Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Karl’s Handy Guide to Writing Part#1

I wouldn’t consider myself a great writer.

I don’t flip words with delicate ease and I don’t describe a situation with a mastery of prose.

I do feel like I can spin a good yarn.

Tell a tall tale…

And keep people interested in what I’m talking about.

Over the years I’ve found there are a few concepts that will help you write/ tell an interesting story.

I don’t claim to know how to make you or me a better writer.

I just have a few tricks you may or may not have heard.

Hold on here we go.

#1 Know your characters. You’ve heard writers say. “the character writes itself”..there’s a reason they say that. You need to learn “who” your character is in order to have them act through you to tell the story. Hmm sounds crazy? Well it’s easy actually. Just start asking your character question. Where and with who did you have your first kiss with? How many people are in your family? Where were you born? What’s your favorite food? Have you ever stolen some thing? Have you ever cheated on a test? Ask questions both intimate and mundane. Be creative in what you ask and you will be surprised how the answers mold the characters in your mind. Soon that character will begin to write it self as you imagine how they would act in a given situation

There is no set amount of questions you need to ask. Just ask as many as you need to feel like you know the character. Think about how well you know your siblings or your friends. You should try and know your characters better than that.

#2 Jeopardy/ Conflict. It’s not just a game show it’s an important part of a good story. Why are the characters in conflict? What keeps them in conflict and why does any of this matter to them? Answering those questions will create the drama your story needs to keep in interesting. It could be glory or greed or revenge. Motivation/conflict and Jeopardy.

#3 Big and Small it’s all worthwhile. When you look at the plot of a story it needs to work on a both large scale and a small scale. Many writers focus on one end or the other too much.

Think of Harry Potter. On large scale it’s giving us the viewer a look into the secret world of magic. Where the battle between good and evil is raging.

On a small scale it’s Harry and his group of friends getting along and growing up and learning to become adults.

It works because we see the small moments between the characters that make us care about them. When they are challenged in the larger story we feel a sense of jeopardy for their fate. Therein lies the drama and the beginnings of a good story.


That’s it for now.

Happy Holidays and Good Writing!!!

KA-lifornia.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

All I want 4 X-mas is....

Ok..so everyone knows it's all about "goodwill towards man" and "peace on Earth"...

but let's get down to da real...

What do you want for Xmas?

when I go down to my pagan inspired winter solstice tree on the 25th...I'm not looking for UNICEF..I'm looking for some dandy gifts that will keep me warm all winter long..

DVD's
Graphic Novels
Ipods..

Greed is good!!!

Show me the money!!!

It's better to give than re....uh wait..I mean it's better to receive!!!!!


ok..I'm just being a Mr.Scroodge Mc Duck...I guess I feel the Xmas spirit is lost in all the mad dash to spend money...and that's what it all about..spending money...for what exactly.?

How does that honor anything..I guess it keeps us all employed because it boots the economy..but what does it really do for us as people...

that being said...


I'd like an Ipod Nano...

some 89 Retro Jordans

a new Wacom Tablet...

hehehe..



Santa K

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Down Time

I got some great feedback on the OGN pages I posted...but now they are down and back in Ole St. Nicks shop..

Getting retooled

Remade

and my fave..

Reinvented....

In other news...

Things are hectic at work and I'm finishing up some freelance jobs.

"The Blog will not be operational when your friends arrive"

Meaning I won't be posting till Monday..

but I will leave you with this...

some titles of upcoming blogs.


"Post Tramatic Comic Disorder"


"Not Your Dad's Hero"


"5 Ways To Make a Profitable Comic"

Until we meet again...


Stay Classy San Diego!!!


KA-lifornia

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Revenge of The Non-Creates

I wrote a blog a month or so ago..called "Non-Creates"

it's located here

http://karlaltstaetter.blogspot.com/2005/08/non-creates.html

sorry for the cut and paste..but I don't have the links in the page/blog thing figured out...

The basic idea of the first post was that as creative people we are more and more asked to copy things rather than create things as well as deal with the overall lack of vision in the corporate/creative world...

I got some feedback from some other artists and here is my reply to them...

and if you have followed all that and you are still reading..god bless you and I hope you enjoy the read


Revenge of the Non-Creates Or the Debate Strikes Back

This is a bit of a ramble...but

I get what you are saying and I agree with the “investors/money first” mentality is running shit.

I understand that as a huge company it’s a numbers game.

They want the most money from whatever they produce and they want the best chance for it to make money.

Which is sound business...

...but at the same time they are not developing anything new or developing the creative voices of the artists. Which it seems most corporate people have forgotten is the basis for all their merchandising and profit sources..

you can’t make video games and underwear and action figures and backpacks off of a concept nobody likes and or does not exist....so as much as they want a sure thing..they need to spend the money to develop the talent and the ideas to get them those larger properties..

The Sponge Bobs
The Teen Titans
The Harry Potters..

people dig those for a reason..they are good well executed ideas...

At some point an artist or a group of artists had to create them...

It’s like the egg before the chicken...I see it as these companies don’t exist unless we as artists create things they can sell...and to create something that really is the best it can be..you need to take a creative risk...

How many times have you seen some shit on TV and said “damn that shits weak as hell”...or “I’ve seen some Anime shit that tears this up”...
You know what’s good..but how often do you really get good shit?

I think people are starving for interesting new material..but the corporate cat’s have the avenues of distribution sewn up. It’s the same in music..it’s the same in comics...(look at the discount structure with Diamond..it’s anti indie)

...but if Harry Potter proved anything..if you do something good people will show up for it. Before that came along..people were saying “kid’s don’t read..they just want video games”..or “kid’s won’t like that..it’s got too many characters..or too much story”...

The truth is these producers/art director/corporate cats...just don’t know what’s good...they don’t follow their instincts because they don’t have any...That’s not even a diss on them..they just don’t have their ear to the ground..they don’t follow creative shit to it’s source...they just follow what’s floating on the surface...and by that time it’s over..it’s already been done..

it’s following a trend..not setting one...

I remember pitching one of my comics as an animated TV series..and the producer was talking to me about it like I didn’t create it...Telling me about “the world” and dropping all those handy producer buzz words they have....

...and that was the first time I saw how these producers see the game..

They see the artist as expendable once they get your concept...they don’t want to develop the talent to get a wealth of ideas..they just want the ideas so they can exploit it..there is no true creative partnership...they want your idea for the least amount of money and the least amount of your involvement...

and for the artist ..they are trying to make a buck off something they created so they are forced to play ball..

But what artist want's to be "one and done"...a creative one hit wonder...but just like the music industry..they don't see a value in long term development of talent..."Why should we contribute to their equity"..as I heard one corporate peep say it...


I heard a rap lyric where this cat said..he’s thinking about how he could be the best MC on the underground..but all it gets him is a ride on the train...you don’t get paid for being a good artist...you get paid if you help them make money...

That being said..I’m still going to come out with my own concepts... because for me..It’s a source of pride and if ten people show up or ten thousand..I’m still going to say the stuff I want to say...
I think in the future through the internet..print on demand and shit like that..you are going to be able to make a living creating stuff and distributing directly to the consumer...

That’s why I like My Space..and blogs..it’s puts you in direct contact with other artists and people who appreciate art...it puts the distribution of your art in your hands..and I’m all about that.

...but in the meantime..I’m hold’n down the the 9-5 for the man...

but he don’t know what I got planned...

hehehe

KA-lifornia

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Karl the Red Nosed Blogger/Everyone Thinks They Are A DJ


Keeping in the holiday spirit I must say my nose is glowing red.

I've been sick for three days now...

runny nose

coughs

sore throat...

headache...

in bad shape in general.


I think I have hit the wall in terms of blogging.

I have little ideas on new stuff to write..but it does not seem to fully form...

I think I am going to take some time off from blogging and live a little.

hopefully when I come back I'll have a new perspective and new stuff to write...

also most of the things I want to talk about are covered in other places..

message boards and the like...

