Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fun With Senior Projects

Always help the youngsters with senior projects.  While answering questions can make us feel like, "Oh, geez, how am I an expert on this?" go ahead and do it anyway.  Drawn books and cartooning are HARD work -- those of you who did it before the interwebs know what it was like to do it all alone, as The Only Nerd in the neighborhood.  Or the house.

As for what follows: Sometimes these things fall apart -- trying to get art done is HARD, even for professionals.  Especially for professionals like me, who have the procrastinator gene in about 75% of their cells.   I DID email back and told the student to tell their mentor to stop using the idiot term "graphic novel," which is almost as stupid as "Speculative Fiction" (No argue with me; it has since mutated into - put down your coffee -- "Imaginary Fiction").

Wonder if the hooked-up mentor is an in-house teacher they didn't have to pay extra?  Just sayin.'  And they really do need a class in bullwhip publishing -- as in, "You've got a deadline!  Get on the paper or get a bloody stripe down your back! Wa-chow!"

Anyway, so nothing goes to waste:
  1. What is your typical day like?
D: Get up, do business (Hotmail, gmail, banking, bill-paying, marketing - PING, Twitter, Facebook). Fart around on Facebook a while, which often picks up customers. Researching and getting freelance newspaper stories and photos, doing art, layout, erranding, whatever needs to be done for the day. I try to get in walks on the beach (including picking up litter), or fishing; some kind of exercise. Work in the garden, yard, with chickens. In the summer, do house repairs, painting, etc. Always plenty to do. In the evening, while doing more art, like to watch videos (mostly police prodedurals and animation).
  1. What supplies do you need/use for your comics?
DB: Traditional: Paper, dip pens, ink, brushes, sometimes technical pens, watercolor. Digital: scanning, tablet, GIMP coloring, OpenOffice for layout, MacBook for all processing and publishing layout (extra files dumped onto extra hard drive; MacBook upgraded to 4 GB).
  1. How long do you work each day?
DB: From ten to twelve hours, on average.
  1. Does making comics alone pay the bills or do you also have to have a day job?
DB: A little of everything. Artists have hundreds of employers over a lifetime. You have to run your own business.
  1. How long does it take to make one page? One full comic?j
DB: In my case? 56 years (it's not a valid question without including training, research and length, size, processing, etc., of the drawn book),
  1. When did you start doing art related activities (drawing, coloring, art classes, etc.)?
DB: 1954
  1. Where did you get your inspiration to be an artist?
DB: You can't help it. You just do it. It's like an obsession. Or a disease. :D
  1. Who was or is your favorite artist ? In other words, is there another artist whose talents you admire?
DB: Ancient Egyptian tomb linework, cave paintings, Mayan temple art, ethnic and native arts (especially that of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska), Japanese 19th-century print art, Paul Brown - the horse artist from the 1940's. I like a lot of modern drawn-book people, including Roberta Gregory, Carla Speed McNeil, Diana Sasse, folks like that.
  1. Who helps you make your comic(s), and what tasks do they perform?
DB: I'm a one-woman band. I do it alone.
  1. How much time in a day do you spend doing art related tasks?
DB: Most of 'em, in one form or another.
  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages between drawing by hand and using a drawing program like Photoshop?
DB: It's all toys. I'm faster than anybody on pencil because I've built my head files and hand muscles and bones for decades. Tablets are fine, too, though not as fast. Whatever you work with and like, will be fine. It depends on the artist.
  1. Which do you prefer- working on paper or on a computer?
DB: Depends on the project.
  1. When you are at a convention and people ask for a special drawing, what guidelines do you use?
DB: I don't ask people for drawings, and never have. I'm my favorite artist. Well, it's TRUE.
  1. What is the process for printing/publishing a comic? What differences are there for publishing a web-comic?
DB: Let me try to do this as short as possible (when it comes to publishing, I could bore for England):
POD: check out FAQs at and, and find a drawn-book printer you like. My favorite is Note: these are PRINTERS, not PUBLISHERS, so you can print on all of them. You're the publisher.
Webcomics: I like Go out and find out you like. And use on it - or as soon as you can use PayPal. For credit-card processing on a website, hit
Traditional paper publishing: Do you have a few thousand extra dollars and a warehouse staff lying around? :D
  1. How did you move from creating art for personal enjoyment to also being paid for it?
DB: It just happens. Hang around with artists and people who love art, and they'll ask you for art. The golden rule - always -- 50% up front, and 50% upon approval. And NEVER EVER EVER EVER release your copyright unless they can offer you a LOT of zeroes in the price. Now go and read This is VITAL. Another professional site you should know:
  1. Are there any art-related tips or advice you can offer?
DB: Have fun. Work hard. Research. You know when you're doing good work, and when you're doing bad. DON't copy -- and NEVER steal somebody else's copyright, no matter what somebody offers you. It's just unprofessional. Only fans do that, and they should find out if a company or artists allows it (I do).
  1. Is there anything that you think I missed regarding important questions and would like to share with me? If so, please state both the question/topic and your response.
DB: Try to always have fun. If you're making lots of money but you're unhappy, you might as well just go get a job at Boeing. If you're an artist, you can ALWAYS find somebody to buy your stuff. You can paint signs, and do CD covers, and design tattoos, and print t-shirts ( is good). You can go to shows and find many many people who want art. You can't ever be fired. You'll work very very hard, and it's often very frustrating, but you'll always have so many roads you can travel you never have to give up. You'll never retire -- you'll probably fall dead at last over your latest, best painting or comics page. Which is the best way to go. And probably why artists don't fear death.
Speaking of dying, I need more submissions at !
If you are inspired by these answers to ask more questions, send them to me.

End of interview.  The student's email follows: 

This is an update on my senior project stuff, but it is also a thank you/apology letter as well. I have to thank you all for taking time to help me with my senior project. I have read all of the questionaires that you guys sent back to me, and I will use that information as a guide to help me in the future. Now here comes the apology part. The other part I was supposed to do was to sent 5 images to be critiqued so that I could redo them and get them critiqued agian. I was going to have them sent sooner, but here's why I havn't. first off it was trouble making the drawing in the first place. The first pictures that I had made before I startred this project I didn't really want to send because they weren't really that good, and they were almost the same (as in being drawn from the boring side view)  but when I tried to draw a new picture, I just couldn't get the the thing drawn. I know these alone are not a good excuse for the delay, but the next part is the true reason for why I may not send them at all. The biggest part of my senior project is my field of evidence, where I would work with a mentor through May 21-25 on the project. I have to accumulate 30-40 hours of work on this. While my project advisors definatly agreed that this electronic communciation thing may be a good experenice, it wouldn't count towards the field experience hours I need. My advisors have kindly hooked me up with someone who is currently my mentor on this. Now what I am doing is converting the novels thatI have started writing over the past 4 years into comics/graphic novels (the mentor is guiding me through this process like critiquing the script and synopsis, helping me with how a page should look etc) so thats currently what im focusing on now, but with both that and other school work to do, I don't really have time to do the drawings I meant to send (especally since I have to do some character illistrations in its place.)
So I'm sorry I'm kindoff cutting out of the deal, but I got to keep up with the part of my project thats actually counted. I may or may not sent the drawings I promised just so I can get the feedback. Even though I'm probably not going to be working with you guys on this project anymore, if you still want to see the drawings, or if you just still want to work with me (which you probably wont given your busy schedules) just message me about it.

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