With books coming in the spring and everything, I’m going to try to get back into posting here more regularly. Maybe even like this, transitioning a lot of my activity from social networks blogging to here about all and sundry that interests or provokes me.
It seemed almost like a message when I saw this “How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook?” app from TIME.com. I plugged in an estimate of my daily average here out of curiosity, it took a while to do its thing. lol. I use it to promote my work often so not “wasted” I feel, but the app says 108 DAYS, 7 HOURS, & 33 MINUTES Since Sep 15, 2011. And I’ve posted 10,865 things to my feed in that time? Does that include my other four fan pages there ? Rough estimates that makes about 10 to 11 posts a day av. Sounds about right anyway.
I’ve been reluctant in the past to post “off topic” on my own site so much, keeping it mostly about work. But I think I’ll try diversifying things now. So here’s some stuff that I’ve noticed or had thoughts about in the last two days, and some work.
While I’m to my knowledge Ashkenazim on both sides of my family, and considered a full blooded Jew under Jewish law. I am also an atheist who was raised outside of the temple entirely. Never had any indoctrination at all.
I’ve always felt an outsider everywhere, and it started in part from realizing when I was a kid that Jewish tradition suggested that my being raised like that meant that to some, I’m a gôy. In the original Hebrew it means a Jew ignorant of the Jewish religion, as well as a non-Jew. So potentially that’s me.To some orthodox minds anyway. I would point out I’m not ignorant, having read about my heritage and been present some family events of a religious nature and enjoyed them for their social merits.
In the past and often today, many Jews like to think of themselves as above or immune to racism. But that’s hardly the case. No one is. And a lot of traditional doctrine, like that bit I just mentioned, always rubbed me the wrong way for its intrinsic race based nationalism. To my mind racism=nationalism=racism and I loath both, you know? And I see both as artifacts of culture, not real in any material way other than the way we deal with the idea of them.
A Israeli friend of mine recently lamented that if we were in 1800’s France, he would be supporting Herzl and I’d be opposing the movement. It’s possible, assuming I had the same philosophical leanings. I can understand the Jewish quest for homeland at that time. But If my mind was the same as today, I’d reject his racially driven world view. Though at that time it was pretty much most of the worlds world view. But If I had my modern mind, I’d be fighting the illusion of Race at home in Europe, rather than promoting a colonial idea that what involve the displacement of another ethnic group in order to make us feel safer–but in the end putting us in greater peril I think.
I have been wondering about the details of his side of this story. I was around for the news when it first came around and recalled it being much less cut and dry than the recent tweets and backlash made it seem. Glad someone kept their notes. I’m well convinced Woody is a hard person to deal with or be involved with. No strike that, is really quite ethically compromised given who Soon Yi was when he started his affair. But It’s always felt a bit fishy the way Mia Farrow handled all that as well. Since posting this Dylan has now had her say, and i’m inclined to support her as a victim. But there is also the problematic nature of memory and vague nature of a lot of the incidents he’s accused of. But I don’t think she’s lying. In any case, bloody messy business.
Check out this clip here of him doing some of his magic. This is really deeply zoomed in. Crazy details. It’s been ages since i tried Scratch-board techniques. Not since high school i think. Sam Agro said “Like a creepy Franklin Booth“. Agreed. gorgeous!
Scientists watch glowing molecules form memories in real-time!
Along with commenting on that posting, it inspired me to post about the breakthrough in active brain imaging along with this thought: For those that wish to promote the idea that our inner thoughts have a real impact in the outer world around us. I use inner and outer here pointedly. Because really, that’s a false dichotomy propagated by the way we perceive thoughts vs the physical. Good old Descartian dualism that seeks to elevate humanity and life by saying there is something other, special, about us that definitely separates us from the rest of the stuff and beasts and holds the promise of immortality for many.
Well, here’s my thoughts. Our thoughts have influence on the physical world in two ways. One*, when they lead to actions. Ok, obvious maybe but worth pointing out. Most of the time, even if you are unaware of how, this is what is going on. Two**, they are in fact properties of the physical world–of your neurons. They were never separate from the physical world in the first place. If you thought so, you were misled, like most of us at one time or another. To that end, look at this…and think about how as you do, it’s happening in your own skull as you form a memory of it.
** Having a thought causes other neurons to respond and all kinds of interesting brain chemistry to happen. They are not nonphysical things. Imagining them as something that happens in another place/space/without forms, this is a popular but unfounded idea. * A lot of the new age meme about the impact of our thoughts attributes the consequences of subtle behavioral interactions and body language to the supernatural. It is unlikely that you never show any of your negative or positive feeling on your face, stance, or the way you interact with others. Depending on how observant and sensitive people are to that they might know you feel in general terms good or bad about them, or they may just have a gut feeling about it. But one way or another most of the time they will pick up on something even if only subconsciously. So, intentional or not, a lot of your thoughts lead to actions, including pointed inaction and intentions even unconscious ones. And all that has an impact.
Well written. Resonates with my own thoughts witnessing how age anxieties mess with the minds of most women I’ve known. It gets to guys too but not nearly as intensely. Also this struck me due to the fact I once witnessed a few older female comic creators whose work I admired, go from trying to armor themselves over their mixed feelings of being seen as elder ladies, not getting noticed as much, and being catty about Molly who one of them had sat next to at a show. She did not approve of the 20 something Molly’s penchant for corsets and bustiers.
Personally I’ve always been of the mind to, and encouraged my partners to try to age gracefully. Fit as we can manage, into whatever decrepitude inevitable entropy has in store. My hair has several silver strands now. I like them. They have been earned.
Speaking of HBO crime stories, I have been most impressed by True Detective. Very tightly written so far. And the cast is killing it. More please.
Ok, lets get into the work….
Dream Life pencils | I like making unexpected places pretty.
Right now I’m “penciling” my the final few pages for Dream Life book one. It was supposed to be done a year ago, but last Feb I had some test and found out I’m Diabetic. At the time i said little, I was not sure what it would mean or how it would impact anything other than my penchant for surgery coffee and energy drinks was going to have to come to an end. It runs in the family, so not a total shock. It had me worried for a bit but I responded to meds well, and between diet and an increasing amount of exercise I’ve been doing really well with controlling my levels.
At the time though, I was about to enter crunch time on Dream Life and I realized something I was trying as a short cut for doing the tones wasn’t cutting it and I’d have to do some of them over – and that there were things I wanted to fix with the story that I’d only just noticed in the last round of edits. I only had under 20 pages of 160 left to work on, many mostly done even. But in the time left, and with the news about my health, a hard bird to make it for TCAF 2013 was out. Not unless I wanted to risk some serious health problems. At 42 [now 43] and having dodged a bullet with cancer, I’m not screwing around with that for anything. So I put off Dream Life of a bit while I got other commitments done, and got healthier. And this month I’m wrapping up that last bit of the book finally. I have to say, I do like me some delayed gratification.
One of the bits of new work I’m doing is a scene I’ve had in mind a long time. It’s a long scene that exploits place and a lot of public art to tell a story about a person. Posted to the right here is a page from a scene of PJ walking through the city having just arrived, reconnecting with the town and internally resolving some heavy stuff from earlier in the book. On the left is the bottom later page from the end of the same sequence. I’m working in red felt tip pen here. For pencils I use many different things, whatever my mood calls for. Sometimes it’s even pencil!
This panel background, the one with the trees painted upside down on the overpass structure, is from photo reference I took of public art on the Gardiner Expressway in about 2008 or so. Rodney Graham‘s Tree Portraits wrapped around the pillars beneath the Gardiner Expressway, creating an inverted forest within a concrete jungle. . The last location in this scene is set in a nearby space inspired from some other public art too. Found near the Toronto Music Garden, in the Spadina Quay Wetlands. I changed it to suit the story with PJ, from what looks like a small factory building to a house.
