I’m a self-taught comic book artist. I took art classes every chance I had at Marsh Valley High School back in Idaho, but it wasn’t as if we did any kind of comic book style drawings. I did get the amazing opportunity to do an animated short in a, art class the year we lived in the West Chester Pennsylvania area. I don’t have a copy of it but remember a stoner friend and I created a rock-shaped character that liked to get stoned. Subtle. I know. She also made pot brownies in our baking class. I later took some craft and ceramics classes in college and then pretty much stopped doing art until I was laid up after my 2003 injury. I started working sporadically on (unpublished) graphic novel projects in 2013 or so.
The point I wanted to make was that I don’t really use the guides that many artists do. I don’t draw squares and rectangles to make out the human form, or trace perspective lines back to a vanishing point.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting this is better. It’s not. It’s lazy. In fact I have read some of what I should be doing, and I’m willfully ignoring the advice, even though it would make me a better artist. And it means that I often don’t have a lot of consistency in terms of the details of a character’s features. Also I rely pretty much on my gut for how to do perspective or what size different body parts are comparatively. This is why I will never work for Marvel. (Just one of the reasons)
Why don’t I try to be better? It all comes down to my sense of time. I never have enough of it. When I am able to work, I do so as much as I can. Diane and I have always been workaholics, to the point that we don’t really stop working on weekends or vacation, we just shift what we are working on. We do a job and then we write, or do art, or watch film and television and read books that we’re going to write about for publication.
I’ve had this “problem” for a long time. When I was first trying to make the career shift that led to me becoming an open space ranger, I originally thought about going back to school. But I was too impatient to wait another 3-4 years to get a related Ph.D. I wanted to get outside and work in the field right then. So I took a poorly paid summer park assistant position with a bunch of teenagers and immediately fell in love with the job.
So that’s how I am with creative endeavors. I have 3 graphic novel projects in process. I’m working on a sequel to my literary novel Swimming Upstream, and I’m constantly thinking of other ideas I’d love to flesh out, other projects I’d like to do. I already have so little time, it feels like it would be literally painful to spend even an hour learning how to draw better when I could just be drawing right now and get closer to seeing my projects completed.
Anyway, so here’s me drawing the Ripple Fx character Obrahim, a Sierra Leone diamond miner who is being smuggled into Spain as part of a plot that Part One’s main character Journo, a Black HIV+ journalist, is trying to unravel.
New episodes of Ripple Fx drop every Wednesday.