Who knows I could wake up tomorrow and have all kinds of shit to say...and my farewell blogs will be just a prologue to my next bunch of newer more interesting blogs..

or maybe that's the cold medicine talking...



The Web has changes so much in the last couple of years. It's really become much more personal.

there are so many tools to find like minded people.

message boards and sites and My Space it gives the individual so much more promotional power it's insane.

As if the sites and sounds we are bombared with by Global Nationals was not enough.

..now we have every kid from Singapore to Kansas selling us an idea or concept or a t-shirt or an mp3..

the upsides of this new swell of previously unheard voices is that some new and interesting ones will shine through.

rise above..

and be noticed..

but the dark side...is everyone thinks they are a DJ

When I say that..I mean..everyone who can arrange a playlist and post it somewhere thinks they are the next Sasha..

or the any person that can scan a drawing and post it somewhere thinks they are the next Range Murata...

Sad to say...

that's not true

but it's like reality TV...if someone is on TV long enough some group of people will build a following around them...

such is they way of the Web..if you post enough stuff enough times..some group of people will build a web page about you...

This does not mean you are good...

it's like a Britney Spears song...the more they play it ..no matter how bad it is....you begin to hear it in your head..
no wonder Sony and Warner Brothers have lawsuits over payola against them..

the more you see or hear it..the more legitimate it becomes...

no accounting for taste...


I guess for me I wonder were is the craftsmanship.

Where is the hard times you spend learning your craft and building your abilites...

Have I landed in an era where everything is on fast forward..and that time is cut in half or less...

Do artists just "get it" faster or do we live in a time of one trick ponys and artists who put fame before the message..

Has it become more important to promote yourself over saying something with your work...

Why tell your own story or speak your mind when you can just hijack someone elses ideas and put a new spin on them...

regurgitating old ideas has worked for the Globe Nats for awile...


so has it trickled down to the individual artist...is this generation just a sequel...

a part 2...

the middle bit of a trilogy...

Have we taken the gift of art as communication and sold it out for a little bit of notariety...

was that the plan all along?

You tell me the answer...

while you still have a voice to answer it with.


KA-lifornia


PS

Death Face is a colab I did with B.Kan part of the 2many faces project Cabal/Virtual Remix show

Friday, November 18, 2005

Broken but not destroyed



Do you ever have those weeks where you are doing your best to get stuff done and yet you seem to not be able to get things accomplished..

I’ve had two of those weeks...
little stuff here and there holding me back from doing my personal projects...

I’m having a real problem deciding on the style and the order that I want to do my new graphic novel in..

I’m tired of my old shit..I need and want to do something new and different...

I have two layouts/color roughs for my new OGN..

here they are..

these are not the final pages..just mock ups..

if you dig it

let me know.

back to the little world..

KA-lifornia



Email me!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Cabal Flashback



I was looking through my hard drive and I came across these two pieces I did with

Super DJ Mesck aka Zach Mellion...

when he's not spinning drum and bass and producing tracks he and I work on some art together.

He's an incredible artist and it show's in these two pieces we collaborated on..

We did these for the Cabal/ Virtual Remix show last year.

I'm working on a sequel to the show.

It's called Cabal/Genre...no timetable yet..but it's coming...

check out mesck's my space site at


www.myspace.com/mesck



Halla

KA-allah

KA-lifornia

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stay Strong Snake


I was at work today lamenting my missing Joe's...so I did this sketch...

Stay strong Snake Eyes...


KA-lifornia

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thank Baby Jesus for Smush

It’s only a few games into the Lakers season and I have to say thanks Baby Jesus for Smush Parker…

This kid is awesome so far

…he’s dunking

..hitting three’s

ripping Steve Nash

…he’s sort of Byron Scott and Larry Johnson’s love child..

finally an athletic guard/ wingman for Kobe..

I know it’s hard to imagine but I actually saw Lamar Odom dunk last night..

TWICE!!!

I’m used to him from last year where everything was a running floater that rimmed out…

Devean George and Laron Profit are playing way better than I expected…I'm sure it even surprised Carmelo hehehe..

(I wonder how Carmelo can even dunk..he looks like the Pilsbury Dough Boy)

I’m still waiting for Kwame to really blow up…but damn he has a first step for a big man..if he just slowed down a bit..he would be dangerous..I don't think he is going to be the next Amare..but I could see him being another Jermaine O'Neal

I think the defense has really improved…

What can I say..the Lakers may not be ready for a championship…but they are fun to watch

…it reminds me of the Van Exel, Eddie Jones years..lots of upside..lots of fun to watch…

….

Felt pretty bad this weekend..sort of super tired and feeling pukey…had trouble sleeping…I had a chance to visit some comic stores and I passed them by because I was feeling so out of it…

Here’s to hoping I get back on track this week…

KA-lifornia


PS.

Is it me or do the 80’s G.I. Joe’s look like the Village People..more on this in the next blog..

Looking for some good tunes..

Check out Mt. Egypt…their new album..is very rainy day chill music..tastes like chicken…and it's on Itunes..fucking Apple should pay me for pimping their shit...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Trick or Treat Aftermath.

I had this big idea that I would give away comics to kids instead of candy.

I was thinking…fewer cavities..

reading is learning…yada yada…

so I had some candy on standby...

and I went into the "comic closet" looking for some comic gems to bestow on the little pumpkin eaters

(you know you have a special closet just for your comic shit..
so don’t front..if they are in bags and board you get bonus points)

so I’m sorting though the books

..and I’m thinking..should I give them some West Coast Avengers

…so I start flipping through it...


…and I’m thinking this is not Byrnes finest hour


…but It’s still pretty good


…ok put that in the “don’t give away pile”.


Door bell rings…

Run to the door…it’s Minnie Mouse and Tigger…I give them some candy..


Run back to the comic closet…

Sorting

Sorting….


SPAWN!!!..

No problem parting with these…besides if you have one issue of Spawn…you have them all…

So I look through it…it happens somewhere around page six...

someone gets their head cut off…

Ok…don’t want to piss off mummy and dada..

Ok no Spawn..


Hmm old post Jim Lee X-men..pre Mad crap….


I spot a naked mutant..huddled on a bed…no good…

Door bell…rings..


Runnnnnnnnn to the door.. sweating like a stuck pig…..



Avast a group of pint size Zombie Pirates…


Yo ho ho..I give them some candy


…one of them wishes me “Merry X-Mas”

lil smart ass…



back to the sorting…

looking through some Manga reprints…

why did I ever buy these.????

Kids like manga…

I spot some boobies…

Ok..Sayonara to the Manga!!


Ok cruel world…


I give up…..


I don’t have the right comics for kids…


Or is it that they have not made comics that were kid friendly in 20 years….


I packed everything up…turned off the light…closed the door…

As I passed out the rest of my candy I could not help but think how each of these kids might never pick up a comic…and never know the joy I've gotten from reading them.

Have we as artists failed the next generation of comic fans by not making comics they can enjoy or have the big companies failed them…


It was too much thinking for one night….


I looked down and saw Yoda staring back at me from the side of a “fun sized” Milky Way…



Where is the wisdom of Yoda when you need it…




KA-lifornia

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Random Halloween Blog...

Happy Halloween..

All you groovy ghouls and boyz…

The time change has me all messed up...

Not much going down today..

I have some interesting blogs planned for this week..but today is all about candy and pumpkins..

So I’m out..but tune in this week..as I get my “lounge comic book store” review on…

I’m planning to post the first chapter of my new comic…

It will be the first new comic work from me in the last two years…

…but more on that in the next week or so..

I’m going to give comics away to the little monsters,,,

If they are lucky..they may get a John Byrne Namor…or an issue of Savage Dragon…

Bwahahahaha

KA-lifonia

Friday, October 28, 2005

Out the Door/ An Open Letter to a Thief.


Ok,
I’ve had enough...

My two G.I. “fucking” Joe figures were stolen right out of my cube at work....

so someone I work with came into my cube and took two of my prime time joes..

they didn’t jack some lame ass joes...they went top shelf.

