Check out my evolving cartooning style

betty ming liu Art 6 Comments

I can’t wait for someone to ask me about my weekend. Single, middle-aged me finally has a truly interesting answer: “My weekend? Oh, it was great. I spent it drawing assassin porn.”

The continuing quest to find myself has taken me to a series of weekend cartooning workshops. We divide our time between learning about character and story development, and drawing. The drawing part involves sketching two live naked models, a hunky male and a lithesome female. Their poses ranged from 30 seconds to eight minutes.

Since this is about the comics, our goal is to capture gesture and motion. Action figures! Our models begin by posing in the buff. Gradually, they add props and clothes so that we can experience the layering of emotional content.

The workshop is called “Dynamic Comic Book Illustration: From Anatomy to Panel Composition.” We are scheduled to meet at the Art Students League of New York over four weekends — Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m.  to 4:30 p.m. Our studio is at the League’s West 57th Street funky headquarters, right across the street from Carnegie Hall. Greg Follender is our terrific teacher, storyteller and artist.

Our first workshop met two weekends ago and this weekend is our second. Two more to go in March and there’s still room, if anyone wants to join us. My classmates are a nerdy bunch that loves chatting about comic books, action figures and LARP (live action role-playing) — they’re teaching me a new culture. We range in age from 21 to 55 (me). My people!

As you know, I dream of writing some sort of graphic novel-ish book. A few months ago, I finally churned out a  crappy first draft for a novel. So this workshop is a critical next step, the next bird — bird by bird.    :)

Here’s a peek into my sketch pad. I usually detest drawing but I am loving it now:

Capturing motion is different from drawing still life models. I could do this all day.

In class, someone referred to our work as “assassin porn.” Such fun.

If you’d like to read more, here are some links:

YouTube of my favorite inspiration passage from “Bird by Bird”

Writing that crappy first draft of my novel with NaNoWriMo

Workshop info and registration details

Workshop instructor Greg Follender’s blog

An explanation of LARP, an activity where people dress up in costumes for live action role playing

** How about you — any classes or projects that you’re dreaming about? Would love to hear about them. Please do share your ideas with us! Writing about them will help make them more real for you. It’s all about the magic of owning your words.  :)

Comments 6

  1. Post

    darn. something happened to the facebook “like” button on my website. busted again! sigh. oh well, hope you’ll like this post anyway. and now, i’ve gotta run and get ready for today’s cartooning workshop. catch up with you tonight. xo

  2. As to live action role playing, any one who goes through life presenting only one one face to the world (usually the most boring and conventional one) is doing themselves an injustice. There are many characters and roles within each of us that integrate to make up our complex personalities. It is both liberating and fun to sometimes bring out those less obvious elements and give them a chance to grow. My adopted sons and I are all heavily into the subculture of Steampunk. We spent 3 days at the last Steampunk world’s Fair as the crew of Her Majesty’s Intergalactic Steam Starship, the HMSSS Petulant, fully decked out in fantasy Victorian wardrobes. It is not a costume party. You have to BE the role and live it for the time you are there. It was a chance to be someone else and that someone was really an expression of a part of ourselves. My role was ship’s protocol officer (table settings specialist) Billy was the space pirate who had captured the vessel (because he wanted a costume that would show off his chisled abs !) We have to miss this year’s SWF because it is the same weekend as Billy’s graduation from The New School, which wild horse couldn’t keep me away from (after all the effort it has taken to get there!), but we look forward to 2013 and meanwhile are improving our personas.

  3. Great start in your dynamic comic illustration career! But I’m chuckling here in the hinterland! Assassin porn!! I took several art classes and I remember being criticized for not drawing what I saw by art schoolmarms who looked so puritanical. “Draw what you see! Draw what you see!” they refrained because the tendency was to avoid toes, fingers, and genitalia. We were puritanical sketch artists who made quick strokes of the you-know-whats. And fingers and toes–well, forget it. Too tough to draw. Keep posting and remove those puritanical filters. Let’s see some perfect hands and feet too! Power on!!

  4. Post

    aha — steampunk! toby, i heard my classmates mention it but now i know what it is. thanks for explaining. i agree, costumes and role playing are delightful. even getting dressed up to out to dinner qualifies in my book!

    and stephen, i am working on those hands and feet. enjoyed them much more this past weekend. as for that puritanical thing, yeah, it runs pretty deep. that was one reason for posting the photos — i just need to relax and not judgement myself. that’s a funny story about the teachers you thought were prudes. people surprise me all the time. good to get out of the box. :)

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