Saturday, March 28, 2009

more sketchbooks

The world is riddled with horrific events, though also some people are having a really good time and think life is OK. I have been looking through another sketchbook. It perturbs me to realise how many graphic novels I have started and not finished. In many cases I have done a lot more writing in sketchy form than the finished art. Here is one about Winky Pinstripe who was the character I invented when I was at university as a mature age student and finding it a compelling but in some minor ways disturbing experience, particularly the hormones in the air but also I guess it was the first time I was thinking (and I was late to come to this opinion because I was in my late 20s) 'young people's music is actually often shit'. So Winky was this aspirant singer in a grunge band, who I could poke fun at a lot because, well, he clearly had no idea about anything. There was a small degree in which he was a version of myself ten years earlier - he was embracing everything - but the thing I really liked (and like - which is not to say I think it was brilliantly successful) about these stories was that everyone was equally ridiculous. For instance, Winky only had to set himself up as some kind of 'rock god' and lots of other people took him at face value, and he got a lot of kudos and sex. For all that, though, he was often shown up and tricked and was shitted on from a great height, but he tended not to realise. I talk about these comics in this way and make them sound great but I think in most cases I didn't get the full message across or exploit the whole thing to its nth degree as I should or could have. A lot of people seemed quite perplexed by the WP strips and there is the possibility that they weren't that funny. There is also the possibility that they were too grumpy-old-man (before that concept properly existed) or that I didn't really understand what I was parodying; that's quite possible. Someone I was close to at the time who found the whole WP universe highly disturbing used to try and persuade me to make the whole story about Winky's guitarist and long-suffering friend Mal who would be revealed to be a good and valid person. In one sense I was already doing that - he was a kind of alternative version of Winky's 'fanboy' thing and much more levelheaded, a kind of Andrew Withycombe type, but I didn't want to do comic strips about wonderfully neutral people doing good things - it seemed to lack drama.

Here is a picture of Winky which I drew but plainly didn't know what to do with, it's very weird, I don't know what I was thinking, he has some model jungle animals. It looks like I was planning to put something on that television screen. He's not sitting right in that beanbag, really, which is possibly another reason why I abandoned whatever I was thinking of. Here is a comic strip I did early on about him, sadly whatever I was planning for the words they are lost.

This sums up the Winky world fairly accurately, it was quite gross, clearly he is having some kind of thing with a schoolgirl. I think I spent more time on the border than the actual comic. I came across another strip that was incomplete where I think the girl must have dumped him. I am sure he bounced back.

These are some pages from a work that I apparently titled Sydney Novel. Honestly I have no idea what I was thinking about when I did this, but it seems to link a few ideas I had already worked out and maybe I was going to try and rehash some shorter Winky stories into a longer work. There are at least six pages. The one with the girl playing drums I was particularly pleased with and still am, as you might be able to see through the pixels I really went to town with the liquid paper on that. This was all from about 1994 and it's pages 1, 2 and 6 (I know the last one is labeled '7' but trust me).

After I abandoned Winky as a downer (more or less; I started work on a strip about five years ago where he had become, well, exactly what people like him would become, a straight upper middle class pain in the arse who pined for the old days) and moved on to Fastidious Frog who was in one of the drawings I scanned yesterday - the incomplete page with the wonky wheel. I found the whole of that story, actually, it is about night soil collection and it is sort of amusing. Here is another failed or incomplete or whatever page from that project. It is quite cinematic, if you want to read it that way.
I suppose as I have been sitting here scanning I have been thinking, wow, this is all a bit self-indulgent, but then I also have to think, if you can't be self-indulgent on your own blog... well, you have to be self-indulgent on your own blog, don't you. Anyway, I'm not the one who said all media had equal value; I only know my blog is better than Andrew Bolt. (I don't just mean better than his blog, but better than him).

So, here is one more notebook thing, like all of the above I have no recollection of drawing it or where I was headed with it. It is the central section from a nearly page-long strip that carries on in much this vein. Obviously I changed pens between these two frames so who knows? There might have been two years between drawing what's on the left and what's on the right, or two minutes. Not that this is valuable in terms of 'understanding' what might even be regarded as misogynist silliness (but only silliness).
Alright that was a bit crude, I'll go and do something constructive now, so should you OK.

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