Friday, July 03, 2009

Ninja Mountain Episode #23 - Keepin' it Real

This time out we talk about how we keep up the interest in our work as the years go by. And lots of other stuff too, as always: Kieran Yanner returns from a long hiatus with a terrifying story of tragedy and survival in the face of overwhelming adversity, Jeremy relates to us the harrowing experience of a rogue ceiling attacking his studio, and Patrick can't think of anything to complain about at all. Wanker. And of course, DJ Jazzy Socar lays it down strong, yo.

Subscribe on iTunes for free! If you do it, Socar will rap for you. If you DON'T do it, Socar will rap for you 20 times.

Show Notes:

The Daily Monster

Like a Boss!!!

That "water drawing" thing we mentioned - Emmanuel Guibert.


Fuu said...

On the question of what I'd do for a second career, I'd say right now designing dark rides for theme parks sounds really groovy.

Jan said...

Socar, 4Chan?!! O_O
Did they apply Rule 34 to your art?

Quarreling between Patrick and Socar is especially sweet today. *aww*

Socar, I admit I've never read Wind in the Willows (hey, blame communism! I don't think I've ever even seen the book in real life) so I have no idea if it's actually similar.
Have you heard of Watership Down by Richard Adams?

It's about uhm..rabbits. My father used to read it to me when I was little. Pretty dark for a book about rabbits.

John Howe paintings being stolen is a pretty famous story. If I remember correctly, a couple (like 10 or so) of paintings got stolen from an exhibition in France. And then after a while some of the paintings were returned by a father of the thief! (anonymously I think). Sadly, the Gandalf one - probably my all time favourite painting by Mr. Howe - wasn't returned, or it was maybe damaged, I don't remember exactly. :/
And wow, Jeremy, you've met John Howe? Everyone seems to have met him but me lately. :( Like this girl I came across on Deviantart who's from China. O_o

Socar's rap should become an official Ninja Mountain music track. "Born on a Mountain in the Summertime" is good and all, but "Like a Boss" is teh roxxorz.

Also, P-a-t-r-i-c-k i-s m-y f-a-v-o-u-r-i-t-e!

Meli Hitchcock said...

I think Socar has a shining future as a rap star! :D

Hey I have a question that perhaps some of you fellow ninjas might be able to answer. I live in the US of A and am proceeding forward in my goal of being a freelancing artist. However I was wondering what you ladies and gents have done as far as legal side of things. Do you have a registered business name and operate as a small business (with an LLC liscense / separate bank accounts)? Or do you not do that at all? Technically it is business doing freelancing, but since it's not done out of a store or any other public facility, I would think we could do this work sans a registered business name, as long as we take care to log all of our earnings and report them at the end of the year. Though there are perks to having the business too, such as being able to deduct health insurance, expenses, etc.

Anyway, your ninja thoughts on the matter?

- Meli

Anonymous said...

You know you love me. XOXO. Gossip Girl.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your answer to my question!

I think you had many relevant tips for me and everyone else in my situation. I epecially wants to thank Socar, who I think touched most on the situation I am in.

I will most probably send in more questions if you want them.


Jon Hodgson said...

Re: Drawing in your head

Wow - I draw in my head ALL THE TIME. To the point of totally annoying myself for never properly switching off.

In some ways - not completely but from some angles - something I see a lot with new artists (within this context I really liked Patrick's definition of a beginner as someone who isn't yet making their living from their art, simply because it nicely delineates two different sets of experience/needs/practices)...

Man how many asides are in that sentence? Let me start again.

Some beginners I see really separate their art time from their non-art time. Understandably so, when you have a lot of demands on your time outside of artwork. An interesting tutor I had at art school drew our attention to the idea of the artist as "seer", in both the magical transformative quality of turning the 4d world into 2d, and more directly as "Someone who SEES". And doing that seeing, which you learn through drawing, all the time is nothing but a good thing*. I think that is very much linked to the notion Socar presents of drawing in your head.

If you draw all the time in your head, there's a natural flow into the time when you pick up a pencil or brush, and ideas are queuing up to be utilised. Not necessarily big, complete narratives, but just little things that build a successful image. Little observations and ideas that one constantly collects.

Anyhow, I'm commenting as I listen, so I shall get back to listening!

*Ok, except for when you just want to watch a movie without dissecting the shot composition, or look at a tree without mentally drawing it... but hey, what you gonna do? ;)

Cacodaemonia said...

Patrick and Kieran, it's funny that you mentioned health insurance (or decidedly unfunny, considering the circumstances). I left a message with Jon last week regarding health care, and what you poor American ninjas do about it. I briefly had health insurance recently, but have returned to the ranks of the uninsured.

I'm also very interested to hear what advice you all might have regarding Meli Hitchcock's question.

Lastly, I draw in the air with my fingers all the time! People must think I'm deranged. ;)

Michael Jaecks said...

I had to shudder slightly when listening to this episode, I am afraid. No.. not over Socar's rap... in fact I am encouraging her to compose a series of them.

No, I shuddered when the topic of mistaking one artists work for another came up, because I just did that to Mr. Hodgson recently. He was, of course, incredibly gracious over my gaffe, but I have felt a little silly about it ever since. (And I really did think I knew what I was talking about at the time, which made it even worse.) I guess I mention it because I think it happens to everyone at some point, either being on the giving or receiving end, and I wanted to say I understood what it was like from the direction opposite to the one discussed on the podcast.

I have heard it said that one always looks for the faces of those we have loved in the faces of those we meet. Perhaps the same can be said about art as well. I think that's actually how it works.

Christopher Burdett said...

Long time listener, first time poster...

As per your discussion on this weeks cast... I am fairly sure the great late Will Eisner was quoted as saying that every artist has 10,000 bad drawing in them that they need to get out. I believe it is in one of his awesome books about comics and art and story telling.

okay.. now to scuttle off back under my rock...

Jon Hodgson said...

@Michael - Don't be daft I was nothing but flattered. And its a very easy mistake to make. Can't say it keeps me awake at night! :)

Nicole Cardiff said...

Yikes! I'm suddenly glad that I don't encounter stairs on a regular basis. The health insurance stuff is why I've started doing regular exercise, too - on the logic that doing it now will make me less likely to need hugely expensive stuff later. We'll see if my cunning plan pans out.

As to the style stuff, Les Edwards/Ed Miller maintains two styles under two different names, which I find a nifty trick - I think it's really interesting to see his two portfolios and how they compare.

Jan said...

Thank you for the tip, Nicole!
I didn't know Les Edwards/Ed Miller were the same person. I knew Ed's covers for China Mieville's books, but seeing his other fantasy art, I like his "Ed" style even more. And it works so well in his horror (or as he calls it - eerie) illustrations as well.

Health insurance is mandatory in Czech Republic. :/ Not that I don't appreciate the health care, but the fees are pretty killer for a beginner illustrator.

Unknown said...

Great podcast again NM'ers!
I really wanna hear more from Kieran though!!!! Broken leg or not ;)

Michael Jaecks said...

@Jon LOL. The funny thing was that I thought I was the first to see it released, like telling you about it would have been the good news that something else had finally been released from its NDA! D'oh! But I am glad you are flattered and know you understand I meant well.

At any rate, it was another fine episode that gives me much to think about all week long. I second Scott's motion too. I hope Kieran comes back for more podcast. Sounds like he has a lot of insight about both the craft of making illustrations as well as the business of end of things...

Nick Egberts said...

Like Michael and Scott said more of Kieran please. I'm really interested in the concept work he did for Starbreeze. Maybe you guys could do an episode about conceptart (seeing how every paintmonger and his taxidriver seems to call themselves a conceptartist)

Also i could do with a second helping of Socar rhymes...

Unknown said...


Or was that Spartacus? Can't remember..

Anyway, there ya go, the masses (as in all 3 of us) call for more Kieran, make it so.

CGriffin said...

Once again, you guys addressed SO many of the 'issues' I'm experiencing currently. Especially Elin's first question. I've been doing ccgs forever now, and they just don't excite me. I can't 'settle down' to a protocol/style I really relate to. It was wonderful to hear I'm not some idiot...that we ALL go through this...and there IS a light at the end of the tunnel!

Coty said...

