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Podcast This.

I'd forgotten that before I was engaged in what I may do now, I used to podcast...that is, with audio.

I ran three podcasts: LeftCast, The Blather and LatinRadical. This last one I later partnered with Warrick Fry after setting it up initially as an on-the-spot reportage from Venezuela.

I later established  an online audio/video project under the banner Education for Socialists.

Sony MinDisc
But my audio activism kind of petered out despite my intense engagement and the skill set I worked so hard to attain. I started shooting video in sync with  rising frustrated with the recording rigs I was using.

I had been using  Sony minidisc recording setups and while they offered great sound, these devices weren't digital friendly and while they were cumbersome to use with Windows operating system,  the Sony minidisc doesn't talk at all to a Mac. So when I changed over to a Mac desktop,  that was it. I  had locked myself out my portable recording options.

So I started doing video for a time....Then the online storage site I used,  changed its guarantees and  arrangements ...and unilaterally deleted ALL MY UPLOADED VIDEOS!
Telling them to 'get fucked' did not help. It was a dot com takeover, you see.
Bud Fox: Why do you need to wreck this company?
Gordon Gekko: Because it's WRECKABLE, all right?
Back in that day -- 2005/2006/2008 -- out and about, you either recorded audio on minidiscs or an iRiver IFP  Mp3 player.Flash recorders were coming in but they were too expensive for a pauper like me.

So I thought the whole multimedia thing had run its course with me...until  I  got called back to --at least reminded of -- the podcasting lark only recently. 

I thought: 
Hey! I loved doing that! Why did I ever give it up? 
So I went back over the online archive at the various sites, only to be impressed with what I'd produced. A lot of it has been lost to the ethers. The storage conundrum again. But it's a thrill to go back and revisit those moments through the earphones.
I guess another reason for my drift away from audio recording was my circle of comrades and friends were juiced up with  YouTubery and that seemed to be where online multimedia was at.
A lot of what I produced is rough..but as I skilled up the quality and focus of my output improved. I was working with a couple of radio stations (here and overseas)  who'd air my stuff  and doing radio panel training at a third. Unfortunately the radio instruction was at an analogue station (at the time) so it was archaic instrumentation we were taught to master.

But then... the principles are the same: gain, mic types....impedance and stuff. En route you learn to respect the disc jockeys of the past because queuing so much vinyl would have been exhausting work for but 2 hands.

Before mice were invented...

The Here and Now.


So after going back I started to look forward...and began to renovate one of my old podcasts  -- The Blather. 

Everything still works.It still occupies its space on iTunes.Even the channel/station pop ups work! 

After 6 years! 

Some shows have been lost. 
I did keep the original recordings  but...
But aside from the fact I don't have a portable recording device to  cart out and about, I'm tooled up.
FYI: Most podcasts are recorded in house -- in some sort of desktop studio -- with microphone direct into computer. Chat and stuff. Whereas I preferred to use a portable device and loved to go out and about recording stuff.Even for delivering monologues I preferred mobility to sitting down and speaking into  LCD screen space. Radio teaches you tricks for this but talking to nothing else -- least ways nothing alive -- is real hard yakker. Makes one very self conscious.
Zoom H1
But on that point of devices the news is good. After a bit of Googling I located a Zoom H1 Handy Recorder at an obscenely cheap price. This is a flash recorder  for $85...and it's Mac friendly.

So really, nothing can stop me now....

Podcasting Perspectives


I'm over a lot of the initial excitement of years back and I guess I'm much more confident and able. Nonetheless, truth to tell, I don't have any set game plan. I think I'll throw a mixed bag of audio at The Blather recorded from various contexts. Some of it will be scripted and a lot of it will be out-and-about (such as at protest marches and other political events).

So what you do is walk around with your recorder in tow, grabbing sound bytes ...interviewing...soundscaping.

I guess my bag -- my preferences -- my media dispositions -- today are very clear to me:
  • comics -- making graphics by using collage techniques(rather than relying on Photoshoppery) -- with the option to do more stop motion animations
  • taking photographs (rather than shooting video)
  • recording audio (on-the-run rather than sedentarily) 
Indeed I can see where I can combine this media online. I do that with the photographs and comics now...so why not 'add' audio?

