it's finally happened. i have completely lost control of my desk. last night i sat down to work on Reconstruction and couldn't comfortably angle the clipboard in a way that made painting easy. of course, instead of clearing the desk, i just forced myself to make do. because God forbid i disturb the tower of i don't know what. and that's the worst part of it. i'm not even entirely sure what's in those piles at this point. a lot of photocopies, i think, and notes, and scanned microfilm. last night i was trying to baste together reconstructed pages of the Evening Star from 1865. and of course i did the scans wrong, so i am missing two lines in the middle of the pages (argh!). fortunately i still have the microfilm reel, so i can write in the missing lines tonight or tomorrow (but i am such an idiot).

i'm glad i went to the trouble of ordering this newspaper for a couple of reasons: it's the local paper for crying outloud! what was i thinking for blowing it off originally? and also, it's given me a few interesting new tidbits to work with (one description of sam arnold's father crying in the courtroom was rather heartbreaking).

i was really tempted to include a bunch of random local news things in my outline, but restrained myself (fascinating as they were), given that the monstrousness of this project is already too much for even me to handle at this point.

the good news is that this desk will be completely wiped clean this weekend. i've got the summer projects moving in (for the Here there Be Monsters press) and so everything is getting put on hold until late July. well, by "everything", i really mean In Pursuance of Said Conspiracy, which means i can get most of this stuff off my desk until then. this is not the way i wanted to do it, but life has a way of dictating the priorities. i have to write Issue No. 5 of Eleison in the coming week (yikes). thankfully i have a story in mind. just have to commit it to paper now.

in painting: Reconstruction shouldn't suffer for the schedule change (i hope). i'm a little bit behind, but the style change is gradually making it easier. i also have something more like a draft to work from (instead of winging it like i was doing for several pages there ~ shouldn't have done that, but oh well, it's all a learning process).

new projects: ooo exciting ~ my brother and i are going to launch a webcomic of some sort in late June/July hopefully. i want to title it The Orchard, but that sounds so prosaic given the subject matter. this will be an online exclusive about Death, War, and Bacon (for those of you who aren't familiar with my obsession with war and breakfast, please see Grantcakes). it will star Death, a soldier, and a pig (right?), and will likely be a meditation on themes familiar in my work for those who know it (fidelity, honor, and estrangement chief among them). stay tuned for more details!

in reading: book updates later. this post is already long and jumbled!
[ profile] cathellisen reminded me a couple of days ago, about an age-old ever-burning desire to write the "hybrid" form of story that somehow combines a narrative with sequential art in a way that would be part-book, part-graphic novel.

i think the last time i actually tried to work on what that would look like was back when i first started Razi-el's Dream (which has been more years than i would like to admit).

this idea was very Eddie Campbell in its layout,
which i think ended up being too rigid

i more recently flirted with the idea when conceptualizing Eleison, but there was never time enough to develop the look and feel of the thing and too much static on the collaborating end (not my brother, but other factors). i tried pushing for it with issue No. 4, "Harvest", but we were really pinched under deadline, so it didn't work out. i loved the text of the issue, but it was built to work with more dialogue and very little of the dialogue ended up in the book because we went with straight illustrations instead.

we had three weeks to put this book together
and i was still writing up to the last minute
to fix some wonginess

while i feel that the book is a bit of a mutt and didn't quite work, i still really like it and think the story was pretty fabulous (and it was fun to write something from the point of view of the father of one of my favorite characters ~ that's the only time that's happened so far!).

anyway, the point of all this is that maybe now's a good time, given the improvements in my ability to draw and my firmer confidence in the arc of the material, to try fusing that elusive hybrid together again. there are moments when i know that this form, whatever it might actually look like, is what i am truly meant to do. i'm too impatient for straight sequentials over the long haul (and i miss the narrative), and the narrative is always wanting images. i have said this before and keep coming back to it, so clearly there is something here.

i'm still working on the three stories i have going at the moment and those deadlines are firm, but i'm thinking of digging up a disembodied vignette from somewhere and just playing with the melding of visuals and text ~ to see what i can come up with. hopefully the hardest part will be deciding which text to use.

p.s. i am almost finished with my paper doll. except for the west point thing. i might post him later.

off to slay dragons ~ happy sunday all!

