Monday, January 7, 2008

One week into the new year and I’ve already broken my resolution.

I promised myself I would draw more. Just ain’t happenin’. I wanted this first post of 2008 to be a drawing of the lead female in my story. I’ve spent the evening starting and not finishing about 200 quick sketches of her face and it just won’t gel. I know what I want but I can’t get it on paper. Part of the problem is I’ve always struggled with every line in general but I especially have a hard time drawing women. Either the faces are too square or the noses are too long... The proportions are always wrong and always inconsistent. Another problem is that I’m basing her on somebody specific and her face wasn’t the kind of face that boils down well into a generalized graphic interpretation. Something’s getting lost in the translation and if I try to push it too far toward a realistic likeness, my style ends up making her look too masculine. I also don’t want to just give her a generic “cute-girl” face because it helps my writing when I can see a character’s face in my mind. It’s very frustrating.

It doesn’t help that I haven’t drawn anything in about a month. Whatever confidence I was building up before the holidays has long since dissipated. Between work, the Christmas shopping, the constant travelling and four straight weeks of being sick in one way or another, I lost my momentum. Around the time I was getting over a three-week long cold (not unusual for me), I acquired Dad’s stomach virus and spent New Year’s Day feeling like one of Seth Brundle’s test baboons. Suzanne spent the night nursing me through it while I shivered, delirious, in front of a roaring fireplace under three blankets with my worst fever in recent memory.

Mike always used to tell me he hated the time off between issues because if he took so much as a weekend off, it took him a week sometimes to get his rhythm back. I always thought that was strange because he was so good and whenever I got to watch him draw in person, he never drew a line out of place. It seemed to come so naturally to him. Even if what he’d drawn wasn’t what he’d intended, it still looked good. But I’m definitely feeling what he was describing and I’m very disappointed in myself. I’ve considered giving up the drawing in favor of just getting my story in shape but typing, “Wrote some stuff today.” with no drawing to go with it would make for an excruciatingly dull blog. Not that it’s a page-turner now.

I did manage to work on the Perhapanauts pinup last night but it’s still in no shape to post. It’s strange. That Nova pinup just spilled out onto the paper but I’m having so much trouble lately. I think I’m putting too much pressure on myself. I’m going to be drawing some storyboards at work tomorrow and since nobody ever sees that stuff but the creative team, I usually just crank those out no problem. Maybe that will help me loosen up. Man, I sure hope so. I'm tired of hearing myself whine.


renecarol said...

I'm getting over being sick too. I think the drastic weather changes have done a number on my immune system. I hope you are feeling better soon and can share some sketches.

Heywood Jablomie said...

I hear ya on drawing women Matt! I always have a problem with the lips and hair. Never fails. I can get the body and the rest of the face out great but it always comes down to those 2 elements and it all comes crashing down. As for drawing 'down' time, I know how it feels too. I drew a picture for my nephew for xmas and it's been like over a year since I did a serious drawing and not just doodles. It came out pretty good, I posted it on my blog and Todd liked it, my nephew LOVED it, but to me I felt 'eh' with it, but the end result still was that my nephew was happy, so even if I wasn't it still accomplished it's task. Creative blocks really blow though, I don't know how to deal with it myself, because I suffer from it alot and I never finish many pictures because of it but I do sympathize with you. And you keep posting, we'll keep reading. I personally love coming here, so even if you feel like you're 'whining', which I never see it as, it's always nice to see what's going on on your end of things.(Sorry for the long winded post!)

Christian D. Leaf said...

Nice Cronenberg FLY reference there, my friend.

You're not the only one to struggle with drawing the fairer sex. Heck, NOWERE had the girlfriend in there for maybe all of four pages. (Not counting Millie, of course.) Mainly because drawing women is tough. Granted, THE VALE and the nightmare I had last night that might be a comic will have a female protagonist isn't going to stop me from trying. Get back on that horse. (Or hoss as they like to say down on the ranch.) You're only going to get better.

Don't knock just writing either. How many people can bring some visually to life in your head with only a few sentences? (Okay, how many people can do it well?) It's an art in its own right. Jotting down thoughts or a story is by no way scrimping on your creativity. Visuals aren't always necessary as long as you can take us there.

Okay, I'll get off me soapbox...for now.

Unknown said...

Hang in there Matt. Drawing indeed can be tough, trying to maintain a certain glamour to the face while giving the character um... character, and individuality. I've found though when looking at a particular model for a character that after doing some studies while looking at reference of that model, that it can be helpful to then work up studies without the reference using the memory of the features that you've gathered in creating the original studies. It can sometimes loosen you up, and make the character come to life for you. Just an idea to share, doesn't always work, but it can be helpful just in loosening up.


Anonymous said...

Matt -
Glad you're feeling better.

I cannot even pretend to know what it's like for an artist to get stuck. I can however, tell you that I gave up drawing a long time ago because I didn't believe in my talent. I only recently started sketching (actually learning to draw all over again) because I was inspired by the way you drive on when you get stuck.

Some of the comments posted here on the blogs have helped also.

Anyway, I think that sketch you just posted will work perfectly for your lead (just kidding)

I do think storyboarding will loosen you up and get you back in the swing.

Looking forward to how your story turns out.


Anonymous said...

I hear ya...
Again, I have put my main idea off to the side due to frustrations on getting the two main characters looks down pat...I know what I want from the female as well, but the guy...everytime I think of him its blurry...on the other side, I found out I can draw Bub from Day of the Dead fairly well...go fig(since he's not in my main story I want to do)?
I figure it this way...there is alot for us all to do in this world, might as well get it started...I worry all the time that I do not have what it takes to break into the biz...but then I get a kick in the ass from out of nowhere and it pushes me...telling myself that the comic world is vast, and has no limits nor end...there is a place in there for me somewhere...I just gotta rob the place for my spot...there is a reason for the term "breaking in"...;)

Matt, to all of us here, your art is awesome...and we believe with no doubt it belongs on that huge shelf...and when you do get there, remember us lil people...;);)

Jamar said...

It's tough my man. I'm starting this year out with a strict regimen of repetition. I'm updating my BBWW blog on M, W, F, and my Art blog on T, R and weekends. And I'm just filling myself up with too much stuff to NOT draw.

It's working right now. . . That bug is hard to catch and hold on to sometimes.

renecarol said...

So how went the storyboards? I was thinking that probably drawing something else might help with loosening you up and getting your creative juices flowing. I used to call that "artist block" I like the phrase "creative block" too though. I never had anything helpful to say to him either though.

Eric said...

I've been trying to draw stories as part of my resolution too. Not only can I not draw women, but I can't stay "on model" with any face, body type, object, location, panel size, line width, perspective, or virtually anything else. I feel as though God is saying, "Stick to doodling."

It's really frustrating because I have really really good stories to tell for once. I can see them in my head, the fully-drawn pages, the layouts, the characters, etc. But my hand refuses to cooperate.

So take solace at least in the fac that you're ahead of me in the game!