Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Doodling with new wacom tablet

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When the words see and the pictures say

I am finding in writing and drawing there is a furious give and take between the two. As if they were two powerful nations declaring ownership over uncharted land between them. The country of Writing gives names, histories, and descriptions to every feature and plaques of local interest sprout from every hill, house, and pond. Then the country of Drawing comes along, caring nothing for all the site markers, brings plows, landscapers, and architects and reshapes the scene for dramatic vistas, urban oomph, and pleasing gardens.

"I don't need you to shift everything around, I already noted in plenty of prose what everything is, its history and meaning!" shouts the Writing explorers.
"Feh, words," sneer the Picture morphers, "Show, don't say."
Then the plot rises and illuminates likely paths and casts shadows on everything.

What can't be shown in words? What can't be said in pictures?

I know picture books and movies have to figure this out. In a more subtle way, poems do too. How much do you tell? Where can an image suggest all you need to say?

It's a land grab. I'll let you know which flags get planted.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The new way to draw on my computer

My new Wacom Intuos4 tablet arrived last night. [drum roll...]

It came in a huge box the size of a mini-fridge. After assaulting the cardboard and filler...
Inside was a smaller well designed black box holding the new toy, er, professional device. It was pretty much plug and play, er work. I made this doodle with it.

Here is the good news, it is much much more like actually drawing. When I start to make a mark it shows up pretty much right away. That means the first strokes aren't lost. Which is ever so nice. The tablet is much more responsive to my hand. It feels more like paper and less like tupperware. It is black too which might show fingerprints but since I was working at night, no problem. On top of that, there is much smarter use of buttons and a round wheel, think Apple iPod. And even better, once I select what I want each of the buttons to do (shift key or zoom or help, etc.) there are little LED lights that spell out the functions of each key, right next to it. And depending on what program I'm using, the keys do different things and announce it. How cool is that?

Now all I have to do is use it well. Why isn't there a way to program ME to draw at hyperspeed with utter skill?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The new cool

My first laptop cooler was a nifty plastic device we got at Target. It was the size of magazine and about 1 inch thick. I put it between the laptop and me. Then I plugged it into one of the computer's USB ports and two tiny flattened fans whirred the heat down and out the back. This stopped me from getting 3rd degree burns on my thighs from the toasty bottom of my macbook pro--a fine machine, a lovely program wrangler, but indisputably hot. My dog made sure to cuddle up to the vent side to catch the summer breeze. Daschunds are cold all winter.

A year later the cooler has cracks in the outer case and bits have come off the fans. Even worse I am starting to suffer from scrunched thigh syndrome due to having the laptop flatten my leg tops for too many hours.

So I bought a new cooler cooler, it has a mini-fan, yes, and holds my laptop, yes, but get this, it also has legs. Adjustable legs. I can make it work on the couch or flatten it to sit on a desk. It can swivel and hold the laptop over me in bed. It is essentially a transformer device. I am wondering if it can scan and do surround sound too. Nope. Just legs and cool.

There is still the problem that I wrenched my shoulder from carrying too much gear to my caffeine-rich office away from the home office. Poor me, I can't carry anything at all. My shoulder twinges when I breathe and yells when I hoist my computer bag. I had to bring just a pad of paper and a pencil to work today. And an eraser, small scissors, and scotch tape. It was just like the old days. The era before Adobe Creative Suite...

I am hoping Apple will please make a new macbook pro that weighs 3 lbs max, uses a chip that runs far cooler, has a big finger pad that can also function as a wacom tablet, and can somehow telescope from netbook to laptop screen size. Oh, and while you are at it, could it please make me a rice milk latte?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Am I the picture book dummy?

No, I don't mean I'm stoooopid. The dummy is the first stage, rough stick figure drawings and placing blocks of text. Pencil and paper. I got through that today. I am deeply happy I stuck with it and finished. I kept wanting to quit and walk away from the Starbucks and double latte I was sipping. But no, I made myself do spread after spread until it was done. All 32 pages.

I'd hit another page and think, "how can I make this one exciting, different, when it is the same characters and a similar set up?" Some of the time an idea would c0me, change perspective or point-of-view, do it as a map, focus just on the objects...etc. The rest of the time I shrugged, drew the most boring obvious solution and promised the page that I'd dream up something better. Invite the muse to do an overhaul.

I did all this despite wearing the brand new glasses (weird brain adjustment to new prescription) and having an old man sit next to me and cover his face with a napkin for an entire hour, he wasn't sleeping or crying. Just covering his face. Holding the napkin in place. It was very very odd. But I wouldn't let myself start spinning the possible speculative fiction narratives, no, I had stick figures rotating in two dimensions to hold my eye and story-making-mind.

My new glasses are tres cool. They remind me of the Paris Metro station ironwork. But in a more face dainty way. When I walked in the door my husband said, "do I know you?" I asserted that he did. "Are you sure you have the right apartment?" he asked again. "I am sure I do, I am your wife." ""Ooooh," he said with a small crease of thought between his eyes, "are you that funny fella who doesn't shave?"

