Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Drawing Words & Writing Pictures

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures

When I started off with my graphic novel project I had little clue about how to draw comics. I had had a talent for drawing when I was younger, but never felt any urge to develop it. So my skills as an artist were sort of slumbering and unexplored.

I realized quickly that I had limited experience in how to draw humans. And even less humans acting. I needed a book and after a little googleing I bought “Drawing Words and Writing Pictures” by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden.

A whole new world opened itself to me, both in material and techniques.

First of all the writers made it clear that your ability to make a comic does not come from your ability to draw. That is probably one of the most comforting things you can read at this point, because now you know that your idea might make sail with you at the rudder after all.

The book is filled with examples and many exercises. I know it can be hard to stop reading and do practical work when all you want to do is continue and learn, but please keep in mind that it is by practice you’ll learn this, not by reading only. So I drew simple sketches of movements and tested them on my family members and tested pens and ink in various patterns.

This book really starts on the basics. It explains the difference between a pen and the pen you should use and why. It tells you which papers to use and why and what to watch out for. It also gives you a few tips if you don’t have budget to buy a light box or other expensive equipment.

Though it had several great tips about scanning images into the computer, doing compositing work in the computer lacked. The idea was traditional publishing in black and white, not as a colorful online work. This does not make the book bad however. Unless you believe in doing all the work on the computer you’ll still need most of what is expressed in this book as a base.

The only really negative I have to say about “Drawing Words and Writing Pictures” is the physical format of the book, which is in landscape. Honestly! Try to read it on a bus and you’ll understand what I mean. You need to have this book on a table to read it. But I survived that glitch.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Animation Monday: Haoma

This is a strange, but very delicate piece of work. I experience it as rare that music take such great part of the storytelling. Usually there is not enough budget to add this dimension in such well executed manner. Otherwise I believe facial expressions and body language are used to tell a significant part the story. Something that is not so obvious, I think, is the use of colors as part of the telling.

Here is a link to it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When are you most creative?

Kid in the Front Row wrote a blog entry last week about when he is most creative.

You can read it here.

He says that pressure makes him productive, but not creative.

When am I most creative?

I think I dare say that pressure adds to my creativity. But pressure alone does not work. What makes me creative is to force myself to get started and work with whatever it is. Starting out is never fun, but once started my brain can be like a hive - in a positive sense, without any buzz.

I'm not creative when I'm relaxed. Than the brain is on vacation with only the basics going.

Passion makes me creative. If I love a project there is hardly any limit to my creativity. Where that passion comes from, I have no idea.

What about you? When are you most creative?

Friday, October 26, 2012

My life with Ursula K. Le Guin's books

When I first came across books of Ursula K. Le Guin I was a young teenager and the books were the first three of the Earthsea novels. They were in Swedish of course and I had no idea that they were called the Earthsea novels so when I many years later got a review of my script The Recreators claiming similarities to the Earthsea novels I – wrongly – claimed I hadn’t read them.

I must admit, now, that yes, I was inspired by those novels. My story of The Recreators is entirely my own, but I liked her island-map. My map of the world where the Recreators take place also is a world of islands, but very different from hers. Most fairytale maps have mountains in the north, sea to the west, forests or dangerous lands to the east and deserts in the south. I liked her idea of islands and draw my own map. This was the start of what would be the Recreators.

Years later I found in the library a fourth book in the series. I borrowed it and read it, but it didn’t affect me as the other three. And honestly it was the second of the two – The Tombs of Atuan – which I read at least three times. The third I don’t even remember liking in the first place. Those tombs in the second book inspired the crypts in my current project The Power of Bitterness.

It is fair to say that Ursula K. Le Guin has been one of my major inspirations.

When I was young there were no such thing as Internet and the options to find a list of other works by a writer were fewer and it was just recently I realized what a huge amount of books she has written.

So it was with significant expectations I took on her novel The Left Hand of Darkness this autumn. It has won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award and was told to be very good. I didn’t finish it. Stunned I read page after page without finding a story. There was a situation, yes, and a fantastic world, but no story; at least not in my opinion.

When I read more about her as a person I realized what people had loved about it: It was a flagship for feminism. In the world where the story takes place the people are sexless, except in mating times when they develop into man or woman, no way to tell which. This was a world without male dominance and also a world without the duality that we have to live with. In 1969 when the novel was published, this was clearly a thrilling thought.

I had bought two books of hers. Both from the Hainish science fiction series. I didn’t felt very thrilled to read the Telling which was the second of them, but I don’t want books collecting dust unread and I did like what I read at the back of the book. This one I am reading now, and I like it. This one is published 2000 and I could almost feel it before I found out. Maybe it is just that the subject of religion strikes higher chords in me than feminism, but I also feel some of that Earthsea vibes that made me draw my map once upon a time.

