< Piro >
Wednesday - September 29, 2004
Ok, back from AWA, sorta managed to get thru it without missing a comic (we'll just let the fact that they weren't on time slip, ok?) and i think my soulmapping has managed to find it's way back to some sort of normalcy, tho it's kinda tired from it's travels and just wants to sleep. Nothing wrong with that, i guess.
Anime Weekend Atlanta was fun, and i think the show went pretty well. We sorta took a laid back approach to the show that helped keep the stress level down. Since AWA is always a laid back show, it was a combination that worked really well. One thing i didn't get a chance to do was get pictures of the various Megatokyo cosplayers - i saw at least one Miho cosplayer and one Seraphim cosplayer - if there were more or others, please let me know, i'd love to see pictures.
[doh! yes, and a Junpei cosplayer. I even waved at him. Good lord, my brain is going. I need to just start doing a full MT cosplayer roll call for each con. In fact, i'll start that right here and now. Pictures only, no names unless you want em :) - piro]
Our main Megatokyo panel went pretty well, i think. Some of the panels this year have come off better than others, and this one wasn't too bad. Usually the bad panels are a direct result of me talking too much and only reeling it in when i start seeing glazed eyes and people drooling on their costumes. I could probably create a undead army of my own just by talking the audience into undeadness, but i'm not really sure if i ever want to do that.
There was one panel i gave at this convention that started me thinking about my stance on teaching and lessons. It was a panel called "draw with fred." Other than the fact that it sounded like a bad public access channel show ("watch i how draw sad little clouds, such sad little clouds...") it was one of the more interesting panels i've done recently. The main Megatokyo panel usually deals with general megatokyo related questions, but a panel like this where i can talk about how i draw and what i think i've learned from doing this for the past nine years, was an interesting change. Judging from the number of people who wanted to get into the rather small room, i could see that there are a lot of Megatokyo readers who are interested in hearing about it.
One of the most often asked questions i get (or used to get -- most people gave up asking ages ago) is when i'd be putting up some lessons on the Fredart site. My usual response (aside from the 'whenever i have time to do it') is that i am leery about giving 'lessons' because i am worried about people picking up bad habits, or picking up all the 'wrong' things that i do. I'd rather people learn from people who know what they are doing.
It's not really a cop-out -- there are a lot of things that i do that i think would give art teachers and trained professionals fits. I really would hate it if someone picked up on some of my bad habits only to have to try to break them later. But I am beginning to wonder if i'm not giving everyone out there enough credit.
To put it simply, i want to make sure that if i talk about how i draw or how i draw, i want you to make sure you are never afraid to question it. I don't want you to draw faces and eyes and hair and hands (god forbid) the way i do. I don't care how much you would like to draw like me, i'd rather you learn how to draw like yourself.
I think i worry too much about people just blindly mimicking my bad habits and not just mixing what i show them in with all the other things they have learned or picked up on their own. Hell, that's what i did, so why do i worry about it so much? There is no right way to draw. There are no rules, not really. You can get caught up in the rules of a particular school of artistic thought... and i hate it when people do that. Like it or not, folks, manga and anime style *IS* a school of thought with all sorts of 'rules' and 'basic ways things are done'. Thats fine. Work with them, challenge them, don't ever let anyone tell you that you 'aren't doing it right.' If they do, i'll come over there and smack them for you.
Art shouldn't be about just mimicking the things you like, its about expression something you want to say. You like the things you like because you can identify with them. This doesn't mean that you should just fall into step and do things exactly the same way they do. You are the only one who knows what you are trying to say, and using other people's tools and techniques to say it will not work. What you have to do is take bits and pieces from what influences you the most, and make your own mix of it all. Make it up if you have to.
Sometimes people mistake 'not following the rules' with 'show no respect for them'. That's not what im saying at all. You have to understand what others do before you can challenge it. I worry that what i do is not solid enough for you to really be able to gain a lot by challenging it. If you are gonna learn anything from me, make sure you learn from others as well. Its very important that you do.
One thing i hear a lot is "thank you for doing megatokyo. I stopped drawing a long time ago, but thanks to you i started drawing again." Hearing that as much as i do makes me feel pretty good about MT, and i think i need to stop worrying about my imperfections. I think i should show a little more respect for people who do admire what i do, and be willing to share it, imperfect as it may be.
So, to that end, i'm gonna spend some time in the next few weeks talking about how i draw. I also think that for the cons that i go to next year, i will try to have workshop/classes/panels where i continue to talk about these things, and can have a chance to answer more specific questions. It might be fun, and i think i might learn from it in the process.
Speaking of learning, I've been experimenting a bit lately. While it is true there is a little bit of a 'cool thing' element to Copic markers, I've been scribbling a little with a Copic Sketch marker and some of the resulting pictures have been amusing. I don't know why, but i feel there is something in the ink laden messes that has some potential for refinement. :) When i draw with pen the way i draw with pencil, the drawings usually come out pretty decent. When i hesitate, they look like crap. Interesting how your mental approach to drawing can effect things.
Part of the reason i'm experimenting with Copics is that I'm thinking of carrying Copic markers and related items in the megagear store. I don't want to carry things that i myself do not use or am not familiar with in the store - everything there is stuff that i use or have used at some point in the past. You might have noticed that we added a few things to the art section recently. I'm still working on getting the mechanical pencils i used for the store. One type of pencil you can get here in the states, but sadly the one i like to use now is just not available here. :(
If you look to the right under Seraphim's rant, you will see the beginnings of our 'megatokyo news service', a new feature that we will be adding to the Megatokyo site. We are adding it because it's neat, and well, if dom doesn't have a place to bleed out some of the weird news i think his head will burst. I don't really want that. When the new website is finished (the first phase of it will be done in a few weeks), we will have a page devoted to this. I'm placing it in the right rant column for now just so dom and the rest of us can get into the swing of things. Its a lot like the little tidbits of news that we all discuss among ourselves anyways, so now we have a place to put it. I hope you find it useful and entertaining.
A little random today, but its a random kinda day. Gonna see if i can snag a copy of Fruits Basket #5 today when i hit the bookstore (i saw it in Barnes & Noble yesterday, i should have picked it up then, doh) and then curl up in my chair and read it tonight. I feel much in need of some curl time.