Monday, September 04, 2006

Pencils on Paper

The following landed in my inbox the other day:

I'm told that this poster is part of a web campaign to build hype for the upcoming event, and maybe entice a few people to drop by the Komikon as well. This is, of course, not to say that I'm much of an artist... but some of the people who pass by this blog might be interested to join.

This is not to say that I'm much of a comics man, either. (Darn it, Jim, I'm a writer, not a komikero.) I own a few trade paperbacks, know quite a few bits of trivia and make the occasional doodle on a restaurant placemat, but I'm hardly a comics man at the moment.

My superficial engagement in comics does cover two basic areas, though: First of all, I find myself constantly analyzing the differences between a text-and-art-based medium and a text-only approach. One of the things about writing speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, and all that jazz) lies in the fact that you're bringing the products of your imagination to life. If you're not describing the contents of your deranged mind to people, then odds are that you're probably drawing them instead. There are plenty of differences to explore between the two crafts, particularly in the areas of presentation, pacing and visual stimuli.

The second point lies in the fact that I like to look at art. I don't look at the old-school, impressionist/cubist/pointilist/whatever stuff that the museums hold, however. I look at straightforward contemporary art instead -- what we call comic art, fantasy art, manga, and so forth -- and I tend to lose myself in its dynamic folds.

As you might expect, I look in on a lot of artists' blogs.

As you might expect, I keep quite a number of DeviantArt web sites on my Favorites list.

As you might expect, I hold about as much respect for skilled artists as the next person. Where'd they learn how to draw so well, anyway?

Despite the fact that I indulge in few web campaigns nowadays, you can already see why this contest announcement has picked up a bit of interest from me. A few competitions on comic book art have floated around over the past couple of years, but nothing has really taken place close to home apart from the one sponsored by Fully Booked. I'm aware that there are probably a lot of talented artists out there, but I figure that few of them have enough faith or dedication to come up with a full-blown publication. And even then, around half of those who do so are probably in need of complementary writers. Good complementary writers.

Yes, I'm of the belief that writing skills and drawing skills are mutually exclusive. Just because you know how to draw well doesn't necessarily mean that you can write well, too, and vice-versa. But I digress.

I'll most likely be around during the Komikon, although it won't just be for the Lead-Slinger Challenge. I'll be walking around looking at all the pretty pictures. I'll be keeping my eyes open for little keepsakes that look as though they're worth a few hard-earned bucks from my wallet. I'll be greeting a few people. I'll be cursing a few people. But inevitably, I'll be watching developments.

That's not to say that I might not enter the Challenge myself. I have to warn people, however, that my drawing skills are a little rusty:

Don't say I didn't warn you. :)


Anonymous said...

- last year, Komikon sent an invitation to our school. since I was the "head" of our comic book society then, the student affairs gave it to me. however, since I was busy with my thesis during that time, I wasn't able to make it. Maybe this time, I guess.

- it's been a while since I dropped by your blog and I was shocked with what you wrote:

"I would call them "shallow", I suppose, if I subscribed to a more opinionated point of view. But in reality, every bit of writing is insightful to some people and "shallow" to others. And everybody else has as much a right to their own perception as I do to mine. No two people, for that matter, will ever see a single piece of writing in exactly the same light."

- yes, everyone has the right to speak but only a few deserves the right to be heard, especially with someone who I now regard as an "elitist observer". However, you defended yourself a bit when you said, "Whatever the case, you're forming your own opinion about things, and that's probably what's important to begin with."
- Each man to his own I guess.

- Three years ago, we were all different. You were much accommodating back then. I have nothing against you dude, please remember, or maybe I read it wrong. The way you write now makes me feel that you are becoming cold and distant. I know this won't make much "impact", or any at all, but I want the Sean I used to know. I guess there's no use hoping. You changed. I changed. We all change and that's what life is about.

Sean said...

For those curious, the post in question is here.

Reiji: I was surprised myself when I realized that I was judging these blogs as "shallow". I almost never did that before, and I felt that the blog post was a way to question myself on why I was doing that sort of thing.

Am I suddenly looking at things from an elitist point of view? Is it time for me to go back down to earth somehow? Do I need a well-deserved lesson in humility? I'm worrying about this, and I'm wondering as to what's the best way to go about counteracting it. I most definitely don't go around reading everything in sight on a regular basis, but you're correct in what you say: I'm supposed to be accepting of other peoples' content or views regardless. That's still what I try to do.

Nevertheless, the article still reflects how I initially felt about those few blogs I encountered one Wednesday afternoon. I decided not to sugarcoat my opinion in the interests of presenting something for fair judgement, and if it results in my recognizing bad behavior in myself, then so much the better.

Maybe it was the boredom. Maybe it was the background noise. Maybe it was the frustration at being an unemployed bum. Whatever the case, if I suddenly describe something as "shallow" from an "elitist" point of view, then both you and I know that something's wrong with me, and we can take steps towards correcting the matter.

The first thing that had to be done, however, lay in admitting that I had a problem. And that's why the blog post is there.

Ida said...

Hey, it's the 2nd time I've seen that "Darn it, Jim, I'm a writer, not a..." quote on your blog. :P Not that I'm counting. Nakakatuwa lang. Hehe.

I agree with you on how writing and drawing can be mutually exclusive. I feel bad when I see some comics with good art, but not very good, um, dialogue or story. I keep thinking, "Doesn't this artist have any writer friends?" Plus, I'm really bad at drawing so whenever I write something I think would be nice for a comic, I think, "Where are all my artist friends?!"

And, I don't think there's a way to avoid being elitist when you find some works that are, "bad". What you should do is look for something you think that's "good" or "better (than yours)" so that you'll feel amateurish and ignorant all over again. :D (although that might not necessarily be a good thing.)

Waaahh, I don't think my comment made as much sense as I wanted it to. Sorry. -_-

Sean said...

Ida: I think I've used the "Darn it, Jim" quote around four or five times in this blog so far. It's a useful pop culture reference, although few people seem to get it.

On comics with bad dialogue, I've noticed that as well. (Heavy Metal magazine is a huge offender in my book.) But the way I see it nowadays, it's the prerogative of these artists as to whether or not they want to work with outside writers. Some artists just prefer to keep their works entirely pure and personal, that's all. If they're willing to work with writers, then that's good... but if they think they can work without the benefits of a writer or an editor, then that's fine as well. It's their call.

Back when I was one of those beginning writers, I remember being angry enough at the rest of the world to think that my style of writing was supreme. I don't think that anymore, mind you, but it gives me something to remember every time I dismiss a work as "bad", or "spotty", or even "shallow". I don't think that humility is a positive quality for being a writer; I think that self-development is far more important. It's not that we really want to put down other peoples' works, despite what the angry young crowd may think... it's just that we should know how to be brutally honest with ourselves and with everybody else when the time comes.