As I mentioned earlier, I’m going home. Won’t be back for a few months, so I can’t guarantee any updates for the remainder of the summer. I’ll try, though. The situation is actually a bit rosier than it was the last time I posted: I finally got Painter 11 working on my Vaio, so I now have absolutely NO excuse for sticking with the Mac mini (which is fine by me).
It’s kind of funny. It’s the same program, but switching to a new operating system (and, more importantly, from a computer that doesn’t even meet the minimum requirements) has revealed some… quirks. I’ve read a lot of complaints from Corel users that this program wasn’t a complete re-build, but rather a layering of new-on-old; the Windows Vista of creativity software. Sometimes it can seem a bit threadbare, but it’s definitely a killer tool, and I’m excited to see it in all its glory. (I haven’t looked at Painter 12 yet. Out of my price-range.)
The first thing I did after getting it to work was create a new document at an outrageous size! You have to understand that anything over 1600X1200 would crash the Mini if it had more than two layers, so this was a big step. A scary step. A step that made me realize my entire workflow would have to be adapted. Suddenly, a pencil with a 5px tip seemed silly; working at 100% zoom, impossible. I’m a little worried.
Also, again I foolishly thought that a step up in software/hardware would automatically make me a better digital artist. I don’t know why I keep jumping to this conclusion… it’s been repeatedly and thoroughly disproved. Thankfully, the moral of the story takes less-and-less time to sink in with each telling. Soon, it will be as if I’ve actually LEARNT a lesson! Until then, however, I sit – a little depressed – staring blankly at the empty sketchbook on my desk.
I don’ wanna do the job correctly! I don’ wanna develop a meticulous process! I don’ wanna devote hours to my artistic betterment! …but I will. And soon.
This is important: I’ve been sober for two months, and I’ve stopped playing video games entirely. I’d get into the reasons why, but I think we’ll all be on better terms if I don’t. It’s the result that matters. Not only am I forced by boredom to practise, but I’m also able to think for myself, clearly, for the first time since year one of university. You haven’t seen a positive outcome from this new lifestyle yet, and I’m more-than-willing to let the skeptics be skeptical, but know that I am changing the way I do things.
For now, the biggest challenge is to keep my ideas simple and light. I love being able to do my sketchwork on paper, but it’s very hard to keep things contained; what starts as a comic turns into a dozen faces with varying expressions. I suppose focus will come with writing, and writing will come with new experiences and conversations… but at the moment, I’m a little bit stuck.
With Spartachick, the problem is that I see a dozen spectacular destinations for the story’s train, but haven’t the faintest idea of how to move along the tracks. It currently feels as if I’m in the Mojave desert, crawling alongside the iron, with the midday sun o’erhead. There’s a more efficient way of writing, one that should be obvious to me, but I’m just not seeing it.
Meanwhile, at Felix Marcus, I have nothing to write. No destinations. I see that poor sucker from Spartachick languishing beside some old train tracks, and can say – with relative certainty – that I’m glad I’m not in the same situation (and will do whatever I can to avoid such a fate). I guess, keeping with the metaphor, Felix Marcus is a dirt farmer who lives in a tiny shack. You can hear him holler: “I don’t take kindly to strangers! Won’t be no parties hereabouts! Can’t have no excitment, less’n it goes away as quickly as it showed up!”
Spartachick’s dreaming of far-off adventures, and Felix Marcus is clinging to the simple life, scared of anything that might take up more than three panels. In the distance, the residents of a dusty little town called Middleground shake their heads in confusion. Here, three-page story-arcs flourish, and new pilgrims take their time to create their own “spectacular destination.”
….annnnd now I want to draw a western comic. Great.