Leave it to Jim to compliment me via George of the Jungle. Later he said the frames were just the thing, artsy designy, now when am I going to get a haircut to go with them? Tomorrow actually. Spring and I'm making a new woman of me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Daily Poetry Prompts

Well I've been doing the P&W daily exercises. And I want to thank the online editors at Poets & Writers for posting them. I've riffed on traffic signs, art, snippets of other poems, and Prufrock. I can't say that the results are any more than exercises but it is good to flex the muscles--daily. In fact, it being 1:08 of a Sunday night I went to the site to see if the Monday one was up yet and it wasn't. I felt, well, a bit let down. How dare they wait until dawn's rosy alarm clocks herald their duties? Are they getting lazy? Out at literary soirees drinking martinis while devising devious ways to get us to write more? Or just doing nothing at all? Images of the editors snoozing and drooling on their pillows isn't fair, no, is the weekend...I guess they have a right to take their time. I may have to write a poem on my own, willy-nilly. After all I'm in training now, the muscles want to be used. Pass me the weights, the laurels, the puns, the sweat band, the thesaurus. Cue up the music. I'm off...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Poetry challenge exercise

This is national poetry month. The folks at Poet&Writers magazine have offered a daily poetry exercise writing challenge. The first one was to read a T. S. Elliot poem, such as "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and then "Internalize the music and rhythm of the poem, and freewrite for a page, interpreting those elements in your own language. Read what you’ve written, circle three to five phrases that you like, and use them to start a poem."

I just couldn't resist a parody. Later I'll have to extract bits to write my own poem. Here it is:

The Prufrock Dog Walk

We shall take a walk with the dog
In the park where fisted green fogs
The sharpened twigs and life pokes
Through dirt and shit
To say this is spring, I exist
And the dog follows the path
Like a commuter,
This is our break from the computer
And the clenched air and rattle of our feet
Leads us to the usual relations,
You speak of theories and equations
And I ask for demonstrations
Of a different intent.

In the facebook the lists come and go
Talking of bulllshit I already know.

The roots of my hair are brown and gray
More gray than brown and I can’t stay
This leach of time. Shall I wear a hat?
That sits upon the dome of thought, a hat
which shall declare what I forgot to mention
I suffer from wandering attention
Will you serve me chai or coffee
Offer me a kiss or worthy advise?
I will not know, should I bite?
Which choice is right?

In the twitter the tweets come and go
Talking of mish mosh I don’t know.

The bare winter city is invaded by spring
A green mold furs over flooded things
The view I had from the street fades into green time
Interstices of sky growing into occluded mullion panes
Until there is only a thin line of sun panning
These multi-storied ovens of brick
I had better be quick
To decide what comes next—
Will someone notice I need to dye
My hair, or fix my teeth? What shall I text?

In the linkedin recommendations come and go
Talking of people they barely know.

My children are grown, I wear a hat,
Now it the time to be bold
Here in April’s damp cold.
But is the hat a habit worn like the path is worn by the dog?
Should I dye it red, do I risk it?
The fisted buds are known to the tree
But what about you and me?
My sneakers are blue, my jeans stone washed—
[They will say: “She looks so Midwestern.”]
How did I get here, how do I turn
To the time for you and me?
Maybe we should stop for another coffee.

I should have been a slink of padded claws
Pacing across the veldt of sibilant grass.

I grow old…I grow old…
I shall write graphic novels and get extolled.

No, I am not going to be a prodigy
It’s clear at best I’m just an oddity
I do so many things rather well
But what exactly do I want to sell?

In the blog the blather comes and goes
Talking of myself to nobody knows.

Will I follow the same path out and back
As the wind blows off my hat
Blows back my hair to its furious white roots
I run to catch the brim and fist the air
And the hat fumbles from here to there.
And you and I speak in metaphor
Until we open the usual door.

New eyeglasses frames tres French, fast forward illustration

I went with bold. But I am slightly worried the shaggy unintentionally 70s mass of my hair may need a fashionable coif when I get these on my face. Time for the summer haircut, short short.

I'm off to help Flash Rosenberg today, she had a client who wanted her to create an 18 page heavily illustrated book, based on the client's poem, in just a day. I was helping her last night, scanning the drawings, adding type set stanzas, and making PDFs to send the client. Most of all, watching Flash in a frenzy of creativity, with no time at all to let her internal editor slow her down, she created simply brilliant drawings, full of her verve and fun and sensitivity. This woman simply must write and paint her own picture books, they'd be a huge hit. She also kept me laughing as she talked to her hand (understandably aching) and foot (in a cast). She will have stayed up all night painting and drawing color on scans of the black and white art. Painting on high quality watercolor paper for scanners. Then I will scan those for the final book files.

And Script Frenzy started today. Are you writing?