Cartooning Like You Mean It

Cartooning, Teaching & Living – by Tom Hart

Archive for July 2006

Hutch Owen Needs You!

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Striprough1
I’m a terrible blogger cause I never like to show my hand. I am secretive about everything- a bit embarrassed by my own thoughts or work, too shy to be as ambitious and career minded as I think I am.

But Hutch Owen needs you, and I think it needs me to be happier in detailing my own ups and downs and struggles with getting this work A) completed and B) out there.

So, well, Hutch Owen doesn’t need you yet, except right now with your GOOD VIBES. Two packages sit on important editors’ desks. I can’t talk about them too much yet, but one sits with the editor of a paper here in NYC. It looks like he might try it out for a month- 20 strips or so.

I am in a tizzy about how to package this, what to present, what to show if I’ve only got a month. I am second guessing myself to death. Right now: I think I will pull 5 strips from the original first two weeks of this strip, and then a ridiculous two weeks about immigration involving racoons and egrits and other frivolity, then a week of Dennis Worner that is accelerated and funny, I think.

It’s the second guessing that kills me- I want to win over the crowd in a month, and that’s never a good plan. But some of my best work has been when I DID conform to a few more accepted ideas of taste- witness “The Road To Self”- completed after devouring a few specific books on screenwriting/fiction writing, etc.

But my own inclination is to — ABC –ALWAYS BE CHALLENGING! –and not necessarily the reader, but myself, and that means a lot of built-in failure. Especially for a late bloomer like myself, to whom shadows on faces is still a unique idea, it means a lot of trying new things- playing around with my own CONSCIOUSNESS, letting that emerge, staying PERSONAL, and letting my mind wander where it wants to. I LIKE being a self-obsessed creator. I am a generous TEACHER, I deserve to be a obstinate, selfish creator, or so I’d like to believe.

But the commercial world doesn’t work that way, except for James Kochalka.

So on with the second-guessing. What should I do here?

“Well, what do you want to do?” you might ask.

I want to explore comic-strip making more, in the vein of EC Segar, Harold Gray, and others, but also, yes, James Kochalka, and other creators who have broken the mold in their own way.

I have played around with breaking various molds that I have had passing knowledge of- The Sands was a play at breaking with traditional story structure. If I knew traditional story structure better, it might have worked great.

But by now, I am ready to totally dash off the path of the hopeful syndicated cartoonist, and play with time (daily/frequent/whatever) and space (the boxes) in a way that is useful to me as a creator/cartoonist/person. Which is always what I want to do. I was days away from going public with some more playful work, but now this new proposal comes and I don’t know what to do with it.

So at some point, I might come to you saying “Hutch Owen needs you!” and I might need a few emails written, or a little shouting at the moon for me, or for something. For now, just wish for me that I can figure out what the hell it is I oughta be doing…

(And I HATE the word “oughta” or “should” or anything. I am perfectly, serenely self-motivated – no OUGHT or SHOULDS for me, except when the commerciality of a pitch is concerned. In those instances — I’m all thumbs.)

Signed,

EC Thumby.

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Written by hutchowen

July 31, 2006 at 6:45 pm

Port Washington Library Visit

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Pics from a recent manga workshop in Port Washington, NY.

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Written by hutchowen

July 29, 2006 at 11:54 am

Posted in Teaching

3 week SVA Precollege Class Debrief

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Finished an amazing 3 week class teaching 38 high schoolers to make cartoon stories. Each kid made a finished 10 page story, and we published a giant compendium. Everyone rocked, and the final 7 hour crit/celbration/show was high energy and invigorating. Pics below

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Written by hutchowen

July 29, 2006 at 11:52 am

Posted in Teaching

The Boise, Idaho Jump Rope Team

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In the Chicago airport, I had the luck to run into the Boise, Idaho Jump Rope team, fresh from winning 21 of 29 trophies in the nationals and on their way to the world competition in Toronto. Fresh-faced, white, clean and smiley as good clean, white, smiley midwest kids can be. Totally charming. I went a bit goofy on them, was so happy to see a jump rope team and not a bunch of idiots out to proselytize and convert, or destroy something, or acquire something, or sell something, just jumping the best damn rope Americans can!

Smile on!

Check out their winning national competitions being broadcast in September on ESPN!

