lookingland: (angel)
( Apr. 24th, 2009 07:05 pm)

one of the things that i really needed to fix with regard the Reconstruction site and its contents was the curious absence of Razi-el in all but the pale introduction. i think part of me has always been just a little chicken to fully integrate Razi-el into the story in an overt way, fearful of wrecking the sense of realism (clearly my sense of realism is a little off if that's the case). but considering that the whole story is driven by Razi-el's presence in Lewis Fletcher's life (irregardless of whether he's aware of it), i really need to make sure his presence is felt by the reader.

so, enter Razi-el.

furthermore, i thought it would be amusing to share a rough draft of some small something with you. i often read about the process of other writers on my flist and enjoy (in the best sense of the word) their struggles and wonder, sometimes, at the piles of papers and edits and other detritus that may litter their desktops. editing is a violent thing (leastways i think some part of it should be!).

this is something i wrote last night (from Razi-el's pov to get him into the game). you'll notice it's accompanied by a wee little scribble (thinking forward to what picture to draw to accompany it). you'll prolly get to see the finished product of this by sunday. for the terminally curious, this is written with a plain ol' black Pilot pen on the back of a draft of some boring work thing (you can faintly see the ink bleed from the printing on the other side). sometimes i throw a color wash on the scribbles if the paints are handy.

hope everyone is off to a great friday! i have beta stuff to read and much to write, so i expect it will be a productive weekend in this corner of the world.
[livejournal.com 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
sometimes something i write doesn't suck!

isn't that a nice feeling? coming across something you wrote last week or last month or even last year and it sings like a blade across the page and you just get that "hot-dang, i was on that day!" sort of feeling?


: D

and this to make up for the fact that i didn't get a whole lot done yesterday. most of what i wrote, i ended up ripping up again (like badly laid sod).

~ * ~

painting: yesterday [livejournal.com profile] sb77 posted an image of a girl in a red coat. try as i might to reproduce the effect digitally, i just can't seem to get it, can't even figger out the right tools. that's the look and feel i want for Razi-el. that's it. plain and (not-so) simple. so, uh, stephan, do you take commissions? hahahaha ~

~ * ~

important news in kitsch: i got an advertisment from the bradford exchange in my mailbox for a light-up stained-glass thomas kinkade wall clock ~ at last, my life can now be complete!

image under cut to protect you from the horror! )

it even has interchangeable front panels with each of the four seasons on them.

: o p
lookingland: (picasso)
( Apr. 10th, 2006 10:18 am)
[livejournal.com profile] bachsoprano suggested doing a side-by-side comparison to see what the difference the size makes. below i've posted the original 2.5 x 3.5, a 4.5 X 5.5 in watercolor, and a 4.5 x 5.5 (the same one, in fact) in digital tinting. all are scanned and reproduced approximately their actual size.

i'm not going to editorialize much on this ~ yet.

: D

decide for yourself )
lookingland: (pear)
( Apr. 9th, 2006 09:25 pm)
should it surprise anyone these days that i'm still trying to come up with the right medium for Razi-el? and should it surprise anyone that this would involve reinventing the wheel (that's almost a pun: wheel, ophanim, get it? wow bad).

so this is kaspar anselm, léonard's father (who's been dead for at least seven or eight years when the story opens). we only see him in flashbacks, but he's a powerful presence in léonard's life. i'm thinking of moving back into a smaller workspace (about 2.5 x 3.5). the larger, freer palette was just a little too loose for me and given that i'm not all that good compositionally, it grew daunting within a matter of pages (i mean honestly, just how many ways can you arrange boxes?).

i've always liked this about eddie campbell's work: it's generally predictable and then along will come a set of panels that will goose you and you go: squee! but you need the ordinariness of the box after box after box in order for that to happen.

this is how i was building Slaughter's Mountain originally, but it got away from me because i was working in about a 4.5 x 6 (it's amazing how much difference an inch can make!). i also was not "inking", but doing everything with paint and i've decided that's something i don't have any patience for. i need the inking so i can be less constrained about the paint. now i just need to remind myself to be a little looser about the inking (i did this with a quill instead of a pen and the effect is much sketchier, less cartoony).

see? it's all about having boundaries in order to break them!

