I have no idea how to create pages but I'll figure it out eventually godammit

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ok, so what ELSE have I been up to lately?

I don't know if you guys have figured this out yet... but I kinda like watching ponies. I know! Shocking! I've managed to hide this little part of my life quite well I think! That's not all I've been up to though. There's only so many ponies you can watch when you're not buying baseball cards because they're boring and expensive. And as we all know, All Pony and no Pony makes Pony a Pony Pony. So I have been distracting myself with other pursuits as well. Here's one of them..

I've been doodling and sending drawings out in trade for a while. Nothing earth shattering, just some goofy doodles to throw into some trade packages for fun. A while back I got a custom sketch card in a trade package. I never got around to posting it am saving for an end of year 'best of' post, but I thought it was really neat. I also thought it was something I couldn't do myself. I scoffed at the "Draw your own sketch card" thing Topps did last year, more because I was too intimidated to try to think of anything to draw than anything else.

A couple of decades ago I drew a little. I wasn't an ar-teest or anything, but I liked to doodle and I took a couple of art classes in high school. Cartoons and comics have been an obsession of mine for way longer than baseball cards. I pretty much learned to read because I wanted to read comics. It helps my mom was also an artist when she was in high school and I got that influence. Even since I got a 'real' job though, I didn't really draw much. Just goofy doodles, when I could think of something clever. Or at least clever enough to amuse myself. (Hell, that philosophy explains 90% of this blog) My big problem is I think better in words than in pictures so writing comes easier than drawing. Combine this with the fact that other than some drafting and entry level art classes I never actually learned to draw properly. So while I enjoyed my doodles, I never really tried to progress beyond that.

Al here is important in this tale. Al is one of the first Braves cards I ever got, pulled from a pack way back in 1981. Not this one, the one I pulled is fairly mangled from excessive love. This photo of the Mad Hungarian looking fairly sinister is also freaking fantastic. One of the things I got to do in art class was paint a picture with acrylics. The assignment was to do something abstract, so I got a little surrealism in my abstract and painted a Joan Miro-inspired bit of weirdness with some odd little critters living in a similarly odd landscape that when turned on its side turned into the face of a skeeery monster. Monstrous Landscape, I called it. (yes I know I'll have to dig it up and take a picture after that description. I'll try to find it) Painting it was fun, and I had a couple of ideas for other paintings, but we moved on to something else in class and I didn't have the cash as a senior in high school to go out and buy a bunch of paints and canvases and brushes and such. So the painting career was over.

My wife has gotten a membership at the Atlanta High Museum of Art for quite a few years now. We usually hit the bigger exhibits when we can get away for a few hours. There's kid stuff there too so, hey family friendly. My favorite thing there by far is the outsider art exhibit, especially the stuff by the Reverend Howard Finster. Howard is from Georgia, he's got a distinct style all his own, his work has been featured on album covers by artists I like, and truth be told, he was a little bit nutty. I like nutty. There's a painting he did of George Washington I'm particularly fascinated by along with this Angel that I love to stare at every time we go to the High. Here's some Googled images if you like. .

Now, the thing about Howard Finster - and I know this sounds cliche - is that he's one of those artists whose work you look at and you think "Hell, I could do that". The thing is that it is true. Howard himself didn't even start doing art until he was 60. You can do that, the real trick is you just have to do it.

That's the hard part.

Now the story is up to 2009. Remember that year? Didn't that year just suck? It did for me at least. One thing about that year is that I had a lot of time to think about stuff. Stuff like what I really wanted to do with my life. Unfortunately I was also in a bit of a depression/panic at the time as well so thinking wasn't exactly my strong suit. Oh what I could do with the time of 2009, and the mental state of 2011... One thing I did decide on was after a trip to the High, and looking at that George Washington, was that I wanted to paint another picture. I already had acrylic paint in the house for the kids. I picked up a package of cheap assorted brushes. In lieu of an expensive canvas, I found a pad of art paper that could handle acrylic paint. I was all set. I wanted to paint 1981 Al. I just had to find time to do it. And then... I never did. The brushes and the paper sat in a box for a while, then I got my life back on track, then I got busy, and then... nothing happened.

Back to the present year. Jeremy at No One's Going to Read This Blog sent a package with the aforementioned sketch card that you'll see later this year. I'm ripping off Thorzul's practice of 1) not posting trades and 2) saving the best stuff for end of the year posts so you'll have to wait. Like I said before, it looked fantastic and I was intimidated by the quality and while I would have liked to do something of my own like that I felt I didn't have the talent. You know, typical scaredy-cat negative thinking. Then one day I said what the hell, I'll do it anyway and if it sucks no one will ever know so who cares? I'm beginning to become of the opinion that this attitude right here is probably the best way to have a good life. So I took the '81 Al idea, ditched the painting, took one of the Target security tag cards from a pack of Topps and some #2 pencils and did this:

It wasn't... terrible. And it was kinda... fun? Compared to my handwriting, my art ain't half bad. Of course I had to put the 1/1 MOJO mark on the card. I was still a baseball card geek after all. So after that I started doodling more and more. Collective Troll has somehow gotten 4 of my doodles. I didn't even realize I'd sent him that many packages. So then recently I got mixed up in the whole Pony thing.




Well, no, because this is relevant. One thing about this whole Pony Madness fandom I've gotten ensnared into by virtue of my second-born child's lack of a Y chromosome is that there is a hell of a lot of fan-based artwork out there. A whole lot of it is actually not disgusting! Because 1) Pony fans are crazy obsessive* and 2) Ponies are amazingly easy to draw. Due to the cultish friendliness of the fanbase always trying to help each other out, there are also a whole bunch of drawing tutorials floating out there. Actual real tutorials! Where you have to draw the circles and the lines and block out the skeleton and stuff before you grab a pencil in your mitt and ham-handedly start carving lines into the paper so deep that the only way to erase a mistake is to have the paper recycled into pulp and made into brand new paper otherwise known as My Drawing Style. I might have picked up one or two of them on a certain image board that shall remain nameless. And I might have actually started to finally draw properly by drawing marshmallow ponies. And since it had previously been established that I enjoy drawing... and I had managed to become obsessed with miniature cartoon equines... well, what the hell was I supposed to do? Not have fun? Where's the fun in that?

So, on September 1st I idly doodled Pinkie Pie on a scratch pad at work while I was on the phone. Not even sure why, it just kinda happened. When I came home that night I decided to try to actually draw something for real on a sheet of paper without lines on it. A few beers later, I had a page full of sketches. Mostly not even pony related! And it was fun! So from there, I've been drawing every day - I sometimes have problems remembering to put on pants every day - usually during free time I would normally be blogging. Sorry 'bout that. All blog and no play makes Homer a Pony something? Lucky for you, a lot of the drawings are baseball related which means there is some fresh content for the blog coming through the pipeline. And in bubble mailers. So that's what I've been up to lately and what you have to look forward to on the blog now that I'm completely sick and tired of new non-sticker related product.




Eric L said...

If you're ever looking for a new home for your sketch card, I'm pretty sure it would fit VERY nicely into my mustache set. Just sayin.

Dhoff said...

I'm a big fan of Joan Miro. Keep at the drawing, man. Making art is the only way we can make sense of this messed up world. I look forward to seeing more drawings.

Oh yeah, and, ponies.

Chris Harris said...

If you like outsider art, you will LOVE Wesley Willis. Not Wesley Wesley Willis the paranoid schizophrenic keyboard rock star, but Wesley Willis the pen-and-ink skyline artist. ROCK ON CHICAGO!