Saturday, April 18, 2020

POST #1: PORTRAIT OF A WANNA-BE ARTIST DURING COVID-19: #MyQuasiSelfIsolationCreativeDiary (Day 1-32)

Tuesday, March 17, 10:27 pm

Ah, nuts! Hang on. I was going to start this post, something I was thinking of earlier today, but i really should do a couple other things first before I wind up not doing them at all (What? NO.)(um... yes).
I'll be back.

Thursday, March 19, 9:57 pm

...Okay, it's two freaking days later, but here I am! Ta-daah!

Friday, March 20, 9:06 am

Okay, maybe three days later. Don't even ask. I think I'm just disorganized, distracted, and a bit tired. Mostly distracted and tired. BOY, am I glad I have two days off! For the last two days I've been obsessively preoccupied with a potential comic project ("potential" because, well, who knows if I'll ever follow through (am I right???) i.e. see my Stellara Ultranova obsession and where has that gotten me so far with concrete examples of drawing: NOWHERE, BUB.
Anyway, today's the first of two days off, so we'll see...

Backtracking quickly... episode (er, that is, daily life) recap:

The U.S and the world is currently dealing with this virus, first described as the Coronavirus, now more officially called Covid-19. Originating from China, it was first announced in December, 2019. Here's a timeline.
Wow, I just read this, to be honest. Most of my information regarding Covid-19 has been haphazard (because I don't regularly listen to the news - yes, I'm a willfully ignorant jerk), or anecdotal in the sense it's what my wife tells me who does follow the news more diligently, or what I hear or see at work (I'm still working 25-40 hours a week as Helping Hands Assistant (i.e. I pull grocery carts from the lot, etc.)) and how the current "social distancing" climate affects my grocery store, or what I sporadically get from Facebook and other internet sources (so, mostly memes and FB statuses).
My wife has been home from school working since Tuesday, March 17. She went in Monday (faculty and administration only, but the day before it was announced that schools would be closed) to learn what the policy and procedure was going to be re: teaching on-line from school.
When I drive to work, there's an electronic sign over the O-190 South just before the I-290 ramp and usually it informs drivers during the commute how many minutes until the I-990 or Downtown. AS of Wednesday, it's been saying "STOP THE SPREAD... SAVE LIVES... STAY HOME" Another version on the I-290 West (heading home) added, "#FlattenTheCurve".

Anyway, so many people are staying home from work and there's a general sense of a quarantine going on, or more officially, "self-isolation."  Because I'm still actively working, I don't completely embrace that feeling, except intellectually I do feel that an "opportunity" to focus on artwork, etc. is upon me. Hence... the subject of this post.

I'm arbitrarily choosing MARCH 16 as DAY ONE of this self-isolation because that was the first day it affected me: we cancelled Monday night's BM-VM meeting at the Screening room. Actually, over the weekend the Screening Room cancelled it's events until mid-April (for now, it may go longer). Because I'm still working, I needed to pick a date that sort of applied to me in terms of the virus "directly" affecting me, so to speak, if that makes sense.

Which brings me up-to-date enough to get into my...
QUASI-SELF ISOLATION CREATIVE DIARY.

My hope is to document my progress and also what's going on in the world around me re: this virus. So, there will definitely be a lot of bla bla bla, but I'm also hoping that there will also be images of artwork I've been doing. I guess we'll see, huh?
Anyway, I've recently discovered this local self-described "novice cosplayer" who did a cosplay of a character from a brand new comic, Canopus, and then made contact at Pulp 716 (N. Tonawanda division) with the comic's creator, Dave Chisolm, who stopped by at the store last month (I think) and was delighted at her enthusiastic support and made her a sketch based on one of her Canopus cosplay photos. I think that whole experience inspired me and then I started thinking of drawing/comic ideas with this cosplayer, mostly because of her Twitter account. As a sort of "tagline" for her account, she describes herself as a "shark fighter" (just to be silly, I'm assuming), but then that made me think of doing a drawing of her a shark fighter. And then, I started getting carried away (who, me? No!), and my impulsive drawing idea for a "fan-art" pin-up picture, soon morphed into a two-, no, actually, three-, aw, what the hell, a probably FOUR-page comic story that CONCLUDES on the so-called pin-up image as the last page of the story idea.
But, again, we'll see what this actually translates into in terms of physical artwork, dammit!
Because, part of me is also thinking I should finish something I've already started first, just to get this under my belt and out of the way. There's no real deadline here for the cosplayer project other than my own typical obsessive impulsiveness.
So, I'm going to do that.
Thus, we have this:



I did this drawing (as part of a Drink and Draw night... alas!) way back in January 2016.
Sorry for the REALLY crappy quality of the picture. I bring this drawing up because Pam (from the Apple Corps Comic Book Club) recently talked about something called "Work-in-Progress Wednesdays" and I thought the concept was good, i.e. using the day as a gauge to see how we're progressing on certain projects. I chose five very old drawings I've started but never finished. This Drink and Draw effort was one of them. So, this is my "something that I'm going to finish that I've already started" first project. And then, I think that will "give me permission" to start working more in earnest on the cosplayer project.
Meanwhile, to celebrate this first day off, I have some housecleaning/chores to address first (and breakfast!).
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 24, 9:41 pm

SELF-"ISOLATION": DAY EIGHT.

Friday, April 17, 9:59 pm

I guess I didn't have anything to say over three weeks ago...

SELF-"ISOLATION": DAY THIRTY-TWO.

And, boy, objectives have changed since then.
First, I haven't finished the above drawing, nor did I actually start working on it, other than thinking about it and giving this impulsively drawn character a name, Flauna Chamois (pronounce sham-WAH), and thinking it is a "concept character" now, for lack of a better name or label. Meaning, I was considering this might be the first in a series of "pin-up" style drawings of this character, and they all have a sort of advertising/fashion theme, the meanings of that to be further explored. This idea came about because I was thinking I'd give Flauna a coat to wear in THIS drawing, and I was going to make up some odd design. But, we'll see...
...because now I'm fixated on something else. Of course.
Two things, actually.

1: The COSPLAYER/SHARK-FIGHTER comic.

and

2. A totally OTHER project: THE CALIEGIA (REMAKE). I've actually started working on this project. I recently purchased the Dynamite comics "replica edition" of VAMPIRELLA #3, originally published by Warren Publishing back in the 60s. These replica editions are really cool! They reprint everything, not only the story content but also the original ads! So, these editions are a real nostalgic blast. Plus, it's an affordable way to check out these old stories. As much as I like the replica edition, the actual stories in this issue aren't that hot. You get a real sense of some of the cultural dynamics were at the time. They play up the female characters in these stories, the one big difference between CREEPY and EERIE magazines from VAMPIRELLA is the inclusion of a sexy female element in the stories, so not only the Vampirella character as a host who also stars in her own continuing storyline in the mag. But also, you see how these horror genre stories are at that time. Sometimes it seems all you need is to include some genre element to make the story serviceable. And sometimes the female element is blatantly exploited in the story. I'm not saying it as a criticism, but as an observation. Anyway, bla bla bla... so I bought this replica edition, and one of the stories sort of caught my eye, "The Caliegia," written by Nicola Cuti and drawn by Dick Piscopo, an artist I wasn't familiar with before. For some reason, I found the story and art to be lacking, and as is my tendency at times, I impulsively decided to re-do the story... okay, impulsively acting is a perpetual tendency of mine. The original impulse was to focus on the art, but then, as i re-read the story and started thinking about my re-make version, I started thinking about ways I'd do the story differently. So, I've started really investing the overhaul of this story. Here are some very preliminary behind-the-scenes peeks at my "progress": 




These are examples of my flailing about trying to draw and interpret a character, Vampirella, for the intro of the story, but also trying to figure out how to break down the first page of the story. The first image in my first attempt at drawing Vampi, but then I didn't like the pose. I also wasn't sure how my drawing would eventually fit in the space on the page, so I started drawing her on a different sheet of paper, figuring I could transfer it when I had a better idea of how much space it was going to take up.
Anyway, I'm a bit happier with how her body turned out, but I've been mostly preoccupied with the writing the last couple days, trying to figure out my takes on the main characters.
Meanwhile, here's a link to scans of the original story.

