Summer Camp Lunchtime Doodles June 2015: Arty Tricks in Torino…

You draw is very beautiful! Is very good!” Awww, you’re too kind, kids…

That is what I doodly-do when I do summer camps. I get sketching, mesmerise Italian children with my doodles and then bat away their compliments because I’m not Moebius and am therefore not satisfied with my artistic (in)ability. Regardless, when I’m away in Italy I really look to raise my game and get art action on and amped up to a higher frequency. I do this because: 1. Camps require arts and crafts and visual didactic materials; 2. Italian children love drawing and love looking at drawings and art is a great communicative art and means of providing entertainment; 3. I love doodling and it makes me feel good and when you’re in a beautiful place with beautiful people feeling good anyway, yeah, perché no?

Drawing is fun, but it’s most fun when you’re doing it for and/or with children because of their childishness (‘good childishness’ in terms of a sense of wonder, curiosity, playfulness and an open-hearted and ever-present willingness to be amazed). At summer camp, the best drawing time is at lunchtime and that’s because I’ve sorta-kinda created a tradition of ‘lunchtime diary doodles’ (like these from two years ago! And these from last year! And those! And yeah, them as well!).

(more…)

Advertisements

Hourly Comic Day, Slice of Life Chronicles from a Relatively Unexciting Saturday…

Yesterday it was the first day of February. Hey February! It’s the month of Pancake Day, Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day and the NBA All-Star weekend. It’s also the month of Hourly Comic Day. That happens on the 1st of February. That was yesterday. Let’s go back to yesterday…

The objective of Hourly Comic Day is simple enough: every hour you’re awake and functioning you produce a comic to document your day. Slice-of-life diary comics on the fly. It’s a nice idea but I’ve never done it because: 1. My comic drawing skills are not up to much and my fingers can’t realise the awesome pictures in my mind, damn those digits; 2. It always seems that February 1st is an ultra-busy day where I couldn’t possibly squeeze in some sketching every single hour; 3. Diary comics are not my preferred brand of jam (as a later taste test described below will confirm).

(Un)fortunately enough, I’d set aside yesterday as a ‘Saturday where you have absolutely nothing to do except rest back at home off the back of some busy days and just get on with some writing having allocated extra space’. I could therefore fill the extra space with a few really crappy little comic panels jotted down on pink post-it notes. Oh, and then I was told I’d be making a curry for a family dinner so that ended up in the mix as well and added some extra spice to a comic chronicle that’s pretty mundane.

It was a challenging thing to do, and not because I had to knock something out every hour. What I found a bit difficult was the nature of diary comics: they’re naturally self-obsessed, solipsistic and prone to neurotic navel-gazing. I do not dig these things at all and try to avoid them, which is partly why I’m not really engaging with Twitter much at the moment. After drawing a few panels I started to realise that questions about how I represented myself and how I accounted for my time(wasting) were surfacing. This creative action was too consciously self-involved and introspective for my personal taste. The fact that I refer to myself in the third-person is pretty telling. As I say, my favourite jam would be different kinds of comics, though I can, have and do enjoy the autobiographical graphic works of certain artists. I think it depends on the individual person and the circumstances they’re depicting, but I do know that I’d personally rather produce far-fetched fictional than work up kitchen sink non-drama diary strips. Less narcissism, more fun, for sure.

What I’ve learned is that diary comics are definitely not going to be a regular thing, but it was still nice to have a crack at Hourly Comics Day. In spite of my feelings, you may find them intriguing or entertaining and I’m glad I participated this time around. Here’s the outcome of yesterday’s scrappy sketch activity: a run-through of my pretty unexciting day but, hey, it was a pretty good day…

Hourly Comics Day, Morning...

Hourly Comics Day, Morning…

Hourly Comics Day, Afternoon...

Hourly Comics Day, Afternoon…

Hourly Comics Day, Evening...

Hourly Comics Day, Evening…

Pictonaut Short Story Challenge: ‘Masha & Pobeda’s Interstellar Ultra-Cosmic Submarine Adventures’…

It’s almost the end of the month and that means it’s high time I filed my monthly Pictonaut challenge piece. It’s been hanging around in my notepad in extra-rough form for way too long anyway so, yes, here it is word processed and put up on the internet for other people to see if they wish to see it.

This is how it rolls: every month His Supreme Eminency Meister John Steele picks a picture and urges writers to conjure up a short story inspired by the image. I seize that challenge and see what I can come up with. For October’s effort, I had to work out what to do with a submarine that has somehow found itself in outer space…

Submarine in space image by Dmitry Maximov.

Thinking on this image by Russian artist Dmitry Maximov I started to feel the fingers of the Cold War coming out of the past. I also had questions: how did the sub get into orbit? What do you do with a submarine once it has reached outer space? Who would be commandeering this thing?

A submarine in space strikes me as an absurd proposition that should be fun. I decided that it needed to be extremely silly and as my ideas came together I found that I had a ludicrous concept sprawled out in ink across several notebook pages. Those notes have been blasted up into a freewheeling pitch-cum-script treatment for the pilot episode of a children’s TV series that will never get made. Still, it’s fun to go on creative imagination trips like this and that is the joy of writing and the reason that challenges like Pictonaut are worth a go.

Regardless, I’ll leave you to read it for yourself. It’s rougher than a ride through the Kuiper Belt on the back of a moped but, still, it may entertain you. It may also have potential to become a cult TV sensation either as a live-action series or as a cartoon if there’s no special effects budget to work with.

My Pictonaut challenge effort for October is ‘Masha & Pobeda’s Interstellar Ultra-Cosmic Submarine Adventures‘. Talking dog; girl with telekinetic powers; Soviet atomic sub going through a transdimensional portal. If these things pique your interest, please read on…