Monday, November 29, 2010

House of Fun

I built a house today!

I've been channeling Oscar the Grouch lately. Not because I have Seasonal Affective Disorder...quite the opposite! I'm really content with my job and living quarters with an awesome view and eucalyptus scent. Sadly, my happiness seems to be impeding my usual escapist fantasies and nightmares, which inspire many of my story and image ideas. And THAT makes me UNhappy, because I really enjoy writing and drawing comics, and NOW I have WRITER'S BLOCK and I feel COMPLETELY WORTHLESS!

This got me thinking -- I didn't always write for fun, and only when I felt like it. In elementary, middle and high school, I had creative writing assignments and two options: write a poem or story in time to meet the deadline, or receive an F. I usually did alright, even though I was forced.

When I was a kid, we had this neat advent calendar that folded into a 3D house. Doors and windows, each with a different message inside, were opened every day from the 1st through the 24th of December. Today, I made my own little house.

Check it out UNDER THE CUT!

Other than pop-ups, I never made 3D models before. Because of this, I decided to create a prototype on graph paper before making a larger model on watercolor paper.

I just winged it at first, but when I went to fold up my house, I noticed that the roof measurements were inaccurate (not that I had done any measuring). It was too short! This was completely due to my own laziness.

As you can see in the above diagram, I redrew the main part of the house, this time using the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the hypotenuse, a.k.a. the length of the roof. It worked! Not too surprising, since math is an exact science.

That's right, kids. Next time you're in geometry class passing notes to your friends that say, "Why do I have to learn this?! I'll never have to use this in my life!" Remember, maybe some day you'll have your own art/creative writing/comics/librarianship blog, and you'll have to make a 3D paper house, and if you don't know the Pythagorean Theorem you won't be able to measure a roof correctly.

After verifying that my measurements would work, I did the real thing on watercolor. I used this scale: 1 unit of graph paper = 1 centimeter.

And then I painted my house/garage/chimney and used an Xacto knife to cut 3 out of 4 sides on my windows and doors, so I can later fold them out to reveal little drawings.

And then I used tabs to glue the house together. Now I have a little advent calendar!

So, I thought making an advent calendar would be a good way to force myself to write and draw something CREATIVE every day. Yes; providing I'm alive, well and with Internet access, I'll be writing and drawing a little something EVERY DAY from December 1st through 24th and posting it to this blog. I'm dependable, if nothing else. You can count on me!

And who knows -- perhaps this will be my most accessible endeavor yet! Frequent, short messages seem to be on trend these days, while weekly, 5 to 6 page pen and ink comics are old hat!

I'll try to keep it funny. See you Wednesday!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In the Closet

Read it once, read it twice, read it chicken soup with rice.

"Back to the Suture," (c)2010, Chrissy Spallone

Happy Halloween from Bibliowhining!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Art Lover

Some mistake me for a cold-hearted woman, but I very much love people -- especially specific ones. I greatly appreciate the few friends who take the time to get to know me, and I enjoy having them over to relax, drink tea, watch TV, read comics and do whatever they want (except drugs). I want people to feel comfortable in my home, it's a great place to chill out and escape to a different world. If someone hangs out with me long enough, I'll probably turn him or her into artwork.

It beats drawing travelers on subways. That's fun, too, but sometimes my "model" leaves at the next station.

Tune in next time for "Back to the Suture," a good old-fashioned horror story.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just Three Colors

Here's a little video of me mixing colors and painting, with a soundtrack by Joe Raposo. I hope you enjoy this awesome music.

Some people like my color palette. I only use three colors, plus white, to mix all the colors I need. Just like in the Sesame Street song. The song makes it sound so easy, and it really is. Nobody needs to spend hundreds of dollars buying a long list of oil paints at the art supply store. Here's my M.O., in case the video was hard to follow (it's fast). I start out with blue, yellow and red and make orange, green and purple. Then I mix the color complements (yellow and purple, red and green and orange and blue) to make colorful grays, which I soften up with a lot of white.

