Progress Log, 19th June

Progress Log, 19th June

Postby JimRob on Thu Jun 20, 2002 10:39 am

My tuppence. Well, probably a little more than tuppence.

The first thing I'd say is: don't trust the Keenspace logs too much. They do fluctuate. Eleven extra hits can quite easily be generated by people returning to the site after a thirty-minute time period, finding Keenspace slow and coming back later, or even Keenspace just not working for a lot of that month. At any rate, these are more likely than readers becoming confused and vowing never to return.

As for the question of whether it's worth putting the time in to make a really polished comic strip when the results don't seem to be appreciated... Art (of the type I think you mean) is, by definition, less popular than entertainment. Compare the numbers visiting art galleries yearly with numbers viewing a soap opera daily. Of the two, art is less popular because it's difficult: it raises questions and requires thought. Comic strips have the potential to be a wonderful synthesis of the two - just read Peter Blegvad's Leviathan - but the audience for that, as opposed to passive 'light entertainment', is small. Many just want a laugh, and anything beyond that - even something innocuous like interesting panel layouts - is off-putting. I can't say that fills me with hope and joy, but I fear it's true. Even so, there is a smaller nucleus of people who can and do appreciate comic strips which do something interesting. They are out there, and there are more than forty of them. It's just a question of finding them, or rather, them finding you. And they will eventually (although the speed of it, inevitably, is proportional to how much 'networking' you do).

Lastly, I'd warn (from no real experience, but still) that attempting to be more accessible to a wider group of people is really the kiss of death. Trying to improve your writing and art is quite all right, but diluting your style to popular tastes usually produces insipid results, which are far less satisfying to the creator than lesser popularity would ever be. The Yes analogy (which is somewhat dependent on liking Yes):

Yes in 1970: individual and innovative progressive band with smallish fan-base.
Yes in 1985: rock band with large fan-base and nothing whatever to differentiate them from any other rock band.

Even if you like bland stadium-rock, you wouldn't listen to Yes of the latter period: you could get better examples of it elsewhere. But you can't get the Yes of 1970 anywhere else, which is probably why they still have a following. I reckon a small, appreciative fan-base is probably a better thing than a broad one coming back just to get yet more of what they like.
JimRob
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Int. Night.

Postby ZOMBIE USER 487 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 6:28 pm

There is another angle to consider: The act of entertaining is an art.

As an example, let's take a subject I love, which is stand-up comedy. A stand-up comedian, a good one, is generally not born or made overnight. They practice. They spend a lot of time in the smaller clubs and venues, and in all the time their getting booed and hissed, they're perfecting their timing, technique, and coming up with new delivery styles and jokes. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but only in the same way such exceptions exist in music. Some people are just born with the talent. The rest of us find something we like, and we practice.

I see the act of entertaining people as being an art in itself. I have ideas about music I want to compose, stage shows that I want to put on, and the entire goal is to entertain people, and to do so with my skill, with my wit (such as it is), and my art. I can only hope I get somewhere.

However, all things being equal, I would rather have a niche audience that adores me than a large audience that treats me as the flavor of the week.
ZOMBIE USER 487
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:26 am

Re: Progress Log, 19th June

Postby ZOMBIE USER 8454 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 9:55 pm

JimRob wrote:As for the question of whether it's worth putting the time in to make a really polished comic strip when the results don't seem to be appreciated... Art (of the type I think you mean) is, by definition, less popular than entertainment. Compare the numbers visiting art galleries yearly with numbers viewing a soap opera daily. Of the two, art is less popular because it's difficult: it raises questions and requires thought. Comic strips have the potential to be a wonderful synthesis of the two - just read Peter Blegvad's Leviathan - but the audience for that, as opposed to passive 'light entertainment', is small. Many just want a laugh, and anything beyond that - even something innocuous like interesting panel layouts - is off-putting. I can't say that fills me with hope and joy, but I fear it's true. Even so, there is a smaller nucleus of people who can and do appreciate comic strips which do something interesting. They are out there, and there are more than forty of them. It's just a question of finding them, or rather, them finding you. And they will eventually (although the speed of it, inevitably, is proportional to how much 'networking' you do).