Alright, I'm going to end this and move on.
Here's my current game plan (and we'll see how long THIS strategy lasts..!): 

1. The original "Caliegia" story was 7 pages long. I originally decided I was going to keep my remake version to 7 pages as well. But then I started working on the story and writing it, and I knew within a day of making the 7-page limit that I was not going to keep to that restriction. But, I'm also aware of my compulsion to start projects and never finish them. So, I've revised my restriction to a deadline. I'll take as long as I want with the story page-wise (whatever that means), but I'm going to try and finish the first 7 pages by the end of April.
2. I'm also going to attempt to finish that SHARK-FIGHTER story before the end of April, too.
That seems like an over-stretch, though. Maybe I should at least aim for plotting and laying out the story. That also seems like a challenge (for me), but far more do-able than finishing the whole damn story.

Friday, March 20, 2020

STELLARA ULTRANOVA (Part 3): I STILL have no freaking clue what to do with this character...

Tuesday, December 31 (New Year's Eve), 4:43 am

Man, I fell asleep on the couch tonight and woke up like 45 minutes ago.
My dinner plate was still on the TV tray/table next to me, with some uneaten squash on it. There was also the bowl with what was left of my salad.
The heater was still on and I shut that off.
I finished drying some clothes that were in the dryer, then took those out and threw in the wet pants from the washer and started drying those.
Then, I've been on the computer surfing Facebook ever since.
Compelling lifestyle, huh?

Anyway, getting back to Stellara Ultranova.

5:21 am

I just re-read my last post on this whole concept. I also did a little editing on it, because, well, I could.
One of the things I shared in that post were my three basic inspirations for working on this idea and this was the third one:

I decided to do the poster/DVD cover for Beaver Alley Studios' film, A CHRISTMAS MONSTROSITY. It's due in less than 2 weeks and I haven't done actual shit on it, yet. Hmmm, typical. Meaning, with regards to Stellara Ultranova, this whole obsession I have with her has nothing to do with impulsive artistic inspiration, etc., but in reality, it's simply me avoiding working on the CHRISTMAS MONSTROSITY poster. AHA! J'Accuse, Kimmel!

With this in mind, a fourth reason is me avoiding working on my Apple Corps Comics (ACC) story that I hoped I would finish a year ago (January 2019).

11:05 am

And I just re-read that post from January 2019 and, well... wow.
Okay, a number of things. It's just interesting to see how I consistently have NO idea of what I'm doing when I'm coming up with an idea and how it keeps changing all the time. The original post was about a story called "Joyride" I was thinking about and then I bring up my ACC story and also, I discuss several ideas and characters for my funny animal concept for a comic series, TABLE SCRAPS. I'm all over the place. And I don't think I'm developing an idea... I'm just changing my mind a lot.
Which is par for the course, and that's fine, if that's my usual brainstorming method, but, I really need to supplement these verbal idea-spews with some actual drawing, even if they're only doodles.

Saturday, January 4, 2020, 3:09 am

Dammit, I really need to go to bed. I've been mostly on the internet for the last couple hours. Although, at least tonight, I've been unusually diligent (well, for me) in looking up various topics and questions in terms of research for possible ideas/plots/concepts for further developing Stellara Ultranova. One idea I have is calling this sci-fi comic DREGS and the main characters being Stellara and her two best friends, Eltron Gammastorm and Akidra Magnestar. Yeah, I know! Aren't all of these characters' names the corniest things you're ever read??? Ah, sue me!

Friday, January 17, 10:59 am

Yes. I'm still focusing, thinking about things that I have deemed are lower priority.
From a 2020 Art Goal perspective, these should be my Top 3:

1. My ACC story.
2. Overhauling my "portfolio."
3. Finishing the A CHRISTMAS MONSTROSITY poster.

Yes.
BUT, I still keep thinking about STELLARA ULTRANOVA aka DREGS.
YES YES YES. I know!

Well, I'll just say this by way of a brief update: I've now changed Stellara's friends' names to Fracas Magnestar and Akidra Gammastorm. The word "fracas" popped into my head the other day and I suddenly thought that might be a much more interesting name for Eltron than "Eltron," especially since my original name for him was Deltron, but there was already a famous Deltron in pop-culture so I altered it slightly, but then I thought the name became less interesting. Fracas is much better. Also, I switched Fracas' and Akidra's surnames because I'm thinking Akidra is more plugged into the emotion of anger, so this seemed a much more appropriate fit.

Friday, February 7, 3:51 pm

Yesterday, I think... (oh, who cares!) I started thinking about using the idea of the captivity narrative as basis for a possible template for plotting out a bunch of stories and timelines for my DREGS idea. My wife is the one who has a PhD, specifically researching the history of one woman, Susannah Johnson, who wrote her own account of her and her family being captured by the Abenaki Indians in August 1754 during the French and Indian War. My wife published a version of that narrative annotated with hundreds of historical footnotes. Anyway, before I met my wife, I didn't even realize there existed a literary genre called a captivity narrative, and Susannah Willard Johnson is a particularly fascinating subject in terms of the woman herself and also the many ways her family intersect the history of the time.
So, it occurred to me that perhaps a conscious effort to transplant the captivity narrative idea might be cool to my DREGS idea, except with a sci-fi leaning. Maybe.

Friday, March 20, 1:13 pm

Or maybe not, re: the captivity narrative angle. Ah, who knows! Certainly not me.
Anyway, an UPDATE 42 days after my last entry above.
So, the biggest thing that's happening to me is the World News: we're in the middle of a Covid-19 virus (aka Coronavirus aka Wuhan Virus) pandemic! Amy's been home from school since this past Tuesday (March 17, St. Patrick's Day). She's been preparing this week to teach on the internet next week. Schools are closed, the St. Patrick's Day parades locally and nationally were cancelled, and as of half an hour ago, NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that 100% of businesses should be closed except for essential businesses. Yesterday, Cuomo declared 75% closed.
Yes, so this is a big change of narrative in terms of this individual post. However, being the single-minded artist I am (...Really? That's a bit much, dude...), the current state of self- and government-imposed "social isolation" is painting a perception of secluded isolation, namely, the perfect environment for CREATING ART. YES! And also doing household chores... dammit.
So, I'm specifically starting a series of posts intended to document my efforts to be more productive creatively during these unique and uncertain times, and my ideas, etc. for STELLARA ULTRANOVA won't be left out, by god! The first post is under the title "PORTRAIT OF A WANNA-BE ARTIST DURING COVID-19."

