Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Miller Time!

Well, I was certainly serious about my resolutions but nobody told the folks I work for. Holy crap, last week was nuts. The previous week, I got in quite a bit of writing and lots of time at the gym. But this week...No time for writing or drawing. Certainly no time for reading or TV. I didn’t get anything done on the website and it was only by sheer will power and determination that I got in my three workouts. Suzanne and I had our first 10K training session on Saturday morning in 5-degree temperatures. I had no idea how out of shape I was and couldn’t even run a mile without stopping to catch my breath, which felt like ice cold razors in my throat. Three days later, I think I’ve caught a cold. Man, I hate this time of year.

Since I haven’t had any time to do anything, I thought I’d resort to my old stand-by of posting old artwork. The piece above is one of three drawings I did a couple years ago for some students at the Ad Center (Now called the Brand Center) which is part of VCU. It’s a highly-regarded post-graduate school for people interested in working in advertising. These students wanted to do a series of print ads using drawings with a “Frank Miller” vibe to them. They’d become enamored with the SIN CITY movie and had gotten hooked on Miller’s drawing style.

That’s one of the things that drives me crazy about doing freelance illustration. I’m always asked to draw like someone else. Sometimes it’s fun (as in this case) but most of the time it’s just irritating and the results are never satisfying. I was asked last week to do some storyboard illustration and, despite my crazy schedule, I was about to agree to it. Then the words, “...we’d like you to match this guy’s style...?” entered the conversation and I ran away, screaming.

This one, though, was kind of an interesting challenge and I was excited about the project. Unfortunately, though the clients were thrilled, this was the only piece out of the three that I was happy with. So I gave them a break on the price. I learned a lot about using negative space to define shpaes with this series and I was very happy to have done it. This assignment also has the distinction of being the first freelance work I was actually paid for doing. I’ve been stiffed more times than I can count and it was very satisfying to have someone happily and willingly hand over money for something I drew.

Okay, that’s it. Back to work. Hopefully, I’ll have something more interesting to post later this week.

Happy Inauguration Day, everybody! Good times lay ahead.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm not usually big on New Year's resolutions. Most people resolve to lose weight or save money on January 1st, probably because the new calendar makes them feel like they're getting a fresh start. But January 1 has always been just another day off for me. And I've been on one diet or another my entire adult life so that one would be pointless for me. But I have a few things I've been letting slide lately so I've decided to take the plunge and commit to a whopping three resolutions this year. I hearby resolve to:

1. Get in shape. This doesn't really mean lose weight though I hope that will be a side-effect. When Mike died, I lost my focus and though I was, at the time, in the best shape I'd been in since high school, I quickly backslid and my weight has slowly crept up to a place I'm uncomfortable with. Worse, I stopped going to the gym and lost any strength I'd built up. That has to change. But I feel pretty good about this one because I didn't wait for the new year to get started and I'm almost a month into my new commitment to getting in shape. The gym has been practically deserted and it's been great. Unfortunately, the "resolvers" will be back in force for at least a few months to come and I'll have to start waiting my turn on the weights again. Sigh. I already feel a lot stronger, though, and I'm starting to see a bit of a difference in my overall shape. Not much but enough to encourage me. With our 10 K training starting in less than a month, the weight should start to take care of itself soon.

2. Promote Mike's scholarship fund. I'm a little ashamed of myself for this one. Suze and I busted our butts getting it set up and did a couple of conventions but I've been coasting since then. An email conversation with PJ has my enthusiasm up again, though, and my short-term goals for the fund are now getting a dedicated website (including an online store) up and running this year along with putting together some sort of book with Mike's blog sketches and entries that we can sell to raise money for the fund. There are a lot of legalities to work out but PJ has me psyched so cross your fingers.

3. Start serious work on my book. This one's tougher and the first two on my list aren't going to make it any easier. Nor have the multitude of other obligations, distractions and just plain laziness that everyone on the planet deals with every day. But I have been "working" on the book in my head and have developed some supporting characters that have me very excited in a way that none of my other pet projects ever has before. All my other unfinished stories have been plot driven. This is more of a character piece. I have my "angle". I have my MacGuffin. I have my cast of characters and their interrelationships and motivations. I almost have an ending. All I have to do it write the damn thing out. So that's what I'm going to do.

I haven't aspired to a career in comics in many years but I do want to have something that's mine out there for people to read. Just once. For years and years I've "dabbled" with my stories because I thought I had all the time in the world to do something with it. But now, with Mike's passing, I feel like I'm living on borrowed time and that time is quickly running out. That's a fairly stupid attitude because I've had a complete physical and I'm supposedly fine. But I can't shake it and so now I'm in a hurry to do...something.

The plan is to put in at least one-to-three hours a week writing this story out in script form. Since I plan on drawing it myself, it doesn't have to be too formal. Hopefully, in a few months, I can have the entire miniseries written out and can see about drawing it. This will probably put a crimp in my time here (and on the xBox, sorry Leaf.) But it's very important to me. Let's see how I do.

Getting it published...that's a hurdle for another day.