Monday, February 18, 2008

Keira Knightley Is Hiring

This week is going to be mostly pencil cartoons and me talking about random stuff. I’m going to have a couple of new pencil cartoons and one or two old ones. I’m not sure what will be up Friday.


Last week was exhausting in an odd way—I wanted the excerpts to stand on their own, undiluted by my comments, so I had to force myself to keep quiet, to shut up, to stop talking. Believe me, that takes energy.


Today I’m going to post a pencil cartoon I did about a week and a half ago and I’ve got two topics, pencils versus pens (again) and this blog’s celebrity iconography. Here’s the new cartoon:

Pencils and Pens

I’m waffling again (still) about how to allocate my drawing time. A couple of weeks ago when I posted Susan Always Tries I liked that old pencil cartoon so much that I decided to abandon my practice with pen techniques and devote myself to using pencil. I did a couple of new cartoons that week in pencil, today’s and one I’ll post later this week, but although I like them, pencil images just don’t have the same visual impact as pen drawings.

Then last week Wednesday I got the very unexpected opportunity to do a drawing for a friend of mine [!] out in the real, non-blog world [I’m scared out there, but I force myself out now and then]. I did a rough pencil sketch to test my idea, then considered how to do the final image. I thought about everything from colored pencils to water soluble oils (I was thinking of those because early next month I’ll be going to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see an exhibit by Karen Kilimnik). But I finally decided a pen drawing with a little colored ink would be okay and it was.

I was struck, again, by how visually pleasant simple pen techniques can be. I don’t believe it is just an issue of high contrast. I think it has something to do with how pen images are conceived and perceived.

So I’ve gone back to not knowing what to do.

There are only so many hours in a day, and I only have so much energy for drawing. The bulk of my time needs to go to writing. However, I don’t think I will abandon pen techniques after all. I just respond emotionally very much to pen effects and I would be untrue to myself if I gave up on ink. But, to be honest, I often feel something like real despair when I again and again fail to get a pen drawing as tight and clean as I know it can be.

I’m experimenting with erasable pens. I’m thinking I can do a rough pencil sketch normally to lay out an image. Then I can indicate the basic layout using a very fine line India ink pen and erase the pencils. Then I can use the erasable pens to hatch in the actual ink image and, if I make a mistake—when I make a mistake—I can just erase it and redo it. When I’m happy with a hatched area, I can go over it again with India ink and then erase the preliminary ink. It sounds like a lot of work, but in some sketches I’ve done the procedure seems to work okay. Maybe next week I’ll have some stuff to post.

Goblin Universe Iconography

I mentioned in This Cartoon Drawing Scheme why I sometimes draw and write about celebrities. Beyond just wanting to talk about people everyone knows, however, I’ve informally developed a little iconography for the blog built around three people.

Anna Kournikova is my icon for prettiness. Paris Hilton has been my icon for adult fun. And Mischa Barton has been my icon for level-headed youth.

Now, I’ve never been exactly sure what to make of Paris Hilton. I’ve never known how much of her image was real and how much was constructed. [Is Paris Hilton A Superhero?     |     Is Paris Hilton A Supervillain?] After her DUI arrest and her prison adventure, I’ve come to suspect her image is mostly artifice. After her last two movies, I’ve come to suspect she’s not doing dumb things with a wink and a nod, I suspect she’s just doing dumb things. So, I may have to find a new icon for adult fun because I don’t think I’ll be using Paris anymore.

I’ve been thinking of replacing Mischa Barton with Keira Knightley for similar reasons. I’ve come to suspect Mischa’s assertions that she is ‘different’ from the rest of young Hollywood are just posturing. Over the last few months, she’s been in the news for drug overdoses, DUI and now dating the director of her new low-budget, Paris Hilton-type film. That’s not good stuff. So, I may have to find a new icon for level-headed youth because I don’t think I’ll be using Mischa anymore. Keira Knightley might get the part.

Anna Kournikova still seems to have her head screwed on straight. She hasn’t done any stupid movies. She hasn’t been in the news with drug problems. And when she does do interviews she seems very self-aware and down to earth. So, I suspect we’ll be seeing Anna Kournikova’s Face more in the blog. (Probably around St. Patrick’s Day when I say hello to Brenda. [also: Anna Kournikova Gothic #1 and Anna Kournikova Gothic #2])

Okay. That gets the new week started.

It’s good to be talking again!

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