A lot of Dream Life is set is a semi fictional version of Toronto. In that I am basing it on real places but take liberties liberally to suit my storytelling desires. As I was walking the route from my script for this scene, taking location shots for reference. Passing through his inverted forest seemed perfect. it echoes the earlier scene that happens in a forest under trees, and just generally evokes a lot of appropriate things about PJ in this moment. Been looking forward to drawing it since I was there taking the ref shot in 2008. Originally had planed to used it much later in the story. Part that would not fit in this first book. But after realizing I was going to have to break the story up to get it done and publish it, I felt PJ’s narrative was weak as is. So I found a way to bring this forward, and in a way make it far better and more meaningful as well, I hope.
The sudden passing of a kind stranger.
I was going to leave it at that for this post. Plenty NO? And I felt unsure if this was something I had any business posting about here. But then looking over the post not mentioning this in my journal entry from the last two days seemed far to conspicuous.
See the thing is I didn’t really know Debra. From the sounds of it I wish I’d known her better. Only met her a few times in her capacity as a volunteer at events and at Kevin’s shop once I think, or maybe twice. Through the years I’ve gotten to know Kevin Boyd well professionally but didn’t have much knowledge of his personal life. I only recently learned of Debra after he opened his comic shop I think. And probably a lot of what I did know of her came from Facebook. So far I had learned she was involved along with some other mutual friends in Toronto’s comics scene, as a lawyer, volunteer, and shutter bug. And one of the core founders of a regular saturday night ladies night at the lounge. Always active it seems, she posted a reminder for their gathering saturday, and then took a nap and never woke up.
It was almost totally random seeming. Young and very vial person many people I know knew suddenly was no longer there. Word today was SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. I’m informed by Kevin that no one really knows what it is, what happens. Just that it does. 50.000 times a year on average! I had no idea.
As the publisher for Sequential I posted her death notice for our site and asked a friend of hers, Rachel Richey who recently joined the team to pen a personal remembrance we’ll be putting up in a day or so. The shock-wave of regret and condolences after Kevin posted of her death on Facebook January 26th has been a little epic. The impact of her enthusiasm disposition and volunteering extended well outside of the Toronto Comics scene, online and via all those who had met her at events.
Reading some of my other friends and Kevin’s laments of her sudden passing, It’s certainly made me ponder mortality and life more than a few times over the last two days, and think I missed something not having spent more time around her.
An official final posting was put up on her profile, it read…
Debra Jane Shelly, aged 39 (April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)
Our precious Debra passed peacefully in her sleep on Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure. Debbie will be forever remembered as a genuine and kind soul with unparalleled wit and a spectacular smile. She was the adored daughter of Scott and Susan Shelly of Oakville, ON. Debra was the loving partner of Kevin A. Boyd. She was the world’s most cherished older sister to Karrie Shelly Singer (Dave), Cristie Shelly Schultz (Mark) and Greg Shelly (Laura Waters). Debbie was a doting aunt to Caleb, Noah, Liam, Ana, Sidney, Kaitlyn, Michael and Lauren. We will miss her dearly….
[redacted ceremony info as i don't think it's really for the public as much]
Debbie was a ray of light in all of our lives- please feel free to come dressed in your most cheerful colors in tribute to our sunny girl. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to Epilepsy Toronto in Debbie’s honor here.
Hah, that would be just my luck, as i’m finally getting half a hang of promoting myself publishing ventures at something approaching the pace it seems to take to get anyone to take your seriously online or noticed in the torrents of updates, the game would go and change from under my feet.
Being buddhistly inclined I liked a lot of what he had to say about applying mindfulness to your work in the digital sphere. I do try to do just that as much as my mind will allow. Also think I spotted some impracticalities too. Share Jim’s concern about the narrowing of focus and echo chamber effect [something he mentioned in passing in the interview].
