I have a confession. I am not faring well enough to continue putting out a page of Hidden Kingdom every Saturday. I know that may sadden one or two obsessive-compulsive fans of Prince Flute psychologically torturing his adventure-mates. But there it is. Arthritis and lack of funds slow me down.
I am not saying I am giving up trying to finish the graphic novel and publish it in some form before I croak (and I don’t mean in the way a bullfrog does it), but the schedule has to accommodate even more physical challenges.
I have to spend more time driving for Uber in return for slave wages and unfair criticisms from dyspeptic passengers.
My drawing hand is letting me down with weather-related stiffness and muscle spasms.
And there are other projects that have to get some priority too.
I am re-reading Recipes for Gingerbread Children, marking up my personal copy for changes I need to make, so that I can re-publish it in better form before I try to seriously promote the hell out of it (too much Hell in anything is not a good idea, so I have to get some of it out).
I am also nearing the end of finishing When the Captain Came Calling. Soon I must think about publishing that book as well. It is turning out better than I thought it was going to be.
And I know that means leaving the poor Rascal naked in the middle of the story, but you never know, he might enjoy becoming a nudist.
I will get back to cartoon page-making as soon as possible. But for now, we are on hold.
I like to dig through old piles of artwork I have done to re-purpose things and mash things together to make weird art salad.
I used to play a Dungeons-and-Dragons-like game called Talislanta with groups of adolescent boys, most of whom had previously been my students in middle school. It was a weird world where weird things made artistical challenges for me that taught me to be a better and more imaginative artist.
Xeribeth was a member of an almost-human race that had yellow skin and wore colorful face tattoos. She also had to be somewhat alluring to trick adolescent boys into undertaking dangerous and possibly suicidal adventures (meaning characters who only lived on paper might die and have to be re-rolled with dungeon dice.)
Zoric, being a green Cymrillian wizard, gave me numerous opportunities to creative Kermit-the-frog-colored portraits. And he was a player character, so his greed and penchant for unwise actions decided on in the heat of battle (like turning himself into a fish-man while adventuring in the waterless desert) didn’t come from me.
Playing those games gave me training as a story-teller as well.
My efforts to see color with gradually worsening color-blindness led me to create eye-bashing color compositions that attempt to portray realistically things and feelings that can’t possibly be physically real. Thus I gradually became, over time, a surrealist (a juxtaposer of unlike and jarring things to deliver a visionary picture of reality) (How’s that for surrealistic gobbeldegook in definition form.)
I often solve the problems of my life by drawing something and making cartoonish comments with serious consequences.
Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the world on the inside of me is decidedly different than the world on the outside of me. But I have to live in both. And I can do that by drawing my colored-pencil Paffooney stuff, and posting it, and writing about it on a silly Sunday.
My morning was used up making a cover for The Baby Werewolf out of old works of art and art-editing programs. I will soon start the final edit and formatting of the book, and I hope to publish it in December. It is a related story to the one I just published, Recipes for Gingerbread Children. The two books share some of the same characters, events, and even dialogue. The two stories, however, have a very different focus and thematic approach to what happened. It is a gothic novel with humorous overtones. The Baby Werewolf himself is not really a werewolf. He is a boy with hypertrichosis, the werewolf-hair genetic disorder that gave Jo-Jo the Dog-faced Boy his carnival freak all-over fur. The story is a first-person narrative told by three different characters who all were in Recipes. Torrie Brownfield, the Baby Werewolf himself, is one of the three narrators. I can’t wait to see how this two-novel story arc comes together, and if anybody at all will actually read it.
Poor Aquaman. Breathing water and talking to fish is a lame superpower. He cannot save the world without help. Unless, of course, it is a fish-based evil spawned by an underwater supervillain.
That’s what it feels like to work for an hour on making a scan of my colored pencil tribute to the Aquaman art of Murphy Anderson. You don’t see the problem? My flatbed on my scanner is too small for this work of art. So, I must scan in it in pieces, then puzzle it back together with an art-editing program. Look carefully for the seams. You can’t miss them.
But when it all goes wrong, what do I do about it? Well, I pretend it makes a good post and that I wasn’t planning anything better, post it, and move on. So stop laughing at me for screwing it up. Aquaman can’t do any better. But, wait, this is a humor blog. Go ahead and laugh. I will take what I can get.
My goal, as I learn how to be a better self-published author, is to do all my own artwork. This is one of the advantages I have over working with the other publishers I have published books with. Page Publishing, to be fair, did use my artwork. But they also controlled the cover design (since that was what I was paying for).
Planning to publish two more novels this winter, I am working ahead to create effective covers. So let me show you how I fumbled together a cover today.
Here are the artwork elements that I started with;
I then put the elements together with a photo-editing program.
I then added the finishing touches with the paint program.
I can probably be satisfied with this result. But I am a fickle artsy-fartsy type who will probably fuss it all up well before I actually use it.