Thursday, October 4, 2007

Stumptown Report

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School

A friend of mine from art school and fellow ex robopocalypse comics collective member has been trying to get me to do to Dr. Sketchy's bulesque figure drawing at Dante's for a couple of months now. I've wanted to go but I haven't really had the time or the permission from my now ex girlfriend. So when I saw that they were having it at Stumptown I figured it was a good chance to finally get a taste for what the real thing was like. After talking with my friend, however, I would dare to call my experience "Dr. Sketchy's: lite".

The set up was pretty simple: a model, Peach, sitting on a table with a couple of modeling lights pointed at him and rows of tables with budding artists itching for so figure drawing practice. He would switch poses every 15 minutes and after an hour, the female model, Rocket, took over. When the time was nearly up, rocket went around choosing drawings to win prizes. The prizes included a Mr. Potato head (which my friend won for most comic book like drawing), a Tamagatchi, and a toy laser gun. The categories included Rocket's favorite, most detailed, the first winners favorite and most detailed.

I had a pretty good time. At first I was a little frustrated, mostly leftover irritation at my lack of success at the show thus far, but also because my drawing ability was a little rusty. Pretty soon I got into the swing of things and by the time Rocket went up, I was making some drawings I was pretty happy with. I didn't win any prizes but all I really would have wanted was that tamagatchi anyways. The thing I liked the most about the experience was that I didn't have to draw if I didn't feel like it and I could draw however I wanted. In drawing classes the teacher usually tries to get you to draw in ways you aren't used to or don't feel comfortable drawing in and expects you to keep drawing the whole time regardless of how far you are in the peice. It was nice to be able to just relax while I was drawing. So all in all it was a pretty good experience and I think I'm going to try the real thing this wednesday.

Sarah Oleksyk's Excellent Adventures

I still remember when I first saw Sarah's "Ivy" comic online and how blown away I was with her art style. At the time I thought she was a nobody artist like me who was just under appreciated. Little did I know she is one of the most prolific and well known artists in the Portland comics scene. I soon found out, though as I wandered between booths at the fest. I kept seeing her name everywhere (in the program, on the website and even at the artist who drew the image on the poster) and when I finally saw her booth with the comic "Ivy" sitting on it did I even put the dots together in my head.

Her panel was pretty laid back. Just her and fellow comics artist Erika Moen sitting at the panels table basically having a conversation. Erika would ask questions and Sarah would give some lengthy insight into her comics and a bit into her life. The topics pretty broad. She talked about her past comics, where she plans to go with "Ivy", what she wants to do afterwards, highschool experiences, the trials of self publishing and a lot of other things. At the end there was a quick question and answer time and I actually got in the last question. Unfortunately I embarrissed myself a bit by asking "Now that you've... gained more notoriety in comics (enter audience laughter) um... uh... well, yeah I guess really what I'm asking is do you have to have a nine to five job or do you just do comics?" The answer was somewhat vague but she didn't answer the question I was trying to ask which was "do you make a living off of comics or not" and the answer was "I wouldn't be able to support myself on comics at this point.

For me it was pretty inspirational. She talked about how she spent a few years corisponding and trading zines with people all over the country until she started keeping lists and record of who sent what. She said that at that point it wasn't fun anymore but she had ammased piles of zines. It reminded me that comics aren't easy and fame doesn't come with just talent. It comes with friends and colleagues and contacts.