Over time I do think they count more. But when you’re still one of many, and growing numbers of creators trying to raise awareness of our work, and have as eclectic a reader base it seems I have, I’m not sure how much liberty I have to choose to overly narrow band broadcast. I feel like on the edges of your media domain you need to have fairly fast moving streams to match the pace of the rest of the web, to draw in readers to your core presentation. I don’t post on the blog here rapidly. No way I could keep up with a even once daily rate that Warren thinks of as a lower gear, while maintaining a good level of quality of content, and keep on top of my artwork. Beyond the usual challenges of content creation being dyslexic makes the process of writing and proofing laborious.
But Facebook, mypages, and twitter, G+ to a degree too, I can post small bits of thought or just promote other people’s stuff – something I agree with Dean Haspiel about being a important and valuable role to play, not just as being a community builder but also being someone anyone cares to pay attention too as well. Rather than someone who only talks about themselves?
I suspect some aspects of the slow web Warren and Jeffrey talk about is in part the privileged cruising gear of those who’ve established themselves. For those that describes It makes a lot of sense to economize your efforts.
At this point I follow the feed-back, post more where I find I get responses and less where I don’t.
Never was all in for twitter, it’s always been a semi-automated branch of my blogs. Don’t have a phone attached to my hip so it was never practical for me and too much of a distraction from the drawing table.
For the moment I get far more attention to my work on Facebook than anywhere else. My computer is seldom far from me so when I brake to pace around, grab a coffee, or set up a show to half watch, I often check in and poke around, like or share something, post a bit of work i’m in the midst of.
I tried promoting a couple of posts on Facebook recently connected with RevolveЯ. They got a lot more views but I remain unconvinced if it helped all that much. I did notice that you have to watch it with that, need to look closely at how the options are laid out for you when you set up a promoted post. Seems like a default was to keep promoting and charging after the budget I had set was spent. Not sure what to make of that but I was not pleased to find I was getting charged again without first being asked. As is too often the case it feels like communicating is not FBs strong suit. Incidentally it’s been amusing to watch as twice as many people who’ve added me as a contact in the past 6 months, did so in the last week on Flickr post instagram TOS fiasco. All good, welcome to all. I was never on instagram so works for me.
Speaking of attention…
Having a hard time getting some key comics news sites to pick up my press for RevolveЯ. Others have, but a few of the key players are being tough nuts to crack. Another round of press needs to be done, hoping I can get more traction in the new year. Wondering if I rubbed some the wrong way along the line or something? For sure not really being part of the convention circuit has not helped. Last show I did was TCAF, and that just as a civilian. Ran into one former editor I once worked with who now blogs, it was kind of awkward, as is to happen at these hectic things, but has not replied to an email since?
Be nice to go to more shows and have more fluid relations with the comics diaspora at large, have a chance to build solid friendships in person. But my lack of funds aside, when am I supposed to make time for that and still draw my books, and do all the other shit we have to do ourselves these days eh? Would love to, but we have to have a successful book first. For that we need the book we have to get coverage so people know it’s there to order or buy. A dog and tail game.
Best is if the word gets out more virally, and becomes something the diaspora can’t ignore. If you’re reading this, do us a favor and check out the book if you have not already, mention it to a few someones, share it blog it and if you’d like to review it contact me about that, be glad to oblige. I have lots of visitors and followers these days but outside a core group not enough sharing what they find to get that fantastic fractal spreading pattern going yet. Needs more cowbell!
On the other hand and not to seem to only gripe, I have had some nice windfalls!
Making it a more entertaining experience than planned I got nailed by the flu about 6 hours before the interview, vomiting all over the place very suddenly and sending my poor Ange into a cleaning frenzy. Managed to clear out the pipes and get it together to do it all over the phone, thanks to some nice editing, I even sound totally coherent.
So that’s me for the year probably. Couple more retailers on board and some new distribution channels about to come online for RevolveЯ. I’m running behind on RevolveЯ Two right now due to last minute editorial decisions on my part, and the feeling like the slow moving soft launch is progressing well, but has not reached the sweet spot for the next Minimum Effective Dose. The next book dropping and it’s associated press releases, to help crank the series forward. Taking the time to color a story and add another to make it all that much cooler, less ignorable, and put it out in January instead of this month as I had planned originally.
