Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yesterday Was A Pain In The Ass (And Locations Further South)

Sometimes it might seem like I don't like anything. That's not true. I've been fortunate enough to have been given a few trips to the tropics -- these were drawn on a Caribbean cruise to which the missus's father treated the whole family. Which I loved.

I was no more alienated from the people on the cruise than I am from the rest of the livestock in the world (although the palpable misery of the people in the casino was a bummer) and my daily routine was dee-fucking-lightful. Three edible meals a day that someone else cooked.

I'd go snorkeling in the morning, nap after lunch, in the afternoon I'd drop a couple of Lortab (which was my painkillor at that time and the best so far), then retire to a pleasantly empty bar and listen to Billy Holiday and such while drinking two Guinness (the Guinness was a different beer than I was used to -- same bottle, same brewery, but it was so much better than I expected) and a double Knockando.

The missus said, "Actually, I like your drinking this time. It makes you witty at dinner." Which I was -- I walked that fine line that separates the outrageous hilarious oaf from the disturbing oaf with great skill, frequently provoking gales of laughter.

I would sometimes sketch in the bar -- these are the best of those lazy afternoon sessions. At that point, though, I was going through one of my periodic, "My art sucks, I can't draw, I hate myself for failing the muse," phases. I kinda like these, though.

The only drawback was that I came back fat. Of course that may have had something to do with Cortisone and the sixty pounds of muscle I lost while bedridden with my back and hitting my middle years all at the same time.

Yesterday was a pain in the ass, for the most part.

Lessee. First off, there was the whole bar story debacle as covered in the last post. This left me feeling crappy -- my most widely-available stories were flawed by nature due to my laziness-inspired cluelessness. Which gave me that shame of craft feeling.

Which didn't go away when I started in on the day's art. First, I found that the image that I posted yesterday had been converted to 72 dpi. For reasons I do not know. I'd created it at 300 dpi -- and suspected that I should have gone higher, to give me flexibility in case I wanted to use it in a print at some point. Now? All those hours of cleaning and darkening the pencil sketch went into an image fit only for the internet.

So I go back and look at some of my other images to make sure the same thing hadn't happened to them. In the process, I found a tiny flaw in my big imaginary landscape. Since I want to print that out large, the file is about a gig and a half. Working on it gives me nostalgia for the old days -- opening it takes forever, saving takes forever, you have to go off and do something else while doing either.

So after finding the flaw I started going over the thing a pixel at a time. This is an image that's four feet long at 240 dpi. It takes a while.

And I find something mysterious. There are these little scraps of hard-edged color -- it looks as if someone's tossed a handful of cellphane confetti onto the damned thing. And when I track down the Photoshop layer where those bits of color lived I found another mystery.

They were on a file that had been converted for smart filters. Once you do that, you can't do anything but filters on that layer. No drawing, no smudging, nothing. And the filter on that layer was a blur. So there was no way for that layer to have anything on it that wasn't blurred.

But there they were. Like I said, a mystery. And one that took me a looong time to track down.

I think I've figured out how to fix it. Wish me luck.

Then I went to prepare the piece I'm printing on canvas tomorrow. (Oh, that's gonna be pricey. Oh well.) Blowing it up to size -- 3' by 4' -- went smoothly. So did adding the overlap at the edges.

But bearing in mind my experience with the landscape, I went over it one fucking pixel at a time.

I found a bunch of stupid little flaws. Which I fixed and the thing looks better. But I've already printed out two of these and one's been framed.

Again, craft-shame. Kraftschaden?

(A quick aside -- I was just called downstairs to field a phone call from my dad. In reference to this news story the following conversation ensued.

The Oaf: I wish I could find a way to get to Washington and punch that cocksucking idiot's heart out because punching him in the fucking head isn't gonna do a goddamn thing.

The Da: Fuckin' A right.

The Missus: Who's an idiot?

The Oaf, for the ten millionth time since the start of their relationship: Please, sweetie, I'm on the phone, I can't talk to you when I'm on the phone.

The Da, as heard by the non-multitasking Oaf: Blather obbla woadle schnuck! Phlabber. Glot.

The Missus: Who's the idiot?

The Oaf: You are, for talking at me when I'm on the phone! Will you cut it out?

The Da: Faolin tchotchke schlab I can't believe the Democrats aren't just saying, "Go ahead and filibuster, assholes, see how your voters like that."

I did apologize later -- but why does she keep doing this? There seems to be no way to stop her.)

So I wake up at midnight. My back's not as bad as it was earlier this week; this was just the regular insomnia. I stay up until nearly five, then come back to bed and try headphones and melatonin. I've been taking it easy with the sleep aids lately and the melatonin hit me hard, got some good dreaming and visuals out of it. Hallucinations are the funnest part of being crazy.

(The best were a series of Frazetta drawings [which were, of course, imaginary] of, um. Lady's bee-hinds done Frazetta-style. What can I say, I've got a vulgar subconscious -- and yesterday I saw a comic with his The Moon Maid painting on the cover. And I just got the pun in that painting for the first time in my goddamn life and I first saw that one when I was eight or nine...)

The bad news was that when the melatonin relaxed my body my fucking back went out again. Now I feel that delicious electric barbwire tickle all the way from my hips to my toes, both sides, and I had to get out of bed while still able to sleep because of the pain.

So I am a grumpy fellow. A very grumpy fellow indeed.


Zachary said...

I like Frank Cho, myself, a self-proclaimed student of Frazzeta.

Glendon Mellow said...

"My art sucks, I can't draw, I hate myself for failing the muse," phases. I kinda like these, though."

Really? Let me in on the secret to liking them?

Sean Craven said...

Cho is a great illustrator and I'll confess to a fondness for the way he draws women. I find myself reluctant to buy his stuff because of his writing -- he's one of those artists who writes well enough to get away with it but not well enough to be worth reading.

I find it interesting that despite the trend towards extremely slender women in the movies and TV, there's never a shortage of comic book artists who have a fondness for the fuller figure...

Oh, Glendon. It's not those phases that I like -- hell, I've been through years of my life where I've given up on my art out of self-disgust. It's those three sketches that seem appealing to me now...

And the secret to that is time. Once I get past my disappointment in failing to do justice to the beauty I see, I can enjoy the more modest pleasures my work affords. That's one of the great secrets to happiness -- diminished expectations.