G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

6:00AM start today. Have color separation sheets for two more pages (typically about 6 sheets per page), and gray/halftone-sheets for four.

Hoping to finish them all today, before getting started on a page for an anthology-like book tomorrow.

No music or podcasts necessary, it's raining outside.

#Journal #Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

I have to admit, it is a peculiar way to color. Effectively coloring without color, having to rely mostly on “seeing” the color in my head before scanning it all into my computer and applying the necessary colors as in Photoshop. Willing to bet certain layers won't entirely line up correctly, but I have a feeling it'll give the final pages a special kinda charm.

Met up with Outspoken Bean earlier today for a little chat about IT TAKES A VILLAGE, my installation at the Moody Center for the Arts, before he unleashed some original poetry in front of a camera.

Here he is writing a poem in five minutes based on three words I gave him: Hands, Together, and Dystopia.

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I’m not going to regurgitate what’s already been said, because that just isn’t my style. If you know me at all, you know I prefer to instead fill noticeable vacuums, and there is indeed a vacuum I’m noticing in the dominant narratives that formulate the current Twitterstorm in regards to the subject at hand.

But before I get into it: Believe women. That much goes without saying and shouldn’t even be up for debate.

In reading what Katie, Meredith, Jhayne, Zoetica, Theremina and others have posted, it is quite clear to me that what they would really like more than anything is to make sure other women never have to deal with what they've dealt with (and I sincerely hope I’m not putting words in anyone else’s mouth 🙏). To do that, what must be fostered are certain principals. Any decision being made on the basis of “career” is not principled, but is instead championed by financial gain as the prime motive which is an inherently corrupt motive.

What I’m seeing from Warren’s friends, peers, and alumni right now doesn’t strike me as principled as much as it is calculated. They are either: a) Very quickly disassociating themselves from him. b) Privately siding against the women in question, while publicly? Dead silence.

Neither is sincere, because the true motivation behind both is a preservation of career. And “career” was a big part of the problem to begin with.

Allow me to explain.

When we talk about career, what we're really talking about is one's professional and social standing within a particular field. Warren's prominent professional and social standing within his field is largely what allowed him to connect with any of the women in question. It is that very prominence that allowed him to—over time—cross certain boundaries. If someone of similar prominence was to decide never to cross such boundaries solely for fear of what it might do to their career later down the line... that would still not be okay because the decision wouldn't stem from a genuine principal. If close friends and peers of Warren are now deciding to disassociate themselves from him primarily for the benefit of their professional and social standing within their fields... still not okay.

What needs to happen is for people to disregard such obsessions with “career” and instead think of the human being when dealing with others. No more thinking of people in terms of “fans”, “audience”, “groupies”, “mentors”, “leaders”, “heroes”, “opportunities”, or any of that nonsense. Human beings, period.

Of course, Warren has been a kind of mentor figure to an entire generation of people scattered around the world (regardless of him stressing that he is “not a role model”.) And his work has been creative fuel to thousands of individuals across numerous fields everywhere. With that in mind, it is understandable why so many are aghast by Warren's declaration: “I have never considered myself famous or powerful”.

However, based solely on my personal interactions with him, I can tell you that I've never met a more humble or self-deprecating person in my life. He is definitely nowhere nearly aware of his cultural prominence to the extent that... say, a Gaiman or Moore is. Furthermore, Warren definitely has an amazing eye for talent, and—upon spotting it—treating the talented individual as a peer regardless of said person's professional accomplishments or lack thereof.

Does that absolve him of the actions in question?

No, of course not! Because even if you weren't famous, those bad actions are still bad actions.

Funny, Bruce Sterling always said Ellis would “go down with arrows in his back”. But I doubt he anticipated arrows of this kind.

Very few people did (despite some of the now revisionist “oh my, it was obvious all along” reactions), which is partially why this whole thing is a bit of a blow to the gut. If the same sort of thing had come out about, I dunno, a Chuck Palahniuk for instance, I doubt anyone would feel betrayed. It's not so much because of Warren's exceptional brilliance or creativity, but I think it's because much of his work provided a kind of moral compass to the thousands of fringe people who connected with it. The thousands of people who metaphorically make up the “Children of Ellis” tribe.

The Children of Ellis, who by the way, Katie, Jhayne, and Zoetica all fall squarely under.

Hence, the exceptionally icky nature of this situation.

But perhaps the lessons to learn from Ellis lie not only in his work, but also in his mistakes: no matter how famous/established/loved you think you might be, never ever ever under any circumstance serially target the hot/young/goth constituency of your fanbase for sexual interaction, be it virtual or otherwise ffs.

The thing about Warren though, is that despite the old-cranky-bastard persona he's cultivated online, he is in actuality a person of immense kindness and selfless generosity. Truly. Beyond belief. This is something many of the women directly hurt by him would also agree to be true). I'm fully confident that he is capable of changing his ways and doing the right thing.

But I doubt he can do any of it if his friends turn their backs on him.

That is not how friendship works. Not one bit.

#journal

Sprung awake at 5:30AM today in a panic like the house was on fire. It certainly wasn't. Figured it must be the fact that we have just passed the month's midpoint mark and I'm eager to have Chapter 05 of THE SOLAR GRID completely finished by month's end. Still working on “color separation sheets”, which doesn't excite me in the slightest to be honest. It's too much of a production thing and very little of a creating thing and creating things is my luscious drug of choice.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE, my window installation at the Moody Center has been getting a bit of attention over the weekend. Perhaps a little too much attention, because I just got word that staff today was surprised to find one of the windows smashed, “probably by some thrown object”.

