Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mallard Fillmore

My line work and inking technique is getting better, steadier. This cell phone picture version is bigger than the actual drawing, but I wanted to zoom in. 

I'm getting my ducks in order for a single strip parody I want to make of Mallard Fillmore by Bruce Tinsley called "Swan F. Kennedy by Goose Tinsley". I chose that name over several other options, like Andrew Quackson, Swan Quincy Adams, Quackery Taylor... There's more to my idea for this strip than just the name though, obviously.

The duck is saying "I'M GAY" because that's one of my most cathartic tics, from the Tourette's. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Preston Blair And His Amazing Animation Book

I recently got Preston Blair's seminal book on animation. John K, creator of Ren and Stimpy, swears by this book. Here's a post on his blog about how important this book was to him as a kid. So I bought it for myself and it's been pretty freaking useful.

However, while I do want to learn to animate, I mainly plan only to draw static cartoons. Blair's instructions about character construction are still extremely useful for this, but now I have to teach myself how to reconcile these techniques with my current drawing style, combining them to make characters that are specifically suited for what I want to accomplish with my cartoons.

Blair's techniques are meant for groups of animators to be able to reproduce characters from various angles with very little room for error. This means that the characters are fairly simple, and follow certain formulas that make them relatively easy to reproduce over and over again, at a fast pace.

That's why cartooning for animation and cartooning for comics are two different disciplines. They certainly overlap a lot, and people can switch between the two, but when you're drawing a static character, you don't need such simplicity.

Some of the features I like drawing most in my cartoons wouldn't work for animation, but I want to hold onto them. So now I have to absorb all the knowledge of this book, reading it multiple times and doing the practice drawings it prescribes until I have it all down. This is a big deal for me because I practice drawing pretty infrequently, and even on the days when I do practice, I don't do it for long. After I've done this, I'll make sure the book influences and improves my drawing technique without completely supplanting it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More Editorial Cartoon Edits

That first cartoon actually isn't an edit. It's an original cartoon by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Ramirez. He's one of the worst cartoonists out there. His drawings of backgrounds and vehicles are solid, but his drawings of people are horrible. He doesn't know how to draw them. But he's also just one of the most infuriating cartoonists out there. He lies constantly, in ways that can easily be disproved. He paraphrases people's quotes in ways that completely change their statements, for example. He even spells people's names wrong, or assigns incorrect first names to them.

He's also absolutely obsessed with "DEBT". In cartoon after cartoon he draws some large object and labels it DEBT to the point where it's just a running gag now. He clearly thinks about it all the time. It's like he has Tourette syndrome (like I do) and writing that word on inappropriate things gives him some relief. The smoke from Pearl Harbor is DEBT? Does that mean that it will eventually dissolve into the sky and isn't worth worrying about? He never thinks these metaphors through.

He's too stupid to even write something that makes more sense for that cartoon like "A DEBT THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY."

Here's another amazing cartoon by him. Fuck you, Ramirez. He was even more egregious with his cartoons on the Benghazi consulate attack. He's a horrible person.

Anyway, here's my edit of his 9/11 cartoon, making fun of his DEBT fixation and the awful puns he tries to make:

And here's a parody I actually made, attempting to imitate his style, including the sometimes excessive crosshatching and his loopy handwriting. It ended up looking more like a Tom Toles cartoon. It also scanned very badly. I might try to scan and color it again. It looked better in person, I swear. The squiggliness of the line work is not an accident though, to be clear.

Here's the most recent cartoon by Tom Toles to compare, even though this wasn't supposed to be a Toles parody originally:

He tends to label things with big squiggly white letters like I did in that cartoon as well. His cartoons are very squiggly.

Finally, cartoonist Milt Priggee posted one of my edits on his blog. Though he didn't give me credit for it, which is kind of weird. I don't feel like bothering him about it though.

I don't want to post the original on this blog because of its content. Edit: Okay, here's the original. Not safe for work because of a giant offensive word.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Political Cartooning Lessons: How To Draw A Democrat

Step 1: Draw a horrible skull demon from Hell wearing a suit.

Step 2: Draw the rest of his head!

Calm down, the artist doesn't actually think Democrats are donkeys. That would be ridiculous! In the political cartooning world, they call this a "metaphor." 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Miss Iowa Doesn't Let Things That Are In Her Way Get In Her Way

This year's Miss Iowa, Mariah Cary, has Tourette Syndrome like I do. Milder than mine, but still, I'm sure it sucks. I don't have anything against her; good on her for doing something notable. And the worthless things she's saying are just what's expected of you when you're a beauty pageant contender, so that's fine too.

But an email I got from the Tourette Syndrome Association about her annoyed me.

One line particularly: "Diagnosed at eight, Mariah has never let TS get in her way." 

I don't get it when I read a stupid inspiring story about a successful person with Tourette Syndrome "not letting it get in his/her way." Tourette Syndrome is basically designed to get in the way, that's pretty much all it does. If it isn't getting in somebody's way, then I don't understand what it's doing to them.

The email also quotes her saying:

"I am living proof that there is nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals but yourself. Tourette Syndrome does not make you 'different.' Everyone is different and unique and that is what makes life interesting. I tell myself every day, I cannot change how God made me and I would never want to. Take what you are given and make the very best of it."

The first sentence isn't Tourette Syndromespecific. and is just standard bullshit that people need to stop saying to our kids so much. Do you understand how many narcissistic self-important monsters I have to deal with who are around my age because we are all told this as kids? Please, please stop.

The other sentences are similar to other things I've heard. No, you're wrong. Tourette's makes you different. Nothing isolates me more from the rest of humanity than Tourette's Syndrome does. I had to completely rewire my brain, getting rid of all knee-jerk reactions and instincts, just to be able to function at an inferior-but-passable level in society. I rarely encounter other people with Tourette's, and when I do, it's usually less severe or manifests itself very differently.

Unlike Miss Iowa, if I could get rid of Tourette's, I would with no hesitation. There's no pretending something is a blessing when it causes you pain and interrupts whatever you're doing every three seconds or so.

The last sentence in that quote is the only one I agree with. This is what we should be telling children with Tourette syndrome:

Tourette's sucks, so you need to work around it. It will get in your way, constantly, from the time it fully manifests in fifth grade to your final living moment, barring the discovery of a completely effective treatment. You can still be successful, but it will be harder than if you didn't have Tourette's. It's not something to be ashamed of, but it is a bad thing and your focus should be learning how to suppress and control it so that you can live a life that looks normal to others and is for the most part enjoyable.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Americans Can't Use Intrade Anymore And This Really Bums Me Out

I'm angry and sad. I really liked Intrade. I made a couple thousand in profit from Obama's victory. In retrospect, I should have taken out student loans and bet more like $10,000 on his winning. Because of my full scholarship and some money I've saved up and some money from dead and living relatives, I haven't taken out a dollar in loans yet, so I could have spared it. 

Unfortunately, I won't get another chance like that, unless I get a non-American friend to manage an account for me. But even then, I don't know how many options related to American elections the site will still have now that all American accounts are closed. The next Senate election in Massachusetts might have been fun to bet on.