Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Psychocartography



Mandatory check after the jump this time, friends.



Some creative zooming might be required to achieve both a holistic view of this page and its individual parts.

Unlike the spread posted below, this more recent pile of secrets still hurts. Revisiting this in detail to re-letter it reminded me of the acute psychological condition I was in when it was made. There is a honor in remembering it seems but there also is a sadness. Perhaps a couple of years from now the emotions that fed this will be crystallized more into a picture and less into a mirror.

With this page, my backlog has all but been depleted (there's like 3-4 pages I didn't deem good enough to post and a 18-page 24hr comic which I'm not terribly fond of either). This means I have achieved what I set out to do with this blog initially, which is to give a permanent digital home to work that I felt had been perhaps misrepresented in initial publication (this is a fancy way of saying that nobody that would want to see most of these would be able to where they were published).

This blog as an experiment has been very successful. The communication with you readers reinstilled a degree of self-confidence in me and I even put out the Asides Bsides book on that strength. I thank you sincerely for this. Even if we were to be done now, I would still rank this whole endeavour as probably the most important thing I've attempted in the past couple of years.

As I do not want this to be done though, I think it's time for to consider further options. Naturally it is impossible to keep the rate of posting I have on this blog now the well has run dry. I am currently - albeit slowly - making some more short comics. I have at least 3 4-5 page stories I need to tell in this period and I am assembling material for them at a discrete pace (you may detect from how I write here that there is a chance that I might abandon making comics after that. This isn't because I seriously think there will ever come a time when I throw the towel, more that I find it psychologically supportive to think of a future without any hardcoded certainties). The initial plan B was that when I would be done with my past work I would continue to post my new pages as they appear, here. I intend to do so, but I urge readers to not expect updates in the usual rate of once every 3-4 days anymore, as comics take a long time to be made. (Actually, comics can be made quite faster if I were employed to make them, but seeing how I am not, my own conscience sets the pace). I say this because it seems there's about 50 people visiting every day... take the bookmark from your daily folder and put it in your bi-monthly folder, please :)

I put the question to you, kind readers and humans, on the material of future posts. Should I post only when a page is completely and utterly done, or would you also be interested in work-in-progress (along with a hefty amount of comic-theory-ramblings) posts that might make less sense/spoil the end result ? Naturally if I can post WIP-stage work it means I will post more often (while still not at the past pace) but at the expense of the novelty of a finished page.

Also, on the strength of positive reception both here on the blog and for the book I recently put out, I am thinking I want to work making comics as a professional again. I think the Greek market cannot provide for me even barely reasonable compensation for the sort of work I do (at least not through the current channels) so it might be the time that I should start looking for opportunities to be published abroad. How exactly to do this, I am not certain. Any ideas are welcome. I suspect the first thing to do would be to make a bio / portfolio section on this blog with some standout pieces from the archives here and a few words on who I am and what I am willing to do to survive. This only makes sense because I don't expect an editor stumbling on this page to have the time to read the whole blog to tell what I can do, and seeing how I don't post my most recent work on the top of the blog they might be confused further. I'll do this soon.

If it were up to you, which pieces (let's say up to 4 stories) from those on this blog would you select for such a purpose?

Ah, well. I'm feeling a bit sad now. Was it really just 6 months with this blog? It felt longer, it felt busier. Felt like I had more purpose than usual. I'll try to go with this feeling.

- Helm

13 comments:

pan pan said...

i say keep up posting the proccess too.

Nick said...

If it's not much of a hassle u could post videos of the process, e.g how u drew the characters and the scenery, and then upload the final complete comic with texts and all.

As for best pages, I would go for

1)The one with prosopagnosia
2)Secrets
3)A Broken Chain is but Circles that Met
4)This House

Martijn said...

I'd be interested in reading about your creative processes and see WIPs.

The pieces I would consider for a selection are most certainly the 4-page 'house' one, the memory bot series, and this last one (it's great!).

Lackey said...

I love the theory and rambling, but I find too much process takes the magic out of it. Not that I'm not really curious still about how you draw.

I love the imagery in this comic, the dog emerging (or being consumed by?) the roots especially. I don't feel that I missed much of the essence of this when I originally saw it in moon language!

Helm said...

I'm very glad to hear it worked even without the fragments of text, Lackey. It tells me the visual language was there.

Please though, also tell me which comics you'd put in a bio if it were you! :D

Other regular readers and humans encouraged to participate, this is an important bit.

Dominika said...

For the bio I vote for:
part 25. - beautiful and radical
robotboy - one of my favourites: touching but with a less serious aproach
red comic with a boy, a girl and a suitcase - the mood and the colors are awesome (and it would make sense to chose one work in colour)this house - impressive in terms of style and your drawing skills

As for the future of your blog:
It's unfair to spoil your readers with 2-3 posts a week and then tell them to wait! :(
As a very unpatient person I would prefer that you broaden the subject of your blog and update at least once a week.
I mean: work in progress, random drawings, but also text-only posts (dealing with art theory, your inspirations, comics and artists you like etc.)

