Lobsterfest is looming large over me. I’m really excited about the event, I really am, but due to Sue Halmrast twisting my arm, I agreed to donate a couple of pieces of original artwork to the silent auction. What was I thinking?
For those of you who may not know, I am somewhat of a cartoonist, and a deep lover of sequential art, not just comic books, but any art that tells a sequential story. I think the marriage between words and pictures is fascinating, and I’ve been a fan of such art, particularly comics, since I was a boy. I can remember copying Garfield comic strips by Jim Davis when I was younger, and learning just how to get those eyes right.
My high school years were when I was at my artistic peak. I spent most of my time in the art room, with my teacher Ms. Haroldson, whom I loved to pester as much as learn from. In my senior year, I received the Art Award on Honors Night, which is my only claim to fame from high school. I still have a lot of that work.
When I went to Berry, I had every intention of being an art major. However, my advisor and professor was too…well…artsy for my taste, and I didn’t think that I was going to make it in that program. So I switched to my other love, religion, and studied that instead. But I did my fair share of drawing in college. For two years, I was the editorial cartoonist for the Campus Carrier, which taught me how to draw on a deadline. There were nights where I was burning major midnight oil trying to get one of those single-panelled terrors in on time. Luckily, my editor was also a dear friend and Episcopalian, so she cut me some slack.
After college, my art all but dried up. In seminary, I found I had no time to draw, except in the margins of my notebooks. And once we moved to Savannah, you would think that I would be inspired by the artistic community of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), especially since they had a sequential art program, but by that time, my confidence in my ability was gone and so was my desire to pursue it.
It really wasn’t until we moved into our new house, and I got my own “man room” that I decided I wanted to pick it back up again. The last few months, I’ve been slowly exercising muscles I haven’t used in years. Some nights there are some great things that come off the pencil and other nights where my trash can is full of crumpled pages. For once, I have begun to explore drawing a regular comic strip. I would eventually like to feature these on the website and newsletter, but I’m just not ready. I’d like to get a nice backlog of strips before I start submitting them so that I run them continually.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist and have learned I don’t like showing folks my work. Even though I know that’s how you learn, I’m still not confident. Take the above panel I did for a 3-panel strip. I did this about 5 times but still don’t like it. It’s like listening to yourself on a recording.
But now Lobsterfest approaches and I’m unsure about what I’d like to submit. I’d be happy to do a commission, if someone had something in mind. Or maybe I should do a full comic strip or a full page of sequential art?
I have an idea! Why don’t you readers out there decide what I do? That might give me some direction, and those of you who will be at Lobsterfest and may be bidding on these pieces will have some invested interest if your suggestion gets picked. So what would you like for me to draw? A comic strip? A full comic page? Or a commissioned work of your specifications? Would you like a certain character? I prefer to work in pencil and ink, black and white, although I’ve dabbled in charcoal as well (and that’s actually what I won my art award for in high school).
Eventually, I’d like to take more classes, but for now, this will keep me busy. So you be the editors, and give me some direction, here!
-The Cartooning Priest