Creme De Le Creme!!!

Snake Eyes

and StormShadow..

...greedy motherfuckers...

I know you wanted SnakeEyes..but leave me with something...

I had security search the cameras but nothing yet..

I will update you as the investigation continues...

I have a couple suspects...but I’m reluctant to point the finger..
because even worse than losing my figures would be accusing the wrong person...

but I will say this...Snake Eyes...Storm Shadow...I’m coming for you guys...I never leave a man behind.

Yo “fucking” Joe!!!



In other news...

I've been working straight for almost two years..

no vacation..

a few sicks days..



just work..


and than some more work..


and after that...


more work...


I will be out the door till monday...


but I will leave you with a few ideas on what to entertain yourself with while I'm gone..


it's ok don't be sad...


I'll be back before you know it..and I'm sure I will have lots of interesting things to blog about..


It will be great..


just you and I...



me blog'n



u read'n



awwwwww sweet dreams are made of these..



back to reality.


I work on a project called Alien Racers...It’s a toy line and animated series...

It’s been on a few times at Fox Kids...but now it’s moved to Cartoon Network..

It will be on Saturday October 29th at 5:30 PM EST.

It’s a good show and everyone involved has put a ton of work into it..

so check it out..and be on the look out for my artwork..it’s used on the bumpers before the commercials...

For more info... go here

http://www.alienracers.com/

Also check out my pal Steve’s blog at

http://www.comiculture.com/creators/stevebuccellato/index.html

he is locked in battle with his local comic store...so give it a read and leave your comments...


Also a shout out to the Herorealm.com crew. They are one cool bunch...


I’m thinking of starting a casual monthly get together of comic pros and wannabe’s in the LA/Valley area..if you are interested in being a part of that drop me an email...get your comic/manga/graphic novel funk on!!!

Things to check out/ Things to Skip...

I’ve mentioned it before..but the Silent Dragon comic is pretty cool

Check out the new Teen Titans..it’s vintage Rob Liefeld...I almost put on a flannel it made me feel so 90’s...

Check out “the Losers”..a series from DC..kinda like mission impossible if it was directed by Tarentino...

Let It Be Bootleg DVD...

Watching the Beatles fall apart while still making great music..is amazing to watch...I’m sure you can find the bootleg online somewhere...

Skip
All Star Batman...I never thought I would say Frank Miller has lost it...but um..I think he’s lost it...


The new Daft Punk...
buy it
hate it
talk shit about it
drop it
kick it
try and sell it!!!

Ok time to hit the road...

Stay classy San Diego.

KA-lifornia

Email me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

This Kid is Stealth

“I don’t need no stink’n badges”

ok you’ve heard that line from Treasure of the Sierra Madre a million times standing in line at a convention.

Some big burly Silent Bob on a pork diet looking guy in front of you laughs to his Storm Trooper Samurai companion and he quotes a movie he’s probably never seen…

You see the volunteer con person roll their eyes

…I’ve seen it at almost every con I’ve ever been to…

well different costumes…

same weight..

same quote…

Well everyday when I go to work..I have to wear a stink’n badge..

Or I can’t get in the building..




Uh

Or can I..





So today I forgot my badge at home…

this is actually only my second time in two years….

which is something I’m not afraid to say I’m proud of…



Cut to 15 minutes ago…

I’m outside

no badge…


acting like I’m checking the weather..


Fumbling with my phone…


like I’m expecting a call from my agent or lotto or something…


looking at my shoes…


up comes a gal from the design department..


I start walking behind her like we are homies…(down by law and shit)


I say what’s up the security guard..(give him the U da man finger as gun motion)


She’ buzzes the door..

I rush ahead and open it for her and hold the door

(who says chivalry is dead?)


I walk in behind her…



Eat your heart out James Bond..


This mother fucking kid is Stealth…


So I’m at my desk…and I had to say to myself…

Just under my breath…




“I don’t need no stink’n badges”






KA-lifornia


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Monday, October 24, 2005

The results of the “Rub the Blood” Bloodstrike Trivia Contest.

The results of the “Rub the Blood” Bloodstrike trivia contest are as follows

Kick Ass Cabbot nut Chris James got his answers in at 14:12:04 EDT.
His answers were:

1. Name the three operatives that joined Bloodstrike in issue #11
Bailout , Athena , and Tower ....
[Does Gunther count as an operative?]

I would have taken any of these three. Gunther is an added bonus answer.

2. Who was Bloodstrike revealed as during my run on the book?
Cabbot Stone.... My favorite character ever!!!

3. What character teamed up with Bloodstrike during issues 15 and 16.
Who drew the covers?

Prophet drawn by Stephen Platt

4.When Bloodstrike was relaunched for the thrid time. What was the
subtitle.
"Bloodstrike : Assassin" was technically the 2nd Bloodstrike
series with a new #1 issue "Cabbot : Bloodhunter" was the third relaunch because it was the 3rd series featuring Cabbot also starting with a #1 issue.

All of his answers were correct.

Congratulations!!!

I’m sending him the sketch and a signed issue.

2nd place goes to

Gavin Higginbotham

He got his entry in at 14:58:18

He also had all the answers correct.

Since he put in so much effort and the times were so close I will be doing a sketch for him and sending him a signed issue of Bloodstrike.

Thanks for participating.

I will be throwing some more contests on my blog in the near future.


KA-lifornia


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Blood Strike!!! RUB THE BLOOD Contest!!!


I always thought that was a great blurb for a cover.

"RUB THE BLOOD"

So back in the day I worked on a comic called Bloodstrike.

In honor of that book. I did a sketch.

It's been a while..but old habits (or is that Cabbots) die hard...hehehe

So here's the deal. If you read Bloodstrike back in the day or you just want the sketch.

Answer these four questions and I will send it to you.

for free

por nada.

what a deal I say!!!


Without further blog'n...

The four questions are:

1.Name the three operatives that joined Bloodstrike in issue #11

2. Who was Bloodstrike revealed as during my run on the book?

3. What character teamed up with Bloodstrike during issues 15 and 16. Who drew the covers?

4.When Bloodstrike was relaunched for the thrid time. What was the subtitle.


Ok there you go! The first person to email the answers get's the sketch

and let's face it.

If you are able to answer all these questions you are really and truly deserving of this sketch..and of course you can run around saying..

"You weak biatches..I won this fucking cool sketch on the internets..I rubbed the blood!!!"


or something to that effect. I'm just giving ideas.


but just to show I'm not an unfair man I will give a 2nd and 3rd place.

those winners will receive a signed issue of Bloodstrike that is now sitting in my closet...

How's that for 90's nostalgia...sorry no trading cards or foil covers...this is about the art baby.


back to the blood rubbing...

KA-lifornia

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Virtual Sketchbook















Ok here is something strange..

I'm going to see how many pictures I can post in one blog.

It's going to be my very own Virtual Sketchbook...

lot's of stuff many people have never seen..

Some of it is really old in fact most of it is...

but hey..why not share...because sharing is caring.

check it out.

I'll try and think of something more interesting for the next blog...


KA-lifornia

Email me!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

out of blog experience

The last few days I’ve been in a sort of artistic funk…


I’m not out the woods yet….

..but I’m feeling my “mojo” coming back..

Yeah Baby…Yeah!!!



It’s been cold and rainy so I decided to grab some Vietnamese PHO” soup last night…

..damn it was good…

I’ve been looking around at some of the other blogs…and most of them are…

Just like the above…

Feel like shit

Hope to not feel like shit later…

Had some dinner…

Now please read my blog….

I guess that’s more “blog as diary”

As opposed to “blog as soap box”

Which is where I’m at with it…

…It’s a place I can express my ideas or thoughts…sometimes I don’t even really 100% believe what I’m writing…but the process of writing it out helps define it for me…

,,sometimes... days after I write a blog I’ll come back and read it and wonder who wrote those things…

this is commonly referred to as an “out of blog experience”

..somtimes I'll even edit what I've written...that's the beauty of it..you can update as you learn more...or as your opinions change.


