college thesis progress part 1 // foundation

Listening to “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
So I'll be trying to maintain a series of entries detailing the progress of my college thesis. Basically this is what it is:

Complete chapter 1 of Glass Hearts (version 4 AKA version for publishing), self-publish a physical book (to display) or more (to sell), and create merchandise such as t-shirts, stickers, posters, etc.

My peers who are also making comics aren't…doing as many pages as I'll be doing. A normal person would do 24-32 pages, right? I'll be doing 58-60 pages. This weekend I plan to start inking pages for the book. Based off of thumbnails like the following:
 I've been doing thumbnails this small since high school when I started making comics. Apparently this isn't a normal thing and when I presented these in class, my teachers basically freaked out. But I digress: I drew all the thumbnails during the last week of winter vacation and it felt really good working on Glass Hearts again. I barely made any pages during my tenure in college, so it feels refreshing to do something I love in the last semester that will show what I am capable of.
(And show all the people who don't believe I can make 50+ pages in 4 months that I CAN DO IT.)
I have to re-sketch the thumbnails I want to make into larger display prints for the Senior Show, which is six of them, and make a book cover sketch. The latter will be refreshing to do, but I really am more ready for going straight for inking instead of sketching more. It's driving me nuts, but I have two more pages to do. (That's not what's inked on the left — I copied the same .psd 3 more times, haha.) So that's a relief that I can't wait to feel. The right space is the first chapter script, which isn't of any standard layout whatsoever. It's something I made up for myself to understand and not…anyone else. I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who did this, reading posts by Brian Lee O'Malley (creator of Scott Pilgrim) on how he wrote scripts before.

I have a lot of scripts written out actually. Chapter 1 of version 4 (basically revision of the series) has been done since January 2012, and I've been proofreading and revising it through the rest of the year. I'm currently writing / brainstorming / revising for chapter 57 at the moment. So I have a pretty good buffer going on, if I do say so myself. I'm debating whether I split the series into 2, with a sequel. But I'm still unsure of it. The ending is going to be open-ended, for sure. I keep on sketching what happens way beyond the end. I just love the cast so much that I naturally do this, hahaha!



 Watching: Kitchen Nightmares (US) 
Listening to “Tedium” by DJ Shadow ♫
So I finished my first art piece of 2013 today. This is for Subversive Style class, the first and last class that I am taking for the second time. This first project was also present last year, except I really didn't know what I was doing and I ended up making something that left me feeling really disappointed. So this second time around, I felt like I had to prove myself. Basically it's a tattoo design and it has to have some sort of bearing towards yourself.

I don't know if I've publicly said it other than on my personal Facebook, but my grandmother on my mom's side passed away in October. The remainder of 2012 was pretty much a struggle for me to find the motivation to finish. Earlier last year I lost another grandmother on my dad's side, and I stumbled upon an obituary in the basement during the time between October and the end of 2012. Let's just say I felt a strong emotional connection to the both of them.

Actually I haven't drawn anything relating to my Ghanaian heritage since high school. So I felt even more compelled to go back to that and more than anything, I felt like making a piece based around my grandmother would help me through this tough time. It's gotten easier with the obvious distraction of senior year of college.

Basically my motivation with this tattoo design was to combine my love for fashion (those sunglasses and those patterns in the background — my mom is really fashionable too, so there's that as well), my grandmother (sitting pose — my family has several pictures of her sitting in a chair like this — that and apparently we're "royalty", hence the title), and my Ghanaian heritage (border lines harking back to symbols, textile pattern based on cloth my family actually has here, and eggs).

One symbol, among the many I don't know, that I actually remember is the egg, which means life. With each day that I live, I appreciate it more: life. So if I'd have at least one tattoo, it would be something like this. I've never been to Ghana, so it's been pretty depressing to be far away from half of my family for pretty much 99% of my life. Especially when you're surrounded by people who can easily see both sides of their family: that makes it especially painful. So having a tattoo would bring me that much closer to family "back home".