: D
i've been threatening it for a while, but last night i actually started to do it: i'm pitching all my old files. i've already dispatched nearly a thousand (that's 1,000!) files and though it doesn't seem to have made a dent in the computer folder problem, that's a thousand less documents i have to futz with on my hard drive.

in writing: curious about s. weir mitchell's The Summer of St. Martin, i rooted out a copy of the text from internet archives (here it is if you're curious ~ they have all of his books online). the flip books are very cool there, by the way (they have tons of nifty stuff, including Poppet's memoir). the text is also digitized (not terribly well), but i dumped the words from St. Martin into a .doc file just to see how long the story is (word-wise, page-wise, etc.). it's really a very wee thing: just over 3k and about 10 pages (the design of the book it's printed in translates it into 30 pages!).

i thought this was really interesting. there was something very satisfying about its brevity in a book form ~ turning the pages, feeling like i was getting a whole meal when really it's just an hors d'oeuvre.

i've never been much of a short story writer (i've published a couple, but it's never appealed to me as a form). i much prefer the epic ~ but small epics! cram an epic into 150 pages and i am ecstatic. it's not impossible ~ some writers do it amazingly well. a while back, i agreed (after polling) to concentrate of "a lot of little books". this has become my mantra. and mitchell certainly raises the bar on just how short they can be! i am challenged, and by that challenge, emboldened.

: D

in other news:
my brother sent me a picture of our booth at ComicCon (looked fab!) and i have updated the Order page for the Here There Be Monsters press. yay!

Poppet on the joys of soldiering:
[H]e has learned the ordinary soldier's lessons:
to taste blood and like it;
to brave death and care nothing for life;
to hope for letters and get none;
to hope for the end of the war and see none;
to find in victory no more than the beginning of another march;
to look for promotion and get none;
to pass from death and danger to idleness and corruption;
to ask for furloughs and get none;
and finally, to despair,
and hope for death to end his sufferings.

The slave-driver has now become a butcher...
man, that's rough. way to keep it light and cheerful, Poppet.

: o p

it also about sums up my mood. i'm just tired, a wee strung out. this is my last free-ish weekend until august (and i still have a paper to write ~ and one next week as well). i just want to be mindless and watch television for 48 hours, but i know i'll only spend part of my weekend actually vegging.

i finished Eleison, though i know it'll come back with needed corrections at some point this weekend as well. we're almost over the hill. just gotta trudge up that last mile.

i haven't seen the Jack proofs. it's off to the printer, so there would be no point anyway.

happy friday all!

: D
crazy dreams last night:
polar bears
ponies with no brakes
sesame crackers.
crazy stuff.
in school and life:

i have a research paper due on sunday and yesterday i finally came up with a topic. so now that Jack no. 1 is finished and off to the printer, i can actually do my homework. i don't think Eleison no, 4 will be done until next week, but i can't work on it now because i'm waiting on paintings from my brother. so for the next day or so, my time is my own ~ yay!

in other non-writing reading:

just to show that i'm not a totally obsessed human being, i'm reading behren's The Law of Dreams, which was recommended by [ profile] inkidink. i don't think i love it as much as moo moo loves it, but i'm enjoying the journey so far (only about 50 pages in).

in pursuance:

in the evenings i've been scanning Poore (just the relevant sections). i'm so sick of looking at it, i figure i better make a copy since i have to send it back to its library home and i'm sure i won't be finished needing it before its july due date.

i purposely have not been writing. read parts of Between the Lines: Secret Service Stories Told Fifty Years After, which was hilarious on some levels (oh betty, where you get your ideas!), and parts of Come Retribution, which finally cleared up for me a question i'd had forever and a day about how they knew who had done it so quickly. it was the horse! the one-eyed horse that Chammy left wandering. the stabler knew who he had loaned it to. that pretty much makes it the Chammy's fault that all of them went to the gallows (how's that for irony). so, betty, how clever was he anyway? i really should stop snarking on betty ~ but i don't know how she can claim "trauma" or "ruse" when his stupidity is so well documented outside of that prison and when it causes so much havoc where a smart agent would have been, well, smart.

but that's the extent of any sort of research i've done. like i said, i'm not writing. i'm just letting everything settle in like gumbo in the hopes that if it simmers a while, it'll be all cooked up and ready to serve when i get back to it. (which will prolly be this weekend). i've already designated july 4th a total writing day, so i'm looking forward to that. doubt i'll manage to squeeze whole book out by the 7th, but i'd be happy with a thin start-to-finish of about 25-30k to get things rolling. i said "draft", didn't say how breezy!

and oh what the hoo, i'll attempt the week's [ profile] writers_five it in the spirit of the challenge.

answering for Poppet )

in conclusion:

i'll prolly upload a picture of the day later this afternoon. happy thursday all!

