Finally remerged back to life right before Labor Day weekend, otherwise known as another American excuse to grill meat and watch sports. Neither of which I did, but rather O got to tend to some lingering house issues (some of which involved power tools, so yeah, still very American).
Have also been working on multiple comix projects, one of which is pictured above; an Arabic edition of a short autobio thing called SELECTIVE MYOPIA which I did for The Nib many moons ago. Because it'll be running in B&W, I had to mess with various attempts at tones to replace the colors, which is what you're seeing in the print-tryouts above. Although the color palette in the original is very limited, it is utilized as an integral part of the storytelling. To get the same effect with halftones meant needing to be able to easily differentiate between the different tones while also making sure the tones aren't awfully distracting and are 100% print-friendly.
Been working on another comix gig in addition of course to THE SOLAR GRID (will it ever end?). And actually, there was yet another short comix thing I worked on a little while back. It's called MOUTHFAIL, currently being serialized on my substack.
Actually now that I think of it, this year really has been the year of comix for me. Usually my time is taken up by projects of a very different nature, and I have to literally carve out little nooks of time to do comix, but this year... it's been mostly comix so far. Not entirely, but mostly.
#journal #work #comix
Off to Oslo in a couple days which leaves me with the impossible task of attempting to ink 7 pages of comix in less than 48 hours. Get the entire batch of 14 pages scanned and ready for [digital] lettering on my flight (and maybe a little in my eventual hotel room) so I can send this project out and be done with it before prepping my keynote presentation, which luckily isn't until day 4 of the conference (June 30).
I've been riding the 1000mph wave for a good few months now and it looks like it is bound to continue for the remainder of the summer. It'd be nice to sit under a tree and watch the birds sometime.
#journal #work #comix
I recently learned that Alaa Abd El Fattah is really into comix. Not only that but he seems to have impeccable taste in the medium. One of his all-time favorite series is 90's era THE SANDMAN for example.
He is now on day 83 of hunger strike. The internet tells me that the human body can survive without food for up to two months. This puts Alaa's health well beyond the critical zone.
Here's a recent BBC article on Alaa's situation, and here's one from The Intercept. And here's a link to his book containing much of his insightful and incredibly clairvoyant writing from prison.
He is of dual Egyptian/British citizenship and has been denied access to a consular visit.
Those interested in helping and believe they live in a democratic society can contact their representatives. Alternatively (or simultaneously) you can raise hell on social media using the hashtag #SaveAlaa
I hope he doesn't mind my less than accurate depiction of him in this shortish piece of comix I've been working on, but more importantly: I hope he gets to see it at all.
Start at 8:00am, end by 9:00pm. The time in between is spent drawing pages and little else more because my lost pages have been retrieved and I am now playing catch up. And although each day ends with a couple of pages penciled in, I find myself retiring to bed feeling frustrated because I know I still have quite a few pages ahead of me and still the entire lot to ink, and I'm so terribly behind schedule.
This is for a 14-page comix-essay thing (an essay told in comix format), which I'm now wishing I would've condensed into fewer pages, because working on it means time away from THE SOLAR GRID which I am also terribly behind on.
When you're behind, you find yourself working round the clock and never being satisfied with your output because no matter what you produce, you will still be behind schedule. It's an awful anxiety-ridden situation to be in and the only remedy in my mind is to develop better assessment abilities of how much time making something will require, in addition to accounting for potential mishaps/illnesses/special-circumstances that could delay production, and design your deadlines as such. Yet, I still plan everything according to best case scenarios which is wrong.
Also, one must account for doing other things. Ideally, you shouldn't have to spend your entire day at the drawing table (or writing table/computer desk/etc.). You want your day to be a good mix of work/exercise/reading/cooking/socializing, so best plan your deadlines with the idea of having only a handful of work-hours per day and definitely take weekends off. Be very vigilant about that.
Wife and kid in Mexico City for the summer. She made plans with the idea that I might be able to work remotely, which generally speaking is true (after all, this comix essay doesn't require me to be in Houston), but I do need my setup to be able to do what I do. Things like: drafting table, scanner, and all my tools and paperboards. But my plan is to catch up with them next month in time for my son's birthday. In the meantime, I have this comix essay to finish before Oslo which I still have to prepare a presentation for.
AND FINISHED! Almost.
Notice how it is blank next to where it says “C (digital)”. That is the cover for the digital edition, which I approach differently to print editions for good reason.
