Experience with Drawing


A day late and a dollar short, but here I am.  Hopefully everyone enjoyed Free Comic Book Day yesterday, and maybe a couple of you took the time to realize Black Snow has been giving you Free Comic Book day about 7 years now!

So I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Here’s my take on it, the movie didn’t completely suck like all the reviews say. It wasn’t anything great, but it wasn’t total crap.  There was probably too much really fake, over the top, overly long action sequences, but at least they were fun to watch.  It suffered from the same problem as the previous X-Men films: too many damn characters!  There is really no time for character development when you are attempting to cram as many of them as possible in a single movie.  The result is I can hardly remember which characters have appeared in these movies and find them to be almost totally forgettable.  Oh, and there’s three secret bonus scenes, so you don’t know which one you’ll get when you go see the movie.  They are all super short, and two of them suck, so just watch them on YouTube rather than waiting through the inflated credits.  And don’t get all excited about Deapool, because he sucks in this and is not true to the comic.  Who’s excited for the Magneto movie?  No one.

Alex brought up a good point about the X-Men.  Obviously Marvel wanted to do something dealing with social commentary without actually being brave enough to have it star actual minorities, so they used “mutants.”  I’m sure black people find laser beam eyes very relatable.  So these mutants are supposed to exist in the same world as non-mutant super heroes, as they’ve shown through their many crossovers.  So why is society focused only on people born with mutated genes rather than including anyone with powers in that category?  What makes Spider-Man different?  He mutated later in life.  So why wouldn’t all of the mutants just lie and say they weren’t born that way?  The Marvel “universe” is a joke, that’s why.

On to today’s topic.  I’ve literally been drawing longer than I could form memories.  Recently I found a couple boxes full of these old drawings.  They were mostly of monsters, haunted houses and some of my toys having adventures.  I was very focused on the macabre as a child.  I read a lot of horror stories and liked shows with dark supernatural elements.  This is still somewhat true.  I also loved cartoons and dreamed of becoming a cartoonist.  This is also still true, and one of my eventual goals.
I grew up watching a lot of Nickelodeon cartoons like Rocko’s Modern Life, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats and reruns of Looney Tunes.  I used to draw these characters a lot.  I didn’t trace them, but rather I got really good at looking at a drawing and recreating it.  I also drew the video game characters Super Mario and Earthworm Jim frequently. Sometimes I would also attempt to come up with my own original characters, and you could see the influences of all these cartoons and video games.  An old animated film called The Wizards also had a pretty lasting impact on my work.
I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t grow up reading comic books; I did however read comic strips.  My two favorites were Gary Larson’s Far Side and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.  Far Side is the funniest and strangest comic strip I’ve ever read, while Calvin and Hobbes is very imaginative and spectacularly drawn.  Unfortunately both men retired many years ago, and I haven’t seen any of their work since they ended these strips.  Watterson’s work in particular stills stands out to met, as he pushed the boundaries of the traditional comic strip.  He did this be changing up the format and putting incredible amounts of detail into his work.  His backgrounds and landscapes are more beautiful than most “high art” I’ve seen.  He also does amazing character work, with some fantastic poses and great emotions.  I still look to his work for inspiration and try to emulate his style.  I wish I could draw like that!

(Sorry, I was asked by Mr. Larson’s representative’s to remove these images.)

Calvin and Hobbes
This Calvin and Hobbes features Calvin’s alter eago Spaceman Spiff.

Yes, I also have aspirations of drawing a comic strip some day.  So as you may have noticed I like humorous, cartoon art.  You’ve probably found some of this in Black Snow.  You’ve probably also noticed a darker side.  Well, all these things I’ve mentioned that inspired me do contain dark elements mixed within them, and that’s always been the way I’ve liked it.  A healthy mixture of the two.  Too much of either can be a bad thing.  I will note this, as I approached my teenage years my drawings took a decidedly darker turn.  I drew original art that featured homeless bums, dilapidated buildings, frustrated business men, lazy out of shape slobs, people contemplating suicide and similar such themes.  For some reason I thought these things weren’t seen enough by society, so art should bring them to light. Also, I was your typical melodramatic teenager who thought life sucked.

I’ve had very little in the way of formal training.  I took two drawing classes in high school and one in community college.  I did not find these to be very useful.  I think I got more out of my art history classes than I took from these art practice classes.  I think it’s essential to be self taught when it comes to art, as it’s something you have to explore and experiment with.  So I continue to learn and experiment to this day, always striving to improve.

Hopefully you enjoyed that.  Check back again soon when I plan to discuss my thoughts on the long standing controversy as to who is the actual creator of a comic book.  Artist vs. Writer, coming soon!  I’m gunning for you Stan Lee!

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