It's easier to paint when everything is in the same color family. It's really easy to put a blue-ish orange against an orange-ish blue to build up shadows, and slap a pure orange or blue next to it to make a small detail pop out. I've done this with all my paintings lately...maybe it's the only way I know how to paint.

I think that's how Wayne Thiebaud does it, too.

I've explained my color mixing strategy before, but I'm not sure how many readers go back 50 entries to read my older stuff.

See you next time, hopefully with portraits.

Friday, October 1, 2010


"Ram-Bam-A-Lam" (c) 2010, Chrissy Spallone

Want more Mediocre Narcotica? Read all their songs by clicking on the "Mediocre Narcotica" label in the side navigation panel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fitter Happier

Here at Bibliowhining, I put my popularity and ad revenue above all else, and change with the times to pander to today's audience. I've noticed that the formula for success, as demonstrated by VH-1 countdowns and what Cracked Magazine has become, is to make all your shows and articles in list format. Sometimes I browse through the magazines at the CVS. MAD, Games and Nickelodeon Magazines aren't there anymore, but there's always this magazine called Cosmopolitan which looks exactly the same each time, and has the same lists on the cover every month: "192 Ways to Please Your Man," "10 Ways to Get a Flat Tummy"...the lists go on!

In hopes of pleasing my audience, here's Five (5) Simple Ways You Can Lose Weight, Slim Down, and Reduce Excess Fat!

Five (5) Simple Ways You Can Lose Weight, Slim Down, and Reduce Excess Fat (c) 2010, Chrissy Spallone
I also got a new cat last week. His name is Rover.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Bibliowhining is back, and that means our favorite jerk Dunkin Swine is also back!

"Dunkin's Drivers" (c) 2010, Chrissy Spallone

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Six Pack

Here I sit like someone out of the "Stuff White People Like" blog, transcribing stuff into my text editor from my Moleskine notebook. At least it's not a Mac.

Those of you lucky enough to have watched the short, hilarious film from my last entry may have learned that I don't define myself or dictate my happiness through my work, as in the kind of job I have, but through something that will probably never offer me any financial stability -- my hobbies!

I enjoy working in libraries, and I get plenty of satisfaction from helping others with their research and learning bits of trivia in the process, but right now I'm enjoying the fact that my freelancing job, if silly, takes very little of my time while providing me with the financial stability I need to feed myself goulash and tea every day and live in my beautiful, quiet apartment. I briefly felt some shame and guilt in not being able to immediately "work" my Master's Degree, but I'm not alone. The economy is down, and I'm doing what I have to do to make ends meet in the mean time. Actually, I'm doing more than making ends meet. I'm really making mad bank right now, I'm not gonna lie. "Mad bank" for me, as it turns out, is equivalent to like, I'll be up front with you here and could care less if you think this is chump change, $600 a week, but that is way more than I need. I have this amazing power to stretch and save cash, even though I'm one of the last few people around who pays money for (a whole lot of) music. It's magic!

Besides making mad bank, this freelancing gig is also giving me lots of appreciated free time to do a different kind of freelancing -- and that kind of freelancing requires a Moleskine notebook.

Me and the Moleskine have been BFFs since I first discovered it in 2004 as "The notebook used by Van Gogh and xyz important person". Being sort of a modern-day Van Gogh myself, I couldn't resist! Initially, I used the Moleskines to record some of my deepest personal feelings and reflections on my daily happenings. What a waste, right? When people come over to visit and flip through the Moleskine library on my desk, expecting brilliant nuggets of wit, scripts and raw artwork, I silently hope that they'll lose interest before making their way to the older, more emo volumes of yore. I was just a 20-year old kid back then. I didn't know any better.

Now we're in the bronze age of Moleskine. These notebooks are where all my comic scripts are born, and where I sketch people on trains and other public places to inform future, more "serious" drawings. The only thing the Moleskine doesn't do so well is absorb ink. Sure, there's the watercolor notebook, but that's just too precious! I want a notebook that lets me sketch people in pencil, just like in the sketchbook, but also allows me to ink over my drawings with a dip pen. So I'm going to make one!

How To Make a Low-Rent Moleskine Notebook

The first thing I did was cut all the pages for my notebook. I'm using bristol board to fulfill my need for a "cartooning" sketchbook. You can use any type of paper you please, but be aware that thicker paper is more difficult to work with. I used a ruler to measure, then marked off the dimensions of my paper according to the original Moleskine size -- their pages are 7"x5.5". It's a good size. These papers must be folded in half, though, so I'm marking off 11" x 7" pages which will later be folded in half. I absentmindedly marked my dimensions backwards in this visual aid, as I now see. Darn it. I should tell you now that I figured out a lot of this stuff from Michael Shannon's Moleskine tutorial, but mine isn't as fancy as his.

Next, I used an x-acto knife on a hard, unvaluable surface to cut out all of my pages according to the guidelines I drew above. Depending on how thick you want your notebook, you can cut out as many pages as you like, as long as it's a multiple of six. I wanted my notebook to be three signatures thick, so I cut out 18 pages.


What I'm doing in this picture is something called "folding". It is important to fold the sheets you cut out so that you'll have a nice Moleskine-sized book rather than a bunch of sheets of paper stapled together. I "kissed corners," as my first grade teacher explained folding to me, and used a pencil to make my folds sharp. I did this with each and every one of my sheets of paper.

Here's where my blog title comes from. I have "packed six" of the folded sheets of paper together, like so, to make a signature. Of course I've done some sloppy cutting and whatnot, but the most important thing is to align all the spines and make sure the bottom of the stack is flush. It's okay if the top and side edges are a bit crooked, or cattywompus (sp?) as Dr. Lavender likes to say.

I made three signatures in all, each with six of my folded papers.

Who knew that that binder clip would ever see the light of day again? I collected all my signatures together, making sure that the spines and bottoms were even, clipped them, and marked the spine for where they will be sewn later. All the needle holes have to be in the same place for the book's signatures to be even in the finished book.

Then I separated the signatures again. To make holes for the sewing needle, I folded the spine over the edge of my CD case. You can use the edge of any unvaluable surface. I used a pin to poke holes in the markings I made earlier. I did this for all three of the signatures, one signature at a time. Again, make sure that the spine and bottoms of each page are even as you do this.

Check it out! Here are my three signatures with their perfectly placed holes.

And now for the sewing supplies. Needles, thread, and wax.

I waxed a couple inches of the needle side of the thread, since I didn't double the thread like when I sew fabric. Don't double up the thread. The wax will hold it in place (or should, it slipped a few times for me). Thread a long strand, you can cut it later.

Sewing the first signature now. I left a little bit of thread (about 2 inches) hanging out where I started. I just threaded the holes I already punched.

In this pic, I'm marrying the first signature to the second signature. When I finished threading the holes in the first signature, I entered the thread into the first hole of the second signature, then went back and forth between rethreading the first holes and threading the second signature's holes for the first time, to "marry" the two together. Then I "married" the second signature with the third, last signature using the same back-and-forth threading. Isn't this complicated to explain. Does it make sense to you? There was also bloodshed and I'd recommend a thimble if you're using thick paper.

Here's what your spine will look like when you've threaded all the signatures together.

Paste gauze onto your new spine, and cut away excess gauze. I know that my cutting techniques are the best you've ever seen.

When the glue dries, trace your little Moleskine innards onto another sheet of paper, which will ultimately be the inside cover. Trace the spine, too so you'll know where to fold and glue. You'll notice that I've drawn an extra panel on the right there, with some tabs. I like and use the Moleskine pocket, so I made a pocket for my low-rent Moleskine.

Cut out and fold like so...

Now glue the spine of your signature pack onto the spine of the inside cover. Also, glue the tabs down to make a pocket. I sandwiched a ribbon between the signature spine and inside cover spine to make a little notebook.