Later on I'll write a little something -- in McLuhanist mode -- about the difference between  videotaping an event and audio recording it. I'd also ponder the dichotomy between a photo essay and a video report of the same occasion. It's  not that I'm against video -- I watch heaps of the stuff! -- but it's a very 'cool' medium. 
For Marshall McLuhan ‘cool’ visual mediums are video and  cartoons which are extensions of a physical sense in “low-definition.” These forms  require from the audience a higher degree of participation.‘Hot’ medium, on the other hand, is an extension of a physical sense that is dense with information. For instance, McLuhan gives the examples of the image and text as ‘hot’ visual mediums. They are ‘hot’ because they provide an abundance of visual data to the eyes and leave little room for interpretation and further thought on the part of the audience.

The Conundrum of Online Storage

Since the dot com universe is very fluid -- what with cowboy  raids and start ups a plenty -- securing reliable free storage for your audio file has proven difficult.
Ironic when you consider the small sizes of  audio files compared to all the huge video files that get taken up, gratis, by YouTube...
I had been well served by Radio4All  but that was often 'down'. I also used archive.org which was more reliable but a pain to use. Initially I had used ODEO -- which offered a great DIY interface and widgets -- but the ODEO folks kinda lost interest in audio and went on to found a little something called Twitter...
At the time I thought: who would ever want to 'tweet'?  
This time around I'm exploring the use of Google Drive. I appreciate that option because I'm in control without having to play up to funny bugger protocols and upload hierarchies. The process  of publishing your audio --sharing the file --is simplisimo. Very nice 'hack' it is.
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In comic mode..some recent cartoon commentary

I seem to have experienced a recent graphic frenzy. 
One after another; even a few in a couple of 24 hour periods! 
In mouse mode: click...click...click.
All my graphic work -- my comic making -- hangs out at PunchRatbag and I now do the political stuff under the nom de plume of 'Prof Ratbag. 
It should really be 'nom de' mouse.
Work quickly. Spontaneously. Improvise....then Upload the sucker!

Click on images for enlarged view.


















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Recent comics...

Some recent comics with Australian contemporary politics  in mind.
Click on image to enlarge view.





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A year in comics -- being contemplative musings on the best read and my own graphic adventures

Infographic webside
I am now  habituated to reading comics. 'Tis a passion that has taken over much of my reading preferences.

Through 2013 I've read quite a few of what gets called 'graphic novels'--
A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word "novel" normally refers to long fictional works, the term "graphic novel" is applied broadly, and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term "comic book", which is used for comics periodicals (ref).
I guess most of what I've read can be called graphic novels but I've learnt to appreciate the periodicals too.

There has been a mix of quality in what I've read.  I won't detail my preferences, but here is my top ten list for the year (in no particular order/you can get more details here):
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (Scott McCloud)
Hey, Wait... (Jason)
Tits and Clits (Various women)
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Ulli Lust)
Percy Gloom (Cathy Malkasian )
Monologues for the Coming Plague (Anders Nilsen)
Box Office Poison ( Alex Robinson)
Why I Hate Saturn ( Kyle Baker)
Stuck Rubber Baby (Howard Cruise)
Drawn to New York: An Illustrated Chronicle of Three Decades in New York City (Peter Kuper)
It has been an amazing  journey both through graphics , dialogue, characterisations and story telling such that I'm gobsmacked at the skill and creativity of the folk who make this stuff.

Among my stand out preferences this last year  has to be Peter Kuper: always inventive, engaging and wryly observant. A great talent. But it is to the women I owe my biggest collective debt: Ulli Lust, Cathy Malkasian, Mary Fleener and M.K Brown. Already this year I'm blown away by Gabrielle Bell and can't wait to get my hands on Joyce Farmer's Special Exits.

Why women? Because so much comic work generated by men is misogynist, arrogant and self serving...more so than you'd find in many literary genres. It's a burden than cheapens the medium. It is machismo and sexism that has played such a big part in underground and  alternative comics culture.

As for me...

While I suffer from bouts of comic makers/collage artist's block, I have been productive and experimental. I'm learning by dint of self taught DIY.