I have two specific Stellara ideas I'd like to do during this period. One is a pin-up, the other is a short, sort of quasi-stream-of-consciousness story that touches on various ideas I have for the concept that I'm just going to distill down into this one story, almost like a trailer or illustrated concept pitch for a series, for lack of a better description.
If I finish the pin-up or the first page of the story, I'll add it here as a graphic.

Having said that, I'm going to wrap this up and move on.
To be continued...

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

DRAWING BOARD DIARY #4: A CHRISTMAS MONSTROSITY (a work in progress)

Friday, December 13, 10:11 pm

Okay, I don't have time to really get into it, I'm just starting this post to document my progress. I'm working on the poster/DVD cover for Rhonda and Mark Parker's latest Beaver Alley Studios' film, A CHRISTMAS MONSTROSITY. Even though I knew about it and was formally asked to work on this back on November 20, I really didn't put anything on paper until... today. This morning. While I was AT Dunn Tire in Lockport waiting for my front and rear brakes to be installed and then my inspection to be done (which expired in November, by the way). And the deadline? YESTERDAY. December 12.
Yes. It's official. I'm a fuck-up. A FUCK-UP.
Anyway, whatever, I have to come up with some damn thing.
I'll be back. Oh, don't you worry..!

Saturday, December 14, 6:33 pm

So, I started my poster design yesterday morning at Dunn Tire. I was there at 8:30 and the estimated time for replacing front and rear brakes and doing my inspection was "a couple hours." So, I figured three to be safe.
So... I finally get out of there at... 1:30. I'm ready to head to Burger King or Wendy's and get some lunch. Except there's a rubbing noise in the front when I pull out of the parking lot. Fuckkkk.
So, I go back and it turns out that one of the brake pads was a little thicker then it should be so it was rubbing inside the rotor (er, the brake drum? Something brake-y.). An hour later, 2:30, they replace the brake pad and I'm finally out for good.
In that 6 hour period I didn't get much actual drawing done, but I did do some.
However between then and now i wound up ditching the original drawing and starting over. I like the basic composition but not how I drew Sid Blitzen's character. And I thought erasing what I had and re-drawing it on the same page would be messy, so I started from scratch. The original drawing was pretty sketchy, so it wasn't that big a loss, mostly psychological. Anyway, I started my re-draw and slowly started re-roughing in basic shapes and figures. Not a lot, though. And then we went out today to visit a friend visiting from out-of-town and then we went shopping at Whole Foods.
More or less that brings me up to date and to sum up:

    1. I have to really buckle down on this fucking poster. It was supposed to be DONE 2 days ago.
    2. I really need to finish this within the next 24 hours, which is, well, impossible.
    3. So, stop TYPING, Kimmel and start DRAWING!

(to be continued)

Sunday, December 15, 12:19 am

Well, I've been sort of drawing. Man, I wish I had more confidence in my "design"/composition. Part fo the reason I'm going so slow is because I AM slow, but part of it I'm unsure of what I'm doing. I wish I had better screen shots, I wish I had a better sense of what the film is like. Part fo me thinks it's an outrageous comedy, part of me thinks it's perhaps more horror than I realize because Rhonda (the director) wanted the poster to be kind of dark in spirit. So, I think the "tone" of the poster is throwing me. i don't think i have a tone, or what tone there is seems wrong, maybe?
Ugh, I have no time actually to debate this. I should just plow ahead and finish this damn thing and we'll see what happens.
And I have a LOT of drawing left to do yet.

Monday, December 16, 8:08 am

I'm still not done, but this was where I was up to in my progress yesterday at 11:30 am when I sent Rhonda a photo of what I had done so far, the first time she saw any of it since I started. Trying to finish it up today before work.



For the most part, she liked it. But, mostly she just wanted it done.
Today I have to be at work at 2:00 and then right after, I go to the December meeting of BM-VM at the Screening Room at 7:00 pm.
I'm going to try and finish the pencilling today beforeI go to work. At the very latest, finish it up tonight after the meeting. And then go ahead with inking it and then coloring it in with colored pencils. So, if I can get it all done, I'll try to get it Rhonda before work tomorrow, which would mean getting to her house in Lockport by 3:00 (I have to work at 4:00). Worst case scenario: I finish it Wednesday morning and give it to her then. I'm off Wednesday.
Okay, I'll be back.

Tuesday, December 17, 11:22 am

I told Rhonda I'd have this poster thing done by Wednesday. Hopefully I won't make a liar out of myself. This morning my initial game plan was to finish pencilling the design and then start inking it if I had time before I had to be at work (4:00 pm), but so farI've yet to sit down and draw. At one point I thought i'd be drawing by 8:00 am. Instead I ate breakfast, did some laundry (washing, folding yesterday's laundry and putting another load in as the first load dries), and some dishwashing. Shit, I gotta get this thing done! And then I received a text that tim at work wasn't feeling well and he was hoping I could come in at 2:00. Uh, no. But, I'll try to get there by 3;00. Actually, I may just leave at 2:00, stop at Country Max beforehand to get bird seed, then go to work. Shit. time always just... flies. Man, I really need to get better about my handling deadlines and managing my time in general.
Whatever. I'll be back.

11:44 am.

FUCK, there's NO way I'm going to have the pencilling done before I go, even if I didn't leave early for work. Whatever. I gotta just keep whacking away at the damn thing... Dammit.

Wednesday, December 18, 10:53 am

Man, yesterday was all distractions and ended with a lot of cart-pulling at work. I was too wiped to really do any drawing after work last night like I had hoped. Leaving almost 90 minutes after I was scheduled to leave didn't help either.
Anyway, I HAVE TO FINISH TODAY.
I still have penciling to do.
Hope to finish that in the next few hours.
We'll see..!

10:55 pm

Holy fucking shit. I'm STILL working on the pencilling.
I don't know if I am going to have it finished by tomorrow morning... and I really need to. CRAP.

Saturday, December 21, 1:54 pm

Okay! We're back! Howdy!
Cutting to the chase, I more or less finished. I did NOT quite finish what I had hoped to do, but as time ran out for me, I was able to finish it enough so that Rhonda and Mark could have the artwork and make their DVD covers for the DVDs in time for the film's premiere at the Screening Room on Saturday, December 21 aka.: TODAY.


Pencilling took freaking FOREVER. Here's where I was with the drawing at 3:55 am on Thursday morning. Yes, I told Rhonda I'd have it finished late Wednesday night (I figured it would be after midnight, and into early Thursday morning, at the very least). Shortly thereafter, I started inking.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

STELLARA ULTRANOVA (Part 2): The Miserable Joy of Trying to Create a Comicbook Character

Sunday, December 1, 5:00 pm

So... okay.
It's another weekend where I have Saturday AND Sunday off. I feel somewhat guilty about having such a scheduling luxury, but it's not my fault. The only day of the week I request off is Saturdays and the rest of the week, work can do with me what they will, so I'll take the full weekend off gladly. Especially since it was freezing rain today and there was ice everywhere (PS. I work outside).
However, my wife and I decided to have a relaxing "reading" day and I really didn't do much reading, unless you count reading on the internet. Okay, I said that as a joke, but I could have done some reading for research, so there could be genuine reading via the internet that I could've done, but I mostly didn't.