The Telling is a story about a religion with no real gods or moral, but rather a telling of stories and knowledge, discussed and cherished, but without judgments. A fascinating idea.

This book I’ll finish. And perhaps I dare to buy another one of hers sometime.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World

"Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World" is a course at Coursera.org. I took it in the autumn of 2012.

This is a course where you read and analyse different books and writers, starting with the Grimm brothers and ending with modern writers. For each book you are expected to write a short essay. It is one literary work per week. The course is 10 weeks long.

The lessons are prerecorded videos with Professor Eric S. Rabkin. These were of high quality both in content and technically.

All Coursera's classes are for free.

I found the class very interesting. I immensely enjoyed reading all those classics that I had only heard about but rarely actually read. Some were completely new to me. It was also engrossing to listen to Professor Rabkin.

What I didn't like were the Freudian way to analyze the books. I thought there were too many sexual symbols to be found in strange places. I'm also no friend of digging in the writer's subconsciousness. I prefer to analyze the text and not the writer.

It was also pretty tough to read so much. I admit that I rarely had the time to read it all.

As a writer I am used to play a bit with my language, but this was not appreciated in the essays which were expected to hold a more formal way of writing. The essays are judged by fellow classmates and you are equally expected to judge essays. This is a system you can like or not, but there are far too many essays for the professor to handle. Also remember that the class is free of charge.

The aspects of fantasy and science fiction were absorbing and I think this class added to my understanding for storytelling.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Animation Monday: Starless Night

This is a very sweet animation. But it is also unexpected. It uses "nuts ideas" which I admire. Me, I strive to find logic too much.

Here is a link to it..

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Use storytelling to find support for your idea

Sean Blanda has written an article about using storytelling to find wider acceptance of your idea.

"It's the reason we wince when we hear a disgusting story or feel our heart race while watching an action movie. It's also the reason that ideas that evoke a specific narrative are more memorable -- they invite empathy, which increases the likelihood that they will be accepted and adopted."

It brings out some genuinely interesting points about the values - and the power - of storytelling.

Read the full article here:

Friday, October 19, 2012

What this "new" blog will contain

This rebirth will mean that I do not intend to tell so much about my doings as try to inspire. I'll do my best to find interesting people's views about storytelling in different forms. I'll find short movies that I think is cleaver and has something to learn from. I'll review books and movies.

I'll also do some writing exercises. I have and idea I'll write a short essay about a photo; tell some story inspired by it. I want to show off my writing skills, I guess. And get feedback. And feel the pressure to write something for public viewing every week.

I once started this blog to have a public face and promote myself as a screenwriter. Now I want back to that thinking, but this time push myself as a storyteller.

This is not only a rebirth of my blog, but also, in some sense, of the writing part of me.

I'm of on a new journey and I'm thrilled to see where this road will lead me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie

I would like to start this "rebirth", this "recreation", of this blog with a video from TED about storytelling. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks about our perceptions of stories and why it is so important to tell all kinds of stories - and not just a single one.

Here is a link to the talk.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New interface

The new interface is in place, but not completely as I want it yet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A quick update

The new look of this blog is on its way. Please, don't give up on me.

When you do all the coding and all the images on your own it takes a while. I'm almost there and think I'll be able to implement a first but fully functional version any day now.

I've had some problems with the sidebar which I think I'll solve soon.

But I so much want to get started to tell you about all the exciting things I'm working on right now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A word: Colluding

"Yes. Yes, quite right. We can't introduce anything that they don't want to have lying about."
"I hated to do it. I felt I was colluding."
"The margin between collusion and respect can be narrow," Tong said. "Unfortunately, we exist in that margin, here."

"The Telling" by Ursula K. Le Guin

I didn't know the word "colluding". I figured it had something to do with doing something before requested to not get complaints and/or attention, rather than doing it out of respect.

I was wrong.

WordWeb says it means "Act in unison or agreement and in secret towards a deceitful or illegal purpose". English Dictionary says "to conspire together, esp in planning a fraud."

So Tong says that the margin between conspiration and respect is narrow.

Wow. Quite something else.

"Cullude" comes from Latin "colludere", "to play" according to Wiktionary.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sight short film

While you await the new interface of this new blog, enjoy this short movie:

Sight from Sight Systems on Vimeo.

A short futuristic film by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo.
This is our graduation project from Bezaleal academy of arts.

Please share if you enjoyed it!

Daniel Lazo: duniol2@gmail.com
Eran May-raz: eranmayraz@gmail.com
Hanan Revivo: hanan5712@gmail.com
Boaz Bachrach: hearfeel@gmail.com

Eric Lerner

Ori Golad: ori.golad@gmail.com
Deborah Aroshas: deborah.aroshas@gmail.com

Animated Starry night by: Petros Vrellis, vimeo.com/36466564