Thursday, June 14, 2012

IMC 2012 Sunday/Monday

Sunday June 10th : gathering wits

Maybe I am growing, learning, exploring my path and starting to stretch my abilities. Maybe I am running, hiding, doing what I can to cover the loss of Lee Ann hiding under the veil of a workshop. Today would have been our twelfth anniversary. I do miss her so.

There is a fellow who is sick as a dog here at IMC. He has the flu like you would not believe. Actually bedridden (now Thursday) and hasn’t eaten much. Poor guy. To travel all this way and invest so much just to have your body be attacked like that, that is very tough to deal with. The entire IMC group, instructors, Guest lecturers, and attendees all signed a copy of James Gurney’s book; Color and Light. One of the assistants I guess delivered it to him. I added a deck of steam punk cards. I just feel for the fellow.

Sunday was a day of lecture instruction on shooting good reference and thinking about lighting conditions. Also there was a good lecture on visual story telling. What elements make or break a good visual story? Tor Books Illustrator Dan DosSantos and Concept Artist Iain McCaig presented. Sunday was also a day of getting down to addressing what was salvageable from the original sketch post critique. I chased my tale most of the day drawing up alternate solutions that might work but did not feed my drive. Donato Giancola sat down with me and we chatted for a while and he helped to clear a way some of the noise surrounding the critique. He had me focus on what was said in a way that I could now absorb it rather than it run off like water. I decided to go for a walk and clear my thoughts. It was a perfect afternoon for doing so. The walk helped to sort some of the cluttered thoughts. I went back and faced my drawing board and produced 4 more solutions. One of which I believe may be my key to a fine solution.

Monday June 11th : Like a bolt from the blue
After reworking ideas and thoughts my mind went back to “Don’t make it hard, just make the picture like you know how”. So I did a quick doodle, and liked it. It all the points that the faculty wanted to see included in a good solution, and it looked like my work.  I went straight to the final. No waiting for approval, no hand holding, just get it done. It felt good. I was excited about what I was about to explore.

Side note: It appears that the flu bug that attacked the one fellow on Sunday, (Chris) is starting to tickle my fancy. But, I’ve had worse and they are going to have to put me in a body bag. I go and get some allergy meds and a lot of bottled vitamin waters/ v’8s and waters.

Meanwhile back at the studios people are starting to finalize their drawings. And there are some un-freaking-believable people here. As one of the faculty stated… “We have sprinkled some ringers throughout the studios just to keep the stress levels high”. He joked about the stress levels, but not about the skill levels. There are at least 2 dozen top-notch pros working, mixed in with the rest of the next generation, and me.

I start to fly on inking in my drawing. I have tunes, pens, scratchboard, and time. Things flow well. Results start to show. I have a chat with illustrator/ instructor/ Greg Manchess. We discuss my work and where I am at on my path. It is a good talk. Through our dialogue, he helped to open a door that I had closed to myself long ago. It is recognizing that a door called risk exists. Also that opening it and walking in is ok, it is the only way to get better, to be honest with myself and push forward. But the enlightenment doesn’t come from his talk, (entirely) but from the realization that what he wants from me in this piece are all things that I had considered but in a fraction of a second dismissed as too hard or too challenging. They are supposed to be challenging. That is why we do them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

IMC 2012: Saturday June 9th

IMC 2012: Saturday June 9th- Day One: Now you get to learn what you don’t know but should.

From the ground, a diving board doesn’t look as high as it does from the air. Well, here in Amherst, I am climbing the ladder to the diving board and getting ready to jump into Lord knows what. I know, don’t make up stories. These are just people, just like everybody else… you know, like Olympians are people. Well, studios have opened and we can go and pick out a space. I am going to do what I do best, go out there and mark my territory. I already drank 4 glasses of water this morning so I squish when I walk. Look out IMC, I am loaded.

Ego!! You bastard, come back here and face me!!!

Didn’t they tell you not to fall in love with your sketch??? And what did you go out and do???
Hello, I am Doug, and I fell in love with my sketch….
All:  “Hello Doug”.