Anyway, back to this relaxing "reading" day.
Yesterday we went to the zoo... and it was cold! It was good, but it was cold.
But, having a day with "nothing" ostensibly planned merely accelerates the amount of nothing I'm going to accomplish. I mean, I can't believe it's after 5:00 in the afternoon already!

Although, I did finally figure out how to get rid of these pop-up ads I've been having appear on my computer. Took some time to look up how to get rid of this program that appeared one day on my computer and has hung around ever since. So, yes, I actually did some productive research on the net to find out how to get rid of this adware/pop-up thing and I followed through and did it myself. Yay!

And finally, I decided I should try to write another post and attempt to make some kind of dent in my 50,000 words challenge for the year.

I was hoping to either write one or two posts, maybe work on my STELLARA ULTRANOVA idea, too. And by work, I mean, like, draw. I actually did some kind of drawing on the character last night just before going to bed. I started VERY late and wound up going to bed around 4:30 am. Jeez. But I did do some drawing.
As I mentioned in Part 1 (although I don't call it "Part 1"), I've been trying to figure out what to do with this stupid character (and I say "stupid" because she seems formless at this point in her "development"). At most, I have a name, a moderately serviceable and blatantly derivative name. And I know what my IMPULSIVE INSPIRATIONS are, or at least, what some of the obvious and early inspirations originally were:

1. E., a glamour model whose photos and existence I happened to unexpectedly discover one day on the internet last week and she made such an immediate impression on me that I wanted to use her as a physical model for a comic book character.
2. And I wanted to set this character in the sci-fi/action genre. That's something I've been wanting to do for a while, but I just never got around to it. So, I guess seeing E. was my sudden bolt of artistic inspiration to try and finally follow through on that impulse, to some degree.

That's about it. Since then, the more I think about it (and Stellara), my ideas keep changing and I'm filled with more self-doubt about the wisdom of my choices and abilities to pull her creation off successfully.

So, yeah, let me continue there, with my self-doubts and the decisions I'm making because of those self-doubts.

At the end of Part 1, I think I actually convinced myself that what I want to do is draw and create something that I like, that I would want to read. Hopefully, others will like it and would want to read it, too. There's a lot of presumption in those last two sentences, but I think my age is making me the most aware of such presumption and apparent arrogance. I think if I were in my 20s, I'd be more focused on trying to create the idea first. Yeah I need more of that youthful, ignorant impetuousness.
Meanwhile, dear reader, let me show you this really sketchy thing I did before I went to bed last night/this morning:


And a little closer...


Yeah, I know. Big whoop.
But, it's a start.
When I went to bed, the last thing that was filling my head was, well, a few things, but foremost was fashion. I'm trying to create a female sci-fi character and part of my desire to do this is a result of my male genes. So, the references I'm working with are from the focus of an adult who thinks like an adolescent, someone who likes the way Jane Fonda of BARBARELLA and Caroline Munro of STARCRASH looks. Basically, a hot babe with strange and revealing (and impractical) fashion choices. At the same time, I'm hoping some female readers would enjoy reading this supposed comic I'm creating, too. Yeah, in my mind I'm envisioning a Venn diagram in which two sets overlap. Set 1 = Quasi-Horny Male Sci-fi Geeks and Set 2 = Somewhat Discerning Female Sci-fi Geeks. My comic's imagined readership would be the overlapping areas. Unfortunately, I don't think the sets are willing to intersect, dammit! At least, not in this case.
Ah, well.
I guess I should try to work on appealing to Set 3: Me. Let's see if I can make a comic that I would enjoy.

Anyway, so in that drawing above I was trying to create some kind of outfit for her and I wasn't too thrilled with where I was going. I just have to keep whacking away at it. I don't really design costumes, so I'm entering the world of, well, Get-Ready-For-Me-And-My-Shitty-Designs. Part of me is hoping that as I try things out and I'll inevitably hate what I've come up with, but then I'll be able to articulate what I specifically don't like, and then I hope I can articulate why I don't like this and/or that and then, hopefully, be able to address those specific issues by coming up with ideas or drawing goals and strategies to improve these designs. Yeah. I hope.
In the same way, I need to just start drawing Stellara over and over again to be comfortable with how she looks, too. To just get comfortable with drawing the character, you know?

Which brings me to another concern. Getting back to E., there is no doubt that I definitely enjoy looking at her nude form and the few pictures I've seen of her clothed completely changes that dynamic. Well, duh! Of course. What I mean, though, is that in those pictures where she's dressed, she's still definitely attractive, but I wonder at MY abilities to make her just as attractive and interesting on the comic book page by drawing her clothed versus drawing her naked or nearly naked form. Of course, I'm presuming my drawing her character naked would be worth looking at in the first place, too. Oh, yeah, there's a lot of presumptions going on here. But seriously, I have a lot of doubts as to how well I can pull any of this enterprise off, no matter how low or high my standards and/or ambitions. I guess we're talking about the Jean Rollin Effect, a phenomenon, by the way, that only I refer to as the Jean Rollin Effect. Of the handful of European Horror/Genre/Exploitation directors I like or at least seem to drift to, Jean Rollin is one of them. He specializes in vampire films, but has done zombie films and other genre exercises, including porn, though under a pseudonym. Anyway, of the films I've seen, I like them and his best ones have a strange, even charming, fairy-tale fantasy quality to them. But I think it also helps (me, at least), that he often has nude, attractive women in them. That's the Jean Rollin Effect. The inclusion of nudity (specifically female nudity) ramps up the interest level in the viewer. I'm sure my interest in his films would decline significantly if he clothed his actresses more frequently in his films. So, getting back to Stellara, I'm wondering if the main attraction to this comic would be simply seeing Stellara scantily clad/nude most of the time. (sigh)

Meanwhile, thinking about the fashion aspect made me dwell on how inexperienced I am with that, so a wave of insecurity gripped me and I just went to bed somewhat miserable and wondering why I'm pursuing this venture in the first place.
And that's part of an ongoing intermittent discussion I've had with myself re: the appropriateness of tackling subjects I have no experience with. Speaking as a 59 year-old man, why try to create a comic book protagonist who's a young woman? It seems I'm inviting failure.
Having said that, at the same time I understand the criticism of writers and creators of a specific demographic (let's say, for example, white men) attempting to write characters outside of that demographic (let's say, women or any characters of color), but there are positive examples where that potential liability of inexperience has been replaced by the writer's imagination and ability to empathize and to do research, etc. I particularly remember the criticism Lena Dunham started to get for the HBO series she created, GIRLS, which received rave reviews prior to its debut and then critical backlash shortly afterwards. Specifically, as noted in this Fresh Air interview on NPR: "critics charging that the show is narcissistic, lacks racial diversity and showcases whiny, privileged millennials complaining about topics only relevant to whiny, privileged millennials." And Dunham countered the criticism by saying she wrote what she knew and she was reluctant to write of characters who lived and worked where she had no experience. Well, Dunham articulates this much better:
"I take that criticism very seriously. ... This show isn't supposed to feel exclusionary. It's supposed to feel honest, and it's supposed to feel true to many aspects of my experience."
"I wrote the first season primarily by myself, and I co-wrote a few episodes. But I am a half-Jew, half-WASP, and I wrote two Jews and two WASPs. Something I wanted to avoid was tokenism in casting." 
"I really wrote the show from a gut-level place, and each character was a piece of me or based on someone close to me."
"And this is a hard issue to speak to because all I want to do is sound sensitive and not say anything that will horrify anyone or make them feel more isolated, but I did write something that was super-specific to my experience, and I always want to avoid rendering an experience I can't speak to accurately."

