Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

December 29, 2006

Thought Of The Day…

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 3:43 pm

I pulled this article out of the Toronto 24 Hours news flyer last week:

Flashback to a month ago. I was walking down King St. W. on my way to my “Clark Kent” day job when I walked past a city street sweeper. I thought to myself that this was a job worthy of having done. It is benificial to society to have it’s neighbourhood properly cared for. It is worth while to have tax dollars spent on the neighbourhood’s upkeep. And that got me thinking about other social (socialist?) programs. Which ones are worth having tax dollars spent on. This then got me thinking about government…

The problem as I see it, is that the average citizen doesn’t see their elected officials as being worth their tax dollars spent on them. Part of the problem is that the average worker hasn’t seen a real world pay raise since the 1970’s. And yet the cost of living continues to rise. Meanwhile elected officals, unlike the average worker, are in the unique position to vote their own pay increase into law. That is enough to enrage the average citizen and is unfair given that the elected official should primarily be looking out for their citizens best interest. So the question becomes: How can we make sure that the government official’s pay reflects their service to their citizens? What could be a solution?

Median Pay.

If our elected officials were paid the median of the nation’s annual salary, then it would be in their best interest to elevate the wages of those with lower incomes.

While we’re on the subject of elected officials, I also think that their campaign promises should be a legally binding contract, which if they break, the elected official will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law… but that’s for another “Thought Of The Day…”.

December 16, 2006

Saturday Miscellany

Filed under: Audio,Doodles,Mantra,Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 2:31 pm

Work Doodle…
I did these sketches at work, trying to apply some of those Walt Stanchfield notes on drawing folds. Mildly pleased with the results. A couple more hundred drawings, and I might just get it right.

Thoughts on Blogging.
I never really cared about comments or feedback before. The artwork I would draw, and the stories I would craft were primarily for myself. However since the start of this blog journal experiment I find myself looking for the next comment like a junkie looking for his next hit. Pathetic. As a result, this song has been playing through my head all week:

[audio:songoftheday01.mp3]

Which brings me to a new feature / post category:

Mantra
The idea of this being; any word of wisdom or advice which I constantly need reminding about will go in this category.

In Other News…
Today was a good day for inking. Progress on SPUD & HARRY had just about ground to a halt during the month of November. However for the better part of the day, I managed to ink a good chunk of character stuff on HARRY pg. 14 as well as some backgrounds that previously were causing me problems. Progress pics would have been posted, but they’d give away the story. So for that you’ll just have to wait.

The next SPY GUY Webcomic is ready to go (tune in tomorrow).

In The Mail…
Thai Nguyen (ILM Animator and member of the SPY GUY Street Team) writes:

youre web comic should be called Mashed. its kinda have an emenem sound to it. + its like ur mixing a bunch of style youre trying out. and its been put together quickly

http://m-w.com/dictionary/mashed

Interesting.
I kind of like it.
Any thoughts?

November 29, 2006

Thought Of The Day…

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 12:00 pm

Computer Animation

or

How I Wasted 10 Years Of My Life

If I were to write an autobiographical or instructional story right now, that is what it would be called…

November 13, 2006

Hidden Message

Filed under: Announcements,Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 6:08 pm

A member of the Spy Guy Street Team has discovered a series of embedded symbols cunningly laid out and interwoven into the nation’s architecture which when viewed by the inititiated communicates a powerful hidden message.

Click Here To View Hidden Message

October 29, 2006

Douglas Coupland – Quote

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 11:40 am

I ripped this article out of the Pulse 24 news flyer a little while back.

“At 25 you know you’re not going to be a rockstar” Coupland explains.
“By 30 you know you are never going to be a dentist, and by 40 there are just so many things you’re not going to get a chance to do.”

Quotes like this are the reason Douglas Coupland is creditted as being the voice of our Generation X.

October 6, 2006

Save Lucky Louis

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 12:20 pm

The funniest family sitcom on television has been cancelled by HBO.
Seriously, I don’t understand network executives.

Take a look at some of these clips, they are brilliant:

If you liked these clips, try to get your hands on an episode.

And if you liked the episodes, write to HBO and let them know you want another season.

Also check out Louis CK’s Save Lucky Louis thread on his message board.

September 26, 2006

Gender Interchangeability 101

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 2:56 pm

Stories like this make my blood boil: CBC News – Hockey Decision

September 25, 2006

Times They Are A-Changin’

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 2:07 pm

Came across this Tilting At Windmills article by Brian Hibbs (#149 – September 2006) over on Newsarama:

The Direct Market is changing. Well, really, the whole comics market is changing, but I’m most concerned about the Direct Market portion of it.

One of the problems is that a lot of the things that are changing are doing so relatively invisibly, and under the surface, so you’re probably not too aware of them, or how they’re affecting things.

Hell, I’m not sure most of the time either, really!

One of the things we take as an unwritten assumption in this market is that Diamond is basically the sole source for comics product.

Click here to read more.

I had been thinking a lot about his lately. Not only because Diamond flat out rejected my first two Spy Guy comics, but also because of some other news that had been percolating last year regarding minimum orders. Such as these ones:

The Comics Journal
Lying In The Gutters
Comicon
Sequart
Ninthart

Another Tilting At Windmills piece here

But even more then that, it’s because the books I find I am most interested in, are ones that just aren’t available through the Direct Market Channels.

It seems that the Direct Market can’t see past it’s Super-hero glut. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Astonishing X-Men, and Ultimates 2, and Punisher MAX, and Batman and Savage Dragon, and Next Wave: Agents of H.A.T.E. I like it all just fine.