I’d like to make two points before I launch back into the real world….

A few people who read my Amores Perros blog thought I must really hate my neighbor and that I’m a mean person.

I just wanted to assure anyone reading this…

Yes I hate my neighbor….

And yes I’m a very mean person….


moving along….


My last point is the style that I write the blogs in.

You may ask…why does he write it in such a broken way…

Short sentences… lots of “ and …

My thinking is…that we get most of our information in sound bites…

…you know easy to digest lil’ phrases….

..Politicians..

Sports figures and Paris Hilton use them..

so why not me…

I also wanted the blog to have the vague feel of a script…

So that you the reader would feel like you were taking part in the story…or maybe you were reading a transcript of a conversation…

Format is a big deal to me…it’s often over looked by people…but to me it’s a fundamental part of communication…

Back to the cube…with it’s florescent lighting and the hum of computers…



KA-lifornia


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Monday, October 17, 2005

Amores Perros


So the other day I’m leaving the “Karl Kave” en-route to the job and I hear this strange sound..

kinda like barking but more piercing...

The sound literally scratched my ear drums it was so bad...

I turned and two little dogs were yelping at me...

not really a bark...

a sort of tiny growl mixed with a stunted gargle...a yelp....is all I can say...


either way it seemed very traumatic for them

...because when they yelped...their whole body would sort of shake and convulse...

as if one yelp too many might make them explode or shit themselves...


So these two tiny ass dogs are yelping at me...and sort of doing this lunge like they want to bite my shoelaces or some shit...but at the last moment they sort of jump away...scared of my foot...

behind them is their owner...a super skinny Asian gal..that had a Morticia/ Juicy jumpsuit vibe rolling....

I looked at her like “Call off Scrapy Doo before I have to kick him between the two houses and pull my shirt over my head and run around screaming GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL”

She didn’t move.

She just stared
or “mad dogged” if you will...

so I started to walk and the dogs ran around my feet yelping up a storm and nipping at my “tennys”

So I stopped because I almost stepped on one of them...

I looked at the lady...

she didn’t move...

So I drew my foot back....

She screamed bloody murder..


NOOooooooooo MAAAAAAA DUGGGGGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yes it was that long.....

she came up and snatched them up as if she was scooping up a bowl of fruit....

As she picked them up she gave me the “Evil Death Stare”
...it has to be in quotes and caps because it was that “Evil”


I never planned on kicking the dogs...
I’m an animal lover...

Oh shut up!!!
I don’t make love to animals...so get your head out of the gutter you fucking perv...

so yeah I never had any intention of hurting them...

but there is some history with her and Scrapy and Dino Mutt.

Every morning they yelp their heads off in the courtyard behind my crib..

which acts like an echo chamber...

so it’s THX fucking yelping!!!

every morning at like 5am...like fucking Roosters...

When I first moved in I was unloading some boxes...

and she was walking by with the dynamic doggy duo...and they started the yelping
and she didn’t bother to pull them back.

She’s like one of those parents at the mall that has the kid running around like a freak and they don’t tell them to stop or be quiet..they act like the world is their living room...

As history shows...

we were off to a bad start from jump street...


Cut to 15 mins ago

So it’s raining today and I’m drinking some coffee looking out the window...

and I start to think...wow it’s really coming down.

just than I heard something in the distance....




sort of like




...yelping



and the pitter patter of tiny doggy feet in the rain....

so I looked over and there is Morticia and the dog squad running their little hearts out...

drenched...

Morticia was screaming..

HURRRRRRYYYYYYY RUUNNNNNNNN>>>ITTTSSSSSS RAAAAINNNNIIIINNNNGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

one dog was covered in mud...

she almost slipped.

I almost chuckled

(tee hee)

If she would have looked up

and to the left she might have caught a glimpse of me in the window
pumping my fist like I was in an 80’s movie..

and mouthing

“Justice is served”

KA-lifornia

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PS the picture of the dogs is not the actual dogs ...those are just generic stand in doggy doubles I stole from the internet to protect the identity of the actual dogs...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

E-commerce performance art



Got out of bed hella late today...

Rolled out and colored some artwork...

Here it is...

I hope you dig it...

more art to come...

In other news

I posted my Vampi piece on Ebay...


http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6570318989&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

help a stuggling artist out and bid on it...

you will become part of my new e-commerce performance art project...

I call it "Karl needs money so bid on it cheap ass"



I other other news...

Started working on building a site...

learning Adobe Go Live...

wish me luck....the drag and drop nature of it is scary.

KA-lifornia

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Cosmo Police Macca



Sometimes when I eat spicy food I have these strange fucking dreams.


I wake up sweating...


it’s nasty...

Sometimes my subconscious will toss all my recent "info flow input" into one zinger of a dream..


That being said...the other night I had one for the books...

Me

My friend Gerimi

and Paul Mc Cartney

had to build these roads that covered the planet to protect the world from aliens.

We were floating in the air and battling spaceships.

sort of Cosmo Police Justy

meet’s Yellow Submarine

meet’s the Office....

Psychic powers,

Flight

High speed airborne chases over the ocean...

An anime looking gal named “Yoko”(hehehe)

A punch drunk love sick singalong...(NOTE: super obscure pop reference that will have a payoff later in this very blog... for those who care or for the two people not counting my mom who read this blog)


The whole nine...with all the Akira extras...plus some Blue Meanie action.


Anyway..the next day I was in a Best Buy...

looking for a wire for my Ipod and I saw the new Paul Mc Cartney album....

Chaos and Creation In the Backyard.

I knew he had been working on an album with Nigel Godrich of Radiohead and Air fame.
I liked the way he brought a new side out of Beck on Sea Change...

I’d read that he had Paul (I call him Paul because we are close and shit) do all the instruments himself.

So I picked it up.

Ok I know more than the average cat when it comes to the Beatles.

So I was pre comparing it to Rubber Soul, Sgt Pepper even Ram or maybe some "Band On the Run" meet's "the Tourist"

I have to say after listening to this album a few times...

I was shocked how good it is...

It has a feel unlike any of the other Paul Mc Cartney solo work.

The album feels very personal.

We even see Paul straining to hit certain notes.

Which makes him seem very vulnerable.

I felt like we as listeners are finally getting a pure creative feed from him

...and in case you forgot how good of a songwriter this cat is...
give it a listen and remember how good he can be...

there are no “silly love songs” on this album.
(fuck everyone I dig that track just for the semi disco horns. "what's wrong with that I say!" I need to know")

I found myself thinking about the melodies after I stopped listening.

A testament to his mastery of a memorable melody.

The most interesting part of the album was that he has made this album at the age he is at and at the stage of his career.

With nothing left to prove he proved that he is still an artist that has something to say...

That and he let me help him save the world from aliens...

Thanks Paul

on both accounts.


KA-lifornia.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Time We Live In.

Time.



Is it the artist’s


friend?

... or enemy?



I have a theory about artists and time.



If an artist has one day



or one week



or one month



he/she will do the same exact piece.



It’s all about decisions and choices.


Which layout?

Which color?

Where is the light source?



Thousands of tiny choices…



All of which will either make a great piece or a shit one.



Make it or break it


..one step at time…




The question is how long does it take you to decide?



Experience seems to rule the day.

The more you’ve done it the easier it will be for you to decide.

Stands to reason.



But I’m off the topic…



So how long does it take to make the right choice?


I venture to say it takes as much time as you have.



Within reason…



I’ve often seen artists do their best work when they have no time..



I’ve seen it in my own work..

When your back is against the wall




you start using your instincts.




You trust your feelings and you rely on what you actually know..


Use the force biatch!!!



I guess that flows into a deeper question.


How much do you trust your own instinct?



That’s the bridge every artist must cross in their lives.



How do you know what you are doing is right?



The truth of the matter is…

It’s all in the eye of the beholder…


For example you could be a cat who draws graffiti style and everyone talks shit about your anatomy..

ignoring the time you put into the design of the letters or the technique you used on the color work...