Since I'm not drawing or inking I'm not in sync with these others. I may start drawing over the next year -- combining art work with my photomontage and collage approach -- such that my work will tend towards a sort of assemblage or scrap book medium with words . I love the improvisational  impulse offered by finding graphics and working through the stimulus they offer.

And besides I can work more quickly using found objects than generating panels from scratch with pen or brush.

That's laborious.

I also hope to create more stop motion animations. But it is very time consuming to do so, although my technique is becoming more inventive.


My problem is that I have more projects in my head than my creativity discipline is up to fulfilling.  So that's the gambit, I guess: I need to develop more  discipline . 

Mind you if I did manage to sentence myself to the comicifying on a work-a-day sort of schedule it would be quite an adventure. I can envisage a niche I could fill if I could only skill up.

But then, while my dyslexia worsens (a cognitive symptom  of my Fibromyalgia) I'm gonna have to get myself a proof reader cum editor to correct my  seemingly silly mistakes. 
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Who is the meanest in the land?




Moving right along with the possibilities I am now exploring l..o..n..g comics that run down the page. Easy to scroll through as the storyline unfolds. 


Suits mobile devices too. 

Inspired by The Oatmeal, techniques like this suit the web despite being hard copy unfriendly. 

But longer/page-down comics should also mean that I have more room to say stuff -- good or bad as that may be.  Nonetheless, this is the technique ruled over by Rius in his various political books , esp his 'For Beginners' series.

Messy -- but it works.

Deploy photomontage and there you have it...whatever it is.
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Idiosyncratic Webcomics: making them and sharing them


I've now been working at the webcomic coal face for just over a year -- since August last year -- and have produced over 100 strips I'm keen on moving up a notch .

On average that's  almost a  new comic strip every three days.

I'm delighted to have found something that speaks to me and in its idiosyncratic way aggregates so much of what I've done and pursued. It also congeals my obsessions and inadequacies while allowing me to be creative despite my disabilities.

Its' win:win from my POV and I only wish I'd got into this stuff earlier. But who woulda thought that I could go back to puppetry -- and masks/faces -- via a digital and online route?

Now that I'm experimenting with political satire -- and harking back to my Life of Riley days -- I'm working a broader canvas than the initial puppet dialogue format I began with. 

Of course there is other stuff in the offing. I'm gonna finish my memoir -- Young Ratbag --soon enough. If it wasn't for hindsight angst I'd be well through that project by now. Doing Harvey Pekar  and an Antipodean take on American Splendor  is a gruelling exercise in how you see yourself thus far.

It's like sifting through dross.
The irony is that while I make comics I'm not of the comic mode because I assemble my 'comics' from photographs. I'm a photomontage artiste  half way doing stand up monologues rather than  drawing and coloring the standard way of it to create comic panels.

Cut and Paste 

Does that mean I lack artistic talent?

Maybe I'll do some more hand held coloured pencil work but I'm finding that cut and paste is a very powerful medium in itself. As I skill up I'm pushing the envelope in directions that surprise me. 

But  my cut and paste is consciously cruder than Photoshoppery. The photomontage I relate to is anchored in  German Dadaism and is self  consciously 'assembled elements'. There's an irony in the fact -- well I think it is a fact -- that a puppet ( such as on Sesame Street or Mr Punch) is more alive than CGI  or some  seamless realism, such as in video games,  created on a computer. From my POV the contradiction of fusing disparate elements together -- such as pasting my mouth onto Mr Punch's face -- makes the whole business more personable and intimate. That I appear to have a limited emotional range on call from hand puppets, merely ups the anti. 

And besides I have my fans. Yes indeedy do I have aficionados who seem to dig what I'm trying to do. 

This then brings me to a sort of anniversary action:

Once I work out the DIY I'm gonna start publishing my comics in ebook format. That means you'll be able to  download a collection and read them on your mobile device or , if you want, print off your favorite strips. 

Some storylines like Fibromyalgia for Beginners and Girt By Sea are standalone,  and are ready to go (if I knew how -- I need to study up the method). But the rag tag meandering panels featuring Mr Punch may have to be culled to a sort of 'best of' collection or 'editions' just like printed comic books. But the effort is worthwhile as I can get distribution via sites like Amazon, etc.

