Saturday, February 17, 2007

Anything for the art

Art's never been my thing, but I always kinda wished it had been my thing. That way maybe I would have turned out to be a great comic book artist. I loved reading comic books growing up -- still do (maybe the "growing up" part is ongoing) -- and often tried to draw my own comics.

I remember a seventh-grade art class in which I failed miserably at making a couple things, notably some kind of building out of popsicle sticks or toothpicks or something along those lines, and a piece of pottery that ended up being a lopsided ashtray. After those attempts, I pretty much gave up at art, even though I still liked getting the 64-piece Crayola crayon box. You were king of junior high when you had that thing. Every time I opened that up I felt like I was the president and the crayons were my loyal audience waiting to lap up whatever great speech I was about to give. You couldn't go wrong with all those crayons in front of you.

Anyway, sometimes I would try to draw comic books, with or without the 64 pack of crayons, but since I couldn't even make anything out of popsicle sticks my attempts at comic-book art were limited to stick figures with rays blasting out of their hands. The rays took the shape of squiggly lines. And sometimes my guys could fly, in which case I drew the stick figure sideways with his arms stretched out forward. The flying guys usually had capes, so I would draw a triangle that attached at my superhero's neck.

I figured someday I'd have my own line of comic books and my own universe of characters, just like Marvel Comics. Heck, yea, I want to make mine Marvel, Stan Lee! My most precious creation was some guy named Beerhead, who was a stick figure with a beer case for a mask. It was the 12-pack case that he wore, and he put it on sideways so he could see out of the little cardboard handle built right into the side. This was way before the fridge pack. Beerhead was kind of a comical superhero, where he would often bumble around but eventually beat up the bad guy.

One day I grew tired of Beerhead and traded his rights to my brother for a couple of Wonder Woman comic books. I suppose I was a bit ahead of my time in this, considering that just a couple years ago ABC traded sportscaster Al Michaels to NBC for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. You can't tell me Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is any more valuable than Beerhead.

Actually I think my brother forgot all about Beerhead after a couple weeks, and I tried to make a couple more comic books with him in it. But then I got bored and started playing cards.

Many of these memories came back to me as I was watching this movie "Art School Confidential" that I had never heard of (just like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) but that many people at my library were requesting. I don't think they ever heard of it either, but it is a pretty good title for a movie, so why not. And as it turns out I think I'm happy with my career path, which didn't include much dedication to or passion for art, despite my moderate success with Beerhead. If I had enjoyed art I might have ended up going to an art school, and even though I would probably have been able to draw pictures of some naked women in class a couple times, everything else would have driven me crazy. At least if it was anything like it's portrayed in this movie, which as you know is usually the case.

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