Black Hammer

Currently, my favorite comic series is Lemire’s Black Hammer (and all of its spinoffs). I’ve been practicing sketching the characters and can almost do them from memory now… but not quite. Here’s a practice sketch on watercolor paper I’m going to try coloring. Wish me luck.

You Can’t Get a Suntan on the Moon…but I Wouldn’t Mind a Holiday There…

Listening to a little L&R today, obv.

I’ve been quiet here, but slowly working on a couple of projects, including some interior painting in my studio, a zine for the local bookstore (links in sidebar), and the thing I’m having most fun with: creating my own comic universe. It’s a lot of work, but it’s been pretty cool filling a notebook with the ideas that are coming to mind.

My poor book is not dead, it is merely pining for the fjords at the moment.

Practice

I’ve been messing about with some art and have decided to try a couple comic cover recreations so I can practice penciling, inking, and watercolors. I picked a couple of Black Hammer covers to try. All freehand, no rulers, lightboxes, or tracing.

I’m not great at art, but I think a lot of that has to do with lack of practice. I guess we’ll see. I’m not going for a perfect replica, just practicing and seeing if I can develop a style of some sort.

Well that de-escalated quickly

So the election is ongoing even though it’s already over except for the crying (and whining and complaining, etc). As for me, the month has not gone as expected, but I’m working on it. Did some sketches for the comic universe I’m messing about with and am having fun with that, creating a few characters and cultivating story germs that should be fun to try if I get that far. The art is probably going to be sloppy, but you have to start somewhere. As long as it’s fun, I’ll keep chugging along.

So there.

Boy, today was touch and go…and I knew it would be. With my inability to focus on one thing for more than about a half hour, and with the difficulty I have beginning challenging projects, let alone completing them…NaNoWriMo has officially begun. I’m not sure if I’m going to make a special page and an updating word-counter or not…but I’m definitely not doing it tonight.

I spent the majority of the day organizing and did a spot of test painting on one wall for a future project. That one will likely have to wait until December…but perhaps not.

While Inktober proved to be a smashing failure in its original intention, it actually spurred me on with some of the prompts to create a comic universe of my own. I’ve done it before (back in grade school) and have read about forty years worth of comics since….and I’m a writer so…why the hell not? This is a pretty long term project, but many of the core ideas have already taken shape, including the setting, time, long-term story arc…it could be fun if it takes over in my head long-term, but we still have a long way to go before that happens.

With this universe, I am hoping for at least some of the look and feel that Mignola gets with his Hellboy universe, but mine won’t look anything like his. I suppose my influences for looks will come more from Kindt and Lemire, though Mignola will not be absent. It will be a futuristic weird-sci-fi type world (more weird than sci-fi). With characters like The Angler, The Bulk, Petrol Man, Detritus, The Living Brain, this will not be a super serious world, but nor will it be light-hearted. The story will be a sort of unraveling mystery that takes place over three acts.

ANYway, back to the novel… I DID actually get some writing done at the last minute on The Mycelium Network. I sat on the couch in my studio to think about how I was going to approach this part of the book and it practically wrote itself before my eyes even closed. I don’t have a word count because it’s three pages of quickly hand-written scribbles in my Moleskine, but it’s a good start….better than I was expecting of myself if I’m being honest.

So my grade for today is probably a B-…that’s what it feels like. I got quite a bit done, but not nearly as much creating as I’d like…it’s likely just beginning intimidation after being idle creatively for so long. Baby steps and perhaps I’ll get around to the word counting tomorrow. I also would really like to get some art in the books and try out my new watercolors. I do need cover art for the aforementioned elsewhere in this blog comic zine for Peregrine Comics, so maybe I can do something for that.

Long-winded me is back. That’s a good sign for a productive writing Needles.

Music for my Writing Brain

I can never know what music will strike inspiration for my writing projects…it’s usually different for each piece that I write. I can’t even remember what I was listening to when I wrote my first book, but it’s buried in journals somewhere.

For the first quarter of The Mycelium Network, I relied primarily on The Beastie Boys release ‘The Mix-Up” which, despite its title, is not an album of remixes, but instead some (at the time) pretty experimental music-only tunes, no singing or rapping at all. A couple of the songs figure prominently in the mood of the first part of the book, “The Gala Event” figuring prominently among those tracks. I did also listen to a fair bit of music from the various Twin Peaks iterations, but mainly the soundtracks to both Season One and Season Three, both of which are stellar (to be expected from Lynch).

It’s looking like it’ll be Marilyn Manson’s new release ‘We Are Chaos’ doing the heavy lifting for the middle third (or so) part of the story. I’ve listened to this thing a couple dozen times by now and I think it’s become my favorite release of his. Pretty astonishing that he can make this kind of album thirty years after he started. I watched an interview with him yesterday and he seemed the most lucid I’ve ever seen him. Ever. Good on ya, Marilyn.

And guess what? I’m 100% done organizing. The first time I can say that since I moved back to Arizona two years ago.

Time to create.