Keep your eyes open for a kickstarter project from me and Mark Sable too in the new year.
As work on Dream Life book one gets done i’ll be jumping directly onto a story we have planned.
I don’t get asked to do it as often as i like,
so i’m going to talk about book design a bit now and then…
Don’t get me wrong,
I like both of these.
Was going to post about Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis on my personal Facebook profile this morning, a fascinating and scary recently diagnosed illness. But then noticed this looking up details and thought it a good opportunity to mention something i’ve observed before.
This is a great example of a lack of innovation in book design, and as a designer the value adopting habits to help both your work, and the items you are designing stand out.
One was just released November 13, 2012. One published in 2010. It seems to me a basic best practice would be to research the tittle, and see if something like it exists already, and not repeat any design notes if one does, if you can help it. Make sure one book is distinct from the other with a similar tittle? So, no red band with B&W images for Susannah should have been a no brainer…ahem. Sorry.
I suspect that didn’t happen here. Not identical of course, but so close. A bit too close branding wise and so easy to avoid with a simple google search on the part of whomever was putting the packaging together for Susannah Cahalan’s book.
Given the older book also owns the URL one would likely look up for promoting Susannah’s new book, it’s hard to imagine you would not have seen this coming either, as a publisher or author or someone on the decision making chain. So I have to wonder if it was a case of just not caring. Or maybe they did, and decided to try to get a lift from people looking for a popular self help book? I don’t know but it gives me an excuse to mention; you get a commission to do a cover? Search the title and subject and be aware of what has gone before.
Something to think about the next time you’re asked to work on a job.
Ok, with that, i did just listen to Susannah talk about her ordeal, and it’s fascinating stuff, possibly the origins of many cases believed to have been possession in the past. Listen to her talk about it here and try not to get paranoid the next time your hand feels numb.
Just because a thing has not been explained, does not mean it never will be. As a skeptic that was one of the things I came away thinking about after listening to this. A newly named disease humans have probably suffered from since there were humans, and before most likely. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. In the past too many were probably diagnosed as mad, or possessed. 80+% of known cases have been women, and before 2002 no one new about it at all.
SA: Do you think the future of comics lies in digital media? SS: I don’t think it’s the whole future, but I do think it’s a big part of it. The internet proper is a great entry point for new talent to stretch their legs, get feed back, and learn if they care to. And for more experienced creators it’s a good place to prove something publishers are normally wary of taking a risk on, like unconventional and maybe demanding approaches to pacing and plot. And building an initial interest in a project.
Also, I’ve solely promoted my work online as a comic artist and illustrator, since 1998 or so. And I’d say about 80% of my income has come from inquiries via that.
Then with the new incoming ‘App’ market we have something that may well offer a viable alternative to periodicals, and the problems of overhead and distribution the direct market is struggling with. It’s got a built in monetary stream so that solves that issue, and the new tablets, e-readers and net-books offer an increasingly comfortable reading form factor. Too early to say anything definitive about it but it’s looking pretty viable. Any problems with it I see are more questions of execution and problem solving, than innate obstacles. —>
And as editor at carte blanche I have a shop talk blog post today, catching non-comics readers up with the evolution of the medium over the last 10 years, and adressing the nomenclature of comics, sequential art, graphic novels and graphic fiction.
What I still think of as comics has been going through a time of great change and growth.
When I decided to dedicate most of my time to making them in high school, it was in part because I was being kicked out, and comics were something you didn’t need a degree in. In truth, there were no degrees to be had in comics. If you wanted to learn more about the medium, you studied art, writing, and film, and extrapolated from these different media. If you achieved a professional level of skill there was little worry about competition; I landed my first paying jobs at Marvel after just one serious attempt to get work in the early 1990s.