And now I'm wondering what time that happened, and wether or not my early morning panic was in anyway “connected”. Not that I claim to be clairvoyant in any way, but the hidden strings of the universe tend to work in mysterious ways.

WE ARE ALL THINGS got a wondrously meticulous review by Amanda Auerbach in EcoTheoReview though, so that's nice.

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It may be a bit early to start thinking about things like endpapers. For most publishers, they tend to be an afterthought, that's if they're considered at all (Obviously not the case for the rare obsessive-types. Yes, I'm totally talking about Chris Ware).

I've actually had the idea for the these endpapers since kickstarting the project some 3 years ago. At the time of course I thought the project would be one book. Two years in, and additional research into production stuff, it became clear that it would have to be two books (presented in a single slipcase for Kickstarter backers). Rather than repeat the same imagery across all four endpaper spreads, I came up with one continuous scroll that would be divided into four different endpaper spreads.

The above two for what will become Volume 1.

These two for what will become Volume 2.

I drew these towards the end of 2017, after having just moved to Denver. If I remember correctly, these took me about a month to complete, which—I'm sure even by Chris Ware's standards—is a ridiculous amount of time to spend on endpapers of all things. I'm glad I did it though, because it'll really set the tone for the story the minute you crack open that cover. Also, I had the opportunity to utilize these drawings for an art show based on THE SOLAR GRID.

“Business”-wise, it may not seem like the best utilization of time, but from an artistic stand-point (stupid, stupid artistic stand-point), I think the win is on multiple fronts!

Although the art for these endpapers was completed two years ago, I've only gotten around to putting together these mockups now, primarily because I'm in the negotiation stages of bringing THE SOLAR GRID to a particular Euro market by the end of 2021, and production deets are already being discussed.

We'll see how it goes.

#journal #work #TheSolarGrid

No newsletter today, marking a 3-week hiatus which is not something I'm happy about. Particularly because I never announced it beforehand, but it's not something I anticipated would happen.

Still not much content worthy of a newsletter tbh, and I need to spend the day figuring some stuff out, like... operating this weird machine:

Our due date is somehow very soon all of a sudden and you can't be too prepared for this sort of thing.

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“Project Handjob” was unleashed today, the actual name of which I can now reveal to be: IT TAKES A VILLAGE. An installation of sorts meant to activate the exterior of the Moody Center while its insides remain shuttered for the summer (what with a very contagious virus still roaming among us that everyone seems to have forgotten about!).

Just a teaser image for now, until official photography is taken next week.

Houston's restaurants and bars may have opened their doors to crowds of patrons, unmasked and ungloved, but the people operating in non-profit art organizations aren't rushing to chase the money with complete disregard for human life. So no big art opening for this thing. The wife, myself, and a dear of mine did however enjoy an intimate (yet socially distant) get together with the Moody's curator Frauke Josenhans, and her immediate family in a laid back picnic setting on the front lawn right outside the piece, and that was very lovely.

Probably the only bit of socializing with humans other than the wife since... since April.

Goddamn.

#Journal #Work

These days I start my day with coffee and some light reading, typically comix (in this case it's Jack Kirby's NEW GODS). I avoid my phone, email, social pings, and any news stuff for as long as possible.

This lasts for 30 minutes to an hour, and then I'm ready to get to work, usually involving drawing or inking. An hour or two in, and I'm ready for a bite, leaning towards fruit, granola, and yogurt (it must be summer). Back to work again for a couple hours, powered by podcasts and/or music (today it was a Deconstructing Comics episode on Warren's Black Summer/No Hero/Supergod “trilogy”)

(Spoiler: they didn't like them as much as I did.)

By mid-day I break for a shower (it's a mind-trick, deceiving me into thinking I'm getting a fresh start on the day), before lunch (something savory) and another read, preferably non-fiction prose (these days it's either HITLER AND THE POWER OF AESTHETICS, REBELS AGAINST THE FUTURE, or the latest New Yorker.

Back to work again for a few hours, with the last hour reserved for email, important social media responses, and a skim through my feeds, with my workday officially ending at 5:00pm.

Then it's time for dinner prep and winding down with a show or movie. Bed time reading from time to to time, but lately I find that I drift off mid read and am rarely able to retain what I've read or know where I stopped.

A child is forthcoming though, and changes to the daily routine are upon us.

#journal

Redrawing a few panels that need redrawing. I hate backtracking, but certain things are just gonna haunt you too much. I think I'm pretty good at letting go and moving on most of the time. You have to pick and choose your “battles”, and it's like that everyday, regardless of what the task at hand is.

Generally speaking, when it comes to comix, I'm a big believer in the overall page being far more important than each individual panel, because it is the overall page that is “the piece” really. It's okay for there to be a panel on that page that won't blow the viewers' eyeballs out of their skulls, just so long as it doesn't ruin the overall page for you. And it can take looking at a thing more than once to know if it's worth redoing.

Too much time lost today figuring out some technical video/sound stuff. Have it down now, so might get to shooting some video content already. Maybe next week.

#Journal #Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

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