Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's a Small Classroom, after all...

I'm keeping track of all the countries from which hail (or have hailed) my students. The list just keeps growing every year. The additions from the just ended school year are the island of Dominica, New Zealand, and Australia. The kids from the last two countries were not even friends with each other or in the same class. It just happened that those very close countries both ended up with representatives in my classes last year. Go figure. I don't know if I could write all the rest down from memory. Cameroon is definitely on there...

Puerto Rico
New Zealand
Cape Verde
Dominican Republic
Island of Dominica (sp?)
Sri Lanka
United States

Those are the 20 that I remember. I'm sure I'll have to update this list later when I recall who I've missed. :-)

Shine Some Light on the Situation

I am attempting to construct my own lightbox. I tried to use a couple of mini-flashlights at first for lighting but of course that really didn't work at all, especially since my box is so short. The "box" is constructed of two picture frames. The top is the two sheets of glass from the frames with tissue paper sandwiched in between. I'm going to krazy glue the frames together I think. But still need to get a fluorescent bulb for the box or it won't work. Hopefully there's a small enough bulb for my 11 x 14 "box".

By Request

Figure Drawing for All Its Worth is a pretty darn good text on drawing...well, figures. I started with this text by Loomis and have supplemented it with many other texts as well. He has several including one or two focusing solely on how to draw some of the two most difficult aka interesting parts of the human body (no, that's not what I'm talking about, get your mind out of the gutter)...I mean the head and hands.

This Phillipino blogger's site is a good starting place if you want to download these books by Loomis and other worthy art teachers. I'll link to some other sites with Loomis titles soon. I meant to just upload the files since I have them myself and would like to make them as widely available as possible to do this easily on Blogger? If you know, please do tell.

The Topic of the Summer

I've considered starting a new blog with the graphic novel project as it's main focus but decided to keep it all right here. Afterall, I don't write on this blog nearly enough and maybe I'm a little superstitious...every one of the other million blogs I've made for projects and goals has sat inactive for months or years and the project/goal that inspired each has been abandoned or all but. I can't help but think that most of the time, when I think I have a great blog idea, I really just have a great post for this blog. If only there were some fast way of consolidating all my blogs! That'd be vunderful. :-)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Why the Artist is Starving

So, as I said...I am learning to do graphic art. It seems that the brushes for inking drawings...well, for coloring/painting them after the outlines are already inked, are incredibly expensive. So much so that one ends up trying to decide between buying the paper, markers, paint, etc. for the traditional inked pictures and buying a graphic tablet like the Intuos 3 or even a tablet PC. Markers like the Sakura Pigma Brush Pens or the Copic Sketch Markers have these beautiful brush nibs so you can essentially paint without the hassle of painting (stretching the paper, etc.). You can even blend colors and so on but the prices are absolutely exorbitant. Of course the professional comic artists don't do their own inking at all, they do all the sketching in black and white and then send them on to another department, well ok...another person or two.

So, just wanted to register that complaint...about the exorbitant cost of doing this kind of art. If anyone has a set of Copics they would like to donate for a good cause, drop me a line. :-)

How to Draw Eyes

Some of the not so hidden potential of sites like YouTube is as an open university online, like so much of the internet, where people are sharing knowledge in new and really exciting ways. Maybe I should make videos of me solving math equations with some simlarly cool musical soundtracks. :-)

Travelling in the Twilight

A Post from Beppe Grillo.

"Someone has given me a book called "Viaggio nelle tenebre" {Travelling in the twilight} by the Centro Aurora, the National Centre for children who have disappeared and those who are sexually abused. I've read it. I felt sick. It's right that you too should feel sick. I will ask the publishers for permission to publish it on the blog.
It's a document on paedophilia, on organ trafficking and on Satanism. The principal actors: children. Stage: Italy

From the book:
"In Italy calculating exclusively the data on the declarations made from the year 2004 to March 2007, we see that there are 3,399 minors who have disappeared and are not yet found.
Some disappeared children will sadly be destined for organ trafficking like macabre spare parts. The estimates relating to this are to say the least chilling and they present a real table of prices…. 50,000 euro for a new born, 30,000 a liver, 15,000 the corneas
According to the Trieste District Anti-mafia Division, it is a place with a lot of traffic for the buying and selling of organs so much so that a dossier on the topic has been presented to the Ministry of the Interior. Pier Luigi Vigna, National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor has denounced that just in 2004 there have been about 30,000 victims of trafficking in human beings."

Italy is even active in imports from abroad:
"Italy is denounced by René Bridel, the UN representative of the International Association of Jurists for the Defence of Democracy, by the daily papers "La Nacion" in Buenos Aires, "O Globo" in Rio de Janeiro and "La Repubblica" in Lima: our country is defined as the biggest importer of Brazilian children, as the biggest purchaser.
Léon Schwartzenberg, euro-deputy, has stated that: "From 1988 to 1992 four thousand Brazilian children have left their country for Italy. The official reason is always adoption, but of these youngsters looking for a family only one thousand have been found alive….""

Graphic Novels, Comics, and Society

As some of you know already, I am working on producing a graphic novel this year. Therefore, a lot of my "free" time is spent researching whose shoulders I am attempting to clamber up on. The history of comic books it turns out, is really very interesting, especially as a lense through which to understand more about United States history. Well, perhaps lense is the wrong word but the history of comic books is indelibly linked to that of the country in which they were largely created and the politics of the society from which hail its writers.

In watching this documentary on comic books from the history channel, I found it particularly interesting that, during WWII, comic books were full of hyper-patriotic propoganda where the superheroes ran around beating up the enemies of America, the Nazis in particular...but they were (as they mention in the video) themselves representative of a Nazi ideal, that physically superior aryan male specimen of fantasy that dominates everyone else. This is of course not surprising given the ultra-racist dominant culture of United States itself. The writers of the comic books themselves had ended up writing those magazines of comics in the first place because they couldn't get a job writing comic strips in the respected newspaper business because they were Jewish. So the superheroes could go beat up the Nazis but mentioning that the holocaust was taking place was not going to happen and neither was demonizing the racist philosophies of the Nazis because, after all, our country shared many of the same beliefs.

Also of interest, that even when comic books have deeper storylines (like contemporary comics that question American policy surrounding the Iraq war and that would even go so far as compare the destruction of 9-11 to attacks carried out by the American Government on say...Dresden) none of that is translated to movies and other pop culture media through which those of us who don't actually read comic books on a regular basis understand who these comic book creations are. The layers are almost entirely lost in translation. However, since the essence of X-Men is it's message about bigotry, perhaps it was harder to make this more superficial or maybe its simply because in that case the original creators of the characters were involved in the development of the screenplay/movie.
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