Yeah, you're very right... i guess true art has never been widely appreciated. and i don't know why i expected i would have a bigger audience than i do... i NEVER do any advertising stunts, and to this day i'm not sure how Mr. Dye ever found my page in the first place. i know that there are readers out there who read my comics and truly enjoy them, and i guess i lost sight of how much of a blessing that is.

JimRob wrote:Lastly, I'd warn (from no real experience, but still) that attempting to be more accessible to a wider group of people is really the kiss of death.


i wrote that essay at the most depressing time of night... i was feeling a little unappreciated, and this sort of resulted in a temporary lapse in principles. i can assure you, now, i would sooner quit than conform (i have no aspirations toward syndication, in other words).
Last edited by ZOMBIE USER 8454 on Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
ZOMBIE USER 8454
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:26 am

Postby ZOMBIE USER 8454 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 10:11 pm

Consul wrote:However, all things being equal, I would rather have a niche audience that adores me than a large audience that treats me as the flavor of the week.


right you are... it means something just to be able to reach out to people, and the number of people you get is (almost) irrelevant. i imagine that i've added more to the world with my 40-odd daily visitors than Jim Davis has in his 25 years of assembly-line "cartooning."

i might have to write a rebuttal to that essay... i knew it was a little funky the morning after i wrote it, but you guys have really given me some additional perspective. that, as an artist, is ALL i need.

and, of course, anyone else who has other opinions and views, PLEASE post.
ZOMBIE USER 8454
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:26 am

Postby ZOMBIE USER 487 on Fri Jun 21, 2002 9:13 am

You know, you just have to love a forum that regularly uses the band Yes in analogies. :)

I find the dichotomy between art and entertainment to be an interesting one, as I've always seen more similiarity than difference between the two. If an artist created an image people love to look at, is he not, in essence, entertaining them?

I think I found an excellent example of both art and entertainment rolled into one: Victor Borge. Now there was a man who could make people laugh, and with incredible style, while simultaneously playing the piano with incredible skill. High art and low comedy, together in one place, and he made it work.

Another example, though much less well-known, is a recent discovery for me. He's a blues pianist and comedian who calls himself the Reverend Billy C. Wirtz. If you ever have a chance to see this man in person, please treat yourself to it. His show is rather raunchy (low comedy), but when he lays down on the piano, very few are his equal (high art).

And with that, I think I will stop for now, and give other people a chance to chime in. ;)
ZOMBIE USER 487
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:26 am

Postby ZOMBIE USER 8454 on Fri Jun 21, 2002 6:42 pm

i'll admit to never having heard any Yes. i've been back in the classical habit recently, which is why i don't do those "Songs you should listen to" on the front page any more.

yes, victor borge was a funny guy. his big thing, just like Anna Russell and Peter Schickele, was making fun of the elitists who take classical music WAY too seriously, which he somehow did without trivializing the music. and every once in a while, he'd actually play through an entire piece WITHOUT humorous annotations.
ZOMBIE USER 8454
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:26 am

Postby Fhathead on Fri Jun 21, 2002 8:40 pm

i imagine that i've added more to the world with my 40-odd daily visitors than Jim Davis has in his 25 years of assembly-line "cartooning."


Well, to be fair, I dare say Garfield started off original and may well have continued that way for several years -- but I guess Davis just got greedy after a while (or maybe he just exhausted his creativity). Not everybody is a Paragon of Artistic Cartooning, you know....

And to play devil's advocate a bit, I don't know if I'd call Davis (or any of the other heavily-commercialized cartoon creators) a lesser person (or even a lesser cartoonist) than someone who does it purely for the joy of creation. A lesser artist, yes; but can you really blame somebody for turning their talents (for marketing, in this case) towards building a future for him/herself and progeny? Art for the sake of art is a noble thing, but very few people can support it as a lifestyle.

i might have to write a rebuttal to that essay... i knew it was a little funky the morning after i wrote it, but you guys have really given me some additional perspective. that, as an artist, is ALL i need.


