Monday, March 30, 2009

Update: Woggy #8

Back in October, I had mentioned my Lil' Me (working title) cartoon was a woggy I had hinged much of my medium-term professional aspirations on. Well, especially since this is a woggy I truly have my heart set on actually completing someday, I have come to face certain facts over the ensuing months, and have thereby decided to drastically alter the path of this little tadpole's future.

In fabulous amphibian fashion, this Lil' Me cartoon project does hereby officially transform into the shape of ... a comic book! Yes, seeing all the technological and other hurdles before me, and the inevitable complications of the task that are impeding this project's progress, while all my fab concepts, characters and ideas continue to chomp at the bit telling me to just hurry up and get on with it already, I've decided the best way I can get on with this in a way that will allow it to fruit into reality as close as possible to my vision is to create a comic book series instead. (how's THAT for a long sentence!! Take that, Mr. Dickens!)

All of the essential elements will still be there. The characters and stories can stay the same, and it works fine with an episodic format. the only thing that will have to be missing will be my fabulous theme song, which was the seed that started this whole project in the first place, but I will probably figure out some way to make that work in a comic book. Or, maybe I'll just sing it to myself while I'm drawing.

Best of all, I can return to the format I prefer anyway, which is the drawing on paper. In an instant I have erased all technological hurdles in my way!! And, even better, With me getting all my episodes out in comic book form, it will still be possible for them to be one day picked up as an episodic cartoon, with someone else doing all the fancy-pants work and me just letting everyone know the general idea of how everything should turn out.

I first started to think about this as a possible solution to my problem when I saw the movie Persopolis (which by the way is really awesome and I really reccomend you go see it if you haven't), most especially when I saw the DVD extra where they went behind the scenes and talked about how the movie began as a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, who also co-directed the film.

I've mentioned elsewhere in this wog that I've always been drawn to graphic novels and comic books, but have always felt a bit like a fish out of water whenever I was around them. My recent purchase and reading of Best American Comics 2008, as well as Lynda Barry's highly inspiring and wildly creative What It Is (which I am still in the middle of), have helped me find some more courage in that area, helping me to see this art form as a medium that might be just right for me, especially in the case of my "Lil' Me" story.

Then a defining moment came one day when I heard my sister, who works as a professional graphic artist, mention how much she'd really like a drawing tablet, which she does not actually have, causing me to look over at my dusty and paper-buried graphic tablet on my work table, considering exactly how long had it been since I had last used that thing anyway? And would I ever in fact be really using it for anything more than a glorified mouse before it became obsolete? Surely it could be put to better use by a professional who actually would use it everyday (i.e., my sister). This was in fact the most defining fact of the many facts I had brought myself to consider over these past several months.

Then on a recent visit with family, I found myself saying to my Grandma, who had just asked me what projects I was working on, that I was making a comic book of the cartoon I had told her about before. So there it was, I realized. I guess that's really what I was going to be doing, after all!

The last hurdle that was standing in the way of this official transformation was the purchase by me of some actual blank notebooks. Being a writer I have many blank lined notebooks lying around the house, but up until today I had no blank blank notebooks anywhere. Whenever I draw or "doodle" as I like to refer to it, I usually use either blank computer paper, or my favorite, sheets of white "typing paper" (or as they call it now a "writing tablet") which are quite nice for drawing on, but come in a tear-off pad, which is not very useful when trying to create a cohesive work of many pages that follow each other. I'm happy to say that I purchased not one but two blank notebooks today, of the size and binding I like most in their cousinly lined-paper forms, and am now officially ready to embark on the next phase of this woggy adventure.

I hereby rewrite my woggy to-do list...

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • Dig up my old plot and story notes, and my folder of character drawings
  • Sketch out a plot for my introductory episode/book
  • rough storyboard the book
  • draw book #1
  • admire fab new book!
  • repeat process for several more books
  • research publishing graphic novels/ comic books, including self-publish options
  • begin sending out stuff/ doing whatever initial stuff i need to do to pursue publishing of first few books
  • continue making more books
  • consider creating a dedicated website for the books
  • write more to-do steps

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Woggy #17: Family Tree

At some particular point in the last year, my sister-in-law, who had been doing some extensive family tree research on my husband's side of the family, uploaded her research to a popular family tree website, and invited us all to have a look. This of course inspired me to create a tree of my own, filling out my half of our family tree.

For a week or two, I began working regularly and diligently to expand my tree, taking advantage of the free trial membership the site had. I decided to go ahead and sign up, paying a monthly fee, thinking I would see this thing through in a month or two, culminating sometime after the holiday season, when I would incorporate all the info I got talking to all my extended family and/or receiving their replies to my organized letters that I would include with the yearly card and newsletter.

I have of course forgotten about this woggy project entirely until about last month, when I was reviewing my finances, and again this past week when I was visiting my family and thinking about the various details I might want to know about my family tree. I have yet to even formulate the sorts of questions I'd like to ask extended family, let alone create any sort of letter, organized or no, that could help me gather additional information to add to my tree.

Meanwhile, I continue to pay monthly fees to this website, sure that I'll be finishing this project up any day now, and have no need to switch over to the yearly fee structure. (It's obviously this sort of wishful thinking that keeps these folks in business.)

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • consider switching to the yearly fee structure..
  • finish up doing as much research as possible given the info I currently have
  • figure out what sort of info I need to try to get from whom to fill out the tree
  • send out letters/emails/etc. to get info and photos from pertinent family members
  • update new info as it comes in
  • finish up doing as much research as possible given the info I get
  • Do any needed external research
  • Complete the tree as much as possible
  • print a final copy, send to family members, etc.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Update: Woggy #13 Complete!

After many, many hours of enjoyable work, I'm happy to say that this miniaturely giant woggy has finally been finished! Whatever Lego fan actually posted somewhere that he completed this feat in a mere 10 hours either has a faulty sense of timing, superhuman building power, or must have employed a large army of miniature robots to complete his task.

My final hours of project completion were assisted greatly not only by my small Lego workmen supervisors (see three of them helping to the left), but also by my Velvet Underground-seeded Pandora station, which I feel helped especially pulling me through all the delicate, frustrating, and slightly nerve-wracking moments connecting all the large component parts to one another.
And baby it was allright
And it was alright
Hey it was allright
Unexpectedly, the worst moments came not from placing the large central dome, which unlike all my previous attempts at handling it, did not fall apart or lose any tiles in the process, but from the plugging in of all the exterior building pieces to one another. As soon as I would get two plugged into each other and attempted a third, I'd find the second and third pieces come together only at the expense of the first two pieces coming apart. After an of absurd series of together-together-apart, together-together-aparts, I did finally succeed at getting them all together into one comprehensive whole, and only a few minor and non-lethal break and repairs.

In the end, the final result was pretty impressive. Hugely impressive in fact, and now I am beginning to consider the question my husband first asked me when I brought the Taj Mahal set home, and that is "Where exactly are you going to put that thing in our place?" I had decided not to worry about that trivial detail until after it was finished. For now, this Ottoman looks like a good place, though obviously not a permanent one. Anyway it sure looks great, especially when I put a light inside and the fountain from my city set in front of it. Who needs airfare? In that perspective the cost of this project now seems downright economical!