Monday, April 30, 2007

Many Miles, etc.

The days are longer, so it only seems appropriate that my days have been getting longer in response. For example: it is now 11:44 PM on Monday night, but I have at least three hours worth of work before I can get into bed. And I can't even really blame it on poor time management, because there simply isn't any other time to do the work I have to do, now.

Not such a great complaint, of course. Being forced to pound a few designs through Quark isn't exactly shoveling 16 tons - but I do owe my soul to the company store, these days, and I am deeper in debt, and will be another day older by the time I post this blog (E.S.T., of course).

Wait! Didn't I promise that this blog wasn't going to be about how life has wronged me? I suppose so. But this isn't really life that's getting on me (except for the giant flood in basement and the collapsed ceiling and the leaky toilet, etc.), but me deliberately overfilling my plate. So: what's the solution? Head down, as the saying goes.

The big problem is that I've always had a lousy work ethic. It's gotten better over the years (really, it couldn't get no worse), but I still find work just a silly waste of time. This is one reason why I've never been a very productive cartoonist - the trade I still consider 'mine' - apart from whatever doubts I might've had about my ability, the labor involved in creating comics just made it too much like work, to me. I have entire worlds in my head that only have my drawing hands as their outlet, and it's a bit like that on-ramp to the Oakland Bay Bridge that just got melted into slag - nothing is getting on or off that way.

Curiously, I can throw myself into music and have no problem doing whatever gruntwork necessary to make the music sound good. That sounds like a laugh-line, but I believe very strongly in being well-prepared for performance. But how does one 'prepare' to draw? My drawing preparation seems to entail a lot of stalking around and muttering obscenities under my breath.

My musician's eye (yes, 'eye') is very clear. I can always see clearly where a composition should go. In the visual arts, my eye is blind. No picture exists in my mind before I start to work on the page - just vague abstractions. Very, very cool, but very, very vague. My adult years will be dedicated to learning how to make that eye see and bringing that vision to the page. I've already taken faltering steps - but I'm both heartened and cowed by the fact that the drawings I did when I was an ambitious 17-year-old are far more sophisticated than anything I can do now.

Not a bad goal, I think, to get back to where I was 20 years ago.

Anyway, one aspect of the revised site will be a selection of some of my comics and other works, probably going back to when I was 12. I hope that others will find tracking an artist's progress fascinating. And there'll be plenty of music in the archives, too - I may take a cue from my friend Karl, and post an annotated song of the week. There'll be plenty of content, and not all of it old, of course.

That's not much of a mission statement, I know - but it's a place to start. And since it's now nine minutes past midnight (here in New York, that is), I am now another day older - and you'll have to excuse me.

Those 16 tons aren't going to shovel themselves.


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