Category Archives: Art

Links to Things

Here are two more blog posts that I want to be able to find again:

  • Ann Leckie on writing better. It’s about writing, but much of it applies to any kind of art. I was struck by this bit down in the comments:

    You know the kind of thing, maybe–I don’t see it much in my current critting partners, but I used to, back in the day when I was beginning to write seriously–you offer criticism of a story, something the author could fix with a bit of research or thought, and the response is something like “lighten up, it’s just a story why are you taking it so seriously?” And that’s when I say to myself, “They didn’t take their work seriously.” That was low stakes for them.

    I’m just doing humor comics, but I still need to make sure they’re not low stakes.

  • Colin Marshall on heuristics to live by.

    “Can I fail at this?” It’s like Raymond Chandler said: there is no success without the possibility of failure. Therefore, something I can’t fail at is also something I can’t succeed at.

Links to Things

Some links, without much in the way of commentary:

  • Scott McCloud on criticism.

  • Cory Doctorow on science fiction’s relationship to the present.

    For some years now, science fiction has been in the grips of a conceit called the “Singularity”—the moment at which human and machine intelligence merge, creating a break with history beyond which the future cannot be predicted, because the post-humans who live there will be utterly unrecognizable to us in their emotions and motivations. Read one way, it’s a sober prediction of the curve of history spiking infinity-ward in the near future (and many futurists will solemnly assure you that this is the case); read another way, it’s just the anxiety of a generation of winners in the technology wars, now confronted by a new generation whose fluidity with technology is so awe-inspiring that it appears we have been out-evolved by our own progeny.

  • Technology journalists from 1984 on the first Macintosh.

    The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ”˜mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I dont want one of these new fangled devices.

  • Dresden Codak, on the ancestry of Michael Crichton.

  • Frank Rich on the meaning of the “balloon boy” incident.

    Richard Heene is the inevitable product of this reigning culture, where “news,” “reality” television and reality itself are hopelessly scrambled and the warp-speed imperatives of cable-Internet competition allow no time for fact checking. […] None of this absolves Heene of blame for the damage he may have inflicted on the children he grotesquely used as a supporting cast in his schemes. But stupid he’s not. He knew how easy it would be to float “balloon boy” when the demarcation between truth and fiction has been obliterated.

Why the Comics Take So Long

I’ve got a webcomic. Lately I’ve been averaging one comics page a week, if that. That’s because creating each page is like dragging myself uphill.

Longer stories–like the one I’ve got going now–start with a pile of scribbled notes from three or four different sketchbooks, which may or may not originally have had anything to do with each other. Eventually I seek them out–or at least the ones I remember–and piece them together chronologically.

This is why I usually have no idea where a story is going until I’m halfway through. (Further details, and illustrations, past the link.) Continue reading Why the Comics Take So Long

Who is Walter Schnackenberg?

Jeffrey Ford’s blog led me to A Journey Round My Skull‘s amazing collection of surrealist drawings by an unknown-to-me German artist named Walter Schnackenberg.

Actually, he seems to be unknown to the internet in general. A Journey Round My Skull came up with a one-paragraph biography–apparently Schnackenberg worked on poster art most of his life and didn’t get into surrealism until late in his career. Googling the guy turns up nothing helpful. turns up a couple of books on posters and some volumes by a historian of the same name.

But the drawings are amazing–done in pen, ink, and watercolor, they’re populated by grotesques yet seem to have a surprising sympathy for their subjects. As one of the commenters at the site points out, Schnackenberg’s drawings are reminiscent of Mervyn Peake‘s. I’m also reminded, just a bit, of Maurice Sendak and Jim Woodring. I’d love to know more about him.