Archive for January, 2010

Re: Shades Of Red

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

In today’s comic I continue to build on some things that are going to take a while to play out. A carry over from my days as a long-form mega campaign dungeon master, I tend to take a very long time to tell stories. I draw things out and tease and hint and am often VERY blatant about what my intentions are. My default storytelling position is to drag it out though. It could be another year before I’m ready to bloom some seeds I planted a while ago.

ispymyeye

This leads me to point my eyes towards the future of the comic for a little bit. Where do I see this story and my process a year from now? How about 2 years, or 5? Currently I’m riding the wave. I’m having fun, which is a very important part of why I still love doing this. I’m not ready to overthink it quite yet. For the moment I think I want to be doing more shows, and doing more for my readers. That stuff is coming soon. Promise. :)

If It Were Syndicated

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

I believe I made mention back when I started this comic [here] that Amu and I had made an attempt at doing a comic strip back when we first met. She was (and still is) a very meticulous artist, and I’d always wanted to do a comic strip. Back then the only thing I was thinking of was syndication. Can we put together something we could publish? While that never happened, the acceptance and explosion of “the webcomic” has given us a chance to get it done in a different way, where WE control our content.

I was at work yesterday when webcomic creator Jeph Jacques made the call for webcartoonists to draw their strip if it were syndicated. Now let’s establish a couple of things here. Firstly, my webcomic here is a photo comic. Since this is not a syndicated style that meant if I played along it would have to be drawn. So secondly, I cannot draw. I’m absolutely TERRIBLE at it. I’ve made dozens of attempts to try and learn but I lack the patience and precision finger dexterity to get past the frustration stages.

You know what, though? I still drew one, and here it is. I bring to you guys a WHAT IF scenario where Amu’s World as a concept was being syndicated in newspapers:

heyninjasyndicated

Click for teh BIGGAR

As illustrated above, there’s a reason this comic is made with photographs, and is not illustrated. :)

Photo Phriday 60 – Matching Pair

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Oh, hey there. Remember when I said I was going to post every weekday in January? Well I’m halfway through. It’s both much easier and more difficult than I thought it would be to get back into the swing of writing everyday. Maybe I’ll do something similar for February. Who knows?

In today’s Photo Phriday I’ll highlight two characters about to get to know each other a little better.

JuanMomo

Juan’s in the worse spot here. To Momo he’s a celebrity, and as a member of his fan club knows a lot about him already. To Juan, Momo is a fan and possibly a pupil. Other than this he knows little about her at all. Only time will tell how this plays out. Stay tuned.

Trends In Pessimism

Monday, January 18th, 2010

As a rule, I’m not a very optimistic person. I get discouraged very easily, sometimes to borderline depressing levels. As a method of survival, I’ve adopted the “if I’m pessimistic and things go right it’s a bonus and if things go bad I at least expected it” mentality to going about life. It’s not a very good default position, but it keeps me from the paralytic grip of disappointment. Such is the way of self preservation in a world where I set high expectations I cannot possibly meet and failure is a given. I’m the bad kind of perfectionist where if it isn’t 100% perfect the first time I don’t keep on trying until it IS perfect, but give up and assume I can never do it. Fingers are crossed I can change this about myself. Is that possible? I dunno. Maybe I’ll find out, but if yesterday was an example of what I have to look forward to things get bleak.

Last week I was thinking how I’d never gotten up early to photograph a sunrise. I’ve just never done it. My routine involves the pug getting me up early to go for a walk and after I get back I crash on the futon or under the kotatsu. To further my efforts to just stop talking about it and start getting it done, I scheduled a week in advance a day to go out and do just this. I can’t do this during the week because of work. On Saturdays I have the Farmer’s Market very early in the morning. This leaves me with Sunday. So it was decided by my availability that Sunday was the only day I could do this. And I did. Sort of.

Got up early. Kept quiet so the pug didn’t wake up. Gathered my gear and snuck out the door to find…rain. Wonderful. At this point I usually say to myself, “plans ruined. Not worth trying. Go back to bed.” No. I’m on a mission this year, right? I’ve set out to prove I can just DO IT, yes? So I go. In the rain. Walking to the park to the top of the hill overlooking vast swathes of Baltimore. Well it’s raining. That’s fine. I have my gear. Tripod went up, and so did a light stand, umbrella mount and bounce umbrella pointed straight up to cover the camera from the rain (setup shot). Camera up. Now I wait. For what, I had no idea.

Typically, if I’d hadn’t gone back to bed instead, I’d have gotten to the park, seen the clouds and went straight back home, cursing the entire time. Nope. Not this time. This is a NEW me. Yep. So I stood in the rain, staring out into the horizon for the clouds to break, or a nice clear patch in just the right spot to rise up and show some light, some color, maybe create this glamorous floodlight patch of awe in the sky. Remained optimistic. Entirely unlike I’d normally act. So what happens? Nothing. Flat, gray sky getting slightly brighter gray as the sun began to rise. This is optimism, huh? So I change some settings on the camera and bang out a couple of shots. This was the best I was going to get.

goravens

Looks like a night shot, right? Nope. Sunrise. Replace the blue with gray and that’s how it’d have looked white balanced to daylight. Switched to tungsten for blue sky, and the exposure dropped to bring the window lights down so they weren’t blown out. Instant midnight shot just before 8am. Literally the BEST “sunrise” photo I could think to take given the circumstances. With that I packed up, defeated and feeling as blue as the color filtered sky I just shot.

