Monday, November 15, 2010

Sketchblog Week 0: It Begins

I may one day return this blog to the comic book and pop culture commentary it once was, but since I spend my extra-curricular hours writing columns for CBR and recording Splash Page podcasts, I don't feel compelled to write about any of that stuff here. Basically, if you're a regular old-timey Geniusboy Firemelon blog reader, you probably know what I've been writing about or talking about elsewhere. If not, go check out my other projects and my Twitter feed (and honestly, a lot of what I once wrote about here, I mention, in much more succinct form, over there).

So what I've decided to do, for the next year, is to use this sort-of-dormant blog to track my progress through an experiment that I once mentioned on a Splash Page podcast a few months back. Part of my quitting-the-CBR-Review-Team was about (a) enjoying comics as a reader, but also (b) creating comics of my own. I have a few writing projects in the works, but I also have another plan: to teach myself how to draw.

I want to unlearn everything I know about drawing and relearn it. I want to spend at least one hour a day, every day, drawing. I used to draw all the time, but then, as I got busier, and my teaching and comics criticism career went into overdrive, I just stopped. I haven't really drawn anything -- other than margin doodles when I'm taking notes in a meeting -- in a couple of years. And I love to draw. Or I used to, anyway.

So I'll document this relearning how to draw experiment, as I fill up sketchbooks and improve my drawing skills week-by-week. I have a plan. I will undergo a grueling comic book training regimen. I'll draw from life, from how-to books, even from the lessons in the Famous Artists School. I'll copy pages from my favorite comics, and I'll get advice from my artist friends. Maybe I won't get any better, but I suspect I will, and I'd like to share what happens along the way.

This first little sample, above, is a one-page comic I drew for my daughter today, when she asked me to draw her something, after seeing me crack open an old sketchbook last used in 2002, well before she was born. I'm posting it here because that's what I'm starting with -- it's a quick little comic, but it shows the basic lack of skill I'm working with. This is the starting point. In one year I will redraw this same one-page story, and it will, hopefully, look like something worth reading.

Each week I'll post a collection of sketches and drawings based on my week of study and practice, and I'll provide some commentary about what I'm learning along the way. And because I'm going to start at the beginning, and unlearn what I know in order to relearn -- or really learn -- how to draw comics, I'll start with the first book, and the first artist, that I ever tried to learn from. John Buscema, and "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way." Join me in a week, to see if I learned anything from studying the work of the late Professor Buscema. By the end of this experiment, a year from now, I suspect I'll end up pretty darn far away from "The Marvel Way," so I figure this is a good place to start.

This is about me exploring all aspects of comic book art, from the inside out, with a critical mind, but it's also about returning to the tactile experience of the creative act. I'll be copying and reflecting, drawing and redrawing, but at the end, I should be ready to start making marks for myself. Making comics, from the ground up.


Ryan K Lindsay said...

This is a great idea. I'd love to be able to draw, but I doubt it will ever happen. If it's effective for you maybe I'll take it up...maybe.

Good luck!

.gbrl said...

Timothy Callahan: you just got me exited about this :D