Isn't this fun? I then traced and cut out the outside cover onto a piece of cardboard, a material of which I have an abundance. You can use something a little more classy if you wish. Just make sure it's sturdy enough to meet your needs, and will hold glue well. To finish, I glued the whole outside surface of that "inside cover" page, and glued all over the cardboard and married them together. To make sure the glue held well, I closed the book and pressed it between my two CD cases. Or dictionaries or whatever are fine.

Now I have a ghetto moleskine!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Brick in the Wall

Sabbatical's over, and the second season of Bibliowhining has begun!

To celebrate my return to the blogosphere, enjoy a video in which my friend Karl and I discuss art, technology, education and our futures. It's worth a viewing, and there is new original artwork contained within. See the man behind the pig mask.

My personal life? I have a new place now -- a bright, spacious studio apartment in South Jersey, right off the Patco speedline to Philly. Much better than my old apartment, which I didn't mind so much, but that place was definitely a boy's club. I had one girl over there during my two years in Syracuse, and got an extended earful from her about the unacceptability of my living quarters. The only thing missing in my apartment is a pet... if you or anyone you know has a surplus of male kittens, sent one my way. A gentle cat with a nice disposition, not one that enjoys excessive scratching and gnawing. Neutered would be great.

Come visit sometime. We can have fun drinking good tea, listening to vintage punk albums and reading weird comic books.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Michael Jackson

I'm sure that some readers have noticed my use of a Michael Jackson song title for each of my posts (with the exception of "Eat It", a Weird Al Parody of "Beat It"). It's becoming increasingly difficult to find a poignant MJ song title for each entry, so from now on, I'll just use the titles for songs I like. Who knows, maybe I'll introduce people to some great music that way.

The theory of the Bibliowhining "business" is to share my artwork and art tips. Have you seen this one yet? From 2006...

 Christina Spallone, 2006

Don't give up on Bibliowhining. I'm in a transitional period right now...I just moved out of Syracuse and am currently unemployed and living with my parents. I really liked Syracuse -- there were certain things about that town that were ideal, and I will miss it. I doubt I'll ever find a better cafe than Recess Roastery...I always felt comfortable there. The owners were friendly, and their coffee drinks, sandwiches, and desserts were excellent. I appreciate when people take pride in their work. I had a dream about one of their mysteriously-named coffee drinks, the Kuato. I dreamt that I asked what a Kuato was, and the answer was that it's a coffee drink made with one's own blood after getting a piece of flesh torn open. I'm sure it's nothing like that, though.

Halo Tattoo was also ideal. I got my first tattoo there, and, knowing nothing about getting a tattoo, I went in with this ridiculously complicated sleeve design, a combination of Jim Woodring's panels from The Frank Book. This design consisted of an onion-top house with surrounding pebbles, rocks, and mountains, and a starry sky with windstrips in the background. One of the artists, Mike, looked at this and was all excited about doing it. It turns out that he's a big underground comics fan, and has been for a long time -- he has an original copy of Boiled Angel and everything. The tattoo took three sessions and about ten hours to complete, during which I listened to appropriate tunes such as "Fresh Flesh" by Fear. Now I have this awesome tattoo that is unlike any other tattoo I've seen. It's really a work of art. I wanted to get another one, but there's a limit to what I can afford. I don't know if I'll ever find another tattoo artist like that -- I got really lucky in finding the perfect tattoo artist for the job. I joked with one of my friends, who is staying in Syracuse, that he should get the tattoo for me and then we can exchange skin grafts. He was a little creeped out by my joke -- perhaps I should ease up on the dark humor.

I even liked the job I had in Syracuse. Some people might think that cataloging is boring, but I didn't mind -- I appreciated working in a field I was actually studying, as opposed to making sandwiches all day. My boss was respectful and had a good sense of humor, and I could pick my own hours, which allowed me to wake up, go to work, and then have the rest of the day to myself to read or work on my hobbies.

