kicking into high gear over a dozen projects i want to get cracking on. among these projects, i had this idea that i would really love to adapt s. weir mitchell's Summer of St. Martin into a comic form. i have blogged about this story before, and while there's nothing particularly exciting about the basic plot, the story sticks with me because it's sweet and very autumny, and so just right for the season. it also appeals to me as a challenge because it's nothing but a conversation between two people who are sitting on a bench in a forest in which the leaves are falling all around them (it's all very romantic). it would certainly give me an opportunity to work on the nuances of character expressions, etc.

like i have the time.

filed away in my "big list of graphic adaptations" are a number of horrifically complex projects. In Pursuance of Said Conspiracy remains among them ~ along with this demented fantasy i have had since a long time ago in which i am determined to do a graphic novel adaptation of the Jesuit Relations ~ which i still think would be awesome and i have all manner of ideas for it, but oh my! what an undertaking that would be!

so yeah. i don't know where mitchell falls into this. it would be a short piece (24 pages would cover it, i think), so maybe more reasonable than those larger, more ambitious projects. but still, it's not as though i don't have a ton of work already on my plate.

oh sigh. if i had millions of dollars i would hire an army of artists.

guess i better go get a lottery ticket.
lookingland: (ghost rider)
2009-09-19 01:04 pm

An evening with Eddie Campbell ~


Last night I read Eddie Campbell's Black Diamond Detective Agency, which is fairly new from First Second Books (which produces some really amazing works!). I was too overwhelmed at Comic Con this year to visit Campbell (I think my brother said he was there, but I never crossed paths with his table). So alas, I did not get a signed copy, but I'm glad to have bought a copy at all. Campbell was the first "comic" artist who inspired me to think that I could actually draw (probably From Hell was one of the first graphic novels I ever saw aside from Spiegelman that had a distinctive art style that wasn't traditional superheroes. I immediately fell in love with his inks and washes and later developed a similar affinity for his watercolors. Black Diamond Detective Agency is one of only a few full-color books of his, and I love the gritty palette he's chosen for the end of the 19th century ~ it goes well with the industrial aspects of the storyline and keeps the tone somber and noirish) like a detective book should be, right?

There's problems with the script, I think. I mean, the story is good: exploding train, missing wife, framed mystery man, even a good old-fashioned chase in a gas-saturated mine. But given another twenty pages or so, some of the more crashing scene changes and bafflingly curt dialog might have flowed more smoothly. There's also some lengthy explanations at the end: wherein the villain explains all ~ very Victorian in construction so I'll give it props for the formula, but as Campbell was working from a script by C. Gaby Mitchell and perhaps either as a difficulty of editing or a limitation of space, certain information and character development feels a wee crammed up. Or it could just be that I wanted to savor the book longer (or ghoulishly wanted more 'splosions, which is always a possibility).

Nevertheless, this is a beautiful little book and I hope we'll see more like it. I tried (perhaps in a desultory fashion given my awareness of my own personal artistic limitations), to emulate this style in at least one incarnation of Reconstruction. It didn't work out. But I'm glad to be able to admire the work here ~ even if it's something I can't reproduce, it continues to inspire.

lookingland: (ghost rider)
2009-09-15 06:51 am
Entry tags:

oh look a movie review (of sorts)



so this weekend i watched Jude, a film made in 1996 (yeah, i guess i'm a little behind on this one since i'd never heard of it), starring kate winslet and christopher eccleston. the film is based on a thomas hardy novel called Jude the Obscure, and like all of hardy's novels is a cheerful romp through late 19th century english social ills. so cheerful, in fact, that i can't imagine why anybody would want to make such a film; the story is downright treacle.

right.

any of you who know hardy's work know that hardy wasn't one for a happy ending, so don't expect one here. in fact, i think i only finished watching this because i ghoulishly wanted to see how they would play out the ending (not that i thought they would change it, but more that i was curious as to what they would show). it's a spoiler, but there's a murder suicide toward the end that even if i warn you about it here, it'll probably shock you if you decide to watch the film.