I wish I could find the article I read years ago that was critical of GIRLS' lack of diversity, etc. I remember someone, a man (I believe) who commented on the article who dismissed Dunham's contention of wanting to write to something she knew of and he used one of the Marvel movies as an example of how people can write outside of their experiences successfully (because, obviously the Marvel filmmakers were not actual superheroes), so her response was essentially bullshit. He was using a superhero film as an obvious example of how it can be done, because obviously the real world doesn't have Iron-man and Captain America in it, so whoever was creating these movies successfully were writing outside of their area of experience. And I thought that was a cheap shot and poor example. Because in that example, we're talking about a fantasy film. We don't have real superheroes around to criticize the efforts of how non-superheroes attempt to depict their exploits. And that's a cheap argument to his cheap argument, but still, I think his example is actually a poor one, though it sounds clever at first.
Anyway, I understand Dunham's reluctance to try writing those characters (at least initially), but for her to be criticized for it after the fact (meaning after HBO okayed the idea pitched) seems incorrect to me.
Of course, this discussion is about half a dozen years old already, so this conversation has now moved onto other developments.
But...  bla bla bla... because: For whatever reason, I seem more interested in creating female characters. Most of my ideas are for female characters. Who knows why.
In my case, I guess I feel like creating another male fantasy.
Hell. Whatever. I should just try it and see what happens. Fuck.

Coincidentally, today I decided to check out episodes of ABSTRACT on Netflix to see if they had anything focusing on costume design, and to my delight, they did and it was someone I heard of, Ruth Carter, who won an Oscar for her work on BLACK PANTHER and who also did MY NAME IS DOLEMITE (which I haven't seen yet, but I really want to).
And it turns out that Carter's her first job doing costume design was in college. She actually auditioned to act in a show and didn't get it and they asked her if she'd be interested in doing the costumes despite her having zero experience at it. So, she wound up learning on the job. And after that, she then wound up being the costume designer in further college plays.
So, she more or less blundered into the field and tried her best while learning on the job, and built on her early success and experience. That's pretty much how it goes, I guess. Yay! And FUCK.
What the hell is my problem, though? It's not like I CAN'T draw. I mean, unequivocally I CAN DRAW. Having said that, boy, is there mucho room for improvement in my drawing. And again, the way to improve is to just keep drawing, over and over again.
FUCKKKK.

Man, these pep talks are getting to me!
By the way, I like how I kind of muscled up (oh, so slightly) Stellara's arm in my sketch above.

Oh! Another source of encouragement is knowing that Adam Warren's EMPOWERED comic series (supposedly) began as commissioned sketches for a "damsel in distress" which then progressed to him doing some short stories in which Warren piece by piece developed the main character and also added her supporting cast and developed her universe.
In that spirit, I'm thinking of doing a short, non-sensical story to sort of "test drive" Stellara's character and some ideas. I thought I'd try a little scenario that required her to do some action poses, and I even checked out some Jack Kirby fight sequences for reference and inspiration.

Also, as I continue to contemplate Stellara's character/personality part of me wants her to be various things:
1. An ACTION HEROINE.
2. A SEXY character, although to what degree, I'm not sure. Like, to the extent of her occasional fashion choices and how revealing/form-fitting they are, and perhaps a pin-up style variant cover? Or perhaps make a point of emphasizing that element to the extent that the sexy aspect is bonafide eroticism with more graphic elements of sexuality and thus, the comic itself needs to be treated more like an underground comic, like a sci-fi version of Spain Rodriguez's BIG BITCH comix, or Heavy Metal's FAKK2.
3. And now, part of me wants her to be kind of GOOFY, ABSURDLY RIDICULOUS and UN-SEXY (at times) because I think a funny woman is incredibly attractive.

So, I'm considering a bunch of elements to deal with creatively and I have no idea how well they'll all work out in terms of my execution and in mixing together tonally and narratively.

OMG. Is it actually 1:30 am Monday morning?
I haven't been writing this post ALL day, but I kept coming back to it, adding to it and also editing it in stretches.
UGH. Okay, I'm done with this one! In my next installment of kvetching about Stellara Ultranova I hope to have more actual drawing involved.
Stay tuned!

PS. Oh, I suppose I should also add this crucial piece of information as part of my IMPULSIVE INSPIRATIONS list above:

3. I decided to do the poster/DVD cover for Beaver Alley Studios' film, A CHRISTMAS MONSTROSITY. It's due in less than 2 weeks and I haven't done actual shit on it, yet. Hmmm, typical. Meaning, with regards to Stellara Ultranaova, this whole obsession I have with her has nothing to do with impulsive artistic inspiration, etc., but in reality, it's simply me avoiding working on the CHRISTMAS MONSTROSITY poster. AHA! J'Accuse, Kimmel!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Oh, what to do with STELLARA ULTRANOVA?

Sunday, November 24,  11:14 am

So, as per usual, I've become obsessed with something and I've been turning it over and over in my head the last few days.
The initial obsession started when I "discovered" a new (for me) glamour model on the internet (she's apparently been around since 2013?). And yes, "glamour model" is a euphemistic way of saying I found some nude pictures of her. Anyway, she's rather amazing looking physically, and she triggered an almost immediate creative response from me (uh..., no seriously) to try and use her as the physical model for a sci-fi character named Stellara [pronounced Stell-LAHR-uh] Ultranova. For quite a while, I've been toying with the idea of creating a sci-fi character, and one that seemed full of possibilities was Anachronia Sands and her TIME COFFIN (the working title for a another comic idea). Hell, that's still an interesting idea.
But, now I have a new obsession.
Except, I can't figure out what kind of character I want Stellara Ultranova to be, besides resing in the broad genre of science-fiction. Part of me is thinking some kind of sci-fi/underground comix vibe, so something more off-beat and reckless than in a more mainstream approach. I had an idea for a one-off movie poster sometime ago parodying/referencing ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., except in this case it would be called ONE MILLION YEARS A.D. and then I thought maybe that basic concept might work as a series or at least a story for Ms. Ultranova. So I started spitballing some plot ideas and I considered Stellara's character being trapped as a soldier in this space war and a close female friend of hers waiting for Stellara back on Earth and that seemed like an interesting situation/character study, although in the version I ultimately came up with it became very downbeat and sentimental and I wasn't sure about that for thew overall tone of the story. I mean, my initial inspiration was very Barbarella and pulpy, and then this other idea with her and her friend, while still employing sci-fi tropes/concepts, etc. was ultimately very moody and character driven, almost a contemplation of loneliness and possibly PTSD for Stellara's soldier character. Genuinely interesting and worthwhile pursuing, but also a completely different and not light-hearted take on this character. Then I wondered if I could combine the two ideas, but... I don't know.
And then, just before I went to bed last night, I wondered about Stellara being an Edgar Rice Burroughs-type of character, but obviously a female-take on it. So, in other words, she'd be some unwitting Earthling sucked into a whole new sci-fi fantasy world and fighting to survive in a hostile, exotic and fantastic and most-likely scientifically implausible environment and culture and ultimately achieving great heights in terms of status, success and romance. That seemed like a promising imaginative journey and challenge to take. But, I don't know.
I don't now, I don't know, I DON'T KNOW!

nuts.

