Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lineage Page 17

New page up!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Young Protectors Fan Art

Another piece for fun. This is why I was lazy in my post about the latest Lineage page.

Young Protectors Fan Art by ChrisTsuda on DeviantArt

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Challenge in Visual Storytelling

As an academic, and a fiction author, the majority of my energy goes toward literary (aka. written, textual) endeavors. It is a 2000+ year tradition of expression which is both empowering and imprisoning. We are no longer "bound" by the written word. We have so many other ways to explore the power of narrative.

The challenge we face when we strive to move from the written word to another medium is that we aren't trained to do this through our standard education. (I might argue that today we aren't even  educated to write well in the literary form, let alone in visual forms.) We do not know what expresses a feeling, a sensation of motion, hardness, softness, stillness or activity.  We have to take special courses to learn what techniques work to communicate visually. Visual codes are different than textual codes, but to write a narrative to be presented in a visual medium we must understand both the visual and the textual codes. We must have a common language. In most cases, to create a visual narrative requires a team, as very few of us have all the skills necessary to both create a story, illustrate a story, and promote a story.

As a rhetorician who primarily works in the written word, creating the script for a graphic novel has been a distinct challenge. When we began this adventure in 2004, Chris wanted me to script out every aspect of the comic page, frame by frame. We discovered over time that though I could do this, my decisions on visual narrative were not as powerful as when Chris was inspired to represent a scene "his way." It took us about eight years before we had a comfortable language through which I could communicate the "essential message" of a scene without dictating the specific visual elements to be included.

Chris was not comfortable, initially, in making the decisions for the visual representation of the story. He was used to authors who believed it was their jobs to micromanage every element of the comic's creation. I, on the other hand, wanted to work with a partner, not an "employee". Today, however, we have found a balance between scripting everything and leaving it all to Chris to create. I feel it is my job to provide Chris with the core story, including the subtle and hidden messages necessary for the long-term plot, and then I leave him to generate the visuals. This requires a lot of trust for both the artist and the author, because many times we don't imagine the same things... and as a "Type A" personality, the lack of direct control is difficult to manage... but the rewards are amazing!

Page 14 posted

Lineage Ch1 Is1 014 by ChrisTsuda on DeviantArt

I'm being lazy.  You'll see why soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Being an Artist is WORK!

I have certain pet peeves, I admit this freely, but one of my really big ones is when people think that being a "creative" person is "easy". So many (not so creative) people, who do "real" jobs (like accounting, manual labor, etc.), believe that doing something artistic or creative (like drawing, sculpting, writing, etc.) is just a relaxing pastime. It isn't difficult. It is relaxing. It is a dawdle one does between doing something worthwhile (like saying "would you like fries with that?").

One reason for this perception is that when one "creates" artistically, there can be long spaces of time when you're not "producing" anything tangible to a non-creative person. We (the creative) stare at the screen waiting for the Muse to hit us over the back of the head, or to help us past a creative obstacle (or so that's how it seems). Since creative endeavor is not something that works strictly by a time-clock, it isn't thought of as "real work". For some, especially hobby-artists, this is actually true. If the Muse doesn't inspire, then you're spending a lot of down time -- whether that down time is relaxing or frustrating depends upon one's personality.

When I see these T-shirts and memes running about the internet, demanding that we (the creatives) "Stop Pretending Art is Hard", I flare up like a drag queen whose mascara has just run! First of all, what are you actually trying to say? Creating Art isn't difficult? Understanding Art isn't difficult? Being Creative isn't difficult? All or None of these? The statement is so imprecise as to be incomprehensible. And to top it all off, why the f*ck does someone believe they have the right to judge how challenging a task is for another person, whether that be math, art, language, etc.?

If you have EVER been required to produce ANYTHING on a deadline, repeatedly, dependably, at a high level of competence and skill, then you know that it is a stressful, difficult task. Those of us who must "be creative" on demand, regularly, do manage to devise techniques by which we can draw upon the Muse at will. It is like digging a deep well so that you have a reliable source of water you can use on demand. That works fine until there is a drought... then, just like water tables, your resource of creative juices drop... if the drought lasts long enough, or if you are required to utilize those reserves on schedule with no regard to availability, your well of creativity can run dry. Yes, then you can try to "dig a deeper well", but that is not a long term solution. You have to have the opportunity to let your resources replenish.

Where the disconnect for most people happen is that in today's world, most people do NOT perform creative tasks as part of their jobs or every day lives. They drudge through their careers and daily lives, burning non-creative reserves, and USE their stores of unutilized creative resources to replenish their spirits. For them, being creative isn't "hard" but is the way they recover and recharge for the next round of creativeless existence. However, what happens when you work/daily life depletes that very creative reserve? An artist can't go there to rejuvenate or recover, because that's where they just exhausted themselves. So creatives have to find other sources of regeneration.

Just because what you do as a hobby is what someone else does as a job, don't equate the two. There is a significant difference between the amateaur and the professional in any field. I have been a very huggy/touchy-feely person my whole life. I have a natural aptitude to healing others with my hands, and used to give great shoulder and food rubs. It was fun, relaxing, enjoyable. Then I became a massage therapist, and though I still loved doing massage, and I could find solace and strength in my work, it was WORK. When you don't HAVE to do something, the aches from the activity are just "part of the experience", but when you have to work through/past/around the pain in order to fulfill your job-requirements (do 3 deep tissue massages in a day and see just how good your hands are feeling b*tches) there is nothing enjoyable-stress free about it.

I have the greatest respect for my co-creator and Lineage artist Chris. He has doggedly stuck with the task of illustrating, coloring, revising, recreating, lettering, etc. the comic for over a decade! Now he's committed to doing it fast enough that we won't run out of new pages, regardless of posting schedule, until the project is done (which for the first GN will be between 160-240 pages). That is after doing his "day job" in order to have food to eat and a roof over his head. I admire his fortitude, determination and drive to see his art become something others will want!

So, don't spend your time in my presence talking about how "art is easy" or isn't a "real job" or "is fun". Hiking is fun... a 50 mile march is not... but both are walking!

O'ryn's first appearance

O'ryn's first appearance in!