Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

Here's a movie following some very odd distribution. It's all got to do with rights to music as well as its own licensing. The end result is free and legal downloads of the official DVD. Which are finally available now. Various other watching methods have been available for a while now, so I've seen it already anyway.

Sita Sings the Blues is a weird and wonderful retelling of a main Indian myth. Animated art reminiscent of painted shadow puppets adds great character and charm to the telling.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Speaking of drawing grotesque for sexy:

Which I think was a complaint of mine in a few previous posts.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

three free

Another May, another Free Comic Book Day.

From AdHouse, there's FCHS. And no Priddy. Boo! Although it was expected. Still, boo! I found the feature teaser for FCHS to be bland. I'm just not that into that sort of thing. There's also a teaser for Remake. Every time I read about Remake, it sounds interesting. Every time I actually read the bits of Remake, it stops. Everyone else seems to be getting it, but not me.

From AP Entertainment, there's Gold Digger. This was a silly and fun story "about archeology". In quotes because it has less resemblance to archology than Indiana Jones. The only thing is, why do the characters seem obsessed with wearing clothing that's three sizes too small? You'd think comic characters would be able to find their own size of drawn on clothing. Is it just to show off their oddly rounded rumps? And why would a "werecheetah" become shaped more like a Barbie doll as she goes toward cheetah form? It's not exactly the female ideal of a cheetah. I'm sure it's drawn only thinking of those who think an exagerated loose approximation of the female form is hot and not even thinking of all those for whom it is just jarring.

From Bluewater Productions, there's William Shatner Presents. I picked it up thinking, "I must not have learned from the Action Pack." Indeed, if you miss the Action Pack, the first two in this will help ease the pain. The first writer needs a better editor and it's all "story by" Bill, it'll feel just like home. They go with a different character of art in all of three stories. The first is more Tek War and not entirely bland, a bit like Tek War. Second is a grimy future with some grimy art. Sometimes the artist carries it off and sometimes not. The splash page it opens with is an example of not. The last story is aimed squarely at your younger teens that won't remember the Action Pack at all. Art and colors far more cartoony, as is the action. And they all get to do stupid deadly illegal fun, have accidents, get caught by authority, and then have everyone pat them on the back saying, "Well, that's alright, you can get away with anything today." Brilliant. By which I mean lame.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

James Kochalka's The Sketchbook Diaries

These are a bit of fun, if not particularly informative on a life or interesting. It was meant to be informative to the author, but as he points out a few times, it isn't. There's really to many meta moments of wondering what to draw or a moment revealing that the last few days had a little bit more invention in them than usual to do so. He seems to focus on the moments of non sequitur, perhaps liking the moments of nonsense the best or perhaps his life is all nonsense. Even when there's some event going on like a vacation, the format of a single moment from each day (mostly, there was at least one set with the same date) does not lend itself well to any sort of story arcs and has certainly not been approached as such.

Still, I did find one comic to be particularly informative about an element in Magic Boy & Robot Elf.
This makes the pieces fall into place a little. Really.

It's also rather representative. They're actually all online here if anyone wants to see more.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More water brushes!

I got some new Kuretake water brushes in the mail today. Previously I only had the Kuretake "petit set" that consists of a brush with a very small reservoir that folds into itself to protect the brush when stored. It's a set because it also comes with a little water bottle for filling the reservoir when needed. This has been a good set for tossing in the bag to add a little color to sketches when out in the wild.

Three new water brushes in different sizes and one old water brush and a brush pen to compare them to.

The new brush pens come in three brush sizes. They also come in two lengths, I chose the shorter ones because they fit better wherever I put them and the barrel would hold plenty of water for my purposes anyway. The small brush is the same size as the one in the petit set. The medium one is as long as my Pentel pocket brush pen, but a little wider and the same size as my Kuretake brush pens loaded with paint. The small one is narrower than the pocket brush pen. The large one is slightly larger than the Pentel color brushes I have, it's really quite large.

These new pens have a bit more to their mechanism than the petit one. In fact, they look all around suspiciously like the loaded brushes. This makes me think I could probably load them up with something with more staining power than water and it would be alright for the most part. Here all the water is forced through the brush to get to your paper or wherever you want it to go.

So far I have tried the small one out for a few strokes. Like the petit, it will dribble if squeezed hard enough as there are grooves to allow water out near the top of the brush. However, in usual operation without hard squeezing everything reliably passes into the top of the brush. Like with the petit, I sometimes felt like the water was flowing too quickly so I guess the different structure doesn't have a different result.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Alec: The King Canute Crowd

Sometimes one just has odd thoughts. As I was reading through Eddie Campbell's Alec: The King Canute Crowd it struck me that this was a man with a ruler. But even as the thought was forming, I knew it was wrong. Most people have rulers, this is a man with a T-square. This is someone who sits down at his drafting table, set at the perfect angle, slaps down the T-square to line up his paper and then tacks it down with masking tape on each of the four corners just like you did for junior high school drafting*. Which means that when I saw a picture of the man in a "ready to work" pose sitting next to a drafting table with paper taped squarely in the middle, I was not at all surprised.

Of the book itself, the art generally has a traced quality to it, although it does still seem to "live" a bit more than photo comics seem to manage. The art is nothing that would catch my eye and get me to pick up the book. The layout of each page is usually meticulous using that T-square although when the atmosphere calls for it he'll throw in a few hand drawn panels too. The art also frees up as the story calls for it.

On the other hand, the story telling is top notch. If that was something you could tell at a glance, it would inspire me to pick up the book. It is well timed. As it is (mostly?) autobiographical, some stories can be told with just the middle since how the people got there and what they do after is entirely ordinary and can be covered well with hints. When this isn't so, or when the interesting events go on for many hours or days, he picks the segments of time that are shown very well such that the reader is not left confused by what was left out or bogged down by too much detail yet still feels like the whole story is told.

Later in the book, though, there is the sense that the stories are from further and further in the past. A glace at the dates confirms this. The stories become more encompassing and more and more is being told in each page. This has the unfortunate effect that the moments do not seem as well picked or even as much like moments. It becomes summary toward the end instead of the crisp story that is told in the middle.

* Too few people actually have drafting in junior high school or at any other time.