But they are missing the message…

And is that not the essence of art…




Communicating an idea…


All draftsmanship does is add authenticity to your message.



The message can be larger than technique and draftsmanship…



…but ignoring them can weaken what you are saying…



so let your heart power your style…
..but keep your mind on the techniques and draftsmanship…

Eyes wide shut…

In the end it’s about finding and trusting your inner artistic voice and having the courage to let it out.

It also takes the mental toughness to learn the technical side of your craft so you have the abilities to realize your ideas and to fully express your imagination.

No short cuts…

No cheat codes…

In a world that seems to be going faster and faster it’s hard to imagine that I’m sitting here saying you need to slow down and take the time to do the ground work…

Think about the time in which we live in….

Think of the Web.

Every technique has a tutorial

Every style is out there…

Reference abounds…

Think about the computer.

Photoshop

Painter

Illustrator

Maya

No wonder I can go on the Internet and see a 14 year old kid in Russia that can draw better than Range Murata…

All your best ideas are out there for you to create,

All your best artwork has yet to be done.

All the concepts and creations are floating out there for you to grab and make whole.


Just make time for it…





KA-lifornia

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The Creative Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

The good Lord knows I’m a creative cat.

I hang with other creative cats.

I hear stories…

I see injustice…

I have come to understand that the corporate world relies heavily on creative to get their message across…

…but they care very little for the creative people that make it possible.


I’ve noticed that there is almost a sense of hostility for the “creatives”

It’s a fat dose “who do you think you are?”

With a side order of “you are lucky to be doing what you do”

Contrary to popular belief…most artist/creatives do what they do to survive.

They don’t mock up your corporate bullshit for kicks….

Trust me....

.... making your ideas a reality is not a “lucky” job…



...it’s a sideshow in hell!

Nothing is worse than the dreaded

“I’ll know it when I see it” style of art direction.

Or even better “…how about you try it 20 different ways" so I can settle on the first idea you showed me

That zinger is often dealt right after my personal favorite

“We don’t have much of a budget and we are really pressed for time”

No wonder you are pressed for time…you can’t make up your mind!!!


The other misconception about artists is that they live to get their ego stroked.


Just because we ask who owns what we create and we like to get paid and get credit for our hard work does not constitute egomania.


Newsflash bucko!!!

Most artists get off on creating something new and different.

Pushing the envelope.

That’s the juice..

Keep that in mind next time you tell them how much you like their work and than ask them to redo the entire job they just completed and to mimic the style of another artist.

Trust me they will notice.

I’ll let you in on a secret.

If you want to motivate and get the best out of your creative staff.

Try inspiring them…

Give them an artistic challenge.

Let them have input…

RESPECT is not just a song by Aretha Franklyn..

it's the way you should treat the artists you work with.

Let the artist do what they do best…let them be creative and show their skills.


The upside is you will get a stronger presentation that will wow people with it’s creativity and innovation.

Not to mention you will have a creative person that is happy and willing to give their best


...and wouldn’t that be cool

KA-lifornia

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Digital Chop Suey





I finally purchased that Carlos Meglia Superman Infinite City graphic novel.

It was pricey..but I really like his work.

He used a combo of digital and non digital art styles.

I think he was going for an animation look...but I think it ended up looking a bit like chop suey...

a few too many Photoshop paste-ins for my taste.

In some ways it's suffers from what the current batch of Masamune Shirow art suffers from.

A little too much digital.

I'm all for pushing the art-form forward with the computer...but sometimes I would like to see Shirow do one of those great Blade Runner city shots he had going in Appleseed...instead of the texture mapped 3d studio max thing he's got going..

As for the Meglia Supes book..I think this is one step for him. I think his next books will be that much better because he tried this step in a new direction...



In other news...

Here's some new designs for THE SKILLZ (c) Karl Altstaetter

I'm really enjoying the coloring more than the drawings these days...

Back to lab...


KA-lifornia

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

U Cheap ASS!!!

Got hit with some sort of cold/flu thing…I don't feel like eating and I feel like I've been hit by a car!!


So nothing new today…

In the meantime check out a book I worked on

It's called Rostam.

It deals with an old Persian mythical character....

…it has some great reviews on Amazon


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0977021319/qid=1128533464/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_2/002-9565291-0695204?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

While you are there...feel free to buy one...you don't need that 5 bucks!!!

You cheap ass!!!

Don't mind me..it's the cold medicine talking...!!!


or is it?

Last night I had these cold medicine induced dreams.

I had this dream where I was covered in medicine patches…they were like an exra layer of skin…and they protected me from germs…

I woke up rolled up in my blanket like a carne asada burrito..

Maybe the blanket was making me feel like that!!!



KA-lifornia

Music Shout Out!!!
Nortec Collective Vol.3
Mexican Electronica "Nuff Said"

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

German Creative Block


Having a bit of a creative block so to speak.

I have so many ideas that need a lot of love…that I’m suffering from “Deer In the Headlights” syndrome

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with ideas for characters and stories that I can’t even sleep.

As I’ve mentioned in past blogs…

Sleep and I don’t play well together….


In other news….

So I get these “fan letters” from Germany.

They all the say the same thing…

I love your work

I wish you all the luck in the world…

And…

Can you do some sketches for me…?

Although the name on the front is always different..the handwriting is the same and the cards are the same…

So it’s either a German stylistic choice…

.or some guy is greedy and wants a ton of little cards…

It’s a mystery that pops up from time to time…

I’ll keep drawing the sketches…It’s fun for me….I get to experiment..


I’m attaching a Vampirella piece.

I worked on the book for a minute back when I first started in comics and it’s some of the worst work you will ever see…

I’m not sure I like this piece..

struggled through it…

But it's done…it’s more of a love letter to Mignola and Pacheco…than anything original…

Don’t ask about the feet…I said I fucking struggled..!!!


In other, other news:

I will be posting something special on Halloween…

I will have a press release out soon explaining everything…

It’s an exciting new direction for me…so stay tuned…


KA-lifornia


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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Kid’s Gone Wild!!!

The last few days I’ve had some strange encounters with kids.

I was in line to see the Corpse Bride and this bug eyed kid around 10 came running up and grabbed the face of another kid and yelled at the top of his lungs.


“LOOK INTO MY EYES AND I WILL SHOW YOU THE FUTURE!!!”


...than he grabbed a Mt. Dew and chugged it.


Awww the Bear piss strikes again!!!


I felt like walking up to the over-caffeinated lil’crack head and saying


“I weep for the future if you are running the show”

...about 5 seconds later

This heavy set kid (read:fat) came running out of the theater and screamed

“HARRY POTTER IS GOING TO.ughhh...KILL YOU (low grunt...) DON’T SEE..uhhh..ehhh IT!!!

He than ran (read:wobbled) down the hallway and bumped into some girl and than ran out the emergency exit.


I shit you not...it was either a full moon or free Red Bull day at the elementary school!!!

No wonder sane people don’t want to go to the movies anymore.

I think it should be like a bar. They should cut off the kids when they have had to much coke and candy.

I can see it now.

The concession girl saying

“I’m sorry Billy I can’t sell you Good and Plentys.”

“I think you've had one Reeces Pieces to many”

Meanwhile 2 days ago across town:

I saw these three white kids around the bubble gum machine at the super market.

They were giggling like a bunch of school girls looking at a Justin Timberlake picture.

They were in front of a machine that sold Durags.

Yes those Durags... the head caps black folks use to cover their Cornrolls and hair.

So what were these three day glo white kids getting them for...out of a bubble gum machine no less...

One of them put his on..it was the Urban Gray Camo ( my personal fave) that made him look like he was

“Straight out of Malibu”

I can't front.

Everyone loves Hip Hop Cosplay.




KA-lifornia

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2 D-Ink or not 2 D-Ink

I don’t really like Kevin Smith.

Mainly because of the personal pain he has caused me.

