When You Got NothingMy previous blog was all about inspiration and it included an example of where I'd recently found it. But sometimes I find I have the desire to draw, but there really is nothing in the tank. They seldom come fast with me, and from what I'd read this is a common issue with creatives. You can generate loads of good ideas at first, but then you run dry. Of course there are plenty of folks out there that can just crank the work out, and they make it seem easy too!
So, how do you break out of your funk?
By far the easiest thing to do when you're trying to find inspiration is to look at work by other people. I tend to target popular culture and well known works & ideas because it fits in with my main joke driver, WIKT ("wait, I know this"). This is what your mind subconsciously says when you see a joke. It's a powerful idea and it tends to appeal to our sense of nostalgia and belonging.
So earlier this week, knowing I had to get another Area 5.1 cartoon out, I decided to parody one of the greats. Something so well known that even the non-cultured would recognise.
Dancing on the CeilingThe Creation of Adam from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; my idea was a simple one, create a parody by replacing Adam and God with my aliens.
|Starting Out - Overlaying my characters|
I considered using my "Zambo the Great" character as god,.. it seemed fitting, but I haven't actually drawn this figure yet. Instead I stuck with the recognisable LGM's and mused that "god created
[nb. I know, I don't normally quote scripture, but I was feeling googly!!]
After looking more closely at the painting I noticed that the god figure (let's call him Zambo) seems to be held aloft by a number of (what I assume are) mortals. A collection of men, women and children surrounded by some sort of protective cloak. I had to somehow keep that idea.
|The Complete Artwork|
My answer was to add more LGM's, clearly straining to hold the big guy up, and as they are flying, well they needed rocket boots!! The cape looks a little abstract now, but at the time I didnt really understand what it was meant to be. (A monsterous shell, or a hang-glider perhaps?) I coloured the mortals a darker green to push them into the background.
I think it turned out OK.
Cranking it up to ElevenRather than just leave it as a parody I decided to try and make it a joke. My first thought was to have a frame before this with LGM looking up at the bathroom ceiling and saying something like, "What do you think, too much?"
Clearly the original artwork's location had struck a chord with me!
Shiela had just asked me for advice about a cartoon she was working on, so I ran it by her. It became clear that there was a better line I could use that worked on the assumption that one of them had gotten carried away. It also made more sense why they'd be painting in the first place.
I came up with this single frame idea where the artwork was actually graffiti on a concrete underpass column.
|The completed cartoon|
The final changes I made were to alter the green on Zambo and Adam so that it was different from my two figures in the foreground. Then in order to get some separation from the background, I added a white outline to the foreground figures. It's subtle but it works well.
Visit the final cartoon here -- http://area5-1.webcomic.ws/comics/61/