Archive for January, 2009

Kanganocerous

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 28, 2009 by scratchyb

Hybrid Arbortoreum dweller #3, the Kangonocerous. Only dangerous when it sees people.

Kanganocerous

Kanganocerous

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The Racoonigator

Posted in animals, Art, Hybrids with tags , , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by scratchyb

Still keeping up with the Arbortarium mixed-animal series. My self-publishing ambitions haven’t pushed that to the sidelines yet. This is the much feared racoonigator. You don’t want to find one in your garbage.

Racoonigator in tree.

Racoonigator in tree.

Snouty little bastard.

Snouty little bastard.

Shifting gears? No.

Posted in Art, illustrated books, Process, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by scratchyb

While this blog has largely been about my ongoing and completed art projects, I sometimes touch on writing issues.  See, I didn’t start out thinking of myself as an “artist”–still don’t, it’s not that accurate when you think of the concepts that go into a work of art.  I’m more of a visual storyteller.  Anyway, I used to see myself as a potential writer.  So, I thought it would be cool if I could write and illustrate.

So, financed by a lucrative “library career” scheme, I set to work trying to perfect the right balance of storytelling and illustration.  Graphic novels, too much.  But illustrated books?  Just about right, except I’d like to do something for adults as well as kids.  While I’ve nothing against kids, I suspect my ideas would just scare them and annoy their parents.

The trouble is and always was: how do you get published?  I went to conventions, I tried to schmooze with
the insiders, and learned there’s a reason they’re called insiders.  I read just about everything I could on publishing, until I was filled up to the eyes with crap about jumping through the right hoops, persisting in sending out stories (just not to us), and how I should just keep writing.  Yep, did the short story submission thing, wrote a few bad novels for practice, until I started to suspect that the publishing industry simply couldn’t be open to new authors anymore.  Frankly, I suspect that the readers of most literary and science fiction magazines are just authors trying to get published in those magazines.  The industry is eating itself alive.

Which is why I find this Threat Quality post on self-publishing so interesting.  I’ve mainly thought of self-publishing as a way to make my own aesthetic decisions about the work I create, since the books I envision are complete works of art.  But it seems the technology and the time is ripe for something more.  Recently I also read this article by Time Columnist Lev Grossman on the future of books.  It’s definitely worth reading, since it posits that e-books are going to increase self-publishing, decrease writer’s wages, and essentially challenge the publishing industry to change their archaic “gatekeeper” mentality.  Maybe by crowdsourcing their selection?  Sucks for editors, but hey, then they can go back to actually developing books and authors.

While on the surface the electronic format doesn’t seem to offer much for my own goals, I think that the possibilities are just starting to bloom.  There’s plenty of web comics already out there, and I personally like the idea of DIY print-on-demand, giving people a PDF and letting them print their own copy, with instructions for folding it up into a nice booklet that they can bind however they like.  Or online books with integrated, dynamic illustrations.  So I plan to move further along in that direction this year.  I’ll start small, just a few little books, as I get the hang of it.  Keep an eye out until then.

Vacation’s over

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2009 by scratchyb

I took a little unannounced break from Old Scratch. Went to Key West, ate a lot, drank a lot, chased a few roosters . . .

Chasing Rooster

Chasing Rooster

Uncaught rooster

Uncaught rooster

Odjit #2

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2009 by scratchyb

Here’s the second in the Odjit series.  I hope to make prints of these, and stuff, someday.

"It's the Thought That Counts"

"It's the Thought That Counts"

Illustration 2.0

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2009 by scratchyb

For the past year, I’ve been screwing around with a programming language called Processing.  It’s supposed to be an easy way to learn to program, especially for visual artists.  I’ve hammered away at it on and off for a little while, but haven’t really delved too deep.  I’m on a quest for something new in the way of illustration.  I’ve always been a fan of the illustrated book, as opposed to the un-illustrated book or the graphic novel, or children’s books.  I’m thinking of something along the lines of John Gardner’s “In the Suicide Mountains” or the Caitlin Kiernan short story collections that Richard Kirk illustrated.   I hate to think that digitization means we either lose the depth provided by the written word or the beauty of well-designed, well-rendered illustration.

Anyway, the point is, e-books are gearing up for yet another come-back in 2009, and I keep thinking that, while its nice to have a tangible item on good paper, how cool would it be to see what else can be done with books, in a digital format?  Especially with books combined with visual cues, or illustrations. You might say its been done online, plenty of websites after all, have done this (um, know any?).  You might also point to video games, which are starting to break the mold in terms of story quality, and the graphics are, admittedly, unsurpassed.  But I’ve yet to find the game that interests me for its plot lines.  No, really, the kind of ground-breaking work I’d like to see with creating truly interactive, dynamic illustrated books that have complex plots and above-average prose, it just hasn’t been done.  I wonder if it can even profit if it ever does come to pass.  Still, I search for the “just right” application that might help me to try and prototype something like that.  And maybe, someone can lead me to some examples of projects that are already underway?