: D
or, rather, a few words ~ briefly, for the [ profile] 50bookchallenge:
no. 35 ~ Valedictory Oration, presented before the Senior Class of Linonia Society, June 17, 1857 by william e. doster. hey, it's bound, it was published, i'm calling it a book. i read this last night before bed and though there were a number of phrases throughout that struck me, this one stood out the most:
To the poet of our times and nation then, I would say, strike at the national heart, cultivate the love of the Supernatural, the Beautiful, the Antique, the Sublime, the Holy, and the True, and above all, engraft the spirit of your song on the massive proportions of an over-practical republic.
who'd've thunk i'd find a kindred spirit in Mr. Poppet.

and here i wrote a long ramble about ambition and politics and capitalism and a dozen other things Poppet touches on in this address (in which his youth and passion tell wonderfully), but i've decided not to post any of that. his exhortation sufficiently covers it.
19 days. i am writing, but much too slowly. i need to finish Jack and Eleison (soon soon!) and then i will be able to dedicate myself to this more fully. dunno if i will finish it by the 7th, but i'm still gonna try.

~ * ~

to all of you who left such positive, affirming thoughts about the literary manager i wrote about the other day, thank you!

picture of the day: it's a beautiful morning here and all seems all right in the world. hope the cool breeze lasts. happy day, all!

32 days and counting down now: (won't you be glad when it's done?)

last night i started writing the doctors Barnes, Porter, et al. scene.

i realized i could set it in the hall of the jail instead of the courtroom ~ the dramatic effect would work wonderfully and we would have a respite from the interrogation box. i could also splice all the relevent parts of the testimony together and eliminate the repeats.

all this lead me to do a little side trip into the so-called "Shakespearean test" for insanity (popular then, and the method by which Barnes judged the defendent competent). this test consisted of using a study of Shakespeare's characters as the meter stick by which moral sanity should be determined (including: "that a well-formed brain, a good shaped head, is essential to a good mind.") ~ and i thought dr. nicholls for the defense was a crackpot! you can't make up stuff this bizarre.


suddenly all that talk about constipation doesn't seem like the most absurd part of the testimony.

: o p

fun things about the insanity defense in 1865 )

anyway, i have no idea how many words i wrote (not many, but they're words that count).

in other news: the work on Jack is going much more slowly that i thought (and that's starting to worry me). i want to finish the layouts this weekend if at all possible, and then there's still the cover and end material to deal with (which i have so far put no thought into).

and let's just not even talk about the fact that i haven't started Eleison at this point.

i dunno why we agreed to do two books this year. but it's gotta get done. and this seems to be how it always goes, so i need to get to it.

the picture of the day: completely unrelated to anything for a change ~

Weep not that the world changes ~
did it keep a stable, changeless state,
it were a cause indeed to weep.

~ william cullen bryant ~
for the [ profile] 50bookchallenge:
no. 36 ~ The Story of a Bad Boy by thomas bailey aldrich. i loved this book. it's hard to explain why, it's just got all the qualities of 19th century writing that i really admire: naivete, floridness, and a complete disregard for political correctness or concern over the delicate sensiblities of the audience for which it is intended. when Binny Wallace gets killed (yeah, i know, i'm spoiling it, but tell me honestly, who on my list would ever actually read this thing?) it was such an immense shock. partly because you expect in a children's book that things will turn out all right, and partly because it's just so matter-of-fact. a good reminder of how much death was a part of the lives of people who lived in that era. anyway, a good read with some hilarious lines which i will no doubt share later.

NaNo count for the day: 1,778. grand total for the first 5 days: 13,825. i expect i'll make another sizable dent in it on monday and tuesday. so i'm still ahead and still in good shape thus far.

: D

lastly, in painting: i've spent most of today thinking about drawing and working on pages for the next issue of Eleison.

i've also taken to drawing on manila folders. i made this doodle, painted it in gouache (rather thinned to a more watercolor temperament), and then scanned it. aside from adjusting the contrast to make the black ink stand out and filling in the background, i didn't tamper with it. it's not bad for a sloppy run. dunno that it passes muster just yet. i still see dylan meconis's work and think: if i could just commit suicide without actually killing myself, i'm sure i would do it.

random image of lewis and amy (circa 1880s, i figger)
~ i found it amusing that he appears to be fending her off.
not sure that's what i had intended, but it works,
given the character.

anyway, there you have it and there it is. i don't hate the style or the physical thing itself (it's actually a lot cooler in person than the scan relates) ~ and all of that is the good news. i'm starting to play (very tentatively) with cross-hatching to try to harken that old etching style. i'm thinking of going heavier on the inks, but still am daunted. the nice thing about manila envelopes is that if they're just recycled old folders, you don't feel bad about "wasting" them while you practice. let's see how long i stick with it this time.