How many times have I been introduced to someone as a comic artist and the first thing out of their mouths is

“Are you a tracer?”

...quoting the line from the K.Smith opus “Chasing Amy.

For those that don’t know this scene..(and if you are reading this..It’s hard to believe you wouldn’t know it)

The quote comes from a scene in which the actor Jason Lee (My Name is Earl TV show) has a battle of words with a fan at a comic convention that describes his job of inking as nothing more than “tracing”.


It’s a funny scene.


I laughed the first time I heard it.


...but a 1000 times later...hearing it from everyone from coworkers to family members...


well it’s just not funny anymore.


Nowadays when someone says that to me I look at them with a blank look on my face...

part serial killer part calm before the storm.

I say “yeah I’ve heard that a thousand times and it’s not really funny anymore.”

I twitch my eye a bit.

..just for effect.


This is almost always followed by an uncomfortable silence and a fumbled half muttered apology.



Works like a charm.


I’m joking.

It does not really bother me that much.

...mainly it bothers me that they really don’t know what an inker is.


Ok when you are a comic geek shit like that bothers you!

It's not like I expect them to..I'm not that far gone.

..but it's a part of the comic book artistic process I have a lot of respect for.

So it deserves more than some one off joke that's found it's way into the collective pop culture mind.

Yeah I take comics way to serious... (eyes twitching)


For the non comic freaks...an inker is an artist that uses brushes, dip pens Rapidographs and or markers to “embellish” a pencil artists work on a comic page.


This was done in the past because it created very clean, easy to reproduce artwork.

This in turn created the classic comic book style of artwork.

Bold clean black lines.

Think:

Kirby

Swan

Ditko

Romita

..but that was than....

Technology has switched up the game.

Reproduction has improved by leaps and bounds and since everything runs through the computer these days it’s made inking almost unnecessary.

Or has it?


I have experimented with digital Inking or better known as “D-Inking”.

Sure you can scan in clean pencils and tweak them in photoshop and when you add color it can create an awesome look for a piece.


...but is something missing?


Over the years there have been some amazing pairings of pencilers and inkers.

Kirby and Sinnott

Byrne and Austin

Miller and Jansen

Mignola and Russell

Lee and Williams

Campbell and Garner

Hitch and Neary

They are all great artists on their own but when they are put together something magical happens.


I think it comes from having another set of talented eyes watching for mistakes in the artwork.

In this case two sets of eyes are better than one.


I saw first hand how Williams helped Lee’s pencils out.

As the deadline loomed Lee’s pencils would get pretty loose.

Not so much the structure but the rendering would slip or sometimes costume bits would come and go. Or backgrounds might get sketchy.

Having another artist there to watch out for those mistakes and keep the enthusiasm for the page up is a big help.

After a penciler does his part he often has no stomach to work on the page anymore.

He/she is ready to move on...

That’s where an inker who is getting at the page for the first time can bring their passion to it.

The other great benefit is having the chance to take another pass at your artwork.

This is especially helpful for the artist that inks their own work. You get a second chance at greatness.

... simplify something here or add something there..

Get it right.


Although I think the future of comics is D-inking:

for cost reasons and to cut a step out of the production time...


I long for the time when two artist would come together and create something special.

We are in the era where the colorist has taken the place of the inker.

An inker used to have final say as to the look of art...now the colorist sets the mood and controls the final image.

The inker made the pencillers artwork shine. The colorist I think can take away from the beauty and simplicity of the pencils.

Soon the days of ink on your fingers and finding the right Crow Quill nib will be a thing of the past...
..and I think I’ll miss that.

KA-lifornia

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Music Selection:
The Bravery
What if Robert Smith, Adam Ant and the Killers had a love child. Get your Electro whiney 80’s on!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

"The Skillz"








This is one of my new concepts...


It's called "The Skillz"

I'm not going to tell all the names of the characters nor am I going to explain the story.

This is not a Diamond solicitation!!!

Much more on the way.


KAlifornia

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The Word Bug Does Not Bite!!!


I'm in a drawing mood...

So I'm just going to post some art until the word bug bites me again..

here's a new style of illustration I have been messing with...

check it..

more on the way

KA-lifornia

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Back On...Almost...




Fell off for a bit...

things have been hectic at the job...

lot's of thoughts brewing under the surface...

I have like a weeks worth of blogs in the cooker...

I don't think I'll be getting to them until this weekend...

Until than..pick up these treats... and check some of my new designs...

Mushroom Jazz Vol05 (trip hop hip hop mix album)

Cinematic Orchestra-Everyday (downtempo beats)

Silent Dragon ( cyber samurai comic)

KA-lifornia

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Creative Vs. Sensitive.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who is an artist/art director.


We were discussing how many “creative” people mistake sensitive for creative.

I think one of the core principles of being an artist is being observant and aware.



Eyes on the prize.

Ear to the ground.




As an artist you need to have your feelers out.


Cataloging thoughts, ideas and emotions…

Ideally so you can filter them through your unconscious and into some original creative endeavor.



Something that has emotion….

If you are lucky something that inspires…


“Channeling the Info/Creative Flow.”


You take in ideas and let new ideas out. Those ideas are taken in by someone else…and than sent out into the ideasphere.

Ideas building on ideas…



so forth and so on…




Until the end of time…




A lil’ too metaphysical for you?


No wonder so many artists drink and self medicate themselves to death.

They need something to stop the voices in their heads.





Yeah buddy..that’s a big part of it…”channeling the flow”

In order to pull so much in you have to open the doors.



This can leave you vulnerable.

This can leave you emotional

This can make you sensitive.



To be a truly great artist you have to be a bit empathetic.


But being sensitive does not mean you are going to be creative.

In fact it can hamper your creative efforts.


It’s a self-created trap that many artists fall into.

The process of taking in ideas out weighs the pursuit of creating new ones.



Washed away…




by the info flow.



I myself have struggled with this.



Taking so much in…putting so little out creatively.


The only thing that has worked for me has been the acceptance that you have to trust your own voice and have the discipline to take the idea and express it.




You have to begin to edit the flow as it comes in.



Slow it down. Give your mind time to process it.



Tame the flow.



KA-lifornia

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Sleep Exorcist



The more I work in color the more I work straight into Photoshop.

I'm working up some colors schemes for a cover.

I used to do a sketch and scan it in...now I go direct..

here's an example of one of my thumbnails. It's great for fast color and streaming in type.

I'll be posting more later....

Right now I must battle the sleep demons....


THE POWER OF CAFFIENE COMMANDS U!!!


KA-lifornia

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Diet Mt. Dew and Drum and Bass



It’s almost 5am on Sunday morning.

I-Tunes has generously served up Chronic Tronic by Amon Tobin.

I think I've finally found a coloring style I like.

It’s taken me years and terrible fits with Photoshop.

I’ve burned through tons of “painting” in Photoshop tutorials.

All it took was some Diet Mt Dew and some Drum and Bass to set me straight.

I had an aunt who told me Mt. Dew was bear piss...that's why it got you hyped because it was bear juice.

I remember looking at her and taking a big chug of it and thinking "fuck if it's bear piss..this shit rocks!"




I was 12



that's the thing about creativity.... I guess you never know when it’s going to hit you until it does.

I fought myself for years. I was always telling myself I needed to stop working in the middle of the night even though it's my natural most productive creative state.

Now I work a 9-5.

I finally figured something out.

FUCK SLEEP!!!

I've graduated to another animal

from MT.Bear Piss to Red Bull.

liquid crack...


I’m not done with the piece yet.

but here’s a sneak peek at something else I’m working on...

which color looks best?

KA-lifornia

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Comicbook Sucka.

So there is this comic store next to my job.

It’s got a great location and a decent selection.

The place is very crowded.

I often feel like I’m in the comic version of “Das Boot”.

It’s all good except for the feeling if there was an earthquake you might get suffocated under a pile of unsold Transformers and 50 cent comics.

It's for the most part an ok shop…that is..if you don't pay attention to the bastard that runs it.