I just finished reading "Understanding Comics", it was very good! Thank you for the recommendation!

Ninja Mountain said...

SO MANY POSTS!! I love it! Thanks to everyone who writes in, this is just great.

Christine, I'm happy we can keep coming up with stuff you relate to. That was a very interesting discussion on a topic that isn't often articulated, I think.

Coty - isn't that a great book? You should try "Comics and Sequential Art" too, if you haven't already.

Chris! Come out from your rock more often!

And everybody - we'll get Kieran on again, for sure. :) Hopefully it won't be another 15-show layoff this time.


Jason Pruett said...

Patrick sounds like Dennis Miller

Ninja Mountain said...

Have I been insulted or complimented? The old, funny Dennis Miller, or the newer, angry Dennis Miller? :)


Jason Pruett said...

Patrick - it's just an observation. but definitely not an insult.

- it would be the older, mellower Dennis Miller. your timing, your tone, your voice - just sounds like him. It's not what you say it's your voice and how you say it (although if you added a bunch of pop culture references and a ton of profanity and put them together in a hilarious manner, then you'd be on the right track to the what you say part)

Ninja Mountain said...

Oh, I was just kidding about the insult part, Jason. Simply being compared to an actual functioning human being is a real step up for me in many ways.. ;)


Jason Pruett said...

ok - one never can tell with the lack of inflection in type.

anyway - these podcasts are interesting, inspiring, entertaining, and give me something to listen to as I paint. keep it up

Ninja Mountain said...

Thanks Jason! We will. :)


David Michael Wright said...

Hi Ninja Mountaineers!
Recently discovered the podcasts, and currently trying to catch up on the shows. I think they are, in all sincerity, the best thing I have ever found on the Internet, and certainly the most useful.
I’m just trying to get going with illustration as a business, though I’ve been drawing and painting most of my life, and I feel like I’m learning loads of new stuff I wasn’t aware of from you lot, so I should like to say thanks! (“Thanks!”)

Really enjoyed your topic about using randomness in art – something I think about quite a bit - as my own stuff sort of started out as ridiculously tight, anal, and fear riddled pencil drawings, which have SLOWLY over the years progressively chilled out, randomised a bit, and changed somewhat (kind of parallels my personality bizarrely lol : ) . I guess randomess (random-ness, sorry) in art is kind of like throwing stones in water, in that you initiate the act, knowing kind of, but not exactly, what result your going to get, and so create a sort of ‘chaos to order’ in your work, which opens up new possibilities that would have previously not occurred to you, and that you can now capitalise on with a little imagination (…Jeez that ink splot looks just like a bat! Whoah! Bats and fairy’s eh, cool! Oh my god it’s raining now, hey its like nighttime - but lumpy! Doh!). And so it’s risky but as by-product of that - tremendous fun! Although having said that, these things in my experience rarely tend to go totally terminal, and I think for the most part usually work out for the better so long as you don’t try and force the result. I read a wonderful line once at the end of the ‘Jeffrey Jones sketchbook’, which lends to this topic, I always try and keep it mind when painting, he said…

“It’s the most exciting thing in the world, if you can just absolutely let go”

In the context of art I think this sums up the real joy of ‘going with the flow’ in painting, and ’loosening the reins’ a little, Great stuff.
I kind of think ultimately that on the whole - random things make marks on us, and we make marks on things - which is a pretty damn random start to begin with, much of it is already at least 50% out of our control already anyhow. So what the f**k! (It’s a risky business : ) I think Dean Koontz nailed it…

“When tempest tossed, embrace chaos”

Dave : )

P.S. Apologies, long, long, pretentious, got carried away (like a boss), Wahaa! Orange! Porcupine! Lava lamp! Cheese!

Unknown said...

Sorry I missed your post a while back. Suffice it to say: thanks for listening!! I'm really glad you decided to stop by and leave a message, it really does mean a lot (even belatedly...) And I enjoyed every word of your ramble! ;)

David Michael Wright said...

Thanks Mr McEvoy!
Still steadily listening through the back catalogue at the moment - up to 40b right now, so I hope to catch up with the current stuff soon. Really enjoying the shows. Keep up the good work!

Dave :)