Why do I let my ego drive? It never goes where I want it to go. It never takes me where I should be, and it always leaves me in a mangled heap in the middle of the floor somewhere. Yep, I like an idiot, I gave ego the keys… let it sign me up for first critique of the day, with everyone and their mother’s watching my ego let me tack my precious drawing up on the wall.
“Well, looky there, ain’t that just purty up there like that?”
From off in the distance I could swear I heard an English horn being blown as if a hunting party in full gallop complete with bloodhounds were on the scent for their quarry.  Eh, It was probably some dumb fool who fell in love with their sketch after being told… Hey… I fell in… do you hear bloodhounds???

After making sure I had my name emblazoned in 96pt type, I had four of the most competent artistic minds today dissecting/no discussing my drawing. Now there are two stories that occur here. The truth, and what ego snuck in and translated into my ear then high tailed it out of the room.

My ego left me crushed… they didn’t shower me with praise like ego said they would. They gave me things to work on to make it better. They didn’t sing of my name in glory like ego said they would. Instead, they just made suggestions and moved on to the next person. They can’t do that… I paid good money to be showered in false praise. Isn’t that what higher learning is about? It is at a lot of art colleges. So after our group finished with the critique, we took down our sketches, and I took down my shattered dream of excellence and everybody went to lunch. I didn’t even want to go to lunch. I couldn’t show my face there. I’d be forever known as ‘oh that guy, wow, you should have seen what he chose to hang up as a solution.’ But nothing was said about it, ever. I even got invited to sit with some people at lunch. The only person who noticed my critique was me. Could I tell you how anybody else’s critique went? No I cannot.

A very wise man advised me of two things that I occasionally forget, from time to time. But I always come back around and remember them when times get a little rough and it pulls me out of a lot of bad stuff.
·      Upon first impressions, believe positive intent. Most people are out to do Good in the world. Some days we may be better at it than others. I know that is true and a half for me. Nobody is out to get anybody generally. The vast majority is way too busy fixing their own screw ups. They don’t have the time to be bothered with screwing up anybody else’s lives.
·      Do I want to be happy? Or Right? This second one I really had to and still have to practice on from time to time. Sometimes people just want to do things their way and not mine. The nerve of it all. Who do they think they are… Me? Giving up the thought that I am in control and lending help when asked or needed makes a life much less stressful. Much less stressful indeed.

So, after all that… I went back in there and reworked my drawing, and reworked it, and reworked it, until it was so awful that I basically tired myself out. Then we had another chat with one of the faculty, Mr. Donato Giancola, a wonderful painter. We discussed the challenges set for my by the faculty in the critique and for some reason he harkened back to something my Father used to have help me with:  Listening vs. hearing.  I was hearing what the faculty was saying, but the meaning was getting scrambled somehow. When Mr. Giancola and I sat down together and re-evaluated the sketch, All I did was repeat back what was told to me, then he agreed. Probably due to the change in environment, I was able to absorb the message and easily  make the necessary adjustments. Is it perfect… no. Is it better… MOST DEFINITLY. Have I learned things… Most def

Friday, June 08, 2012

IMC 2012: whoever let me in here should be seriously punished

IMC 2012:

Wednesday June 6,
Countdown to Zero:
This is it, the last day. I have waited for this opportunity for over 2 years now. My sketch is ready; my supplies are packed into a giant suitcase. I brought all my markers, all my prismacolor pencils, all my scratchboard stuff, 2 16X20 boards, and a full set of watercolors and brushes. SOMETHING will work. My hope is to either do a scratchboard or work the marker technique from way back. Hopefully one of the two will be allowed. If I work scratchboard, then I will have to scan the beast to work some color technique digitally. No big whoo, just have to piece the scans together.

Daisy is pissed. She always looks so hurt when I leave. The vet takes really good care of her with 2 walks a day and some playtime so all should be good there. All will be good. And this time she gets a bath.

So, 2 big suitcases, a computer bag and a backpack and I are on my way to the land of the all nighter. And all I have to do tonight is sleep… yeah, like that’s going to come easily. Oh well, if not, then I will sleep on the plane. Someone once said, there is always some weird or annoying person on every flight… and if you don’t see him or her… then it could be you. I will make it my mission to ensure that it is not I.

