weekly book art: it was a dark and stormy night

by brandon as book art — brandon Sat 13 May 2006 11:13 pm

These book art things have been pretty heavy so far. Let’s do something light. I give you: selections from a book I’ve had forever: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night – the very first collection of entries in the Bulwer-Lytton Contest.


Under an edible sky, cheesy as a deep-dish pizza, X examined his sister’s blork.
           â€“ Beloved Remington
           Tulsa, Oklahoma

Thank you, thank you! Oh, I do believe I have one more:

oh the huge manatee

What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old manatee that died?
           â€“ William MacKendree
           Paris, France

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for the next installment of “Weekly Book Art” with Brandon Bolt, featuring: god knows what seriously I have no freaking idea.

illustration friday: fat

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Wed 10 May 2006 10:30 am

fat don't like you

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that my style is kinda phat, reminiscent of a whale, but referencing an early-90’s song that uses the word “phat” would demonstrate that my ass is kinda old, reminiscent of a raisin.

The other thing I was gonna draw for this was a scene from a Green Day concert I attended. This was in 1995, just after Dookie got big. So the friends I was with were definitely not punk rockers and neither was anyone else in the audience except two girls behind us. You could tell they were for real because they sang along with “Tainted Love” when it came on the PA during the pre-show. Anyway, once the moshpit had gotten nice and established, Green Day had this fat guy from the audience jump off the stage for crowd-surfing. It wasn’t just the guy doing it, the band was playing along with it, they made a point of doing this stunt. These may not have been punk rockers in the audience but Green Day were definitely still punk. So the guy jumped… and wow. That crowd parted like it was the Red Sea. Total dispersal. Bellyflop. Whap.

The guy didn’t go home in a stretcher or anything, so I assume things were generally ok.

Anyway, I would have drawn that, but that also would have demonstrated that my ass is kinda old, reminiscent of a raisin.

Illustration Friday is pretty now, but I’m not sure I like the changes. They seem to make things more hierarchical, and the prime virtue of the site (in my mind) is that it’s so egalitarian. That “featured artist” bit may not be a contest, but it kind of looks like one, nothing against Roz Foster or anything. I like drawing communities. I hate art contests. We’ll see how things work out.

weekly book art: a scanner darkly

by brandon as book art — brandon Sun 7 May 2006 11:18 pm

Almost forgot! I had this drawn by Wednesday and it sat under other things I had on my clipboard until now. Anyway I was casting around for ideas when I realized I had better do this one before the movie comes out. So here it is:

scramble suits!

I bought the book a little over a year ago as prep for tryouts to do rotoscoping work on this movie. Not joking. They casted about for artists across Texas (and beyond – word got out on the internet, which is how I found out about it) and I went down to Austin to try out for the job. Didn’t make it, obviously – I heard about it a little too late, and wound up on the crest of a wave of 500 or so applicants, so I’m told by a special source. I know a little bit of other dirt about the project… and I also know about the software since the tryout involved three hours of work on drawing a short clip. Interesting stuff. They didn’t have me sign anything, so I can talk about it, though there isn’t much to say except you use tablets, the direction in which you make your strokes and your ability to organize them is very important, and the program crashes dead cold if you press a certain key.

So my take on A Scanner Darkly is very different from theirs. Here’s my thinking. It’s very common in straight fantasy and sci-fi drawing to pursue a great deal of realism. The idea being, you want to immerse the audience in the reality of the world you dreamed up more than you want to comment on that world. A cartoon-like rendering provides more room to express how you feel about that world:


But, when people are making cartoon representations of real events, the tendency is not so much to bother with realism. Consider Maus or Joe Sacco’s Palestine novels or any number of editorial cartoons. This is because the writing sells the events to the reader. They’re real to begin with. I’ll call this approach “cartoon verité.”

Now, A Scanner Darkly is a near-future, “if this goes on” type of science fiction story. It’s my contention that this kind of story might be better served by a “cartoon verité” approach than by a deeply realistic approach. The idea is, the idea of fantasy depicted realistically is becoming a default assumption, so reversing that may in a way be more convincing. It’s as though you’re looking at somebody’s cartoons they drew of the future events.