Helm said...

Hm, you may be right. I'll consider it.

I'm pretty set on Memorybot (is in color and shows a longer format)
Robotboy
What's in the Briefcase?
and This House
I guess the fifth will be Cableworkers or something, I'm not sure. Perhaps a Yus comic.

Oh speaking of Yus comics, I'll post another tomorrow.

Thank you for your comment :D

I hope Feliks is in good mood :D

Markus Rosse said...

---
Perhaps a couple of years from now the emotions that fed this will be crystallized more into a picture and less into a mirror
---
What can be more direct and honest than a mirror? I like this one, it's very powerful and I think it may loose some of it's power if you would redraw it without the strong feelings.

About the how-to. I see it similar like Lackey. Lately, I'm more interested in why you do draw something rather than how to do it. A hamburger tastes better if you don't know exactly how it's made, imho.
But still, seeing a child grow is awesome too, and not just experiencing the teenager. Maybe it depends on the image itself. The mixture you have now is good enough I think. Another interesting thing would be ramblings about comics and art in general.

Here's a small list of my favourites of your work:
* Sad Girl is doing alright
* What's in the bag?
* Memorybot
* There is no Second Rudder
* Escape from Mortal Coil

Helm said...

I'm not saying I'll redraw it, I mean that when I look at this a few years from now it might not hurt as much as it does now, because it will act as a sideways look into wounds that are right now still - strangely - gaping open directly.

I hear you about process posts not focusing on the technical end so much - though that has to happen as well for me, really - and perhaps some general theory posts on comics and art. I will do this, then.

It's very interesting that you like Sad Girl is Doing Alright that much, as it's a single picture coda to its parent comic. I'm happy the body language there talks to you.

I appreciate your feedback.

kaseri said...

straight to the point:

I would hate to see this turn into just another blog, but not nearly as I would hate to see it wither off and die.
I love the process posts, and they have been extremely helpful in many aspects.
The Internet is not on friendly terms with quality control, but here's you swimming up-river. I believe you will find a way to continue doing exactly that with asides-bsides, but if you DO want an opinion, I'd say process posts, and perhaps an analytical dissection of other people's work about how you perceive and understand them (a-la Wondermark).

As for the favourites:
I've always felt that you have a very under-acknowledged sense of humour, not in the Ha-ha way but in its etymological origin, fluid and alive. Thus, my favourite comics here are:
1)The 24-hr comic
2)Gnawites
3)There is no second rudder
4)The Coin-op brothers (perhaps, there are a lot of comics in here and last night was weird, so I'm going with a hasty top-4 here.)

I know, they aren't the deepest or most meaningful comics here, at least not all of them, but they show your ability to move someone with the humblest and simplest of materials, and this I value most of all.

Helm said...

Thanks for your insights. The 'just another blog' this is what I'm worried about as well but then again I *was* going to run out of ready-to-post material to some point.

Solar said...

Firstly. DO NOT DESPAIR!

Your work is of high calibre and contains the communication of emotion on a deep and meaningful level.

You're best 4 works eh? That's a difficult challenge. I'll select for variety.

1. Yus! - watercolour, gnawites, Thinking
Reason - The humour and characterisation are perfect.

2. Memorybot
Reason: Shows off your continuity and variety of messages that vary with each page. Its a powerful piece and contains that colour thing I'm such a slave to.

3. Deep inside the earth
Reason: Simple and powerful. always liked this one. 'There is no second rudder' fits this slot too and might be more accessible, but I choose 'deep' first.

4. The house
Reason: Shows off the technical aspect of your drawing whilst still containing the emotional content you create so well. May be my favourite piece for overall visual effect, I'd rather hang this on my wall as a piece of art rather than as a comic.

There are of course many more, each piece has it's own merits. Those are the four I'd choose as portfolio pieces.

In terms of contacts I really don't know much about the comic industry in the UK (where I'm based). A quick google search gave me this blog http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/ that has a lot of info and links for conventions and the UK comic scene.

Keep up the good work.

Helm said...

Thank you.

I will make the bio soon... I think. I might make another shame before the bio though. I don't know, heh. I have a pretty good idea about what I'll put in it now and it will have This House and Memorybot for certain. Probably the gnawites comic for contrast and then Robotboy (my personal favourite although it wasn't chosen much by you readers, heh) and Escape from Mortal Coil.

I think I might give up on the idea of job-hunting abroad actively though. The way the terms have been described to me by people that have is that unless you go towards a mainstream sort of work, you won't actually live off of your comics in the UK or the US anyway... so... I don't know, it's not about vanity to me (hey dad, look! I've been published abroad!)... well that could feel nice for about 5 minutes, but it really isn't a goal for me. A goal is to live respectfully through my work and if I can't do it with comics then they might stay a hobby while I pursue other angles.