Monday, May 12, 2008

The Diamond Bluffians

Life in Precocious Land is mostly sketching this week. I'll have to get back to churning out comics soon... but I'm scared! The next few strips I have to draw involve the two Diamond Bluffs characters, Dionne and Max - neither of which I'm that great at drawing yet. I'm still at that stage where it's not automatic for me. Some days I'm a dynamo at sketching my beloved evil kids; Some days I can't even make Bud (my most drawn character) look halfway decent.

Dionne is seriously fun to write for, but figuring out how many spots she has or how many ringlets are in her hair will drive me crazy. Even worse, she's a rare comics character that CHANGES HER CLOTHES! Clearly, I like to cause myself pain. Hey, my goal is to be *that* comic with both humor AND art. I'm going to aim HIGH... even if it means my strips might resemble Peter Gabriel videos.

Let me explain. Peter Gabriel is admirably progressive and artful in his music. In the late 80's/eary 90's, this meant using all those new digital effects...which had not been perfected. Instead of working comfortably within those limits, like the still-awesome Dire Straits video, "Money for Nothing", Peter aimed high and and did videos like "Kiss that Frog" and "Steam" - videos that then won praise for technical achievements, and now look hopelessly dated. "Money for Nothing" used new technology, but stayed within a comfort zone. The block figures of that video look exactly like block figures should look! The computer-generated Peter Gabriels in the other videos are a big, frightening dose of uncanny valley.

With Precocious, I'm trying to hit somewhere between "Money for Nothing" and "Steam." I want the ambition to be noticeable, so readers will know the visual potential the strip has, but it can't be forced. If I can't draw a complex scene correctly yet, it's better to find a way around it than draw something that is clearly awkward to all audiences. (I've already violated that rule a few times. Whoops.) I just want the strip to look as good as possible. I know I'll keep improving and my best possible look will just keep getting better. For now, I've got to roll with what I've got. Eventually my drawing style with tighten up and my questionable penmanship will improve.

Until then, however, I'm going to be stressing out every time Dionne shows up.

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