Dispatch from the Factory Floor, SumiMonster

One of the best things about being at the Center for Cartoon Studies is the fact that I’m actually supposed to be doing comics. For most of my creative life thus far, I’ve been stealing time away from other things (work, academic studies, interpersonal relationships, etc.), but being here allows me to do all of this simultaneously, a happenstance for which I am extremely grateful.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing pencils for “the Yoke and Crown,” my social surrealist piece about factory workers. It’s a difficult project, but I’m making headway. So I thought I’d share some fragments:

Two of our characters, 5 and 6.

At left, two of our characters, named 5 and 6, are engaging in a discussion about lord only knows what.

(All of these small images are on scraps of tracing paper that I had previously used for an experimental composition for this same project. I’m trying to use a lot of different media in the process of this work, so it’s going to be a fun and different experience once I get out of the penciling stage. I will, of course, share any and all pertinent observations with ya’ll at this space.)

I’ve been using more photo reference than I’m really used to for this one. It’s changing the way I draw–for the better, I think, but that remains to be seen. There’s so much left to do!

It’s strange to think that there are still businesses actually using the kind of timekeeping system drawn above and below–and even more strange that these devices are still being manufactured by a variety of different companies–but it’s the truth, dear reader! I shit you not, I used to clock in at my old job with a system no different from the one pictured here.

Most of the technology that I interact with on a daily basis–computers, light tables, wacom tablets and the like–don’t really have moving parts. They don’t clunk, clank, or clatter (with the exception of my scanner, which has taken to keening unhappily like an Aphex Twin remix or a pop song slowed down 800%).

So yes, it feels strange to think that you occasionally can run into a piece of analog technology (not used by a steampunk cosplayer) in this most digital and insecure of ages.

Also, here’s this, an early sketch of the promo poster for the Yoke & Crown:

Done with sumi-e ink, ProWhite, and ebony pencil on a sheet of letter-size printer paper. I like that it looks sort of luminescent.

To close out this rambling post, I leave you with an experimental drawing. I soaked the paper for this in water, then blindfolded myself and ran one of my larger sumi brushes across the still-wet surface. Then I left it alone till it dried, being careful not to look at it or try to interpret the bloom that was occurring. After an hour or so, I came back and did the whole cloud-interpretation thing on it with brush, pen, and white charcoal, eventually arriving at this:

‘Til next time, you sexy, sexy internets.

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One Response to “Dispatch from the Factory Floor, SumiMonster”

  1. Man, look at you and your mixed media. I’m really excited to see the final pages for The Factory to see what crazy stuff you’re going to do to them.

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