Stop and Frisk
kreaturekastle asked: Hey Dustin! Ashton Dame here. Have there been any significant things that have made you stop producing art almost completely for a time? For instance, moving somewhere new, break-ups, depression, death in the family, etc. If so, what helped you get back on track with creating? I just went through somewhat of a "burnt-out" phase. As a creative person, when I'm not doing something imaginative those phases in life where I am unable to create can feel particularly hard. Can you relate or am I nuts?
I go through a pretty regular cycle of falling out of love with comics. For as much as we’re in a wild Xanadu of experimental, literary, high quality next level comics, it feels like there’s more terrible stuff out there than ever. But comics culture is based on fan-culture at its roots, and internet culture at its tips, and putting together the most Likes for your “art” means you’re good, and anyone who disagrees is conveniently labeled a “hater.” When we talk about comics criticism the conversation gets about two sentences in before a line is drawn and everyone parses every phrase for maximum personal affront. I don’t know. I’m not blameless here.
Not to mention I’ve not exactly set comics on its ear with my own work, most of which is self-involved, trifling, or just banal, even if it’s on its way to moments of greater value. I have my own need to grow out of easy, established patterns. Comics feel like they’re for babies sometimes, but it also seems like we act like babies a lot, from artists to critics to readers to whoever.
On the other hand, people like Annie Koyama, Chris Pitzer, John Martz, Joe Lambert, Chris Butcher, Shelton Drum, David Brothers, and a bunch more like them make me very happy to be part of this community, warts and all. One of the nice things about being part of a family is they can’t throw you out, and you can’t throw them out. And I still believe—passionately, deliriously, improbably—that comics is an artform that can do things simply not possible anywhere else, can balance and play with the concrete and the merely implied, and can elevate an idea past its origins and into a whole universe of interpretation. That’s pretty exciting.
thewrathofjohn asked: Hi Dharbin. I'm a wanna-be cartoonist in the Piedmont Triad area, a few hours drive from Charlotte. Do you know of any good regular cartoonist meet-ups going on around here, or perhaps just a place they tend to congregate that's friendly to newcomers? I've been drawing for a while, but I'm a total newbie when it comes to getting things published, going to expos, and that sort of thing. I'd like to get up to speed, maybe get some advice. Socialize, even? It'd be nice to have peers to talk to...
There is one in Charlotte called Sketch Charlotte, although weirdly I’ve never been, even though I know the group and they’re all great and it’s held in a restaurant that’s like a 10 minute walk from my house. I wouldn’t worry about getting stuff published necessarily—I mean, there’s almost nothing easier with all the different tools out there for self-publishing, web publishing, e-publishing, etc—but yeah finding a group of people you like to talk shop with is key. Key!
thesoundofrust asked: You wouldn't know of any similar sketchbooks out there that are available to the public? Alternatively, a guide to making your own sketchbooks? His books look very nice to work with. To end: love your art!
Joe sells sketchbooks at some shows, and I’m going to guess that if you emailed him, maybe through his site, he’d sell you one if he has it. I’m just guessing. He doesn’t charge enough for them, so whatever he’s charging you, you should add a tip.
rebeccacroomes asked: Hi, this isn't so much an ask as me stopping by to say that I like your work a lot and you are an amazing person! I love all the hard work that goes into everything I've bought from you.
Thank you, Rebecca, you’re very kind.
getfitfitt asked: Hi Dustin! It's Ford. Do you have plans for any longer form comics in the near future? Vaguely remember something being mentioned a year or so ago. Also what comics are you reading lately or recommend?
Hey Ford! As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on more diary comics, and am gathering notes for some longer projects, including a long memoir project.
As for recommendations, here are three:
2) When David Lost His Voice, by Judith Vanistendael. Really caught off guard by how good that was
haggady asked: I can't speak from personal experience, but I'm pretty sure every artist I know would say that meds for depression (or anxiety, or ADHD...) enable them to function, and they would not be able to make art or accomplish much of anything at all without meds. Feeling shitty constantly is not conducive to making art. I can't imagine anyone I know ever saying that depression has any benefits
Another county heard from! I’m going to guess that, as with most things, diff’rent strokes for diff’rent fokes, one size probably does not fit all. For me, I’m down for whatever baby, I ain’t afraida no pill.
edgyblade asked: I love drawing and I'm encouraged to practice more but I'm weird about keeping a sketchbook. I want to keep one like a diary kind of. But I'm kind of scared to. I'm always concerned, as though everything I draw in it has to make sense if someone else other than me were to see it. I'm very critical of it and I don't know what to go about drawing or if I'm doing things "right." I guess I'm asking, do you have any tips on (comfortably) keeping a sketchbook? Do you ever feel embarrassed by yours?
May I suggest that you DO keep a sketchbook, but DON’T show anyone ever, ever? If it makes you feel better, plan on destroying it when you’re done. Think of it like you’re practicing piano: no one records their piano practices and plays them for people. You’re just practicing. Get a real dumb, ugly sketchbook. Deface the first page with something real dumb and ugly. Relax and use it as a tool, not a crutch.
coolgraphicstuff asked: Do you prefer digital or traditional inking?
I do all my drawing with “traditional” media. I’d like to do more digital drawing, especially in the compositional/roughing stage, but it’s hard to recalibrate. I’m almost 40, my brain is like a small block of cement up there.
cosmic-trash asked: Ive been admiring your sketchbook scans,especially the figure drawings. Do you erase the pencil marks under them, or do you just go at it with straight up ink? im taking my first official drawing class, and we've been doing a bunch of figure stuff. which is fun, but the teach wants them to be painfully tonal to the point where there aren't any outlines. so it's a breath of fresh air looking at your figure drawings, where it looks like you focus mainly on the outlines, capturing the simplicity
I try to avoid pencilling then inking my figure drawings. I’m pretty new to figure drawing, so it’s been (slowly) a good way for me to loosen up my drawing a little bit. Which is one of the reasons I like doing them in pen straight to paper.
If you’re taking a class, I suggest doing whatever the instructor tells you to do. I’ve never really had any art education or classes, except in high school, and I really feel the lack of formal training. It’s not that your instructor knows more than you (he or she might though); it’s that being forced to work outside of your comfort zone will make you better and smarter and more able to pivot and twist in your drawing, instead of plodding along like a dodo. Even if the class is dumb and you make zero cool drawings, the experience of forcing your brain into a new shape will be well worth it.
- weakwar asked:what really gets me about akira to this day is just how many pages are mostly just flying debris
- “The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any...”