Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Brush With Mediocroty

1994 was not a good year in my life. I had got fired from a job I didn't like, and moved to a house in a town I didn't like. So when I still didn't get a good job I liked that would have allowed me to
move out of the town I didn't like, Federal Way, Washington, I was starting to get doubts about my future.

Besides, The baseball strike canceled the World Series, The Republicans took over Congress in a meaningful way. I gained like twenty pounds, seeing for the first time, a 2 in front of my weight in pounds.

Kurt Cobain blew his brains out, which affected my desire to make Pipe Dreams the Doonesbury of the 90's. The Slacker/Grunge era was over. I loved my girlfriend but I was getting frustrated at the fact that I wasn't able to get Pipe Dreams syndicated and even more frustrated in not getting a decent job as an alternative. The OJ situation affected me in the sense that I realized that I was not in tune with the American Psyche. When my employment insurance was running low I went to a temp agency on the advice of someone I was working out with at a smelly gym.

I figured I could weasel my way into a filing office type job and develop marketable skills. when I walked in not knowing too many computer programs, they saw a strapping 27 year old man who was rapidly gaining weight and thought that hauling boxes at a import/export warehouse would be perfect.

This would be the start of my downward trend of my pride. In order to stop this trend I needed to get Pipe Dreams on track. It had been rejected a half dozen times already. I needed to change some things to change the minds of those who look at these things.

The most radical change I made to Pipe Dreams in the 7th set of strips was that I switched from a pen nib to a Windsor Newton Series 707 brush. I had practiced it in my sketch pads, and thought I was ready to work with it. The reason was that my favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes made use of brush and you are not going to find a better rendered comic strip to be inspired by.

I was pretty good using the brush on organic forms like people and foliage but when it came to man made objects it looked really bad and it was evident in this set of Pipe Dream strips. If I used a brush to do straight lines my hand would shake and look sloppy. If I used a pen nib, the contrasting appearances made Pipe Dreams look amateurish.

These set of Pipe Dreams strips featured some progress in the characters of Rachel and Anais. In dating Sonya, I was getting some insight on the female psyche, but she is a unique person so I shifted some of her personality traits to Anais, which made her a more fleshed out character. Rachel's personality took on the traits of a former room mate that Sonya couldn't stand.

Although I wasn't up to speed in my brushwork skills, I was proud of the way my characters were fleshed out. The baseball storyline with dirk and Skat is one I enjoyed and I look forward to re-working on it in the future, either on the blog or when I get syndicated.

The beach gags were okay, but I'm amazed at how true it rings to me these days, now that I live near beaches that have a view of the city. I was winging it at the time. It had been 7 years since I visited the Jersey shore, a decade since I went to Coney Island, and the beaches near Seattle had a totally different feel to it.

Anyway, I was able to establish some Pipe Dreams character cliches that are evident in the following cartoons.

Ha, Ha Gritzko is clumsy!!!

Ha! Ha! A Pun That Mocks Dirk's promiscuous ways.

Ha! Ha! Buck's So hungry that he eats crayons!

Ha! Ha! Skat inadvertently commits blasphemy!

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