anyway, the performances here are excellent and the driving force behind an otherwise drab horrorshow of misery, disappointment, poverty, and despair. there's also some fairly graphic sex which is sorta necessary for the story and well done, so i won't fault it too much (though a more gratuitous birthing scene later on is something i totally could have lived without!). the palette is very drab. england looks english ~ which is to say very grey. in keeping with this temper, perhaps, the costumes are very understated. there's very little color here and for this being the height of the most opulent part of the victorian era, the dresses in particular seem rather plain. it's all good and well for kate as poor sue bridehead, but wealthy arabella wears very plain black (okay she's in morning, but it's arabella ~ does she really care?). i think the only dress with any splash is arabella's bar costume. so on the one hand a bit of a disappointment there, but on the other, nice to see some plain clothes and to get away from the glamorous set for a change from most period pieces.

a thoroughly depressing, well-made film. i can only guess the filmmaker was wanting to make a comment about the nature and definition of marriage. i almost wish that if this was (as i speculate) a soapbox against anti-gay-marriage laws, that the filmmaker would have went ahead, been more bold, and adapted the story making the two principles into two gay men or something. i dunno. hardy just straight up is pretty much a drag.

: o p
lookingland: (ghost rider)
2009-08-30 11:34 am

today i present ~

socks ~ !



the weather is turning and i had a long day of on and off fighting with the Reconstruction project (and mostly winning, so it's all good), but i thought i should take a little break and work on something else for a while just to get my energy back up.

i could have washed dishes or sorted the laundry or cleaned the bathroom, but that'd be boring, so i tried to watch Lost (everyone and their mother has recommended it to me). i settled in with a frosty Coke and popcorn, put on the pilot, and enjoyed all the way up to where they shoot the polar bear in the second episode.

i wasn't bothered by the polar bear. i was strangely bothered by most of the behavior of the survivors. of course it's a tv show and we have to expedite the shock and horror and move onto monsters and adventure and mystery and all of that, but...i dunno. the expedition leading to the polar bear sorta did it in for me. first of all, they take shannon, who's totally useless physically ~ and they do it knowing there's a people-eating critter in the jungle. of course, she speaks French, so that makes it okay. secondly, they are on a hunt for water (allegedly), but don't appear to have any means for carrying water. what are they going to do, find it, drink some, then come back and say: yep, there's water! likewise, it just rained. does nobody think to maybe set something up to catch rainwater? they are equally careless salvaging stuff from the cockpit and...wait a minute...there's a man-eating critter snacking on the pilot, but they decide to run from the cockpit instead of stay inside where it might actually be safe? oy vey!

anyway, i was perfectly okay just flowing with all that nonsense until Sawyer pulled out the gun and had his little contretemps with Sayid. instantly i hated Sawyer as a character and dreaded the thought of suffering through untold number of episodes of this guy making trouble for no real reason at all. i took a desultory stab at finishing through the third episode, but it's over for me. i don't like any of the characters enough to stick with it. Hurley and Claire were about as interesting as it got, and i guess Jack was okay, but i didn't like the actor playing him. the rest of them were just cardboard to me.

the show is well put together, but doesn't do it for me, alas. i might give it another go when winter gets dark and cold and there's nothing else to watch. eh.

anyway, so i gave up on that and started digitally painting paper dolls (naturally). and above are some adorable socks to prove it.

hope everyone is still enjoying their weekend!

: D
lookingland: (reconstruction)
2009-08-28 10:02 am
Entry tags:

One of these days I'll figure out this promotion thing ~

yesterday we concluded the second week of M-Th regular posting of Reconstruction. this morning I was doing a little cleanup, including making the scene notes a little more detailed, link-filled, and prettier. i think it's not readily apparent that each scene has a notes section because you have to click on the "read more" from the home page to view it. i might need to do something to make it more obvious?

likewise, it's hard to know how much to include in the notes. no spoilers for the story, of course, but how much historical droning is relevant? or how much production bibbling do you want to hear about. i guess no one is forced to read it, but i don't want to make it tedious either.

anyway! this week we started a new scene that will run through next week. these opening moments are sorta flash-in-the-pan. we're going to get into longer sequences very soon.

anyway, enjoy and i certainly welcome your input here, there, wherever, if you have suggestions, comments, etc.

happy friday all!
lookingland: (angel)
2009-08-22 05:09 pm
Entry tags:

learning as i go ~


i can't believe it's been a week since i last posted! i've been working, keeping very busy, trying to build up a buffer. i'm on page 14, so it's going slow, but going. there's so much about digital painting that i'm figuring out along the way that i'm sure the first hundred pages or so are going to be ranging all over the map. style-wise i think there's really only one thing i'm capable of doing, so this is how it's going to look, though it's unfortunately got too much of a Phoenix Requiem-looking influence going. that was totally unintentional. i still really wanted something that looks more like the scribble above, but i seem incapable of scribbling consistently, so there you have it.