I suspect that the endeavour is warranted.
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Behold: Neoliberalism! -- Montage me!

Click on images to enlarge view.

Maybe the graphic didn't work as I'd hoped but I got the association I wanted to suggest between the changes in the wages and profits share of national income since 1985 as sponsored by a succession of federal governments  which  in sync with the class divide evolve toward a more vicious statehood.  

Behold: Neoliberalism!


I grabbed the teeth and mouth from John Heartfield's War and Corpses (at left) which has been a long time fav of mine..

It makes me feel like a hip hop artist -- sampling stuff -- teeth riffs -- to feed montages.
But thenJohn Heartfield's grandson has recently drawn me into his circle as part of his archive project celebrating his grandfather's work.

When I consider how difficult it must have been for Heartfield to construct his montages out of bits of paper my ready use of  digital  images and the online resources of Googling makes my work almost obscenely easy  in comparison. 

Heartfield's montages are standalone powerful graphics that transcend the political moment of their targeting  while he explored a succession of themes that still bear down upon us. As a Marxist he also recognised  the power of contradictions and counterpositions. 

What he achieved has had a huge impact on graphics--even in advertising! -- that have followed. 

For my money Heartfield's contemporary heir is Mr Fish -- aka Dwayne Booth . Although not strictly a montage artist, Mr Fish has a perspective that harnesses his materials in like mode to Heartfield even though his resources are much more eclectic --this being the digital age and all. 

It strikes me that montage rather than pen and ink cartooning offers a different cutting edge primarily I suspect because it has to so often rely on what already exists. Parody  is easier, for instance because the 'real world' can be turned on itself. 

But then if all that fails...


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Cartoons in response to the Australian federal election.


The good news is that fast and effective treatment is now available. Sadly though, for the millions of people in this country who presently suffer from election problems, no more than 10% will choose to do something about it. Why? Probably, like me, it seemed an impossible task. After years of being unable to sustain interest in an election, I was close to giving up hope. The desire was there, but when it came to the test, the rest of me just would not cooperate. Despite my passion, when it came to the crunch, nothing would happen. No matter how hot and bothered I'd become, and think this time it will be different, I'd end up being let down once again. Each time I was called upon to perform, I just knew I was going to be inadequate. The lead was in my pencil, I'd have the booth to myself and all I had to do was use it to score ... straightaway I'd lose my confidence and get confused about the way I liked it. Should I go with this one or that one, him or her? It was agony and sooo frustrating! I was suffering from a very common disorder but hadn't realised it. I was exhibiting all the primary symptoms of political impotence (Impotentia politicus). While there are any number of candidates who claim to be able to treat this problem, the path to potency is not as simple as they make out. Indeed, a major factor contributing to what is now an epidemic of inadequacy among men and women of all ages is the failure of the parliamentary election system (PES) to deliver on its promises. PES, while promoting the desire, takes away the performance. Put crudely, parliament flirts with us once briefly every three years and ignores us the rest of the time. No amount of assurances to the contrary can change that. For myself, I wanted a new beginning but felt so alone in my problem. Then I joined Impotence Anonymous, and suddenly my life changed! No longer was I a victim of my own feelings of inadequacy. By joining with others who suffered as I did, I was able to get on top of my problem. Instead of waiting for something to happen, we'd get together and make our own chemistry. As a result, I no longer feel impotent! That's right! No more do I suffer from election problems. As for voting — I can take it or leave it. You can imagine what this feels like. I'm free at last. No longer do I rely on them to do it to me. For the first time in my life, I've learned to assert myself and now demand what I want. I'd be lying if I said that a cure is easy. But the road to a mature potency begins with the initial step of acknowledging that you — like thousands of others — suffer from a treatable disorder. And let's not mince words: political impotence can be treated. Over the years many people have overcome their impotence by joining with others and refusing to be impotent any longer. As we say in Impotence Anonymous: "Potency is coming together!"
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Crocodile is back. He's pissed and hates Tony Abbot!

I can't help myself.

I picked up Crocodile today and took the puppet for a vocal spin.

We had a great tête-à-tête -- the Crocodilian oven mitt and I. 

Of course the chitchattery was hampered by my lack of recent ventriloquy practice but we managed nonetheless to understand one another.

So I'm thinking of going oven mitt...online.

Crocodile has been  a passing feature -- given that he is, afterall, Mr Punch's nemesis. But when I digitalised his existence I gave him a substance abuse problem and a keener sleaze. 

I'm thinking that Crocodile could join Mr. Punch and the Prof as a means to move more into politcal mode.

He is a key weapon in our shared anti-Abbot strategy.

'Tis a puppet united front.

I had tried a soft  monkey puppet I had but it-did-not-speak-to-me. Crocodile -- because he is a creature of my own loins --  lives in the way that this other resisted. 

Puppet -- and vents -- are very personal objects. They're familiars.  So relationships rule. Once I get his personality rejigged I'm gonna schedule a few chats to see what we come up with.

It is in his nature to be very visceral. Crocodile would prefer to eat you and burp rather than argue. 

In contemporary Australia that's an attribute that may come in handy...

Oven mitt's rule: too hot to handle!







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Back making webcomics


Since I'm now back making with the webcomics it's fun to plot the online adventure by  reviewing my different styles.

I think I'm experiencing another technique break through so it's nice to wallow in past product.

Expect more satire, fewer separate panels, radical parodies, more autobiographical story telling (ie: I'll finish the monologue).

I've been perusing the words and graphic world of  William Blake  and gone back to wallow in  my passion for  James Gillroy.  Pieter Bruegel the Elder always...but I'd like to find ways and means to generate the mix and match styles of the 20s montage and collage artists that have had such power over me -- Kurt Switters especially (among others). I'm a Merz kind of guy.

Much as I love comics since I'm not drawing my graphics I'm not quite in sync with such cartooning and caricature. I do have none of the skills nor the patience.

I'm just a thespian -- a performer -- making the best of what's to hand.


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A few political cartoons

Inspired by the Socialist Alliance election campaign I've been creating a few memes.I used my preferred collaging/montage techniques.

Of the cartoons (they masquerade as 'memes') displayed here I created three of them in one overnight sitting. I guess my apprenticeship with Mr Punch is paying off.


Click on images to enlarge view.

 
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A note on vegetarianism


People can eat or not eat whatever they want, but...

...the conundrum of the Western diet isn't as simple as  the role of meat consumption. The transition indigenous peoples make from traditional life styles to health impacts of  'Western'  dietary foods is not a simple matter of meat. Much research suggests that a major contributory factor is the density and amount of their new carbohydrate intake. 

The high rates of obesity, heat disease and diabetes (and diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate metabolism) among indigenous populations seem to indicate this (and when they return to traditional foods, health indicators improve sharply).In the case of Aborigines  traditional diets have a larger meat component.(But it is more than a question of meat).

As for plant based being more sustainable I'm not so sure that that is true as agriculture per se is not necessarily more sustainable than grazing or husbandry. Indeed a good portion of the planet -- including the  Australian part of it -- is not conducive to the production of grains or vegetables. (Side example: the American planes were much more sustainable ecosystems feeding buffalo in their millions than growing corn. )

This issue becomes particularly sharp when you have to  work out where fertilisers should come from for us to be 'sustainable' in food. Modern fertilisers are a product of munitions technology and rely on oil inputs. 

Topsoil loss in Australia is consequent not just of over grazing which tends to preserve soil structure  but also of the dissecation impact of agriculture on soils . Aside from the conscious loss of vegetation cover for whatever usage -- Australian soils have suffered under the impact of cloven hoofs. (Native fauna land soft on the ground and don't break up structure). Combine this with over grazing  and the fickle climate with its droughts and flooding rains  and it becomes a challenge to foster sustainable soils and prevent them from blowing away to New Zealand or washing out to sea. 

Nonetheless, the primary problem with the Murray Darling Basin in way of water usage is the irrigation demand engineered by agricultural methods  (and capitalism) and not grazing per se.

It would be more correct to say that rather than not eating meat, planting trees and preserving soils  is a much better route to sustainability. 

Furthermore  it is more appropriate to consider carbon farming strategies  (which apply both to agriculture AND grazing )  rather than plant versus animal  foods.

