My art tends to be odd. I don’t have my finger on the pulse of what is popular and can’t tap into the zeitgeist of whatever is happening at the moment. That makes people look at my stuff sideways. I’m no good at plugging into the power of pop culture either. Whenever I try to make something with pop culture in mind it ends up somewhere in the realm of mediocre. I don’t know why. I’m a little envious of people who can do that because it means that more people will look at their work. Make a mash-up piece of Star Wars and My Little Pony and you will get a lot of eyes on your drawing. Even if someone uses a pop culture piece as a lure to look at their real work that’s still a good thing. They came for the thing that they know and maybe some stay to look at what else you’ve got. That how careers can be born.

I mention this because sometimes I make something that even I find really odd. But I like that. My art is all about trying to find images that have not been seen before. The whole development of my spontaneous ink drawing technique came about because I wanted to find a way to mine my brain for images. Now I have seventeen years worth of small ink drawing to look through to help me. That’s about 10,000 little drawings.

So what I did this week was that I pencilled some stuff and prepped it to be made into one of my “Dreams of Things” faux comic book covers. I made three six by nine inch drawings and then scanned them in, put them in my “Dreams of Things” template, and printed them out on eleven by seventeen inch paper to be inked whenever I got the chance. That’s how I’ve been working on that series lately. I draw a few of them, ink a few of them, and then color a few of them. I can work on whatever stage of them that strikes me.

Today I could not get much done. I tried. I puttered around with starts and stops on various projects but nothing interested me. I hate being in that state. It’s a limbo of wasted time. It’s not even wasted time where I’m enjoying myself. I finally stopped trying to figure out what I wanted to do and pulled out a cover to ink. That can pull me out of a funk.

Of course most of my “Dreams of Things” drawings have a dream-like quality to them. It’s in the name after all. They’re filled with odd creatures, strange landscapes, and people who don’t look like they’re living the same life that the rest of us are. That is the point of them. But sometimes I draw something and then when I get to the inking stage it makes me stop and have to figure out exactly what it was that I drew. This was one of them.

I think I made some sense of it. It’s only in black and white at the moment but hopefully it will make even more sense when I eventually color it. Looking at it now it’s hard to even recreate the confusion I had when first looking at it. It just seems weird but not nonsensical.

I leave a lot of room for myself to draw in ink when I’m penciling one of these covers. I use a lot of pattern and texture in my “Dreams of Things” drawings but I don’t draw them in. I know I can do that stuff in the ink stage and it’s better to work it out there. Sometimes I have to break out the pencil again for a brief time but that’s okay. When I first looked at this one I though I left myself a bit too much room. I mean what was it that I was drawing? I left myself a lot of thinking to do in the inking.

The first thing to notice is the face. That’s easy to see. But what was the face on? A box headed thing? It has no arms or legs showing. It has a weird long neck so what is it? I still have no answer to that but at least I made it into something. I kept the box head because I figure that must be what it’s about but added the multiple lines for the cheek bones. That made the face a little more interesting to me and less flat.

Usually I’m a fan of flat but this piece was way too flat. I couldn’t tell the foreground from the background. At first I worked on the foreground. The figure. I worked out the line thicknesses of all the various shapes involved in making the figure and that was not enough. I knew I would need some textures. I put some hatching lines in the neck first. They round the neck just enough to not be flat but no so much that is would like like a illustrative cylinder. I went with the line texture in the stripes after that and it almost worked for me. The last thing I did was to blacken in the triangles on the left side of the “Zipper.” That brought the figure together for me but the background was still way to flat and involved with the main figure.

I knocked out the four circles first. I knew they had to be objects rather than just circular designs so I gave them a striped texture. They were easy but then what was I to do with those diagonal lines emanating from his head? Those checkered squares, which were my solution, weren’t even there yet. I had to get to them and what lead me there was the desire to add little dimension to the background. I put those textures squares in and drew them in one point perspective. This helped separate the figure from the background. After that it was pretty easy as I kept the rest of the background flat and looking like a frame. The last little touch was the black mountains. A little hint of a landscape.

I think it came out well. It’s only in black and white so far but it makes visual sense to me now. But what is it? That’s the question I have no answer for. I stare at it a bit and wonder what the heck that thing is supposed to be. Even I don’t know.