Tuesday, January 09, 2007

January 9, 2007
Rather warm out this morning. Bike ride was quite pleasant. Gave the dogs a treat. Got into the office at 8:15 for a staff meeting. Went over the top five successes for 2006, which were

• Created consistent covers that definitely convey all things True West (and as Bob Brink noted, if you ripped the mastheads off you could still tell it is True West)

• Created the Resource Guide Book out of whole cloth and sold a record amount of ads in it, then gave it to our subscribers for free!

• Rode to the rescue of Old Cowtown in Wichita and did our best to stave off political vultures.

• Increased web sales by 40% and mag ad sales by 20%.

• Our press releases have landed in newspapers and TV stations all over the country.

Still struggling with the big board panels for the Top Secret Project. Worked hard at getting last images sketched in, but didn't get far enough.

Meanwhile, here are a couple breakthroughs that happened in the long road to sketchbook autonomy. A year ago I was on my way to Cody, Wyoming for the Dude Ranch Association's Annual Convention and we had a layover in Salt Lake City of an hour and half. I decided to sketch out the window of the terminal (top, left page), then picked up a USA Today and saw a photo of several Boulder sorority girls who were crying at a candlelight service for a fellow sister who had died from binge drinking. For some reason, I decided to try an experiment and turned the picture sideways, and my sektchbook sideways as well. The simple exercise simply shut off my left-brain impulse to put the eye sockets and ears in their appropriate place and I just let my right brain sketch in what it saw, not what I thought it saw. The results astounded me (bottom, left). I continued to do this from time to time and it clears out the cobwebs in my head. The gentleman with the broken nose (middle right) is also from the sideways school of imagery.

As the weeks turned into months I really started to loosen up. Here's a four page attack on Tiburcio Vasquez, for a Classic Gunfights spread we did last year. I especially like the red pajama guy and the faces next to it. Quite loosey goosey, lively line and decent rendering likeness. Now if I only could hit this peak every day, I'd be dangerous.

Onion Headline de Jour
Al-Qaeda Sitcom Filmed Before Live Studio Hostages

"If I had my life to live over I would do it all again, but this time I would be nastier."
—Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to a national legislature in any Western democrcacy (Jana Bommersbach wrote a great piece on her, including the above quote, which will appear in the next issue of True West)

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