It seems to me that 'sustainability' and health works best by combining agriculture with husbandry/meat production with plant foods. The nutritional arguments are still being had about how much of this or that is best or necessary... but the whole question is warped by the way that food is produced under capitalism and the way it is 'value added' for consumption and profit.

But no matter which way you look at it, we control neither our environment nor out gut. 

Underlying this, in my perspective, is the long term consequences of grains which have fostered 'civilisation' into being. I think this is the primary dynamic of the 'Western' diet  which has generated a lot of its consequences. The impact of the switch from hunter gatherer  to sedentary agriculture -- from Palaeolithic to  Neolithic cultures -- are pretty clear. It wasn't a good health consequence although it made a lot of other stuff possible -- writing, the oppression of women, class divisions, the nation state...  -- being but a few of its impacts. That's the tragedy which is still writ large on the lives of indigenous peoples who are dispossessed of their cultures and  traditional foods today. 

Furthermore, the contemporary  epidemic of food intolerances and allergies are responses to plant rather than to meat consumptions.  While Lactose intolerance tend to be partly genetic, our guts seem to be suffering from what we consume other than  Nature's foods. This is a confusing question which is not resolved by not eating meat.

I guess my general point is that the key issue isn't so much what or how much protein you put in your mouth but how it got there. 


 
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The making of 'The Making of a Ratbag'

Well it has begun.

After umm-ing and ah-ing for some time I've finally begun composing and pulling together my comicified autobiography.

And it is so hard to do.

It isn't the memory challenge nor the research -- it's what to keep in and what to edit out. How to tell a story -- my story -- with all the boring bits deleted. 

The other task is to decide on who to tell it to: to whom dust thou speaketh?

That helps heaps. It's the voice thing, you see. I'm telling my story to whoever. So I decided it would be addressed sotto voce to my kids. 

I don't need self justification passages. But I need to reference the times. And I need a consistent coherent narrative that would serve anyone doing, say, an eulogy. 
There's a thought: hand out a comic book at the funeral! Deceased limited edition. Maybe that's a business niche I can look at exploring:
FunCom:Comics for Funerals:Death Comics
The irony is that en route I've discovered many stories, most of which I have to bypass. It figures I guess given the amount of time involved in living a life in past tense. 

The way I see it I'm a monologuist and mine is a one man show. Friends, associates, partners and the like are gonna be second fiddle  fodder and most won't crack a mention for the simple reason  that I'm the only one that would care about them. 

I am also the only one 'performing' so I have to do all the characters.

That surely makes the story egocentric, but then that's how we think back in time isn't it? We are always the star of our own show.

...and always on stage, like Mr Punch.

When I began this I thought it would be short and sharp to-the-point comic making but as I map out my composition I realize that this is a much bigger project than I had initially expected. I've worked out all the chapters but nonetheless see that these segments will take many  strips to fill up. 

I either do it that way -- chronologically -- or fall back on discursive anecdotes in the mode of American Splendour. Maybe once I've done it this way  -- got it out of my system and learnt some new graphic tricks en route -- I can go back to particular times and places and explore the context from the POV of a more relaxed story telling with different audiences in mind.

But then I'd be a forever writing my own life story and anchored in a sort of time travel realism.

I'm not so keen on that....

But I wanted to do this, and it's too late now to turn back.

So warts and all, here I come. Blame Harvey Pekar.


Thus far:
Click on comic image for enlarged view

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Stop Motion is a great start

Toyboat.Toyboat.
"Stop motion,where have you been all my life?"

I know I said something like that about comics...but there you go: when you follow your nose you get to  see where it leads.

I don't like a lot of stop motion.Maybe I don't like most of it. But then, I know what I like.
And I've come across a couple of others that speak to me -- avant garde, independent animators using a range of techniques: 
Here's a sample from Breer, made in 1957 which I really like:



What has surprised me is how easy was my own initial efforts were to do.  I've now packaged these as Punch TV.