: o p

tomorrow: dentist. 7 a.m. ugh. oh ~ and i think i broke a spring in my ankle. my heel is numb and if i stretch my foot to a certain distance i get an excruciating pain. otherwise i can walk on it just fine. silly thing.

p.s. did you all: remember, remember, the 5th of november ~ ? mebbe i'll watch that tonight instead of going to see The Prestige. i just dunna feel like gettin' dressed t'day.
check out this awesome online serial called Family Man by [ profile] quirkybird. have no idea what is happening, but it takes place in the 18th century, the backgrounds are gorgeous, and the clock motif is wonderful!

i want to be [ profile] quirkybird when i grow up.

okay, not really, but gee whillikers, i wouldn't mind having something like that going. wasn't that what i had originally wanted from Reconstruction? problem is, i'm just not sure how to start over ~ or continue from here on out. i had started out thinking i would make a marriage of illustrations and text, but then got lazy. always lazy.

since i've put Reconstruction on hiatus until september, maybe now is the time to see if i can't get ahead with the art and revamping the site (which i haven't touched in months!). I feel funny taking "The Company We Keep" and rendering it half in one style and half in the other, though.

~ * ~

in other news, i forgot to share this interview for Eleison at Jazma Online. yeah, my name's misspelled, even though my brothers' isn't. what can you do? hahahaha ~

: D
my brother commissioned an artist in south america to sculpt a figurine of Decimus Quintilius, the nemesis of of our hero Waabooz in Eleison.

This is the model for the final product, which is now being cast. We're hoping to have it available at Comic Con in July.

: D


another fab review for Eleison at Silver Bullet Comics ~ yay!
In a Word: Boundary-breaking.
: D

that said, this post by [ profile] seraphimsigrist has had my brain turning all morning.

i agree: lot of graphic novel work is pretentious and insipid.

part of me says: let's improve the medium!

part of me says: yeah, it's a waste of time.

i think most of what i work on is toad-bloated, pretentious and insipid. i'm not refering to Eleison because, strictly speaking, Eleison is an intentionally "commercial" venture. i write it for fun and don't take it too seriously.

and maybe that's what's wrong with everything i do. maybe i challenge myself too much to do something "different". maybe i'm not writing for fun, but to try to make a mark. maybe i'm trying too hard to break boundaries.

if there's any truth to the opinion that Eleison is "boundary-breaking", then it happened in spite of an earnest attempt to just do what everyone else is doing. that says a lot, don't it?

maybe i gotta learn to start trusting my instincts again.

: o p
lookingland: (ihs seal)
( Jun. 1st, 2006 09:37 pm)
we interrupt this bout of non-posting to share some incredible news!

the reviews are coming in for our serial Eleison and the first one is outrageously amazing!

Broken Frontier's reviewer Dave Baxter says:
Eleison (which means "mercy" in Greek), is an astonishing first book by a talented new duo. They’ve been lurking around the internet and comic con borders since late 2003, and it’s high time they were given a greater exposure to comicdom at large. Their gorgeously wrought, inspired story of a French-Native American penitent with uniquely western occult powers waging battle with a centurion-demon Hell-fiend with a small, rabbit-headed kid weighing him down…well…it’s by far the most unique composite of dark fantasy elements I’ve come across in a western comic book in years and years and years. Add to this a boatload of honest talent and I’m looking at the brother-sister creative team-up of the decade (though I suppose that may not be saying as much as I want it to).

the emphasis is his own! click the link to read the whole deal!

this is very exciting!

if you don't know about Eleison, you can check it out (and order it!) from the press website here.

tap-dancing on the roof ~

: D
lookingland: (penguins)
( Feb. 12th, 2006 12:56 pm)
okay ~ finally got my act together and put the PayPal page up.

you can now order Eleison online! this illustrated series about the battle between good and evil set on a remote border between white settlers and native americans in early america (with a huge helping of the supernatural) has black & white interior art (oils by my brilliant brother).

check out the order page HERE. i'm still working on the press site, but you can check it out too.

: D

order me!
my brother is working on issue no. 2 of Eleison <~ and sent me some flonsters for my viewing pleasure (and to post to the site).

flonsters is a made-up word ~ i have no idea if these critters have a real name other than "demon hoardes".

cut in case it gives you the willies )

~ we're hoping to have this issue on the racks by december 1st ~ weather permitting. we seem to be straggling a little behind at the moment.

