Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Must Do Something About This Blog...

...because unfortunately, the laws of the Internet prevent me from somehow ever being able to delete it. Like with an unplanned child conceived in one night of uncontainable passion, I'm going to have to pull myself and learn to do something with this abandoned bastard.

But what? A while ago I did progress logs for all my art projects. Maybe I can do those again to show that I'm still alive and well. Perhaps my thoughts on the world, politics, sexuality, zebras, or nature?

I'll figure out something. And I'll have to do it fast.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Substantial Post Today

Mostly due to a whole of time spent with friends and actually doing things. Which is a considerable step up for my social progress, although I'm still to realize how much hanging out with people prevents me from getting any of the work I want to get done for myself finished. I haven't added a rough page to the Avatar: the Last Airbender comic since Monday. As the school year goes by and the homework starts piling up, I'm sure I'll get time to myself to both study and work on my projects. Maybe.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

As you can see, I've been making progress

I did these sketches of Katara today to get a feel of her character design. Since she's going to be the star of the Avatar: the Last Airbender comic I'm doing, I should definitely learn how to draw her right, and make her emote and act like a real cartoon human being. Boy, is she going to go through some Hell in my comic...

Speaking of Avatar, I finally saw that wicked pencil test of Korra kicking some ass, without even Bending! This has me even more excited than I was previously when I learned that creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko would be personally writing each of the twelve episodes themselves. Talk about dedication.

I'm going back to school tomorrow for the second semester, and this time I'll know exactly what to do as far as doing schoolwork and properly raping the facility of its resources. I'm glad I got most of the important outlines and developments for certain projects done during break, which means I can give my focus to those since I won't have enough time to devote proper attention to the less-than-solid ideas and stories.

It's a mighty fine coincidence that I happened to start reading The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History before seeing The Social Network: they're essentially the same story. Someone has a potentially brilliant idea for a [television show/computer network], and, after a lot of backsliding and betrayal, suddenly the idea turns into a success beyond the creator(s)' imaginations, which in turn leads to lawsuits about who actually deserves whatever amount of money for intellectual property theft. (Don't worry, I haven't spoiled anything.) History repeats itself, I guess, and the whole Facebook debacle and the creation of The Simpsons are solid proof of that. Anytime a cultural phenomenon happens, we all want to know who was the one person responsible for it. Facebook, The Simpsons, Star Wars, The Beatles, Youtube, whatever: these were all the product of their generation, and it took more than one person to realize how to transform that potential into the light of people's lives. So many countless, anonymous people have had their careers destroyed by these freak occurances, but you never hear about them.

Except in The Social Network, a film I honestly was skeptical about at first because: 1) it's a movie about the creation of Facebook? Lame!; 2) David "Fight Club" Fincher is directing? Why? I'm glad I was persuaded to see it. It's probably the most important film of this year, and a great one at that. Everyone should seriously see it. If anything, it's a shockingly entertaining film. And Jesse Eisenberg? Never knew the hapless nerd could play should a brilliant, yet almost despicable guy.

And while all this is going on, I'm seriously considering becoming an atheist. Reading up on The Simpsons and George Meyer, one of it's chief creative forces, certainly influenced this, but it was a long time coming anyway. That doesn't mean I'll be an asshole. There are enough assholes as it is. And besides, I'm not even remotely good at being an asshole. And thank God for that.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Now I Know Why First Drafts Suck

“The first draft of anything is shit.” - Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was right, and for me personally, I finally understand why.

As any Writing 101 will probably say, it's one thing to have the inspiration and total image of the story you want to write in your head, and quite another to make the whole thing work on paper. Transferring anything from your mind to the visible and tangible medium of choice—be it the canvas, the page, the camera, the computer, etc.—takes a lot of effort if you want to do it effectively.

For my writing, I've come to see the first draft essentially as a placeholder for every single rough idea I have, while is then surrounded by my feeble attempt at unifying these ideas with “cohensive” storytelling. Working through a first draft involves coming to terms with the fact that the medium, like any other, has its limitations. For example, writing involves the sole usage of words and their arrangement on the page (the latter is most especially important to poets, but occasionally you'll find unconventional sentence and passage structure in prose).

This is another reason first drafts are so scary. It's here that all writers receive the terrifying realization that they don't know entirely what they want to say, nor how to actually say it within the medium. This uncertainty and vulnerability is what probably scares off so many aspiring writers, even—or especially—the most talented ones.

This is a necessary evil that all writers must face. Some writers are better at handling it than others. Once the writer can actually put SOMETHING on the page, then they can shape it and rearrange it and add to it and subtract from it so that the final product fully expresses what they want to say. It's like dumping all the colors of paint that you know you want directly onto the canvas, and then having the supreme luxury of being able to manipulate the colors to the areas you need them to be to having your ultimate painting, your ultimate statement.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What Irony, or: Love, Sex, and Frank Zappa

How's this for irony:

I've finally finished reading a wonderful article on the psychology of love and sex, and near the end of the article is the following passage and warning:

I’ll be honest here and say that this view is not at all popular in the U.S., and especially not in San Francisco.


Some material on this website may be banned in California schools.For the approved California version,click here.

And what have I been listening to for the past half-hour for the first time in my life? Frank Zappa's We're Only in It for the Money, probably the biggest musical slam on 1960s hippies (especially those in San Francisco) culture ever produced. Surely Zappa had the same views on love and sex as the author of the article did, since it goes as far as to denounce classical romance in it's first few paragraphs.
Now, to be fair, I haven't actually read the California version of the article, but when something's titled "easy way," that's almost always a fair warning for bullshit.
Thanks again, Frank Zappa, for steering us the right way. And with excellent music to boot.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quote for the Day

"How do you want to die? Driving your car, getting hit by a truck, or fulfilling your dream, doing what you love like a man?" - The Human Bird, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Out of School, Into Animation/Acting School

Now that I'm officially out of high school (not to mention on my way to college!), I can finally put more direct focus into the things I want to do for a career: drawing, writing, and making movies; everything that goes into animation, of course.

This summer will be one heck of a training course, because I'll be taking lessons from two of the most reliable sources in the field of acting and animation:

I. Richard Boleslavsky's Acting: the First Six Lessons

I've talked about this book a little bit a long while ago, and now that I've finally printed out the entire book (it's free domain, so I won't be sued), I can have the lessons with me at all times. This is probably the quentessential acting book, and certainly the best I've ever read. It's amazing how easily these principles can be translated for character animation. I have to thank animation historian Michael Barrier for referring to it, as it was always a source of inspiration for the late great Disney animator Bill Tytla. Interestingly, I have to thank another animation historian (not by title) and Ren & Stimpy mastermind, Mr. John Kricfalusi, for referring to this next book in his blog:

II. Preston Blair's Advanced Animation

Now this is probably the quentessential animation and drawing book. I'll admit that it's restricted to the solid, constructed drawing style of the best American cartoons (NO ANIME ALLOWED!!!), but since that's what I'm aiming for, it's the best thing to get me started.

With these two wonderful books to refer to for technique and practice, I'll be having a very busy, and very rewarding workout this summer and beyond!

Links for the two books:

Acting: the First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslavsky

Advanced Animation by Preston Blair