: D

anyway, i think i'm going to give this a serious go and see where it gets me. i'll give myself a scene (like i did with The Red Door) and see if it works out. give it a fair shot.
lookingland: (man of sorrows)
( Apr. 8th, 2006 11:16 am)
a whole bunch of not-work getting done this morning. who can work on a saturday anyway?

i need to go to confession later this afternoon, so it's hard to get focused on anything but that. meanwhile, i keep surfing around mindlessly.

~ * ~

starting writing episode xxvii last night (in Art's voice). i don't know Art very well, so this will take a lot of massaging. anyone on my flist from ohio? anything particular about the way ohio-people talk that i ought to know about?

truth still is, i just get tired when i try to think about how to tackle Reconstruction these days. it's like that critter in The Thing when the guy's head falls off and sprouts legs and skitters away ~ and here's me with a blow torch saying: "you gotta be effin' kidding."

problem is, i don't want to torch it, i want to make friends with it and keep it in a nice-lined box and make it wear a funny hat and call it booboo-fritter.

didn't i just say in a post earlier that i don't tend to talk about my writing as if it were alive? so much for that.

~ * ~

i've also decided that if i hope to get a move-on with regards to the [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge i'm going to have to give up on doctorow. so pathetic. i managed to read a dreadful victorian novel positively oozing purple prose and laughable dialogue, but couldn't make it past chapter three of doctorow's award-winning The March. sigh and piffle. i've no idea and am tired of speculating. back to the library you go, silly book. hey, i tried.

now i'll need to find new books to read. i've lost my list (ha!). i may just go browse the shelves and pick things off ~ it's seemed to work well so far ~ i haven't loved everything i've read, but i've found some interesting stuff. the new Montmorency should be out by now, come to the think of it (yup, just checked ~ unfortunately it's gotten feh-feh reviews...hmmm). i'd also considered reading more sigrid undset, so i may yet pick up Kristin Lavransdatter. nobel prize winner vs. lurid children's book? tough choice.

(now i want to go to the bookstore!)

~ * ~

we will now conclude this mindless entry with a nice picture.

the Rouen market about 1873
i don't really have much to say. it's been a fairly productive day, but creative-wise, i'm not making much progress. noddled around with this panel to try out some things (none of which really worked the way i'd hoped). was experimenting with lines and layers and shading, but wound up with a washy sketchy mess ~ and that, as they say, is that.

another draft run at the french countryside

given that's not going so well, maybe i'll write this evening (there's a concept). either way, there's a big blowy thundery storm going on (which keeps cutting off my connection. so it may be that whatever i do this evening will not involve the computer at all. or maybe i'll report back in an hour about whatever brilliant world-overthrowing activity i've been working on.

man, i'm tired for some reason.

either way, tomorrow i'll share some thoughts on Hitchcock.
i haven't been drawing much lately because i'm having a problem with backgrounds and media in general (the same-o problems). so the Red Door is sort of idling at the mo'.

last night as i was laying down to bed, i thought i should set up a site (blog, or whatever) to try to post daily doodles. it would help me to actually write the thing, first of all because i would have to work out the scenes, and secondly, it might take the pressure off the work ~ it wouldn't have to be "good" because it would just be scribbling to meet a daily deadline.

i dunno ~ the lack of orderliness of it might make me bonkers. i never really thought about how obsessive-compulsive i am until recently. i mean, i always knew i was compulsive about certain things, but it's just occuring to me the degree to which having certain things disordered will shut me down like a trip switch on an overheating reactor.

the house can be a mess, my social life a disaster, but for God's sake don't leave dishes in the sink with water, don't put the milk on the counter (ever! the milk should never leave your hand if it is removed from the fridge!), never leave clothes on the floor in the bedroom, and i can't possibly post things out of order or unfinished without ten-thousand caveats as to why.

a test-run on the french countryside

so i was noodling with this bit of scenery and playing with textures in the trees and whatnot. it's inneresting, but i don't really like it. it's too dense (and i don't mean the picture, i mean the gradients). i seriously considered going very minimal with the backgrounds and using very spare line art, but the problem with that is so many scenes take place in the dark (or perhaps i should say an equal number of scenes) and when i think about (for example)redrawing the bar scene with eugenie, i'm not sure how it will fly with just line art. all the art i most love seems to get away without complex backgrounds. i need to study it some more i s'pose.

margh. i dunno why i resist just doing what i know i can do.

