Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Classes

The Summer Semester


The summer semester started Monday in Sequential Art's Norris Hall, and most of the kiddies have gone home to see Mumsy and Daddums. For those of us staying, the building is sleepily quiet, empty hallways tread by a skeleton crew of professors and a few devoted students, mainly seniors intent on graduating, and grad students desperate to keep student loans down.   Norris Hall belongs to the graduate students during June, July, and early August, those of us too indebt to return to the natal nest, and too far gone in our work addiction to take a break. I found myself sitting in the grad lab on that first day of classes at 11 AM, working on pencils and waiting for my Studio III class to begin at 2.

New semesters begin well with reflection and aspiration, and I intend to do both today. My time here at SCAD is winding down, I won't graduate til Winter semester, but that only leaves six classes, two of which are art histories. Now is a good time to put heavy thought into that loaded phrase- "My future".  It's a scary thought.

I have found that I cannot follow in the footsteps of any one cartoonist in my journey to become a professional, though that's not to say I haven't tried.  The get popular schemes that seem to pan out for others always ring hollow for me, and  the advice that works for many others seems to fall flat.  I have finally learned that this is perfectly ok.  We all have to find our own paths.  The time of comparison to my peers is over as I struggle to make my own way. To do this, I need to tailor my goals to my strengths.

This semester marks an increase in workload, both assigned and self inflicted, that I welcome. My portfolio, skill set, and blog will all grow as I meet these challenges head on. After Anime South East in July, my convention schedule will die down, giving me time to work on new projects, build better content, and make new contacts, as well as an opportunity to reflect on my marketing strategies, both online and off. This is very much needed, as I feel like I'm floundering.

The Summer Schedule

I take classes year round, with these hot summer months being no exception.  I'll be spending every Monday and Wednesday at Norris Hall, either lurking in the grad lab, in Studio III with Ray Goto, or in Advanced Inking Techniques with our departmental dean, John Lowe.  I've gotten a little taste for these classes on Monday, and I'm pretty excited (and a bit intimidated) about the workload.

Studio III- Monday/Wednesday 2:00-4:30
Advanced Inking Techniques Monday/Wednesday 5:00-7:30

Studio classes at the graduate level are fairly free form, with a pace set by the students.  The intention is to give graduate students an in class opportunity to work on pet projects (or thesis comics), with the benefit of instructor guidance and in-class critique.   I'll be working on finishing up another When I Was 13 story (this time, I Rediscover Cartoons) and then I'll be doing some serious concept work and script writing for 7" Kara.   By concept, I don't mean just sketches (I have a lot of that already).  I mean turnarounds for the remaining characters (Naomi, Kara's parents, Tanner), character expression sheets, environment and object concepts (I have some sketches for these already), and color renders.  By the end of this semester, I hope to have a finished 10 page comic (When I Was 13: I Rediscovered Cartoons) and a basic pitch book for Kara.

Advanced Inking is a graduate level requirement and an undergrad elective, and a necessary course for me in more ways than one.  One of the major criticisms I've received about my work recently is about the inking (lineweight is too heavy, too static, ect), and I hope this class will break me out of my inking rut.  I've relied on Multiliners in the past because I know they are Copic safe, but Cassie (@ferretparty) has recommended I give the Kamei Drawing Ink a shot, as it's also Copic safe.  The workload in this class is pretty heavy, with 8 1 hour long assignments due weekly, in addition to other classwork, but I've seen the improvement in the work of my peers after taking this class, and I look forward to leveling up.

Re-prioritizing My Goals

Goal setting has always been a valuable tool for a disorganized me.   By comparing my current progress with my past goals, I can see how far I've come, and re-evaluate what I need to focus on in the future.  The last time I shared my goals with you guys was at New Years, and revisiting it, I still need a lot more work particularly in the areas of:

  • Grow my blog
  • Set more goals
  • Devise a better overall design for my blog- I’ve worked on this, but I’ve recently been informed that my blog is still too hard to navigate easily.
  • Publicize/advertise more- Time to shift focus away from the fashion bloggers, as it hasn’t had the intended affect.
  • Be a force for good- Ahaha.  I try.
  • Loosen up artistically (and socially)
  • Do more gesture sketches/sketch more from life- I feel like this should be ongoing.
  • Promote positivity- Could always improve on this.
  • Form alliances with other artists- Ongoing
  • Sell out at MoCCA- I didn’t, but I did make back my table costs, so I’m pretty satisfied.
  • Work on 7" Kara- Ongoing.
  • Do more Follow Fridays- Ongoing
  • Interact with those who inspire me- Ongoing.
  • Do more commissions
  • Talk to Scholastic- Sadly, they couldn't make it to Editor's Day this year.
  • Keep the apartment cleaner
  • Share more
  • Start Livestreaming again
  • Look for inspiration
  • Ask more questions
  • Have more adventures
  • Be more honest
  • Create a personal brand- Ongoing
  • Smile more
  • Be nicer to Tech Boy
  • Utilize website
  • Be positive
  • Streamline commissions
  • Live the life I want
  • Be grateful
  • See the good in others
  • Study art for me, not just for comics
  • Challenge myself
  • Work faster
  • Focus
  • Be more zen
  • Contribute more to SEQAlab



As you can see, I still have a lot to work on, and a lot of these goals are ongoing.  For this summer semester, I'm going to focus on:

  • Livestreaming (the weekly inking assignments are perfect for that)
  • Sharing more (again, weekly inking assignments will hopefully fulfill this goal)
  • Asking more questions (somehow, this inking class seems tailor made to helping me achieve  my goals)
  • Working faster (cough, see above, cough)
  • Challenge myself (always)
  • Look for inspiration
  • Hopefully, the improvement in my art will lead to Doing More Commissions, and I know my time in Studio III will lead to Doing More Comic Pages
It seems I have a lot of topics to write about, but not a whole lot of time to write them in.  I'll do my best to keep up with my past schedule (all even days of the month), but should that fail, I promise to at least update weekly.