“At a very early stage of the novel’s development I get this urge to collect bits of straw and fluff, and to eat pebbles. Nobody will ever discover how clearly a bird visualizes, or if it visualizes at all, the future nest and the eggs in it. When I remember afterwards the force that made me jot down the correct names of things, or the inches and tints of things, even before I actually needed the information, I am inclined to assume that what I call, for want of a better term, inspiration, had been already at work, mutely pointing at this or that, having me accumulate the known materials for an unknown structure. After the first shock of recognition—a sudden sense of “this is what I’m going to write”—the novel starts to breed by itself; the process goes on solely in the mind, not on paper; and to be aware of the stage it has reached at any given moment, I do not have to be conscious of every exact phrase.”
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I’ve got a lot on my plate, a large number of posts & mini-essays & short stories & longer works that I want to finish, but every now & then a big fat one just hangs in the strike zone so perfectly that I can’t help but smack that sucka right out of the ballpark.
In this case it was someone bringing to my attention last year’s “Men, Superheroes and Church” post by Don Murrow, which in turn was derived from “The Lure of Comic-Book Culture” by Stan Guthrie from a half year earlier.
sneers looks down his nose pooh-poohs dismisses contemporary pop culture, in particular the popularity of the superhero genre, quoting David Gelernter’s “America-Lite”:
“In 1960, the whole country knew Robert Frost’s poetry; Leonard Bernstein was reaching large TV audiences for classical music with his Young People’s Concerts on CBS; theater and ballet were thriving, reaching larger audiences all the time; Hemingway was only the most famous of America’s serious novelists; and American avant-garde painting was a topic for Life magazine.”
He then posits these reasons for the rise in popularity of comic book culture, in particular superheroes:
- Technology (computers, social media, enhanced graphics software) has made comics easier to produce and share.
- The phenomenon of extended adolescence has extended the attractiveness of comics as a pastime among many American adults.
- In an increasingly complex, morally confusing world, people are drawn to media that still promote the idea of good vs. evil—a common theme in comics.
- People want an escape from the grim and sometimes depressing news and events of the day.
- With the dumbing down of the population due to an increasingly ineffective public education system, people today have less ability and desire to read and to think deeply, making the relatively simple themes and plots of comic books that much more attractive.
- Despite (and perhaps because of) widespread cynicism in the culture, we still yearn for heroes.
Murrow agrees, claiming “Every one of Guthrie’s observations is true. But there’s a deeper reason men of this generation are so strongly drawn to superheroes:
Every man longs to be a hero himself – but today’s society offers men very few opportunities for heroic behavior.”
[brace yourselves; it gets brutal after the jump]
Looks nice, doesn’t it? This long exposure photo was taken by Cui Yongjiang in rural Yunnan Province in southwest China. Look at the soft glow of the village lights…the way the stars reflect off the terraces of water…
Wanna see what the area looks like in daylight?
Quite a difference, huh?
So, is beauty an illusion,
an artificial construct of the mind?
Or is it always there, and
we just have to have the wisdom
to know where to look for it and
the patience for it to present itself…
found via Astronomy Picture Of The Day
“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
“I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Über Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.”
I never went to college — I don’t believe in college for writers. The thing is very dangerous. I believe too many professors are too opinionated and too snobbish and too intellectual, and the intellect is a great danger to creativity … because you begin to rationalize and make up reasons for things, instead of staying with your own basic truth — who you are, what you are, what you want to be. I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for over 25 years now, which reads “Don’t think!” You must never think at the typewriter — you must feel. Your intellect is always buried in that feeling anyway. — Ray Bradbury
These are my ten rules for drawing a comic book page, that sums up what I have learned in forty odd years in the biz. They are not universal, they are my own personal guidelines, so there is nothing to disagree about.
1. Don’t have people just standing there.
2. ANY expression is better than a blank stare.
3. Avoid tangents, and any straight line that divides the panel.
4. If you use an odd angle in the shot, there has to be a reason for it.
5. If you don’t have at least one panel on each page with a full figure, your “camera” is too close.
6. Plan out your shots in “Lawrence of Arabia” mode rather than in “General Hospital” mode.
7. Don’t think of backgrounds as “things to fill up the space after the figures are drawn.”
8. If you know what something is called, and you have an Internet connection, there is no reason to draw it inaccurately.
9. If the colorist has to ask if a scene takes place at night, you haven’t done your job.
10. If you can’t extend the drawing beyond the panel borders and still have it make visual sense, you’ve cheated on the perspective.
(c) 2013 Larry Hama
As classy French painters go, James Tissot was a solid second stringer. A good eye for detail and a sure hand at technique, he supported himself painting charming pictures of French scenes for the bourgeois. Had the obligatory scandalous artist life. Turned to religion in his later years.
Like I said, nothing too special about him…until he started painting pictures of Jesus. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what happened, but the ol’ boy went bonkers and began whipping out a series of water colors that — while historically accurate and in the artistic style of the day — would freak out the average Sunday school teacher.