And wow, I am so sorry for going on and on and on about personal things. But this piece is 100% personal. And I have a feeling I'll cry just thinking of explaining it for critique on Wednesday, goodness gracious.


my influences (not all of them though)

I know I know, I haven't posted since finally uploading that progress video. This entry is actually for my professional practices class, and sharing my influences. I actually went back to an influence map meme that I did a year or two ago and that helped a lot.

But I digress, these are my biggest influences, inspirations, etc.

My number one influence of everything and my favorite artist ever is Moyoco Anno (http://www.annomoyoco.com/en/). Discovering and reading her graphic novel/manga, Sugar Sugar Rune, pretty much changed my outlook on doing comics. Everything about it was so fashionable, quirky, very expressive, and had these ornamental panel borders that I haven't seen in anything else in comics in general.
(For those who are into Neon Genesis Evangelion or fans of GAINAX, yes - she is Hideaki Anno's wife.)

Alphonse Mucha and art nouveau in general are really influential. The decorative borders, and use of line and color have inspired me since high school. Just...really really awesome. I don't really know what else to say.

A lot of cartoons I've watched as a child have inspired me to draw. One artist who has never ceased to inspire me with his style is John Kricfalusi / John K. (http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/) Yes, Ren & Stimpy was one of those cartoons kids really shouldn't have watched? Me? I loved it. And to this day, I just love how wonky, crazy, and wacky John's style is. And it really influenced me to really really REALLY love being not completely anatomically correct, and put a little cartoony wonkiness in my style.

 Another cartoonist that really inspired me is Jhonen Vasquez. Invader Zim was pretty much the sole reason of me going through a period of just, not liking being normal and embracing the weird in me (and here I am now - still weird as hell). And I've replicated his style a lot in repeated fanarts. I just love how deranged and crazy his style is. Later on I read his comic, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, and that definitely translates in comic form as well.

Here's a more recent influence in cartooning in the form of Christy Karacas. He's the creator of Superjail!, which is so visually mesmerizing that I am starting to stomach gory imagery. It makes the latter way more appealing to look at than usual, which says a lot from me - typically being REALLY squeamish towards that stuff. As with the previous two, his style is super quirky and wonky. And Superjail is really REALLY bright and colorful too.

Jamie Hewlett is just...amazing. His involvement with Gorillaz pretty much influenced a lot from when I was a kid when their self-titled debut album came out to now after the album release of Plastic Beach. The crossing between a music project and an illustrative side to it with a storyline is really inspiring for me since I love the heck out of music and art involved with music. I haven't read Tank Girl yet, but I really want to! Jamie's style is quirky and direct and...I guess slick in the smooth operator sense? A coolness factor?
(His website is forever under construction, so gosh who knows when that's going to happen.)

Rikka Sormunen (http://www.riikkas.com/) is one of a gazillion recent illustrators that I discovered on Tumblr. I love her use of pattern, line, lacking of line, and wonky anatomy. That and gosh look at this, FASHION. All her girls have a coolness and weird quality all at once. So cool.

Kaneoya Sachiko (http://yoiko-yokochou.com/yoiko_top.html) is an artist that has been on my mind since this past summer when I discovered their art on Tumblr (once again - straight up, you can find a lot of amazing artists on there). Their color use, line use, facial expressions, and aesthetics are just really inspiring to me. Not only is it manga-styled, but it feels a little cartoony and wonky too - which excites me greatly because that's what I am trying to do.

Jim Mahfood (jimmahfood.com/) is one of a few artists that have been inspiring me since high school. His use of line and ink and paints have always influenced me to embrace to go gritty and grungy. His use of type is also really inspiring and got me to kinda getting some bravery to do something pseudo-graffiti.



Aaaaaaand here is the video progress of that HAPPY 2013! piece. The 4 songs used in it were also among my favorites from 2012.

I’m going to try and record more progress videos this year!