I should... just do some drawings of this character, by god. That would be a productive step and maybe seeing her fleshed out on the page might lead to some other more workable ideas.
Ugh. Okay. Whatever.

12:33 pm

So, curious about other sci-fi heroines out there, and somewhat self-conscious about how derivative my ideas are, I looked back on Travis Charest's SPACEGIRL strip. It seems that Charest's inspirations are less about the character and more about the spacecraft and tech of his fictional world. True, he does only a strip at a time for each "chapter" and by "strip" we're not even talking more than a single panel, let alone a whole page! So, you have to cut him some slack for that. But still, having said that, our first look at the Spacegirl character in the story is Chapter 2 and it's not much of a reveal of her. The next glimpse is pretty much a silhouette in Chapter 5. We see her a few more times in the following chapters, but there are no close-ups. Again, Charest is being economical because essentially each chapter is a single rectangular panel, so there's some plot advancement he has to consider for each composition. Still, the first time we glimpse a new character, a very Emperor Ming-type villain, I'd say our first look at this villain reveals more of him than what we've seen of Spacegirl. So, I think that's fascinating. I mean, it's obvious that Charest's interests in what he wants to do with the strip are more focused on the sci-fi trappings, homages to the past, and space gear, which is fine. But, Spacegirl has no name and she seems disposable, a simple fill-in-the-blank to do whatever the story needs.
Meanwhile, another sci-fi fantasy heroine which I think is more successful in terms of her character grabbing your imagination right from the start is Julie/FAKK2 from Heavy Metal. Based on Julie Strain, an imposing physical presence to start with, and dressed up in a revealing "costume" and armed to the teeth and constantly brandishing her weapons with a snarl, you immediately get attitude from this character and a sense of where she's coming from mood-wise, without knowing anything about her or her situation. I'm hoping I can do that with Stellara's character.
Of course, another strong sci-fi character, although in films, is Ripley in the ALIEN film franchise as played by Sigourney Weaver. That's an inspiration.
Unlike Julie Strain, the model I've been looking at has none of Ms. Strain's personality in her photos. In fact, there are some photos where I think she's uncomfortable with the situation or at least distracted. She's very hit or miss. By the way, I've been hesitant to reveal her name for legal reasons, at the very least, but I should call her something, so I'll just give her first name, Emily. Even physically, sometimes she looks simply spectacular, and then sometimes, she looks awkward as to how she poses herself for the camera. Part of it has to do with her physicality. She's not only endowed, but she's also long-legged and broad-shouldered. In some poses it's quite an intoxicating blend; in other shots, it's somewhat amusing seeing how she carries herself. Sure, part of it is because of her specific circumstances, like trying to negotiate walking with high-heeled shoes in a grassy field, so she seems like an awkward fawn. Although some shots I think are part of a whole shooting day, so maybe they were never meant for public use, so I'm cutting her some slack for various goofy candid shots. But in some "keepers" she occasionally has a less engaged look, so again, she's hit or miss in terms of her attitude (or whatever you want to call it) in her pictures and how she regards the camera. Unlike another model named Emily, Emily Ratajkowski, who's also quite fetching. Ms. Ratajkowski, for instance, seems very consistent in her almost distant mood in all her photo shoots. So, with the Emily I've been scrutinizing, she seems less plugged into that blank, detached model stare that some models have (though, not in a bad way) and E. Ratajkowski definitely has (and definitely not in a bad way). But today I stumbled across some gifs of a photo shoot Emily was in and she's rather charming in very brief glimpses, so that's nice to see. Anyway, I digress.
By the way, the Barbarella character I mostly know by the Jane Fonda film. That film is also a possible influence on Stellara because I like the strong, weird fashion vibe of her character.

One of my (numerous) problems is my creative impulses are at odds with each other:
1. Foremost, I want to do something extremely pulpy, derivative and exploitative, like low-budget sci-fi trash cinema from the 80s. The ERB reference resonates here. Also, Fukitor by Jason Karns does, too, except not so disposable and coming across like a tossed off one-joke premise; so, in my case, I'd like to have much stronger character development and working of themes and plot.
2. Which ties into my other creative impulses, wanting to do something worth reading, so I'd like to have some character development, a reasonable plot, and not be completely exploitative. ARGGHH! I just need to try it out for a few pages, do my best and see what turns out.

Alright, I should get my ass motivated to do something constructive.
More to come... hopefully...

Thursday, November 7, 2019

DRAWING BOARD DIARY #2: "JOYRIDE!" Part 2

Tuesday, November 4, 2019 10:07 am

NOTE: Just a word of explanation here. This month I'm trying to focus on posting more on my various blogs and a lot of that effort is me trying to finish the numerous posts I've started earlier, either begun months or even years before. This is one such post.
Originally started back in June, it covers a number of topics I was preoccupied with back then, but eventually, we'll get back to where my head is now in November. Hope that makes this post more comprehensible... maybe?


Sunday, July 7, 2019  8:18 pm

...So, I'm trying to get my shit together as usual.
This post is pretty much a follow-up to this post, hence, "Part 2."

The main subject to these two posts is I'm just fucking trying to draw a comic book page. That's it.
I'm also trying to just get into a rhythm of drawing ANYTHING, too.
The last new thing I drew and finished, I think, was the movie poster to Rhonda and Mark Parker's* feature film, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, back in August 2017. Actually, I'm amazed I pulled that artwork out of my ass; okay, I slightly missed the deadline originally established by Rhonda, but made their premiere deadline, at least.
But, I digress (as usual), dammit!

I want to draw a comic book page (or pages), now.

The first "Drawing Board Diary" (DBD) post talks about a couple ideas I had for a short story, but of course, I keep expanding on the ideas, my usual m.o.
Anyway, I'm still trying to settle on a story to do.
I also have this weird sci-fi thing called V IS FOR VOID I came up with, a sort of variation on another idea called SPACE JUNK. If anything, VOID is a re-iteration of JUNK, although JUNK was originally a single character idea with one or two peripheral characters, and VOID was focusing on a couple or at least two characters.
I think my problem is my lack of confidence to commit to an idea and just DO IT.