He is the stereotypical comic clerk that makes the comic guy on Simpsons look like the employee of the month.

I don't hate on comic clerks. I worked as one through my teenage years.

It can be a tough gig...some of the comic customers can be "eccentric" to say the least.

That being said...customer service is still in order.

Back to the bastard's store.

The very fist time I was in there. I picked up an issue of the Star Wars Episode 3 comic.

The motherfucker appeared like he was using some Jedi teleportation shit.

He stood there..

and stared.

and stared

he moved a little too close


I looked over and tried to be polite.

“did you see the movie?” I asked

He said “I hated it! The Jedi would have never been taken out so easily. They would have felt a disturbance in the force and known that something was wrong and kicked those clone troopers asses!”

Long pause as we both searched for what to say next.

He drew first

“I want to kill that fucking Anakin guy. He really is a piece of shit”

So much for first impressions.

My first instinct was to go classic trilogy on his ass and give him a Wampa slap upside his big cranium. Or better yet stick a thermal detonator in his mouth and sarcastically yell…

“May the force be with you Biatch”!

as I bolt for the door. (fire errupts behind me as I leap at the camera!!!WHOOHOO it's Die Hard in a comic store.)


but I put my geek in check and bee lined for the door.


The next time I came to the store I picked up some random comics. This and that...

I don't do monthlies.

As he rang me up he says “I can’t tell what you are going to buy and that concerns me” as he gave me this annoyed look.

I was like ..unless you are moonlighting for the psychic network…what makes you think you can guess my personal comic preferences?

He is notorious amongst my coworkers. His shop is often reffered to as “That asshole guy’s store”

So today I was going to lunch with Gerimi and we decided to pop in and check out the latest issues.

So I come in and he says “good to see you again”..

I was like ok. Maybe the guy is cleaning up his act.

I spotted a graphic novel that was shrink wrapped. I like the artist who drew it.

It’s a 25 buck item.

No way is this kid going to buy a $25 buck comicbook site unseen.

I asked if he had an open copy.

He said “no.”

He said “the art is the same as the cover.”

I said I was interested in buying it but that I would like to see the inside before I buy it.

He proceeded to tell me that it was” a hardcover and that the pages would not fall out.”

Long pause…

I vowed never to return.

As I walked out of the store I noticed something in the corner of my eye.

He had some of my comics for sale.






I guess he’s not all bad.







KA-lifornia

Email me!

Showing the Love


Making comics is a trip.

Most comic artists live in a vacuum.

The work is so labor intensive that they often have to work long hours by themselves.

Some work in studios…but even than..the serious work goes on when they are burning the midnight oil all by their lonesome.

It can be a very personal journey.

Just you vs. the page.

Of course at some point the book gets published and hopefully people buy it and read it.

I get a lot of joy out of meeting the people that read and enjoy any of the books I’ve worked on.


I got an email recently from a reader named Shon Peterson who put a tattoo of one of the covers to my comics on their back.

(please see the picture).

This is not the first person to use art from my comics for tattoos but it’s always something that I think is cool and very humbling.

The idea that someone would commit my artwork permanently to his or her body shows the love for your work like nothing else.

Thanks to Shon for showing the love.

I’ll make a standing offer.

Anyone who tattoos my art on his or her body gets a free piece of original art. A sketch maybe a page. Depends how big the tattoo is..hehehe.

KA-lifornia

Email me!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Foot Ballers!

Foot Ballers.

I’m not talking about the British term for blokes that play what we in America call Soccer.

I’m talking about a unique style of basketball that I see played by Mexican basketball players here in the LA area.

They play basketball as if they are playing soccer.

They pass a lot.
They don’t dribble very much.
They catch and shoot as fast as possible.

It’s fast paced and fun to watch.

Most of these cats are under 5ft so it’s a trip.

There is often a lot of traveling and double dribbling.

It’s a freestyle fiesta.

I am part Mexican so I know some Spanish.

They talk as much shit to each other as any other b-ball players.

Mostly they scream “PASS!”

Sounds like every other pick up basketball game I have ever played in.

On Sunday night I played three on three with some of these guys.

It was a lot of fun…One heavy set cat was rocking a Kobe Bryant jersey and he played without shoes…

Who needs Jordans right?


KA-lifornia

Orange Chicken and Pancakes.

Wow! There are certain days when you are just off your game.

I woke up late (still don’t know why my alarm didn’t go off..but I suspect user error is involved!)

I missed my carpool. (and since gas is so cheap that’s no problem)

I sat in traffic (got to work in time..thank Baby Jesus for that!)

Left my phone on my drawing table at home. (Incommunicado!!! Excellente!!!)

The upside is that I feel rested. Maybe that 18 minutes I over slept actually did me some good.

It’s basketball night!!!

The other day I went to this Chinese food/Old Skool Coffee shop called Won's Coffee Shop

14440 Gilmore St, Van Nuys, CA 91401

It’s located behind the Sketchers Outlet.

Where else can you get pancakes with a side of Orange Chicken!!!.

It’s awesome and great prices. Get any of the combos and you will have lunch and dinner.




Back to work….

KA-lifornia

Friday, August 19, 2005

If the Pocky don't stick...

I’ve been reading different blogs talking about “OEL”. Which stands for “Original English Language”. It refers to the rush of American kids that are doing wannabe Manga in the US. I think this is a good idea. More diverse artists taking a crack at sequential storytelling is a plus no matter what you call it.

It’s all sequential.

It’s all good.

I hear that certain companies pay them dirt wages.

This is a worst case scenario/ perfect storm cum disaster.

It’s raising the next generation of American comic artists to not value their work from a money standpoint. I know they are young and they do it for the love of the game and all that but they are artists who are doing published work. They should be paid fairly for what they create.


It’s similar to how a whole generation of young music fans have grown up on free downloads of music on the web. It’s brought down the value of music and media in general.

The consumer is taking the art and artist for granted.

We love free but most people feel you get what you pay for in terms of enjoyment...

No pay, no respect.

That’s not the biggest issue I see on the horizon for the OEL artist on the come up.

There will never be an American Manga artist that will be popular until one of them “is big in Japan”.


I think part of the allure of Manga is that it is a window into (from an American standpoint) a mysterious culture.

That’s part of the draw.

It’s different. It’s cool.

It’s foreign.

It’s also a question of authenticity. Manga and Anime fans are into what’s cool and unique about the culture of Japan and how Manga and Anime sprang from that. Will they be as enamored with a kid from Ohio writing a parody of the art form they respect and worship so deeply.

I think not.

Like all underground genres that go mainstream it has it’s casual viewers and it’s hardcore folk. The OEL peeps need to start there and hopefully win them over and use them as their ambassadors....but....

Unless there is an American OEL artist that is an Otomo or a Rumiko Takahashi level talent out there. You can bet your last box of Pocky....it’s not going to stick.

I love the energy. I love the revolution. Comics need that. It’s freestyle...but for how long.

The lines between American Super Hero rehash and Manga and it’s American disciples is beginning to look like a map of the US on election night. Red and Blue in the world series of sequentials.

Which style?

Which format?

The size of the eyes?

The themes of the stories.

Personal vs. Corporate.

The problem for the OEL disciples is they are soldiers without a country. Japan and Japanese artists will never accept a non Japanese doing Manga. It’s one of their most treasured art forms. They are not going to turn it over to a bunch of 20 something Americans with a ton of ambition. At least not without a fight.

With the internet putting more artists in contact with each other I see a time when there will be global collaboration on comics in many styles with diverse ideas.

I just don’t think that time is now.

It’s a few years off.

Maybe ten.

I remember seeing Anime in the 80’s. It took almost 20 years for it to go global.

With the internet and the speed it brings. It will be half that...or less.

Comics and their aesthetic are flowing into other media like water from a broken dam. What is created over the next 10-20 years will define if comics are ever going to cross over into the mainstream and be as respected as a novel and or a movie as a stand alone art form. This generation of OELs may not make the splash they want in terms of taking over the Manga market or getting the respect they may deserve from their Japanese influences but I think their generation of comic artists will be the first to create work on their own terms on subjects that are diverse and complex as the norm. New ideas will be the center of the movement not the fringe.