While I was developing my own skills out on the edges of the scene in the late 1980s, the then lone journal of comics, inventively titled The Comics Journal, called for our bastard medium to be taken seriously by critics, and urged creators to take what they did seriously in order to bring the standards of their work up to where they might merit that attention. —>
Been a slow month; with all the spring cleaning, recovering from con flu, and finding a roommate i’ve not got a lot done on dream life – grumble - nice chunk of the layouts but wanted to have more of the art done by now too. Any who, starting to get going, here’s some stuff from the last few nights whittling.
This is the Atom feed for my work diary. This feed is published from my web site at www.salgoodsam.com
Had fun with a small gig this past week working as a portrait artist at the Jazz fest – free drawings of people attending the shows [the festival paid me for the work] mostly I forgot to take my camera with me, but this one day I was besieged by a gang of kids who monopolized me for the whole 3 hours I was there :)
Enjoyed this, think i’ll have to find some way to make it a semi regular summer gig type thing. The 3 or so hours of drawing strangers really helped open me up for work when I go home so I was actually more productive the days I worked the festival than the others.
This is the Atom feed for my work diary. This feed is published from my web site at www.salgoodsam.com
I was already seen as a brushy heavy blacks artist by my peers and superiors even know i only used markers and pens, so it was assumed I was already qualified when they asked me to join the crew, and the fact that the senior designer had asked for me made it all the more attractive despite the fact that i had not ever yet used a brush with any regularity.
Who you know is everything in the arts world and I had spent some of my brakes chatting with this interesting character who sat in a cubical a row over from mine hid away in the back. Goran was a former Yugoslavian soldier who had spent some time in jail for refusing to fight in the post perestroika ethnic civil wars in his region.
He liked to play that dark past up a bit but he wasn’t creepy about it, entertaining company and an amazing, fast and talented artist & draftsmen. He had down pat a kind of heavy brushwork that I have always admired.
He was the main designer for Sam and Max, and my job as an inker was to ape his style as closely as I could for the BG inking, so I spent some time watching him work and them just had to go do it.
Fortunately I took to it pretty fast and would have had a great time if not for some crazy office politics on the gig.
It did make a big difference in the feel of my art from then on, I can still see where Goran’s example is still directing me to this day in some reaspects, amongst others.
In the mould of Myspace it’s a community specific site for comic creators, publishers, retail and readers.
It includes a section for publishing your stories online and mini add banners.
I set up a page there and plan on publishing some old material and portions of my current work for your reading pleasure gratis. I’ll be having books published this summer and fall, so I’m planning to use the site to promote that work.
It’s pretty cool, free, and includes a time release posting system, allowing you to upload large segments of a story, and leak them out say, daily or weekly? Very easy to use and it’s proving to be a very positive community too. Along with bulletin posting to ‘friends’ and optional public notice board pages; & Gallery Posting threads to let readers follow your stories; there is also a biding system for mini banner add space throughout the site provided by projectwonderful.com as well.
I’ve found Myspace very useful, but as a visual artist you tend to get a bit lost in with all the bands. The site directly caters to the scenes needs online, and I’m also finding a lot of people are finding me on Comic Space & then following links through to do so on the other as well, consolidating some of the disparate networks of artists on Myspace.
Very effective organic networking. Can’t say yet how much it will help but I’m sure it will.
I always try out new tools, to see what i can get out of them. Increasingly I use this more and more. A Pilot Hi-tecpoint v7 grip. Its basically a ball point constructed like a technical pen. A good replacement for felt tipped Microns and Pilot DR pens. The v7 is longer lasting I find that either of those, hardier and more durable, it’s only real drawback being that the ink can smudge, you have to allow for it to dry much like with India ink. But despite that, its very nice ink, fast and fluid, and it gives a subtly variable line ideal for expressive detail work that isn’t overly fussy. Good for work that needs to be tight, but expressive in the same ways a brush can be.
This is the Atom feed for my work diary. This feed is published from my web site at www.salgoodsam.com