On Comics, Slacking, and Stink Bugs

This blog has been filled to the brim with photos of wedding plans, home renovations, and foster dogs for the past year, but I’ve been neglecting one of my main interests — illustration.

With a full-time job that keeps me happily busy and a wedding photography business on the side, I’ve been struggling with the focus of this blog. Despite a closet full of art supplies, I haven’t drawn anything substantial in over a year, so I’m going to try to ease back into a routine and start sketching again. Baby steps.

Since my job made the move to Center City, I’ve been enjoying running into some fascinating characters to and from the train station. There was the woman who pulled me aside a few steps away from my building’s front door to tell me to “stay sexy, scrumptious, and healthy” while blowing bubbles in my face. I liked her. There was the man leaning against the food cart who yelled, “Look at you in your tight tights, look at you jiggle.” I’m not sure how one can see any jiggling under a million layers and a winter coat, but I’ll assume he had some sort of x-ray glasses that I wasn’t privy to.

Then there’s the 45-minute train ride. I fancy myself a QuietRide kind of girl, but I’m constantly amazed by how many people don’t obey the no-fuss conductor who yells “THIS IS THE QUIETRIDE CAR. IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE QUIET (long pause), DON’T RIDE THE QUIET RIDE CAR,” repeatedly. My evening conductor always has a tie that lights up in some fashion, whether it’s snowmen or star-spangled banners. I like him too.

Despite valiant efforts in train obedience, I have managed to make a fool of myself on a daily basis. Last week I was deeply reading my book when a stink bug scuttered across the page. I literally jumped out of my seat and shrieked, while almost smacking the poor woman next to me in the face with The Girl With Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. On the QuietRide car. I felt like a QuietRide failure. There was a lot of staring. I convinced myself that it was something that would have happened to Liz Lemon and got on with my day.

My point is, life is much more entertaining now that I’m traveling to and fro and exchanging conversations (or embarrassed QuietRide glances) with actual human beings. Gone are the days of working from my couch in my pajamas and playing Dawson’s Creek in the background for company.

Not to get all resolution-y on y’all, but a change is going to come…especially now that I’m out of new Boardwalk Empire episodes to watch with the hubs in the evenings. I’m going to start writing down any out-of-the-blue anecdotes that happen in my day-to-day, to turn them into sketches for a weekly web comic (it’s been a while). While I collect ideas and sketches, I’m going to save up for this bad boy. Once 2013 hits, I’d like to produce one comic a week with my Wacom tablet. I can’t promise they’ll be any good, but at least I’ll be trying.

The Wacom Inkling: Christmas Can’t Come Soon Enough

Blogs were buzzing yesterday about the new Wacom Inkling, which is set to release in mid-September for $199. With 1,024 levels of pressure, it’s the perfect drawing device for anyone who loves sketching. If you’ve ever used a Wacom tablet before, you know that the majority of the time you’re applying a pen to a blank plastic surface while looking up at the screen to see what you’re drawing. This process comes with a significant adjustment period and doesn’t really feel like drawing on paper. With the Inkling, digital drawing feels like old-school drawing because it in fact is (but better!).

Another substantial difference in this tool is that the pen captures every nuance in your drawings and can store thousands of pages. Once you’re done drawing for the day, you simply connect the receiver to the computer via USB and browse your drawings, exporting the ones you like to Photoshop or Illustrator.

Drawings can be rasterized at print resolution, or better yet, you can export them as a vector illustration and rework your lines in any way you want. Plus, with vectors you are able to scale up a tiny doodle and print it onto a billboard with no loss in quality (for those of you who want to dabble in billboard design).

I am all too familiar with the fact that scanning artwork can become very tedious. With the Wacom Inkling, illustrators and designers have the ability to create layers by simply tapping a button. No joke, all you have to do is tap a button and you can start a new layer right there in your sketchbook. Pretty ridiculous. This is Jetsons type stuff that I wouldn’t dream of being able to do in my lifetime.

It’s not often I go crazy over gadgets, but I am definitely marking this one down on my Christmas list once the holiday season rolls around. Imagine how much faster working on a graphic novel would be when you could load storyboard sketches onto the computer with a few clicks of a button. Mmmm, a girl can dream…

Insert title here ______.

Pete recently got a small Wacom Bamboo tablet for his birthday and was kind enough to let me play around with it. I made these two drawings so far—the portrait of Joseph Gordon Levitt as a quick sketch and the drawing of Pete as a more detailed rendering. I prefer the more loose, quick sketch on the left because it seems more sincere. The drawing of Pete is too uptight looking and not really my style, but both drawings were a useful exercise to get more comfortable with the Wacom. I’d definitely like to use it again in the future to make cartoonish illustrations, possibly to sell as t-shirts and other cute accessories.

In other news, I’m trying to come up with a name for my new dream series. If you have a moment, please vote on my poll. Whatever I name the series will also be the title of the website, where friends and readers can submit their own dreams for me to bring to life.