All this will be done without a cape or templated breast in site.

Making it a revolution of sorts.

Or at least that’s what my magic eight-ball tells me.

KA-lifornia
Email me!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It feels like art 2 me.

I don’t really believe that you can sell comics as a download.

I don’t really enjoy reading a comic on a computer screen.

I’m not sure I would enjoy reading manga on a P2P. I don’t live in Tokyo or London. So I don’t ride the train or the tube. I live in LA. I drive…and sit….a lot….

I hear talk of digital paper…but until I have some in my hands…I’m not sold.

I personally believe in the tactile appeal of comics. I like the feel of the paper.

It feels like art to me.

That’s where I think the problem begins.

I see comics as art.

I can download a jpeg of the Mona Lisa but no matter how close I look at the jpeg.
It was nothing compared to standing in front of it. It meant much more to me to see the actual painting. I felt the presence of it.

I feel comics change once they go through the process of printing. It’s part of the creation of the art. Comics are unique because the printing is where the art and the story really combine. It’s also the mechanism for receiving the content. It’s all in one handy package.


That being said. I think the future holds a place for downloaded comics.

It will not be the same experience as I described above but it will be something new and different.

More disposable perhaps.

It’s like the single you download from I-Tunes. You listen to it for a week or so and move onto the next hot song.

Are comics that disposable. I guess some are. Some are not worth reviewing again and again. They are something you read once and toss. A bitter pill to swallow.

Not everything created in comics is worth saving. Not every monthly deserves a TPB.

I find myself staring at the racks at my local comic store. I look through 100’s of comics. I walk away with one sometimes two on a good week.

The industry is caught between trying to create soap operas on one side and academy award movies on the other.
I think the future of comics is not so much in the technology as much as it is in the development of the content.

I think the model for comics needs to change. I already see signs of this on the horizon.

We need to see comics the way we see movies and novels. I know how many times have you heard that. I’m not referring to the respect they get in the mainstream. I’m talking about the way they are produced.

I think an editor/producer needs to go out and put together a team to create a graphic novel in the same way you make a movie. Find the best artist. Find the best idea. Find the best writer. Put them together for 6 months to 2 years. Build the anticipation. (think of the hype for each Harry Potter novel) Release one or two graphic novels. Sure it’s a bigger risk than a monthly book. Sure there is no advertising but the upside is you push the medium into a larger more respected arena.

No more floppies for a monthly newsstand audience that does not exist anymore.

Look at Manga. They get the idea.

A reader would much rather have a 90 page story for 10 bucks than a 22 page 4 buck ad filled floppy.

What I’m saying is nothing new.

Which one of the big two is finally going to do it?

More on this later.

Time for work.

KA-lifornia

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rock It I will

I woke up in the middle of the night because I had this strange fucking dream.

It was a bunch of Storm Troopers break dancing to “Rock It” by Herbie Handcock.

You know the part of the song where you hear all the scratching…

Yoda was scratching!!!

…but he was not using his hands.

He was kicking some old skool “use the force” no hands scratching bad ass shit!

Ok, ok I made up the Yoda bit..but I did dream of break dancing Storm Troopers.

One of them was doing the Re Run!!!

…and they were doing more of a popping and locking type thing rather than actual break dancing.

Ok I’m a fucking liar..but there was dancing Storm Troopers in my dream and the shit was funky so “Believe DAT”!!!


Too much Diet Mt Dew before bed will “dew” that to you ok.

I will be posting some drawings soon. I actually draw sometimes...


KAlifornia

karlmanga2000@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Non-Creates

I got to thinking about being original with your work and about creativity and making a living at it.

It could be a comic. It could be a screenplay. It could be music.

Pick your poison.

Being that I do comics and art related stuff and I dabble in music I’ll stick to what I know and write from that point of view.

If you are a creative person I have a newsflash for you.

WE ARE GETTING PAID TO COPY OTHER PEOPLES EMOTIONAL CONTENT!

HIGHJACKING IDEAS!

Ok, maybe it’s not such a news flash. Or maybe I’m being naive. Or maybe I’m sick of the status quo.

I find the more I work in the art field the less I am asked for what I think is good. More and more I am asked to copy what someone else thought was good. Or better yet what has been successful for someone else.

It’s as if no idea is valid until it has made someone else money. This is so counter productive to creativity that it can’t be measured. It’s so backwards it’s off the scale.

When talking to Producers, Art Directors and or various money people. I often find myself caught having to “sell” an idea using what I call “Non-Creative Speak”. An example when describing an idea for a new animated TV show I was forced to use. “It’s Harry Potter meets Teen Titans” or it’s “Star Wars meet’s Clueless”.

Using some other media to paint a picture in a non-creative person’s head.

I hate that.

I feel like I have to align my idea up to it’s nearest successful neighbor. No matter how far apart it may be. It glosses over the subtly of what has been created. The devil is in the details when it comes to ideas. It’s the moments and the texture that makes the idea original and brings the heart to it. Rather than have them stretch to understand the idea. I have to simplify it for them.

Fast Food Creative.

Tasteless.

Harmless.

Easy to swallow.

God forbid you stray from this and say that you have created something “new”.

Note the fear in their eyes.

Why do Non Creates hate the idea of “new” so much?

Is it a fear of backing something “artsy”? Something untested.

Or maybe they can’t tell if it’s a good idea unless someone else has already deemed it so.

Than why are they in a position to judge an idea when they need to look to someone or somewhere else to decide if it’s a good idea or not?

Where are the instincts?

Where are the gut feelings?

If it makes you feel uncomfortable or if it gets you excited than maybe that’s what an audience might feel.

Don’t fight it. Feel it.



I hear people call ideas “properties”

I will never again use this to describe any other creative person’s work or mine.

It’s not a fucking condo it’s a living, breathing.....


idea.

I think part of why Non Creates like to use this term is because it makes it seem like your idea is something that can be bought and sold. A commodity. It’s a way of taking the magic out of it.

Jealousy rears its ugly head.

They can’t create on their own. Yet they work in a creative industry.

Note the fear in their eyes.

I have come to understand that as an artist you need to be true to what you believe in. It is the artist’s job to explore the vastness of what can be created.

If it sells.

Great!

If it doesn’t.

Who cares! It’s about getting there and even more importantly where you go from there!

Don’t let others push you into creating something they think is friendly to the greatest amount of people possible because in the end it won’t please anyone.

Is that even a goal worth having? Pleasing the world.

Is it the size of the audience or the quality of what you communicate to them?



I don’t have answers to all this but I know what I believe in.

It’s the sincerity that you create with.
It’s the authenticity of your approach.
It’s the care and craft you put into your work.
It’s the message.
It’s the living, breathing…..



Idea.


KAlifornia

karlmanga2000@yahoo.com

Monday, August 15, 2005

Purple and Gold

This is my first blog and I am beginning to see why people drop off on these…

Some days you just don’t have anything to say. Nothing clever…nothing informative…nothing that will crack the Internet in half.

Today is one of those days.

Random is the name of the game.


I am looking forward to the NBA season. With J Will in Miami. (say what you say..that kid is a baller…) and Kwame in LA. I think it’s going to be one interesting season.

I’m a life long Laker fan. I bleed purple and gold. I love the way Kobe “played”. I don’t love Kobe as a person. It’s not because of what went down in Denver. I don’t think he raped that girl. I think he probably mistreated her or treated her with no respect…but did he rape her…I don’t think so.

I just have this bad view of him.

I see him as almost everything that is on his new Nike ad.

Would I trade him for Le Bron or T-Mac?

Yes!!!

I wish he made the players around him better.

I wish he would dime better.

I don’t like his new logo…and I think his new shoes look horrible.

Do I hope he has a great season and Lamar and Kwame become his Pippen and Horace Grant?

Check the color of my blood.


KAlifornia