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Farewell to 2019

In preparing for the post, I read over my previous “farewells”. I realized my reflection on the year is largely the same as in 2018. I’m still frustrated with my creative output. I wrote no fiction at all this year, and while I’ve devoted most of my free time to artwork, I’m still not happy with my finished pieces. The house I’ve been building since 2018 still isn’t finished. Lay on that trouble sleeping and it hasn’t felt like a great year.

But, on balance, I should be more positive about my art. I picked up watercolour painting this year and fell in love with it. I took another go at the Inktober drawing exercise and that’s where I could make a real comparison to my last attempt in 2017. The ink drawings this time were much, much stronger, from broad composition down to linework. Clearly, I’ve improved a great deal, even when it’s not immediately apparent to me that this is happening.

My inability to come up with story ideas has weighed heavily on me and I’m not sure how to deal with it. I think I tied too much of my identity to writing and to creative accomplishments when my spotty publication history should have warned me that was a bad idea. Only now has the tug towards stories started again, but actually getting all of that down on the page is another struggle.

That all being said, here is my usual rundown of things I personally thought were the best things from the year.

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We finally talk about Bone.

Download the Podcast (archive.org page)

Marie’s new website

Source of our theme song

Inktober 2019

I did Inktober this year. Noticeable improvements from the last time I did this in 2017: better use of volumes, more expressive and varied characters, more unusual and interesting compositions. Using just one sketchbook helped; my art supplies are better,my use of them more controlled.

Thumbnailing was important, as last time. Every day, I became a little more ambitious and had to try out sketch after sketch before hitting on the exact right feel. Each day, the drawing took longer to complete. I think that work shows in the final pieces.

Unlike last time, I feel have the technical skills for drawing a comic now. Maybe when the ideas start coming again.

I have a short story in the latest Tesseracts anthology. It’s about the Polish winged hussars, the best-dressed cavalry force of the seventeenth century.

You can get Tesseracts Twenty-Two: Alchemy and Artifacts from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Google Play.

A second pilgrimage

The Scott Pilgrim series (2004 – 2010) is one of the most influential things to come out of Canadian comics. It captures the thrust of new artistic movements in the medium and storytelling modes in the first decade of the millennium. Bryan Lee O’Malley draws on video games and manga for its form – the six volumes are all made to imitate Japanese comic releases from the size to the panel formatting – while still retaining a unique look that distinguishes it from its inspirations.

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Woods so deep and strange

Charles De Lint is highly prolific and has explored a wide range of styles, but Moonheart (1984) set the dominant flavour for his work. When you think of the name Charles De Lint, you think of a very specific kind of urban fantasy.

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Becalmed Ohmu

Ink and watercolour. Illustration from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki.