I've been working, since January, on a new story. The concept for this story came up before that, probably a year ago but I've not really explored it till now. It's combining ASL poetry (I'm not there yet) and the visuals. And it's precisely where I'm at - the visuals now.
I started with visual references (finding photos of actual deer, actual bulls, and cows) then I drew by hand, aided with the references. Then, from realistic sketches of characters (deer, cows), I started to go more abstractive. I finally found forms I liked, less lines, simplistic, but still held the representations of the characters themselves. I think I was aiming for an iconic look each.
But, later I disliked my own abstractive renderings, so I switched to collaging, which meant I foraged (and bought stock photos) and photoshopped out the backgrounds, cut them into black and white photos of cows and deer. Just I thought I was finished, the collages, when coupled together, built into a "graphic novel/picture book" looked cluttered and tight. I had limited panels, and ideas of some motion. Collaged videos are awesome, an area I want to tap into, with the likes of Lewis Klahr and Graham Rawle for inspiration, the project was getting too big for me to handle. I've got solid deadlines and a loose imagination. So, with ASL videos put on hold, any animation attempts put on hold, stop motion ideas put on hold - I had set up beautiful limitations for myself to focus on the key ingredient: visuals.
I decided I would return to a technique I explored last summer with "Tink's Wink" - a final project to culminate the first low residency summer effort - which was drawing on tracing paper, then scanning it. For some particular reason I loved how pencil lines appeared, smudgy, imperfect, and made entirely by hand. Then I add color, textures, and shape things up in Photoshop. I like painting in Photoshop because I can test back and forth, a new layer, then a new layer, then I erase things back. I think actual painting on canvas is still a form to reckon.
So, here's my progress on creating "Scene One" for Buck & Bull, a new story about an unlikely friendship. Hopefully all this painful creative setbacks (I've discarded more than 60% of what I created for this) actually paved the way for the final result. Yeah, I think it does.