: o p
today i've been contemplating how much i don't want to do anything and yet have everything to do (a rather confusing position to be in).

so i've been watching movies and not doing much, though this morning i had to send a costume sketch to my brother for the Lady of the Forest. this is what i came up with, though it screams "Mariology" more than i had intended. it might go through some tweaking on its way to a final draft.

in other news, i'm sort of tired of blogs and boards these days ~ maybe i don't have anything to say. or maybe i feel like i'm not exactly feeling receptive to what others have to say. tired of the same-o-same-o ~ need to see some growth in the world, but in the realm of virtual space, that's somewhat rare to come by perhaps.

even though i dislike Hairy Potty intensely, i have been enjoying the enthusiasm of others over the phenomena ~ nice to see people excited about something, i guess. at least there's that. i've never been much of a "fan" type except in my own little weird world, so it's something i stand on the outside of and enjoy, but have no desire to participate in. it does make me miss the old days of comic books and hunting down those elusive issues of Ghost Rider ~ that was fun back then. oh to be twelve and sneaking off on the bus again to race down to Tories with a month's saved allowance to buy three or four books for 60¢ a piece (or maybe splurge for those 80¢ ones!)

ever since i cleaned house i can't seem to get anything done. all these cleared desktops are so daunting. and the truth is i don't really know what i want to do. there's so much and yet nothing is grabbing me and body-slamming me and saying: me me me! work on me! life feels hopelessly suspended in an odd limbo of unknowing.

well i've rambled more than i intended.

there you have it and there it is.

: D
lookingland: (Default)
( Jun. 23rd, 2005 05:58 pm)

Eleison issue no. 1

it ain't over until the thing is running smoothly off the press, but today i finished all the pre-press work (i hope) and perhaps by tuesday next week it'll be in production. i've really learned a lot in the process and i feel pretty good about what's going out ~ have all the usual misgivings about: what the heck am i doing and how am i going to explain that rabbit-headed child anyway???

if you have no idea what i'm talking about, i made a holder page for the press here ~> Here there be Monsters. there's not much info there (yet) ~ maybe now that the book is relatively under control, i can beef up the web page.

i'm really very tired.

my friends, i'm sorry i have not been commenting much on your entries as of late. after this weekend, once i know all is well with the files i sent, i am hoping to have a little more breathing space.

it's insane, but i still want to do this full time.

: D
i've probably mentioned this before, but when you draw paper dolls and costume designs, it's like drawing anatomy ~ you have to work from the inside out, which means being intimately familiar with the undergarments of various characters. i'm not even posting the base level on this particular study because what's under that shirt is pretty blush-inducing!

anyway, these are sort of non-effort models that will eventually be more serious-effort illustrations for costume designs. i was just trying to get the basic shape & drape going and testing out the buckskins, which i always wanted, but hadn't committed to before now.

waabooz no. 01 & 02

i don't know how detailed these need to be ultimately, so for the moment i'm just going for general color, style, and will likely be adding small particulars (like the design on both belts, the knee bands, the bottoms of the buckskins, and the stole (which i can't decide what it ought to look like exactly ~ gold thread screams too much and i'm thinking it would be much more cheaply cobbled (or else native-made) ~ black quillwork on cotton would be very cool. maybe horsehair instead of tassles if that wouldn't be pushing it too much. sounds like too much. i want to keep it simple.

also missing the neck piece, but i will likely draw that in close up as a separate thing. that, and the winter "cape". gloves. maybe a hat. maybe not.

and i ought to put a french collar on that white shirt now that i think about it.

: D

p.s. found some good reference pics for the clan and hopefully will start putting them together. still not certain about the hair styles, but they seem to lean more "crow" than "mohawk".

how did it get to be 2:30 in the morning ~ !
1. write about an era well outside of the one you live.

2. set it in a place you've never even visited.

3. include as a focus a culture you know nothing about.

4. work in a medium in which you've no competency.

~ * ~

friday i drastically rewrote Season Two of Reconstruction. next week i need to rewrite it again.

~ * ~

i should get the last pieces of Eleison fairly soon. i have a meeting with the printer tomorrow. i told my brother he must send a rabbit-baby. he still doesn't "get" the whole rabbit thing.

come to think of it ~ i'm not sure i do either ~ hahahahaha.

~ * ~

i've got to do some costume designs.

[/end random journal rambling]

: o p

less than four weeks 'til launch!

~ i had way too much fun making this. and my brother is just the most awesome painter in the world.

: D