Thursday June 7th:  Honest, I am me.

Michael Palin once said that it is the unique situations that make for the best travel experiences.  Well, this trip may be quite the story or it may end before it gets started. I have mistakenly allowed my drivers license to expire by 6 days. How did I find this out? Why I got stopped during baggage check and was politely informed. When they asked do I have another form of ID like a passport I responded… a passport? No I didn’t think I would need a passport to travel to Massachusetts. (Knowing my luck, if I did bring it, it would be expired as well.) This will prove to be interesting since I rented a car upon reaching Massachusetts. It is an hour drive from the airport to the college and I was planning on heading to the Norman Rockwell Museum on the 16th. And this doesn’t even touch the remote possibility that I may be stuck in Massachusetts unable to get back home if National Security decides I am a security risk and denies me access back home.

So, if I am able to get into the airport, I will next have to deal with the rental car company, or find another mode of transportation to get my big bottom to Amherst. I was so concerned about forgetting art materials and getting Daisy dropped off at the vet that I never considered peripheral challenges like State Government licensing. But on the good side, I have no concealed liquids and all my items are in quart sized Baggies. 

Well, after a couple of extra pat downs, and some finger waving from ATF, I got in and am ready to fly to Hadley International. One challenge down, it appears to pay off to flounder around helplessly. Performing a 2 year old’s lip quiver just before bursting into tears appeared to help as well. But then this is KC. The east coast may be far harsher. At least I can get closer to the workshop… from there I can take a bus if needed. Thank goodness I left a day early.

Well, renting a car without proper up to date identification for some reason is “again” the law! Who’d a thunk it? So, after sitting for a few moments in the rental car rejection chairs, I shuttled my bottom back to the airport and grabbed a taxi shuttle from the Airport to Amherst. I made it to the B&B. It is really nice, very quiet. I walked into town for supper, about a mile one way, but such a lovely evening, it was a good walk. So it looks as though the Saturday trip to Stockbridge is kaput. I still need a couple of supplies for which I may need to taxi out. Just keep reminding myself that I am here. Everything else fades for the next week and a couple of days. Then reality comes swinging with an aluminum bat with nails poking out of the end.

Friday: June 8th -On Your Mark… Wait for it!!!

So, No wheels, but I got taxied to the B&B. quite nice. Had probably the best night’s sleep I have had in months. It was cool, quiet, I had the windows opened, snuggled down and slept till 8:30 eastern time. I had a wonderful breakfast of mixed fruit and nuts with yogurt, and some scrambled eggs and a wheat English muffin and coffee. Wow. What a grand start to the day. Managed to lug the monster suitcases down the stairs again and called a cab to take me to the dorms at Amherst. After an hour wait, the cabbie drove me the two miles and dropped me off. But I knew that if I walked it, it would pour, (more about that omen later). I got registered; I am the first to be critiqued, and the first for portfolio review. So at least we all know where the bottom bar will be set. I walked over to the CVS and bought some alcohol and a spritzer bottle for an illustration technique, (rubbing alcohol, not drinking sheesh!) and got a light bite of lunch.  After that, I decided to make the long walk to the UMASS bookstore and get the last of my needed supplies. A 2 mile walk, no problem. It is nice outside. A slight breeze, mid seventies, what could go wrong? Halfway there, severe rain/ Thunder/ and hail decided to anoint me with it’s special greeting. I made it into the bookstore and got all my supplies minus one, a fan for noise reduction in the dorm at night. Needless to say I took the bus back. It never rained the entire trip back, and the bus fairs are free right now. Good to know.

So, I have my stuff, Tomorrow I get my crit and start reworking. Then we shall see what happens next. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

reworked a grayscale for Friday. I think it is a bit better. We shall see what the experts believe to be correct.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

IMC: preliminary drawing
This is what I have proposed for my illustration for Tarzan of the Apes: The fight with Kerchak, the group leader who killed Tarzan's parents and Tarzan's ape mother's first child. We shall see what people say. It will be very interesting to watch the evolution of this piece from here on. What I know and feel safe producing, then the evolution of direction. Here we go.