: o p
lookingland: (Default)
( Mar. 22nd, 2006 09:02 am)
[livejournal.com profile] jediwonderboy posted this artwork in [livejournal.com profile] comicart. he's playing with the idea of eliminating the balloons and using the words as texture/background.

while i don't think it would really work (for me) for a standard comic ~ especially one with a lot of dialogue, i'm intrigued since lately i've been trying to come up with word balloons for Razi-el and i'd only got as far as something that looked suspicously like Morpheus from The Sandman.

i love this idea of words as texture because then they can be free-range, shaped funny, sporadic, dense, all over the page without boundaries ~ and they can run around in the background of other scenes as a sort of soundtrack (which the reader has the option, of course, of completely ignoring. i think everything Razi-el says is contextual anyway. i'll have to rig up a scene and see if it works.

~ * ~

i went on a creative bender last night ~ the place looks like a craft store exploded. i also found out what happens when you overcook Sculpey Flex. i wish i had more of a scrapbooker's sensibility. [livejournal.com profile] ladyazure does such cool work with paper stuff ( you can see her art here: The Spellbook Studios).

didn't i just ramble on a few entires back about how artists usually pick one thing, stick with it, hone it, etc.? i think i'm honing attention-deficit-disorder and procrastination ~ i'm beginning to think those are my master art forms. hahahaha ~

: D

~ * ~

gots lots of adr work to do today and don't really feel like doon it (what's new?).
lookingland: (ihs)
( Feb. 26th, 2006 01:39 am)
The Angels were all singing out of tune,
and hoarse with having little else to do,
excepting to wind up the sun and moon
or curb a runaway young star or two.

~ Lord Byron

my books from france arrived. i wonder if i got charged for the shipping ~ the receipt doesn't indicate any shipping charge. it would be nice if i didn't (guess we'll see when the bill arrives). even though amazon does that free shipping thing, i don't expect it applies to overseas orders.

the books are way cool ~ about as lurid as i expected (and fortunately no worse). i don't expect these to be great literature, but they'll be fun to read anyway (slow-going though, perhaps). i bought them for the pictures anyway, which are wonderful. when i get organized enough to scan a page, i'll share.

~ * ~

and speaking of french, in spite of a sort of ho-hummish mung today, i drew page 5. it'll do. i need to find exciting ways to deal with long conversations (or else i'm in big trouble). i tried to do some variations here on angles and whatnot, but got sloppy with the drawing (as so often happens). it'll serve for the time being and i can take another shot at it when i put page 6 together.

cut for the redux )

the page also lacks texture, i think. i'll try to do something more interesting with the backgrounds on the next one as well. i fully admit i sorta threw this together without much effort. i'll try to pay attention to the details on the next one.

: D
lookingland: (penguins)
( Feb. 22nd, 2006 04:26 pm)
i finished the page ~ didn't think i would have time before class, but knocked out the wee panels quickly. not sure how i feel about the overall effect.

i also fixed the balloon so it wouldn't cover the shoe (and corrected an error in my french).

all-in-all i think it's a good day's work.

: D

the "griffe du diable" redux
the dogs have been parked (and subsequently parked in snoozeland after non-stop running for 30 minutes).

i then parked my potatoes to make page 4 and have come to the briliant conclusion that the more complex the "shot" you're trying to render, the more time it takes!

i haven't finished page 4. there are two panels of eugenie lighting the cigarette that come before this shot, but this was the toughie, so i did it first. i think it came out all right! it's more or less what i wanted, angle-wise, so i'm pleased. some things i learned from doing this panel:
1. depth of field is less skeery than i previously thought. i did all right here without too much bloodshed.

2. if you don't want to draw knickers on transvestites, that's where the foreground obstructions and speech bubbles come in handy.

3. finding greytones for the various planes is a lot harder than it looks. i actually have to work at it here.

cut since i reduxed it in the more recent post )

i think the picture is done except that it's missing something red. maybe the little green jewel of the absinthé is sufficient, maybe i'll color eugenie's lips red in the close-ups ~ dunno. i'll have to play with it when i actually finish the page.

i don't like the way the first balloon is covering the shoe (it's a good shoe), so i may move it a little. my favorite thing in the whole picture is Anselm's bare foot. i also just noticed i forgot to put the smoke coming off the cigarette ~ will fix that too.