and speaking of the above scribble, this was a quickie study i did for a panel on page 13. i like the scribble better than how the painted version came out, so i'm posting this here for my own contemplation. but i won't fixate because that just leads down bad paths.

anyway, we're through the first week of m-th posts! it's been fun writing and drawing the Georgetown College scene that's coming up next week. as a result i have (not surprisingly, to anyone who knows me well enough) revamped the story structure quite a bit. alas, there won't be any exploding heads just yet, but i promise they'll come sooner than in the original plan, so just hang onto your hats.

if you haven't visited the site and seen the week's posts, you can see them all here!

hope everyone is having a great, productive weekend!
lookingland: (angel)
2009-08-13 07:28 pm
Entry tags:

i just don't know when to stop ~


the above picture is about the size of a business card (tiny), and when reproduced, it will prolly be even smaller, and yet i put entirely too much time and detail into it (ridiculously so ~ the faces were excruciating).

i'm not exactly sorry that i did because it's an all right picture and i like detail (like the ribbing on Lester Dunne's socks), but if I've got to produce 2-3 pages a week, i can't really afford to spent three days painting only a handful of panels. granted, it's been hot and i've not been feeling like working, but that no excuse for spending what little work time i've had on a single panel!

so yeah. i feel like i need to be cautious of setting a dangerous precedent for expectations that i doubt i can meet consistently. and of course there's another part of me looking at this and thinking: oh wait, i forgot to add the embroidery to Morse's vest. doh!

launch is in three days. i have a ton of work to do still.

hope everyone out there is well!

: D
lookingland: (fellas)
2009-08-05 05:15 pm
Entry tags:

learning as i go ~


i painted this panel this morning. sometimes something just comes out right and you can't help be pleased by it. i'm still pretty tentative with the paints overall, but i have confidence for doing the faces (for the most part), which helps. I'm learning some things not to do and browsing around this afternoon, got some tips on things i can improve (many in the "wow, maybe you should read a basic primer on painting with watercolors!" department). this is one of the problems of being self-taught when you are an incredibly lazy student.

at any rate, i just wanted to share the progress. you will start seeing these pages in all their full glory starting on August 16th.

: D
lookingland: (octopus)
2009-07-31 11:55 am
Entry tags:

in the grip of the mung ~

home sick today. this is unfortunate because i have a bazillion things to do and am hacking and sighing too much to do any of them. the house is a horrendous disaster and i desperately need to do laundry. the good news is that i managed to dress, put a hat on my greasy head, and wander out to the farmer's market up the street so that i could buy fresh veggies with which to make a cauldron of leek soup.



in case you didn't know it, leek soup is the 9th wonder of the world.

despite the mung, i am going to try to get a good pile of work done. july is at long last over and i can throw myself headlong into working on Reconstruction. i have the first twenty pages (more or less) completed, which is quite the buffer, but i don't want to let the line go slack because i'm going to be posting 4 days a week (monday through thursday) and that buffer is going to get eaten up quick!

yes, you read that right: i'm posting updates monday through thursday with extras on the weekends (perhaps). it's only a slightly brutal schedule, but i decided on it because if i force myself to draw every day i'm hoping i will let go of some of the inhibitions that have kept me from being faithful to this project over the years.

this also means you will be seeing some wildly inconsistent artwork and i am trying to be okay with that. this isn't "real" artwork, after all, right? it's just a storyboard. so i hope you will be forgiving at least. and know that things will even off once i get into a rhythm with it all.

meanwhile, i will share with you this teaser. some of you had seen the digital version of this image. this is the "redo" in watercolor.



i'm really looking forward to the August 16th launch date.

now i must eat my soup and try to shake off the pall of mung so that i can be productive this weekend. if i have to be sick and it means i get a three-day weekend, then i had better make the best of it. later, there will pomegranate ice cream. naturally.

happy friday all!

: D
lookingland: (octopus)
2009-06-11 06:53 am

summer reading

great ~ i just spent half an hour writing up a post about my summer reading and DW ate it.

thus endeth any attempts at blogging.

see you august, all!

: o p