Don’s Musings

The World Today (The Next Day)

Briefly, I thought about deleting the post from yesterday.  This morning, however… I think it’s important to leave it.  Most every artist and human being will experience times when he or she feels as if a hopeless struggle is being waged.  My grandmother was a nurse for Ed Dodd, creator and cartoonist of the Mark Trail newspaper strip.  He faced rejection after rejection.  She informed me on several occasions that he came very close to throwing the strip into the trash.  It’s beyond difficult to convince a stranger to care enough to publish your work.  The bottom line is that I’ve written and illustrated work of merit, a 160 page graphic novel, which is very close to my heart.  I believe strongly in it.  There is no doubt that it will be published someway, somehow.   Conversely, it’s an understatement to say that the publishing industry is in a state.  Is Barnes and Noble about to go out of business?  What does it say about the state of the publishing industry to note that a founder of the Savannah College of Art & Design’s sequential department is having to do a Kickstarter to fund his book?  What does it say when Noelle Stevenson, show-runner for a popular animated series like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, has to seek out alternative means of funding her publications?  It doesn’t say good things, me thinks… regardless, it’s important to document my thoughts here on my blog and share the process… a process that will include highs and lows.  With yesterday being a low, let’s make today a high…     

The World Today (as Seen through the Eyes of an Artist)

The world, as seen through the eyes of an artist, is an especially bleak one at the moment.  This era isn’t one that favors creativity.  Continually, throughout my life, especially having grown up in the Bible Belt of the U.S… I have often felt as if artists are treated like we don’t matter.  Even when an individual admires something we’ve created–trying to get that same person to compensate us for our time, effort, and energy is a monumental endeavor.  Endeavor.  If only we were in a field that offered things which others desperately needed, like healthcare or manufacturing.  A pill.  Oil.  A new building.  Alas, though we may create something that is wholly unique, in general, people pay more attention to what they are ordering from the local lunch menu.  Round pegs.  Square holes.  Yet I can’t be anything other than who I am.  Night turns to day.  Then night again.  Years go by.  And I’m still here.  And when I’m gone, someone will take my work and sell it for more than I ever received in my lifetime.  Or throw it into the trash.  That is how I feel today.  Hopeless.  

Jack Spriggins

A snapshot of a recent fairytale illustration, Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Beanstalk.  I wanted to play around with a graphite technique for the sky/clouds that I tried only briefly with a previous drawing.  Essentially, I built up darkened areas of the sky with graphite pencils, then erased to create clouds.   

Dark Crystals, Labyrinths, and MirrorMasks


Atlanta Area Travel Recommendation: The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta

Within the last few years, exhibit halls at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta have undergone a large renovation.  On a recent visit to the center, I walked through the new Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance exhibit, as well as the permanent Jim Henson wing that features Sesame Street, Labyrinth, and Muppet Show work.  There is such a huge difference now that the renovations are complete.  While not every puppet can be on display at once, the volume of pieces and props on display from Jim Henson’s oeuvre has increased dramatically from the previous exhibit hall space.  Also, the current exhibits seem to be organized better, often with interactive highlights and well-written plaques that describe how certain puppets work within the context of film production.  If you happen to be in the Atlanta area and have the opportunity, by all means– stop by the center.  Expect to spend at least an hour or an hour and a half to casually walk through the exhibit spaces.  The amount of detail work, especially on display within Brian Froud’s character designs for Age of Resistance, will certainly require some time to absorb and appreciate.  

-Don 

On a side note, I found a random clip from YouTube which features a young couple visiting the center… it gives a good overview of what to expect: