Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Like the Bush administration and natural resources

It took quite a while to make this sketch. Why? I kept shading to make Roddy's fur appropriately dark. See, the all-black Roddy was fun in pencil because I could make him gray and still have the freedom to give him the expressions he deserves. Everyone knew he was meant to be black, so everybody wins! Now, he's been anti-Jolsoned. Part of him is white! If I make his remaining black parts gray, it just looks like gray. He looks like a feline Max, which is inappropriate, creepy and somewhat unintentionally hilarious if you want to make a "difference between dogs and cats" joke.

So now I have blackify Roddy's blackness. And if I go too far in one place, that means I have to darken the rest to make it look right. As I kept going, the thoughts begin to nip at me... I'm wasting my pencil lead! If I run out, I have to buy more! Poor Roddy, of course he's the one I'm drawing when I contemplate if it's worth finishing the drawing just in case I'll face a minor inconvinience like procuring more easily-obtainable lead.

Now, pencil lead is one thing I happen to have a lot of at this point. Thanks to my comic push, I doing far more work than sketching, so those supplies are holding up well. It's every *other* art suply that is freaking me out. Who knew that being an active artist meant buring through supplies so fast? In the past few weeks, I've had to restock on comic templates, India ink, the "no-copy" blue pencil lead and the very precious mechanical pencil erases. There was a point where I thought what I had was an inexhaustable supply. I bought enough for FOUR MONTHS! Well, my intro story was two months of work, the comic has been up almost a month and I am a month ahead in strips. Lookee there!

Unlike some people (such as the guy upstairs who got kicked out of a bar last night because he was too wasted and caused a disturbance - and spent today on the phone happily declaring that everyone he offended should just get over it) I hate spending more money that I'm taking in. This is a problem when one is without a (paying) job. I worked my butt off enough previously to build up some "winter fat" savings I could live off while I was doing my artist thing... but I've been doing that longer than anticipated. I still have plenty of savings to make the purchases I need - which is good, since I continue to make those purchases - but nowadays each purchase comes with feelings of guilt.

Let's not forget the majority of my art supplies were taken from my dead dad's stash. I've had to restock, of course, but the supplies I inherited *did* help me choose my direction as an artist. I have no desire to work with high-end art supplies. For me, the investment does not justify the result unless I know I'll be selling the work. I make due cobbling the together the few supplies I have. If I know my supplies are dwindling, I tend to hold back too much - which means I'm handicapping myself. If left to my own devices, I will do something like switch my last remaining eraser between each pencil I'm using until some merciful soul takes me out to buy more. (Thanks, Andrew!) When I do finally restock, I buy in bulk. Not only does it often bring a discount, but it allows me to toss aside my worry.

The current comic successes are partially due to me feeling free enough to experiment again. There were times when I impulsively grabbed a template and just started drawing. Shockingly enough, those experiments all ended up becoming actual strips, so I get double pride from that! Still, if they had failed, it was OK to put them aside and move on. Feeling secure in resources means such things are learning experiences, as opposed to costly mistakes. It would likely benefit me if I put more of an effort into consuming supplies with reckless abandon (hence the Bush administration joke in the title) because I will learn and grow (here's where the Bush analogy breaks down, as they never learn) - but I'm still cognizant of a future when supplies will dwindle once more, so I guess I'm still a bit too *cough* conservative here.

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