Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This summer you get to tell me what to draw.

Have you ever seen some arrogant artist work and thought "Well. . . that's nice, I wonder what'd come of it if I were telling him what to draw, though." ? Well, here's your chance.

For the past year I made a comic that was and is intensely personal to me. I didn't rely on much external direction. I knew why I was doing what I was doing and I carried my plan to completion. The book will be published eventually and I won't have to worry about it anymore. That chapter is then, done.

But during this process I've felt that the communicational and inter-personal aspect of craft (and not art) making was neglected and that aspect was and I intend it to still be, a large part of this blog. I did my thing up in my wizard tower (more like my small bedroom but you get my point) and the rest of the world turned. Now I want to engage with you readers in more of a dialogue.

What I am going to do is open the forum for suggestions. I want to get back to inking by hand this summer just to keep my chops up so I want to produce one large-scale a4 black and white drawing each week. I do not want to start another ambitious project, so this is my vacation. You get to make suggestions in the comments of what you'd like to see drawn and if they strike me as evocative, I'll take them on. I'll be posting progress reports (pencil work, then preliminary ink work, then finalized inks) during this time and I'll be taking suggestions and feedback and discussing my progress with the instigator (and everyone else) as I go (to the degree that there is interest, of course). I'll do this for the next 3 months, - actual vacation time excluded, of course.

Below the jump are format for idea suggestions and assorted notes for how it'll work.

1. Suggestions can be as impressionistic or descriptive as you want. From 'the feeling one gets after a great time with friends, as one sees them get in their car and go, leaving one alone' to 'a kick-ass dragon eating villagers' to 'a peculiarly sinister telephone' to 'the loneliest tree'. Write me an one-liner, write me a paragraph, write me a book, whatever you want.

2. You may supply as many ideas as you want but,

3. I can only work on one idea a week (unless the piece is small in which case we'll start again mid-week). If I didn't pick yours it's either because it didn't resonate or because something else came along that did more so. Feel free to repost it next week but don't take offense if I don't explain why I didn't pick your idea.

4. The image must be self-contained. Though implicit storytelling is not just allowed but recommended, no sequential stuff, i.e. I won't draw your comic :P

5. The end result will be posted here. If you want a print-friendly version you may ask for it and I'll e-mail you a sizable, well-adjusted scan of the picture for you to print out. If you're feeling generous you may tip me as you wish.

If you want the actual original piece of paper you could pay-pal me the shipping costs plus any small patronage you desire and I'll mail it to you.
If the instigator of the idea doesn't want the image, anyone else may request it.

6. As I hope is clear by the above, there are no strings attached. The one with the idea owes me nothing and I owe them nothing in return. I might take you up on your idea, I might not. You might like what I come up with, you might not. You could request the finished piece but you could not. This is just a community-building endeavor, not a professional partnership of any type.

So, here we go. Post ideas in the comment-space. If you know a friend that would enjoy telling an artist what to draw, inform them of this little experiment.


William Sterling said...

I request an alternate cover to ZX, in the style of pulpy fantasy novel covers and Frazetta in general, wherein ZX is battling a dragon.

Helm said...

haha what a way to start off! Great idea :D

Casey said...

Iphigenia being sacrificed

Helm said...


erik said...

Draw and capture an Ant's perspective of God, in relation/conflict to it's job as a colony member in ant society in comic strip form.
How would something who is of a completely different mindset than that of a human's, rationalize something bigger than itself, and it's own colony.
Would it even care? Would it wonder? If it did believe in such a crazy notion that something bigger may be out there, how could it possibly communicate this to a colony built on billions of years worth of evolution built primarily on building, eating, colonizing and surviving, but never wondering about it's existence? Would the colony of a near single mind be willing to drastically alter it's main objectives, for something extremely less tangible? Would it be outcast, or worse killed?...Kudos for being able to communicate this strip without the use of speech bubbles, or any human form of language(they are ants of course. :P ).

Mattis said...


I request that you make a picture that conveys what you feel when encountered with japanese pop culture of the tastelesser kind. (tastelesser is a word)

That could turn out to be any picture at all. I just know how you shun away from the anime aesthetic, and I, who both enjoy that, and your stuff, would like to see a picture that somehow conveys how you feel about the whole thing.

Now this could be a picture of a hyperrealistic hand holding a tablespoon or whatever, whatever conveys your feeling towards that kind of stuff : D

// Jad

JesusGun said...

What if Nietzsche, except of philoshoper, was an artist too, and would have done a self-portrait? How would this self-portrait would be like?
(i'm not obsessed with Friedrich, i just thought it would be fun for you to work out something like this)

mrdigestive said...

I like that idea Casey :P

Ares standing near a person he had just killed. With his symbolic Vulture circling it :)

Helm said...

Those are all great ideas. Not a bad one between them (well, the ant one is sequential and I said no sequentials!!!!111 but still).

It'll be difficult to pick. ZX versus dragon is fun, Iphigenia on the altar is demanding and something to be proud of if one manages to convey a tenth of what it means. Nietzsche's self portrait would require a lot of thought and could potentially be hilarious. Ares would be fun because non-literal interpretations could be employed and the ant idea is a challenge to convey in a single picture, also I have never drawn an ant in my life don't know how an ant and a god could coexist in the same scale, another challenge.

I'm really impressed by the range and quality of ideas.

Sergio said...

How about a 'naked' ZX?

Helm said...

naked how? More naked than the image that starts chapter nine?

Benji said...

I have two ideas that I'd love to see you express:

1. The tone of voice you use to signify defeat, but then the feeling in your chest when you know that you'll win after all.

2. The size of the universe.

(Rydin from Pixelation btw)

kaseri said...

I request a drawing of a teenage (15-16) year old guitarist in a heavy metal band playing his first gig in one of the many crappy basements that qualify as concert halls in athens, at the brief moment of contemplating whether what he is doing is funny/ridiculous; but nonetheless transfixed by the experience.

Awesome idea (this post), by the way!

Helm said...

Thank you all for the wonderful responses. I'll keep you updated on the choice and process.

Lackey said...

The doom of Salomon Andree's balloon, which I was just reading about. It seems like a striking scene to me. If you're still taking suggestions!

Anonymous said...

Hey all, nice to meet you. Helm nice idea. It's actually that good that I even created an account, amazing eh!

So far I loved the ant idea and benji's first choice.

Ok, here’s what I've had in my mind… There are three figures and a plateau. The first one is a figure of a naked young man heading towards a wooden suspension bridge. Past the bridge there’s... eternity? Tomorrow? I don’t know… something hazy. His feet are covered in mud and with his strained left hand he’s throwing backwards a bloodstained white mask. Blood flows from his arm too. He’s slightly looking back, where an older woman is kneeling in the mud. Her elbows touching the ground as well and in her handful she keeps her eyes. She’s covered in scabs (I guess this gives you a clue about which specific mask I was referring above). Next to her there’s a figure of an old sinister man turning to stone. I guess this is it… I don’t know if this is too detailed to fit in a A4 page but I had to try =P Hope it's not too cheesy!

Gaia said...

As interesting as an abstract piece could be, I would enjoy seeing what William the conqueror's coronation would look like.