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Written by hutchowen

July 23, 2006 at 3:11 am

Posted in From Tom

The Last Two Democrats in Missouri

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Just back from visiting my ailing, brilliant grandfather in Missouri. 40 years of smoking and still blames his esophagus and lung cancer to the war- which may be true, since he was discharged for the asmtha he picked up while laying tar for new runways in Algeria and Italy.

At one of the local buffet restaurants, we ran into this friendly bearded fellow. My grandfather said the two of them were the last two democrats in Missouri.

The buffet was awesome for 6 bucks. I saw a young woman there who was so cute and dressed so urbanely it made me homesick. Girls like that are few and far between in the flat, rural midwest.

People in the midwest really could not give a shit for Hollywood, or our New York culture, or anything. Strange how still the TV commercials reflect the culture of the coasts.

The world between the coasts is so radically different. People drive to each other’s houses just to sit in chairs, drink soda and say hello. Yeah they eat like utter crap, but they like it. They like keeping their tax money. They have jobs, they buy shit, they live and die. They like that just fine, too.

They don’t think about other cultures. They don’t aspire to make great things. They don’t get off on the fruits of their labor. They sit around tell stories about their childhood, about mutual acquaintances, about illness and trauma and near-misses and shared opinions and advice.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so damned ugly. Joplin’s downtown is mostly unused (near as I can tell), but no one seems to care or talk about it. The Wal-Marts and malls and stuff work just fine for them all.

I don’t know what the last two democrats in Missouri talk about. I got up for more catfish and spinach.

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Written by hutchowen

July 23, 2006 at 3:08 am

Posted in From Tom

Hakim @ SummerStage

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All New York’s belly dancers put their hands in the air for Hakim.Hakimhands

The staff at the door made me throw away my three bottles of wine. Then the announcer before the show made us “GIVE IT UP FOR SNAPPLE!!!”

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Written by hutchowen

July 10, 2006 at 12:34 am

Posted in From Tom

My dreams, spat back at me.

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Dreams

I have lately been posting my dreams at Sawlogs.net. The database system there spat my “typical dream” back at out me today:

“You feel anger in a unfamiliar setting on a cloudy night while enaged in aggressive interactions.

Also present: architecture, failure and misfortune.”

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Written by hutchowen

July 9, 2006 at 10:05 am

Posted in From Tom

Reviews for my students

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Written by hutchowen

July 5, 2006 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Teaching

Amazing what 13 years can do…

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my drawings lately, how full of new cold lines it is, how some poses still are impossible for me, how much I love hatching, how I feel like I’ve gone from being a minimalist to almost a maximalist at least in the way I fill up the panel with lines everywhere I can.

And there there’s the crude factor- something I’ve always been accused of being. I still think I draw crudely, but have I improved? I put some drawings side by side for a real verification.

Hutch9306

Go figure.

That’s Vanessa Davis’ much more elegant drawings poking out from my desktop underneath.

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Written by hutchowen

July 5, 2006 at 1:33 am

Posted in From Tom

July 4th Patriotism Post

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Lee and I went to Brighton Beach for the 4th of July, and I addictively watched the New York City fireworks on NBC on the tube in the Uzbeki restaurant where we had Shurpa and some sort of great, fatty dumplings. The fireworks moved me, because they were over NY city, my home. Shots of the explosions lighting up the skyline over the Empire State Building -after getting over the initial 9-11- related viscerality of that- were beautiful and angelic.

Fuck America- show me a city with more patriotism than New York City, I said. It can’t be done.

Lee wanted to know how I define patriotism.

It’s being full of the breath and pulse of America and loving it, I said.

And how it differs from Nationalism, which makes her skin crawl (I try not to think about it): Patriotism is loving and believing in the people and your country. Nationalism is adhering to the superiority of them.

We walked the world’s greatest Boardwalk (South Asian, Hispanic, Carribean, Russian, Asian, White, etc) to Coney Island where we blew a few bucks on skee ball and shoot em up games. We gave our coupons to a kid who was not the least bit appreciative.

New York, America’s most patriotic city, is also the most American city. Full of immigrant stories, full of languages, full of the people from all over the globe “learning to be free.” (sic) When I am in America I WANT to hear Russian, Greek, Spanish, Creole, etc.

I want to see more t-shirts that read “Clench Jeans: The Pride Style”

I want you crazy fuckers over here. Stir this country up! Help us run it! Help us build it. Learn to be free and feed me your dumplings!

Photo from subway ride back.
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Written by hutchowen

July 5, 2006 at 1:11 am

Posted in From Tom