Syracuse has a prominent hardcore scene which I would have liked to check out. The thing is, I don't have any friends who are into that kind of music, and I'm shy about going to concerts by myself. It takes a while for me to get to know people, and I've never been the type to just go up to a person and strike up a friendship. I've had friends in the past, in high school, who were into punk rock, but they've all either moved away or took a turn for the worst. It's really sad getting to know a person when you're just a kid, sharing secrets, going on adventures, and then seeing them grow up and waste their lives on drugs and/or alcohol.

What do you think? Is it weird to go to concerts and stuff by yourself? What do you do in those situations?

Well, I'll miss Syracuse. Overall, it was a positive experience, and I really hope someone gives me a chance to prove myself in the workforce. I can't wait to get my independence back, and apply the skills I learned in library school.

I'm watching Edward Scissorhands now, one of my favorite movies. I really relate to the main character.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lisa, It's Your Birthday

Bibliowhining celebrates its first anniversary today!

Scroll down, and you'll see all sorts of fun lists, including an
index of all the comics I've published here, top ten lists, and more!

From the beginning, I tried my best to stay focused
on this blog's theory of the business: to share my artwork
and insights about comics, a sadly misunderstood, yet
universally beloved genre. I'm a good draftsman, but not
good enough or well connected enough to make a living as
a professional artist (at least not by doing the things I love
to do) -- I wanted to set this blog apart from the Webcomics
by making it educational as well as (I hope) a source of eye
candy and amusement.

It took a long time for me to pick up all my cartooning tricks --
as an undergrad, I learned a few tricks which helped me to
become a better draftsman, but there were no cartooning classes
or teachers who were familiar with comics. It was a long journey
figuring out how to draw them so they would be suitable for
reproduction (as opposed to being hung up for a gallery show),
and what materials to use and everything -- I took bits and pieces
from Comics Journal interviews and other cartooning articles, and
learned a lot by viewing original comic artwork.

My artwork improved rapidly with each new trick I learned --
after discovering each new secret, I recoiled in horror at artwork
created even a week before learning the trick. The tips I learned
are so simple, so I wanted to put them all out in the open. Not to
put art schools out of business (I think only 2 people read this,
anyway), but to spread comics awareness and give any future
unpopular underground cartoonists a head start.

Bibliowhining also exists as an alternative to the alternative --
I'm not so fond of the memoir/super-serious introspective
comics that are in vogue today -- I certainly have opinions about
our society and culture, but I try to voice them through amusing
fictional burlesques. I (regrettably) did a couple introspective
comics a couple years ago, and am utterly horrified by them now.
I'm happier with the stories I currently produce.

Bibliowhining is also for librarians.

Thanks for supporting Bibliowhining!

Enjoy a list of all my comics, art tutorials, and other fun stuff UNDER THE CUT.


Top Ten Most Popular Entries:

Though comics are the most popular feature of my
site as a whole, the most popular entries seem to be
the silly, random ones.

1. Eat It -
A parody of Katie Lee Joel and Sandra Lee-esque lame "recipes". With paintings!
2. Gone Too Soon - A tribute to my 14-year-old late schnauzer, Peppy, including artwork I've featured him in over the years
3. Fall Again - The enchanting "pop-up book" entry
4. Remember the Time? - The "Ames Lettering Guide" entry
5. They Don't Care About Us - In which Chrissy discusses her
fondness for old advertisements, and her sadness that they are often
omitted from electronic periodicals. With special guest star Ty Templeton!
6. You Are My Life - A "rhymic narrative" spoofing Alison Bechdel's Fun Home
with bunnies!
7. Ease On Down the Road - An older comic from when I suffered from
"Crumbitis". Also, why blue pencil is evil.
8. History: Part 1 and Part 2 - HILARIOUS writing, drawings, and comics
from middle school and high school. Enjoy parodies of your favorite stories and
poems from the high school honors curriculum AND MORE!
9. D.S. - "Write what you know," they say, and I know plenty about job interviews.
10. Carousel - A peek into the not-so-distant future -- one of my most
beloved stories.

