I made this mini-comic last week for my Indie Comics class. I found a zine called "Elvis Goes to Parkes" about a bunch of non-Elvis fans dressing up for an Elvis convention. The zine is just a bunch of low-res bitmapped photos of Elvis impersonators. I really liked the range of characters and effort. It was an assignment to respond to whatever zine we picked out, but after I finished this (in its physical form it's a little twelve page booklet) I liked it so much I decided to keep working on it. I'll be printing copies in my offset printing class, and probably add a layer of inkwash tone, a la Alison Bechdel's newer stuff. (Many artists do this but I've been thinking a lot about Alison Bechdel recently, after re-reading Fun Home and talking to my mom about how she was a fan in the eighties. Alison also talked to my class yesterday over Skype, which was pretty cool and also weird, having a giant pixelated head on the wall, and she's coming to Chicago next weekend to be at Women and Children First's 30th anniversary party.) Anyway, I like this little comic because to me it's all about this kind of postmortem obsession and devotion, sad and funny and strange.
More pages from that old sketchbook. That is a cutout from a Doritos bag in the middle. The brown coffee stain occurred later but I think it really helps with the overall what-is-this-shit aesthetic.
I made this on Saturday morning in under an hour. My free (stolen) internet has disappeared so this happened instead.
I don't know why Apple doesn't use these kinds of videos in their ads for Photobooth and iMovie and Garage Band. That's all I used, in conjunction with the camera and microphone built into my MacBook.
Here's the third plate I made in my etching class, and the only abstract one. This is the best print of it. I made a couple runs of this print with different color inks and papers, and this one was my favorite. I filled the plate with black ink, wiped more than necessary off, and filled the rest with a sepia-ish ink. That's why the darker, deeper lines are black and the rest of the print is lighter.
I followed my first etching with another along similar lines. Instead of an arm umbrella, here we see a kite with claws, which is on its way to attack the little boy who's looking for it. I think this images is much more successful than its predecessor. The composition is considered and loops your eye around nicely, and the figures stand out against the plain background much clearer than the girl and her umbrella did.
The reason the little boy's pants and the kite are a different color is because I was working with a technique called chine collé, where a different type of paper is used to fill in an alternate texture or color for an area of the print. This paper is trimmed to the desired shape and size (pants and kite, in this instance), quickly placed on the inked plate, and then the larger paper placed on top of that so that when the whole thing is run through the press, the smaller paper is printed upon and affixed to the larger paper all at the same time.
Back in second semester, freshman year (oh, spring 2007! How I miss thee!) I took an etching class. I really liked etching but I wasn't very good at making it a top priority, so I didn't get as much etching done as I would have liked. I did, however, complete four nice pictures, the first of which you see here.
Etching is an arduous and lengthy process of coating zinc or copper plates in tar, scratching out the picture you want, dipping the plate in acid for a very specific number of seconds, wiping off the tar leaving an etched drawing, coating that scratched up plate with ink, wiping the ink off the surface of the plate while leaving the grooves full, and then running that plate along with a soaking wet piece of paper through a giant felt press. This process is repeated over and over and over, with multiple tar coats and acid baths, until you get the desired result.
I chose to make my first image one of a little girl holding an arm umbrella. The arm umbrella was an invention of mine shortly before school started that I became very attached to for about a year. Arm umbrellas pop up in my sketchbooks of the time, in a painting, and in this etching. I liked the visual confusion created by the object, and the kind of fairytale association, especially when being clutched by a little girl. In this picture, you're not sure if she's being protected, as an adult clutches a child, or is about to be taken away. A kind of Mary Poppins-by-force mode of transportation. This idea is made more sinister by the surroundings I added in a second acid bath. She and her umbrella are at some totally messed up face circus thing. Ultimately I don't actually like this image very much. I think her face could've been rendered a lot better, and the Tim Burton type imagery is ham-handed and meaningless. I'm reminded of countless abduction/circus/hallucinatory/nightmare/little girl stories about how freaky it is to be a kid. It's cliché.
The other way to mess with your etchings is play with the ink and the paper and how you apply them.
This last one I like the best, since the background fades out more (that was accomplished through a process involving spraypaint and acid, totally punk rock). While I'm not satisfied with this plate on the whole, I still really like the idea of an arm umbrella.