I also have a few unfinished drawings/and or ideas I'm thinking of finishing:

1. Gorilla Ranch Girls (GODLAND fan art)
2. Beatbox-ish fan art (mostly just a pig with a mohawk and funky glasses and then overly drawn out of desperation). Here's a really crappy picture of it so far:



3. Re-make of my one-page comic page story, "Karen's Dilemma"/INTERPLANETARY ROMANCES debut.
4. This drawing I JUST started a week or so ago in my sketch book, a woman holding a pig and...? It was something I was drawing but had no idea what I was doing. I then started thinking about it and came up with a name for the two characters, CRANBERRY AND CAMEMBERT, and they're encountering wild outer-space aliens: Truffids! Get it? Triffids + Truffles? Camembert's the pig. Pigs and truffles? Yeah? No? Er...

November 5, 11:26 am

And... we're back.
Yeah, so... I'm re-reading this stuff from about 5 months ago and basically, my mindset is always the same in that I'm thinking of a project to work with a certain amount of obsessive intensity and then, just as quickly, another idea comes along and I more or less abandon completely whatever it was I was so devoted to and preoccupied with for a short period of time (day, weekend, week, month(s)).
Besides these drawing projects, I also have notebooks that I accumulate, feverishly write in ideas for new projects, which I then inevitably forget just as impulsively and reflexively.

grrrrrr...

November 7, 2:28 pm

Well, I haven't done much of anything today. I start work at 4:00 pm today and this morning I had hoped of getting something done by way of household chores before work, but then I started watching TV while eating breakfast, then I fell asleep abit, but mostly I'm looking at the weather outside and we're having our first light, wet snow of the season and I'm, like, crap. I have to work in this stuff tonight? Guh. Just not in the mood, yet.
So, I really shouldn't be on the computer, either. But let me do a quick cut and paste here and then I'll move on.
I actually started another post as well a few months ago and I'm just going to add it to the end of this post because it's all about my art goals for the year. I actually made a list:

February 6, 2019

GOAL 1: Put together my drawing table.


GOAL 2: Finish my story for the Apple Corps Comic.


GOAL 3: Create a piece of merchandise for Society 6.


GOAL 4: Finish THE CAT'S MEOW.


GOAL 5: Finish SWAMP SQUAD OF THE DEAD.


GOAL 6: Illustrate Visual Encyclopedia for JOURNEY OF THE AVENGER.

Part 1: Do 10 illustrations.

GOAL 7: Update my Portfolio.


GOAL 8: Create a website for my work.

-Before I buy a domain, etc., I must have at least 10 individual cartoons of TABLE SCRAPS ready.


Thursday, August 8, 10:53 am


Okay, here's an update sports fans: I HAVEN'T DONE JACK SHIT ON ANYTHING YET.

And, that's still a good list, so I'm not going to amend anything.
Meanwhile, tomorrow is the beginning of the 2019 Buffalo 48 Hour film project and I'm heading up Team BM-VM's efforts to make an entry this year.
I still have a bunch of last minute preparations to address before tomorrow's start at 7:00 pm, but this is my game plan for the rest of August:

1. Aug 9-11: Focus on the Buffalo 48 Hour Film Project


2. Starting Aug. 12: Focus on drawing. Attempt to do a drawing a day (give or take). When I get to 10 drawings, re-assess my progress and speed.


3. Aug. 23-29: Enjoy the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival.


So, the seven goals seem solid enough.
And as for my plans for August, well... I did #1 and #3.

I'm thinking of calling this month, #BetterNovemberThanNever, as a way to justify finishing up some artistic loose ends, like Inktober drawings, for instance.
NOTE: JOURNEY OF THE AVENGER is a sci-fi/adventure book that Sam Qualiana wrote and is currently re-writing. It's his first effort and he had compiled a reference of strange creatures and aliens that populate his novel, with drawings by him (and some by his brother) along with descriptions. I saw it and I thought I could do a better job of illustrating the creatures and he said sure, give it a shot. So, that's yet another project I impulsively forced myself upon.

Anyway, I should get going.
More later.

*local filmmaking pals of mine, writer/director and cinematographer/editor respectively.

P.S. BTW, I don't know what the (occasional) deal is with Blogger. Every now and then, I'll make corrections to a post and thoise corrections don't seem to stick. So, if you're wondering why sometimes font sizes don't seem to be consistent from one blog to the next, it's not intentional! I try to correct it and it seems to have gone through, but then when I look at the actual blog, it hasn't. No clue why. So, similarly, I tried to correct the colors of the font above where I list my art goals in February and then comment on it in August. I tried to make them all blue, but obviously, for some reason, Blogger has different color schemes in mind. Whatever.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

MY SUMMER 2019 BUCKET LIST

Thursday, June 13, 2:01 pm

Okay, I'm just taking five minutes (if that) to start yet another (possibly unfinished) post.
I'm taking five from cleaning up the house. My wife's upstairs working on cleaning and other things and I'm focused on the garage area (sun room, TV room, downstairs bathroom).
I more or less finished the sun room, which was mostly vacuuming, and now I'm slightly goofing off before getting into the TV room.
Mostly, I want to say "out loud" that I'm going to make a comic book this summer, somehow, some length, some way. I'm going to be fucking SIXTY YEARS OLD in pretty much eight months! So far, for my 59th year on this earth, I've notched a couple good personal accomplishments.
First, I directed my first play in 14 years: ANNAPURNA, a two-hander starring Lisa Ludwig and John Profeta and produced by the New Phoenix Theatre in downtown Buffalo. Although I was very stressed out during the entire rehearsal process, it wound up doing okay. Getting a 4 out of 4 star review in the Buffalo News didn't hurt, either.
Second, shortly after doing the play, we finally sold our old house in Lockport! We moved to our "new" house* in the fall of 2017, but the old house sort of became this albatross hanging over our head for, like, 21 months. Part of that delay was mostly my fault because I still had a bunch of cleaning and moving to do. My wife moved her stuff out but my belongings were so disorganized she left that entirely up to me. Plus I had some additional cleaning up of areas in the old house, too. Anyway, due to circumstances (like going back to work when we moved in 2017) and mostly my dragging my feet, it just took forever for us to finally wrap things up in Lockport. And, boy, did that pose problems, mostly financial as we were then saddled with the expenses of two houses in that period of time. About the only positive aspect of that situation was in 2017, when friend and actor John Karyus needed a place to stay briefly before he left the area to move back to L.A. (long story) and we let him live in the old house from, uh, I think, a few weeks in November to very early December. And it was during that stay that just before he departed for the West Coast, I shot some footage of him (and me) for a ridiculous and spontaneous movie idea called THE RESURRECTION OF THE BLUE AGOUTI. But, that's a whole other (and currently unfinished) story. ANYWAY, I finally got my shit together and this past spring got around to doing what I had to do at the old house, then Amy and I finally got the house straightened out to have a realtor come through and we put the house up for sale and it sold.
It sold.
IT SOLD.
We weren't exactly confident that that was going to happen, what with no home-inspection, and selling it as is, warts and all. We sold it and we also made a small profit, in terms of what we were expecting and the bills we had to pay, but the upshot is: no more mortgage to worry about, no more Lockport utility bills, no more going back and forth to Lockport to cut the grass and shovel the snow, etc. That era of our lives was finally over and we could finally MOVE ON.
So, two huge accomplishments!

Now, I'm just trying to capitalize on that sense of achievement and keep the "momentum" going this year, dammit!
Alright, gotta go.
More later.