Chrissy's Top Ten:
Some additional entries that I enjoyed, not including posts
already mentioned or recent posts already on the main page.

1. Dancin' Machine - There's a new kid in town, his name is
Diogi, and his breed is Bichon Frise/ possible Shih-Tsu/terrier.
2. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Punk's not dead, yet! Not with a band like
Mediocre Narcotica, and lyrics like I don't need your stupid house with a white picket fence!/ No, I don't need your stupid house, so you can go get bent!
3. Man in the Mirror - The beginning of Bibliowhining...when I decided to
"make a change" and become a new man -- a blogger.
4. Black or White? - "Coke fiend Chris" gets a makeover. The oldest comic on
Bibliowhining (not counting the old notebook drawings linked in the above list).
5. Smooth Criminal - An amusing comic about librarians... and murder!
6. Shake Your Body Down to the Ground - The illustrations I did for The
Salt Hill Journal
7. Big Boy - A white boy, a friend of mine, goes to China.
8. Liberian Girl - I thought this political cartoon I drew was incredibly
hilarious. I hope people pay attention to the little details I put into my drawings.
9. I Just Can't Stop Loving You - An insight into my culture.
10. Heal the World - I really enjoyed making this entry. I really cracked myself
up with it. It's a parody of the green movement. Lots of sly puns... it's a really stupid entry. I should have put this as #1, but I didn't order my list.

Complete List of All Chrissy Spallone Comics By Title
Comics are the best thing about Bibliowhining.

American Idling (excerpt, 2008) - "Why didn't THEY join ME?"
Brain Food (2010) - "I found this fun toy while going spelunking yesterday..." CONTENT
- Bun Home (2008)
- "There was a little bunny and he lived a bunny life/That every day in
every way was filled with bunny strife."
- Car Wreck (2008) - "Cheese and Crackers!"
Chop Schtick (2009) - "I guess if you don't understand the lyric of a song, it's the rhyme
that attracts you."

- Coke Fiend Chris (2004/2009) - "Do you like Tom Petty, man? Do you like Tom Petty?"
Donkey Rides (2009) - " leaches!"
InVacebook (2010) - "Yo yo yo, I like dis show!"
Karl in China (2009) - "And speaking of Phillies, there's a Philly over there I wouldn't
mind sliding into home with."
Latte Payment (2010) - "I like my coffee like I like my women."
Lights Out (2010) - "I think there's something wrong with my wiring."
- Mediocre Narcotica: Beat Yer Meat (2010) - "Do you really need that burger from the
Burger King?"
Mediocre Narcotica: Job Interview (2010) - " Look, fool! I shaved my head today! Does
that negate qualifications from my resume?"
- Mediocre Narcotica: Revenge of the Nerds (2010) - "POW POW! There goes the
B.M.O.C.! He never got the chance to finish R.O.T.C.!"

- Mediocre Narcotica: You're Losing Your Edge (2010)
- "Joey was a hardline one
Saturday night/ He sat sick and tired of the same old Sprite!"
Middle of the Road (2009) - "I think I shall stand here for a~while."
- Pain Branch Library (2009) - "I need to return some library books."
Pound Cake (2006)
Slob Interview (2010) - " 'GRAPHIC NOVELS' ...HAH!"
- Swiner Living (2009) - "No use crying over spilled milk!"
Tales from the Stix (2009) - "It's the women. They are crazy."
The Proper Education of Your Children is of Great Importance! - "Buy war bonds."
A World Without Surprises (2010) - "People just throw a bunch of garbage around on
the floor, call it 'art'..."

The Art Lessons

Figure Drawing: Bibliowhining stresses the importance of sketching
people in their natural habitat, as shown in the posts Ain't Nothin' Like
The Real Thing
, In the Back, and Off the Wall. Sometimes, however, one must resort to supplementing with photography (Dancin' Machine), or using oneself as a model (Man in the Mirror).

Painting: Human Nature gives insights into how I mix colors.
Beat it shows the sketches I sometimes use for a painting.