There's a few features here worth teasing out.
  • I can use the same visual language as I deploy for the comics. In fact one reason I was drawn to cut out stop animation was that I recognized how the comics I did and the techniques I used were reminiscent of  Gilliam's Monty Python animations (and Breer is a Gilliam precursor).
  • There's a logic in the process of creating stop animation that suits the panel-by-panel sequencing you follow with comics. I like it because there's no waste -- no fill. You have to be very dense and concise because creating a second of film at , say, 15 frames per second is gonna take you a  lot of time unless you demand visual efficiency from the images you use. And stop motion is creating  a lot of images. A 15 frames per second, say, that's 900 separate images per minute.
  • More so than with comics you can play tricks on the viewer's eye and expectations. It's like sleight of hand in the same way that you can animate an object and turn it into a puppet. You have movement as a primary tool to play around with. It's a shell game. 
  • The irony is that because stop motion can utilize anything -- and I do mean anything --  to make movement happen  it enriches the possibilities of comic making because you have  a better sense of sequencing without being bogged down in  brutal narratives. Anything is truly possible. It moves because you animate it -- give it life. Absolutely MIXED MEDIA friendly.
  • The irony is that my present tools -- especially ComicLife -- make stop animation so darn easy to do. I make the panels in ComcLife then I use Smoovie to create the animations -- and it is ridiculously easy to turn a bunch of images into a video. I hope to get a usb webcam which will enable me to move away from my dependence on the computer screen. ret assured I won't being doing Leggo animations.  They're banned from my desktop.
The Quest

Because I am handicapped by chronic illness which has sabotaged my ability to do theatre, puppetry and sundry other performing artz,  comic making and stop motion are a exciting sedentary substitute in a way that relying pure video, audio,  painting, or photography are not. 

The other plus is thats ince my drawing skills are so shallow and so rusty I can explore other means to make my comics and animations. 
And since my daughter is studying animation at university...
I tell you: it's win, win, win.






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Webcomic Makings :Projects, Possibilities and Stop Motion.

'Mr Punch and Prof Ratbaggy [Emeritus]  is now a 4 months old webcomic, which is surprizing given that I had no idea what I was doing...at all. En route there have been a couple of series -- one on refugees, the other on Fibromyalgia -- and an intensification of the relationship between Mr Punch and the Prof.

All up, over seventy comic 'pages'.

I've skilled up as  I  pursued an eclectic production niche:photomontage comic making. No use of Photoshop (I've banned it, besides I can't do it nor do I own  a copy)-- just a mix of apps/programs. Primary images shot onscreen with an inbuilt camera.

The knack is to work quickly -- unlike the comic making norm where inking and sketching is so laborious. But 'quick' still takes hours to complete. 

Magical hours. 

At the moment I'm exploring crayon on paper as a skill  exercise to supplement  the photomontage effects I rely on.  I need a graphic  tool to  fill the  space where the  digital imagery runs out. I like crayons and pastels because I can work them into 'shape' with my fingers without having to fret over the lines I draw. For me it's like working with clay. Dry clay.

Without going into details, I need to skill up to be able to tackle a couple of pending projects that I'm keen to pursue:

  • A study on the Northern Territory Intervention  in comic format.
  • A memoir  -- no doubt in many segmented instalments - that turns my own life into a comic excuse.
  • An exposition of socialism in  similar mode to Rius works like Marx for Beginners and Cuba for Beginners.
I also want to master stop motion animation...and have a few ideas in mind about that.
Stop motion is easy to do(the way I'd do it -- in fact I have done it) but time consuming and fiddly. A lot of work goes into a few seconds of video time so you have  to concentrate on the important narrative bits. 
Busy. Busy.

I nonetheless need to skill up so that I can tackle the demands of 'editorial' cartooning.  Day to day, ad hoc, graphic political satire demands language skills I'm still working on. So far I haven't felt comfortable with my satiric approaches. The tools I'm using and panel layout I rely on  don't seem to suit.  The complication is that  editorial cartooning  is usually projected in one panel and I want to engineer sequence. That also takes up more space on the page...and journal editors who are always word obsessed, of course,  are notorious space misers: all the words that fit -- graphics are deployed primarily as decoration.

The other bang to my webcomic buck is that I'll be converting my series projects into ebooks, presentations  and other shareable file formats.  For now, with all their black background, they don't suit hard copy.
But hey! If a publisher is out there and wants to talk turkey...
As for site traffic, it's rising...but then I use a combination of three locations online:
So it's hard to estimate day to day patronage. But a few thousand patrons a month after 4 months of existence isn't bad. 









 
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