But what I’d really like to complement it is Paper Biscuit, or a Bob G.O.M.P.
Stuff that is all but being ignored (for lack of sales or lack of support) by the mainstream market. It’s possible that this stuff is supposed to exist on the fringe. That it’s not supposed to exist in the mainstream. I don’t know. But this is where the good stuff, the deep stuff, the new stuff exists.

Created by an artist with a singular vision, and a burning urge to express that vision with the rest of the world. Compare that to the corporate mainstream, where creative decisions are made by non-creative executives. We’ve all seen the havoc that mentality has caused in comics during the Direct Market crash in the 90’s. And the mess that mentality made in animation, with Disney’s fall from grace, and the current CG glut we’ve gotten ourselves into.

The best hope for entertainment is in the creation of creator owned and controlled properties. By artists that have a burning desire to create them. The arts are a part of our culture. If corporate culture dominates the mainstream with their empty candy coated fluff, who’s only purpose is to maximize the stock of rich corporate investors, then I think it’s time to start nurturing the counter-culture.

I’m wondering if stores like The Labrynth, and Stuart Ng Books , and print on demand services like Lulu.com are going to be the next big thing in comic book culture. And awards like the Isotope Award For Excellence In Mini-Comics. This is where the next big things are brewing.

“This is counter-culture from the underground
Eternal revolution, this is our sound.”

KMFDM – Megalomaniac

September 21, 2006

Do You Hate Your Job?

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 12:04 pm

That was the title of a Yahoo! News article I saw the other day.

I’ve gotta laugh when I read news articles like that. 
And I’ve been seeing them A LOT lately.

Here are a couple of good quotes from some books I have been reading:

“if you look at the many interviews with workers on assembly lines, for example, that have been done by industrial psychologists, you find that one of the things they complain about over and over again is the fact that their work simply can’t be done well; the fact that the assembly line goes through so fast that they can’t do their work properly. I just happened to look recently at a study of longevity in some journal on gerontology which tried to trace the factors that you could use to predict longevity — you know, cigarette smoking and drinking, genetic factors — everything was looked at. It turned out, in fact, that the highest predictor, the most successful predictor, was job satisfaction.”

The Relevance of Anarcho-syndicalism
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Peter Jay

“You are what you do.  If you do boring, stupid monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid and monotonous.  Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education.  People who are regimented all their lives, handed off to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home at the end, are habituated to hierarchy and psychologically enslaved.”

The Abolition of Work
by Bob Black

Before leaving for Laika, Glen Sylvester (a co-worker here at STARZ Animation) sent this out in his farewell e-mail:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Two Wolves
A Cherokee Legend

I’d like to think of it all as some sort of a sign.  Or a SIGN.
But when I start to see patterns emerging I always think back to an article in the back of Cerebus #219.

“When the Universe seems to confirm our fictions as opposed to our supposed theories, then this suggests a strange relationship between fiction, mind, perception, and cosmos that is far more gripping than simply solving a whodunit.I once heard an anecdote about a contemporary magician who decided to put this principle to the test by adopting a belief so strange that nobody could possibly mistake it for reality and then seeing what happened. The belief he decided to go with was that Noddy, the little toy-car driving and belied-hat wearing protagonist of Enid Blyton’s
children’s books, was in fact the absolute creator of the Universe and the God of all Gods. Within a couple of weeks he abandoned the experiment in alarm, finding himself upon the brink of conclusively proving that Middy was the Supreme Being. He’d come across magazine articles showing freshly discovered cave-drawings of an obviously sacred figure wearing what appeared to be a tall pointed hat with a little bell on the top. He’d read an interview with Enid Blyton herself in which she described a strange vision that had come to her while under the influence of gas at the dentist; in which she had been whisked across the Universe at the speed of light to meet God himself, although he couldn’t describe the details of their conversation. This, along with a whole mess of other stuff and previously hidden meanings in Bible passages (Cain is banished to the Land of Nod in Genesis, for example), seemed to indicate that Nod was God and Enid Blyton His prophetess.”

Dave Sim/Alan Moore Correspondence – Cerebus #219
Alan Moore 

Off on a semi-tangent:  Mark Mayerson wrote a good article on his blog about the state of animation in Canada titled Woe Canada.

September 18, 2006

Drawing Is Hard

Filed under: Doodles,Ramblings,Spy Guy — M Kitchen @ 7:23 am

Drawing is really hard.
There’s no other way to put it.

One of my biggest regrets is not pushing my drawing skills over my post-Sheridan years. Now I’m getting old(er). Time is moving faster.

I found while doing sketching at the Toronto Comic Book Expo, that Spy Guy is a hard character to draw. I didn’t realise that before. It’s because of the simplicity. If you get the lines wrong, it shows. There isn’t a lot of detail to hide behind. Also it’s because of that trench coat. It makes it easy to turn the character into a blob. I really have to think about the forms and mass under the trench coat. Especially around the legs. That is what I was experimenting with in these doodles:

This is a sketch I did a while back while I was looking at some Shane Glines Bob G.O.M.P. drawings. I was looking at the way Shane draws his forms, and was trying to mimic it on Spy Guy. I always thought these doodles were successful. They have an appeal:

Whenever I look at stuff by artist at the top of their game (like in the links below) I get a reality check on just how far I am from the watermark I artistically aspire to, and I get a surge of energy to just try to get better. It’s hard work, but it’s work worth doing.

Temple of the Seven Golden Camels – The art of storyboarding (and more).

Walt Stanchfield – Drawing class notes from Walt Disney Studios.

Chen Yi Chang – Animation Presentation (video).

All I can really do is keep drawing. Keep pushing. Keep learning. This is something I should have done years ago. But life has a way of doing that, setting up distractions, veering things off course.

I’ve got a lot to learn.

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