Realistic, Michelangelo-like drawing: Who Is It takes you step-by-step
through the process of drawing a portrait or other realistic
object, concentrating on form and shadow. I'm glad that this drawing
looks horrible to me now; that shows that I've improved over the year.

Cartooning: ABC shows how I draw a comic from start to finish.

Materials: ABC shows all the materials I use in my cartooning,
but the posts I Just Can't Stop Loving You,
Blood on the Dance Floor, and Ease on Down the Road
go more deeply into specifics, and the trials and
errors I went through to find the right materials.

Photoshop: In Shake Your Body Down to the Ground and
Black and White, I share my limited yet useful knowledge
of Photoshop.

Lettering: In Remember the Time, I show you how to use the
Ames Lettering Guide to letter your comics, even
though I don't know how to use the Ames Lettering Guide,
and I don't think anyone else uses it.

Bookmaking: In Speechless and Fall Again, I share some of the bizarre
little books I've made.

Submitting your work: Heartbreaker and Shake Your Body... detail my
experiences submitting work to publishers. There
is failure and there is success, but failure can be more

Thanks for reading Bibliowhining, this nightmarishly
formatted little blog! I hate this template, as I
would like to have a side navigation and avoid these
long lines of text, but this is the only template offered
by Blogger that lets me display images as large as I do.
If I use the template that most people do, my images get
chopped up. So thanks for your patience!

There's also an archive at the bottom of this page that
I suspect isn't getting much love, but it has
lists of entries by topic if there's anything in
particular that you're interesting in reading.

-Chrissy Spallone

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Burn This Disco Out

Happy 4th of July! And if you're going to a BBQ this weekend, don't forget to say:

"Take Your Meat and Beat It!" (c)2010 Chrissy Spallone

I already used "Beat It" as a post title.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing

I spent a few hours this week being "creepy", watching and drawing folks at the Thorden Park community swimming pool. I love it when the weather gets nice enough that I can do this -- in some ways, it is superior to being in a figure drawing class...

For one thing, there are kids. Even when kids are just lying there sunbathing, they're never boring. They never stay in one spot for long, so I really have to rush my drawings, knowing that time is limited. Their complete lack of self-consciousness is also a plus. One kid passed me by, noticed I was drawing people, and shouted, "SHE'S AN ARTIST!" In the past, I've also had kids come up to me and ask if they could draw with me, like I was a peer. Kids are great.

Also, there is more diversity, both in body types and in ethnic groups. I don't draw people because I'm too cheap to buy a subscription to Playgirl; I'm more interested in learning to draw a variety of "types" than how attractive a model is. I haven't seen an obese person sign up for figure drawing classes, and in fact most of the models are slim, non-muscular milquetoast collegiate types OR senior citizens. This was my experience; yours may vary. At this community swimming pool, I can have my pick of the dozens of models, and can choose the most interesting or "useful" characters.

"Professional models" aren't very natural in their posing. Many just sit there, or recline. Even when they try to be natural, it's hard to imagine the gestures people use in their day to day lives, and model them. I need these gestures when drawing comics, if I want to create a believable cast of human characters.

The only drawback is that people are always moving around, so it's challenging and at times
barely possible to capture the gestures I want. Forget about adding detail.

So Chrissy, why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer!
If I wanted to impress everyone with my Michelangelo-like drawing skills, I could do that, but I would learn much less from the experience. Drawing from moving models, I have to adapt myself to capture as much information as I can in what is sometimes only a few seconds. These are moving little kids! My skills develop more rapidly when I'm under pressure like that. I can't fall into the trap of favoring and concentrating on one part of the person, e.g. the face. I have to quickly decide what information will be useful, and give equal time to all of it or I get nothing. This way, the anatomy becomes more intuitive and, when drawing figures in a comic later, I have an easier time drawing a variety of poses off the top of my head. I also refer to these life drawings quite a bit when drawing comics.
God bless you, thanks for reading!