Kevin B Madison
Day 202 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Work in Progress: Continuing to work on my portrait of Vlad Tepes, Count Dracula. #yearofdrawing #Dracula #vladtepes

Day 202 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Work in Progress: Continuing to work on my portrait of Vlad Tepes, Count Dracula. #yearofdrawing #Dracula #vladtepes

Day 201 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Work in Progress: After working with a fine pen again last night, I decided to scrap the digital painting of Dracula I was working on and do it as an inked illustration instead. #yearofdrawing #dracula

Day 201 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Work in Progress: After working with a fine pen again last night, I decided to scrap the digital painting of Dracula I was working on and do it as an inked illustration instead. #yearofdrawing #dracula

Day 200 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Work in Progress: Starting a digital painting of Dracula. #yearofdrawing #dracula

Day 200 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Work in Progress: Starting a digital painting of Dracula. #yearofdrawing #dracula

Day 199 of a Year of Drawing. Really crappy drawing of a cartoon Dracula. I cannot think of a drawing from the last year that I have liked less. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and another drawing. #yearofdrawing #theycantallbegems

Day 199 of a Year of Drawing. Really crappy drawing of a cartoon Dracula. I cannot think of a drawing from the last year that I have liked less. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and another drawing. #yearofdrawing #theycantallbegems

Halfway Home

Halfway Home

Howdy All and Happy Friday!

This week marks the 29th weekly entry on this blog, which means I am slightly more than halfway through my current year of drawing. 

If you will indulge a bit of navel gazing on my part, I figured that this might be a good opportunity to take stock of the past six months and talk about my plans for the remainder of 2014 and for 2015.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year were as follows:

  • One hour of drawing each day;
  • One completed page or strip per week; and
  • One blog entry per week, with an average word length of 1000 words.

At slightly more than halfway through the year I am easily keeping pace with two of those goals.  I have managed to find at least an hour each day to draw since the start of the New Year (making it 563 consecutive days of drawing since January 1, 2013) and with 29 weeks of blog entries completed including  this entry, I have written just over a hundred pages of material for this blog.

Unfortunately, in the last few months, I have managed to fall behind on my goal of one completed page or strip per week, and I have only finished 18 full strips since January 1, 2014.  I have completed 8 other pieces that I would consider “finished” works, but the rest of my illustrations are either rough sketches or unfinished projects. 

As such, this leaves me with roughly three weeks where I did not complete a page, a strip, or some other kind of finished work.

While it is a bit frustrating that I have fallen behind on one of my goals for the year, I thought I was farther behind than I actually am in terms of completed strips (I thought I had only completed 10 or so), so that takes some of the sting off.  

In addition, I have had two opportunities/projects crop up this year that have affected my comic strip output, but for reasons I will set out in a moment, I think those have actually been a better influence on my art than any weekly strips would have been.  

Variety is the Spice

The first of these opportunities/projects is the weekly Drink and Draw group that I joined in February of this year.  While I have only been able to make it to the D&D group every two or three weeks, I have enjoyed attempting the weekly challenges, even though I have only completed a handful of them. 

These challenges have forced me to try drawing things I normally would not draw (including, to date, Indiana Jones, Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, a werewolf, a mermaid, Gandalf, and some of the Masters of the Universe).  I also feel that the pieces that have forced me outside my comfort zone are at least as valuable a learning experience as a few extra strips would have been. 

As such, since these digressions have helped me try out some new styles and subjects, I am not too disappointed that they have been partly responsible for me being behind on the weekly strip schedule.

The second opportunity/project is the “live blogging” I recently completed of Chadwick Ginther’s Thunder Road trilogy (or, rather, the first two books of the trilogy; Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues…the third book is not out, yet).  

For the month of June and the first two weeks in July, I based all the work I did as part of my Year of Drawing on my readings of Chad’s amazing novels (which I strongly recommend to any fans of Neil Gaiman-esque urban or wainscot fantasy), and a pair of short stories Chad set in the same world. 