I’ve only really seen this done once. The graphic novel of Ghost In The Shell has some interludes drawn in a sketchy, kiddie manga style that are used to illustrate the principles behind some of the technology depicted in the book: for example, why whole-body cyborgs are stronger than partial cyborgs. They’re funny and very convincing.

One note: in the cartoon I’ve done all the shapes generated by media effects (such as the scrambler suits) in blue line. By making this convention the idea is to clearly delineate what happens in a world even more saturated with media than what we’re in now. If I ever get to any of the William Gibson books in my shelf I’ll explore this further.

for all the dorks in the house

by brandon as Uncategorized — brandon Sun 7 May 2006 12:24 pm

Presenting: the characters of the new Battlestar Galactica series, rendered Simpsons-style.

I defy anyone who’s enjoyed either to get as far as the one with Boomer before losing it.

illustration friday: under the sea

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Thu 4 May 2006 1:14 am

Goddammit we already did this one!

Ok, fine. Here.

would you like to have a vacation under the sea?

Obviously that song got stuck in my head the way it did for hundreds of other IF-ers, so I had to counteract it as quickly as possible, reaching for mobsters. Luckily mobsters are always fun to draw. The second thing that sprung to mind coulda made something fun too. See, at college we’d have unthemed movie nights at the first floor common room. One movie night paired The Little Mermaid with Apocalypse Now. That was a good one. And mixing those together in a picture, that could’ve done something.

But the urgency of getting that song outta my head. You gotta understand.

whatta world

by brandon as Uncategorized — brandon Wed 3 May 2006 1:09 am

Man, I’d better jot this down before I forget about it. This stuff is interesting and it’s late. I’ve just started following that guy Ozair’s links and found myself in the middle of an English-language South Asian blogosphere. This shit is so much cooler than warblogs. Future reference:

Dragon Breath. In Pakistan? Looks like it.
India Uncut. In India, obviously. Smells techno-libertarianish; dunno about that part.

While I’m linking to blogs, may I recommend for the general reader Who is IOZ (political) and The Assimilated Negro (general) – they’re both pretty new and very good.

weekly blog arting: the prince

by brandon as blog arting — brandon Wed 3 May 2006 12:39 am

...of darkness!

This week’s randomly picked blog entry started like this:

Dear Prince of all things dark…

Why must you torment me so?
Why do you hover when you are not wanted around…?
Is it cause I am weak?
Or is it cause you are?

Think! Pretty Prince…

and so on. What makes it more interesting is the setting: according to the “about me” blurb the author is a young gay man who has recently come out… in Karachi, Pakistan. I don’t think that’s a put-on.

Now, I’m aware that the Middle East and all the -stans of the world aren’t all the same, and the big population centers of Pakistan in particular are cosmopolitan places much like similar cities in India. But still. Coming out in Pakistan can’t be easier than it is in the States, and it’s not like it’s that easy here… so. Can’t really tell what exactly this Devil of his is doing in this poem, but whatever it is, I gotta wish Ozair in Karachi the best of luck with it.

As for the picture, I don’t really have the time to do a lot of research for these Blog Arting posts, so the contents of this street scene are kind of a mixture of stereotype and conjecture I’m afraid. In other words I have little real idea what the hangouts of this guy on the streets of Karachi look like. I did think his Devil cut an interestingly vulnerable figure, so I emphasized that part.

it’s pretty scary

by brandon as Uncategorized — brandon Mon 1 May 2006 11:08 pm

Regardez-vous this goofy-ass newsletter comic someone got. The material – a supercontrived superhero who has the power to “stop shrink” at Kroger stores – is the kind of thing you’d expect. Nothing scary there. Wanna know what’s scary? Look at the art.

It’s really good.

How the hell did they get such a good artist to draw their miserable little comic for their miserable little internal company newsletter?

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