Friday, September 27, 5:04 pm

Well, summer's over, man!
And even though I didn't work on a comic book at all, let alone complete one, I DID work on and direct this year's Team BM-VM entry for the 2019 Buffalo 48 Hour Film Project. It happened the weekend of August 9-11. Our entry was called THE CASE OF THE MISPLACED HERRING.


Meanwhile, I still have to get into some sort of habit/routine of doing artwork and making films.
ARGHHH.
But back to housecleaning.
(I know, I know! Two and half months later, and I'm still doing housework!)
Still, I did a short film and it was for the Buffalo 48 Hour Film Project. Yay! That's accomplishment #3!

Friday, November 1, 1:56 pm

Howdy.
Okay, well, this year is just hurtling along.
And I'm still looking to get into some sort of regular work routine. "Work" meaning drawing regularly, writing regularly, filmmaking regularly. Plus my regular household chores AND finishing up with the various stages of remodeling on our house.

Getting back to drawing and artwork...
So, I've done a lot of squat so far this year in that area.
More recently, I was hoping to do something for Inktober 2019 and I did nothing. Well, I started three drawings and jotted down ideas for other prompts. But I didn't finish penciling any of the drawings and I didn't get close to even inking, the whole purpose of the month-long event! But, also, I hoped to get some work in on the my Apple Corps Comics story. And update my portfolio.
Yes, I'm just re-hashing here what I haven't done so far this year.
Which hasn't stopped me from having new, additional ambitions: possibly being a guest artist on a Numina Comics comic, and inking some pages (officially) for Mark McElligott and John Warren's comic, GOOD CREATURES.

Re: the Numina Comics thing.
During October, I got re-acquainted with local artist/writer Aaron O'Brian on-line mostly through Twitter and followed his daily progress as he did Inktober 2019. Which he did! I know Aaron mostly through the Visions comic anthology from Queen City Book Store (a local comics shop owned by Emil Novak, Sr., whom I know through the store and then through some filmmaking projects he did years ago (THE ACCUMULATOR and BANSHEE) that he enlisted me to help him with, and then BM-VM which he introduced me to). Aaron had a self-published comic he did called RETURN TO SNAKELAND. Anyway, I wound up re-checking the website to Numina Comics of which he is one of the creators. I guess they started it in 2017 and as far as I can tell, they haven't created an actual full issue yet. There is an introductory on-line comic, though. So, I'm wondering if they could use an artist..?
Of course, I should NOT be one of those artists because I NEVER DRAW. But that fact NEVER stops me from suddenly having some ambitions to get involved, my usual impulsive, unrealistic, over-extending m.o.
In addition, there's GOOD CREATURES, the comic that Mark and John are doing. And I'm wondering if they could secretly use the help of an inker over Mark's pencils?
I think both of these are legitimate ambitions, BUT before I officially ask both parties and offer my services, I should:
1. FINISH MY ACC (Apple Corps Comics) COMIC BOOK STORY.

So, there's my first goal in order to achieve yet another goal.
Of course, I've already insinuated myself into Sam Qualiana's affairs by asking (quite some time ago) if I could adapt his short zombie film, SWAMP SQUAD OF THE DEAD (to which he said, "Sure!" and I promptly did NOTHING with it). Or Steve D'Addieco's short comic story from the mid-80's (!), THE CAT'S MEOW, that I've been meaning to illustrate. Obviously, I need to do some shit first before I move on to other projects.
And I should move quickly if I'm serious, because re: GOOD CREATURES, Mark is cranking out the pages and John is cranking out post-production: inking, lettering, coloring, publishing. They've already published two comics so far.
So...
TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN, motherfucker.

Sunday, November 3, 9:15 am

Speaking of Time, today is Daylight Savings and so we all "gained" an hour. Yay.
Oh, some catching up: Who is Sam Qualiana and Steve D'Addieco? What are Apple Corps Comics?
Why is my computer table only standing on three legs? Oh, sorry, that last one's a new topic (but something I do have to address today before my table goes boom and my computer goes, well... I need to address this issue TODAY...  stupid wood screws...!).
NOTE: My apologies if I'm repeating myself (and I'm sure I am) for the following background info. I'm sure the Apple Corps Comic Book Club and Sam and Steve's names have come up before somewhere at least once in previous blog posts, not necessarily with THIS blog, but maybe here, too. Anyway, some catching up:

1. Apple Corps Comic Book Club: I've mentioned this group before in previous posts, but myself and another artist/aspiring cartoonist, Pam, have been supposedly working on a comic book for well over a decade (!) with no comic book to show for it yet (!!!). We call ourselves the Apple Corps Comic Book Club. We both used to work at Great Arrow Graphics (aka GAG. I left there in 2003), a greeting card company that prints all their cards through silk-screening. We started a comic book group there called the Crabapple Club (don't ask!) and the additional members were Joshua Hrizak, Dan Clark and Will Rice. Well, the group eventually fizzled out but Pam and I tried to continue and fulfill the goal of making a comic book and we've met infrequently ever since. "Apple Corps" is a nod to that original group ("corps" being a homophone of "core", get it?).

2. Sam Qualiana is a WNY filmmaker who I first met at the first Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival (which eventually became defunct, but also evolved into the current Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival). Sam and I became friends through the local filmmaking community and he actually became our trusted cat sitter when we were living in Lockport. He's perhaps most famous for this Youtube trailer of his first feature film, SNOW SHARK: ANCIENT SNOW BEAST (815,000 views!). He made a number of short films prior to SNOW SHARK and one of them is a compact, straight-to-the-point, effective short zombie film called SWAMP SQUAD OF THE DEAD.

3. Steve D'Addieco is my best friend from high school. He's still my best friend, but I've been shitty staying in contact with him consistently over the years. Although we did see each other last summer to celebrate our 40th high school reunion which he couldn't actually make (so we met halfway in-between just to catch up along with another classmate). He also was a Marvel comics fan (thanks to Bruce Allen, another classmate, for introducing us!). During high school we talked about doing a comic book together, something called Dimensions, an anthology comic. I think I may have roughly drawn a page or two for a couple stories. One was called, I think, "Life: A Universe Away, A Thought Away," and then there was this barbarian character we were talking about called Myrak of Cyrania and the story was sort of a cross between sword & sorcery and The Tempest. Steve actually went to film school and has written a few unsold screenplays. Post college (well, maybe during), Steve wrote this comic book script for me of a short story called The Cat's Meow. We're talking over thirty freaking years ago! I actually started drawing it a couple times back in the 80s and then again around 2000 when I was working at GAG. I took some pictures of GAG colleagues Jim Cole and Joel Menter as references for the two characters.
Still never finished it. One of the big drawing albatrosses around my neck. Still have a few cool ideas for illustrating the story. And, I think I actually found the script to the story while cleaning out the house for moving. Now, if I can remember where I put it...

Okay, I'm going to post this for now and just move on.

Our new house is pretty much my family's home since 1969. We moved there and I lived there pretty much through the rest of elementary school (I was 9 when we moved), middle school and high school. I lived in Pittsburgh for two years (1978-80) when I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, then I moved back home for a couple more years (I can't remember exactly how long). My parents stayed there until they both passed (my mom in 2007 and my dad in 2016). And then I inherited the house outright. But we remodeled it before moving in. So, that's the "new" house.