Writing, drawing and coloring a story! Conceiving a visual world and describe people’s lives in it! Witness the joy of readers!
Darn! Will I achieve that?
I’m coloring the first page. The pace has been excruciating slow but I intend to change that. I decided to buy a domain and monetize this blog. (My apologies for the eventual proliferation of adds!) That way I might stop seeing my creative work as something that steals the time to make a living, as something irresponsible. Making graphic novels will become my work (I wish!).
Making money online is a completely new activity to me. I started with the Etsy shop few months ago and the result was investing all my time in creating new products, about eleven hundred by now, the graphic novel successively postponed. I must learn monetization. It seems to be the only way for drawing in peace.
Telling stories with drawings and colors! I love this!
I’ve drawn a poster on both male chauvinism and racism and put it on my Etsy shop for selling. I used the same design for tank tops, mugs, even swimsuits and so on. Am I exploring a cause for commercial purposes? Am I making a legit campaign?
I believe in the second hypothesis and hope not to be an opportunist taking abuse of people’s misfortunes and disgraces. Some objects for printing my designs appeal to me as platforms for the expression of my ideas and convictions. Probably I’m not campaigning at all. I might only be making use of my right to free speech. Male chauvinism and racism are absolutely not welcome to me and, to my eyes, the daily violence upon most black women is horrendous. I can’t imagine the summoned strength and effort to cope with it. Therefore I felt compelled to express my indignation.
When fear of being taken as an opportunist appalls me I must remind myself that no one is forced to buy these products. People can choose and are free to make their judgement.
I was raised to hate commerce, business and money. All that had to do with wealth had the spectrum of dishonesty, selfishness and harm to others, either through exploitation or deceive. To my ethic self, decent activities were those which income came from wages. A person worked and was regularly paid without having to kiss ass. Salespersons were ass-kissers, greasing customers with coupons, sales, discounts, bullshit discourses about the quality of the products and the integrity of their makers. The same line of thought were applied to service providers, artists included, and their cult of personality or campaigns of self-promotion. All publicity should be banned to my eyes.
I was a jerk in wonderland.
Only when I became aware of the concept sovereign debt I came across reality and the nature of both trading and money. Sovereign debt meant that nations were part of the investment market. That denoted wages for public servants and funds for public infrastructures came from thousands of anonymous investors who could be either businessmen or drug cartels washing their money. Nobody knows for sure if one’s country runs on blood money from thugs. And astonishingly enough, from our stained hands we give them back the money with interests through our taxes. We also give money as consumers of the products thugs sell to us, most of them made in countries where workers have no human rights.
Two main lessons are taken from this. First, all wages come from trading. Second, all trading has blood in it.
As far as my actions, this means that becoming a salesman, either of my products or my services, is not a loss of nobility. On the contrary, it is a gain. I would be providing my own money instead of having a boss with the hard task of making the decisions for an ensured income. Such a task is now mine. As for the blood, I might have the possibility of making the right choices, while as wage earner I have no choice at all.
I have no idea whether my store and my drawings will open the possibility of having a business of my one. Nevertheless, I have learnt that publicity is both legitimate and essential. The challenge is to make it effective and decent.
I am all messed up. It’s four in the morning, the classic hour for insomnia. I miss focusing my mind in telling a story and it’s an unrest. For years and years I am obligated to focus on an exhausting job or on finding viable alternatives. I get anxious and continuously postpone the hours of dedication to either my narrative, graphic and musical work.
The poster above is from an illustration of my novel, written while I was in college. I waited several years until an editor accepted to publish the manuscript. As a responsible fellow eager for financial independence, I applied to the secure and overwhelming public job that I still hold today. The cost has been tremendous.
Someone else might have been strong and smart enough to cope with the situation and become a prolific writer. I believed to be one of those but I was wrong. “I have a mortgage to pay” is my motto to go to work and I freeze each time I realize that my stories will not sell enough to keep my home away from the bank, or even to put some food on the table.
What I miss the most in storytelling, either on novels, graphic novels and music composition, is the focus itself on the creation of a narrative that, as Virginia Woolf would say, satisfies the readers wish to believe. The conception and design of compelling characters, sets, story lines and emotional backgrounds endows me with the mystical pleasure of contemplating human nature and giving it some sort of a record. That is the power and goal of the arts, namely the art of fiction.
The focus on keeping a job and provide a regular income leaves me no room for contemplation and aesthetic craftsmanship. Things would be different if I were a stronger individual. The poster above shows a flying car landed on a roof with its lights on. It has been there all night long. Behind the wheel the driver’s corpse shows off some grilled brains. A dime novel scene like this one is antagonistic to the discourse of this post. I am not even able to write potboilers! Yep, I am all messed up.
My drawings are rather clumsy and awry but it is a thrill making them. Once surpassed the intimidation of the blank page, shapes start emerging from the fog of our inner eye. The process is similar to music improvisation and composition, and to writing. It is all about the emergence of shapes and gradual definition. Some artists are capable of designing to the most intricate detail, maintaining vividly expression. Others, like me, are not that resilient and keep things to a synthesis. I envy the talent and craftsmanship of the masters of proportion, detail and realism. They are like virtuous musicians, out of reach no matter how hard we practice.
I like drawing characters and find amusing the process of defining their physical traits, postures and gestures as expressions of their frame of mind. Clothing is a hard challenge to me, due to the necessary focus on detail. My mind is blurry and I should practice sight drawing more. The same can be said about settings. I am stubborn and instead of creating a visual archive I try to make a mental synthesis of what I observe around me, with the result sometimes being utterly poor.
Nevertheless, it is a thrill, especially when one feels the improvement of the craft.
Since I was little I fell in love with European comics and later on with graphic novels from all over the world. I have always wanted to be an author of graphic novels but I restrained myself.
The reasons for that restraint are mainly two. First, in my country no one makes a living from comics as most artist, authors and musicians. Arts and culture are not valued around here. Second, I was and might still be a snob. I pursued social, intellectual and artistic validation which my prejudiced point of view determined it was unobtainable through comics. In short, I was – and, again, might still be – a pretentious brat.
Prejudice destroyed me with restraint after restraint on an imbecile endeavor for acceptance as an author and as an independent individual, to the point of not knowing what pleases me anymore. My concern was how others would see me. In the process I ceased to exist.
This is not new. It is a cliche. Laughter takes off. I am human.
This drawing was made with total freedom. Shapes appeared without any planning nor considerations on concepts, meaning or symbolism. I felt like when I was a child and did not restrain myself. Recalling such an emotion was a turning point to me.
I stopped drawing regularly a long time ago and now I’m trying to fix that. Back then I turned my attention into writing and published a novel. Each chapter had music and illustrations but the publisher was interested in the text only. Both music and illustrations came up after I wrote the novel. Somehow I still felt the need to express the narrative with visuals and sound.
As a teenager I invested my time in trying to draw comics and now I got back to that stage. In the meantime, this Inner Child drawing came up opening the door for visual exploration independently of any sort of narrative or intention. I’m counting on such moments to enrich my graphic novel projects.