: D
i'm sure i have things to do today (though for the life of my i can't think of what they might be at the moment. the dogs are still whining and i've got to take them to the park before they turn into insane creatures (if they aren't already).

meanwhile, it occurred to me that Razi-el's Dream is supposed to be a "novel in triptychs" and what i posted yesterday was not a triptych at all. so this morning i had to remedy that by pulling the bottom panel off page 2 and making it the first panel on page 3 ~ it works well enough!

page 3 is mostly a cheat, i think. this one i did completely digitally. i can draw inanimate things with the wacom tablet (like the glass and cup here) but i'm less confident with people. i think, when i get back from the park with the aminals, i'll draw page four. i had an idea in my head about working out an interesting composition, so let's see if i can render it.

i'm having fun with this and feel like it's low-pressure. exactly what i need at the moment.

: D

eugenie volunteers to talk to anselm

i'm gonna flip that last panel ~ the coffee should be on the left, i think.
lookingland: (water bear)
( Feb. 21st, 2006 02:44 pm)
finished 45 minutes earlier than anticipated. not bad.

this is actually page two of "The Red Door". the first page is just a picture of the door, so i thought that might not be as interesting to post.

pardon my french

it's not bad for a quickie. i still need to learn to get away from that two-point perspective thing (ick). maybe that's something i can specifically focus on for the next page.

and i think i have caught a cold. i've been coughing all day and my nose just isn't right (cue music for "The Things in My Nose").

and the dogs are extra whiny today.

it's a conspiracy.

: D
so i sat down this morning thinking to myself: okay, enough of this hopscotching around, maybe i should hunker down and draw a real sequential start to finish and see what i can learn from the process.

so i started looking for something to draw ~ anything ~ and realized that i have never been very good at writing short stories and have only written a small handful of them over my writing life (that's more than 20 years). the ones i have written are not only pretty poor to begin with, but also would make for poor translation to the comic form.

so here i am with nothing to draw. how'd that happen?

what i need: a short stand-alone script that will be visually interesting.

the thought of generating such a script off the top of my head is daunting to say the least. i think i have short-storyitis or short-storyphobia perhaps.

how do we solve this?: steal a story from within a larger work. surely i can burp a little self-contained scenario from one of my books and make it into a three or five page story. i've cannibalized before and it's worked okay (even won an award with a story extracted from From Slaughter's Mountain a while back).

maybe this is a good time to take another running leap at Razi-el's Dream using this straightforward comic style. i've tried it in two other styles and failed. maybe i ought to see what it would look like in this one.

okay, i'm off to explore. it's 12:30 now. i'll be back at 3:30 to post the results.

: D
holiest of cows ~ ! i finally found a picture of the Good Shepherd in the archway below the Gros Horloge! all of my life's problems are solved (well not really, but this is pretty exciting since it will prolly be another decade before i ever get to france ~ curse, yodel, and spit).

isn't it just everything you could have hoped it would be? look at the little baa baa baas! look at the cool dramatic pose of Christ as the shepherd! thank you thank you thank you Stéphane L'Hôte <~ i will love you forever! there are also ridiculous more photos on this site of the Cathedral and the city (as well as some of Rochester, Minnesota which made me laugh). definitely fate.

: D

dunno about these pictures ~ they have their plusses and negatives. i'm stymied about backgrounds and am tempted to just leave them out altogether, but i don't think i can actually get away with that ~ hahahaha ~ i think, taken together, these three actually make a triptych. translations courtesy of mephster.

"C’est le Camelot là-bas?" Foyet then asked, with no small measure of displeasure.

Anselm did not disagree, but was keeping his opinion to himself. "Il est Parisien," he clarified instead.

edit! okay, i did some dickering with the second picture to see if i could liven it up a bit. it seems a little better.

i do love to sketch.

maybe it's a good way to try to break the disneyesque doodling habit i have ~ to not work so hard to make clean lines ~

: D
Father Foyet always looked harried when Anselm darkened his doorway. Anselm never stepped foot in his office unless there was trouble and if it was a student at the heart of that trouble, he found it especially odious to deal with. He hoped in vain that this was not the case that day, but was disappointed as expected. There was a problem with one of the first year candidates.

"Réjean Davignon," Foyet repeated the name absently. "C’est qui?"