Where I added “BM” slots at the very bottom? That's “Backmatter” which I realized I hadn't made much space for on my chart. I have it indicated as 3 pages there, but they actually ran to 9! All finished though. So yeah, this chapter runs quite long. I don't imagine the next three will need to run as long. 🤞
Saw Gaiman speak last night, part of a book tour apparently. Not sure I know of any other author who can fill a sizable auditorium with a paying audience for what is ostensibly a book promotion event. To Gaiman's credit though, he didn't read exclusively from his book, but read other stuff as well; a couple never published poems. He also includes little anecdotes and life stories between each reading. The entire event was 2 hours, Gaiman standing, never sitting, and never even moving around the stage. To be stationary for two solid hours, and do nothing but talk at a dimly lit crowd of some, I dunno, 2500 people and manage to be captivating, insightful, charming, and also damn funny the entire time is an immensely admirable feat. Again, I can't think of a single other author capable of pulling it off.
He even read a Batman poem.
A Batman poem.
#journal #work #Comix #TheSolarGrid
First day of one full week of solo parenting has commenced and I am already dead. And it just so happens to coincide with the week I'm determined to wrap up this chapter of TSG because it really has been an awful lot of time, hasn't it?
His mother though—gods bless her—did book a sitter for 2 days out of the week, and organized daycare transport for 3, so at least that's some of the load taken care of.🤞
Currently reading: BLOOD, SWEAT, & CHROME: THE WILD AND TRUE STORY OF MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, and the title does not lie. If half of what is recounted in this book is true, then the making of this film is truly mad and most certainly unlike that of any other film in history. The book reads fast and drops glorious little nuggets throughout along with much inspiration. And I'm willing to bet that the 384 pages dedicated to chronicling the movie's wild journey barely scratches the surface. I was only 50 pages in when I realized I had to go ahead and order THE ART OF MAD MAX: FURY ROAD immediately, which I'm actually surprised took me this long to get around to.
#journal #work #comix #TheSolarGrid #reads
This may just be the most agonizing part of graphic-noveling, when you're so close yet still so far. When you have an allotment of pages that are: penciled, inked, and lettered, ostensibly completely finished pages, exceeeeeept not quite. For this particular chapter I'm working on, the pages require a final sweep of touchups, halftones in some cases, and colors in others (sometimes a single tone of color, or two tones, or “full-color”, which in my case I have limited to 4 tones). The fact that each set of pages requires a different process to be brought to the finish line, means the amount of time each page requires is quite different, which makes it significantly hard to accurately assess the amount of time each page needs to finally be done-done. Which is frustrating.
New computer has arrived though and I'm finding that it is already helping speed up the process.
Prison Chart system: back-slashes for pencils, forward-slashes for inks, strike-through for letters, and then finally a blackout for pages that are done-done (like I said, some require various degrees of color and some don't).
#work #comix #TheSolarGrid
I am a poet.
Cranky this morning. Little sleep and little accomplished to show for it. Ordered new computer in futile attempt to save me from this machine's taunting ways. Doesn't arrive till next week and will have to put off a few tasks till then.
Never a good idea to spring straight from bed to work. Will now attempt to gave day its proper start: shower, shave, breakfast, coffee, proper clothes (underwear and t-shirt at the moment), and then back to dialoguing this thing.
Poetry, sheer poetry.
#journal #work #comix #TheSolarGrid
Pages scanned in and now is time for the digital component of producing my comix otherwise known as troubleshooting.
Seriously, machines hate me and never work exactly like they're supposed to at least not 100% of the time and particularly at those times when I need them to work most. Now is no exception.
#work #TheSolarGrid #Comix
Inks on current chapter finally complete, but it is not yet time to celebrate as there is still scanning, lettering, the addition of tones, and even color on a number of pages ahead of me. Battling cold for a couple days now with the aid of ramen, Irish coffee, and phenylephrine.
Youtube's algorithms decided to stream the Depp/Heard trial for my background listening, which has provided for some rather unexpected entertainment. The way each party attempts to portray themself as a saintly angel with the other being the monster is of course expected, but quite fascinating when the cross exams come into play and reveal otherwise. The entire fiasco is spawning a bajillion other biased “opinion clips” siding with one or the other, but watching the trial in its entirety rather than just the “highlights” reveals that both are quite terrible but Depp in particular is clearly very ill and quite possibly borderline psychotic. Genuinely flabbergasted by the strategy employed by him and his
lawyers thus far, because all I'm seeing is a man digging deeper into what will inevitably become his own grave.
Attempting to get any work done today proving to be futile. Will instead read and think and laze around and swallow more meds in hopes of complete rejuvenation come tomorrow.
#journal #work #TheSolarGrid