Flip Flop Flying

I Photoshop, therefore I am

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I took a break from furiously drawing stuff to meet my atlas deadline to have a look at some of the Pictoplasma Character Walk stuff. This is a bunch of small art galleries showing the work of a load of “contemporary character design and art,” to coincide with Pictoplasma’s second conference.

Beginning with their printy PDF – which was supposed to serve as a guide and map – being way too small and illegible when printed out; it was, like Nick has already pointed out, a disappointment. I realise I’m treating a fine line here, what with me being a pot and calling most of the Character Walk stuff black; but honestly, does having a pencil or a marker pen or Photoshop or Illustrator make any old tit an artist these days?

It made me think, why is it we like certain characters? Disney stuff, Pixar stuff, Hello Kitty, etc. Personality and stories, I imagine. Being cute and/or funny-looking just isn’t enough. Yes, well done Mac-boy, you’ve done a few circles and it looks cute [insert self-made-in-one-minute example of the type of thing I’m talking about]:

The walk highlighted the problem with this character-based art: it’s as unsatisfying as using Amazon to listen to snippets of an album instead of listening to the whole album. Yes, you get the cutesy highlights, but where’s the middle eight, where’s the solo? Where’s the heart? It all seems way too clever clever. And so fucking easy. I’ve made a ring tone: I am a musician! No you’re not, you make jingles, fool!

I didn’t see everything on the walk (I wish I’d see the David Shrigley film and the Friends With You thingy); some stuff I just looked at through the window; most of what I did see was toss (step up 2F, especially as it’s at a gallery across the street from my flat so I’ve seen his crap every day for the last week); and a few bits were great (Ian Stevenson, Derrick Hodgson, and especially Shoboshobo).

On the whole, I wanna cleanse myself by watching some Ren & Stimpy or Tex Avery cartoons to remind myself that characters are more than just lifeless drawings done by wankers like me.

Written by Craig

October 15th, 2006 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses to 'I Photoshop, therefore I am'

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  1. perhaps watching the cnuties or pete and bob would prove as effective as Ren and Stimpy? They do for many of us.


    15 Oct 06 at 17:52

  2. This is me wiping the sweat off my brow. We went to several as we tooled the kids around Prenzl Berg and the whole time I kept thinking, “Ja und?” I was seriously sweating how to talk to my friends about it as I was afraid it would out me as aging.



    The Big A

    15 Oct 06 at 21:46

  3. “Ja und?” seems like the perfect reaction.


    15 Oct 06 at 23:46

  4. Re: publishing stuff I asked before – did you approach Them or they approached You? And how do you protect your ideas?

    Get what you mean about character stuff. No character.

  5. Tori:
    Editors at two publishing companies approached me with interest in the project (oddly, on the exact same day); I worked on the atlas enough to show them a chunk of stuff so the people w/ the money could decide. Luckily, they both said yes, so I had to choose one which was tough, as they were both good offers.
    Protect my ideas? From what?


    16 Oct 06 at 16:02

  6. I really like the buck-toothed, googly-eyed pink blob thing. Where can I buy the t-shirt?

    Seriously, though, this highlights the traditional divide in the graphic arts. There’s no reason why one person with half a brain and a decent computer can’t single-handedly make a movie or produce a magazine or video game, but those who do are far less common than the compartmentalised, hierarchical structures with a writer/editor, director/art director, cinemaphotographer/artworker and so on. The fact that you get the occasional auteur doing the whole show nowadays gives me heart.


    17 Oct 06 at 16:05

  7. From people stealing them… but I guess your stuff is so unique you don’t really have to!

  8. And, aaaah, so they read your blog then and just keep an eye on what you do? That’s cooool.

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