Super Siblings Web Comic Strip for the week of November 16th, 2009 by Patrick Scullin. This joke occurred to me the other day while watching the Empire Strikes Back and it goes along with the Star Wars theme I’ve been doing.
Archive for ‘November, 2009’
Thanks to everyone that came out to play for this week’s #webcomicschat. I started off this week by asking how folks deal with artist or writer’s blocks. This is always a concern for creative types and every artist has there own way of dealing with it. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years about my creative process. Stress for me, is the main cause of creative blocks. Whether it’s a deadline, family concern, or other problem, when I’m stressed out my creativity grinds to a screeching hault. Deadlines can’t wait so I generally have to trick myself to into being more relaxed. Here are some things that always help distract me: 80′s music, video games, figure drawing, reading comics, and exercise. It happens to me all the time where a solution to a problem will come while I’m doing something else entirely different. Let’s say I am having trouble coming up with a punchline. Many times what I’ll do is set the comic aside, turn on some tunes, pull out my sketch book and do some mindless gesture or figure drawing for 15 minutes. Somehow the combination of working with my hands on a drawing and letting my mind wander for a while has a great positive effect on my writing.
@shatteredmyth pointed out that for him he needs absolute silence. He also likes deadlines because they keep him motivated. This reminded me of a quote I heard from Peter Jackson, he said: “I never finish I just run out of time.” Sometimes a deadline is just what we need to let something go and move on. @shatteredmyth also prefers movie scores while working. @dogeatdoug said he’s gotten used to working with distractions. As those of us with kids know, it’s not always easy to have uninterrupted work time so it’s good to learn how to work amidst the chaos. It’s also good to be ready to capture ideas in a sketchbook or with a note pad at any time. I like the voice memo recorder on my phone. It never fails that a good idea will come up while I’m driving or some where out and about and if I don’t capture it at that moment I’ll lose it.
When it comes to writing a regular strip you have be writing all the time. Where ever you go or whatever you’re doing look for things that make you laugh. Keep track of them so that you can work them into your strip in the future.
I finally finished reading Looking for Calvin and Hobbes by Nevin Martell. I congratulate him on his effort and I recommend the book to anyone interested in learning a bit about Watterson. Unfortunately the book only gives a “bit” of information about Watterson because the cartoonist has worked so hard to expunge himself from the public record. As I see it Martell has done his best to piece together the bits and pieces available to him into a brief narrative of Watterson’s life. Unfortunately, it is not enough when considering what one hopes to learn when reading the history of an important figure. Therein lies my critique of the book, I wish there were more in it about Watterson. The author appears to concede the point himself by calling the book an “Unconventional story…” which explains why the book comes across as more of a travel log of the authors journey than a detailed study of the subjects life. When you get down to it though, I do think the fault lies more with Watterson than with Martell.
Having read Watterson’s own words and after reading his associates opinions on the matter I still have a hard time understanding Watterson’s point of view. I recognize his need for privacy but I don’t understand his disdain for commercial promotion and borderline contempt for the cartoon industry and his peers. It seems that one of the reasons Watterson pulled away was his discomfort with the commercial promotion of his work. In his opinion any licensing or marketing of his work would destroy the content and diffuse his art. I really can’t disagree more.
In my opinion, Art is and always has been a contract between the artist and their audience. One can’t be removed from the other. It goes along with the saying “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” or in other words “If an artist creates a work that no one sees and appreciates, is it Art?” The arrogant artist in me says “Yes!” but the realist in me says “No.” To me Art is what happens in the mind of the audience in the viewing. If an artist or cartoonist pulls too far away from their audience and wants to control their feedback like a tyrant then I think they’ve lost touch with what could be an invigorating and mutually beneficial partnership. There is a limit to what can or should be done, especially when dealing with kid friendly cartoon characters, in terms of marketing, licensing, and promotion but, what would have been the harm in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon? Did “A Charlie Brown Christmas” ruin the Charlie Brown characters? I don’t think so, in fact I think it only enhanced the public’s regard for them.
Ultimately Watterson has the right to do things as he sees fit, but his silence is a great loss for those of us that could learn so much from him.