Got home, noticed Amu and the pug were still asleep, and crawled back into bed…just in time for Amu’s alarm to go off, the pug to wake up and poof goes my shut eye. Am I happy with that morning? Not remotely. I don’t like the shot I got. It’s just the best of a bad batch. Did I get discouraged? You bet. Still am a bit. I can’t make magic happen, and I’m positive there are photographers out there who could have still made a phenomenal shot from that dismal light. I’m not there yet. Not even close. But maybe things are changing ever so slightly, because where I’d normally crash and mope and accept that I’ll NEVER be that guy who can do magic with a camera I think I can get close enough if I keep trying. What’s most unlike me is that I kind of believe it. Maybe THIS is optimism? Only time will tell.

There’s Going To Be A Fight!

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

I have the good fortune to know some very cool, very productive people. They are hyper-creative folk who get a lot done, and have been not only part of the inspiration behind why I’m doing this comic in the first place, but contribute to helping me continue. Every once in a while they let me play Event Photographer for one of the most fun live events I’ve ever been to. This Saturday I’ll be taking photos of Super Art Fight 6!

SAF6_poster_sm2

If you’re in the Baltimore area this Saturday head on down to The Ottobar and see a live art battle, live music, and wild crowd. If you’ve never been, and have the time, you owe it to yourself to experience THIS MUCH AWESOME!

Commentary

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

As mentioned earlier this week, Super Art Fight 6 is happening very soon (2 days soon as of this writing) and I’m pretty psyched. When talking about the event a lot of people highlight the artists. Some folks talk about the live music. Today I want to give a little credit to another part of what makes this show so amazing. Hilarious commentary.

ringmasters

Above we have Ross Nover (The System) and Marty Day (Blast-o-Rama), the awesome bastards behind the live commentary that goes on during the art battles. I can honestly say that watching these artists tackle the randomly selected topics from the Wheel Of Death is fun enough. It really is. These artists are clever, and talented and FAST! But what kicks it up a few notches is the witty banter of Marty and Ross. There’s art happening, and a DJ spinning music, and these two guys wrangle up that sensory overload and thread it together with good humor. It also gives a voice to what’s otherwise purely visual entertainment.

As staff photographer for the Super Art Fight show (I still have no idea how that happened) I got to take roster portraits at SAF5. Having taken the portraits myself, and exemplifying the “own worst critic” trait, I immediately see at least a dozen ways I could have made those shots better. I’m told they’re alright though, and I’m in no position of authority to argue. I get to do it all again this Saturday. So very psyched!

Photo Phriday 61 – Testing, Testing

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

WOAH! Almost missed posting a photo. Cutting it close because of a wonky bit of scheduling and simple forgetfulness. Today I’m going to break from the traditional photo for the week’s end and get a little behind-the-scenes. Every time I set up for shooting the comic I get my table together, place the backdrop where it needs to be and set up my lights. Lately I’ve been bouncing a flash into an umbrella and I have a reflector up on the opposite side. Works alright for what I’m doing. I then do this:

handlight

I shoot my hand. I could do any number of things to test my light. I could put one of the characters there as an example. Instead I take what’s readily available. My arm, out stretched, popping up my hand where the characters will be standing. It’s always with me and I know what it’s supposed to look like under the right light. When you’re concerned about the result first and style later, use whatcha got, right?
:)

The New Champ

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Saturday night’s Super Art Fight event at The Ottobar here in Baltimore was an absolute blast. From what I saw this had to have been the biggest turnout since the event’s inception some 2 years ago. And those people attending got to witness the crowning of a NEW Super Art Fight champion.

safchampion-jamie

That there’s Jamie Baldwin, artist and writer of Sudden Valley and current holder of the Super Art Fight belt. She defeated former champ Michael Bracco in the main event. I somehow managed to be trusted enough to serve as the event’s staff photographer. For the last 3 main shows I’ve done some portraits of whichever participants I could herd in front of a quickly thrown up lightstand. This time I got EVERYBODY involved in the show. I spent almost my entire Sunday editing these portraits and am for the most part really happy with how they turned out. Hooray for progress!

If you want to see the lot of them head on over to Super Art Fight where they’ve been posted. It’s a tad stressful, but I really like the experience.

Thanks for reading.

The Pug

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Not sure how often I’ve mentioned it, but Amu and I have the cutest, best pug on the face of the planet. We call him P-Chan, which suits him fine. Every once in a while when I’m feeling particularly uninspired in the photography arena I’ll just take some snapshots of the pug. Every once in a while, I use him as a test model for lighting.

ThePug

Here he is modeling for me while I test out one of my favorite gifts from this holiday. Alright, so he was really just sitting in a chair waiting for holiday noms to be put on the table, but I got a 28″ softbox and had to use it on SOMETHING! As I get more eased into blogging every weekday you’ll probably end up seeing much more of this guy. So what I’m saying is GET USED TO IT! :)