While I was able to get one strip done in the course of the “live blogging,” one of the main goals of the project was to have some pieces that Chad could use as promotional material at comic cons and similar events, so it seemed better to just pick particularly striking scenes from the books and do illustrations of those scenes, rather than try to translate them into the comic medium.  

As with the Drink and Draw weekly challenges, the pieces I completed over the last month and half as part of my Thunder Roadtrip (what I called my live blogging) have often forced me outside of my comfort zone (turns out I love drawing skeletons and zombies) and they include a few pieces that represented my first efforts at painting digitally. 

As such, while I did not get as many comic strips completed during that period as I had planned, I think the trade-off has been worth it to push my boundaries, as it were.

The Home Stretch and the Next Marathon

For the remainder of 2014, I plan to carry on with my hourly drawing and weekly blog entries, but I have no plans to try and catch up on the goal of 52 strips by the end of the year (though, you never know…I do like chasing goals…). 

I have agreed to do a handful of other pieces for Chad, so you can expect to see a few more pieces set in the Thunder Road world sometime in September (including some Pulp or comic-influenced alternate covers for Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues).

Otherwise, for the remaining months of 2014, I am planning to do more pieces for the Drink and Draw weekly challenges and complete a few pages of the Justitia Divum project that I wrote about last week.  I want to see how realistic that strip might be as a weekly project for next year and to see whether the completed pages of that story grab me. 

My primary goals for 2015 will be to continue my daily hour of drawing and to maintain a weekly webcomic.  However, at this point, I have no idea what that webcomic project might be.  As I have mentioned before, I have enjoyed doing gag strips in the past and I find those a lot easier to crank out than strips with an ongoing narrative, but for a change I would like to try my hand at telling a story with my comics, rather than telling jokes.    

I had an idea this week for how to present the Justitia Divum strip in a unique way that I am pretty excited about, but I have a fair amount of research and writing to do before I can really start that project in earnest.  That said, I recognize that I can sometimes kill a project with too much planning, so I will be mindful to not let this project get bogged down at the design stage.

Time to Bring it Home

So, that is how things look at the halfway point through my 2014 Year of Drawing. The past six months have been a great start to the year, creatively speaking, I look forward to diving into some of the projects I have lined up for the coming months, and working towards my plans for 2015.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings, and I hope to see you back in seven days!

Until then, I have some drawing to do.

Kevin B. Madison

#yearofdrawing #comics #comicbook #comicstrip #thunderroad #thunderroadtrip

Day 198 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Dick Tracy sketch done for my Drink and Draw group’s weekly challenge. #yearofdrawing #drinkanddraw #dicktracy

Day 198 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Dick Tracy sketch done for my Drink and Draw group’s weekly challenge. #yearofdrawing #drinkanddraw #dicktracy

Day 197 of a Year of Drawing 2014 - Part Two.  Breakdowns started for page one of Justitia Divum. It may not be clear from the breakdowns, but each panel will be shaped like a TV screen on a black background.  The reason for this will become apparent as this first page comes together. #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum

Day 197 of a Year of Drawing 2014 - Part Two.  Breakdowns started for page one of Justitia Divum. It may not be clear from the breakdowns, but each panel will be shaped like a TV screen on a black background.  The reason for this will become apparent as this first page comes together. #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum

Day 197 of a Year of Drawing 2014.  More sketches done for Justitia Divum drawn at tonight’s Drink & Draw.  #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum #drinkndraw #drinkanddraw .

Day 197 of a Year of Drawing 2014.  More sketches done for Justitia Divum drawn at tonight’s Drink & Draw.  #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum #drinkndraw #drinkanddraw .

Day 196 of a Year of Drawing 2014. More sketches done for my justitia divum project. #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum

Day 196 of a Year of Drawing 2014. More sketches done for my justitia divum project. #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum

Day 195 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Inked and coloured my concept sketches of rogue telepath, Nathaniel Weaver, at various ages. #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum

Day 195 of a Year of Drawing 2014. Inked and coloured my concept sketches of rogue telepath, Nathaniel Weaver, at various ages. #yearofdrawing #justitiadivum