Tooth fairies and madness

Tooth fairies and madness

Lately, I’m starting to worry that I might be losing my mind.  My mind doesn’t seem to be functioning as it once did.

“yeah, that last mass email update was pretty lewd”

…I’m not talking about that, and that blog was funny.  The “wad of chewed up gum” comparison was funny stuff!  I don’t care how many angry letters I got.  Someone had to defend Stan Lee! You should have seen what we cut out.  I had a bunch of Crayola drawings to go with it, that webmaster Joe vetoed.  He’s says that pornographic crayon drawings are a bad road to go down, and I say he’s getting uptight in his old age.   They were BARELY pornographic, and everyone had a smiley face, except the sun in one shot was trying to look away.  anyways…

(if you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s because you’re not on the mass email list…if you wanna get on that, go HERE)

When I was a little kid I saw some episode of the Twilight Zone…and I’m fuzzy on the details because I was like 6 (no, I haven’t watched every episode…it’s a good show but Rod Sterling is no Arch Obler ).  The fuzzy memory is- people think some guy is cracking up, but he doesn’t think he is or something like that and he’s writing a letter for some reason and at the end someone sees the letter and it’s written in weird alien gibberish. So he really was crazy.  That was my understanding, I could have missed the whole point, I was 6 and only half watching.

I don’t like shows like that…shows where someone’s perception is completely off from reality.  Movies like A beautiful Mind, The Sixth Sense…they leave me…unsettled.  How DO you know if your perception is completely off? How do you know if you are losing your mind?

Having a very solitary job, that entails using my imagination in fourth gear constantly…may be why this sort of thing bothers me.

And I’m beginning to think I may have a problem developing, I might be coming unglued… lemme just give you an example.

Illustrating a story is more of a recipe, it’s building information into an interesting visual…illustrating a cover though, is catching lightning in a bottle (for me anyway).  It’s all about interesting composition and that involves a lot more instinct than skill (for me anyway) You sketch until something jumps out at you.  Sometimes something jumps out at you when you are drawing something else.  I’ll be sketching and come back to it later and see it differently (forget what the hell the scribbles were supposed to be) and notice something that could be a great cover or poster.

Here’s the one in question.  Kid asleep or unconscious, blood everywhere, tooth fairy fluttering off menacingly with two teeth…

I LOVE this…love everything about it.  But it’s a lose sketch, and there may be nothing more maddening than trying to refine a lose sketch into a final illustration without losing all the life and energy it has.  Here in comes the madness.  The Kid and the blood, I nailed spot on and that’s fine.  But the fairy was b.s.’d  She’s lose, she’s out of proportion. She needs to be done properly. and I have tried. I have been trying off and on for over a year and a half.  It’s becoming my white whale.

The problem is two fold. I want her to look villainous, sleazy, scary. I envision her swinging her arms back and forth as she flies away, weighted down by the teeth.  So this is a difficult posture to get in real life, what with the twisting and convening the weight of the teeth.  That’s the first problem, it’s a tough posture to get in real life.  The second problem is that this isn’t real life…this is a fantasy character who has wings and is hanging by those wings while they and her are moving.  There is no way to get a model to pull that off…I tried.

Even if I put hooks in her back where the wings would be I still wouldn’t get the posture while the fairy would be moving/flying/twisting.  and frankly…my cousins seemed like they were losing patience, and I can’t say I blame them.

Because how many of all those elements of movement, that I’m concerned about really even matter?  Which of them matter?  I don’t know…that much I am sure of – I don’t know.  I have reworked that posed probably close to a hundred times? more?  see this stack of paper?

That’s a stack of various attempts.  Every three months or so I sift through a stack that size and grab the best two or three and START OVER.  I’ve thrown out stacks that size several times.  That’s madness, right? This is madness

I’ll be working on something else..and pause to just take a few more cracks at it…

I’m not a psychiatrist…but this can’t be good, right?  This is f*cking madness…most of these are a hairs worth of being different from each other. Currently…I’m half convinced one of these might work.

but not really…what sends me down this road, is that they’re all “almost”. When something really wrong, that’s easy to fix.  When something’s just…not quite “it”, then I’m lost in the fog.  What wrinkle is curved the wrong way? How much more of a fraction of an inch should the leg be?

There isn’t much of a forced perspective element to this illustration, but it’s enough that I really shouldn’t be JUST drawing her by herself.  What I mean by that is, you can draw a human standing or walking and it’s fine…on it’s own. BUT once you put that figure into a background it looks wrong because the background has unique vanishing points and the figure was not drawn using those vanishing points

…I might be losing some people here ( if they haven’t already called 911 after seeing 48 pics of the same fairy).  I really like the fairy on the lower left of the last pic, but it’s not right when I plug it into the composition.

Anyhoo, I was going to do each one larger to see how they looked. Started one on a sketch cover and realized used the wrong ink.  I used ink that won’t EVER dry to the shiny cover stock…I angrily smeared it around, swore and kicked it across the office.  It was cathartic.

Tried again with the correct ink…

(This sketchcover is for sale, just click on the picture…I’d tell you that a full sized illustration and posters are coming soon, but…) **Update…it’s sold**

I dunno…it’s almost there.  Maybe it’s not.  Maybe it was fine six months ago.  This fairy’s going to be like three inches tall…why can’t I let this go?  Why can’t I get it right??? I’ve done harder illustrations that this. This was supposed to be easy.  I figured it would take 10 hours tops. I hadn’t factored in going insane.  That always bumps up the man hours.

Here’s the thing…this doesn’t happen to me on a hard deadline (which might be an argument for doing some freelance work…like soon…before I end up in a straightjacket) and it never happens in the summer.  This leads me to think I do have some mental issue, some offshoot of seasonal affective disorder pared with artistic OCD/perfectionism.

…how’s your winter going?

“what is in his head, that I cannot find in my own?”

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