Obviously you're no Picasso.... :-)

Gee, I'm amazed! The Keenspace fora have been up for...a couple weeks now? Wow!
Fhathead
Newbie
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2002 4:00 pm
Location: Socorro, NM

Postby ZOMBIE USER 8454 on Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:22 pm

yeah, jim davis got his start the same way every other syndicated cartoonist did... he spent years working on submissions and pandering to the syndicates' marketable visions. once he was in the field, however, he became more of a successful entrepeneur than a respectable artist. for career purposes, when he "exhausted his creativity," he turned his craft into a business and hired a staff of pencilers, inkers and letterers. to be fair, i THINK Davis still does the writing, although his web page makes that unclear. but as great a businessman he is, he has proven that art and business will never have a harmonious marriage. when such cartooning heavies as Watterson, Breathed and Larson exhausted themselves as cartoonists, they just quit (all of them in 1995) and moved on to other things.

so, i can respect Jim Davis like i can respect Bill Gates. but i would just as soon ask Gates for art advice than i would ask Davis.
ZOMBIE USER 8454
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:26 am

Postby Lordrunningclam on Sun Jun 23, 2002 6:55 pm

Consul wrote:You know, you just have to love a forum that regularly uses the band Yes in analogies. :)
Another example, though much less well-known, is a recent discovery for me. He's a blues pianist and comedian who calls himself the Reverend Billy C. Wirtz. If you ever have a chance to see this man in person, please treat yourself to it. His show is rather raunchy (low comedy), but when he lays down on the piano, very few are his equal (high art).

And with that, I think I will stop for now, and give other people a chance to chime in. ;)


I always think of Genesis with and without Peter Gabriel. With Gabriel they were a great band with a huge cult following and after they were a hugely popular band and their original cult following mostly went elsewhere. Yes was actually quite popular on FM radio at the time and, in some ways, less innovative although Chris Squire continues to influence bass players today.

One of the greatest concert moments I've seen in recent years was when Billy C. Wirtz was doing his encore at a music festival and the previous band, the Red Elvises (who were great), stormed the stage, picked up Wirtz by the piano bench and started racing him back and forth across the stage. Neither Wirtz or his band missed a beat and when the Elvises finally set him down in front of his keyboard he just finished the song. Wirtz is great and well respected. He does a monthly column in one of the keyboard magazines. His monologues about his 4th ex-wife Roberta leave me rolling on the floor.

Anyway, I've been reading this strip and Mr. Robert's strip for some time and I think both are great. To be brutally honest, I've read the entire archive a couple of times now and I think that its only this year that you've really found your voice as a cartoonist but the last few stories have been very good indeed.
User avatar
Lordrunningclam
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2002 7:01 am
Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida

Postby ZOMBIE USER 8454 on Sun Jun 23, 2002 10:10 pm

thanks! that means a lot. i'm honored that you've spent hours of your probably otherwise exciting life spelunking my slow-drip archives, and have returned with an actual POSITIVE sentiment about my storytelling. that sounded a little sarcastic, sorry, but i've been sort of bitter about my art recently.

anyway, i'm grateful, and you receive my warmest welcome to this board.

gah.. you guys keep alluding to bands which i've never heard. this is not fair. am i going to have to talk about Prokofiev?
ZOMBIE USER 8454
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:26 am

Postby Lordrunningclam on Mon Jun 24, 2002 5:01 am

PROKOFIEV2000 wrote:thanks! that means a lot. i'm honored that you've spent hours of your probably otherwise exciting life spelunking my slow-drip archives, and have returned with an actual POSITIVE sentiment about my storytelling. that sounded a little sarcastic, sorry, but i've been sort of bitter about my art recently.


Well, it can load in the background while I'm trying to accomplish actual work in another window. :)

I think the fact that you're worried about your art is a good sign. People who don't worry like that produce drek.
User avatar
Lordrunningclam
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2002 7:01 am
Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida


 

Return to Quid Pro Quo



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest